Science is Hard, Therefore God

found online by Raymond

 
From PZ Myers:

I took another peek into the nonsense the Discovery Institute is currently peddling. It’s depressingly shallow, a lot of motivated reasoning and twisted use of the evidence. For instance, Kirk Durston has an article titled Could Atheism Survive the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life?, which, as an atheist who would be thrilled to pieces if we discovered alien life of a completely independent origin, seems peculiar.

Here’s his argument, though. The origin of life on Earth is a hard problem (agreed). Current models, as he understands them, suggest that it was an event of exceedingly low probability, so low that it was extremely lucky that it happened here, but it would be extremely unlikely that it would also happen in multiple places in our universe. Therefore, logic dictates the existence of a supernatural creator. It’s simply, I don’t understand this, therefore god. It also flops inelegantly into a common creationist theme that there are only two possible models, and if I find a weakness in yours, my model is automatically correct, even if my model has even more flaws, which I conveniently ignore.

The centerpiece of these kinds of articles is usually some juicy admission from real scientists that we don’t understand every detail of the origin of life, therefore, ha ha, god exists!

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11 thoughts on “Science is Hard, Therefore God”

    1. Might as well say Superman comics or Harry Potter “tell us why”.

      The Bible makes an abundance of claims about the nature and origin of the world which are scientifically testable. All of them are wrong, unless ludicrously twisted into some contrived “interpretation” to fit the modern science of which the ignorant goat-herding tribes who wrote the stupid thing had no inkling.

  1. Greenhouse gases do warm the atmosphere, Dave.

    Whether that is caused by man or by the sun and many various variables and feedback systems is debatable. (Except to the enlightened that are so certain the science is already settled in their own religious convictions. At least that is what the purported inventor of the internet and some actor named Leo tell us. Right…?)

  2. Mr. Paine.

    You make quite a case there.

    I suppose the theory of gravity is also debatable. Unlike the sun, I have never seen gravity. I will therefore debate its existence. It cannot be settled science if I can’t see it. That just makes common sense to me.

    Although the same silly science tells me CO2 is heavier than air. And it doesn’t come from the sun, it turns out.

    the purported inventor of the internet Who purported whom, again?

    That man was mocked, slimed, hated and demonized by political propagandists for that documentary. Why do we suppose that happened?

    I don’t know of this Leo actor’s work you mention. Damn liberals are ruining everything, aren’t they?

    Here is what I do know. Thanks to peer reviewed science.

    Global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century. The rate in the last two decades is nearly double that of the last century. CO2 levels have gone up drastically. Average temperatures have risen,. Coral reefs are bleaching, permafrost is thawing (releasing methane and more greenhouse gasses). Plant species are migrating north. Glaciers have disappeared and shrunk, Arctic Sea ice is vanishing, state-sized ice shelves are separating from Antarctica,…you know, observable reality.

    This denial of reality by the American con-servative far Right makes me want to rant. As a guest here, I will do the polite thing and take my rant home where it won’t upset Aunt Tildy or the neighbors.

    Thank you.

  3. Infidel, the Bible is not meant to be a scientific dissertation on the universe. You are correct that it is written in the language of people thousands of years ago so the divinely inspired words are written as those people understood the world.

    Just as a literal creation of the earth in a literal seven 24-hour-day period is false, the concept of divine creation is what should be taken away from Genesis. We need to look at concepts and the overall message the author is trying to convey in each case; not the scientific process for each occasion, sir.

    I agree with you that a literalist reading and understanding of the Old Testament of the Bible in particular is cause for finding serious faults.

    1. You missed half of his point, contained within the comment about Superman and Harry Potter. All sorts of things purport to answer “why.” Some of those answers are scientifically testable to at least some extent, in which case we should test them. But what do we do about the rest?

      If you tell me that an omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent god made us and has a plan for us and a list of rules for us to follow and salvation to seek lest we face punishment (whether temporary or eternal) in the afterlife, I will demand proof of it, otherwise I might as well believe any alternative. That claim, of course, is particularly complex and difficult (even impossible) to prove. Pointing to history in the Bible that we have found to be true, claiming that you get certain feelings in worship or prayer or that you have witnessed “miracles,” arguing that the evidence is “all around us” (there is nothing more vague and meaningless), and arguing that your life is better because of a Christian lifestyle *do not* constitute proof of the major claims of the Bible–proof that is necessary for us to take any of its answers to “why” seriously.

      It’s bad enough that you have so much to prove, but then you have to figure out how you even go about establishing things like the benevolence of your god. Every separate claim that you make to support this must itself be supported. Even if you could make the case, it would not be unreasonable for someone to ask how we know that it isn’t all for show, e.g. how we know that Jesus didn’t just activate “god mode” during the crucifixion and fake the pain along with the whole narrative of sin and salvation to convince us to do what he wanted. You might think that’s silly, but consider it from a non-Christian perspective. You’re asking us to accept a lot already, but now we are just supposed to trust that this powerful being is totally honest with us? It can supposedly do anything! Worse, Christianity itself posits the existence of another powerful being who *is* an evil, master manipulator: Satan. How are we to distinguish between the works of the two? As if that’s not bad enough, many Christians fall back on the claim that morality is decided or defined by God itself, which is to say that God is *necessarily* good. This totally misses the point of morality and goodness as the terms are understood by most people in everyday life and thus misses the point of the non-Christian’s demand for proof of God’s benevolence. These are just some of the problems that Christians must address with just one of many Christian claims–and that was *after* fast forwarding past the stage where Christians simply establish the truth of more mundane Biblical claims.

      Of course, the non-Christian must also ignore how much of the Bible must be taken figuratively and how the determination of which parts are literal and which parts aren’t seems to be up to the individual rather than to some objective interpretive method. That–or he has to take it all literally and reject our modern scientific understanding of the world.

      And we haven’t even touched the other religions, which deserve as much of a chance as Christianity.

      So what business does Christianity have in answering “why” and claiming that its answer is the One Truth?

      I have never gotten the impression from you or from most Christians that you understand the impossibility of the task laid out here or how reasonable it is for non-Christians to expect answers before embracing such a religion. Some protest that such questioning is too rigorous, that the standards Christianity must meet are not only too high but are not equally applied to other subjects. But I say that the stakes are too high and the religions too many for us to leave the problems unresolved. I need quite a lot more than warm fuzzies, barely relevant history, and vague prophecies before I give my life over to a religion.

      If only your god would simply appear to those of us alive *now* in spectacular fashion and do some great works, I and most others would feel much more comfortable with the idea of religion in general and Christianity specifically. But even then, some measure of skepticism about its nature would still, I hope you recognize, be warranted.

  4. “I suppose the theory of gravity is also debatable. Unlike the sun, I have never seen gravity. I will therefore debate its existence.”

    The difference, Dave, is that you can see the effects of gravity and conduct experiments with repeatable and expected results. The same cannot be said with the flawed models for anthropogenic global warming. The results are wildly skewed and time has proven that past model results are also horribly inaccurate, not that this matters to the true climate change believers.

    “That man was mocked, slimed, hated and demonized by political propagandists for that documentary. Why do we suppose that happened?”

    Because Al Gore was wrong on many key issues of which he hyped and is a charlatan. His whole hockey stick chart in particular was absolute crap. He lied and stated that the increase in CO2 caused temperatures to increase on the planet. SCIENCE has shown that the temperature increases actually caused CO2 levels to increase; not the other way around. His whole causal theory was wrong.

    You do realize that there have been ice ages and large warming periods long before man and fossil fuels could be blamed for climate change, right?

    And while the arctic is melting, Antarctica has record levels of ice now. One wonders if that is part of the reason why the marketing department of the climate hysterians changed the term from “global warming” to “climate change”.

    I guess “your reality” is different from actual reality, my friend.

    1. So you believe, so you believe, old buddy. As I noted that is your political correctness, not science speaking.

      And while the arctic is melting, Antarctica has record levels of ice now. .

      Because it has been snowing in Antarctica means there is no warming? Illogical. Vast state-sized ice sheets are breaking off into the sea. That, sir, is evidence of warming.

      You have chosen your politically correct beliefs. They cannot be changed by facts. There are the reasons journalism and science and public education, and yes, Al Gore, are also smeared. They do not conform to far Right political correctness. Beliefs trump facts in con-servative world.

      We have followed the oily money that flows to your Republican climate change deniers. But that fact is also irrelevant to your beliefs.

      Science is not a religion. Religion and superstition have a long history being at odds with science. Fear of change, distrust of other ideas, adherence to tribal beliefs, etc, are some of the reasons why conservatives do not accept politically incorrect facts and science. It is far Right politicization to support their corporate polluter agenda.

      You are simply following that tradition.

      I suggest you examine your oily conservative sources more closely and note how they often smear those who disagree with their political correct “science”. The hate for Gore is across the board for all liberals. That hate and blame game is also a major part of the Con-servative tradition.

      More than ever, the Right needs to make up its own facts. Racist birther and Climate change denier Trump is their leader, for God’s sake!

      But Al Gore is the one you demean. The Trump agenda, not so much.

      Beliefs.

  5. “It’s bad enough that you have so much to prove…”

    Respectfully Ryan, I don’t feel that I have to prove anything. I could spend my time writing down point by point rebuttals to all of your admittedly difficult questions, but at the end of the day, it would not sway your opinion. And that is fine. It is your right to believe as you choose, and I will stand up for you and that right. Indeed, you would be a hypocrite of the worst kind to profess a belief in a god you did not truly think existed.

    “If only your god would simply appear to those of us alive *now* in spectacular fashion and do some great works, I and most others would feel much more comfortable with the idea of religion in general and Christianity specifically. But even then, some measure of skepticism about its nature would still, I hope you recognize, be warranted.”

    Yep. However, my God did appear two thousand years ago and healed the sick, cured the blind, had power over the elements, and even over life and death itself ….and those in power crucified him anyway.

    Of course, nothing that happened then did so without Christ allowing it to happen. That said, when He does return again, sadly there will still be those amongst us that will still refuse to believe in Him yet again despite such magnificent works, sir.

  6. “Science is not a religion.”

    Indeed! But evidently faux-science has become a religion for many on the left, sir.

    “Religion and superstition have a long history being at odds with science.”

    In many cases this is true. In many others, science and religion have worked hand in hand with each other. Indeed, many scientific discoveries and theories were posited by Catholic priests and religious folk over the centuries, from Father Lemaitre’s “big bang theory”, to Friar Mendel’s theories and founding of modern day genetics, to Father Boscovich’s discoveries in astronomy, and scores more that I could list.

    It is actually more of a modern era phenomenon that the “enlightened” folk of this age think that science and faith are incompatible instead of being the hand and the glove.

    “I suggest you examine your oily conservative sources more closely and note how they often smear those who disagree with their political correct ‘science’. ”

    Truly! Perhaps like those who are demonized and demeaned for having the temerity to point out the inconsistencies and problematic issues with the whole global warming faith? Do you mean like that, Dave? Like those that would dare to argue against “settled science”, despite its cherry picked and falsified data?

    Or perhaps like those doctors, biologists, etc. that point out that human life begins at conception, contrary to what Cecile Richards and Planned Parenthood say. Perhaps you meant the demeaning of people like that?

    So I must ask, does that beam in your eye hurt much, my friend?

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