Sorry for the legth of this, but it is in response to each point of the OP:
GregD wrote:The point has come up a time or two on other threads: In the game of science one NEVER considers the "god did it" hypothesis. This is no accident or oversight, but rather a founding principle of the scientific method.
If it is a founding principle, then wouldn’t scientists start all of their investigations with a potentially blinding bias by refusing to consider one possibility? Similar to the blinding bias of the medical science docs late 1800s, when they persecuted Semmeweiss for having the audacity to suggest that medical students should wash their hands( accidentally (confirming a law of Moses, BTW) as they finished their autopsies but before they went straight to the child birth ward to examine the moms who were about to give birth? Even the observable fact/result that death from child birth fever dropped 80-90% in the patients of the 1 doc and his students who washed their hands, they had a bias that blinded them to what would turn out to be scientific fact. It would seem an open mind would be more in agreement with the scientific method, rather than adamantly refusing to consider that God might have done it, or any other possibility.
Also, don’t you actually mean the fact that scientists “never” consider that God might have done it- and/or also that he did it in the ancient past I assume - is a relatively recent development (rather than a founding principle?) becoming popular since every one jumped on the Darwin band wagon with little hard scientific proof? For example, the father of the scientific method, Sir Francis Bacon, clearly believed in a creator God, as did the one some consider the most powerful scientific mind ever, Isaac Newton, and quite a few others to boot. Some of these believed that a creator, designer God created the universe as well as the laws of physics they were trying to discover and understand. Even as they observed how the planets move through the heavens, they believed- as some do now- that originally God did that.
Even that He created the laws which they were observing.
In the game of science the following activities occur:
This last point is critical: an hypothesis that is more simple is preferred
- one or more hypotheses are proposed to explain some aspect of the behavior of the real world.
- observations, experiments, and analyses are performed which attempt to refute or support an hypothesis
- refuted hypotheses are rejected
- un-refuted hypotheses are ranked by the weight of the supporting evidence
- the best supported hypotheses are ranked by simplicity
- the most simple of the best supported hypotheses is considered the best.
(emphasis BB's) than a more complicated hypothesis because logically it is more likely to be true
. The words "simple" and "complicated" have specific meanings in this context; they refer to the number of conditions which must be true for the hypothesis to be true, as well as the probabilities that these conditions are true.
If you find a precision machine on a far away planet, is it more likely/more simple that it came to be by itself out of some other lifeless material, or that a smart, scientist type engineer designed it? It seems to me that in daily life, we do not assume that complex things made themselves, or simply appeared without a designer. To think that they did would seem to be a really complicated, not simple, explanation.
Many, if not most, modern scientists seem to accept or assume that the Big Bang and following spontaneous generation of life and evolution to modern man as accepted, obvious, even proven science. The hypothesis is certainly there, so far so good. But where are the observations and experiments that can prove any of that stuff about billions of years ago? Where is the experiment that can even prove that a dating method is still accurate to billions of years ago, since there is no way to travel back and prove it accurate? And finally, about simplicity. Could anything be more complicated and unlikely than what so many( but not all! ) modern scientists believe about the evolution of life, even what they believe in their hearts about the origin of matter and life? What with the continual breaking of mind blowing odds that not only will matter suddenly appear out of no where, but that then dead matter will come to life? And then by a continuing breaking of odds, and things happening which have never been observed, the incredible complexity of human ( indeed even non-human) life just accidentally happens? That at the same time(otherwise death would probably occur), a need both for insulin and an insulin secreting pancreas would appear in a creature that has previously needed neither insulin or a pancreas to manufacture and secrete it? Now multiply that by a hundred or a thousand or million of the incredible processes that take place in the human mind and body, and claim that this all took place without the aid of a designer. All taking place on a planet that just happens to have a life sustaining atmosphere and that just happens to stay just close enough/far away from the Sun that the middle of the planet is neither a frozen antarctic or like our nearest planets, either ice or fire. All by accident, with no designer. How is such as this “an hypothesis that is more simple”, compared to “it appears to be designed”?
A simple example to illustrate this point. I have a back yard surrounded by a fence where I keep my 2 dogs. The area is covered in grass. I go out one evening and observe that there is a hole in the grass about 3 inches deep. Some hypotheses come to mind:
- a dog dug the hole
- one of my two dogs dug the hole
- a specific one of my two dogs dug the hole
- my neighbor's dog dug the hole
- god did it
These hypotheses are listed in order from most simple to most complex. For hypothesis 2 to be true requires hypothesis 1 to be true, although hypothesis 1 can be true regardless of whether hypothesis 2 is true. Consequently, 1 is more simple than 2. By the same reasoning 2 is more simple than 3. Hypothesis 4, like hypothesis 3, requires that the hole was dug by a dog and that I know what dog dug the hole, but the fence (because it happens to be in good condition) reduces the probability that the neighbor's dog could even get into the yard to dig the hole.
For hypothesis 5 to be true requires a large number of other things to be true, and the probabilities of those things being true are pretty low. First and foremost, since god is supernatural, god can only exist if our reality consists not only of the natural world but also a supernatural world. Hypothesis 5 further requires that the supernatural force that dug the hole in my back yard is intelligent; it fails if the hole was dug by some un-intelligent supernatural force.
Science never considers the "god did it" hypothesis because it is hopelessly complicated.
Well, the example may have problems. First, it seems to me even most Christians, even the non-scientist among them, are unlikely to say that God dug the hole. As opposed to, say, asserting that an all powerful God designed first the place for the dog to live, then designed the dog who would reproduce as all varieties of dogs( with scientifically observable in real life selective breeding occurring over the millennia to produce all the variety of what are still dogs), and then a descendant of the original 2 created dogs ( male and female) dug the hole. Very few are going to claim that God did it, as opposed to maybe the dog he created might have done it. But how is the latter any more
complicated than claiming that the dog evolved from the original 1 celled organism, which appeared out of lifeless ( and sterilized by 1 billion degrees of heat? Some think they know that) material, evolving by endless fortuitous accidents into a dog that dug this hole? The former seems at least as complicated and implausible as the other to me. But maybe that's just me?
And there are additional difficulties with considering the "god did it" hypothesis:
The problem with offering “God did it” as an explanation is that such an explanation has low plausibility, is not testable, has poor consistency with background knowledge, comes from a tradition (supernaturalism) with extreme explanatory failure, lacks simplicity, offers no predictive novelty, and has poor explanatory scope. It fails to provide almost everything philosophers and scientists look for in a successful explanation. That is why “God did it” is generally a horrible explanation, not because it leaves the explanation itself (God) unexplained.
(Luke Muehlhauser http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=6113
What about those things for which science has no plausible hypothesis? Things like the origin of life and the cause of the Big Bang. The scientific response is - we don't know.
But many scientists do not act like they “don’t know”. They act and speak more like the Big Bang followed by the evolution of incredibly complicated and precise life are pretty well proven fact. And also that “God did it”is preposterous on it’s face. Again I ask, how does their much preferred theory have plausibility ( they must believe that their coffee table can become Mozart, if we just give it enough time)? How do Y’all think such random advancement of life and precision from non-life and chaos does not also lack simplicity? Are you basing such ideas on anything you normally observe in your lives? Is that something that you normally see(or anyone else has seen?): that precision and improvement and increasing complexity come out of chaos? Are our brains(having had a few hundred or more years to evolve) superior to Newton’s or other great minds of the past? Even with medical science, are we living any longer (max lifespan) than our ancestors as our bodies improve themselves, or do we still have the same approximate length of years before the inevitable deterioration- not advancement- occurs and we go back to dust? What about the thousands(millions?) of species of animals? Are they steadily improving? Living longer? I am just wondering by what simple observations you guys are basing the simplicity of evolution on?
I know you say science has nothing to say about origins. But many scientists seem pretty certain about X billions of years and how things happened after that first 1 celled organism spontaneously generated. And we don’t argue about V * C = I. That is observable, testable, predictable, repeatable, etc. And the Bible says nothing to contradict it. Origins and the following evolution is what we argue about, things you guys think happened billions of years ago, and whether or not it is possible that God did it.
Rom8:21the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption23..but..we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit.. groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body