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xriso
2002-Jun-15, 04:52 PM
Take a look at the subtle difference between these two creationist organisations.

RTB (http://www.reasons.org) - creationist organisation headed by an Astronomer, no less. Claims that universe/earth is old. Very happy with the progress of astronomy.

AiG (http://www.answersingenesis.org) - creationist organisation headed by Ken Ham. Claims that universe/earth is young. Not quite so happy with the current state of astronomy.

They are of course very similar. Both believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and that the creation accounts in the Bible are literal. Also, they both believe in some form of special creation.

Anyway, I'm just posting this to say that not all creationists are "bad astronomers". Although I'm certain they would be called "bad biologists" by some. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

p9107
2002-Jun-17, 05:17 PM
Or bad writers

Conrad
2002-Jun-17, 08:13 PM
To which I reply with a paraphrase of one of the Bulletin Board's patrons, whose signature runs along the lines of:
"I'm a Christian and I believe that the Earth is 4.5 Billion Years old. Why?
Because God gave me Common Sense!"

There you go.

Cloudy
2002-Jun-18, 05:35 AM
There are differences of opinion among creationists regarding both scientific and biblical issues.

I welcome the recent advent of a kind of creationism(known loosely as Inteligent Design Theory) that seems to come from a sincere belief that biochemical research shows life to be to complex and orderly to come from pure undirected evolution. This movement seems unencumbered by the ideological restraints that burden pure Darwinian evolutionary theory as well as traditional creationism.

If recent science contradicts current interpretation of scripture - the LET IT DO SO. Quantum Mechanics contradicts General Relativity - we don't lie about one to make it fit the other, we look for a deeper understanding that can encompess both - or wait for one of the theories to be superseded. You don't just slam them together and jury rig a fit. You respect and work with both independently until beter ideas and new evidence come allong.

If the evidence seems to point to something beyond evolution, or even to the neccesity of some sort of inteligent design, then LET IT DO SO. There is no need to resort to all kinds of unlikely and one-in-a-trillion coincidences to explain the complex chemestry of life. Everything else we see in this world with the intricacy and the irreducable complexity of life we attribute to design - the only code that we say came by chance is the DNA code. Will be suddenly turn into Torquemada or Bin Laden if we admit that it most likely was designed..

end of flame/sermon.

Throwable Tomatos are in in the kitchen,
and you are now free to lynch the heritic,
or kook,
or bad preacher,
or whatever.

p9107
2002-Jun-19, 04:38 PM
in my opinion, i think that there is a God, but he did not create the world in 7 days. In short - I belive in God in a non-biblical way. I don't belive in the Bible. However, i do belive that he started the universe (started the big bang).

But it doesn't matter what I belive.

sts60
2002-Jun-19, 05:17 PM
Nicely said, Cloudy, but I think you are incorrect on a couple of points.

1. The "Intelligent Design" movement is not a scientific effort but a theopolitical one. It proceeds from a desire to explicitly point to God in a particular step of the evolutionary process. Its proponents have clearly stated their goal (via the "Wedge strategy") to replace modern evolutionary synthesis with ID in schools.

It is disingenuous of them to claim purely scientific motivations. This is done to fool the public. They wish to assume the mantle of science to attack science, and to force their particular interpretation into the curriculum.

2. There is no "ideological constraint" to evolutionary science, other than that science seeks to explain natural processes with natural events. It has been remarkably successful to date, and yet we do not see an outcry against "materialism" in chemistry, quantum physics, planetary science, etc. This only happens in evolutionary science because some people's religious convictions are offended by its results.

BTW, evolutionary science today is not "pure Darwinian" theory. Like any other branch of science, it has been corrected and revised as new theoretical and empirical results are achieved.

3. The "unlikely and one-in-a-trillion coincidences" argument sounds much like one of the creationists' favorite strawmen. Evolution is not a "random process" that has to form a fully functioning [fill in the blank] at each step, but rather a set of interacting processes, some of which have random components. Not the same thing at all, and certainly nothing like the hoary old saw about the "tornado-built 747".

I'm a Christian, and I believe God had something to do with the way the Universe is. But I also believe we shouldn't try to dictate the terms of how He did it. Science is a marvelous tool for understanding His work; let us not blunt that tool by using it to "Wedge" ideology into scientific inquiry.

DaveC
2002-Jun-19, 06:33 PM
On 2002-06-18 01:35, Cloudy wrote:

There is no need to resort to all kinds of unlikely and one-in-a-trillion coincidences to explain the complex chemestry of life. Everything else we see in this world with the intricacy and the irreducable complexity of life we attribute to design. . .


But there is a need to recognize that the random combination of atoms into molecules in the primordial soup before life began could have taken place trillions of times per second and in every conceivable way that the "laws" of chemistry allowed. So even if the "one in a trillion" odds you quote are correct, they dictate a virtual certainty that complexity would arise spontaneously, even to the point of self-replicating molecules being formed.
Complexity isn't proof of design. The complexity of life and the balance we see in the world around us is the only way it could be. If life weren't complex it wouldn't have survived on this planet. If there weren't stability, it wouldn't have survived. We can't observe all the failed evolutionary paths that dead-ended with life forms (or near-lifeforms) that weren't suitable for the earth's environment. We only see the successes. They might well be one trillionth or less of all the "attempts" by nature.

aurorae
2002-Jun-19, 06:44 PM
Anyone see the article in the current issue of Scientific American? It even made a headline at the top of the cover!

Jim
2002-Jun-19, 07:05 PM
On 2002-06-19 13:17, sts60 wrote:
1. The "Intelligent Design" movement is not a scientific effort but a theopolitical one. It proceeds from a desire to explicitly point to God in a particular step of the evolutionary process (and) to replace modern evolutionary synthesis with ID in schools.

It is disingenuous of them to claim purely scientific motivations. ...

Similar arguments could be made for teaching astrology in school. "Well, living is so complicated that things couldn't just happen that way by chance. There must be something behind it. And, after all, we can point to several scientific foundations for astrology."



2. There is no "ideological constraint" to evolutionary science, other than that science seeks to explain natural processes with natural events.


This is a key point. There is an ideological constraint to ID because it rests on the presumption there is an Intelligent Designer. Evolution makes no such presumption either way. Those who claim evolutionists must also be atheists are either wrong or trying to set up a strawman or both.

Someone quoted Bohr earlier, "Don't tell God what He can't do." Yet, this is exactly what creationists and IDers are doing, trying to constrain God.



3. The "unlikely and one-in-a-trillion coincidences" argument ...


As pointed out, there were literally trillions of pre-biotic occurences happening every second on the early earth. Turn this argument around on that basis, and the spontaneous creation of Life is a sure thing.



I'm a Christian, and I believe God had something to do with the way the Universe is. But I also believe we shouldn't try to dictate the terms of how He did it. Science is a marvelous tool for understanding His work; let us not blunt that tool by using it to "Wedge" ideology into scientific inquiry.


Me, too, also.

Cloudy
2002-Jun-20, 10:24 PM
There IS an admitted ideological constraint to evolutionary "science" - namely the principle of "methodological naturalism" - see the 2nd to last issue of scientific American, the article about creationism(yes, I'm to lazy to get the specific citation for you. I wish evolution or design or whatever would do that for me, tisk, tisk /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif )
That is, all things explained by science are to be explained on a naturalistic basis, that is, without reference to the supernatural or anything else inherently unobservable or unrepeatable. No matter what the evidence, don't invoke the supernatural.

This is generaly a good principle - after all, science was made to explain the way the world USUALY works, baring interference from outside the observable universe. Miracles are in the realm of history and/or religion - by definition they are not repeatable unless you have a deity that will obey you like a dog. And you don't want to just say,"Because God made it that way" whenever someone discovers holes in your theory - it is this fear, I think, that causes allot of the resistance Inteligent Design Theory has come upon.

But this principle also allows one to, a priori, dismiss any evidence of design one might see in the fosil record or in molecular life. Even if you see a long letter starting with: F--- You, Mr. Scientist written on the back of some hapless bacteria, you will never even consider the possiblity that the bacteria may have been meant to cary that message to you by someone other than one's lab partner.

This seems to me to be a major weakness for "methodological naturalism" when we are talking about the historical sciences(geology, natural history, etc). If there really are some miracles, we will miss them and try to explain them away, even if our explanation is allot less believable than the miracle would be. If it is unlikely that some event could have happened naturaly, we should(reluctantly and after a long investigation) admit it. You dont have to name the designer, miracle doer, etc. You don't need to have a working theory for everything. There are some things science wont be able to explain for a long time, if ever.

Inteligent Design Theory(inevitably) has been used for political purposes by some young earth creationists, in fact some even say that their only use for that school of thought is as a political stepping stone. But it was not created as such. The movement was an outgrowth of the discovery by Behe and many others that biochemestry is way more complex then Darwin could have known. I was using a bit of shorthand by speaking of trillion to one chances. It is more of a serries of simultaneous one and a trillion chances. The latest issue of Scientific American, when talking about nanomachines as compared to life, makes an interesting point...

A cell, acording to the writer, requires at least 300 genes to be able to reproduce. We have not found(to my knowledge)even a single gene come to be outside of life. Remember, theses are not base-pairs but complete genes. Full genes that can code proteins(with the aid of other irreducably complex structures). In an environment capable of doing so. An organism must be capable of reproduction before evolution to even begin to work. Design theorists, even a few athiests, are saying "Why not at least admit that the only way we can envision this comming to be is through design" This is not a presupposition, it is an inference from the evidence. And it does not put God in a box. For all we know scientifically, God created some Aliens that created us. Or made the first organism and then guided evolution.
There is even at least one atheist who argues for inteligent design.

I myself would be suspicious if common bible interpretations and science appeared to say exactly the same thing, for the same reason a cop is suspicious when two people tell him the exact same, long, detailed story in order to explain themselves. Even accurate observations always leads to at least some contradiction due to differences in perception, different degrees of precision, etc. Add in human interpretation and you get judgement and memory errors, among other things. This is one place where many creationists err - they try to make evolution or biblical interpretation fit by changing one or the other, giving them the comfortable feeling of knowing the whole story. Nobody really does, though I find it fun to speculate....

But I have already procrastinated on my work to long, and have spoken to much about biology - my area of expertise is in another historical discipline, that of history....
Will address other points later, if no one more qualified than I appears on the forum

Donnie B.
2002-Jun-21, 12:51 AM
Cloudy,

For the sake of argument, let's say that a supernatural God exists. That God might interact with the natural universe frequently, rarely, or not at all.

If he never interacts, then there's no real difference between that case and the one where he doesn't exist at all (at least until we die and cease to interact with this universe ourselves).

If he interacts frequently, then how can we detect any difference between this case and that of a God that is in fact part of the natural universe? In other words, such a God would be be accessible via the same "naturalistic assumption" you point out, and amenable to study using the methods of science. We should be able to detect and analyze the nature of this sort of God. Yet, so far, any such signal is too weak to be detected (at least, there is no general agreement within the science community that such a signal is evident).

So we're left with only the possibility of a God that interacts with the natural universe only infrequently. That strikes me as quite incompatible with the Judeo-Christian picture of a caring God that is deeply concerned in our everyday lives. In fact, it seems more like Vonnegut's notion of "God the Utterly Indifferent". Or, more succinctly, not much different from the no-God scenario.

Well, anyhow, that's my humble take on it... /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

DaveC
2002-Jun-21, 09:21 PM
Cloudy said:
This is generaly a good principle - after all, science was made to explain the way the world USUALY works, baring interference from outside the observable universe. Miracles are in the realm of history and/or religion - by definition they are not repeatable unless you have a deity that will obey you like a dog. And you don't want to just say,"Because God made it that way" whenever someone discovers holes in your theory - it is this fear, I think, that causes allot of the resistance Inteligent Design Theory has come upon.


A couple of comments - science doesn't profess to explain the way the world "usually" works. If something is found that doesn't fit the current science, it is changed, either to account for the new finding, or to acknowledge that the scientific principle was wrong. Which leads to my second point:

"Miracle" seems to be used a lot by believers as the explanation for an occurrence that isn't understood. An example that is often used is the terminal cancer patient that spontaneously recovers.
I'd set the bar considerably higher. A miracle is something that science can demonstrate defies the laws of science. If I could (without trickery or deception) put two coins in each hand, set them on a table in front of me and find the total to be something other than 4, that would be a miracle. The science that says (in base 10) 2+2=4, which we know to be correct science, would have been able to demonstrate indisputably that a miracle occurred.
To my knowledge there has never been any evidence of a miracle in all recorded history.

beskeptical
2002-Jun-22, 07:25 AM
On 2002-06-21 17:21, DaveC wrote:
A miracle is something that science can demonstrate defies the laws of science.To my knowledge there has never been any evidence of a miracle in all recorded history.


Don't the laws of physics break down at the singularity? Just kidding. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif

sts60
2002-Jun-22, 03:29 PM
Good one, beskeptical. It's a little tricky to define a miracle, IMHO - perhaps it's "I know one when I see one", such as in the case of Cloudy's insulting bacterium. My personal example is finding, through some sort of deep-radar scan, "Created by God 4004 BC" etched deep in 10-million-point Times New Roman across the mantle. I think we could all get with the program on that one /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

The problem with including the supernatural in science as an explanation, rather than looking for natural explanations which we haven't thought of yet, is threefold. First, it has no explanatory power. Saying a supernatural force did it says nothing about the cause - God, Rama, little invisible flying unicorns, or whatever. It takes us nowhere.

Second, it weakens science by preventing us from converging on useful explanations, because no matter how reasonable the scientific answer, it is now perfectly valid to say "it's in the stars", "the water remembers the healing properties of the diluted material", and so on. There's enough of that nonsense already.

Third, and most dangerously: it is really a way to shut off inquiry. Just throw up our hands and say, "Must be a miracle". This is a good way to miss the scientific explanation. But more importantly, it is the explicit goal of the ID movement, and affiliates, to use just this approach to replace evolutionary theory with supernatural explanations. Never mind the research in progress. God did it.

"Oh, wait, we didn't say it had to God, did we?" That is the claim of the ID movement. But that is disingenuous at best; again, the stated goal of the "Wedge" movement, led by Phillip Johnson and the like, is to replace evolutionary science with ID "theory". ID is almost entirely a Christian movement in this country; that's just a fact. I don't have a problem with that; I'm Christian - but I have a big problem with some believers trying to replace part of science with their particular belief.

It only adds insult to injury for ID proponents to claim theirs is a disinterested inquiry into the truth of evolution. Of course biochemistry is more complicated than Darwin knew. So? Science doesn't quit when it is presented with new puzzles; it tries to solve them. But some people, because of their religious beliefs, want that to stop.

However it began, ID is simply a statement of incredulity - "it couldn't have happened naturally". It still has no more substance than that, but what it is today is a theopolitical movement which seeks to replace science, not enhance it.

I, for one, am not willing to abandon science, not because I have faith in it, but because it has great utility in explaining the natural world. Substituting faith, anybody's faith, for this is a grave disservice to both science and religion.

xriso
2002-Jun-23, 03:04 AM
One of the problems I have with methodological naturalism is that it limits explanations to the vague area called "natural". With the dogma of this principle, and the common idea that "God is supernatural", the conclusion is of course that Science cannot use God as an answer.

Myself, I would prefer Science to be about testable and repeatable theories, which seems to be the truer purpose of it. If "An intelligent superphysical being worked through physical processes to arrive at an extremely improbable result" is shown to be testable and repeatable, then why should Science avoid considering it while it considers alternatives?

Karl
2002-Jun-23, 05:13 AM
On 2002-06-22 23:04, xriso wrote:

Myself, I would prefer Science to be about testable and repeatable theories, which seems to be the truer purpose of it. If "An intelligent superphysical being worked through physical processes to arrive at an extremely improbable result" is shown to be testable and repeatable, then why should Science avoid considering it while it considers alternatives?

An alternative to the scientific description of a natural process often come up when it is determined that observations are due to intelligent influences rather than natural causes. For instance, a radio telescope may be interfered with by a satellite, and produce an "un-natural" signal, and signatures of this type can in fact be 'testable and repeatable'.

So, science does in fact have a built-in mechanism to throw up a flag and say "I can't explain this with a natural process".

To my knowledge, there has been no consistent set of signals or observations that require a non-human interpretation. I'm certain there are many UFO enthusiasts who would disgree. Likewise, biological origins research is not presently in the position of needing to make a similiar declaration, in fact, progress in self-organizing biochemical systems is heading in exactly the opposite direction.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Karl on 2002-06-23 01:16 ]</font>

Cloudy
2002-Jul-06, 02:53 AM
Donnie B-

An interesting response! You have summed up very well the reasons I once had serious questions about the existence
of the Judeo-Christian God. "If he exists, surely he does not intervene in the world as often as his followers say he does" is the gist of that
argument. In short, my reply is that his control is far more complete than even most Christians realize - but that this control is not usually exercised through scientifically detectable means.

I like to think of the world as a kind of a book. God stands above and in control of the story because he is the author. The author can change its contents allong the way if he so desires, he can
add new characters, and take out existing ones. He can have something happen to the character in the story, or write him out so that he never existed in the first place. He can even change the basic rules of the book's universe, eg a star treck writer can rewrite all
Star Treck Stories so that transporters function through shields. The book's characters, however, need never notice when the author changes things - even the book's internal rules. It just appears to the characters that the new way is the way things have always been.

To understand this, you have to envision God as above and beyond time, space and history. You also have to envision creation as a continual process - most people tend to think of it as a "God did it once, and then let things go" sort of thing. All of the above bring up even deeper questions, most of them starting with "then why didnt God do this....." but these are theological issues that are really beyond the scope of this board.

There is one testable prediction that this "God as the Author" theory makes. It predicts that the book/universe will be internally consistent. It may be entirely seperate from the author's universe, but it will operate according to predictable laws that one can discover by observing the characters and events of the novel. This is exactly what we find to be the case, in fact, it is the central theory in science. This is does not by itself make a prima facia case for a creator, but to me it is a strong argument.

Most religions go further and say God did not only influences the events of the novel by writting it, but by also writting himself in as a character. From time to time, he talks to the other characters, heals the blind, calms the seas, etc. These are what we call miracles. A miracle is when God acts not only as an author but to a certain extent as a character in the story as well - maybe even a character visible to the other characters. Religious people debate how often this happens, and the merits+demerits of a cases- eg. the creation of life. I think such debates are more often historical than strictly scientific questions - because you cant use repeated and controlled experiments to prove such an event one way or the other. I have my own opinions in some such cases, but I am being to long winded already....

Dave C -

I now see that you are correct and I was wrong regarding the accepted definition of a scientific law. Scientific laws are, I see, a claim about what is always the case - if this is found not to be so, the law is reformulated or discarded. I was a bit quick to the pen(ah, keyboard) when claiming scientific laws are about what usualy happens. And I put it in all caps, no less. I like to tell people to think before ya open your mouth. I wish I had at least thought before I shouted...

I would still differ, however, in your definition of a miracle. It is true that the word is used rather loosely nowdays, to mean anything unlikely or unexplained. That was not the definition I was proposing, nor is it what most religious people believe.

I think a miracle happens anytime when the creator/author writes himself into his creation/story. This does not mean that any scientific laws are violated. The creator/author obeys the laws he himself built into his creation. He acts according to these rules himself. When the Red Sea's waters parted, God wasn't violating any scientific laws. God was, as a character in his own story, acting uppon the waters in such a way that the universe and its laws would produce the result needed. Another way of phrasing this definition: a miracle is "an act in and upon the natural universe, by something separate from it", i.e., a supernatural act.

The definition of a miracle as something violating a scientific law is also to broad. There are many times that currently understood scientific laws are not applicable, and no one proposes a supernatural cause. BeSkeptical's singularity is an example. So if a scientific law is violated, most scientists will rightly look to redefine the law rather than propose a miracle. All observational science can tell you is the result of a miracle, eg.."the cell does look like it is irreducably complex" or "The blind man does appear to now have normal vision". What caused such to occur is a question for the historical sciences. BTW...In the Bible,. John 9 provides an fascinating look at the process of answering such a question...if the reader is interested.

STS 60-

Philip Johnson is a lawyer, not a scientist. He did play a usefull role in "outing" some scientists who had sympathies toward intelligent design and were afraid of expressing themselves. He does use political methods that scientists, and I, find distastefull. But he is not a spokesman for the inteligent design "movement". He is the only Inteligent Design Theorist (and I use the term loosely) that has been politically active to any real degree outside academia, at least to my knowledge. In fact, the "movement" is so disorganized and heterogeneous that I find it amusing that some see it as a political trick. Those who look to intelligent design tend to have far better credentials than most young-earthers have, and come from a wide variety of religious and philosophical backgrounds. If you don't believe me , do a simple websearch and you will see what I mean.

There are many possible lines of scientific/historical inquiry you can follow if you think there is a possiblitiy of inteligent design. You can try to characterize the designer's work and notice any common treands. You can try to make testible predictions regarding the nature/prevelance of extraterrestial life. You can persue evidence that you may be wrong and that everything came about by naturalistic means. You can try to seperate out what evolved and what did not. One legitimate criticism of intelligent design is that it has not come up with any comprehensive theory of its own in order to counter "pure" evolutionary or creation theory. To formulate one would require a great deal of work - especially since you do not have the Bible or "Methodological Naturalism" to limit the possiblities. Inteligent Design theorists admit this. They are trying to open inquiry, not shut it down. They are doing things the hard way. If you say you think something was created, you have to show why that is more likely than the alternatives. If you think something evolved, darn it, you have to show why that is easier to believe that happened than that something was created. No shortcuts, No free lunch. If ya think evolution requires allot of science, just wait till you look at intelligent design.

I am starting think what many people are afraid of is not religious intolerance, but that Inteligent Design theory will show us just how much we still don't know - despite all of our fancy toys. We used to know how, in rough outline, how the world was made. Now we dont, if IDT is on to something. This is always a tough thing to have to say. Science does indeed have a great deal of utility in explaining the natural world as it exists today. It can even help explain how things used to be and how things came to be - but it is more limited in these historical questions because you can't (except in astronomy) directly observe the past. . There have been allot more changes in scientific beliefs in the historical sciences than in the observational sciences, for precisely this reason. It is in these kinds of studies, mainly, that methodogical naturalism has caused problems. The to-long acceptance of the "Steady State" theory is one case in point - many atheists even today don't like the Big Bang because it theorizes a beginning of space and time. There are other examples...but I have werried ya all enough already, and I need to work tommorow...

If you want to defend Methodological Naturalism - ya have to show that the evidence looked at from a neutral point of view points in that direction. But I often hear people say "Methodological Naturalism" is a needed presupposition and then defend it with research that was done with that presupposition. It is as though one says that you need orange-colored glasses on in order to really understand the world, and then say that all current research done by real scientists(those who wear the glasses) points to a world that is really orange colored. All I.D theorists are asking is that we just try, for a moment, to take off the glasses. You can always put them back on later if you value them so much But take them off, just once, and you risk spending a lifetime diving into the new collors you see.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Cloudy on 2002-07-05 22:56 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Cloudy on 2002-07-05 23:02 ]</font>

nebularain
2002-Jul-06, 03:25 AM
Cloudy - dude! - I loved how you expressed things in your latest post! May I make a copy of what you had to say and keep it for reference?

(Note to the curious: the parting of the Red Sea, that Cloudy was talking about, didn't occur as shown in the movies. Actually, a wind blew across the sea all night long that parted the waters and dried the land in between. How about that?)

DaveC
2002-Jul-06, 08:24 PM
On 2002-07-05 22:53, Cloudy wrote:
I would still differ, however, in your definition of a miracle. It is true that the word is used rather loosely nowdays, to mean anything unlikely or unexplained. That was not the definition I was proposing, nor is it what most religious people believe.

I think a miracle happens anytime when the creator/author writes himself into his creation/story. This does not mean that any scientific laws are violated. The creator/author obeys the laws he himself built into his creation. He acts according to these rules himself. When the Red Sea's waters parted, God wasn't violating any scientific laws. God was, as a character in his own story, acting uppon the waters in such a way that the universe and its laws would produce the result needed. Another way of phrasing this definition: a miracle is "an act in and upon the natural universe, by something separate from it", i.e., a supernatural act.


I don't think your definition addresses what a miracle is. You are saying it is something "caused" by God when He chooses to "enter the story". But that is something we can't know. And unless the outcome IS a violation of natural law, it would never have been identified as a miracle. Let's separate "highly unlikely", or "unusual" from miraculous. They are used interchangeably, but they are not the same.

We don't know if the stories of 'miracles' contained in the Bible are fact or fiction - because we can't query the authors about what they wrote or what they observed. If there are such things as miracles, it is curious that they ceased to occur when our scientific knowledge and understanding developed. We don't know if the Red Sea parted, and if it did, we don't know whether there was a natural, rather than supernatural, reason for it. Nebularain says in the post following yours that the wind blew and parted the sea. If so, why would anyone conclude God caused that wind? Yet that seems to be the essence of your argument - natural things cause miraculous events. That's an oxymoron IMHO.



The definition of a miracle as something violating a scientific law is also to broad. There are many times that currently understood scientific laws are not applicable, and no one proposes a supernatural cause. BeSkeptical's singularity is an example. So if a scientific law is violated, most scientists will rightly look to redefine the law rather than propose a miracle. All observational science can tell you is the result of a miracle, eg.."the cell does look like it is irreducably complex" or "The blind man does appear to now have normal vision". What caused such to occur is a question for the historical sciences.


I see a fundamental difference between situations where currently understood laws don't apply (e.g the first instant of the big bang) and situations where currently understood laws are violated. And actually, MANY people, typically creationists, DO indeed ascribe the beginning of the universe to a miracle "everything must have a cause, and since there was nothing (that science can point at)to cause the singularity to explode in a big bang, it didn't happen at all, or if it did it was through God's direct intervention (ie a miracle)." An inability to figure out the science doesn't imply the science doesn't exist. Our understanding of relativity is less than 100 years old. Our grasp of quantum mechanics substantially younger. We may or may not uncover the equations that define the instant of the universe's beginning, but we can be pretty certain a big bang is how it did begin because all our observations so far fit with that explanation.

By your definition of a miracle, one could never be observed - which leads me to wonder how we would even know that such a thing exists at all.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: DaveC on 2002-07-06 17:44 ]</font>

Donnie B.
2002-Jul-06, 11:13 PM
On 2002-07-05 22:53, Cloudy wrote:
Donnie B-

An interesting response! You have summed up very well the reasons I once had serious questions about the existence
of the Judeo-Christian God. "If he exists, surely he does not intervene in the world as often as his followers say he does" is the gist of that
argument. In short, my reply is that his control is far more complete than even most Christians realize - but that this control is not usually exercised through scientifically detectable means.

Astounding apologetics, Cloudy. Pretty convenient that God only does things in ways we can't observe! Or maybe I should say, pretty tricky of him.

I'm fascinated by the evolution of the concept of god(s) over the course of human history. In ancient times, the gods were ever-present in the physical world, responsible for winds and thunder, sunrise and sunset, rain, fertility and growth of crops... you name it, the gods were constantly on the job.

But as we've learned more about the natural world and how it functions, the gods have receded into the mystical and abstract. God now seems to influence people's hearts and minds, and not much more (at least, not in any way we can detect).

I wonder... where will the gods go if we ever develop our medical and pshychological knowledge to the point that we understand the biochemical basis of the numenous, of revelatory and transcendental experiences? I don't mean to be sarcastic, but it does seem that the playing field is shrinking for the supernatural.

xriso
2002-Jul-06, 11:20 PM
On 2002-07-06 16:24, DaveC wrote:
We don't know if the Red Sea parted, and if it did, we don't know whether there was a natural, rather than supernatural, reason for it. Nebularain says in the post following yours that the wind blew and parted the sea. If so, why would anyone conclude God caused that wind? Yet that seems to be the essence of your argument - natural things cause miraculous events. That's an oxymoron IMHO.


Consider the circumstances (as stated in the Bible): Some sort of force strong enough to allow one to walk across a sea (a rather improbable event I must say!), for the time in which the Israelites needed it, when Moses was asking God to do so. It seems like a rather miraculous coincidence to me. Do all miracles have to blatantly break the laws of physics?




I see a fundamental difference between situations where currently understood laws don't apply (e.g the first instant of the big bang) and situations where currently understood laws are violated. And actually, MANY people, typically creationists, DO indeed ascribe the beginning of the universe to a miracle "everything must have a cause, and since there was nothing (that science can point at)to cause the singularity to explode in a big bang, it didn't happen at all, or if it did it was through God's direct intervention (ie a miracle)." An inability to figure out the science doesn't imply the science doesn't exist. Our understanding of relativity is less than 100 years old. Our grasp of quantum mechanics substantially younger. We may or may not uncover the equations that define the instant of the universe's beginning, but we can be pretty certain a big bang is how it did begin because all our observations so far fit with that explanation.


What you're talking about is called "God of the gaps". Yes, perhaps we will find a system that would explain the singularity. Maybe even a scientific one (ie. we can actually test it). Bear in mind, however, that appeals to the future to solve our problems will not convince many people. We can't act based on what we might discover - there's a LOT of things that could be discovered, but the possibilities are shrinking in number. What we have right now are basically two models: Metaphysical entity caused it (take your pick - God or the multiverse or a machine that seems to be God but isn't actually God or ...), or the physical universe is stand-alone.

I have no idea what could possibly prove it either way. Any ideas? A boundary on space and time - it's such an interesting phenomenon. Does the boundary described by the space-time theorem demand a cause? I wish I knew more about this stuff.

xriso
2002-Jul-06, 11:44 PM
On 2002-07-06 19:13, Donnie B. wrote:
Astounding apologetics, Cloudy. Pretty convenient that God only does things in ways we can't observe! Or maybe I should say, pretty tricky of him.

I'm fascinated by the evolution of the concept of god(s) over the course of human history. In ancient times, the gods were ever-present in the physical world, responsible for winds and thunder, sunrise and sunset, rain, fertility and growth of crops... you name it, the gods were constantly on the job.


Well, you can change this to fit modern times - God is the one who applies the "forces of physics", with the secondary effect of wind/thunder/sunrise/etc. (or maybe his assistants err angels do it) /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif. In an observably predictable way, yes, but why should he not? Gravity, electromagnetism, weak/strong nuclear forces are apparently accomplishing the intended goal for the most part. The exceptions being miracles of course. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif



I wonder... where will the gods go if we ever develop our medical and pshychological knowledge to the point that we understand the biochemical basis of the numenous, of revelatory and transcendental experiences? I don't mean to be sarcastic, but it does seem that the playing field is shrinking for the supernatural.


That would indeed be interesting research! I think that psychology has a long way to go until we can quantify these things. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Donnie B.
2002-Jul-07, 12:40 AM
On 2002-07-06 19:44, xriso wrote:


On 2002-07-06 19:13, Donnie B. wrote:
I'm fascinated by the evolution of the concept of god(s) over the course of human history. In ancient times, the gods were ever-present in the physical world, responsible for winds and thunder, sunrise and sunset, rain, fertility and growth of crops... you name it, the gods were constantly on the job.


Well, you can change this to fit modern times - God is the one who applies the "forces of physics", with the secondary effect of wind/thunder/sunrise/etc. (or maybe his assistants err angels do it) /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif. In an observably predictable way, yes, but why should he not? Gravity, electromagnetism, weak/strong nuclear forces are apparently accomplishing the intended goal for the most part. The exceptions being miracles of course. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Hmmm... so God spends his time holding C=3x10^8 m/sec, and h=6.63x10^-34 J.sec? Sounds like a pretty boring job. Sure isn't what I'd be doing if I were omnipotent and all...





I wonder... where will the gods go if we ever develop our medical and pshychological knowledge to the point that we understand the biochemical basis of the numenous, of revelatory and transcendental experiences? I don't mean to be sarcastic, but it does seem that the playing field is shrinking for the supernatural.


That would indeed be interesting research! I think that psychology has a long way to go until we can quantify these things. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

We may have come a lot closer than you think already, though I have no cites so I can't get too specific. Still, we already know that a lot of conditions (which once caused some people to be treated as mystics) are just brain dysfunctions - like autism and schizophrenia.

jaydeehess
2002-Jul-07, 04:23 AM
p9107 wrote " in my opinion, i think that there is a God, but he did not create the world in 7 days. "
Bad theology
Nothing was created on the 7th day.

I tried to be Baptist, honest I did but I could not get myself into that headspace that ignores all evidence contrary to doctrine. I am now a lapsed Baptist.

Bill S.
2002-Jul-07, 05:04 AM
On 2002-06-17 16:13, Conrad wrote:
To which I reply with a paraphrase of one of the Bulletin Board's patrons, whose signature runs along the lines of:
"I'm a Christian and I believe that the Earth is 4.5 Billion Years old. Why?
Because God gave me Common Sense!"

There you go.




Well I'll be. Someone quoted me! Hunh!

Well, it is what I believe. I mean, I believe in God, I put faith in him; I believe the whole message of the Bible - and that's the important distinction: message. There's a lot of metaphor in the Bible, and a lot of it that doesn't seem to "jive" with hard science because people don't put the template of common sense over what they see. I hope I'm making sense...

Cloudy
2002-Jul-07, 07:24 AM
For now, I will confine myself to defending my definition of a miracle.

Frankly, I believe even some of my defenders here have fundamentally misunderstood what I was saying. Notice that I did not mention probability at all in my own definition of a miracle.

As CS Lewis says, "How often do you have to say something before you are safe from being accused of saying the exact opposit?"

Something can be very probably, ie, a cancer going into remission, and still be a miracle in a specific case.

Something can be very improbable, ie, the Cubs winning the world serries, someone living to be 120, etc. and still not be a miracle - as believers in evolution like to
point out.

Of course, inprobability can serve as EVIDENCE for a miracle in certain cases, but neither I nor most educated Christians would claim that it DEFINES one.

When God directly interferes with this world - he is not breaking the laws of nature any more than you are breaking the law of gravity when you magically make a baseball lift into the air by throwing it with your arm. Bear with me, this is a difficult concept. It is as hard to explain this to someone who does not understand religion as it would be to explain Relativity to someone who doesn't even understand Newton. Religious ideas are every bit as deep and complex as scientific theories (though like with scientific theories, the best ones are very simple once you understand the core of the matter).

Imagine a soccer game in which the rules are always immutable and never broken by any of the players, etc within the game. Then imagine an Eagle dropping out of the sky just as a goal is about to be scored. He knocks the ball into a teams goal and scores. The game then continues as usual, and the goal is counted.

The Eagle comes from the sky, where the rules dont apply. When he enters the game, he pushes the ball in such a way so that the game's rules will produce the results he intended. The Eagle is acting as God in this instance. I don't think this is as good an analogy as the one of an author and book, but for some it may be a better aid to understanding.

When we act upon in the natural world, we do not violate the laws of nature. All I am saying is that God can act upon the observable world just like we can - he simply enters the observable world and acts upon it like we do, albeit with powers he brings with him from his own unobservable, heavenly realm.



Some examples -

Instead of thinking of God canceling the laws of physics to make an axehead float, think of him pushing the axehead in the same way even you could of if you were underneath it.

Instead of thinking of God canceling the law of the conservation of matter in order to feed 5,000 people with 5 loaves, think of him bringing bringing in extra mater from outside the material realm and forming it into loaves.

Instead of imagining God reinventing chemestry in order to make wine out of water, think of him lovingly moving each atom into place and creating new atoms out of his own domain in order to make such a fine wine.

Another misunderstanding -

This definition of a miracle does not mean a miracle could never be recognized as such. If a voice from heaven talks to you and those arround you also hear it, it would be safe to say that was a miracle. The same goes for many other miracles mentioned in the bible.

I have throughout my last ravings, er, post /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif, made much of the distinction between the historical sciences and the observational sciences. - look near the end of my last post for a review. I even go so far as saying that the identification of miracles falls more into the historical category. It is harder to prove a theory in the historical sciences than the observational sciences. The historical sciences do not lend themselves to the self-evident 2+2 = 4 type of proof.

I don't mean to say that all historical opinions are like that of one's preference in baseball teams. There are even some facts in the historical sciences that are not questioned by sane and rational people. If you say there was no revolutionary war because the universe is only 200 years old, what you say can and would be used against you in a court of law - by a judge who would send you to a mental institution. Nevertheless, the proof that you are wrong in this case is more in interpretations of observations than in the observations themselves..ie, you dont directly observe that the universe is more than 200 years old since you did not live that long. You deduce this fact from other observations. (Now that I think about it, this may be a poor example since we can indeed look at some stars as they were 200 yrs ago, but I digress)

There are some miracles that I think are proveable, historically, beyond a reasonable doubt. Others may disagree on each specific case. But, even with my definition, miracles are not intrinsically unknowable . There are times when intervention from beyond the observable world may indeed be the most plausible way to interpret an event.


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sts60
2002-Jul-07, 12:09 PM
Cloudy, regarding IDers:
They are trying to open inquiry, not shut it down. They are doing things the hard way. If you say you think something was created, you have to show why that is more likely than the alternatives. If you think something evolved, darn it, you have to show why that is easier to believe that happened than that something was created. No shortcuts, No free lunch. If ya think evolution requires allot of science, just wait till you look at intelligent design.

Oh, Cloudy, please.

The ID folks have a very specific objective, explicitly stated, of replacing evolutionary science as we know it with ID "theory".

Period.

And you say that is "not trying to shut down" inquiry? My friend, that is a direct attempt to stamp a theological orthodoxy onto scientific inquiry.

And as for "hard work", I have looked at ID. I see a couple of books, a half-a**ed "specified complexity" pseudotheory, and a rehashed statement of incredulity (Behe's version of irreducible design). Contrast that to a world of work with antecedents before Darwin's time, which built upon his theory, changed it, and refined it to a pretty darn good explanation for much of the world around us today.

I am starting think what many people are afraid of is not religious intolerance, but that Inteligent Design theory will show us just how much we still don't know - despite all of our fancy toys.
Well, I'm afraid of religious intolerance, in the form of somebody's particular belief being pushed in science education.

And it's science that constantly reminds us of how little we know about the natural world - and IMHO deepens my appreciation and wonder at God's marvelous subtlety.

We used to know how, in rough outline, how the world was made. Now we dont, if IDT is on to something. This is always a tough thing to have to say. Science does indeed have a great deal of utility in explaining the natural world as it exists today. It can even help explain how things used to be and how things came to be - but it is more limited in these historical questions because you can't (except in astronomy) directly observe the past. . There have been allot more changes in scientific beliefs in the historical sciences than in the observational sciences, for precisely this reason. It is in these kinds of studies, mainly, that methodogical naturalism has caused problems. The to-long acceptance of the "Steady State" theory is one case in point - many atheists even today don't like the Big Bang because it theorizes a beginning of space and time. There are other examples...but I have werried ya all enough already, and I need to work tommorow...
C., science works because it changes. It responds to new evidence and theory. If it didn't, it wouldn't be useful.

And the bit about "historical" vs. "observational" sciences is a classic bit of obfuscation. There is no such difference. Science is about observing the evidence, whether it's something you see happening or something that already happened, and coming up with testable ideas to explain it. Not observing the evidence and saying "here a miracle occurred/is occurring, because there's no way this could happen naturally".

And where in the world did you come up with atheists disliking the big bang an antitheological grounds? Do you have any evidence for that? Furthermore, what difference does it make? I'm a Christian, but my preference for or against it makes no difference in a scientific sense, any more than the conjectured preference of atheists, or anyone else.

If you want to defend Methodological Naturalism - ya have to show that the evidence looked at from a neutral point of view points in that direction. But I often hear people say "Methodological Naturalism" is a needed presupposition and then defend it with research that was done with that presupposition.
Nope, science sticks to natural explanations of natural events because it works.

Sorry to be jumping on you so hard, but I find this recent trend of IDers and company complaining about "methodological naturalism" to be just another back-door attack on science and science education in particular. A number of prominent people in this country (Bill Bennett comes to mind), who would rightly bellow their outrage if, say, a Marxist orthodoxy was to be suggested for the curriculum, are all too willing to impose their own because it suits their religious beliefs. Hypocrites!

I'm sorry, Cloudy, I don't doubt your intelligence, but you sound like you've really bought into the ID apologetics. I think you're being sold a bill of goods.

P.S. We have definitely left the realm of astronomy, and this is a bad astronomy board...

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Donnie B.
2002-Jul-07, 01:53 PM
Cloudy, I understand that it can be difficult to come up with good examples and illustrations on short notice. But...



Some examples -

Instead of thinking of God canceling the laws of physics to make an axehead float, think of him pushing the axehead in the same way even you could of if you were underneath it.

Instead of thinking of God canceling the law of the conservation of matter in order to feed 5,000 people with 5 loaves, think of him bringing bringing in extra mater from outside the material realm and forming it into loaves.

Instead of imagining God reinventing chemestry in order to make wine out of water, think of him lovingly moving each atom into place and creating new atoms out of his own domain in order to make such a fine wine.


Example number 1 is one in which God performs an interaction with the physical world, and as such should be observable, detectable, and measurable -- the one thing which he never seems to be.

In Examples 2 and 3, you claim, God preserves the conservation of matter by creating matter out of nothing ("bringing in extra matter" from "outside the material realm" -- huh? If it's not material, how can it be matter?). You lost me there. If that's not a violation of conservation, what is?

These are all examples that point to someone who's trying desperately to preserve a core belief in the face of contrary evidence, simply by redefining words on the fly. They make no more sense, in scientific terms, than do CosmicDave's claims about an Apollo hoax.



There are some miracles that I think are proveable, historically, beyond a reasonable doubt. Others may disagree on each specific case. But, even with my definition, miracles are not intrinsically unknowable . There are times when intervention from beyond the observable world may indeed be the most plausible way to interpret an event.

Well, I'm one who would probably disagree in each specific case. It's fiendishly difficult to show that any event is a miracle, for any number of reasons -- what was once thought to be miraculous can later be shown to have a prosaic explanation; miracles don't happen on demand; miracles can be faked by any competent (or even half-competent) magician or "psychic"; the definition of a "miracle" is fuzzy; our knowledge is often incomplete; evidence may be ambiguous or contradictory; coincidences happen.

Please don't think I'm attacking your beliefs - it's your right to place faith in any system that seems to work for you. But I do get concerned when the faithful begin imposing their beliefs on reality, or on others. For one thing, it leaves you wide open to exploitation by charlatans and users. The Inquisition and 9/11 were carried out by zealots, but they also had cynical, political motivations.

xriso
2002-Jul-07, 08:52 PM
On 2002-07-07 09:53, Donnie B. wrote:
Cloudy, I understand that it can be difficult to come up with good examples and illustrations on short notice. But...



Some examples -

Instead of thinking of God canceling the laws of physics to make an axehead float, think of him pushing the axehead in the same way even you could of if you were underneath it.

Instead of thinking of God canceling the law of the conservation of matter in order to feed 5,000 people with 5 loaves, think of him bringing bringing in extra mater from outside the material realm and forming it into loaves.

Instead of imagining God reinventing chemestry in order to make wine out of water, think of him lovingly moving each atom into place and creating new atoms out of his own domain in order to make such a fine wine.


Example number 1 is one in which God performs an interaction with the physical world, and as such should be observable, detectable, and measurable -- the one thing which he never seems to be.

In Examples 2 and 3, you claim, God preserves the conservation of matter by creating matter out of nothing ("bringing in extra matter" from "outside the material realm" -- huh? If it's not material, how can it be matter?). You lost me there. If that's not a violation of conservation, what is?


I believe this would by Cloudy's hypothesis then (sorry if I'm putting words in your mouth): The observable universe is not a closed system, but interactions are rare.

Donnie B.
2002-Jul-07, 11:04 PM
On 2002-07-07 16:52, xriso wrote:
I believe this would by Cloudy's hypothesis then (sorry if I'm putting words in your mouth): The observable universe is not a closed system, but interactions are rare.

But that's the exact opposite of what he said, namely, that God is constantly interacting with the physical universe -- I believe his words were "far more often than most Christians would say."

nebularain
2002-Jul-08, 02:18 AM
Why is that these ID/Creationist vs. "evolution" debates turn into religion / believing in God / believing in the things of God / Christian beliefs bashing? I know not all of you are, but enough are that it's getting annoying. Granted, we have just as strong a desire to convince you of what we believe in as you have to convince YEC's to believe in the scientific evidence, but you will never persuade them if you approach things this way. Actually, you will drive them away from science as much as they are driving you away from religion.

Now, I have arguments for YEC's that I would never put on this board; I believe I've pushed the envelope far enough in theological expoundings in other posts.

But I have a need to defend the belief in miracles. There's a man in my church who was a documented you-can-never-walk-again quadriplegic, who, while at a churh service, was prayed over and got up and began walking! He hasn't been back in the wheelchair ever since. Now, do you believe I believe what I'm talking about? Do you believe he wasn't faking his injury? Are you thinking right now of reasons why things were not what they appeared? I wish I were in some position to provide you with the documentations or something like that, but I'm not. I'm sure some of you are planning on using that argument against me. **My point is, if believing in miracles goes against what you do or do not believe in, chances are very good you will never believe in them no matter what evidence or argument is presented to you (this has been my experience and observations over the years). It is the same reason that YEC's will not accept the best scientific evidences you can present towards an ancient universe; it goes against what they do and do not believe. Basic psychology. So, it does go both ways. See?

P.S. Please understand that I used the above account for reference purposes only. It's OK with me if you want to be skeptical about it. But I ask that if you must respond, please don't drag me or my beliefs in the mud. I do love and respect science, really; I just believe there is more to life than the "what's" and "how's" (science doesn't delve into the "why's" very well).

That being said, can we somehow keep the focus on the astronomy related issues - before we all get in trouble with the Boss of this Board?

::Jumping off soap box, picking it up, and walking away::

Kaptain K
2002-Jul-08, 07:26 AM
. . . science doesn't delve into the "why's" very well . . .
Science is about "what", when, where and how". "Why" is outside the realm of science. It is in the realm of philosophy and religion. True science does not (or at least, should not) try to answer "why". If religion and philosophy stick to "why" and science sticks to "what", when, where and how", there will not be these problems. Troubles occur when one side or the other crosses the line.

_________________
When all is said and done - sit down and shut up!

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Cloudy
2002-Jul-09, 05:58 AM
When I said "Far more often than most Christians would say"
I was refering to God's continual creation/renewal of the universe through naturalistic means. This is everpresent. It is unobservable, at least to scientific study. I do not consider this activity of God miraculous - though some do define it that way. This is how some Christians say that a warm breeze, a nice day, etc. are miracles.

But it is correct to say I think that Gods
interactions with the universe where he himself is an actor, and that have observable consequences,are indeed rare. To me, these are miracles. As Nebularian said, the observable Universe is an open system, though interactions are rare. And remember, the laws of physics only apply in the observable(well, physical) Universe.

My next post, if I dont get kicked off, will consist mainly of links. I need to present some of the evidence most humbly requested, and I need to show where better(at least more refined) material on these issues can be found...

Perhaps we need a seperate "Origins and Astronomy" forum?

Peace,

Cloudy

Jim
2002-Jul-09, 02:15 PM
Imagine a soccer game in which the rules are always immutable and never broken by any of the players, etc within the game. Then imagine an Eagle dropping out of the sky just as a goal is about to be scored. He knocks the ball into a teams goal and scores. The game then continues as usual, and the goal is counted.

Minor (or maybe not) point, but this is covered in the Laws of the Game. No goal, restart with a dropped ball at the point of contact.

Hmm, this is really a pretty good metaphor for Life. Just when you think the Fates have stepped in to lend you a hand, you find out the Rules don't allow it and you have to back up and start over.

Cloudy
2002-Jul-21, 05:18 AM
On the historical and observational sciences-
Even Steven J. Gould recognizes this distinction:
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/3958/hpip6.htm
This is a creationist page, but he includes a lengthy, documented quote on
this subject from Gould's book.

To be short, I neither the author of the above page nor I go as far as some creationists and
deny that the historical sciences are sciences at all. You can indeed come
up with testable, falsifiable theories in geology, archeology, etc.
But it is much harder to do so than in, say, chemestry or physics. There
are allot more gray areas, and it is allot easier for an old theory's defenders to
come up with alternate explanations.
When a theory is finaly disproven in geology, archeology, etc. often the theory was simply wrong.
When a theory is disproven in an observational science like physics, it is more often found that the
old theory was indeed an accurate approximation of the real world - but that a newer theory
provides a better description, eg. Newton and Einstein.

What evidence would convince a believer in pure naturalistic evolution that he is wrong?
Or what evidence would convince a Young Earth Creationist that he is wrong?
The ID movement simply claims that to the extent that pure naturalistic evolution
is falsifiable, there is a good case that it has in fact been falsified. Hopefully, ID theorists will go
further and make some good predictive, falsifiable theories on their own. They seem to
me to be the only ones looking at the issue that are philosophicaly able to do so.

On Naturalistic opposition to the big bang theory....

Fred Hoyle helped invent the Steady State Theory,
because he was an Atheist.
http://www.schoolsobservatory.org.uk/study/sci/cosmo/internal/bigbang.htm

Some of those bible-thumping fundamentalists at PBS
think that scientists wanted a Cosomological theory that
"Did not require a beginning"
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/hawking/programs/html/prog-content_2-2.html

Some atheists STILL dont like the big bang
http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/huascar.htm

On the definition of a miracle I believe I have been clear enough. Now that I think again about it, I see it may just be
a matter of semantics. In all of the examples I gave, an objective observer would think that
some scientific law were broken. It is my contention that they in fact were not, that God obeys his
own laws when acting in his own universe - but, with the power he has, that does not mean much. If you can
bring in your own players, balls, etc from outside the game, it does not matter much that you are willing to
obey the game's rules or not. I'm only saying that the rules don't themselves preclude bringing in things from
outside the game, they only govern what happens within it.

For more, read CS Lewis's book Miracles. He spends 100+ pages talking about stuff like this.
These are philosophical questions, and philosophers/theologians do a better job when talking about
them than scientists do. Interestingly, Lewis's main fear is not that scientists will deny the miraculous.
It is that they will encounter the supernatural, and call it something else. They would then, not knowingg what they are dealing with,
fall victim to forces beyond their understanding.

And lastly....
A better explanation of Inteligent Design's positive research program is at
http://www.meta-library.net/id-wd/intel-frame.html
There is allot of good stuff on this site. Much better than the than ramblings of
an amateur, posted under an assumed name.

This will be my last post on this subject, so feel free to have the last word.
I thank all of you for helping me to think and clarify my thoughts on this issue.

Great point Kaptain K, BTW

Peace,

Cloudy


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