An atheist on Facebook made the following statement in a reply to sometyhing I said after viewing the PBS video of Stephen Hawking’s Machine of Life. The video displays a sort of cause and effect process showing how one movement sets in motion a chain reaction. After watching the video, I wrote:
“Only demonstrates again the importance of a Prime Mover and the obviousness of design”
The atheist responder replied, in part:
“Before concluding design, you would need to be able to provide valid, objective evidence that such a designer actually existed.”
This is a curious statement. Let’s think about such a statement. I can only conclude that something has been designed if I first prove that there is a designer. Hmm. That’s like saying you can’t conclude that the yellow, curved object in your hand, which can be pealed, eaten, tested in the lab, etc., is the byproduct of a tree or a plant until I first find the tree or the plant, identify it as the source, and then I can posit that the object in my hand is not an illusion, or a football, or an accident, or a hairbrush, but is, in fact, a piece of fruit. Ludicrous.
On the contrary, the value of design and the observation process which can help determine if a particular object has been intentionally designed and produced is that it is valuable as a piece of evidence that can help lead one to the source. The designed object testifies to the existence of the designer! If someone stumbles across Mt. Rushmore, having never heard of it before, they will at once say, “Wow! What amazing human effort.” They won’t say, “Hmm…I can’t be sure this is not a natural rock formation until I can identify the specific artists who created it. Till then, I have to assume that these rocks that look like the faces of four American Presidents happened naturally.”
The atheist’s argument displays one more time the pseudo-science that has arisen for the sole purpose of supporting the atheist perspective. Atheist or not, the argument from design does not have to lead a person to an acknowledgement of the Judeo-Christian God. We are all free to posit any strange theory we feel we must in order to keep pushing God out of the picture–including multiverses and whales that evolve from Hyenas. But it is utter foolishness to refuse to recognize design simply because one has not located the designer.
Categories: Atheism, Evolution, Philosophical, The Logic
There is always two sides of the story and we are only hearing your side.Could it be that the atheist is familiar with your thinking and believes you were talking about intelligent design in the religious sense? or by your comment, thought that was the connection you were making?
I think the “any strange theory” bit works both ways. There are also people who believe in a god who will push any strange theory in order to keep a god in the picture.
Hi David. Actually, I freely admit that I was referring to design in the religious way. However, the principle of design is solid whether used in the religious sense or any other way. I am not even arguing against the atheistic idea of no God at this point. My issue is the poor logic behind refusing to admit to the obviousness of design without actual proof of the designer himself or herself. You are right about strange theories. I realize that there is a disconnect between what I am going to write and what an atheist is going to accept from me. No problem. But, it is simply bad logic to assert that before concluding that a thing has been designed, we must be able be able to provide evidence of the designer him or herself. The object declares the designer. I really appreciate the comment David!
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I can agree that a comb, we know without a shadow of a doubt that there was a “creator”. Looking at a rock, or the earth or a planet, it’s not so easy to say “there was a creator” but can agree that some “process” created it. If that process is what the Christian calls God, or what someone else calls “Big Bang”, that’s okay for me. 🙂
Ok. For this present discussion I think that is all I can ask. In this post I was after an acknowledgement that it is unreasonable to withhold the conclusion that something was designed simply because we cannot ascertain who or how it was designed. As far as the rock, earth, or a planet, I would press for the conclusion that order does not typically arise from chaos without intentionality, in which case the chaos only appears to be chaos. So, when we posit that somehow the universe sprang from an infinitesimally condensed speck of matter, I have to demand that we admit that that speck of matter cannot be seen as eternal, and must have come from somewhere.
It depends on chaos. I can take soil from my yard, shake it up, make some choas and when it settles, I have three levels Clay, Sand and Topsoil. Wind can blow against sandstone or water against stone and leave beauty in it’s place. Caves formations, stalactites, stalagmites, oui la la 🙂
What is often states by creationists is “The atheist believes the earth came from nothing, nothing came from nothing” but that’s not true. My hypothesis would be the building blocks have always been there. We have millions of examples of planets and stars that came from somewhere/something.Why would a intelligent designer create other planets, stars and moons that are lifeless?
ID is a great topic but if not careful, people can turn it around and point out flaws in the intelligent design. Hope I’m not getting too off topic.
Hi David. Several thoughts come to mind.
When you say “chaos” in your soil example, it is only chaos intentionally performed with materials that have certain properties. Even the wind, which seems random, is only a part of an overall system of pressures and forces, etc. Design.
When we say “the building blocks have always been there” we arrive at a theory that sees matter as itself being eternal. This of course cannot be.
The last thing I would say is that we always lose when we try to assume what an intelligent designer would do. Intelligent Design of course is charged with agendas on both sides of the Creation/Evolution question. However, for me in this article, I am advocating to let design have its full day in court, regardless of whether one posits the Judeo-Christian God in the end or something else.
Great conversation David!