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Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?
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Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?

Are you now admitting that the objective of IC is more religious than scientific?

What if the flagellum was designed by an intelligent extraterrestrial?
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Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?
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Are you now admitting that the objective of IC is more religious than scientific?


Not sure how what you mean by "the objective of IC". My personal purpose in discussing IC is very religious.

What if the flagellum was designed by an intelligent extraterrestrial?


That's a different question, isn't it?

A simple "yes" or "no" would be fine. If you want to explain your answer further, I'd be interested to read it too.
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"Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?"

Silly question. Let's wait until we see some scientific proof that ANYTHING in nature was 'intelligently designed'.

The question really applies more to some of the organized religions. If the ID premise is correct, then who/what designed the designer? It kind of throws a curve ball into monotheism, doesn't it?
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Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?


If you're being truthful when you claim that ID does not require a supernatural designer, then your answer would have to be yes.
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Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?

I'm not an atheist. I am a heathen, and heathens don't deal in 'ifs.'
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Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?

I'm not an atheist, I'm a Christian. There's absolutely no reason that Christians need to deal in 'ifs'.**

In fact if you were honest with yourself and others, you'd realize that a "literal" interpretation of the Bible was not possible since it's inconsitent in many places. Once you've thrown out the "literal" interpretation and using the Bible for spiritual guidance, instead of a biology text, you'd realize there's quite a bit of good spiritual & ethical content.

You're so caught-up in seeing the Bible as a one-stop-shop for instructions about how the Universe works that you can't see it for what it really is!

**
Quoted imprecisely:
Why would the Creator have given us intellect, logic, & reason and not intended for us to use them?
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Silly question. Let's wait until we see some scientific proof that ANYTHING in nature was 'intelligently designed'.

Its a hypothetical question. Surely you can answer it while it remains hypothetical.
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If you're being truthful when you claim that ID does not require a supernatural designer, then your answer would have to be yes.



Another non-direct answer. A mini-trend developing.

I didn't ask you to speculate about what my answer is. What's yours?
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Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?

Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but I would think the answer is obvious.

If you can convince me that the flagellum was intelligently designed by a god, then I am no longer an atheist, more or less by definition.

If you convince me that the flagellum was intelligently designed by some race of aliens, then I would probably still be an atheist. Unless, of course, those aliens had some convincing evidence for god.

Now, if the first holds true, then ID is religion.

If the second holds true, then it deals with the physical universe, which is not off-limits to scientific inquiry. So get out there and find me some evidence.
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Yes.
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I'm not an atheist, I'm a Christian. There's absolutely no reason that Christians need to deal in 'ifs'.**


That's nice, but the question wasn't for you. For some of us less intelligent beings, hypothetical questions can help us understand things better.

You're so caught-up in seeing the Bible as a one-stop-shop for instructions about how the Universe works that you can't see it for what it really is!


Yes, but its a really satisfying delusion
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Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?

Nope. In fact I can't remain an atheist if you can demonstrate that anything in nature was intelligently designed. A tree, a water molecule, a chimpanzee, a bacteria, a stone, a human, a rose, anything.

Unfortunately for your argument, there is not a scintilla of scientific evidence that shows this to be true. Anywhere. Ever.

But, unlike some on the other side of the debate, I am entirely open to changing my opinion upon the presentation of proof.
 
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If you convince me that the flagellum was intelligently designed by some race of aliens, then I would probably still be an atheist. Unless, of course, those aliens had some convincing evidence for god.


Thank you for having the first direct answer.

Your atheism has nothing to do with design in biology, it has to do with the kind of designer discovered.

It seems like you are then disagreeing with those who have argued that if there is any design, then it automatically means "God".

Is that fair?

Bryan
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Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?
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Nope. In fact I can't remain an atheist if you can demonstrate that anything in nature was intelligently designed. A tree, a water molecule, a chimpanzee, a bacteria, a stone, a human, a rose, anything.


This position seems more consistent with the "ID is religion" meme.
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*** Silly question. Let's wait until we see some scientific proof that ANYTHING in nature was 'intelligently designed'. ***

"Its a hypothetical question. Surely you can answer it while it remains hypothetical."

All right, hypothetically speaking;

If the existence of an intelligent designer were scientifically proven, it would not affect my atheism unless that designer were to be also proven to be God. The first would be exceedingly difficult, the second may be impossible.
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Your atheism has nothing to do with design in biology, it has to do with the kind of designer discovered.

My atheism has nothing to do with biology. The second have of that sentence is begging the question.

It seems like you are then disagreeing with those who have argued that if there is any design, then it automatically means "God".

Is that fair?


I'm saying that promoters of ID, to a man, are doing so for religious reasons. If they do not think the designer is God, then they can drop this charade of pretending that the designer is now and forever beyond our ability to investigate. Once they accept this responsibility, then they can start the work of going after positive evidence for a designer.
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If the existence of an intelligent designer were scientifically proven, it would not affect my atheism unless that designer were to be also proven to be God. The first would be exceedingly difficult, the second may be impossible.


FWIW, that makes sense to me
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A simple "yes" or "no" would be fine. If you want to explain your answer further, I'd be interested to read it too.

I don't think finding that flagellum was artificially designed is in and of itself relevant to the theist-atheist debate so my answer to your hypothetical is yes.

Afterall, anyone who has read sci-fi can imagine any number of scenarios where a more mundane intelligence "seeded" life on earth.

Now if you can show the why the designer of flagella must necessarily be the creator of the universe and the ultimate source of morality and human purpose then I'd change my answer to no.

So the question of whether ID is a religion or not depends on who the designer is suggested to be and how the ID proposal suggests we can tell the difference between one that is natural versus supernatural.
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So the question of whether ID is a religion or not depends on who the designer is suggested to be and how the ID proposal suggests we can tell the difference between one that is natural versus supernatural.

I agree with the first part at least. Does this mean that the "ID is religion" meme has not been proven to you?

On the second part, do you mean that even if ID doesn't require a supernatural designer, it would still be a religion if it couldn't come up with criteria to distinguish a natural designer from a supernatural?
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If you can convince me that the flagellum was intelligently designed by a god, then I am no longer an atheist, more or less by definition.

If you convince me that the flagellum was intelligently designed by some race of aliens, then I would probably still be an atheist. Unless, of course, those aliens had some convincing evidence for god.

Now, if the first holds true, then ID is religion.

If the second holds true, then it deals with the physical universe, which is not off-limits to scientific inquiry. So get out there and find me some evidence.


The little green men thing just postpones the inevitable argument of who or what created them. God does not really sufficiently address what set it all in motion, either. Nothing can start from nothing except god is kind of like Behe tossing a definition into the ID argument, rather than an hypothesis.

So, how, exactly, would one prove that they are God? Does being God presuppose that no natural laws apply to them, and them alone? What demonstrations could god provide that could not be attributed to advanced technology and a wisdom gained from thousands, or even millions of years of civilization?

I suspect it would be difficult for God to prove that he is so. Destroying the planet is not a compelling argument, although it would be an effective checkmate.
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I suspect it would be difficult for God to prove that he is so. Destroying the planet is not a compelling argument, although it would be an effective checkmate.

An omniscient God should know exactly what I would find convincing, and an omnipotent power should know exactly how to accomplish that. I don't think I would need absolutely airtight evidence, just of the "beyond reasonable doubt" variety. There are all kinds of things you could do to demonstrate superpowers. The more superpowers you have, the more you can show them off.
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I agree with the first part at least. Does this mean that the "ID is religion" meme has not been proven to you?

No, ID is religion has been proven to my satisfaction. I'm just saying that it didn't have to be that way as asking whether life on earth is of artificial orgin could be a legitimate area of scientific inquiry in the same way that asking whether a particular strain of anthrax is natural or engineered would be. However, the ID movement has clearly shown by their actions and rhetoric (see wedge document) that they are attempting to use science to promote religious objectives. That makes them a religious group.

On the second part, do you mean that even if ID doesn't require a supernatural designer, it would still be a religion if it couldn't come up with criteria to distinguish a natural designer from a supernatural?

I was being glib. There is no method to distinguish between natural and supernatural causation because anything can be described in supernatural terms. Supernatural explanations make no predictions and cannot be falsified. That's why a supernatural explanation actually is no explanation at all and why it can never be considered science.

The empirical methodology of science and its dependence on logical tests to determine truth limits science to the study of natural phenomena. If ID fails to assume that its proposed designer is of the natural universe (and so can be examined and described empirically), then it is not a science. You can call it religion or non-science if you want, that's up to you.
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I didn't ask you to speculate about what my answer is. What's yours?


Yes, but the ID movement as it exists is still religous-based and therefore should not be eligible for public school curriculum.
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An omniscient God should know exactly what I would find convincing, and an omnipotent power should know exactly how to accomplish that.... The more superpowers you have, the more you can show them off.



It was established on CF recently that the Christian god is not omniscient, because he is capable of 'forgetting sins'.
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However, the ID movement has clearly shown by their actions and rhetoric (see wedge document) that they are attempting to use science to promote religious objectives. That makes them a religious group.


. . . and religious groups can't do science???

I totally agree that the ID "movement", the motivation for most of the major proponents, and the goals of the DI, are religious in nature.

That only makes their conclusions suspect, much like PZ Meyers or Richard Dawkins conclusions are suspect to me.

But even Dawkins can do science <g>
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It was established on CF recently that the Christian god is not omniscient, because he is capable of 'forgetting sins'.


Yeah, but you never know who you'll find posting over there . . .
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Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?


If the nature of the designer is that of a God, then no. If the nature of the designer is not that of a God, then yes.
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. . . and religious groups can't do science???

In theory, yes they can. In practice they seem to have a problem with gathering data before drawing their conclusions. They seem to have their conclusion, and then torture the data (or more frequently their absence of data) to reach that conclusion. In science it is supposed to go the other way...sorta like evolution did.

Yeah, but you never know who you'll find posting over there . . .

Hey, I stopped, didn't I?! I didn't want to be branded a troll, so I left (though I did enjoy reading the discussion, and also the Goldrusher/Moonglade debate). :-)

1poorguy
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Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?

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If the nature of the designer is that of a God, then no. If the nature of the designer is not that of a God, then yes.



What if the nature of the designer was indeterminate? I'm assuming that you'd still feel justified in maintaining your position.
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What if the nature of the designer was indeterminate?


How can it be science if there is no conceivable way to determine the nature of the designer, or when and when he did the designing?
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It was established on CF recently that the Christian god is not omniscient, because he is capable of 'forgetting sins'.

If god has to forget to forgive, then that proves god is female.
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. . . and religious groups can't do science???

Religious people can do science. Why would a religious group do science? What's the point of forming a group to do science if you're going to call it a religious group?
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. . . and religious groups can't do science???
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Religious people can do science. Why would a religious group do science? What's the point of forming a group to do science if you're going to call it a religious group?


The correct answer is that of course religious groups can do science. Knitting groups can do science, stamping groups can do science.

Why they'd want to is a different issue.
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The correct answer is that of course religious groups can do science. Knitting groups can do science, stamping groups can do science.

I suppose knitting groups can "do science" in the same sense that a grade school student creating a baking soda volcano for a fair is doing science. But if the members of a knitting group want to "do science" in the sense of advancing the state of scientific knowledge, sooner or later they ought to submit some results for journal publication. When they do that, it won't be under the purview of the knitting group. The fact that they're members of some other, non-scientific group is pretty much irrelevant. Science isn't done on behalf of clubs.
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Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?

Are you saying that your purported "intelligent designer" is a god?

Otherwise, I suspect, that the answer is easily "well of course you can be an atheist if there is an inteliigent designer".

md
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What if the nature of the designer was indeterminate?


Then how the heck did I conclude that the flagellum was intelligently designed? I can't.
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I suppose knitting groups can "do science" in the same sense that a grade school student creating a baking soda volcano for a fair is doing science. But if the members of a knitting group want to "do science" in the sense of advancing the state of scientific knowledge, sooner or later they ought to submit some results for journal publication. When they do that, it won't be under the purview of the knitting group. The fact that they're members of some other, non-scientific group is pretty much irrelevant. Science isn't done on behalf of clubs.

Well you have the Jesuits and I think they could be called a religious group. They build and operate space observatories, attend and contribute at scientific conventions, do research and lecture at universities and publish in mainstream scientific journals.
So my guess is that religious groups can do science. There will probably be a strong philosophical drive behind the work, but the work and the results themselves can be valuable for science I think.
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. . . and religious groups can't do science???

Who said that? You asked me if ID was a religion and I explained why I thought it was.

Religious groups can certainly do science. The Catholic church is but one example. So the Discovery Institute certainly could do genuine science, and I think many on this board have suggested that they should do so (you know, like actually form an hypothesis and perform an experiment to test that hypothesis). Why they choose not to can be debated, but the reasoning is pretty obvious to an objective reviewer (see Wedge document).
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. . . and religious groups can't do science???
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Who said that? You asked me if ID was a religion and I explained why I thought it was.


I was asking, because to me, that could have been an implication you were making.

You said ID was religious (implication: not science) because it was being promoted by a religious group.

So the Discovery Institute certainly could do genuine science, and I think many on this board have suggested that they should do so

Something like the Evolutionary Informatics Lab? I'm anxiously awaiting their computer simulation that shows how AVIDA was intelligently designed, thus confirming the design inference in biology. <g>
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bdhinton wrote:
Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?

Not enough info to give a straight answer. As a side note, I'll more or less ignore flagellum and similar structures and simply consider the theoretical possibility of an external intelligence affecting life on Earth billions of years ago.

From a rational point of view, even proof of that would not automatically disprove that life on Earth as it is today could not have happened without a designer. For example, if an alien race from another planet did it, then what about the origins of life their planet? Such a scenario doesn't affect the rationality for atheism in any meaningful way.

In addition, you only talk about the fact of "intelligent design" having occurred. You don't say whether anything about the nature designer was proven - for example, if some clear but simple hidden message is found in DNA in a very wide variety of species with a common ancestor from billion+ years ago that could not reasonably have occurs naturally then you have proof of "design" but no real idea about the designer. (The message could be something like a map of the whole moon). I'm not sure if there's a word for "I'm certain there was something out there that affected life on Earth but I have no idea what it's like or even if it's still around".

As hinted in the last bit - it's entirely possible a designer could have designed your dear flagellum but no longer be around today - a billion years is a long time. I'm not particularly attached to the word/label "atheist" but I find it hard to imagine myself becoming a "theist" of any existing world religion of my own violation. ie I seriously doubt any religion out there got "God" right and if they did, in almost all cases, I'd want a cosmic revolution anyway - I'd change from "atheist" to "anti-deity".
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It was established on CF recently that the Christian god is not omniscient, because he is capable of 'forgetting sins'.

ROFL !

g2w
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Knitting groups can do science,

Not if they are attempting to advance an idea that all life was crocheted because evolution can't explain why a DNA strand looks like a braid stitch.

Nigel, snipping
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If god has to forget to forgive, then that proves god is female.

And this tops the original joke.

Good one !

g2w
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"How can it be science if there is no conceivable way to determine the nature of the designer, or when and when he did the designing?"

Hmmm... OK, here's one example. Suppose some intrepid researcher discovered that 'junk' DNA, was actually an encoded intergalactic patent number or trademark. You could conclude that yes, indeed there was a designer, but not its nature.

(I read this in a sci-fi story once...I thought it was a very creative idea.)
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". . . and religious groups can't do science???"

Of course they can. A chess club can do science -- as long as they follow the scientific method, peer review, etc. etc.

What the chess club cannot do is play checkers using the rules of chess -- and expect chess players to say "oh, cool". Instead, they would say "That's not chess."

Chess <> Checkers
ID <> Science
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Hmmm... OK, here's one example. Suppose some intrepid researcher discovered that 'junk' DNA, was actually an encoded intergalactic patent number or trademark. You could conclude that yes, indeed there was a designer, but not its nature.


That knock at your door is Ben coming for your leather jacket . . .
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Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?

The answer is yes, just like I can rationally be an atheist even if God exists. Now if I *know* that God exists, that is a different story.
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***Hmmm... OK, here's one example. Suppose some intrepid researcher discovered that 'junk' DNA, was actually an encoded intergalactic patent number or trademark. You could conclude that yes, indeed there was a designer, but not its nature.***

"That knock at your door is Ben coming for your leather jacket . . ."

Hey, it is no weirder than a magic man in the sky. And who is Ben? ;-)
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Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?

The answer is yes, just like I can rationally be an atheist even if God exists. Now if I *know* that God exists, that is a different story.


A new twist . . . I like it
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bdhinton says

Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?

You mean, if it turns out the flagellum was designed by a really smart blacksmith in Intercourse, Pennsylvania in 1810? Yes, then I can remain an atheist. And you know, there's no way to objectively prove that the flagellum existed before 1810.

But while we're at it, can you tell me why an intelligent designer would have stuffed the human genome (and most mammalian genomes) full of junk genes that don't do anything at all? Exactly like what you'd expect from billions of years of unintelligent randomness?

Or why the human spinal column is an engineering-textbook example of horrible design, exactly the kind of thing you'd expect from a few million years of unintelligent randomness?

Just wondering.
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But while we're at it, can you tell me why an intelligent designer would have stuffed the human genome (and most mammalian genomes) full of junk genes that don't do anything at all? Exactly like what you'd expect from billions of years of unintelligent randomness?

Or why the human spinal column is an engineering-textbook example of horrible design, exactly the kind of thing you'd expect from a few million years of unintelligent randomness?

Just wondering.


Something I've been mulling recently is the predictability of ID. Case in point, recent studies confirm that humans receive about 200 duplicate gene copies from mom & pop. For some reason, some of the duplicates are turned off, thus increasing the chance of disease to whatever that gene was there to help prevent if the primary gene gets impaired.

The interesting feature, however, was that only 60 some had been found until recently, but approximately 200 were predicted to have existed. How do you predict redundancy like that if the genes were designed? I have to ask once design enters the picture, particularly if its a supernatural designer, why would predicable rules have to be followed?

Math guys? Is their field similar to chaos theory that predicts what an intelligent being would do when they have the ability to artificially do whatever they want?

Nigel
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But while we're at it, can you tell me why an intelligent designer would have stuffed the human genome (and most mammalian genomes) full of junk genes that don't do anything at all? Exactly like what you'd expect from billions of years of unintelligent randomness?


Is this supposed to be some kind of "prediction" of evolution?
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Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?

Can you rationally remain a Christian if all of your predictions about how the world works and what geologic evidence would be present have been proven wrong?


Do you realize that Darwin and many of the other natural scientists of his time were actually devote Christians? They were seeking evidence to confirm the stories in the Bible.

However, what they found discounted the history recorded in the Bible over and over again. They discovered that they had to develop new theories for the evidence they found.

Although the vast majority of Christians today do not dispute the findings of science, a small group of hold outs refuse to examine the evidence and attempt to explain it in a rational manner (similar to the Flat Earth Society's refusal to examine any evidence that the Earth is round).

If you don't believe science, it's evidence & it's theories, that's fine. In fact scientists often refuse to believe each other's theories. However, they then follow up with examining the evidence for themselves and rationally explaining it with their own theories that make testable predictions.

ID is not a theory. It does not make any testable predictions. The absolute best that it can do is say there might be biological structures that Evolutionary Theory would have difficulty explaining. In order to displace Evolutionary Theory it would have to describe the evidence found so far *even better* than Evolutionary Theory.

If you wish to dabble in these things and call it "Science" you must play by the rules that Science has established for itself. Until then you are just attempting to use your religious perspective and fool people, who don't know better, into thinking it's Science. Until you do follow Science's rules, you'll never convince anyone with the slightest background in Science that it is (unless there's money to be made).
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Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?

Could you rationally remain a theist if this question were intelligently designed?
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It seems like you are then disagreeing with those who have argued that if there is any design, then it automatically means "God".

You are the one that presumes a god based on your initial question, "Can you rationally remain an atheist if the flagellum was intelligently designed?"

You are the one that is saying that if it was intelligently designed, you cannot be an atheist, implying that the designer must be a god.

Design merely designates that there was concious, intelligent thought behind it. If it were designed, it would not have to be a deity that did the designing. It could have just been another intelligent life form other than humans.
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It was established on CF recently that the Christian god is not omniscient, because he is capable of 'forgetting sins'.
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ROFL !



Hey, I'm serious. It's in the bible.
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Hey, I'm serious. It's in the bible.

Oh, well, then they MUST be right.

g2w
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bdhinton says

"But while we're at it, can you tell me why an intelligent designer would have stuffed the human genome (and most mammalian genomes) full of junk genes that don't do anything at all? Exactly like what you'd expect from billions of years of unintelligent randomness?"


Is this supposed to be some kind of "prediction" of evolution?

No. Can you answer the question?
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"But while we're at it, can you tell me why an intelligent designer would have stuffed the human genome (and most mammalian genomes) full of junk genes that don't do anything at all? Exactly like what you'd expect from billions of years of unintelligent randomness?"


Why should I tell you? It's a secret.

A clue: your premises are false. The "junk" has function, and a designer can use evolution.
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A clue: your premises are false. The "junk" has function, and a designer can use evolution.

You betcha.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_programming

g2w
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your premises are false. The "junk" has function, and a designer can use evolution.

False, true, true.

In fact the designer (if one is involved) uses a set of biological rules so consistently that all evidence of his involvement is obscured.

FWIW, I don't know what we're arguing about.

Science, by definition, only concerns itself with the natural world.
Religion, by definition, only concerns itself with the super-natural (meaning beyond the natural) world.

By definition they do not intersect.

FWIW, this also means that if ID is to be treated as a scientific conjecture (it's a very long way from a working hypothesis!), then it means by definition God is assumed to NOT be the designer.

Scientists generally don't have a problem with this. Most Christians don't have a problem with this.

Only a teeny-weeny minority of Biblical Literalists seem to have a problem with this.
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FWIW, I don't know what we're arguing about.


FWIW, I didn't know you and I were arguing
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The "junk" has function,


Is this an assumption, or something you can show evidence for in every single case?
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The "junk" has function,
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Is this an assumption, or something you can show evidence for in every single case?


Some of what was touted as junk in the past has been shown to have function after all. The rest is assumed to at least have the potential to have some undiscovered function as well.

As long as that potential remains, the "Why would God create useless DNA" argument sounds hollow. To me.

Besides, why can't God use evolution, and if junk DNA is a side-effect, how does that argue (scientifically) against design? Its a theological argument, not a scientific one.
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Science, by definition, only concerns itself with the natural world.
Religion, by definition, only concerns itself with the super-natural (meaning beyond the natural) world.


Oh, if only this were true...
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