Which explanation is better? Intelligent Design or Natural Processes

What is life? Is it some kind of substance or magic that you can add to non-living material in order to make it alive? Everything we have learned in modern science shows that there is no such thing – no such stuff or magic. Life is a dynamic organization of material that maintains itself in response to a variety of environmental challenges and it gathers energy and materials from its environment in order to do so.

Life is quantitative. Life grows, learns, and becomes more. So as far as what you recognize as life, I am sure that it does only come from other life. But what about viruses? Are they alive? See now that is a point where it is difficult to recognize something as alive even though it does much of the same things – that is a dynamic organization of material with so little life that it stands in between life and non-life. And frankly the universe is filled with many other self-organizing process with many of the same features of life which we would not consider to be alive. And yet they gather energy and materials from their environment to maintain their own structure.

The evidence shows that we have a continuous spectrum from non-life to life. But there does seem to be a kind of crossing point where life becomes more creative, producing more and more life in increasing variety, complexity, and abundance.

It is one thing to choose not to believe something regardless of what the evidence says and quite another to make it the premise of an argument that is suppose to convince other people. Ok, you can say this is just an argument for your own belief… to convince yourself… even though it will not convince anybody else… ?

Watch an AI program called alpha-go (which learns how to play a game by trying random things and then discarding those which lose) beat the top professional human players of the game and you will see that a purely mechanical process is all that is required for the things we have always attributed to intelligence. And yes the same algorithm can be used to design superior machines.

So does that mean AI can design living things? But I do not believe that living things are designed. That is the difference between living things and machines. Living things organize themselves making their own choices and learning things in their own way. But I certainly think that AI can design machines as complex as any living organism we see in the world.

And that is the problem with your characterization of evolution as random mutations and natural selection. That may be how it starts out, but it eventually learns to repair the purely random sources of variation and introduce its own variations in a much more controlled manner

corrected: The premises of your conclusion are false but I also believe that God created the universe and was involved in the evolution of living organisms.

my original comment was colored by the title you chose and casting God into the role of intelligent designer which I do not agree with at all.

So do you believe in the Bible or do you believe in your logical argument for the Bible? Do you believe in God or do you just believe in the argument you have made for an intelligent designer. That is problem with such logical arguments made to justify things in which you believe – you replace your faith in the things you should have faith in with a faith in things that might well be wrong (and in fact what all the evidence shows to be wrong). Don’t you think that is tragic?

The great watchmaker intelligent designer is the God of Deism not the Bible. The God of the Bible is a shepherd.

Your mistaken presuppositions are showing.
 

I’m not sure what to think of all this. I don’t have the time (or the desire frankly) to respond in detail.

But I do believe in the God of the Bible. And I put my faith for salvation in Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

And I believe in the God of the Bible. But I could not do so without evolution. Without evolution, the god of the Bible is either a total incompetent or a despicable being who torments little children and little old ladies. If I believed that such a creature existed I would dedicate my life to opposing it in any way I could. Without evolution, I would conclude that the the Bible and the god in it are nothing but evil fabrications of people for the purpose of power and manipulation. After all, the examples of people using Christianity in particular for power and manipulations to justify rape, murder, slavery, and genocide is quite overwhelming.

But because of evolution, I know that the harsh realities of life are inescapable. Without suffering and death, life would not and could not exist. And that makes it so much easier to swallow the necessity of the horrible things God did in the Bible as well. The Bible and evolution fit together like hand in glove.

2 Likes

200,000,000,000 x 200,000,000,000 = 400,000,000,000,000,000,000

Four hundred million trillion.

With an order of magnitude or two more worlds.

Four billion trillion.

How many of those four billion don’t have life? Reasonably? If only one in a billion do, that’s four trillion worlds.

I agree, it’s bound to be orders of magnitude more.

There are other ‘fine tuning’ criteria that you are not taking into account.

One thing I often see misunderstood is macro evolution versus micro evolution. They are both the same processes, one is just further down the road. The same adaptations that occur within one species creating subspecies is the same process that continues to favor various aspects of each morphological difference that later on becomes it’s on species, it’s own genus and eventually it’s own family ( potentially ).

We know this because we see it in the fossil record. We can see the curve of a spine, the shape of a hip knowing it indicated bipedalism. We can see the gradual changes overtime. Superimposition let’s us know that these geological layers attest to this or that change.

Now days we can also look at genetics.

We can see morphological snd genetic similarities ( basal traits ) and differences ( divergent traits ) between us and chimps and see more similarities between us than with monkeys and we can see more similarities between the three of us than dogs and with the four of us more so than with a jawed fish. Genetics really help us sort out issues with convergent evolution. Such as how eyes have evolved many times unrelated to ours such as the eye of a Erythropsidium. (which is really cool to see and it’s a “camera” style eye. It’s also a single celled organism.

1 Like

Good that you figured that life was not created by God as it would imply that the God of the proponents of God having created life believe in a not living God.

If you understand life to be the ability to move energy or matter at will you can even see how we codes we generate can propagate our will either in computercode or in our spoken will. So if you follow someones will by accepting it for yourself, that will -and therfore it’s source - lives on in you.

When you look at evolution, we find it so clever that we adopt the process for our own design optimisation - as if it was a process that had no purpose and was a stupid random process :slight_smile:

I’m not aware of any at all.

How did the material from which DNA is formed come to be?
How does something/anything come into existence before there was anything material?
How did DNA figure out in which order the nucleic acids which form it should be placed and how many base pairs it needs? How did protein evolve from nothingness?

“Of the trillions of cells that compose our body, from neurons that relay signals throughout the brain to immune cells that help defend our bodies from constant external assault, almost every one contains the same 3 billion DNA base pairs that make up the human genome – the entirety of our genetic material. It is remarkable that each of the over 200 cell types in the body interprets this identical information very differently in order to perform…”

Chemistry. And before that physics.
There has always been material coming in to existence. Nothingness is unstable.
DNA is an evolution of RNA which probably - as in almost scientifically certainly - had other NA precursors emerging from, co-evolving with PAH chemistry in the iron-sulphur world. Protein is the result of RNA expression from DNA. A long way from the unstable nothingness.

Some stupid random process eh?! Being is not random. It is ordered. Otherwise it would be utter, incoherent, rationally unapprehendable chaos. Necessity operates from the quantum - and ‘in’ prevenient nothingness - on up. Order does not imply meaning.

Is there intentionality in the instability? In Christ is yes.

Wow. That’s a lot of information. Thanks.

I still don’t understand, and maybe you weren’t trying to address this issue, is this: how does something tangible/material show up from total nothingness?

Nobody knows, or ever will, but one way or another, it does.

1 Like

Hello

I just wanted to clarify something. This site is sort of like the wild wild West. It is hard to tell exactly where people are coming from.

I personally believe that the Bible is the word of the living God. The maker of heaven and earth.

I personally believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that I have salvation and eternal life thru him.

I assume that you have the same beliefs? Please correct me if I am wrong.

Don

Hello

I just wanted to clarify something. This site is sort of like the wild wild West. It is hard to tell exactly where people are coming from.

I personally believe that the Bible is the word of the living God. The maker of heaven and earth.

I personally believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that I have salvation and eternal life thru him.

I assume that you have the same beliefs? Please correct me if I am wrong.

Don

I am an atheist, but I am always eager to build bridges between atheists and people of faith, especially when it comes to science. I am a scientist, and I think it is a wonderful thing to be involved in. I think that there are many, many Christians who would also find science to be a rewarding career, and I would hate to see unnecessary theological hurdles put in their way. This is why I find BioLogos such a refreshing place because it shows Christians that they don’t have to throw away their faith in order to accept science. I also hope to counter some of my mistaken atheists when they claim science is not compatible with religion.

If you want to discuss the atheism v. Christianity debate or why I am an atheist we can, but it’s usually something I avoid because converting people to atheism is not my goal. I don’t think it is my business to tell other people what they should believe, unless we are talking about well evidenced science.

3 Likes

Thank you very much

Appreciate your candor and honesty

2 Likes

My best (life long) friend is a Christian and a civil engineer/surveyor
My next best friend is a Christian and an MD, and an ordained minister
My next next best friend is a Christian and is the IT guy for the hospital I work at
Etc

My point being that most of the Christians that I know are technical people or scientists

Most of the hydrogen and some of the helium and lithium in the universe came from the condensation of energy early in the history of the universe. As Einstein taught us, energy and mass are interchangeable and can transfer from one to the other. This is why atomic bombs are so powerful, because they convert mass into energy. All of the heavier elements came from fusion inside of stars. As the old saying goes, we are all stardust. When stars go supernova they spill all of these heavier elements out into the universe where they can gather back up due to gravity and form new solar systems. If life did arise through abiogenesis then it formed through the reaction of those elements to form larger molecules.

My understanding of quantum physics is a bit slim, but there is a concept of virtual particles which fits your description.

However, that really doesn’t apply to abiogenesis, evolution, or biology since those processes involve matter that is already around and doesn’t require matter to emerge from nothing.

It didn’t. It just so happens that DNA strands that get copied will outnumber DNA strands that don’t. As biology shows us, there are many, many different DNA sequences that result in copies being made.

They didn’t. The current thought is that they were first made by RNA’s that were able to string amino acids together, just as they do now.

A good analogy is cooking. DNA is the pantry that contains all of the ingredients. You can get a lot of different dishes depending on how you mix those ingredients and how you cook those ingredients. DNA isn’t really a list of instructions, but an ongoing chemical reaction. It’s the chemistry of genetics that produces what we see.

That’s great! I have trained undergraduate summer interns in a research lab for quite a few years, and many of them are from religious schools.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.