Do you actually believe that what he/she wrote was intellectual in any shape or form?
Lucas...to answer your question...the evidence
of the intelligence of the person who wrote the Top Ten is obvious
in the questions themselves. Since I don't know the person, I think it would be foolish and a waste of my time and yours to continue that
side of the argument. It is my opinion
that the intelligence is there, and your opinion
is the opposite...nuff said on that point.
I believe god is unproved
, not disproved.
Let's look at #9 of the Top Ten list for starters:
You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from lesser life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
The universe is not a thing
. A god would certainly be a part of the universe, and if the universe requires an explanation, then god requires a god, ad infinitum
. The mind of a god would be at least as complex and orderly as the rest of nature and would be subject to the same question: who made god? If a god can be thought eternal, then so can the universe. As to the where did we come from argument, we go back to the design element...who made god?
For thousands of years humans created mythical answers to "mysteries" such as thunder, lightening, the seasons, fertility of both humans and the earth. The design belief of the theists is based on ignorance, nothing more. The more we learn, the fewer gods we need. God belief is just answering a mystery with a mystery, and therefore answers nothing. Also the theists would like for the human masses to remain in ignorance of natural elements that challenge their god explanation. Ignorant people aren't going to question, seek answers, and thus make discoveries that the theists don't want them to make...and the biggest thing they don't want them to do is to lose their faith, because faith keeps them ignorant.
A natural law is a description, not a prescription. The universe is not governed by anything. Natural laws are merely human conceptions of the way things normally react, not behavioral mandates, as with societal laws. If the design argument is valid, the mind of a god would be equally governed by some principals of order, requiring a higher lawgiver.
Intelligent Design and Creationism
The next scientific type of argument is called intelligent design. It states that life on Earth is so complex that it must have had an intelligent designer. This argument has evolved from the creationism argument, and it’s gaining strength by masquerading as a science. It's not science because there is no body of research to support its claims nor even a real plan to conduct such research. To get around legal restrictions on teaching religious dogma, proponents of intelligent design say that they don’t know what this designer was; it could have been an alien or a god. This is disingenuous. If it was an alien, then the obvious question is, where and how did the alien originate? If they really mean God, which is what I think they mean, then it devolves largely back to creationism. So, I will treat intelligent design and creationism as basically the same.
Proponents of intelligent design make many claims:
A watch requires a watchmaker.
A design requires a designer.
The physical laws require a lawgiver.
The complexity of life and the Universe require a cause that is not part of this natural world.
The laws of physics were fine-tuned for life.
Science can't explain all the features of life.
Our system of life on Earth was designed.
The 2nd law of thermodynamics proves that evolution is impossible.
What they really claim is God did it!
Let’s start with the 2nd law of thermodynamics. This states that any closed system will tend toward disorder. However, it does not apply to the Earth, because we live in an open system with energy constantly streaming in from our sun. This is the energy that powers almost all life on our planet.
Next, let’s consider the laws of physics. They are quantified explanations of how matter and energy behave, not anything like man-made laws. We currently don’t know why the parameters of matter and energy have certain values, but that doesn’t mean that some god set them that way. The simple solution to the question of the source of the laws of physics is to accept them as brute fact, with no source. Besides, if it were true that a god set up the Universe for life and us to exist, he certainly had to wait a long time for the result. The Universe has been around for about 13 billion years. It took about nine billion years before our Earth was formed, and single celled bacteria were forming ecosystems about a billion years after that. Life on Earth evolved and became more complex. Then humans, God’s supposed reason for the whole creation, finally came along within the last hundred thousand years or so. This seems like a lengthy and complex process for an omnipotent being that could have simply snapped everything into existence. Using God as the source of the laws of physics just doesn’t make sense. Once again, religionists are trying to explain one unknown with another unknown.
The core argument in intelligent design is the fact that evolutionary biologists can't yet fully explain all the features of life; therefore life must have been designed by some intelligent being. This is the old “god of the gaps” argument, and it is logically and historically flawed. It's logically flawed because it's based on a lack of knowledge — explaining these gaps in knowledge by invoking the magic of an unknown (perhaps supernatural) being. Like all “god of the gaps” arguments, this is not falsifiable, can't even be tested, and says nothing about the moral qualities of this unknown being, god, or gods. It's historically flawed because science has shown excellent progress in explaining the world around us, and there is nothing to show that evolutionary biology should be abandoned simply because it has not yet explained the origins of every single process of life. Because biochemical processes don't leave behind fossils, it's not as easy to explain their origins as it is for bone structures that do fossilize. However, evolutionary biologists are making excellent progress in understanding the processes and origins of the biochemistry of life.
Life is a process — not a design. It requires an explanation — not an intelligent designer. This explanation is the fact and theory of evolution. “Evolution” simply means change over time. It’s a fact that enormous changes to life on Earth have occurred. The fossil records are clear and unambiguous on this. The theory of evolution explains the processes that caused these changes.
The evidence for evolution of life is overwhelming and conclusive. This evidence is not just in the fossils, but also in the the body parts and genes of every living thing. If you have any doubts, take a little time to learn the theory of evolution, then spend a few hours in any natural history museum or public library. If your mind is at all open, you will see the evidence. Remember, ignorance of how evolution works is no argument against it. The basic theory of evolution is completely solid, and will continue to be updated as we learn more about the complex history of life.
You don't even need to go to a natural history museum or library to see evidence for evolution; our own bodies have many signs of our evolutionary heritage. When we get goose bumps, our bodies are trying to keep warm by raising hairs that no longer help. The ability to wiggle ears is of no use for us, but not for some distant ancestors. We also have many useless, vestigial organs such as nipples on males, the appendix and the tailbone, which is just a holdover from when our primate ancestors actually had tails millions of years ago.
In fact, just about every cell in our bodies contains the evidence of our evolutionary origins. The basic process of life on Earth is so common that we share about 50% of our genes with carrots, and more than 98% of our genes with chimpanzees. Here are some useful biological facts:
We get an exact copy of the mitochondria in each cell from our mother.
Every male gets an exact copy of his Y chromosome from his father.
Both the mitochondria and Y chromosomes slowly mutate over time at a known rate.
With this knowledge, geneticists can estimate how recently any two of us shared a common female ancestor, or any two males shared a common male ancestor. Using this information and other data, the evidence strongly points to the claim that most or all of us are descended from a group of Africans that started migrating about 100,000 years ago.
The faults in the design of the human eye, especially, show its evolutionary origins. When we study the retina at the back of the eye, we can see that the cell layers are backwards. Light has to travel through seven layers of cells before reaching the light sensing cells. Then the signals go back through these layers to the nerves on the inside surface. A truly intelligent designer could have done better than the human eye. In fact, evolution did a better job with the eyes of the octopus and squid, which have the light sensing cells on the surface, where they should be.
Let me address a common example that creationists use. “Look at the wonderful design of the human eye,” they say. “Surely this design could not have happened by chance. It must be that God did it.” Actually, it did happen by chance — countless little chance events of changes in the gene pool over millions of generations, all controlled by the harsh realities of natural selection and survival of the fittest. While the initial changes in the gene pool were chance events, survival of the fittest is obviously not random. This is the heart of the basic theory of evolution; individuals can pass their genes and characteristics on to their offspring. If a gene makes an individual more likely to have offspring that survive, its offspring that carry that gene will be more likely to have offspring that survive. In effect, species are designed to fit their environment. The designer is the blind process of evolution, however, not some god or gods.
You’ve probably heard people say that evolution is “only a theory.” It’s important to remember that the term “theory” in science is not the same as it is in general usage. Basically, a scientific theory is a unifying concept that explains a large body of data. Evolution is the basic unifying concept of biology. The National Academy of Sciences, the nation's most prestigious scientific organization, has declared evolution “one of the strongest and most useful scientific theories we have” and notes that evolution is supported by an overwhelming scientific consensus. The theory of evolution has as much validity as the theory of gravity, atomic theory, or the germ theory of disease.
Even more basic than evolution is the field of science called abiogenesis, which deals with the origins of life from non-life. Simple experiments have shown that amino acids, the molecular units that make up proteins, can be made in lab conditions simulating Earth's early atmosphere, and are even found in outer space. Amino acids are not living, but abiogenesis scientists are learning many ways that life could have originated from amino acids.
There is an underlying problem with the design argument, and most creationists probably aren’t aware of it. By assuming that living things have some sort of metaphysical purpose, they are intrinsically assuming what they want to prove. Purpose is a human concept. In the Universe, I maintain, things have no intrinsic purpose; they just exist. Does an atom have any purpose? Does a rock? Does a star? Does an amoeba, plant or any living thing have a real external purpose? We could say that living things have the purpose of procreating, of creating more life. However, we must realize that this is just our viewpoint, our interpretation. Rocks, trees, people, and the Universe have no intrinsic purpose. We can create purpose for ourselves, and that is good; but it’s important to understand that purpose is a human construct. Remember, when creationists begin their arguments by noting the design and purpose of nature, they are assuming what they want to prove. Don't be fooled by this logic slight of hand.
A basis for the creationism idea is the concept that humans are at the center of the Universe. [b]The idea of God used to make sense, when people thought that the Earth was the unmoving center of creation, and humans were the reason that there was an Earth and everything else. The biblical Universe was much simpler then. The Earth was at the base, and above was the vast solid dome called the firmament. It contained the stars and held back the celestial waters. Above that were heaven and God.
We now know that the Universe is almost unimaginably immense, complex, and ancient. It is the height of conceit for humans to believe that this whole Universe was made just for us. Our perspective has changed. We are no longer at the center of the Universe — not our planet, not our star, and not even our galaxy. As people grow and mature, one of the big realizations is that they aren’t at the center. It is the same for our species; it is time for us to realize that we are not at the center either.
It is also necessary to note that in order for creationism to be true, these areas of science would be largely false: evolutionary biology, paleobiology, cosmology, physics, paleontology, archeology, historical geology, zoology, botany, and biogeography, plus much of early human history. These fields of science make predictions and get results. Creationism makes no verifiable predictions and gets no useful results, and thus cannot in any way be called a science. A simple example of this is the field of oil exploration, where you won't find any creationist geologists — because they don't get results. And, with large amounts of money at stake, the companies want results.
Studies have shown that most people say that they base their belief in God on the design argument. I think that this is why creationists are putting so much energy into promoting their view. They realize that if the design argument were to fall, people might have to rethink their belief in God.
Sources: The Cause Against God
, by George Smith.
An Anthology of Atheism and Rationalism
, edited by Gordon Stein
Bertrand Russell on God and Religion
, edited by Al Seckel
Critiques of God
, edited by Peter Angeles