Interesting how you decided that a theist must first be able to explain to you how the univrse came into being before he can claim God's creation of it. The thing of it is, you ignore allot of evidence whne you do that.
All the theist must do is show one thing in the universe which requires a God to create it. Evolution itself is a process that requires a designer. Rational thought is a process which requires a designer as well.
It is not arbitrary that the burden of evidence is on the one who posits the existence of something. The null hypothesis is that there is no deity. This is logic 101. I have absolutely no idea what evidence I have ignored, but if you start mentioning the bible, save your breath. That document, while of interst to historians, can't even get history correct.
No one has ever provided one shred of evidence for a 'designer'(no matter how voluminously the Disco Institute claims otherwise). I presume that you are trying to say that if Science hasn't explained something yet (which is a far cry from saying that Science can't explain a thing), then it must be attributed to a designer. This is simply a mixture of the god-of-the-gaps and false dichotomy arguments.
The greatest scientific mind ever, Newton, wrote one of the greatest works in Science, the Principia. As he described the laws governing the motion of the planets, Newton, himself a very religious (if in a heretical way) never even mentions a god. It isn't until he gets stumped when trying to calculate the motions of more than two bodies does he finally give in and invoke god because he could not make it stable. Newton didn't know of perturbation theory yet, and while there is no analytical solution describing the motion of three or more bodies, the motion is ammenable to numerical analysis. God-of-the-gaps. And those gaps get smaller every day.
As for Evo, there is no need to invoke a designer. Evo obeys Natural Selection and there is no need invoke a deity at all. This has been shown. What you might be doing is mistaking the origin of life for Evo. These are not the same thing, though many people wrongly lump the two together. The origin of life problem is known as abiogenesis. We know little about it (but more than you think), but just because we do not know something yet does not mean that we should jump to a supernatural conclusion. That would just be a lazy excuse. Why stop there? Why not stop all scientific progress and just say god did it all? This is the very reason that methodological naturalism is the basis of all scientific study. No miracles allowed.
Science depends on rationality to proceed. Our rational thinking is based in part on the laws of logic. These laws are universal and unchanging.
God establishes logic because that is the way He thinks. That is the way he set up His universe. God's being and thinking do not change.
A Christian can provide an explanation for the universal laws of logic: an unchanging God upholds them in His being and knowledge. Randomness, convention, and observation of a changing world cannot account for an unchanging standard. Only an unchanging being can.
You must supply a logical alternative explanation for the universality of the laws of logic before we can even disagree on any subject.
Now you have to come up with an alternative hypothesis before the "experiment" begins, although I am not sure what hypothesis testing has to do with this discussion.
Evolution, if true, is a process. That process proceeds toward an end, namely the perfection of life. Random processes do not tend toward an end, or purpose. Only an intelligence can set up a process to do that. Natural selection itself is a part of the process (the feedback loop) that shows intelligent intent.
Evidence for any purpose whatsoever at any point anywhere demonstrates the existence of an intelligence to set that purpose. There is no "gap" here.
How does scientific naturalism establish the fact that "…methodological naturalism is the basis of all scientific study. No miracles allowed?"
If you still want to, we can discuss the Bible latter. But I have found that those discussions tend to degenerate into "my scholar trumps your scholar" very quickly. I do ask that you not neglect the last 100 years of archeologogical and historical research in your studies.
Don't you see what you just did? You arbitrarily invoke god: "God establishes logic because that is the way He thinks." Where is the empirical evidence behind this statement? Again, this is simply a god-of-the-gaps argument mixed with the argument from personal incredulity. This is how religion came into being. It was a primitive step in trying to understand our place and existence, but since the tools we now have weren't available deities were invented. In future we will have even better tools to answer these questions. We don't know how the universe came into being therefore it was due to a creator. Who created the creator? You can not arbitrarily stop the infinite regression at the creator.
Natural Selection is not at all purposeful. It shapes traits giving the appearance of design. If you select those traits that work better than others for a certain function (i.e., larger beaks on finches for breaking harder seeds), then birds with larger beaks will pass on those characteristics to the next generation. Natural Selection is blind without being random. Evo being random is a common and totally erroneous misconception. Evo does not proceed to some predetermined end at all. If the environment changes (and it always does), then the characteristics necessary for survival are continually in flux. There is no final endpoint, only what works today.
I've already explained why scientific naturalism (the proper term is methodological naturalism) does not allow the invocation of miraculous events. ALL Science stops if miracles are allowed. If you make an exception in one place you have no basis for which it can not be applied everywhere. Science ends because you now have an excuse to not look for the real answers. It is illogical to jump to the baseless conclusion of the supernatural. Gods were created to explain lightning and thunder, but have long since been known to be an insufficient answer. It is no different for invoking deities anywhere else.
So, how do we know that methodological naturalism works? Because it does. The reasoning is rather inductive, but that doesn't bother me. Just like we know that the sun will rise tomorrow because we have seen it rise so many, many times before, we know that naturalism will answer our questions if we keep pushing because Science has explained so much already. We may not ever be able to answer everything, but that doesn't bother scientists. Why? Because we would much rather say that we do not know than be intellectually dishonest and shrug it off as supernatural.
I do not ignore archaeological evidence at all. Take the story of Moses, for example. There is an utter paucity of evidence for the Jews being enslaved by the Egyptians, and 500,000 people don't wander anywhere, let alone the Sinai, without leaving mountains of evidence. Biblical archaeologists have scoured the Sinai clean in attempts to verify the Moses story and found nada. The Noah has no empirical basis and it is simply lunacy to believe it in light of what we now know. Millions and millions of species on a boat? We couldn't even come close to that with modern shipbuilding technology. It is exactly as one would expect from a priori knowledge that these are stories made up by humans. It was simply a bad local flood in a time the world didn't extend much beyond the horizon. What about Jesus? Sorry, there are no contemporary accounts of his existence at all. Even the history of it was wrong. There were many prophets at the time. You were nothing if you couldn't perform miracles. Apolonius of Tyrana was said to do the same things Jesus did, and he was just one of many. That the Jesus story was the only one that survives in popularity is not very impressive. I could go on and on and on. Religion simply doesn't bear close scrutiny and makes every effort to make sure no one does look too closely.
"God establishes logic because that is the way He thinks." Where is the empirical evidence behind this statement?"
Laws of logic cannot be established through empirical evidence. They are abstract concepts. They don't exist out there somewhere where we can see them.
God is transcendent; that is, He is beyond the material universe and is its creator. God has originated the laws of logic because they are a reflection of His nature. Therefore, the laws of logic are absolute (or unchanging). The are unchanging because there is an unchanging God. It sounds as if you are trying to force me to use the scientific method to explain the laws of logic. Logic is used to evaluate the evidence we see with our senses. It is, in one sense, thought about observations of the world. Using the scientific method to establish logic is a circular argument. There are no gaps here because scientific observation can never prove an abstract law. It's a here and now thing, not a way back when thing.
"Who created the creator? You can not arbitrarily stop the infinite regression at the creator."
You cannot have an infinite regression of finite causes, either. The line of causes would never have been moved through to get to the things that exist now. The regress must stop with something, or someone, which has always existed.
"Natural Selection is blind without being random. Evo being random is a common and totally erroneous misconception. Evo does not proceed to some predetermined end at all. If the environment changes (and it always does), then the characteristics necessary for survival are continually in flux. There is no final endpoint, only what works today."
Thanks for educating me on the concept. Then the purpose of evolution is to improve life so it will survive in today's environment. Remember that the environment is part of the system to.
I still do not understand how "methodological naturalism" can establish its own truth claim. How does the empirical observation of the world we live in justify the claim that only scientific observation of the world we live in yields information? Saying that it works "Because it does." is a cop-out.
I'll leave the Bible and archeology stuff alone for now, but there are answers and there is evidence. I have been looking closely at my own religious beliefs for several years now, and they "bear close scrutiny."
So you agree, then, that there is no empirical evidence for a god(s). I would then consider the discussion closed, but I would doubt that you would be satisfied with this.
"You cannot have an infinite regression of finite causes, either." I'm not sure how this was relevant, but I believe you are referring to the fatally-flawed First Cause argument. The problem with this argument is that there are a number of processes which do not require any cause. These tend to lie within the quantum realm, such as radioactive decay and virtual particle formation/annhiliation. Current theoretical models place the formation of the universe also in the realm of quantum mechanics.
Why does everyone think that everything has to have a purpose? Evo has no purpose. It is BLIND. It has no agenda of its own. In fact, the universe is completely oblivious to what humans do, believe, etc. The vast majority of the universe is completely hostile to human life. It has no consciousness (regardless of what Deepak Chopra thinks), no purpose, no agenda. If we puny humans can't get our heads around that, the universe doesn't care. Who are we to be so arrogant as to think such a thing?
"Saying that it [methodological naturalism] works "Because it does." is a cop-out." Hardly. I'll admit that there is an element of faith in the idea that all phenomena can be explained through natural laws. But do you then include other forms of knowledge like the so-called 'inner knowledge'? There is nothing which says that this isn't a simple word substitution for 'belief'. David Hume made it very clear that we can not rely on our perceptions since these are continually being fooled. Optical illusions are a prime example of this sort of thing.
David Hume said it best: "If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, "Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number?" No. "Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence?" No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion." In other words, anything based only on our feelings and 'inner knowledge' without experiment and empirical data to back it up is junk.
People that trust in their beliefs without empirical evidence to guide them end up believing in weird things, like near-death experiences. We actually know that these odd experiences are due to neuronal depolarization due to lack of oxygen. The exact same near-death experiences can be reproduced in centrifuges. Fighter pilots see this in training all the time.
Without empirical evidence, you can't talk intelligeably about anything, including god(s), simply because there is no data to work from. What I always find amusing when theists say that we can not know God's plan for us immediately speak volumes about said plan.
"...the laws of logic are absolute (or unchanging). The are unchanging because there is an unchanging God." Wow, now that statement is missing about a thousand intermediary steps. Prove it, or at least have some supporting data. It smacks of 'I can't think of why logic works, therefore there is a god.' That is horrible logic. Logic is a human invention based on how the universe works. The ultimate logic is mathematics. In this universe, 1+1=2. This may not be true in other universes, but it works for us.
If you think methodological naturalism can't establish itself, how do you know that there are indeed laws of logic? Same problem. In Science we use what works to explain phenomena. In fact, it's the ONLY thing that works. And it keeps on working, and working,... Science dies in the presence of metaphysics, because then any crackpot idea based on a feeling one has after eating cheese for breakfast goes. Saying 'goddidit' is just invoking intelligent design because we are stumped. But as I showed clearly in the blog, it is no explanation whatsoever. It provides no mechanism for observed phenomena.
This is a direct challenge: I would love you to explain to me how invoking a designer is at all scientific. Any hypothesis must have these attributes:
(i) has data in support (ii) explains new data as it comes in (we'll skip this one for now) (iii) makes testable predictions (iv) is falsifiable
Missing any one of these attributes and it ceases to be Science. I'll tell you now that I have only the utmost disdain for non-empirical methods...
"David Hume said it best: "If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, "Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number?" No. "Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence?" No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion." In other words, anything based only on our feelings and 'inner knowledge' without experiment and empirical data to back it up is junk."
Faith is based on reason, not "inner knowledge." I have sound evidence from the world as it now exists for God's existence: the existence of undeniable uniform and absolute abstract laws like the laws of logic and mathematics.
Again, the claim that "only empirical evidence can establish truth" is itself an abstract truth that cannot be established through empirical evidence.
Have you ever studied Hume's skepticism regarding the uniformity of nature? He seems to have invalidated scientific endeavors. He said something about us not being able to say with confidence that the world will behave in the future the same way it did in the past. That destroys inductive reasoning, the basis for science.
Science requires the uniformity of nature, or that nature behaves in the future the way it did in the past. Hume says we cannot count on that.
"What I always find amusing when theists say that we can not know God's plan for us immediately speak volumes about said plan."
I find that amusing to. Like Mark Twain before me, it's not the parts of God's plan that I don't know that bother me. It's the parts I do know. The part about living a perfect life devoid of sin. The part about me not doing that. The part about having to humble myself and trust in Christ's death on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. Christianity invalidates any false pride in my own morality and good works.
"The ultimate logic is mathematics."
I don't care which uniform and absolute set of laws we take first: logic or mathematics. They are both unchanging, invariant and abstract (not something we can find with the five senses). We could talk about the uniformity of nature in the same way.
These abstract laws are not the result of observable behavior of object or actions. We do not observe the laws of logic occurring in matter. Therefore, no law of logic can be observed by watching nothing. We assume that logic's laws work in order to evaluate scientific evidence.
The Christian theistic worldview can account for the laws of logic by stating that they come from God. God is transcendent; that is, He is beyond the material universe being its creator. God has originated the laws of logic because they are a reflection of His nature and thinking. Therefore, the laws of logic are absolute. They are absolute because there is an absolute God who upholds them.
"…how do you know that there are indeed laws of logic?"
Take one for instance: the law of non-contradiction. It says that something can not be both A and Non-A at the same time, in the same relationship, and in the same sense. You cannot deny this law. If you say "A can be both A and Non-A…" I could then interpret you as saying "A cannot be both A and Non-A…" The laws of logic are undeniable because to question them is to invoke them.
I am not here saying anything about a faith that is unreasonable or a 'blind leap.'
I do not accept the idea that a truth claim must be falsifiable for it to be reasonable. The laws of logic are not falsifiable in the sense of requiring empirical data to validate or invalidate them. Neither are the laws of mathematics or the uniformity of nature for that matter. All of these things must be assumed to be true to have scientific or empirical knowledge. We presuppose that their principles are necessarily true. We assume, for example, that nature will behave in the future the way it does in the past. They are all established by an absolute God who designed His universe to exhibit these traits.
"Faith is based on reason, not "inner knowledge." I have sound evidence from the world as it now exists for God's existence: the existence of undeniable uniform and absolute abstract laws like the laws of logic and mathematics."
Bullshit! You have not established any connection between the two whatsoever!!! You are simply repeating yourself in the hopes that it might be true! I really see no connection at all! In fact, it is a complete tautology!
Such a statement is cause for me to ask if you are on medication for a psychological illness!
"The Christian theistic worldview can account for the laws of logic by stating that they come from God." Again, not explanatory. Just the insufficient 'goddidit'.
"I am not here saying anything about a faith that is unreasonable or a 'blind leap.'" Yes, you are, for the above stated reasons...
All I see is ad hoc ergo propter hoc and personal incredulity.