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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dialog on the existence of God

I recently posted on an apparent change in the Discovery Institute's policies.

A commenter took the opportunity to fume about the Discovery Institute, me, and Christians in general. I quote his entire comment, and my response. I made a mistake, repeating a word, in my response, and have corrected that. Otherwise, this is reproduced exactly, including a pretty awkward sentence of mine. The quotations in bobxxxx's comment are from my post.

bobxxxx said...

"I believe that, as Hebrews 11:3 indicates, acceptance of God's designing is a matter of faith."

Acceptance of your god fairy's magic (which you dishonestly call "design") is also a matter of insanity.

"Although I don't see anything wrong with mentioning, in such a classroom, that there are people who believe that significant features of existing organisms are the result of design,"

Well, I suppose a biology teacher could tell her students that there are people stupid enough to believe in magical creation (what you call design as if that makes it less childish), but what would be the point of wasting class time talking about that? Biology classes are for biology. Biology classes are not for discussions of what insane people think.

"I recently discovered that the Discovery Institute (DI), the organization leading the Intelligent Design (ID) movement,"

Normal people call it the MAGIC movement. Intelligent design = magic. Calling magic by another name is dishonest and calling magic by another name doesn't make it any less idiotic.

You should know that the Discovery Institute is a Christian creationist organization that pretends it isn't a Christian creationist organization. The retards who work there know nothing about science, they are compulsive liars, and of course they have never discovered anything.

Martin LaBar said...

"Discussions of what insane people think" might be important in biology classes. For example, some people -- insane is not the word I would use, but I think that good evidence shows that they are wrong -- sincerely believe that vaccinations are harmful, and some believe that there is no such thing as global warming. Discussion of both views, without agreeing with them, would seem to be appropriate, and avoiding them in biology classes might even be considered negligence.

I don't know anyone who works at the Discovery Institute. I agree that some of their tactics seem to be deceptive, and that they have not produced any credible scientific evidence that proves Intelligent Design. But calling them retards and compulsive liars seems to be going pretty far.

There are important scientists who believe in the existence of a powerful God, who was involved the the beginning of the universe, and in the way things are now, but who have done credible scientific work. Francis Collins, director of NIH: Francis Collins, and Owen Gingerich, noted astronomer, are two such. (I don't believe that either of them is a fan of the Intelligent Design movement.)

Great scientists of the past believed in God, such as Newton -- I make no claim to understand Newton's beliefs, but it seems clear that he believed in a transcendent God. Even Einstein believed in God, to some extent. Perhaps these, and many others, were deluded, and believed in fairies or magic. But I believe that they were on to something.

I don't believe that any experiment has proved unquestionably that there is a God, nor that any such experiment will ever be done. But, conversely, can you cite any experiment that proves that God does not exist? I don't think so.

What ever the Discovery Institute's failings, combating them with ad hominem invective, such as you have used, doesn't seem wise, fair, or warranted, and you seem to have as much scorn for creationists of all stripes (there are many kinds) which is at least as bad as, unfortunately, some of them have for atheists.

Thank you for your comment.

Thanks for reading.

So far, bobxxxx has not responded to my response.


George said...

Thank you for posting this reader's comments. I enjoy trying to understand the thought processes of those who oppose a worldview that includes the presence of a Creator.

In my experience, those with objections to a Creationist worldview come in two flavors. The first are those who have honest objections or reservations, based on careful thought, and whose goal seems to be genuine understanding. The second, of which this reader seems to belong, lumps those of opposing viewpoints into a single group and attacks the person instead of the facts. I suspect that, if ever confronted with evidence of a Creator too strong to ignore, those of this group would begin to attack and criticize the methodology used to collect the data.

To allow the presence of a Creator sets in motion a dangerous set of circumstances for humans. A Creator that exists must be dealt with.

Martin LaBar said...

Indeed. The existence of a Creator implies purpose, and meaning, and a final authority.

Thanks, George.

jimmy carter said...

When that creator wants a person to exhibit faith in order to see Him then 1 must honor that creators desires or 1 will not see that Creator!

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, jimmy carter. To me, that's the significance of Hebrews 11:3.