Sunday, July 24, 2011

Is there a God?

"Does this robe make me look fat?  Wait, I'm God . . . why
am I fat in the first place?"
In short, I don't know.  I've talked at length about the nature of uncertainty that surrounds the idea of God, and I started thinking about it all again when I read an article about how Texas is trying to implement creationism back into its curriculums.  I get particularly annoyed with the evolution/intelligent design argument, because I think both sides are more interested in validating their ideas rather than contemplating Truth.

The anti-evolution people get under my skin because they always love to show the "flaws," in Darwin's theory.  The funny part is that few of them pointing out these "flaws" are actual scientists, and they most likely got their refutations from some hard core fundamentalist.  A friend of mine once tried to convince me that evolution was bunk.  "No matter how hard I try, I'm not going to be able to grow wings."

Well no shit Sherlock, and no scientist has ever posited that any living creature can do so.  I get the feeling that many denouncers of the theory don't actually understand the theory itself.  As my friend evinced, some people think that evolution somehow means that a species can willfully change itself to suit it's needs.  How can one argue against a theory if one doesn't even know what the hell a theory is?

And then there are those who support evolution and simultaneously shit on intelligent design.  I'm definitely not a creationist, but doesn't it seem odd that we're one in a trillion?  Doesn't it seem a little bit weird that out of all the chaos and ridiculousness, our planet is the only one we know of in which life was created and has flourished for millions of years?

I'm not making any claims of knowledge, but I'm just merely pointing out a few facts.  Planet Earth is incredibly unique.  We've only discovered a handful of planets that could possibly sustain life as we know it, and yet we somehow won the fucking universe lottery.

The problem I have is that none of these arguments for or against evolution and intelligent design do anything to prove or disprove the existence of God.  Who is to say that an omnipotent God can't or didn't create a process such as evolution?  Similarly, who is to say that God didn't just create existence and then let it all happen by chance?

My point is that these are questions that we cannot possibly answer.  No matter how much we want to believe that there is irrefutable evidence as to the existence or non-existence of God, we can never actually know.  You can argue it forever, and you'll never be any closer to the real answer.  You can be sure that you're close, but your certainty is only worth just as much as the next guy's.

And for those who want to try to use the Bible as proof, you're going to have to think again on that.  "But Jack, the bible is divinely inspired!  It's all true!"  Says who?  God?  Believing in the divine inspiration of the Bible presupposes a belief in God, and if you think about that for a second you will see that such a line of thinking sets you in a logic loop that doesn't make sense.  In order for the Bible to be proof of God's existence, you have to first believe that God exists . . . now that doesn't make much sense, does it?

As for atheists, why does science necessarily disprove the existence of God?  Science still can't answer the question of why existence exists in the first place.  Does the universe have a beginning?  Does existence have beginning?  Is infinity a concept that the human brain can even comprehend?  There are too many mysteries to say that we know for sure God cannot exist.  We don't even know if life beyond our planet exists, so how can we say for sure God doesn't?

"Well you can't prove he exists!"  No shit, and 100 years ago we couldn't prove dark matter exists.

So, does God exist?  I don't fucking know, but I sure hope he does.


Jersey McJones said...

"I get particularly annoyed with the evolution/intelligent design argument, because I think both sides are more interested in validating their ideas rather than contemplating Truth."

No serious person argues for the teaching of evolution just for the sake of "validating their ideas rather than contemplating Truth (whatever that is)." Evolutionary science has litle or nothing to do with contemplating spiritual "truths."

"As for atheists, why does science necessarily disprove the existence of God?"

It doesn't. No serious atheist would argue otherwise. However, there are many religious beliefs that have been thoroughly debunked by very solid science.

But remember this - just because something hasn't as yet been scientifically proven or disproven or unproven, doesn't mean that it never will. Why would we bother just assume contemplate some arbitrary, subjective "truth" to find out?

Science is how we come to the real tangible answers to real tangible problems. Religion is a spiritual pursuit, and has no place in scientific discourse, unless we are discussing political science, psychology, sociology, and such, and those are rather peripheral, young sciences that haven't provided many useful answers so far, compared to say Physics or Chemistry.

We who understand evolution and also happen to be atheists (most people who believe in evolution are religious, after all, like you sort of seem to be) are not the one's who started this latest silly argument about science and religion.

This whole flap started back during the Enlightenment, long before Darwin, when rational thought began to take precedent over religious dogma, among higher-thinking people.

In reaction, religious people turned to literalism (throughout most of the history of the church, literalism was considered trifling and simplistic, only a useful tool for keeping the poor and illiterate flock in line). In order to make the Literalist argument, they had to argue against scientific theory, and there they were forced to resort to snake-oil; specious, spurrious, disingenuous arguments.

We who understand evolution know those "intelligent design" arguments are complete nonsense, nowadays just keeping the poor-minded and scientifically-illiterate flock in line.


Damien said...

I believe it is a matter of faith and I do believe and I am not shy to say that human nature mostly desires ceremony and tradition as well which is why I am a happily faithful Catholic. Interestingly I was going to say content but that would be a lie, there are issues that need to be solved, bad and even some corrupt practices that need to be dealt with and harshly.

William McCullough said...

A commentator recently remarked that the Vatican announced in 2008 that life on other planets may exist, the message being that God is not limited to creating life on any one planet, the subtle implication:
that men are arrogant in their assumptions that they 'know' what God is capable of. It then follows, in my opinion, intelligent design, creationism and evolution are thing conjured up in the minds of mere mortals. With all that said I personally don't give a shit if, intelligent design, evolution or creationism are valid - I am just a mere mortal along for the ride and have other things to think about,,,,WM

Damien said...

William, a great comment.

As a Catholic I have no problems dealing with science, other worlds and even homo-erectus being my distant (hopefully very distant) cousin.

Also, why cannot evolutionary practices not exist within the framework of an all-powerful God?

Jack Camwell said...

That's my point precisely Damien. We have things like physics, biology, and what not, so why is evolution so out of the question for some people?

I think it's easier to accept the fact that there is a God than it is to question whether or not he exists.

William McCullough said...

Faith in God is a great equalizer when not given restrictive man made boundaries. In the end we may speculate ad infinitum about the Creators plans or intention for mankind, with no clue of whether we are right or wrong. The simple truth is that only the Creator knows the truth of anything and we will not know the truth of anything until we pass from this earth and the veil is lifted....

Harrison said...

Science doesn't prove/disprove God. Only God can do that. Until I see him, I won't believe the same way I won't believe there's a cat who speaks English until I see one.

Jack Camwell said...

Well Harrison, belief in God is a matter of faith and hope, and neither faith nor hope have anything to do with "knowing" or certainty.

Harrison said...

Right. Hope and Change never letanybody down.

Peter McCullough said...

The only thing we know for sure is that we ain't got a fucking clue. Which of the many gods throughout the ages deserves our belief: the god inspiring canabalism, the god inspiring monogomy, the god inspiring the sacrifice of nubile virgins, the god inspring inquisitions, the god inspiring decapitations, the god who won't make my lottery ticket a winner? As the T-shirt god said: everyone should believe in something, I believe I'll have another beer.