Joined: June 2007
The main argument against the existence of a divine creator is that it creates an even greater problem than it solves, namely: 'who created the creator?'. Evolution elegantly solves this problem, and shows how very simple structures can evolve into extremely complex beings by natural selection. There is no doubt that evolution by natural selection lies behind the existence of complex life on earth, as not only logic and reason tells us, but which have been proven by tons of evidence since Darwin first published his theory. But does it really disprove God? It might be argued that a divine creator is extremely unlikely to exist, because it gives rise to an even bigger question, 'Who created God?'. In nature complex beings evolve from less complex beings. Complexity is the end product of something rather than the start. This seems like a quite convincing argument in favour of the non-existence of God, but is it really?
Isn't the existence of time and matter unlikely in itself? Why should a divine creator be any more unlikely? Isn't the 'Who created God' argument convincing just because we are living in a world where that kind of logic applies? Isn't God supposed to have existed before our world, beyond it and at the same time everywhere for eternity? Whereas we are living in a universe where that kind of logic may seem perfectly true to us, the opposite may be true in another. Imagine a world where 1+1 does not equals 2, or a world where time as we know it doesn't exist, perhaps a world without beginning and end. What we may find extremely unlikely and totally weird, may, for a being or intelligence living in such a world, be the exact opposite. Complex structures may come first and evolve into simpler, or not evolve at all, but rather exist for eternity.
An example, taken from Einsteins Theory of Relativity, is the fact that when you travel in a spaceship at a speed of 2/3 the speed of light and measure the speed of light, you will get the exact same result as if you measured it home on earth. Why? Because you and the lightbeams are a part of the system itself(the moving spaceship), for which reason you will experience and measure things as if everything was completely normal. If the spaceship launched a rocket at 2/3 the speed of light it will be seen as moving at 12/13 the speed of light from an observer home on earth, which may seem strange considering that the passengers of the spaceship measured it to 2/3 the speed of light. The two realities are quite different relative to each other, but if you are a part of the system yourself(in this case aboard the spaceship), everything will feel like normal, and the speed of light will stay the same.
In ancient times it was self-evident that things always fall downwards. The force of gravity was taken for granted, and it was hard for people to imagine a world where this law didn't apply. People often argued and reasoned that if the earth was round, why didn't people fall of when they reached the other side? And if you looked at it, it was obviously flat and not round. We now know that we just have to move away from the earth(i.e away from our system) to realize that we simply were stuck in that particular system and didn’t see the world as it really was. Our own closed reality created a certain way of thinking making it hard to imagine a system where up and down doesn’t exist and where you float freely(as in space).
Now think of the above mentioned parables and apply the same idea to the whole universe and its very laws. What may seem weird and illogical(for example, that complex beings evolve first, or not at all) to us appears that way because we are stuck on our own small plane of existence and think according to its laws. You could say that our thoughts are bound to God's creation. We can't reach beyond it. Our own logic and reason reflect the mind of God, and we can use it to explore his creation, but unlike the earth parable, we will most likely be stuck on this plane of existence for eternity and never be able to prove that another, higher reality, exists on the outside, or hidden everywhere around us if you will. Two dimensional characters seen on the TV screen can’t just step out and walk around in our three-dimensional world, even if they were intelligent. Our own world is seen from our perspective, whereas other worlds might appear very strange from that same point of view.
Our universe, in a higher reality, may be seen as a map or painting where not only our three dimensions of space are shown but, but even time itself. If you see it from that perspective, you can easily imagine a sort of creator painting our universe(both space and time). God may simply be(and shouldn't he?) beyond and above our own plane of existence. Belief in God shouldn't contradict scientific fact such as the theory of Evolution, and what I just have shown is that it doesn't. If God is painting a four-dimensional universe(including time itself), and we are stuck on this four-dimensional plane of existence, both the theory of Evolution and the Intelligent Design theory will be correct. God can simply see our future and past all at the same time, and perhaps change things whenever he likes.
From his perspective it may even have taken seven days, as stated in the Bible. God simply doesn’t measure time as we do. If you are painting a beautiful forest teeming with nesting sites for birds you will not just paint the roots, the leafs and the birds. You want things to be interconnected so as to make the painting complete, meaningful and truly beautiful, so you paint complete trees with roots, trunks, branches, bird nests etc. In the exact same way God may have created the whole universe and all its parts and connected each part through time to make the picture complete. This ofcourse includes Evolution, and for this very reason Evolution and Intelligent Design can coexist. Evolution is merely how God has chosen to link all his beautiful living creations.
Seen in this way, Intelligent Design does not contradict Evolution. Isn't God supposed to have existed before and beyond our universe rather than be a part of it? If so, the 'Who Created God' argument, as I have demonstrated, shouldn't be convincing. It isn't possible for us to calculate any probability for God's existence. It's not a matter of 50% chance either. It's simply not possible for us to make calculations due to the fact that we are stuck on our own plane of reality. It’s a matter of belief, and it may be sound, because it gives people hope and purpose, but it can on the other hand also lead to acts of evil as strongly argued by Richard Dawkins in his book 'The God Delusion'. God has given us a great tool to understand his creation, namely logic and reason. Shouldn’t we use it?
My whole point is that ‘Religion’ shouldn’t contradict ‘Science’, and in the case of a divine creator, it certainly doesn’t. If an atheist want to disprove God, he can’t turn to Evolution or the “Who Created God’ argument. He can, however, by scientific investigation, estimate the likelihood of a God directly intervening in human affairs, answering prayers etc, or can he? Isn’t prayer a way to thank God for what you have if you are happy, or a way to ask for a better life in case you live in misery. I will now get back to the painting parable mentioned earlier. Paintings aren’t always perfect. Painters sometimes paint things they aren’t completely satisfied with. They look at the painting, and suddenly a tiny detail makes them realize that they aren’t entirely satisfied. They decide to change it in order to improve the picture. The painting in a way communicates with the painter. He gets inspired and changes his mind. Now, can’t prayer be seen as a last resort for a person in misery to get God’s attention to such a tiny detail or a prayer of admiration and thankfulness to make him realize that this particular part of his creation is fine and doesn’t have to be changed?
Shouldn’t belief in God be seen as a kind of hope? What if he existed? And even if he doesn't exist, what do we have to lose in believing? Shouldn’t it be worth praying in case it may get his attention? We can’t disprove his existence and we can't say that he is unlikely to exist either, so why should it be so unreasonable to believe in him as long as it doesn't lead to ignorance and acts of evil? It might be worth it if it turns out that he actually does exist. It gives some people hope and purpose. Let’s say you live a life of misery and day after day ask God for a better life. Suddenly you meet someone and your life becomes rich and meaningful, isn’t it likely that you will think that God answered your prayers? A rationalist might say that it was certain predetermined circumstances or pure luck that you met that person, and he might even be able to prove it, but if our world is seen as a four dimensional painting with God as the painter, he might actually have heard you, and the rationalist will still be right, since he has chosen to explain things according to the laws of his own system, whereas you have gone beyond that and explained things by a higher cause. But you have to remember that what he says is fact, whereas your belief is exactly that 'belief', although a belief which, if somehow proven to be true, doesn't contradict his claims. From a religious perspective, what the rationalist actually has proven is in what way(i.e the whole chain of causes) God decided to help her, even though it might seem as if he has argued in favour of the non-existence of such a deity.
Science doesn’t necessarily contradict the existence of God at all. So what I want to say to all those who advocate Intelligent Design: science doesn’t necessarily contradict your belief. Stop teaching that Evolution is wrong, because the evidence is overwhelming. To deny it is like to claim that the earth is flat. Intelligent Design is an alternative view only when it comes to perspective, not as an opponent of Evolution. God has given us logic and reason for a purpose, so why shouldn't we use it?
Science and Religion should remain separate. Why?
Simply because science is based on the laws of our
own system, whereas religion may go beyond that
The earth is quite clearly flat from a certain perspective, and the speed of light may yield different results depending on the position of the observer. As in the above mentioned parables: one way of seeing things doesn't necessarily contradict another.