Freddie's Dead and I have been having a rather interesting discussion over at another blog. He left me with the following quote which I thought was rather interesting. I dis-agree with it, but I thought it would still be a good one to share on this blog:
George H. Smith says it nicely in his book Atheism: The Case Against God
"Consider the idea that nature itself is the product of design. How could this be demonstrated? Nature, as we have seen, provides the basis of comparison by which we distinguish between designed objects and natural objects. We are able to infer the presence of design only to the extent that the characteristics of an object differ from natural characteristics. Therefore, to claim that nature as a whole was designed is to destroy the basis by which we differentiate between artifacts and natural objects. Evidences of design are those characteristics not found in nature, so it is impossible to produce evidence of design within the context of nature itself. Only if we first step beyond nature, and establish the existence of a supernatural designer, can we conclude that nature is the result of conscious planning. (p. 268)"
i.e. the design hypothesis is self defeating - if everything is designed you cannot discern design. You must first prove God and you can't use design as part of that proof.----
He might say it nicely, and I must say, it is a well thought out conclusion to give him a complement, but conclusively he is in error.
1stly, I do not infer the presence of design simply because it is different to the rest of nature. I see probable design when I conclude that a happening is unlikely to be produced by un-thought out methods. If there are too many hand in hand links to a puzzle then it is unlikely to be a happenstance. I will not assume a naturalism of the gaps simply because I cannot see the designer.
2ndly, I also see that design can be like a gardener with his garden. The gardener can create a garden and let it run according to how he set it but within that it can formulate its own way (i.e. nature). So even though the garden made by the gardener is designed, it still has an element of chaos to it (i.e. mindless self-will).
Like the snowflakes... God set them in place and designed them but it does not mean that He controls every snowflake in its formation.
I also like Lewis’s quote here that I have used many a time. It is along a similar line of thought as Smith’s but from a different angle, and I think it makes more sense :D
“If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”
To claim that creation has no meaning and then to assume we can comprehend that it has no meaning would be a contradiction.
It would be assuming that comprehension of meaning comes out of non-meaning - or even a similar angle: rationality out of irrationality.
For example, a computer game has several characters on the screen and they can only do what they were programmed to do. They don’t think for themselves and wonder how they got in the game. It wasn’t their purpose of design to do so. However, humanity can grasp purpose, and therefore we logically assume there is purpose behind our universe.
Even more unlikely would be a hashed up computer programme formulating itself into a character that can comprehend its own meaning and purpose... which is in the end no meaning (being hashed up).
Yes, these are my assumptions - and I believe that, for me, God is the most logical and rational answer for everything.
I would have to assume more to believe otherwise.