Monday, March 24, 2008

Do You Have an Answer? Part III

John 11:25-26

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[a] Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” Living Bible

25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" New International Version

25Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? King James

[The following conversation took place Easter morning, 2008. Commentary by me is in brackets.]

[6:24] You: Good morning and happy easter !
[6:24] You: Hi Mark, hi Phil
[6:24] Mark: Howdy Glenn
[6:25] Phil: Good morning Glenn
[6:25] You: I hope this morning finds you both well
[6:25] Mark: Elstupendo
[6:25] Phil: As grace would be in Jesus ;-)

[Mark was studying one of the signs in a virtual recreation of Noah's Ark. He had an "atheist" tag over his head as I recall, and I addressed this by mentioning Richard Dawkins]

[6:25] You: I wrote an answer to one of Dawkins essays, if you would be interested in reading it
[6:25] You: It can be found at my blogsite, by clicking on my web tab in my profile =)
[6:26] Phil: That would be cool Glenn
[6:26] You: Its called "In Defense of Faith"
[6:26] Phil: Why does faith need defending?
[6:26] Mark: That's what I was wondering
[6:27] You: Well, one of the foremost humanists and atheists, Richard Dawkins, basically attacked faith in one of his articles- I cited him, then defensed my own positions
[6:28] Mark: That doesn't actually answer the question of why faith would need defense
[6:28] Mark: You may choose to defend. Are you defending all faith or just a subset?
[6:28] You: My response is to Dawkins attack on Christian beliefs... I merely mention it should you like to see it.
[6:29] Phil: Now there is a rabbit trail Mark tossed out he he
[6:29] You: All, in some respects
[6:29] You: But his supposition was against Christianity in particular
[6:29] Mark: So it is the act of faith not the conclusions of faith you defend?
[6:29] You: Both
[6:29] Phil: Did you build this sim?

[A sim is an area of land in 2nd Life, much like a 1 square acre]

[6:30] You: No, I am just visiting this morning
[6:30] Phil: Cool
[6:30] Mark: This sign is incorrect.
[6:30] You: I wrote another article called In Defense of Faith II, which I believe is better stated than my original
[6:31] You: I do not defend creationism too much

[the sign is not about creationism per se, but about bias in research]

[6:31] You: It is possible however
[6:31] Mark: Regardless, this sign is flat out wrong.
[6:31] You: Just as some aspects of evolution are possible.
[6:31] You: Really?
[6:32] Mark: They have them in the incorrect order
[6:32] Mark: And the "assumption " bit
[6:32] You: Mark, can you prove how life on Earth was created by randomly combining elements until you have DNA, and then reproducing that experiment in the lab, with the same results, repeatedly?
[6:32] You: You have FAR more faith than I do!
[6:33] Phil: Excellent logic, Glenn
[6:33] Mark: What does that have to do with this sign?
[6:33] You: You said it is basically unequivocally wrong
[6:34] Mark: Yes, not with its interpretation of facts but with its description of the scientific method
[6:34] You: I am familiar with this, having been a science teacher for 20 years
[6:34] Mark: That's fine, but the sign is still wrong
[6:35] You: As you wish =)
[6:36] Mark: If the preponderance of evidence from converging lines of independant disciplines supported, say, a worldwide flood then would be fine. It would not required an "assumption of creationism"
[6:36] Phil: Valid thought
[6:36] Mark: In other words, creationism would be a conclusion, not an assumption. Ditto for evolution. It is a theory, not an assumption
[6:36] You: I do not argue creationism, as I said before- it could be possible, perhaps it is not- we shall find out, one day, shant we?
[6:37] Mark: I was only explaining why the sign is incorrect
[6:37] You: My premise is that we really know very little
[6:37] Phil: Things are created without creationism being the base value
[6:38] Phil: There is nothing that is made that wasn't made (by God) is a delightful contemplation in Colossions
[6:38] Mark: You are correct, which causes me to be somewhat confused by your earlier statement about "can you prove how life on Earth was created by randomly combining elements until you have DNA, and then reproducing that experiment in the lab, with the same results, repeatedly?"
[6:38] Phil: Even fables and myths have alluded to truth value
[6:38] Mark: I'm not sure what that means exactly
[6:39] You: Here is part of my basic premise...
[6:39] Mark: The statement is non sequitor.
[6:40] Mark: We do not know how life on Earth was created, which is ok. As you say, we know very little.
[6:40] You: Science alone falls short of a valid mark of searching for truth, because it does not apply well to aspects of spiritual matters (or spiritual truth), and thus, makes a poor standard for basing ones philosophy on.
[6:41] You: That sort of sums up my thoughts
[6:41] Mark: I'm still trying to work through your abiogenesis argument and why it requires me to have a lot of faith
[6:41] You: Ah, I see Mark
[6:41] Mark: I have not heard the hypothesis that we should in fact be able to combine random elements and end up with DNA.
[6:41] Phil: Everyone has a form of faith whether they believe it or not.
[6:42] Mark: Um..... no. I don't follow that. Faith and justified belief are not quite the same
[6:42] You: Because in essence, your thoughts require that all things here on Earth are a matter of random chance, and that we as people, do not really matter, nor does any ethics
[6:42] Phil: Concur
[6:42] You: None of it matters
[6:42] Mark: Who says my thoughts require the random chance bit?
[6:42] Mark: I don't understand what you mean
[6:43] You: Is that not a tenet on which secular humanism and atheism is based?
[6:43] Mark: Actually, I don't understand each of your three command statements
[6:43] You: I apologize for not being more concise
[6:43] Phil: Mark has thought through many things and does not reject easily he merely seeks intellectual honesty - would that be true Mark?
[6:43] Mark: Huh? That people don't matter, nor ethics? You need to study up
[6:44] Mark: I'm just looking at a sign I know is wrong and wondering why they would put it up
[6:44] Phil: People do (and believe) as they choose
[6:44] Mark: and next thing I know someone is telling me I believe ethics doesn't matter
[6:44] You: Basically what they are saying (in the sign) is that there is a bias in some matters of thought
[6:45] You: although they use this argument to support creationism
[6:45] Mark: That's a given. But the sign is wrong. Evolution isn't an assumption
[6:45] Mark: And if creationism is an assumption then creationism isn't valid science.
[6:45] You: There are some matters of the theory of evolution that I accept, others, I question
[6:46] Mark: I say question everything, but have the humility to not dismiss things just because I don't like them
[6:47] You: Well said !!!!!!
[6:47] Phil: You are a decisive person as you are made up
[6:47] You: It is acceptable to question God
[6:47] Phil: I believe he desires our inquires
[6:47] You: May I recommend to you the writings of Francis Schaeffer, apologist to intellectuals
[6:48] Mark: So back to DNA. Why would a proof of an historical event be reproduction in the lab?
[6:49] You: Well, basically, in order to prove that life has a random origin, scientifically, one would have to reproduce the origins of life in a laboratory setting, and to conduct this experiment over and over with the same results
[6:49] You: This is the scientific method, no?

[At this point Mark disappears, crashing evidently. Phil and I exchange some small talk, then Mark reappears]

[6:52] You: Oh hi !!!!! Crash?
[6:52] Mark: Brutal
[6:52] Phil: wb Mark
[6:53] You: Ouch- hate when that happens
[6:53] You: Did you get my last statement?
[6:53] Mark: Not sure if I got my chat through before crash or not.
[6:53] You: Ok, copying and pasting
[6:53] Mark: please resend
[6:53] You: [6:49] You: well, basically, in order to prove that life has a random origin, scientifically, one would have to reproduce the origins of life in a laboratory setting, and to conduct this experiment over and over with the same results [6:49] You: this is the scientific method, no?
[6:54] Mark: Whoa, that is not correct
[6:54] You: Does that partially answer what you were asking of me?
[6:54] Mark: Well, your statement is incorrect. Actually, its wrong right from the premise.
[6:54] Mark: I believe scientists are trying to figure out the origins of life on earth. (I am) not sure that "random" is a requirement. you would need to define random
[6:55] Mark: But secondly, reproduction in a lab is not a requirement for trying to test the validity of a hypothesis in explaining a historical event
[6:55] You: We disagree here in this matter- science MUST be PROVEN objectively, anything less (such as to prove a philosophy or a theory) does not meet the standards
[6:55] Phil: Random to me is the analogy of parts of a watch put in a shoe box and when shaken together out pops an assembled watch
[6:56] You: So then, you accept that life is not random, that there is a cause?
[6:56] Mark: Science cannot "prove" something. It can only attempt to disprove and when a hypothesis survives rigorous attempts to disprove it from divergent lines of study then it rises to a theory. It is not "proven"
[6:57] You: You are speaking to a veteran science teacher =)
[6:57] Mark: I'm sorry, but that doesn't change my answer
[6:58] You: Thats quite allright
[6:58] Phil: Cool that is your base
[6:58] You: I would encourage you to continue questioning
[6:58] Mark: Anyway, regardless. let us say that we do not know where life comes from
[6:58] Mark: Right? It is a difficult topic from long in the past with little to go on. Let us stipulate that for sake of discussion
[6:59] You: for there is, in my own opinion, a spiritual aspect to life, an unseen component that is imperative in understanding our own existence
[6:59] Mark: I'm afraid you have wandered from my question.
[6:59] Mark: Let us stipulate the above
[7:00] Mark: Can we accept my stipulation as a starting point to frame the question?
[7:00] You:
[7:01] Mark: The stipulation is that "we don't know how life started on earth" from a scientific standpoint.
[7:01] You: Okay
[7:01] Phil: Ok
[7:02] Mark: Let me also state that this also is the consensus of the scientific community which studies such matters.
[7:02] Mark: The statement isn't "we know how it arose and it was totally random and we can therefore put random stuff in a lab and watch DNA emerge"
[7:03] Mark: The current state of abiogenesis study is "we don't know " but there are interesting hypothesis
[7:03] Mark: So, again.... we don't know.
[7:03] You: Correct
[7:03] Mark: My question is
[7:03] Mark: what do we conclude from the statement "we don't know"?
[7:03] You: Although there are some in the scientific community that preach they do know with great fervor
[7:04] You: Just as there are pastors who preach creationism
[7:04] Mark: This is not relevant.
[7:04] Phil: That is an awesome question Martin
[7:04] You: Yes, it is very good
[7:04] Mark: Give me an example of what some in the scientific community preach" just so I understand
[7:05] You: That they DO know the origins of life- that the origin is random- Richard Dawkins is my primary example of this
[7:06] Mark: No, Dawkins does not have a hypothesis on abiogenesis
[7:06] Mark: He does not claim to know how life started
[7:06] Phil: Hawkins has very firm convictions of atheism does he not?
[7:06] Mark: No, I am familiar with his work. He does not claim to know how life started. He claims it is not necessary to premise a god to study it. These are two different things.
[7:07] Mark: Beats me. Not relevant to the discussion
[7:07] Phil: Ah
[7:07] Phil: That statement would agree ;-)

[We go back and forth on Dawkins a little bit, here. Then the conversation continues.]

[7:08] You: Dawkins is quite full of himself, in my own opinion, not modest at all in what he does not know
[7:08] Phil: But he has an incredible brain
[7:08] You: Yes, he does
[7:08] Mark: Are you saying that in this book he claims to say "I know how life started?"
[7:09] Mark: because that isn't his line of work
[7:09] You: Yes, he states basically, that life has a random origin, although it has been a while since I have read his stuff
[7:09] Mark: Whoa, that is not the same as saying he knows how life started
[7:10] You: Ah, I see our miscommunication
[7:10] You: No, he does not say he knows exactly how life started, but supports the random idea as it is the most likely of least probable choices of ideas
[7:10] Mark: I trust in this case we mean by "random" we mean "no reason to believe it is supernaturally guided"
[7:11] Mark: So that is in fact very different. Ok, we'll move forward
[7:11] You: Random means "without cause" and therefore implying "without purpose"
[7:12] Mark: Random things have cause. They are caused by the thing before them
[7:12] You: We disagree here as well [If it is caused by the thing before it, it is not random]
[7:12] Mark: Purpose is a different thing altogether. If it had a 'purpose how would we know or discern that?
[7:13] You: Please allow me to answer that...
[7:13] Mark: How can we ascertain purpose?

[THIS, dear reader, is where I was hoping to head all along]

[7:13] Phil: I like that question
[7:13] You: An OUTSTANDING question
[7:13] You: Here is your answer
[7:13] You: and I pose it to you, Mark, to consider:
[7:14] Mark: Standing by.
[7:14] Mark: this must be really long.
[7:14] You: Which of the following questions is more important- to find the origin of the beginnings of life, or to discover the MEANING of our lives, which science cannot address?
[7:15] Mark: I'm not sure I am qualified to make statements of such magnitude. I'm not sure how that gets us to demonstrating purpose in the universe?
[7:16] Mark: What if working to find the origin of life gives someone purpose?
[7:16] Phil: That is well beyond me but I see space and the wonders of the cosmos and I am filled with awe and gratitude
[7:17] Mark: Actually, you seem to be premising "MEANING" to our lives outside of what we give it? If that is supposed to demonstrate purpose in the universe, then that would be circular reasoning
[7:17] Mark: I agree with Phil
[7:18] You: Here is the deal, Mark =) God exists, He loves us, He loves you; His love is incomprehendable by us here in this existance... Our lives here pass fleetingly, like whispering shadows- God is spirit and in a search for Him, one must search for Him in spirit and in truth
[7:18] You: That is what I mean by "meaning"
[7:18] Mark: Ok. This has been fun. Nice talking with you fellows! Thanks for your time.
[7:18] You: Hey Mark
[7:18] Phil: wow
[7:18] You: Before you go
[7:18] Phil: Mark, thank you
[7:18] You: I wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed our discussion
[7:18] Mark: Me too.
[7:18] You: You are VERY bright!
[7:19] Mark: Oh go on with you.
[7:19] Phil: You are contributing much Mark
[7:19] You: You keep thinking !
[7:20] Mark: asta luego
[7:20] Phil: peace

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