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Like I said (if you actually read my nice long posts ;D), I don't have it... but other people do :P

but first you have to propose a system that you claim to come about by design, then we counter that. I thought that was the proposed setup?

No. I already know there's no verifiable explanation for how we developed the ability to run or think or see, only theories as to how these things might have happened gradually via evolution. My request was to provide evidence that apparent design arises via unguided processes. There should be little difficulty demonstrating this since it must be extraordinarily common within evolution. So far the examples are hurricanes, crystals, and religion.

As to my belief in evolution ... if you take the first three paragraphs of the wikipedia article on Evolution, there is nothing I disagree with. Species obviously change and adapt. The question is whether or not this is the explanation for how all species originated. That's where the distinction comes in between evolution as fact and theory. I've never seen a single documented example, as opposed to a theoretical model, that shows how features that show the appearance of design (partly defined as complex interaction which solves a problem) actually arose without guidance. From what I've observed, the actual evolution we have observed is an astounding demonstration of resilience and adaptability built into the fabric of living beings. In a sense, evolution itself appears to be a wonder of design. However, I disagree that the evidence is anywhere close to strong enough to suggest that this inherent adaptability of living things actually serves as the source of all the variety and apparent design we observe.

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My request was to provide evidence that apparent design arises via unguided processes. There should be little difficulty demonstrating this since it must be extraordinarily common within evolution. So far the examples are hurricanes, crystals, and religion.

[moderating]

I am getting REALLY tired of repeating myself. DO NOT request evidence for any aspects of evolution in this thread! If you want to start yet another thread on evolution, go right ahead. The burden of proof for the existence of God/gods does not rest on atheists explaining how evolution works. One DOES NOT even have to accept evolution to not accept your assertion that a god exists and one does not need to be an atheist to accept evolution works without divine guidance. If you want to get back to providing evidence for God, you're going to have to do it without attempting others to break the rules and explain any aspects of evolution here as it's off-topic.

[/moderating]

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[moderating]

I am getting REALLY tired of repeating myself. DO NOT request evidence for any aspects of evolution in this thread! If you want to start yet another thread on evolution, go right ahead. The burden of proof for the existence of God/gods does not rest on atheists explaining how evolution works. One DOES NOT even have to accept evolution to not accept your assertion that a god exists and one does not need to be an atheist to accept evolution works without divine guidance. If you want to get back to providing evidence for God, you're going to have to do it without attempting others to break the rules and explain any aspects of evolution here as it's off-topic.

[/moderating]

That's odd. I don't recall asking anyone to defend evolution. I asked for examples of illusory design arising without guidance, since that's how an atheist in the thread suggested we should proceed. Please help me understand how I am violating the rules.

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That's odd. I don't recall asking anyone to defend evolution. I asked for examples of illusory design arising without guidance, since that's how an atheist in the thread suggested we should proceed. Please help me understand how I am violating the rules.

I don't know what you find odd.

My request was to provide evidence that apparent design arises via unguided processes. There should be little difficulty demonstrating this since it must be extraordinarily common within evolution.

DO NOT request for explanations of how apparent design comes about through evolution. I don't know how to make it any more clear to you that evidence for how anything got here without an intelligent designer is not the topic of discussion. I hope this clears up any confusion you may have.

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Thank you all for validating my hesitancy to return to the main issue of the thread. Well, I tried, anyway.

What you did was repeat arguments that were made already. All of them were rebutted. Repeating the arguments served no useful purpose . It just forces us to repeat the rebuttals and have this thread become monotonous.

Scraff said "You brought up that the universe provides evidence of intelligent design. Want to go with that? We'll give you plenty of evidence how it is more an illusion of design and tell how complexity can come from disorder on its own." Ok, I said, show me the evidence.

It was shown. Snowflakes and tornadoes count whether or not you claim they don’t. They appear to be designed yet nature makes complex structures all on their own. Remember the Miller-Urey experiment and how organic compounds such as amino acids, sugars, lipids, and some of the building blocks for nucleic acids were also formed from water, methane, ammonia, and hydrogen all without God’s finger ever being dipped in the flask? But that’s not good enough, right? You want us to give you a step-by-step explanation of how much, much more complex living organisms arose in a thread on a message board. And if that’s not done, for some reason “God did it” has evidence to support it? And that evidence is that some folks on a message board couldn’t succinctly explain to you some really heavy stuff, and the explanation you provide is “It sure looks designed, don’t it?”

It involves problem solving and purpose. Scraff discerned this and immediately jumped on the anti-Teleological argument, claiming that the identification of purpose is simply subjective, and merely involves comparison to existing known design. This entirely misses the point of my explaining how we discern design by recognizing the way in which a things solves problems in a manner that would require intelligence, typically involving a complex interaction of parts.

Natural Selection is a great problem solver. Leaves on trees to high to eat? Giraffe like animals with longer necks survive and other die off. Eventually giraffes all have pretty unusual looking long necks. Problem solved. There are countless examples of problems being solved in nature, and all without evidence for the Finger of God needed to have magic shoot out of it.

By these standards, living beings are phenomenal examples of elegant design, able to change their characteristics to a great extent to adapt to changing environments. That's the type of complexity I'm asking you to show arises without guidance.

It’s well documented that characteristics of organisms change through the generations. In organisms that reproduce rapidly, it’s actually been observed in the laboratory.

But we’ve already been told that this thread is not the place to discuss evolution. And you’ve been told many times that this is not a God vs. evolution debate. It’s not necessary for anyone to have very complex explanations about how organisms change over time and what evidence there is for this for us to refute that you have failed to reach the burden of proof for the existence of any god. The burden of proof is always on the person asserting something. Shifting the burden of proof is the fallacy of putting the burden of proof on the person who denies or questions the assertion. The source of the fallacy is the assumption that something is true unless proven otherwise.

You propose a paradox to suggest that it's ridiculous to think that there's an undesigned designer. Ok, the direct implication of this argument is that non-intelligent causes have to sufficiently explain the illusion of design. I asked you to show me evidence for this. Please respond with something other than insults.

How many times does the reason for this proposition need to be explained to you? The implication of the argument is that YOU contradicted YOURSELF.

YOU are the one that claimed the appearance of design shows that something couldn't have evolved. In order to be capable of designing an entire functional universe, God himself must be incredibly complex and would need a designer by your logic as well. Did you get YOURSELF in to a paradoxical situation? Yes.

And how do you go about attempting to get yourself out of the paradox? By claiming that WE have to explain how things happen in nature. That's absolutely ridiculous! You put yourself in a paradoxical situation. Us not providing alternate explanations does not free you of the burden to get yourself out of your own contradictory argument.

Incidentally, Scraff, you said that the bombardier beetle appears to be "designed by evolution." I just thought I should point out that this is contradictory to the meaning of design, as it has already been established that the word involves thought and planning. I get tired of hearing "evolution" anthropomorphized as an intelligent designer. I see it constantly in scientific writing, and it's rather disingenuous if you really don't believe that there is any actual design taking place.

I've been disingenuous because I said "Yes; they look like they were designed by evolution"? I'm disingenuous for using the word "designed" in a way you disapprove of? Please. Try to come up with something better to discredit me than that, will ya?

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Sorry, Martini. I didn't read your last few posts until after writing and posting the above. I agree that evolution or any other "evidence that apparent design arises via unguided processes" is not the topic at hand and has zero to do with theists proving God exists.

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Okay I'm way behind here, so excuse the responses to older posts

In talking about death, maybe you can enlighten me about something. Are Atheists kind of like Zennists where when you die, you just imagine yourself being extinguished like a candle?
Atheism is just not-theism that's it. We are people who don't happen to have any god beliefs. We are in no way a group like a church or anything.

As such atheists can have any number of beliefs about death, as long as they don't include a god then it's an atheism compatible belief.

This particular atheist accepts that there is no reason to believe that there is anything after death, that when we die that's it, game over. Just as a brain injury can result in the loss of a particular function or set of memories (or all kinds of things). Death including (of course) the death of the brain simply results in the loss of all of those things. This however is not an "atheist belief', although many atheists might ascribe to it. Just as liking Chicken is not a Christian thing simply because a lot of Christians happen to like chicken :lol:

Do Atheists believe that some religious people worship God so they don't have to fear death?
Again, and I repeat because it is important, atheists are individuals beyond the simple meaning of "atheist" we believe and think all kinds of things.

This atheist realises that yes this is very much the case. There are without a doubt many religious groups that instill this fear in it's followers. Fear of death is natural, it is a survival tool after all. But some religious groups indoctrinate a heightened extreme version of this fear. And then offer the solution; the ability (only through God and their particular religion) to survive ones own death!. In other words they create the disease (intense fear of death) and then offer the sure (which they don't actually have and can offer no evidence of it every working.)

There is really no denying this indoctrination technique it is most definitely out there. I have heard numerous people tell me that they believe in god because if their was no god then "This would be all there is!" and that thought scares them, so much that they refuse to even consider the possibility of them being wrong. This is of course the Appeal to Consequences logical fallacy, but they believe it none the less.

Is the belief in Heaven more or less an aspirin for a headache?
Not a bad analogy. In a way yes, a headache first made worse by those offering to sell you the aspirin!

I don't see the harm in believing in an alternate existence.
Fair enough. The only problem I have is when they do harm (any kind of harm) based on that belief. Including using faulty reasoning, undermining reason itself, and trying to get others to buy into their beliefs based on that bad reasoning. And to thus become mired in such faulty reasoning to the degree of failing to be able to distinguish the good from the bad anymore (reasoning that is.)

When these beliefs cease to become harmless and adversely affect human development, science and the intellectual capacity of or children (and the rest of us) then we have a serious problem. When we get statistics like "49% of Americans think that the universe was probably created by God sometime in the last 10,000 years" then there is need for concern. When they seek to undermine the theory of evolution for no reason but that it fails to conform to their ~2000 year old chosen religious text, then we have a problem!

When they try to tell us that we should believe as they do, based on some Logical fallacy (a fundamental error in reasoning), and we realise that if not challenged such rationally ridiculous arguments are liable to work on the unprepared, then we must act.

I don't care if you believe in a magical man in the sky, an invisible pink unicorn or fairies, as long as you do no harm on account of that belief. But if you preach it to children to young to be capable of assessing it, and teach them to fear losing that belief, to avoid critically challenging it, to have a "belief in belief", to cherish that belief, to have "Faith" and to actually think that Faith is a good thing, and in so doing handicap their chances of intellectual advancement,if you turn the next potential Newton, Einstein or Darwin into an ignorant closed minded bible (or Qur-an or...) preaching mouth piece... then you bet your a** I care!

Yet I don't care how flat a pancake is, there's always two sides. The belief in God's will and the afterlife has motivated people to do some terrible things. In that case, Atheists would have the upper hand because there is nothing they can claim that caused them to do something other than their mind.
Indeed:

"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." - Steven Weinberg

On one hand, it is viewed by some as foolish to believe in something without proof. On the other, some people just have a need to believe in spirituality for many reasons.
The question is; do they really? Or have religions instilled in their subjects (and thus them in their children as so on) a belief that they need this? Like a dependence on a drug? After all it is their (the religion and those whose power is based on that religion) best interests to make sure people feel they need it, isn't it?

If an Atheist is free of this need than to me it just seems like they put their energies and time into other facets of life. Life in general has soo much to offer. Just like the people that practice Yoga. There is the Yoga (Sanskrit word for discipline) of spirituality. But there is also the Yoga for relationships (Kama Sutra), the Yoga for succeeding in business, and one other one that I can't think of at the moment. Anyway, the point is that you don't have to believe in God to be a good person. That's is something that Christians do not believe and to me seems like something along the way was taken out of context.
That's another ploy of religious apologetics perhaps - something else to hold people to the religious belief set, even when they realise that there is no rational reason to do so. Such ploys when successful (of need to believe in something, in death survival, in an ultimate source/provider or morality and moral teaching etc.) mean that the believer will continue to believe despite the complete lack of evidence or reason to do so.

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You guys win. There is no God. Thank God for that. Now I can get back to clubbing seals, spanking whales, and burning down rain forests without all that darn guilt.
Childish much?

And what a ridiculous cartoon strawman caricature of the non-adherence to any of the tens of thousands of god-belief doctrines :rolleyes:

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I don't know what you find odd.

DO NOT request for explanations of how apparent design comes about through evolution. I don't know how to make it any more clear to you that evidence for how anything got here without an intelligent designer is not the topic of discussion. I hope this clears up any confusion you may have.

Sorry if my wording wasn't clear, but that's not what I asked for. I don't want examples from, for, or against evolution. I'm saying that the notion that illusory design arises from disorder should be straightforward for the atheist to demonstrate since, as it is claimed, this is a fundamental concept underlying evolution and all apparent design within the universe (e.g., fine tuning arguments).

What you did was repeat arguments that were made already. All of them were rebutted. Repeating the arguments served no useful purpose . It just forces us to repeat the rebuttals and have this thread become monotonous.

I'm sorry. I really don't want you to get bored.

It was shown. Snowflakes and tornadoes count whether or not you claim they don’t. They appear to be designed yet nature makes complex structures all on their own.

Complex structures, yes, not complex structures with complex interactions that appear to be purpose-oriented and solve problems.

But that’s not good enough, right? You want us to give you a step-by-step explanation of how much, much more complex living organisms arose in a thread on a message board.

Nope. Just asked for more convincing evidence of apparent design arising from disorder. You offered to provide it.

And if that’s not done, for some reason “God did it” has evidence to support it?

Nope. If there is not sufficient reason to believe that these illusions of design could actually arise without guidance, I would conclude that there was guidance. Whether or not that equates to "God did it" is a different question, but I certainly think the issue is relevant to the question of God's existence.

And that evidence is that some folks on a message board couldn’t succinctly explain to you some really heavy stuff, and the explanation you provide is “It sure looks designed, don’t it?”

Well, yes. If something looks designed, I would assume that it is designed unless I had evidence to the contrary. That's how rational human reasoning works.

Natural Selection is a great problem solver. Leaves on trees to high to eat? Giraffe like animals with longer necks survive and other die off. Eventually giraffes all have pretty unusual looking long necks. Problem solved. There are countless examples of problems being solved in nature, and all without evidence for the Finger of God needed to have magic shoot out of it.

I agree that if I see a giraffe, it wouldn't be prudent to assume that intelligent design was responsible for the long neck, and likewise, I'm not saying that everything in nature that appears suited to a particular function is evidence of design. I'm saying that, just as with a car or a piece of software, there are many examples of complexity which are so well-suited to solving a particularly difficult problem (how about flight?), that I don't think the problem-solving capability of natural selection or other unguided processes are up to the task, and hence an intelligent designer is required. If that's true, I can't see how that fails to qualify as evidence for God, but I know you disagree. However, that's straying too much into the forbidden evolution zone.

The burden of proof is always on the person asserting something. Shifting the burden of proof is the fallacy of putting the burden of proof on the person who denies or questions the assertion. The source of the fallacy is the assumption that something is true unless proven otherwise.

Claim 1) A > B

Claim 2) B > C

Claim 3) A is not greater than C

One of those claims must be false. The negative claim 3 still makes a positive statement, that A <= C. Right? You seem to think that by making a negative claim (there is no evidence of God), you are not making any positive assertions. If, for the purpose of argument, we simply define "God" as an intelligent creator of the universe, then the positive inference of "there is no evidence of an intelligent designer" is "our universe does not manifest evidence of design." If the universe did provide evidence of design, that clearly supports the existence of a designer. The discussion isn't much fun when one side thinks they have nothing to prove.

I've been disingenuous because I said "Yes; they look like they were designed by evolution"? I'm disingenuous for using the word "designed" in a way you disapprove of? Please. Try to come up with something better to discredit me than that, will ya?

Sorry, that was a poor choice of words. I was pointing out that use of evolution as a replacement for "designer" (in general, not just you) is misleading, since design is inherently the product of a mind. Calling it "disingenuous" implied it was intentional, which was not what I had in mind.

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I don't disagree that you don't need a God to be moral.

For many,however, especially in a prison system full of whale spankers, its a belief in God that causes them to turn their lives around and cease the spankings. Its their belief in redemption that KEEPS them on the right track.

Ah the theism help people be better canard.

A number of problems with this:

1. Which god(s)? If a particular one, why that one over all of the others?

2. That it makes people be better human beings (highly dubious as that is, but letting that slide for now) in no way adds to it's truth-value.

3. A fiction that leads to better citizens is still a fiction. One that is liable to be disastrous once the fictional nature is revealed.

4. Better to try to teach people to be moral because of real human reasons than rely on a fairy tale and promises or reward and threats of punishment.

5. Better to teach people real morality rather than this superficial childish Carrot/Stick charade, as this will lead to a better understanding of morality, one that will be passed on. Do you really recommend teaching a criminal that the proper way to get people to do the right thing (or whatever you want them to do) is to offer rewards or punishments based on their adherence or non-adherence?

6. It might work (might not) but does that make it right?

Not everyone was born with the same moral compass. The rednecks I grew up around have no qualms about tipping cows, kicking chickens in the ditch, putting firecrackers up cats behinds and even clubbing baby seals if they can find them. Bunny rabbits usually suffice. Their moral genetic code is askew.
Moral genetic code?! WTF?!

You forgot to mention that these rednecks tend to be disproportionately Christian.

They act like this because that is what they have been taught is acceptable, nothing to do with skewed genetic codes (although some of them have that as well. So teach them better, this doesn't necessitate instilling religious dogma (which they already have), just basic human morals.

If they one day decide to believe in God and stop doing those things whats wrong with that. I say hallelujah.
The problem is your false assumption (highlighted so blatantly with your choice of example; Rednecks indeed :rolleyes: ) that the one leads to the other. That with the former the latter is at all certain.

Most serial killers don't have a conscience that tells them what they're doing is wrong. They know society says it's wrong but nothing is greater to them than themselves. They don't care. So what do we do with people like that? I say put the fear of God in them.
Again, perhaps that particular fairy tale might sway 'em (I doubt it), that in now way means that it is true. Nor that that is the best way to go.

The placebo effect can do wonders, but is it really the best medicine?

I contend that a belief in God is nescessary for alot of people to do the right thing.
That is demeaning to a lot of people you realise. "Oh some people are just incapable of recognising right from wrong, so we should feed them this **** and bull story to bully them into being good anyway."

I for one am not going to interfere with that, UNLESS, they start to wield their beliefs as weapon. Then its game on.

Theist or Atheist shouldn't matter, its what you do with it that counts.

True, but that includes attacks not just of a physical or emotional nature, but attacks on reason as well.

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We got off the subject of wether or not god exists way back yonder.

Do I have proof my God exists? Abso-freakin-lutely.

That subject is never off the table. It's rather significant to the whole "Religious debate" thing don't ya think? You know the whole "is religion (any or your chosen one) actually true?"

You have PROOF?! Wow! Then I wonder why I have never in all the time I have been asking theists, I have never been presented with anything close to proof.

Please do enlighten us with this proof.

Am I poking fun at you there? Yeah a little, because many have made this same claim before with nothing to show for it,nothing to back it up. But it is still a serious request.

all atheists good. all theists bad.
:huh:

Rather a non-reply there. But trying to read between the lines; no, of course not, that mindset would be silly and dangerously naive.

Irrational belief, belief based on Faith not reason, belief based on horrendously flawed reasoning etc. (none of which need be theistic of course, there is simply a large amount of it in much theistic thought) That is BAD. How one then acts on that belief is another matter entirely.

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Thats a fair interpitation of what I said.
It's pretty sad that you need belief in God to stop you from being a horrible person.
Indeed it is. Although I suspect that it is more that he believes he needs that belief, because he has been indoctrinated to believe so.

Also if that is why he does moral things (or not do "horrible things"), then I would say that he is in fact not a moral person (or is a horrible person), but has simply been manipulated by the carrot/stick of his religion to act contrary to his real nature. Valhalla help us if he comes to "lose his Faith."

Now I don't really think this is the case in your situation tawanna, but people like that (and I have actually experienced examples where theists have said that without their Religious Faith holding them back they would go out and rape, kill and steal - in one actual example; kill his neighbour) scare me, they really do.

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Then maybe, you can read what was shown to me.

IN THE EVENING

Good and gracious God, you have given me today all I needed today.

When I have not opened myself to your presence, I have not found

your peace, joy and love. I ask your forgiveness for what I have done

or failed to do that kept me from your loving presence. Grant me the

healing power of deep rest as I close this day with confidence in your

unending love for me and for all those I love. Amen.

IN THE MORNING

Lord, thank you for the gift of this new day with all its fresh

possibilities. Be with me as I seek to go about my tasks faithfully

and to encounter others lovingly. May your presence shine in me

so that I serve most effectively and most joyfully. Refresh my spirits

when I tire, and help me to accept the help of other people when I

need it. You have promised to be with us always; Lord, be with me

today. Amen.

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et tu martini? What I said is: "I don't care to respond to nit picking. You've made it abundantly clear that no matter what I say you'll disagree no matter how finite the disagreement. Arguing for the sake of arguing gets old fast."
I don't know what "finite the disagreement" is supposed to mean. But no, if you have a valid point for the belief in god (any god) then I will happily accept it as such. I have no personal stake in the God Hypothesis being true or not. In fact I realise that being an atheist, especially a rather "strong" one, puts me in the minority, and on the short end of the stick in many regards. It could be worse I could be in the U.S., where one can't get elected to any high political office without declaring some theistic belief. And realising as an atheist (with our problem of "Organising atheists is like herding cats") one can not make one views heard well, let alone listened to and acted upon, because unlike religious people, we do not naturally form groups of like mind enough to constitute a lobby group, at least not very readily. As you know lobby groups are a significant force in the U.S. and as such the Jewish community which is of an insignificant size even compared to atheists, carries far more political favour because it forms a natural like minded lobby group.

As that is just going to say; that I realise that it would be in my best personal interest to be a theist, I could get further ahead and curry more favour that way. It is thus not a personal choice to be an atheist instead of a theist, and I do not cherish this this lack of belief. It is simply that I am by nature a Reasonist and can not believe in something if the evidence and/or reasoning does not warrant it.

If theism does warrant such belief, then please present the reasoning and/or evidence that makes it so. But I will not just sit by as you (or anyone) abuses reason to try to convert or convince. Therefore if your reasoning is bad (or nonexistent) I will say so in no uncertain terms! If you can not those most reasonable (in every way) terms then you have opted out of any rational debate on this (or any other) topic.

No. This post was off that topic when I joined it. Arguing about proof of God is like teaching a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.
You joined a thread called "religious debate" with that attitude?!

The topic is religion, but centered around what I feel is the most important aspect of the subject; IS IT TRUE?

If you have no interest in debating that all important question, then why are you here?

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We frequently get this same feeling when examining living things. How does a person stay balanced when running? We can't seem to make robots do it. It's very complicated and requires phenomenally accurate timing, and yet that's one of the comparatively simple functions of a human body. There are numerous extraordinarily complex systems in the human body (circulatory, nervous, endocrine, renal, skeletal, immune, muscular, lymph, etc.) which elegantly interact to overcome tremendous challenges to our successful existence.
The problem with this is not simply that any proposed Designer requires at least as much explanation as it tries to explain. Although that is valid. Or that there is a serious problem if no actual evidence for this designer is actually found beyond this assumption that if it looks designed then there was a designer. No the real problem is that it misses the massive array of data and evidence found, that evidence that not only supports but led to the formation and development of the theory of evolution. You can forget it as supporting evolution for a second, as true as that is, it directly challenges the Design argument as well.

That evidence demonstrates what can only be considered, if we were to assume the Design argument correct, sloppy design indeed. There are a couple of lines of observation that leads to this conclusion.

1. The Argument from Poor Design: all this wonderful design you see is based on Confirmation bias; you have looked at the examples that you see as well formed, as successes you could say, yet ignore the array of what could be seen as poor design indeed, the failures. And yes if one were to look at a situation and only count the successes what other conclusion could you reach than that it was an overall success? It's like a friend telling you that he has won the Million to 1 odds lottery 6 times! and you concluding that he is very lucky indeed. Without considering the rest of the evidence that includes the fact that he has brought a total of 6,823,434 lottery tickets in that time, which in that context shows that his success rate is pretty much as one would expect; with those stats, purely by chance you would expect him to have won about 7 times, as he actually won 6 it's actually less than impressive!

There are numerous examples of Poor Design in nature; here is one such list:

Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes

As the title suggest, it was specifically built in response to the theistic Argument from Design.

My personal favourites (actually from elsewhere but found later on that page) are the Laryngeal nerve (bad enough in us humans, but think of the poor giraffe), the photoreceptors of our retinas being "put in" backwards (but God managed to get it right in the Octopus), the human Coccyx, the human spine in general, and the good old appendix.

Oddly enough these all make perfect sense in the light of evolutionary biology.

2. The incredible wasteful nature of the claimed design: The evidence (which leads to evolution once again) shows a hit and miss game of all kinds of random slight variations being born (of all kinds of organisms from bacteria to redwoods to primates), with one or two of these variations surviving to produce their own descendants and the rest failing to do so.

Actually this is a popular modern design technique, but inly because the advances in computer technology have made it feasible to produce most of these variations solely in cyberspace, thus not wasting the resources on the actual items being made. I'll explain by example; and my example will be boat design; of most note in the design of racing yachts but used on a far wider basis now. What these designers do is design an initial boat, or just use an existing design. Then they set the parameters that can be changed (like overall boat length, height of mast and so on) into a computer. Then they produce, only in "computer space" a new version of the initial boat with one such parameter changed by a set small amount. From here these variations (mutations) are "tested" for the desired attributes (speed, maneuverability...) also in a computer generated environment. the "winners" of each heat (those who go faster or whatever is the goal) "survive", that is; are kept for the next round which is the repeat of the whole process from mutated parameters. And on it goes until what is considered the best design they can get is reached. Only then is a prototype made and physically tested (perhaps a few such winners). The reason these boat designers use this technique is not that it minimises the resources needed, because it doesn't. They could do the same (computer simulation) with actual made derived designs. No, it is done because they realised that through this method they often reach designs that are of a nature that they would never have thought of ("A keel of that shape! Who would have think it?!") with results surpasing (sometime far surpasing) anything they would have designed themselves!

This by the was is something I like to call; "Design sans Designer", it is something that it is not unreasonable to call "Design" but all of the design work is being done without any actual intent or designing entity. It's all random variation (mutations) and winners and losers with only the winners continuing on to be the basis for the next round (natural selection).

Check out Daniel Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea for an excellent description of this very concept ("Design sans Designer") on evolution.

So we see that this has spectacular results, all without conscious design, without the need for an actual designer. That's one aspect; that we can have spectacular design results without intentional design. But the other is this:

In the case of that which we are more interested in; the natural world, we see this brilliant 'design', explainable without a designer, but unlike the boat design example, we also see that all of those failed prototypes; the failures in each round, are all actually produced. So what we are left with, as the evidence from the fossil record and the living organisms we have observed (often in staggering detail and with staggering dedication from our non-scientist perspectives,) is a picture of, yes; a remarkable array of brilliant (and as shown in 1 above not so brilliant) complex and wonderful organisms, but also a mind-blowing amount of waste! Imagine how many organisms were produced that amounted to failures from this perspective! Do you realise that it is estimated (very roughly of course) that 99.9% of all species on this planet are now extinct?! And it is thought by most who study this sort of thing that this is most likely a conservative estimate indeed!

By the way this is what makes me laugh when certain theists suggest that we "EVILutionists" cherish our belief in evolution as much as they do in their god(s) :blink:

In addition, these complex systems provide us with capabilities such as humor and selfless love which have little value from an evolutionary standpoint.
While largely irrelevant - you have to show how they are valuable in your hypothesis, not simply that they aren't explained in our theory!

By way of analogy: "Your theory fails to explain how bumble bees can fly, therefore my theory is better" - note the glaring flaw? The failure of one theory in some regard does not help an opposing theory UNLESS said theory DOES explain this regard.

Actually selfless love has been explained in the light of evolutionary science numerous times. For instance a not inconsiderable portion of Richard Dawkins first book; The Selfish Gene (1976) was dedicated to explain altruism. Specifically how and why organisms can and do display altruistic behaviour not only in light of, but as a direct consequence of, their genes "selfish" nature! Others scientists have tackled the same thing even more in depth.

As to Humour, not all that difficult to understand really. Perhaps not as direct a cause & effect thing, but that need not always be the case, that it is compatible with the theory is enough (what such a distinction means is that it is "only not a falsification" rather than a confirmation of the theory, that's all.) There is nothing about a sense of humour that harms the theory of evolution, so what's your point?

That strawberries are red, soft and sweet is not something predicted by the theory of gravity and has zero value from a Gravity standpoint (it does for evolution though ;) ) . Does that suggest that the Theory of Gravity is flawed or insufficient in some way? No, because it doesn't challenge the theory either.

But look at this; many Homo sapiens females (and it seems in some other species as well, and the same is true in males) are attracted to males with a sense of humour, especially a compatible one with their own senses. As a result a good sense of humour can be seen to be positively selected for. Homo sapiens' with a sense of humour have a slight advantage in mate attraction, this is likely to result in an proportionally higher production of offspring over humourless Homo sapiens,over generations the "humour gene" is therefore more likely to spread throughout the gene-pool to the detriment of the "humourless gene".

There you go; a quick hypothesis on the value of humour from an evolutionary standpoint. Simple really :D

As intelligent designers, we humans can't even come anywhere near making something of this complexity, not by many orders of magnitude. Yet, the standard atheist response is to say that the appearance of intelligent planning is an illusion resulting from blind processes (which, despite being unimaginably capable problem solvers, also happen to be accidental, with any appearance of design being strictly illusory).
Right; the "standard non-GODDIDIT response" is a pretty good one. I prefer (since reading Dennett) to say that yes in a way it is design but that that entails no designer.

You are right that we can't design anything as impressive. But it is also true that "A vastly Superior designer did it" is not the only viable conclusion. It's almost an embarrassingly over-simplistic one if you think about it. About what one would expect as our species first attempt at a solution, which is basically what religion was. See something man made and realise it's complexity, note something even more complex, beyond man's ability - why not simply assume that something better at making things than man made it? An excellent quick-fix answer. But you know how shaky quick--fixes invariably are.

But as I alluded to above, that which we now call the evolutionary process of Natural Selection, is just like the Naively simplistic Super-Designer solution; it too can result, although far less cleanly, in complexities far beyond our capabilities as well. then all one need do is look around at the evidence and realise that there is none to be found of the purported super-designer (please note that at this point the "Design" argument is cancelled out, as it applies to both) and that the expected (predicted) "lack of cleanliness" of the Natural Selection alternative solution, in terms of sloppy design, partial design and wasteful design, is all too evident.

Now I know that here (as is common) you have gone far beyond the Argument from Design of life, even though that is the nature of all your examples of "design", too include the formation of the entire universe. But as I have gone on long enough in this post I will just give a short sound bite response to that bit at present, and only from the Design perspective:

Does the universe really look all that well designed,when you look at all of it? Does it really? Designed for what exactly?

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God lies in belief and hope. If you believe in him, he is real, if you don't believe, he is not real.
Hmm, yes heard this kind of thing before. There is a serous problem with it. It implies an extreme form of subjectivism; that things exist not in an of themselves but simply in the minds of others. And that therefore all truth is subjective.

Unless "God" exists as an idea and not an actual entity (which can act on the real world in any way) then this idea implies that the same is true for any and every other entity or thing. As such if you believe that the United States (or it's president...) exists and I say that it doesn't, does that mean that it exists or it doesn't? Or does it mean that it exists for you but not for me?

You see how that argument of yours can quickly get extremely silly?

Want more; If that you believe in him and then stop believing does God suddenly cease to exist? If so where does the real power lie eh? What if you simply stop thinking about him for a second, does he thus pop in and out of existence all the time?

We make him real through belief and hope, kinda like Tinkerbell in Peter Pan.
Sounds a lot like "The Secret" doesn't it? Wish hard enough, and believe in the true religious "Faith" sense of the word, that is; through the willful abandonment of Reason, just be certain of it's truth despite the complete lack of any reason to do so, and it will come true. Oh happy happy joy joy. I think your Tinkerbell story makes more sense, and at least that one doesn't pretend to be anything other than fiction :rolleyes:

Believing that God created everything differs between Theists because of the levels of power and authority that are assigned to each person's "God"
Or that it is hard to reach and maintain a common consensus on the nature of an entity for which no one actually knows a blasted real thing about, not even that it exists at all. I can appreciate that it must be tricky to convince a group who splits off through some such disagreement (thinking of differing sects of course) that their belief is mistaken, when you actually have nothing real to base your arguments on.

I believe the universe created itself and God exists in it. Science and Religion can coexist happily ever after.
Only if one never tries to make claims that disagree with the others claims. Which is highly unlikely to be the case for any length of time.

If everything in existence came from nothing, and we are all headed back to that nothing ultimately, then what's the point of life.
Who says there has to be an ultimate point to life? That just assumes that theer was some kind of intent behind life itself. Begging the question don't you think?

(Not to get off topic and tackle that big one) God is a more rational explanation for mankind because we cannot truly understand infinity and cannot truly imagine nothing.
I'm afraid this is nothing but an Argument from Ignorance dnae my friend :(

Notably what Richard Dawkins likes to call the Argument from Personal Incredulity.

Think about it dnae; how does our ignorance and lack of understanding of "Infinity" and "Nothing" in any way shape or form suggest "God"?

As soon as you think about nothing, it is something. As soon as you think about infinity, it has a limit. The God or Source of all that is must be comprised of both.
That is just weird. It truly makes no sense whatsoever. A complete Non Sequitur.

Logically you cannot explain the mere existence of us all without these concepts.
As, as you say, we can't understand these concepts either (there are things I could say as to why, but I'll leave that for now) we can not "logically" utilise them to explain anything! So Logically (a subject I have studied by the way) you can't explain it WITH these concepts either!

You must believe this principal and therefore believe in what some people call God. If not than you are simply dreaming. :D
That's just sad. I think perhaps the infamous quote from Wolfgang Pauli is appropriate here:

"It is not even wrong."

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Science is discovery based on facts. Atheists do not believe anything that cannot be proven. Discoveries are saught after because of a theory that is thought of. Could someone possibly discover something without proof? Or maybe there is "a God" and He only reveals himself to those that truly believe in him. My only proof that God exists is my own experiences that have been revealed to me. I used to not be to big on God and the idea of love. I met my wife 8 years ago and she taught me to love again. Everyday of my life I thank God for being united with her. There must be a God.

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An addition to that last statement is I do not deserve such compassion and was given it anyway. You will probably tell me that I just got lucky in life, but I know it is something more than that. ;)

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I don't find the illustration of the development of religion to be persuasive, no doubt due to my existing bias about how I believe religion developed.
That might have been one of the problems with your opinion of it. But not the most important. The real problem here is that you seem to demand (as is almost universal with creationists arguing the Design and/or evolution arguments) that that which is being proposed as an alternative answer to "this was all designed by an Intelligent Designer *cough GODDIDIT cough*" be proved to have actually occured in history.

Before getting to it; I must add that octopuppy did not suggest that this is how all religions developed, and in fact stressed that it was only an example of how some of the thousands of religions that have and do exist developed (not started but some aspects of their survival and development.) Your reply suggests that you took it as a description of how religion itself (I doubt very much a single origin of all religion, and certainly not a single progression from there!) got started and developed, as if they were all one and the same. Not the case at all. okay back to it.

No Duh Puck, such a thing is not required. Take the given Religious meme example. It doesn't matter if you personally don't believe it actually happens or happened that way, or that anyone else does. It doesn't even matter if it were the case that it was known to all that it didn't happen that way at all! All that matters is that it represents a way (or analogy of a way) that such a complex and detailed meme (he could have offered a physical thing or a purely imaginary scenario, it wouldn't matter) could have easily arisen, not by the False dilemma alternatives so often touted - by random chance or by intentional design - but by gradual accrual of aspects, slowly becoming what it is seen as today or at any one point in time. You might well note this as a clear analogy to evolution, but what you should be noting is that This meme AND evolution are analogies/examples of the same basic possible alternative solution to the question at hand (the complexity of things) - that of complexity through gradual accrual, without any design or intent, of 'components' of whatever a thing is comprised of.

I say again: We need no proof of either of these examples having actually occurred for the point to be made - Intelligent design is not the only viable option you assume it to be.

Of course you say that there's abundant evidence in evolution. You would obviously have to think that since there's so much apparent design in nature.
You do realise that the Theory of Evolution is not an attempt to counter the Argument from Design don't you? It's not what it is there for, it's not why it came to be proposed (something like it in Greece before your religion was born by the way), and it is not at all why it persists today. It only exists as a result of the evidence leading to that explanation. In fact Darwin hesitated to publish his thesis for years because after reaching near completion he realised that it challenged this (and largely his, certainly his wife's) accepted doctrine! It wasn't his (or any scientists' since) intent or goal to challenge the accepted doctrine of God-design that compelled him, it was the evidence that necessitated it, and people like Darwin's valuing of evidence and reason over blind faith and adherence to doctrine. Even when it made them uncomfortable (and often far worse.)

There is of course abundant evidence - thats why ~18,000 peer-review papers where published on the subject last year alone - So "we think that" because it is a simple fact. But be that as it may, the argument form design is flawed regardless, as it offers no real evidence whatsoever.

As a software engineer, I do this type of design all the time. And, based on that experience, I can examine a piece of software and tell you, not simply that it was designed, but how well it was designed, by seeing how elegantly it solves problems such as extensibility, flexibility, and adaptability. By these standards, living beings are phenomenal examples of elegant design, able to change their characteristics to a great extent to adapt to changing environments. That's the type of complexity I'm asking you to show arises without guidance.
Oh well done; you can look at something you (and we all) KNOW was designed, due to our understanding of where computer software comes from, and tell that it was designed :rolleyes:

Look at the examples of "Poor design: as well. And we know how organisms adapt to the environment don't we? Those that happen to be better at it in their situation live and those less so do not. Thus the next generation is comprised of offspring of only those who were lucky enough to have the right stuff. That's not design anymore than this is an example of remarkable guessing skill:

Get a large group of people;

Ask them to guess the toss of a coin.

Get those that won the toss to guess again.

Get those that won that toss to guess again

Repeat over and over, say to a total of ten times

At the end what do you have? A (significantly smaller) group who all managed to guess the toss of a coin ten times in a row!

Does that demonstrate a group of remarkably good coin toss guessers? Or just basic random chance?

The last "survivors" represent the surviving species and organisms from evolutionary history. Nothing designed about them, nothing "Special" they just happened to be the survivors of "each round" inheriting the "success factors" from their successful parents and ancestors - in the analogy they inherited the win tally, while those who lost were eliminated from the game - thus future "generations" only see the winners. In the evolution story it is only those who had the genes to survive that pass them on; thus 'good' genes get passed on, 'bad' ones don't. this almost inevitably results in an amassing of good genes and less and less bad ones - not a hint of design or intent to be seen.

It's always the blinkin' engineers and the like; those whose very professional lives are centred around dealing with and spotting design and design ideas, that so often buy into Intelligent Design. Ever wonder why? It's ain't too difficult to guess is it?

Incredible; this fellow who has made it his career to see the design and design value) in things, sees design in nature! What next; musicians hearing melody in birdsong and rhythm in the labouring of a construction crew?! :lol:

Be careful Duh Puck, we Homo sapiens are natural pattern seeking animals; if you look for patterns in things you will almost invariably find them, whether actual or not. And if you go through life looking for certain kinds of patterns the same is true.

The most obvious example of this of course is the old Cloud gazing game; seeing what patterns one can see in the random shape of a cloud. Amazing that the harder you look with the intent of finding a pattern the more you find!

Y'all keep saying "show us new evidence." Of course I don't have new evidence. I already said long ago that there's no need for new evidence; the existing lines of reasoning that everyone is already familiar with are quite sufficient. If there is to be a debate, it has to revolve around how existing evidence is interpreted. You propose a paradox to suggest that it's ridiculous to think that there's an undesigned designer. Ok, the direct implication of this argument is that non-intelligent causes have to sufficiently explain the illusion of design. I asked you to show me evidence for this. Please respond with something other than insults.
Aw but insults are fun - insults of ones arguments, not of ones person though.

The "existing lines of reasoning" are pathetic, that's what they are. They are all hopelessly flawed and wholly insufficient. Just declaring it otherwise is hardly a convincing argument.

Okay back to the undesigned designer then. Paradox? Perhaps. But what the argument is really is weak beyond words.

Okay, we have the observation that complex things like watches are designed, designed by more complex things like humans.

"We" then make the oh so simplistic first, obvious, hypothesis, that if watches are complex and that complexity can be explained by an even more complex designer, namely ourselves, then the obvious first guess for explaining our greater complexity would be that it can be explained by an even more complex designer than us - call it "God" for now (why not.)

It is not at all surprising that this would be the first immediate guess at an answer is it? But invariably such intuitive first guesses are usually pretty bad, lacking in any real reasoning let alone evidence gathering or assessment. It's just a first stab in the dark, the kind of thing you get first thing in a brain storming session where people just fling any old non-thought-out ideas around to see what sticks, before everyone settles down to serious examination of the data, the real work.

The problem you deny should be immediately obvious. And it does lead to the problem of the infinite regress, despite your protests to the contrary. The problem of course is this:

Complex thing (watch)

Explained by more complex thing designing it (human)

Explained by more complex thing designing it (God)

Explained by ? Well what is the obvious answer?

"Explained by more complex thing designing it (uber-God)" of course!

Explained by ?

....

Sounds a lot like this old analogy doesn't it?:

The world is flat

But what does it rest on?

It rests on four great Elephants.

But what do THEY stand on?

A great Turtle.

But then what does THAT stand on?

Another Turtle.

But then what does THAT stand on?

It's Turtles all the way down :D

The same problem is evident in both - the offered "explanation" really explains nothing, as it requires at least as much explanation as it is proposed to explain. Add to that the fact that no actual evidence or reasoning is given to suggest that said answer is actually the right one (why a Turtle for instance, why not a Whale or anything really?)

The alternative that you are so resistant to is a far better fit. Why? Because it goes in completely the opposite direction of the Intelligent designer one, rather than each step being even more complex (and thus requiring more explanation) as the Watch-Human-God-? one does, it proposes complexity out of simplicity. And further a line of increasing complexity to the current level. From the opposite perspective; each step being explained by a simpler, less complex earlier one - naturally going back to the simplest of all origins (ultimate simplicity). Again completely contrary to the God hypothesis that proposes that each step be explained by a more complex earlier one - this naturally goes back to ultimate complexity.

The upshot being this:

Which is more plausible; the popping into existence, or always existing (or however the "first cause" might have come to be there to start the ball rolling) of the ultimately simple or the ultimately complex?

Note that it is the very complexity problem that creationist apologetics argue is the reason why things like abiogenisis and the universe require their God to explain them in the first place - that they are too complex to have just happened by themselves. Is it not clear that this God-hypotheses itself is the ultimate example of this problem? It is the ultimate example of something being too complex to have just happened!

Explaining the complex by the more complex only worsens the problem!

Incidentally, Scraff, you said that the bombardier beetle appears to be "designed by evolution." I just thought I should point out that this is contradictory to the meaning of design, as it has already been established that the word involves thought and planning.
It doesn't have to. Read Darwin's Dangerous Idea (Daniel Dennett). He explains evolution itself as a design process that involves no actual designer. In both senses (Scraff's and Denett's) "Design" is essentially used to mean "the way that X came to be in the form it now is, the process that resulted in it's present state."

I get tired of hearing "evolution" anthropomorphized as an intelligent designer. I see it constantly in scientific writing, and it's rather disingenuous if you really don't believe that there is any actual design taking place.
Not at all, it is simply a powerful metaphor (sadly some people seem incapable of grasping it and jump to the silly conclusion that the scientist actually believes that genes are selfish or whatever :rolleyes: )

If you were to look at an explanation of some aspect of evolution for instance; explained through this kind of metaphorical language, side by side with a proper metaphor free one (as the actual scientific papers that initially detailed it to the scientific community would have done) you would immediately realise that the latter would be interminably long, detailed and dry, and for most people valueless - either because as laymen we don't need all those tedious details and most of us wouldn't understand them or their value if we had them, or because as fellow scientists (in the same field) we don't need to be given all those details every time, if we wanted them we could look back at the relevant scientific papers, instead we want the overview from which we can then proceed to do the next step of work or whatever. Much like so much of general language would be tedious and pointless if we had to detail every little detail of every little thing we wish to talk about.

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No. I already know there's no verifiable explanation for how we developed the ability to run or think or see, only theories as to how these things might have happened gradually via evolution.
Ah so you have already decided that there is no answer (except GODDIDIT of course, right?)

"Only" does not belong side by side with "Theory", not when we are speaking of it in the scientific context!

Not that evolution is the topic at hand is it? It is the religious offered answers we are discussing here. Where is your verifiable explanation?

My request was to provide evidence that apparent design arises via unguided processes.
No, we have explained how such a process is viable and probable, that "It was all intelligently designed" is by no means the only possible answer, adding that it is not a very good one regardless. You provide evidence that "apparent design" really is intentional design.

There should be little difficulty demonstrating this since it must be extraordinarily common within evolution. So far the examples are hurricanes, crystals, and religion.
<sigh> You are forgetting all the examples implicit in the word "evolution" - the evidence of organisms undergoing evolutionary change. Examples (if you must) the Whale, the horse, documented speciation events, bacterial antibiotic resistances...........

How about you give us some; give us evidence with examples of life being intelligently designed and created.

As to my belief in evolution ... if you take the first three paragraphs of the wikipedia article on Evolution, there is nothing I disagree with. Species obviously change and adapt. The question is whether or not this is the explanation for how all species originated.
Not that this is all that pertinent to the topic (sorry moderator guy, but I feel this attack on reason is equally important) but: This "question" is easy - WE have seen speciation events numerous times. Including a few examples where the entire process has been examined at the genetic level, every step of the way!

Speciation happens. Not that direct observation was required for those adept in the relevant scientific fields to verify it beyond all reasonable doubt, but it is nice to have as well. One would think that this would satisfy even the anti-science evolution denier crowd, but apparently direct observable evidence isn't even good enough for some reality deniers :rolleyes:

That's where the distinction comes in between evolution as fact and theory.
Not anymore, not for a long time. Fact and Theory are something of a fuzzy thing in real science. Evolution for instance is now readily accepted (by those who study the relevant fields of science) to be both a Fact and a Theory. There is no conflict or contradiction in this.

I've never seen a single documented example, as opposed to a theoretical model, that shows how features that show the appearance of design (partly defined as complex interaction which solves a problem) actually arose without guidance.
Have you seen a single documented example, as opposed to a theoretical model, that shows how features that show the appearance of design (partly defined as complex interaction which solves a problem) actually arose with guidance?

The problem here (again all too common with this kind of religious apologetic) is that you either fail to give any specifics for us to work with, and/or demand far more than is remotely reasonable.

Although realising that I am no doubt whistling in the wind; Okay go ahead,

Please give us the most minimal example, you can think of, of a "feature" as you put it, that if a documented example of it "arising without guidance" could be given; it would satisfy this for you.

(Not that the scientific community really needs your approval.)

From what I've observed, the actual evolution we have observed is an astounding demonstration of resilience and adaptability built into the fabric of living beings. In a sense, evolution itself appears to be a wonder of design. However, I disagree that the evidence is anywhere close to strong enough to suggest that this inherent adaptability of living things actually serves as the source of all the variety and apparent design we observe.
Perhaps you should actually look at a bit more of the evidence then, because it is most definitely "strong enough", whether you disagree or not.

Can we now get away from the evidence for evolution and back to the evidence for God now?

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Sorry if my wording wasn't clear, but that's not what I asked for. I don't want examples from, for, or against evolution. I'm saying that the notion that illusory design arises from disorder should be straightforward for the atheist to demonstrate since, as it is claimed, this is a fundamental concept underlying evolution and all apparent design within the universe (e.g., fine tuning arguments).
<Sigh> It is straightfoward, you just refuse to accept it.

Some stated already:

1. Snow flakes (the below is one photographed by someone after thanksgiving last year)

IMG_4433.JPG

No different than other natural crystal formations in this regard:

(Gypsum)

crystal-cave-1.jpg

(Quartz)

USDA_Mineral_Quartz_Crystal_93c3951.jpg

You can even grow crystals, be it salt crystals using household items or through specially brought kits (have a look online of you like,) so you can see spectacular complex structures form without intelligent guidance before your very eyes!

2. Ever seen the hierarchical structure in some animal (including human of course) groupings? Some get rather complex with each and every member having a set place in the hierarchy. Not always a simple linear one either, nor simply one being dominant over another (for instance one hierarchy for hunting,another for feeding and yet another for child rearing, each animal having a different but set place in each.)

Do you think the pack leader sits down and plans out these hierarchical trees? No, they happen naturally, over time each individual through testing itself against the others etc. settles into a certain position. And the pack structure - as complex (with complex interactions that serve real purposes and solve real problems) as it becomes - just develops in such a manner.

3. Nah; all sorts of similar examples should crop up if you only ponder on it a little.

Complex structures, yes, not complex structures with complex interactions that appear to be purpose-oriented and solve problems.
1. above demonstarted the former. 2., the latter :D

Nope. If there is not sufficient reason to believe that these illusions of design could actually arise without guidance, I would conclude that there was guidance. Whether or not that equates to "God did it" is a different question, but I certainly think the issue is relevant to the question of God's existence.
Because sometimes silliness is just the most appropriate response:

If I postulate that Dandelions couldn't grow in the garden without the aid of invisible fairies to make them grow, and you failed to provide sufficient reasons to convince me otherwise, should I then conclude that there were invisible fairies at work?

Well, yes. If something looks designed, I would assume that it is designed unless I had evidence to the contrary. That's how rational human reasoning works.
No. thats how a tautology works. You see "It looks designed" is not an aspect of the observed world, it is an aspect of that observation. In other words "It looks designed" is one assuming (or at least one having the immediate impression) that it is designed.

So we have: "If I assume (or gets the immediate impression) that something is designed, then I assume that it was designed" Now that's impressive reasoning right there!

No it bloody well isn't! (Sorry I studied formal Logic, it gets on my nerves when people claim things like this.)

Leaping to a hasty conclusion (that is what this is) and then holding to it (assuming it is true) unless convinced otherwise is not rational thinking at all!

Let's have a look at how one might look at the same thing in an ACTUAL rational manner shall we?

We see some things in nature. On immediate appraisal we form some rudimentary hypotheses (guesses really) one being "it was designed in some way."

We DO NOT then just just assume our first guess is correct until someone can prove us wrong (although that is what the ID movement championed by the Discovery Institute so love doing - "X is irreducibly complex. What, where's my evidence and research? Don't need any, I made the claim, now you have to prove me wrong, I'm going to get another coffee, get to work now, chop chop." )

Instead this is the point where the actual reasoning (as exemplified by those doing science) gets started (note how you with your assumptions have already stopped before the reasoning even starts!) where we look at the evidence more closely, compare and contrast it with everything we have, form further hypotheses, test and retest them, looking for both predictions and methods of falsification in them. Discard the failed ones and work on those we have yet to falsify, revising and improving them as we go. Eventually leading to one (or more, it does happen on occasion) reaching a level of 'success' that it can be justifiably called a theory. The work doesn't stop there, people (including those who came up with the theory) continue to critically assess and test the theory, trying every which way to falsify it, detect any chink in its armour. This process never really stops, not even when it becomes accepted as a Fact or Law (which depends on it's nature and form). Therein lies the distinction between "Acceptance" and "Belief", and why scientific theories are best said to be Accepted not believed - we leave that for doctrines.

I agree that if I see a giraffe, it wouldn't be prudent to assume that intelligent design was responsible for the long neck, and likewise, I'm not saying that everything in nature that appears suited to a particular function is evidence of design. I'm saying that, just as with a car or a piece of software, there are many examples of complexity which are so well-suited to solving a particularly difficult problem (how about flight?), that I don't think the problem-solving capability of natural selection or other unguided processes are up to the task, and hence an intelligent designer is required. If that's true, I can't see how that fails to qualify as evidence for God, but I know you disagree. However, that's straying too much into the forbidden evolution zone.
Flight; there has been plenty of work on that you know. Not a problem at all for evolutionary theory, no hint of intentional design is to be found. At a basic level we see natural stages leading to it; Flying squirrels etc. of varying degrees of flight capability for example. From webbed toes offering a little bit of glide time (all the better for leaping about the forest canopy you know ;) ) to full on flaps from fingertip to foot.

Here is some more on it: THE EVOLUTION OF FLIGHT (a.k.a. HOW TO WING IT)

For some reason that site never mentions that something or other probably designed flight with some goal in mind.

BUT ignorance of how something arose does not imply design, it implies nothing but something as of yet an unknown.

Claim 1) A > B

Claim 2) B > C

Claim 3) A is not greater than C

One of those claims must be false. The negative claim 3 still makes a positive statement, that A <= C. Right? You seem to think that by making a negative claim (there is no evidence of God), you are not making any positive assertions. If, for the purpose of argument, we simply define "God" as an intelligent creator of the universe, then the positive inference of "there is no evidence of an intelligent designer" is "our universe does not manifest evidence of design." If the universe did provide evidence of design, that clearly supports the existence of a designer. The discussion isn't much fun when one side thinks they have nothing to prove.

Cute. No we don't have anything to prove.

You claim there is a God, we say we don't accept your claim. Therefore you must provide argument in the form of reasoning and/or evidence to substantiate your claim (if you want it to be accepted.) We then assess said arguments. That's it, the whole game. Not every argument or discussion has to be in the form of a formal debate where one side makes a claim and the other an opposing claim. That is why many rational discussions fail to work well in a debate setting.

Sometimes there is a view and an opposing view. But at other times there is merely a view and a lack of acceptance of said view. In all honesty I find the latter tends to be more "Fun" than the former.

The claim you describe; "there is no evidence of God" might be negative but is not one that requires any defending because there is nothing one can show to validate it. Instead (as is common in scientific theory evaluation) the only way to get anywhere with it is to try to invalidate it. In other words it is in this case on those who disagree (that is make the claim that there is such evidence) to prove it wrong (falsify) it by presenting such evidence.

Does that mean that anyone that makes such a claim (and means it, I know when I say something like that I generally mean, and often say [but get tired of spelling it out fully sometimes,] that I have seen no such evidence and therefore it is unreasonable for me to accept the claim) has no work to do? No; just as in the case of the scientific theory, one can and should attempt to justify it. If the only way open to do so is to have it pass attempts at falsification, then one must attempt to falsify it. That is what some of might well be doing here; asking people like your good self to try to falsify the "no evidence of God" hypothesis.

As said already; my position on the god question is simply that I have seen no evidence for God, and thus can not accept the claims of the existence of any such entity. My reason for arguing as I have been doing here is somewhat different, partly looking at augments for god(s), but party trying to assist and encourage as best I can, the proper utilisation of reasoning and logic. And stress the value of reason itself. That is why I point out flaws in reasoning, logical fallacies and the like in peoples arguments as opposed to trying to convince you through my own arguments that God is not real or anything. I'm more concerned with the reasoning (and peoples ability to use it well) than the ultimate answer to this one particular question.

Although that would be nice as well of course. It looks that the only way that it could ever be solved conclusively however would be if you were right. because if not then that (there are no gods) would be pretty much impossible to prove. And your side looks a long way aways from doing that!

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Then maybe, you can read what was shown to me.

IN THE EVENING

<snip>

IN THE MORNING

<snip>

And that is supposed to do what for me (if it was to me you were posting) exactly?

I'm sorry, I don't get it, What exactly was the point you were trying to make here?

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Sorry if my wording wasn't clear, but that's not what I asked for. I don't want examples from, for, or against evolution. I'm saying that the notion that illusory design arises from disorder should be straightforward for the atheist to demonstrate since, as it is claimed, this is a fundamental concept underlying evolution and all apparent design within the universe (e.g., fine tuning arguments).

Your wording was not clear at all and it still isn't. How can we demonstrate how design arises from disorder without going on and on about a deep subject that is not the subject of this thread? I gave you the example of tornadoes and snowflakes. That wasn't good enough for you. The Miller-Urey experiment. Nope, not good enough for you.

But we don't have to give you an example or your most simplistic answer "God did it" wins. It especially loses because, yes, I have to explain this once again, IT CONTRADICTS YOUR OWN ARGUMENT! YOU are the one that claimed the appearance of design shows that thing was designed by an intelligent designer. In order to be capable of designing an entire functional universe, God himself must be incredibly complex and would need a designer by your logic as well.

I'm sorry. I really don't want you to get bored.

Sarcasm? Repeating the same arguments is not acceptable on message boards or debate in general. You've been given rebuttals and yet keep repeating THE SAME arguments. Claim that the rebuttals were less than convincing for you if you like, but repeating the arguments is inappropriate.

Complex structures, yes, not complex structures with complex interactions that appear to be purpose-oriented and solve problems.

Again:

1. Going through the steps of how complex structures got here is outside of the scope of this thread.

a. If complexity shows design, your god must by that same logic need a designer.

b. It's pure God-of-the-gaps fallacy. If some folks on a message board don't write a book for you and explain how simple things evolved into complex ones "God-did-it" has not been established in the least.

2. The wiki article on the Miller-Urey show that "complex structures with complex interactions that appear to be purpose-oriented and solve problems" happen without divine guidance.

3. A giraffe's neck is also a "complex structures with complex interactions that appear to be purpose-oriented and solve problems".

4. The burden of proof that God exists is still on you. Failure of humans to fulfill some burden of proof you require to explain how things come about IS NOT evidence that God exists.

Nope. Just asked for more convincing evidence of apparent design arising from disorder. You offered to provide it.

The Miller-Urey experiment. Human evolution. Oh, wait, you want me to list all of the evidence for human evolution, right? No, not gonna happen here. Go read a book or watch that Ken Miller video recommended to you in the Macro evolution thread you started, got your arguments destroyed in, and didn't answer a multitude of questions you were asked and shifted the debate to show that the Genesis story isn't wrong if one makes all sorts of fantastic assumptions.

I agree that if I see a giraffe, it wouldn't be prudent to assume that intelligent design was responsible for the long neck, and likewise, I'm not saying that everything in nature that appears suited to a particular function is evidence of design.

Just the "really hard stuff", right? Especially for the non-biologist. "Hey, I get the long neck, but I don't get wings. Aha! God id it! And don't ask me how He got here; it doesn't matter".

I'm saying that, just as with a car or a piece of software, there are many examples of complexity which are so well-suited to solving a particularly difficult problem (how about flight?), that I don't think the problem-solving capability of natural selection or other unguided processes are up to the task, and hence an intelligent designer is required. If that's true, I can't see how that fails to qualify as evidence for God, but I know you disagree. However, that's straying too much into the forbidden evolution zone.

You don't see? It's pure Argument from ignorance and God-of-the-gaps fallacy. And yes, you did once again stray into the forbidden evolution zone. If you're interested in learning about the evolution of flight- Google it. Read a book. Here are some links to get you started:

http://www.amazon.com/Taking-Wing-Archaeop...1766&sr=8-4

http://www.amazon.com/Biomechanics-Insect-...1766&sr=8-6

http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/vertebrates/flight/evolve.html

http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/vertebrates/f...t/converge.html

http://www-geology.ucdavis.edu/~cowen/hist...flife/CH13.html

But don't come back here to discuss how the evolutionary explanations aren't satisfactory to you, as that would be baiting me into discussing evolution when it's not the topic. If "God did it" is all you have to explain and don't have to describe how, then "evolution did it" does not require any further explanation from me. "God did it" is an idea, not an explanation. The fact that the idea "evolution did it" is a different possible explanation is all it takes to prove that you haven't fulfilled the burden of proof that God did anything or exists. But get this: This thread isn't about me or any other atheist proving that evolution did anything! There are other possible natural and supernatural explanations. YOU are claiming God did it is what happened. All atheists have done is not accepted that YOU have met your burden of proof. And by you claiming we have to provide an explanation for how stuff got here beyond "natural explanations' or even "I don't know" when all you provided was "God did it", is evidence that you have not met your burden of proof...you... the one making the assertion.

You seem to think that by making a negative claim (there is no evidence of God), you are not making any positive assertions. If, for the purpose of argument, we simply define "God" as an intelligent creator of the universe, then the positive inference of "there is no evidence of an intelligent designer" is "our universe does not manifest evidence of design." If the universe did provide evidence of design, that clearly supports the existence of a designer. The discussion isn't much fun when one side thinks they have nothing to prove.

Yes, I see no evidence of your intelligent designer. It's not up to me to explain the universe, or bird flight, or anything else. It's too bad it's not much fun for you. Of course it's not fun for you because it's much easier for you to shift the burden of proof and claim "God did it" when all of the gaps haven't been filled in (on a message board) to your satisfaction. And, once yet again, in order to be capable of designing an entire functional universe, God himself must be incredibly complex and would need a designer by your logic as well. By your logic, I would have to believe that the Designer had a Designer, that Designer had a Designer, and it's turtles all the way down from there.

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Science is discovery based on facts.
Boiled down to it's nub, yes basically. I would put it more as a rational structured search for knowledge and truth, based on any and all evidence to be sought and found in observable reality.

Atheists do not believe anything that cannot be proven.
There's actually a surprising amount of error in that one little statement, so let me try to clear some of it up:

1. Atheists are not a like minded group (there is a saying that likens organising us to herding cats). Atheists do not have a belief in any gods, that's it. Beyond that we are just people, with any number of beliefs, opinions etc. There are tendencies for us to lean in certain directions it is true, but those are not a facet of atheism itself.

2. Many atheists (such as myself) do not "believe" period. Perhaps in a lazy haphazard sense of the word, but not in a more refined sense. For instance I accept the theory of evolution (just like I do for the theory of Gravity), I do not "believe" it.

3. It is not about proof (you want proof look into Mathematics or Alcohol), but evidence. I do not need proof (if I did I would not believe or accept much of anything, real proof is unimaginably hard to come by), just reasonable Evidence or Reason to justify my acceptance of any claim or proposition of truth.

4. This (point 3) is a position of Reasonism (the position of truly valuing Reason,) not of Atheism. Although this is one example of a position shared by quite a number of atheists (as alluded to in point 1)

5. Atheists being only connected by that one thing (point 1) may, contrary to your statement, have any number of beliefs and they may be completely unsupported by any proofs or even evidence or reasoning. I don't consider myself one such atheist, but there are bound to be some like that out there.

Discoveries are saught after because of a theory that is thought of.
Theories aren't "thought of", tentative hypotheses are thought of. Only through much scientific testing and the like can they then become a theory.

Could someone possibly discover something without proof?
I guess that depends on how you chose to define "discover". But theories and laws are not discovered so much as derived from the collection and assessment of usually mountains of discovered facts (phenomena etc.)

For example one does not discover the laws of motion, one derives them from the observed examples of motion to be found and measured.

Or maybe there is "a God" and He only reveals himself to those that truly believe in him.
Maybe that is true. BUT:

There is no reason why anyone who has not been given such a revelation should consider that even plausible let alone true (and there is the very real danger that some may believe they have had such a revelation when that is not really the case - how could one ever determine this from the true revelation?).

As such it would be completely Irrational to believe this or in such an entity.

And as a result no rational person (or at least no person who did not chose to abandon Reason in at least this one area) could never receive said revelation.

Thus only irrational or less than completely rational people would be in this group of those who have had the glory of God revealed to them.

Seems like a pretty messed up system to me! Don't think I would want any part of such an entity who values and/or demands the willful abandonment of reason to receive it's blessing! Nor of any group who all share the one feature of having abandoned reason to get where they are!

Add to that the fact that it seems rather pointless anyway; Why on earth refuse to reveal oneself (that is prove ones existence) to only those who need no such proof? It's like only giving the correct answers to a math quiz to those who got them all correct anyway.

The way this suggestion you make is often used is as a rather repugnantly bad argument:

The suggestion that one should believe this claim, without any evidence or reason to do so whatsoever, without even trying to find such reasons. Because if one does then they will get the big reveal.

What this is is an Appeal to Consequences type argument (a well known logical fallacy.) It doesn't actually offer any reason at all to believe the claim at all! It just offers a reward, a bribe, if one does so. Worse; It positively suggests that one wilfully abandon reason itself in order to obtain this bribe!

If I knew that God existed and actually endorsed this 'argument' then I would consider him to be a class A heel! (to put it far more politely than is deserved.)

This is why I engage in these kinds of arguments people! Believe whatever ridiculous little fantasies you want - magical pixies living a tropical existence on your Islets of Langerhans - whatever :lol: , but please do not try to abuse and devalue Reason like this!

My only proof that God exists is my own experiences that have been revealed to me.
So are you saying here that you just believed for no reason, as suggested above?

Your personal experiences, if unverifiable (and unverified) are of no value to us. I also know quite a few ex-theists that used to say, and absolutely believe, the very same thing (including one former church minister of many years.) They later realised that these experiences were not what they once believed them to be. Who's to say the same is not true for yours as well?

I used to not be to big on God and the idea of love. I met my wife 8 years ago and she taught me to love again. Everyday of my life I thank God for being united with her.
You do realise that "God" and "Love" are hardly intrinsically linked don't you?! You can have either one without the other you know. If not; just consider that there are plenty of people out there who exhibit all four possible combinations:

1. Godless and Loveless

2. God believing and Love believing

3. God believing and Loveless

4. Godless and Love believing (that's me :D )

I'm sensing perhaps a subconscious (whether or not conscious as well) assumed link between the two in your mind. Perhaps for some reason, maybe your coming to the belief in both coincided or came through the same source (your wife perhaps), you have come to see them as inextricably linked. Such things are recognised well in psychiatry; for example a child becoming extremely attached to a toy or blanket or such item, because it has become linked in their mind with something else - fear of abandonment of a parent for instance. The link isn't real (actual - the loss of one will not really cause the loss of the other.) But the fear is very real. Sometimes they are not even aware of the link!

I can not say this with any real degree of certainty of course, but the fact that you brought the two up together like this is highly suggestive.

Perhaps you fear the loss of your God belief, because at some level you connect/equate such a loss with a loss of love (or belief in love) as well, and it is that loss which is the real concern. All I can say is that it is quite possible to have the latter without the former - I am a testament to that (although I only met my wife 7 years ago ;):lol: )

There must be a God.
I have yet to see any reason whatsoever to accept that assertion. And this post of yours has done nothing to change that.

An addition to that last statement is I do not deserve such compassion and was given it anyway. You will probably tell me that I just got lucky in life, but I know it is something more than that. ;)
Your evidence and reason free assertion aside; I don't accept that you don't deserve such compassion. I think everyone does, no matter what their nature. That's a pretty negative image you paint of yourself there. Something to work on perhaps.

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Theists:

The burden of proof falls on the accuser. If I say there's an invisible, undetectable spaghetti monster, it's not up to you to disprove it, it's up to me to prove it.

If I can't prove it, that doesn't mean it DOESN'T exists. Just because a theist can't come up with an adequate response, that doesn't mean God doesn't exist. But it's unlikely. It's my personal opinion, that if a God exists, there wouldn't even be a reason to have a debate about it. There would be heaps of evidence, etc. But with the fact that no theist has come up with a proof of God, then you're in the same position as us atheists- not enough proof to justify a belief in God. Not ANY proof, actually. So, if you want to present a convincing argument, don't try to give us reasons that God might exists but aren't the reasons that you believe in God- give us the reason that you first started believing in God. Give us really why you think He exists, not some other proof that you only came up afterward, know what I mean?

However the burden of proof both ways. If you claim that a hurricane comes about by design- and show WHY you think it comes about by design (burden of proof would fall on you first for that claim)- then the burden of proof would then shift to us atheists to prove you wrong. But from what I can tell, nobody has first shown why hurricanes are designed

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