This was written some 12 months ago as part of a uni elective.
Ecats: There is no proof of god
Nadia: The proof of god is everywhere: the wonders of the world, the miracles of life, the mind numbing vastness and beauty of the universe.
Ecats: All of which can be explained naturalistically, by chance and random patterns forming the beauty which we see in the night sky, or smiles of a new born baby.
Nadia: All things can be used to prove god by design, this is known as teleological argument. Take for example the human body. It has complex chemical signalling systems, and the sheer brilliance of design of the eye is astounding. It is a body designed to be the perfect caretaker of the earth.
Ecats: Perfect? Hardly! Take the knee for example, perhaps the most crudely designed of hinges. Even a simple carpenter could design a more sturdy and reliable hinge. Are we to believe that an all powerful God is a simpleton? Surely an omnipotent being would only design a perfect being. What about organs without function or a redundant function? Organs such as the appendix or the spleen(1) . Their functions are superfluous and unnecessary; the body would function just as well without them. What is the purpose of retaining them? How about disease, or cancer and defects, this surely adds doubt to this form being a design?
Nadia: A fair criticism, and to answer such points I shall employ an analogy, which was originally put forward by William Paley (2) . Think of a watch: many complicated working parts, working towards an overall function. It doesn’t matter if all the parts don’t always work, or we do not always know the function of the parts in question, the interaction of the parts alone shows intelligent design. Design of such perfection and complexity could only come from a perfect being, such as God.
Ecats: A good analogy, but there are naturalistic explanations, without falling back to the supernatural; where better to look for the answers to nature than nature? For example, evolution and natural selection. Centuries of evolution and many natural selection events may have led to the design of our current form. Using naturalistic explanations we are able to gain hard evidence by use of fossils and an observed conservation in the DNA of many evolutionary ancestors, such as an 98% synteny (3) between humans and chimpanzees. Also why must there be a designer? If the designer is in fact perfect, surely this is further evidence of design by your same logic, and should lead to the designer of the designer and so forth.
Nadia: Congratulations you have created an infinite regression, which is of no use to us at all, which is as hard to envisage as an infinite series. You argue natural selection and evolution as if proven, however many links within the alleged origins of our species are still unaccounted for, even after hundreds of years of searching.
Ecats: Well the fossil record is far from incomplete and each day we find more evidence towards the theory.
Nadia: Consider a man being tried for murder, would a jury not convict the man on the strength of the argument that more evidence may turn up to clear his name at a later date?
Ecats: Possibly not, but the fact still remains there is still more physical evidence to support a naturalistic argument, than to rely on the explanation of creation through a supernatural being.
Nadia: Each to their own dear Ecats, each to their own.
1 Neither is totally functionless, the spleen creates lymphocytes and acts as a filter of red blood cells, the appendix also has immune functions and is utilised in digesting raw plant matter. Their functions are however non essential and the body can continue to survive without their presence.
2 Paley, W. (1802) Natural Theology, or Evidences of the Existence of a Deity Collected from the Appearances of Nature.
3 Presence of conserved genes between 2 different species of regions of chromosomes with the genes in the same order.