Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Steven Sheffey (#8): The second Installment

First Post here

Third Post here

I believe that the entire concept of God is a human construct. While this may seem entirely dismissive of theistic religions, I believe the belief in God has certainly had its place in history, as the history of theism isn't entirely composed of bloodshed. At the beginning of human civilization, people needed a method of promoting unity. I believe that the primary way in which early civilizations did so was through the attribution of human characteristics to natural processes. For example, in ancient times, if there were a drought, famine, or scourge, many people would attribute this to the anger of the gods. In ancient times, this would have been perfectly acceptable, because without any sort of empirical methods or advanced technology, there was no way to know that droughts, famines, and scourges were natural products of shifts in climate and other environmental factors. Even now, groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church attribute natural disasters to the anger of god. In modern times, this is unacceptable, because we know better. To say that natural disasters are the result of the "anger of god" is to discount centuries of geologists who have performed experiments and carefully produced reasonable and evidence-backed theories as to why these disasters occur. While I have seen many atheists bash theists as "irrational", theists do some of the most rationalization of all sects of philosophy, despite the fact that they mostly use inductive reasoning. As I have been told by multiple theists in the past, if you assume the existence of an omnipotent god, everything makes sense. Logically, they aren't wrong. If you can attribute anything that you can not explain to some all-powerful unknown force, then nothing has to be explained, and the entire discipline of science is a monument to man's arrogance for "peering into the mind of God." I believe that attributing anything that one is unable to explain to an omnipotent being with dubious motivations stems mostly from either an unwillingness or inability to discover the complex processes that drive the universe. That is not to say that all theists are either stubborn or incapable of learning. There are plenty of phenomena in the universe that nobody has produced a satisfactory empirical explanation for. As far as I know, scientists still haven't figured out gravity factors into the contemporary model of physics. But rather than throw their hands in the air and attribute it to an omnipotent being, millions of scientists go to work every day and perform experiments to try to figure out how the universe works. Some would say that subscribing to modern scientific views like the "Big Bang" theory or the theory of evolution is a form of faith, and to an extent I can agree with this. However, it is a faith backed by decades to centuries of scientific research, peer-reviewed experiments, and the knowledge of hundreds of thousands of very intelligent men and women. If the Bible were peer-reviewed, I may be more inclined to believe in miracles or divine revelation, but for now, I'm more inclined to the scientific way of things.

(As a sidenote, please feel free to debate with me in the comments or in some other way. I love debating. The best way to form coherent belief systems is to put them against other belief systems in rational combat.)

3 comments:

  1. What makes you so sure that scientists have it all right, even though they haven't found answers behind creation and little evidence exist to support their theories? Could they be wrong?
    What purpose do we have if evolution is real?

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    1. Actually, there is plenty of evidence to support the theory of evolution. The reason the theory of evolution is so widely accepted is because study of organisms shows that natural selection drives the creation of species from simpler organisms. Based on fossil records, there is evidence that humans also developed from less complicated organisms, I.E. pre-humans, commonly known as "cavemen". While the fossil record doesn't have direct evidence of the "missing link" between pre-humans and primates, most of that research is done within the field of molecular biology, where we find that the genome between humans and various primates share remarkable similarities. As with any scientific theory, it's possible that the theory of evolution may be incorrect. However, I'm far more inclined to agree with scientific conclusions, because I could go out and see the fossils and genomic records myself. There is documented scientific evidence. As for purpose, I don't believe we have some divinely mandated or external purpose. We exist because we were born, but there isn't some external purpose of meaning driving that. If we want to create purpose for ourselves, that comes from within. Personally, I believe my purpose for myself is to contribute to humanity's body of knowledge in some way before I cease to exist.

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