My atheist friend-8


15- September

Dear Sam

You said that my language skills are the reason that your hypothesis didn’t hold up and not the force of my hypothesis.

 

Here, I am going to try again and present my case to you in very simple words, and very short summary.

 

Considering:

Your hypothesis: there is no Intelligent Designer

My hypothesis: there is an Intelligent Designer

 

I started proving my case by showing you that:

 

1) Your hypothesis is impossible to prove.

 

2)  Adding that the possibility of that of mine is impossible to refute.

 

3) I proceeded by showing you that scientific evidence leans heavily towards mine.

 

4) Then I concluded that my hypothesis in the present day holds more weight hence it offers a more adequate explanation.

 

5) At the end I gave you a challenge that might shatter my case and solve the problems and contradictions that your case have, and that is if you prove to me that life can be produced in the lab; then that will mean that the problems that we face with having to explain life through natural law will vanish.

 

Life throws at us such an impossible challenge. It defies all the natural laws that we know of, it also defies our observation, and our logic; by moving -as you claim- spontaneously and purposelessly from total randomness into perfect order, from chaos into organisation, from simplicity into complexity, from futility and utter lack of commonsense into intelligence, from meaningless aimless situation into producing beings with purpose, morality, intelligence and beauty.

 

Dear Sam

your preference for natural explanations could be reasonable, but if you insist on not being open to the possibility that there may be an Intelligent Designer; while it is impossible to prove that there isn’t one. Therefore, your willingness to adopt such an a priori position, and hold that as superior to facts, reflects a philosophical fundamentalist position as rigid as a religious fundamentalist position.

 

Dear Sam, this is my case presented in simple words and logical order. What do you say?

 

 

———————————————————————————————-

 

15- September

Hi Nahida,

I will follow your format and try to keep this as a summary.

My hypothesis is impossible to prove.
Presumably the thousands of books, journals and articles detailing evolutionary processes mean nothing.  The tons and tons of fossil records are either fakes or misinterpretations.  The evolutionary timelines established by molecular geneticists through examining the
DNA profiles of different species are artefacts that have no relevance.
The thousands of scientists working in departments and disciplines whose sole function is to further develop evolutionary principles are all living in a fantasy world.  The list goes on and on, as you well know.

Actually you can prove the evolutionary processes yourself.  Take a culture of bacteria and introduce a genetic mutation, which gives the mutant an advantage over the rest of the colony.  You can then do the calculations and even follow the change in genetic profiles as the new strain emerges and the old one disappears.  Presumably the emergence of
antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria mean the creator/designer is still at work.

Yes, we are looking at a single trait or genetic mutation and the molecular distance between bacteria and mammal is very great, but the principle is established and much has been published on this process. Some stages in the process are well established, some are supported by limited evidence and some stages remains theoretical. Surely this
cannot be used to claim that vast body of knowledge in support of evolutionary principles is wrong.

Your hypothesis is impossible to refute.
You make a statement that something exists such a creator/designer and challenge me to prove that it does not.  Virtually every other situation would be approached from the opposite view in that the challenge is to prove that something exists.  I am not sure why the
question of a creator/designer should be treated differently and will deal with the evidence for or the lack of evidence for a creator/designer in the next section.

I take vitamin c supplements to keep me from getting colds.  When my doctor challenges me about the value of taking vitamin c, I simply say I have not had a cold since I started taking the supplement and therefore it must work.

I would be curious to know just how one might go about proving that something does not exist.

The scientific evidence supports your hypothesis
This is the most amazing of all your statements and one, which I simply do not understand.  I have gone through your emails and looked at the sites on intelligent design and I have yet to find one shred of evidence that proves the existence of a creator/designer.  All of your
so-called evidence consists of either gaps in our understanding of evolutionary principles or attempts to show that the level of complexity of life is so great that there can be no other explanation. Hence the often used expression defining intelligent design as “God of
the gaps”.

You are in effect saying that because I do not have a complete explanation for something, your explanation must be the correct one. That is certainly not proof that yours is correct.

You conclude that your hypothesis in the present day holds more weight hence it offers a more adequate explanation.

I can understand this if you ignore the fact that the vast majority of the scientific community accepts the validity of evolutionary principles, disregard the mountains of evidence on which they base this acceptance and then use “God of the gaps as your standard.

The challenge to prove that life can be produced in the lab
My background is that of a cell-biologist with my expertise being electron microscopy.  I spent many an hour peering through an electron microscope examining sections of everything from frog pituitary glands to the brain tissue of people who had died of malaria.  I have had no
formal training in evolutionary biology and my knowledge of biochemistry and molecular genetics is very limited.

Your challenge involves an extensive series of complex processes many of which are interrelated.  I noted before that some of these have been well established, some are supported by limited evidence and some remain theoretical.  Some of the best scientific minds in the world have spent their lives working on these processes and continue to do
so.
I am not quite sure how you expect me to surpass them.
I do however adamantly maintain that the lack of all pieces in the puzzle at this particular point in time, does not mean that they will never be successful in meeting your challenge.

I am not willing to accept the possibility of a creator/designer This is not true.  Some years ago I did a brief course in bioenergetics and we were given the formula for calculating Brownian motion. It allows you calculate the probability for the motion of molecules.
However it can also be used to calculate the probability that the chair sitting on the floor next to me will rise up.  Naturally the figure is ridiculous but there is a finite probability.

Thus I accept the possibility of anything. That Santa Claus will bring me a present on Christmas Eve, that I will win the lottery next week, that the moon is made of green cheese, that global warming will destroy the planet or that a plane will crash into the building as I write this email. The movement from the realm of possibility to fact depends on the evidence and this I have already covered.

This is my challenge to you.  I will acknowledge the possibility of there being a creator/designer if you acknowledge the possibility that there is none.

Sam,

——————————————————————————————-

15- September

Dear Sam

You challenged me saying:

 

This is my challenge to you.  I will acknowledge the possibility of there being a creator/designer if you acknowledge the possibility that there is none.

 

This is not a challenge, because right from the beginning of our dialogue dear Sam I said to you that all I have is faith; i.e. my certainty is nothing but faith.

 

You can read my words again; I just copied them as they are:

 

 My intention in writing this is NOT to prove beyond any shadow of doubt that God exists; rather I want to refute the atheistic claim that they dearly hold with a 100% certainty that God doesn’t exists, further I will try to put a logically valid and a scientifically sound case for the former.”

 

We as believers never claim that we hold “The Scientific Proof” of God’s existence; we say: “we only have faith”, “we believe”, we simply say: we have noticeable, accumulative, and logical verifications that support our faith.”

 

 

Dear Sam, I think you have set this challenge for yourself rather than for me, as I already declared that all I have is faith, and that my logic, my observation, and my limited knowledge of science adds weight to the scale of probability –in my view- of the existence of a Designer. Unlike you, I never claimed 100% scientific certainty.

 

My argument with you was to prove to you that you also have nothing but faith. To prove false all your attempts of claiming that your hypothesis is more scientific or that it is the only scientific explanation.

 

I wanted to -logically- shatter your certainty that there is no God; I wanted to show you that your faith of the none-existence of God is not a scientific fact and I proved to you that it is only a faith not science that you cling onto -dear.

 

Your challenge now that you offered to yourself is to acknowledge that your certainty is nothing but faith

Just like me

nahida

smile

The wife of my uncle is a Spanish atheist; I used to have very long and heated discussions about God ever since I met her when I was about 13 years old.

In our last dialogue she ended the conversation by saying in Arabic:  “khalas, inshallah ma fi Allah”

What she actually said means “enough, God willing there is no God”

Everyone burst out laughing

nahida

          —————————————————————————————–

 

16- September

Dear Nahida,

We have finally arrived at the heart of the problem or in this case the question of whether there is a creator/designer or not.
I can approach the question open to either possibility.
You can not.
And so Nahida, that is the reason why religion has no place in science.

Incidentally not all religious people take the same position as you.
There is a debate going on within the Catholic church about evolution with some bishops arguing that the church should accept evolution as fact.

I would be curious to know if the same debate is going on within Islam.
Are there in fact any Islamic scholars who argue that evolution should be accepted as fact?

Finally I think we have truly reached a point where we can agree to disagree.

Sam,

————————————————————————————————————————

16- September

Dear Sam

I am bemused at your final conclusion; you said you are open to either possibility, yet:

1) You want me to accept evolution as a “fact”, where does the other possibility go here?

2) Also you won’t accept teaching the other possibility to children; how is that for being open to both possibilities?

I have absolutely no problem with teaching evolution as long as it was taught for what it really is a “theory” with many holes and gaps and imperfections. Yet you do not agree with teaching the other possibility!

How can you call this being open?

 

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat & Sam Semoff -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

 

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