Malaysian Atheist

An avowed atheist living in Malaysia.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

God vs. Science: Time cover story

This week's (13 Nov 2006) US edition of Time magazine featured the "God vs. science" debate as its cover story. In recent months, atheism has been garnering plenty of media attention, due to the release of Richard Dawkins' book, "The God Delusion". Richard Dawkins is currently on a tour of North America to promote his book.

Hence, it's only fitting that the Time article feature a debate between Richard Dawkins himself and Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute and author of the book, "The Language of God". Dr. Collins is a Christian and believes that science is compatible with his faith.

Here are a few interesting excerpts from the debate:

COLLINS: By being outside of nature, God is also outside of space and time. Hence, at the moment of the creation of the universe, God could also have activated evolution, with full knowledge of how it would turn out, perhaps even including our having this conversation. The idea that he could both foresee the future and also give us spirit and free will to carry out our own desires becomes entirely acceptable.

DAWKINS: I think that's a tremendous cop-out. If God wanted to create life and create humans, it would be slightly odd that he should choose the extraordinarily roundabout way of waiting for 10 billion years before life got started and then waiting for another 4 billion years until you got human beings capable of worshipping and sinning and all the other things religious people are interested in.

COLLINS: Who are we to say that that was an odd way to do it? I don't think that it is God's purpose to make his intention absolutely obvious to us. If it suits him to be a deity that we must seek without being forced to, would it not have been sensible for him to use the mechanism of evolution without posting obvious road signs to reveal his role in creation?

From here, we may infer that Dr. Collins does not believe in intelligent design (ID). He believes in evolution by natural selection as the natural process that leads to the creation of complex organisms. Dr. Collins also does not disagree with Richard Dawkins (and with almost all scientists, for that matter), that the Earth is at least 4 billion years old. Meaning, he too doesn't believe in young Earth creationism - an idea that so many evangelical Christians subscribe to. But Dr. Collins believes that God created the laws of nature and twiddled the knobs of the universal constants that made life possible. He also believes that our human evolution has been guided by God's invisible hand, according to His will.

COLLINS: This is an interesting choice. Barring a theoretical resolution, which I think is unlikely, you either have to say there are zillions of parallel universes out there that we can't observe at present or you have to say there was a plan. I actually find the argument of the existence of a God who did the planning more compelling than the bubbling of all these multiverses. So Occam's razor--Occam says you should choose the explanation that is most simple and straightforward--leads me more to believe in God than in the multiverse, which seems quite a stretch of the imagination.

DAWKINS: I accept that there may be things far grander and more incomprehensible than we can possibly imagine. What I can't understand is why you invoke improbability and yet you will not admit that you're shooting yourself in the foot by postulating something just as improbable, magicking into existence the word God.
Here is a good point by Richard Dawkins. Religious people often ask, "How is life/intelligence possible without a designer? It is just too improbable. The only explanation is God." It's true that many scientific theories are incomprehensible and difficult for our minds to imagine, but if the alternative is a divine being; one that is complex, intelligent, outside of nature and space-time, able to read minds and hear prayers, then you are postulating something far more complicated and improbable.

COLLINS: There are sincere believers who interpret Genesis 1 and 2 in a very literal way that is inconsistent, frankly, with our knowledge of the universe's age or of how living organisms are related to each other. St. Augustine wrote that basically it is not possible to understand what was being described in Genesis. It was not intended as a science textbook. It was intended as a description of who God was, who we are and what our relationship is supposed to be with God. Augustine explicitly warns against a very narrow perspective that will put our faith at risk of looking ridiculous. If you step back from that one narrow interpretation, what the Bible describes is very consistent with the Big Bang.
Again, Dr. Collins says here that the Genesis account of creation cannot be taken literally. I think this point is important for many Protestants and evangelicals to take note of, since it comes from a reputable Christian scientist. But if you can't take Genesis literally, what about the rest of the Bible? Can a person still read the Bible and form his/her own interpretations or do you need the church to tell you how to interpret the Bible? But isn't this why the Protestant movement came about in the first place, because they believe that the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church obscured the teachings of the Bible?
DAWKINS: There could be something incredibly grand and incomprehensible and beyond our present understanding.

COLLINS: That's God.

DAWKINS: Yes. But it could be any of a billion Gods. It could be God of the Martians or of the inhabitants of Alpha Centauri. The chance of its being a particular God, Yahweh, the God of Jesus, is vanishingly small--at the least, the onus is on you to demonstrate why you think that's the case.
Another good point by Richard Dawkins. The reason Dr. Collins believes in Yahweh is mainly cultural. Had he been born into a Muslim family or a Buddhist family, he very likely will not be the Christian he is today.

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7 Comments:

At 1:10 PM, November 20, 2006, Blogger Seven Star Hand said...

Hello Meursault and all,

Here's my two bits on this intractable debate. Hope you and others can appreciate my efforts to provide a key to a true solution for humanity's seemingly never-ending cycle of struggle and despair.

Analyzing the Creator Debate

Did you ever consider that atheism arose because certain people saw that religious characterizations about the nature of an omnipotent "God" were seriously flawed and then concluded that religion and the Creator were the same things? This is the exact same conclusion at the base of religious beliefs; namely that the Creator and religion are inseparable. Consequently, both atheists and religious followers are arguing over a flawed assumption without considering that other possibilities negate the common core conclusion of both groups. These arguments are actually over religion and whether it represents a reliable model of reality. The answer to this question is of course not. Religion is not only flawed, it is purposely deceptive! Though atheists are certainly sincere in their conclusions, the fact remains that they and religious followers are locked in a debate that cannot be won by either side because both base their positions upon whether the same flawed premise is the truth. In order for this debate to conclude with a truthful answer, a greater level of discernment is required.

One apt clarifying question is, if someone tells lies about you, does that negate you or make you a liar or a lie? Certainly, the image cast about you would be a false one, but that is their image, not the real you. Consequently, faulty religious assertions about the Creator of this universe do not negate the existence of a Creator. Considering the possibility that this universe is not by chance leaves the door open to how it arose, which leads us to seek what could have created and maintained it. Since neither religion nor science has yet adequately answered this question, it is safe to conclude that those who argue about the Creator based on either are most certainly wrong about one or more aspects. Therefore, another point of view and additional knowledge are required.

Read More...

Peace...

 
At 9:01 PM, November 20, 2006, Blogger Meursault said...

Wow, pretty deep thoughts. I think there are many levels to this debate. One is whether or not there is a Creator. Second, IF there is a Creator, which religion is the right one. Both have been endlessly debated upon for ages. My aim is to apply simple, logical reasoning and to provide viable alternative explanations that does not postulate any God or gods. I also hope to point out many flawed reasons for believing, given by religious people (often out of ignorance). For example, I feel strongly that people should not be ignorant about things that have already been explained away by science. In any case, having these debates/discussions is good for exploring different views about life.

 
At 2:22 PM, October 22, 2010, Blogger Ibnu Yunus said...

Yeah,another debate blog..

I am a Muslim,fully believing in the Existence of a Creation.Here I want to point out one interesting point.

"Muslims cannot accept the existence of a thing (this Universe,contextually) without any Creator created it.So then,the existence of God,should have Creator,too".

Well,the idea you have read above is one of the most popular contention by atheists in facing Muslims.I have some ideas to rival that;

1.If then,what is the explanation of Universe?
Yeah,yeah,yeah.. stop mumbling about the Big Bang

To answer the Big Bang..

Stephen Hawking in his newest controversial statement said that "no God is needed to create the Universe",gravity's existence made this so much possible.Well,I have a few doubts to be answered:

a.Gravity is an interaction force between two or more MASSES.We agreed that no mass-not even Time-exist at the very Beginning.So,where did the gravity came from?

b.The third question is a conclusion towards the preceding.We are also agreeing that,the Universe is expanding with an accelerating rate.So,in what Space this Space grew?

2.Atheistic can explain this;

Premise A:Everything is created
Premise B:God is not "everything" as He does not exists

By combining both,we get:

"God is not everything,so He is not created"

Atheist's logic themselves had contradicted the "need of God to be created"..

To be honest,look at all the stars,planets and look into yourself.Do not you ever found yourself suffocated,desperately denying other's belief.Why?

I could say,that it is probably God's Way to keep Himself on the topic.Quoting two best atheists' life:

Jean-Paul Sartre was one of the leading proponents of atheism of the 20th Century. Yet Jean-Paul Sartre made this candid confession:
“As for me, I don’t see myself as so much dust that has appeared in the world but as a being that was expected, prefigured, called forth. In short, as a being that could, it seems, come only from a creator; and this idea of a creating hand that created me refers me back to God. Naturally this is not a clear, exact idea that I set in motion every time I think of myself. It contradicts many of my other ideas; but it is there, floating vaguely. And when I think of myself I often think rather in this way, for wont of being able to think otherwise"

“In 1885, the Duke of Argyll recounted a conversation he had had with Charles Darwin the year before Darwin's death:
In the course of that conversation I said to Mr. Darwin, with reference to some of his own remarkable works on the Fertilization of Orchids, and upon The Earthworms, and various other observations he made of the wonderful contrivances for certain purposes in nature — I said it was impossible to look at these without seeing that they were the effect and the expression of Mind. I shall never forget Mr. Darwin's answer. He looked at me very hard and said, “Well, that often comes over me with overwhelming force; but at other times,” and he shook his head vaguely, adding, “it seems to go away” (Duke Argyll, 1885, 244)


Think,my friend
Salaam and May God lead you..

 
At 2:22 PM, October 22, 2010, Blogger Ibnu Yunus said...

Yeah,another debate blog..

I am a Muslim,fully believing in the Existence of a Creation.Here I want to point out one interesting point.

"Muslims cannot accept the existence of a thing (this Universe,contextually) without any Creator created it.So then,the existence of God,should have Creator,too".

Well,the idea you have read above is one of the most popular contention by atheists in facing Muslims.I have some ideas to rival that;

1.If then,what is the explanation of Universe?
Yeah,yeah,yeah.. stop mumbling about the Big Bang

To answer the Big Bang..

Stephen Hawking in his newest controversial statement said that "no God is needed to create the Universe",gravity's existence made this so much possible.Well,I have a few doubts to be answered:

a.Gravity is an interaction force between two or more MASSES.We agreed that no mass-not even Time-exist at the very Beginning.So,where did the gravity came from?

b.The third question is a conclusion towards the preceding.We are also agreeing that,the Universe is expanding with an accelerating rate.So,in what Space this Space grew?

2.Atheistic can explain this;

Premise A:Everything is created
Premise B:God is not "everything" as He does not exists

By combining both,we get:

"God is not everything,so He is not created"

Atheist's logic themselves had contradicted the "need of God to be created"..

To be honest,look at all the stars,planets and look into yourself.Do not you ever found yourself suffocated,desperately denying other's belief.Why?

I could say,that it is probably God's Way to keep Himself on the topic.Quoting two best atheists' life:

Jean-Paul Sartre was one of the leading proponents of atheism of the 20th Century. Yet Jean-Paul Sartre made this candid confession:
“As for me, I don’t see myself as so much dust that has appeared in the world but as a being that was expected, prefigured, called forth. In short, as a being that could, it seems, come only from a creator; and this idea of a creating hand that created me refers me back to God. Naturally this is not a clear, exact idea that I set in motion every time I think of myself. It contradicts many of my other ideas; but it is there, floating vaguely. And when I think of myself I often think rather in this way, for wont of being able to think otherwise"

“In 1885, the Duke of Argyll recounted a conversation he had had with Charles Darwin the year before Darwin's death:
In the course of that conversation I said to Mr. Darwin, with reference to some of his own remarkable works on the Fertilization of Orchids, and upon The Earthworms, and various other observations he made of the wonderful contrivances for certain purposes in nature — I said it was impossible to look at these without seeing that they were the effect and the expression of Mind. I shall never forget Mr. Darwin's answer. He looked at me very hard and said, “Well, that often comes over me with overwhelming force; but at other times,” and he shook his head vaguely, adding, “it seems to go away” (Duke Argyll, 1885, 244)


Think,my friend
Salaam and May God lead you..

 
At 2:22 PM, October 22, 2010, Blogger Ibnu Yunus said...

Yeah,another debate blog..

I am a Muslim,fully believing in the Existence of a Creation.Here I want to point out one interesting point.

"Muslims cannot accept the existence of a thing (this Universe,contextually) without any Creator created it.So then,the existence of God,should have Creator,too".

Well,the idea you have read above is one of the most popular contention by atheists in facing Muslims.I have some ideas to rival that;

1.If then,what is the explanation of Universe?
Yeah,yeah,yeah.. stop mumbling about the Big Bang

To answer the Big Bang..

Stephen Hawking in his newest controversial statement said that "no God is needed to create the Universe",gravity's existence made this so much possible.Well,I have a few doubts to be answered:

a.Gravity is an interaction force between two or more MASSES.We agreed that no mass-not even Time-exist at the very Beginning.So,where did the gravity came from?

b.The third question is a conclusion towards the preceding.We are also agreeing that,the Universe is expanding with an accelerating rate.So,in what Space this Space grew?

2.Atheistic can explain this;

Premise A:Everything is created
Premise B:God is not "everything" as He does not exists

By combining both,we get:

"God is not everything,so He is not created"

Atheist's logic themselves had contradicted the "need of God to be created"..

To be honest,look at all the stars,planets and look into yourself.Do not you ever found yourself suffocated,desperately denying other's belief.Why?

I could say,that it is probably God's Way to keep Himself on the topic.Quoting two best atheists' life:

Jean-Paul Sartre was one of the leading proponents of atheism of the 20th Century. Yet Jean-Paul Sartre made this candid confession:
“As for me, I don’t see myself as so much dust that has appeared in the world but as a being that was expected, prefigured, called forth. In short, as a being that could, it seems, come only from a creator; and this idea of a creating hand that created me refers me back to God. Naturally this is not a clear, exact idea that I set in motion every time I think of myself. It contradicts many of my other ideas; but it is there, floating vaguely. And when I think of myself I often think rather in this way, for wont of being able to think otherwise"

“In 1885, the Duke of Argyll recounted a conversation he had had with Charles Darwin the year before Darwin's death:
In the course of that conversation I said to Mr. Darwin, with reference to some of his own remarkable works on the Fertilization of Orchids, and upon The Earthworms, and various other observations he made of the wonderful contrivances for certain purposes in nature — I said it was impossible to look at these without seeing that they were the effect and the expression of Mind. I shall never forget Mr. Darwin's answer. He looked at me very hard and said, “Well, that often comes over me with overwhelming force; but at other times,” and he shook his head vaguely, adding, “it seems to go away” (Duke Argyll, 1885, 244)


Think,my friend
Salaam and May God lead you..

 
At 2:23 PM, October 22, 2010, Blogger Ibnu Yunus said...

Yeah,another debate blog..

I am a Muslim,fully believing in the Existence of a Creation.Here I want to point out one interesting point.

"Muslims cannot accept the existence of a thing (this Universe,contextually) without any Creator created it.So then,the existence of God,should have Creator,too".

Well,the idea you have read above is one of the most popular contention by atheists in facing Muslims.I have some ideas to rival that;

1.If then,what is the explanation of Universe?
Yeah,yeah,yeah.. stop mumbling about the Big Bang

To answer the Big Bang..

Stephen Hawking in his newest controversial statement said that "no God is needed to create the Universe",gravity's existence made this so much possible.Well,I have a few doubts to be answered:

a.Gravity is an interaction force between two or more MASSES.We agreed that no mass-not even Time-exist at the very Beginning.So,where did the gravity came from?

b.The third question is a conclusion towards the preceding.We are also agreeing that,the Universe is expanding with an accelerating rate.So,in what Space this Space grew?

2.Atheistic can explain this;

Premise A:Everything is created
Premise B:God is not "everything" as He does not exists

By combining both,we get:

"God is not everything,so He is not created"

Atheist's logic themselves had contradicted the "need of God to be created"..

To be honest,look at all the stars,planets and look into yourself.Do not you ever found yourself suffocated,desperately denying other's belief.Why?

I could say,that it is probably God's Way to keep Himself on the topic.Quoting two best atheists' life:

Jean-Paul Sartre was one of the leading proponents of atheism of the 20th Century. Yet Jean-Paul Sartre made this candid confession:
“As for me, I don’t see myself as so much dust that has appeared in the world but as a being that was expected, prefigured, called forth. In short, as a being that could, it seems, come only from a creator; and this idea of a creating hand that created me refers me back to God. Naturally this is not a clear, exact idea that I set in motion every time I think of myself. It contradicts many of my other ideas; but it is there, floating vaguely. And when I think of myself I often think rather in this way, for wont of being able to think otherwise"

“In 1885, the Duke of Argyll recounted a conversation he had had with Charles Darwin the year before Darwin's death:
In the course of that conversation I said to Mr. Darwin, with reference to some of his own remarkable works on the Fertilization of Orchids, and upon The Earthworms, and various other observations he made of the wonderful contrivances for certain purposes in nature — I said it was impossible to look at these without seeing that they were the effect and the expression of Mind. I shall never forget Mr. Darwin's answer. He looked at me very hard and said, “Well, that often comes over me with overwhelming force; but at other times,” and he shook his head vaguely, adding, “it seems to go away” (Duke Argyll, 1885, 244)


Think,my friend
Salaam and May God lead you..

 
At 2:23 PM, October 22, 2010, Blogger Ibnu Yunus said...

Yeah,another debate blog..

I am a Muslim,fully believing in the Existence of a Creation.Here I want to point out one interesting point.

"Muslims cannot accept the existence of a thing (this Universe,contextually) without any Creator created it.So then,the existence of God,should have Creator,too".

Well,the idea you have read above is one of the most popular contention by atheists in facing Muslims.I have some ideas to rival that;

1.If then,what is the explanation of Universe?
Yeah,yeah,yeah.. stop mumbling about the Big Bang

To answer the Big Bang..

Stephen Hawking in his newest controversial statement said that "no God is needed to create the Universe",gravity's existence made this so much possible.Well,I have a few doubts to be answered:

a.Gravity is an interaction force between two or more MASSES.We agreed that no mass-not even Time-exist at the very Beginning.So,where did the gravity came from?

b.The third question is a conclusion towards the preceding.We are also agreeing that,the Universe is expanding with an accelerating rate.So,in what Space this Space grew?

2.Atheistic can explain this;

Premise A:Everything is created
Premise B:God is not "everything" as He does not exists

By combining both,we get:

"God is not everything,so He is not created"

Atheist's logic themselves had contradicted the "need of God to be created"..

To be honest,look at all the stars,planets and look into yourself.Do not you ever found yourself suffocated,desperately denying other's belief.Why?

I could say,that it is probably God's Way to keep Himself on the topic.Quoting two best atheists' life:

Jean-Paul Sartre was one of the leading proponents of atheism of the 20th Century. Yet Jean-Paul Sartre made this candid confession:
“As for me, I don’t see myself as so much dust that has appeared in the world but as a being that was expected, prefigured, called forth. In short, as a being that could, it seems, come only from a creator; and this idea of a creating hand that created me refers me back to God. Naturally this is not a clear, exact idea that I set in motion every time I think of myself. It contradicts many of my other ideas; but it is there, floating vaguely. And when I think of myself I often think rather in this way, for wont of being able to think otherwise"

“In 1885, the Duke of Argyll recounted a conversation he had had with Charles Darwin the year before Darwin's death:
In the course of that conversation I said to Mr. Darwin, with reference to some of his own remarkable works on the Fertilization of Orchids, and upon The Earthworms, and various other observations he made of the wonderful contrivances for certain purposes in nature — I said it was impossible to look at these without seeing that they were the effect and the expression of Mind. I shall never forget Mr. Darwin's answer. He looked at me very hard and said, “Well, that often comes over me with overwhelming force; but at other times,” and he shook his head vaguely, adding, “it seems to go away” (Duke Argyll, 1885, 244)


Think,my friend
Salaam and May God lead you..

 

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