36. Why do we only find advanced complexity in living things?

There’s no question that life is complex, but few (if any) other natural, non-living objects exhibit the same level of complexity. Why?

If God has no problem creating complex living things, then he should have no difficulty creating complex non-living things, like churches, buildings, roads, statues, machines, books, art, etc.

But if we strip away all the living and man-made objects from earth, we’re left with little more than gasses, water, dirt, rocks, magma, etc. It’s a very natural landscape that void of any clearly designed complex objects.

What might an intelligently designed world look like?

God could’ve created any number of non-living objects to convey intelligent design…

  • God could’ve constructed a few complex structures such as homes, churches, streets or buildings.
  • God could’ve written his own book, rather than inspiring others to write it for him (and God could’ve given copies to every nation in every language).
  • God could’ve created a few boats or bridges to help us cross seas and rivers.
  • God could’ve constructed a temple for the Jews, rather than instructing them on how it should be designed. He could’ve used rare materials such as crystal or diamond, or even some unknown element.
  • God could’ve carved out the Panama Canal in advance, and constructed a bridge spanning the top of it (surely God knew people would eventually want to cross through Panama).
  • God could’ve left large cubes of highly refined raw materials dispersed throughout the earth, so we wouldn’t have to sift through billions of tons of soil just to find them.
  • God could’ve carved faces in the mountains, or formed the continents into recognizable shapes, or used the stars to draw images that convey an important message.
  • God could’ve designed rocks to be shaped like Lego’s, in order to accommodate the easy construction of walls and homes.
  • Or God could’ve provided us with a magical portal to travel from one habitable planet to another, instead of constructing billions of worlds and then making them all off-limits.

Signs of intelligent design in space?

Looking beyond earth, we see a very natural Universe that also lacks clear signs of advanced complexity.

We see things like spherical stars and planets, but spherical shapes emerge naturally whenever gravity applies equal pressure to all sides of an object. And we see spiral galaxies, but these can also form naturally.

The landscapes of planets and moons also appear random and natural. Take our moon for example; if God directs the trajectory of every meteor that impacts its surface, he could’ve had them form a recognizable pattern (such as a smiley face).

Why would a designer even want to leave debris floating in space? Where it can crash into moons and planets at seemingly random times?

And why design entire galaxies that collide with one another? Wouldn’t a designer want to place enough distance between them so that this never happened? Such events give us the impression that nature is chaotic and random, not carefully designed.

Some believers might say that natural laws (e.g. gravity) exhibit intelligent design, but these laws are much more abstract. Is the speed of light or gravity really complex? Or does the our Universe just exist because these natural laws just happen to be what they are? (At least in this particular incarnation of our Universe.) Even if it’s true that God designed all natural laws, and all life, there is still an awkward gap where God does not design any large-scale objects that could also demonstrate complexity.

Would we even know design if we saw it?

In 1967, when Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Antony Hewish first discovered pulsating radio signals from space, they were open to the possibility that it could’ve come from an intelligent source. Astrophysicist Peter A. Sturrock writes:

“…when the first regular radio signals from pulsars were discovered, the Cambridge scientists seriously considered that they might have come from an extraterrestrial civilization.”

And in 1976, mankind discovered another potentially designed object, a face on Mars. And while it turned out to be nothing more than a few rocks and shadows, man had no problem recognizing that such a complex structure would require a designer.

When complexity presents itself, mankind seems ready to accept the possibility of an outside influence.

Big design vs. small design

Intelligent design proponents often point to large man-made objects such as cars, planes, buildings, computers, Mount Rushmore, etc. and say, “We can look at these complex objects and infer they were intelligently designed. If we can infer design with these object, then we can also infer it with complex living objects.” But this is an unfair comparison for a couple reasons.

What the intelligent design proponent should be doing is pointing to another like object, and saying, “And so this large, inorganic object that was not man-made was clearly designed by an intelligent designer!” But no such objects exist.

The laws are completely different between objects that form on a molecular level verses those that form at a macro-level. While it’s true that even single-celled organisms are complex, their complexity begins at a microscopic level, where complex repeating bonds and patterns are much more common than with objects on a larger scale.

We can see these repeating patterns in things like snowflakes, but we never see these kinds of complex repeating patters occurring in large-scale objects like mountains, canyons, rivers, or lakes.

Similarly, microscopic RNA can form patterns that are able to self-replicate. We do not see any kind of self-replication occurring on a larger scale.

Getting back to the point, while it would be impossible for natural forces to design something like a large car or a building, God has no such limitations. It’s just as easy for God to design a temple as a man, so why didn’t he? Why not design lots of large, inorganic objects that display creativity? It’s odd that we don’t see advanced complexity in large-scale inorganic objects, we only see complexity stemming from life.


When I look around, the only real complexity I observe stems from living things, which may owe their existence to their roots in the microscopic world. Earth’s landscape — and the entire Universe — seems void of any inanimate God-made objects that might clue us into his existence.

The idea that God would not want to design such objects almost runs counter to his creative nature. We have a God who says, “I’m the creative type; I’ll design countless numbers of complex life-forms that demonstrate my creativity and intelligence, but I absolutely refuse to design a single non-living things.” Odd.

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25 Responses to 36. Why do we only find advanced complexity in living things?

  1. rautakyy says:

    Well, we do not know the motives of a god. How could we, since we do not even know wether such an entity even exists? There are some people who have faith in such divinities, but even they do not know wether they exist or not. If they knew a particular god exists, it would make the free will and the idea of faith kind of moot points. There are these books and people who claim to know the motives of gods, but all they base their views on, is that the gods have revealed their motives in these scriptures and visions. Now, we have no way of measuring wether these revelations were in any way true, or if they were honest. Some people have faith that they were, but that only counts to wishfull thinkin.

    The only way to measure the veracity of these alledged claims by gods and their theological interpretations by humans, is by evaluating how well they correlate with our environment. When they are reduced to metaphors they often could be explained to correlate with just about any kind of environments. Even the simpliest claims are not without problems. For example, the claim that an all-powerfull god cares for every human individual and loves each one of them, is rather unplausible, when you look at the adversities some human individuals face (regarless of their faith). However, the point of the post was (if I understood correctly) why has a particular god not left more clues to nature about the alledged creation work actually being ID, or even of its own existance, so that it would appear more plausible to a greater number of people who are not simply culturally indoctrinated to worship this particular god, or ignorant of the realities of life, or simply plain old gollible. Did I get it right?

    The problem here would be, that even if there were more clues, and more people would find faith by looking at them, why would a benevolent all-creator set the system up so, that a part – any part – of the human population gets to be punished because they do not have faith in the existance of this entity, that never appears anywhere, when alledgedly it would have the power to appear to every one of us all the time everywhere? Could such an entity be described as ethical, when it is in the habbit of only appearing to those people who allready recognize it wholeheartedly? Why would a god offer evidence to those who have decided to believe in the existance of this deity even without evidence? Is that not helping those who do not need help and abandoning those who actually would be in need of help?

    • Hummm. It’s true that if faith is important to God (which it conveniently is), such structures would make it far too obvious that He existed. God — like all other gods – prefers to remain anonymous.

      Still… if ID proponents are saying, in essence, that “God can design with a complexity level of up to X without giving Himself away,” then we should also see complexity up to that same level occurring elsewhere in nature.

      To put it another way, if God says “I can create a tiny snowflake displaying complexity without giving myself away,” then he should also be able to say “I can create a complex mountain ranges, or buildings, or bridges, or stacks of raw materials” without giving myself away, yet he doesn’t. He seems to go out of his way to make complex life, but leaves everything else as random as possible.

      Our world and our Universe is either intentionally random in order to keep us from identifying God, or is random simply because there is no one to give it proper order.

  2. Me thinks the fact that this earth allowed life to form is so small that it is miraculous in on itself. Life forming planet. How likely is that?


    However life begin, it did begin. So formation of living things out of this non living. Strange or rather downright miraculous.

    Besides if there was a natural God’s cathedral you might not think it as such:


    I think it is more beautiful than any cathedral man could have made. Besides if God did let wind and rain create an exact copy of a Wesminster cathedral would you not take it as for granted and start asking why God did not create an iPhone 😉

    • Life indeed is complex, but I still say it’s unreasonable to insist that a highly complex God can exist by accident (or without cause,) while a lessor form of life (i.e. the cell) is impossible (see questions #5 and #6).

      If wind and rain were to suddenly create an exact replica of the “Westminster” Cathedral in some place like the Grand Canyon, I would indeed take this as a sign of intelligent design (though not necessarily God’s,) since something like that could not form naturally. I don’t think anyone would take it for granted. If Muslims can revere a black stone, I’m sure a natural clone of an existing cathedral would demand awe and reverence.

      While I do perceive the erosion of rock through multiple layers of strata to be beautiful, I don’t see it as a sign of intelligent design. It may be that it is designed, but it’s far too random to convey intelligence.

    • DanD says:

      Except that the fact that life has formed on earth is only remarkable because we are here to remark on it. Therefore the probability of intelligent life on earth is unity. This is the weak anthropic principal. We are only here to observe because the right conditions existed to create us to observe. This remains true regardless of whether we evolved or were created.

      The probability of intelligent life on an earth like planet may be any value from 1 to 1/(number of earth like planets), but using the earth as an argument to resolve that probability is begging the question, in that it can only be asked because it happened.

      Let’s say, hypothetically, that the probability of such is that it is only going to occur once in a given universe. Then, let us posit an alternate universe, identical to this one, except that the one planet with intelligent life is in the lesser Magellanic cloud. In what way is their existence, their observation different from ours? Practically speaking, it isn’t, which strongly indicates that the occurrence of intelligent life on earth is not miraculous, in that there is nothing unique about it.

  3. rautakyy says:

    I see no evidence of any intelligent design behind any forms of nature complex, or not. Rather the opposite of it. Life is a complex form of the nature itself, but so are solar systems and galaxies as such. Only on a macro level in comparrison to life on Earth.

    The observable universe has been estimated to have existed some13 billion years. It consists of innumerable amount of galaxies, like our own Milky Way, that consists of some 200-400 billion stars. Now, it is impossible for us at this point to know what could be found on the billions and billoins of planets in our galaxy alone, not to mention all the other galaxies. In that timespan and with these numbers life is more propable to exist in countless other worlds and different forms, than only on this one rock. Scientists are actually working to find different forms of life from our own solar system from bodies that are known to harbour the basic construction blocks for similar life as the one we have here on earth. However, life as we call it, could also be formed by other means than those on this planet.

    To explain it needed a supernatural entity to cause the universe, or life is the same as it was to explain a lightning by the wrath of such an entity. But as far as we know, like the lightning, life is a random natural phenomenon, that appears when particular terms are fulfilled. Now, the lighting is undoubtedly a far more simplier and frequent event in the universe than life, but that really does not make much differnce in these terms and timespans. The fact that laboratories have not yet achieved the exact correct conditions for life to appear means nothing, because it propably took billions of years on earth before the random natural lifeless elements formed anything even remotely resembling life. In laboratories we may simulate the conditions, but to get them exactly right must be extremely difficult, simply because we do not know for sure what they were. It is a leap into darkness to claim that these experiments failing thus far, would be any sort of proof, that the iron age book about how it all complex and simple just appeared magically, would be more plausible explanation.

    It would be extremely bold to state, that this universe was formed only for us humans by a creator entity, that made us in the very image of itself. While it may not have been a logical fallacy in eras when humans knew not of the universe and stars were not much more than pinholes in the curtain of night, it certainly is a very andropocentric and limited view in scope of things we today bear wittness to about the universe. If we are the image of that entity, we are a very limited and stunted model indeed. What is similar between us and the alledged creator entity? It is not human. It is insubstantial. It is said to be infallible. We are almost the opposite of these properties. Yet, it is also said to be loving, jealous and vengefull. Are these actual properties it has, or just a nother metaphor for something we are unable to understand in other terms eccept the behavioral models of us as the animals that we are?

    Most things in the universe happen randomly. Hence, if there is a universal designer to all this, what that designer designed was some very effective randomizing engines. Both natural universe and life in it are obviously very random. We seek to understand them through models, because that is natural to us as recognition of models creates order in the otherwise random events around us by forming behaviorial models, that help us to deal with the more frequent random events. That is why life is special in the universe. The actual mechanics of that recognition are varied and more complex life has more complex methods of this recognition.

    We say that animals act on instinct, but humans have intuition. However, the gene-instinct of an ant is far more simplier form of survival mechanics, than the actual ability to draw conclusions humans and for example birds share. But the ability to draw conclusions is not flawless. Both humans and birds also come to wrong conclusions. Superstition is a typical form of this. We think we recognize a pattern in our environment, though the event repeating was a mere coincidence.

    The complexity of the universe is the base without wich there could not exist life as we know it, but to us it would seem like the inanimate nature is only a plate on wich the main course of life is served. However, that is naturally our perspective as we are living organisms. It does not mean that it is an objective truth. In our existance we are the ones that give value for beauty in life and nature. What value has a rainbow, if there is no one to see it? It seems that if there actually is a creator being, that designed us, we were designed to be more like an audience to the marvel of the “design” of the universe, than a secondary creator entity.

    For some reason we were designed to be able to draw wrong conclusions. If this designer of the universe is the entity of a particular religion, then we also may get an eternal punishment (eternal not 13 billion years, but eternal) from the worng conclusions we have drawn from the environment, or more often from our cultural backround. So, in that scenario we are faced with an unethical entity.

    • Boxin' Horned Saint says:

      Get out of your atheist ghetto a bit. How likely it is that this universe produced life?

      You draw very bold conclusions without a single piece of evidence to back your point up. I see only your good guess here that this life was not formed by God. In my opinion it would be very bold to state that we were NOT created by God. So how is your perception of things perhaps more valid than mine? Your evidence is lacking sir.

      And the problem you refer last is theodicy and has been discussed since the advent of the christianity. Thus there are many theories. Which none you are interested in hearing. There will just be a repetition of the same atheist mantras. Thus this makes discussion hard even impossible.

      Not that I’m mad at you or anything but it’s just the way I learned it is after discussing many issues here. What I’d like to see her is an “aha” moment where you openly admit that there is other opinions than yours and they are as valid as yours. Then we can continue..

      • rautakyy says:

        My dear BHS, I have had several “aha” -moments in my life. I hereby openly admit, that there are several other opinions than mine. I do not see how there could not be other opinions, unless I was the last person on earth, wich sounds like a very undesirable option. As to their validity, I am only ready to go as far to say that they might be true and I might be wrong. That has happened to me several times. I do not claim to hold all the information in this world and especially not in this universe. I would also remind you, that it is I who says, and has several times before said, we do not know the absolute truth in these matters. Faith based world views however seem to be based on the trust in the absolute validity of some particular supernatural explanation. Correct?

        Do you honestly think, that for example the Baghavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, the Kalevala, the Edda, the Koran, the Mahabharata, the Book of the Mormon, or the Torah alone without the New Testament could be equally valid as the Christian Bible? Or even the many different interpretations of the Bible by different sects of Christians throughout the centuries it has existed? To me these are all equal.

        I am sorry that you would see my opinions as “atheist mantras”. However, I do not follow any atheist media, nor have I read any atheist books. If I have come to the same conclusions as some other atheists, I have done so very much on my own. I am no island and may have learned something from an atheistic thinker, but I bet I have also learned a lot from many religious minds also.

        I do not know where do you get the idea, that I was not interrested in the various explanations to such questions I have posed myself (I am very much interrested in all different answers people might give to the 500 questions as it seems no god is going to answer them anyway). After all, I have read all the links you have provided and even commented them often. Perhaps it is because I have undermined the authority of theologians answering theological questions. You see, the problem is not wether theologians can answer any of my questions, or “the 500 questions” by our gracious host, or not (wich is more often the situation), but rather why is it their job to do so. Why are the gods not answering, but need some particular individual human beings to do the dodging for them? It is a logical fallacy to claim that gods will answer personally only after you have allready wholeheartedly accepted a particular explanation and have faith on it. That is not a very good method to reach any objective conclusions. Is it?

        The general consensus of scientists seems to be very much inclined to think that it is quite likely that this kind of universe is able to produce life in several different forms even by a mere chance. It is understandable even to a layman such as myself as the basic building blocks of life exist everywhere in the universe and the extreme amounts of time awailable for this to have happened. This is so dispite the fact, that most scientists in the world come from indoctrinating personal backrounds where some form of religion and the existance of this or that divine entity has been seen as unquestionable truth. The USA wich is the most religious western country today, is spending billions of dollars in the search for life in our own solar system, all the while the scientists who are doing the research acknowledge the fact that it is a remote chance in comparrison to the almost limitless possibilities of life in the billions of worlds outside our solar system.

        There is no doubt that we may claim our own intelligence and ability to understand the causality in the vast universe is somewhat rare from our own subjective perspective as the distances are so vast for us as individuals.

        I rather thought I have given ample evidence to back up my opinions. Would you please state what kind of evidence have I failed to provide you with?

      • On the subject of designed life:

        Even if we could prove beyond all doubt that life was designed, it still wouldn’t prove the designer was a god. And even if we could prove that it WAS a god, it still wouldn’t prove that this god had anything to do with the Old Testament. And even if we could prove He did inspire the OT, it still doesn’t prove the New Testament.

        So, while we may choose to believe that life was designed, and it was designed by God… who also inspired the Old Testament… and impregnated a Jewish virgin with His son… so that He could be crucified… to save us all from Himself, we must at least admit that this involves a shitload of speculation and faith, and that something entirely different may also be possible.

        The elements that make up life are not unique in our Universe. In fact, they make up some of the most common active elements in the Universe. If all matter in the Universe has always existed in some way, shape or form, then we exist in a cosmic lottery, where eventually every combination of numbers is drawn. It’s not luck, it’s not an accident, it’s not design, it’s just probable.

  4. rautakyy says:

    The role of divine has changed along science evolving into more precise tool to interprete the reality around us. What might be the actual reason why gods (all of them) are hiding from humanity?

    Could it be, that in days past, when people wittnessed such natural events as comets, earthquakes and lightnings – just for example – they were quite sure it had to be something unexplainably powerfull ie. the gods behind these phenomenon? They had no other explanations, and they really did not need to think much about the appearance of life nor the universe, because the mighty powers, that caused earthquakes, death and storm had to be the explanation. To deal with these overwhelming threats, they imagined them to be the result of personifiable gods who have unique motivations and who could be appeased by offering them something valuable as a trade for not to cause the obviously random wrath to fall upon themselves. Why would any actual god or a creator entity ask for an animal (or a human) sacrifice? And what purpose could that possibly serve?

    Or is there a nother reason why humanity has come up with literally thousands of gods?

    Today gods need to be apologised. Their unethical advices and laws, need to be excused by their adherents, since our modern morals does not understand slavery and genoside as good things. It is ethically questionable to claim that as a source of morals gods have the right to ask mankind just about any horrific things.

    Since the scriptures and legends of gods are either just made up stories from past cultures, or wild and hardly understandable metaphors of something completely else. Gods have reached a point where their continuous non-appearance needs to be excused by some form of necessity. We no longer can say that there has to be Thor, since where does thunder come form, if he does not exist. The divine existance is today explained by an alledged need for a creator entity. But since we really have no way of knowing wether such a creator is indeed necessary, nor that it has anything to do with any of the particular gods described by different human cultures, it is a silly excuse to choose to worship any particular god. But people do choose to do so continuosly, not so much out of some form of understanding their role in the universe, rather out of traditional habit that comforts them when facing hardship.

    A nother excuse and alledged need for a god to exist is the claim that a god is the source of objective morals, but since only way to measure any morals to be objective, is to apply human ethics, then any gods determining morals is a secondary – and indeed unnecessary – method of finding what is right, or wrong in comparrison to the logic of natural ethics.

    The actual moral question is, that if the gods have chosen to hide from us. So well that they are not giving themselves away by any natural phenomenons (like the lightning, or earthquakes, complexity of life, or lack of it in rest of the nature). If their signature is not readable in the environment by all, then how do we dear to try and find out anything about them? Is it not prying into things they obviously meant for to remain hidden from us? Gods seem to be determined not to interfere in human violence, even when it is motivated by a firm faith in the gods, so how could we even imagine, they are in the least bit interrested in interfering any other part of our lives. If they are not interrested in preventing the most horrible actions taken in their name, why would they be interrested in sending prophets to turn people to have faith in this or that god? How does oen make a difference between a true and a false prophet? If a person feels to have a connection to a god, how does that person really know that is true? Is there a significant indicator, that reveals when the person is infact in contact with a god and not with a demon, or just with his/her subconscious? What kind of god would reveal itself only to this person and some of his/her buddies and leave others totally blind about it, especially if this god has rigged the system so, that those who are not aware of the existance of such a god will suffer for an eternity?

    • Yes, it is a bit of a quandary: God wants to draw us to Himself, while at the same time not providing any proof of His existence (for uncertain reasons). Apparently He can inspire the Bible, send miracles upon the ancients, design complex life, and send His only son… but draws the line at doing anything that would provide proof for modern audiences.

      But why? To preserve our free will? Did Adam have free will? If no, then it was not his choice to eat of the forbidden fruit, for he had no free will. If yes, then we can have free will in a perfect garden, and there was no need to exile Adam. Likewise, God can send down fire on sacrifices of the ancients without destroying their free will, but not without destroying ours.

      We could certainly use some clarification over what the truth is. Why not clear this up by appearing to us and saying “Here I am, and I do indeed exist. I did create you, but I’m not going to force you to love me; all I can do is be a super-decent guy and hope that you do. But if not, you’re welcome to live apart from me in the afterlife. I will allow you to design your own place to your own specifications, or you can choose to return to non-existence.” Now THAT’S a free will choice!

  5. Aradia says:

    I just would like to thank our host for providing this place to discuss these very interesting issues. So far these discussions have been very enlightening It is very much appreciated good sir.

  6. Aradia says:

    So I know I am new around here but this is a subject that I find very interesting. As far as this particular question, I would have to agree with our host. Why is it that complexity is only found in living things. If the God of the bible is to be fully believed and the bible is to be taken literally, this brings many logical and ethical issues to life. Why would a God that supposedly loves us all in spite of our supposed numerous flaws, not want to give us every chance at salvation. I mean a constellation that spells out the words “Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior to Get into Heaven” in every language from the past present and future, would not be too much to ask of a supposedly omnipotent, omniscient and loving God. The argument that this would undermine our faith is completely illogical. This rule seems to only apply to modern times. Where was this rule with Sodom and Gomorrah? Or with Noah and the flood? Wouldn’t telling Noah to build a boat for an impending flood, seriously undermine Noah’s faith, according to this rule? But it obviously didn’t. If anything it strengthened his faith. Just my two cents on the subject.

    • Indeed, the rules have changed. Why these things didn’t destroy the free will of the ancients, but would destroy ours, I have no idea — it’s a bit of a double-standard. I sure wouldn’t mind seeing someone walk on water, or turn a staff into a snake, or call fire from heaven, or turn a woman into salt (if she really deserved it). Heck, I’d even settle for a talking donkey… but no. God won’t even send down fire and brimstone down on Las Vegas, and that place is asking for it.

      Some apologists say God only did miracles at certain times to mark certain events, but this just seems like a cop out. But that’s God for ya, going out of His way to avoid detection.

      Assuming God doesn’t exist, could we ever prove it? It’s such His nature to hide, that even if there were a complete and total lack of evidence, one could still reason “Yep, that’s exactly how God works!” *sigh*

  7. rautakyy says:

    If the nature is a designed creation of a single god and human being is the image of that god (in some strange way), why is the creation so complex, it undermines the free will? Humans are very complex physical, sociological and psychological constructs. A great many people suffer from a number of mental disorders. For example both religious and less religious people are subject of possibly having schitsophrenia. How is a person totally out of mental balance supposed to be equally able to make the right guess about wich god to worship and how? This of course pre-supposing there is an equal opportunity for sane people to come to the correct conclusion in this guessing game. And remember, that it is very often that these same mentally ill people claim to have had the stangest orders from a god. There was this one fella who came to the museum where a friend of mine works and claimed he was ordered by god to re-instal the electricity. If we are to assume, that any person has ever had a contact with the supernatural, what right do we have to second guess this person who was so very much convinced of having a direct link to god? Perhaps some god had decided to act through him, or perhaps he was just plain insane. How to tell the difference?

    If mentally ill individuals are given some leeway in matters of salvation, then where does the line go between those people who choose the wrong gods out of insanity, temporary insanity, or cultural tradition? What if you are a part of cultural tradition that causes you to grow up to be a derailed individual? There have been human cultures that systematically produced arrogant, fascistic, sadistic traits in human beings. In fact even today it is almost impossible to find a human culture that does not subject a part of the population on indoctrination of how to kill other humans and even admire, such deeds as heroism. Human societes and their rulesystems like laws take a certain kind of approach towards these people out of necessity. If we could teach a psychopat, a narcist, or a sociopath not to be what he is, we would, but is it possible for a god? If it is possible, then why let these people appear among human societies in the first place? If it is impossible for a god to change their inner quality, what choise did they ever have?

    Also for a nother example is how our biological complexity causes some of us to have a cancer. Now, there are those we know who have willingly subjected themselves to the risk of certain kind of cancer, but most people who are sick with cancer have not made any particular choises in their lives to end up with such ailment. Sometimes one runs into stories by the believers, that they were saved from this terrible illness by the grace of this or that god and most believers who belong to the same religion take it as granted, not only that this is the case, but that it serves as positive proof of a benevolent entity. However, are they not also implying, that all the people who die by cancer are somehow less loved by the very same god? Does the fact that those who pray fervently also die of cancer just like those who do not?

    If we are the results of ID, then it was a pretty sloppy job, since there are so many obvious production flaws, most of wich have nothing to do with the free will, but actually seriously work against it in individuals.

    • I’m convinced that if there is a God, (and a hell,) that He would HAVE to work on a complex sliding scale. He’d have to take into account your culture, your mental capacity, what information you received, etc. Otherwise, God would be unfair. The only other way for God to be fair would be to give everyone the exact same experience.

      Schizophrenia, to me, suggests that we ARE our brain. When something tampers with the brain, it can change who we are.

      I’ve been reading Isaiah 53 lately, and struggling with the same question – how do you tell if someone is a prophet of God or not? The Biblical test is that 1) his prophecies come to pass, and 2) he doesn’t instruct you to follow other Gods. But I’m not entirely confident that this is a reliable test. There are plenty of fortune tellers who make it look like they can predict the future, but I wouldn’t say this was proof that they were all hearing from God.

      Furthermore, this ability is easy to test, just ask any prophet to predict 100 coin tosses in advance. If he can do it with 100% accuracy, he’s likely in touch with God. But no one in the Old Testament ever applies this test, prophecy must be allowed to operate by its own rules in order to seem successful. Prophecy seems convincing, until put it to a simple empirical test.

      Miracles are another fascinating proof offered by Christianity (one I will definitely be getting into later). But yes, a certain number of people WILL recover naturally. If that number is only 1%, but 100% pray for healing, then only the 1% will live on to say “The Dr. said I had cancer, then I prayed, and God healed me!” This wouldn’t sound so impressive if their testimony was followed by 99 other people saying “The same thing happened to me, but I died!”

      • rautakyy says:

        This is a bit beside the point of the topic, but on the subject of prophesies you might find this amusing. Here in Finland where I live people are fairly secular, but we also have our religious conservatives and more fundamentalist Christian movements. Now, an elderly Christian lady said on the local radio channel, that she knew of a prophesy made in Sweden in 1996, wich said that the Russian Jews would pour into Finland seeking refuge and that in their wake the Russian army with tanks would follow. She claimed that the prophesy said the Finns had no guns (rather obscure why would that be) and no-one would come to the help of Finland and that those Russian troops would eventually pour into Sweden and Norway. She was remarkably convinced, that this would all take place next year. She was the only person in the studio, so it was a program run by her. Hence there was nobody to challenge her, not even to ask her who had made this prophesy. But it was clear that she was convinced by it and she pleaded her audience to follow Jesus to awoid hell when this terrible war and ensuing end of the world came upon us (of course the world will end if Finland is occupied by Russia).

        The average Finns regardless, if they consider themselves Christian, secular or atheist, would think this woman is a crackpot, or that her menopause had propably got her a bit offguard. However, if we think that it is possible for people communicate with a supernatural entity, that interferes in human lives and the rest of the world to make most extraordinary events happen, how do we know the difference between a looney and a serious prophesy truly inspired by a god? What if we would not only think prophesies possible, but we were certain that they are not only real, but the way our creator entity is mainly communicating with us on the present world?

        I suppose it is typical for such prophesies that the makers of these wild claims are nowhere to be subjected to any testing of their ability to actually predict the future. The thing is that, people believe in such prophesies even without any testing. Somebody paid for the radiotime she used to advocate Jesus and the Russians invading Finland next year, so it was not just her who had taken this prophesy for serious. Since she migth be of the generation (judging from her voice), that as a child has experienced one or even two attempts by the Russians to invade Finland this has propably traumatized her. Has her religion not also traumatized her, since she was convinced, that this war would be also the end of the world and prequel to the second coming of Christ? Are gods not responsible for contacting humankind so that humans could have an actual method to know wich prophesies are actually from a god and wich are not?

        • Amazing. I have to hand it to this woman for being so specific. Most prophecies are more vague, or don’t come with a deadline, so they can never be disproved. Though even Jesus set a deadline, saying that he would return within a generation, and that some of the people there would not taste death. But all this was reinterpreted after he failed to return.

          Being raised Pentecostal, prophecies were very much a part of our everyday life. My mom used to pray with a friend of hers, who said the end of the world was coming, and we needed to memorize scripture because they would soon take our Bibles away (not sure who “they” were… maybe the Russians?) Still waiting for someone to come take my Bible away. 😦

          Perhaps worse, my mom was told by her pastor that my father, who had left her for another woman, would become saved and they would be reunited. She believed this pastor heard from God, and prayed for this to come to pass every day for roughly 10 years, and it actually did happen! Only… he never became saved, and they were divorced 1 year later. She then blamed herself, saying she should’ve waited for him to become saved before they remarried.

          It was this kind of nonsense that started to turn me off to the whole idea. People’s lives were being turned upside-down by these prophecies that were pure bunk, these messages wern’t coming from God at all! And whenever prophecies failed, as they often did, people would just say “Well, I guess I wasn’t hearing God correctly that time.” Good grief.

          So if I were this woman, I might say likewise, that “I must not have been hearing God correctly.” Or I might go with the old “Our prayers must have stopped the Russian invasion!” Or maybe “I had the date wrong, God didn’t say next year, he said sometime in the future.” Or she could go the spiritual route and claim “The Russian’s actually represent evil, and have invaded us spiritually and caused us to turn from God.” Excuses, excuses.

          • rautakyy says:

            Actually that particular lady did ad a funny disclamer saying, that a lot of people have said along the years the world will end next year, though in retrospect it has not ended yet. But she also added, that eventually it will end and it could be next year. To be precise she did not say those previous predictions were prophesies, but she was convinced that the one she uttered was one. Perhaps her previous experience of prophesies not being fullfilled made her a bit cautious.

            This is interresting sociological phenomenon, that not only the few looniest individuals choose to believe something, that obviously has no correlation with the reality, but great mass movements of civilized and even educated people believe in similar, or allmost as silly notions. What it correlates to is the firm faith these people have on this or that superstitious beliefs they have been indoctrinated to, often from childhood and their own backround culture. It would be too easy to say these people choose to believe in something that provides them hope, or what they see as otherwise good. But who would see the end of the world as a good thing? I mean that has to be the most desperate expression of hope ever. Yet, there lies a very clear and present danger also. If some religion advocates the end of the world as a good thing, eventually – given that we today literally have the means to actually achieve it by mere human action – adherents of such a religion might start to act to achieve it. To make the prophesy of the end of the world come true, as they sincerely expect it to be a good thing to happen. Many prophesies have been actively brought to come into reality by human action, like the return of the Jews to Palestine and the forming of the state of Israel.

            Yes, I bet the lady will claim she and those who share her beliefs stopped the Russian invasion by praying later, but why would a god interfere to stop humans from doing something like that, when the same god does not stop other horrible events in the world, or has no-one ever prayed for the famon in Africa to stop, or the process of desertification to stop?

            I have sometimes reffered to the belief of Santa and fairies as similarly silly as the religious faiths I know about, but the comparrison does not do credit to Santa and the fairies, nor indeed to the invisible pink unicorn ;). The religions are mostly silly enough on their own even without these comparrisons. There are millions of people who actually believe, that a benevolent god is healing someones athlete’s foot, or constipation because these people prayed to the said god, but is totally uninterrested to help the starving masses or millions of people without clean water? That the creator entity wich is the alledgedly the sole cause of the universe and who existed outside the material universe had to rest rest a bit after creating all matter and energy out of nothing and that this same entity had a flesh and blood son? I mean, when I think about it, suddenly Santa does not seem like such a wild and bold claim at all.

            Anyway, back to the topic. If the complexity of the life in the nature is some sort of testament to a particular god, or gods, then why is it so frail and in all its complexity so very incomplete? We humans obviously like to complement ourselves by many things we feel we do not have any proof of, but to say we are the very images of a creator entity responsible for all the galaxies, must be one of the most arrogant and ego-centered and nonsencical claims ever. Yet, people choose to believe it, not because they are compelled by logic, but because it pleases them to think so big about themselves, and because in confirms their world view where they themselves are at the very center. No logic says that we are the center of the universe and its billions of galaxies, not even if we see ourselves as the dominant species on this small planet, that has evolved lifeforms crawling on its surface, including us.

            It seems to me, that most critique towards the achievements of science come from not understanding them at all. Or even from choosing not to understand them. While at least a good part of critique towards different religious beliefs comes from understanding them better than those who revere them.

  8. Steve says:

    There is a wealth of evidence pointing to the conclusion that God does exist. He has demonstrated this in so many ways to people prepared to accept Him that I am astounded at His ability to make himself obvious to the humble but hide himself from the proud and haughty. It is obvious from examining the evidence that anyone WILLING to acknowledge him as who he is, is amply reasonable in doing so.

    Evidence is not proof. Evidence needs to be interpreted and evaluated before a conclusion is drawn. This is based on values, personal bias and emotion. Evidence is objective, conclusions are subjective. I believe based on evidence, but my belief in itself is my personal conclusion and cannot be offered as objective evidence in itself. The same applies to all kinds of conclusions people draw. Some beliefs (i.e. that astoundingly complex living organisms can appear spontaneously from non-living material), have no objective evidence to support them, but are held tenaciously by their proponents never-the-less.

    The astounding complexity displayed in living organisms is such that any reasonable person must come to the conclusion that a super intelligence was involved in their design. This is only one of a plethora of examples of evidence pointing to God. But pride and unwillingness proves to be the primary stumbling block to proud humans, just as scripture asserts.

    • Hi Steve,

      “There is a wealth of evidence pointing to the conclusion that God does exist.”

      Great! Let’s hear it!

      “I am astounded at His ability to make himself obvious to the humble but hide himself from the proud and haughty.”

      Oh… so even if you give me the evidence, I guess I’ll be too blind to see it. How vexing.

      I don’t suppose it would make any difference to say that I humbled myself before the lord for over 30 years, and was as a sincere believer as anyone I knew. While God seemed obvious to me at the time, just as he seems obvious to you now, I had never honestly considered any arguments to the contrary.

      If God only reveals himself (figuratively speaking, of course) to those who believe, then how do we know these people aren’t just confirming their own bias? Like believers in other religions who also have spiritual experiences?

      “Evidence is not proof. Evidence needs to be interpreted and evaluated before a conclusion is drawn. This is based on values, personal bias and emotion.”

      Correct, evidence is not proof, and God isn’t exactly in the business of providing proof (e.g. showing himself, moving objects to confirm he is present, sending fire from heaven or parting seas in modern times, healing people on a testable basis, etc.), so evidence is all we have to go on.

      I’ve come to believe that God is not providing proof not because he has chosen to hide, but because there is no proof to be had. God’s existence must be defended with a thousand unfalsifiable claims (e.g. “Seeing God would kill you,” “God wants you to have faith without any proof,” “God no longer does these kinds of miracles,” “God doesn’t like to be tested”, and so on). But any of these defenses could be used to defend any non-existent god.

      Christians (or believers in any religion, for that matter) tend to draw their conclusions first, and then seek evidence to support those assumptions.

      For example, no scientist would examine the evidence of earth’s history and conclude that all animals must’ve been created at the same time, and then killed in a single global flood, with only two of every kind (the millions of species that survived the 1-year trip aboard a boat) migrating away from the Middle East. Even Christian scientists have turned away from these Biblical explanations when presented with contrary evidence.

      With science, explanations can change as more information becomes available, and this is the most intellectually honest way to root out the truth. Religions tend to be more dogmatic, the story must always remain the same, it’s the interpretation of the evidence that is wrong. Scientists try to follow the evidence to a conclusion, while Christians tend to lead the evidence to the desired conclusion.

      “Some beliefs (i.e. that astoundingly complex living organisms can appear spontaneously from non-living material), have no objective evidence to support them, but are held tenaciously by their proponents never-the-less.”

      Likewise, I could just as easily say, “Some beliefs (i.e. that a astoundingly complex god can just exist without any cause, and without a physical body), have no objective evidence to support them, but are held tenaciously by their proponents never-the-less.

      “The astounding complexity displayed in living organisms is such that any reasonable person must come to the conclusion that a super intelligence was involved in their design.”

      Again, please explain what super-intelligence was involved in God’s design. If it is reasonable to accept that an incorporeal and supremely complex god can exist without cause, then it is also reasonable (in fact, more so) to accept that a far-less complex organism could also exist without cause. Not only that, but we actually have proof that it exists, which is pretty important.

      Life is complex, it’s true, but we know molecules can create repeating patterns, and once that happens, trillions of cases of trial-and error can act like an intelligent designer (though one that still makes a lot of mistakes).

      It may be rare, we really don’t know, but in a Universe filled with trillions of planets, and innumerable molecules, and nothing but time, eventually even the seemingly improbable becomes possible.

      Take care,

      • stevekos07 says:

        “There is a wealth of evidence pointing to the conclusion that God does exist.”
        Great! Let’s hear it!

        Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

        God is not a “thing” but a person. And not just a person, the almighty and everlasting One. And he is infinitely more intelligent and wise than you or I. He does not need you but because of his love he makes himself available to you if you seek him with humility. He doesn’t need to prove himself to you! You have ample evidence in front of you (in creation) and in your heart (your conscience and ability to reason). Even the fact that you have a heart and mind is more than ample evidence for God’s existence.

        Likewise, I could just as easily say, “Some beliefs (i.e. that a astoundingly complex god can just exist without any cause, and without a physical body), have no objective evidence to support them, but are held tenaciously by their proponents never-the-less.

        Once again, you have evidence but refuse to accept it because your heart is hard. You can seek after Him and he will definitely will reveal himself to you, but if you demand that he dance to your tune he will persist in hiding himself from you. He is a master at revealing himself to the humble but hiding himself from those who are full of pride. Pride and unbelief are the greatest of sins, and it requres God’s grace to even realise that they are at work in your life.

        Micah 3:4
        Then they will cry out to the LORD, But He will not answer them Instead, He will hide His face from them at that time Because they have practiced evil deeds.

        Who are you to make demands of God?! If He were to reveal his full glory to you, you would instantly evaporate like a vapour. You had better pray that God reveals himself to you in love and gentleness, and not according to what your sins deserve.

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