Hello

I am not trying invoke controversy in any way, I am merely seeking the opinion of the scientific community.

I know that evolution has taken place, is natural selection a proven fact, and if so does this not disprove that 'life was created by a god' I'm not saying it doesn't prove there is no god, but merely a 'intelligent designer'

In other words does science make is less likely that the universe and life has a natural origin, I do, but just wanted to seek a logical answer from scientific minds

thanks

Hi Simon, that is a very complicated question without a quick answer:) edit: Strictly speaking it isn't really a science question, but a philosophy question. I'll do my best to answer it, but it is important to recognise that some questions have lots of different potential answers when we have very little evidence to go on, and this represents only my view and not necessarily the scientific concensus on the likelihood of the universe being created by an intelligent designer.

Evolution does not predict how life began, it only deals with the processes that happen after self-replicating life has arisen. The step between life and non-life is called abiogenesis, but it isn't really a step. The line between chemistry and biochemistry is not sharp, it is very, very blurry. Only a degree of organisation and complexity separates the two. There is no magic elan or spirit which living things possess and inanimate things do not.

What we can say is that so far in all of the hypotheses and theories of science, the action of "god" has never been shown to be necessary to complete an explanation, and we therefore have no need for the god hypothesis. One of the stumbling blocks of formulating a god hypothesis of origins is the poorly defined nature of god. Without a definition, how can we hope to make definite statements on the nature or existence of god? But the main problem with it is that explanations that invoke a god are either infinite regressions or circular.

I'll explain what I mean.

edit: i deleted a paragraph about circular arguments because I did a terrible job at explaining! Sorry, I might try again in a another post:P

Now the infinite regression: Suppose that in a hypothetical world it is shown that natural selection and other naturalistic processes are not sufficient to account for all the complexity in the universe. This is often referred to as irreducible complexity, and also is kind of used in the fine tuning argument. Basically, IDers claim that an intelligent designer is the only explanation for the existence of complexity because beyond a certain threshold simple things cannot produce complex things. This does raise a new question though; if complexity must be created, what created god? This leads to an infinite series of creator gods, each creating the next. The escape from this logical trap is to claim that god is not complex but actually quite simple, which therefore means it could not have created the complexity it was being used to explain in the first place.

So in answer to your question, I don't think science makes it less likely that the universe was created by a supernatural being, because the likelihood of such a creation event has never been sufficiently defined to make such a probabilistic statement! How can we ever hope to do a meaningful comparison? All we have been shown is circular arguments, infinite regressions and faith-based convictions. Science is based on evidence, and there isn't any unambiguous evidence for a creator god.

That doesn't mean the question is settled for ever, there is always the possibility of new evidence changing what we know, and there are of course lots of people who disagree with what I've written above:)
Here are some links to start from so that you can reach your own conclusions.

http://www.talkorigins.org
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreducible_complexity
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe
http://biologos.org/questions/what-created-god
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleological_argument

Last edited by John Steemson (9th Oct 2014 11:04:30)