Seeking to Define the Essence of the Difference
Between "Evolution" and "Creation"
10. THE "I AM RIGHT" "YOU ARE WRONG" PARADOX
Recently i have been doing some work around the dynamics of the breakdown of marital relationships.
In particular, i have recently been seeking to address situations in which a husband and wife have fundamentally opposite views.
One of the observations i made was that in situations of real tension, i have encountered cases where the situation presents more or less as follows:
1) The husband states that he loves his wife BUT on the particular point in dispute she is entirely at fault and in error.
2) The wife states that she loves her husband BUT on the particular point in dispute he is entirely at fault and in error.
In other words, she believes he is 100% in error and he believes she is 100% in error.
Recently i found myself confronting what i hold to be the reality that it is not possible for them both to be 100% correct or 100% in error. It seems to me that there is a reasonable basis to assume, as a first approximation or simplifying assumption, that they are each approximately 50% in error and 50% correct.
Applying this in practice in a particular situation produced what seem to me to be significant results in terms of shifting a specific situation thereby validating the assumption at a very basic level.
I am not suggesting that this is a universal principle although it does seem to me that it is probably valid in many and possibly most cases. Not only in terms of marital dispute but in terms of dispute generally.
What i also concluded from this example is that if the wife is firmly attached to the extreme value of her position and the husband is firmly attached to the extreme value of his position the probability of a close to 100% breakdown in communication seems to me to be almost inevitable.
The above conclusions were reached during the same period that i was engaged in the personal introspection about my beliefs that has been mentioned previously and which has occasioned this article.
In studying the web site referred to previously, i was struck by my perspective that there were statements in support of evolution that it seemed to me that i could not reject and there were statements in support of creation that i was also not willing to reject. There were other statements in support of both positions which, as set out above, i was not able to accept.
As a simplifying assumption, i would therefore like to suggest the possibility that, on the assumption that neither side is deliberately in error, both sides are probably approximately 50% in error.
In other words, it seems to me that there is a distinct possibility that about half of what those supporting creation have to say is true, even if their interpretation may be coloured by other beliefs, judgmental language, etc. It also seems quite possible that the same applies to those who support evolution, half of what they say is true.
I cannot prove this 50:50 split since my perception of "correct" and "incorrect" is based on my current position which i cannot prove is accurate and cannot prove is objective. Nevertheless, i do think the principle is useful in this context.
In other words, i am suggesting that "evolutionary creation" is possible and may be the factual answer. I am also suggesting that many of the apparent differences relating to evidence that can be physically viewed and many times even touched are in fact differences of interpretation NOT differences of data.
It seems to me that there are many cases where someone on either side has a piece of physical evidence that they interpret as having a particular meaning and, because of the interpretation, the other side rejects the evidence. It seems to me that in cases like this both sides resort to positioning, the use of judgmental language, conspiracy theory, etc. It does not seem to me that summarily rejecting another persons evidence is in the interests of peaceful coexistence of a supposedly advanced species (if one subscribes to evolution) or of a being supposedly created in the image of the Almighty (if one subscribes to creation).
I would like to suggest that it would help if both sides chose to be more open about the other side's evidence and chose to be open minded about seeing whether some aspect of their interpretation could be meshed with some aspect of the other side's interpretation.
Please will you consider whether you are willing to examine and consider such a view.
11. DOES THIS MEAN DEADLOCK?
As i deliberated on my findings and the conclusions presented above, i came to some further conclusions which seem to me to be important.
One of these conclusions was that there appeared to me to be a very considerable amount of discussion around points which, as far as i could see, did not actually address what seemed to me to be the essence of the evolution versus creation debate. It seemed to me that perhaps eighty percent or more of the time and effort on both sides was being devoted to points that i think cannot prove creation or evolution.
The debate about the Bible and Bible based evidence seems to me to be such an example.
Since much of what i do in my work as a management and strategy consultant and in information technology relates to identifying the critical issues, the few key points that are central to any particular strategic objective, i found myself moving to this point of view without difficulty.
Since much of my experience over the past few decades supports my opinion that much of the time human beings spend their time discussing the things that are easy to get a "hold on" rather than the things that are challenging and more abstract, this conclusion was probably inevitable. Notwithstanding this, please consider putting aside any objections you may have and following through what follows.
A conclusion that i reached was that it increasingly seemed to me that in some respects "creation" and "evolution" are not on the same playing field. It seems to me that the essence of "creation" is the question of whether there is a creator or not. It seems to me that the essence of "evolution" is the process and steps whereby the current state of the universe and the planet earth and its inhabitants was achieved.
As stated before, it seems increasingly to me that believing in "evolution" does not require any particular belief about "creation". It seems to me that believing in the mechanism of evolution DOES require such a position. In other words, the essence of the dispute seems to be whether a creator created all these things (as i see it, in an evolutionary way) or whether they "happened" in some way that can be postulated but, as far as i can determine, not conclusively proved.
What i mean by "conclusively proved" is that i am not aware of any reproducible evidence that suggests that an explosion such as a "big bang" (2,370,000) can give rise to a state of order. I am not aware of any evidence that a mass of chemicals in a vacuum can develop an atmosphere and eventually life and thereafter human beings.
I hold that this is particularly the case when the core of the pile of chemicals is a molten mass that has supposedly cooled in a way that water and an atmosphere were able to form on the surface in a complete vacuum while other masses from the same source have turned into "suns" which have been burning for millions or billions of years.
For me, offering "argument from incredulity" in response to my objections does not help me to accept that there is NOT a creator. My reality is that i have practical evidence of the existence of a creator, rejecting this on the basis that i cannot demonstrate it or prove it seems to me to also be an "argument from incredulity".
This seems to leave me with a no win situation.
It seems that both sides can use "argument from incredulity" and both sides can use "reductio ad absurdum" in some way. As i experience both of these statements, they both indicate a judgment on the other side that is not pleasant and i don't experience as constructive.
12. A DIFFERENT APPROACH?
After giving the matter quite a lot of thought and discussing the subject at some length with my wife, i concluded that it seemed to me that there were some critical questions about the question of creation versus evolution.
I offer these here together with my thoughts in the hope that it will assist both sides to see the debate in a different light.
12.1. ARE THERE SPIRITS?
Insofar as it is my understanding that a very large proportion of the population of the world believe that there are spirits, it seems to me that this is an important question to resolve.
Since i understand that the basis of these beliefs, like my own, is experiential and not theoretical, it seems to me that any theory that supports a view that human kind have evolved without the influence of a creator should acknowledge this aspect and address it constructively in a way that can satisfy those who have experiential belief in spirits.
It seems to me that to argue that spirits do not exist because there is no scientific evidence is an argument from incredulity. Based on my interpretation of how the term argument from incredulity is applied in the context of the origination of the matter which makes up the universe, it seems to me that applying argument from incredulity to the statement "spirits do not exist because it is not possible to prove they exist" indicates that it is entirely possible for spirits to exist.
My reality is that i have personally met dozens of people who claim to have personally experienced the existence of spirits. I have encountered numerous reports that indicate that millions and possibly billions of people believe spirits exist and many claim to have had experiences of spirits.
Searching in Google i find the following occurrences of words that i understand to relate to spirits:- spirit (26,200,000), demon (6,560,000), demons (2,420,000), fairy (4,820,000),
fairy's (45,200), elf (4,640,000), elves (1,150,000), tokolosh (name of spirits in Africa) (907), tokoloshes (109), ghosts (2,950,000), ghost (10,100,000), poltergeist (261,000), poltergeists (36,100).
Collectively these statistics indicate that words relating at least at some level to what i perceive to be the spirit realm occur widely on the internet. Casual inquiry indicates that at least some of these pages relate to people who consider spirits to exist and who claim to have had personal experience of them. It is my impression that such people constitute a statistically significant proportion of the above statistics.
Applying reductio ad absurdum to this information, it seems to me that this provides a basis to claim that spirit's exist.
It seems to me that this conclusion is entirely consistent with applying argument from incredulity to the statement that spirit's do not exist. Accordingly, this seems to me to provide a basis to conclude that spirit's do exist.
Certain evolutionists argue in favour of things called "memes" which relate to thoughts and ideas. I don't think that it will be any more difficult to prove that there are memes than to prove that there are spirits. Both concepts are intangible and relate to things that cannot be seen and seemingly have no substance themselves in terms of generally accepted definitions of substance. It seems to me that if people who subscribe to evolution can consider the possibility of "memes", certainly as i have read about them, then it would be helpful to extend the same level of credulity to spirits.
If one does not believe in spirits, it is probably very difficult to prove they exist and if one does believe in spirits it is probably relatively easy to prove they exist. Insofar as my information is that a very large number, possibly billions, of people believe that spirits exist and many claim personal experience, i have difficulty in seeing how this can be discounted. It seems to me that any theory of evolution should clearly define how spirits come into existence.
What one chooses to believe about this is a matter of personal choice relative to what one does with available information in finding what one considers to be substantive evidence.
12.2. DO HUMAN'S HAVE SPIRIT'S?
This is a more specific aspect of the previous question.
If the answer is "yes", which it is my understanding that many people who do not necessarily believe in creation hold to be the case, then, it seems to me that any theory with regard to the way in which human kind came to exist should address this aspect.
A Google search indicates "human spirit" (421,000), "out of body experience" (79,100), reincarnation (656,000), reincarnated (149,000), resurrect (280,000), resurrected (530,000), resurrection (2,880,000).
As i understand it, all of these terms relate at some level to a belief in the existence of a human spirit. It seems to me that evolution should not summarily discount this but should seek to offer a constructive explanation. If we can have "memes" why can we not have spirits?
Applying argument from incredulity to a statement that it is not possible to prove that human beings have spirit's seems to me to indicate that the statement is an argument from incredulity. Therefore, since there is much information that indicates that millions and possibly billions of people believe that human beings do have a spirit, reductio ad absurdum indicates to me that they do exist. I understand argument from incredulity to admit this possibility.
As with the previous point this is a personal choice unless evidence that you consider substantive can be produced.
12.3. IS THERE A CREATOR?
It seems to me that this is the essence of the question and all the other questions ultimately point to this question.
I have put this question third since it seems to me that there are more people on earth who have experience of spirit's than have experience of the creator and that there are more people who have had experience of human spirit's than have experience of the creator.
Searching in Google returns:- creator (9,430,000) and God (60,200,000). In my experience, the word "God" is not necessarily the same as saying there is a creator. God IS synonymous with "creator" for many people but not for all people. Nevertheless there are indications that a substantial number of people have belief in such a being. It seems to me that there are many more who believe in a creator than believe in evolution.
As mentioned early on in this article so far i cannot offer any "scientifically provable" evidence. Furthermore, it seems to me that all the evidence that i have been able to offer so far is neutralized by "argument from incredulity". I can only offer personal experience and i accept that this is not of real value to anyone else.
I have also concluded, since starting this article, that my own experience and my knowledge of the experience of others indicates that asking the creator to reveal himself through a supernatural sign of some sort is also not particularly helpful to those who do not believe. If one has no experience of the creator, how does one experience something that one believes is not possible?
I don't have an answer!
I can only suggest that you check out for yourself whether, in practice, "argument from incredulity" really works to discount the examples that i used above that motor cars, aircraft, buildings, etc do not evolve themselves and do not create themselves, i ask you to consider that all of these cases, without an exception that i know of, require the intervention of man, that is a creator, in order to take place. Hence, i suggest that the existence of man is dependent on the existence of a higher being, a creator.
I still cannot prove it with "solid provable evidence".
As with the previous two points, it seems to me that there is plenty of evidence that millions and possibly billions of people believe in a creator. I understand reductio ad absurdum applied to this information to indicate the existence of a creator. I also understand argument from incredulity applied to a statement that there is no creator because it cannot be proved that a creator exists creates space to admit the possibility of there being a creator.
Once more, there is the possibility of other perspectives and it is a matter of personal choice how one interprets this information unless one can obtain what one considers to be substantive evidence.
12.4. WHERE DID WE COME FROM?
As far as i can determine there is no dispute that we exist, that the planet exists or that the universe exists.
It seems that all can agree on that.
It seems to me that there is no real difficulty in agreeing that we arrived at where we are today through a process of progressive development that i find no difficulty terming "evolution".
The mechanism of how this progressive development happened, is inherent in other questions, so i would like to leave it out of this point.
As i see it, this point is essentially about whether there is a creator or whether there is some other explanation.
One writer says "How the universe originated is unknown, but to claim therefore that it must have been supernatural is the argument from incredulity. There are other possibilities. For example, anti-energy could have been created simultaneously to satisfy conservation laws. Or perhaps the laws of thermodynamics evolved after the first moments of the universe." http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CF/CF101.html
This example suggests that "anti-energy could have been created simultaneously to satisfy conservation laws" in an argument to prove there is no creator. I have great difficulty in comprehending how what is stated here could happen if the universe evolved without a creator. I am unable to understand how is it possible for anti-energy to be "created simultaneously" if there is no creator. Yet, i find myself neutralized by "incredulity".
Personally, i cannot see how the above quote can be taken as anything other than a statement of faith that is at least equivalent in my mind to believing in a creator.
I also do not understand why, if one looks at the origin of everything, it is so difficult to believe that there is a creator. The problem is that i DO believe and i am not sure that i will be able to offer any physical evidence that will overcome an argument such as that offered above. As i see it, the problem of physical evidence lies not with the evidence but with the interpretation of the evidence - the "how" and "why" as opposed to the "what".
As with the previous three points, millions and possibly billions believe the universe, the planet and man were created. Reductio ad absurdum therefore indicates that this conclusion is admissible. I understand that arguing that it cannot be proved is an argument from incredulity which therefore admits the possibility that these things have been created.
Once more, there is the possibility of other perspectives and it is a matter of personal choice how one interprets this information unless one can find what you consider to be a substantive answer.
12.5. WHY ARE WE HERE?
The conclusions one draws with respect to the previous four questions may point towards a particular conclusion here.
However, it seems to me that this is not necessarily so.
As i currently understand the position of what it seems to me might be termed "non-creation evolution", "we are here because we are here". It seems to me that people who support this form of evolution are basically stating that the universe, the planet and humankind are all here and that is sufficient reason to explain why we are here.
It seems to me that this is more or less equivalent to saying "i do not understand why i am here but i am here and i do not need to understand why i am here because i am here". IF this is more or less what those who support evolution are saying in response to this question, then it seems to me that this looks like faith in another form.
As i understand the point of view of those who support creation, it occurs to me that i have not encountered a clear explanation that is uniformly accepted by those who support creation.
I would like to try and sum up in a short statement why i believe we are here.
My personal belief is that the Almighty chose to create very advanced spiritual beings who could choose to be in close relationship with him. I believe this took place within a clearly defined framework of commandments or laws which carried with them clearly defined penalties for transgression, including banishment to a place which today is widely called "hell". It is my impression that this took place within a clearly defined time frame.
I personally think that it would be reasonable to postulate that the creator was lonely and He created us so that He would have people to talk to and share His vision of the future with and who would participate in His vision and that He desired creatures to love and who would love Him out of free choice.
It is my understanding that we are here in order to make personal choices about whether we want a relationship with the Almighty or not, whether we want to avail ourselves of the benefits of such a relationship and whether we want to spend eternity in close relationship with Him at a level that includes sitting on a throne for eternity with many other options.
It is my understanding that we are free to chose any other option, including being free to chose to spend eternity in a place referred to in some writings as "the lake of fire and brimstone" or "lake of fire". This is frequently referred to as "hell" although my understanding is that hell and the lake of fire are not the same.
A Google search returns:- "Day of Judgment" (112,000), hell (17,000,000), heaven (15,600,000), "lake of fire and brimstone" (7,830), "lake of fire" (77,400). I think there is a song about the lake of fire and probably various facetious and other uses of these words and phrases.
Nevertheless, they are terms that are quite widely used thereby indicating a reasonably high level of acceptance of these concepts.
It seems to me that the concept of a "Day of Judgment" is the logical end point of "survival of the fittest". The alleged contest between humankind and the being referred to as "Satan" also appears to be a form of "survival of the fittest".
It seems strange to me that those who support evolution are willing to accept that in some way every prototype or intermediate form or "missing link" has died out within the concept of "survival of the fittest" and then seem to be offended at the idea that they, too, could be participating in an evolutionary "survival of the fittest" experience where the stakes are higher but the basic concept is the same.
By way of example, if we have just "evolved" spontaneously, why is death so disturbing and so fearful for so many people? Surely death is part of evolving?
It seems to me that belief in the existence of a creator is the entry level requirement for a more complex survival of the fittest process. I have it that belief in a creator does not qualify one for heaven, it simply opens the door for one to begin to gain the knowledge and experience and relationship that makes entry into heaven possible.
In summary, i believe we are here in order to give us the opportunity to voluntarily seek a deep personal relationship with the Almighty and qualify to be "fit" to enter heaven.
I cannot prove this, but i have deep personal conviction of the validity of at least the essence of what i have written in the preceding paragraphs. So much so that i have written a detailed article on the subject of some aspects of what i understand to be required in order to spend eternity in heaven. This article is available on request.
As with the previous points, it is my understanding that there are certainly millions and possibly billions who have some view that at least partially coincides with the above. For example, the Quran, the principal Muslim text, repeatedly makes reference to the choice between heaven and hell. Once more, it seems to me that reductio ad absurdum indicates the validity of the basic premise and argument from incredulity applied to a statement that the above interpretation cannot be proved provides the opportunity to suggest that it can be admitted.
The big challenge that i see with this particular point is that if those who believe in a creator and a day of judgment are correct, then those who do not believe in a creator have a serious problem for eternity. If those who believe there is no creator are mistaken then they will not even be disappointed when they die, they won't know they were wrong.
Accordingly, as i see it, from the point of view of a "fail safe" opinion, believing in a creator has merit.
Once more it is a matter of personal choice how one interprets this information in the absence of what any particular person may regard as substantive evidence.
12.6. WHERE ARE WE GOING?
I see this as an extension of the previous point.
It seems to me that the view of those who support non-creational evolution is that we are going wherever we are going and we are going to continue going there for as long as we are around. I have read and seen all sorts of views on what this could look like in thousands or millions of years.
Since this view is based on the opinion that there is no creator, it seems to me to necessitate an opinion that we have no way of determining where we are going. It seems to me that this view assumes that a long series of events determined by our environment and survival of the fittest, etc brought us to this point and that events determined by our environment and survival of the fittest will continue to determine our path.
It is my view that inspection of the diversity of motor vehicles, houses, home decoration, etc indicates that there is no indication of a collective, common and universal view on the part of humankind of what constitutes an ideal state. This seems to me to indicate that there is no indication that humankind can collectively in any significant manner direct our course into the future.
I have it that since we cannot agree on whether there is a creator or not it is unlikely that we will agree on the future direction of the human race. It therefore seems to me that this world view indicates that we will end up where we end up.
To me this seems to make life rather pointless - i understand this view to say that i am going to live and do whatever i find to do and then i am going to die. End of story. Once more, argument from incredulity seems to neutralize my view.
Those who believe in creation seem, at some level, to agree that we are going towards a "Day of Judgment". However, in my experience there are differing views. Based on personal observation, it is my information that many Christians believe that "Jesus is coming soon and i'm going to heaven and the rest of them are going to be judged".
This is not my belief.
I believe that we will ALL be judged, whatever we have believed. In other words, Christians will also be judged.
As i understand it, the basis of judgment is abstract, complex and little understood today. Refer the document mentioned earlier on "Where will YOU spend eternity?".
I DO believe that all the information at my disposal indicates that if one does not have a personal knowledge and relationship with the Almighty one will end up in a very unpleasant situation, a location commonly referred to as "hell".
I do believe that we all originated from a single man and woman and were perpetuated through a man and his three sons and their four wives who survived a global catastrophe widely referred to as "the flood". Accordingly, i do believe that at the outset humankind had access to the data necessary to equip them to live a life that would enable them to spend eternity in a close personal relationship with the Almighty in a place that is beautiful beyond description, frequently termed "heaven".
I cannot prove it.
In summary, i believe that we are "going" towards a Day of Judgment.
Based on my information, there are millions and probably billions, who at some level, mostly not on a very informed basis, believe that this is so. As with the previous questions, it seems to me that reductio ad absurdum indicates that this is confirmed and that applying argument from incredulity to a statement that "i cannot believe there is a judgment" and / or "i cannot believe there is a hell" indicates that it is possible to admit that there is a judgment and that there is a place that corresponds to "hell".
Once more it is a matter of personal choice how one interprets this information and, since we are referring to future events, no way that this can be "substantively" proved.
12.7. WHAT ACTION CAN I TAKE?
Depending on the conclusions drawn from answering the previous questions, there seem to me to be a number of courses of action.
It seems to me that if, having considered the previous points and answered the questions, one is still committed to non-creationary evolution, then one simply gets on with one's life until one dies and does the best one can to accomplish whatever one has set oneself to accomplish.
As i understand an outcome that concludes that there is a creator, that we are on earth in order to form a close personal relationship with Him and there is a Day of Judgment, this indicates that it is desirable to do whatever one finds to do in order to form a close relationship with the creator and prepare for coming judgment.
There are a large number of permutations of answers to the previous six questions, accordingly, it seems to me that there are a wide range of possible courses of action.
I am not sure how to interpret many of the possible outcomes and, accordingly, chose not to.
My answers to the previous questions are that:
1) There are spirits.
2) Human beings have spirits.
3) There is a creator.
4) We were created.
5) We are here to develop a close relationship with the creator.
6) There will be a day on which all of humankind will be judged. There is a heaven and a hell. We each have the right to chose how we live our lives and the outcome of the judgment will be determined by the choices we make. We can make choices that will result in a "high throne" for eternity and we can make choices that will result in "the lake of fire and brimstone" for eternity.
I would like to offer some comments on my understanding of what one might do if one agrees to the above six statements, particularly 3, 5 and 6.
It seems to me that there are numerous avenues by which one might have reached such a position. Again, i chose not to explore all of them.
If, having read as much of this document as you chose to, you have decided to shift position on the fundamental point of the existence of a creator, my experience indicates that there are a few important action points to be aware of:
1) Pray to the Almighty in whatever way you chose with an essential message that you now acknowledge His existence, that you desire to serve him, that you apologise (repent) for not believing in Him previously and that you ask Him to forgive you and help you to serve Him, draw close to Him and form a close personal relationship with Him.
2) I only know one way to do this and that is through prayer in the name of "Yahooshua the anointed of Yah of Natsareth" -- widely translated as "Jesus Christ of Nazareth".
3) Immerse oneself in water, praying in the name of Yahoohua for the forgiveness and cleansing of sins.
4) Do whatever you can find to do in order to draw closer to the Almighty. You are welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
5) There is much else that could be written but this document is not intended to address this subject.
If you have previously believed in a creator and have concluded from reading this far that there are adjustments to be made, i assume that you have some basis of dealing with these choices. Alternatively, you are welcome to contact me at email@example.com
Once more, i cannot offer any proof of the above, i draw these conclusions based on my personal experience.
There are also many who hold to a broadly similar view of the above course of action but with widely differing details particularly between Christianity and Islam. Accordingly i chose to try not to be prescriptive. Ultimately, it is for each individual to find their own way and ask the Almighty to lead them to whoever He chooses who can assist them on their journey at whatever stage they may be.
Once more it is a matter of personal choice how one interprets this information and views the consequences of believing that there is a creator or not.
13. SOME ISSUES THAT ARISE FROM THE ABOVE QUESTIONS
The discussion of the questions presented above suggests to me some other issues that it seems appropriate to discuss at this point.
13.1. WHAT IF WE WERE CREATED?
As previously stated, it is my belief that we were created. In terms of this belief i would like to offer my understanding of the broad implications of this belief. This is set out in below.
In broad terms, i believe that:
1) The First Human Beings
The first human beings were created with great intelligence, great knowledge of the ways of the Almighty, great spiritual gifting and power and great physical capacity and capability.
There are various individuals who have produced books, videos and other material presenting physical evidence and rationale to support this view. While i do not agree with everything that these individuals say, it is my belief that, in essence, they accurately report genuine information which clearly supports a view that the first human beings created had the attributes mentioned above.
2) Early Choices
Most early human beings made choices which resulted in them breaking the commandments of the Almighty that had been clearly spelt out to them at the outset. I understand this to have resulted in a judgment which resulted in a global flood which destroyed all life except for certain individuals who were preserved in a large boat.
I believe that all of humankind today has descended from these individuals.
3) Further Choices
In the years that followed, humankind again progressively departed from relationship with the Almighty and from compliance with His commandments.
4) Progressive Deterioration
This resulted in spiritual, intellectual, moral and physical deterioration of humankind to a point where today, in the third millennium AD, i believe that the current generation is spiritually and morally the weakest generation that has ever lived. I am not certain as to the extent to which humankind has regained some physical and intellectual capability in recent centuries. I am aware that there are reports of physical and intellectual advancement in recent generations.
I have a broad impression that the deterioration of humankind in spiritual and moral terms and to a significant extent in the intellectual and physical context.
I cannot prove this.
While i have reason to believe that this process has taken place over a period of approximately six thousand years, it does not seem important to me in this document to assert that this is so. Whether this process has taken six thousand years or many millions of years does not seem to me to detract from the essential thesis.
It seems to me as an engineer that this decay curve is entirely consistent with the manner in which all structures and systems created by human beings deteriorate over time. Initially the rate of decay is small. Without regular maintenance, servicing, repair, etc the rate of decay gradually accelerates until eventual collapse. I hold that this applies to motor cars, to houses, to roads, to aircraft and to any other thing that humankind has created.
It therefore seems to me to be probable that if humankind is a created entity, that we will also deteriorate over time unless regularly maintained. I understand this maintenance to require an intimate relationship with the Almighty and it is my belief that there are no human beings on earth today who have such a close relationship with the Almighty that they have in a material way been able to change their position on this decay curve.
It seems to me that this view is diametrically opposed to a view of progressive environmentally determined evolution without a creator over millions or billions of years.
I say this in the sense that my understanding of the non-creation view of evolution is that those who subscribe to evolution without a creator hold that the present generation is the most advanced and most evolved version of humankind that has ever existed.
If the perspectives discussed above are approximate indications of the broad view of how humankind has reached their present state, then this represents a very substantial non-conformity in which one of the models must be invalid.
To me, taken in context with my comments about "why are we here" and "where are we going", this seems to be important information.
It seems to me that these different curves highlight the importance of considering all available information, including information that one has possibly previously rejected, and choosing which point of view one is going to hold in the future.
Again, i cannot prove this and leave it to individual readers to evaluate.
13.2. WHAT IF THERE IS A JUDGMENT?
From a personal point of view, it seems to me that the most important question that this entire document raises is the issue of a "Day of Judgment" and a "lake of fire".
If those who advocate evolution without a creator are correct, then it seems to me that we have nothing to fear. I am under the impression that those who advocate this view hold that human beings will each grow old and eventually die and that will be the end of it.
I understand the implication of this position to be that one should do the "best" one can with one's life on the basis of what one concludes is "best" and there is no "wrong" answer and no negative consequence of making a "mistake".
For many years i lived my life more or less in line with this belief until, one day, i had an experience that showed me clearly that there WAS a creator and that there WAS a judgment. I have concluded over the years that where i have experiences like this, others cannot share in my experience and cannot accept what i say based on my experience. Accordingly, it does not seem necessary to me to share the experience.
I do not think that many people will choose to believe in a creator on the basis of someone else's experience.
If those who believe in a creator AND a Day of Judgment are correct, then i believe that this has serious consequences for every human being. There are those, including myself, whose understanding of the situation is that all those who do not believe there is a creator will spend eternity in the lake of fire.
One can argue against this on the basis that it is "unjust", "wrong", "i don't believe it", etc. I experience that as an argument from incredulity. Because one cannot believe there is a Judgment and lake of fire does not mean they do not exist.
From my perspective the possibility of a day of judgment is the most significant reason that i can give why anyone should seriously consider the possibility of the existence of a creator and therefore consider the remainder of this article which seeks to demonstrate the existence of a creator using data that is available to most human beings.
I think there is also merit in seeking the truth from a point of view of the intellectual satisfaction of finding a robust answer to an abstract question. On this basis i ask you to continue reading whatever your response is to the previous paragraph.
13.3. WHERE FROM VERSUS WHERE GOING -- REAR VIEW MIRROR VISION
It seems to me that one of the fundamental differences between "evolution" and "creation" thinking is that evolution is primarily concerned with "where have we come from" and "creation" is more about "where are we going".
I do not think that this distinction is made clear by most people who hold creation to be true, however, i think that they do have this in mind in most of what they think and say.
I think it might be useful to make this distinction much more evident than it is at present.
As a strategist and consultant to large organizations on the formulation and implementation of strategy, one of the important principles is the requirement for a clear view or vision of where the organization is going and what it will look like when it gets there.
Many speakers on effective management warn executives NOT to manage by "looking in the rear view mirror".
It seems to me that many who subscribe to evolution devote a considerable amount of time to looking at the past.
It seems to me that many who argue in favour of creation also do this.
I would like to suggest that while the past may be of interest, the future is where we will spend the rest of our lives, irrespective of whether there is life after death or not.
Accordingly, it seems to me that any model of creation or evolution should offer a basis for formulating a clear view of where human kind is going and that if one model appears to offer more clarity this might be a basis for giving that model more detailed scrutiny.
I submit that belief in a creator and a day of judgment offers such an opportunity.
In considering the subject of this article, i find that i have it that there is a large amount of recorded information about a creator and His alleged interactions with humankind. This includes the Bible but i understand it to include diverse other writings as well.
As far as i know there is not a comparable body of ancient writing about spontaneous evolution.
Insofar as i hold the above to be valid, i do not understand why some people seem to have such a need to seemingly totally discount the collective beliefs and experience of millions and possibly billions of people?
It seems trite to simply dismiss these beliefs as "superstition" or use some more dismissive, and insulting, language to justify a solution that ignores these beliefs as not being "scientific" or similar. I do not understand why it is "scientific" to be "incredulous" of the beliefs of millions AND "scientific" to use "argument from incredulity" to dismiss the objections of these same people to non-creative evolution.
It seems to me that either argument from incredulity IS scientific, in which case i submit that it applies to both sides OR it does not apply to either.
There are many other points which seem to me to flow from this point. I choose not to go further with this in this section.
13.4. CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS FOR THE END OF LIFE
Whether one has a view of coming judgment and eternal life and eternal damnation or whether one holds that at the end of this life one will cease to exist, it seems to me that most people would have some view of how they would like to live their lives.
I would like to offer the outcome of an exercise that my wife and i recently undertook, as a means of highlighting some things that i think may be applicable to many people on earth today.
I would like to suggest that irrespective of what believes, one must, at least subconsciously, have some view of what one would like to accomplish by the time one lies on one's death bed. These are not necessarily conscious measures, they are quite likely to be "gut feel" about what one considers really important.
My wife and i undertook such an exercise recently and found that we were in close agreement about the factors that seemed important to us.
I offer them for your consideration with limited explanation:
1) Service to the Almighty
Found to be a "good and faithful servant", close relationship with the Almighty, obedience and submission to Him, qualify to sit on a high throne for eternity, impacts all the points that follow and impacted by them.
2) Make a Difference in the World
Impact many lives for the Kingdom of the Almighty.
3) Achieve my Potential
Achieve my potential as a man or woman in every area of my life - family, business, profession / occupation, community, nation, etc.
4) Marriage and Sex
Rich and fulfilling marriage including passionate and fulfilling sexual relationships within marriage lived in partnership, harmony, love, empathy, caring, unity, etc.
Children grow up the way i would like them to be - serving the Almighty and living their lives with similar critical success factors to these.
6) Experience the World
Experience the richness of creation, travel, nature, cultures, food, etc.
7) Enjoy Life and Things
Enjoy the fullness of what exists - material things, finances, house, cars, furniture, etc.
It seems to me that, barring the first item, the remaining six are likely to apply whether one believes in a creator or not. They seem to me to be fairly fundamental.
The interpretation of the points may differ significantly.
For example, if one does not believe there is a day of judgment, the fourth point might look more like "rich and varied sexual relationships".
It seems to me that the relative importance is also likely to differ significantly.
At the time i did the above exercise i concluded that the relative importance of each of these seven points to me (the percentage that each factor contributes to my life view) was 67%; 8%; 7%; 6%; 5%; 4% and 3% respectively. All the points ARE important to me, however, if i do not make significant progress on the first point it seems to me that, based on what i believe, on the day i die the other points will be largely irrelevant.
I think that at least some who believe in a creator will assign the first point a relatively high weight.
It seems to me that if one does not believe in a creator then the first point would be cancelled, it would not exist, thereby leaving SIX points. Alternatively, there might be another seventh point that i have not thought of which would apply in such a case. Possibly "money" or "financial success" might be separated out of the seventh point above.
If i look at the world around me, it seems that if one does not believe in a creator and one does not believe in a day of judgment, then the 67% that i have allocated to the first point might be distributed over the remaining points with a lot of emphasis on the material world, things and finance. I seem to recall that this was the way i saw things a decade or two ago.
I would like to suggest that you might find it an interesting exercise to determine what the six or seven factors are that you will use to rate your life on your death bed based on what you believe about creation versus evolution.
14. SCIENCE - ENGINEERING - RELIGION
Since writing the outline of section 16 approximately a week has elapsed.
In this time i spent several hours on the internet researching further information, i corresponded with the television channel director mentioned previously and obtained more information from him and i spent considerable time thinking and observing the world around me.
In all of this i was seeking to obtain data with a view to improving my understanding of the situation, understanding other view points and seeing if i could agree with them and seeking to validate or invalidate what i believe based on my life experience and my living environment.
In particular, i was seeking to find "solid provable evidence" of creation.
I was also seeking to better understand my interpretation of the world in which i live and which i have PERSONALLY experienced.
I was also looking for data that would be readily available to as many people as possible and which, as far as possible, would be personally experientially verifiable to as many people as possible.
I was trying to look "close to home" and not rely on any data from third parties but rather to rely on my own personal living environment and life experience with particular emphasis on those components that it seems to me that most people on the planet will be able to relate to at some level.
Each person's environment and life experience is different, however, it increasingly seems to me that there are components that are common to the majority of human beings at some level.
In the sections that follow, i hope to present the evidence that i have found in the hope that you will be able to relate to and personally verify at least some of it.
In doing the above research, analysis and thinking, i became increasingly focused on applying lessons that i have learned as an engineer and scientist.
At the time of writing, i am fifty years old. For about forty five years i have been designing and building things. In my childhood i built things with Meccano (metal components for building models) and built electrical circuits. I graduated to building aviaries (large bird cages) and doing household maintenance and alterations. I have been involved in a "hands on" way with building major extensions to houses, rebuilding motor car engines, rebuilding a boat, building a twenty story office block, a major highway, road cuttings, blasting, major open pit mines, a diversity of computer software, strategic designs for large organizations and many other things.
I have a four year engineering science honours degree in Civil Engineering with distinction and a PhD in materials for construction of large dams for which i received a national award. My basic engineering degree required me to study mathematics, chemistry, physics, statistics, thermodynamics, geology and computer science as scientific disciplines.
I am a registered professional engineer, which means that i have undergone an "apprenticeship" and qualified to take lead responsibility for engineering projects within my domain of knowledge and experience and i accept my responsibility to call in other professionals when required.
I have also been involved in the military as a military engineer and have commanded a regiment of over five hundred men. I have been trained in the tactical and strategic analysis, planning and conduct of military operations up to the scope of thousands of men and all associated land and air combat machines and supporting logistics.
I have also had a lifelong interest in plants and animals and in my youth owned aviaries and bred birds, owned a collection of exotic plants and collected and classified insects as well as collecting rock and mineral samples. Accordingly, i have a hands-on working knowledge of botany, zoology and geology.
I studied Biology at school and excelled, coming first in a national youth science exam and thus have a reasonably solid grounding in zoology, botany, anatomy, taxonomy, etc.
At the time of writing, i have spent the last fifteen years working as a management consultant designing business computer software solutions, advising clients on the implementation and optimization of such solutions and assisting clients with strategy development and implementation.
In the process i have learned much about the psychology of change, what is required to bring about sustainable corporate improvement and about psychology generally.
I have received international recognition for my work on why seventy percent of all business information technology investments fail totally and another twenty percent fail to meet the original business requirement. This recognition includes listing in "Who's Who in the World" for four consecutive years and three other international accolades, refer http://www.jar-a.com for details.
I have recently published a book on "The Critical Factors for Information Technology Investment Success" which seeks to explain why the failure rate is so high and sets out an approach to designing failure out of the solution.
In summary, i have forty five years of extremely diverse experience in the design, construction / creation, implementation and operation of numerous engineering and other systems as well as experience of life and nature.
In this time, i have found that the rigorous approach that i was trained to use at University and my first years in practice as an engineer have been vital to solving complex problems and designing systems that work.
I have also experienced a number of traumatic events in my life, including an extramarital affair, divorce and the loss of access to my children. I have learned much about what it means to be a human being, much about love and grief and other intensely human experiences. I have come to understand that human beings are extremely complex and not amenable to simplistic engineering solutions.
At the same time, i have come to understand that a rigorous engineering approach, appropriately applied, CAN enable one to better understand the "human condition" and spiritual matters and better explain the complex physical, psychological and spiritual organism that i have experienced myself and other human beings to be.
Accordingly, in thinking about this analysis, i have increasingly come to conclude that, as far as i can see, there are three major disciplines that have a bearing on this discussion.
In the interests of making my point, i would like to offer three simplified definitions that seem to be helpful to categorise my thinking. These definitions are not intended to be definitive but are intended to demonstrate a point that seems important to me at this time.
I would like to define three specific disciplines of human endeavour, that is science, engineering and religion. My reality is that, in practice, there is significant overlap in interpretation of some of these terms, however, it seems useful to adopt a simplifying definition for the balance of this document.
Defining "science" and therefore "scientific" seems important since i have encountered a number of statements regarding proof of evolution versus creation that make use of the word "scientific". For example, it has been suggested to me that the arguments used by "creationists" to counter the arguments of a particular proponent of evolution have "major flaws in their scientific reasoning".
I read this to indicate a clear and specific definition of the term "scientific". In other words, i read this particular statement to indicate that "scientific reasoning" is a recognizable discipline that any person debating creation versus evolution should be able and willing to apply.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary includes in it's definition of "science" the statement "Systematic and formulated knowledge".
This seems to me to conform to my perception of what is "scientific". I understand science to relate to systematically gathering data, verifying it and documenting it on the basis of "scientifically" reproducible experiments or other approaches.
To me science is very much about documenting what "is" - things that are verifiable and reproducible.
I am aware that the term "science" is applied much more widely than what i have suggested above, such as in "social science" where, in my experience, one is dealing with relatively abstract interpretations and explanations which are not necessarily always reproducible. There seems to me to be a tendency in such areas for the interpretations and explanations to shift and change.
Once this happens, it seems to me that one is dealing more with the personal opinion of a specific individual or group of individuals rather than with verifiable "scientifically" reproducible fact.
It seems to me that there is a significant difference between stating that one has found a fossil and that it "appears" to be an intermediate form between apes and man and stating that it "is" an intermediate form.
Having said this, it also seems to me that there is a considerable body of evidence to support the view that such fossils do provide evidence of intermediate forms.
The term "missing link" (731,000) is widely used to describe intermediate forms between apes and humankind which are a necessary requirement for evolution without a creator. I am aware of much debate about whether these "links" exist, whether the fossils that have been found are such links, whether there are "sufficient" intermediate forms to explain evolution from ape to man, etc.
While i can accept that there is evidence that appears to indicate the existence of intermediate forms or missing links i have much greater difficulty with statements which i interpret to indicate that this intermediate form (missing link) progressively transformed itself into the form of human being that exists on the planet today in some manner of evolutionary mutation without external intelligent influence.
Since i am absolutely certain that no human being on earth today was present at the time this transformation took place i do not understand how this can possibly be stated with absolute certainty and then be called "scientific".
As i see it, this is a "theory" and the existence of fossil evidence of apparent intermediate forms does not prove or disprove the existence of a creator. It seems to me that until a group of ape's have been isolated in a closed environment for however long it takes for them to change into humans i cannot see how it can be held to be "scientific" that this is possible. If such an experiment requires millions of years then that is how long it will take to prove or disprove evolution without a creator.
It also seems to me that if one is willing to apply the term "science" to "social science" and theories of evolution, that it would be helpful to apply the term science to the study of spiritual matters. It seems to me that if one is willing to call an unreproducible theory about something that allegedly takes millions of years "science" then it would be equitable to be willing to apply that term to matters relating to spirits which millions of people hold to be experientially valid and, at some level, reproducible.
I understand that argument from incredulity neutralizes much of what is written above and i choose not to debate whether this is scientific or not in this section. I consider that this is a personal choice for each reader.
As a graduate scientist, i would like to appeal to anyone who reads this and who holds that evolution without a creator is scientifically verifiable to check out for themselves whether they can really say that the theory of evolution without a creator really is science and whether they are willing to consider other ways of arriving at a conclusion.
14.2. ENGINEERING (AND ARCHITECTURE)
In considering the information that i have at my disposal regarding evolution and creation, i have concluded that both approaches are dealing with the coming into existence of a new state that did not exist before.
As a graduate engineer, i hold that the knowledge and experience associated with bringing new physical states into existence that have not existed previously is primarily a form of engineering.
There is also a role for the "architect" as someone who conceptualizes the overall aesthetics, appearance and, in some cases, broad function of a particular design. This applies particularly in the case of buildings and in certain other design situations.
In the balance of this document i will refer to engineering and not mention the role of the architect in order to reduce complexity. Having said this, i DO consider that there IS an architectural role in creation as i perceive it relating to the overall aesthetics of plants and animals including form, flowers, etc. This seems to me to be further evidence of a creator.
I understand "engineering" to be the analysis, design, construction, implementation and operation of systems, structures, etc which did not exist previously. This includes buildings, vehicles, aircraft and nearly every material item that human beings have brought into existence on this planet. This includes formal and informal engineering.
Engineering as i have experienced it throughout my life is founded on verifiable and reproducible laws and principles of mechanics, physics, chemistry, mathematics, thermodynamics, etc. Engineering is coupled with a large body of knowledge and experience about how to design and build systems that work, whether buildings, machines or any other type of engineering output.
This is supported by "Codes of Practice", standards, professional societies, regulatory bodies and legislation. An engineer who designs or builds a system that fails in a way that suggests negligence or bad practice faces disciplinary hearings and potentially criminal or other legal charges. This can result in an engineer being debarred from practice temporarily or permanently and also result in the engineer and their employer being held personally financially accountable for the damage.
An engineer who publishes a formal technical white paper or book which contains verifiably false on unprovable information that causes loss to others could also face disciplinary measures or at least peer approbation.
Since i perceive the essence of the debate regarding evolution versus creation relates to the manner in which a wide diversity of complex systems came into existence, it seems to me that the application of engineering principles and disciplines is an appropriate approach to seeking to resolve the debate.
Accordingly, i have chosen in that which follows to place considerable reliance on my engineering knowledge and experience and to seek, as best i can, to offer information based on this approach.
I recognize that since we are dealing with abstract and intangible issues arguments can be offered against what i have to say. Again this is a matter of personal choice which i ask you to evaluate.
It seems to me, from my perspective, as one who believes in a creator, a Day of Judgment and a lake of fire, that engineering discipline indicates a requirement for anyone who publishes on this subject. Specifically, it seems to me that someone who alleges that they can prove that there is no creator and speaks about it or publishes about it, to place on record their willingness to accept responsibility if they are in error.
In other words, a statement like "i ... do solemnly take oath and swear that there is no creator, no day of judgment and no lake of fire and declare that if i am in error and there is a creator, a judgment and a lake of fire i will take the place in the lake of fire of everyone who trusts my opinion and acts on it". It seems to me that anyone who tells people that there is no lake of fire should be willing to go there on behalf of those who believe them in the event that they are mistaken.
I consider such a declaration to be comparable to the statutory responsibility that a registered professional engineer or medical doctor carries.
It is not my intention to debate this point. I leave it open to each reader to consider.
One of the things that i am increasingly finding extremely challenging with regard to researching and writing this document is to reconcile the concept of there being a dispute between evolution and creation. This is discussed in more detail below in section 17.
In essence, it seems to me that both creation and evolution are speaking about creation. One is speaking about creation by an external intelligent "engineer" and the other is speaking about creation without a creator, that is, without an engineer.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines create as "bring into existence, give rise to; originate".
It seems to me that what i understand the theory of evolution to offer is a theory about how the universe, the earth and all animals, plants, etc on the earth "originated". I understand this to be the same as saying that the theory of evolution is a theory of creation without a creator. This seems to me to be a contradiction from an engineering sense at least.
In the light of the above, it seems to me that the debate about evolution versus creation is first and foremost a debate about engineering and NOT about science.
It seems to me that at some level all engineers are scientists but most scientists are not engineers. Accordingly, i think that the creator, if there is one, must be an architect and an engineer as well as a scientist.
In making this point, i would like to stress that i, together with many other engineers, regard engineering as an art as well as a science. The phrase "the art of engineering" occurs 2,570 times when searched on Google. Pages with the words -the art of engineering- occur 5,710,000 times. The phrase "the art and science of engineering" occurs 341 times and pages with the words -the art and science of engineering- occur 3,690,000 times.
Based on the points in this section, the remainder of this document makes reference to a number of aspects of widely available data that seem particularly important to me from an engineering point of view. In other words, points that are important in the context of the practical issues which in my experience are really important in designing and building complex systems that work reliably and sustainably in practice.
Continuing with my objective of offering simple definitions, it seems to me that religion is essentially about explaining those things that science and engineering cannot explain, that is primarily the non-physical, spiritual, ethical, moral and related realms.
Searches on Google return the following numbers: religion (31,500,000), worship (8,980,000), praise (has connotations other than religion) (6,440,000). It seems to me that a broad concept of religion is a significant part of the thinking of many people.
As a "religious" person, i hold that my religion offers an explanation for the existence of the universe, the existence of the earth and the existence of all that is on the earth with particular emphasis on an explanation for the existence of humankind. Why humankind is here, where humankind came from and where humankind is going.
Given what i have written above about science and engineering it seems to me that the "theory of evolution" or any other theory about where humankind came from cannot be verified by standards that i personally hold to be "scientific" nor can i find a way to verify it by methods that i hold to conform to "engineering" disciplines.
This leaves me to conclude that the theory of evolution is just as much a religion as belief in a creator is a religion.
It seems to me that the word "faith" could be substituted for "religion" and lead to the same conclusion.
Personally, i keep coming back to "creation" being faith in a creator whose origin cannot be explained and "evolution" is faith in a creative event that brought uncountable billions of tons of physical matter into existence whose origin cannot be explained. I think it requires less faith to believe in a creator than it takes to believe in something that i experience as "we will figure it out some day".
I cannot prove this and leave it for your consideration.
16. SUGGESTED PRINCIPLES FOR FURTHER ANALYSIS
At this point, i would like to revisit certain points addressed previously and make some further suggestions with regard to an approach to analyzing available data with a view to drawing a conclusion about the existence or non-existence of a creator which is as substantive as possible.
16.1. ARGUMENT FROM INCREDULITY IS NEUTRAL - OR SELF CANCELLING
In the analysis that i undertook in the week mentioned above, i found myself constantly confronted with "argument from incredulity".
I also found myself constantly confronted with my own mind saying "i cannot understand". In other words, i cannot understand how anyone can believe that a system as complex as a human being could ever come into existence without an external engineering creative agency. That is neutralized by argument from incredulity.
However, i experience statements that people cannot believe in a creator because i cannot give them "solid provable evidence" as also being an argument from incredulity. This also applies to demands for proof that spirit's exist, that there will be a judgment, that there is a lake of fire, that there is a heaven, that there is life after death, that human beings have spirit's, etc.
Accordingly, i have concluded that "argument from incredulity" is neutral, results in deadlock and is self cancelling. It seems to me that people can use argument from incredulity to neutralize the arguments of those who oppose creation just as effectively as it can be used in the opposite direction.
Accordingly, i have chosen not to address argument from incredulity further in this document.
I recognize that in most and possibly everything that follows it will be possible to use incredulity to nullify the points that are offered. I appeal to you not to do this and, if you disagree with what i write, please find another basis to reject it.
At some level it seems to me that the end result of argument from incredulity is that each individual is confronted with having to make a choice on the basis of there being one essential point that each side cannot answer:
- It seems to me that those who do not believe there is a creator cannot prove where the matter from which the universe is constructed came from and do not have a verifiable and reproducible answer.
- As one who believes in a creator, i admit that i do not have any explanation for where the creator came from. He says that he is "eternally self existent" and i choose to believe this. I personally cannot begin to comprehend where He came from and i choose not to concern myself with this. I have ample evidence that He exists and i choose to consider this to be more important than seeking to understand something that i hold to be incomprehensible.
I really cannot see very much difference between these two positions. It really does seem that both require similar levels of faith in something - either a creator who is eternal or in matter that self created in an absolute vacuum. I really keep coming back to the latter looking like a belief in creation.
Ultimately it is a matter of personal choice.
16.2. REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM
As indicated previously, "reductio ad absurdum" is a principle that i was taught at school and which the web site referenced previously indicates is widely applied.
I hold that this principle is an intrinsic part of a significant part of science and is valid and reliable as a deductive analytical process.
It seems to me that "reductio ad absurdum" and "argument from incredulity" are, on a macro level, mutually exclusive. Accordingly, i have decided to choose reductio ad absurdum as my preferred tool. Having said this, i submit that close consideration of what follows will indicate that this decision is not central to the argument that is presented.
16.3. ENTITIES ARE NOT TO BE MULTIPLIED BEYOND NECESSITY
A principle that was advanced to me in the context of the discussions referred to above is the principle of "non sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitatem" (614) which means "entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity" and is apparently referred to as "Ockham's Razor".
This principle seems to me to be intuitively sound although i have no recollection of encountering it previously.
This principle was advanced on the basis that it was suggested that since evolution theory could explain the existence of the Universe and man without a creator there was no need for a creator.
I think that IF it can be shown that the universe and man could have come into existence without a creator, then this IS a valid thesis.
In the sections that follow, i present evidence which i believe indicates that the universe and man could NOT have come into existence without a creator.
16.4. PROBABILITY AND STATISTICS
It is my understanding that "probability and statistics" (413,000) are regarded as a science.
The application of probability and statistics have certainly been central to my engineering training and career.
I therefore hold that the appropriate application of statistics and probabilistic techniques is a valid tool in understanding complex problems. Accordingly, in the sections that follow some reference is made to the application of these principles although the arguments that are presented do not rely on any significant knowledge of this field.
16.5. STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE
The concept of "statistical significance" (299,000) is a specific aspect of statistics
The web site http://www.surveysystem.com/signif.htm defines "Statistical Significance" as "In normal English, "significant" means important, while in Statistics "significant" means probably true (not due to chance). A research finding may be true without being important. When statisticians say a result is "highly significant" they mean it is very probably true. They do not (necessarily) mean it is highly important."
The word significant, as applied in the sections that follow, is in terms of this definition. In other words, there are individual observations which i hold to be statistically significant in terms of supporting certain conclusions, this does not necessarily mean that any particular conclusion is "highly important". In some cases this may be so but i will then endeavour to make this clear in the text.
Statistical significance in rigorous terms is determined using "significance tests" (29,700) which are specific mathematical and statistical calculations. I have not undertaken formal significance test computations on any of the examples given below, however, based on nearly thirty years experience i am personally satisfied that the examples to which the term significance are applied would more than adequately satisfy the requirements for a high level of statistical significance.
This does not mean that the individual examples are absolute but that there is substantial evidence to indicate that they are true to such an extent that there is a substantial basis from which to argue for or against spontaneous evolution.
16.6. ARGUMENT FROM SPECIFIC TO GENERAL
In considering many of the arguments with regard to the debate of evolution versus creation, it seemed that in many cases people on both sides were arguing from the specific to the general with very small sample sizes relative to other potential sampling areas.
My professional training indicates that argument from specific to general is not a valid deductive technique. In other words, using an experiment in a test tube does not, in terms of my training, provide a basis to argue substantively for or against evolution.
I will endeavour in the sections that follow to argue from general principles to specific or to use specific examples which i hold to be indicative of observably general principles.
17. "PLANNED (ENGINEERED) CREATIVE EVOLUTION" VERSUS "UNPLANNED (UNENGINEERED) SPONTANEOUS EVOLUTION"
In a previous section it has been suggested that both evolution and creation are forms of creation.
I would now like to propose that they are also both forms of evolution.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary includes the following in the definition of evolution "... appearance in due succession ... development (of organism, human society, the universe, design, argument, etc); origination of species by development from earlier forms, not by special creation ...".
In seeking to converge the analysis in this document towards something that i think i can offer as "solid" and "provable" it increasingly seemed important to more closely define what i perceive to be the principal attributes of the two arguments.
Following are my suggestions.
17.1. INSTANTANEOUS CREATION
I have indicated in a previous section that i do not believe that creation took place in six consecutive twenty four hour periods. By extension i do not believe that creation of all that exists today took place instantaneously, that is in periods of less than twenty four hours.
For the sake of this point i would like to define such concepts as "instantaneous creation".
I do not believe that instantaneous creation is a necessary pre-requisite for the existence of a creator. I see no reason why a creator who says He is eternal would need to resort to instantaneous creation, even if He IS capable of it.
As far as i can see, the time frame of creation is not relevant to establishing whether there is a creator or not. The time period since the completion of the creation of man may be more relevant but even then i do not see that disputing the time period will can have any impact on whether there is a creator or not.
Accordingly, i appeal to those who believe there IS a creator NOT to attach issues of timing to any argument that they advance in support of a creator.
I appeal to those who do NOT believe there is a creator also to find another basis to present an argument to prove there is no creator.
I will not address this scenario further in this document and in the remainder of this section will focus my attention on two definitions that seem to me to be important.
17.2. PLANNED (ENGINEERED) CREATIVE EVOLUTION
Having accepted that belief in creation of the universe and humankind in six consecutive periods of twenty four hours is not a precondition for belief in a creator and that creation may have taken millions or billions of years, opens up some other possibilities. Specifically that it seems to me that it is quite possible for creation, by an eternally self existing creator, to have taken place in an evolutionary manner.
A fundamental engineering principle in designing complex systems is that one builds one or more prototypes, operates them, identifies opportunities for improvement and then builds production units. As one gains experience with the operation of production units one identifies areas for further improvement and these are incorporated into subsequent versions of production units which may also go through one or more prototype stages.
If one is seeking to create something that has never existed before, such as a heavier than air flying machine, one may create numerous prototypes before one even begins to function in the manner envisaged. It can take many iterations even after a functioning prototype has been created before one can achieve the level of performance, functionality, reliability, etc that one envisages when one first embarks on the project.
In the case of heavier than air flying machines, it took centuries before a machine that flew for any distance was created and many decades further before the levels of performance, functionality, reliability, safety and affordability that we are accustomed to today were achieved. Today, engineers continue to make improvements to flying machines in order to improve their operating attributes.
The need for prototypes is NOT an indication of lack of intelligence or other deficiency, it is simply evidence that when creating a complex system that has never been created before it is to be expected that the first design will offer opportunity for improvement as one gains experience with the design, construction and operation of the particular system.
In my experience, these principles apply whether it is a twelve year old trying to build a simple kennel for their dog or an international space agency cooperative programme designing a "space station".
If one has never designed, built and operated something before, it is necessary to gain experience with the design, construction and operation of that something before one can build a "something" that is reasonably optimized. Alternatively one can learn from others who have done the same or similar things previously, this is the basis of engineering education.
This being so in terms of my life experience, i hold it to be so in all areas of development that i have ever read about or heard of.
At a more personal level, it is my observation that if someone designs and builds a house for themselves, when they take occupation they will always find opportunity for improvement unless they employed a really skilled architect who really understood their requirements extremely well and the person briefing the architect was very clear about the requirements and had considerable experience.
I would like to suggest that if you have ever designed and built anything you have personal experience that indicates that it is not trivial to accomplish the outcome you desired at the start and you may also have experience that indicates that if you undertook the same project again you would do it differently with the expectation of an improved outcome.
It is my belief that the Almighty has created a universe like ours only once.
Accordingly, it seems to me that it is certain that creation was undertaken on an incremental basis similar to that described above.
In the hope of demonstrating what i am suggesting, i would like to suggest the following scenario as one possible view for consideration:
1) A limited amount of matter was created in order to develop the periodic table of the elements. This may have taken any number of prototypes (or experiments).
2) Some or all of the amount of matter that exists in the universe today was created. This could have been created as a single mass and distributed through some form of "big bang" or it could have been created a step at a time, each sun, planet, etc in it's place and motion.
The term "big bang" is defined at http://dictionary.reference.com as "big bang n. The cosmic explosion that marked the origin of the universe according to the big bang theory".
3) Any number of prototype "solar systems" could have been created in order to obtain a particular desired set of conditions. This would have eventually resulted in the construction of our solar system.
4) As the design was unfolding, different components of the universe could have been given different trajectories, orbits, rotations, etc. This could also have taken place on a step by step experimental / prototype basis.
5) Any number of prototype "earths" could have been created in these solar systems in order to obtain the desired levels of temperature, ecological conditions, etc. This allows for the possibility of any number of other habitable or near habitable planets to exist in the universe.
6) Once the present planet was stabilized there might have been any number of iterations of refinement of the atmosphere, biosphere, etc. Such iterations may also have occurred on other prototype earth planets before being implemented here.
7) As the environment on earth stabilized there could have been a progressive implementation or development of increasingly sophisticated life forms and organisms, starting with any number of the one cell organisms which i understand to be an essential part of evolution theory.
8) Over time this progressive evolution of life may have resulted in any number of prototypes that did not fully conform to the original design objectives and these forms may have been formally extinguished or else allowed to die out. Either way, this represents a form of "survival of the fittest".
9) As the plant life on the planet stabilized this would have created the environment for increasingly complex animals until eventually the full range of land mammals was in existence. At each stage of development there could have been multiple prototypes and the successful prototypes could then have become basic patterns for different groupings of animals such as horses, cats, dogs, cattle, antelope, apes, rodents, etc. Prototyping at each stage seems quite possible to me.
10) In the process of developing these life forms, at some stage animal spirits may have been introduced. There are many who believe that animals have spirits. It is my impression that the spirits commonly referred to as angels or messengers may have been created before any physical matter was created. It is my understanding that they were active agents in the creation process. This is not a necessary condition to the validity of this scenario.
11) Once the animal ecology was well established (it may have been continuing to develop) initial prototypes of human kind may have been developed. There may have been many prototype iterations, thus accounting for the range of intermediate forms that are reported to have been found.
12) Eventually, once a final design had been arrived at, human kind would have been put "into production". While there are other reasons why a decision as to whether this took place thousands of years ago or millions of years ago seems to me to be significant, it does not seem to me to be important for the current point.
13) One could argue that the earth has continued to evolve from the time of creation of man or one can argue that it has been deteriorating since then. I hold the latter view and hold that there is evidence of this. However, this is not relevant to this point.
It also seems possible that in the above scenario many types of animal could have further evolved since the completion of a formal development process. It seems to me that there could be ongoing evolution / mutation / of present forms with or without the intervention of a creator and / or with or without the intervention of other spiritual beings. Thus all dogs may have evolved from one created pair, all cats may have evolved from one created pair, all butterflies, all human beings, etc may have evolved from one created pair.
In the event of evolution without a creator it is my understanding that it is taken as given that all dogs must have evolved from one successful pair and that the same applies to the other examples given above. In sections that follow i will seek to demonstrate that this is a necessary requirement for evolution without a creator to happen.
It seems to me that progressive development of dogs and other animals does not indicate the existence of a creator or not. At some level i accept that it can be taken as indicating that evolution without a creator IS possible within the constraints of a particular form, such as dogs.
In other words, there can be spontaneity of development at a level of some complexity without it proving spontaneity at a macro or universal level.
The essence of my point above is that i can see no reason why creation by a creator could not have taken place in a manner that it seems to me is entirely congruent with possibly all of the verifiable data that i have encountered offered in support of evolution without a creator.
In other words, it seems to me that there is no available physical evidence that i am aware of that proves that there is not a creator.
I am willing to accept that there is much evidence that proves that what some people who believe in a creator have said was not accurate. This does not prove that there is not a creator, it simply proves that some people made mistakes. I hold that all human beings make mistakes and that the fact that some people and even most or all people who have believed in creation up to the present have made mistakes does not prove anything other than that they are human and make mistakes.
Insofar as this document is likely to contain mistakes, this does not prove anything about the existence of a creator, it simply proves that at some level i made mistakes and therefore i deduce that i am human.
I hope that this helps to present a point of view on creation that may help some to look at the available data differently.
In the interests of more narrowly defining the above concept, i have elected to call the above "Planned (Engineered) Creative Evolution".
- "Evolution" because i am convinced that what exists today evolved and was not instantaneously or near instantaneously created but developed one increment or prototype at a time.
- "Creative" because i am convinced that this process of evolution required an external agency to happen. More evidence in support of this is offered in subsequent sections.
- "Planned" because i am convinced there was a clear objective of creating an environment in which human kind could be brought into existence and because all the evidence that i see around me about the universe, the planet, plants and animals, etc tells me, as an engineer, that this could not have come into existence without a clear plan.
- "Engineered" because i am convinced that the creative process took place in a systematic manner that embodied the disciplines of engineering, prototyping, progressive development, etc.
As i see it, "planned" and "engineered" are redundant in terms of my understanding of the word "create", it seems to me that others do not all see things this way.
I would therefore like to offer the term "Planned (Engineered) Creative Evolution" as a more detailed definition of "creation" for your consideration.
I leave it to you to decide whether this works for you at some level or not at all. Whether it works for you or not, i ask you to please consider what follows.
17.3. "UNPLANNED (UNENGINEERED) SPONTANEOUS EVOLUTION"
In contrast to planned (engineered) creative evolution, i have concluded that my understanding of "evolution" is currently best summed up by the term "Unplanned (Unengineered) Spontaneous Evolution".
- "Evolution" because i am convinced that there was evolution and it fits.
- "Spontaneous" because i understand "evolution" to be about a process which was not initiated by an external agency and which took place in response to environmental and other stimuli which resulted in progressive, incremental mutation / adaptation of life forms, etc.
- "Unplanned" for the same reason as the previous point. I understand "evolution" to hold that there was no external agency and therefore, i understand this to indicate that there was no plan to evolve to any particular intermediate or end state, it "just happened".
- "Un-engineered" (which i understand is not necessarily "good" English, but i cannot think of another term) for the same reason as the previous point. I understand engineering to require an experienced and knowledgeable being to bring to bear their intellect, knowledge, experience, etc to conceptualize, specify, analyze, design, build, commission, implement and sometimes operate anything that has any complexity.
I accept that the definition offered above is redundant in some respects. I have chosen to accept this redundancy in order to comparatively align the two points of view as i currently think i have understood them. I would like to think that these two definitions more specifically home in on the essence of the point of whether there is a creator or not in a way that you will find at least to some degree useful.
I leave it to you to decide and ask you please to persevere with me even if you do not agree.