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.