It has always amazed me that the atheist world is so enthralled with Bertrand Russell’s Celestial Teapot as a supposed logical argument against the credibility of belief in God.
This argument is routinely deployed by atheists in debates with theists, and so it was on a discussion I am having on face book about Science and belief in the after life.
I was going to simply make a direct reply but then it occurred to me that I ought to blog my answer because of the important place Russell’s teapot (and it’s mate… the flying spaghetti monster) play in the Great controversy between Faith and skepticism.
I don’t know why Russell’s argument is so revered by atheists when it only takes a small amount of contemplation to realize that His argument is actually a refutation of blind faith in Atheistic Evolution, not belief in God.
Let me explain.
The reason we ought to doubt the existence of a teapot orbiting between Earth and Mars is simply because we know that Teapots are the product of mind over matter… ie that unless Mankind, or some other intelligence formed a teapot out of china and placed it in that orbit that there is no way Nature could produce such an Object via it’s blind/ unguided forces!
The Theory of Evolution. The Illusion of Design.
This is an argument from design, and it makes a mockery of evolutionary theory because atheist evolutionists believe that something far far more complex than a china teapot can and has been made by the pure blind and unguided forces of Nature… I refer to the spectacle of Life on Earth!
For Atheists to believe life could possibly be the result of blind chance, and yet balk at the idea of a Celestial teapot being formed by pure chance exposes their credulous Absurdity!
According to their theory their ought to be all sorts of objects in space which have a quirky resemblance to Designed artifacts… teapots… not a problem!
(I am reminded of ‘The Hitch hikers guide to the Galaxy’ when it mentions the existance of “Casinos, all of which have been formed by the natural erosion of wind and rain…”)
Well we all know there very much is a problem!
Nature does not work like that!
Russell’s argument is actually a very poor argument given the nature of what he was attempting to disprove… ie religious belief. It is also a great testament to the duplicity of atheists whom Balk at the idea of a Celestial teapots yet will look at you square in the face and tell you they believe life started by accident! That is to strain at a gnat while swallowing a camel!
He has in fact furnished theists with a great argument against atheism… for it would be much easier to believe in a celestial Teapot than in the spontaneous generation and evolution of life…
Not to appreciate this is to be Pig headed indeed.
Thus ends today’s lesson.
Part 2 Here>>> The Ludicrous Claims of Evolution! Why not ESP?
Read about Biomimicry… Plagiarizing God’s designs. Here:
Read about Paley’s other Watch here:
Russell’s teapot arguement from RationalWiki…
In an unpublished article entitled “Is There a God?”, commissioned in 1952 by Illustrated magazine, Russell suggested the following thought experiment to illustrate the burden of proof and falsifiability:
“If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes.
But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense.
If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.”
138 thoughts on “Russell’s Teapot really refutes Atheism not Theism!”
You seem to have misunderstood Russel’s argument, which is odd considering it’s a very simple one. It’s not about trying to disprove religious belief (I’m not even sure what that means, how do you disprove a belief?) nor does it have anything to do with whether a teapot could form naturally. It simply tries to illustrate that the fact that we can’t disprove something is a very poor reason to believe it.
You also seem to have misunderstood the concept of a hypothesis. To quote Aristotle: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” That’s what a hypothesis (like the various abiogenesis hypotheses that have been proposed) is, a thought that we entertain. A hypothesis doesn’t require us to believe in it, it’s basically an educated guess. To be of any use, the hypothesis should make some specific predictions that can be tested by observation or experimentation. If it fails this test against reality, the hypothesis is discarded and replaced with a new one. If, on the other hand, the hypothesis is consistent with the observed evidence, it may eventually form the basis of a comprehensive scientific theory. This is the scientific method and it’s the opposite of blind faith.
Finally, I would question the use of the terms “blind chance” and “by accident”. It seems to imply that abiogenesis is about life coming into existance through a random event. What has been proposed is that life is the result of the physicochemical forces of nature, which are anything but random. If you mix some specific chemicals in specific amounts at a specific set of conditions, you will not get a random or accidental result – you will get the same result every time. Abiogenesis research is about finding out whether conditions simulating those believed to have existed on pre-biotic Earth could lead to the formation of a self-replicating molecule which would be the start of the evolutionary process.
Excellent response KR, Tim is attacking the analogy rather than the point.
Analogies are usually less than perfect but they serve to illustrate a proposition in a way that can be grasped even by the poor thinker. It doesn’t have to be a real teapot – it could be any item, natural, man-made or imaginary that is too small to be observable.
Theists love to polarise the possible explanations for the origin of life and diversity into ‘random chance’, by which they mean evolution, versus creation.
It amuses me that ‘random chance’ is a tautological expression which exposes ignorance – what could non-random chance be? No chance at all?
The mechanism for evolution is not chance, it is selection. Here is the difference: take six dice and throw them until yet get all sixes – that has a probability of occurring once in every 6*6*6*6*6*6 (46,656) attempts and may take forever since there is no memory of preceding failures.
Now take six dice and throw them, remove any that come up six and throw the rest, select out any that come up six and throw the rest and so on. That’s selection – you should get six sixes quite soon.
Thank you KR for taking the time to share your thoughts on my post.
I knew that it would provoke a debate.
I appreciate your comments on the concept of ‘hypothesis’ and I can use it to point out the main error in Russell’s thinking and that is the idea that ‘God’ or ‘the Bible’ are things believed simply on say so… ie without good reason.
I would like to propose the contrary idea that they are believed because they are also underpinned by ‘hypothesis’ in respect to the nature of reality… that is that believers have plenty of reasons/ arguments/ rationalisations why they think that the bible is believable… thus Russell is arguing a straw man.
My post actually embodies several of the hypotheses which underpins theistic faith, ie the argument from design, and the question of the origin of life.
I would also like to point out that what you have said about biogenesis does not remove it from being a product of happenstance… a completely unguided and ‘unintelligent’ chemical process. That is a fundamental tenet of the theory and it is expressly formulated to eliminate God out of existence. It is of course impossible, yet that has not stopped atheist materialists pursuing it. Pasteur’s simple experiments disproving spontaneous generation still hold good against modern abiogenesis… as never has any new lifeform been found to have ever spontaneously generated…. And sterile environments remain sterile unless contaminated from elsewhere.
These are Ironclad Biological laws, and no wonder when you consider just how complex even the simplest of single cell organisms are!
Here is another blog post I wrote on the subject of the origin of life…
Tim, I have addressed your misunderstanding about biogenesis at the linked article. Please check it out.
“Ironclad Biological Laws”! I know of no biologist who would recognise that term. Living organisms are so complex that exceptions abound. For this reason there are no ‘Laws’ in biology, are you mixing it up with Physics?
You have done nothing to bolster your false claim. Atheists simply demonstrate that it is impossible to prove a negative. All you have done is operate from a false premise that your god exists absolutely, but of course you offer no proof whatsoever.
What debate? You didn’t provoke anything more than frustration over how a sad fact due to religious nuts and their Creationists’ infiltration and insistence that religion can produce a counter argument regarding science and in particular a topic, that has withstood the test of time and prediction into future events accurately, and yet ignorance persists. Evolution and Natural Selection is that science.
The “Gish Gallop” barrage, for example, that religious zealots maintain as if a counter argument to Evolution.
Produced by Isaac Asimov in 1981, “The Threat of Creationism” and still ‘up to date.’ I realise I’m talking about a somewhat different topic, but actually not so much. This is no debate but a more advanced topic to do with logic, premise, argument, valid and sound conclusions as qualifiers.
Inserting god into a discussion on science is pointless.
Sean Carroll “God is not a good theory”
Well, if you want to put forward the existence of God as a hypothesis I certainly have no problem with that – but is this really your position? If God is a hypothesis, this carries with it the implicit recognition that it’s a just a possibility and may ultimately prove to be wrong. This would be more akin to the agnostic stance than a theistic one.
Abiogenesis is undirected, yes – but this is not equivalent with random. The proposition is that abiogenesis is the result of chemistry and biophysics, which are not random processes but are governed by thermodynamics. If it’s energetically favourable for a chemical reaction to happen, it will happen – nothing happenstance about it.
I often see reference to Pasteur’s experiment (as well as to those by Redi and Spallanzano before him) as proof that abiogenesis is impossible. This has always puzzled me as it’s such an obvious apples-to-oranges comparison. What Pasteur and his predecessors dispelled was the old myth that fully-formed organisms (insects, maggots and even mice) can appear out of nowhere in rotting meat and dirty linen.
What abiogenesis research is about is to find out whether an evolutionary process can start through pure chemistry and biophysics. To equate this with medieval superstition is simply preposterous. If you assert that abiogenesis is impossible, this is a claim you need to justify – and Pasteur can’t help you.
Hear, hear, KR!
All Tim has done is revealed his ignorance.
This is a big step forward for Tim. He seems to have acknowledged that god is merely hypothetical.
In fact, because She cannot be investigated due to being ‘immaterial’, she is an unscientific hypothesis. Furthermore, since all phenomena so far explained have proven to have a natural cause, She is a highly improbable, unscientific hypothesis.
If that is Tim’s position then he and I agree but it’s an odd stance for a believer.
I forgot to address your statement that abiogenesis being unguided is expressly formulated to eliminate God out of existence. I disagree with this – science recognizes that it can only study that for which it has the tools, i.e. the natural world. For this reason, it’s completely neutral on the question of God’s existence. If you think otherwise, you need to explain why there are so many theists active in various fields of research (including evolutionary biology, another unguided process). Surely they wouldn’t be part of an anti-religious agenda?
Just who are all these theists who are “active in various fields of research (including evolutionary biology, another unguided process)? There may be a few but they would likely be acquainted with the 3% of all scientists who deny man made climate change.
The claim is justified, because repeated attempts to produce life in a test tube have failed. Each successive failed attempt is further confirmation (in the Popperian sense) of the hypothesis that abiogenesis is impossible.
Of course, the failure of scientists to produce life in a test tube is also confirmation of the weaker claim that abiogenesis doesn’t (and didn’t) happen. This weaker claim is preferable on epistemic grounds.
Note that even if scientists did succeed in producing life in a test tube, this would constitute merely a possibility proof – proof that abiogenesis is possible – not proof that it had ever previously occurred.
In the event that scientists did succeed in producing life in a test tube, Evolutionists would, of course, take the giant logical leap from “it could have happened like this” to “it must have happened like this.” But to justify such a leap, one has to presuppose that we live in a universe where anything that can happen does happen, or that anything that is possible is also actual … therefore God exists.
No, your assumption that “therefore god exists” is based upon your extremely flawed presumption that science never calls any experiment or “result” a theory until it has been shown to be readily repeatable.
Nothing advances from being a hypothesis to a theory until it has been verified repeatedly. Theory is established fact.
I need to correct my grammar to say that the writer I was responding to, Richard, is assuming scientists never verify their results before publishing their theory after they have tested their hypothesis.
So your justification is that it’s impossible because it hasn’t happened yet? By that logic every ongoing research endeavour (or indeed any goal-oriented project) is impossible and should be closed down. This is of course nonsense.
I doubt you’ll find anyone involved in abiogenesis research claiming that a positive result would prove that’s how it happened. This would basically require a time machine that could take us back 4 billion years or so to watch it happening. Clearly this is not the aim of the research but to find a plausible pathway that’s consistent with what we know and can be experimentally verified.
However, some progress is being made – bacteria which have been denucleated and fitted with synthetic DNA have lived and reproduced normally. Attempts to find the minimum genome are underway through this research under the supervision of Dr Craig Ventner.
Who knows, we may be soon able to create life and rival god!
No, my justification is that it didn’t happen once because it hasn’t happened twice. Scientific results can be replicated. Scientists have yet to produce life in a test tube.
The theory that abiogenesis is impossible predicts that each time scientists try to produce life in a test tube, they will fail. So far, each time scientists have tried to produce life in a test tube, they have failed. The theory that abiogenesis is impossible is confirmed by the experimental results. Seems a simple enough point.
By that reasoning flight by man was proven impossible by thousands of years of failed attempts. Unfortunately for your “reasoning,” man eventually did succeed in flight after learning the mechanics of air flow.
Your simple point still looks like “you can’t do it ’cause you haven’t done it yet” – which is still nonsense.
The perpetual motion machine isn’t considered impossible because people have tried and failed, it’s considered impossible because it violates the laws of thermodynamics. If you want to show abiogenesis to be impossible, you need to show that it conflicts with the laws of nature.
To disprove it using your failed attempts hypothesis, you would need to demonstrate that every possible attempt that can be made has been made – and that’s not likely to happen, is it?
My simple point is that the burden of proof is on you to show that abiogenesis is possible.
The burden of proof will – as always – land with the person who made the claim. In this case, the claim that has been made is that abiogenesis is impossible so obviously the burden of proof rests with the person who made that claim.
The notion that I have to prove that abiogenesis is possible would be another nonsensical statement. A hypothesis is by definition possible until it’s been proven impossible (which, if I may remind you, it hasn’t).
Burden of proof is rubbish.
Abiogenesis violates a law of nature – i.e. life always comes from life.
And the award for ‘knows the least about what he is talking about’ goes to reed. Life is just chemical reactions, the only physical difference between a dead man and a live one is the number of chemical reactions. We are made entirely from non-living materials.
Is this the argument you are making?
P1. Whatever a thing can be reduced to is what it must have originated from.
P2. Life is reducible to non living matter
C. Therefore, non living matter is what life must have originated from.
So… does a tree or any other creature which shows biochemical actions, are they separate from humans. Is there like some special box that contains something that is not naturally occurring elements that humans are made of – if so, where does it come from.
The point: The place where life lives, Earth, is made up of the same substances as life, just in different molecular arrangements. When you boil life down to its constitutes, you find all that is needed is what occurs naturally. In a child like diagram: Tree needs soil, water, air, sun. That’s it. No mention or need for a god of any sort, even a tree nymph.Why would you come to the conclusion that there must be something else. Does a sunflower need some kind of spirit to bend it to the sun, or can biochemical reactions explain it. Well, the chemicals can be shown to be there, and can be shown they can move a sunflower face throughout the daylight hours. You seem to think a god does it.
If life did not come from the matter it is made from, then what else is there, and why isn’t still made from this proposed something-other-then-non-living-matter. Can you collect a sample of it this something that is not of this Earth.
Also, behold the infinite regress
Prove that abiogenesis is possible. Once you’ve established that abiogenesis could have happened, provide reasons for thinking that it did happen. Show your working.
So far, scientists have given us no reason to suppose that abiogenesis can occur, let alone that it did occur.
I hate having to repeat myself but as I already explained (and found it a bit weird that I even had to), a hypothesis is by definition possible until it has been proven to be impossible. Since, so far, neither you nor anyone else has been able to do so, abiogenesis remains a possibility.
The so called “law of biogenesis” is an observation that applies to life as it exists now. It says nothing about how life may have started.
So you’re saying that abiogenesis is an unconfirmed hypothesis?
No true scotsman and special pleading.
Is it possible that the celestial teapot came about by the process of ateapotgenesis? 🙂
You missed the point of the teapot argument, just as the writer of this blog did. The point of the argument is that saying that something must be true because there is no evidence against it is absurd
Reed, ateapotgenesis is certainly possible. We know this, because ateapotgenesis is a hypothesis, and a hypothesis is by definition possible until it has been proven to be impossible. Since, so far, neither you nor anyone else has been able to do so, ateapotgenesis remains a possibility.
I am 100% with KR on this.
I also 100% agree with the following quote:
“It is a misnomer to speak of a scientific law of biogenesis. The closest thing to it is the part of the cell theory which states that all cells arise from preexisting cells. But then that is nothing more than an inductive conclusion: every cell we’ve even seen arise arose from a preexisting cell, so it is inductively concluded that that applies to all cells. But, there is no logical requirement that it apply to all cells: it’s an extrapolation. There are untold numbers of similar inductive conclusions that were later proven false in science. For example, for decades biologists had not found any prokaryote that had a cytoskeleton so it was taught that no prokaryotes have a cytoskeleon: but then we found some prokaryotes that do have a cytoskeleton.
So no, one cannot prove the existence of a creator with the so-called “law of biogenesis.”
PS: Besides, the Creator would be astronomically greater than the first living organism, right? So it would be more logical to accept that life just existed without a cause than it would be to accept that a Creator just existed without a cause. Calling upon a Creator does not solve anything: it just makes things worse. It replaces one mystery with an every bigger one.” – DAUnion.
@Richard: Yes, abiogenesis is indeed an unconfirmed hypothesis.
@reed: My argument is neither a special pleading nor a “no true scotsman” fallacy. You, on the other hand, are making a fallacy of composition by stretching an observation about current life to cover the origin of life. Nice try, though.
@Terry: Nice quote, where’s it from?
KR, I’m glad we agree that abiogenesis is an unconfirmed hypothesis. Given that abiogenesis is an unconfirmed hypothesis, what reason(s) do you have to believe it?
Please note that I *didn’t* make the claim that abiogenesis is impossible. Whereas, you *did* make the claim that abiogenesis is possible. (Simply by putting forward the hypothesis, according to you.) So the burden of proof rests with you to demonstrate that abiogenesis is possible. (You cannot do this simply by putting forward the hypothesis, according to me.)
Terry, you agree that abiogenesis is an unconfirmed hypothesis. Given that abiogenesis is an unconfirmed hypothesis, what reason(s) do you have to believe it?
What is truly telling is that Modern man with his Electron microscopes and Nano tek is stupefied by the shear complexity of a cell.
Advances in Modern science have pushed the goalposts further and further away … Ie Belief in abiogenesis has become more and more absurd by the hour… not more rational.
The notion of a simple life form is a myth!
It is also sheer folly to think that changing the name of spontaneous generation to abiogenesis and giving it a ‘new definition’ using modern Genetic jargon is anything more than laughable semantics or that this sophistry does anything to save it from Pasteur Iron Clad Law that *Life only comes from life*… which has *never been contravened* and is what Reed was referring to, and to which every single failure of experimentation in the most sophisticated labs confirm.
Science is squarely on the side of theism… and this truth only continues to grow in certainty, making the Materialist/ Naturalist ‘hypothesis’ less tenable…. Absolutely less rational… and it only continues out of sheer irreligious fanaticism on the part of the atheists many of whom will never accept the idea of A God.
It is a classic Irony to realize it is the atheist whom is in the scientifically Naked position, and the theist whom has the evidence on his side… despite the claims of people like Dawkins who swear that Religious faith is groundless and atheism to be almost certainly true!
They are so blind as to think belief in God is that same thing as belief in the tooth fairy!
… That is supposed to be a sign of genius!
Yet amazing enough guys like A Flew… the greatest of atheists have been able to finally grasp the futility of the Materialist position, and brave enough to confess their conversion. Proving the sincere mind can be reached.
The last Bastion for atheism is to repair to gigantic numbers in the hope of suggesting the Universe/ time and space are vast enough to accomplish even the most absurd improbabilities… because that is where abiogenesis stands… as the highest of absurd improbability.
(And that is what makes belief in abiogenesis irrational Terry… your logic is whack!)
Then we could talk about falsifiablity as a keynote of real science… and the atheist position does not qualify because no matter how many times they fail to produce life from matter, they will cling to their materialism and rationalise their defiance via the arguments applied above by KR … that ‘Tomorrow they will succeed’…. And that tomorrow will never come. It will always step away.
I don’t see:
Spontaneous generation was the idea that life sprang fully formed from inanimate matter and did not have any previous biochemical past. Sort of like a human forming fully formed from clay.
Abiogenesis is the idea that life developed over time from naturally occurring non-living matter.
I see what confuses you, you ignore the process and focused on the non-living matter part.
I am unaware of experiments to produce life. How would that provide evidence for a creationists anyway, they would say it only shows it took an intelligent being to make it.
As for the big numbers, they are hard to handle, but are inevitable. That’s the universe for ya. So Christians actually like wallowing in the gigantic numbers, saying it shows gods vast power.
Thanks again Mark… I did try that link but was told Trans egoism could not be found?
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I think abiogenesis is a reasonable hypothesis for several reasons.
1) Life obviously exists.
2) The evidence indicates that there was a time when life did not exist.
3) The suggestions that have been put forward are that life came from non-life either by natural or supernatural means. I favour the natural explanation as I know the forces of nature exist but am not aware of any evidence that anything supernatural exists. The natural explanation also has the advantage of being testable experimentally.
4) The particular abiogenesis hypothesis that makes the most sense to me, i.e. the “RNA world ” hypothesis has some supporting evidence:
RNA has both the ability to self-replicate and catalyze chemical reactions, which makes it an interesting candidate as a starting point of the evolutionary process since it can perform the duties of both DNA and protein enzymes. The building blocks of RNA have been shown to form in plausible pre-biotic conditions and can also polymerize to oligonucleotides. Likewise, lipids have been shown to form in plausible pre-biotic conditions and will spontaneously aggregate in water into bilayer vesicles which is basically what a cell membrane is.
This vesicle will let nucleotide monomers in and keep oligomers from leaking out. It can also grow and divide by purely mechanical means. A self-replicating polymer inside a rudimentary cell membrane is all that is needed to get an evolutionary process going. Demonstrating that such a “protocell” could form naturally is the goal of abiogenesis research and I see no reason to believe it’s impossible.
Abiogenesis is possible in the same manner that monkeys flying out of your behind is possible.
OK. Now how is it you think abiogenesis is not as possible as… whatever it is you think happened.
Exactly right, Tim. Today’s state-of-the-art Evolutionists clutch at the idea of a multiverse. But what’s more absurd? The existence of God, or the existence of a multiverse? Ockham’s razor, anyone?
Excellent point, Tim. Is the abiogenesis hypothesis falsifiable? If not, it’s not science.
From Wikipedia: “A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it.”
KR has not claimed that the abiogenesis hypothesis is a scientific hypothesis, only a hypothesis.
KR has stated that “A hypothesis doesn’t require us to believe in it, it’s basically an educated guess.”
You have asked me why I believe in the abiogenesis hypothesis. I don’t. For the reasons KR has given. The hypothesis is not unprovable even, since life can only have come about by physical laws, or else life has always existed. The assumption I start from is that life has a conditional existence, so it does not exist by necessity. That assumption may be wrong, and I am open to be shown that it is, but so long as the assumption is accepted as true, then seeing as the universe (i.e. everything that exists) never had a start point in time, it is infinitely more likely that life came to be as a result of physical laws than it has always existed (but the latter is possible also). In fact these are the only two possibilities, but only one of them can be tested, namely, that life came about as a result of physical laws.
The third option, calling upon a Creator, as the quote I posted points out, “does not solve anything: it just makes things worse. It replaces one mystery with an even bigger one”.
If science is “squarely on the side of theism” you should obviously have no problem formulating a scientific hypothesis for the supernatural formation of life. What specific predictions would this hypothesis make and how would you go about testing these predictions?
KR, abiogenesis is a reasonable hypothesis only if you reject Supernaturalism. If God does not exist, then abiogenesis is a certainty! But to reject Supernaturalism is to beg the question! FAIL.
Hang on… KR the Universe had a beginning. Life exists. etc etc.
Thus your number three is bogus because you simply refuse to accept that these two things are proof of super Natural reality!
There is a circularity to your arguement.
You have validated my post.
You simply will not accept anything as evidence of the supernatural.
Your number 4 is bogus too, because no matter how many times materialism is defeated in the lab you will never accept it has been disproved.
And we can be certain that this will remain the case simply by looking at what a cell is and grasping that there is nothing simple about it, and that None of the Blind forces of Nature (in combination) has any hope of creating a cell.
End of story!
Thus you ‘preference for the Naturalistic explanation is exposed as being based upon an irrational disposition.
And the reality is there is plenty of evidence for the supernatural!
It is also true that you write off every historic account of the supernatural… not because you have proof but because you choose to deny anything which does not fit your naturalism… and then claim there is no evidence of the supernatural.
Even if you saw a ghost… five minutes later you would be rationalising it away.
How can you rationalize a ghost, and what kind of ghost; ghosts that are supposedly dead spirits; ghosts that are said to be “psychic” imprints; ghosts that are some kind of supernatural being, etc. Basically, ghosts are a cultural mythology, why would you rationalize something as being a ghost unless there was evidence for it to have existed, or that ghosts had already shown to plausibly exist and what you experienced fit what would be known about ghosts.
Since ghosts have never be shown to exist, the rational conclusion would be to say it was not a ghost.
“Yet amazing enough guys like A Flew… the greatest of atheists have been able to finally grasp the futility of the Materialist position, and brave enough to confess their conversion. Proving the sincere mind can be reached.”
Oh please. One Flew Over The Cuckoo Nest is just an example of a guy who advocated the existence of ESP in his younger years, became famous for being against the idea of God (as opposed to being ‘for’ anything reasonable), then in his senile old age as dementia started setting in, became confounded with all the new science and threw his hands up in the air. That is no evidence of a ‘sincere mind’ being reached. It is evidence of an abdication of the mind.
… light years away from the simplest living organism in terms of complexity.
I prefer the Clay hypothesis: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” 🙂
Terry, this is blatant question begging. EPIC FAIL.
>>”Terry, this is blatant question begging. EPIC FAIL.”
Oh really? What then do you point to as evidence of something that is not dependent on physical laws? “God” is NOT a valid answer for the purposes of this discussion.
This is an Randian axiom, at odds with modern science. According to one version of the Big Bang theory, Nature had a start point in time 13.8 million years ago. FAIL.
The presupposition that God is impossible is in effect a claim on your part that there is no God. The one who makes the claim has the burden of proof put to him.
If you are going to forbid God as even a possibility from the word ‘go,’ then you must disprove God altogether. Otherwise, God stands as a fair consideration, especially considering that the fact that matter exists at all requires a violation of the first law of thermodynamics. I think we are all clear that the universe did begin to exist at some point.
God is a very reasonable hypothesis. To exclude God from the discussion is essentially special pleading. If God is the right answer, which I, of course, believe He is, then your presuppositions would forbid you from ever knowing the truth.
And why not? On what grounds do you rule out the God hypothesis?
The God hypothesis predicts, e.g., that
(1) Life will bear the hallmarks of design. Guess what? It does. Even Dawkins admits it.
(2) Living things will show evidence of a common origin. Guess what? They do. All life is based on DNA.
What else does R. Dawkins say about saying it bears a design-like resemblance. Was there something more.
A common origin shows a god – what kind. Are you sure this supposed god did not create humans of a different substance so he is completely unlike all other creatures.
☻I mean, how awful would it be to discover that not only were there common origins, but the way humans were related was by being another type of ape. Horrors!☻ Satire
@Richard: But I don’t reject supernaturalism, I just conclude that naturalism is better supported by the evidence at this point. You still don’t seem to grasp the concept of a hypothesis. FAIL.
Complexity is probably not the best argument for theism as it relies on the existence of an infinitely complex entity for which no evidence has been presented.
@Tim: There’s no circularity to my argument. You, on the other hand, are asking me to accept the existence of life as proof of the supernatural which is begging the question.
Please present your evidence for the supernatural and then go on to formulate a testable hypothesis for how it gave rise to life. Until you do, your insistence that science is on the side of theism seems rather hollow.
KR, tell me, do you hold to the idea that the default status of things is that there is existence?
So, before time and space and our universe ever came into existence, existence has always been present.
I understand that atheists, are you one? insist that nothing is the departure point for existence, tell me what is your understanding of nothing, as an atheist if you are one.
For myself, nothing means non-existence, period.
If you insist as an atheist, nothing understood as non-existence is the source of existence, isn’t that nonsense?
That is what I always notice with atheists, they are always in the big ultimate question, into nonsense.
No, I think I get it. A hypothesis is basically an educated guess. 🙂
The FAIL is with science in not following the philosophical axioms upon which it owes it’s own existence. The universe (as I have defined it) cannot exist in time – it is outside of time; time can only exist within the universe. To claim otherwise is nonsense. Time is a measure of change. What could “all that exists” possible change to? Something more than all that exists??
Terry, I agree. Nature (including time itself) had a start point 13.8 million years ago.
Nature is eternal (as opposed to sempiternal).
God is eternal.
>>”On what grounds do you rule out the God hypothesis?
On the grounds of not admitting the arbitrary into the discussion. There is no evidence for the existence of God. There is however evidence of life existing. There is also evidence of physical laws and of various forms of things being created as a result of those physical laws.
The God hypothesis is not arbitrary. Not even according to Ayn Rand!
There is plenty of evidence for the existence of God. See here.
Terry, A Flew was touted by every Atheist on the planet as a genius… until he jumped ship. Now they say he went Mad.
When ever anything goes against your position… “its an illusion” “Madness” etc….
At least you guys are consistent…
I would like to suggest that sometimes being consistent is ‘a Hobgoblin’, and that sometimes it is a good thing to abandon your principles… when they are wrong… when they become untenable…etc!
Flew gave Rational explanations for his change of mind! It wasn’t because he herd voices etc.
And He is to be praised because he knew that his repositioning on such a fundamental question would cause him to be castigated and that he would loose his exalted position in the eyes of millions.
He was a real philosopher… though he loved Plato… he loved truth more.
You make groundless dispersions against this honest man simply to insulate yourself from the true ramifications of what his conversion really represents.
You are not capible of his integrity to truth.
KR and Terry,
Do you believe there are teapots orbiting the stars somewhere ‘out there’ in the universe? 🙂
Identifying the beauty and vastness of the universe is evidence only of it’s own existence, and, of my own consciousness and mind – not of anything called ‘God’.
There is always a hypothetical construct assumed in discussing each type of theory.
To be a theoretical argument in science one must follow the scientific method, i.e. one must begin with evidence of something that is observed. To be a theoretical argument in philosophy the axioms upon which the philosophical theory is based must not be self-refuting, i.e. the laws of logic must be respected.
To theoretically argue the arbitrary and contradictory is not to argue science or philosophy, but to cast oneself into the realm of the unintelligible. And that is where the idea of God (in his traditional definition) lies.
Unless you can define God in an comprehendible way, the idea of Him has no place in a rational discussion.
Flew’s “conversion” is evidence of nothing except that he coverted. That is the point. Whilst it would be amusing, if the Pope converted to being an Objectivist, that would prove nothing also.
>>”KR and Terry, Do you believe there are teapots orbiting the stars somewhere ‘out there’ in the universe?”
It is an arbitrary question and therefore not fit for mental processing.
Terry say’s “It is an arbitrary question and therefore not fit for mental processing.”
It’s Not arbitrary at all Terry! It is the very core of this thread!
I want to know if you believed the great big universe is sooooo large that it is probable that teapots orbit at least one star…. out of the Jigazillions.
Yes or no?
Furthermore if the Pope converted to Randiodism I would never blame it on Maddness as you have done with Flew. I would appreciate that he did so because he believed that way the right thing to do.
That you wont even consider this option for Flew… that you feel the need to make out that he is both stupid and crazy brings into question your rationality more than his.
Tim, Richard has posted the correct definition for arbitrary, and your question fits it perfectly. The rational thing to do is dismiss it.
Postulating the hypothesis of abiogenesis on the other hand is not arbitrary. We know that life exists only not how it came about (unlike teapots on earth where we know how they came to be, and teapots in space where there is no evidence for their existence). Since life is observable and conditional, it is perfectly rational to hypothesize how it came to be and then test one’s hypothesis.
So you are going to evade answering my question Terry… and pretend that I am unworthy of a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
I call that spineless.
P.S you may want to re-read my earlier comment above as I was adding to it when you gave that response.
I guess the biggest problem we have here is that Terry and KR think that the very Idea of God is ‘Arbitrary’ and ‘beneath them to take seriously’…. making this discussion pointless. They are not even prepared to think about it properly
No, they are winning the argument which they do by forming proper, well thought arguments in a way I never could. They are being respectful to you and are not making things personal. You gotta appreciate that.
You are losing the argument and that is what’s bothering you. From my perspective you aren’t the one “prepared to think about it properly”.
C’mon, Terry. According to SOLO
Surely, if complex organic compounds form naturally in the vast tracts of interstellar space, then the existence of simple inorganic crockery in the outer darkness beyond our solar system is overwhelmingly likely.
There could be 100 billion exo-teapots, astronomers say
AUCKLAND — Researchers have developed a new method for finding teapots that orbit their stars in the so-called “infusion zone” – the right distance to be able to brew a cup of tea.
Currently these teapots are difficult to spot as they tend to be comparatively tiny when compared to the star they orbit and until now most regular-sized alien teapots to be found in other solar systems have been so close to their stars that nothing potable could ever survive, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Scientists at the University of Auckland, however, claim that by combining data from a Nasa space telescope that is currently searching the heavens for other teapots with a ground based technique called gravitational microlensing, it will be possible to identify smaller regular-sized teapots in the right orbit.
They estimate there could be as many as 100 billion of these teapots in the Milky Way, our own galaxy. With roughly 300 billion stars in our galaxy, this figure may not be as unlikely as it first seems, they say.
I am not evading your question. I am saying that it is an invalid question. And it is. To discuss the arbitrary in the pursuit of knowledge is irrational.
Re Flew, I am no apologist for atheists. Atheism is not a philosophy in and of itself. It is merely a position of someone’s philosophy. I do not even call my position on God atheistic, I prefer ignostic (with an “i”). There is plenty of evidence on the internet that Flew did not have his complete wits about him in his later years. More damning of his lack of objectivity for me was not his failing memory as he got older, it was his advocacy of ESP in his younger years.
I am happy to discuss the concept ‘God’, but in order to discuss Him with me you need to first define Him in a way that my *mind* can grasp him, and not to expect me to understand or ‘connect’ or know him in any other way than through my mind, using perceivable evidence and reason, i.e. facts, as your only means of persuasion.
>>”Surely, if complex organic compounds form naturally in the vast tracts of interstellar space, then the existence of simple inorganic crockery in the outer darkness beyond our solar system is overwhelmingly likely.”
There is evidence for the conditions one existing but not a shred of evidence for the existence of the other. It seems you are having difficulty grasping the nature of the arbitrary. It’s not whether there is or is not a teapot in space, it’s that without evidence of it’s existence has zero chance of arriving at new knowledge, all one is doing is mentally masturbating. I simply do not wish to join in.
Apologies for my bad grammar. I am in too much of a habit of editing my comments after they are posted and this site does not have that feature. Time for bed. I’ll try not to dream of teapots.
Tim, thanks for posting this. Enlightening.
You are welcome Reed.
I have written a completely new blog post to challenge you on your position regarding A Flew and your suggestion that his belief in ESP is evidence of mental deficiency .
Hopefully it will make you think about just how nuts the theory of evolution really is!
It is my hearts desire for you to have such an epiphany…. as I have experienced.
Remember that I once was an absolute Atheist evolutionist whom would roll on the floor with laughter at the thought of ‘God’.
I know I can be a very rude in my delivery, yet please believe me that I only have good will towards you. I appreciate where you are coming from and just how difficult it is to even contemplate that the bible might be true.
That is literally like being born again and having to rethink everything!
Yet it is my task to try and show you why you need to do exactly that.
Tim – I do not find you ‘rude’ in your delivery at all. Irrational, yes. Evangelical, certainly. Rude, no.
>”It is my hearts desire for you to have such an epiphany…. as I have experienced”
As it is my mind’s desire for you to have such an epiphany … as I have experienced. 😉
7th commandment says: “Thou shalt not steal”. And You stole Facebook icon. What kind of christian you are? Shame shame shame.
Russell’s celestial teapot isn’t arguing for or against atheism as far as I can tell. It is arguing against bad logic, which is used to support every religion and gives an example of backward burden of proof requirements.
Hypothesis testing has two parts. The hypothesis and the null hypothesis. A hypothesis can’t be proven only supported or rejected. When a test supports the hypothesis, it is accepted as true for now. Every hypothesis has to stand up to repeat testing and advances in understanding which may at a later date cause that hypothesis to be rejected. In the case of abiogensis, the hypothesis of any one experiment is that life can form spontaneously under these set conditions. The null hypothesis must then be that life can’t form spontaneously under these set conditions. When rejecting one hypothesis, you must accept the null. You can’t substitute a different hypothesis in it’s place and use the rejection of the one as proof of the other.
Russel’s argument was against this form of bad logic: If you can’t prove it’s not true then it must be true. Using that logic I could make any claim about an untestable scenario and demand that someone disprove it. That’s not how hypothesis testing works. The person that made the claim has the burden of proof to support the hypothesis.
If you really want to have a God hypothesis (God exists), then you must accept the possibility of having to accept it’s null hypothesis (God doesn’t exist) before testing it. In this scenario the burden of proof is for you to display objective, measurable, quantifiable, repeatable evidence that the hypothesis is correct. In the case of creationism, you can’t. Nothing was there to record what happened when life started and the same scenario hasn’t been repeated ever. You can’t show multiple instances where an abiogensis experiment resulted in accepting the null hypothesis (life won’t spontaneously start in these conditions) as proof of a different hypothesis (God exists). They are fully independent of each other.
Just back from Facebook. Their icon’s still there. So not stolen. Anyway, our icon is a cross, not a lower-case ‘f’.
Dangerous radiation levels in space where Russell’s teapot orbits.
Dangerous retardation levels down here on Earth.
It is arguing against bad logic, which is used to support everything
We must accept the null? We do!
Not sure we do. How about a God axiom? (God exists) or theistic worldview? (God exists)
There is no burden of proof.
Hypothesis: There is no burden of proof.
Test: Ask Adam to provide proof of “the burden of proof”.
What would the null hypothesis be Adam?
@ Richard – You stated above on Thursday 4 April 2013 at 10:05 PM the God hypothesis. I am stating that if you have a God hypothesis, you have to have a null hypothesis and you have to demonstrate objective evidence to support the hypothesis. In the event that objective evidence is not produced, the null hypothesis must be accepted. In your case, the null hypothesis would have to be God doesn’t exist. If you don’t want a hypothesis, don’t have one. If your going to use the word hypothesis, then please use it correctly.
An axiom, is the exact opposite of a hypothesis. An axiom is an assumption. An assumption by contrast won’t be tested, will be dogmatically believed in and is often held to be true even when evidence to the contrary is produced. An axiom is dangerous in that we don’t know everything and an axiom discourages any further learning.
I prefer examining the world around me through hypotheses. If you wish to live on assumption then you are free to do so.
@ Reed – I’m not sure I understand your statements or requests.
If you are talking about hypothesis testing then there is a burden of proof as I’ll try to explain below. The word hypothesis is a scientific word with rules about how it is used. A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for an observation. Once the hypothesis is created, it is tested. Prior to the test, it is presumed possible but not absolutely true. The researcher must supply evidence to support the hypothesis before it will be accepted as correct. That is called burden of proof and it lies with the person that created the hypothesis. If the evidence is not there, the null hypothesis is accepted. This is how hypothesis testing is carried out.
If you mean logic debate, then the burden of proof lies with the person who makes the affirmative statement. If you make the statement that the sky is red, it is not the other person’s responsibility to prove you wrong. Instead it is your responsibility to prove you are right. That is the basis for Russell’s teapot analogy.
I’m not sure if you are trying to be patronizing or not, but I hope that you are using the term hypothesis without without knowing exactly how it is supposed to be used.
You are right about hypotheses.
Either way, the burden of proof lies with you.
Reed’s running circles around you, like Russell’s teapot orbiting the Sun.
You can’t examine the world around you through hypotheses without making some assumptions. Hume showed this.
Science is a branch of applied epistemology. As such, it’s methods are open to philosophical scrutiny and criticism. The notion of a null hypothesis looks to me to be a corollary of Ockham’s razor. Ockham’s razor is axiomatic.
By stating that there is no burden of proof you can’t state that it then lies with me. I gave clear evidence as to why there is a burden of proof required for hypothesis testing. It’s called the scientific method. Reed’s statement that there isn’t a burden of proof is a matter of his opinion only. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, that doesn’t mean the opinion proves anything at all except it’s own existence.
Perhaps the scientific method is the wrong method. It’s axiomatic.
Reed’s statement is the null hypothesis. We’re all entitled to it.
You are right that hypotheses require some assumptions, the fewer the better. A hypothesis also has to be tested, which means that it must be testable. A hypothesis is not unquestionable. I would much rather have a questionable God hypothesis than an incontrovertible God axiom. Especially when there are multiple God axioms about different God’s each as resolute and unyielding as the others.
“Hypothesis: There is no burden of proof.
Test: Ask Adam to provide proof of “the burden of proof”.
What would the null hypothesis be Adam?”
That statement is a prove me wrong argument that assumes it’s own truth. It is the same circular logic of Russel’s teapot. A hypothesis is stated, then tested by the person that created it, not by the reader. If Reed really wants to prove no burden of proof exists, it’s his job to prove it. It’s not my job to prove his assumption false.
You pose that the scientific method is the wrong method of testing ideas. This is an opinion you are entitled to. Opinion alone isn’t a very convincing argument to sway others to your opinion. Do you have anything else to support your opinion?
I’m not putting any burden of proof on to you. I say that there is no burden of proof.
However, if you claim there is burden to proof on the person making a claim then you impose this burden on yourself. If you deny this burden exists on you and you continue to make your claim then you are caught in a contradiction.
You shouldn’t reject circular logic. It is what it is. What should be rejected is thinking that can be represented in a non circular manner e.g. “it is what it isn’t” or “A is not A”.
The “burden of proof” is, metaphorically speaking, a celestial teapot which you claim I have a burden to disprove. Can you see the ironies?
My evidence in support of my hypothesis (i.e. “there is no burden of proof”) is your denial of any burden of proof regarding your claim.
I gave evidence for burden of proof in that to test a hypothesis using the scientific method, there is a burden of proof which rests with the person that created the hypothesis in the first place.
You then posed a hypothesis that there is no burden of proof which is very convenient as it then relieves you from any obligation to then show any supporting evidence for your hypothesis. However, your proposed test was for me to show proof that you were wrong. Your test uses burden of proof which leads me to reject your hypothesis that there is no burden of proof and accept it’s null, that there is a burden of proof.
If you insist that there is no burden of proof anyway, I am free to reject your hypothesis that no burden of proof exists without fulfilling the requirements of your test. You have created an untestable hypothesis and then proposed a superfluous test of no consequence. I therefor reject your hypothesis as your blanket statement that burden of proof doesn’t exist has no evidence to support it, your test has nothing to do with your statement and the very notion of you requesting proof against your hypothesis requires that a burden of proof be placed on the reader. You therefor have disproved your own hypothesis.
This is a circular argument. You beg the question.
Reed makes a straightforward claim. There is no burden of proof. It’s as straightforward as the claim that there is no God.
Your own words.
Reed says there is no burden of proof. You say there is, and that it lies with you. Feel free.
Citing the rules of experimental design and scientific hypothesis testing is not begging the question. Please explain your conclusion.
“There is no burden of proof” is either a statement of opinion, or begging the question itself. It is a statement of assumption of its own truthfulness.
If logic debate doesn’t require any evidence to support what’s being debated, how then do you advance the debate beyond personal opinion?
You stated “The “burden of proof” is, metaphorically speaking, a celestial teapot which you claim I have a burden to disprove. Can you see the ironies?”
I did not ask you to disprove that the scientific method exists and has a requirement of providing evidence to support the hypothesis.
You posed a hypothesis that it doesn’t exist but failed to present any evidence to support your statement. You then created a test for me to prove that your hypothesis was wrong.
“Hypothesis: There is no burden of proof.
Test: Ask Adam to provide proof of “the burden of proof”.”
Can you see the irony of requesting proof when you say it isn’t needed?
It is, if you seek to justify the rules of experimental design and scientific hypothesis testing. To justify the rules of experimental design and scientific hypothesis testing you must do more than merely cite that which you seek to justify.“
It’s a statement of opinion.
Logic debate requires premises. (Truth and validity are nice-to-haves.)
Abiogenesis is a celestial teapot.
Evolution is a celestial teapot.
Unfortunately the Celestial Teapot argument is an argument from arrogance and is not useful for finding truth.
How do you validate your opinion without evidence?
“Abiogenesis is a celestial teapot.” – Your opinion
“Evolution is a celestial teapot.” – Your opinion
Yours is an argument from arrogance
I arrive at contradictions and maintain them. It’s the rational thing to do.
You are a celestial teapot.
Your existence is much more absurd than the existence of crockery.
The problem with Russell’s teapot argument is the evidence. Religion looks at the world, the animals and the people and says: I think this was all created by a God. So their validation for the belief in a God is our existence. Russell’s teapot does not have this validation. There is no valid reason (however farfetched) for it to exist. As an agnost leaning towards atheism I never use the celestial teapot argument.
The Teapot argument is not meant to be taken literally, that there must be a teapot orbiting the earth. The argument simply states that it’s absurd for me to tell YOU to prove that there ISN’T one, and if you cant prove it then I must be right. You can use this argument to represent any unprovable claim. Prove to me that invisible unicorns don’t exist. Prove to me that God doesn’t exist.
Why a teapot?
Does the argument still work if a rock is suggested to be in orbit instead?
Yes the teapot is there just to prove the absurdity of the argument.
The entire quote is this:
“If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.”
Not only is he talking about how the burden of proof is with the person of faith, not those without it, he is also talking about the fallacy that just because something is written down and taught every Sunday (as an institution) that counts as proof. It also appears to be saying much about the atrocities committed in the name of God.
But Russell should first have defined God before he goes forth comparing God to a celestial teapot.
That is Russell’s trick all the time in arguing against God: first quietly downgrade the concept of God, and then make fun of God by comparing Him to some harmless or ridiculous thing or idea, like celestial teapot and also with other atheists, invisible pink unicorn and flying spaghetti monster.
And when he is faced with an idea that is logically valid, he will resort to his statement everytime that he does not accept the idea at all, even though it is a valid idea.
Again: When it comes to ideas like God, his way of false arguing is to quietly downgrade the idea or entity and then compare it to funny, ridiculous, impossible things.
But when an idea is itself valid i.e. not at all intrinsically impossible, he will resort to his privilege of arbitrary rejection of the idea, stating that he does not accept the idea, period; even though the idea is intrinsically valid, i.e., it has the note of possibility to come to existence.
Russell is not ‘comparing god to a teapot’. He is pointing out the absurdity of making the absence of evidence for his claimed teapot into confirmation that his claim must be true.
No observations of no teapot does not mean that a celestial teapot teapot must exist!
Rain – Sunshine
Good – Evil
God – ?????
Car – Man
Man – Spirit
Have you every thought, car eats, man eats. Cars have legs, man have legs. Cars goes to the doctor, man goes to the doctor. You can perform surgery on a car, you can perform surgery on a man. Cars are getting more intelligent, man is getting more intelligent. Car runs fast man can run fast too. Now, cars are driven by men, men are driving by spirits.
Jesus says, we should seek what drives us, now there are two. One is a gentle voice/spirit the other is a loud/evil spirit. You can use science to recurse the calculations of how they work, like chemistry.
If Ricky Dawkins ever gets the guts to debate William Lane Craig, maybe we will see how well Russell’s celestial teapot holds up…..
For a start, you’ve turned a simple idea, that space teapots are unlikely, and turned it into something more complex. I think you missed the point really.
Your argument, if indeed you made one is that life is improbable. It’s really not. Let’s assume there are around a 100 billion stars per galaxy and 200 billion galaxies in existence. Almost all of them are made from the same or similar stuff. Now there will be a large number of worlds orbiting the stars with liquid water either underground or on the surface – billions of them.
The universe is 14 billion years old. When scientists run a small electric current through specific collections of amino acids (bought from a catalog) they have created very simple organisms. Of course you need the right amino acids for the organism you want to make. My point is you can create life in a lab from dead compounds. Do you really think it’s impossible, over the hundreds of billions of planets over 14 billion years conditions will never be right to create life?
As for evolution once life starts going it fully explains how we, and every other organism has evolved.
David: I a not aware of any experiment that has ever created any kind of organism from non-living chemicals (?). If you do, please post or cite. You may be referring to the classic Miller/Urey experiments (1952), and the many, many other similar experiments that followed for several decades attempting to validate the “chemical evolution”, or “primordial soup” hypothesis.
The many years, countless research dollars and investigators efforts, did generate some organic molecules (including some amino acids, as well as, toxic cyanide and tar), but never anything close to approaching a self-replicating system, or simple “organism”. The experimental conditions of this work were very artificial, and are now generally viewed by scientific hindsight to be essentially just experiments in organic chemistry that did little to advance the hypothesis of chemical evolution. These experiments are considered “classic” however because they were the first methodical attempts to scientifically test the idea of chemical evolution (primordial soup) as an explanation for the origin of life on earth.
As far as I know (?), after decades of similar experimentation in this area science still has no clue whatsoever how even the simplest self-replicating organism could “evolve” from sterile, non-living matter. There are several speculative theories (clay, crystals around under sea volcanoes, etc.), but as far as I know (?), there is not a shred of hard scientific evidence to support chemical evolution of life.
Again, if you are aware of any “organisms” being generated in a lab (or anywhere else) from non-living chemicals or molecules, I would be very interested.
And BTW, great website, and great discussion. Just found (8/17/2018). I am not trained in formal logic, just an objective thinker who seeks and reveres truth. My sincere thanks to Tim for this site and this posting, and for everyone here contributing here – whatever your viewpoint. It is so refreshing to see a meaningful, mutually respectful discussion on this very interesting and complex topic (i.e., God exists vs. not exists?) remain civil, and NOT descend into juvenile ad hominem attacks and petty insults as, sadly, so discussions like this do.
Interesting debate, I am glad to see it all remained civil and Godwins Law did not materialize in this case.
I think the easiest way (yes a simplification) to summarize the atheist position is as follows;
Athiest – I dont believe in God
Christian – then where do you think life came from?
Athiest – well we dont actually know, though there are theories a, b, c, which have yet to be proven, of which I find “a” plausible
Christian – Why do you choose your unproven theory over the existence of God which you also claim to be unproven?
Athiest – I prefer to believe in what I feel I can understand
aka “wishful thinking”
I like the quote about athiests saying Christians are those that are afraid of the dark, when its actually the athiests who are afraid of the light.
I am sure this is said in the above replies but I have run out of patience. Lord Russell’s analogy dealt with the burden of proof not the “credibility”? of belief. . . . The last word about Lord Russell was offered by “theologian” Rick Warren, who somehow failed to mention in his book that Russell was a highly respected philosopher and one of the 20th centuries foremost mathematicians. Probably ran out of room. . . No, as I recall it, he was quoted then billed as Bertrand Russell, Atheist on an otherwise blank page. . .
One step closer to understanding how abiogenesis might have occurred:
I am not a theist, but to me a God who designed a Universe with laws allowing life to spontaneously arise and evolve seems quite impressive compared to a God who drew up blueprints for living organisms (giving us wisdom teeth and bursting appendixes as well as other flaws).