Monday, April 6, 2009


I spoke with Bob Dutko previously about how certain viruses in both our genome and the chimpanzee genome indicate that we share a common ancestor. Bob responded that he "has no problem" with certain similarities in the genetic structure. We can see that chimpanzees and humans have anatomical similarities. We might expect the Designer to likewise use similar "stuff" in making similar creatures.

Could be. But what I wanted to say to Bob is that I'm well aware he has no "problem" with these evidences. He likewise would have no problem if the genetic code was different. That would be the way God did it. If we find creatures that appear to look like transitional forms, that's no problem. God made them that way. It's one of God's unique creatures. If however we don't find transitional forms, that's obviously fine. God didn't choose to make them.

Junk DNA common to chimps and humans? Formerly useful DNA now de-activated common to chimps and humans? No problem. That's the way God did it. But what if we didn't share junk DNA or de-activated useful sequences? Would that be a problem for the God did it hypothesis? Nope. That would just be the (other) way God did it.

You can see the problem here. The God did it hypothesis explains every observation that we can ever encounter. Do creatures (such as an ostrich) have limbs that appear to be designed for a purpose they no longer use, as if their ancestors used to fly? No problem. God made them that way. Suppose life in the future is easily made naturally. No problem. God made it that way intentionally. But the opposite is also fine for the God did it hypothesis. If no animals had features that appeared intended for a purpose they no longer use, that's obviously fine. If life can never be made naturally that's also fine.

The God did it hypothesis was once used to explain lightning, meteorites, thunder, and of course the diversity of life on this planet. God is no longer needed for these, but there are still some unexplained things out there. God is still invoked in these areas.

Take the big bang. Pretty complex stuff. Time had a beginning? How can I make sense of that? I don't get it. So the Christian rushes in with his all explaining explanation. God did it. Problem solved. What about numbers? Do they exist independently of human minds and if so how can we make sense of this? No problem. Shove God in that gap. Morality? God did it. Logic? God did it. Or how about the origin of life. Scientists have reasonable, plausible explanations that don't require miracles. But nothing has been proven. Try God.

But is this really useful? what I like about scientific explanations is that they offer conditions by which they can be falsified. With evolution, if we find a rabbit in Precambrian era rock, if we find no evidence of chromosomal fusion in humans (since humans have 23 chromosomes whereas other primates have 24), if we find a virus sequence common to a mouse that a chimpanzee does not also have, then evolution has a problem. What about the God did it hypothesis? Would it have a problem? The evidence could go either way in each case and it makes no difference. God did it always works.

So even if I can't explain morality, logic, or mathematics, I think I'm justified in accepting their truths. Maybe one day we'll have a good explanation for these things. And maybe we won't. But to demand that I insert the universal all explaining explanation is not warranted.

1 comment:

John Frum said...

I had a similar discussion with a Christian friend.

I tried to challenge my friend by asking, If God is just and wanting a relationship with us, why would he purposely create a scenario and circumstances that would lead a rational purpose to conclude that His Holy Book is false and inaccurate and that he might not have existed?

God, could have done it, but would that be a God we recognize as "just" or wanted us to know him?