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Basic Worldview:
102 Atheism vs. Theism

Footnote 2 and 3

Prelude: "Atheism/Theism" vs. "Science, the Bible, & Creation"
Atheism: Introduction and Charges
Charge 1, Deduction and Induction
Charge 2, Question 1
Charge 2, Questions 2 and 3
Charge 2, Summary and Question 4
Charges 3 and 4, Definitions
Empirical Evidence
Scientists Acting as Mechanisms, Article 1
Scientists Acting as Mechanisms, Article 2
Scientists Acting as Mechanisms, Article 3
Occam's Razor and Conclusions
Footnote 1
Footnote 2 and 3
Proof of Life
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 1
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 2
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 3
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 4
Scientists: Life on Earth Imported from Outer Space
Atheisms Circle of Reasons
Is God a White Crow?

No. 2
As we have stated the only empirical observations humans have been able to make so far about how a living cell could originate have been under laboratory conditions in which scientists act as the mechanisms bringing about the assembly of cell components or proto-cells. Thus, we have asserted that based upon the available empirical evidence, we have no alternative but to conclude that intelligent agency is necessary to bring about the origin of a living cell.

On this note, it might be suggested that a comparison to diamond formation would disprove our interpretation of the evidence regarding the origin of life.

It is true that, like the origination of life, no one has ever observed a diamond forming in nature. However, diamonds can be created in laboratories. Therefore, would our model of interpretation force us to conclude that it takes intelligent agency to form a diamond?

First, there is quite a gap between the origination of diamonds and the origination of a living cell in terms of their respective complexity and functionality. Diamonds involve one element: carbon rock formations, and that element is identifiable. The formation of a cell involves many elements: membranes, possibly lipids, amino acids, specific proteins, RNA, DNA - just to name a few. And scientists aren't even quite sure what the original building blocks of the first cell would have been. Similarly, with diamonds, we can empirically detect that carbon is relatively abundant in the natural world. But with cells, we can't empirically detect whether or not the differing components would have been available.

Furthermore, diamonds are formed by changing the structure of an existing whole. Cells on the other hand, require not just change to an existing structure, but the assembly of an entirely new whole from other parts. And, diamonds are just a lump of carbon, albeit a pretty one. They don't function or move. They just sit there looking pretty. Cells on the other hand have function and internal movement and activity necessary for maintaining the life of the cell.

Let's restate the question: "What's different between diamond formation and cell formation that could lead us to conclude diamonds can be formed by unintelligent causes, while cells necessitate intelligent agency?"

Well, first of all, the vast inequality between their complexity as described above indicates that diamonds would be far simpler to produce than a living cell. As such, given the simplicity required for diamond formation, it is not necessary to propose intelligent agency is necessary.

But, even more importantly, there is one other difference that is of great significance to this question. In the formation of the diamond, we can readily identify the unintelligent mechanisms responsible for diamond formation. Those mechanisms are heat and pressure. With the formation of cells, no one knows what mechanism or natural force is sufficient to compel separate molecular compounds to assemble into a functional structure and reproduce themselves. If we could identify some force or mechanism in nature sufficient to accomplish this, as is the case with heat and pressure with regard to diamond formation, then perhaps we would not need to propose intelligent agency is required for a cell.

However, we're not just guessing intelligent agency from nowhere. We're not just pulling it out of thin air. When scientists attempt to understand the origination of a living cell, they have developed in their labs parts of cells and proto-cells. Although scientists hypothesize the existence of some natural law or algorithm that would give rise to a living cell, this hypothetical is an unknown that has never been observed, unlike the heat and pressure in diamond formation, which are identifiable forces.

And in these laboratory experiments where only portions of cells are formed or portions of cellular development are recreated, the mechanism that is assembling the components is the scientists himself. So, not only are we missing any identifiable unintelligent mechanism sufficient to cause cell assembly, but the mechanisms we do see in experiments are intelligent agents. Thus, we propose, that until or unless another mechanism can be identified to cause cell assembly, the only thing we've seen that's been able to orchestrate that assembly is intelligent agency.

And, unlike the hypothetical law or algorithm, which has not been observed and is, therefore, an unknown, intelligence is not an unknown. We know that intelligent agency exists in the universe and we can see it at work in our everyday lives on many levels even through human communication. So, unlike the hypothetical law or algorithm, which we do not know exists and have never seen directly, we do know intelligence exists and we have seen it directly. So, we're not proposing an unknown of our own. We're taking a known mechanism (intelligence), which we have seen working to produce cells in laboratories, and inducing from the available empirical evidence that whatever caused the origin of life on earth would possess this familiar mechanism known as intelligence.

Thus, diamonds and cells differ in yet another key regard. In the case of diamonds, we can identify the known mechanisms (heat and pressure) that would simply lead to the change of carbon compounds. With cells, the only known mechanism that we have seen to date that is capable of causing cell components to assemble is the intelligent agency of the scientists working to do so in a lab.

So, does the fact that we've never observed diamonds forming in nature combined with the fact that scientists can create diamonds in the lab necessitate that we conclude it requires intelligent agency to produce a diamond?

In short, no. Such a conclusion would be warranted only if diamonds were many, many times more complicated (to the point of being functional systems) and if we could not identify any other known mechanisms capable of producing diamonds (other than scientists in a laboratory).

No. 3
The statement that as a general rule life is produced by intelligent agency is in no way applicable to the First Cause.

The statement "intelligence is necessary to cause life," is obviously a statement about causation in which the particular "life" being spoken of is an "effect." The structure of this statement demonstrates that fact. So, this statement, "intelligence is necessary to cause life," is meant as a general rule regarding life in all cases where life is an effect. The nature of the First Cause as necessitated by logic is that it requires no causation, this being the case it would be inappropriate to expect or demand causal explanation for the First Cause itself or any of its attributes, such as life or intelligence.

Since the life of the First Cause cannot be considered an effect, it is not accurate to think it is governed by the general rule that, "when life is an effect, it is caused by intelligent agency."

Conversely, modern scientists tell us that life was not eternal on earth, but that it began at some point. Since life had a beginning, it would not be eternal and would thus require a cause. As such, life on earth must be considered an effect, and so, life on earth would be governed by the rule "when life is an effect, it is caused by intelligent agency." As we stated, this rule about what is sufficient to cause life therefore does not apply to the First Cause itself, since where the First Cause is concerned, there is, by definition, no need to address what caused it or any of its traits.