Truth, scientific method

LETTER

Re: ‘Intelligent design’ highly unlikely, Dec 21 column.

It seems as though Esther Henderson is trying to do two things. First, refute the biological process of descent with modification, as an explanation for the diversity of life forms we see in the world, and second, say why the particular deity described in the Bible is real, did the things described therein and indeed acts in the world.

Her first claim is easily rebutted since we can see both genetic and anatomical instances of how the form and function of living things can respond to changes in genetic makeup and the frequency of genes. This is actually a scientific claim, and if she actually could disprove the process of evolution by natural selection, fame and fortune await her. Meanwhile, science departments and medicine proceed on the basis that DNA produces proteins which build bodies with varying degrees of variation.

Her second claim is based on a book. Now no matter how many times special provenance is claimed for a book, it is known that it was written and assembled by men. Just saying that it was inspired by the deity which it purports to describe is either baseless or a circular argument. I suggest that Mrs Henderson simply consider her own position. Imagine she had been born in ancient Denmark, for example. She would be a fervent believer in a completely different set of gods and theology. Christianity/Judaism has happened to her, based on what she has been exposed to. So if one seeks truth, the best pathway is not faith, because anything can be believed on faith. The best pathway to truth yet discovered is the scientific method. And using it, no matter where on earth they were born, no scientists invoke any kinds of gods or supernaturalism to either collect, analyse or explain natural events, such as evolutionary biology.

If one wishes to consider the moral character of an agent which could, for instance, cure bone cancer in babies, but does not, well I think this makes us both better than her god. I judge such a god to be evil and not worthy of worship.

Peter Sanders, Auckland

Re: ‘Intelligent design’ highly unlikely, Dec 21 column.

It seems as though Esther Henderson is trying to do two things. First, refute the biological process of descent with modification, as an explanation for the diversity of life forms we see in the world, and second, say why the particular deity described in the Bible is real, did the things described therein and indeed acts in the world.

Her first claim is easily rebutted since we can see both genetic and anatomical instances of how the form and function of living things can respond to changes in genetic makeup and the frequency of genes. This is actually a scientific claim, and if she actually could disprove the process of evolution by natural selection, fame and fortune await her. Meanwhile, science departments and medicine proceed on the basis that DNA produces proteins which build bodies with varying degrees of variation.

Her second claim is based on a book. Now no matter how many times special provenance is claimed for a book, it is known that it was written and assembled by men. Just saying that it was inspired by the deity which it purports to describe is either baseless or a circular argument. I suggest that Mrs Henderson simply consider her own position. Imagine she had been born in ancient Denmark, for example. She would be a fervent believer in a completely different set of gods and theology. Christianity/Judaism has happened to her, based on what she has been exposed to. So if one seeks truth, the best pathway is not faith, because anything can be believed on faith. The best pathway to truth yet discovered is the scientific method. And using it, no matter where on earth they were born, no scientists invoke any kinds of gods or supernaturalism to either collect, analyse or explain natural events, such as evolutionary biology.

If one wishes to consider the moral character of an agent which could, for instance, cure bone cancer in babies, but does not, well I think this makes us both better than her god. I judge such a god to be evil and not worthy of worship.

Peter Sanders, Auckland

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.