Quantum Golden Ratios. Whoa.

Question from Bill:
Why is the golden ratio found in the human body, DNA, the human genome, and in subatomic particles?

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100107143909.htm

A pattern couldn’t just be found anywhere in the quantum world. So how do atheists respond to this?

Answer by SmartLX:
As I explained earlier, it is very simple to produce a Fibonacci sequence and therefore a golden ratio of 1.618 through basic, repeated, natural occurrences such as cell division, which is why it’s so common in biology. The fact that the same appears to occur in quantum mechanics in a specific case suggests that the underlying physical mechanisms that produce these effects may make use of similar recursions.

The key thing about the golden ratio is that it’s an emergent phenomenon. Like evolution, it emerges as a result when the starting conditions of a system happen to be conducive to it. Only after it’s happened do we notice the pattern; whatever the system is, it just looks like it’s going about its business until the effect appears. There’s no guidance and no direction necessary, it just happens – and it was already known to be so common that its emergence in the mysterious quantum world, though fascinating, is not that surprising. It says no more about the existence of a god than any other instance of a golden ratio, so atheists will respond with the same sort of interest as everyone else.

29 thoughts on “Quantum Golden Ratios. Whoa.”

  1. (SmartLX)
    “it is very simple to produce a Fibonacci sequence and therefore a golden ratio of 1.618 through basic, repeated, natural occurrences such as cell division, which is why it’s so common in biology.”

    (Me)
    The problem is that the golden ratio isn’t only seen in biological organisms such as people, flora and fauna but also in the abiotic factors of an environment- which is the physical rather than biological parts of an environment. Even if we were to agree with the claim that natural selection is the reason we see the fibbinaci sequence and golden ratio scattered throughout nature, what about the non-living parts the universe? When I’ve asked other atheists about this they seemed to swap to an explanation from physics or chaos theory in mathematics, however this isn’t a strong way of explaining how this number sequence and golden ratio exist since swapping to different explanations to explain the same pattern certainly makes it seem too improbable that you would get these patterns oppose to random dimensions.

    (SmartLX)
    “The fact that the same appears to occur in quantum mechanics in a specific case suggests that the underlying physical mechanisms that produce these effects may make use of similar recursions.”

    (Me)
    You seem to contemplate that nature is God, your substituting God for nature especially when you say, “The underlying physical mechanisms that produce these effects may make use of similar recursions”. Imagine I were to pray to God and ask him to do something, such as for him to give me money and God said ‘ok I’ll give this person some money’, but to get that money to me he doesn’t just click his metaphorical fingers and give it to me but he allows the money to be blown through my bedroom window. Now question, would the science point to God being the cause of the money being blown through my window? Obviousally not you have to go beyond science and into philosophy and mathematical probability to prove it’s God responsible. Look just how mathematically improbable it is that these number sequences would appear randomly! According to atheism we live in a randomly ordered universe, in a randomly ordered universe we should see only small patterns e.g I have 5 fingers, so do all tree branches (in some possible world). I don’t understand how on an atheistic worldview we should see the numbers 1,1,2,3,5… And the golden ratio-1.618…. In nature, this argument of ‘chance and naturalism of the gaps’ is what drew me to Christianity and abandon atheism.

    (Smart LX)
    The key thing about the golden ratio is that it’s an emergent phenomenon. Like evolution, it emerges as a result when the starting conditions of a system happen to be conducive to it. Only after it’s happened do we notice the pattern; whatever the system is, it just looks like it’s going about its business until the effect appears. There’s no guidance and no direction necessary, it just happens – and it was already known to be so common that its emergence in the mysterious quantum world, though fascinating, is not that surprising. It says no more about the existence of a god than any other instance of a golden ratio, so atheists will respond with the same sort of interest as everyone else.

    (Me)
    With respect to your quote that, “Only after it’s happened do we notice the pattern; whatever the system is, it just looks like it’s going about its business until the effect appears.” I’d like to respond by affirming that, and saying ‘obviousally’, the point is that on an atheistic worldview this seems extremely unlikely that it ‘just happens’. I just don’t understand the relevance of stating that only after it’s happened that we see the pattern, it in no way invalidates the golden ratio and Fibbinaci sequence arguments whatsoever. You go on to say ‘there’s no guidance or direction’, well where did that come from? The fact that we see the golden ratio and fibbinaci sequence in nature aspires to prove that a designer does exist. Go back to my analogy about God using nature to give me what I want- even though the science would point to no designer and just state that the money was blown through my bedroom window by ‘THE WIND’ it was a designer all along. Since you seem to have this scientistic view that science is our only source of knowledge your stuck saying things like ‘it just happens’ even though mathematical probability would point to a designer. Mathematical reasoning, ethical statements, aesthetic statements ect. All cannot be scientifically justified or proven however they are all examples of knowledge or statements not susceptible to the scientific method. So in conclusion I’d simply contradict you when you say that it says ‘nothing about a god’.

    Thank you, I’m looking forward to your response,
    By Jake

    1. Jake, I did say that it’s simple to produce a Fibonacci sequence through natural occurrences SUCH AS cell division, not that any biology was necessarily required. Literally all that’s required in terms of the starting conditions is a system of propagation where one object emerges by the action of an earlier object and the two accumulate. Biological reproduction is the obvious example of this, but there may be others in cosmology, quantum mechanics and so on. Asteroids knocking other asteroids out of a belt might be an example.

      More generally speaking, I’ve made some guesses about how Fibonacci sequences and golden ratios can occur in nature without life present and I’m not trying to hide that. Ultimately I don’t know why they seem to be there, but I do know that order is not always the result of intelligence, so a god isn’t necessary as far as we know. Yes, indeed God could be causing these things indirectly and thus producing no evidence for Himself, but I’m not ruling out the possibility of a god entirely. The absence of evidence isn’t (usually) evidence of absence, but it’s not evidence of presence either. Fibonacci sequences can appear in something as simple as reproducing rabbits, not because any entity has specified the numbers but because the number of rabbits is dependent on the number of rabbits in previous generations. Perhaps God is pretending to be undirected happenstance, but if so He’s doing a really good job.

      Your main argument seems to be that I can’t really answer the questions that are before us, which of course is correct. That doesn’t mean your explanation is correct by default, except by an argument from ignorance. God’s not there just because he MIGHT be there and there isn’t a simpler answer. Anyway, when you consider God he’s far from a simple answer, because it’s one heck of an extra entity to have to posit.

      1. Not according to my interpretation of what he has to say!!! He seems to be saying that even if you do have an explanation such as a biological one, or one from physics that it’s mathematically unlikely that you would see the EXACT fibbinaci sequence or ratio at all. It doesn’t matter what mechanism in nature has created it why should it be simple to produce a fibbinaci sequence when it’s so much more likely that we would see no sequences.

        Cells are alive!!!

        And how is God not simple???

        Reproducing rabbits in the fibbinaci sequence is Fictions!!

        And my question is why the fibbinaci sequence or golden ratio, why don’t we see the pattern 2,6,7,8,10098 in the arrangement of leaves on a stem, how is the fibbinaci sequence easy to produce when nature is going to come up with random numbers for everything?????

        Oh and what would you say about the Kalam cosmological argument and fine tuning argument?

        Last thing I have to mention is Pascals wager, we have a lot of evidence for God so why are you not a theist especially when the consequences of us being right is separation from God?

        1. SmartLX seems to be saying ‘it just happens’even though this is a pattern scattered throughout the universe- a universal law

        2. Daniel, I don’t suppose you’re a friend of Jake’s? You’ve misspelled Fibonacci in exactly the same way.

          To answer a question that’s been asked several times in these comments, the Fibonacci sequence adds together the last two numbers to make the next, so it occurs in a recursion where only the last two rounds, or generations, have an effect. In school I learned an example with rabbits, but any animal will do. Say each pair of animals has a pair of offspring twice in its lifetime, and you start with one pair. The next generation will also have one pair of animals, but the next will have two pairs. The following generation will have 1+2 pairs, then 2+3 and so on. I’m not saying every natural repetition causes Fibonacci, but the conditions for it are relatively straightforward and therefore it occurs often. Replicating genes are an obvious example, because individual cells may have instructions like “propagate twice and then stop”. Inorganic materials may only have the ability to act twice in a certain way before changing or breaking.

          Regarding God, He is supposed to have created everything in the universe and control at least major aspects of it. That would suggest He is potentially more complex than the universe and everything in it. Everything we know about intelligence suggests that a being that knows more than the human race together would be extremely complex on some level, and this particular entity did not acquire its knowledge through education. You may simply declare that God is simple, but it would be a pure assertion. If scripture happens to say it then it’s an assertion in scripture.

          1. Yes SmartXL Daniel is my brother haha lol

            Ok I won’t respond to the second paragraph because it seems like I’ll be repeating myself, asking the same questions and getting nothing new. So I’ll get onto the third.

            Now your assumption is that a divine designer is an entity comparable in complexity to the universe. As an unembodied mind, God is a remarkably simple entity. As a non-physical entity, a mind is not composed of parts, and its salient properties, like self-consciousness, rationality, and volition, are essential to it. In contrast to the contingent and variegated universe with all its inexplicable quantities and constants, a divine mind is startlingly simple. Certainly such a mind may have complex ideas—it may be thinking, for example, of the infinitesimal calculus—, but the mind itself is a remarkably simple entity. You have evidently confused a mind’s ideas, which may, indeed, be complex, with a mind itself, which is an incredibly simple entity. Therefore, postulating a divine mind behind the universe most definitely does represent an advance in simplicity.

            As for Gary’s comment, I will address that later. I actually quite liked his answer so I’m going to send it to a friend and get his opinion on it.

            However you stated that ” It’s the same with thinking order is always the result of intelligence. It’s demonstrably not the case. Snowflakes viewed under a microscope are never alike. Every one is structurally unique. And very ordered. The chances of any two being identical are infinitesimal. Yet countless millions upon millions of them probably fall every day somewhere in the world. We can fully account for that order via physical processes. We simply don’t need an additional layer of explanation.” Well I never made the claim that order must come from intelligence, I just said ‘I’d have to disagree with you in this instance because of the fine tuning and ect.

            I would like to quickly thank you SmartLX and Gary for sharing with me the atheistic perspective, it was indeed enlightening. Although I’m a theist I have respect for people like yourselves. I won’t continue this little debate we’ve got going on but I’ll get an answer for Gary’s challenging response to me by a Christian philosopher I’m friends with.

            Kind regards,
            By Jake

            1. Fair enough Jake, nice discussing this with you.

              I will point out that you’re asserting a great many properties of a disembodied mind when such a thing has never been observed, let alone analysed. The only “minds” we know exist are the ones operating as software in animal (e.g. human) brains, and the electrical activity we see in brain scans tell us that the workings of a mind are complex indeed. A hypothetical mind operating outside of the confines of a physical brain might well do without some of these workings, but there is no basis for saying it would not substitute any other type of complexity, especially when its thoughts would be unimaginably complex. As far as we know a simple mind thinks simple thoughts, if it thinks at all.

              1. One last question, would you and Gary classify yourselves as atheists- I don’t believe in God, or agnostics- not sure and also could I ask what country your in and age. Don’t be creeped out i’m doing a survey at the moment (religion by country and age) and observing and analysing the results.

                Thanks SmartXL, Nice discussing this with you to. I really like how we can have an intellectual discussion without one side getting really angry, stubborn ect.
                By Jake

      2. Ok, before you stated that “Literally all that’s required in terms of the starting conditions is a system of propagation where one object emerges by the action of an earlier object and the two accumulate. Biological reproduction is the obvious example of this, but there may be others in cosmology, quantum mechanics and so on. Asteroids knocking other asteroids out of a belt might be an example.” But my question then is why do we a pattern like the Fibbinaci sequence rather than ‘the jake pattern’ of 1,4,6,7,8? You give the analogy of asteroids knocking other asteroids out of a belt but how would this produce an ordered pattern? Suppose you could justify why say the arrangement of leaves is in the fibbinaci sequence or give another explanation for why in the quantam world we see the golden ratio and another for in DNA ect. The odds are just so low that all these different explanations would coincidentally come up with the same pattern.

        You also stated that ‘order is not always the result of intelligence’, but I’d have to disagree with you in this instance. A computer was programmed to randomly select letters in the hope of eventually getting the letters from a-z, after a few million goes it only got from about a-h. Now contemplate just how improbable it is that the universe is finely tuned for life and then on top of that the fibbinaci sequence and golden ratio observed in nature. Clearly this order is the work of a designer- the same pattern all around the universe, in the quantam world. We could find more parts of the universe in the fibbinaci sequence and golden ratio, this would seem to challenge an atheist even more.

        Also what makes you think God is not a simple entity? Why think he’s ‘one heck of an extra entity to have to posit.’?

        You state that “God could be causing these things indirectly and thus producing no evidence for Himself”, no in order to recognise an explanation is the best especially when it’s theistic related we have to show that the other explanations are worse than the theistic one so God could be still providing evidence for himself by indirectly allowing the golden ratio and fibbinaci sequence to be observed in nature because this alternative seems better and more realistic than its negations. Chance seems absurd, although I’m not ruling it out entirely.

        Since you affirmed that it’s possible for God to exist (‘God’s not there just because he MIGHT be there’) I think I’ll present the ontological argument for God’s existance-

        1) It is possible that a maximally great being exists.

        2) If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.

        3) If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.

        4) If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

        5) If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.

        6) Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

        The Kalam cosmological argument, fine tuning argument, ontological argument and argument from the golden ratio and Fibonacci sequence seem to make theism a more plausible worldview.

        Kind regards,
        By Jake

        1. Hi Jake,
          Here’s some logic:

          P1: Belief in God is a fantasy existing in the mind
          P2: A God fantasy which exists both in the mind and in reality is greater than a God fantasy that exists only in the mind
          P3: If a God fantasy only exists in the mind then we can conceive of a maximally great God fantasy
          P5: If we can conceive of a maximally great God fantasy it cannot exist in reality
          Therefore, a maximally great God fantasy can only exist only in the mind

          But of course:

          P1: It is possible that a maximally great fantasy of God exists
          P2: If it is possible that a maximally great fantasy of God exists then a maximally great fantasy of God exists in some possible world
          P3: If a maximally great fantasy of God exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world
          P3: If a maximally great fantasy of God exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world
          P4: If a maximally great fantasy of God exists in the actual world, then a maximally great fantasy of God exists
          Therefore: a maximally great fantasy of God exists

          Not convinced? Question one or more of the premises? Then here’s another:

          P1: All blocks of cheese are more intelligent than any philosophy student.
          P2: Meg the cat is a block of cheese
          Therefore: Meg the cat is more intelligent than any philosophy student.

          A perfectly sound logical argument; I challenge anyone to argue otherwise. But complete nonsense of course. We can all agree that cheese, cats and philosophy students are fully coherent, observable entities. Why? because both their existence and their characteristics have been repeatedly and independently confirmed. So, we cannot accept that Meg the cat is more intelligent than any philosophy student, no matter the soundness of the logical argument that tells me so, simply because I have independent, replicated evidence that this is not true. Truth is discovered, not invented. Especially by word-play! So where is that corresponding independent, replicated evidence for God? All we have are logical arguments (all of which have had their premises challenged by empirical data) that substitute concepts like ‘Meg the cat’ and ‘blocks of cheese’ with ‘first cause’ and ‘maximally great’ and ‘God’. And why do theists even need to concoct so many deductive ‘proofs’ for God? Surely one would be more than enough to convince everyone. After all, mathematicians get by fine with a single deductive proof to unequivocally demonstrate the truth of their propositions.

          As for the Fibonacci thing, mathematics never purports to explain phenomena, it describes phenomena in a systematic way. Is it surprising, then, that a system of logically derived rules that we have developed to help us characterise reality actually does characterise reality? We should surely expect to see mathematical patterns in the universe. That’s exactly what science does. It looks for mathematical patterns in phenomena. If we did not find any such patterns we would simply ditch mathematics as a tool to aid our investigations. And surely, if we didn’t ever find any mathematical patterns we would have real cause for concern about whether we could ever understand the universe.

          Anyway, the notion that the Fibonacci sequence/Golden Mean/Ratio is ubiquitous throughout nature and culture has been heavily (and sometimes ludicrously) exaggerated, as a number of biologists, mathematicians and physicists have pointed out: e.g., Don Simanek
          http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/pseudo/fibonacc.htm

          also Keith Devlin, George Markowsky, Mario Livio, Vivienne Hart.

          It’s cool, yes, but a hell of a leap to claim it as ‘proof’ of God.

          It’s the same with thinking order is always the result of intelligence. It’s demonstrably not the case. Snowflakes viewed under a microscope are never alike. Every one is structurally unique. And very ordered. The chances of any two being identical are infinitesimal. Yet countless millions upon millions of them probably fall every day somewhere in the world. We can fully account for that order via physical processes. We simply don’t need an additional layer of explanation.

        2. I’m addressing much of this in other comments, but if you want to discuss formal arguments for God I’ve got other articles just for the purpose. Go here for the Kalam, here for the ontological and here for fine-tuning and design in general. If you search the site there are several more that delve into the fine-tuning argument.

      3. SmartLX: “Your main argument seems to be that I can’t really answer the questions that are before us, which of course is correct.”

        It is great that you realize when you can’t answer a question. We are, after all, only humans with a very limited amount of information. It makes sense that there are some questions we can’t answer. However, “I don’t know” is the same answer that you gave when trying to explain how life could come from non-life, and the same answer you gave when trying to explain a first cause without God. Don’t get me wrong, obviously we can’t have all the answers. However, to build our models of biological and cosmological evolution on the foundation of “I don’t know” takes a lot of faith. A mountain of evidence for the Big Bang or biological evolution would mean absolutely nothing if it was impossible for either to even start in the first place.

        SmartLX: “That doesn’t mean your explanation is correct by default, except by an argument from ignorance.”

        An argument from ignorance would be saying: “I don’t know, therefore God did it.” What we are actually saying is this: “Everything that we understand about the world indicates that intelligence only comes from intelligence, life only comes from other life, and for something to happen, it has to be caused. Therefore, without evidence to the contrary, it would be foolish to presume that all of these things can, and did happen, and then to bet eternity on it.
        Psalm 14 says that the fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
        Romans 1:19-20 makes it clear that the evidence for God is all around us: because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.

        1. Hi Jordan

          May I show you some examples of where you’re cherry picking evidence and ideas to suit your presupposition?

          “I don’t know” is the same answer that you gave when trying to explain how life could come from non-life…….to build our models of biological……. evolution on the foundation of “I don’t know” takes a lot of faith”

          This is a straw man argument. Models of biological evolution are wholly independent, and in no way rely upon, models of abiogenesis. One is an investigation into how replication occurs, the other is an investigation into how diversity occurs after replication has been instituted. One is a wholly chemical process, the other not. We can fully understand one and not understand the other. There’s no conflict. Currently, some of the sharpest minds in biological evolution are theists and they all recognise this. Even Michael Behe.

          “A mountain of evidence for the Big Bang or biological evolution would mean absolutely nothing if it was impossible for either to even start in the first place.”

          Apart from the fact that, if it were physically impossible, it would certainly no longer be entertained, how does your argument differ from this:
          A mountain of logical evidence for god (which, remember, is all we have) would mean absolutely nothing if it was impossible……in the first place? Remember, there is never any requirement for a logical argument, no matter how sound, to actually fit with reality. A sound logical argument could well be impossible.

          “Everything that we understand about the world indicates that intelligence only comes from intelligence, life only comes from other life, and for something to happen, it has to be caused.”

          What you’re saying can just as veridically be expressed in another way: We only ever observe physical events caused by physical events and intelligence and consciousness instantiated on a physical substrate. We have never once observed otherwise; such as life existing prior to matter and intelligence and/or consciousness existing prior to matter.

          To answer the big questions it is surely more honest to use what is actual as our starting point. Not what we want to be the case.

          “Romans 1:19-20 makes it clear that the evidence for God is all around us”

          I find the whole natural theology/design argument amusing, for both scientific and theological reasons. Very few modern Christians seem to be aware that the whole design argument used to be considered heresy by many and diverse Christian traditions, until as little as 70 years ago; on the grounds that a true believer would perceive design because they believed in god and only someone who’s belief was not strong would believe in god because they perceived design. Some Islamic theologians still hold strongly to this view and, ironically, consider fundamentalist Christian theology to have become too liberal and wishy-washy since they’ve started pushing the design argument.

          1. Gary: “May I show you some examples of where you’re cherry picking evidence and ideas to suit your presupposition?”

            I wasn’t presenting evidence to suit my presupposition, I was trying to demonstrate how your presuppositions are on very thin ice.

            Jordan:“I don’t know” is the same answer that you gave when trying to explain how life could come from non-life…….to build our models of biological……. evolution on the foundation of “I don’t know” takes a lot of faith”
            Gary’s response: “This is a straw man argument.”

            No, “I don’t know” is the answer that was given on this site for each of the three issues I mentioned.

            Gary: “Models of biological evolution are wholly independent, and in no way rely upon, models of abiogenesis. One is an investigation into how replication occurs, the other is an investigation into how diversity occurs after replication has been instituted. One is a wholly chemical process, the other not.”

            That is true. I think you misunderstood what I was saying. Let me explain differently: Unless, you are a theistic evolutionist (which you and LX are not), then biological evolution is the best answer for the diversity of life without a need for God to be in the picture. The problem is that without God, you must presuppose that abiogenesis has happened BEFORE evolution can even begin.

            Jordan: “A mountain of evidence for the Big Bang or biological evolution would mean absolutely nothing if it was impossible for either to even start in the first place.”
            Gary’s response: “Apart from the fact that, if it were physically impossible, it would certainly no longer be entertained”

            If only that were true. Anyone who presupposes that there is no God before trying to figure how life could start, is left with no other option than to believe in abiogenesis. People still entertain the idea because they don’t like the contrary—that there is a just God who cannot tolerate sin.

            Gary: “how does your argument differ from this:
            A mountain of logical evidence for god (which, remember, is all we have) would mean absolutely nothing if it was impossible……in the first place?”

            First of all, of course there is more than just logical evidence. I can and will give you a few examples, but I am sure they are not new to you, and you know that they are not new to me, so why say something that you know is not true? The uniformity of nature, morality, design in nature, and the unrivaled accuracy of the Bible and its perfect track record of prophecies are just a few examples that popped into my head. Secondly, it is true that your argument has the same structure as my argument. However, while the staggering odds against abiogenesis can be calculated and tested, God cannot be, which leaves your argument with little weight behind it.

            Gary: “Remember, there is never any requirement for a logical argument, no matter how sound, to actually fit with reality. A sound logical argument could well be impossible.”

            Agreed.

            Gary: “What you’re saying can just as veridically be expressed in another way: We only ever observe physical events caused by physical events and intelligence and consciousness instantiated on a physical substrate. We have never once observed otherwise; such as life existing prior to matter and intelligence and/or consciousness existing prior to matter.”

            Again, the difference is that what I said can be verified or discounted with a great degree of confidence experimentally, while your argument cannot. We are made of matter so of course we cannot observe life existing prior to matter.

            Gary: “To answer the big questions it is surely more honest to use what is actual as our starting point.”

            That is called begging the question. You have assumed that God is not an “actuality” in order to prove that he is not an actuality. That’s bad logic.

            1. Hi Jordan, some comments on your rebuttal:

              “The problem is that without God, you must presuppose that abiogenesis has happened BEFORE evolution can even begin.”

              ????? Well of course you do, evolution, by definition, can only occur once life has manifested. So I’m not sure of your point here. Even with a god you must presuppose that a creation event happened BEFORE evolution can even begin.

              “Anyone who presupposes that there is no God before trying to figure how life could start, is left with no other option than to believe in abiogenesis.”

              Jordan, exactly where are all these people presupposing there is no god? I’m not one and neither is SmartLX. We’re both agnostic atheists. Science, and by extension, many atheists, use the minimal amount of presuppositions as it can get away with. Far, far less than presuppositional Christianity does. The provisional methodological acceptance of naturalism is a presupposition that is backed up by more evidence than any other body of knowledge known to human beings, i.e., every reliably replicable scientific finding ever made by human beings. Just so you might not have caught that: every single one. There are absolutely no exceptions. Now if it’s somehow not legitimate to presuppose provisional naturalism on an evidential basis as strong as that then we might as well all go back to living in caves or on the savannah because we would have no basis by which to know anything.

              Even scientists who are theists take exactly the same stance of provisional methodological acceptance of naturalism when they conduct research. If you don’t believe me ask them. When a theistic scientist performs a test or experiment they use the same null hypotheses as do atheist scientists. They don’t presuppose that miracles will occur and they will observe some suspension of physical laws, and they don’t presuppose that some supernatural phenomena will intervene and affect their carefully thought out control variables. They presuppose the exact same provisional naturalistic scientific method in exactly the same way as does an atheist scientist. If they’re investigating the cause of a disease like Ebola, scientists will presuppose a physical causation – not because of any personal pro- or anti-supernatural presupposition, but because we have simply never observed an infectious disease without wholly physical causation. Is it somehow unreasonable or ineffectual of them to presuppose a physical causation?

              Notice how scientific/atheist presuppositions are rarely a problem when they give us vaccinations or medicines, or satellite technology or weather forecasting or safe bridges and tunnels. Notice how they only ever become a problem for theists when the findings clash directly with manuscripts originating from a tiny geographical region of the planet during the Bronze Age? Ulterior motive, much? If scientific/atheistic presuppositions have it so wrong, are “on very thin ice”, then how come science is so unfeasibly successful at describing, explaining and predicting? And providing. It should be barking completely up the wrong methodological tree in every field of endeavour. Yet it so obviously isn’t. So if you have people advising you that scientists are somehow employing illegitimate presuppositions I strongly suggest you find more credible sources to trust, because they are giving you far from an honest appraisal of the situation.

              In the case of abiogenesis, this is a field that has very limited practical applicability, so it doesn’t enjoy a great deal of funding. Plus it’s a comparatively new field of study (not a belief). So the dataset is not large. A presupposition of supernatural creation, as you recommend, would effectively end the entire avenue of research. Something, I suspect, you would like to see. But it’s not as if abiogenesis research is going nowhere. Take a look at this paper:

              Sousa, et al. (2013). Early Biogenic Evolution. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (Biological Sciences) 368.

              It’s available free on-line. It’s very complex, which characterises the depth of analysis the field demands. I recommend you get someone who really knows this stuff to explain it to you. I had to, and even she (with a PhD in agricultural chemistry) had difficulty with the complexity. But my point is if you’re not enthused by findings such as this then all I can say is you don’t respect truly science and your presuppositions really do need some adjustment; fully understand that which challenges your beliefs, it might eventually lead you to the truth. And if this is the state of play now, imagine what the field of abiogenesis will be like in 50 years time! Imagine what it would be like now if these guys had the same amount of money to work with as medical research or particle physics enjoys. God of the gaps arguments have only ever gone one way – downhill. It doesn’t look like that’s about to change.

              “………while the staggering odds against abiogenesis can be calculated and tested, God cannot be, which leaves your argument with little weight behind it.”

              Circling the wagons around god. He cannot be tested, no evidence in support, just a convenient philosophical fiat. If god has effect on the universe those effects can certainly be calculated, predicted and tested. Otherwise, what’s the difference between an untestable, unobservable god and a non-existent or imaginary god? I can’t think of one. In fact, the supernatural is tested implicitly whenever we use naturalistic methodology. Zero evidence.

              I challenge you to provide an example of a single observable phenomenon, anywhere in the universe, empirically tested and replicated, that cannot possibly have resulted from physical causation. Just one. And I don’t mean something like perceiving complexity and inferring design. Anyone can do that, eloquently too. I mean actual empirical data, something we can use as the basis for future research.

              As to the staggering odds against abiogenesis, how could they possibly be accurately calculated? Creationists who calculate these odds are, quite honestly, talking through their backsides. Their arguments and calculations rely on blatantly dishonest renderings of random probabilities. Let me give you an example:

              Take a game of chess. You can start with only 20 possible moves per player. It would surprise most people to know that after each player has made only 4 moves, the possible permutations of play on the table number about 200,000. After 10 moves each the possible permutations are calculated to be 8.35 x1028. The total possible permutations of moves in the game of chess overall is calculated to be 10120 (remember, a trillion is 1012; similarly, the probability of any particular bridge hand being dealt is calculated at 5.36 × 1028). Therefore the odds of any one particular permutation of play, chosen at random, occurring after say, 10 chess moves is astronomical – just like you claim the chance of abiogenesis occurring is astronomical. Agreed?

              Now, let’s use an analogy. The chess board is the planet Earth and just one of those astronomically improbable combinations of play is analogous for abiogenesis. It doesn’t matter which one, pick one at random. Here is where the creationist misunderstanding/lying occurs. They are making two sly moves. First, they make no distinction between possible and realisable outcomes. I have only considered legal chess moves (realisable probabilities; there are many, many more random shufflings possible). Chemistry too is confined to realisable outcomes (some permutations of molecules are not possible; they do not result in realisable outcomes) yet creationist calculations blatantly ignore the fact that you can only include valid permutations in a system in calculations of probability. In other words, they consider all imaginable molecular permutations as if they are realisable outcomes. As if chess has no rules. So their figures are more than vastly inflated.

              Second, they assume that only a single game of chess has ever been played. Yet, just as the odds of any of those permutations of play are effectively decreased substantially by the millions of games of chess that have (and will) be played, realisable chemical permutations would have occurred in billions of places on the early planet, endlessly, 24 hours a day for at least a billion years. Add to that the astronomical amounts of suitable molecules available (a kg of arginine, for example, has about 2.85 x 1024 molecules; anyone want to hazard a guess as to how many kgs existed on early Earth? It’s highly likely too that the Earth had an extra supply of these amino acids from outer space, from meteorites and comet hits which, of course, they don’t usually bother themselves with), then the astronomical creationist probabilities are clearly nonsense and not as awe-inspiring as they first appear.

              “To answer the big questions it is surely more honest to use what is actual as our starting point.”
              “That is called begging the question. You have assumed that God is not an “actuality” in order to prove that he is not an actuality. That’s bad logic.”

              No it’s not. It’s not begging the question at all. Begging the question is when your conclusion is in your premise. I never mentioned any conclusion. I am completely agnostic with regard to the existence of a god; I claim no knowledge of and have certainly seen no evidence of such an entity. Therefore, I have no belief in a god. So I am atheist. Where is my sure conclusion, my assumption? That the null hypothesis has yet to be defeated? That’s an observation, not a conclusion.

              I said “use what is actual as our starting point”. What’s your alternative? Use what we think is actual/hope is actual/want to be actual/scripture as our starting point? In other words, only consider the data/opinions of those that fit to our already held conclusion and criticise any findings that don’t as merely the product of presuppositions? That’s bad logic. That’s dishonest. That’s not how we do science. How we successfully investigate phenomena. Science is not opinion. Science is transparent (that’s why scientific publications, unlike theological publications, have methods sections and report statistical analyses and share data), so others can directly verify (or not) our claims. You are one who claims to have reached a sure conclusion. Not me. It is you who is begging the question.

              1. Apologies. I just noticed the probability calculations I gave have somehow not appeared in scientific notation, that is, without the last two figures superscripted, so:
                e.g., 8.35 x1028 should read 8.35 x 10 (to the power of 28).

    2. The golden ratio is an emergent phenomenon? And easy to replicate??? So when you walk in to the room and see a cake sitting there you say, “oh the cake was always there, and it always existed, it just now emerged that I saw it for the first time.” Of course not. You say, “wow, who made the cake?” Do we assume buildings built themselves? No, but apparently the golden ratio is just a random emergent phenomenon. Makes no sense. And if it’s easy to reproduce, will you make me a pine cone please??? Peace and God bless 🙂

      1. We call the golden ratio emergent because we literally see it emerge in systems with very simple ongoing rules, such as the repeated one-step algorithm of the Fibonacci sequence: “Add each number to the one before it.” We do not see a cake or a building emerge the same way.

        Cakes and buildings do not indicate design merely by their complexity but by their artificiality. The sugar has to have been processed, the metal girders smelted and cast, the flour consistently ground, the paint mixed from chemicals that never meet in nature. The golden ratio turns up all the time without any specific effort, though of course it can be deliberately incorporated into a design.

  2. Smart LX says – Fibonacci sequences can appear in something as simple as reproducing rabbits, not because any entity has specified the numbers but because the number of rabbits is dependent on the number of rabbits in previous generations.

    Actually this is false and what does this have to do with the vibration of subotomic partials in the golden ratio??? Also your presupposing that rabbits can exist coincidently without any justification

  3. It doesn’t matter what the explanation is, the fact is we see this pattern over and over again. The two options for it’s existance are chance and design. Chance is the atheists option (like everything else) while the christian will go with a reasonable option of design.

  4. Atheists are dumb they think nature can follow the fibbinaci sequence to get the design it wants hahaahahahahahahahahhahah

    1. Same misspelling of Fibonacci a third time, Astro. You friends with Jake and Daniel?

      You could say that number two is scattered throughout the universe, because it naturally occurs all over the place: planets with two moons, binary star systems, the dichotomy of matter and antimatter and so on. This is hardly special because lots of other numbers crop up as well. The Fibonacci sequence is just a particular sequence that appears some of the time, because there are many different ways to generate something which appears to follow the sequence.

      You oversimplify in the characterisation of the non-designed occurrence of the sequence as “chance”. There are random elements, certainly, it’s a big universe. The important thing about the Fibonacci sequence is that once any mechanism is in place to produce the first 2-3 numbers, it will keep to the sequence if it follows the same physical, biological or logical rules. Every new number in the sequence will appear not by increasing coincidence, but as a matter of mechanics.

      Finally, nature does not require Fibonacci to produce life forms and other objects which appear designed. There are plenty such things which don’t follow the sequence in any way we know of. The way things have developed simply appear to contain emergent Fibonacci sequences when the “finished product” is analysed, and then sometimes only by very creative interpretation.

    2. AstroRepro, saying atheists are dumb is not necessary. Plus, it damages your argument. SmartLX and Gary are clearly not dumb. They are blind to the truth of of the Gospel and will be until God opens their eyes but they are very knowledgeable about many things. Unfortunately, they happen to be wrong about the single most important thing possible, but they are not dumb.

  5. “The golden ratio turns up all the time without any specific effort, though of course it can be deliberately incorporated into a design.” My friend, this is where your logic falls apart and mine holds up. I assume something had to exist to create something. You assume that something can be created out of nothing. The problem is that “the golden ratio turns up all the time without any specific effort.” How do you know there is no “specific effort?” Did you ask this non-existent nothingness whether effort was put into the process? Of course you did not. You assume there was no effort as a logical fallacy. My logic contains an answer. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. An uncreated God created the first something to begin existence… This is logical and this logic fills the gap where your logic fills no gap. You can offer no example in science, nature or philosophy where nothing created something, or something was created out of nothing. I will wait to see if you can offer a well reasoned example… Thanks and Peace. 🙂

    1. Deb, I don’t think you actually have any logic to stand on in your argument.

      You ask: “How do you know there is no “specific effort?” He bases that statement on one very simple fact – There is no data or empirical evidence supporting the claim that there WAS a special effort. When faced with no proof, the only rational conclusion to reach is that a claim is not true. There is no evidence that points to the existence of the golden ratio as a result of a conscious, designed effort. There is no evidence for that matter for the existence of any kind of a supernatural conscious to even make a designed effort.

      But wait, you no doubt cry, there is proof. The existence of the golden ratio is proof that a god created it. Unfortunately, you make a mistake common to many of the cultists that visit this website. Existence doesn’t prove anything. The only thing the existence of the golden ratio proves is that the golden ration does indeed exist. It’s existence does not prove how it came to be. It does not prove SOURCE. I could show you a granite rock rounded off and smooth from being in a stream for thousands of years, or one that looks exactly the same after being run through a polishing drum for a couple of days. Just because the rock exists does not mean you have any clue how it came to be. The existence of the rock doesn’t speak to why it has the properties it does. Hopefully you can see the false logic loop you’ve fallen into by thinking existence proves source.

      Believers often think existence proves gods, but that is an irrational connection that has no data supporting it. Your “logic” doesn’t fill any gaps. Actually all it does it move the goal posts. Claims that god creatures are responsible for such things adds another layer to the onion. You credit a god, and thus answer the question of where the golden ratio comes from, but now you have an unproven god left over. You haven’t settled the source question, you’ve just moved it from “where does the golden ration come from” to “where does a god come from”. Essentially, you’ve made the question harder. Now you have to prove a god exists, and THEN prove that the god purposefully made the golden ratio. For all you know, a god exists but wasn’t trying to create any particular pattern, and the golden ratio just happened anyway…

      You also wrote: [You can offer no example in science, nature or philosophy where nothing created something, or something was created out of nothing.]

      Here you are using another common cultist ploy. Technically he could mention virtual particles and the Casimir Effect or the Lamb Shift. But at a more basic level, this entire argument is illogical. Like the golden ratio argument, you attempt to push off the question you cannot answer by creating some baseless entity – a divine being of some kind – and manufacturer an answer. The basic argument you use is that nothing cannot happen on it’s own, therefore a god had to create it. Using this logic, the question becomes what created a god. The believer states that the god did not need to be created, it just always existed. This disproves the claim that nothing cannot happen on it’s own, and therefor the argument is self-defeating. Occum’s Razor would suggest that the simpler thing (a universe instead of a god powerful enough to create a universe) is the more likely answer. OR, we could go the route that a god that has always existed could not reach the point in it’s existence where it got around to creating our universe (there’s no middle of infinity after all), so an infinitely existing god never gets the chance to make a universe. OR we could simply point that you actually cane get “something” from nothing, since that is exactly what our universe is. All the positive energy in the cosmos (heat, kinetic, mass, light, etc) cancels out the negative energy (gravity). The net charge of the universe is zero. The net spin is zero. The universe is literally nothing split up into a lot of pieces, like 1+1+1+1-1-1-1-1+0, only on a far grander scale.

      Regardless, your argument is easily and often refuted, and I hope you stop using it from here on out…

    2. By “no special effort” I meant no deliberate effort by known intelligent beings to shape it, as is obvious on a cake or a building. But Tim’s engaged that pretty well. I’ll just say that we’ve discussed the something from nothing issue plenty, so read around.

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