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Talk Back 21
What would make it "conclusive"?

by Matthew Brooks

A discussion of this article has been opened in Debates and Discourse. Please feel free to add your thoughts to the discussion via the contact page.

I just wanted to write another Talk Back article for your web site. At many points in your web site there are mentions about the fact that all you, as Agnostics, need to accept the existence (or nonexistence) of God is conclusive evidence of his existence or nonexistence. Assume that such evidence existed. What would make it "conclusive"? Does it have to be "scientific" evidence? The argument I would like to make is that much of what is commonly accepted as "scientific" fact is just as much of a leap of faith as believing in God, and the scientific validity of creationism theories is no less than other theories that are not faith-based.

While reading an article on "Dark Matter", I came to realize just how much this is true. It is suggested by astrophysicists that up to 90% of the matter in the universe is dark matter, that is material that gives off no electromagnetic energy or so little that it is undetectable on earth. How do we know that it is there? By the affect of its gravity on other objects in the universe, particularly distant galaxies and clusters of galaxies. The kicker in my mind is the "gravitational affect" of this dark matter is observed on light from distant objects that has supposedly taken thousands or millions of years to reach us. The affect being that what is generally accepted in the scientific community as existing is proved only by an "effect" seen only a very long time after it occurred. Further, in the articles I have read it is admitted that "dark matter" was discovered when the observed behavior of certain celestial objects did not match the behavior predicted by models based on existing theories. If I dig a little deeper, I discover that there are many assumptions of truth in this science that can be argued on the basis of lack of proof. Going back to dark matter, its existence is based on gravitational effect. How is that effect measured? By relative motion. How do you identify motion in an object that is light-years away? By changes in the light received here. We are assuming that the behavior of light so many billions of years ago was identical as it is now. How do we know the speed of light? By measuring it using scientific experiments. How long have we been able to measure the speed of light? At most a couple of hundred years. Is it safe to extrapolate the speed of light, or the affects of gravity, or any number of other scientific "laws" over billions of years based on just a few hundreds, or even thousands, of years spent observing those laws? I do not necessarily think so. It can even be argued that with any of the "something from nothing" theories about the universe, including creationism and I guess the point here that I'd like to make is that any set of belief, regardless of what it is based on, is a leap of faith of some sort. Don't stereotype Christians and other believers in a God as being fools that believe in something that has no proof, because it is likely that many of your beliefs have no proof either.