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Safest Leap of Faith

Intelligent Design versus Evolution is but an argument over the method of creation. It does not resolve the more fundamental argument over the existence of God because the latter method does not necessarily preclude the existence of God as creator. God by whatever name, including Jehovah, Allah, and Brahma, could have used either method of creation if in fact he, she, or it exists.


It is safe to say that God either does or does not exist, but the argument, like all theological or faith-based arguments, cannot be resolved either way with absolute certainty or proof. The same is true of scientific or evidence-based arguments. People in the sciences, including evolutionists, cannot scientifically claim to have resolved their arguments with absolute certainty or proof, only with support from a preponderance of current evidence.


The reason is straightforward. There is always the possibility that a preponderance of future evidence will support a different resolution to a scientific argument, perhaps even a reversal, which was the case, for example, when it was claimed that the earth was not flat but round. Moreover, an absence of supporting evidence is not evidence of absence. In short, there is always an element of doubt in scientific or evidence-based knowledge. And clearly, there is doubt in unscientific or faith-based knowledge.


In the absence of absolute certainty or proof, resolution of the argument over the existence of God requires a leap of faith. A theist takes the leap of faith that God does exist, and if it turns out that he, she, or it does not exist, it is of little consequence—“dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” is all there is. An atheist takes the leap of faith that God does not exist, and if it turns out that he, she, or it does exist, the consequence could be problematic to say the least—perhaps an undesirable eternity.


So the safest leap of faith or safest bet is that God exists with the caveat that one does so within human limits, namely with sufficient certainty perhaps but without absolute certainty or proof. This argument, of course, is an updated version of the one put forth by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623–62). It is referred to as Pascal’s Wager.



Copyright © 2018 Frank Zahn: Published in Intellectual
September 14, 2018.



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