Here I answer Richard Dawkins in his interview from National Geographic.
Evidence is my God, as is his. Evidence must be used to guide in the search for truth, rather than evidence being shaped to fit our truth or beliefs.
An open mind is how we learn, our knowledge is never complete but there are answers to everything.
With that firmly in mind, we proceed with Barclay Littlewood vs. Richard Dawkins.
Why is Darwin so important?
Richard Dawkins: Darwin told us why we exist and that’s not an easy question to answer. It’s not just us, it’s all living things. The living world is incredibly complex and staggeringly improbable – unless you understand where it came from; it looks as though it’s been designed; everyone thought that it was designed; but Darwin showed that it wasn’t. That’s the importance of Darwin.
Barclay Littlewood: Darwin and others have shown how life forms are constructed, they have shown us that life forms, through random mutations and then natural selection, evolve. Let’s be clear though, Darwin hasn’t shown that anything was or wasn’t ‘designed’ however. He’s simply shown we weren’t plonked on earth as was once thought. He has showed that there is a developmental process to life.
Why does matter exist? Why does life exist? Of course we can say that life arose from the correct environmental conditions, but why did those conditions even exist?
The process of evolution, mutation, why does it happen or exist? Why does matter mutate, and how does it know to mutate? Who or what designed these processes if anything? What are the reasons mutations exist and how are they randomly selected? Why do mutations always follow the same rule in being random? How did the Universe independently decide to begin mutating? Is it that some un-manifest creative force decided and planned long ago that the random mutation would occur and is actually behind it now?
Darwin simply shifted the questions further along, he disproved Biblical explanation, but he did not disprove a creator or the experience of that creative force that can come from the Bible and other Holy Books.
The Theory of Divine Energy which has been shown to alter matter to experience divine bliss, states that the invisible un-manifest ‘energy’ itself which began the Universe could be the agent and reason behind all mutations because they were planned and constructed like all other scientific rules the Universe abides by. In essence that invisible creative force is intelligent, it is continually refining and improving itself in accordance to set rules, through matter itself, which is secondary to it. Of course, the fact that the mutations are always random suggests that the force is bound by it’s own rules – or it would simply select the best mutations based on need, which it does not.
We can explain this like a racing driver, he controls the car, but he’s confined by the physical rules and limitations of the car, the rules of science. He has to operate within those parameters. So too could certainly be the same with that un-manifest force many call God. From a distant view we may think the car is driving itself, but if we look closer, something is in control, even if it is restrained by certain rules and laws.
In terms of ourselves, it’s perfect scientific and objective to point out what we are a product of that un-manifest force, a child to it, which has manifested itself into the human form via the process of evolution. We are children therefore of God, in a very literal sense, coming from what created us in whatever way the occurred. However, we are not equal to God, as all matter fades and is temporary, whilst the invisible un-manifest force running through matter and which gives birth to it, does not fade and is permanent, apparently slipping in and out of different forms.
How convincing is the evidence that Darwin was right?
Richard Dawkins: The evidence is compelling that Darwin was right. We are descended from simpler animals; we are descended from bacteria ultimately and are cousins of chimpanzees. Darwin wasn’t right about everything – he got some of his genetics wrong because not enough was known about genetics at the time, but the essential point that we are direct cousins of monkeys and kangaroos, octopuses and bacteria is beyond doubt.
Barclay Littlewood: There is no doubt we were descended from bacteria and we are related to all animals. That still does not however answer why bacteria exists in the first place and why there was any need or reason or intention for it to mutate into anything, let alone to us – life forms that can then look back on how they were created and experience what evolved them without ever asking to be.
The fact that we have evolved from bacteria in this way, is extremely odd, it all hints more at an intelligent invisible force with a plan of design, active and unravelling to set rules, than a blind chance.
What are we evolving to and why? If mutations are randomly occurring, where are they leading us? Why was I able to identify an un-manifest force and experience a deep peaceful bliss as a result? What would be the point of that?
How significant is Darwin’s influence in realising our place in the world?
Richard Dawkins: The human race has had a number of set-backs. We learnt from Galileo that the Earth was not the centre of the universe; Darwin did the same thing for living creatures. We once thought we were the pinnacle of creation, made in God’s own image, but we now know we are cousins of 10 million other species – a tiny twig in a vast bush of branching twigs buried somewhere in the depths of this bush; there is nothing special in the order of humans in creation. There are special things about us, such as the fact that we are cleverer than other animals and we have language, but nevertheless we are just cousins of all other living things.
Barclay Littlewood: There is nothing special in the order of our creation, however our capability to consider our creation and our reason to exist are special. Whatever set off those mutations, seems to have a never ending goal of improvement. We can certainly say we have being made in God’s image, (when you see God as an invisible creative force that set all this off and is there now) because we are closer to that image than bacteria, due to us being further down the mutation cycle and having gone through more refinements. We are millions of versions along.
Darwin has not at all changed our place in the world, as far as we know we are the most advanced living creation of the Universe, however way that occurred does not effect that the end result is the same.
Of course they are almost certainly bound to be further evolved creations elsewhere, in that we can certainly learn some humility.
How important is the evidence presented by fossils in backing up Darwin’s theory?
Richard Dawkins: Fossils are not necessary to prove evolution nowadays, as we can do that with comparative evidence, especially via chemical molecular evidence. But fossils are very nice for showing the direct course evolution took – fossils are the only evidence we have which show what animals were like in the distant past.
We are very lucky to have fossils, if we didn’t have fossils at all, we’d still know evolution was true. There are some gaps in the fossil record too, of course, which those sceptical about evolution think is important, but of course it’s not. The whole fossil record could be one big gap and we would still know evolution was true. But although there are gaps there are still substantial parts of evolution where we have a pretty good record of what exactly happened.
Barclay Littlewood: This is agreed, fossils show us the past history of life here on earth.
How strong a piece of evidence are whales as proof of evolution?
Richard Dawkins: If we needed any more evidence for evolution then fossils of whales would provide extremely good evidence. We now know that the closest cousins to whales are in fact hippos. A common ancestor of the hippo and the whale took to the water until it gradually became more wedded to the water and never left. The hind limbs eventually disappear and there is a tiny vestige of hind limb skeleton in whales today. What else could that be but evidence of evolution? There is not the slightest doubt that marine whales are descended from land animals and the fossil record proves this utterly.
Barclay Littlewood: This is agreed.
What do you think of people who adhere to the biblical idea that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old and that we are all God’s creation?
Richard Dawkins: Anyone who still believes that the world is less than 10,000 years old, as many creationists do, the best excuse for them is lamentable ignorance. Anyone who is not ignorant and has been shown the evidence and still believes this, then they must have something wrong with them. To give you an example of the magnitude of the error, to believe that the world is less than 10,000 years old, when in fact we know the world is 4.6 billion years old, is equivalent to believing that the width of North America from New York to San Francisco is less than 10 yards. So to believe this you have to be either incredibly ignorant or insane.
Barclay Littlewood: The evidence is clear, the world is billions of years old, however, the evidence is also clear, that inaccuracies in knowledge in a person, do not alter the scientifically observable experience of what we call God. Otherwise such a scientifically observable experience by MRI scans, would not exist in people of differing religions, some of who have factually incorrect views on the beginnings of the world and the Universe.
The reason for this is that because that objectively findable ever present, un-manifest, call it God, spirit or anything else – exists within a person, no matter what knowledge exists in tandem with it. It is in everyone, found or not. It’s presence allows us to postulate it’s existence. It is that which, for some reason begins the experience of “God’ bringing deep peace through changes to the brain as I and others have shown. In the same way we can take an alternative route and believe in something higher than us (a force higher than matter) and it creates these same changes.If you deny that experience, as most atheists do, it is them who are now using a belief system to override reality.
From this evidence, it would seem that there is an un-manfiest agent that came before manifest creation and life. Something un-manifest, nothingness and everythingness that existed before and in-spite of the manifest, still does and is ‘there’ today behind the scenes. Some sort of invisible emptiness with agency, which is what we call God. We can’t see it or find it, but we can see it’s handywork, in terms of what we can physically identify. It would seem that not only did it ‘congeal and order’ into matter whilst staying with and sustaining it, but it then created evolutionary mutations, resulting in us, something which could then find and experience “it”.
If not, the other way round is that the manifest gave rise to itself and still does. It has ordered itself and is the primary and only reality as it where. With this way, we must accept that matter created itself by itself, that it makes mutations happen, resulting in us, and then that they have conjured up a previously non existent “un-manifest force” they could find and experience as a result. That would seem back to front. The Universe would have had to self order, make up science, mathematics etc. and then create itself based on those rules.
More likely it seems is the un-manifest, if it is what caused and causes life, was there before the mutations and facilitated them to happen, to exist, and it is therefore not only existent, as intangible as it is, but it is the leader of existence, not the slave.
And what created it? Nothing, because it is nothingness and everything-ness at the same time, it simply is.
Mr. Dawkins has confused evolution as being incompatible with the existence/experience of what we call God, it is not, it is simply incompatible with religious explanations. If Mr. Dawkins denies that, then in this case it is him that is actually guilty of lamentable ignorance, because the evidence for an experience of what we call ‘God’ is now absolutely certain as existing and being as real as anything else we can experience as human beings.
Does it bring peace within? Yes.
Is it higher, greater than the manifest and matter? Objectively, yes.
Does it have a plan of order? Yes.
Does it operate by rules? Yes, science are those rules.
Is it directly observable? No. Only by it’s effects on the manifest we can postulate it’s existence.
Why do you think this view is still held by so many people 150 years after Darwin’s theory was published?
Richard Dawkins: I think that religious upbringing is immensely powerful and if its hammered into you as a young child it can be very difficult to get rid of in later life, especially if as a child you are taught that the devil will come to try and persuade you of error; sometimes they are told to ignore the evidence because faith is more important than evidence. Some people know that if they come out as non-believers their family will disown them. It really is an appalling stranglehold that these archaic beliefs have over people, whose minds have been warped since childhood.
Barclay Littlewood: This is true, because experiencing God does not require accuracy of evidence. (Actually it does not need faith either.) It is a great shame that religion causes dis-ownership of family and other hatred. It does however point to the absolute strength of the experience of God, simply that people mistake such ways as the only way. Thus such an appalling stranglehold is no different to me saying that Mr. Dawkins has suffered the same stranglehold in his misguided and selective adherence to evidence. The former religious experience lacks evidential correctness yet is a guide to the ‘truth’ of something that is initially un-manifest leading to the experience of God, the latter eschews limited and cherry picked evidential correctness, but falls short of where that correctness can actually lead – an objective and scientific experience of what many call God that is totally provable and devoid of any belief.
Now if anyone denies the evidence of that experience, it is them making the evidence fit around their beliefs not the other way around.
Is the creationist movement damaging to society as well as science?
Richard Dawkins: I think that it is such a privilege to understand where we come from, a privilege for all of us born after 1859, that to deny children that privilege is wicked, it’s a deprivation that should not be visited on any child, when the truth is so staggeringly exciting. When we have shared ancestors with every living thing, we have a history of four billion years of slow, gradual evolution, that’s not something that we can easily take on board, but the effort of doing so is well worth it. It’s such a beautiful thought that we are the heirs of four billion years of evolution. When you put that against the measly, piddling little ideas in Genesis it’s just no comparison, and it’s a sad and diminishing deprivation of a child’s opportunity to be denied that knowledge.
Barclay Littlewood: The creationist movement may not always be factually correct, but the experience of God, via Holy Spirit or Bliss, that drives such people, is as real as anything else we can experience and readily observable with MRI scans. At the same time Mr Dawkins has wrongly informed many that the wonder of an experience of God that no such experience exists when it indeed does, and there is in fact a scientific explanation for it. Is it sadder not to know exactly how the Universe has evolved, or to not intimately know and experience that primarily un-manifest force that lies behind it’s creation?
What evidence is there to prove that evolution and Darwin were right?
Richard Dawkins: Many pieces of evidence show that evolution is right. I’ll single out just two. The first is the distribution of animals across the globe. They are exactly as you’d expect them to be if evolution occurred. If you go to Australia all the mammals, save for one or two introduced by man, are marsupials. Why are they all there and not in Asia too? It’s exactly as you’d expect if animals evolved. It’s not the way it would be if God had gone around creating animals. Why on Earth would he have gone around creating animals in exactly the places where he would have created animals to give the false impression that evolution took place? If you believe in a god that plays those sorts of tricks then it’s not much of a god to believe in.
Secondly, if you look comparatively at all animals, especially biochemically: if you look at molecules in how they differ from animal to animal, or plant to plant, you find a hierarchical pattern of resemblance, which only makes sense if you assume that it’s a family tree, a pedigree. Everything – all the evidence – points to evolution. Once again the only way that you can maintain a creationist viewpoint is if you assume that God deliberately deceived us by planting molecules, that God played an elaborate trick on us.
Barclay Littlewood: Mr. Dawkins is correct, however, the evidence is nothing to do with their being an initially un-manifest creative force or not, one that exists right here and now and is still evolving life forms and within them all. The same primarily un-manifest that could be the missing piece that began the Big Bang. That fact mutations have appeared in clusters of different animals as they have, doesn’t explain why there is anything to mutate, and why mutations exist in the first place and why they are continually improving life forms.
Can you still have faith in God and evolution?
Richard Dawkins: There are plenty of theologians who believe in God and evolution, so, yes it is possible. I find it a little bit hard to do so because the main reason for believing in God is as the explanation for the living world. Once that’s gone, the most important argument for God has been kicked out and all you are left with is things like the Bible, which is pathetic: any fool can see is not written by God and it doesn’t have any special authority. Or you are left with personal experiences such as ‘God speaks to me’: if you’re convinced by that you’re convinced by that, but it’s pretty weak.
Barclay Littlewood: The main reason to believe in God, I would suggest is not only an explanation for the living world, but the deep peace whilst we are alive that a connection with that un-manifest force brings. It is precisely that such force is above anything manifest, that so many different ways of religion and so on, with their manifestly inaccurate ways, still ‘do the job’. E.g they lead and connect you to the un-manifest. On that level of the un-manifest how can any explanation be more or less accurate? Accuracy is a term that pertains to the manifest, for if something is invisible, it can neither be accurate or inaccurate and both and all.
Of course, it’s still fun to find the objective, manifest evidential truth because there are answers to everything.
There is no need for faith to find God, simply one can identify within that which has never changed. The eternal constant. Live from that angle, keep with that ever present and eternal within and the changes begin, changes which are scientifically observable in the brain. That explains the experience of the peace of God, it is actually a process of moving from the fruits of the primarily un-manifest – the manifest – to the un-manifest itself.
Why are you so convinced that God doesn’t exist?
Richard Dawkins: Well, I’m not really convinced that God does not exist. I’m simply turning the question around to say there is no positive reason to say that God does exist and he is therefore as likely to exist as the tooth-fairy or pink unicorns. So why bother to believe in something where there is no evidence, when there is so much for which there is evidence and you could spend a lifetime learning about it?
Barclay Littlewood: The complexity and wonder of the Universe strongly suggests to us that a hyper intelligent creative force is more likely at work than not. Something we can’t find, in a traditional sense, but we can see the workings of, and is here right now. Everything within the Universe is created and has a reason, why would the Universe itself by any different we might ask. Indeed, God, if he exists must be the greatest scientist in existence.
There is plenty of factual evidence for “God’s” existence, not only the blissful and wondrous experience of the love of that force experienced by billions, but also we can now see the mechanisms of that process at play during meditation and prayer through MRI scans. Whilst God may not be exactly what many think, the evidence for the existence of ‘something’ that can be experienced beyond the normal ‘manifest’ human experience of themselves and the world is now overwhelming.
Is there any evidence for some sort of divine order, such as our consciousness or the beginning of the universe perhaps?
Richard Dawkins: The human consciousness is a great puzzle; it’s not helped by postulating anything supernatural. Human consciousness must stem from some brain stuff, either as a by-product or as an integral part of its function. The origin of the universe is another mystery, but physicists are working on it. Maybe one day we’ll understand it but, either way, postulating some sort of supernatural explanation doesn’t help us understand, because that simply raises bigger questions than it does answers.
Barclay Littlewood: This is about primacy of matter or not. Does ‘consciousness’ come from matter or the other way round? As a sperm there was a ‘consciousness’ I was operating too, why? How did we become conscious? At what time does bacteria evolve to consciousness? There is an order than runs from the smallest to the biggest, why? Why do we randomly mutate to consciousness and self awareness? For what purpose? Why not just stay as bacteria? What we could be seeing, is us moving further along the plan that the creative force had all along, to mutate itself into something even more wonderful and even more in tune and aware of it’s creator, and better able to experience it’s wonder. It would seem, from our existence, that such was the plan.
So life is all a result of chance and molecular accidents?
Richard Dawkins: I would not like to say that we are here today as a matter of chance, because natural selection is not a chance process. Mutation is a matter of chance, but natural selection is a non-random force, because generations of genes have been non randomly chosen for reproduction and survival. If people think that Darwin said that life was down to chance, then no wonder they object to it.
Barclay Littlewood: Life isn’t a result of chance and molecular accidents, these processes exist, why and for what reason? Do they exist by chance? Even if so, why does chance exist at all? The fact we see all these rules and processes, why did they exist? What would a Universe gain from birthing itself and organising itself? When it evolves what is it competing with, how can it beat itself, what would be the point?
Has human evolution come to an end?
Richard Dawkins: Nobody knows. If you look at the way natural selection happens, the fittest creatures have the most offspring and are usually the ones that survive. Over the last 2 or 3 million years humans have developed bigger and bigger brains, presumably because those with bigger brains survived better. But there’s no way to suggest that this is happening today, so there’s no reason to suppose that the same natural selection forces are taking place on humans today, though there are natural selection forces at work in terms of resistance to disease and things like that. If you came back in 10 million years then we’ll probably be extinct, because most species do go extinct. There’ll probably be something living but it won’t be our direct descendant.
Evolutionists are always very cautious to predict the future course of evolution for one species, but what they don’t mind doing is predicting the general direction of life – small herbivores, large herbivores, big carnivores – we can predict that we will get a similar range of animals, but we can’t predict what the descendants of mice, elephants or humans will look like. I think in a couple of million years humans will be extinct, but we may well have evolved into something else, especially if we colonise other worlds, then we may see natural selection taking place as species start diverging, as there’d be very little gene flow between the separate gene pools.
Barclay Littlewood: Certainly human evolution has not come to an end, we’ve seen great changes in us all just over the last hundred years. I’ve evolved in the last five years. I experience something I never thought possible. Something far more wonderful than the experience of the manifest world and all it can give alone.
This article is the copyright of National Geographic.
Thanks for reading, Barclay Littlewood vs. Richard Dawkins and even more importantly God Bless whatever your beliefs or experience right now.