Member Rara Avis
But isn't the foundation of your religion (God) the very thing without a secondary causal agent?
Perhaps, Stephen. However, I'm not sure I would agree that God is the foundation of human religion. That might be true if He just pushed the Create Universe button and then walked away, but then we'd have a "religion" that more closely resembled the Greek or Roman religions you keep calling myths. I don't think the existence of God, albeit without a causal agent, is the foundation of any modern religion. It is, rather, the interaction between God and Man upon which we base our religions. Without that interaction (cause and effect) there is no religion beyond blind belief.
For how do we specifiy which specific "effects" indicate a higher power? What do we go by as indicating "higher power" or "god", or to say something specific about god, "he", "she", "it" "personal" "impersonal" "omnipotent" etc.
The answer to that question, Essorant, ultimately lies in another, much deeper question. What do you want from God?
If you believe God will put a quarter under your pillow in exchange for a tooth, your hypothesis is testable. If you don't consistently get the quarter, then you have to adjust your hypothesis accordingly. It's still all about cause and effect. Of course, that's doesn't mean it's easy either. If physics is a hard science, and psychology is a soft science, then religion is a truly mushy science. In each case increased complexity results in decreased repeatability; we don't understand human behavior as well as we understand electrons, and I suspect we understand God's motivations even less. However, while cause and effect aren't always obvious, that doesn't mean that stuff just happens randomly. That way lies insanity.
Religion isn't that much different than science. It either works for you or it doesn't. The biggest problem I see is that too many people expect their television to keep their food cold. Their expectations lead them to think their TV is broke. Instead of jumping from one television set to another, or worse, buying a radio because they've lost confidence in the existence of TV, they should adjust their expectations. Only when they figure out what a TV should do for them can they correctly decide if it's working.
Incidentally, no religion should be solely (or even primarily) about life after death. That's faith, not religion.
What stops anyone from pointing at anything and calling it "an indication of a higher power/god"? May not one basically point at anything and call it god?
What stops anyone from pointing at anything and calling it cold fusion?
Again, Essorant, it either works for you or it doesn't.
Considering how common complexity is in nature, one may just as well say it is inherent in nature itself, rather than instilled by any supernatural power.
Complexity is NOT inherent in nature, Ess. On the contrary, the most fundamental laws of science dictate that in a closed system order will always give way to disorder. You can call that entropy or Murphy's Law, but either way complexity can only arise when energy is input from outside the system.
In the case of Earth, we are not strictly a closed system and so everything that is complex on this planet depends on the energy of the sun. Unlike Stephen, I would never dream of pointing at a DNA molecule and calling it evidence of a higher power. Such evidence, in my opinion, is too flimsy, the lines between cause and effect too blurred. You don't need intelligent design to create very complex crystals, after all. You just need a little sugar, a bit of heat, and sufficient time.
However, while the Earth isn't a closed system, by definition, the Whole of Creation is. And, again, complexity can only arise when energy is input from outside the system?
(The latter may not be strictly true. Energy can also "glob" within a closed system, potentially giving rise to temporary order. Without more energy, however, that order will inevitably decay. Which I guess still leaves it up to the individual to decide the fate of their own Universe.)