Statesboro, GA, USA
excuse me for taking liberty to respond to questions you asked of Ron. I figure its better to ask forgiveness than permission. This is a public forum; I hope you don't mind.
There are things that people scientifically go by for distinguishing "proton", "electron" etc. More importantly there are things we go by to describe much more obvious things, but which are the things/points/effects that we go by for distinguishing a higher power and things about a higher power?
Essorant, do you see any evidence for intentional design in something like a DNA molecule which is more complex than any automobile and contains a myriad of encoded information?
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?
These two questions are quite different.
To answer the first, anyone may call anything they want as evidence for God. But naturally some things would be more compelling and striking than others. For me, anything made of atoms speaks of a designer, since atoms obey complex physical laws raising the question of how complex laws became part and parcel of the universe. But things like the additional complexity of a certain double-helix molecule packed with encoded instructions for building a human being, capture my attention even more. It's easier to ignore the atoms in an arid expanse of desert, chalking their laws up to some kind of distant and innate property of nature. Of course, anyone can do that with DNA too, if for no other reason than not caring about the implications. And that brings us to your point which I have already conceded, that nothing is "proof" in a strict sense. There is only inference to the best explanation.
The second question is simpler to me. Not many ascribe intelligence or consciousness to a rock, therefore it is much more difficult to think of it as a "higher power". This goes back to what I said about the difficulty of sub-personal deities. How can something which is sub-personal reasonably be thought of as a higher power? And more importantly, a rock is itself a finite physical object bound in space-time that will one day pass away. In short, it is a part of nature. But it is nature itself which so poignantly invites the question of origin or creation. A mere part of nature (an impersonal unintelligent part at that) cannot be credited with the whole.
I may weigh morals based on how they help life, artisticness based on how it helps the art. But how or by what do I weigh what a higher being or what someone says about a higher being?
Some of the things that people say about a higher being can only be measured by going beyond what theologians have called "natural theology" into the realm of revealed theology. For example, God's name YHWH as revealed to Moses at the burning Bush. That is something one would have to take on authority as a matter of revelation. But there is a long way that inference may take a person as well in the area of natural theology. Inferring that the universe requires a transcendent and intelligent maker is one of them. Once a person is thinking along the lines of natural theology, they may become more open to special revelation as well. (But it is important to note that special revelation is not antithetical to reason, it just can't be reached by reason alone). For example, the belief in the ressurrection of Jesus Christ is a matter of revelation. And yet it is also the most historically sound regarding the data we are left with. On rejecting that premise, historical revision gets pretty "inventive" and no less incredible than what was reported.
How may I weigh the accuracy of saying "a Fairy created the universe" as more or less accurate than saying "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"?
Well that's easy if you think about it for a moment. Our understanding of a fairy is as a mythical creature. And even in cases where believed in, she is within space-time. No matter how enchanting or wondrous she is, she is a creature, real or imagined. I've never even heard of a claim that a fairy is the transcendent creator of the universe ... which would be a radial redefinition of "fairy" wouldn't it? It's the problem again of attributing the whole of nature to something within nature itself. Even Big Bang cosmology attributes the beginning of the Universe to something outside it ... not within the continuum of space-time. It is highly interesting that the Judeo-Christian worldview is the only one that has affirmed the very same thing since ancient times. Again, not strict proof, but the inference to the best explanation.
Gee, you sure do ask a lot of questions for someone tired of these threads.