The darkest secret of science.

Posted on November 16, 2018 By

What are the darkest secrets of science?

The above question was posed at a forum at Quora.com. Below is a copy and paste of my answer:

The darkest secret of science is that the science of one age becomes the myth or pseudo-science of the next. Biologist Lynn Margulis, winner of the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science, put it best in her book What Is Life?:

…Science is asymptotic. [“asymptote” is derived from a Greek word meaning “not falling together.”] It never arrives at but only approaches the tantalizing goal of final knowledge. Astrology gives way to astronomy; alchemy evolves into chemistry. The science of one age becomes the mythology of the next.

Those with a short-sighted view of the history of science are prone to overlook the fact that alchemy (which believed that metals such as lead could be turned into gold) and astrology were once considered scientifically respectable. In fact, as Margulis alludes to above, the scientific consensus of one age usually becomes the myth or superstition of the next age. Elite physicists Paul Davies and John Gribbin cite examples of this trend among scientific theories in their book The Matter Myth:

A classic example concerns the “luminiferous ether.” When James Clerk Maxwell showed that light is an electromagnetic wave, it seemed obvious that this wave had to have a medium of some sort through which to propagate. After all, other known waves travel through something. Sound waves, for example, travel through the air; water waves travel across the surface of lakes and oceans. Because light, which Maxwell discovered is a form of electromagnetic wave, can reach us from the Sun and stars, across seemingly empty space, it was proposed that space is actually filled with an intangible substance, the ether, in which these waves could travel.

So sure were physicists of the existence of the ether that ambitious experiments were mounted to measure the speed with which the Earth moves through it. Alas, the experiments showed conclusively that the ether does not exist…for nineteenth-century physicists, however, the ether was still very real.

But science has provided us with air travel, amazing medicines, computers, and a whole list of other advances! Considering such facts, shouldn’t we just listen to what science has to tell us? Freeman Dyson, who holds the professorship in physics at Princeton University formerly held by Albert Einstein, comments in his 2011 essay How We Know, that the usefulness of scientific theories should not be confused with their truth:

Among my friends and acquaintances, everybody distrusts Wikipedia and everybody uses it. Distrust and productive use are not incompatible. Wikipedia is the ultimate open source repository of information. Everyone is free to read it and everyone is free to write it. It contains articles in 262 languages written by several million authors. The information that it contains is totally unreliable and surprisingly accurate. It is often unreliable because many of the authors are ignorant or careless. It is often accurate because the articles are edited and corrected by readers who are better informed than the authors.

…The public has a distorted view of science, because children are taught in school that science is a collection of firmly established truths. In fact, science is not a collection of truths. It is a continuing exploration of mysteries.

…Science is the sum total of a great multitude of mysteries. It is an unending argument between a great multitude of voices. It resembles Wikipedia much more than it resembles the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Popular thought suggests that scientific knowledge is on an ever advancing march towards final truth. However, in his pivotal work on the history, philosophy, and sociology of science titled The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, physicist Thomas Kuhn describes how the history of science makes it difficult to justify the characterization of science as “an ever growing stockpile [of] knowledge” or a “process of accretion.” In part, this is because most scientific theories (or models) which were accepted by the scientific communities of the past are now perceived as pseudo-science or myth.

Kuhn cites the examples of Aristotelian dynamics (which was superseded by Newtonian physics), phlogistic chemistry (which said that a fire-like element called phlogiston is contained within combustible bodies and released during combustion), and caloric thermodynamics (which said that heat is really a self-repellent fluid called caloric that flows from hotter bodies to colder bodies). (Click here for many more examples). If these theories were regarded as “science” in their day, but as “error” and “superstition” today, then why should we not assume that the scientific theories of today will become the error and superstition of tomorrow? Kuhn writes:

Historians confront growing difficulties in distinguishing the “scientific” component of past observation and belief from what their predecessors had readily labeled “error” and “superstition.” The more carefully they study, say, Aristotelian dynamics, phlogistic chemistry, or caloric thermodynamics, the more certain they feel that those once current views of nature were, as a whole, neither less scientific nor more the product of human idiosyncrasy than those current today. If these out-of-date beliefs are to be called myths, then myths can be produced by the same sorts of methods and held for the same sorts of reasons that now lead to scientific knowledge. If, on the other hand, they are to be called science, then science has included bodies of belief quite incompatible with the ones we hold today. Given these alternatives, the historian must choose the latter. Out-of-date theories are not in principle unscientific because they have been discarded. That choice, however, makes it difficult to see scientific development as a process of accretion.

Atheist science popularizers are fond of assuring us that science “figures things out” without the need for God. Just give it enough time—the atheist reasoning goes—and science will figure out everything, leaving no need whatsoever to cite God as an explanation. But physicists Davies and Gribbin continue by warning about the danger of confusing scientific models, on one hand, with reality, on the other hand, in The Matter Myth:

“The case for the scientific world view rests on the claim that science deals with truth. The image of science as a pure and objective distillation of real world experience is, of course, an idealization. In practice, the nature of scientific truth is often much more subtle and contentious.”

“At the heart of the scientific method is the construction of theories. Scientific theories are essentially models of the real world (or parts thereof), and a lot of the vocabulary of science concerns the models rather than the reality. For example, scientists often use the word ‘discovery’ to refer to some purely theoretical advance. Thus one often hears it said that Stephen Hawking ‘discovered’ that black holes are not black, but emit heat radiation. This statement refers solely to a mathematical investigation. Nobody has yet seen a black hole, much less detected any heat radiation from one.”

So what does the history of science suggest the future holds for Darwin’s theory? The best case scenario is that it will go down in history in a similar manner to Isaac Newton’s science. Newtonian mechanics was not completely overthrown, but it was eventually shown to have a far more narrow range of applicability than once thought. William Dembski notes:

“It is always a temptation in science to think that one’s theory encompasses a far bigger domain than it actually does. This happened with Newtonian mechanics. Physicists thought that Newton’s laws provided a total account of the constitution and dynamics of the universe. Maxwell, Einstein, and Heisenberg each showed that the proper domain of Newtonian mechanics was far more constricted than scientists first believed. Newtonian mechanics works well for medium sized objects at medium speeds, but for very fast and very small objects it breaks down. In the latter case, we need to invoke, respectively, relativity and quantum mechanics.”

What’s the worst case scenario for Darwin’s theory of evolution? Biologist Lynn Margulis (cited above) believes that history will ultimately judge neo-Darwinism as, “A minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon biology.”

Darwin’s theory of evolution—atheists suggest—provides answers to questions in biology without the need for God. So why should we invoke God as the ultimate answer to any questions? Why not just patiently withhold judgement while waiting for science to provide the answers? The simple answer to this very common atheist objection is that the history of science demonstrates that science, alone, doesn’t provide ultimate answers. Dominant scientific theories have a history of eventually being radically revised, and outright rejected. William Dembski notes in Uncommon Dissent:

Despite all the propaganda to the contrary, science is not a juggernaut that relentlessly pushes back the frontiers of knowledge. Rather, science is an interconnected web of theoretical and factual claims about the world that are constantly being revised. Changes in one portion of the web can induce radical changes in another. In particular, science regularly confronts the problem of having to retract claims that it once boldly asserted.

Consider the following example from geology: In the nineteenth century the geosynclinal theory was proposed to account for the origination of mountain ranges. This theory hypothesized that large trough-like depressions, known as geosynclines, filled with sediment, gradually became unstable, and then, when crushed and heated by the earth, elevated to form mountain ranges. To the question “How did mountain ranges originate?” geologists as late as 1960 confidently asserted that the geosynclinal theory provided the answer. In the 1960 edition of Clark and Stearn’s Geological Evolution of North America, the status of the geosynclinal theory was even favorably compared with Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

Whatever became of the geosynclinal theory? An alternative theory, that of plate tectonics, was developed. It explained mountain formation through continental drift and sea-floor spreading. Within a few years, it had decisively replaced the geosynclinal theory. The history of science is filled with such turnabouts in which confident claims to knowledge suddenly vanish from the scientific literature. The geosynclinal theory was completely wrong. Thus, when the theory of plate tectonics came along, the geosynclinal theory was overthrown.

The history of science has very bad news for the theory of evolution.


  1. Matt says:

    The history of the human race has much worse news for theism than it does for the theory of evolution. Invoking a God has never been shown to account for anything, ever. That tells that that such false beliefs, though confidently asserted, don’t provide any answers at all, never mind ultimate ones!

    • God Evidence says:

      Matt,

      God explains a lot. For example, physical things regularly follow laws, such as the laws of physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics. Why is this so? If you don’t like the term “laws,” because this implies a lawgiver (read: God), fine, you can substitute the term “regularities” or whatever term you prefer.

      With regards to the question of why there exists order universe, atheism is stuck with an “it just does.” But “it just does” is not an explanation. Rather, it is an explanatory failure.

      Secondly, the universe (including the properties of time, space, matter, and energy) began at the cosmological event known as “the Big Bang.” Since it would be absurd to suggest that something could cause itself (this would be like suggesting that a person could give birth to himself), the cause of the universe must necessarily be timeless, spaceless, immaterial, and energy-less.

      Physicist George Stanciu and philosopher Robert Augros provide an excellent nutshell explanation of why God is the best explanation, in their book The New Story of Science:

      “In the New Story of science the whole universe–including matter, energy, space, and time–is a one-time event and had a definite beginning. But something must have always existed; for if ever absolutely nothing existed, then nothing would exist now, since nothing comes from nothing. The material universe cannot be the thing that always existed because matter had a beginning. It is 12 to 20 billion years old. This means that whatever has always existed is non-material. The only non-material reality seems to be mind. If mind is what has always existed, then matter must have been brought into existence by a mind that always was. This points to an intelligent, eternal being who created all things. Such a being is what we mean by the term God.”

      So compelling, in fact, has become the case for the universe as the product of a conscious creator that astrophysicist Hugh Ross, a former post-doctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology observes (in his book The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God) that:

      “Astronomers who do not draw theistic or deistic conclusions are becoming rare, and even the few dissenters hint that the tide is against them. Geoffrey Burbidge, of the University of California at San Diego, complains that his fellow astronomers are rushing off to join ‘The First Church of Christ of the Big Bang.’”

      For those not familiar with “the Big Bang,” this cosmological event, now almost unanimously regarded as fact in the scientific community, constituted the beginning of the universe about 14 or 15 billion years ago, and bears eerie similarity to the biblical account of the universe’s creation. As Arno Penzias, the 1978 Nobel Prize recipient in physics, stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978:

      “The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”

      Similarly, the astronomer, physicist and founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Robert Jastrow, writes:

      “Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment of time, in a flash of light and energy.”

      Arno Penzias, the 1978 Nobel Prize recipient in physics, stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978:

      “The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”

      It is difficult to overstate the immensity of the problem the Big Bang poses to those wishing to hold fast to an atheistic, naturalistic view of the universe. Since the early days of the Enlightenment, atheism has relied on the assumption that the universe did not need a creator because it has existed for an infinite amount of time, and therefore did not have a beginning…no origin, therefore no Originator. Eighteenth century Scottish philosopher David Hume was among the first highly influential figures to posit this belief, and it continued to be promoted right up until the late 20th century by such key atheist figures as the philosopher Bertrand Russell.

      But the fact that the universe is now known to have had a beginning is really only the beginning of the problem for atheists. Patrick Glynn, in his book God: The Evidence notes:

      “Beginning in the 1960s, scientists began to notice a strange connection among a number of coincidences in physics. It turns out that many mysterious values and relationships in physics could be explained by one overriding fact: Such values had been necessary for the creation of life. The physicist Robert Dicke was the first to draw attention to this relationship. The scientist John Wheeler, one of the most prestigious practitioners of cosmology, became interested in the idea in the 1960s. Then, at Wheeler’s urging, [Cambridge University astrophysicist and cosmologist Brandon] Carter presented the observation in full-blown form at the Copernican Festivities (celebrating the 500th birthday of Nicolaus Copernicus).”

      Carter coined the term “anthropic principle” (also sometimes referred to as “anthropic fine tuning”) to describe this concept. Distinguished former Cambridge University quantum physicist John Polkinghorne elaborates on this subject in his book Questions of Truth: Fifty-One Responses to Questions about God, Science, and Belief:

      “Anthropic fine-tuning is a big topic that has been explored extensively, but the basic idea is easy to grasp. As far as we know at present there are six apparently fundamental constraints in nature whose values have to be very close to their presently observed values if any intelligent, carbon-based life is to come into being anywhere in the universe. In some cases these values have to be astonishingly accurate: for example, the parameter called lambda, which controls the long-range acceleration of the expansion of the universe in relativity, has to be a factor of 10 to the 120th power smaller than such an explanation would have considered natural.”

      “…As [Nobel Prize winning physicist] Tony Hewish once remarked, the accuracy of just one of these parameters is comparable to getting the mix of flour and sugar right to within one grain of sugar in a cake ten times the mass of the sun.”

      • Matt says:

        There are a lot of misconceptions there and some unjustified claims. First the issue of laws, “physical things regularly follow laws”. This does not imply a lawgiver as you suggest, but it does show that humans (the inventors of all laws) have made observations and written stuff down. Take toast, for example: we might through experience invent a law saying that ‘toast always falls butter side down’. Do we conclude there is an immaterial breakfast spoiler who has decreed this to be the case? Do we conclude there is a book of rules of the Universe somewhere magically forcing toast to do this? Of course not. Toast has certain physical properties and we’ve merely noted the unfortunate consequences of this.

        I agree that “it would be absurd to suggest that something could cause itself”, or at least it seems that way to me. However, it would be fallacious to assume that since most events have causes within the Universe, that the Universe itself must have a cause.

        Regarding the ‘question of why there exists order universe’, I guess you’ve not heard of chaos theory? I guess you’ve not heard of quantum physics? The order ‘in the Universe’ really exists in our brains, as we attempt to make sense of things with our perceptions. If fact, looked at from certain perspectives, reality is perhaps chaotic and seething with disorder. Looking at it that way on a regular basis is not something conducive to everyday existence though, unless it’s your job to study such things. And if your answer as to why order exists is God, why is there an orderly God as opposed to a disorderly one?

        Next you claim, “the universe (including the properties of time, space, matter, and energy) began at the cosmological event known as “the Big Bang.”” Actually this is a false assertion. Our current understanding of physics does not rule out no-boundary Universes (no beginning), infinite multiverses, an infinite bang-crush cyclical Universe. Your book quotes do nothing to establish the assertion as fact, please don’t insult my intelligence and assume both that I don’t realise that science is done in peer-reviewed papers nor do I have an understanding of the general state of cosmology.

        The fine tuning argument is a silly one for many reasons, not the least of which is the ‘fine tuned God’ objection I have already alluded to: if it’s possible for a creator God to exist, why would a God with all the specific properties you claim for it, and not totally different ones, exist? Why would an all-powerful God be forced to chose any particular parameters for a Universe at all?

        • God Evidence says:

          Matt, you write: “The order ‘in the Universe’ really exists in our brains, as we attempt to make sense of things with our perceptions. If fact, looked at from certain perspectives, reality is perhaps chaotic and seething with disorder.”

          Then when I drop a pencil and it falls to the ground, as per the law of gravity, that is just in my head? Does the pencil only drop in my head? Please explain.

          Ok, fine, have it your way: For the purpose of debate, I will assume that you are correct and that there exists no order in the universe. Dean Overman writes:

          “If logical thinking is an accident, is it trustworthy? Or, to modify the enigma, is it probable that accidents will accurately describe other previous accidents? The concept that the universe and our existence were the products of accidents means that all our thinking is merely the accidental result of accidents. But if your thoughts and my thoughts are only accidents (are not results of accidents also accidents themselves?), then why should you or I consider our thinking true or logical? Isn’t it only accidental? How can we trust thought if it is an accident?”

          If reality is chaotic and seething with disorder, then your belief that there is no God, and all of the arguments you write at this website are ultimately the result of chaos and disorder. But why should we trust chaos and disorder to produce a true or logical stance or argument? It appears that all of the comments you have written at this website are a bunch of chaos and disorder. Apparently, the logical coherence of your atheistic arguments exist only in your head! Regarding your logic, it looks like all of the chaos and disorder of the universe caused you to accidentally shoot yourself in the foot! Maybe the next bunch of chaos and disorder you write will make more sense!! Lol.

          Next, you write, “And if your answer as to why order exists is God, why is there an orderly God as opposed to a disorderly one?

          You also write, “The fine tuning argument is a silly one for many reasons, not the least of which is the ‘fine tuned God’ objection I have already alluded to: if it’s possible for a creator God to exist, why would a God with all the specific properties you claim for it, and not totally different ones, exist? Why would an all-powerful God be forced to chose any particular parameters for a Universe at all?

          Matt, what would be the relevance of these questions? If every explanation required an explanation, we would immediately be stuck in an infinite of regress of explanations, and science would be impossible. Imagine the following discussion between two scientists:

          Scientist 1: “The natural mechanism of the random mutation of genes and the natural selection of reproductive offspring is responsible for the diversification of life from a common ancestor.”

          Scientist 2: “But why does this mechanism exist in the way that it does? Why doesn’t an entirely different mechanism exist?”

          Scientist 1: “I don’t know.”

          Scientist 2: “Then your explanation fails.”

          Please note that, even if scientist #1 were able to produce an explanation for his explanation, scientist #2 could just demand an explanation for that explanation, and they would be caught in an infinite regress of explanations, in which science would be impossible.

          William Lane Craig elaborates on the fallacy of labeling an explanation as invalid because one cannot provide an explanation for their explanation:

          “In order to recognize an explanation as the best, one needn’t have an explanation of the explanation. This is an elementary point concerning inference to the best explanation as practiced in the philosophy of science. If archaeologists digging in the earth were to discover things looking like arrowheads and hatchet heads and pottery shards, they would be justified in inferring that these artifacts are not the chance result of sedimentation and metamorphosis, but products of some unknown group of people, even though they had no explanation of who these people were or where they came from.”

          “Similarly, if astronauts were to come upon a pile of machinery on the back side of the moon, they would be justified in inferring that it was the product of intelligent, extra-terrestrial agents, even if they had no idea whatsoever who these extra-terrestrial agents were or how they got there. In order to recognize an explanation as the best, one needn’t be able to explain the explanation. In fact, so requiring would lead to an infinite regress of explanations, so that nothing could ever be explained and science would be destroyed. So in the case at hand, in order to recognize that intelligent design is the best explanation of the appearance of design in the universe, one needn’t be able to explain the designer.”

          Lastly, you write, “Next you claim, “the universe (including the properties of time, space, matter, and energy) began at the cosmological event known as “the Big Bang.”” Actually this is a false assertion. Our current understanding of physics does not rule out no-boundary Universes (no beginning), infinite multiverses, an infinite bang-crush cyclical Universe.

          Matt, the exact point at which the universe began is entirely irrelevant. Whether or not the Big Bang was the beginning is ultimately irrelevant. What is relevant is that there was a beginning. In 2003, physicists Borde, Vilenkin and Guth corroborated to formulate a mathematical proof that demonstrates that an eternal universe is not possible. It is known as the BVG theorem. Alexander Vilenkin is very blunt in regard to the implications of this proof:

          “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

          It should be noted that this proof applies to any proposed “infinite multiverses” or “infinite bang-crush cyclical Universe.” Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow (the founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies) echoes Vilenkin’s above comments:

          “The lingering decline predicted by astronomers for the end of the world differs from the explosive conditions they have calculated for its birth, but the impact is the same: modern science denies an eternal existence to the Universe, either in the past or in the future.“

  2. Gerry Denaro says:

    Every honest openminded person should ask themselves the most profound question “why is the something and not nothing?” To that end, what evidence should we expect to find if God exists and what might suggest he doesnt? Speaking of Arno Penzias and his reference to the Old Testament:
    For the director of music. A psalm of David _19 The heavens declare the glory of God; (awe inspiring power, precision and predictability) the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (fine-tuning and design) 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; (a rationally comprehensible set of universal immutable laws) night after night they reveal knowledge (a universe written in the language of abstract mathematical formula) 3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. (the awesome beauty that inspires a rational mind to celebrate its metaphysical truths) 4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. (man’s search for transcendence has been the most dominant issue in all recorded human history) And from the NT
    Romans Chap 1 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, *so that people are without excuse.* 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 *Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools* 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—

    • Matt says:

      Gerry, every honest and open-minded person should also ask themselves, “why would there be nothing at all as opposed to something?” But of course, if there really was nothing at all, there’d be nobody around to ask any questions at all, right?!

      On the religious view, prior to the Universe, why should there be a God rather than nothing? I actually think I have a reasonable answer to these types of questions, one that doesn’t involve ad-hoc explanations. Let’s see if you’re open-minded enough to address my questions though first ;)

      • Gerry Denaro says:

        ” it does show that humans (the inventors of all laws)……” Oh dear!! Really? the universal immutable laws of science and the abstract mathematics werent “invented” dear fella, they were DISCOVERED! To claim some metaphysical truths that define the physical realm were just a product of our evolving brain chemistry is really the height of absurdity. .
        Most deniers freely admit their unwavering commitment to the philosophy of scientific naturalism which essentially says *mindless matter is the only game in town.* If there is nothing beyond the physical then immaterial laws and the language of math that Galileo said God used to write the universe, cant exist.
        If there is no design or fine-tuning then we should expect a priori, a laws, lifeless chaos, mot the miraculous comprehensible universe we do observe.
        “The fine tuning argument is a silly one for many reasons” Only if a denier abhors the idea of a cause beyond the universe.
        Perhaps Roger Penrose might know more than you …. on chance Vs fine-tuning he says “The conditions of the BB were so special that the probability that they came about by chance are a (mind-blowing) 1x 10^123 power. “There has got to be incredible FINETUNING in the initial organization of the universe” See /evotionarynewsDOTorg. But I take it there is no convincing the unconvincable?
        Likewise a staunch denier could never admit that a miracle needs a miracle worker, that would require a surrender of ego and a huge paradigm shift. No doubt your worldview would resonate agree with the following ‘naturalists’ conclusions:

        “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved”. (Crick)
        “Even if all the evidence points to an intelligent designer, it must be excluded from science b/c it is not naturalistic” (Todd)
        “It is not the methods of science that compels us to accept a material explanation, it is our a priori adherence to material causes….
        *“no evidence would be sufficient to create a change in mind, *it is not a commitment to the evidence but to naturalism”.
        *“Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against COMMON SENSE is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. (Lewontin)
        “aliens likely seeded earth but that lifeform must have arisen by natural selection elsewhere in the universe (Dawkins)
        Someone might conclude: you can lead an atheist to the truth but you cant make him think.

  3. Gerry Denaro says:

    “Gerry, every honest and open-minded person should also ask themselves, “why would there be nothing at all as opposed to something?” But of course, if there really was nothing at all, there’d be nobody around to ask any questions at all, right?”
    Oh dear, the non sequitur yet again! If ever there was absolutely nothing, nothing would exist now, right? If God just created a universe without humans there would in fact STILL be something instead of nothing. There would still be the need to have design, fine-tuning and abstract immutable laws. Our finite universe would still be rationally intelligible, abstract law-abiding, just as it was for a long time before our brain chemistry came on the scene, to decipher the Laws that were waiting to be DISCOVERED.
    As Scott has already said the finitude of past time is proof for Creation ex nihilo. Ergo a cause beyond space and time is the ONLY plausible explanation.

    • Matt says:

      Actually, the scientific laws do not exist outside the minds and writings of humans. We have discovered how physical processes work, that’s true. But the laws, consisting of numbers, letters, equations, merely describe what exists. They themselves do not exist in any sense other that that I’ve already explained. One way to show that’s true is how the laws have changed over time. Newtonian physics were superceded by Einstein, currently the best model of the Universe we have, but one we know also needs to be superseded (by quantum gravity).

      I am not a denier, I am a skeptic. Show me adequate evidence and I’ll accept your point of view. Show me fallacious argumentation, wishful thinking, misunderstandings of science and philosophy and you’re not going to convince me.

      You say, “If there is no design or fine-tuning then we should expect a priori, a laws, lifeless chaos” but why exactly do you think that to be the case? Mindless ‘random’ processes within a shaken bucket of water will sort the powder from the pebbles, the larger rocks from the stones, no thought required. Your claim is patently false. By the way, we do see plenty of chaos and disorder in the Universe, as I already pointed out. Is that evidence of no design nor designer?

      I have not committed a non-sequitur. When you say, “If God just created a universe without humans there would in fact STILL be something instead of nothing”, you are erecting a self-defeating straw man. I said NOTHING, no Gods, no Universes, no laws, absolutely nothing. Do try to respond to my actual arguments, which in this case was an expression of the anthropic principle, rather than your altered and weak versions please.

      It has not been proven that ‘nothing’ preceded the Big Bang, like say an infinite series of bang-crunch cycles. Positing beyond the Universe, when the Universe is ‘everything’ is of course absurd and not even slightly plausible. The cause of the Universe if beyond space and time existed in no place at no time, which sounds just like your God to me, non-existent.

  4. Gerry Denaro says:

    Matt wrote
    You say, “If there is no design or fine-tuning then we should expect a priori, a lawless, lifeless chaos” but why exactly do you think that to be the case?” (you conveniently left out “instead of a miraculous universe”)
    Perhaps if ever you studied some high school science u might realise that Einstein said it first!!!! I hope your intelligent enough to realise existence cannot come from non existence? So here’s the challenge Matt, name one property /event /dimension in the physical realm that could be described as an actual infinite. Hint: dont read Dave Hilbert’s proofs)

    • Matt says:

      I don’t care what Einstein says or any other physicist for that matter, I care what evidence they have, and I don’t see how my leaving out ‘miraculous’ changes the point any, it’s still a mere assertion with no support.

      You didn’t answer my question: why should we expect a lawless, lifeless chaos? Most of the Universe appears to be lifeless and chaotic, and even on the only planet on which we know for certain there is life, there have been numerous mass extinctions almost wiping out all the life on the planet.

      Einstein also famously said ‘God doesn’t play dice’, well I’d say leaving a bunch of inconveniently sized rocks just floating around the solar system waiting to destroy us all was a bit of a gamble, wouldn’t you?

  5. Gerry Denaro says:

    “I am not a denier, I am a skeptic. Show me adequate evidence and I’ll accept your point of view. ”
    Interesting u say that, because I hear similar claims said many time on forums and YT. I hope you have an open mind but the most ironic piece of evidence for God is the millions of deniers and career atheists online mostly ridiculing religion (nearly always Christianity), hating the God they dont believe in and mocking believers. One might conclude from this commentary that the opponent for many reasons is really not open to any evidence or argumentation. When asked what evidence might convince them, it’s as if they dont want there to be, since it would be devastating for their worldview and lifestyle.
    Here’s an ancient relic that might shake the very foundations of your disbelief. There are numerous recent videos on the Shroud of Turin, the most studied artifact in all human history. Our faith doesnt rise or fall on it’s authenticity so the church has always been open to science investigating the cloth to verify it one way or the other
    New studies using the very latest technology might just do it for anyone open to the truth. One 37 min’ video that I recommend of many available is “Faith and Science -The Shroud of Turin.” If you are genuinely searching for truth and open to the evidence watch it all the way through. Your feedback would be welcome.

    • Matt says:

      Well no, atheists do not hate God, that is a very tired and obvious misconception. You might not hate Allah, but it’s easy to hate (or at least strongly dislike) those who send suicide bombers in the name of Allah. We just believe that Yahweh and Allah, and all the other Gods and Goddesses are fictitious. I hate your God as much as I hate Darth Vader. I’m not going to rail against Darth online though, since his influence on society is roughly zero.

      Mockery is a form of criticism, and hateful, contradictory doctrines such as yours deserve criticism. And yes, Christianity is hateful and has inspired hate, even though you might want simply to focus on the ‘nice’ bits of the New Testament and pretend the rest doesn’t exist.

      One piece of evidence that would be convincing to me would be if talk of ‘miracles’ at Lourdes had any basis in statistical reality. It doesn’t. The Bible claims prayer will work, again we don’t see that statistically. I guess we have to assume that: all the other religions are as effective at warding off illnesses or helping recovery times for some reason, or sick Christians don’t pray, or prayer is answered in a purely ‘spiritual sense’, or Christians generally don’t have faith. Any way you cut it, it seems like either there is a huge misunderstanding in the way prayer is supposed to work, in believers and non-believers, or the claims of the Bible are false.

      As far as the Turin Shroud goes, it’s an interesting artwork. It’s been considered to be a fake for centuries though. Carbon dating from 1988 sealed the deal, the fabric is from the Middle Ages. (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/turin-shroud-latest-fake-forgery-scientific-blood-pattern-spatter-study-carbon-dating-debunked-a8450101.html)

      • God Evidence says:

        Matt,

        Regarding your question about proof for miracles, below is a copy and paste of my essay titled The Reality of Miracles:

        Denying the reality of supernatural intervention from God (miracles) causes one to resemble the hilarious characters in Joseph Heller’s famous novel Catch-­22, which features an American bomber squadron situated in World War II Europe. A SparkNotes plot overview of Catch­-22 comments on Heller’s use of paradox and circular logic throughout the novel:

        “Yossarian [the main character] discovers that it is possible to be discharged from military service because of insanity. Always looking for a way out, Yossarian claims that he is insane only to find out that by claiming that he is insane he has proved that he is obviously sane—since any sane person would claim that he or she is insane in order to avoid flying [extremely dangerous] bombing missions. Elsewhere, Catch­-22 is defined as a law that is illegal to read. Ironically, the place where it is written that it is illegal is in Catch-­22 itself. It is yet again defined as the law that the enemy is allowed to do anything that one can’t keep him from doing. In short, then, Catch-­22 is any paradoxical, circular reasoning that catches its victim in its illogic and serves those who have made the law.”

        The reality of miracles is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that the primary philosophical arguments against miracles present in contemporary scholarship constitute textbook examples of such “paradoxical, circular reasoning” that catch their victims in illogic. Those who try to wriggle free of the truth of miracles resemble Yossarian in his attempts to avoid flying dangerous bombing missions.

        The 18th century Scottish atheist philosopher David Hume first formulated the main contemporary arguments against miracles. Hume’s primary argument is that miracles cannot occur because they constitute violations of natural law. In his book Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, Craig Keener comments how Hume’s logic is notably Heller-esque:

        “…Thus, on the usual reading of Hume, he manages to define away any possibility of a miracle occurring, by defining ‘miracle’ as a violation of natural law, yet defining ‘natural law’ as principles that cannot be violated. As one philosopher complains, once a miracle could be proved to occur, natural law would be redefined to accommodate this occurrence, which would thus no longer be accepted as miraculous. ‘The miracle seems for ever frustrated in its attempts to violate; for as soon as it imagines that it has succeeded, it finds that there was nothing there after all to violate!’ That is, Hume’s definitions assume what he claims to prove, a standard fallacy recognized in logic.”

        But Hume’s circular logic does not stop there. Hume famously attacked the credibility of those who claim to have experienced a miracle:

        “There is not to be found, in all history, any miracle attested by a sufficient number of men, of such unquestioned good sense, education, and learning, as to secure us against all delusion in themselves.”

        How does Hume determine if an individual is of “good sense, education, and learning, as to secure us against all delusion in themselves”? The answer reveals not only the circularity of Hume’s logic, but also his appalling ethnocentric bias. Hume writes:

        “They [miracles] are observed chiefly to abound among ignorant and barbarous nations; or if a civilized people has ever given admission to any of them, that people will be found to have received them from ignorant and barbarous ancestors.”

        According to Hume, only “ignorant and barbarous” cultures believe in miracles. How does one determine if a culture is ignorant and barbarous? Such a culture believes in miracles. (Joseph Heller would have been proud).

        (Click here to read a full article about the circularity of Hume’s arguments against miracles).

        Keener responds by pointing out that one must declare a majority of the world’s population to be “ignorant and barbarous” in order to declare that only “ignorant and barbarous” peoples believe in supernatural intervention. Keener uses the term “Majority World” to refer to cultures outside of the modern west…Latin America, Africa, and Asia:

        “…Today, however, abundant claims of miracles, particularly from the Majority World, challenge Hume’s skepticism about the existence of many credible eyewitnesses. Hume demanded ‘a sufficient number’ of witnesses of unquestioned integrity and intelligence who would have much to lose by testifying falsely. In today’s academic climate, many who testify to miracles have much to lose even by testifying truly; but I shall first respond to Hume’s quantitative demand. In contrast to the environment assumed by Hume, today hundreds of millions of people claim to have witnessed miracles.” (italics are mine)

        Keener spends several chapters detailing how the experience of miracles is absolutely pervasive throughout Latin America, Asia, and Africa, and has been a major source of church growth in these areas. For example, he notes:

        “…Reports from some members of the official China Christian Council suggested that roughly ‘half of the new conversions of the last twenty years have been caused by faith healing experiences’ of the convert or someone close to them. Speaking more broadly of Christians in China in general, one researcher cites less conservative estimates; ‘according to some surveys, 90% of new believers cite healing as a reason for their conversion.’”

        Keener further notes that,

        “Often these [Christian converts] are people reared in entirely different religious traditions, for whom changing their faith tradition is socially costly, sometimes even leading to ostracism or persecution.”

        “…Western scholar of global Christianity Philip Jenkins notes that in general Christianity in the Global South is quite interested in ‘the immediate workings of the supernatural, through prophecy, visions, ecstatic utterances, and healing.’ Such an approach, closer to the early Christian worldview than modern Western culture is, appeals to many traditional non-­Western cultures.”

        “…[These cultures] have simply never embraced the Western, mechanistic, naturalistic Enlightenment worldview that rejects the supernatural.”

        Why, then, does western culture (and much of modern western academia) differ so vehemently with the majority of the world’s population, when it comes to the topic of miracles? Disbelief in miracles first requires that one subscribe to a theory (or philosophy) that denies the existence of God. This deeply rooted western philosophical tradition, known as naturalism or materialism, says that, since nothing exists except for the “natural world” of material objects interacting with one another in a mindless and mechanical fashion, belief in God (and miracles) is an airy­-fairy superstition.

        As philosophers Stuart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro put it in their book Naturalism, “The conflict between naturalism and theism is not a matter of different scientific theories of events within the cosmos, but of conflicting overall philosophies of the cosmos itself.”

        Renowned physicists Paul Davies and John Gribbin explain how materialism/naturalism took such a strong hold on the modern western worldview, and therefore persists despite being incompatible with modern physics, in their book The Matter Myth:

        “…At the time of the publication of the Principia [Isaac Newton’s landmark work] the most sophisticated machines were clocks, and Newton’s image of the working of nature as an elaborate clockwork struck a deep chord.”

        “…It is hard to overstate the impact that these physical images have had in shaping our world view. The doctrine that the physical universe consists of inert matter locked into a sort of gigantic deterministic clockwork has penetrated all branches of human inquiry. Materialism dominates biology, for example. Living organisms are regarded as nothing more than complicated collections of particles, each being blindly pulled and pushed by its neighbors.”

        The insidious influence of materialism/naturalism on the western mind causes a prevalent misperception that science objectively describes observable material objects which are out there, whereas religion deals with unobservable and airy-­fairy concepts such as God and miracles. Despite the fact that modern western culture categorizes belief in God as “religious,” and belief in naturalism/materialism as “scientific,” there exists no objective rational means for establishing why the materialist/naturalist philosophy of the cosmos itself (in the words of Goetz and Taliaferro) should be categorized as “scientific,” whereas theism is not.

        Both theism and materialism/naturalism are philosophies based upon human experience. It is just that adopting materialism/naturalism requires one to ignore or discount a vast amount of human experience.

        Further, it is crucial to understand that the insights of modern physics which were not available in Hume’s day have made it immensely more difficult to justify a theory or philosophy of the cosmos that does not include God. Specifically, as difficult as it is for the western mind to grasp, modern physics has shown that what we perceive as the material world is the product of a mind.

        Johns Hopkins University physicist Richard Conn Henry writes in his article The Mental Universe:

        “The 1925 discovery of quantum mechanics solved the problem of the universe’s nature. Bright physicists were again led to believe the unbelievable—­­­this time that the universe is mental. According to [the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer] Sir James Jeans:

        ‘There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-­mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.’” (italics mine)

        (Please read the above mentioned article, my essay titled God Is Real: Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism, as well as Mindful Universe by the University of California, Berkeley physicist Henry Stapp for a further exploration of this topic).

        The difficulty which the modern western mind has in grasping the concept of the material world being the product of a mind can be compared to the difficulty which many ancient people must have had in accepting the concept of the Earth being round. If the Earth is not flat, why doesn’t everything just fall off? Much as the concept of a spherical Earth was a non-­intuitive shock for such people, the concept of a mental universe is a non-­intuitive shock to the western mind.

        And if what we perceive as the material world is the result of a mind (read: God’s mind), rather than being “inert matter locked into a sort of gigantic deterministic clockwork” (in the words of physicists Davies and Gribbin), what reason remains for denying divine intervention…miracles?

        Keener notes that, “None of the ancient sources respond to Jesus’ miracles by trying to deny them.” Even ancient sources hostile towards Christianity, such as the 1st century Jewish historian Josephus and the ancient Roman historian Celsus, do not attempt to deny Jesus’ miracles. Celsus, for example, rather than denying Jesus’ miracles, accused him of sorcery. Celsus wrote:

        “It was by means of sorcery that He [Jesus] was able to accomplish the wonders which He performed… Let us believe that these cures, or the resurrection, or the feeding of a multitude with a few loaves… These are nothing more than the tricks of jugglers… It is by the names of certain demons, and by the use of incantations, that the Christians appear to be possessed of power…”

        Perhaps it is time for modern westerners to relinquish the old-­time religion of materialism/naturalism, which is based on outdated scientific concepts, and admit that the majority of the world’s population (primarily from Latin America, Africa, and Asia) has been right about miracles all along. Even Christians in the modern west are susceptible to a subconscious skepticism toward miracles which stems from the subtle influence of deeply rooted western philosophical traditions.

        In order to be truly objective, one must subject the core assumptions of one’s own birth society to just as much scrutiny as anything else. As Heller put it in Catch­-22: “[They] agreed that it was neither possible nor necessary to educate people who never questioned anything.”

        • Matt says:

          My argument against miracles is quite simple and not related to the veracity of any specific incident, nor whether or not there might be a better ‘natural’ explanation.

          If miracles occurred (and could be brought about by prayer) we’d see them in hospital statistics, higher recovery rates, lower sickness rates for believers, and doctors would use this information to convince their patients to convert.

          We’d also see things happening that are currently impossible, such as regrowing limbs of believers. We don’t see that. We didn’t even see a tiny ‘miracle’ recently (well, 2016), when a man left his baby son in a car outside the church and forgot about him, such that he boiled to death on a hot day.

          If I was the all-powerful, omniscient, omnipresent creator of the Universe, I probably would have sent someone praying to me at the time to go outside for some reason, but that’s just me. I’m sure you think your God has some mysterious excuse for not doing so, but I can think of a much simpler and obvious reason. And yes, it’s the same reason why only diseases that are known to spontaneously improve that do so ‘miraculously’, and why the stats don’t show any evidence of benign magic working for believers of any faith.

          • God Evidence says:

            I’m glad you mentioned that Matt! We DO see lower sickness rates for believers! Andrew Sims is a former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. In his book Is Faith a Delusion? Why Religion is Good For Your Health, Sims cites The Handbook of Religion and Health:

            “Correlations between religious belief and greater well-being ‘typically equal or exceed correlations between well-being and other psychological variables, such as social support.’ This is a massive assertion, comprehensively attested to by a large amount of evidence.”

            A Telegraph article by Sean Thomas titled Are Atheists Mentally Ill? describes the vast amount of research supporting the physical and mental health benefits of theistic belief:

            “A vast body of research, amassed over recent decades, shows that religious belief is physically and psychologically beneficial – to a remarkable degree.”

            “In 2004, scholars at UCLA revealed that college students involved in religious activities are likely to have better mental health. In 2006, population researchers at the University of Texas discovered that the more often you go to church, the longer you live. In the same year researchers at Duke University in America discovered that religious people have stronger immune systems than the irreligious. They also established that churchgoers have lower blood pressure.”

            “Meanwhile in 2009 a team of Harvard psychologists discovered that believers who checked into hospital with broken hips reported less depression, had shorter hospital stays, and could hobble further when they left hospital – as compared to their similarly crippled but heathen fellow-sufferers.”

            “The list goes on. In the last few years scientists have revealed that believers, compared to non-believers, have better outcomes from breast cancer, coronary disease, mental illness, Aids, and rheumatoid arthritis. Believers even get better results from IVF. Likewise, believers also report greater levels of happiness, are less likely to commit suicide, and cope with stressful events much better.”

            You write, “We’d also see things happening that are currently impossible, such as regrowing limbs of believers. We don’t see that.” Here, Matt, you set an entirely arbitrary standard for what constitutes a miracle. It is logically fallacious to set an arbitrary goalpost for what constitutes a miracle, and then claim that miracles do not exist because your entirely arbitrary standard has not been met. Craig Keener notes in Miracles:

            Likewise, Life reported an extremely improbable event, this one conceivably in a religious context (for those who regard such contexts as particularly problematic): on March 1, 1950, all fifteen members of a church choir arrived late for choir rehearsal scheduled at 7:15 p.m., all for distinct reasons (e.g., one’s car failed to start). That church building exploded at 7:25 p.m., and their lateness prevented any lives from being lost. With the probability of these separate events coinciding being as low as about one in a million, one scholar argues, Hume’s argument might force him to reject the magazine’s testimony.

            Keener continues:

            “Signs and wonders” are among the most prominent factors drawing people to faith in Christ in the Majority World [Latin America, Asia, and Africa] today, with healings and exorcisms proving particularly effective. Dramatic miracle reports tend to cluster in different regions at different times, sometimes during periods that some scholars call “revival” (using a historic Western paradigm); as a general rule, however, we may say that these claims are far more common in many regions of Africa, Asia, and Latin America today than in the West.

            Learning from Other Cultures

            In a recent volume on global Pentecostal healing for Oxford University Press, religion scholar Candy Gunther Brown notes the massive number of healing claims and warns against a dismissive approach to them.

            Scholars are increasingly taking into account global religious experiences. When Ramsay MacMullen compares with Christian claims in the Roman Empire the healings of Simon Kimbangu (1889– 1951) from 1921 in the Belgian Congo, he warns against extrapolating from anthropological parallels. Nevertheless, he believes that Kimbangu’s “story might alert us to points in the evidence from antiquity which deserve special attention.” Kimbangu’s followers affirmed that he “raised the dead, caused the paralyzed to stand upright, gave sight to the blind, cleansed lepers, and healed all the sick in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

            • Matt says:

              When I said ‘results’ I really should have qualified that somewhat, to avoid the misunderstanding we’ve arrived at. The results I’d accept as evidence, but not definitive proof, of some kind of divine shenanigans going on, would be those over and above what a placebo gets you. Placebos do work y’know.

              Also, I’m well aware that meditation works, whether your form of ‘meditation’ is prayer to some God or other, or some other calming ritual. Call me picky, but I’d expect a little more than either of these well-known effects from the creator and master of the Universe.

              I’ll have a look at that ‘Are Atheists Mentally Ill?’ article and see if any of the research quoted holds water. With a title like that it doesn’t sound too promising, but I’m open to look at the evidence at least. I should note here that we’re all atheistic towards some God or other, and that it most certainly could be a cause of mental illness to try to pretend that all of them ever invented are real!

              My standard for miracles comes from the Bible by the way. Nothing will be impossible for the believer, is the idea it transmits on many occasions. Obviously though, regenerating a limb is still impossible, hence my skeptical outlook.

              What I’m a bit confused about is how an ‘extremely improbable event’ is considered a miracle, and hence evidence for God’s existence, whereas the lack of a tiny little ‘mundane miracle’, that of sending someone out of the church to discover the boiling baby in time (somehow too much to ask the very same alleged deity) would not be considered evidence against. I suppose we can just hand wave that one away with some vague statements about God being mysterious or something, right?

              • God Evidence says:

                Matt,

                You seem to be moving the goalposts again. Please note that raising the dead, causing the paralyzed to stand upright, and giving sight to the blind exceeds what a placebo can accomplish. A copy and paste of that excerpt from Craig Keener’s book Miracles, again:

                Scholars are increasingly taking into account global religious experiences. When Ramsay MacMullen compares with Christian claims in the Roman Empire the healings of Simon Kimbangu (1889– 1951) from 1921 in the Belgian Congo, he warns against extrapolating from anthropological parallels. Nevertheless, he believes that Kimbangu’s “story might alert us to points in the evidence from antiquity which deserve special attention.” Kimbangu’s followers affirmed that he “raised the dead, caused the paralyzed to stand upright, gave sight to the blind, cleansed lepers, and healed all the sick in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

                Are these people liars, or are they from an “ignorant and barbarous” culture, as David Hume put it? Are the hundreds of millions of people from the Majority World (Africa, Asia, and Latin America) who report experiencing miracles “ignorant and barbarous” because they do not embrace the materialistic and mechanistic conception of nature which westerners embrace? David Hume, the philosopher who created what is still the primary argument agains miracles writes:

                “They [miracles] are observed chiefly to abound among ignorant and barbarous nations; or if a civilized people has ever given admission to any of them, that people will be found to have received them from ignorant and barbarous ancestors.”

                According to Hume, only “ignorant and barbarous” cultures believe in miracles. How does one determine if a culture is ignorant and barbarous? Such a culture believes in miracles. This is the very essence of circular reasoning.

                Keener responds by pointing out that one must declare a majority of the world’s population to be “ignorant and barbarous” in order to declare that only “ignorant and barbarous” peoples believe in supernatural intervention. Keener uses the term “Majority World” to refer to cultures outside of the modern west…Latin America, Africa, and Asia:

                “…Today, however, abundant claims of miracles, particularly from the Majority World, challenge Hume’s skepticism about the existence of many credible eyewitnesses. Hume demanded ‘a sufficient number’ of witnesses of unquestioned integrity and intelligence who would have much to lose by testifying falsely. In today’s academic climate, many who testify to miracles have much to lose even by testifying truly; but I shall first respond to Hume’s quantitative demand. In contrast to the environment assumed by Hume, today hundreds of millions of people claim to have witnessed miracles.” (italics are mine)

                Keener spends several chapters detailing how the experience of miracles is absolutely pervasive throughout Latin America, Asia, and Africa, and has been a major source of church growth in these areas. For example, he notes:

                “…Reports from some members of the official China Christian Council suggested that roughly ‘half of the new conversions of the last twenty years have been caused by faith healing experiences’ of the convert or someone close to them. Speaking more broadly of Christians in China in general, one researcher cites less conservative estimates; ‘according to some surveys, 90% of new believers cite healing as a reason for their conversion.’”

  6. Gerry Denaro says:

    Sorry, but given your obsession with, and cynicism (sorry skepticism) on this forum I’m hardly surprised when you say “I don’t care what Einstein says or any other physicist for that matter,”
    Might I suggest ur being totally disingenuous saying youre open to the evidence, but reject scientific conclusions that dont support your chaotic, materialistic worldview? Doesnt say much for your honesty or credibility, does it?
    No doubt u will embrace Hawking’s fanciful theory to explain a universe from nothing “because of a law such a s gravity the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” So what created the universe do u think – gravity, a law such as gravity, or nothing? I have an obvious answer to explain Creation ex nihilo but abhorrently that “would allow a divine foot in the door” wouldnt it?
    What then would an honest person conclude from the following citation of Paul Davies* (an AGNOSTIC British astrophysicist)”? “The appearance of DESIGN is OVERWHELMING”. “There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all….It seems as though *SOMEBODY has FINE-TUNED nature’s numbers to make the Universe…. ” He adds “The laws [of physics] … seem to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design… The universe must have a purpose”. Still think the abstract immutable Laws of science were invented by and merely exist in your brain chemistry? Wasnt it Darwin who lamented that “minds evolved from lower apes couldnt be trusted”?
    and lastly think about this:
    “A person may be briefly swayed by a theologian but his point is soon lost when the hardened skeptic is plunged back into his physical world of material indulgence. What’s needed is to undermine atheism’s faith in naturalism & all its materialistic assumptions is showing they are not supported by modern science. He wont be swayed by books on theology but the BEST scientists who draws theistic conclusions, will trouble him deeply.” (C.S Lewis)

    • Matt says:

      You failed to quote me correctly again, it’s incredible that you’d try to quote mine the same person you’re conversing with! Does such a dishonest tactic square with your religious beliefs? If so, I’d be quite right to be cynical don’t you think?

      A scientist can say what they like, but they are not prophets nor do they bring the ‘absolute truth’. I don’t care what anyone says, but what they can demonstrate. Einstein was wrong in many things, whilst also giving us the most accurate working model of the Universe as well.

      There is order in the ways we think. There is perceived order in the Universe, and perhaps actual order, looked at mathematically. There is also a lot of what seems chaotic, and again, we invented mathematics to make sense of the world. Why should that lead me to think there is a designer, when we can readily observe order appearing spontaneously from chaos?

  7. Gerry Denaro says:

    Speaking of miracles Actually folks, we know Jesus is God b/c of the miracles he performed. As we all know, the Shroud of Turin is the most well known and studied religious relic and miracle in history. *The latest research using the best technology of the 21st century proves it cant be a forgery proving beyond any doubt that it is the burial cloth of Christ.* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpaZcVagTFk&t=23s
    But it could never be sufficient to convert the closeminded unconvertible cynics and career atheists whose hedonistic lifestyle and ego CS Lewis said “has locked the gates of hell behind him.”
    And of course the Biblical confirmation 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus'[a]head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.

    • Matt says:

      Not so fast Gerry, all we have about Jesus are stories of miracles he supposedly worked. We have way more evidence, including photos and videos, of people performing miracles in this day and age, but I don’t see too many people running around claiming David Blaine is the son of God, do you? If you accept the stories about Jesus, I presume you also accept the stories of other saints and prophets of other religions, and think that they are also sons (and daughters?) of God, right?

      There are many problems with the Turin Shroud. For starters, if it were genuine, which is very doubtful, all it shows is the impression of a man who had apparently been crucified. How does that indicate it was Jesus, that a certain God exists, and that Jesus was the son of that God?! In no way do those points follow logically from merely seeing the impression of a man’s face on a cloth. Crucifixion was a common means of execution in ancient times.

      Secondly, there are plausible means of production of the Shroud, if in fact it is fake. In 1988 three independent teams of scientists analyzed fragments of the cloth using radiocarbon dating and concluded that it dated from the Middle Ages. I doubt that three separate teams of scientists were so stupid as to miss the fact they were carbon dating repairs, rather than original shroud material. The techniques required to create primitive photographs had been available since the 11th century in the book of optics by Ibn al-Haytham, or Alhazen as he was known in the west. No miracles are required here, unless you just wish them to be the explanation.

      Threats of hell, a fictitious place invented to scare primitive thinkers into obedience, neither impress nor trouble me in the slightest. This is because I can see clearly your beliefs are based on misunderstandings of science and philosophy, arguments from ignorance, childlike interpretations of an old book, and similarly to many believers, likely a fear of your own obviously finite existence.

      • God Evidence says:

        Matt,

        By comparing Jesus’ miracles to David Blane’s magic, you are committing the logical fallacy of Argument from Incredulity.

        http://utminers.utep.edu/omwilliamson/ENGL1311/fallacies.htm

        A copy and paste from the above article:

        The Argument from Incredulity:

        The popular fallacy of doubting or rejecting a novel claim or argument out of hand simply because it appears superficially “incredible,” “insane” or “crazy,” or because it goes against one’s own personal beliefs, prior experience or ideology. This cynical fallacy falsely elevates the saying popularized by Carl Sagan, that “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof,” to an absolute law of logic. The common, popular-level form of this fallacy is dismissing surprising, extraordinary or unfamiliar arguments and evidence with a wave of the hand, a shake of the head, and a mutter of “that’s crazy!”

        An illustration of the fallacy of arguing that something must be false because it seems too incredible to you (the logical fallacy of Argument from Incredulity) exists in the story of a King of Siam. This ruler lived in a tropical region before the advent of mass communication or mass transportation, and therefore could not comprehend the possibility of frozen rivers. Craig Keener recounts:

        Hearing from Dutch visitors about riding horses on top of rivers that became so cold that they became hard like stone, the King of Siam “knew that the men were liars.” The king’s inference was a logical one based on the reality with which he was familiar; it was his expectation of a rigid uniformity in the human experience of nature that proved inaccurate. Defenders of anomalous events thus offer the king as a warning to those who, like David Hume, would rule out extra-normal phenomena based on their own limited experiences.

        You also commit the Guilt by Association logical fallacy by trying to associate Jesus’ miracles with false miracles by David Blane and people of “other religions.”

        https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/10/Ad-Hominem-Guilt-by-Association

        Each miracle claim must be evaluated in isolation. Trying to argue that Jesus’ miracles must be false merely because other people have made false miracle claims is patently fallacious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.