God, Unicorns, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Posted on December 11, 2018 By

Don’t make the mistake the King of Siam made, hundreds of years ago. Hearing from Dutch visitors about riding horses on top of rivers that became so cold that they became hard like stone, this ruler “knew that the men were liars.” Because the king lived in a tropical region, before the advent of mass communication and rapid transportation, his perceptual framework did not allow for the possibility of frozen rivers.

As Craig Keener notes in Miracles, the king’s inference was a logical one based on the reality with which he was familiar. But one must not confuse reality, on one hand, with the reality with which one is familiar, on the other hand. Rather, one must consider the limitations of one’s own perceptual framework (which are imposed by cultural, historical, and other considerations) when making a logical inference, such as whether or not God exists.

If the King of Siam had ridiculed the Dutch visitors as foolish for speaking of frozen rivers, he would have committed the same two logical fallacies which atheists repeatedly commit when they compare belief in God to belief in fairies, unicorns, or “the flying spaghetti monster” (etc):

Argument from Incredulity is the logical fallacy of doubting or rejecting a claim or argument out of hand simply because it seems “incredible,” “insane” or “crazy,” or because it goes against one’s own personal beliefs, prior experience, or ideology (as the post in the preceding hyperlink notes).

Appeal to Ridicule (reductio ad ridiculum) is the logical fallacy using ridicule as a convenient substitute for a logical argument in support of one’s stance. Logical arguments consist of logic, and not ridicule, period. The use of ridicule should be considered a red flag that one does not have an adequate logical basis in support one’s stance.

We have perceptual limitations, just like the King of Siam

The cultural and historical factors which make it difficult for many modern westerners to accept the existence of God are as discernible as the factors which made it difficult for the King of Siam to believe in frozen rivers. Modern western culture is deeply entrenched in a worldview known as materialism, which says that matter (or stuff) is the prime reality, or the something from which everything else comes, in more plain language. According to materialism, nothing exists except for various arrangements of matter or stuff, and therefore, there is no reason to believe in immaterial conscious entities such as God and human souls. Simply put, materialism does not allow for the immaterial. (Please note that materialism in the philosophical sense is entirely different from materialism in the sense of desiring expensive material objects like diamond jewelry, mansions, and exotic Italian sports cars).

One of history’s most influential atheist philosophers, Bertrand Russell, helped to articulate materialism into a philosophical worldview when he said, “All experience is likely to resemble the experience we know.” According to Russell, then, the existence of God can be dismissed as fairy tale because it doesn’t resemble “the experience we know,” much as the King of Siam dismissed the existence of frozen rivers because it didn’t resemble the experience he knew.

In modern times, the materialist worldview has become so deeply ingrained in our collective psyche, that we often unwittingly assume it to be true….similar to fish who don’t realize they are swimming in water. Prominent physicists Paul Davies and John Gribbin explain how materialism to became so deeply entrenched in the perceptual framework of our culture, in The Matter Myth, in their chapter titled The Death of Materialism:

“…At the time of the publication of the Principia [Isaac Newton’s seminal 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.”

Indeed, the persistence of this deeply seated cultural belief is anchored by its roots in the concepts of reality passed down to modern man from the ancient Greek philosophical tradition known as “atomism” (founded by the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus). This point can be illustrated by an examination of the Greek word atom:

Atom is constructed from two different words: “a,” meaning “un,” and “tomos,” meaning “cuttable“…hence, “uncuttable.” The ancient Greek atomist stance that the atom is irreducible (uncuttable) betrays the atomists’ belief that the material realm is the most irreducible, and therefore fundamental plane of existence (the ground of all being).

Materialism (in which atheism is rooted) is impossible to rectify with modern science

But, unbeknownst to our culture, modern science (with the help of atom smashers) has shown the atom to be far from irreducible, and left materialism behind in the dust a long time ago. Regarding materialism, Werner Heisenberg, the physicist who won the Nobel Prize for creating quantum mechanics, wrote:

“[This] frame was so narrow and rigid that it was difficult to find a place in it for many concepts of our language that had always belonged to its very substance, for instance, the concept of mind, of the human soul or of life. Mind could be introduced into the general picture only as a kind of mirror of the material world.”

As Heisenberg alludes to above, many of the revelations of modern science are impossible to rectify with the materialist worldview. Quantum theory describes the motion of objects at the atomic and subatomic level. One of several quantum phenomena which confound materialism is the phenomenon known as  nonlocality. According to nonlocality, it is impossible to isolate an unobserved quantum object, such as an electron, into a bounded region of space. Science writer George Musser discusses nonlocality in an article for Scientific American:

In everyday speech, “locality” is a slightly pretentious word for a neighborhood, town or other place. But its original meaning, dating to the 17th century, is about the very concept of “place.” It means that everything has a place. You can always point to an object and say, “Here it is.” If you can’t, that thing must not really exist. If your teacher asks where your homework is, and you say it isn’t anywhere, you have some explaining to do.

The world we experience possesses all the qualities of locality. We have a strong sense of place and of the relations among places. We feel the pain of separation from those we love and the impotence of being too far away from something we want to affect. And yet multiple branches of physics now suggest that, at a deeper level, there may be no such thing as place and no such thing as distance. Physics experiments can bind the fate of two particles together so that they behave like a pair of magic coins. If you flip them, each will land on heads or tails—but always on the same side as its partner. They act in a coordinated way even though no force passes through the space between them. Those particles might zip off to opposite sides of the universe, and still they act in unison. The particles violate locality—they transcend space.

The impossibility of rectifying the materialist worldview with nonlocality is easy to recognize: How can one suggest that nothing exists except for material things when the entire concept of location or place is an illusion? As Musser notes above, if you cannot point to an object and say “here it is,” then in what sense can that object be said to exist as a material thing? But subatomic particles do not really have a location, as nonlocality illustrates. 

God is the ground of all being, not matter 

Atheists argue in favor of what physicist Amit Goswami terms the upward causation model, in which elementary particles make atoms, which make molecules, which make living cells, which make the brain, which produces consciousness. According to the upward causation model, then, everything begins with elementary particles, and winds up with consciousness (in human brains), as the result of mindless and random processes working over millions of years. This is the matter-first view known as materialism which declares matter to be the prime reality, or the something-from-which-everything-else-comes. But, as Goswami points out in Creative Evolution, downward causation (in which a conscious mind comes first) is the actual state of affairs, despite being an utterly alien concept to modern western culture. Yale University biophysicist Harold J. Morowitz reflects Goswami’s inverted concept of reality (downward causation) in his article Rediscovering the Mind:

Something peculiar has been going on in science for the past 100 years or so. Many researchers are unaware of it, and others won’t admit it even to their own colleagues. What has happened is that biologists, who once postulated a privileged role for the human mind in nature’s hierarchy, have been moving relentlessly toward the hard-core materialism that characterized nineteenth-century physics. At the same time, physicists, faced with compelling experimental evidence, have been moving away from strictly mechanical models of the universe to a view that sees the mind as playing an integral role in all physical events. It is as if the two disciplines were on fast-moving trains, going in opposite directions and not noticing what is happening across the tracks.”

As difficult as it may be for our materialist culture to comprehend, an immaterial consciousness or mind (read: God) is a much better candidate for the ground of all being (prime reality, or the “something from which everything else comes”) than matter or stuff. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Anthony Hewish comments in the foreword to Questions of Truth:  Fifty-one Responses to Questions about God, Science, and Belief :

“The ghostly presence of virtual particles defies rational common sense and is non-intuitive for those unacquainted with physics. Religious belief in God, and Christian belief that God became Man around two thousand years ago, may seem strange to common-sense thinking. But when the most elementary physical things behave in this way, we should be prepared to accept that the deepest aspects of our existence go beyond our common-sense intuitions.”

Similarly, the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans comments in his book The Mysterious Universe:

“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 are mine)

So what (or rather who) is responsible for this downward causation? Goswami responds that the only answer can be God, in part because an immaterial conscious mind is required to explain the famous “observer effect” in physics. The “observer effect” refers to the conclusion of modern physics that, prior to observation by a conscious observer, particles exist only in an immaterial form known as a possibility wave (or probability wave). It is only after an observation is made by a conscious observer that these possibilities “collapse into actuality,” thereby taking on material form. Readers who find this bizarre or difficult to understand are in good company. Even the world’s most elite physicists (who are often as entrenched in modern western culture as the average layperson) are amazed and puzzled by the observer effect. However, it has been repeatedly scientifically verified. [Please click here to watch a video explaining the observer effect.]

Physicist Richard Conn Henry from Johns Hopkins University agrees with Goswami that downward causation by God (theism) is the only reasonable conclusion one can draw from modern physics:

“Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the illusion of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism.” [“Solipsism” is defined as “the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.”]

Perhaps atheist philosophers such as Bertrand Russell (as well as the King of Siam) would be well advised to heed the warning which Hamlet gave to his friend Horatio, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

“There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

——————————————————————

Additional citations from extremely important contributors to modern physics (indeed, the majority of the most important physicists) relevant to this subject matter appear below…as well as other prominent figures, such as philosophers. (Please also view the post entitled, Quotes about God to consider…If you think science leads to atheism.):

“As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

–Max Planck, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who founded quantum physics.

.

“Materialist philosophers argue that consciousness is a construct of matter. But Plato and almost all the great classical philosophers, East and West, suggest the opposite. Matter, at least as it appears to us, is a construct of consciousness.”

“…Consciousness is real and creative. It is not just a by-product of the world we perceive. Without consciousness, that world, the world we perceive, would not even exist. Another quantum physicist, John von Neumann, said, ‘All real things are contents of consciousness.’ This is about as far from materialism as you can get – and it is an interpretation of modern physics, not some weird religiously inspired theory.”

Keith Ward, retired Professor of Philosophy at Kings College, London, and a member of the Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, as quoted in his book Is Religion Irrational?

.

“I have concluded that we are in a world made by rules created by an intelligence. Believe me, everything that we call chance today won’t make sense anymore. To me it is clear that we exist in a plan which is governed by rules that were created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance.”

–Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist and string theory pioneer. 

.

“…This sense of wonder leads most scientists to a Superior Being – der Alte, the Old One, as Einstein affectionately called the Deity – a Superior Intelligence, the Lord of all Creation and Natural Law.”

Abdus Salam, winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in electroweak theory. He is here quoted in his article entitled Science and Religion.

.

“I have looked into most philosophical systems and I have seen that none will work without God.”

“Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing. We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created.”

Physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell, who is credited with formulating classical electromagnetic theory and whose contributions to science are considered to be of the same magnitude as those of Einstein and Newton.

.

“For myself, faith begins with a realization that a supreme intelligence brought the universe into being and created man. It is not difficult for me to have this faith, for it is incontrovertible that where there is a plan there is intelligence—an orderly, unfolding universe testifies to the truth of the most majestic statement ever uttered—-’In the beginning God.’”

–Nobel Prize winning physicist Arthur Compton, discoverer of the Compton Effect.

.

“Those who say that the study of science makes a man an atheist must be rather silly.”

“Something which is against natural laws seems to me rather out of the question because it would be a depressive idea about God. It would make God smaller than he must be assumed. When he stated that these laws hold, then they hold, and he wouldn’t make exceptions. This is too human an idea. Humans do such things, but not God.”

–Nobel Prize winning physicist Max Born, who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics.

.

“I believe that the more thoroughly science is studied, the further does it take us from anything comparable to atheism.

Lord William Kelvin, who was noted for his theoretical work on thermodynamics, the concept of absolute zero and the Kelvin temperature scale based upon it.

.

“Both religion and science require a belief in God. For believers, God is in the beginning, and for physicists He is at the end of all considerations… To the former He is the foundation, to the latter, the crown of the edifice of every generalized world view.”

“There can never be any real opposition between religion and science; for the one is the complement of the other.”

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

Max Planck, the Nobel Prize winning physicist who founded quantum physics, and is therefore one of the most important physicists of all time.

Religion and Natural Science (Lecture Given 1937) Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers,trans. F. Gaynor (New York, 1949), pp. 184

.

“God is a mathematician of a very high order and He used advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.”

–Nobel Prize winning physicist Paul A. M. Dirac, who made crucial early contributions to both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics.

.

“In the history of science, ever since the famous trial of Galileo, it has repeatedly been claimed that scientific truth cannot be reconciled with the religious interpretation of the world. Although I am now convinced that scientific truth is unassailable in its own field, I have never found it possible to dismiss the content of religious thinking as simply part of an outmoded phase in the consciousness of mankind, a part we shall have to give up from now on. Thus in the course of my life I have repeatedly been compelled to ponder on the relationship of these two regions of thought, for I have never been able to doubt the reality of that to which they point.”

Werner Heisenberg, who was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics for the creation of quantum mechanics (which is absolutely crucial to modern science).

.

“We all know that there are regions of the human spirit untrammeled by the world of physics. In the mystic sense of the creation around us, in the expression of art, in a yearning towards God, the soul grows upward and finds fulfillment of something implanted in its nature. The sanction for this development is within us, a striving born with our consciousness or an Inner Light proceeding from a greater power than ours. Science can scarcely question this sanction, for the pursuit of science springs from a striving which the mind is impelled to follow, a questioning that will not be suppressed. Whether in the intellectual pursuits of science or in the mystical pursuits of the spirit, the light beckons ahead and the purpose surging in our nature responds.”

–The great physicist Sir Arthur Eddington, as quoted in his classic work The Nature of the Physical World

.

“Science is a game – but a game with reality, a game with sharpened knives. If a man cuts a picture carefully into 1000 pieces, you solve the puzzle when you reassemble the pieces into a picture; in the success or failure, both your intelligences compete. In the presentation of a scientific problem, the other player is the good Lord. He has not only set the problem but also has devised the rules of the game – but they are not completely known, half of them are left for you to discover or to deduce. The uncertainty is how many of the rules God himself has permanently ordained, and how many apparently are caused by your own mental inertia, while the solution generally becomes possible only through freedom from its limitations. This is perhaps the most exciting thing in the game.”

“Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”

Erwin Schroedinger, winner of the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory.”

.

“It has occurred to me lately—I must confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities—that both questions [the origin of mind and the origin of life from nonliving matter] might be brought into some degree of congruence. This is with the assumption that mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality—the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create: science-, art-, and technology-making animals.”

–Nobel Prize winning Harvard University biologist George Wald, as quoted in his address to the Quantum Biology Symposium titled Life and Mind in the Universe. Wald is a noted exception to the widespread tendency of biologists to embrace materialism for ideological reasons (despite the fact that materialism has been completely discredited by modern physics).

.

“…Discussing the creation of the universe in terms of time and space is like trying to discover the artist and the action of painting by going to the edge of the canvas. This brings us very near to those philosophical systems which regard the universe as a thought in the mind of its Creator, thereby reducing all discussion of material creation to futility.”

—The knighted physicist, mathematician, and astronomer Sir James Jeans.

.

“The more I study science the more I believe in God.”

“I want to know how God created this world, I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.”

Albert Einstein

.

“It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.”

James Joule, propounder of  the first law of thermodynamics (on the conservation of energy). Joule also made important contributions to the kinetic theory of gases. The unit of heat known as the “Joule” is named after him.

.

“An equation for me has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of God.”

–Srinivasa Ramanujam, who is widely regarded to be one of the greatest mathematicians of all time (on a similar plane with such greats as Archimedes and Newton).

.

“Is intelligent mind an ultimate and irreducible feature of reality? Indeed, is it the ultimate nature of reality? Or is mind and consciousness an unforeseen and unintended product of basically material processes of evolution?”

“If you look at the history of philosophy, it soon becomes clear that almost all the great classical philosophers took the first of these views. Plato, Aristotle, Anselm, Aquinas, Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, Kant, Hegel—they all argued that the ultimate reality, often hidden under the appearances of the material world or time and space, is mind or spirit.”

–Keith Ward, retired Professor of Philosophy at Kings College, London, and a member of the Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy (mentioned above), as quoted in his book Doubting Dawkins, Why There Almost Certainly is A God.

.

“It is as impossible to conceive that ever pure incogitative matter should produce a thinking intelligent being, as that nothing should of itself produce matter.”

–Philosopher John Locke, who was one of the most important Enlightenment thinkers.

.

“Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and everywhere, could produce no variety of things. All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being, necessarily existing.”

Sir Isaac Newton, who is widely regarded to have been the greatest scientist of all time, as cited in Principia, which is perhaps the most important scientific work of all time.


  1. Terry says:

    So where is your “frozen river”? You know, the one that supports your claim, so you don’t look foolish for believing in something that is obviously ridiculous.

    • God Evidence says:

      Terry,

      Obviously ridiculous? Why do you play right into my hand like that, by committing a textbook example of the logical fallacy of Argument from Incredulity? Are you trying to discredit yourself?

      A copy and paste from this essay:

      Argument from Incredulity is the logical fallacy of doubting or rejecting a claim or argument out of hand simply because it seems “incredible,” “insane” or “crazy,” or because it goes against one’s own personal beliefs, prior experience or ideology (as the post in the preceding hyperlink notes).

      Please provide us with a logically constructed, fact-based rebuttal to the evidence for God from modern physics which I present in this essay. Merely assuming your worldview to be correct and declaring belief in God to be “obviously ridiculous” is a textbook example of the logical fallacy of Argument from Incredulity.

      • Michael Hurwitz says:

        Great work, as always. Some additional related quotes:

        “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.”

        -Physicist George Stanciu

        “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

        -M. Planck

        “Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing. We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created.”

        —Physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell

        In conclusion:

        “If we need an atheist for a debate, we go to the philosophy department. The physics department isn’t much use.”

        —Robert Griffiths, winner of the Heinemann Prize in mathematical physics

        Keep fighting the good fight, brother. May God be near always.

      • terry says:

        Sticks that turn into snakes, pregnant virgins, walking on water, raising the dead etc. etc. etc.
        A man made fantasy that evolved into a world class religion. How much more obvious does it need to be?
        No fallacy here.

        • God Evidence says:

          Terry, you are very definitely committing a textbook example of the logical fallacy of Argument form Incredulity. You seem to think that miracles must be fantasy because your perceptual framework does not allow for them. If we first assume that your modern materialist, mechanistic worldview is correct, then, yes, miracles are fantasy.

          But starting with this assumption is a convenient way to sidestep presenting a logical basis in favor of the materialist worldview.

          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.”

        • Michael Hurwitz says:

          Have you actually read this article? Or, rather, have you considered it with intellectual honesty? You’re committing one of the exact fallacies noted within this piece. The fact that you fail to realize this fact only serves to emphasize the author’s purpose in writing it.

          When you begin with an a priori assumption, you do yourself a disservice in that any evidence contrary to your preconceived, erroneous misconceptions, necessitates being disregarded outright due to complacency, willful ignorance, and cognitive dissonance.

          The author has provided ample analogies elucidating the error within this line of thinking and, indeed, you have committed the exact logical fallacy noted within the piece. If you are truly being intellectually honest and are legitimately curious, you should reread this article with an open mind, and form an argument based on logical grounds and not incredulity.

        • Sabu says:

          I love Terry’s airtight logic:

          Premise 1. Miracles don’t happen.
          Conclusion. Therefore miracles don’t happen!

          • God Evidence says:

            Spot on Sabu! And Terry is not the only atheist who commits the logical fallacy of circular reasoning (circulus in probando), as I elaborate upon in The Reality of Miracles. An excerpt:

            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 circular:

            “…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. This is the very essence of circular reasoning (circulus in probando).

          • terry says:

            I love Sabu’s airtight logic:

            Premise 1. Miracles happen.
            Conclusion. Therefore miracles happen!

            • God Evidence says:

              Terry, that is a Straw Man Fallacy because it totally mischaracterizes the evidence for miracles as nothing but an assertion. Craig Keener uses the term “Majority World” to refer to cultures outside of the modern west (Latin America, Africa, and Asia), and describes how testimonies of miracles outside of the modern west are absolutely pervasive:

              “…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.

              • terry says:

                Scott
                “that is a Straw Man Fallacy because it totally mischaracterizes the evidence for miracles as nothing but an assertion.”

                Because that is what they are. There is not a single verified repeatable or reproducible shred of evidence for miracles.

                Scott
                “today hundreds of millions of people claim to have witnessed miracles”

                Hearsay is not evidence but you do like to pretend it is. Hundred of millions???? Really? This is pure fabricated hearsay. (Show me the list)

                • God Evidence says:

                  Terry,

                  Apparently, you think that testability or repeatability are criteria which can distinguish between science and pseudo-science. Since miracles are not testable or repeatable, you seem to believe, they are not scientific, and therefore not believable. The problem with this is that science is full of untestables, unrepeatables, and unobservables.

                  And what you have just hit upon is what is known as the “demarcation problem in science”: How do we separate (demarcate) science from pseudo-science? Unbeknownst to popular culture (and atheists who promote their worldview as “scientific”), philosophers of science have been unable to answer this question, as philosopher of science Larry Laudan famously describes in The Demise of the Demarcation Problem.

                  Click here to watch a five minute video about the extreme difficulty of defining just what constitutes science, and what constitutes pseudo-science (the demarcation problem in science).

                  Stephen Meyer notes the presence of untestables, unrepeatables, and unobservables in science, as they relate to the demarcation problem:

                  …At this point evolutionary demarcationists must offer other demarcation criteria. One that appears frequently both in conversation and in print finds expression as follows: “Miracles are unscientific because they can not be studied empirically. Design invokes miraculous events; therefore design is unscientific. Moreover, since miraculous events can’t be studied empirically, they can’t be tested. Since scientific theories must be testable, design is, again, not scientific.”

                  Molecular biologist Fred Grinnell has argued, for example, that intelligent design can’t be a scientific concept because if something “can’t be measured, or counted, or photographed, it can’t be science.” Gerald Skoog amplifies this concern: “The claim that life is the result of a design created by an intelligent cause can not be tested and is not within the realm of science.”

                  The essence of these arguments seems to be that the unobservable character of a designing agent renders it inaccessible to empirical investigation and thus precludes the possibility of testing any theory of design. Thus the criterion of demarcation employed here conjoins “observability and testability.” Both are asserted as necessary to scientific status, and the converse of one (unobservability) is asserted to preclude the possibility of the other (testability).

                  It turns out, however, that both parts of this formula fail. First, observability and testability are not both necessary to scientific status, because observability at least is not necessary to scientific status, as theoretical physics has abundantly demonstrated. Many entities and events cannot be directly observed or studied in practice or in principle. The postulation of such entities is no less the product of scientific inquiry for that. Many sciences are in fact directly charged with the job of inferring the unobservable from the observable. Forces, fields, atoms, quarks, past events, mental states, subsurface geological features, molecular biological structures all are unobservables inferred from observable phenomena. Nevertheless, most are unambiguously the result of scientific inquiry.

                  Second, unobservability does not preclude testability: claims about unobservables are routinely tested in science indirectly against observable phenomena. That is, the existence of unobservable entities is established by testing the explanatory power that would result if a given hypothetical entity (i.e., an unobservable) were accepted as actual. This process usually involves some assessment of the established or theoretically plausible causal powers of a given unobservable entity. In any case, many scientific theories must be evaluated indirectly by comparing their explanatory power against competing hypotheses.

                  During the race to elucidate the structure of the genetic molecule, both a double helix and a triple helix were considered, since both could explain the photographic images produced via x-ray crystallography. While neither structure could be observed (even indirectly through a microscope), the double helix of Watson and Crick eventually won out because it could explain other observations that the triple helix could not. The inference to one unobservable structure the double helix was accepted because it was judged to possess a greater explanatory power than its competitors with respect to a variety of relevant observations. Such attempts to infer to the best explanation, where the explanation presupposes the reality of an unobservable entity, occur frequently in many fields already regarded as scientific, including physics, geology, geophysics, molecular biology, genetics, physical chemistry, cosmology, psychology and, of course, evolutionary biology.

                  The prevalence of unobservables in such fields raises difficulties for defenders of descent who would use observability criteria to disqualify design. Darwinists have long defended the apparently unfalsifiable nature of their theoretical claims by reminding critics that many of the creative processes to which they refer occur at rates too slow to observe. Further, the core historical commitment of evolutionary theory that present species are related by common ancestry has an epistemological character that is very similar to many present design theories. The transitional life forms that ostensibly occupy the nodes on Darwin’s branching tree of life are unobservable, just as the postulated past activity of a Designer is unobservable. Transitional life forms are theoretical postulations that make possible evolutionary accounts of present biological data. An unobservable designing agent is, similarly, postulated to explain features of life such as its information content and functional integration. Darwinian transitional, neo-Darwinian mutational events, punctuationalism’s “rapid branching” events, the past action of a designing agent none of these are directly observable. With respect to direct observability, each of these theoretical entities is equivalent.

                  Each is roughly equivalent with respect to testability as well. Origins theories generally must make assertions about what happened in the past to cause present features of the universe (or the universe itself) to arise. They must reconstruct unobservable causal events from present clues or evidences. Positivistic methods of testing, therefore, that depend upon direct verification or repeated observation of cause-effect relationships have little relevance to origins theories, as Darwin himself understood. Though he complained repeatedly about the creationist failure to meet the vera causa [Latin for “true cause”] criterion a nineteenth-century methodological principle that favored theories postulating observed causes he chafed at the application of rigid positivistic standards to his own theory. As he complained to Joseph Hooker: “I am actually weary of telling people that I do not pretend to adduce direct evidence of one species changing into another, but that I believe that this view in the main is correct because so many phenomena can be thus grouped and explained” (emphasis added).

                  Indeed, Darwin insisted that direct modes of testing were wholly irrelevant to evaluating theories of origins.

                  Recent evolutionary demarcationists have contradicted themselves in the same way. The quotation cited earlier from Gerald Skoog (“The claim that life is the result of a design created by an intelligent cause can not be tested and is not within the realm of science”) was followed in the same paragraph by the statement “Observations of the natural world also make these dicta [concerning the theory of intelligent design] suspect.” Yet clearly something cannot be both untestable in principle and subject to refutation by empirical observations.

                  • terry says:

                    Scott
                    “Unbeknownst to popular culture (and atheists who promote their worldview as “scientific”)”

                    LOL. We don’t require science to know your imaginary friend doesn’t exist. It is the theists that try to get their religious cults to fit into science. You especially are under the delusion that opinions are evidence for your invisible magic man from another dimension and the more opinions you have the more proof you have. NOT.

                    Science snd religion have absolutly nothing in common. Science is the persuit of knowledge and truth where as religious cults are just flat out lies perpetuated by the the very same gullible people they infect. Sad really, a very poor testament to the human race as a whole.

              • terry says:

                Scott
                “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.”

                What human experience? Do you mean all the he said/she said things you post on your site? Now if that were only evidence you might have something.

                Let’s deal with the simple facts.
                Fact 1: Man wrote the bible.
                Fact 2: Supernatural elements(miracles) are in the bible.
                Fact 3: Like any other book with the supernatural elements it is a book of fiction.
                Fact 4: All the characters in the book(s) are fictional.
                Conclusion: God, Devils, Angels, Demons, Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden, Heaven, Hell, Sin, Souls, Etc. are all fictional characters and elements that theists use to lure people into faith based religious cults.

                No science is required to be an Atheist. The truth speaks for itself.

                BTW: You do know that “god evidence” is an oxymoron, right?

                • God Evidence says:

                  Terry,

                  All that you are doing here is repeating your beliefs, and asserting them to be “facts.” Please also note that what you have done here is commit a textbook example of circular reasoning, the Latin term for which is circulus in probando. This logical fallacy occurs when the conclusion is contained in the premises. In other words, a person committing circular logic begins with what they are trying to end with, as the Wikipedia post in the preceding link notes.

                  Your conclusion (God and all other supernatural entities are fictional characters) is contained in your premises: Your “Fact 3” and “Fact 4” are premises which rule out the supernatural as fictional. So you begin with the premise that the supernatural is fiction in order to reach the conclusion that the supernatural is fiction. This is circular reasoning in its purest and most unmistakable sense.

                  • terry says:

                    Scott, you sound like a broken record. Fallacy-blah, blah, blah. Fallacy-blah, blah, blah. Fallacy-blah, blah, blah. Fallacy-blah, blah, blah. Fallacy-blah, blah, blah.

                    I suppose without any REAL evidence you have no choice but to grasp at any and all straws. The real question is: are you trying to convince others or just reinforcing your own misguided beliefs.

        • Sid says:

          Terry
          Let’s take two examples side by side and using Occam decide which one is most likely to be true

  2. dba says:

    Very nice read, good to dust off my mental cobwebs

  3. terry says:

    Scott
    “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.”

    Out of all the claims for miracles (supernatural) there is yet to be one substantiated case. Even Christians shy away from such unsubstantiated Voodoo and for good reason.

    You do know there is no evidence for any god(s) on your whole website, right? These are faith based cults. If there was any evidence faith wouldn’t be required. As prostitution is the oldest profession, theism is the oldest scam.

    • Michael Hurwitz says:

      There is a tremendous amount of very strong evidence for God’s existence, tantamount to absolute proof, on this site.

      Space time, and matter all began to exist, which by definition necessitates a supernatural cause, and the natural world is what came into being.

      The idea that the universe somehow created itself out of nothing, for no reason, and organized itself through an inexplicable set of precise phiysical laws, leading to ever increasing order and complexity, and ultimately genetic information, along with the bio molecular mechanisms necessary for gene transcription, regulation, expression, translation, and finally replication, to consider that the universe and life are merely the result of blind forces over time, it’s obvious to those with spiritual eyes to see, how foolish it is.

      Here’s what some of the greatest scientific thinkers humanity has ever produced have had to say on the subject of God:

      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1J-nYjS3eZowlLIxSG2KDkPO0WevmZUkYMV__oklTD_M

      • terry says:

        “There is a tremendous amount of very strong evidence for God’s existence, tantamount to absolute proof, on this site.”

        I’m still waiting for someone to point out this evidence. No one else has, perhaps you can. Keep in mind, he said/she said and other opinions are not evidence.

        “Space time, and matter all began to exist, which by definition necessitates a supernatural cause.”

        What is the only other possible option if you take the supernatural out of the equation? Think hard enough and it might come to you.

    • Sid says:

      Take two examples side by side and using Occam decide which is the more likely to be true
      1- Inanimate lifeless matter becomes Sir Isaac Newton
      2 – A woman becomes pregnant without intercourse .

      • God Evidence says:

        Number 2 is much more likely to be true. Number 1 is a violation of the second law of thermodynamics. Presumably, you mean, “inanimate lifeless matter becomes Sir Isaac Newton as a result of unintelligent natural processes.” But we already know what unintelligent natural processes do, and it is the opposite of creating the complexity and order necessary for an Isaac Newton to emerge: According to the second law of thermodynamics, unintelligent natural processes cause order to degrade into disorder over time. The SLOT is the reason that your clean room will get dirty, your car will break down without regular maintenance, your shoes will wear out, and you will age, etc..

        It is true that unintelligent natural processes may cause small amounts of order on a temporary basis. For example, wind blowing sand on a beach may cause orderly ripples in the sand. However, the same natural processes which caused this order will much more quickly destroy it, when the direction or strength of the wind changes.

        Dr. W.M. DeJong studied Mathematics and Thermodynamics at the University of Technology in Delft, The Netherlands. He is consultant and researcher of innovation and change at INI-Consult. In the paper below, Dr. DeJong describes the crushing blow that the second law of thermodynamics deals to the claim that unintelligent natural processes can produce life from non-life:

        THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION IN THE PERSPECTIVE OF THERMODYNAMICS AND EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE

        Regarding #2, natural laws require a lawgiver. It should be of no surprise that a lawgiver could temporarily suspend the laws which he created. In the theistic model, it is immediately obvious why matter follows natural laws: The same mind that creates matter (God’s mind) also directs it. As Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry, put it:

        “The nature of this or that body is but the law of God prescribed to it [and] to speak properly, a law [is] but a notional rule of acting according to the declared will of a superior.” [italics added]

        Or, as James Joule, the propounder of the first law of thermodynamics, for whom the thermal unit of the “Joule” was named, put it:

        “It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.”

        Or, as the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans put it in his book The Mysterious Universe:

        “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 added)

        What answer does the atheistic model provide to the question of how an inanimate thing can be compelled to follow a law? Only various versions of “matter follows laws because it just does.” But “it just does” is best described as just-so storytelling, not a logical explanation. Atheism can never answer this question, and this is one of atheism’s fatal explanatory failures.

        • Michael says:

          The false analogy of entropy as disorder is used in a number of fields outside of science with varying success. Creationists have picked up on disorder terminology like a drowning man to a rope and attempted to apply the second law of thermodynamics as a refutation of evolution. The analogy would state that more complex life forms could never evolve from simpler ones.

          It seems obvious that this false analogy of a false analogy is incorrect. First, the Earth is not an isolated system — it receives a copious amount of incoming energy from the Sun. Second, evolution does not imply that life is becoming increasingly complex; it only says that natural selection allows genes to be passed on differentially, such that life forms’ characteristics change over time in response to their environment.

          It also is a corruption to believe life is always “more ordered” than inanimate objects. In fact, life does not violate the second law of thermodynamics in strict energetic sense. The energy of the sun is converted into chemical potential energy, which is converted to mechanical work or heat (since, again, the Earth is not an isolated system). In each case, the energy transfer is inefficient, and some energy is dissipated as heat to the environment, leading to a dispersion of energy. In the same way, “ordered” snowflakes can form when the weather becomes cold but the entropy of the universe still increases.

          Victor J. Stenger, a theoretical physicist, refuted this creationist claim:

          “”However, a transmitter and a receiver are two interacting systems. They are not individually isolated. So, the entropy lost by one system can be gained by the other. Or, equivalently, the information lost by one can be gained by the other. So a physical system, such as a biological organism or Earth itself, which gets energy from the sun, can become more ordered by purely natural processes.[8]
          A quote in reference to chemistry education illustrates this point:

          “”One aspect of biological systems that intrigues students is the possibility of discovering violations of the well-known laws of thermodynamics and physical chemistry. It is easy to refute most of the examples suggested. A germinating seed or an embryo developing in a fertilized chicken egg are often naively cited as examples of isolated systems in which an increase in order, or decrease in entropy occurs spontaneously. It is evident, however, that respiration, assuming O2 is present, produces an increase in entropy in the form of heat, which more than compensates for the decrease in entropy that arises when the elements present in the seed or in the yolk of the egg are organized into tissues of the plant or animal. Indeed, neither germination nor embryonic development will occur in the absence of oxygen in the system in question.[9]
          In reference to evolution, PZ Myers put it: “The second law of thermodynamics argument is one of the hoariest, silliest claims in the creationist collection. It’s self-refuting. Point to the creationist: ask whether he was a baby once. Has he grown? Has he become larger and more complex? Isn’t he standing there in violation of the second law himself? Demand that he immediately regress to a slimy puddle of mingled menses and semen.”

          Furthermore, Carl Sagan pointed out that if the second law of thermodynamics were applied to a god, then god would necessarily have to die.[10]

          (Brief quiz about thermodynamics: How many generally recognized laws of thermodynamics are there? We know about the second law: Give the numbers for the other laws.[11])

          Let us suppose that there actually were some process in nature which violated the second law of thermodynamics. Is that any reason to suppose that intelligent designers are responsible? The only intelligent designers that we have direct familiarity with, humans and other more or less intelligent animals, are as much subject to the second law of thermodynamics as are non-intelligent agents. Indeed, the laws of thermodynamics were discovered as limitations on what the clever engineers of the 19th century were able to design. Intelligent designers are not able to construct perpetual motion machines. Intelligent designers don’t bypass the second law of thermodynamics.

          (See also, The Simpsons: “Lisa! In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!”)

          Some young Earth creationists have invoked “hydrodynamic sorting” in Noah’s flood to account for the organization of the fossil record. Thereby they implicitly acknowledge that an undirected mechanical process is capable of producing order from disorder, and contradict their naive version of the second law of thermodynamics.

          • God Evidence says:

            Michael,

            You need a lot of education on the 2nd law of thermodynamics. You write, “First, the Earth is not an isolated system — it receives a copious amount of incoming energy from the Sun.” But this is a completely irrelevant diversionary argument. The second law applies to open systems such as the Earth. By your logic, placing a dead and decomposing animal in the sun should cause it to recompose. But this is clearly, undeniably, and unequivocally NOT what happens. A dead animal placed in the sun continues to decompose once the energy transfers from the sun reach a state of equilibrium.

            Dr William De Jong holds a PhD in Mathematics and Thermodynamics from the University of Technology in Delft, The Netherlands. He is consultant and researcher of innovation and change at INI-Consult. In his below paper, Dr. DeJong corrects your misconceptions about the 2nd law of thermodynamics. He responds SPECIFICALLY to your claim that natural processes can create order from disorder. Any order produced by natural processes is very limited and temporary. With regards to your snowflake example, natural processes may temporarily produce a snowflake, but the same natural processes will much more quickly destroy the snowflake, when the temperature changes, etc. Dr. DeJong writes:

            When looking more accurately into the emergence of order in open systems by the influence of random external forces, firstly it appears that the emerging order is only temporary. Averaged over a longer period of time, the left term of the second law is zero and the disorder in the system will increase, since provisions to maintain the emerged order are missing. On a beach covered by well-structured wind ripples, the wind will blow from a different direction on another day and the wind ripples will disappear. The frost flowers formed on a window pane when water vapor cools and the water molecules are captured into a regular structure of “energetic holes” will disappear as soon as the fluctuating temperature moves above zero, and the water molecules will start moving again. Both the structures of sand grains as the structures of frozen water molecules lack a provision for maintaining the temporary order and will disappear again.

            You write, “In fact, life does not violate the second law of thermodynamics in strict energetic sense. The energy of the sun is converted into chemical potential energy, which is converted to mechanical work or heat (since, again, the Earth is not an isolated system). In each case, the energy transfer is inefficient, and some energy is dissipated as heat to the environment, leading to a dispersion of energy.” But, here, you fail to notice that this ordering is driven by the DNA program present in the cell, and not by random energy flows. The same flaw of logic was made by the scientist Ilya Prigogine, as Dr. DeJong explains below. A key excerpt:

            Order out of chaos

            Ilya Prigogine [1] has shown that ridges in the sand can emerge by random energy flows; but he overlooked that these ridges are not maintained by these random energy flows; the next day they disappear again and are replaced by other ridges in another direction. Prigogine has also shown that living nature is constantly transforming molecules, cells and organisms into more complex structures; but he overlooked that this ordering is driven by the DNA program present in any cell, and not by random energy flows.

            In the chemical industry simple molecules are transformed into complicated molecules by directed energy flows, not by random natural processes. If random, natural processes would be able to turn chaos into order, complicated molecules would become available for free; all energy problems on earth would be solved and the chemical industry would be out of business.

            https://www.evoskepsis.nl/docs/Does%20the%20Second%20Law%20of%20Thermodynamics%20only%20hold%20for%20closed%20systems.pdf

            DOES THE SECOND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS ONLY HOLD FOR CLOSED SYSTEMS? by: William DeJong

            A common defense against criticism that the theory of evolution contradicts the Second Law of Thermodynamics is to object that the second law only holds for closed systems; not for open systems, as the earth. This assertion is false. The second law also holds for open systems, if the sum of the energy flows that pass their system boundary is zero. It can be proven that the earth, after removing living nature, is such an open system.

            The mathematical formulation of the second law

            The second law states, in the language of mathematics, that the disorder of a system (‘entropy’) increases, if the sum of all energy flows that pass its boundary is zero. In case of a closed system, it is evident that the sum is zero, since no energy flows can pass the system boundary. In case of an open system, however, the sum of the flows can also be zero, namely, if the energy flows that enter the system are as big as the energy flows that leave the system. In such an open system, the disorder will increase, as it does in a closed system. Notice that in our physical reality only open systems exist.

            Thought experiment 1

            Let Earth-2 be identical to our Earth, except the presence of living organisms. Place Earth-2 in space in the light of the sun. Draw an imaginary sphere around Earth-2 with a radius of 100,000 kilometers, and measure the energy flows entering and leaving this sphere. Initially, the sum of energy flows that enter the sphere will be greater than the sum of energy flows leaving it, since Earth-2 is warming up in the sun. But after some time, equilibrium will be reached and on average the sum of all energy flows that pass the sphere around Earth-2 will be zero. According to the second law, the disorder on Earth-2 will increase. Large molecules, probably produced by lightning, will ultimately fall apart; the larger the molecules, the faster.

            Thought experiment 2

            Let S be an open system that is positioned in an environment where random (= non directed) energy flows pass its boundary. On average, the sum of the energy flows that pass its boundary will be zero. According to the second law, the disorder in S increases. An example of such a system can be found on a beach. The wind and sea will produce ridges in the sand of a certain area A. But these random energy flows are not directed, and on average the sum of energy flows over the boundary of A will be zero, and the disorder within A will increase: rocks, stones, sand and shells will fall apart, finally into the smallest possible entities. Only directed energy can maintain the sand ridges within A and expand them into sandcastles.
            Order out of chaos

            Ilya Perigone [1] has shown that ridges in the sand can emerge by random energy flows; but he overlooked that these ridges are not maintained by these random energy flows; the next day they disappear again and are replaced by other ridges in another direction. Perigone has also shown that living nature is constantly transforming molecules, cells and organisms into more complex structures; but he overlooked that this ordering is driven by the DNA program present in any cell, and not by random energy flows.

            In the chemical industry simple molecules are transformed into complicated molecules by directed energy flows, not by random natural processes. If random, natural processes would be able to turn chaos into order, complicated molecules would become available for free; all energy problems on earth would be solved and the chemical industry would be out of business.

            The second law and the natural course of events

            The Second Law of Thermodynamics captures a fundamental property of our physical reality: everything will ultimately decay, driven by natural processes. Only directed effort can maintain, expand, or transform a system, resulting in a decrease of its entropy. The assertion that the second law does not hold for open systems denies a fundamental property of our physical reality. The second law and mutations of the DNA The natural course of events (mathematically described by the second law) also affects the DNA. In every cell, every day, hundred thousands of mutations of the DNA occur, which can cause hereditary diseases and cancer. Fortunately, this decay is antagonized by mutation protection and mutation repair mechanisms, for the discovery of which the Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2015 was awarded. The natural processes of mutation and decay can not produce these mutation protection and repair mechanisms, because a process that produces M cannot simultaneously produce NOT-M. [2].

            Conclusion

            Thought experiment 1 proves that evolutionary theory ( “natural processes can produce living nature”) is in contradiction with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In more general terms: Evolutionary theory is in contradiction with the natural course of events and with the fundamental properties of our physical reality [3].

            Notes: 1. Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers, Order Out of Chaos: Man’s new dialogue with nature (New York: Bantam Books, 1984); Ilya Prigogine, End of Certainty (New York: The Free Press, 1997); Stuart Kaufman, At Home in the Universe (New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1995); and Christian De Duve, Vital Dust: Life as Cosmic Imperative (New York: Basic Books, 1995). 2.

  4. Michael Hurwitz says:

    When I first came across your site and the article “Does Science Argue For Or Against God,” I was an agnostic. Over time I became a classical deist, and it was only about two years ago that I had a born again experience and gave my life to the Lord. Your work has played no small role in this, all glory to God.

    Are you still planning on writing a book? I’d happily be your first customer. Yours is easily the best site I’ve come across for making a strong, rational argument for the existence of God, and as well as the Christian worldview being the most complementary to what we know about life and the universe, see in the world around us, and know about ourselves, particularly regarding psychology and morality.

    I thank you again for all of the amazing work you’ve done and, God willing, will continue to do. May God be near to you always, brother. Keep fighting the good fight!

    • Michael Hurwitz says:

      I’ve also started collecting quotes from prominent physicists, chemistry, biologists, biochemists and molecular biologists regarding the impossibility of spontaneous generation/abiogenesis, and God being the best—only—logical explanation for the miracle of life. I included some in the Google doc I linked in a previous comment, but I’d be happy to share more.

      • terry says:

        Michael Hurwitz
        “I’ve also started collecting quotes from prominent physicists, chemistry, biologists, biochemists and molecular biologists”

        Hey Scott, see how your infection spreads? Wholly crap on a cracker, get enough followers and perhaps in 2000 years you will be the NEW god. Is that your goal? A fairly common goal for most megalomaniac zealots.

        • Michael Hurwitz says:

          I used the term “also” referring to being in addition to what I had previously mentioned, not as in doing something the author had likewise been doing. It is a law of information science that prescriptive information is always the result of intelligence. Therefore, the naturalist is forced to deal with the outright contradiction of genetic information spontaneously generating from dead matter, along with the complex bio molecular mechanisms necessary for gene transcription, regulation, expression, translation, and finally replication. The odds against a single protein forming by “chance”—a description of probability, not a force capable of doing anything—is far beyond the considerations of mathematical possibility.

          Even the vanguard of Neo-atheism, Richard Dawkins, is now forced to concede that a strong, logical case can be made for the Deist God and that he could be persuaded. That’s coming from the most militant atheist in the public sphere. His predecessor Antony Flew renounced atheism as now disproven, and he had formed many of the logical arguments which atheists still use today in his paper “Theology and Falsification.” He concluded “The origin of life and the universe point clearly to an intelligent source; the burden of proof is on those who argue to the contrary.”

          The fact that the natural world had a definite beginning, and that time, space and matter all began to exist, proves that the causal agent must necessarily be immaterial, and exist outside of space and time. That’s already a Pantheistic definition for God.

          It takes a very special type of foolishness to believe that life and the universe are merely the result of some inexplicable cosmic accident, whose explanation would necessarily be tantamount to a miracle.

          Specified order and integrated complexity permeate the universe. Where did the laws of physics come from? Why do they have such precise values that if altered infinitesimally would eliminate the existence of the universe itself? How did these principles lead to ever-increasing order, harmony, and complexity—from physics, to chemistry, to biology, and the prescriptive information of genetic information capable of self replication? We just got really, really lucky, right? Given enough time, nothing will manifest everything and order itself into infinite complexity of diversity, including man and his capability of looking far backward and into the future, surely.

          What is the rational basis of reality which makes science possible in the first place? How do these mathematical principles exist in nature independent of human observation allowing us to make predictions about otherwise inaccessible truths of reality?

          Materialism was disproven over a century ago, naturalism has now been proven to be beyond the realm of mathematical probability—it’s impossible, which is why you have countless atheistic scientists renouncing atheism as the utter ignorance which it relies upon. One quite absolutely has to ignore all of the evidence to maintain such a ludicrous worldview. It is only psychological barriers manifested which allow this view to be maintained at all. It is being completely abandoned, even by its strongest proponents. It is coming down to the few vigilant, willfully ignorant, hand waving fist-pounders, such as yourself, living in the echo chambers of incredulity and delusion, which keep these nonsensical views alive.

          Best of luck fighting the tides of time and Truth.

    • Michael Hurwitz says:

      Apologies, the article was titled “Quotes about God to consider…if you think science leads to atheism.”

      I’ll provide the link here:

      https://godevidence.com/2010/08/quotes-about-god-atheism/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *