Darwinism is wrong.
Darwinism is wrong. A little story helps to put Darwinism into the broader context of the history of science:
Your neighbor Steve receives a knock on the door one day, and two police officers inform him that they are taking him down to station to answer some questions about a recent murder. He is brought to the station and seated in an interrogation room. A detective enters and proceeds to question him:
Detective: “We obtained a pistol at the murder scene which is registered to you, and was recently fired.”
Steve: “My pistol discharged inadvertently. In my opinion, it was probably due to a flaw in the trigger mechanism, resulting from a manufacturing error. I lost it that day when it fell out of my holster. Thanks for finding it for me.”
Detective: “But we have one of your shirts in our possession, and it has the victim’s blood on it.”
Steve: “The victim sneezed that blood on my shirt. He was standing in line next to me at the coffee shop that day, and he sneezed on me. I noticed that he had a nosebleed.”
Detective: “But several witnesses said that they saw you shoot the murder victim.”
Steve: “Well, detective, I have reason to believe that these witnesses were suffering from a sort of group hallucination, possibly induced by water contamination in the local area.”
At this point, the detective explains that he has a much more simple explanation which does away with the need for all of Steve’s complex theories: He is guilty of murder. Steve is placed under arrest and booked on murder charges.
Ad hoc explanations are a red flag that a scientific paradigm is falling apart.
Ad hoc is a Latin term which means “created or done for a particular purpose as necessary.” In the above interrogation, Steve pulls various ad hoc explanations out of his hat for the purpose of leading the detective away from a conclusion which he does not want him to reach (guilt). Put another way, Steve tries to cook up counter explanations on demand, in order to keep his preferred narrative (innocence of murder) from falling apart.
The history of science demonstrates that the use of ad hoc explanations by scientists is a crucial red flag which indicates that a scientific theory (or paradigm) such as Darwinian evolution is in crisis and is falling apart. In his famous work on the history, philosophy, and sociology of science titled The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, physicist Thomas Kuhn notes that, in responding to a crisis for a scientific paradigm, a scientific community will be very, very slow to reject that paradigm. Rather than reject it, in Kuhn’s words,
“They will devise numerous articulations and ad hoc modifications of their theory in order to eliminate any apparent conflict.”
This is not exclusively because a particular scientist or group of scientists is dishonest or stubborn (although these factors often come into play). Much as a carpenter needs tools, scientists need the tools of paradigms such as Darwinism, because they provide theoretical frameworks necessary for the conduct science. Science cannot be conducted without the tool of an underlying theoretical framework (paradigm). When one tool is breaking apart, participants in a scientific community continue to use it until a better tool (paradigm) comes along to replace it. Better to use a tool in a state of falling apart than no tool at all. As Kuhn puts it in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions:
“Once a first paradigm through which to view nature has been found, there is no such thing as research in the absence of any paradigm. To reject one paradigm without simultaneously substituting another is to reject science itself. That act reflects not on the paradigm but on the man. Inevitably he will be seen as ‘the carpenter who blames his tools.'”
And, as Kuhn further discusses, the history of science is absolutely replete with examples of scientific paradigms which fell apart after initially showing cracks in their foundations, but which scientists tried to repair with the cement of ad hoc explanations…for decades. These paradigms were the science of yesterday, but are the superstition or myth of today. And, as Kuhn asks, if the science of yesterday is the myth or superstition of today, why should we not assume that the science of today will become the myth or superstition of tomorrow? This poses an insurmountable problem for those who think that bare science provides a pathway to ultimate truth.
Darwinism is wrong like many, many previous scientific paradigms or theories.
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 several dozen more examples of scientific theories which were the science of their day, but are the myth or superstition of today. With this trend in the history of science, asks Kuhn, how can we reasonably believe that science provides an “ever growing stockpile of knowledge” or a “process of accretion” (growth) of knowledge?:
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.
The science of today usually becomes the superstition of tomorrow.
If you were alive during the Victorian era, you would likely have had to undergo a phrenology test as part of a job interview, as this post discusses. Phrenology (which was the science of its day, but is regarded as superstition today) was a scientific paradigm which believed that the shape and features of a person’s skull revealed that person’s personality traits:
“Hmmm, Joe seemed like a great candidate for this job, but his skull features indicate a tendency towards dishonesty and theft. We’d better not hire him.”
Mark Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” The rhyme of history can already be heard when one considers that Darwinism alleges gene mutations can cause beneficial adaptions to an environment, despite the fact that the vast majority of mutations are harmful. Just as a column of negative numbers cannot add up to a positive sum, a collection of almost exclusively harmful mutations cannot produce beneficial adaptations. Cambridge University physicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle, despite being atheist, admits in his book Mathematics of Evolution:
“The reason why most mutations must be bad is of course that random changes made to any complex structure lead to many more downward steps in the operating efficiency of the structure than to upward steps. How the occasional lucky improvement is to lead to positive evolution is a puzzle that has disturbed many mathematicians.”
Today, the scientific community regards Darwinism as science, but the cracks in its foundation are readily apparent, and it is well on its way to becoming the superstition or mythology of tomorrow, just as with phrenology. 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.”
It is not difficult to observe scientists who support Darwinian evolution trying to cement the cracks in its foundation with ad hoc explanations. One MASSIVE crack in the foundation of Darwinian evolution is that the fossil record very clearly and unequivocally does not support it.
I challenge any reader to furnish even a single example of a paleontologist who believes that the fossil record supports Darwinism.
I challenge any reader to furnish even a single example of a paleontologist who thinks that the fossil record supports Darwinism. Anyone undertaking this search is encouraged to take regular breaks from their feverish googling, so as to not wear themselves out. Harvard University evolutionary biologist and paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould refers to the fact that the fossil record does not support gradualistic accounts of evolution as “the trade secret of paleontology” in a 1977 issue of Natural History:
“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology…Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.”
Gould also wrote,
“The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.”
Similarly, Ernst Mayr (one of the leading evolutionary biologists of the last 50 years) writes:
“Paleontologists had long been aware of a seeming contradiction between Darwin’s postulate of gradualism … and the actual findings of paleontology. Following phyletic lines through time seemed to reveal only minimal gradual changes but no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual origin of an evolutionary novelty. Anything truly novel always seemed to appear quite abruptly in the fossil record.”
Evolutionary biologist and paleontologist Henry Gee (senior editor of Nature, the most prestigious science journal) said it best in 1999:
“No fossil is buried with its birth certificate. That, and the scarcity of fossils, means that it is effectively impossible to link fossils into chains of cause and effect in any valid way…To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story—amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific.”
The Curator of the invertebrates department at the American Museum of Natural History, biologist and paleontologist Niles Eldredge, who was also the adjunct professor at the City University of New York, is a non-theist. But Dr. Eldredge openly admits that the traditional evolutionary view is not supported by the fossil record. He writes:
“No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It seems never to happen. Fastidious collecting of fossils, from the bottom upward, up sheer cliff faces, zigzags, minor oscillations…all showing the same results. That life forms all appear, fully formed, complete in body parts, at their first discovery. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the organisms did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution.“
Scientists have divided into two main camps in order to explain why the fossil record does not support Darwin’s gradual account of evolution. Even Charles Darwin himself acknowledged that the fossil record does not support his theory. A post from the University of Vermont notes:
Charles Darwin believed that evolution was a slow and gradual process. He did not believe this process to be “perfectly smooth,” but rather, “stepwise,” with a species evolving and accumulating small variations over long periods of time. Darwin assumed that if evolution is gradual then there should be a record in fossils of small incremental change within a species. But in many cases, Darwin, and scientists today, are unable to find most of these intermediate forms. Darwin blamed lack of transitional forms on gaps in the fossil record, a good assertion, because the chances of each of those critical changing forms having been preserved as fossils are very small. However in 1972, evolutionary scientists Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge proposed another explanation for the numerous gaps in the fossil record. They suggested that the “gaps” were real, representing periods of stasis in morphology. They termed this mode of evolution “punctuated equilibrium.”
The punctuated equilibrium model proposed by Gould and Eldredge is an ad hoc explanation for the extremely sudden, NOT gradual changes of living things evidenced by the fossil record. Worse still, punctuated equilibrium does not even propose a mechanism by which evolution occurs. The very gradual process of the random mutation of genes and natural selection of reproductive offspring cannot be cited as an explanation for why the change over time of evolution occurs in a notably not gradual manner.
Another ad hoc explanation (frequently cited by atheists) for the absolutely undeniable discrepancy between Darwinism and the fossil record is that the mutations which allegedly cause evolution build up over millions of years. Only after these millions of years of accumulation do the results of the mutations manifest themselves. Any supporter of Darwinism reading this is encouraged to furnish any evidence to support this or any other ad hoc explanation, plus the logical reason why we should not just accept a more simple explanation: Darwinism is FALSE.
Astute readers must realize that the term evolution merely means change over time. Since virtually nobody of any religion or belief system denies that living things have changed over time, virtually nobody of any religion or belief system denies evolution in the correct sense of the term. Darwinism attaches the atheistic philosophical add-on to evolution which says that this change over time is the result of unintelligent mechanisms. This is best described as a philosophical Trojan Horse, since it stealthily sneaks atheistic philosophy into the change over time of evolution, as I discuss in Charles Darwin’s Philosophical Trojan Horse. The conflict is not between theism and evolution. Rather, the conflict is between theism and this aforementioned atheistic philosophical add-on to evolution. Please read Where the Conflict Really Lies by philosopher Alvin Plantinga for a more thorough exploration of this subject.
Those inclined to doubt that Darwinism is well on its way to becoming the mythology of tomorrow are encouraged to read The Altenberg 16: An Exposé of the Evolution Industry. This book details the discussions of a secretive meeting (the public and media were barred) in Altenburg, Austria, in 2008, at which sixteen elite scientists met to discuss laying the foundation for “post-Darwinian research.” Sam Smith, Editor of Progressive Review, accurately summarizes the reason for the secrecy of this meeting in his commentary which is featured on the back cover:
“The scientific establishment has been somewhat scared of dealing rationally and openly with new evolutionary ideas because of its fear of the powerful creationist movement.”
Biologist Lynn Margulis (winner of the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science, cited above) discusses the persistence of Darwinism, despite its deteriorating scientific basis, with journalist Susan Mazur in The Altenburg 16. Margulis suggests that this persistence is due to scientists’ loyalty to their “tribal group” (or those who share a like-minded philosophical or religious orientation), and not for reasons which can be deemed scientific:
Margulis: “If enough favorable mutations occur, was the erroneous extrapolation, a change from one species to another would concurrently occur.”
Mazur: “So a certain dishonesty set in?”
Margulis: “No. It was not dishonesty. I think it was wish-fulfillment and social momentum. Assumptions, made but not verified, were taught as fact.”
Mazur: “But a whole industry grew up.”
Margulis: “Yes, but people are always more loyal to their tribal group than to any abstract notion of ‘truth’ – scientists especially. If not they are unemployable. It is professional suicide to continually contradict one’s teachers or social leaders.”
To sum up, Margulis believes that history will ultimately judge neo-Darwinism as, “A minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon biology.”
The tendency of scientific communities to tenaciously cling to paradigms which have unrepairable cracks in their foundations (such as Darwinism or phrenology) was also noted by Max Planck, the Nobel-Prize winning physicist credited with founding quantum physics. This caused him to coin what is known as “Planck’s principle,” paraphrased as:
How REAL Science taught us we’re all Creationists.
Whether one asserts a young or old earth, random mutations Vs design, Darwinian evolution Vs Punctuated Equilibrium, fine-tuning or chaos, my major premise is: we inevitably must all be Creationists in having to explain why there is something rather than nothing. Some might even say CREATION is a religiously neutral observation. Creation(ism) the buzz word of its critics, is broadly defined as a belief that a “supernatural reality brought into existence all time, space and matter by an act of freewill.” Cynics mostly materialists and evolutionists, believe also on faith, that the natural world is all there is, or ever was.
Proponents cleverly but fallaciously, center their attack by STRAWMANNING fundamentalist religion, which maintains a young earth and a literal 6 day creation. Whether one comes from an atheist or theistic worldview however, we can only explain “why there is something now rather than nothing” from a faith perspective. Darwinian Evolution Vs Creation is of course a false dichotomy since the former says absolutely nothing about origins (creation). The true dichotomy is really about Darwinism Vs Religion. Moreover, the former is moot in addressing the fundamental question of origins and existence, as I assert in premise 1) below. 1) There are only two possibilities: For anything to exists now, some previous physical state or states, a) have existed eternally in the past, or b) were created ex nihilo (i.e from nothing in the finite past) As I said this is a *religiously neutral* observation but has profound implications from a metaphysical or transcendent perspective. 2) In whatever past configuration, matter/energy must exist in dimensions of time and space. 3) Position 1b) is the consensus of science (cosmology), mathematics, philosophy (logic) and reason. 4) For atheism to be the default position, then some form of matter/energy must have always existed (be eternal in the past) But this claim I will assert, is not supported by the evidence nor logically possible.
5) *Mathematician* and genius inventor, Dave Hilbert asserts that Infinity [as in infinite past time] is just an abstract idea. *Infinity neither exists in nature nor provides the basis for rational thought.”* An infinite future while a possibility, would be a *potential* infinite but an infinite past if it existed, would be an *actual* infinite. If you dont support Hilbert’s several arguments that there is nothing in the natural realm that can be identified as an actual infinite, I’d like to hear it! 6) Having abandoned his static model *Einstein’s cosmology* embraced the theory of relativity which identified an absolute beginning for all space/time. Atheist cosmologists like Hawking and Krauss recognizing the implications of this theory, have retreated into the realm of fantasy to invent natural explanations of how everything came from absolutely nothing in the finitude of past time. There versions of nothing is actually some thing which is refuted by 2) above! 7) *Philosophically* nothing is non existence. An infinite past would demand an infinite regress of past physical states (including the unproven multi-verse theory -See BVG theorem). Moreover, any collection formed by successive temporal events cannot be an actual infinite. Infinity is just a abstract concept, one whose value can never be attained. Moreover, one cannot bridge an infinite amount of time since all available evidence shows time travels linearly. If time was infinite in the past, logically we could never have reached this current point in time (the impossibility of transiting an infinite regress of past events). Ergo the finitude of past time demands a creation event.
“Darwinism is cracking apart”
Have the scientific consensus tell me. When a Christian blog says so, that looks biased.
Apparently, only people who agree with you aren’t biased. Can’t you see the circularity of that stance? You start with the assumption that Christians are biased, and then you decide if someone is biased or not based upon whether they are a Christian. The Latin term for your circular logic is circulus in probando. Nowhere in your comment is there anything resembling a logical argumentation, just angry rhetoric.
The history of science very clearly and unequivocally demonstrates that scientific consensus is UTTERLY WORTHLESS as a signpost for truth. I elaborate on this point in A History Lesson for Darwinists. A copy and paste from that post:
Dominant scientific theories have a history of eventually being radically revised, and outright rejected. William Dembski notes in Uncommon Dissent:
***The science of one age becomes the myth or pseudo-science of the next***
Relevant to this point is a citation from my post titled The Mythology of Atheism: Biologist Lynn Margulis, winner of the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science, put it best in her book What Is Life?:
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:
***The usefulness of scientific theories should not be confused with their truth.***
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:
Atheist mythology suggests that, as scientific knowledge grows, the need for theistic belief diminishes. 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:
***Scientific models such as the theory of evolution should not be confused with reality.***
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:
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:
The worst case scenario for Darwin’s theory of evolution? Biologist Lynn Margulis (mentioned 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.”
I hope you have been well. I read your argument from the argument from beauty in the previous article. Have you ever read on philosopher and mathematician Dr. Alexander Pruss’ argument from beauty. Even the atheist physicist and mathematician Dr. Eugene Wigner marvelled at the miracle of modern physics.
No, I haven’t. I will put this on my reading list.
Galileo marvelled, like many since at the exquisite mathematics that describe the rational intelligibility of the universe. He wrote, “mathematics is the language God used to write the universe.” Likewise everything that truly defines humanity is transcendent and immaterial like beauty, joy, wisdom and truth, logic and reason, conscience and morality, compassion and love. None of which exist in a worldview that defines mindless matter as ultimate reality.
I wanted to ask you about the argument of scientific consensus. Scientific consensus may not be fallible but that doesn’t mean it’s not the best that we have. We wouldn’t cite physicist and historian of science Dr. Thomas Kuhn to reject the scientific consensus of vaccines or the treatment of cancer.
My question is how would you go by when talking about the scientific consensus of vaccines and the treatment of cancer.
It is vital to not confuse the usefulness of scientific theories with their truth. Some excerpts from my post titled The Darkest Secret of Science are applicable here:
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:
For example, bloodletting is now perceived to be pseudo-science, but it had scientific consensus behind it for over 2,000 years. As Wikipedia notes, “Bloodletting, whether by a physician or by leeches, was based on an ancient system of medicine in which blood and other bodily fluids were regarded as “humours” that had to remain in proper balance to maintain health. It is claimed to have been the most common medical practice performed by surgeons from antiquity until the late 19th century, a span of over 2,000 years. In Europe the practice continued to be relatively common until the end of the 18th century. The practice has now been abandoned by modern-style medicine for all except a few very specific medical conditions.”
Please note that, despite being based on the now discredited notion that it worked by balancing “bodily humours,” bloodletting actually did provide benefit for certain conditions. For example, as Wikipedia further notes, “The practice has now been abandoned by modern-style medicine for all except a few very specific medical conditions. It is conceivable that historically, in the absence of other treatments for hypertension, bloodletting sometimes had a beneficial effect in temporarily reducing blood pressure by reducing blood volume.”
So bloodletting did have usefulness, but the belief that it worked based upon “balancing bodily humors” did not contain truth. All scientific paradigms (such as bloodletting) are part of an unending exploration of mysteries, and do not contain firmly established truths, as Dyson notes above.
Elite physicists Davies and Gribbin warn about the danger of confusing scientific models, on one hand, with reality, on the other hand, in The Matter Myth:
Physicists Davies and Gribbin continue by mentioning a specific example of a scientific paradigm which was useful but did not contain truth:
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:
As with bloodletting, geosynclinal theory enjoyed scientific consensus and was useful to scientists (geologists) for decades. It provided an underlying theoretical framework with which to perform science. However, in the end, it turned out to contain no truth.
That was a good response. It does raise an issue. Your point on the usefulness of a scientific theory does not correlate to truth is confusing. My question is what is truth if science can’t determine truth. Does this mean science can’t be trusted or is not the best method to rely on getting to truth? What is the best method to get to truth?
Only our rational faculties can determine truth. Scientific observations and data can only provide the inputs for these faculties, but these inputs must be processed by our logical faculties to provide a logical output. As I have mentioned before, questions such as whether the universe and life were created by an intelligence or by unintelligent natural processes are meta-scientific questions (meta, as you know is the Greek word for beyond or after). Regarding how our logical faculties point towards the existence of God, following is an excerpt from my post entitled Why Everyone is Religious…or Rather, Nobody:
Outspoken atheists are often fond on portraying theistic interpretive frameworks such as Christianity as superstitious or “woo-woo,” but it is not difficult to see why atheism is clearly the more superstitious worldview: Citing a non-conscious cause for consciousness, an unintelligent cause for intelligence, an impersonal cause for personhood, or a non-rational cause for reason, (etc.) is impossible to philosophically justify because, as Edwar Feser puts it in The Last Superstition, “a cause cannot give to its effect what it does not have to give.” Feser skillfully elaborates:
Material things such as atoms and rocks do not contain (either formally or eminently) many of the features we as humans possess…such as consciousness, intelligence, personhood, reason, morality, love, etc. Keith Ward, a member of the Council of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, makes the same point as Feser in his book Doubting Dawkins: Why There Almost Certainly is a God.
The implication of this philosophical axiom cited by Feser and Ward is that the cause of conscious, intelligent, and personal (etc.) beings such as ourselves must necessarily have the effects of consciousness, intelligence and personhood contained potentially in itself. A cigarette lighter contains the effect of fire potentially in itself (even when not being used), but inanimate material things such as atoms and rocks do not contain the effects of consciousness, intelligence, or personhood potentially in themselves. This is why the only logical option is to cite a conscious, personal, and intelligent cause (read: God) for conscious, personal, and intelligent agents such as ourselves.
One day my friend, I hope to be as well read as you.
By the way Scott, there is a Youtuber who goes by the name Elephant philosophy who was an atheist and became a Christian. I think you should check it out and you may learn something from it. Be careful though, he doesn’t mince his words when it comes to new atheism. I will provide the source below.
Elephant Philosophy (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFAApTW3CQHEClUvNALUTcg)
Thanks Jeff! I am definitely gonna check that out.
Fact check: The much quoted 97% consensus on climate change is a case in point.. it was more fiction than fact. Cook et al read not the papers but the abstracts of about 11,000 so-called science papers that included the words “climate change” in them. On closer inspection, the papers selected, came from a broad spectrum of academics and not surprisingly failed to include papers from sceptics like Patrick Moore, Ray Spencer, Michael Plimer, and a dozen others, highly qualified to speak on the subject. It appears that if you want tenure or funding on a certain agenda then toe the party line. Just word your criteria or questions to achieve a predetermined outcome..
I was having a conversation with a militant atheist who said that there’s a conflict between science and religion in the area of politics. The conflict is that religious fundamentalists don’t want evolution taught in high school because it goes against the 6000 year old interpretation. Since this took place in the arena of politics, does this show a conflict between science and religion.
Please don’t go into the evolution part because I understand that evolution has problems but help me understand this supposed conflict in the arena of public policy. Does this public policy conflict show that there’s a conflict between science and religion?
Please let this militant atheist know that he is committing an utterly ridiculous Straw-Man Fallacy. As the previous link indicates, this logical fallacy occurs when someone misrepresents their opponent’s argument in order to make it easier to attack. The misrepresented version of an opponents argument is a “straw-man.”
The idea that the earth is 6000 years old is a fringe view among Christians. It origins trace back to James Ussher, an Irish Archbishop from the 17th century. Ussher used genealogical tables derived from the Bible to determine the age of the Earth. As the preceding Wikipedia link notes, the idea that the age of the Earth can be derived from genealogical tables fell into disrepute among Christian theologians a long, long time ago. A copy and paste:
Ussher fell into disrepute among theologians as well; in 1890, Princeton professor William Henry Green wrote a highly influential article in Bibliotheca Sacra entitled “Primeval Chronology” in which he strongly criticised Ussher. He concluded:
Yes, there are still a minority of Christians who hold to this fringe view. But suggesting that Christians should be held in contempt because a small minority holds to this view holds no weight. I have met many hundreds of Christians and have yet to meet a single one who believes in a young earth.
Please note that many extremely prominent atheist figures have endorsed the aliens-brought-life-to-Earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life (known as “directed panspermia”). This would include such figures as Francis Crick, the atheist biologist who is famous as the co-discoverer of the DNA double helix. Click here to read an article which discusses his endorsement of this hypothesis in his book Life Itself.
Click here to watch Richard Dawkins (the world’s most famous atheist biologist) endorsing this hypothesis in an interview.
Other very prominent atheist scientists who endorse this hypothesis include the physicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle, the astronomer Carl Sagan, the biologist Chandra Wickramsinghe, and the chemist Leslie Orgel. Fred Hoyle, an extremely prominent physicist and mathematician from Cambridge University, admits the following, despite being atheist:
Hoyle’s science led him to the inescapable conclusion that a superior intelligence lies behind nature, but his atheist belief system requires him to reject God. Therefore, to rectify the discrepancy between his science and his atheist belief system, he chose to adopt the aliens-brought-life-to-Earth-in-their-spaceship hypothesis. So, like a game of whack-a-mole, intelligence reappears as the cause for life among those with the most intense ideological commitment to denying that an intelligence caused life. This is what Sigmund Freud referred to as “the return of the repressed.”
But does the fact that many prominent atheist figures accept this weird view make the case that all atheists are a bunch of strange, fringe figures? We would first need to argue that the aliens-brought-life-to-Earth-in-their-spaceship stance (“directed panspermia”) is the standard among atheists. But to imply as such would be a Straw-Man Fallacy, just like the one your atheist opponent has committed.
I believe the Genesis account is theological not scientific. it uses the cultural Jewish working week of the day merely as an analogy to put it in historical terms for contemporaries to understand. It is far more about WHY than “how”, God created. As Galileo said “the Bible is about how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.”
In fact, Gen 1:1 implies God created heaven and earth before day one. The Jewish word for day can mean 12hrs, 24hrs or an era depending on the context. Other Biblical scholars assert we are still in the 7th day of Creation. Far too much debate seems to gravitate to the ‘young earth’ question in an attempt to falsify Scripture.
Yes, I agree: Genre is crucial for understanding the Bible. William Shakespeare wrote, “The sun itself sees not till heaven clears.” Is Shakespeare here being unscientific because he is claiming that the sun can see? Of course not, because the above line is from a sonnet, which is a form of poetry.
Tim Keller provides an excellent commentary on this point in this brief video (please watch). As Keller discusses, in most cases, the genre is easy to discern, but there are a few places in the Bible where the genre is not easy to discern (literal, poetic, allegorical, etc.)
Not all Christians think that the Adam and Eve creation story is supposed to depict an historical event. Many Christians believe that this story is intended as an allegory. However, I find Gerald Schroeder’s commentary on this subject to be fascinating. Schroeder is unique in that he is both a scientist (a former Professor of Physics at MIT) and a biblical scholar. He explains how Adam was not the first physical human, but rather, the first spiritual human. A copy and paste from this article written by Schroeder:
Adam was not the first Homo sapiens. Maimonides in The Guide for the Perplexed (part 1 chapter 7) described animals co-existing with Adam that were identical to humans in shape and intelligence, but because they lacked the neshama [human soul], they were animals. The Guide for the Perplexed was published in the year 1190, seven centuries before Darwin and long before any evidence was popular relative to fossils of cave men and women. So from where did these ancients get the knowledge of the pre-Adam hominids? They learned it, correctly we discover, from the subtle wording of the biblical text. Those animals in human shape and intelligence would be the “adam” listed in Genesis 1:26, when God says “Let us make Adam.” But in the next verse God creates “the Adam,” the Adam, a specific being [a nuance in the Hebrew text first pointed out to me by Peggy Ketz and totally missed in the English translations!]. The Mishna in the section, Keli’im, discusses “masters of the field” that were animals but so identical to humans that when they died one could not tell them apart from a dead human. Masters of the field implies farming – a skill that predates the Adam by at least 2000 years according to pollen studies in the border area between Israel and Syria. Nahmanides (year 1250; the major kabalistic commentator on the Torah), in his long discussion of Genesis 2:7, details the flow of life that led to the Adam, the first human. He closes his comments there with the statement that when this spirituality was infused into the living being, that being changed to “another kind of man.” Not changed to man but another kind of man, a homo sapiens / hominid became spiritually human. The error in the term “cavemen” is in the “men.” They were not men or women. Though they had human shape and intelligence, they lacked the neshama, the human spirit infused by God. Cave men or women were never a theological problem for the ancient commentators. And they did not need a museum exhibit to tell them so. It is science that has once again come to confirm the age-old wisdom of the Torah! (For a detailed discussion of the ancient sources cited here, see the two relevant chapters in my second book, The Science of God.)
I hope you have been well. When going through cosmological arguments for God’s existence, there are concepts that I recently found out regarding time. They are known as A theory of time, B theory of time, and C theory of time. Have you ever heard of them?
Whether time is affected by the speed of light, is irrelevant. No matter what your philosophical views and passion for si-fi movies about the relationship of time to the physical realm, the only physical evidence we have is that time is linear: past, present to future. As mathematician Dave Hilbert observed, “The infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought.” One of the major proofs of God’s existence is the finitude of past [time] . Only a powerful timeless, spaceless immaterial cause explains Creation ex nihilo
I hope you have been well. I was listening to atheist philosopher Dr. Graham Oppy and Christian philosopher William Lane Craig debate the topic does math point to God on the Capturing Christianity YT channel. Dr. Oppy said that mathematical truths are “necessary” to which Dr. Craig said is not a satisfactory answer. Dr. Oppy replied that just because you are not satisfied with an answer does not mean that the answer is wrong.
I think it is similar to your argument that atheism is just stuck with “it just does” explanation to which you have said is not really an answer. Dr. Oppy would reply that just because you are not satisfied with an answer does not make it wrong. How would you respond?
NB: I would also like to hear your thoughts about the A theory of time, B theory of time and C theory of time. Have you ever cone across such concepts?
Good to hear from you again. Christian apologist Nancy Pearcey came up with the term “just-so storytelling” to point out how atheism is stuck with “just-so” answers to many crucial questions:
What is the purpose of beauty?
Theist answer: Beauty is a divine expression of love.
Atheist answer: Beauty just is.
Why do material things so consistently follow natural laws (such as the laws of physics, thermodynamics, chemistry, etc)?
Theist answer: Because God is prime reality (the ground of all being) and the same mind which created natural laws (God) also directs them. 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)
Or, as Sir Isaac Newton put it in what is widely regarded to be the most important scientific work of all time, The Principia:
“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.”
Atheist answer: Material things follow natural laws because they just do.
Sorry, I have not reviewed the three theories of time which you reference, but I am familiar with Einstein’s concept of time dilation.