Posts Tagged ‘science’

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“We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.”
–Richard Lewontin, Evolutionary scientist, as quoted by J. Warner Wallace in Cold-Case Christianity

A surprisingly honest admission of bias by a scientist. Worldviews matter, people.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams

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Science was birthed from the womb of philosophy.

True science can’t be accomplished without the undergirding of philosophy. Without metaphysics, we couldn’t come to conclusions about “what” exists. Without epistemology, we couldn’t understand “how” something exists. All of these assumptions in science are non-empirical. It is important to remember this when dealing with science and faith.

“Here’s the thing: science is utterly dependent upon philosophy to survive. If we didn’t have philosophy–if we didn’t have the developed notions of rationality, inference, and the like–there would be no science. Other theists (and philosophers) have contributed things like parsimony/Occam’s Razor to the wealth of philosophical methodological backbone which makes the scientific enterprise possible.”

– J.W. Wartick

via http://jwwartick.com/2012/05/21/krauss-jump/

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams

“The point here is not that Tegmark’s theories are broadly accepted, only that such theories are no longer considered absurd. Physics has seen the return of the unseen — parallel universes, infinitesimal strings, floating and colliding branes — that are reasonably inferred without being physically observed. I can think of other creative forces in that category. Not for centuries has physics been so open to metaphysics, or more amenable to an ancient attitude: a sense of wonder about things above and within.”

— Michael Gerson

via Michael Gerson: Physics is enjoying a golden age – The Washington Post.

For all of the bluster about science nailing the coffin shut on religion, it would seem physics is busy performing quantum displacement on the nails.

simul iustus et peccator, 

 
Eric Adams 
Rossville, GA 
godsguy12@comcast.net 
christianreasons@gmail.com 
Court is now in session.

Court is now in session.

If the model is faulty, so will be the inferences built around it. Evolution is a model. It is possible it is built on faulty assumptions.

 

#10 No evolutionary model is absolutely conclusive in its results. Sherlock Holmes’ “deductive” reasoning does not apply here. Evolution is an explanatory historical model. It seeks to explain history of the biological world. Models are an argument from inference. It is an attempt to assemble information to reach a desired conclusion. That conclusion is the assumption which started the process.

Many times these inferences are in error because the model itself is built around some faulty assumptions. Sometimes the information that is used to construct the model is wrong – like the never-existing Brontosaurus. But bad information does not mean that the model is entirely wrong. It does means that conclusions drawn from the model will be in error.

Courtroom situations also use explanatory model. The conclusion that one might arrive at is by way of inference from the evidence – is there enough evidence to rule one way or the other? But this inference does not come from the information in the model – it comes from the model itself. So while a conclusion may be “beyond reasonable doubt” that does not mean it reflects reality. We hear of these regularly: There may be enough evidence to convict a person though that person may be completely innocent of the crime. So also without the right evidence and the right amount of evidence the guilty sometimes go free. That is one of the issues with an argument from inference. The weight that the jury gives evidence may be different than what the prosecutor or defense attorney anticipate. The “facts” used may be unchanged for either situation. But in the end it is not so much about the facts but about how the facts are framed and the weight given. The weight given evidence and the sufficiency of evidence are equally serious issues in evolutionary theory and contribute to its changes over the past 150 years.

— Collin Brendemuehl

via 10 Things You Should Know About Science and Evolution | Caffeinated Thoughts.

 

simul iustus et peccator, 

 
Eric Adams 
Rossville, GA 
godsguy12@comcast.net 
christianreasons@gmail.com 

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I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says about religion, but the author makes some good points. Science has its problems.

“The technical triumph of the Human Genome Project led to big surprises. There are far fewer human genes than anticipated, a mere 23,000 instead of 100,000. Sea urchins have about 26,000 and rice plants 38,000. Attempts to predict characteristics such as height have shown that genes account for only about 5 percent of the variation from person to person, instead of the 80 percent expected. Unbounded confidence has given way to the “missing heritability problem.” Meanwhile, investors in genomics and biotechnology have lost many billions of dollars. A recent report by the Harvard Business School on the biotechnology industry revealed that “only a tiny fraction of companies had ever made a profit” and showed how promises of breakthroughs have failed over and over again.

Despite the brilliant technical achievements of neuroscience, like brain scanning, there is still no proof that consciousness is merely brain activity. Leading journals such as Behavioural and Brain Sciences and the Journal of Consciousness Studies publish many articles that reveal deep problems with the materialist doctrine. The philosopher David Chalmers has called the very existence of subjective experience the “hard problem.” It is hard because it defies explanation in terms of mechanisms. Even if we understand how eyes and brains respond to red light, the experience of redness is not accounted for.

In physics, too, the problems are multiplying. Since the beginning of the 21st century, it has become apparent that known kinds of matter and energy make up only about 4 percent of the universe. The rest consists of “dark matter” and “dark energy.” The nature of 96 percent of physical reality is literally obscure.

Contemporary theoretical physics is dominated by superstring and M theories, with 10 and 11 dimensions respectively, which remain untestable. The multiverse theory, which asserts that there are trillions of universes besides our own, is popular among cosmologists in the absence of any experimental evidence. These are interesting speculations, but they are not hard science. They are a shaky foundation for the materialist claim that everything can be explained in terms of physics.”

— Dr. Rupert Sheldrake

via Dr Rupert Sheldrake: Why Bad Science Is Like Bad Religion.

simul iustus et peccator,  

Eric Adams 
Rossville, GA 
godsguy12@comcast.net 
christianreasons@gmail.com 

 

Can Atheists Justify Being Good Without God ?

by Norman L. Geisler

There is a new atheist’s ad out with a picture of  Santa Claus and the words: “Why  believe in a god? Just be good for goodness sake.”  This is clever, but is it possible?  Let’s analyze it more carefully.

First, if there is no Moral Law Giver (God), then how can there be a moral law that prescribes: “Be good.”  Every prescription has a prescriber, and this is a moral prescription.

Second, what does “good” mean?  How is good to be defined.? If it can mean anything for anyone, then it means nothing for anyone.  It is total relativism. Being “good” for some (like Nazis) can mean killing Jews.  But for Jews it is evil.  Hence, on this view there is no objective difference between good and evil.

Third,  what does “goodness” itself mean in the atheist slogan.  Being good “for goodness sake” implies that something is just plain good in itself.  That is, it is an ultimate goodness.  But this by definition is what Christians mean by God.  Everything else has goodness, but only God (the Ultimate) is goodness.  In this case, the atheist is using “goodness” as a surrogate or substitute for God.

This maneuver is not uncommon for atheists. Before the Big Bang evidence, atheists were fond of doing this with the word  “universe.”  It was supposed to be eternal and, hence, needed no Cause since only what begins needs a Beginner.  Carl Sagan employed the term “Cosmos” as a God-substitute.  He said, “the COSMOS is everything that ever was, is, or will be.”  It sounds a little like what Psalm 90 declares: “From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”  Bertrand Russell attempted the same tactic in his famous BBC debate with Father Copleston.  When asked what caused the universe, he replied that nothing did.  It was just “there.”  But how does an eternal, uncaused universe from which everything else came to be differ from an Uncaused Cause (God)?

However, in the light of the Big Bang evidence that the universe had a beginning, these answers lack scientific support.  As agnostic Jastrow put it, “The scientist’s pursuit of the past ends in the moment of creation.”  And  “This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but theologians.  They have always accepted the word of the Bible: `In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth'” (God and the Astronomers, 115).

Fourth, Dembski and Wells give another objection in recent book (How to be an Intellectually Fulfilled Atheist (or not), 115): “Atheism is a belief with scientific pretensions but no scientific backing.”  It has no scientific backing for believing in an eternal universe, The Second Law of Thermodynamics still holds.  The universe is running out of useable energy and, therefore, cannot be eternal.  And it has no scientific backing for the spontaneous origin of first life.  Again, as Dembski notes, “Until science can show that physical process operating under realistic prebiotic conditions can bring about full-fledged cells from nonliving material, intellectual fulfillment remains an atheistic pipedream” (ibid.).

Fifth, the truth is that many of the great atheists themselves understood well that without God there is no basis for being good for goodness sake.  The famous French atheist, Jean Paul Sartre said,  without God,  “I was like a man who’s lost his shadow.  And there was nothing left in heaven, not right or wrong, nor anyone to give me orders” (The Flies, Act III).  Nietzsche said that when God died (see the “Madman” in Gay Science), then all objective values died with Him.  And a subjective understanding of goodness to which everyone can assign their own relative meaning, is not goodness at all–let alone being goodness for goodness sake.

Sixth, atheists fail to make an important distinction.  One can be good (as many atheists are) without believing in God.  But one cannot be good without there being a God.  That is, they canbelieve in a moral law (and live accordingly) without believing in God.  But they cannot justify this belief without reference to a Moral Law Giver (God).  This leads to one last observation.

Seventh, the fact is, that you cannot have an objective moral law without a Moral Law Giver.  But atheist are the first to insist there must be a moral law–otherwise, how can they mount their argument against God from the injustices in this world.   C. S. Lewis sais this clearly when he wrote,  “[As an atheist] my argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust.  But how had I got this idea of just and unjust?  A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line” (Mere Christianity, 15). Thus, he reasoned from this objective moral law to a Moral Law Giver (God).  The atheist must make his painful choice: Either he loses the basis for his argument against God from evil, or he must admit there is an objective moral law which leads to a Moral Law Giver.  One thing is certain: without God, the atheist cannot have objective goodness for goodness sake.  Indeed, since “for goodness sake” is a euphemistic phrase meaning “For God’s sake,” then the atheist ad, both literarily and logically, should be rendered, “Why believe in God? Just be good for God’s sake.”  In other words, it is precisely because there is a God that we can really be good.  Without an absolutely good God, there is no real objective basis for being good.

via Articles by Dr. Geisler.

This is a Washington Post piece by William Lane Craig I found interesting.

“The American Humanist Association is promoting a new Web site that is designed to furnish children with a naturalistic or atheistic perspective on science, sexuality, and other topics. The stated goal of the Web site is laudatory: “to encourage curiosity, critical thinking, and tolerance among young people, as well as to provide accurate information regarding a wide range of issues related to humanism, science, culture, and history.”

The problem is that those values have no inherent connection with naturalism, which is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that there is nothing beyond the physical contents of the universe. One doesn’t need to be a naturalist in order to endorse curiosity, critical thinking, tolerance, and the pursuit of accurate information on a wide range of topics.

Ironically, the AHA has been remarkably uncritical in thinking about the truth of naturalism and of humanism in particular.

For example, why think that naturalism is true? The last half century has witnessed a veritable renaissance of Christian philosophy. In a recent article, University of Western Michigan philosopher Quentin Smith laments “the desecularization of academia that evolved in philosophy departments since the late 1960s.” Complaining of naturalists’ passivity in the face of the wave of “intelligent and talented theists entering academia today,” Smith concludes, “God is not ‘dead’ in academia; he returned to life in the late 1960s and is now alive and well in his last academic stronghold, philosophy departments.”

This renaissance of Christian philosophy has been accompanied by a resurgence of interest in arguments for God’s existence based on reason and evidence alone, apart from the resources of divine revelation like the Bible. All of the traditional arguments for God’s existence, such as the cosmological, teleological, moral, and ontological arguments, not to mention creative, new arguments, find intelligent and articulate defenders on the contemporary philosophical scene.

But what about the so-called “New Atheism” exemplified by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens? Doesn’t it signal a reversal of this trend? Not really. The New Atheism is, in fact, a pop cultural phenomenon lacking in intellectual muscle and blissfully ignorant of the revolution that has taken place in academic philosophy. In my debates with naturalistic philosophers and scientists I have been frankly stunned by their inability both to refute the various arguments for God and to provide any persuasive arguments for naturalism.

Moreover, naturalism faces severe problems of its own. The philosopherAlvin Plantinga has argued persuasively that naturalism cannot even be rationally affirmed. For if naturalism was true, the probability that our cognitive faculties would be reliable is pretty low. For those faculties have been shaped by a process of natural selection which does not select for truth but merely for survival. There are many ways in which an organism could survive without its beliefs’ being true. Hence, if naturalism were true, we could not have any confidence that our beliefs are true, including the belief in naturalism itself! Thus, naturalism seems to have a built-in defeater that renders it incapable of being rationally affirmed.

The problem for the humanist is even worse, however. For humanism is just one form of naturalism. It is a version of naturalism that affirms the objective value of human beings. But why think that if naturalism were true, human beings would have objective moral value? There are three options before us:

• The theist maintains that objective moral values are grounded in God.

• The humanist maintains that objective moral values are grounded in human beings.

• The nihilist maintains that moral values are ungrounded and therefore ultimately subjective and illusory.

The humanist is thus engaged in a struggle on two fronts: on the one side against the theists and on the other side against the nihilists. This is important because it underlines the fact that humanism is not a default position. That is to say, even if the theist were wrong, that would not mean that the humanist is right. For if God does not exist, maybe it is the nihilist who is right. The humanist needs to defeat both the theist and the nihilist. In particular, he must show that in the absence of God, nihilism would not be true.”

Please continue reading at  Humanism for children – Guest Voices – The Washington Post.

Humanists need to circle the wagons.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams
Rossville, GA
godsguy12@comcast.net
jadams012@gmail.com
christianreasons@gmail.com
http://about.me/eric.adams
http://christianreasons.com/