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Science and Christian Apologetics

JOHN OAKES, PhD

Our Outline

Science and Religion: The Limits of Science The History of Science and Christianity The Christian Response The Age of the Universe and the Age of the Earth Genesis 1 and Creation The Flood Evolution The Anthropic Principle: Evidence for Design Scientific Materialism/Scientism/Naturalism Science and the Bible (other than creation and the flood) Science and Other Religions

Required Reading

Is There a God By John Oakes


Any other book on the topic of your choosing, but it must be on topic.

Suggestions
Darwin's Black Box by Michael J. Behe Nature's Destiny by Michael J. Denton, (The Free Press, 1998) The Science of God, by Gerald L. Schroeder (Broadway Books, 1997) The Privileged Planet, by Guillermo Gonzalez (Regnery Publ., 2004) The Language of God, by Francis S. Collins (Free Press, 2006) Coming to Peace With Science, by Darrel R. Falk (InterVarsity Press, 2004) Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology by William A Dembski and Michael J. Behe The Source by John Clayton The Fingerprint of God, by Hugh Ross, PhD (Whitaker House, 2000) None of These Diseases, by S. I McMillan, M. D. (Revell, 1984) Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, by Michael Denton Finding Darwin's God, by Kenneth Miller (Harper Collins, 1999)

Grading (if you are getting credit)

The Reading 30%


Quiz 10% Exam 30%

Paper 30% A research paper of 5 or more pages on a special topic of your choice.

Two categories of Apologetic Topics

Defending the Faith

Creating Faith

History and Archaeology

World View

How We Got the Bible (including response to form criticism, etc.)


Science and the Bible Contradictions in the Bible

Prophecy
Miracles/Resurrection

Claims of Jesus

Science and religion

Science and religion

Science and religion

Science and religion

Science and Religion

Science and Religion

What is Religion?

What is Science?

Science

The use of experiment to test theories about the laws of nature.

Science

Scientific knowledge is a relationship between observations Scientific knowledge is quantitative The observations are subject to refinement Scientific knowledge is progressive and tentative Scientific knowledge is neither true nor false, but rather consistent with the observations and consistent with prior knowledge

Religion

Religion is a belief in something The belief is not necessarily substantiated by physical or material evidence Religious knowledge obtained through holy writings, authority, revelations and religious experiences Religionists have faith or trust in such knowledge

Religion

Religious knowledge is qualitative not quantitative. Religious knowledge is not gotten through measurement In religion knowledge is taken as either true or false. Religious knowledge is neither progressive, nor tentative.

Questions Science Can Answer

When? What? Where? How many? By what means?

Questions Science Cannot Answer:


(That Religion Does Answer)
Why am I here? Is that the right thing to do? How valuable am I? Does God exist? Does God act (theism)? Will that God respond if I pray? Do supernatural events (miracles) happen?

Science, being incapable of answering the question of meaning, will always give the impression of meaninglessness, even though such a conclusion requires metaphysics. As Torrance notes, patterns may be created [by science] but not meaning... Naturally, science should not be forced into answering this question it should be allowed to perform its task under the guise of materialism, even if this results in meaninglessness. Science can never be permitted to insert supernatural or metaphysical explanations into its theories:

A statement a scientist should not make (if he or she is well trained and is not manipulating you): Evolution is true. The Big Bang happened.

Better statements: The theory of evolution is by far the best model we have to explain both the fossil evidence and the genetic evidence with regard to the origin of all species. The Big Bang model is in dramatic agreement will all known facts about the origin and history of the universe. Science seeks consistency, not truth. What is the simplest and most consistent explanation of the observation.

Assumptions of Science

There exists a single, unchanging set of laws which govern all events in the physical universe. Human beings are able to understand the workings of the physical universe. The laws which govern the universe are describable by mathematics.

Why is the universe comprehensible to humans?

Torrance finds the universe's comprehensibility astonishing: the fact that it [the universe] is comprehensible at all to us is a miracle, indeed the most incomprehensible thing about it. Torrance, Reality and Scientific Theology, 53.

Basic Assumptions of Science

Assumptions are accepted without proof Form the basis of all scientific thinking

In other words, the basic assumptions of science are accepted on faith.

Predictions Based on Christian Theology:

1. The universe will follow a single, unchanging set of laws.

2. The universe will be understandable to human beings.

3. The universe will be describable by mathematics.

4. The universe will be designed so that we can observe it - (The Priveleged Planet Gonzalez and Richards)

Melvin Calvin (atheist expert on the chemical origin of life):

The fundamental conviction that the universe is ordered [cosmos] is the first and strongest tenet [of scientists]. As I try to discern the origin of that conviction, I seem to find it in a basic notion discovered 2000 or 3000 years ago, and enunciated first in the Western world by the ancient Hebrews: namely that the universe is governed by a single God, and is not the product of the whims of many gods, each governing his own province, according to his own laws. This monotheistic view seems to be the historical foundation of modern science.

Conclusions about Science and Religion

Religion and science ask different kinds of questions and define words differently Religion and science appear as if they were two incommensurate paradigms addressing the identical information area
Are they Non-Overlapping Magisteria? (NOMA) as Stephen Jay Gould suggests? No! They inform one another to some extent.

Unanswered questions which seem to relate to science

Consciousness (what is consciousness and why are we conscious?)


Origins of life Origin of the universe. Why is there anything (as opposed to nothing) Why is this a Goldilocks Universe?

The History of Science and Religion

Chaos vs Cosmos God vs the gods

Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274 )

If Christian theology is true, then it must be logical (reasonable) Sought logical proof that God exists.

Roger Bacon

(1214-1292)

Bacons advice:

To study Natural Philosophy, use; External experience, aided by instruments, and made precise by mathematics.
From Christian theology, Bacon reasoned: a. A single set of unchanging laws in the universe b. The universe should be understandable c. The laws of nature should be describable by mathematics.

William of Ockham

(1285-1349)

His philosophy of science: Nothing is assumed as evident unless it is known per se or is evident by experience, or is proved by authority of scripture.

Ockhams Razor;
That which is explained by fewer assumptions is exlained in vain by more

Nikolai Copernicus

(1473-1543)

True assumptions must save the appearances.

Galileo Galilei

(1564-1642)

The Bible was written to tell us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go
In discussions of physical problems we ought to begin not from the authority of scriptural passages, but from the sense-experiences and necessary demonstrations.

Galileo on Revelation
For the Holy Bible and the phenomena of nature proceed alike from the divine Word, the former as the dictate of the Holy Spirit and the latter as the observant executor of Gods commands. (the debate over this view rages even today) Is there such a thing as Natural Revelation/General Revelation? (as opposed to special revelation) In other words, can we gather genuine knowledge of God from looking at his creation?

Sir Isaac Newton


(1642-1727)

The Mechanical Universe Is God the primary mover? Leibniz.

The Enlightenment: The rise of Deism and skepticism

Voltaire (1694-1778)
Creator of Modern Religious Skepticism

David Hume
Says the skeptic: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. (1711-1776)

Statue of Joseph Priestley


Founder of the Unitarian Church

LaPlace

(1749-1827)

About God:

I have no need of that hypothesis

How Old is the Earth?

Hutton

Lyell

How Old is the Earth?

James Hutton, 1795 Uniformitarianism No vestige of a beginning, no concept of an end.

It is mere rubbish to think at this point of the origin of life. One might as well think of the origin of matter.

Charles Darwin

Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind. A. Einstein

From World Book 2002 World Book, Inc., 233 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 2000, Chic ago, IL 60601. All rights reserved. (C) Hulton/Archive

The Conservative Christian Reaction


Scopes monkey trial 1925

Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan

1940s and afterward: Creationism Movement Very Bad Science!

Intelligent Design: An Improvement?

Irreducible Complexity Does this disprove evolution? Beware of God of the Gaps arguments. Is ID scientific? Do they do experiments? Are their conclusions refutable by an experiment? The Anthropic Principle A possible explanation for why the laws of the universe are what they are. The laws of the universe are what they are so that we (ie human beings) can exist.

A Christian Response

Remember Galileo vs Roman Curia Remember Augustine vs Faustus (Manichaeism) Remember that science and religion are incommensurate The Bible and science do NOT contradict one another! Do not overreact 1 Peter 3:15,16 Do not be defensive 1 Peter 2:23 Remember, science is your friend: materialism/naturalism is the enemy Be confident. The universe was created, life was created and Jesus upholds all creation (Coll 1:15-17)

Can Science and Religion peacefully coexist?

The Language of God

Reasons Collins believes in God


1. There is something instead of nothing. 2. The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics. 3. The Big Bang. 4. Nature does not solve the problem of why. 5. The existence of time. 6. Fine tuning of the universe. The Goldilocks Paradox. 7. Ockhams Razor. 8. The existence of moral law.

The Age of the Universe and the Age of the Earth


Bishop Ussher 1640: The universe was created on Sunday October 23, 4004 BC

Cosmic Speedometer

When a galaxy is receding, light waves travelling to us are redshifted

Hubble measured the spectrum of these galaxies and found the spectral lines to be red-shifted

The faster the recession, the greater the red-shift

Galaxies: islands of stars making up the universe

Hubble constant graph:


Distance vs. speed of regression

Expansion of the Universe

winding backwards, the universe must have had a beginning

Image of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation From COBE satellite red = slightly warmer
The smoking gun of the Big Bang

Tests of the Big Bang Theory

Expansion of the universe Cosmic microwave background Relative abundances of hydrogen, deuterium, helium and lithium

Obtaining the Age of the Universe

Extrapolate the current expansion rate (Hubble constant) back to the Big Bang

13.5 billion years

Look for the oldest stars (in globular clusters)

13.0 billion years old

Best current estimate is 13.4 1.6 billion years

M10 Globular Cluster

How Old is the Earth?

James Hutton, 1787 Uniformitarianism No vestige of a beginning, no concept of an end.

WILLIAM SMITH: Index Fossils


Each stratum contains fossils peculiar to itself Cenozoic (new life) 65 mya to present Mesozoic (middle life) 250 mya to 65 mya Paleozoic (old life) 530 mya to 250 mya

William Smith 1769-1839

Index fossils give the relative age of a rock

Radiometric Dating Techniques


mother/daughter isotope pair half-life

U238 Pb206 U235 Pb207

4.5 billion years 704 million years

K40 Ar40
Th232 Pb208

1.25 billion years


14.8 billion years

Genesis Chapter One: Creation

Young Earth Theory In agreement with science With an appearance of age (disagrees with science) Day/Age Theory Framework Theory Literary rather than historical account. Days 1-3 and 4-6 are parallel triads describing how God created the heavens (1,4), the seas and land(2,5) and life (3,6) Gap Theory A huge gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 Its all just a myth Each view has its problems

A Quick Summary of Genesis One:


a. God pre-existed the universe b. God created the universe: Let there be light c. God created the earth d. God created life e. Last of all, God created mankind

A More Detailed Summary of Genesis One From the Viewpoint of an Observer on the Earth:
a. The earth created and is spinning: night and day. Day 1 b. Water covers earth, Very thick atmosphere forms. Day 2 c. The earth cools, land appears out of the water. Day 3 d. Life appears on the earth. Day 3 e. (Photosynthetic life dramatically changes the chemistry of the atmosphere from reducing to oxidizing.) f. Finally, the heavenly objects appeared in the sky Day 4 g. More advanced life forms; first in the water, later on the land Day 5 h. Even more advanced life forms. Last of all human beings Day 6

Where is the scientific error in this?

Is Genesis 1:1 a Myth?

Yes! It is a true myth. A myth is a simplified story, given to explain the gods (or God) to common people.

Creation Myths
Babylonian Creation Myth

Primeval swamp. Marduk kills Tiamat. Blood + mud = humans Primeval ocean Nun from which arrises a Primeval hill. Prometheus and Epimetheus form clay molds. Earth supported by Atlas. Enigorio and Enigohahetgea: Good and evil brothers battle

Egyptian Creation Myth

Greek Creation Myth

Iroquois Creation Myth

Genesis One is an obvious exception to this pattern

Babylonian Creation Myth: Marduk kills Tiamat

Egyptian Creation Myth

Iroquois Creation Myth: Enigorio and Enigohahetgea Battling the Ronnongwetowanca (Stone Giants)

Is the Metaphorical Day a Reasonable Interpretation? Pre-Science Theologians Who Said Yes.

Philo 1st century Origen early 3rd century Augustine early 5th century Thomas Aquinas 13th century

Translations of yom in the Old Testament (NIV)

1181 times as day (but with several different connotations of the word, some not being literal) Isaiah 4:2 In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful 67 times as time 30 times as today 18 times as forever 10 times as continuously 6 times as age 4 times as life 2 times as perpetually

The Flood: Genesis 6-8

Explanations of the Flood

Just an unfounded myth. Worldwide flood.

With a scientific explanation A unique and completely miraculous event

Local flood

Did all this happen in a single, cataclysmic flood?

Can an opening of the fountains of the deep explain the flood?

Ancient Cultures With Flood Stories


Hindus Burma (Myanmar) New Guinea Aborigines of Australia New Zealand Iroquoi Incas Aztecs Greeks Babylonians Sumerians Celts Hottentots (Southern Africa)

Common Elements

1. The flood a judgment.


2. Massive or world wide in effect. 3. Some humans saved from this flood and repopulate the earth.

The Bible and the Flood

New Testament writers clearly believe this was a historical event. Matthew 24:38-39 It happened as judgment for sin 2 Peter 3:6-7

It is a prefigure of final judgment


It is a miracle, not a natural eventlike the fire which will destroy the world Belief in the flood based chiefly on faith in the Bible, certainly not on science.

Evolution and the Bible

What does the Bible say? What does the physical evidence say?

Fossil evidence Genetic/DNA evidence Is there Irreducible Complexity? Human evolution?

Finches discovered And drawn by Charles Darwin Evidence of Evolution?

Evolution of whales over time?

Fossil evidence for elephant evolution

But..

The Cambrian Explosion Punctuated Equilibrium? Theistic Evolution

Fossils from creatures which appeared in the Cambrian Explosion

Human chromosome #2 and Great Ape chromosome #2 a, 2b: evidence for common descent.

More Genetic Evidence for Common Descent

Pseudogenes

Vitamin C Pseudogene in great apes and humans

Retroposons, SINEs (short interspersed elements), etc. Virus insertions

table 1 Chimpanzee

Gene sequence that codes for protein

Random DNA segment between genes

100%

98%

Dog
Mouse Chicken Fruitfly Roundworm

99%
99% 75% 60% 35%

52%
40% 4% ~0% ~0%

Typical random point mutation rates are about 1x10-5 1x10-7 mutations/generation. 5 million years = 250,000 generations.

Sufficient for random mutations to explain the change without the intervention of a guiding hand?

Some Tentative Conclusions

Evolution has happened. Microevolution has been observed.

Fossil evidence strongly supports the idea of change over time, but that change often happens in surprisingly sudden bursts. The Cambrian explosion raises real questions.
Genetic evidence gives rather strong support to the idea of common descent. Like it or not, this is true of humans as well.

Statistical and other arguments give support for evolution being theistic, rather than deistic, but this is not a scientific argument.
God invented evolution; let us give him credit for a great idea.

The Teleological Argument Evidence for Design in Nature The Anthropic Principle

Boeing 747
Design or Accident?

The Anthropic Principle

The laws of nature are what they are and the fundamental constants which underlie them have the values they have by design; in order that advanced life forms, such as humans, can exist in the universe.

Aristotle Copernicus Herschel Hubble Aristotle? Is the universe getting smaller again?

Two Versions of the Anthropic Principle

WAP Weak Anthropic Principle. The properties of the universe must be extremely precisely fine-tuned so that galaxies, stars, planets, life, and especially advanced self-conscious beings can exist. In fact, the universe has these necessary finely tuned properties. SAP Strong Anthropic Principle. WAP is true and this is not a coincidence. It must be because there exists a purposeful designer who intentionally created the universe we live in so that we could experience it.

Thomas Huxley, Darwins bulldog

We are as much the product of blind forces as is the falling of a stone to earth, or the ebb and flow of the tides. We have just happened, and man was made flesh by a series of singularly beneficial accidents.

Richard Dawkins

In the universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt and other people are going to get lucky: and you wont find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music.

Accident or Design?
The Anthropic Principle
William Paley

Flew is increasingly persuaded that some sort of Deity brought about this universe. He says he has in mind something like the God of Aristotle, a distant, impersonal "prime mover." It might not even be conscious, but a mere force. In formal terms, he regards the existence of this minimal God as a hypothesis that, at present, is perhaps the best explanation for why a universe exists that can produce complex life

Physics:
The Finely Tuned Universe

Fine Tuning of the Gravitational Constant

.00000000000000000000 000000000000000000000 000000000000000000001

Gravity

Dominant force on astronomical size scale. Need very close balance of gravity and cosmic expansion for stable universe.
If gravity weaker by 1 in 1060, universe expands too quickly, no galaxies or stars. If gravity stronger by 1 in 1060, universe collapses without forming galaxies or stars.

Gravity is fine-tuned to 1 part in 1060.

Fine Tuning of the Universe


Constant 1. Gravitational constant 2. Ratio of electrons to protons 3. Strong Nuclear Force 4. Weak Nuclear Force A Little Bigger very short-lived stars no stars or galaxies no hydrogen, fusion all H2 He at big bang no chemical bonding no galaxies A Little Smaller no stars no stars or galaxies only hydrogen no He at big bang no heavy elements no chemical bonding universe collapses quickly

5. Electric Force 6. Expansion rate of universe 7. Ratio of matter to antimatter and many more.

too much radiation for life not enough matter for galaxies to form

The Strong Force

Holds nucleus together. 5% weaker, no deuterium, stars wont burn 5% stronger, diproton stable, stars explode The strong force is tuned to 5% on the basis of these considerations alone.

The Weak Force

Holds neutron together. Few % weaker, few neutrons, little He, few heavy elements; even these stay trapped in stars. Few % stronger, too many neutrons, too much He, too many heavy elements; but these, too, stay trapped in stars. The weak force is tuned to a few percent.

Electromagnetism

Both repulsive & attractive, due to existence of positive & negative charges. + and charges must be almost exactly equal in number, to better than one part in 1040. Yet protons (+) and electrons (-) drastically different in mass, and froze out at quite different times in the early universe. If not for this equality, electromagnetic forces would dominate gravity, so no galaxies, no stars, no planets. Electromagnetic forces tuned to one part in 1040.

Summary on Fine-Tuning

Combining these cases gives fine-tuning of better than one part in 10100. Do we really have any evidence for 10100 universes to make this likely merely by chance? How big is 10100?

There are estimated to be some 1080 elementary particles in our universe. So we need to 1020 universes to get 10100 particles. Imagine the chances of randomly picking one marked particle from all these universes!

A finely-tuned instrument built by humans. Good to one part in a billion?

Fred Hoyle on Fine-Tuning

a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology.

The Right Kind of Galaxy


Spiral
Irregular

Eliptical

The Right Galaxy

Our galaxy is a spiral, which produces stars over much of its history. Not an elliptical, where star formation ends before there are many heavy elements. Not an irregular, where radiation events would have destroyed life.

The Right Sun: Location

Right distance from center of galaxy:

Closer too much radiation, disruptive gravity Further too few heavy elements
More or closer exterminate life Less or further too few heavy elements Zero pretty cold! Two or more unstable orbits if planets at all.

Right relation to supernovae:


Right number of stars in system

The Right Kind of Star


The Goldilocks Star

The Right Sun: Character

Mass in right range:


Heavier luminosity changes too quickly Lighter life zone too narrow, tidal forces too large

Temperature (color) in right range:


Redder insufficient photosynthesis Bluer insufficient photosynthesis

The Suns main radiation is right in the region where our atmosphere is transparent.

The Right Kind of Planet


Right distance

Rocky planet with plenty of oxygen and water


Thin, light planetary crust (allowing for plate tectonics) Huge moon for stable planetary rotation Tilted axis to spread energy around

The Right Planet: Temperature

Varies substantially on Earth, but:


Only a few spots above boiling Some below freezing

Contrast Venus, about 900 oF (500 oC). Contrast Mars, barely above freezing in midsummer at the equator. Earth is warm enough for water to be liquid, cool enough not to destroy biomolecules.

The Right Moon: Size & Distance

Our Moon is unique in the Solar System, one of the largest, and by far the largest compared with its planet. If it were smaller (or further away), Earths climate would be unstable, and tides too small for mixing. If it were larger (or closer), tidal effects on Earths rotation, ocean & atmosphere too large.

The Right Moon & Earths Crust

If Earths crust thicker, it would eat up the atmospheric oxygen. If Earths crust thinner, too much volcanism and plate movement. The Moon apparently formed from the Earths crust, when we were struck by a Mars-sized planet, a very flukey event!

Water

1. Ideal solvent to support life (dissolves ions and molecules 2. Right boiling and melting points

3. High specific heat


4. Solid floats on liquid 5. Contracts from 0 to 4 degrees centigrade

Designed Elements?

Carbon: The Central Element of Life

3-D molecules

Large, complex yet flexible molecules

Iron: an essential element

The Ozone Layer: Is oxygen a designed element?

No uranium, no plate tectonics

DNA
a) b)

Protein

Simplest life form: break it down


E. coli: about 1 trillion bits of information. E. coli have 3000-4000 different proteins. DNA and RNA to make and be made by these proteins. Lipids (membrane), Carbohydrates, etc. The simplest living cell is an unimaginably complex self-regulating nano factory

Fred Hoyle on Living Things

The chance that higher life forms might have emerged [by chance] is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.

Nature creates order, but not information

A House of Cards: Order and Information.

A much better analogy for living things.

Is prayer simply chemicals moving around in the brain? If God is love, then is God just the firing of particular neurons?

What you see depends on your world view.

The Christian world view predicts that a human brain will be designed so that those made in Gods image can experience love, joy, anger, compassion, spirituality, jealousy, empathy, oneness and other feelings, some of which have an extremely dubious evolutionary advantage.

Conclusion:

Since the creation of the world Gods invisible qualitieshis eternal power and divine naturehave been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Romans 1:20

Did we just happen?

Scientific Materialism

Only that which can be observed and measured through the technique of Scientific Method is real, and everything else is unreal.

Scientism

Scientism is the acceptance of scientific theory and scientific methods as applicable in all fields of inquiry about the world, including morality, ethics, art, and religion

Scientific Materialism

Scientific Materialism accepts only one reality: the physical universe, composed as it is of matter and energy. Everything that is not physical, measurable, or deducible from scientific observations, is considered unreal. Life is explained in purely mechanical terms, and phenomena such as Mind and Consciousness are considered nothing but epiphenomena - curious by-products, of certain complex physical processes (such as brain metabolism)

Materialism

We exist as material beings in a material world, all of whose phenomena are the consequences of material relations among material entities." In a word, the public needs to accept materialism, which means that they must put God in the trash can of history where such myths belong.
Richard Lewontin
Retrospective essay on Carl Sagan in the January 9, 1997 New York Review of Books,

If Materialism/Naturalism is right then:

I do not exist. Consciousness is just random moving around of chemicals. No soul, no spirit, no non-physical reality. Belief in God is just a meme the unfortunate accidental result of brain evolution.

Life has no value. Human beings have no value. What is value?


Love is chemicals moving around (vs. God is love)

Scientific Materialism

There is no God, No angels No Devil No good No evil No survival of physical death, No non-physical realities, and No ultimate meaning or purpose to life No Heaven No afterlife

A Response to Naturalism/Materialism/Scientism

It is a faith/religious belief based on circular reasoning. It is patently and demonstrably false.


It is dangerous. It is very bad philosophy.

Circular Reasoning
Unprovable assumptions of science:

There exist universal and inviolable natural laws.


The universe is observable and understandable. The universe is governed by mathematically precise laws.

None of these assumptions can be proved by experiment. In a sense, science is not scientific.

A recent BBC broadcast forum:

Questioner: How do you know that physical reality is all there is: that there is no God? Response of a vehement materialist (after much prodding): I simply believe it to be true. Questioner: Well, now we at least have it out on the table!

In other words, the strongest argument I have that physical reality is all there is is that I believe physical reality is all there is.

Materialism is Patently False Because.

The universe was created. Life was created.

The Anthropic Principle. The universe is ridiculously well fine-tuned for us to exist.
Even the materialist believes in good and evil (for example, religion is evil) The Bible is inspired by God.

If the Materialist is right, then

Religious thought is absolute nonsense. Prayer is chemical moving around in your brain. Art, Literature, Music have no intrinsic value. Justice is a meaningless word. Human rights have no basis. Etc.

Naturalism is a Dangerous (Evil?) Philosophy


If the naturalist is right then:

Good and evil are meaningless ideas. Stealing is not wrong. Any kind of sexual behavior as right or wrong as any other.

There is nothing evil about genocide.


Racism is not only acceptable, it is supported.

If the Materialist is Right Then


Violence and greed are acceptable behavior. Justice is a meaningless construct. The words ought and should are meaningless. There is no such thing as sin or wrong behavior.

Consider the only societies in human history controlled by atheists. USSR, Communist China, Khmer Rouge. Is this where human beings want to head?

An Example: Richard Dawkins

Considered by many the preeminent evolutionist of our time. A popularizer of science and an avowed atheist.
River out of Eden The Blind Watchmaker The Selfish Gene And, unfortunately. The God Delusion.

Key Points of The God Delusion

There exists a known mechanism by which organic evolution creates greater complexity through genetic mutation, gene crossing, natural selection etc. Therefore it is settled that nature can spontaneously create complexity as a general rule (although he proposes no mechanism for this outside of Darwinism). By analogy, there must be some sort of complexity-creator which can explain why the fine-tuned universe we live in was created. (and the multiverse speculation is assumed to be true, by the way)

Key Points of The God Delusion

This being proved (that the universe can spontaneously create complexity and information), then there is no need to invoke the Anthropic Principle or the idea of a designer. Therefore it is proved that there is no God, no supernatural presence. All of reality can be explained by random action of material forces.

Key Points in The God Delusion

It being proven that there is no designer, no supernatural presence, then belief in God, in the soul, in spiritual reality is a delusiona psychological illness.

The tendencycommon to almost all humans toward religious belief is the result of the formation of a meme. A meme is a gene-like evolved cultural idea. Like a virus that infects a culture. The religion meme is an artifact of brain evolutiona very unfortunate one.

Key Points in The God Delusion

Not only is all religious thought a delusion, it is in fact the most dangerous, pernicious, destructive force in human culture. It is the natural enemy of the only true source of knowledge: the scientific method.

Those who refuse to give up all religious belief are at least indirectly responsible for all the evil in the world. Religion has had absolutely nothing positive to offer to humanity. The sooner we abandon belief in morality and absolute ethical beliefs, the faster humans will approach their ultimate potential.

One More Thing

The existence of God is a scientific hypothesis, to be decided by empirical scientific experiment.

Problems with Dawkins arguments.

Extremely biased and emotional argument. Religionists are:


silly weird unworthy the root of all evil not enlightened Etc.

Problems With Dawkins Argument (cont.)


A prevalent use of logical fallacy to make his argument.

Ad hominem arguments
No True Scotsman Begging the Question (circular reasoning) Straw man argument Etc.

Problems With Dawkins Reasoning (cont.)


The God Delusion is pseudoscience.

Argument by analogy (virus of the mind) Claims of persecution Quoting authors out of context Bogus use of statistics (correlation vs. cause and effect) Appeals to mystery and myth (the bicameral mind) Proposal of theories which have no experimental support at all.

The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist


Michael Ruse (world-renowned atheist)

Science and the Bible

Delos B. McKown: Christianity is scientifically unsupported and probably insupportable, philosophically suspect at best and disreputable at worst, and historically fraudulent.

Papyrus Ebers

The Ebers Papyrus:


To prevent hair from turning gray, anoint it with the blood of a calf which has been boiled in oil or with the fat of a rattlesnake.
A mixture of six fats, namely those of the horse, the hippopotamus, the crocodile, the cat, the snake and the ibex.... to prevent hair loss.

Drugs of Choice in Papyrus Ebers:


Lizards blood Swines teeth Putrid meat Moisture from Pigs ears Excreta from animals including human beings, donkeys, antelope, dogs, cats and flies

I will not bring on you any of these diseases... Exodus 15:26

The pig... is unclean for you...those that walk on their paws...the weasel, the rat...are unclean for you. Leviticus 11

The sting of a hornet is healed by the house-fly, crushed and applied to the wound. The gnat, feeble creature, taking in food but never secreting it is a specific against the poison of the viper.
An ancient Hebrew medical manuscript.

Death Rate falls from 18% to 0.5%

Whoever touches the dead body of anyone will be unclean for seven days. He must purify himself with the water on the third and seventh day...take some hyssop, dip it in the water and sprinkle the tent and furnishings and the people who were there. Numbers 19

Semelweiss

Vienna, 1847

In maternity wards one out of every six women dies. Obstetricians ascribe deaths to constipation, fear and poisonous air.

Thymol

Leviticus 13:46
As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp. Quarantine for infectious disease

LEPROSY
Killed millions of people in Europe and around the world for thousands of years.
Fear of all other diseases taken together can hardly be compared to the terror spread by leprosy.
Dr. George Rosen

Leprosy

MEDICAL COMMUNITY HAD NO ANSWERS


They taught that it was brought on by eating hot food, pepper, garlic and the meat of diseased hogs. Other physicians said it was caused by a malign conjunction of the planets. Leviticus 13:46 As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp.

The life is in the blood


Leviticus 17:14 the life of every creature is in its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.

Bloodletting
The most common medical practice in 1700s and 1800s

Bloodletting Instruments from 1800s

1693).

George Tiemann & Co. American armamentarium

For the generations to come, every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised... Genesis 17:12

Vitamin K

Prothrombrin:

a clotting protein.

Clotting Protein Peaks on Day Eight

140 120
% of normal

Available Prothrombin

100 80 60 40 20 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 days 6 7 8 9 10

Abrahams Experiment
Day Circumcised Number of Hebrew Boys Number of Deaths

1 3

823 759

4 6

5
7 9

693
855 770

8
3 2

11

698

The Bible and Cosmology


The flood was produced by a union of the male waters, which are above the firmament, and the female waters issuing from the earth. The upper waters rushed through the space left when God removed two stars out of the constellation Pleaides. Afterward, to put a stop to the flood, God had to transfer two stars from the constellation of the Bear to the constellation of the Pleaides. That is why the Bear runs after the Pleaides. She wants her children back, but they will be restored to her only in the future world. A Jewish manuscript of New Testament times.

He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; He suspends the earth over nothing Job 26:8
The water cycle... Job 36:27, Amos 5:8

Science and World Religions

Is this (the seemingly unexplainable scientific wisdom of the Old Testament) the exception or the rule?

What is the cosmology/view of the natural world of other major world religions?

Cosmology and World Religions

HINDUISM

The principle religion of India. Approximately 900,000,000 adherents.

Began as animism/polytheism
Evolved into polytheism/pantheism Syncretistic. Hinduism is not really a single religion.

Ganesh: a Hindu deity God of wisdom and intellect

Hinduism and Time


Time is cyclic. There is a wheel of time. World is cyclically created by Brahma, sustained by Vishnu and destroyed by Shiva. Creative/destructive cycles called Yugas A universe lasts for one Brahma day = 4,320,000 years

Satya yuga (Krita yuga):- 1,728,000 Human years (already past) Treta yuga:- 1,296,000 Human years (already past) Dwapar yuga:- 864,000 Human years (already past) Kali yuga:- 432,000 Human years (5,110 years have passed; 426,890 years remain). Kaliyuga started in 3,102 B.C.; CE 2008 corresponds to Kaliyuga year 5,110

Hindism and Time (cont)

One full cycle = 100 Brahma years 311 trillion years. Then Brahma himself dies and is reborn

Hindu Cosmology

Many different levels of heavens/worlds/hells These levels are horizontal (flat) The physical world is illusory and it is evil Lower levels are even more evil than ours

Angkor Wat: Mount Meru

Popular Hindu Cosmology


The earth is on the back of four elephants standing on top of a turtle, encircled by a serpent, swimming in a sea of milk The Sutras
The physical world is an illusion maya.

Hindu Cosmology

Jainism

Founder: Mahavira ~600-540 BC Last of 24 gurus. Parshva 750 BC? Location: India mostly. About 5,000,000 practitioners

A reaction to worldly, priestly Hinduism

Jaina Cosmology

The Svastika a symbol of samsara (rebirth)

The universe has existed forever. A cyclic wheel of time. Utsarpini: A period of progressive happiness and purity. Time spans ages and sizes of people get much larger. Avsarpini: A period of progressive sorrow and immorality. Time spans, ages and sizes of people get much smaller. Great teachers in the past lived for millions or billions of years and were thousands of meters tall. In the future, people will be even less religious, smaller and live shorter time. An extremely complicated cosmology with multiple levels of worlds/heavens.

Buddhism

Principle religion of Korea, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma Sri Lanka and China? 400,000,000 adherents.

A reaction against the rigid priestly system of Hinduism.


Pantheistic, or arguably non-theistic. A philosophy, a psychology.

Buddhist Cosmology

Like Jaina, Hinduism, a vertical cosmology, with multiple levels/earths/heavens/lokahs 31 planes of existence, each with 3 realms. Higher ones more blissful, lower ones more like hell. Endless cycle of time Cosmic wheel.

Buddhist Cosmology

Borodbur in Indonesia: A Buddhist concept of the world

Questions: Can we take the Eastern ideas about cosmology seriously in the context of modern science?

How does this compare to biblical cosmology and ideas about creation?

Islamic Cosmology

The cosmology of Islam is not unlike that of the Bible, except that it takes incorrect popular ideas more literally. The main difference is that the Quran is not inspired, so the statements contained in the Muslim scripture has rather obvious scientific problems.

Scientific Errors in the Quran


23:14Creation from the clot of blood Then we made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then from that clot we made a lump; and we made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh.
18:86Traveling west till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring.

Scientific errors in Quran (II)


21:33Sun and stars orbit the earth 41:12 7--heavens, stars, comets in lowest

heaven
34:9, 52:44Piece of sky falls and kills someone 36:4, 23:14--Man deposits child into the mother