Thursday, March 18, 2010

Proving God Exists: Science

In case any of you are wondering, I haven't abandoned my weekly dissection of Answers in Genesis's weekly newsletter. For the last two weeks they've just been... uninteresting. Which is sort of odd for a creationist organization, but I suppose even they run out of pseudoscience now and again. So today I'll be doing a review of the next sermon on the list of Eric Hovind's underwhelming "proof of the Christian God." You don't have to read the first quote, but I thought it funny.
"All rise," comes the command in the musty and dim courtroom. "This court is now in session, the Honorable Judge Science presiding in the case Skeptic vs. Bible." The visitors in the gallery return to their seats as the case begins with opening arguments from the prosecutor. Skeptic's attorney makes several remarks, pleading to Judge Science to see that the evidence shows clearly that Bible is at fault, and cannot be trusted. The jury is on the edge of their chairs, wondering how the attorney for Bible will fare against such staggering evidence. By the time the verbose attorney for Skeptic takes his seat, things look bad for Bible. According to the case made by the prosecution, Science will no doubt rule against Bible. But then something curious happens. Science stands up and walks over to the seat of Bible. Bible stands up. Science mutters sheepishly, "Forgive me, he keeps calling me 'Judge.' I must have sat in the wrong seat, Judge Bible." A collective gasp is heard around the courtroom. As Judge Bible is seated in His rightful position, He holds up the gavel and asks Science how he pleads, "Are you guilty against this court and my laws, or do you plead innocent?" The room is all ears, as the new defendant rises and smiles. "I plead 'No Contest,' your Honor. I only do as you dictate."
Eric, are you honestly asserting that the Bible is to dictate to us what is and isn't scientifically factual? Are we to believe it when it tells us that the earth is flat, there is a solid dome in the sky, that bats are birds, that a whale is a fish, that a rabbit chews the cud, or that placing sticks in front of cows will make their offspring striped? That isn't a great track record. But even if I agreed that it was, why should I take the word of an ignorant nomad who wrote that God created everything in 6 days? How would he know that? He wasn't there. It sounds to me just like any other story a religion would tell you. The bible isn't a science textbook (and some creationists would even agree with me here), so to take any kind of scientific insight from it at all is putting it in a realm it doesn't belong. But to say that the book somehow overrides what we know about this world is preposterous. I wouldn't care if the Bible or any other holy book tells me that the sun revolves around the earth or that sicknesses are caused by demons - I know better, and I won't be naively fooled by your assertions that you know better than thousands of scientists over hundreds of years.
In the realm of debate among skeptics and Christians, science is often brought up as the standard by which we judge truth. Christians often pander to this, searching for the best scientific evidence possible, making multiple pleas to science in order to gain a favorable footing in this contest. But what Christians need to understand is that this puts science in the judge's chair. If we surrender our Bible to determine what is truth, we will never win. For the Bible tells us "Thy word is truth" (Jn 17:17). We've got it all backwards if we think we can appeal to science to vindicate Scripture. Furthermore, we elevate to an improper position the minds of men if we think we can put God's Word on trial to begin with! God's Word is sovereign, and science pleads "No Contest!" Scientific evidence merely bears witness to the absolute Truth of the Bible. In fact, if we may carry our courtroom analogy one step further, when Judge Bible is enthroned, the roles of defendant and prosecutor switch places. It is the skeptic who is now in the hot seat! God's Word is the standard, the skeptic has fallen short of this standard (Rom. 3:23), and we see from the testimony of scientific evidence nothing but verification of this assertion. We see that the skeptic's worldview is all wrong, and that science has no place in the position as judge.
No, the bible isn't the standard. It hasn't been for some time. If something is true, it can be found to be true without requiring some holy book. If something is true in the natural world, it can be investigated and conclusions can be drawn from our perceptions of whatever it is we're talking about. If we can't investigate it, we can't know that any claim is true, so to take the word of the bible (aka, the word of men), we're just assuming that what they said is true. That's a foolish thing to do when it comes to issues such as science (though in this paragraph you seem to drift away from that and lean more toward spiritual issues). There is absolutely no reason to think that the bible has any kind of monopoly on truth or that it is self-proving, because it isn't. And yet you talk as though it is, something you completely failed to show in your last post (Logic) and again fail to do here.
Now let's look deeper. Let's examine the presuppositions of the skeptic or unbeliever. He attempts to disprove the Bible through many venues, one of which is science. But there is a fundamental problem with this. Science depends on the Uniformity of Nature. If the laws of nature changed randomly, there would be no way to measure or experiment accordingly. If gravity, for example, were different from one day to the next, how could science be possible? The obvious answer is that it couldn't. Yet the scientific laws of nature are uniform and unchanging, because God established them to be so. He created laws and told us that they will not pass away – we can count on them (Gen. 8:22). But the unbeliever refuses to believe in God, though he operates with the same understanding of the uniformity of nature as do believers. But why? This is inconsistent with his professed worldview, which claims that nature and her laws evolved into what they are today through an ever-changing and random process. You see, the unbeliever must borrow from the consistent worldview of the Christian in order to even do science or appeal to scientific evidence. He takes God's existence for granted while he tries to argue against Him! In this way, the skeptical or unbelieving evolutionist professes a worldview that is self-refuting.
Just as in your last post, you assume with no evidence whatsoever that certain things don't make sense if there is no god. Again I must ask, why must there be any god for nature to be uniform? Does there need to be a Flying Spaghetti Monster for pasta to be tasty?  That assertion makes as much sense as yours, and if you don't think so, you might want to reexamine your logic. You can't just say that "X requires a God" and leave it at that. You need to show it through evidence and logic - something you haven't even attempted.

You then go on to say that unbelievers opine that nature and her laws evolved through random processes. This simply is not the case. Nature itself does not evolve and laws are unchanging. Life evolves due to the set laws of nature and is not completely random. I've explained this before and I don't need to do it again. You know as well as I that you're being misleading and spreading disinformation.
Christian, when you are presented with a scientific "evidence" against the God of the Bible, remember two things: First, never put the Bible on trial or place science in the judge's seat.  The Bible is the Final Authority. It is God's Word. When you use evidence, use it to show that science agrees with the Bible. And secondly, use science to show that the unbeliever has no way to account for the uniformity of the laws of science without the Biblical God, who never contradicts Himself, and who created laws to be relied upon. Show the skeptic that if he truly believes in Evolutionism, then there is no way he could measure or test his theory at all. Because without God, there is no way we can know anything. God established the laws of nature, and if this were not true, we could not trust these laws. And if we can't trust the laws, we can't trust any of our science. But thank God we can trust the uniform laws of nature and science, because our great God established them to endure when He created the whole universe in just six days.
I was at first under the impression that you were trying to prove to non-believers that a god exists. However, through your shallow logic and assumption of the infallibility of the bible, I have to assume that you're writing to and for Christians with no intent for your message to reach unbelieving eyes. This "logic" wouldn't even have convinced me when I was a Christian, much less now as an atheist.

You've moved on to asserting that without a god we can't know anything. This makes no sense at all - what we do and don't know are based on observation and testing, not by reading books and asserting them to be true despite all evidence to the contrary. Evolution by common descent can be tested in myriad ways and has been done in uncountable ways. (Just look up Tiktaalik or Human Chromosome II, for starters.)

Occam's razor is a useful tool that I would like to briefly explain here. It says that the explanation that fits the evidence and makes the least assumptions is most likely to be correct. An analogy is: let's say that right now, I hear a noise in my closet. I go investigate and find that a box has fallen onto the floor. I can assume perhaps one of two things. Either it fell on its own or it was knocked over by a cat. I know that the law of gravity pulls things down and that I've stacked many boxes on top of one another, so it is likely that one that was at an angle finally slid off the box below it and hit the floor.

Alternatively, I could simply theorize that a cat was crawling around in my closet and knocked it over. This is akin in science to throwing away modern explanations and just saying "Goddidit." However, like the box analogy, this makes more assumptions and leaves more things unexplained than it solves. Think about the cat: how did it get into my apartment? How did I not hear it crawling around for the last few hours and where did it go? Assuming a cat is responsible raises more questions than it answers, so the better explanation in light of the circumstances is that the box simply fell on its own.

In the same way, is it more likely that the universe's laws are uniform because that's just the way it works, or is it more likely that some all-powerful god created it with a blink of his eye and left us no evidence of his existence otherwise? I'm afraid the answer is the former. You can believe the latter if you wish, but you then must explain how and where God exists, show that he exists, and show that he is the one responsible for taking the action in the first place - none of which you can do. It is for this reason that I can't accept your rationale that you display throughout your post and believe it makes more sense to not unnecessarily throw a god into the mix when things make just as much sense without him.

You argue from the viewpoint that the Bible starts off as infallible and perfect. You can't do that when trying to prove God's existence because you're assuming the conclusion. However, if you didn't have your Bible, you'd be up a creek without a paddle because it's the only tool you have. This is why nobody will be convinced of what you have to say. You must start with common ground and work your way up until you've proven your point without assuming anything your opponent doesn't.

So, to my readers, if you disagree with anything I've said, please leave a comment and explain what you think and why.


Anonymous said...

i guess i just wanted to let you know that i read all of your posts and i find them all extremely interesting and intelligent. keep it up.

Drew Reagan said...

Thanks. I'm glad somebody reads this. :P

shreddakj said...

Great post. The Hovinds baffle me. They just say so many things that make me facepalm....

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