#5 SCIENCE pt.1
Science is probably my most favorite aspect of where God reveals Himself so loud and clear. If that sounds like a false positive, hang in there. This is the part of our own life mission for holistic integrity, where by virtue of what we experience in reality, we are obligated to measure that in contrast with what we are told is true. It is not accurate to say that popular science is the all in all, because how many times have we, decades later, learned something new as a society that turns the table on the predominant scientific data of our time. I say that only to set an honest tone about discovery relative to time, advancement of the human mind and the advancement of technology.
This is by no means an exhaustive discussion on science as it pertains to God and creation. However I just believe its important to begin the conversation…
To me, God makes himself known so richly in and through creation. I do not believe that recognition requires faith at all, because He makes this so plain. I feel that it requires more faith to have a vast depth of understanding about the universe, and still claim that there is no intelligent design behind it. The universe speaks for itself, and that is precisely why, as the Bible states, that we are left ‘without excuse’ to deny the existence of God.
“The heavens declare the glory of God. The skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech. Night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is to heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4
Have you ever had the opportunity to stand or lay in a meadow underneath the skies, basking in the warm sun, observing the clouds, the shadows, feeling the wind weightlessly pass over your body? Such an indescribable feeling, isn’t it?
To me, it feels like a tremendous amount of work to shut off our ears and close our eyes to all of the proclaiming of that moment. Those moments stir us on a soul-deep level, not because we are made from star dust, but because we serve a mighty God who has revealed Himself in what He has made. You almost have to go out of your way to deny this. However, we have a tendency because of the fall, to look at that which is plain and ignore it.
The conviction that the universe is so highly ordered and complex suggests the hand of a conscious mind or creator. This sentiment resonated deeply in some of the brightest and best minds in the History. Figures like Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, and Galileo, all were inspired in their scientific discoveries by the belief that they were merely revealing the intricate plan of a Divine Artisan.
It’s as simple and as complex of an example as if you were to drive through the mountains of South Dakota, and suddenly you came upon the faces carved in the rock at Mount Rushmore. You would never in a million years think it was a mere product of wind and rain erosion. You would instantly recognize it as the handiwork of an artist. That is exactly what we are talking about in the case for intelligent design in the universe.
The process for identifying design is highly empirical.
Todays astronomers for example, who are in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, have worked out extensive criteria for recognizing when a radio signal is an encoded message and when it is a natural phenomena, like a pulsar. In other words, they have distinguished between the products of design and the products of natural causes. The same distinction is made in several other fields, which yields the identification process for design highly empirical and not just a scapegoat. Detectives distinguish between murder (design) from death by natural causes. Archeologists have rigid criteria for distinguishing when a stone has the distinctive chip markings of a primitive tool (design) and when it is simply the result of weathering and erosion. Cryptologists have worked out procedures to decide whether a set of symbols is a some sort of secret message (design) or if it is merely a random sequence.
However, for most of us that have gone through public school, we were shown that Darwin essentially demonstrated that it was not necessary to posit a God to explain the origin of life, rendering intelligent design no longer a satisfactory explanation in secular society. If natural causes working on their own are capable of producing everything that exists, then there is obviously no need for a creator. And if the existence of God no longer serves as any explanatory or cognitive function, the only function left is emotional.
However as we will get to later, the impact of Darwinian evolution does not lie so much in the detail of mutation and natural selection as much as it does the new criterion for objective truth. For now, i’ll press into the topic of science using the Bible to make a positive case for intelligent design, and then later on will make a case against Darwinism. We will also eventually trace the much broader implications of the issue of origin and how it effects all of western culture- from ethics, to education, from movies, to music.
What does the Bible say about this?
Dualism as you will recall was born because the Greeks thought that matter was preexisting and eternal, capable of resisting the rational order imposed by the forms. The obvious counter-answer to that dualism is the Biblical doctrine which states that nothing is preexisting or eternal except for God himself. He is the sole source for all of creation, and every part of it bears His fingerprints and bears the reflection of His good character in its original, created form. (more on this later).
“…who suppress the truth through inner wickedness…since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-His eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse…” Romans 1:18-20
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles…They exchanged the truth for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the creator.”
Romans 1:21-23, 25
The Bible speaks to this common issue of man to ignore His handiwork for Millenia before us.
The question of origins is incredibly important. There frankly are only two logical/possible answers to this question. Either a) the cosmos had a beginning- like there was nothing, and then there was something. Or, b) The cosmos have always been.
A cosmos that has always been for all of history and all of eternity goes directly against the 2nd law of thermodynamics however, which is that energy is always being converted into less useful energy. If that is the case and we are now in the eternal future, what should the cosmos look like today? It should quite honestly look, dead.
The most major problem with concluding that the cosmos are eternal is that it does not fit with what we know the preconditions must be for that. In the same way, when you burn fuel in your car, eventually, your gas tank will become empty ad your gas light goes on. Someone has to add fuel, or else it will die.
If however the Cosmos had a beginning, (without god in the picture), there would be nothing, nothing, nothing…and then boom! Everything. Something doesn’t come from nothing. This is precisely why Einstein was so troubled after his Theory of Relativity, because it still pointed us back to the big bang. He said that he was “irritated” by that, because it still left him with the problem of something coming from nothing.
Essentially Einstein had to add a cosmological constant in order to make the claim palatable. He eventually admitted it was one of the biggest blunders of his life because then you have to deal with the very point of nothing, and then everything.
For this reason, this realm of Philosophy nowadays requires much greater faith than what we need as Christians, the idea of something coming from nothing.
What are the Metaphysical Questions that confront us in that? Meaning, why is there something rather than nothing?
Why is anything in motion rather than everything still?
Why is there order rather than chaos?
Why is there life rather than deadness?
Why is there music? (Have you ever thought about that)?
Have you considered the reality and the order of music, the tones, where did that come from? How did that evolve?
It’s crazy to actually sit still with these questions and force your most honest self to sift and sort.
The Cosmos reveal two choices to us:
It can either reveal to us that there is a transcendent creator that has created the cosmos, OR that it has created itself from nothing. Repeat, from nothing.
Looking at the Cosmos from God’s perspective as the transcendent creator, we easily see that He acts within the cosmos, and more, that He Has revealed Himself in it.
What seems clear is that Science and philosophy then are very closely linked. Philosophy is seeking to understand ultimate reality, or truth claims about those large universal questions. Science is trying to develop the truth claims about the particulars within the philosophy. BOTH are seeking to make truth claims about reality. However science has moved into a philosophical role once it arrives at the big gap which is in the explanation of order.
Johannes Keppler said that “The chief aim of all investigations of the external world should be to discover the rational order and harmony which has been imposed on it by god.”
But if your worldview leaves out god, this is not the chief aim. What Keppler’s statement does show however is that the idea of design was once the motivation for the scientific revolution, because the conviction that we could study nature and make sense of it derived from that idea that it was the product of a rational intellect. If a rational intellect had created nature and made order and given it so called laws, then it made it plausible for us to make sense of that order.
Chance & Order
The information that would have been needed in order to build the first cell alone, is impossible under the lens of evolution.
To understand why, consider the difficulty of the odds of generating just two lines from Shakespeare hamlet of “to be or not to be,” by dropping scrabble letters onto a table top.
Then, consider the odds of dropping scrabble letters onto a table that would have the specific genetic instructions required to build a protein in even the simplest one cell organisms. That would require hundreds of pages of printed text to translate it.
This example however presupposes that there are even scrabble letters with letters on it.
And more than that, the way we would have to look at it is that there had to be someone earlier who was flicking paint on those letters until you finally get one letter.
And then that person got on top of the table in order to drop the scrabble letters, to begin the whole process. We are literally talking about odds of this magnitude.
THIS is one of the fundamental issues that is becoming difficult for scientists to answer outside of intelligent design: Where does this organized information come from? Scientists can’t get away from the language of design.
“Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” Richard Dawkins
“Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.” Francs Crick- co discoverer of DNA
“I remember well the time when the thought of the eye made me cold all over, but I have gotten over this stage of the complaint. And now small trifling particulars of structure often make me very uncomfortable. The sight of a feather in a peacocks tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick.” Darwin
Why did that bother Darwin so? How did the peacock somehow create this feather that somehow looks like an eye, the intricacies of the colors blended so orderly that it makes one intent on denying design tremble because this intuitive gut knows better because it is plain.
As one historian puts it, Darwin hoped to show “how blind and gradual adaptation could counterfeit the apparently purposeful design” that seemed so obviously a “function of mind.” Neil C. Gillespie, Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation Biologist
Richard Dawkins’s book, “The Blind Watchmaker,” plays off of a metaphor formulated two hundred years ago by a clergyman named William Paley. It goes like this:
If you find a a gadget like a watch lying on the ground out in the woods, Paley said, you don’t have any trouble deciding that it is a product of human manufacture-made by a watchmaker. For a watch has all of the diagnostic signs of design: It is a set of interconnecting, coordinated parts all directed towards a purpose (to tell time).
In living things we find the same type of integrated, purposeful structures: The purpose of the eye is to see, the purpose of the ear is to hear, the fin to swim. Thus, Paley argued, they must likewise be products of an intelligent agent.
Dawkins’s claim is that Paley’s intelligent agent can’t be replaced by a blind, unconscious process-one that produces purposeful structures without itself having any purpose or intention.
Natural selection is a “blind watchmaker.” Press into this study, kiddos. Dig way deeper on this. Don’t even think about taking my word for it. Do your research, think this through for yourself. Even if these principles are dressed up in fancy language from your professors or others, filter it down to the roots here and demand the linear follow through of the logic to the end. That’s where it breaks down.