Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Does Science Lead Us to God?

March 26, 2010

The Bible starts out, “In the beginning, God….” (Genesis 1:1) The Bible assumes there is a God, and states in a few places that “the fool has said in his heart, ‘there is no God.’” (e.g., Psalm 14:1, Psalm 53:1). The Apostle Paul states that God’s “invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature can be seen, being understood through what has been made….” (Romans 1:20) The Psalmist echoed this truth in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens are telling the glory of God, and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.”

Today we have experienced an increase in popular writers who not only disbelieve in God, but either admittedly or by inference hate God. These writers generally employ arguments against the existence of God that are not philosophically sophisticated, and have been soundly addressed (and, dare I say, refuted) by theists over the past 200 years. Nonetheless, with the resurgence of atheism, and attempts by American atheists to rid the public square of any recognition of God (e.g., taking God out of the “Pledge of Allegiance,” removing “In God We Trust” from our coins, removing postings of the Ten Commandments from public buildings), it is time for a review of why atheism fails, and why Darwinian evolution fails as an explanation for the existence of life.

The threshold question is, “where did the universe come from?” Either it is uncaused (i.e., it created itself) or it was caused. Atheists have a difficult time trying to explain how energy, time and space came from nothing. Further, there is nothing within the natural universe that tells us why it is here (and why we are here). A believer in God (“theist”) holds that the universe came into existence (i.e., was caused) by a God who transcends the universe (i.e., He is not a part of it). Does the evidence support atheism or theism? Let’s look at the facts from science.

First, the complexity of the universe. The universe has at least 50 constants (e.g., the force of gravity, the charge of an electron, mass of a proton) that if they were different by one-billionth of a percent there would be no life in the universe. Calling the universe “fine-tuned” is quite an understatement. Evidence of the grand design of the universe is acknowledged by leading scientists, some of whom have made the logical step of concluding there must be a Designer:

1. Cambridge scientist Steven Hawking estimated that if the rate of the universe’s expansion had been smaller by even one part in 100,000,000,000,000,000 it would have re-collapsed into a fireball.(1) A stroke of luck, or an intelligent design by a Designer?

2. Physicist Brandon Carter determined that the odds against the original condition of the universe being suitable for later star formation (without which planets, such as Earth, could not exist) is 1 followed by a thousand billion billion zeros (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 zeros).(2) Coincidence perhaps?

3. Physicist and Astrobiologist P.C.W. Davies concluded that a change in the strength of gravity (or the weak force) by one part in 10 followed by 100 zeroes would have prevented a life-permitting universe.(3) The existence of life is either quite fortuitous or it was planned by a super-intelligence.

4. Sir Frederick Hoyle, late professor of Astronomy at University of Cambridge, said a common sense interpretation of the known facts about the universe suggest “a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics.”(4) Clearly, the evidence points to someone or something outside the universe creating what we now see.

5. Robert Jastrow (head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies) called the fine-tuning of the universe “the most powerful evidence for the existence of God every to come out of science.”(5)

Second, the origin of life. Darwin tried to explain life without any need to invoke a Creator. Darwin could never tell us how the first life got here which eventually evolved into trees, fish and Aunt Erma. Has evolution eliminated the need for a God that created our fine-tuned universe in order to support the creation of life? Here is what leading scientists (and not all of them admitted theists) have said about the positive evidence for a Creator of life, and the weaknesses of Darwinian evolution:

1. Sir Frederick Hoyle compared the absurdity of believing that life could result from time, chance, and properties in matter with believing that “a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the material therein.”(6)

2. “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary tree that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference….”(7) (Stephen Jay Gould, Professor of Geology and Paleontology, Harvard University)

3. “One problem biologists have faced is the apparent contradiction by evolution of the second law of thermodynamics (entropy). Systems should decay through time, giving less, not more order.”(8) (evolutionist Roger Lewin)

4. “The origin of life appears to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have to be satisfied to get it going.”(9) (Francis Crick, Nobel prize winner and co-discoverer of DNA)

5. “We now have a quarter of a million fossil species, but the situation hasn’t changed much…. ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transitions than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded…”(10) (David Raup, Curator of Geology, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois)

6. “Evolution became in a sense a scientific religion; almost all scientists have accepted it and many are prepared to ‘bend’ their observation to fit with it… To my mind, the theory [of evolution] does not stand up at all.”(11) (H.S. Lipson, British physicist)

As scientist Paul Davies said regarding science, “Clearly, then, both religion and science are founded on faith — namely, on belief in the existence of something outside the universe, like an unexplained God or an unexplained set of physical laws…”

This fact is humorously illustrated in the film “Expelled,” when the film’s producer, Ben Stein, interviewed popular atheist author Richard Dawkins. Stein, asked, “What do you think is the possibility that intelligent design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in genetics or evolution?” Dawkins replied, “It could have come about in the following way—it could be that at some earlier time somewhere in the universe a civilization evolved (by probably some kind of Darwinian means), to a very high level of technology and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. Now that is a possibility and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose its possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry and molecular biology that you might find a signature of some sort of a designer. And that designer could well be a higher intelligence from elsewhere in the universe.”(12) In other words, Dawkins is open to the possibility of an intelligent design accounting for life on earth, as long as the intelligent designer is not God. What nonsense to suggest that life came from an advanced alien civilization, but not from God. Even if we entertain Dawkins’ theory, it does not solve the question of where life came from, because we then have to ask Dawkins, “where did the advanced aliens come from?” He has no answer for that question.

The good news is that more and more scientists are discovering that the universe had a beginning, and the best explanation for how it began is to posit an eternal, all-powerful intelligence that set the universe in motion. Who could that be? Back to Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God….”
(1) “William Lane Craig vs. Peter Atkins (HQ) 2/11.” 1998 Debate. Online video clip. YouTube. Accessed on 24 March 2010.
(2) “William Lane Craig vs. Peter Atkins (HQ) 2/11.” 1998 Debate. Online video clip. YouTube. Accessed on 24 March 2010.
(3) “William Lane Craig vs. Peter Atkins (HQ) 2/11.” 1998 Debate. Online video clip. YouTube. Accessed on 24 March 2010.
(4) “William Lane Craig vs. Peter Atkins (HQ) 2/11.” 1998 Debate. Online video clip. YouTube. Accessed on 24 March 2010.
(5) “William Lane Craig vs. Peter Atkins (HQ) 2/11.” 1998 Debate. Online video clip. YouTube. Accessed on 24 March 2010.
(6) Sir Frederick Hoyle, “Hoyle on Evolution,” Nature (November 12, 1981); 105.
(7) Stephen Jay Gould, “Evolution’s Erratic Pace,” Natural History (April 1977); 14.
(8) Roger Lewin, “A downward slope to greater diversity,” Science (September, 1974); 1239.
(9) Francis Crick, “In the beginning…” Scientific American (February 1991); 125.
(10) Dr. David Raup, “Conflicts between Darwin and Paleontology,” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin (January, 1979); 25.
(11) H.S. Lipson, “A Physicist Looks at Evolution,” Physics Bulletin (May 1980); 138.
(12) Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. 2008 “Ben Stein vs. Richard Dawkins Interview.” Online video clip from the movie Expelled. YouTube. Accessed on 24 March 2010.

1 comment:

  1. I recently took a couple of college level refresher courses, Quantum Mechanics and Einstein's Relativity. The complexity of everything, from the tiniest atom to the entire universe, cries out concerning the existence of an intelligent Creator. Only the blind would/could claim there is no God.