I received this comment from James in the thread under my post called Context Rules: The Inextricable Sexism of the Bible Confirmed.
I wonder if you are still there Richard.
Hey there James,
I was out of town for a full week. I had to fly to Ohio to handle a family emergency. I’m happy to report that everything worked out very well.
I also wonder what is your foundation for performing science. Based on a worldview of our universe coming from a big bang and from consequently unguided natural causes, what is your basis for assuming science works at all? You observe the laws of science, yes. But your understanding of the big bang does not allow you the right to assume there to be laws and order in our universe.
Many Christians think the Big Bang is how God created, so there is no necessary connection between it and “unguided natural causes.” But even if there were, it would not give me reason to doubt that “science works” since that is a demonstrable fact. The only question is one of philosophic justification which is interesting but ultimately irrelevant given that science works.
The Big Bang is a consequence of General Relativity coupled with observed facts like the microwave background radiation and the expansion of the universe. It is a scientific theory based on logic and facts. As such, it has nothing more to do with the unsolved philosophical problems relating to the foundation of science than any other theory.
Your assertion that I have no “right to assume there to be laws and order in our universe” is a common argument put forth by Christian apologists. It is based upon the failure of philosophers to achieve a consensus concerning epistemology, ontology, and the foundation of science. As such, it is a variation on the “God of the gaps” argument because it is based on our ignorance. In essence, it merely asserts that we should assume the existence of a god to explain the existence of natural law. The irony, of course, is that if philosophers have achieved a consensus on anything, it is the failure of that argument. And this irony is amplified by the fact that the laws of the universe have proven to be absolutely trustworthy, whereas God has been proven to be absolutely untrustworthy, as explained in my article Is God Trustworthy? The Root of Religious Delusion.
You say there is no reason to think a designer is required. You assume or accept that nothing in our universe requires a designer for its explanation. But yet, laws of nature and logic cannot be created mere matter and energy themselves.
What I actually said was that there is no observable phenomenon that requires a designer to explain. Everything we can actually observe obeys natural law. The only place for any designer would be in the dark region of human ignorance such as the origin of life.
Metaphysical questions about the nature of the “laws of nature and logic” are completely irrelevant because you can’t prove anything by weaving words based on metaphysical speculations. And worse, history is littered with examples of people using metaphysical arguments to “prove” what they already believed.
Furthermore, the laws of logic do not exist as things that require an explanation. They are simply defined by what we mean by our words. This should be obvious when you consider the most fundamental law of logic, the Law of Identity. The statement “A is A” defines what we mean by “is.”
Christians get accused all the time by atheists and intellectuals alike that we ignore evidence and rely on old superstitious and outdated religious myths. I would say that Christians rely on faith, yes. We do not have concrete, absolute dogmatic proof that the Bible is the true inspired Word of God and that God of the Bible is real. Point taken by the critics.
It is good that you admit that fact. So tell me, what is the difference between your faith in the Bible and the Muslim’s faith in the Qu’ran? You can’t appeal to evidence, because you admitted that it is insufficient to settle the matter.
But there is a double standard here. There is no evidence of the big bang being possible either. There are natural phenomia like the wave energy that is labeled to be attributed to the big bang, but this is not proof of the big bang at all. Certainly, when the scientific laws that we all recognize and adhere to opperate and use science to perform studies and make discoveries disagrees with the fundamental premise of the big bang. Calling the big bang science and creation religion is absurd. First off, the big bang is psuedo science. It conflicts with the very laws of science that matter can be neither created or destroyed.
Your comment indicates a radical ignorance of basic physics. There is a massive body of evidence for the Big Bang. It is not absolute proof, but that’s irrelevant because science is not in the business of “proving” things. On the contrary, science is based fundamentally on the awareness that our knowledge is provisional. Thomas Huxley captured this well when he described the “great tragedy of science” as “the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.”
Your assertion that the Big Bang is “pseudoscience” is utterly absurd and ignorant. The Big Bang is based on the best science of our age. It is a consequence of General Relativity coupled with observed facts like the microwave background radiation and the expansion of the universe. You simply have no clue what you are talking about. Or what? Do you challenge the field equations of General Relativity? Can you understand, let alone refute, this equation?
And do you reject the evidence of the cosmic background radiation that matches the predicted blackbody curve to a higher precision than any scientific observation in history?
First off, the big bang is psuedo science. It conflicts with the very laws of science that matter can be neither created or destroyed. People have been trying to look for a natural scientific explanation for our universe’s origin and it just does not work. The laws of science only work for opperating our universe. It does not work in creating it. Why not one may ask? We use different methods for opperating a car then to make one. The best race car driver in the world probably is not a car designer and or mechanic. We read and write and manuals to use Windows opperating systems. But that is not the same thing as developing an opperating system. It is common sense that the same laws and rules that work for a system in place cannot create the system in the first place.
I agree that the laws we see in the observable universe may not apply before it existed. All physicists recognise this fact. That’s why all physicists acknowledge that the known laws of nature break down at the singularity. And that’s why we can only speak of what happened after the Big Bang. We simply don’t know anything about the singularity itself. There may not even have been a singularity since it is likely that quantum effects would take over at that scale. But no one knows because we don’t have a theory of quantum gravity yet. And so once again, we see that you argument is nothing but the God of the gaps. The only place for your god is the land of darkness, superstition, and ignorance. There is no place for him in the realm of knowledge and observable facts.
It is odd that you did not notice the contradiction in your comments. First you said that the Big Bang contradicted the law of conservation of energy (which applies only in our observable universe), but then you said that such laws don’t apply to the creation event.
In a world that would be created by natural chance, we would not expect order and logic and consistency. It does not follow that one could rely on science consistently to perform observation and experimentation under a viewpoint that our world is natural, chance. Whether you accept it or not, you are borrowing from the Christian viewpoint when you use science for study. You assume that e always equals mc2. In a natural world, there is no basis for this. The best you can offer from a natural argument or explanation is circular logic. Of course there are laws of nature, nature would not exist without the laws of nature. This is not an explanation. It is circular logic that assumes it desired answer.
Your comments overflow with error and false assumptions. There is no reason to think that the world was “created by natural chance.” On the contrary, it is much more natural to think that the world results from natural necessity just like every other event we have ever observed. All events follow natural law by necessity, so it is natural to assume the same for the creation of the world.
Likewise, your assertion that science is “borrowing from the Christian viewpoint” is demonstrably false because Pythagoras was studying the mathematical laws and regularities of music long before Christianity was invented. It is true that the Christian worldview is harmonious with the presuppositions of science, but it is in no wise a necessary precondition.
I do not “assume” that “e always equals mc2.” That is simply the result of a scientific theory which is supported by observation. It is the opposite of an “assumption.” Of course, after we have established it through observation, we then assume it is true. You simply got the process backwards We do not begin by assumption.
Your assertion that nature does not give us any “basis” for the laws of nature makes no sense. The laws simply describe what is. They are they “articulation of ontology” – our way of stating how the world actually works. Where is the circularity in that? You say they are not an explanation for why they are what they are? That’s true, but so what? There cannot be an ultimate explanation for anything. If you say God is the ultimate explanation, then what explains God? If you say he doesn’t need an explanation, why then does the universe need an explanation? Most Christians say that the difference is that God is necessary while the world is contingent. I reject that claim. And so the debate goes round and round, proving nothing but that you can’t prove the existence of God by the weaving of words.
At least Christians admit they do not have a scienfic answer for our origin.
Scientists have no problem admitting that we don’t have a scientific answer for our origin. But at least we have some reasonable theories based on demonstrable facts, unlike Christians who appeal to childish superstitions about an imaginary god with magical powers that simply speaks the world into existence like a wizard saying “abracadabra.”
This does not change how we do science though.
Yes it does! It has motivated countless Christians to reject well-established science like cosmology and evolution for no reason other than because it contradicts the ridiculous mythological cosmology of the Ancient Near East that was incorporated into the Bible.
Much of good science and research and discovery done today is not affected by our philisophical understanding of our origin. It is also a atheistist lie that the acceptance of creation and God will discourage scientific curiosity and discovery. Good Christian scientists from all periods of history never settled for an answer of “that just how God did it.” This is called a noble lie fallacy. This fallacy is committed because one denies truth or facts in order to avoid seemingly negative results, whether real or immaginary in this case. Isaac Newton believed in creation and God. But he was still motivated to find out how gravity works and not just remarking that is how God did it.
I agree that believing in God would not necessarily hinder science, but it certainly has led to the irrational rejection of established science by thousands of believers.
As for Isaac Newton, he rejected the Trinity. Will you appeal to him as an authority in that case too, or are you cherry picking when to apply your appeal to authority? (That would be a double fallacy, of course.)
I hope you do digging for yourself and see that there is plenty of reasons to think that there is a God and that this universe of ours was designed. I hope you also see that there are plenty of reasons to doubt the big bang and evolution for being acceptable and realistic explanations for our origins.
I have dug much deeper than you could imagine James. I have degrees in Mathematics and Physics, with a couple years of graduate work towards a Ph.D. in Quantum Physics (which unfortunately I never completed). Likewise, I have educated myself in the philosophical questions relating to theism, science, epistemology, ontology, and so forth. I doubt there is even one significant Christian argument I have failed to review … and refute. You certainly have not presented anything that I have not seen before. I sincerely hope you will continue the conversation and expose any errors you see in my response, and admit the errors I have exposed.
All the best,