Friday, June 28, 2013

EVIDENCE

Wednesday evening, Uni and I watched NOVA on PBS.  The title of the program was "Earth From Space."  Part of the blurb for the program was "Satellite data is transformed into visual sequences that detail interwoven forces that sustain life on earth."  That describes it pretty well.

We watched and heard the impressive evidence that the earth is a fine tuned machine.  Weather and climate in every area of the globe affect and are affected by weather and climate in every other area of the globe.  We both commented on how these matters showed the wisdom and evidence of a Creator/Designer.

And yet I'm told that Atheism is based on a lack of evidence for God.  No evidence!  Zip!  Nada!

Excuse me, but it would seem to me that the burden of proof lies with those who would have us believe that somehow all of this simply happened -- that there is a design without a designer.  But I'll back away from demanding that; I'd simply ask my Atheist friend(s) to reconsider the assertion that there is a lack of evidence and consider instead in what direction the evidence points.

I should note that belief or unbelief in God is not a matter of intelligence or lack of the same.  Brilliant people could be quoted on either side of the question.  However, it seems to me that this idea is a card often played by Atheists (and sometimes also by Theists).  One of the problems of quoting the learned opinions of brilliant people is that they occasionally change sides.  And there is the old saying (I forget the source) that the trouble with a clever argument is that it is always at the mercy of a cleverer argument.

Having made the above assertion, I still believe there is a place for the following statements, made by reasonably intelligent persons who did examine the evidence.

Anthony Flew, philosopher and former well-known Atheist, author of more than 30 books, "I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite Intelligence.  I believe that this universe's intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God.  I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source.

Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than a half century?  The short answer is this:  this is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science.  Science spotlights three dimensions of nature that point to God.  The first is the fact that nature obeys laws.  The second is the dimension of life, of intelligently organized and purpose-driven beings, which arose from matter.  The third is the very existence of nature.  But it is not science alone that has guided me.  I have also been helped by a renewed study of the classical philosophical arguments."  (There Is No A God, 2007, pages 88, 89.)

Francis S. Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project, currently Director of the National Institutes of Health:  "In this modern era of cosmology, evolution, and the human genome, is there still the possibility of a richly satisfying harmony between the scientific and spiritual worldviews?  I answer with a resounding yes!  In my view, there is no conflict in being a rigorous scientist and a person who believes in a God who takes a personal interest in each one of us."  (The Language of God, 2006, pages 5, 6.)

Hugh Ross, Ph. D., astrophysicist.  "All of the scientific and historical evidences I had collected deeply rooted my confidence in the veracity of the Bible and convinced me that the Creator had indeed communicated through this holy book.  I went on to become an astronomer, and my investigations into both the cosmos and the Bible have shown me a more wondrous, personal God behind nature than I could ever have imagined."  (The Creator and the Cosmos, 1993, page 17.)

I quote these men, not as authorities, but as themselves a demonstration that there is evidence that points to a Creator and that there are some who have examined the evidence and come to the conclusion that there is a God.

"The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky proclaims His handiwork."
Psalm 19:1

8 comments:

Canadian Atheist said...

You said: Weather and climate in every area of the globe affect and are affected by weather and climate in every other area of the globe. We both commented on how these matters showed the wisdom and evidence of a Creator/Designer.

Was it about the Gaia hypothesis?

You said: We both commented on how these matters showed the wisdom and evidence of a Creator/Designer.

Not really. That's you attributing attributes to something you have no real evidence for. It's jumping to conclusions.You see something that works, and assume a God must have made it.

You said: Excuse me, but it would seem to me that the burden of proof lies with those who would have us believe that somehow all of this simply happened -- that there is a design without a designer.

No, the burden of proof falls to the one making the claim. The religious have a long road in front of them. Not only must they prove the existence of a God, but they must also prove their particular God is the right one. Until then, claims about deities aren't really credible. No one in every day life has to prove the non-existence of something.

Also, if your argument is that a complex universe needs to have been created, then please explain how a creator complex enough to create the universe was in turn created. It would need to have been something even more complex than the God. And so on, and so on.

If you make the argument that indeed, God just was and has always been. Then you can use that same argument about the universe.

I will get to the rest soon. I fear this post will become to long. Good read though.

Canadian Atheist said...

Okay, so you start out with Anthony Flew. What you failed to mention is that Anthony didn’t convert to Christianity. He went the deism route. He didn’t believe in a personal God. If I were to be religious, I would heavily lean in the direction of deism. The thing with Christianity is it makes all kinds of supernatural claims, without an ounce of evidence. It also goes completely against what we see as reality. In reality, we don’t see people rising from the dead etc.

As far as deism goes; I can completely understand why someone might believe in it. Christianity, however, is a whole other story.

You also have to keep in mind that Anthony ‘converted’ near the end of his life. Allegations have been made that he wasn’t in his right mind or that someone else wrote the book and attributed it to him. He may also have been afraid of death. After all, that’s fairly natural and sometimes, people do take up religion. That doesn’t make religion true. It simply means they had a reason (even if it’s not a rational one) to want to believe in a God.

Besides, if you want to use the numbers of atheists who turned religious as some sort of proof that your religion is correct, then we can see that atheism (and the nones) is the fastest growing sector of the population. That sector is coming from the religious side. They’re leaving churches and embracing evidence based model of thinking – the same thinking most religious people use every day, except when it comes to religion.

Collins was brought up in a Christian household. He used CS Lewis to back his conversion, who has been debunked several times over. He also dealt with dying patients, which would be incredibly hard. It doesn’t surprise me that he would embrace religion in the face of such stress.

However, just like pretty much everyone, ironically, he ended up choosing the religion he grew up in. If he were brought up in Saudi Arabia, he would probably be a Muslim. So again, there is nothing that shows his faith was any more justified than the faith of a believer in Odin.

Nobody in scientific circles really takes Hugh Ross seriously. He has a ministry and was not an atheist. He tries to fit real science with pseudoscience.

Being a scientist doesn’t mean that they are immune to belief in a God. It also doesn’t mean that they prove God exists. There are some great Christian scientists, who don’t allow their belief in God to infect their science. And that’s okay. The vast majority of them don’t proclaim that they have evidence of God or can prove it scientifically. Once they do that and their research is peer reviewed, that’s usually the end of their career in terms of science. Like Hugh Ross, they had better have a backup plan, such as leading their own ministry.

Teranno4x4 said...

I have yet to meet any atheist that can successfully explain to me how their understanding of this Earth's 'creation' by the 'big-bang' actually physically could happen. There is a lot of talk of black holes, vacuum in space, anti-matter and the like, but in reality and by comparison their theory / notion is like blowing up many kilos of c4 explosive and finding that in the residue and destructive aftermath of the micro 'big-bang' is a complete and shiny new Rolls-Royce car with the engine running in perfect tune on all cylinders!

What I find mildly amusing and quite sad is that atheists need more faith to support and believe in their theory of evolution than I do to believe in my almighty Creator God.

Fortunately, science will never control or have any explanation for real working faith!

"blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." John 20:29

Bill Ball said...

CA: You seem to have missed the point I was making in my last paragraph that I was not quoting these men as authorities. I assume that is the reason for your ad hominem arguments. I do find it interesting that you disqualify Flew because he is not a Christian while you disqualify Collins and Ross because they are Christians. You disqualify Flew because he converted late in life while you disqualify Ross because he was converted early.

Canadian Atheist said...

Dear Teranno,

You said: I have yet to meet any atheist that can successfully explain to me how their understanding of this Earth's 'creation' by the 'big-bang' actually physically could happen.

Why not pick up a science textbook on the subject and look for yourself. To ask an atheist to explain the theory of the big bang to you is unreasonable.

You said: There is a lot of talk of black holes, vacuum in space, anti-matter and the like, but in reality and by comparison their theory / notion is like blowing up many kilos of c4 explosive and finding that in the residue and destructive aftermath of the micro 'big-bang' is a complete and shiny new Rolls-Royce car with the engine running in perfect tune on all cylinders!

This shows your complete lack of understanding about the science behind the big bang.

You said: What I find mildly amusing and quite sad is that atheists need more faith to support and believe in their theory of evolution than I do to believe in my almighty Creator God.

Why do you find it sad?

Second, it takes no faith at all not to believe in your deity. It’s a lack of faith. It takes no more faith for me not to believe in your God as it takes for you not to believe in Zeus, Odin, Isis or Harry Potter.

You said: Fortunately, science will never control or have any explanation for real working faith!

Ironic, since you’re using the fruits of science right now, while reading this reply. If it weren’t for science, you might not have food to eat, a car to drive, a heated house, a stove to cook food or any of the other niceties you associate with civilization. At best, you’d be living in a cave. Next time you go to the doctor and they give you a diagnosis, why not tell them that science can’t help you and put your faith in the Lord instead?

Because you know science works. It’s the best method we have of discovery.

Canadian Atheist said...

Dear Bill,

You said: You seem to have missed the point I was making in my last paragraph that I was not quoting these men as authorities.

Then why quote them at all?

Oh, because you said: Having made the above assertion, I still believe there is a place for the following statements, made by reasonably intelligent persons who did examine the evidence.

And I simply pointed out that the people you quote are unreliable and debunked.

You said: I assume that is the reason for your ad hominem arguments.

There was nothing ad hominem about them. Just truth.

You said: I do find it interesting that you disqualify Flew because he is not a Christian while you disqualify Collins and Ross because they are Christians. You disqualify Flew because he converted late in life while you disqualify Ross because he was converted early.

I didn’t disqualify anything. I know those people profess a belief in God. However, the first one didn’t believe in your God. The second one was at the end of his life and there is controversy whether or not he even wrote the book and the third is a Christian creationist who has been thrown out of scientific circles.

The point being, this is not proof of anything, besides some people believe in religion or a God. We already knew that. Flew didn’t believe in your God for a reason. With all due respect, the whole post is just a dancing around the issue – Christians have no evidence and can’t even explain how a creator was in turn created.

At best, it’s an Argumentum ad populum.

AFriend HelpingOut said...

Seriously -- there is no evidence whatsoever that YOUR holy book (the bible) is, except in a few select passages vetted by REAL historians, anything more than silly superstitions & crackpot history. The scientific evidence for the BIG BANG & EVOLUTION is meticulously conclusive -- and growing everyday. It does require a CHILDISH leap of faith -- it's proofs can be checked & rechecked by clever and thorough people who THINK CLEARLY AND INDEPENDENTLY.

In spite of your good intentions, your faith is as sorry, mad & sad as people who believe in women-subjugating Islam or the doctrjnes of North Korea's Kim Jong Un.

Time for you to grow up. Throw your childish faith in the commode -- then hit FLUSH. You are an adult now. Live and work in the REAL WORLD.

Bill Ball said...

Dear "AFriendHelpingOut": I deleted your comment accusing me of dishonesty for requiring approval. Most bloggers do require approval in order to keep their pages from filling up with spam, which your comment appeared to be before I saw the others. As you can see I accept and publish comments of all sorts, even angry tirades such as yours.