Presentation on theme: "The Existence of God: Is Science Opposed to It ?"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Existence of God: Is Science Opposed to It ? Copyright by Norman L. Geisler 2007
2 I. Which Views of God? Theism: God created All Deism: God is beyond the World but not in ItFinite Godism: God is beyond world but is limited in power and/or perfectionAtheism: No God at AllPantheism: God is AllPanentheism: God is in AllPolytheism: There are many finite gods.
10 II. The Founders of Modern Science Were not Opposed to God (Theism) Johannes Kepler (1571‑1630) Celestial Mechanics, Physical AstronomyBlaise Pascal (1623‑1662) HydrostaticsRobert Boyle (1627‑1691) Chemistry, Gas DynamicsNicolaus Steno (1638‑1687) StratigraphyIsaac Newton (1642‑1727) Calculus, DynamicsMichael Faraday (1791‑1867) Magnetic TheoryCharles Babbage (1792‑1871) Computer Science
12 Johannes Kepler (1571‑1630):"May God make it come to pass that my delightful speculation [in Mysterium Cosmographicum] have everywhere among reasonable men fully the effect which I strove to obtain in the publication; namely, that the belief in the creation of the world be fortified through this external support...." (cited by Holton, Origins, 84)
13 Sir Isaac Newton (1642‑1727):“It is not to be conceived that mere mechanical causes could give birth to so many regular motions, since the comets range over all parts of the heavens in very eccentric orbits.... This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being." ("Scholium," 369)
14 III. Theistic View of God was III. Theistic View of God was Foundational in the Rise of Modern Science"Only let the human race recover that right over nature which belongs to it by divine bequest [in Gen. 1:28], and let power be given it; the exercise thereof will be governed by sound reason and true religion" (Novum Organon, 1:129:119).
15 Alfred N. Whitehead: "The faith in the possibility of science, generated antecedently to the development of modern scientific theory, is an unconscious derivative from medieval theology" (Science in the Modern World, 13).
16 M. B. Foster: "What is the source of the un-Greek elements which M. B. Foster: "What is the source of the un-Greek elements which...constitute the modernity of modern philosophy? And...what is the source of those un-Greek elements in the modern theory of nature...? The answer to the first question is: The Christian revelation, and the answer to the second: The Christian doctrine of creation" (Mind 1934, 448).
17 Dr. Langdon Gilkey: “The religious idea of a transcendent Creator actually made possible rather than hindered the progress of the scientific understanding of the natural order. The modern investigators of nature were the first to take seriously in their science the Christian doctrine that nature is created.…” (Maker of Heaven and Earth, 110,453).
18 The Rise of Naturalism Rejected the Need for God A. Contribution of Deism1. Francis Bacon (1620): Limiting Science to Secondary Causes“The efficient [primary cause] and material…, that is as remote causes, without reference to the latent processes leading to the form) are but slight and superficial, and contribute little, if anything, to true and active science” [secondary cause] (No )..
19 The Rise of Naturalism2. Galileo (1564‑1642): Separation of Science from Primary CausesHe affirmed that "It is the intention of the Holy Spirit [in Scripture] to teach us how one goes to heaven, and not how the heavens go" (Dutchess..., 11).The supernatural is the source of the natural world, but the natural is the proper domain of science (ibid., 17-2).
20 The Rise of Naturalism3. Sir Isaac Newton ( ): “God-of-the-Gaps” ErrorNewton invoked divine intervention to explain the irregular orbit of some planets. This opened theism to criticism by those who sought a natural explanation for everything.
21 Response to Mistakes of Early Theists: 1) Newton was wrong. Only natural causes explain how the universe operates.2) Galileo was right; religion should not interfere with scientific observation on how the universe operates.3) However, it begs the question to assume secondary causes can explain how the world originated.A Primary Cause may be needed:a. To explain origins (as Founders held);b. To explain unrepeated singularities (for (empirical science explain only regularities).
22 B. Contribution of Pantheism Benedict Spinoza ( )"Nothing then, comes to pass in nature in contravention to her universal laws, for...she keeps a fixed and immutable order." Hence, "a miracle, whether in contravention to, or beyond, nature, is a mere absurdity" (Theologio-Politico Tractatus (1670), 1.83, 87, 92).
23 Spinoza in brief: 1. Miracles are violations of natural laws. 2. Natural laws are immutable.3. It is impossible to violate immutable laws.4. Therefore, miracles are impossible.
24 Response to Spinoza:1. It begs the question to assume that natural laws are immutable.It is based on an outdated "closed" view of the universe (exceptions are possible in an "open" universe).Natural laws don’t prescribe what can occur; but only describe what does occur.4. Natural laws describe only regular events, not necessarily every event (e.g., singularities and anomalies).
25 C. Contribution of KantImmanuel Kant:"I find matter bound to certain necessary laws. Out of its universal dissolution and dissipation I see a beautiful and orderly whole quite naturally developing itself. This does not take place by accident, or of chance; but it is perceived that natural qualities necessarily bring it about" (Universal Natural History, l3-14).
26 Kant’s Naturalism: "We can here say with intelligent certainty and without audacity: 'Give me matter, and I will construct a world out of it!' i.e. give me matter and I will show you how a world shall arise out of it" But "...are we in a position to say: `Give me matter and I will show you how a caterpillar can be produced?'" (UNH, 17).
27 Kant's Answer: A bold Yes. However, he believed that " Kant's Answer: A bold Yes! However, he believed that "...the origin of the whole present constitution of the universe, will become intelligible before the production of a single herb or a caterpillar by mechanical causes, will become distinctly and completely understood" (UNH, 17).
28 Methodological Atheism: Pierre Simon Laplace (1749‑1827) He rejected a “God-of-the-Gaps” Laplace to Newton: "I must here remark how Newton has erred on this point, from the method which he has otherwise so happily applied" (System 2:4:331).“Such an error arises when "the imagination, impatient to arrive at the causes, takes pleasure in creating hypotheses, and often it changes the facts in order to adapt them to its work” (Probabilities, 183).
29 Laws of Nature are Immutable For "All events…are a result of it [nature] just as necessarily as the revolutions of the sun." It is only "In ignorance of the ties which unite such events to the entire system of the universe, they have been made to depend upon final causes….” For "all the effects of nature are only mathematical results of a small number of immutable laws" (Laplace, 3, 177).
30 Laplace to Napolean:When asked by Napoleon about the absence of God in his work, Laplace is said to have replied: “Sire, I have no need of that hypothesis.”
31 No Need for an Intelligent Cause Laplace also rejected Newton's contention that a blind force "could never make all the planets move thus….” He asked, "...could not this arrangement of the planets be itself an effect of the laws of motion; and could not the supreme intelligence which Newton makes to interfere, make it to depend on a more general phenomenon? such as, according to us, a nebulous matter distributed in various masses throughout the immensity of the heavens" (Systems, 2:4:332).
32 The Principle of Causality Thus, "present events are connected with preceding ones by a tie based upon the evident principle that a thing cannot occur without a cause which produces it" (Laplace, Probabilities, 4).
33 The Principle Uniformity (Analogy) “Analogy is based upon the probability that similar things have causes of the same kind and produce the same effects." And "this probability increases as the similitude becomes more perfect" (Laplace, Probabilities, 180).Thus, scientific views about the past are derived with "the aid of proofs drawn from these analogies [with the present]" (ibid., 100).Geology: Present natural processes are the key to past natural causes (e.g., sedimentation).Archaeology: Pottery in past needs an intelligent cause like pottery in the present does.
34 The Principle of Continuity Laplace believed "we ought then to regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its anterior state and as the cause of the one which is to follow."
35 The Principle of Regularity Rules out Miracles "The calculus of probabilities...appreciates the greatest improbability of testimonies in regard to extraordinary facts." And "there are things so extraordinary that nothing can balance their improbability." Such are the claims for miracles. Hence, "One may judge by this the immense weight of testimonies necessary to admit a suspension of natural laws, and how improper it would be to apply to this case the ordinary rules of criticism” (Laplace, ibid., 114, 118, 119).
36 Response to Methodological Naturalism 1. It correctly limits scientific understanding about the present regularities to secondary (natural) causes. Newton's "God-of-the-gap” is wrong.2. It correctly assumes principles of causality and uniformity without which we can’t know the past.3. However, Laplace wrongly assumes that:a. All events need a natural cause (This is a Nature-of-the-gaps” fallacy).b. Analogy calling for an intelligent cause does not apply to past events of origin.c. There is an unbroken regress of natural causes (This begs the question in favor of naturalism).
37 He fails to distinguish origin science and operation science Origin Science Operation ScienceAbout origin of things About operation of thingsHow things came about How things functionPast singularities Present regularitiesForensic science Empirical sciencePrimary or secondary causes Only secondary causesBased on: Based on:causality observationanalogy repetition
38 The Common Denominator: Hume’s Argument for Naturalism (1748) used by Laplace (1785f): 1. Natural laws describe regular occurrences.2. A miracle is by definition a rare occurrence.3. The evidence for the regular is always greater than the evidence for the rare.4. Wise persons base their belief on the greater evidence.5. Hence, wise persons should not believe in miracles.
39 The False Premise: 1. Natural laws describe regular occurrences. 2. A miracle is by definition a rare occurrence.3. The evidence for the regular is always greater than the evidence for the rare.4. Wise persons base their belief on the greater evidence.5. Hence, wise persons should not believe in miracles.
40 A Response to Hume's Argument: Rare Events Accepted by Naturalists:A. Big Bang origin of the universe.B. Spontaneous generation of first life.C. Macroevolution (from microbe to man).
42 Five Lines of Evidence for an unrepeated event— the origin of the universe 1. Second Law of thermodynamics2. Universe is expanding3. Radiation echo4. Great mass of energy5. Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity
44 Evidence 1: Second Law of Thermodynamics “Once hydrogen has been burned within that star and converted to heavier elements, it can never be restored to its original state. Minute by minute and year by year, as hydrogen is used up in stars, the supply of this element in the universe grows smaller” (Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, 15-16).
46 Note:If the universe is running out of useable energy, then it must have had a beginning (since it is not possible to run out of an infinite amount of energy).
47 Evidence 2: Universe Expanding "He [Alan Sandage] compiled information on 42 galaxies, ranging out in space as far as six billion light years from us. His measurements indicate that the Universe was expanding more rapidly in the past than it is today. This result lends further support to the belief that the Universe exploded into being” (Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, 95).
48 Evidence 3: Radiation Echo "No explanation other than the big bang has been found for the fireball radiation. The clincher, which has convinced almost the last doubting Thomas, is that the radiation discovered by Penzias and Wilson has exactly the pattern of wavelengths expected for the light and heat produced in a great explosion. Supporters of the Steady State theory have tried desperately to find an alternative explanation, but they have failed" (Jastrow GA, 15).
49 Evidence 5: Great Mass of Energy Discovered The Hubble Space Telescope (1992) found a great mass of matter predicted by the Big Bang theory. "By peering back into the beginning of time, a satellite finds the largest and oldest structure ever observed--evidence of how the universe took shape 15 billion years ago." One scientist exclaimed, "It's like looking at God" (Time, May 4, 1993, 62, emphasis added).
50 Evidence 4: Einstein’s General Relativity Einstein argued that “There is no such thing as an empty space, i.e., a space without a field. Space-time does not claim existence on its own, but only as a structural quality of the field” (in Heeren, Shew Me God, 93).But matter exploded into being.Thus, time must have had a beginning.
51 Einstein’s “Fudge Factor” Being a pantheist (& naturalist), Einstein tried to reject a beginning by introducing a "fudge factor" in his equation to avoid a beginning of the universe.However, he later admitted his error and spoke of his desire "to know how God created the universe." He said, "I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this of that element. I want to know His [God's] thought, the rest are details" (in Heeren, Show Me God, 84, 109).
52 The Conclusion:The physical universe had a beginning!
53 The Painful Alternatives: 1. Theist: Something (or Someone) made something out of nothing.2. Atheist: Nothing made something out of nothing!
54 2. Atheism: Nothing made something from nothing Anthony Kenny: "A proponent of [the big bang] theory, at least if he is an atheist, must believe that the matter of the universe came form nothing and by nothing" (Five Ways, 66).
55 1. Theism: Someone made something from nothing. Francis Bacon: True knowledge is "knowledge by causes.”Laplace: He speaks of “…the evident principle that a thing cannot occur without a cause which produces it" (Probabilities, 4).Hume: “I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that a thing could arise without a cause” (Hume, Letters, 1.187).Note: Absolutely nothing can create absolutely nothing!
56 The Testimony of Scientists Edmund Whittaker:"It is simpler to postulate creation ex nihilo--divine will constituting nature from nothingness" (cited by Jastrow, God and the Astronmers, 111).
57 Astronomer Victor J. Stenger "The universe exploded out of nothingness" (Free Inquiry, Winter, , 13).Note: “Nothing comes from nothing; nothing ever could!”
58 Robert Jastrow:“Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commence suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy" (God and the Astronomers, 14).
59 "Astronomers now find that they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation.... And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover" (Jastrow, Christianity Today, 15).
60 Science Ends with a Beginning "The scientists pursuit of the past ends in the moment of creation. This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but theologians. They have always accepted the word of the Bible: `In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth'" (Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, 115).
61 A Scientist’s Bad Dream "For the scientist who has lived by faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance: He is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries" (Jastrow, GA, 116).
63 Two More Lines of Evidence Supporting Theism. 1 Two More Lines of Evidence Supporting Theism 1. The Anthropic Principle 2. Microbiology"The anthropic principle is the most interesting development next to the proof of the creation, and it is even more interesting because it seems to say that science itself has proven, as a hard fact, that this universe was made, was designed, for man to live in. It is a very theistic result" (Jastrow, CT, 17).
64 Alan Sandage:2. Microbiology"As I said before, the world is to complicated in all of its parts to be due to chance alone. I am convinced that the existence of life with all its order in each of its organisms is simply too well put together. Each part of a living thing depends on all its other parts to function. How does each part know? How is each part specified at conception. The more one learns of biochemistry the more unbelievable it becomes unless there is some kind of organizing principle--an architect for believers...." (Sandage, Truth (1985), 54).
65 Sir Fred Hoyle:"Biochemical systems are exceedingly complex, so much so that the chance of their being formed through random shuffling of simple organic molecules is exceedingly minute, to a point indeed where it is insensibly different from zero." Thus, there must be "...an intelligence, which designed the biochemicals and gave rise to the origin of carbonaceous life" (Hoyle, Evolution from Space, 3, 143).
67 Michael Behe:"No one at Harvard University, no one at the National Institutes of Health, no member of the National Academy of Sciences, no Nobel prize winner--no one at all can give a detailed account of how the cilium, or vision, or blood clotting, or any complex biochemical process might have developed in a Darwinian fashion." He adds, "Other examples of irreducible complexity abound, including aspects of DNA reduplication, electron transport, telomere synthesis, photosynthesis, transcription regulation, and more" (Behe, Darwin’s Black Box, 187, 160).
68 Behe: The Edge of Evolution (2007) He show that “the problems of its [cilium’s] irreducible complexity has been enormously compounded” (94). And “The cilium is no fluke. The cell is full of structures whose complexity is substantially greater than we knew just ten years ago” (95). He says the bacterial flagellum (motor mechanism) has “mind-boggling complexity” (101). Citing Francis Crick, Behe concludes that “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going” (216).
69 Behe: The Edge of Evolution (2007) “It’s reasonable to conclude not only that the universe is designed, but that the design extends well beyond general laws, at least down into particularities of the physical and chemistry of certain molecules” (210).So “the hard work of many scientists across many scientific disciplines in the past century unexpectedly demonstrated that both the universe at large and the earth in particular were designed for life. The heavens and earth–and life itself–alike are fine-tuned” (210).
77 VI. Concluding Comments A. The Fall of Naturalism:It exploded with a Big Bang!God was rediscovered in a Black Box!B. The Return to Theism
78 A. The Fall of Naturalism 1. The Cause beyond the universe must be supernatural, since it caused the entire natural world from nothing (thus refuting Laplace's naturalistic continuity principle).2. The evidence for a singularity can be greater than for a regularity (thus refuting Hume's anti-supernaturalism).3. The principles of regularity and uniformity reveal that only an a super-intelligent Being could have put together the laws of the universe and first life.
79 B. The Return to TheismJastrow: "That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact" (cited CT, 15, 18).Einstein: "The harmony of natural law. . . reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection" (cited in Heeren, Show Me God, 66).
80 B. The Return to TheismStephen Hawking: He described how the value of many fundamental numbers in nature's laws "seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life" and how God appears to have "very carefully chosen the initial configuration of the universe" (cited by Heeren, Show Me God, 67).
81 B. The Return to TheismBehe: "The result of these cumulative efforts to investigate the cell--to investigate life at the molecular level--is a loud, clear, piercing cry of 'design!' The result is so unambiguous and so significant that it must be ranked as one of the greatest achievements in the history of science. The discovery rivals those of Newton and Einstein" (DBB, , emphasis added).
82 Former Atheist:“The Big Bang cries out for a divine explanation. It forces us to the conclusion that nature had a definite beginning. I cannot see how nature could have created itself. Only a supernatural force that is outside of space and time could have done that” (p. 67).
83 Former World-famous Atheist “It is simply inconceivable that any material matrix or field can generate agents who think and act…. A force field does not plan or think. So…the world of living, conscious, thinking beings has to originate in a living Source, a Mind” (There is a God, 183).Anthony Flew
84 Strange Reactions of Some Scientists to the Evidence: POSTSCRIPT:Strange Reactions of Some Scientists to the Evidence:You Can Lead a Horse to the Water, but….
85 Some Scientist’s Initial Reactions Arthur Eddington: "Philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of Nature is repugnant to me…. I should like to find a genuine loophole" (in Heeren, SMG, 81).Einstein: “This circumstance [of an expanding Universe] irritates me." And "To admit such possibilities seems senseless" Why? "I believe in Spinoza's [pantheistic] God, who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists" (in Jastrow, GA, 28).
86 Some Scientist’s Initial Reactions Robert Jastrow.--"There is a kind of religion in science. It is the religion of a person who believes there is order and harmony in the universe.... Every effect must have its cause: There is no first cause.... This religious faith of the scientists is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the known laws of physics are not valid, and as a product of forces or circumstances we cannot discover. When that happens, the scientist has lost control" (GA ).
87 Other Reactions to a Supernatural Creator: Julian Huxley: "For my own part, the sense of spiritual relief which comes from rejecting the idea of God as a supernatural being is enormous..." (Huxley, RR, 32, emphasis added).Friedrich Nietzsche: "If one were to prove this God of the Christians to us, we should be even less able to believe in him" (Antichrist, 627).
88 St. Paul’s Declaration: He speaks of those who “…suppress the truth by their wickedness because 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" (Rom. 1:18-20).
89 Harvard’s Richard Lewontin Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to understanding the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs… because we have a prior commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a materialistic explanation of the phenomenal world but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes…. Moreover that materialism is absolute for we cannot allow a divine foot in the door” (New York Review of Books, 1/9/96).
91 The Blind Watch-Maker Objection 1 The Blind Watch-Maker Objection 1. Life is not irreducibly complex (It has parts). 2. Organisms like the eye had other functions 3. Not all order calls for a designer (cf. Hurricanes). Life is not irreducible complex. It has simple parts just like sentences do (e.g., words).
92 The Blind Watch-Maker Objection 1 The Blind Watch-Maker Objection 1. Life is not irreducibly complex (It has parts). 2. Organisms like the eye had other functions 3. Not all order calls for a designer (cf. Hurricanes) Response: 1. This violates scientific principle of regularity 2. Nature can tear apart but not put together 3. Sight is not possible until all parts are there. Life is not irreducible complex. It has simple parts just like sentences do (e.g., words).
93 Imperfect Design Objection: World is not a perfect design Imperfect Design Objection: World is not a perfect design. Hence, it did not have a perfect Designer.Response:The design does not have to be perfect to need a Designer.Perfect Designer can make a less than perfect design (He may have more ability than he uses).3. Imperfections may not have been in the original design (but in subsequent tampering with it).
94 The Endless Designer Objection: Every designer needs a designer The Endless Designer Objection: Every designer needs a designer. Hence, there is no first Designer (God).Response:1. Every cause does not need a cause; only every effect needs a cause.2. Every designer does not need a designer; only every design needs a designer.3. Everything does not need a cause; only everything that begins (or is limited or contingent) need a cause.
95 Objection Based on Chance: Chance combinations over long periods of time can account for complexity. Response:Chance does not cause anything; only forces do.Principle of regularity shows natural forces do not produce life’s complexity.3. Time randomizes, not specifies (cf. II Law of thermodynamics).
96 Multiple-Universe Objection: This may be only one of multiple universes—an oasis of apparent design in a ocean of chance.Response:1. It is not science, but pure speculation, that such other universes exist.Science must deal with the universe we have, not the ones we do not have.One room of detailed design in an otherwise barren house does not mean that room was not designed.