As I travel around speaking, the vast majority of the questions I get have to do with the intersection of science and faith. Has science made miracles impossible? Is there any scientific proof for God? Is faith in God a blind leap in the dark? What about evolution? How old is the earth?
Some people see no compatibility between science and faith. For example, last September, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss wrote an article in The New Yorker titled “All Scientists Should Be Militant Atheists.” In the article, Krauss writes, “This commitment to open questioning is deeply tied to the fact that science is an atheistic enterprise.” He goes on to say, “It’s ironic, really, that so many people are fixated on the relationship between science and religion: basically, there isn’t one.... It’s inevitable that it [science] draws people away from religion.”
It is no surprise that many people view science as a gosptacle. They don’t think you can believe in science and rationally believe in God. In part two of my Answering Gosptacles series, I take this challenge head-on. I demonstrate how a biblical understanding of faith is compatible with science. In fact, there are a number of places where modern scientific evidence points towards a Creator and Designer of the universe. Therefore, science should strengthen your faith rather than destroy it.
You can watch the entire presentation here.
If you missed part one of my Answering Gosptacles series, then click here.
Here’s a challenge from a website called Truth Saves:
Yes, life is complex but that does not mean it had a conscious designer. A snow flake is complex and it does not require a conscious designer.
I’ve heard people mention snowflakes as evidence of undesigned complexity before, so it’s worth discussing this one. What’s the difference between the kind of complexity in a snowflake and the kind ID proponents cite in their arguments? Make your case in the comments below, and then we’ll hear Tim’s answer to this question on Thursday.
Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film.
An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.
Scientists had seen the phenomenon occur in other animals but it is the first time is has been also shown to happen in humans.
As I’ve explained before, as much as people say they deny the fact that life begins at conception, there really is no scientific controversy over when human life begins; the controversy is over when human life is valuable. Unfortunately, when people use the word “life” in this context to mean only what they consider to be valuable human life, they quietly smuggle this crucial distinction out of their claim via the misuse of language, thereby covering up the claim they’re really making—that is, the claim that some human life isn’t valuable.
I’m convinced there are many people who don’t realize they’re doing this—better to convince yourself there really is no human life at conception than to recognize it and then have to justify killing that human life. I don’t think people want to admit the distasteful truth to themselves that they’re dividing human beings into two groups: those whose lives we respect and those we don’t (a move that has never ended well for human rights—see here, here, and here for more on this). This article at least blows the smoke away from the issue.
In truth, though, the article is bad news. Listen to how they intend to use this information:
Researchers from Northwestern University, in Chicago, noticed that some of the eggs burn brighter than others, showing that they are more likely to produce a healthy baby.
The discovery could help fertility doctors pick the best fertilised eggs to transfer during in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
In other words, they’re planning to use this knowledge to aid in their eugenics (see here and here for more on the eugenics of our day)—creating many new human lives (as the science editor above affirms) and then implanting those that display the brightest light while disposing of the rest.
Michael Egnor has a fascinating post on neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield’s evidence-based conversion from materialism to dualism:
Penfield began his career as a materialist, convinced that the mind was wholly a product of the brain. He finished his career as an emphatic dualist.
During surgery, Penfield observed that patients had a variable but limited response to brain stimulation. Sometimes the stimulation would cause a seizure or evoke a sensation, a perception, movement of muscles, a memory, or even a vivid emotion. Yet Penfield noticed that brain stimulation never evoked abstract thought….
Penfield noted that intellectual function – abstract thought – could only be switched off by brain stimulation or a seizure, but it could never be switched on in like manner. The brain was necessary for abstract thought, normally, but it was not sufficient for it. Abstract thought was something other than merely a process of the brain….
Furthermore, Penfield noted that patients were always aware that the sensation, memory, etc., evoked by brain stimulation was done to them, but not by them. Penfield found that patients retained a “third person” perspective on mental events evoked by brain stimulation. There was always a “mind” that was independent of cortical stimulation.
It’s worth reading the rest of the post to see the relevant quotes from Penfield himself.
Tonight’s the night! Join me right here, on Google+, or on YouTube at 6:30 p.m. (PT) to see the live video feed of “Shattering the Icons of Evolution.” I’ll be talking about how to recognize and respond to the different categories that arguments for macroevolution fall into: exaggerated extrapolations, egregious errors, and equivocal evidence.
(Don’t worry if you can’t watch it live. After tonight, you’ll be able to watch the video here anytime.)
Mark April 25th on your calendar—we’ll be streaming a live event with Tim Barnett on “Shattering the Icons of Evolution.” You can view it on Google+, YouTube, or right here on the blog at 6:30 p.m. (PT):
After assessing numerous arguments for macroevolution, Tim Barnett has found that each falls into one of three categories: exaggerated extrapolations, egregious errors, and equivocal evidence. Once you have determined which category the evidence belongs to, you will be in a better position to respond accordingly.
We’ll be posting a video of the live feed on the blog on the 25th, and it will be available for viewing anytime after that evening.
In this short video from Ligonier, Stephen Meyer demonstrates not only some evidence for a beginning of the universe, but also how a scientist’s worldview and biases can direct and constrain his findings, distorting what he considers to be “scientific”—sometimes without his even realizing it. Even a scientist as great as Einstein.
Of course, one may easily say, “Christian scientists will have the same problem!” That’s fair. This is why you must always consider carefully whether a scientist is making a fair interpretation of the evidence at hand—i.e., that the evidence actually points to his conclusion—and that one of his interpretive principles isn’t to rule out a particular conclusion that falls outside his worldview, prior to and regardless of the evidence (as Einstein did).
Atheists will often assert that evolution is not random. (In fact, I was having this conversation just last night!) This is true if we’re talking about the natural selection part of the process, but natural selection can only select from what already exists. It’s the mutations that must provide the new genetic information, and mutations do not occur according to what is needed for an organism to survive; they can only cause the being to survive (and thus be selected) after they happen to occur. Stephen Meyer explains:
Yes, of course, natural selection is a “nonrandom” process as Dawkins correctly insists. Rates of reproductive success correlate to the traits that organisms possess. Those with fitness advantages will, all other things being equal, out-reproduce those lacking those advantages. Got it. Understood.
Yet, clearly, there is more to the evolutionary mechanism than just natural selection. Instead, the standard neo-Darwinian evolutionary mechanism comprises (1) natural selection and/or (2) genetic drift acting on (3) adaptively random genetic variations and mutations (of various kinds). Moreover, as conceived from Darwin to the present, natural selection “selects” or acts to preserve those random variations that confer a fitness (or functional) advantage upon the organisms that possess them. It, further, “selects” only after such functionally advantageous variations (or mutations) have arisen. How could it do otherwise? Selection does not cause novel variations; rather, it sifts what is delivered to it by the random changes (e.g., mutations) that do cause variations. Such has been neo-Darwinian orthodoxy for many decades.
All this means that as a mechanism for the production of novel genetic information, natural selection does nothing to help generate functional DNA base (or amino acid) sequences. Rather it can only preserve such sequences (if they confer a functional advantage) once they have originated. In other words, adaptive advantage only accrues after the generation of new functional genes and proteins — after the fact, that is, of some (presumably) successful random mutational search. It follows that even if natural selection (considered separately from mutation) constitutes a non-random process, the evolutionary mechanism as a whole depends precisely upon an ineliminable element of randomness, namely, various postulated or observed mutational processes. (Nor is any of the above particularly controversial within evolutionary biology....)
Read the rest of the post, and see here for more on why the creation of all life through a random development of meaningful genetic information is, as Meyer said, “overwhelmingly more likely to be false than true.”