The war between science and atheism, part one

Note: Part two of the series on the fine-tuning argument is here.

I was recently reading over at Colliding Universes, and I noticed that Denyse O’Leary was commenting on this post by Christian apologist Frank Turek at TownHall.com. Turek recounts his experiences in his debate (audio, video), with atheist Christoper Hitchens on September 9, 2008 at Virgina Commonwealth University. In particular, Turek describes his use of cosmological argument, and the scientific confirmation of that argument provided by recent discoveries in astronomy and physics.

And suddenly it struck me: atheism is dead. The big bang has killed it. And it is safe to say that in this day and age, if you meet an atheist, then that person is either ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that). And I think that is worth talking about the discoveries that led up to this theory, since this theory is the most accepted theory of the origin of the universe in astrophysics today. All Christians should be able to discuss these discoveries and explain how God created the entire physical universe from nothing – and we can know this. The creation of the universe in the Big Bang is as confirmed as the theory that the Earth goes around the Sun.

First, here is the syllogism for the argument for a supernatural cause that brings the entire physical universe into being:

  1. Whatever begins to exist requires a cause.
  2. The universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the universe requires a cause.

Second, let’s review the 6 fairly recent discoveries that confirm premise 2 with scientific observations. These discoveries reversed the atheism-friendly theory of an eternal universe, and led to the theory of the creation of the entire physical universe out of nothing.

  1. Einstein’s theory of general relativity
  2. the red-shifting of light from distant galaxies
  3. the cosmic background radiation (which also disproves the oscillating model of the universe)
  4. the second law of thermodynamics applied to star formation theory
  5. hydrogen-helium abundance predictions
  6. radioactive element abundance predictions

Why do atheists deny these findings? Probably for emotional comfort – they desire autonomy and so they invent a worldview that allows them to feel good about jettisoning moral constraints and accountability . But for those of us who do constrain our worldviews using scientific discoveries, I recommend the book “God and the Astronomers” by agnostic scientist Robert Jastrow. His book is the best introduction that I have seen on the 6 discoveries that led to the Big Bang theory.

Here is the best quote from the book, (p. 116 of the second edition), where Jastrow, the former director of NASA’s Goddard Space Institute, explains how atheistic scientists were forced, against their wills, to accept the big bang theory.

For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains 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.

The acceptance of the big bang is just another example of how the progress of science whittles away at the gaps in our knowledge. These gaps are leveraged by atheists in order to cling to the delusion that the material world is all there is. But we now know that the physical universe had a non-physical, supernatural, cause that brought it into existence, just like the Bible says in Genesis 1:1.

Turek unpacks how the creation of the physical universe is best explained by a supernatural creative act.

Why couldn’t natural forces have produced the universe? Because there was no nature and there were no natural forces ontologically prior to the Big Bang—nature itself was created at the Big Bang. That means the cause of the universe must be something beyond nature—something we would call supernatural.  It also means that the supernatural cause of the universe must at least be:

  • spaceless because it created space
  • timeless because it created time
  • immaterial because it created matter
  • powerful because it created out of nothing
  • intelligent because the creation event and the universe was precisely designed
  • personal because it made a choice to convert a state of nothing into something (impersonal forces don’t make choices).

Now, I would never take the faith of atheists away from them, because it gives them comfort, and hope that no one will ever hold them accountable. It is also important for them to have some privatized, subjective way of looking down on other people, so that they can feel better about themselves, despite their flight from science and reason. I really admire the way that by sheer force of will, they are able to believe things without a shred of objective evidence. But, when we discuss these matters in the public square, I think we should insist that we limit our discussion to the available public, testable evidence.

A research paper written by William Lane Craig, and published in a peer-reviewed journal of astrophysics is available here. This paper contains thorough refutations of all naturalistic rivals to the big bang theory.

UPDATE 1: Welcome, visitors from The Anchoress. Thanks for the link, Anchoress! 300+ hits and counting… WOW!!!

UPDATE 2: Welcome, visitors from Triablogue. Thanks for the link, gentlemen!

UPDATE 3: Welcome, visitors from Post-Darwinist! Thanks for the link, Denyse. First-time visitors, please take a look around the blog. There are many varied topics here, and most of my posts are not nearly as snarky as this satirical one!

UPDATE 4: Part two in the series on atheism’s war against science has been posted here.

William Lane Craig to debate Hitchens, Carrier

UPDATE: Audio and video from a  panel discussion with Hitchens, Craig, etc. is linked here.

UPDATE: My play-by-play transcript of the debate is here.

William Lane Craig is arguably the most effective active defender of evangelical Christianity. He is currently finishing off a 5-day debating/ speaking tour in Ontario, Canada, but he also has an upcoming 4-day debating/ speaking tour in Quebec, Canada in February.

A listing of many of Bill Craig’s debates is here, along with links to transcripts, audio and video. Here is audio from a debate between William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong which I think is one of his better debates. It was later incorporated into book debate between the two scholars, which was published by Oxford University Press, 2004.

Craig is scheduled to debate Richard Carrier and Christoper Hitchens this year. The debate with Hitchens will be held on April 4, 2009 at Biola University. Radio show host Hugh Hewitt is the moderator. The debate with Carrier is scheduled for March 19, 2009 at Northwest Missouri State University.

Richard Carrier is a strong proponent of atheism, and did well in his debate (audio, video) with Mike Licona on the resurrection of Jesus. Licona has since been awarded his PhD from the University of Pretoria in South Africa with high grades, and would presumably do better in a re-match. Craig and Carrier debated before on Lee Strobel’s “Faith Under Fire” TV show.

Hitchens may be more of an easy win for Craig, as he struggled with the scientific and philosophical issues in his previous debate with Dinesh D’Souza, (video here). Hitchens also debated at Stanford University against Jay Wesley Richards.

UPDATE 1: Welcome, visitors from RichardDawkins.net and SherDog.net! While you’re here, why not check out my snarky series on the the war between science and atheism, in which I analyze recent scientific discoveries and how atheists responded to them! Part one, part two. WARNING! These two posts are deliberately mocking the new atheism by being as mean as they are on purpose!

UPDATE 2: Panel discussion in Dallas, TX with William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Christopher Hitchens on atheism is also scheduled, details here. Date: Saturday, March 21, 2009 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM.

UPDATE 3: You can get a LIVE FEED of the upcoming Craig/Hitchens debate for yourself or group viewing for $98. Details here!

UPDATE 4: Welcome visitors from Ace of Spades HQ! Ace wins Conservative Blog of the Year every year. Thanks for the link, Ace! New visitors, please take a look around. My blog is half conservative/libertarian politics and half analysis of arguments and evidence for and against the Christian faith. The goal of the blog is to bring together fiscal conservatives with socially conservative Christians, by improving understanding between the two factions.

Here are some posts that explain Christianity for non-Christians: the hiddenness of God, the problem of evil, religious pluralism, and the problem of the unevangelized. I also have posts on why men are leaving the church, how to make a pro-life case without appealing to religion, explaining the resurrection without assuming the Bible is inerrant or even reliable, etc. Please make yourself at home, and leave your challenges in the comments. Challengers always get the last word here, after my 1 rebuttal.

UPDATE: I analyze Hitchens’ case against God here, from his debate against Frank Turek.

Birth control funding to stimulate the economy?

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse is an ideal exponent of the view that conservative libertarian capitalists do have an interest in promoting intact families as the best environment for raising children. She argues that certain social issues can impose huge costs on the taxpayer, and also increases the size and scope of government. Government should at least do no harm in discouraging traditional marriages and even stay-at-home mothers.

In this article, she examines Nancy Pelosi’s recent comments regarding the inclusion of contraceptives in the the Democrat’s so-called stimulus package. This bill is no stimulus. It is a giveaway to the secular left’s special interest groups, on the backs of the productive private sector. Dr. Morse argues that supporting marriage instead of contraceptives would reduce taxpayer costs.

Here is an excerpt from Dr. Morse’s excellent article:

If Nancy Pelosi wants to reduce the costs to taxpayers, she should be promoting marriage. Out-of-wedlock childbearing is one of the surest roads to poverty and, thereby, to taxpayer expenditure. A recent study by the Institute for American Values conservatively estimated the taxpayer costs of non-marital childbearing to be $112 billion per year, or roughly the GDP of New Zealand. Responsible, sustainable childbearing takes place within marriage. And, incidentally, if Speaker Pelosi really wants to reduce abortions (which she hinted at, but did not say) she should also be promoting marriage. Some 80 per cent of abortions, year in and year out, are performed on unmarried women.

Here is a related research paper by Christine C. Kim of the Heritage Foundation on teen sexuality and the effects of family structure and stability in curbing it.

Domestic violence and censorship

Here is a fascinating article from the Canadian journalist Barbara Kay in their national newspaper, the National Post.

The article describes how the Justice minister of a Canadian province was stripped of his Cabinet position for daring to suggest that men could be victims of domestic violence (DV) and not only women.  He did this in an internal e-mail – this was not even said in public.

Some special interest groups and their government allies have a vested interest in making sure that the public thinks that all DV is committed against women. There is a lot of taxpayer money at stake. If it were discovered that male victims of DV existed, that taxpayer money might have to be shared. Canada might then need a Minister for the Status of Men, an Office on Violence Against Men, a Violence Against Men Act, a National Council to Reduce Violence against Men and their Children, etc. I think that we should condemn DV against women and men, equally.

Here are the numbers from official government surveys in the UK and Canada:

UK numbers:

In the event, the CASI method found relatively high levels of male victimisation, to the extent that men appear to be at equal risk to women of domestic assault (4.2% of both sexes reported an assault in the last year).

Canada numbers:

An estimated 7% of women and 6% of men in a current or previous spousal relationship encountered spousal violence during the five years up to and including 2004, according to a comprehensive new report on family violence.

Here is a related research paper by Dr. Linda Kelly, a professor of Law at Indiana University School of Law.

Podcasts on government and economics

Please help yourself to the blog roll and the podcasts in the rightmost column.

Here are some excellent podcasts on the relationship between government and Christianity:

I also would highly recommend reading the articles from the current issue of Salvo magazine.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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