Atheist gets her PhD in astronomy and astrophysics and finds evidence for God

Christian apologist Terrell Clemmons tweeted this testimony by Sarah Salviander, a research scientist in astronomy and astrophysics at the prestigious University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Salviander writes:

I was born in the U.S., but grew up in Canada. My parents were socialists and political activists who thought British Columbia would be a better place for us to live, since it had the only socialist government in North America at the time. My parents were also atheists, though they eschewed that label in favor of “agnostic.” They were kind, loving, and moral, but religion played no part in my life. Instead, my childhood revolved around education, particularly science. I remember how important it was to my parents that my brother and I did well in school.

I just want to point out that I hope that all you Christian parents are taking seriously the obligation to make your kids do well in school, because even if they start out as atheists when they are young, they can still find their way back to God through study, as Sarah did.

She had a bad start, that’s for sure:

I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, a time when science fiction was enjoying a renaissance, thanks largely to the popularity of Star Wars. I remember how fascinated I was by the original Star Wars trilogy. It had almost nothing to do with science—it’s more properly characterized as space opera—but it got me thinking about space in a big way. I also loved the original Star Trek, which was more science fiction. The stoic and logical character of Mr. Spock was particularly appealing to me. Popular science was also experiencing a renaissance at that time, which had a lot to do with Carl Sagan’s television show, Cosmos, which I adored. The combination of these influences led to such an intense wonder about outer space and the universe, that by the time I was nine years old I knew I would be a space scientist someday.

Canada was already post-Christian by the 1970s, so I grew up with no religion. In retrospect, it’s amazing that for the first 25 years of my life, I met only three people who identified as Christian. My view of Christianity was negative from an early age, and by the time I was in my twenties, I was actively hostile toward Christianity. Looking back, I realized a lot of this was the unconscious absorption of the general hostility toward Christianity that is common in places like Canada and Europe; my hostility certainly wasn’t based on actually knowing anything about Christianity. I had come to believe that Christianity made people weak and foolish; I thought it was philosophically trivial. I was ignorant not only of the Bible, but also of the deep philosophy of Christianity and the scientific discoveries that shed new light on the origins of the universe and life on Earth.

She documents a phase of following Ayn Rand and embracing “Objectivism”, but eventually she rejects it for failing to answer the big questions of life.

More:

I began to focus all of my energy on my studies, and became very dedicated to my physics and math courses. I joined campus clubs, started to make friends, and, for the first time in my life, I was meeting Christians. They weren’t like Objectivists—they were joyous and content. And, they were smart, too. I was astonished to find that my physics professors, whom I admired, were Christian. Their personal example began to have an influence on me, and I found myself growing less hostile to Christianity.

This is why I think it is so important for Christian parents to raise their children to get advanced degrees… either to become professors themselves, or to finance others (e.g. – our own children) to do advanced degrees. It is so important for university students to see Christian professors on campus. And failing that, it’s important that we bring Christian speakers in to debate non-Christian speakers on the important issues. This will not happen unless we recognize how important it is, and then make a plan to achieve it.

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I had joined a group in the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS) that was researching evidence for the big bang. The cosmic background radiation—the leftover radiation from the big bang—provides the strongest evidence for the theory, but cosmologists need other, independent lines of evidence to confirm it. My group was studying deuterium abundances in the early universe. Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen, and its abundance in the early universe is sensitive to the amount of ordinary mass contained in the entire universe. Believe it or not, this one measurement tells us whether the big bang model is correct.

If anyone is interested in how this works, I’ll describe it, but for now I’ll spare you the gruesome details. Suffice it to say that an amazing convergence of physical properties is necessary in order to study deuterium abundances in the early universe, and yet this convergence is exactly what we get. I remember being astounded by this, blown away, completely and utterly awed. It seemed incredible to me that there was a way to find the answer to this question we had about the universe. In fact, it seems that every question we have about the universe is answerable. There’s no reason it has to be this way, and it made me think of Einstein’s observation that the most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it’s comprehensible. I started to sense an underlying order to the universe. Without knowing it, I was awakening to what Psalm 19 tells us so clearly, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

That summer, I’d picked up a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and was reading it in my off hours. Previous to this, I’d only known it as an exciting story of revenge, since that’s what the countless movie and TV adaptations always focused on. But it’s more than just a revenge story, it’s a philosophically deep examination of forgiveness and God’s role in giving justice. I was surprised by this, and was starting to realize that the concept of God and religion was not as philosophically trivial as I had thought.

All of this culminated one day, as I was walking across that beautiful La Jolla campus. I stopped in my tracks when it hit me—I believed in God! I was so happy; it was like a weight had been lifted from my heart. I realized that most of the pain I’d experienced in my life was of my own making, but that God had used it to make me wiser and more compassionate. It was a great relief to discover that there was a reason for suffering, and that it was because God was loving and just. God could not be perfectly just unless I—just like everyone else—was made to suffer for the bad things I’d done.

The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favorite, favorite books as well, and had the same impact on me as it did on her.

OK, that’s enough for this post. Go read the rest, and please share it.

I spoke to her recently and she told me that she is working on several projects that are designed to get people more familiar with science and Bible issues. This woman is an expert Christian apologist and her life will have an influence. Are you going to be like her? Will you mentor others to be like her? Will you marry someone like her? Will you raise children who are like her? I think we should all have a plan to study the areas that are important and have an influence for God with what we learn.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

Biden economic policy: raise taxes, increase inflation, go further into debt

I decided to do a round-up of articles from a variety of conservative news sources showing the effects of Biden economic policy. I hope everyone is making plans to deal with the coming catastrophe. It is a mistake to elect people who are focused on global warming, same-sex marriage, and gr00ming children for the benefit of their pedo constituents.  We really need to vote them out in 2022.

First, Daily Wire reports on a study that shows the likely effects of Biden’s Increase Inflation Act:

The Democrat-supported “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” could lead to a slight increase in inflation over the next two years if it’s passed and signed into law, according to a Penn Wharton study released Friday.

[…]The Democrat spending package… would be the largest legislative climate investment the U.S. has ever made at $369 billion. The bill would also raise taxes on billion-dollar businesses and extend Affordable Care Act subsidies.

The bill has the support of Democrat senator Joe Manchin, who has suddenly become supportive of global warming alarmism and raising taxes.

The American Spectator has more about the tax increases:

The act would raise an estimated $739 billion through tax increases and heightened IRS scrutiny to then invest $306 billion in “deficit reduction” and $369 billion in “energy security and climate change” to “reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030.” If ever there were a proposal that failed out the gate, this is one.

The Biden administration seeded this inflation with massive spending premised on COVID-19 relief that was filled with political pork.

They created the inflation crisis with C0VID stimulus spending, so that they could pass a bill to get what they really wanted: global warming regulations and taxes. That will just raise the price of electricity and gas even more.

More:

…those inflationary policies that even funded social justice art projects take food off the American table. Fertilizer prices have tripled in less than two years, drought threatens both global and local food supplies, and disruptions in supply chains threaten scarcity for much more than baby formula. Ground beef increased 36 percent in price in one year…

All this at a time when more and more Americans are living from paycheck to paycheck.

The Daily Caller reports:

The number of Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck was up 5.5% in June from a year prior as fully 61% of Americans now devote nearly all of their salaries to expenses with little or nothing left over at the end of the month, according to LendingClub’s report. Americans’ purchasing power has declined in recent months as inflation has outpaced wage increases, making it more difficult to afford normal budgets, the report concluded.

What are the long-run consequences of more federal spending? A ballooning national debt.

The Federalist explains:

This budget bill, even if enacted and implemented as Democrats claim, would reduce the cumulative deficits over the next three decades to “only” $114.1 trillion. In other words, it would allegedly reduce our collective deficit by a currently estimated 0.3 percent.

[…]The $114 trillion figure comes from a new report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) regarding the nation’s long-term budget outlook.

[…]CBO estimates deficits will go from 3.9 percent of GDP in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 to 11.1 percent of GDP by 2052. Multiplying CBO’s estimated annual deficits as a percentage of the economy by their estimates of GDP in each year provides the $114 trillion figure for our cumulative deficits from now through 2052.

Most ominously, CBO believes that net interest costs will rise sharply, from 1.6 percent of GDP in the current fiscal year to 6.2 percent by 2052. Like a snowball rolling down the proverbial hill, or someone who keeps paying the minimum on his credit card, the debt we have accumulated will require more and more resources to fund every year. Moreover, this near quadrupling of federal interest costs as a percentage of our economy means paying down government debt will squeeze out private investment—making our economy permanently less productive and poorer.

That last part is the most alarming, especially to people with wives and children.

We have elections in November. It won’t be enough for you to vote against the Democrats. You should be sending everyone you know evidence of what is coming, so they can vote against Democrats, too. We are getting a taste of global warming socialism now. We can’t afford more of this.

Atheist philosopher tells atheists how to be moral on atheism

Let’s review what you need in your worldview in order to have a rationally grounded system of morality.

You need 5 things:

1) Objective moral values

There needs to be a way to distinguish what is good from what is bad. For example, the moral standard might specify that being kind to children is good, but torturing them for fun is bad. If the standard is purely subjective, then people could believe anything and each person would be justified in doing right in their own eyes. Even a “social contract” is just based on people’s opinions. So we need a standard that applies regardless of what people’s individual and collective opinions are.

2) Objective moral duties

Moral duties (moral obligations) refer to the actions that are obligatory based on the moral values defined in 1). Suppose we spot you 1) as an atheist. Why are you obligated to do the good thing, rather than the bad thing? To whom is this obligation owed? Why is rational for you to limit your actions based upon this obligation when it is against your self-interest? Why let other people’s expectations decide what is good for you, especially if you can avoid the consequences of their disapproval?

3) Moral accountability

Suppose we spot you 1) and 2) as an atheist. What difference does it make to you if you just go ahead and disregard your moral obligations to whomever? Is there any reward or punishment for your choice to do right or do wrong? What’s in it for you?

4) Free will

In order for agents to make free moral choices, they must be able to act or abstain from acting by exercising their free will. If there is no free will, then moral choices are impossible. If there are no moral choices, then no one can be held responsible for anything they do. If there is no moral responsibility, then there can be no praise and blame. But then it becomes impossible to praise any action as good or evil.

5) Ultimate significance

Finally, beyond the concept of reward and punishment in 3), we can also ask the question “what does it matter?”. Suppose you do live a good life and you get a reward: 1000 chocolate sundaes. And when you’ve finished eating them, you die for real and that’s the end. In other words, the reward is satisfying, but not really meaningful, ultimately. It’s hard to see how moral actions can be meaningful, ultimately, unless their consequences last on into the future.

Theism rationally grounds all 5 of these. Atheism cannot ground any of them.

Atheist objective morality

Let’s take a look at an atheist professor of philosophy, and see how good he is at rationally grounding the 5 points above. Remember, we’re not interested in his likes or dislikes. We’re not interested in his feelings. We’re not interested in his opinions. We’re interested in knowing what sort of MORALITY atheism makes rational for atheists. What is reasonable, if the universe is an accident, and human beings are nothing but random collections of atoms?

Let’s ask this distinguished professor of atheist morality:

Stephen Kershnar is a distinguished teaching professor in the philosophy department at the State University of New York at Fredonia and an attorney. He focuses on applied ethics and political philosophy. Kershnar has written one hundred articles and book chapters on such diverse topics as abortion, adult-child sex, hell, most valuable player, pornography, punishment, sexual fantasies, slavery, and torture.

This is a lot better stuff to think about than the stupid things that Christians think about. Love? Charity? Self-Denial? Self-Sacrifice? Those are stupid things to think about.

He’s written books against moral responsibility, against the pro-life movement, and against gratitude towards veterans.

He also defended atheism in a formal debate.

The Federalist reported on his views:

Stephen Kershnar is a professor at State University of New York at Fredonia, and a pedophilia apologist.

Here’s Kershnar on video saying that an adult male having sex with a 12-year-old girl is not obviously wrong, and that calling it wrong is a “mistake.” In the same clip, he refers to pedophilic rape as “adult-child sex,” another euphemism that, just like “minor-attracted person,” is being used in an attempt to run cover for evil.

[…]He continues to defend pedophilia, remarking “The notion that it’s wrong even with a one-year-old is not quite obvious to me.” He goes on. “I don’t think it’s blanket wrong at any age.”

Kershnar even argues that children can consent to sex with adults, comparing it to a child willfully engaging in kickball or participating in bar mitzvah lessons.

[…]Kershnar is open to the idea that pedophilia is deeply harmful to victims, but he just can’t put his finger on why. He thinks it could be because of bigots like you and me, who go “berserk” when pedophiles rape kids.

He even argues that we often make children do things they don’t want to do, like “go to church” or “go to temple” or “go to their sister’s ballet recital.” His perspective is backed up by podcast host Thaddeus Russel, who makes an equally monstrous argument when he says “all a child’s life is, is coercion by adults … often to make the child do something for the adult’s pleasure only.”

It’s also telling that these dangerous viewpoints have found their way into the mainstream through left-wing outlets. At one point, Russel boasts that he authored an article in The Daily Beast that argued for lowering consent laws.

Thaddeus Russel says this:

Black kids at school tackled me to the ground and lay on top of me until I thought I would suffocate when I mentioned that I was an atheist.

Do you think this is unusual for atheists? We just had a case where Democrats in Virginia were covering up the rape of a child and having the child’s father arrested. The same things happen in Canada. Last November, another LGBT activist professor was trying to normalize pedophilia.

If I had to pick the atheist capital of the United States, I’d pick Seattle. The voters there elected Ed Murray to be their mayor. Seattle voters loved that he had been the driving force behind same-sex marriage in the state. Atheists were proud of their state for legalizing same-sex marriage. They cheer for the annihilation of Judeo-Christian morality in our laws, and in our culture. It emerged later that Murray was a child molester.

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