Tag Archives: Evidence

Can anyone prove God’s existence? Is there any evidence?

The Pugnacious Irishman considers the general objection:

No one can prove God’s existence (or Jesus’ existence, or that the Bible is God’s word, etc, etc…just toss in any number of Christian staples).  There is no evidence whatsoever.  It’s all belief and faith.

This is called hard agnosticism. Atheism is the claim “There is no God”. Soft agnosticism is the claim “I don’t know if there is a God”. Hard agnosticism is the claim “No one can know whether there is a God or not”.

Now take a moment and think about how you would respond in a general way, without plunging into the arguments and counter-arguments.

Rich begins by teaching us about the notion of burden of proof:

It is important that when someone says that to you, that you never let them off the hook.  It is just too easy to throw it out there without backing it up.  It is a particularly convenient one liner for those who aren’t really interested in God and for those who have not thought deeply about God.  That’s not to say that everyone who says that hasn’t thought deeply about God, it’s just that it’s easy for folks like that to resort to it.  Rather than launching into disproving the “no proof” belief, force your conversation partner to shoulder his responsibility: he made a claim, now he must back it up.  No reason for you to launch into Kalam mode.

This actually happened to me when I was working for a software company in Chicago. We were waiting for a meeting room to empty. I was browsing a William Lane Craig debate transcript on one of the lab machines, when one of the engineers said, “Why do you read that stuff? No one can know whether God exists or not!” So I said, “Why do you think that?” And he said, “Because God is non-physical and that means that we can never have evidence of a non-physical entity”. And we went from there, straight to the Kalam argument.

Rich documents FIVE responses here, and breaks them down. My favorites are the last two, but they are all useful, depending on the person who is asking.

By the way, here is the evidence for Christian theism and responses to objections, if evidence is really required. But the point of this post is that if anyone makes a claim to know that there is no proof that God exists, the first questions you need to ask before you go to the data is: what do you mean by “God”? what would count as proof for you? who have you read? what is wrong with the arguments that you’ve read? Etc.

The Democrats make war on science to protect their faith-based policies

Did everyone hear about how the EPA, (a government agency), suppressed a report questioning global warming? Basically, the Democrats wanted to pass the cap-and-trade bill without facing any criticism of their faith in man-made global warming. So they told Carlin not to publish his report or speak about it to anyone. Alan Carlin went ahead and released the report to CEI anyway. And now he tells the whole story in the WSJ.

In the Wall Street Journal. (H/T CEI)

Mr. Carlin and a colleague presented a 98-page analysis arguing the agency should take another look, as the science behind man-made global warming is inconclusive at best. The analysis noted that global temperatures were on a downward trend. It pointed out problems with climate models. It highlighted new research that contradicts apocalyptic scenarios. “We believe our concerns and reservations are sufficiently important to warrant a serious review of the science by EPA,” the report read.

The response to Mr. Carlin was an email from his boss, Al McGartland, forbidding him from “any direct communication” with anyone outside of his office with regard to his analysis. When Mr. Carlin tried again to disseminate his analysis, Mr. McGartland decreed: “The administrator and the administration have decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision. . . . I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office.” (Emphasis added.)

Mr. McGartland blasted yet another email: “With the endangerment finding nearly final, you need to move on to other issues and subjects. I don’t want you to spend any additional EPA time on climate change. No papers, no research etc, at least until we see what EPA is going to do with Climate.” Ideology? Nope, not here. Just us science folk. Honest.

The emails were unearthed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Republican officials are calling for an investigation; House Energy Committee ranking member Joe Barton sent a letter with pointed questions to Mrs. Jackson, which she’s yet to answer. The EPA has issued defensive statements, claiming Mr. Carlin wasn’t ignored. But there is no getting around that the Obama administration has flouted its own promises of transparency.

In case you missed it, CEI wrote a lot more about the Democrats’ war on science here and here.

I blogged previously about how the Democrats undermine science in the university with their affirmative action policies, and how they insist on spending money on unproven ESCR, when ASCR has all the proven cures.

Do biology textbooks lie to prove evolution?

Lately, a lot of people have been stopping by the blog to learn about the how left-leaning scientists are producing faked evidence of global warming in order to support President Obama in his efforts to pass cap and trade.

…and so on.

You might even see evidence against global warming being suppressed. Michelle Malkin writes about the suppression of an EPA report that would have undermined the rationale for the cap-and-trade bill.

Excerpt:

The Obama administration doesn’t want to hear inconvenient truths about global warming. And they don’t want you to hear them, either. As Democrats rush on Friday to pass a $4 trillion-dollar, thousand-page “cap and trade” bill that no one has read, environmental bureaucrats are stifling voices that threaten their political agenda.

The free market-based Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington (where I served as a journalism fellow in 1995) obtained a set of internal e-mails exposing Team Obama’s willful and reckless disregard for data that undermine the illusion of “consensus.” In March, Alan Carlin, a senior research analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency, asked agency officials to distribute his analysis on the health effects of greenhouse gases. EPA has proposed a public health “endangerment finding” covering CO2 and five other gases that would trigger costly, extensive new regulations of motor vehicles. The open comment period on the ruling ended this week. But Carlin’s study didn’t fit the blame-human-activity narrative, so it didn’t make the cut.

On March 12, Carlin’s director, Al McGartland, forbade him from having “any direct communication” with anyone outside his office about his study. “There should be no meetings, emails, written statements, phone calls, etc.”

It’s important to understand that  left-leaning scientists have many reasons for doing things like this. Some of the reasons are political.

Here are just two examples.

  1. Many academics spend their entire lives in academia working on esoteric research of marginal utility. They depend for their livelihoods in large measure on research money awarded by the government. They therefore tend to want to prove their importance to the public and the government by inventing crises that require more research money and bigger government budgets.
  2. In additional, many academics are jealous of hard-working entrepreneurs in private industry, who are able to earn more money by pleasing customers with useful products and services than they can by talking and writing papers on topics of marginal utility.

For these reasons and others, it is common for a “scientific consensus” to emerge among  left-leaning scientists to prove things that are not true in order to achieve certain social and/or political results desired by these left-leaning scientists. (Note: you can verify that the majority of university professors are left-leaning by looking at their political donations – which are overwhelmingly Democrat)

Evolution

Evolution is virtually identical to global warming. Naturalists embraced evolution for many reasons, none of them related to actual evidence.

Among these reasons are the following:

  1. As Cornelius Hunter has documented, naturalists felt that if God were the designer of life, then he wouldn’t have done it in a way that involved so much suffering and waste.
  2. Naturalists, like everyone else, are resentful of the demands of the moral law on their autonomy. Rather than wasting time on theology and religious observances, they would prefer to be doing whatever they want – without any social disapproval. A theory like evolution could be foisted on the public in order to marginalize God, and his obligations, in one swoop.

Let’s learn about one of the ways that naturalists lie to the public in order to achieve desired social and political ends.

Lies my biology textbook told me

Jonathan Wells, a biologist with Ph.Ds from Yale and UC Berkeley, writes about one example of fake evidence here:

Charles Darwin thought that “by far the strongest” evidence that humans and fish are descended from a common ancestor was the striking similarity of their early embryos. According to Darwin, the fact that “the embryos of the most distinct species belonging to the same class are closely similar, but become, when fully developed, widely dissimilar… reveals community of descent.” 2 To illustrate this, German Darwinist Ernst Haeckel made some drawings in the 1860s to show that the embryos of vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) look almost identical in their earliest stages.

But Haeckel faked his drawings. Not only do they distort vertebrate embryos by making them appear more similar than they really are (in a way that Stephen Jay Gould wrote “can only be called fraudulent” 3), but they also omit classes and stages that do not fit Darwin’s theory. Most significantly, Haeckel omitted the earliest stages, in which vertebrate embryos are strikingly different from each other. The stage he portrayed as the first is actually midway through development. Yet according to Darwin’s logic, early dis-similarities do not provide evidence for common ancestry.

Haeckel used his faked drawings to support not only Darwinian evolution, but also his own “Biogenetic Law,” which stated that embryos pass through the adult stages of their ancestors in the process of development.

…Haeckel’s drawings were exposed as fakes by his own contemporaries, and his Biogenetic Law was thoroughly discredited by 20th century biologists. It is now generally acknowledged that early embryos never resemble the adults of their supposed ancestors. A modern version of recapitulation claims that early embryos resemble the embryos of their ancestors, but since fossil embryos are extremely rare, this claim is little more than speculation based on the assumption that Darwin’s theory is true.

Now the standard response from Darwinists: no textbooks are still using the fraudulent embryo images. Is it true? It’s as true as global warming!

You can see the actual faked pictures from the modern textbooks here. These textbooks were being produced as late as 2004, even though the fraud was detected in the 1800s! Is this the vaunted self-correction of science, or science being twisted to support social and political goals?

And this excerpt from that article is interesting:

Some Darwinists continue to deny that there has been any misuse of Haeckel in recent times. If that is the case, why did Stephen Jay Gould attack how textbooks use Haeckel in 2000? Gould wrote: “We should… not be surprised that Haeckel’s drawings entered nineteenth-century textbooks. But we do, I think, have the right to be both astonished and ashamed by the century of mindless recycling that has led to the persistence of these drawings in a large number, if not a majority, of modern textbooks!” (emphasis added) Similarly, in 1997, the leading embryologist Michael K. Richardson lamented in the journal Anatomy and Embyology that “Another point to emerge from this study is the considerable inaccuracy of Haeckel’s famous figures. These drawings are still widely reproduced in textbooks and review articles, and continue to exert a significant influence on the development of ideas in this field.” (emphases added)

And you can read about the 700 scientists who doubt that natural selection and mutation are sufficient to produce the diversity of life here.

Stephen Meyer explains the design of DNA at the Heritage Foundation

THIS IS A MUST-SEE VIDEO!!!

The Heritage Foundation is by far my favorite think tank. If any of my readers have a blog, and you would like to get into policy a little bit, I highly recommend them. My Christian readers may be worried that think tanks are too focussed on fiscal conservatism and that they neglect foreign policy and social conservatism, including faith issues. You will not have that problem with the Heritage Foundation.

This time, they hosted one of my top 5 Christian scholars, Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, so that he could give a lecture to the public about the evidence for an intelligent designer of DNA.

The video and audio of the lecture is posted here, at The Foundry. (H/T The Discovery Institute)

I have seen Meyer give this lecture live. He steals his children’s toys to explain DNA to people! I am begging you: do not be afraid of learning about scientific evidence. Watch the lecture!!! And then watch it again!!!

Information about Dr. Meyer from that page:

Stephen C. Meyer is Director and Senior Fellow of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle.  Dr. Meyer earned his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge University for a dissertation on the history of origin of life biology and the methodology of the historical sciences.

And you can listen to a wonderful podcast with Stephen Meyer, too!

This episode of ID the Future tells the story of how philosopher of science Stephen C. Meyer first began his quest for the origin of life. How did one of the architects of the intelligent design movement move from the oilfields of Texas to the study halls of Cambridge to pursue the mystery of where biological information originated? Listen in and find out. The new book, Signature in the Cell, tells the rest of the story, the culmination of over 20 years of study and research on the origins of life.

I wrote about the evidence for intelligent design in the cell here, using a paper published by Stephen Meyer. Watch the lecture, and read the paper.

Don’t forget to bookmark the Heritage Foundation’s blog!

Further study

One of my favorite resources on the origin of life is this interview from the University of California with former atheist and origin of life researcher Dean Kenyon. Kenyon, a professor of Biology at San Francisco State University, wrote the textbook on “chemical evolution”, which is the view that chemicals can arrange themselves in order to create the first living cell, without intervention.

This interview from the University of California with another origin of life researcher, Charles Thaxton, is also one of my favorites.

You’ll need Quicktime to see the videos, or buy the videos from ARN. (Kenyon, Thaxton) I have both of them – they rock!

Why won’t Christians defend their faith in public?

UPDATE: The Pugnacious Irishman has linked to me! Thank you for the link Rich! EVERYONE: GO READ HIS POST RIGHT NOW!

UPDATE: Neil Simpson has a debate going on about whether faith is opposed to reason. 50+ comments so far.

Shout out: Brian Auten of Apologetics 315 helped me to make this post nicer. He’s much nicer than I am.

I would like to describe a situation that arises frequently that concerns me. The situation I describe below brings out a flaw I see in the way that rank-and-file Christians respond to criticisms of Christianity in the public square.

Here is the situation

Eve is busy programming away at her desk, rushing to check in her unit tests so she can spend her lunch hour reading the latest Stephenie Meyer horror novel, or looking through an Avon catalog. Suddenly Eve hears Alice talking to Bob on the other side of her cube. She stops typing to listen to the following unencrypted conversation.

Alice: I was watching a documentary on the Discovery Channel last night that said that the universe has always existed, so there is no God!

Bob: I was watching a documentary on PBS last night showing simulations of how the first life started on Earth! God didn’t do it!

Alice: I saw “Inherit the Spin” on the weekend! The only reason people oppose evolution is because of the Bible! Not because of science!

Bob: I’m going to see “The Va Dinci Code” this weekend! It says that the Gospels are unreliable and that Jesus didn’t even die on the cross!

Alice: I just bought the latest Dichard Rawkins book “Christians Should Be Fed to Lions and the Bible Should Be Burned”!

Bob: I will read that as soon as I finish Histopher Chritchens’ book “Why God is the Evilest, Stupidest Person in the World”!

Eve double-majored in business and computer science at the Indian Institute of Technology, and has an MBA from the London School of Economics. She has spent a ton of time, effort and money studying very difficult subjects for her job, and she even publishes research. She works full-time and runs her own business part-time, and earns about 200K per year. She lives in a huge house, drives a huge car, and goes on vacation abroad to all the best vacation spots.

Eve thinks she is a Christian. She has attended church since childhood, her husband is a church elder and she sings in the church choir. She reads the Bible and prays. She gives money to the poor. She teaches Sunday school to children.  She has even read all of the Narnia novels three times!

But even though God is being maligned in Alice and Bob’s conversation, Eve is not going to stand up to defend God’s reputation to them, (or even to her own children, who are both committed atheists).

Why won’t Eve stand?

I am wondering if anyone can explain to me why it is that most church Christians are not able or not willing to make a public defense when God’s reputation is called into question. It seems to me that there are two bad effects that follow from Eve’s unwillingness to stand up and invite Alice and Bob to lunch so that she can address their questions and concerns.

1) God’s reputation is being trashed by Alice and Bob on the basis of lies they’ve swallowed from pop culture. These lies about God’s existence and character could be easily corrected with a minimal amount of study, which Eve is capable of.  If someone said similar lies about her husband or children, she would speak up, but she won’t speak up for God.

2) Alice and Bob are bound for Hell unless someone cares enough to correct their mistaken beliefs, which, along with their sinfulness, is what is keeping them from a relationship with God that would go on in Heaven. If Eve’s husband or children were mistakenly about to drink poison thinking it was Aspirin, then Eve would speak up. But to save her co-workers from Hell, she won’t speak up.

Eve is capable of studying to defend the faith, because of her great success in other areas where so much time and effort were required to master difficult material. So why has she not applied herself to answering public challenges to her Christian faith from her professors, teachers, actors, the media, politicians, scientists, historians, etc.?

It seems to me that if she did spend some time studying, and then made her defense to her co-workers, then two things would follow:

D1) Eve would be demonstrating her love for God and her friendship with God by protecting his reputation when it is called into question by unbelievers in public settings. That’s what friends do – if Eve wanted to be God’s friend, she would care that no one believed lies about him and told lies about him in public settings.

D2) Eve would be demonstrating her love for her neighbor if she was able to correct some of these false beliefs, such as that the universe is eternal, or that a historical case cannot be made for the resurrection, or that evil is not compatible with theism. It’s important for Alice and Bob to know that Christianity is not stupid.

So why is it that Eve is able to go to church for 20 years, sing in the choir, read the Bible, read the Narnia stories, pray on her knees, and yet still be unwilling to do the best thing for God and the best thing for her neighbor?

Questions for my readers

Can anyone help me to understand why Christians are willing to accept this? Why is this not being addressed by churches?

Do you have an experience where a Christian group stifled apologetics? Tell me about that, and why do you think they would do that, in view of the situation I outlined above? My experience is that atheists (as much as I tease them) are FAR more interested in apologetics than church Christians. Why is that?

My answers

My answers to these problems are given in the following previous posts.

In general:

Also, this debate I blogged about before talks about postmodernism and relativism, which has infected the church and has an impact on this question of whether we will study and defend our beliefs in public. I highly recommend giving it a listen – you will learn something about how we got to this point.

Disclaimer:

I want to clear that this is a problem for male and female Christians. I have seen it manifested by equal numbers of men and women in leadership roles. I picked these names because there is a running gag in computer network security where these names are used to describe the actors. Eve is the eavesdropping hacker, get it?