Tag Archives: Irreducible COmplexity

MUST-LISTEN: J.P. Moreland lecture on Christianity and science

I found the lectures here at Apologetics 315. These are GOOD. He covers a lot and you’ll get a lot of interesting stuff to think about. This is actually a great lecture – the old J.P. Moreland back in fine form. He’s going over a ton of arguments for theism from science. I’ve counted SIX so far, so this is a really good lecture, and perfect for beginners.

    • The full MP3 audio is here.

      He doesn’t talk about habitability at the galactic, stellar, or planetary level, though.

      I am a little busy mailing out everyone’s gifts today! I apologize for the light blogging. Please go and read just a few chapters of that Dalrymple book that I posted yesterday if you need something to read, or check out these round-ups:

      More from Neil Simpson: Another reason it is hard to stay in the Methodist church

      Neil Simpson is a methodist??? How is that even possible?

      Mailing these gifts will only take a few hours, and then I’m on vacation until January 4th!!! I promise I will write a ton then. I’m also working on an application for the Droid platform, but it’s a secret.

      I’m giving away this stuff to people this year:

      • Unlocking the Mystery of Life DVD
      • Icons of Evolution DVD
      • The Privileged Planet DVD
      • Darwin’s Dilemma DVD
      • Signature in the Cell book
      • The William Lane Craig vs Christopher Hitchens debate DVD
      • Money, Greed and God book
      • Greer-Heard Forums from 2005 and 2009
      • and other specific things they asked for

      If you guys are giving away apologetics gifts, please write your ideas in the comments. I did gift exchanges with atheists, so now I have atheist books to read! Bleh! I only want to read atheists in debates, because listening to them blab without rebuttal is very annoying.

      Does God exist? Is there any scientific evidence to prove that God exists?

      Since I haven’t talked about science in a while, I thought that now would be a good time to list some of the more common arguments for a Creator and Designer of the universe and/or intelligent life. I like to use arguments drawn from mainstream science that do not assume the Bible or inerrancy or anything specifically religious. The arguments below all show that the reality we live in exhibits effects in nature that are not explained by particles in motion, chance and the operation of natural laws.

      First, here’s the list of a few of the better-known arguments:

      The average knuckle-dragging atheist will not be familiar with any of these arguments, will have never seen them used in academic debates, and will not even click through to read about them. That’s atheism these days – it’s non-cognitive. Atheism is all about escaping from moral values and moral obligations, which are not even rationally grounded by atheism.

      The point of being familiar with these arguments is to show that religion and science are virtually identical. Both are trying to explain the external world. Both are bound by the laws of logic. Both use evidence to verify and falsify claims. For example, the discovery of the origin of the universe falsifies Hinduism, Buddhism and Mormonism, but it leaves Christianity, Islam and Judaism unscathed. All religions make truth claims and those claims can be tested against what science tells us about the world.

      What is the significance of scientific progress for Christians?

      Some general points to know when presenting these arguments.

      1. You need to emphasize that atheism is in full flight away from the progress of science. Each of these arguments has gotten stronger as the evidence grew and grew. For example, scientists had to be forced to turn away from the eternal universe as new discoveries arrived, such as the cosmic microwave background radiation measurements. Scientists had to turn away from the view that the cosmological constants are nothing special, as more and more fine-tuned quantities were discovered.

      2. Christians need to pay attention in school and score top grades in mathematics and experimental sciences. Science is God-friendly, and we need to have Christians doing cutting edge research in the best labs at the universities. Think of the work done by Doug Axe at Cambridge University in which he was able to publish research showing that very few sequences of amino acids have biological function, so getting functional sequences at random is virtually impossible. One of Doug’s papers is here. We need more people like him.

      3. Each of these arguments needs to be studied in the context of polemics and debates. The best way to present each of these arguments is by presenting them as a struggle against opposing forces. For example, when talking about the big bang, emphasize how atheists kept trying to come up with eternal universe speculations. When talking about the fine-tuning, talk about the unobservable multiverse. When talking about irreducible complexity, talk about the co-option fallacy. Don’t preach – teach the controversy.

      4. Don’t make lazy excuses about how scientific evidence doesn’t persuade non-Christians. Science is absolutely the core of any argument for Christianity, along with the case for the resurrection of Jesus. Christianity is about knowledge. Christians who refuse to subject their faith to science are probably just trying to make sure that Christianity isn’t so true that it dictates how they should live. They like the uncertainty of blind faith, because it preserves their autonomy to disregard Christian moral teachings when it suits them.

      5. The purpose of linking your Christian faith to scientific arguments is to demonstrate to non-Christians that Christianity is real. It is not a personal preference. It is not something you grew up with. It is not something you inherited from your parents. When you link your Christian faith with scientific facts in the external world, you are declaring to non-Christians that Christianity is testable and binding on everyone who shares the objective reality we live in. You can’t expect people to act Christianly without showing that Christianity is objectively true.

      6. Scientific arguments are tremendously useful even for believing Christians, because sometimes it is difficult to act in a Christian way when your emotions are telling you not to. When your feelings make it hard for you to behave Christianly, that is when scientific evidence can come into play in order to rationally justify acts of self-denial and self-sacrifice. For example, scientific evidence for the existence of God is a helpful counterbalance to the problem of apparently gratuitous evil, which often discourages Christians.

      My complete index of arguments for and against Christian theism is here.

      UPDATE: I notice that in the popular culture, people are not really aware of these arguments, and are still arguing for religious faith based on pragmatism and personal experience, not on evidence. Using reason and evidence is much better, and it’s what the Bible teaches, too.

      A practical method for understanding intelligent design in two weeks

      ECM sent me this awesome post from Uncommon Descent. The post explains how someone who doesn’t want to read about intelligent design can learn what intelligent design by doing. That’s right – you can learn about intelligent design by practicing intelligent design.


      Of course a good example of design would be engineering in all its specialties. Unfortunately almost all fields of engineering are inaccessible to laymen for many reasons. But the good news is that there is a field that is theorically and practically available (at least at a basic level) to almost all people (or at least to scientific-minded people as most ID deniers are): computer science. Our suggested patent-pending method to become IDer is based on computer programming. Developing programs gives ID refuters a lot of advantages to learn ID.

      (1) Computer programming is an activity where, differently from literature, philosophy, journalism and so on, a severe control overarches all the design cycle. In programming errors matter, also the minor ones are never condoned. This is good discipline for the student, to be always forced to correct his errors. If you write a book filled with errors, no worry, it will be published the same. If you write a program with one error nothing works. This is the difference between storytelling and programming. Usually there are at least two kinds of control or filter: at compilation time and at run-time. Any program works only if it passes the two filters.

      […](2) Computer programs don’t arise by unguided evolution. They entail CSI and only intelligence can create CSI. Whether software were generable by mean of randomness and machines, software houses wouldn’t need to pay legions of expensive programmers. When you are programming you see directly your intelligence at work. Eventually other programmers can help you but no other unintelligent thing can do the job for you.

      (3) To develop programs is a good exercise to learn CSI, IC, nested functional hierarchies, sub-functions, structures, dependences among parts, meta-information, libraries, etc.

      Intelligent design is nothing more than sequencing a large number of parts into a chain that has function. That’s it – that’s all it is. God is a software engineer. And if you’re interested in seeing some of the published research done by ID theorists, check out this list of their publications in scientific, peer-reviewed research journals. (H/T Truthbomb Apologetics)

      There is only one problem with the post at UD, though. They recomment Perl and PHP for the exercise. Perl and PHP are crappy languages for any program longer than 100 lines that needs to be maintained longer than 2 months, or maintained by another developer who did not write it. The readability and maintainability of Perl and PHP are atrocious. Stick with languages like Java, Smalltalk or C#.

      Other arguments for a Creator and Designer

      To learn more about arguments for a Creator and Designer, check out some of my favorites below, taken from the big list of arguments and counter-arguments: