Tag Archives: Rebellion

The importance of having a narrative when confronting the assumption of naturalism

How do you present theism as a rational belief to a person who thinks that the progress of science has removed the need for God?

Canadian science writer Denyse O’Leary writes about the history of cosmology at Evolution News.

Excerpt:

What help has materialism been in understanding the universe’s beginnings?

Many in cosmology have never made any secret of their dislike of the Big Bang, the generally accepted start to our universe first suggested by Belgian priest Georges Lemaître (1894-1966).

On the face of it, that is odd. The theory accounts well enough for the evidence. Nothing ever completely accounts for all the evidence, of course, because evidence is always changing a bit. But the Big Bang has enabled accurate prediction.

In which case, its hostile reception might surprise you. British astronomer Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) gave the theory its name in one of his papers — as a joke. Another noted astronomer, Arthur Eddington (1882-1944), exclaimed in 1933, “I feel almost an indignation that anyone should believe in it — except myself.” Why? Because “The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural.”

One team of astrophysicists (1973) opined that it “involves a certain metaphysical aspect which may be either appealing or revolting.” Robert Jastrow (1925-2008), head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, initially remarked, “On both scientific and philosophical grounds, the concept of an eternal Universe seems more acceptable than the concept of a transient Universe that springs into being suddenly, and then fades slowly into darkness.” And Templeton Prize winner (2011) Martin Rees recalls his mentor Dennis Sciama’s dogged commitment to an eternal universe, no-Big Bang model:

For him, as for its inventors, it had a deep philosophical appeal — the universe existed, from everlasting to everlasting, in a uniquely self-consistent state. When conflicting evidence emerged, Sciama therefore sought a loophole (even an unlikely seeming one) rather as a defense lawyer clutches at any argument to rebut the prosecution case.

Evidence forced theorists to abandon their preferred eternal-universe model. From the mid 1940s, Hoyle attempted to disprove the theory he named. Until 1964, when his preferred theory, the Steady State, lost an evidence test.

Here is a quick summary of some of the experimental evidence that emerged in the last few decades that caused naturalists to abandon the eternal universe that they loved so much when they were younger.

The importance of having a narrative

Now I want to make a very, very important point about Christianity and the progress of science. And that point is that it is very important that Christians present the evidence in exactly the way that Denyse presented it in that article – in its historical context, featuring the conflict between naturalists and the experimental evidence.

All Christians should be familiar with the following basic pieces of evidence which fit the war between science and naturalism narrative:

  1. The origin of the universe
  2. The cosmic fine-tuning
  3. The origin of life (biological information)
  4. The sudden origin of the Cambrian phyla
  5. The habitability/observability correlation

When you talk about these evidences as a Christian theist to non-Christians, you have to have cultivated a genuine interest in reconciling your beliefs with science. You have to accept that there are two books that reveal God’s character and attributes. The book of nature, and the book of Scripture. And you need to be flexible about getting these two books to fit together. The book of nature gives us natural theology (see Romans 1). It tells us that God is Creator and Designer. The book of Scripture tells us that God stepped into history as a man to save us by taking the punishment for our headlong rush away from God, which the Bible calls sin. Science is one way that humans can recover some of basic knowledge about God. Knowledge that is only possible because God created and designed the universe (and us) in such a way that we are capable of making discoveries, and that the universe is capable of being explored and understood.

It’s very important to present these five basic evidences to non-Christians in the historical context. And here is the story you must tell: “In the beginning, there was the naturalism, and the naturalism tried to argue from ignorance that God was not Creator and God was not Designer. And then came the science, and now people have to give up their naturalism in order to account for the science”. That’s the narrative you use when talking to non-Christians about science.

In the beginning was the naturalism:

  1. In pre-scientific times, atheists maintained that the universe was eternal
  2. In pre-scientific times, atheists maintained that a life-permitting universe was as likely as a life-prohibiting universe
  3. In pre-scientific times, atheists maintained that the cell was a simple blob of Jello that could spontaneously emerge in some warm pond
  4. In pre-scientific times, atheists maintained that the sudden origin of the Cambrian phyla would be explained by subsequent fossil discoveries
  5. In pre-scientific times, atheists maintained that there was nothing special about our galaxy, solar system, planet or moon

But then science progressed by doing experiments and making observations:

  1. Scientists discovered redshift and the cosmic microwave background radiation (evidence for a cosmic beginning) and more!
  2. Scientists discovered the fine-tuning of gravity and of the cosmological constant and more!
  3. Scientists discovered protein sequencing and exposed the myth of “junk DNA” and more!
  4. Scientists discovered an even shorter Cambrian explosion period and the absence of precursor fossils and more!
  5. Scientists discovered galactic habitable zones and circumstellar habitable zones and more!

And now rational people – people who want to have true beliefs about reality – need to abandon a false religion (naturalism).

Now naturally, science is in a state of flux and things change. But you have to look at the trend of discoveries, and those trends are clearly going against naturalism, and in favor of Christian theism. No one is arguing for a deductive proof here, we are simply looking at the evidence we have today and proportioning our belief to the concrete evidence we have today. People who are guided by reason should not seek to construct a worldview by leveraging speculations about future discoveries and mere possibilities. We should instead believe what is more probable than not. That’s what a rational seeker of truth ought to do. Proportion belief to probabilities based on current, concrete knowledge.

Atheism, as a worldview, is not rooted in an honest assessment about what science tells us about reality. Atheism is rooted in a religion: naturalism. And the troubling thing we learn from looking at the history of science is that this religion of naturalism is insulated from correction from the progress of science. Nothing that science reveals about nature seems to be able to put a dent in the religion of naturalism, at least for most atheists.

It falls to us Christian theists, then, to hold them accountable for their abuse and misrepresentation of science. And that means telling the story of the progress of science accurately, and accurately calling out the religion of naturalism for what it is – a religion rooted in blind faith and ignorance that has been repeatedly and convincingly falsified by the progress of science in the modern era.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

‘Sex and the City’ inspiration Candace Bushnell reaches age 60 childless and alone

Did you know that there is a real woman who inspired the feminist fairy tale TV show “Sex in the City”? She had an enormous influence on young women, who wanted the glamour, fun, and consequence-free sex with “high value” no-commitment men. Most women who adopted the values of the show probably thought that this path would eventually lead to marriage and children.

My friend Chris sent me this article from Fox News, which talks the woman who inspired the show’s storyline.

It says:

“Sex and the City” may have left a trailblazing legacy for women on television, but the book’s original author now thinks her independent lifestyle may not have been as rewarding.

Candace Bushnell, 60, who wrote the original 1997 novel which spawned the successful TV series for HBO, opened up to Sunday Times Magazine about her 2012 divorce, admitting it made her realize how not starting a family made her feel “truly alone.”

“When I was in my 30s and 40s, I didn’t think about it,” she recalled. “Then when I got divorced and I was in my 50s, I started to see the impact of not having children and of truly being alone. I do see that people with children have an anchor in a way that people who have no kids don’t.”

I do think that it’s important for young women to really consider where they want to be when they are 30, 40, 50, etc. A wise person should seek to pattern their decisions off of the decisions of people who have reached the goals that they themselves want to reach. Candace Bushnell clearly has failed to achieve her goals. And those who listen to her will, likewise, fail to achieve the goals of marriage and children.

Making decisions today to achieve goals tomorrow

It’s important not to put too much faith in TV shows. Or any fiction.

Whenever I see women reading books in the office, I always ask them: is that fiction or non-fiction? In 19 years of full-time work, I have never had a woman answer non-fiction. And they usually answer “romance”. Well, I supposed if you were a fictional character, then you might take the advice of fictional characters. But if you are a real person, then you should look at the way the world really works. You should read peer-reviewed research, and take the advice of real people who have come up from humble beginnings to achieve the goals that you want to achieve.

After all, if your goal was to retire at 50, wouldn’t it make sense to read books about investing, and take the advice of successful investors? It certainly would not make sense to imitate the characters in TV shows and movies made by Hollywood divorcers, adulterers, rapists and pedophiles. And yet so many women do the latter with marriage and children decision-making. They seem to derive some sort of unquestionable emotional delight from making important decisions based on appearances, intuitions, peer-approval, etc.

Why listen to celebrities, teachers, politicians, etc. who have infidelities, no children, failed marriages, etc.? Why make decisions by counting votes from your no-achievement peer group? If you want to reach a goal, then there is only one way to proceed, and that’s by consulting the evidence, and seeking guidance from those with demonstrated results.

For example, when I was choosing which state to live in, I made a spreadsheet and filled it with all sorts of rankings of the 50 states that I pulled out of research papers and reports. I looked at things like infrastructure, income tax, economic growth, business friendliness, cost of living, tax as a % of income, abortion laws, support for traditional marriage, single motherhood, gun laws, concealed carry laws, fiscal solvency, etc. I moved here, and I’ve become very wealthy as a result. And my state has actually moved upward in gun rights rankings, fiscal solvency rankings, tax rankings, etc. since I got here. We’re even trying to pass pro-life laws! When you make decisions using evidence and when you listen to good advice from people who have real achievements, you succeed.

Don’t make decisions about sex, marriage and children by “following your heart”. That’s the lesson.

54-year-old feminist angry at dating agency for not finding her a rich husband

Kate Mulvey at age 53 expects that rich men will want to marry her
Kate Mulvey at age 53 expects that rich men will want to marry her

A little while ago, I blogged about a 47-year-old mother of three who sued a dating agency for failing to find her a rich husband. That was pretty bad, but I found something even worse. A 54-year-old woman who spend all her savings on a dating agency. She expected them to find her loads of rich men who want to marry her – despite her never having invested anything in them.

The UK Telegraph reports:

Glass of wine in hand, the man sitting opposite me in the restaurant was in full flow. While he was droning on about his work commitments, I zoned in and out trying to work out how on earth I was going to get to through this first date. I had expected to meet an eligible bachelor, but he had turned out to be so boring that he made me want to stick asparagus up my nostrils.

This memory came flooding back when I read about, Tereza Burki, a City financier who, last week, successfully sued a Knightsbridge-based elite matchmaking service, for the return of her £12,600 annual fee after they failed to find her the man of her dreams.

A couple of years ago, I too joined an expensive matchmaking agency. I had just come out of a seven year relationship, and was on the wrong side of 50.

I soon tired of online dating and receiving messages from over weight baldies who peppered their emails with childish emojis. I hankered to find Mr Right-for-me, a man who was suitably educated and a successful professional.

And so this is how I found myself, throwing money (my entire savings to be precise) to an upmarket matchmaking agency in central London. The agency claimed to filter out the undesirables, the mediocre and give clients the personal touch, so I handed over the hefty sum of £6,000.

As I waited to be matched with someone from their ‘extensive database’, I idly imagined my handsome date, cashmere polo neck, a bit academic and kind. We’d eat steak tartare and swap notes on our latest clever box-set find and favourite novels.

The first indication that all was not as I had expected came when I met personal matchmaker at a Park Lane hotel for ‘tea and an interview’…  told her how I loved folk music, my favourite film was The Deer Hunter, and enjoyed weekends in the countryside.

[…]A few days later she emailed me with the details of W, “a successful entrepreneur who had travelled extensively and also liked folk music”. When I met him at a pub in Richmond, I was shocked. I was expecting a cultured and dynamic man, instead I got a man in a pair of jeans, a moth eaten jumper and the table manners of a modern day Baldrick.

And therein lies the rub. These agencies trade on their exclusivity, yet the men I met were far from the international super elite they promised.

Isn’t this terrible? Clearly the dating agency is to blame. It should be easy for a penniless, feminist hedonist to find rich men who want to spend all their money taking care of a 54-year-old woman who had literally nothing to do with the process by which they earned all that money.

One thing we know about her for sure is that she is impractical. She is 54 years old and has just spent her last savings on a dating agency. From her other comments about the type of men she is looking for, we can infer that she wasted a lot of money on travel, fine dining, and other frivolous experiences designed to produce feelings of sophistication without any practical plan for preparing for the financial demands of old age. What’s the point of having fun “in the moment” if you don’t have any plan to allow sustainable recreation in the future, when you’re too old to work?

I spent some time reading articles by Kate Mulvey, and here is what I was able to determine:

  • she has no useful degrees – she paid for useless degrees in Italian and French, instead of studying something useful, like computer science or nursing or petroleum engineering. Her “writing” is all about fashion, dating and “lifestyles”
  • her opinion on children: “uppity children take your time, emotions and energy” – she sees children as a detriment to her highest priority (her career). She says “I, however, have lived a life of unfettered freedom to take on projects, write books and travel”
  • she had loads of entertaining men “beating a path to [her] door” when she was younger
  • she spend thousands of pounds on plastic surgery
  • she blames her lack of marriage success on her being “brainier” than men
  • she turned down men who wanted to marry her, as late as age 33
  • her book is called “Accidental Singleton” because she thinks that her approach to life – anti-marriage hedonism – has “accidentally” left her single and penniless at age 54 (as if it wasn’t her fault!)

Although she talks a lot about being intelligent, it seems to me that an intelligent woman would have practical degrees, savings and an awareness of what men actually want from a woman – and WHEN they want it. Men want a woman to support them in their most difficult period, just after they graduate and hit the job market. Starting out in a career is hard because the man doesn’t have savings or a resume or references. The support of a young, attractive, virtuous woman means everything during those difficult years. This is when a wife has the most impact on her husband’s ability to earn and save, on his mental health, on his physical health, etc.

Somehow, this narcissist thinks that she can just show up in a man’s life, after he has done all his earning alone, and grab hold of the things that she never helped build. She wasted all her youth and beauty chasing experiences with attractive bad boys, but she thinks that it’s reasonable for a man to invest all his wealth in her. A woman has value to a man at the time when he is attempting to do difficult things, but lacks support.

What exactly is it that a woman like Kate has to offer a man, given her life choices? Does anyone think that this woman has marriage-character? Does anyone think that her life of selfishness and hedonism has prepared her to be a good wife? What kind of conversation about moral obligations could you have with someone who has only ever done what felt good to her in the moment? Has her string of failed relationships with hot bad boys prepared her to be trusting and unselfish? How about to be faithful? Or even to be content? What is it that she thinks that she is offering that would justify the heavy investment that she is asking for, especially in an age of no-fault-divorce and anti-male divorce courts?

I think people really underestimate how much goes into making a good wife. The character she has to develop. The skills that she has to develop. The way she treats her husband, which often comes from carefully cultivating virtues like chastity and sobriety. Her worldview, which affects whether she has practical abilities like love, forgiveness and self-control. Her ability to be good with money. Her ability to nurture others and make social connections consistent with marriage and homemaking. Her ability to bear children, and then nurture them during the critical first 5 years after – not to mention homeschooling, which is increasingly valuable in a time when underperforming government-run schools seek to indoctrinate, rather than educate, children.

Nothing about this woman makes me think that she has any marriage-related character traits or abilities. Any idiot can spend someone else’s money on their own feelings, fun and thrills. But it takes a carefully crafted woman to really do the work of a wife. Marriage isn’t there so that women can be happy. Marriage is an enterprise. Being selfish – doing what is easy, and what feels good moment by moment – doesn’t prepare a woman for the enterprise.