Tag Archives: Science

Christianity and the birth of modern science

UPDATE: Welcome, visitors from Free Canuckistan! Did you know that Binks is a web elf? It’s true!

Super-commenter ECM sent me this post from Pamela Geller’s blog, Atlas Shrugs. I thought that this was something wonderful because this is not an area of expertise for me, although it is something that I do get questions about, because atheists believe that Christianity is anti-science, and I need to know how to respond. The post discusses an essay by the blogger Fjordman.

And here’s how it starts:

Neither Roman, Egyptian, Chinese nor Indian civilization created the Scientific Revolution; they all stagnated after making initial gains in knowledge. This is because the natural human tendency is to want immediate results. If the research does not yield reasonably quick benefits, interest wanes. Yet you needed a critical mass of accumulated knowledge before the Scientific Revolution could be ignited. The Bible commands mankind to subdue the Earth, but in order to do so, men need to understand how the world works. In addition to this, the Bible portrays God as a Creator who made the universe work according to rational laws. Since God’s laws are immutable, it remains for us to discover them. Many of the scholars who created modern science, including Galileo and Newton, believed that they were honoring God by studying his Creation. They saw science as a religious duty.

Now, I’ve blogged on the vital importance of scientific progress to the Christian worldview. Let me be clear. We are in a period of economic abundance which exacerbates arrogance, hedonism and disdain for theology and morality. We absolutely must avail ourselves of every sign of creative and/or intelligent activity in the natural world. And that means science must progress.

The essay then cites an Oxford University Press textbook by James Evans as follows:

“…Kepler went on to become the most outstanding mathematical astronomer of his generation. His greatest gifts were inexhaustible patience, great calculating ability, and a relentless drive to understand. But his motives for astronomical research always involved a quest for higher knowledge. Everywhere, he sought for connections between apparently disparate realms of thought. He wanted to know God’s plan for the cosmos….”

Fjordman then continues:

While leading scholars during the Scientific Revolution such as Galileo, Kepler and Newton were indeed inspired by the mathematics of the ancient Greeks, their Christian world view made the connection between mathematics and the natural world even more powerful and explicit. Isaac Newton spent a great deal of time looking for hidden codes in the Bible, and undoubtedly believed that he was studying both of God’s Books: The Bible and the Book of Nature. Nothing similar happened in East Asia, or indeed in any other civilization.

But wouldn’t any old monotheism do in order to ground natural laws? Agnostic sociologist Rodney Stark says no:

…Rodney Stark agrees that Islam does not have “a conception of God appropriate to underwrite the rise of science…Allah is not presented as a lawful creator but is conceived of as an extremely active God who intrudes in the world as he deems it appropriate. This prompted the formation of a major theological bloc within Islam that condemns all efforts to formulate natural laws as blasphemy in that they deny Allah’s freedom to act.”

Fjordman continues:

In contrast [with Islam], for Jews and Christians, God has created the universe according to a certain logic, which can be described. Kepler firmly believed the Solar System was created according to God’s plan, which he attempted to unlock. Sir Isaac Newton was passionately interested in religion and wrote extensively about it.

And it ends with this:

Does mathematics have an independent existence in nature or does the human mind invent it? The answer potentially has huge philosophical implications. The people who created modern science lived predominantly in Europe, an overwhelmingly Christian continent with an important Jewish minority. They apparently had an advantage when they assumed the universe to be designed by a rational Creator. I admit this is a challenging dilemma for those of us who are not religious: Why can nature apparently be described mathematically and rationally if it has not been designed by a rational Creator? As a non-religious man, this is the only religious argument that I find difficult to answer.

It’s an interesting essay. It made me think of this article by Walter Bradley in which he talks about the relationship between mathematics and nature as a pointer to an intelligent designer. For those interested in the relationship between Christianity and science, please take a look at the index of Christianity-related posts.

The story of the Wintery Knight blog so far…

Those of you who have been reading the blog know that the blog is split between Christian apologetics and policy analysis. Here’s a little list of the topics that I have touched on related to Christian apologetics, with topics yet to appear later in italics.

Positive apologetics

Scientific arguments for theism:

  • the creation of the universe out of nothing (Warning: SNARKY)
  • the fine-tuning of physical constants and ratios to support the minimal requirements for life (Warning: SNARKY)
  • the origin of biological information in the simplest living organism
  • galactic, stellar and planetary fine-tuning to support the minimal requirements for life
  • the sudden origin of all animal phyla in the Cambrian explosion
  • the natural limits of biological change

Philosophical arguments for theism:

  • the moral argument
  • the argument from evil
  • the origin of non-physical mind, rationality and free will

Historical arguments for Christianity

Negative apologetics

Scientific objections:

Philosophical objections

Emotional objections

Moral issues

Mentoring

Apologetics advocacy

Global warming is a made-up crisis to justify socialism

I just want to get this out there so that we can be clear. There is no climate crisis. The whole thing was invented, just like “nuclear winter”, in order to justify government taking control of the economy so they can equalize economic inequalities.

Fox News reports that the United Nations is proposing global redistribution of wealth from productive, free nations to unproductive, repressive ones. The rationalization for this redistribution of wealth is going to be global warming alarmism.

Excerpt: (H/T John Lott)

A United Nations document on “climate change” that will be distributed to a major environmental conclave next week envisions a huge reordering of the world economy, likely involving trillions of dollars in wealth transfer, millions of job losses and gains, new taxes, industrial relocations, new tariffs and subsidies, and complicated payments for greenhouse gas abatement schemes and carbon taxes — all under the supervision of the world body.

And Wesley J. Smith sheds more light on the topic here, where he analyzes a column by a radical environmentalist who argues that we need to prevent economic growth, on the grounds that it is harming the planet.

Excerpt:

This willingness to sacrifice human welfare is reaching a fever pitch among those who believe that global warming is a crisis of unimagined proportions–a belief that can border on quasi-religion or pure ideology. An article by David Owen–pushing the importance of economic decline to saving the planet–in the New Yorker illustrates the point.

Here’s one of the quotes from David Owen:

The environmental benefits of economic decline, though real, are fragile, because they are vulnerable to intervention by governments, which, understandably, want to put people back to work and get them buying non-necessities again–through programs intended to revive ordinary consumer spending (which has a big carbon footprint), and through public-investment projects to build new roads and airports (ditto).

I would recommend checking out the post to read what environmentalists really think about human welfare when compared to the myth of global warming. It’s important to understand what people on the left, who are advising Obama, are planning to do.

To get the real costs of what it would take to “fix” global warming, check out this post at the Heritage Foundation’s blog “The Foundry”. In this post, they explain the science, what global warming alarmists are trying to do, and how much it will cost to do it – and they done the research to prove it.

Excerpt:

Perhaps the most alarming part is the price tag associated with attempting to reduce such a small part of the atmosphere and something we really cannot control. Our analysis shows the cumulative GDP losses for 2010 to 2029 approach $7 trillion. Single-year losses exceed $600 billion in 2029, more than $5,000 per house¬hold. Job losses are expected to exceed 800,000 in some years, and exceed at least 500,000 from 2015 through 2026. It is important to note that these are net job losses, after any jobs created by compliance with the regulations–so-called green jobs–are taken into account. In total, the “climate revenue” (read: energy tax) could approach two trillion over eight years. Keep in mind, this is all for negligible environmental benefits.

UPDATE: Heritage Foundation weighs in with more on the UN’s plan for global wealth redistribution.

The U.N. conference in Bonn, Germany commenced yesterday to hash out details for an international approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to have a plan ready for the global warming summit in Copenhagen at the end of the year that would supplant the failed Kyoto Protocol.

And the Competitive Enterprise Institute has a link to a piece in the WSJ about the impact to the manufacturing sector and to US trading partners.

Happy Academic Freedom Day

You can counter the Darwin Day celebrations with these articles on intelligent design and academic freedom. I got these in my e-mail from the Discovery Institute Center for Science and Culture.

The war between science and atheism, part two

In part one, you’ll remember that I argued that the progress of science in confirming the big bang disproved atheism, and I on went to speculate about why there are still atheists today, given this tremendous scientific discovery. This time, I want to discuss the fine-tuning of the initial constants and conditions of the big bang and see how atheists responded to these recent scientific discoveries.

In nature, the values of physical constants, (e.g. – the force of gravity), are set at the instant when the universe is created. Initially, atheists assumed that the constants could be any value, and life would still exist. But the progress of science has shown that if these constants were altered even slightly, then the resulting universe would not permit life. For example, physicist Brandon Carter has shown that if the force of gravity were stronger or weaker by 1 part in 10 to the 40th power, life-sustaining stars could not exist. While each possible value of the force of gravity is equally unlikely, the vast majority of these possibilities prohibit complex life of any kind. That means that any one value picked at random is as likely as any of the others, but it is overwhelmingly likely that the one picked will not permit life.

And how do atheists respond to the evidence of a universe that is finely-tuned for life? Well, there are two responses I’ve seen. The first is to speculate that there are actually an infinite number of other universes that are not fine-tuned, (i.e. – the gambler’s fallacy). All these other universes don’t support life. But, lucky us, we just happen to be in the one universe that popped into being out of nothing, and is fine-tuned to an incredible degree for life. What’s that you say? “Wintery! How can we be sure that these other universes even exist?” Why, you just have to have faith, because there is no way of directly observing these other universes. So, to be an intellectually-fulfilled atheist, you have to believe in billions and billions of demons unobservable universes.

Short of invoking a benevolent creator, many physicists see only one possible explanation: Our universe may be but one of perhaps infinitely many universes in an inconceivably vast multiverse. Most of those universes are barren, but some, like ours, have conditions suitable for life.

The idea is controversial. Critics say it doesn’t even qualify as a scientific theory because the existence of other universes cannot be proved or disproved. Advocates argue that, like it or not, the multiverse may well be the only viable non­religious explanation for what is often called the “fine-tuning problem”—the baffling observation that the laws of the universe seem custom-tailored to favor the emergence of life.

The second response by atheists is that the human observers that exist today, 14 billion years after the universe was created out of nothing, actually caused the fine-tuning. Now you say to me, “Wintery! How can fairies humans fine-tune constants that were set before humans even existed!” Well, it’s true that causality in science has never been known to go backwards in time. But hey, atheists already believe that the entire physical universe popped into being out of nothing. What’s one more anti-science delusion to someone already against the law of conservation of mass and matter? I mean, if you’re already against the progress of science, why not double down?

…maybe we should approach cosmic fine-tuning not as a problem but as a clue. Perhaps it is evidence that we somehow endow the universe with certain features by the mere act of observation… observers are creating the universe and its entire history right now. If we in some sense create the universe, it is not surprising that the universe is well suited to us.

So what makes people become atheists? It isn’t arguments or evidence, because the progress of science repudiates atheism-of-the-gaps. Atheism is really just a long-running tempter tantrum. Atheism is caused when a child’s selfish autonomy runs into moral obligations, or when a child feels alienated because they are raised in a minority religion. The extreme reactions to these typical childhood experiences is triggered by the atheism-module of the brain. Scientists now believe that the atheism-module causes atheists to want to start wars, such as the wars of atheistic communism, which killed over 100 million people, and still enslaves millions in North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, etc.

A podcast with scientist Scott Chambers, an active researcher on the fine-tuning is here. Here are two posts (first, second) discussing Newsweek’s evasions of the fine-tuning, (related podcast here). Five podcasts with atheist scholar Bradley Monton on cosmic fine-tuning are here. Physicist Robin Collins argues here that even if you take the blind leap-of-faith into multiverse-land, you still need a fine-tuning intelligence. Further discussions of the unobservable multiverse delusion are here and here. Further discussions of the non-existent observer delusion are here and here. For a serious, non-snarky, non-satirical look at the psychology of atheism, by a former atheist Professor of Psychology at New York University, look here, (related podcast).

UPDATE 1: Welcome, visitors from The Anchoress. Please take a look around while you are here. And thanks for the link, Anchoress!

UPDATE 2: Welcome, visitors from Colliding Universes. Thanks for the link, Denyse! Denyse’s other excellent blogs are Post-Darwinist and Mindful Hack.