Thursday, August 16, 2018 |
Department: Opening Salvo —
Topic: ID —
Ignoring Evidence Leads to Endless Improbabilities
by James M. Kushiner
In "Eye Openers: Eight Common Factors for Atheists Changing Their Minds about God," author Matt Nelson gives as factor number 6, "Advances & Limitations of Science." He cites the conversion of world-famous atheist Anthony Flew to theism because of his "growing empathy with the insight of Einstein and other noted scientists that there had to be an Intelligence behind the integrated complexity of the physical Universe."
Another way to say "integrated complexity" is "fine-tuning." As shown in the sidebar in "Improbably So," there are many finely tuned physical constants, such as the gravitational force, that must be in place for the cosmos to exist in the first place, and for life to exist, in the second.
Theists naturally see this fine-tuning as a work of divine design. The pure materialist, believing everything that exists can be explained by physical laws and processes, must explain why the physical laws that allow for life exist in the first place. Could their existence be a mere accident?
That's not the point, the materialist counters: our universe is highly improbable, but it does exist (and we do, too) because there is an infinite number of universes out there—and voila!—one of them is bound to be like ours, and so we're naturally here to observe it.
But this is a philosophical explanation, not a scientific one. In response to the scientific evidence suggesting a conclusion they don't like (i.e., there is a creator), many materialists have leapt into metaphysics without admitting so. Since it is impossible to empirically prove the existence of other universes outside of our own, they take "multiverses" on faith because materialism requires such a dodge.
Regis Nicoll, in "It's Beyond Us: Extraordinary Claims Need an Extraordinary Cosmos," takes us on a tour of the various materialistic explanations given for the existence of living things in the designed cosmos in which we live. He cites science writer and journalist John Horgan saying, "Multiverse theories aren't theories, they're science fictions, theologies, works of the imagination unconstrained by evidence." The evidence is lacking and can't simply be conjured up. We're faced (and blessed) with a very finely tuned set-up, from the Big Bang, to the Milky Way Galaxy, to planet Earth and its Moon, all the way down to our DNA and genetic design.
It's not just that science has hit an obstacle in explaining the cosmos. Science itself is being harmed. Denyse O'Leary, in "Tuning Out the Universe," explains how ignoring the evidence we see is morphing into "post-fact science."
What is going on? Science always used to be about just the facts. O'Leary says that for some scientists, "evidence of fine tuning can be dismissed, not because it is false, but because it is beside the point." Some atheists "are increasingly comfortable with the idea that human beings did not evolve so as to perceive reality correctly, which means that we do not need to go to war for or against evidence."
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, atheists touted science as making biblical claims of Creation obsolete. Now that evidence has piled up that points to design in the cosmos and in life—that is, to Creation—they shrug, "Who needs evidence?"
Yet students are still being told that science has trumped biblical views of Creation. But that is just fashionable opinion past its expiration date. It's time to call the materialists' bluff. The facts point to Creation. If someone resists, chances are he doesn't know all the facts or is clinging to materialism for post-fact reasons. If you know such individuals, give them this issue of Salvo—it may open their eyes! •
James M. Kushiner is the executive editor of Salvo and Touchstone magazines.
More on ID from the Salvo online archives.
Column: Headquarters — Salvo 34
Georges Lemaître, the Catholic Priest Behind the Big Bang by Ray Cavanaugh
Feature — Salvo 41
It's Beyond Us
Extraordinary Claims Need an Extraordinary Cosmos by Regis Nicoll
Department: Basic Training — Salvo 41
Fine-Tuning Is Unlikely, but Unlikely Things Happen All the Time by Tim Barnett
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