The Discovery Institute sponsored the Dallas Conference on Science and Faith on January 22, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to hear from a wonderful host of speakers. In this post I’ll present some highlights from two of those speakers: John West and Eric Hedin.
John West is the Vice President of the Discovery Institute, and he started things off by quoting Louis Pasture, one of the most prominent scientists of the 19th century: “Our investigations of nature should be illuminated by the science that brings man closer to God.” This timeless quote underscores one of the themes for the conference, demonstrating the unity that existed and still exists between science and faith. Secular science has sought to undermine that faith by separating God from science, but that is a fundamental mistake.
Believe it or not, science can be abused. And false claims made in the name of science can be destructive. Sadly, we have seen that occur throughout history. Roe v. Wade was one example of how scientists successfully convinced some people that killing a baby in the womb is no worse than killing a worm or a fish… after all, they claim, humans are related to plants and animals, and there’s nothing fundamentally different about us. They claim humans are modified apes produced by accidental processes that didn’t have us in mind. Such false claims can have tragic consequences, and the lives of more than 63 million aborted babies in America since that landmark case are testimony to it.
West concluded that the future of our culture is at stake, and we need to equip ourselves to be discerning in science. Although modern science has attempted to undermine faith in God, the truth is that science supports faith, and always has.
The next speaker, physicist Eric Hedin, tells an all-to-common story about censorship. At one time, Christian faith was taught in schools and colleges. In fact, many colleges were founded on Christian faith. But in today’s political climate, neither free speech nor religious speech are tolerated.
Professor Hedin taught a course titled, The Boundaries of Science at Ball State University for six years, and he asked a poignant question: does examining the implications of science amount to teaching religion in the classroom?
This particular class was designed to examine the nature of the physical and living world and investigate the physical reality of the boundaries of science, and the description of the class clearly stated that students would attempt to discern if reality could “illuminate the central questions of the purpose of our existence and the meaning of life.” Students were not forced to take the course, but could choose freely.
The scary truth is, Hedin taught science in the classroom. He even used a concept from an introduction to astronomy textbook in which the author stated that astronomy can help us understand the meaning of our existence. This author, however, meant it from a secular point of view, and no one complained about pushing atheism down the throats of students.
But when Hedin posed the question, he was treated differently. He had the temerity to ask students, “What is the meaning of our existence?” And many responded positively, engaging in discussion. Hedin went on to ask if science can explain everything, or if there are limits to what science can explain.
In today’s culture, naturalism is taught as “established science” and cannot be questioned. But it’s not without conflict. For instance, says Hedin, if all space, time, matter and energy suddenly came into existence from nothing, then nothing within space and time could have been the cause of that beginning. Thus, the Big Bang has both scientific and philosophical implications, suggesting there may not be a natural explanation for the cause of the universe. Perhaps, then, the universe had a transcendent cause.
So, in order to discover where the boundary lies between the physical and metaphysical, it was necessary to study physical nature, and that’s what the class did. It was fair to ask, “Is it natural?” And he let students draw their own conclusions. But asking those questions lead to conflict. The renowned atheist, Jerry Coyne, learned about the class and openly attacked it. The media was hostile, twisting Hedin’s words, and the negative publicity led to the cancellation of the course. Sadly, this is how secular science operates in today’s world- not by advancing science, but through sheer censorship.
Although what happened to Hedin is unacceptable, I appreciate how he handled the persecution. He is a man well-grounded in Scripture, and he learned to “rejoice and be glad” (Matthew 5:10-12) because being persecuted for the name of Christ leads to eternal blessing. He learned to forgive and pray for those who attacked him, even though it was hard to do so, because he has a relationship with the King.
The rest of his lecture was focused on physics and how the universe operates. He spoke on the limits of randomness, the complexity of life, and the fine-tuning of the universe. Ultimately, if science cannot explain the origin of the universe or life, then we ought to look elsewhere for an explanation.
One particular example stood out. About 94 naturally occurring elements have formed since the beginning of time. Hedin explained, due to limitations imposed by the laws of nature, there cannot be an element with 200 protons, or an isotope of carbon with 53 neutrons. But if the universe is 13.8 billion years old, then there’s been plenty of time for the forces of nature to create such elements- if it were possible. But there are limits to natural processes. These very same limits preclude nature from overcoming the information barrier between life and non-life. Nature cannot initiate the step-by-step process necessary to form life, no matter how much time is provided.
The takeaway is, life is far too complex for natural processes to explain. Therefore, something else must be the cause. The secular world will never accept this line of reasoning and will fight against it, even though they have no explanation. Nonetheless, the design we observe in both life and the universe can more logically be attributed to an intelligent designer, and that designer can be identified through faith. The Bible tells us, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
What a joke. This group is a den of snakes and liars. All they do is say things related to modern science, then throw in their religious garbage and to muddy the waters of what science does or can predict. The god hypothesis is a failed one. Faith is a mental illness and requires intervention from others to at least acknowledge the insanity of it all.
The Bible is not true and it predicts nothing. Jesus is a fable, he was created by taking parts of previous “messiah” gods and then making a sort of franken-messiah that exist to sow confusion and hatred.
Creationists are very sick people and in need of help or they will destroy the whole world.
I am here to say I stand in opposition of this. There is no god!
Please, I beg of you consider for just one moment, “What if you’re wrong?” It means you not only wasted the only life you have but you have sown division and confusion in your fellow man.
Live life for today.
First, I sincerely thank you for visiting. I appreciate your comments and point of view and hope you feel welcome enough to return.
Second, I must disagree with every point. I don’t know any of the speakers personally, but I’ve followed a number of them long enough to know they’re not a joke, a den of snakes or liars. I believe they’re quite honest, and if you were to get to know them yourself, I’m sure you would feel likewise. They’ve earned my trust.
I believe the Bible is true, and it has predicted many things confirmed by science. The Bible predicted ocean currents (Psalm 8:8), dinosaur soft tissue, dinosaurs and man living together (Job 3:8, Job 41, Job 45:15), worldwide flood legends, biogenesis, the complexity of life at the molecular level (Romans 1:20), worldwide geologic sedimentary layers (Genesis 6-9), animals and plants reproducing after their kind (Genesis 1:11-25), and even the fine-tuning of the universe (Romans 1:20). I’ll be happy to elaborate if you’re interested.
Lastly, I appreciate your last question: “What if you’re wrong?” Well, if I’m wrong, there are no consequences. Who cares if I’ve sown division and confusion in my fellow man? If you’re encouraging me to “live for today”, then there’s nothing wrong with my decisions any more than there is for you to do what you wish. 200 years from now no one will ever remember you or me. We and our sins will be forgotten, just as we’ve forgotten the sins of our ancestors that we never knew existed. But if I’m right, then I’ll spend eternity in heaven. I’ll gladly take those odds.
But what if you’re wrong? What if God does exist? Where will you spend eternity? The consequences are infinitely greater for you. Therefore, I encourage you to reconsider your disbelief in God. The Bible tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us or sins and will purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This is good news!
You can disagree all you want, the science is clear. You are very brainwashed by the christian death cult.
I care if you sow division and hatred among your fellow man!
You don’t think I’ve considered the possibility of being wrong? You don’t think that as a child I wanted to try and believe in god so I wouldn’t have to face the eternity of death? There was nothing, no proof just more religious hogwash.
There are no odds, you will die, and you will rot in the ground. That’s it.
So if you take the Bible at its literal translation, what about all of the glaring contradictions within? Have you read the Bible? I somehow doubt it. I’ve read it, I saw it for what it is. A simple, badly composed, book.
Your god is fake.
Your messiah never existed.
Your holy text is lies.
Religion is poisoning you against your fellow man, and for this you are my enemy.
Just for one moment, see through all of the lies to some semblance of clarity. This young earth creation stuff is CRAZY, if it were true it would invalidate the entire field of genetics. Geography, astronomy , biology, all of these sciences show no evidence of a god or any guiding hand in our creation.
Simply put, WAKE UP!!!!
This isn’t about me, so it doesn’t matter if I agree or disagree with you. What concerns me is truth. Yes, “the science is clear”, but I don’t think that means what you think it does. Science isn’t up for a vote. I’ve learned that scientific conclusions are grounded in one’s worldview. Believing in evolution and long ages will influence a scientist’s conclusions. Science is a process implemented by Bible believing Christians, such as Francis Bacon, who is the father of the scientific method and a creationist, much like all the founding fathers of science. They sought to understand God’s creation through observation and experimentation. Sure, the secular world has attempted to create a division between faith and science, but that’s a self-imposed obstacle that’s unnecessary.
You’re a bit insulting and divisive when you claim I’m “very brainwashed by the Christian death cult”. Not sure why I’d want to listen to someone so divisive, insulting, emotional and hypocritical. You haven’t made any appeal to logic- just a bunch of unsubstantiated accusations and nasty, mean-spirited personal attacks. Even if you were right, I wouldn’t want to be part of whatever kind atheistic religion you profess.
Why do you care if I sow division among my fellow man? What’s wrong with that? Maybe sowing division will lead to more-fit offspring and a better chance for survival than those who don’t sow division. If there’s no God, then, once you die, you’ll no longer care about me sowing division. You and I will be rotting in our graves without a care in the world. Besides, you told me to live for today. Have you changed your mind? If I’m free to “live for today,” then why are you concerned about what I do? Are you trying to impose your morality on me?
You’re the one who begged me to consider, “What if you’re wrong?”, as if I had never considered the possibility. I answered your question and turned it back on you. Why the dismay? I don’t know you, so I don’t know what kind of childhood you had.
Honestly, it’s not that hard to believe in God. Even Satan and the demons believe in God. God has made his existence clear through his creation- which couldn’t come about by blind chance. Honestly, it sounds like you’re angry at God, in which case it’s more of a matter of getting yourself right before him by confessing your sins and asking for forgiveness. Then there is no fear of facing “the eternity of death,” for you will have eternal life. It will be the best decision you’ve ever made.
If we were to read the Bible in its original translation in context, there are no contradictions. If you have one or two examples, I’d be happy to discuss them. And yes, I’ve read the Bible through many times and I read it daily. No reason to doubt my Biblical literacy. If you see the Bible as a badly composed book, it’s probably because you’ve never read the original text in its original language. None of us have. But that was a different culture, so there’s no reason to be critical based on ignorance. It’s still God’s infallible word.
Sure, this “young earth creation stuff” sounds crazy to those who’ve been indoctrinated. I used to think it was crazy too. I remember mocking creationists, so I can sympathize with you. But I’ve studied the evidence and find it credible. I know many others who were once atheists or old earth creationists, but have become young earth creationists based on the scientific evidence. I’ve blogged about many of them, and have more I’ll be blogging on shortly, including Dr. Anthony Silvestro, who double-majored in mathematics and chemistry.
Actually, genetics validates a young earth. I’ve blogged on that too. The founding fathers of astronomy (Tycho Brake, Newton, Kepler, Galileo, Copernicus) and biology (Linnaeus) were Christian creationists.
Honestly, it’s my intent to present the truth and not sow discord or division. My purpose on this blog is to glorify God by upholding his word. And I hope you come to know him.
Reblogged this on clydeherrin.