Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design – Part 1

I usually love to read the works of atheists, because they tend to remind me how irrational the atheist faith is. For example, I love reading PZ Meyers, because not only is he an excellent writer, but his writing is so emotional that it displays the fact that his atheism comes not from rational thought, but from some deep-seated anger or resentment that he harbors. In the same way, while Richard Dawkins knows a lot about biology, he is very sloppy with data, and he seems to be virtually unaware of how logic works. His writing makes it very clear that his atheism is not the result of rational thought. I even love it when “Norwegian Shooter” comments on this blog, because his refusal to look at even the simplest data makes it clear how desperately he clings to his atheistic faith.

However, there are some atheists who make me uncomfortable, and Dr. Bradley Monton is one of them. In his newest book, Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design, he demonstrates quite clearly that not all atheists are irrational. This, of course, makes me uncomfortable, because it is easier to dismiss the atheistic view when it is represented by buffoons like Myers, Dawkins, Hitchens, and the like. When it is represented by people like Dr. Bradley Monton, you have to at least sit up and take notice.

Continue reading “Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design – Part 1”

Genesis and The Big Bang – Part 2

In part 1 of this review, I told you the things I liked about Genesis and The Big Bang by Dr. Gerald L. Schroeder. Now I want to move on to the things I didn’t like about the book. As I already mentioned, Dr. Schroeder seems firmly committed to the Big Bang model, despite its many problems. However, that’s not my main concern. While there are a lot of problems with the Big Bang model, there are some data that support it, so it is not irrational to choose to work with that paradigm. My problems with the book go much deeper than that.

My first problem is that Dr. Schroeder has either not investigated the myriad of opinions of ancient Jewish theologians, or he conveniently doesn’t tell the reader about them. He wants to make the case that he is getting his theology from sources that have not been influenced by modern science. He chooses four theologians (Onkelos, Rashi, Maimonides, and Nahmanides) that he says have “withstood time’s test,” and he says:

Because their commentaries were written long before the advent of modern physics, we avoid the folly of using interpretations of tradition that may have been biased by modern scientific discoveries. (p. 18)

I have two problems with this statement. First, there are many more than four ancient Jewish theologians who have “withstood the test of time.” I am not even Jewish, and I can name several more off the top of my head: Philo Judaeus, Akiba ben Yossef, Saadiah ben Yosef Gaon, Abraham ibn Daud, etc., etc.

Continue reading “Genesis and The Big Bang – Part 2”

Genesis and The Big Bang – Part 1

Dr. Gerald L. Schroeder is a very original thinker. I recognized that when I read one of his previous books, The Science of God. Dr. Schroeder holds an earned PhD in physics and earth science from MIT and currently is an international consultant on radioactivity and a faculty member at Aish HaTorah College of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. As an orthodox Jew, he takes the Old Testament very seriously. He believes that the days in Genesis are definitely 24-hour days, but he also believes that the earth is billions of years old. In fact, his writings indicate that he is a theistic evolutionist.

How can a theistic evolutionist believe that the days of Genesis are 24-hour days? That’s where his original thinking comes in. As a PhD physicist, he understands that defining reference frame is very important. After all, we know the rate at which time passes depends on the reference frame in which you are measuring time. For example, time passes more quickly on the GPS satellites than it does here on earth. If this were not taken into account, your Garmin would not lead you to your destination. Thus, the question in Dr. Schroeder’s mind is not “How long were the days of Genesis?” He is convinced they were 24 hours long. The question in his mind is “In what reference frame did those 24 hours pass?”

In The Science of God (and in this book), he gives us the answer to that question. He says the reference frame is not that of earth. Indeed, earth doesn’t become the focus of the creation account until after a couple of days pass. As a result, he thinks that the reference frame in which the Genesis days are defined is that of the universe as a whole. This produces an interesting effect.

Continue reading “Genesis and The Big Bang – Part 1”

Science’s Blind Spot – Part 2

In my previous post about this book, I discussed how the author, Cornelius Hunter, makes the strong case that reliance on naturalism alone in science causes a blind spot. If you restrict your science to only naturalistic processes, you will never be able to know whether or not what you are studying can possibly be the result of a naturalistic process. Instead, you will keep trying to force a naturalistic explanation onto systems and processes that might not be naturalistic in origin.

After establishing this fact, he discusses how it plays out in the biological concept of evolution. Since science is committed to only naturalistic processes, questions such as the origin of life and the origin of the various species must be the result of some natural process, regardless of whether or not the data indicate this. As a result, scientists are continually trying to force the data to indicate evolution, whether or not evolution is a good explanation of the data

Continue reading “Science’s Blind Spot – Part 2”

Science’s Blind Spot – Part 1

Cornelius G. Hunter has a Ph.D. in Biophysics and Computational Biology and is an Adjunct Professor at Biola University. He spends most of his time doing research, specifically in the area of molecular biophysics. His first two books (Darwin’s God and Darwin’s Proof) did not impress me. Don’t get me wrong – I essentially agree with the views presented in them. Darwin’s God said that evolution is not the same as atheism and, in fact, Darwin was actually trying to “glorify” God by removing Him from the sordid details of nature. As pointed out in that book, Darwin clearly didn’t believe in the God of the Bible, but he clearly did believe in God and sought to make this God more powerful by essentially saying that He created the natural laws that ended up allowing organisms to create themselves.

In his second book, Darwin’s Proof, he shows that common features in organisms don’t imply common ancestry, and he gives plenty of scientific evidence to show that the general principles of macroevolution (one kind of organism evolving into another kind) are clearly wrong. While both books present many truisms, neither added much to what is already known about Darwin or the misuse to which scientists have put his views.

Science’s Blind Spot is Hunter’s latest book, and it is superior to both of his previous ones. In this book, Hunter attempts to explore the benefits of naturalism in science as well as its limitations. Clearly Hunter has spent a lot of time thinking about this, and his insights are both interesting and refreshing.

Continue reading “Science’s Blind Spot – Part 1”

The Irrational Atheist – Part 2

As I stated in my previous post, there are a lot of great things in Vox Day’s The Irrational Atheist. However, I have to say that he is in rare form as he rakes Sam Harris over the coals in the chapter entitled, “The End of Sam Harris.” This, of course, is a takeoff on the title of Harris’s first book, The End of Faith. I slogged through both that book and his Letter to a Christian Nation, which was supposed to be a response to the feedback he received from his first book. I found both books to be incoherent, but I simply could not eviscerate Harris the way Vox Day has. It is nothing short of magnificent.

Continue reading “The Irrational Atheist – Part 2”

The Irrational Atheist – Part 1

As I have said previously, it is hard for me to fathom anyone who has scientific training and does not believe in God. The natural world, in my opinion, screams out His existence to anyone who examines it even in a cursory way. Indeed, it was science that brought me not only to a belief in God, but also to faith in Christianity. Thus, when I encounter someone who actually knows something about the natural world and does not believe in God, I am fascinated.

The only blog I read regularly, for example, is PZ Myers’s blog. He clearly knows a lot about the natural world, and yet he remains an atheist. In the same way, I have read every one of Richard Dawkins’s books. Both Myers and Dawkins are interesting writers – Myers being more of a sledgehammer and Dawkins being more of a jeweler’s hammer – and I think they are both a grand testament to how well people can compartmentalize their thinking. They are both adept at keeping their knowledge of the natural world quite apart from their logic and reasoning. If they were ever to put the three together, they could not remain atheists. Since they resolutely keep their scientific knowledge separate from their logic and reasoning, I have always referred to such atheists as “irrational.”

Enter Vox Day** . I read what seemed to be a ridiculously fawning review of his book The Irrational Atheist and, as a result, I almost didn’t buy it. After all, I seriously doubted that any book about the obvious absurdity of the atheist position could be as good as the reviewer claimed. However, before rejecting his book because the review I read seemed too good to be true, I decided to see what my favorite atheist (PZ Myers) had to say about the book. Now Myers regularly writes long, scathing reviews of books that he thinks he can refute. Thus, I assumed there would be a long review of Day’s book. Instead, all I could find was a short entry saying that he couldn’t even finish the book. Well…any book that is too terrifying for PZ Myers to finish is definitely worth a look!

Continue reading “The Irrational Atheist – Part 1”

A Report from the Inaugural Meeting of the New School of Athens

In order to evaluate the Open Theology trend that is beginning to take root in some parts of modern Christendom, it was decided that the New School of Athens should be formed. Its two founding members, Platica and Aristay, met for the first time today to begin a discussion of the book entitled, The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God. Platica comes from a predominantly Calvinist upbringing, while her student, Aristay, comes from an Arminianist point of view. A report of the lively discussion between them appears below the fold.

Continue reading “A Report from the Inaugural Meeting of the New School of Athens”

God’s Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism

One of the most important things one must remember when dealing with a controversial issue is to look at all sides. If we are ever to assess the validity of a proposition, we must look at it from the proponents’ point of view and from the opponents’ point of view. This is one of the reasons most materialistic evolutions are not critical thinkers when it comes to the origins issue. They don’t really look at the science creationists have to offer. Instead, they believe the caricatures promoted by those who do not want to think. As a result, the miss out on what science really says.

So now that I have read one of the main books that promotes open theism, I decided to read a book that diametrically opposes it. A friend of mine who I respect and admire quite a bit told me of God’s Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism by Bruce Ware, so I thought I would start there. Since there are aspects of open theism that bother me, I was hoping to find a solid defense of classical theism and a solid rebuttal of open theism. Unfortunately, I found neither of them in this book.
Continue reading “God’s Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism”

The Openness of God

I do not like the Calvinist view of God’s omnipotence and omniscience. To believe that God knows everything because He has predestined it all requires us to dismiss many accounts in the Bible (such as God changing His mind and not destroying Ninevah) as “anthropomorphisms,” even though there is no textual evidence to do so. Not only that, a God who would arbitrarily decide who will be saved from eternal damnation and who will not be saved is capricious and not worthy of worship. Thus, I have always discounted the Calvinist view of God as unbiblical and incoherent.

Nevertheless, I have also always had a problem with the idea that God might not know something about the future. As a result, I have reluctantly conformed to the “traditional evangelical” view of God. In this view, God exists outside of time. As a result, he sees the entire history and future of the universe as if He is looking at the film of a movie. Each “frame” is an instant in the lifetime of the universe, and God sees all “frames” at the same time. Like a film editor, he can adjust specific frames in order to make the “movie” just what He wants it to be. Those are the instants in which God interacts with His creation.

Open Theism offers an alternative to both views of God. Because of that, it is worth considering. A Christian whom I respect a great deal suggested that I read The Openness of God by Richard Rice, Clark Pinnock, John Sanders, William Hasker, and David Basinger. Because I respect her as a Christian, and because I think that Clark Pinnock is one of the greatest theologians/thinkers of our time, I decided to read the book, and I am glad that I did. While I was familiar with the concept of open theism, I had never read a thorough, systematic description of it. Instead, I had just read what those who thought it was “heresy” said about it. As is typical, those who think it is heresy paint it in the worst possible light. As a result, I didn’t really understand open theism until I read this book. If you really want to know what open theism is, don’t read the propaganda from the National Association of Evangelicals or other such outlets. Instead, read this book.

Continue reading “The Openness of God”