January 2012


To Love and Cherish

Doing Apologetics

Christianity: The Basics

What is Wrong with Social Justice

Christianity and Secularism

Evidence for the Bible

Science, Religion, and Naturalism, continued

Paul L. LaClair post is here.


“I don’t think your argument stands in the face of Einstein’s revolutionary discoveries in physics.”

Sorry, but my question is not grounded in Newtonian physics. In fact my view would be LESS tenable under a purely Newtonian view. In his book “The Fabric of the Cosmos” Brian Green outlined the two main theories of for the origin of the universe. The inflationary Big Bang probably fits my argument the best, but the competing theory grounded more in Quantum physics, still needs something to start the process in the first place. Neither view has an eternally existing universe. Both views require a beginning.

Thus my premise, “the current evidence supports that the natural universe as we know it had a beginning and could not have existed forever” remains true, and the question valid. Claiming unstated “other possibilities” does not make it so. Simply postulating other possibilities is not going where the evidence leads. But this is the point of the question. The evidence currently points to something that cannot exist within naturalism, thus the naturalist seeks to avoid what normally would be the obvious conclusion. My world view does not have that self-limiting bias. So I am free to go wherever the evidence leads.

“They altered our understanding of space, time and cause. Instead of upsetting the apple cart of science, those discoveries gave us a deeper understanding of and appreciation for it.”

Very true. The problem for you is that discoveries over the last 100 years are also a major reason for the revival of the serious discussion of theism in the latter part of the twentieth century. For example, the discovery of quantum physics destroyed Kant’s objections to the arguments for the existence of God, which were the main reason they had been discarded. The reasons theism is now back under serious discussion, is because of the advances of science, not despite it.

One of the major problems of your view is that it has trouble seeing support for theism as anything but an attack on science. It is not. I certainly do not attack science. My career includes working as an engineer at JPL where I played a small part in Voyager’s encounter with the Planet Neptune among other things. So I agree that there is nothing in my view that would upset “the apple cart of science.”

“than a world view based on guesswork, superstition and wishful thinking. You are free to see that as a bias if you choose but that is like saying that I am biased in favor of ingesting apples and not arsenic.”

Slanting does not an argument make. Simply labeling the views you disagree with as “guesswork, superstition, and wishful thinking” does not make it so. The problem that you seem not to recognize is that our fundamental disagreement is not over science, reason, or evidence. The fundamental disagreement is over the framework in which these operate, i.e., the fundamental assumptions everyone must make, assumptions that ultimately cannot be demonstrated to be true, but which must be accepted at least to some degree on faith. We both think the assumptions we have made are correct, that is why we accept them. But the key point is that our assumptions, while different in substance, are not different in character. There is nothing that makes the naturalists assumptions inherently better or worse.

Naturalists in the past have argued that the advances of science justify their assumptions. But this is irrational for two reasons. First, it assumes that theirs is the only set of assumptions that allows for the advances of science. This is just factually incorrect. More fundamentally, it results in circular reasoning as it attempts to demonstrate the validity of assumptions by starting with the assumption that they are true.

It is this second reason that makes these assumptions so fundamental and ultimately beyond demonstration. This is why I classified my view in an early post as the one with “the least problems.” All worldview have problems. Nobody has all the answers.

Comments are closed.