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Posts Tagged ‘Faith’


Now I bet many think that I believe in intelligent design.  Wrong.  So what is wrong with intelligent design?  Well Intelligent design rests on 3 conclusions:

Scientists cannot place God in the gaps.

Scientists cannot place God in the gaps.

Evolution promotes an atheistic worldview and therefore must be resisted by believers in God.  I am pretty sure we debunked that one.

Evolution is flawed, since it cannot account for the intricate complexity of nature.  So because eyes are so complex they cannot be natural products?  They most certainly can.  Most simple organisms have very simplistic light detection systems of sensory cells in a pit.  One level up, like the Nautilus, have a concavity with a pinhole to actually admit light to a group of nerves.  Then, the addition of a jelly-like substance gives some focusing ability, and then, it is not insane to say that eyes are naturally formed. 

If evolution cannot explain the complexity, there must have been a designer who stepped in to provide the necessary components during the course of evolution.  Then what about the appendix?  If ID is true, then God could not have been a very good creator!

Most Intelligent Design supporters made the mistake of confusing what was not known with what is unknowable.  Just because something is not understood, does not mean that it will not be understood in the future.  Just look at the heliocentric view of the solar system as an example.  ID is a god in the gaps theory and this is a huge opportunity for many to discredit all faiths. 

Intelligent design fails as a scientific theory, mind you.  It does not predict other findings and suggest approaches for further experiments.  It is another end-all, be-all.  So without a time machine, verification of this is unlikely!  But take heart, I will reveal how to reconcile faith and science in my next post!  So stay tuned!

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Well, I don’t want to waste a great post on a day where I get my lowest numbers of traffic, so I will save that for tomorrow.  Anyway, I suppose some background on this series is needed. 

I am a scientist.  I love science.  It offers us a view into the inner workings of the universe.  I also have been instilled with a deep faith in God.  But now, it is under siege.  Many scientists cannot say that they believe in God because of public humiliation.  Also, during my short life, so far, I have been through some experiences that have caused me to question my faith.

Francis Collins Discusses His Book

Francis Collins Discusses His Book

I found a book: The Language of God by Francis Collins, the leader of the Human Genome Project, and his journey of discovering God.  These posts are based on several works, but feature mainly his ideas which struck a chord with me.  Please, check it out.  It is a great book.  Other books I will be using are St. Augustine’s Confessions,  just about every C.S. Lewis book out there, including The Problem of Pain, The Great Divorce, and Mere Christianity, of course, the Bible, and Rabbi Harold Kirschner’s When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

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Everyone has  bit of a sceptic in them.  I myself have been called a doubting Thomas on many an occasion.  Here are some common questions regarding religion, spirituality, and God.

Is God Just Wishful Thinking?

Is God just a figment of our collective imaginations, resulting from our desire for there to be more to life and fear of death?  Many people think so.  But once again, C.S. Lewis has the answer.  Lewis said that if we were thinking wishfully, God would not be so strict and have so many rules.  What to do heroin?  Sure.  Want to hire a lady of the night?  Why not.  Instead, gods do not pander entirely to our self-indulgent desires, but instead sets up that Moral Law we all abide.  Also, if somebody allows the possibility that God is something that humans want, does that make it not real.  Again, Lewis to the rescue.  He says that creatures are not born with desires that have nothing that can fulfill them, just as a baby wants to drink milk, there is milk. 

What about the evil done by “Religion?”

I will be the first to admit that terrible wrongs have been done as a result of ideologies.  They can be in the form of jihads, crusades, or ethnic cleansings.  But, have not wonderful things been done as a result of religion as well?  When you name one way religions have worked to oppress somebody, I can think of two more when they helped relieve oppressions.  If you still don’t buy this, let me say that humans are not perfect.  They are like rusty buckets.  You can pour clean, delicious water into them (Moral Law, God, Religion), but they will make it tepid and undrinkable.  An old saying sum it up well: “Would you condemn an oak tree for being used to make a battering ram?

The Problem of Pain

The Problem of Pain

What about suffering?

This for me was the most difficult problem in my spiritual journey.  My own answer is this, if God is good, he would wish his creation (not literal), to be happy, and if he were almighty, he could make it so, but since not is all good in the world, one of these statements must be false.  I chose the later.  Not to say that God is not powerful, he simply cannot rescind the laws of nature.  You cannot blame God for not saving you from falling of a cliff, they you are just stupid and did not understand gravity.  Which brings us to our second point, we humans have free will, most of the evils in the world are man-made, like wars and murders.  God cannot force his desires upon us if we have free will.  If you want more info, check out The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis and When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

How can scientists believe in miracles

Although, the problem of pain was my most difficult spiritual quandary, this was my greatest scientific one.  A miracle is an event that appears to be inexplicable by the laws of nature and is held to be supernatural in origin.  If you do not allow any room for miracles, none will be found.  Miracles, to be credible, must convey a deeper understanding than could have been without.  Thus, don’t chalk up everything to miracles, it just makes the rest look bad.  Note that I am not saying that we should stop searching for scientific answers to “miracles,” but just don’t be surprised when none can be found.  For example, terminal cancer patients being cured is often cited as a miracle, but atheists will turn around saying that rare events sometimes just happen.  Why is this a better response than a miracle?  Both attribute an occurrence to a random power, one just assumes it is supernatural, the other pure (very, very, infinitesimal) chance.  Note again, that science should still be employed to find an answer, and if it does, I will quickly rescind my statement.

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As a scientist, I hear many other students and even professors saying that believing in a god would be like scientific suicide.  Others believe that religious faiths have interesting cultural ties, but no actual possible grounding in truth.  I find that, despite what shows like House and Bones lead us to believe, that many scientists, however, do believe in a God, particularly physicists and doctors.  Doctors witness many cases with individuals dying terrible deaths, yet holding onto their faiths.  If faith is a psychological crutch in these circumstances, then it is a very strong one.  If religion is only a tradition, why aren’t these people throwing it down?   Why are they not angry with God, this supposedly loving superpower?

 

Or friend and mentor who is sorely missed.

C.S. Lewis: Or friend and mentor who is sorely missed.

One of the biggest proofs of God for me is what C.S. Lewis, a convert, called the “Moral Law.”  It is only seen in humans.  Although sometimes animals show some tiny speck of morality, they are not common, nor consistent.  But is this state I shall call conscience intrinsically human or just a result of cultural ubringing?

Many people today buy into a philosophy called post-modernism.  Here, there are no ultimate truths, and all right and wrong is subjective.  But then how can post-modernism itself be true, as there are not ultimate truths? 

Now for more about Moral Law.  One of the greatest forces for this Modern Law is altruism: our conscience urging us to help others even if we do not receive any benefits, or even if it causes us harm.  Note: altruism is not give and take, it is simply give.  C.S. Lewis coined this selfless love agape.  This goes against pretty much everything evolutionists say ought to happen naturally.  They say that people’s motives are driven by a desire to perpetuate their gene pool.  But how did Mother Theresa’s helping the lepers of Calcutta help her gene pool?  Some say that this is a positive attribute in mate selection.  But nonhuman primates do the exact opposite.  Instead of helping others raise their young, for example, most chimps will practice infanticide so that his genes are more dominant.  Others say that these acts will help us in the future, but this does not account for the favors somebody does for random people he will never meet again.  Still others say that altruism will help the whole group, but almost all evolutionists agree that mutations arise in individuals which then become successful, or weeded out in turn within the population thorugh natural selection.

So if Naural Law or Moral Law is not cultural or biological, then how did it come about.  Again, we return to our friend C.S. Lewis “If there was a ctonrolling power outside of the universe, it could not show itself to us as one of the facts in the universe, just as an architect cannot be a wall of the house he designed.  He (or she) could only show himself inside ourselves as an influenc trying to get us to behave in a certain way, just as we find.”

So how can such beliefs be held by a scientist?  What about data?  Well, fortunately, this is only part one.

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