Saturday, 19 January 2013

This blog has been created as part of a debate I have began at FreeThoughtBlogs, regarding my Creationist/ID views. I have had feedback to my initial posting of my views over at, but I'm reposting this here because I'd also like feedback from someone who featured quite prominently in my initial post, namely one Greta Christina - author of "Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off The Godless" for whom I paraphrased certain comments she made within the context of one of her chapters. I have reposted this post at her blog, , only to be essentially told that the only way any such discussion was going to happen was if I hosted it on a blog of my own, so here I am.

So here in full, then, is the post I made. Her response, in addition to the feedback I've gotten from those at Pharyngula, will prove enormously helpful in formulating a rebuttal, if indeed I do so:

Hello, I’m a Christian ID and Creationism advocate, and I’d like to take issue with the scientific method and the derision of Christian beliefs and creationism/ID as established fact.

It is a myth that science and Christianity are at war, one owes its existence to the other. There is a great deal of accord between Christianity and science, and science is one of the greatest sources of evidence for the Christian worldview, in fact.

People tell me that science is great because it “eliminates biases” and when applied “properly”, it’s becomes true even if the testers are biased. I’d word this differently (because the scientific method absolutely does NOT always prove the theory)…instead, I would say that it provides reliable results that either confirm or disconfirm the hypothesis (the theory only comes into existence after a hypothesis is tested and confirmed).

Most early day scientists were Christian, and many of them still do believe in God/the soul/the metaphysical/basic creationist theories. In fact, many are brought to this belief by the things they find in science. Why do you think this is, everyone?

I then get people responding by saying “Oh, but those early day Christian scientists actually tried scientific experiments in order to prove that those things were existent and what their true natures were so that all the arguments about them could be settled once and for all!” But I would like someone to list those experiments that secular “science-minded” atheists claim did this. The fact is that this isn’t what happened at all. What happened is that natural philosophers explored nature as a way to learn more about God. They believed that nature was rational and discoverable because God made it and He made us with the ability to discover it. I don’t doubt there were a few people here or there who tried to prove a point. But early science was an exploration of nature, and it was motivated by a belief that nature was discoverable because God made it.

An atheist friend pointed me to a book by Greta Christina just released. I actually found it quite entertaining, and had empathy for a lot of her complaints. That said, her Chapter 8 (“Evidence against God” or something like that) was utter garbage, especially when she mentioned this (and I’m going by memory here, because I don’t own the book, I only borrowed it, but I took a note of this phrase because of how memorable it was):
contrary to the rigorously-gathered, carefully-tested, thoroughly cross-checked, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, replicated, peer-reviewed research that has obeyed the Gold Standard of scientific evidence wherein methods have been used to filter out biases and cognitive errors as much as humanly possible” evidence that is gathered for evolution, creationism/ID/God claims only stands after careless, casual examination based on wishful thinking and confirmation bias

This is interesting. Because it’s exactly these forms of studies that have pointed to the incredible fine-tuning of the initial conditions of the universe. And it’s not merely Christians who are claiming this. Most cosmologists, Christian or otherwise, scratch their heads over this extraordinary finding in nature. The same can be said for the evidence pointing to the beginning of the universe out of non-being and other areas.

Further, the mere existence of the Placebo Effect is evidence that naturalism (which you seem to profess) is wrong. The Placebo Effect could not exist in a purely naturalistic universe where all operates on cause/effect. Given that that placebo has no causative powers, there is no effect possible. And yet the one taking it believes there that powerful medicine is at work, so there is a change (and this has been seen in profound areas like Parkinsons Disease symptoms being reduced by simply believing in the sugar pill). This points to an unembodied consciousness with the ability to impact the physical body.

Add to this things like the peer-reviewed studies by Pim van Lommel (published in the medical journal Lancet) confirming the existence of Near Death Experiences (and by this, I mean extra-body experiences where people have verifiable experiences of people and places and conversations at geographic distance from where their body lies on an operating table…in some cases, these are people born blind who have never seen anything their whole life, but are able to accurately describe what they see while “dead”)…bottom line, atheists, science is on OUR side here!

Greta Christina also mentioned something about (again, just paraphrasing here) :
poor understandings/instincts of creationists/IDers/Goddists when it comes to probability, and the tendency of creationists/IDers/Goddists to see patterns and intentions where none exists, in addition to intrinsic cognitive biases and weird human brain wiring that creationists/IDers have
Here, we just have a garbled mess that’s a mixture of ad hominem (“you don’t understand probability”) and false claims (“your brains are wired wrong”). She’s likely talking about some books released about our brains being wired to believe in God, and perhaps the “God Helmet” experiments.

First, the “brain is wired” arguments have been disproven because no single area of the brain has been shown to be “the spot” for this sort of thing (I can go into more depth on this if you want to walk down that alley). And the “God Helmet” nonsense is just that…people aren’t Christians because they have an ecstatic experience. We are because we have weighed the evidence, we have reasoned logically, and we concluded that the best answer is that God exists.

It’s not shallow thinking. It’s not bad wiring. It’s rigorous deductive conclusions based on evidence of multiple sorts.

Us creationists and Christians also get accused of by many atheists (including you in your book) of:
They are completely dishonest, for one main reason: their claims have failed to stand up to serious testing
I don’t think the case is as open and shut as you guys claim. I tend not to spend a great deal of time advocating for ID, and ID is not part of why I believe in God. I’m okay with the idea that evolution may have played a significant role in our present complexity. I do not accept that it happened alone, and I draw that conclusion for two reasons:

1. Scientific studies pointing out that the age of our solar system is not old enough for unguided evolutionary processes alone to have been responsible for life’s present complexity

2. The absence of any explanation for how life sprang into being out of non-life

In summary, guys, it seems that you’re quite willing to mischaracterize Christians, post things that are unsubstantiated claims without any support or evidence, and proclaim victory. That doesn’t work here, I’m afraid. If you want to make the case that Christianity is at war with science, you’re welcome to do so. But I can show you a number of very prominent scientists who arrived at their faith based on the very science you claim is conclusively against Christianity.

In fact, I’ll leave you with a couple of quotes that may help:

Paul Davies (British astrophysicist):
“There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all….It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe….The impression of design is overwhelming”.
- from “The Cosmic Blueprint”

Alan Sandage (winner of the Crawford prize in astronomy):
“I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.”
- from the article “Sizing up the Cosmos: An Astronomers Quest” in New York Times

Frank Tipler (Professor of Mathematical Physics):
“When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.”
- from his book “The Physics of Immortality”

In fact, here is a brief interview of Dr. Francis Collins, who was once an atheist, set out to prove his atheism was true, and then decided that God does exist after all: . And here is a much longer lecture he gave, in which he talks about the evidence for God and why he left his atheism for Christianity:

Collins is, as you may know, part of the human genome project and one of the most highly regarded scientists in the US today.

Bottom line, atheists, your confidence in this matter is quite overblown. You may assert all you’d like. But the facts do not support your certainty.