God Is Logical

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There’s an underlying assumption in modern academia which precludes discussion about the existence of God or faith’s role in science that divine invention or interjection is, as Spock would put it, illogical.

Intellectual Christians are growing louder—perhaps because they’ve grown weary of their ideology being thrown under the bus, and perhaps because technology has given them the means to connect globally—speaking outside of the illustrious Ivy League halls of Liberalism, finding a forum with which to present meaningful evidence.

To such clear, concise thinkers, I raise my proverbial glass and toast you. After all, (William) Ockham’s razor is in your favor, concluding that among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected. The body of evidence should always shift in favor of a superior body begetting a sub-ferior derivative. Unless, of course, academia has permission to adjust the thermodynamic law of entropy as well.

What I’m excited to see, if competing interests will allow it—as they still hold sway, at least for the time being—is a meaningful dialog where science and faith exist in the same breath. For if they don’t have it, the rest of us will. Maybe not as eloquently as some, but we’ll have it. Brash. Bold. Beautiful. Faith always places superior pressure on systems extracted from its own nature, science being one of them. Cantankerous, yes, loud, also. But the discussion will be had.

“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”

• Isaac Newton (1642-1727), Principia (1687)

Among the living, one of my favorite intellectuals is the incomparable Ravi Zacharias whom I had the pleasure of first hearing at Cornell University in the early 1990’s. And of the deceased, a thinker who passed away the year before I was born, the great Kurt Gödel.

Another, what I might call a pop-scholar, who I admire for his sometimes verbose but articulate examination of the scientific world is Dr. William Lane Craig. I haven’t found a single man I ever agreed with in totality, least of all myself, and save only Christ; Lane is no exception. I always encourage my audience to do their own research and their own reasoning. But Lane’s recent (and well done) video presentation of the Kalam Cosmological Argument is compelling, to say the least.

As mankind receives more enlightenment from the mind of the Lord, my hope is that the knowledge will be accompanied by an increasing humility toward and acknowledgment of the source and nature of its origin.

Argue well, argue wisely, argue graciously,

ch:

  • Interesting post. God is logical to Himself, but.He owes us no explanations. Where our sight is least blurry we occasionally perceive some of His order. I agree with CS Lewis take — “Aslan is not a tame lion.” Therefore, some unpredictablity will always remain. Perhaps our innate desire to order things comes from the compelling mission to dominate the earth we live on, as originally directed. If we’re not willing to live with a certain amount of chaos and uncertainty we’ll miss out on some unexpected joys, however. Finite minds will never be able to fully grasp the infinite until they’re fully transformed and renewed.

    • @Ted: Well said. If anything, our finite reasoning should conclude, and then be left utterly convinced of both his existence and his sheer infinite self (which we can not understand).

  • Good perspective here, Christopher, and may the search and subsequent dialogues continue. One of the most unsettling things–as Ben Stein found out a few years ago in his documentary–in the scientific community is the way that philosophical prior commitments tend to hold sway rather than adherence to the scientific method. Folks in favor of creation (various streams–6 day, Day-Age, creation with subsequent development within species over time) tend to be ruled out of court by criteria other than facts. And this by the community that tells us how to determine what is real and factual. Ironic.

    I’m reminded of a comment astronomist Robert Jastrow made years ago. In effect, he said that finding the origin of the Cosmos is likened to scientist climbing a great mountain. They reach the summit and find a bunch of theologians sittling around the fire. They’d already been there!

    • @Christian: OK, that quote from Robert Jastrow made this post worth every character. HA! Noting that one.

  • Naomi Wilson

    I’m glad you wrote this. I had been thinking about this struggle A LOT this summer and past year. While choosing my path of study as I go on to college, I have been torn between my love for science and my love for God/evangelism. It’s hard for me to imagine the two working side by side. In fact I’ve had this fear that I will get so involved in my studies (at this LIBERAL arts institution) that I will begin to doubt and be overcome by the conventional scientist’s way of thought/belief. I just read a book by Richard Feynman that was discouraging in the same way, basically saying that science and religion cannot work together. People have antagonized the church since Galileo was forced to recant. They have always been separate entities. But I still have hope that I can use my love for science and the beauty of God’s creation for the glory of the CREATOR of the universe. And I’m so glad you believe in this hope too.

    • @Naomi: It takes brave hearts to engage in this particular sort of ministry, and deep courage to advance. But there is no hope of ever seeing any valiant steps made without contenders who are willing to step into the ring. I’m reminded of the passage Paul wrote, now for you as you consider this future context:

      “38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

      – Apostle Paul | Romans 8

      I know you’ll be amazing. Because you already are.

    • Naomi Wilson

      Thanks. That is actually so encouraging.

  • You should read “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist” by Frank Turek. Mind blowingly logical. Fantastic read. Very faith affirming in a format that even a skeptic would enjoy. The difference between science and religion really is a matter of faith. Scientists are every bit as biased as we are, and it shows especially when “discoveries” disprove their theories. This was particularly true with each new confirmation that the universe did indeed have a beginning. The Big Bang. God spoke and BANG there it all was. lol It’s really quite stunning to consider that much of evolutionary theory is based on the common features and DNA of many organisms: the fin of a whale being very similar to the human hand, etc. The evolutionist thinks, wow, similar features = common ancestor. This flies in the face of common sense. The examples we see around us, tell us that similar features actually reveal a common artist. God’s brushstrokes are all over creation. And just wait until we see what He has created in heaven!

  • I concur.
    Also, Chuck Missler has some great audio on the subject of creation:
    http://www.khouse.org/topical_bible_study/creation/

    • @Chris: thanks for the link! (I’ve quickly become an audio books freak on my 20min daily commute).

  • Nicholas Yager

    Thanks for demonstrating your inferiority complex and rampant anti-intellectualism and spreading more dangerous nonsense around the internet, much appreciated. If you fully understood the scientific method, paleontology and anything about thermodynamics you’d realise why the dogmatic academic liberals don’t take you seriously. You also have a very hazy understanding of the principle of parsimony. Furthermore, quoting Newton, who was secretly an occultist, is silly. He only wrote at the very beginning of the second age of enlightenment (after Greek knowledge lost favour in medieval Christendom) and that exact problem you quoted is the debunked argument from ignorance Newton used because he couldn’t figure out the math. Laplace actually solved that problem. Newton may have been the first truly scientific genius, but he was certainly the last of the great mystics. The truly scientific age came rolling in centuries after newton, who was actually accused of atheism by dogmatists like you. I doubt you’ve heard of Berkeley who tried to attack calculus as though the truth of mathematics could be decided by feat.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV2VjdpVonY&feature=youtube_gdata_player
    You can close your eyes and will reality away as much as you please,this only demonstrates your willingness to conform to an ideology. Arguments from authority are meaningless. I could easily find hundreds of quotes from bishops and clergy promoting evolution and I.don’t think you would accept it. What makes science factual isn’t who said what, its the method they use and the data they collect. Intellectual theist is merging on oxymoronic status with all that has been learnt in 20th Century Physics, though you shouldn’t need knowledge of natural science to realise the ridiculousness of magical speculation. At any rate Zacharias is far from one. If knowledge came from the mind of god, you would have to ask where he got it. It’s the exact same fallacy of special pleading that the kalam cosmological argument operates on. It’s just an argument from ill-informed intuition.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUYjnL2PqUg&feature=youtube_gdata_player
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ax27g5ZKa-w&feature=youtube_gdata_player
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYpfkdQ32Io&feature=youtube_gdata_player
    In Plato’s Meno he describes how Socrates demonstrated that new knowledge is produced simply from asking questions and applying logic to solve them, both of which have evolutionary origins. God is an imaginary being, belief in which is fuelled by the phenomenon of superstition and cultural bias. You actually believe there’s an invisible man watching over everything we do every minute of every day and he has a list of ten things he does not want us to do, and if we do these things he has a special place full of fire and pain and torture where we will burn and scream and cry indefinitely for these finite crimes. That’s the most ridiculous thing any mind could conjure up. And yet over the course of thousands of years of gradually evolving myth, that’s exactly what the concerted effort of thousands of deluded minds built up, not once questioning the central premise that the supernatural can exist at all due to a built in intuition of magical thinking which also has a basis in evolutionary psychology.

    • Christopher Hopper

      Personal attack aside, I’m greatful for your comment.

      Here’s what I’d like to propose. I’m willing to read any single book you recommend to me, if you’re willing to read any single book I recommend to you.

      • Nicholas Yager

        Sorry if that sounded harsh but I couldn’t help noticing your ignorance of evolutionary theory. I don’t mind faith so long as those who follow it don’t delude themselves about identifiable, verifiable, objective facts.
        http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0061233501
        You seem to believe the myth that you have been told that evolution = Darwinism and that Darwin is treated as some god by biologists. This is untrue and I have two god believing Christian parents who have studied these issues in depth to prove it. If it were true, natural selection wouldn’t have been eclipsed so fully in the intermediary decades before population genetics was founded on Gregor Mendel’s meticulous experiments. Even if Darwin were wrong on how evolution happened, common descent would still be undeniably well supported by evidence. It is believed because the evidence suggests it and for no other reason than that. Darwinian natural selection is a mechanism used as an explanation for the fact of evolution which is proven by multiple lines of conciliatory evidence and relies on a deep understanding of physics and math to fully come to grips with. This is exactly the same discipline and method of building our knowledge and understanding that is used in coming to terms with atomic theory that explains the easily demonstrable chemical interactions we can observe in the laboratory, often requiring precision and diligence beyond that many antiscience snobs would understand. The most persistent myth I find also is that there is a difference between historical science and operational science which seems to completely ignore the fact that all of science relies on inductive inference. If you want to claim that the problem of induction is insoluble and therefore induction is unreliable you have to reject all of science, forensics and history (do you accept the theory that Julius Caesar existed, which explains why there are so many writings about him and cultural artifacts depicting his image? Again, science is an inductive method that explains phenomena, not a deductive method that proves theorems). The image above seems to suggest that paleontology is arbitrary and subjective which is a complete misrepresentation and I urge you to speak to a paleontologist. What do you make of historians dating texts and examining them in their chronological order to show how writings evolve (such as can be seen in the gradual buildup of creationist exaggeration), or the methods used by etymologists in analysing the evolution of language?

        • Christopher Hopper

          Anything worth saying can be said with kindness. No offense taken.

          I think it’s rather presumptuous of you to conclude my understanding of Darwinism, natural selection or the scientific method when my post was simply pointing to the concept of intelligent design. I never said I didn’t believe in aspects of evolution or natural selection, but rather for the argument that “there’s an invisible man watching over everything we do every minute of every day.” I perceive you have some pretty strong biases of your own to write so forcefully.

          I have just purchased the book, Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution, on Amazon, as you recommended. Thanks, I look forward to reading it.

          And concluding you’re also up to the task, my recommendation is Mere Christianity, by CS Lewis: http://tinyurl.com/keoymvs

          I can think of few finer thinkers of the last century who were at once so enraged with anything but science, and shared your sentiments that my beliefs in Jesus are “the most ridiculous thing any mind could conjure up,” but who’s own deductive research finally lead him to believe in an “invisible man,” as CS Lewis.

          • Nicholas Yager

            Sure thing. I quite liked the Chronicles of Narnia as a kid ;). I’ll give it a read. Thanks.

          • Christopher Hopper

            Good on you.

            Lewis’ step son, Doug Gresham, is a dear friend of mine, and exhibits many of the same remarkable qualities that made Jack great. Doug’s more recent activities in producing the blockbuster Narnia films have certainly brought those childhood books to life in new ways—though I still prefer the books. 😉

  • WayneBatson

    Thanks for the post, CH. And WHOA, incredible dialogue, Mr. Yager. I really appreciate your willingness to “go to the mattress” for what you believe. Tons of detail in your explanations. As a writer, I appreciate that level of commitment. I’ve spent a fair amount of time studying the creation versus evolution debate, and honestly, I find it comes down to a person’s own biases and expectations. But no matter which way you slice the issue, both are forms of faith.

    Here’s what I mean: if you believe in evolution, your ultimate “god” is a particle or chemical or cosmic mixture of something…that was eternal and at some point hit the right cosmic combination to begin forming life at its simplest manifestation. You have no proof that this particle was there or that it was an eternal particle. But by faith, you believe it was there. Now, from that point on, the naturalist / evolutionist believes they’ve got all the bases covered. Man and every living thing came from a common ancestor. After all, look at all the evidence: cell level, DNA level, common genes, similar structures…etc. etc.

    If you believe in creation, as I do, our ultimate God is the Creator, a timeless being who set the whole thing in motion, created everything that is, and continues to interact with creation to this day. I wasn’t there, so ultimately, I have no proof that God did this, but by faith, I believe He did. But here’s the thing, if I look at the evidence for common ancestry, I find that an equally plausible inference is that we have a common Artist. In addition, I find the immense amount and type of information encoded within DNA to be simply too complex to not have a programmer. In no other example of life experience would we look at something so full of information and so full of complexity and assume a process like evolution.

    But honestly, we’ve both got our biases. As a Christian, I’m prone to look at things with a slant toward a personal Creator. I see beauty and complexity as gifts from God. I see (and feel) love; I experience thoughts and consciousness; I witness myriad mysteries in life and just -know- that God is behind it all.

    The naturalist / evolutionist, if he’s honest, has the opposite slant. For him, there can be no supernatural explanation for anything, and so, no matter what the evidence might suggest, all supernatural explanations are void.

    Anyway, my .02 on the subject. Thanks for the interesting dialogue.