Critical Thinking and the Evidence for God

Hubble view of stars_and_spaceThe argument against the existence of God commonly came into play with the advent of Modernism, the Age of Reason, and the rise of science. Hence, what people for centuries had known by instinct now needed to be proved. And how can you prove the unseen? How can you put the Supernatural to a natural test?

People believing in God were slow to respond, in my opinion, perhaps not realizing the enormity of the consequences for answering science with “But I believe.”

Such a slow response, however, does not mean there are not some very specific, scientific evidences that point to the existence of God.

Here are some to which I ascribe, in no particular order.

  • The origin of the universe. Those who do not believe in God commonly believe in evolution and the big bang theory. This idea is flawed. First, it leaves unexplained where the material for the big bang came from. To date, all matter decays, which argues against some kind of eternal matter. Also, energy dissipates, which argues against energy being of an eternal nature. So what existed before the universe to bring it into being?

    Then, too, even if such a big bang did occur, belief that life came about as a result is contradictory to the Second Law of Thermodynamics: order does not come from disorder (layman’s translation – 😉 ). In the words of Dr. Henry Morris, Institute of Creation Science:

    the universal scientific law of entropy specifies the “downward” tendency of all things toward decrease of organized complexity.

    Finally, the idea that the big bang is scientific is fallacious. The scientific method requires a repeated result to verify a theory. None such is possible.

    In reality, the theory of the big bang is merely an idea formed as an alternative to God.

  • The design of the universe. From molecular structure to the path of the countless solar systems, this universe is intricately woven.

    In a paper entitled, “The Current State Of Creation Astronomy,” Dr. Danny R. Faulkner of the Institute of Creation Research says the following:

    Much evidence of teleology (design in nature) exists in the universe. For human, animal, and plant life this is very easy to see. If certain changes are made in the physiology or the chemistry of organisms, then life becomes impossible. The same could be said about the universe as a whole. If certain constants of nature are changed, then the chemistry necessary for life becomes impossible, and the universe begins to appear very suited, or designed, for life. The same is true for the earth: if we change its size, composition, distance from the sun, tilt of its axis, or any number of characteristics, then the earth becomes uninhabitable.

    It is mathematically improbable that happenstance can create such design.

    Simple experiments prove this. Take ten red checkers and ten black checkers, scramble them in a large plastic bag, then begin to shake them to see how long it will take to order them again with all red together and all black together. If a person were to shake the bag continuously for twenty-four hours, day after day, the probability that those checkers would again align by color is one chance in all the years of that individual’s lifetime, and beyond.

  • The existence of intelligent life. Humans reason, compare, contrast, synthesize, analyze, and criticize. Humans also communicate logically and extensively. The existence of intelligent life suggests a source of equal or greater intelligence. How can a substance formulate that of which it does not consist?
  • Humans sin. At first blush, that fact might have two arguments against it: How is sin an evidence of God? on the one hand and Is that a true statement? on the other. Let me take them in reverse order.

    First is it, true Man sins? We know that humans do things animals don’t do, negative things, like start wars and hold other people in concentration camps. Clearly, Man has a capacity for harm to others that sets him apart from the rest of creation. One word for that capacity is sin.

    How, then, is this evidence that God exists? In order for man to sin, he needs to violate certain natural laws. Who established these laws?

  • Man has inalienable rights. Our Constitution says it. Our freedom is staked on the truth of that statement. Who gave us these rights? The Creator who is involved with His creation.

    If it were not true, then there is no right of one person over another except the right that is earned, either by overpowering others or outsmarting them. Instead, we believe (though we don’t act consistently in accordance with what we say we believe) that the weak has just as much right as the strong and, in fact, should be protected and nurtured.

    The incongruence with “survival of the fittest” should be apparent.

  • Man has a conscience, a moral compass that cannot be explained by evolution. Some people believe society teaches that certain actions are wrong. That’s true to an extent, but there are some actions we know are wrong instinctively.

    Take child abuse, for example. Even in prison, where hardened criminals reside, and no one is teaching against the behavior, a child molester is hated. Why? Why would people with seemingly no moral constraint react negatively to such behavior?

    Or cannibalism. When was the last time someone taught against cannibalism? And yet, the thought is disgusting. Why? Not because of teaching. Because it is against a Man’s conscious.

    I submit that a number of things we now accept were once reprehensible, grating against our moral sensibilities, but society taught us they needed to be tolerated, even accepted and embraced.

    So where does a moral sensibility come from? A moral Creator.

  • Personal experience. I know this is probably the hardest to understand and to accept and is the weakest of the arguments, but it’s still true, and therefore adds to the body of facts: I know God, first hand.

    When you put all the pieces together, it does make sense. The universe has a Creator—one who is pre-existent, orderly, intelligent, and moral, one involved with His creation.

    We have a book that claims to be from Him. It reveals Him as pre-existent, orderly, intelligent, moral, involved with His creation, and, in fact, loving. To prove the latter, His Son entered the world to show us what science could not.

    Because I know the Son, I also the know God who sent Him.

    Let me illustrate. I know a lot of people through the media of the Internet, either from visiting their blogs, engaging in discussions on Facebook, or from reading their comments here. I know them because I’ve read a record of their thoughts.

    Much the same way, I know God. However, there’s more involved than just knowing facts about Him because I know what He has chosen to say about Himself.

  • This post first appeared here in August 2006.

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    4 Comments

    1. […] for Ark, our dear friend Becky has published a comprehensive list of compelling evidence with a backdrop of critical thinking. […]

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    2. I know we’ve spoken before, so I’m not going to try to convince you I’m a fence-sitter. But what you have written here is not critically thought through. Even the idea that arguments questioning God as some modern phenomenon. Euthyphro is a character of Plato’s who doubted. Atheism is ancient.

      But, even the technical points you try to put forward are false.

      “To date, all matter decays, which argues against some kind of eternal matter. Also, energy dissipates, which argues against energy being of an eternal nature.”
      Ooh, I’d look into the laws of thermodynamics if I were trying to make that argument. They’re not as complicated as they sound. The one of interest here is ‘conservation of energy’. See, energy and matter don’t decay at all. They may becomes less ordered (entropy) but they certainly don’t diminish.

      “Then, too, even if such a big bang did occur, belief that life came about as a result is contradictory to the Second Law of Thermodynamics: order does not come from disorder (layman’s translation – 😉 ).”
      A layman’s translation is not an intellectual misstep, but missing bits out is. Entropy increases in a closed system. To think Earth is such a closed system is to not be aware of the sun.

      “In reality, the theory of the big bang is merely an idea formed as an alternative to God”
      It was Lemaitre, a Catholic priest, that was instrumental in Big Bang cosmology. Not an avoidance of God at all.

      “the idea that the big bang is scientific is fallacious. The scientific method requires a repeated result to verify a theory. None such is possible.”
      I find this odd. Somewhere along the lines, you’ve decided that you have a better understanding the philosophies of science and the specific content of cosmology than the people who study it. I offer you the question posed by Potholer, on YouTube: given that you disagree with the long-held scientific consensus on an issue, which of the following three do you think is the most likely: (1) there’s a global conspiracy, (2) you know something all the scientists working in that field don’t, (3) all the scientists working in that field know something you don’t.
      I’d implore you to investigate the possibility of number 3, first.

      “It is mathematically improbable that happenstance can create such design”
      Mathematical paper required. I have a friend who has a PhD in maths (her thesis is on modelling of climate change in the arctic, so it’s not strictly related), but I’d love an excuse to meet up with her. So, provide the mathematical paper, and if I don’t understand it, I’ll take it to her and see if she can explain it over a bottle of wine.
      The important thing here is that the maths paper hasn’t been presented.
      There’s another interesting question: how do you know it’s designed? The argument often equates ‘intricate’ with ‘design’, and that’s not how it works. You have to know a purpose to evaluate a design. This normally leaves one in a bit of a dichotomy: is God’s mind unknowable (therefore Design is impossible to establish) or is there an intelligible purpose (in which case it’s open for evaluation).

      ” The existence of intelligent life suggests a source of equal or greater intelligence.”
      I’ve had a real fascination with progress in AI recently. It’s coming on in leaps and bounds. In many cases, technology can out-strategise the human mind. But it was composed by human minds. It seems to exceed our abilities, but was created by us. And it’s only improving. So, I don’t see that us having a certain level of intelligence in anyway demands there is a greater or equal intelligence anywhere.
      Not only that, but the characteristics you celebrate in humanity are also present in other species.

      ” One word for that capacity is sin.”
      No. Sin is a religious word. It’s harmful and awful, yes. But it’s not a sin. Sin is the preach of a divine law.

      “Man has inalienable rights. Our Constitution says it.”
      False. Approximately 4% of the human population lives in America. You don’t get universal truth from that.
      The American government strives to afford you inalienable rights, and that is a good thing. But there’s nothing divine about that.

      “Instead, we believe (though we don’t act consistently in accordance with what we say we believe) that the weak has just as much right as the strong and, in fact, should be protected and nurtured.”
      Well, I hope you’ll follow that ethic up with supporting universal healthcare and welfare. Because American culture, from the outside at least, seems very much to appreciate a free market economy, which is exactly the survival of the fittest.

      “Take child abuse, for example. Even in prison, where hardened criminals reside, and no one is teaching against the behavior, a child molester is hated. Why? Why would people with seemingly no moral constraint react negatively to such behavior?”
      Oh, so many reasons. The paternal instinct, for example. Empathy. The brain is immensely powerful, perhaps people can sympathise with the feelings of powerlessness in the face of abuse.
      But, don’t these “people with seemingly no moral constraint” contradict your this part of the thesis? We’re talking about murderers — if that’s not in the universal moral law, what is? Protection of children and not eating humans? That all seems very ‘evolutionary’ to me.

      “We have a book that claims to be from Him. It reveals Him as pre-existent, orderly, intelligent, moral, involved with His creation, and, in fact, loving.”
      “a book”? What, just the one? “Loving”? Try telling that to the Canaanites and Midianites. You might struggle, they’re all dead.

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    3. Allallt, glad to reconnect with you.

      Perhaps you misunderstood what I meant when I said, “The argument against the existence of God commonly came into play with the advent of Modernism.” The key here is “commonly.” Before, there were people who doubted God’s existence, but the prevalent thought among most people was that God exists. Modernism has eroded that belief.

      Good catch on the theory that matter and energy only change forms but don’t actually die. It doesn’t answer the second part, however, that energy dissipates and that order does not come from disorder.

      Not sure what you’re saying about the closed system and earth and the sun. Is it the evolutionist belief that the earth developed before the sun? Which all seems irrelevant because the concept of a “big bang” and the entropy it would create resulting in the ordered and precise universe we have is, . . . frankly, hard to believe.

      I can’t speak for Georges Lemaitre and his faith. I’ve even said that God speaking the universe into existence may have had the appearance of a Big Bang. The point is, the idea has freed people from needing God to be the originator because they now have an alternative.

      Your next paragraph is silly. You don’t address the FACT that evolution is not repeatable, and therefore not a result of scrutiny by the scientific method. I don’t care who says whatever they say—and you’re wrong to believe that no scientists believe otherwise—it doesn’t change the truth of this statement.

      I could give you articles about the math probability, but here’s a video instead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sh048UW2Tj4

      “You have to know a purpose to evaluate a design.” Well, yes, and the Bible answers that. But “accident” doesn’t even answer intricate, let alone design.

      Re, intelligence. The AI is intelligent only because an intelligent mind created it. And no, other life does not have all the same characteristics as humans. Again, that’s such an odd thing to say. Simple observation can disprove such a claim.

      Sin is the definition of morally wrong behavior. You can rebel against the word if you want, but that doesn’t change the existence of morally wrong behavior.

      I agree that the Constitution doesn’t prove God gave humans inalienable rights. It proves that the framers of the Constitution recognized our rights as coming from God. It’s a witness of history.

      Don’t confuse American culture with Christianity. In an ideal world, we would be like the first Church, having everything in common and taking care of those in need, such as widows. That’s very much what many churches still do–far better than the government can.

      Your comments about the universal moral principles that even murderers agree to is a weak way to argue against a moral standard. Murderers often will admit that what they did was wrong, but they value something more than they value the moral law. That’s what sin is. It’s a rejection of what they knew to be right. We don’t always agree what is right, but there remain a few constants that culture has not turned upside down. As Scripture says, we call evil, good and good, evil. That’s not evolution. That’s rebellion.

      Allallt, I wish I could explain how giving justice to a group of people is in fact loving. Those who have violated law and receive punishment may not think so, but believe me, those who have oppressors removed and become free from persecution, understand completely that the act of judgment is loving to victims!

      I wish I had more time to interact, but sadly, I don’t have that luxury just now. I won’t likely respond again, but feel free to have the last word if you like.

      Becky

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    4. Okay, I’ll leave my last word at this: do the reading from reputable sources; what does the actual science say?
      Because it understand the law of entropy very differently to you. It understands the mechanisms and philosophies of science very differently from you. And not just on the issues of evolution and cosmogony, but in the broad sense encompassing all sciences.
      Actually look at other species, look at their communication, tool using, empathy, understanding of fairness and social structures. The science points at all these things, especially among primates, but broader sets of species too. It is, I suppose, a philosophical question as to whether animals show the same characteristics we show, we just show them more strongly. However, once you’ve done the philosophical leg-work of defining what these characteristics are, then we can look at what animals exhibit in relation. But to tell me if I observe animals it will be obvious we don’t share intellectual traits with them seems absurd.
      As for AI, maybe you missed the point: you argued that our intelligence suggests we are created by an equal or greater intelligence. AI demonstrates that is not true.
      If, to you, “sin” means “immoral” then the rest of your argument falls apart. Your argument only works by accepting a theological definition of “sin”.

      So, my last word is simply this: your views do not reflect a person who has actually researched what the scientific and philosophical stances are on the issues you’ve discussed. It is possible to hold your views and have a well-versed understanding of the science and philosophy of the opposing view. But that’s not what you have. I would recommend, if you want to weigh in on scientific issues, you become better acquainted with the scientific view on the issues. Your approach is akin to me wading in and saying I was in a plane once and couldn’t see a man sitting on the clouds, therefore there is no God. Obviously, theology in general and your religious view is more sophisticated than that. And the science is a lot more sophisticated and comprehensive than what you’ve waded in to say here.

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