The Christian Foundation of Atheist Values

What most atheists fail to recognize is that the majority of the beliefs that they value are Christian in origin.  In an April 15, 2012 article posted on www.theage.com.au, atheist Chris Berg acknowledges the Christian foundation of modern secular values.  Berg writes,

Berg

…virtually all the secular ideas that non-believers value have Christian origins. To pretend otherwise is to toss the substance of those ideas away. It was theologians and religiously minded philosophers who developed the concepts of individual and human rights. Same with progress, reason, and equality before the law: it is fantasy to suggest these values emerged out of thin air once people started questioning God.

Bacon

He is, of course, correct.  For example, most atheists highly value the scientific method as the primary means of gaining knowledge.  The scientific method was developed by Sir Francis Bacon – a Christian.  Bacon wrote, “There are two books laid before us to study, to prevent our falling into error; first, the volume of the Scriptures, which reveal the will of God; then the volume of the Creatures, which express His power.”  The scientific method was derived from Biblical principles.

A mantra of atheism is the separation of church and state – the core of atheist political philosophy.  Berg points out the Biblical origins of this concept:

Early Christian philosophers thought seriously about what Jesus’s words, ”Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s,” meant for the formation of political society.

Another core belief of most atheists if human rights.  Again, Berg points out the Christian origins of human rights:

The idea of human rights was founded centuries ago on Christian assumptions, advanced by Biblical argument, and advocated by theologians. Modern supporters of human rights have merely picked up a set of well-refined ethical and moral arguments.

At the end of his article, Berg makes the following profound statement:

But while our age may be secular, it is, at the same time, still a deeply Christian one. If atheists feel they must rip up everything that came before them, they will destroy the very foundations of that secularism.

I doubt that even Berg understands the implications of this statement.  Since modern atheism is built on a foundation of Christian beliefs, it is ultimately self-refuting!  If atheism is true, then God does not exist;  if God does not exist, then Biblical principles, such as truth, love, human rights, honesty, and reason are meaningless;  and, if these values are meaningless, modern atheism is also meaningless!

Here’s another example:  Atheists typically believe the scientific method is the source of knowledge.  The Humanist Manifesto III states, “Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies.”  The scientific method is predicated on the fact that the universe follows absolute, unchanging, universal laws.  Here’s the paradox:  If there is no God, then why would the universe follow absolute, unchanging, universal laws?  If there is no God, then the universe should be random, and should not follow any laws at all!  Yet, it’s not random; it’s highly organized by absolute physical laws that should not exist if God does not exist.

Chris Berg is correct to recognize the Christian foundation for modern atheist values, but he’s completely missed the implications of this truth:  atheism is self-refuting, and therefore irrational.  Atheism couldn’t exist if it were true.  “If atheists feel they must rip up everything that came before them, they will destroy the very foundations of that secularism.”  If only atheists understood the implications of this statement!

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27 Responses

  1. “What most atheists fail to recognize is that the majority of the beliefs that they value are Christian in origin.”

    What most Christians fail to recognize is that the majority of beliefs they value existed long before Christianity did.

    • What most atheists fail to recognize is that “values” should not exist at all if God does not exist. Without God, human beings are nothing more than a complex collection of chemical reactions. Chemical reactions should not have “values.” Without God, nothing except matter and energy should exist. The fact that “values” exist at all implies that human beings are much more that matter and energy. Atheism has not rational explanation for the existence of “values.” Only the existence of God can account for the existence of values.

  2. a. Being Christian does not make all of one’s ideas Christian. Newton was a devout Christian, but Newtonian Mechanics is not Christian in any sense. Secularists obviously share the secularist values of Christians.
    b. The history of the Christian Church in no way supports the modern secularist concept of human rights. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament are rife with inhumanity, sexism, racism, and so on.
    c Atheists do not feel the they must rip up everything that came before them. Atheists and other secularists take great stock in the ideas of thinkers from throughout history. Whereas Christians tend to take their inspiration from the Bible and its commentators, seculars are inspired by everything else–a million times the resources.
    d. Christian values vary across cultures and across time. Today’s alignments with secular thought are in part a coincidence from dwelling in the same culture, and no longer having the power to suppress thoughts and behaviors.
    e. And when you say “Christian”, to which of the 1,000 American sects or 35,000 world-wide sects are you referring?
    f. Christianity always has, and still, suppresses any inconvenient findings of the sciences.

    • Lets break down your reply point-by-point:

      a. Being Christian does not make all of one’s ideas Christian. Newton was a devout Christian, but Newtonian Mechanics is not Christian in any sense. Secularists obviously share the secularist values of Christians.

      Here’s the point: Why should Newtonian Mechanics exist, if the universe came into existence through an explosion of nothing (Big Bang)? The universe should be completely random. But, it’s not random – it is completely governed by universal, absolute, unchanging physical laws. These laws should not exist, if God does not exist. The very existence of Newtonian Mechanics, and all other physical laws, points to the universal, absolute, unchanging God.

      b. The history of the Christian Church in no way supports the modern secularist concept of human rights. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament are rife with inhumanity, sexism, racism, and so on.

      First, the fact that the church has not always followed God is not evidence that God does not exist, any more than the fact that most people ignore speed limits is evidence that speed limits do not exist.

      Second, the fact that the Bible records inhumanity, sexism, racism, and so on, does not mean that it endorses them, any more than the fact that the NBC Nightly News reports murders means that NBC endorses murder.

      Third, if God does not exist, then why are inhumanity, sexism, and racism immoral? Why is anything immoral? If God does not exist, then humans are nothing more than matter and energy; we’re nothing more than a bunch of chemical reactions. Chemical reactions cannot be moral or immoral.

      c Atheists do not feel the they must rip up everything that came before them. Atheists and other secularists take great stock in the ideas of thinkers from throughout history. Whereas Christians tend to take their inspiration from the Bible and its commentators, seculars are inspired by everything else–a million times the resources.

      The statement that “atheists feel they must rip up everything that came before them” is a quote from atheist Chris Berg.

      The fact that secularists have more “sources” is irrelevant. Truth is not determined by majority rule. Truth is truth, whether anybody believes it, or not. The earth was not flat, even when the vast majority of people thought it was.

      d. Christian values vary across cultures and across time. Today’s alignments with secular thought are in part a coincidence from dwelling in the same culture, and no longer having the power to suppress thoughts and behaviors.

      True, Christians in different cultures and times have valued different things. However, Biblical values have not changed. The New Testament may have refined the explanation of those values, but the values themselves haven’t changed.

      e. And when you say “Christian”, to which of the 1,000 American sects or 35,000 world-wide sects are you referring?

      By “Christian” I am referring to “Biblical” values. I am referring to the values actually contained in the Bible, not any particular interpretation or understanding.

      f. Christianity always has, and still, suppresses any inconvenient findings of the sciences.

      “Christianity” cannot suppress anything. “Christianity” is an abstract concept.

      There is a difference between “suppressing” and “disagreeing.”

      Since secular ideas in science are far more prevalent in the culture than Christian ideas of science, I’m not sure how you can claim Christians are suppressing science. Far more Christian scientists are censured or suppressed by scientific journals, universities, and professional scientific organizations than secularists.

      No Christian that I know of suppresses the findings of observational science. It’s the conjecture of non-observable evolution and the billions-of-years of philosophy that many Christians disagree with.

  3. Nicely written, however I disagree with your logic. For instance, the assertion that truth, love and reason (setting human rights aside for the moment) are Biblical principals implies that they could not exist outside of Biblical context. This only works if the Bible is literally true and the world was in fact created only 6,000 years ago. If evolution is true, then things like truth, love and reason could come into being over time as they are things that would benefit a group and help it to survive, but they would certainly predate any form of writing.

    Moreover, it’s hard to claim that many Biblical principles have their exclusive origin in the Old or New Testaments. The virgin birth mirrors other non-Christian/non-Abrahamic beliefs from other cultures which both predate the Gospels and would have been known to the Greeks who translated them. There are many Biblical stories for which this is true.

    The assertion that absolute, unchanging universal laws requires a deity is equally false. A universe where the laws changed randomly would be unlikely to exist at all. If gravity alone changed from day to day, the universe would either collapse or tear itself to pieces. What is more likely is the universe formed itself in accordance with rules of physics that existed. If there had been a different set of rules (a different gravitational constant for instance) the universe would probably still have formed, but would not be the same as the universe we have now.

    However, there is no logical reason to assume that because the laws of physics exist there must be a God that created them. If you automatically attribute to God any scientific unknown, you would have a list of questions reaching to the horizon where non-supernatural answers were found. Which is in fact what we have.

    It can’t be denied that Christians have advanced society in many ways. To claim these advances could never have occurred without Christianity is hubris.

    • Thanks for posting!

      Let me break down your response:


      For instance, the assertion that truth, love and reason (setting human rights aside for the moment) are Biblical principals implies that they could not exist outside of Biblical context.

      Not true. Assuming the Bible is true, then all cultures and people descended from Noah, and dispersed after the Tower of Babel. All cultures would have passed on principles that originated from the original pre-Babel culture. Over time, these principles would change, leading to the variety of values different cultures maintain today.

      Secondly, my point is that values such as truth, love, and reason shouldn’t exist at all if God does not exist. In an atheistic framework, all that should exist is matter and energy. Nothing immaterial should exist. Truth, love, and reason are immaterial. They should not exist if God does not exist. But, they do exist. Atheism cannot account for the existence of anything immaterial.

      The virgin birth mirrors other non-Christian/non-Abrahamic beliefs from other cultures which both predate the Gospels and would have been known to the Greeks who translated them.

      The concept of the virgin birth actually traces back to the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:15 states,

      And I will put enmity
      Between you and the woman,
      And between your seed and her Seed;
      He shall bruise your head,
      And you shall bruise His heel.

      The term translated “seed” normally refers to sperm. The reference to a woman having “seed” implies a virgin birth.

      A universe where the laws changed randomly would be unlikely to exist at all. If gravity alone changed from day to day, the universe would either collapse or tear itself to pieces.

      I agree with this. A random universe would be entirely different than the actual universe, if it could exist at all. The problem with your argument is that the rules of physics did not exist before the Big Bang.

      What is more likely is the universe formed itself in accordance with rules of physics that existed.

      How could the laws of physics have existed before the universe existed? The laws of physics are a description of how the universe functions. If nothing physical existed, then there could not be physical laws. If the Big Bang happened, then the laws of physics were caused by the Big Bang, not the other way around. The question remains: How could a random explosion of nothingness cause the laws of physics?

      The point is, the nature of the universe is entirely consistent with the nature of the Biblical God. It is entirely inconsistent with a random Big Bang. Atheism cannot explain why the nature of the universe is as it is. The nature of the universe can only be explained if it was created by the Biblical God.

      • “Atheism cannot account for the existence of anything immaterial.”

        You’re confusing atheism with science. Not the same. Also not true. Evolution does offer an explanation for morals which are immaterial.

        “The concept of the virgin birth actually traces back to the Garden of Eden.”

        If your position is the Bible is the infallible source of all knowledge then what you need is education, not debate. In my provable world view, the story of Eden is a new invention when compared to the Lascaux cave paintings (more than 10,000 years older) or the fossil record (millions of years older and completely left out of the Bible.)

        “The problem with your argument is that the rules of physics did not exist before the Big Bang.”

        If the state of all matter were as a single tight mass, it was held that way by gravity. The rules were in effect. Your argument seems to be that atheists can’t conceive of anything eternal, which is wrong. We just don’t make assumptions about what is was like beyond our ability to perceive or test it, and we definitely don’t automatically attribute it to anything supernatural.

        “Random”

        You use that word a lot. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

      • “Atheism cannot account for the existence of anything immaterial.”

        You’re confusing atheism with science. Not the same. Also not true. Evolution does offer an explanation for morals which are immaterial.

        The vast majority of atheists I have interacted with are also philosophical materialists. They contend that only thing that exists is matter or energy. The problem is, things DO exist that are neither matter nor energy, such as logic, consciousness, and information.

        If your position is the Bible is the infallible source of all knowledge then what you need is education, not debate.

        This is a straw-man argument. If you think this is what Christians believe, then perhaps you need the education. I do not hold that the Bible is the infallible source of ALL knowledge. There is obviously knowledge outside the Bible. What I do contend is that what the Bible does address is infallibly true.

        “Random”

        You use that word a lot. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

        I think the word random means,

        1 a : lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern b : made, done, or chosen at random
        2 a : relating to, having, or being elements or events with definite probability of occurrence b : being or relating to a set or to an element of a set each of whose elements has equal probability of occurrence ; also : characterized by procedures designed to obtain such sets or elements

        What do you think it means?

      • Now you’re mincing words. I don’t know of any atheist that wouldn’t grant the existence of logic, consciousness, information, mathematics. They would almost certainly debate against a supernatural source for these things.

        I’m not going to debate Biblical inerrancy with you as this discussion is well documented in other places. I will say that many of the Biblical errors were plainly evident to me when I first read the Bible in its entirety as a Christian teenager. I just simply will not agree with you on that point, as many Christians likewise disagree.

        In this case I think random means,

        1. that you haven’t seen “The Princess Bride” or are lacking a sense of humor, or
        2. that there is no logical basis to imply that the laws of physics would be random if not for the existence of God.

        At this point I think I’ll try out some of your logic. I could assert the following:

        1. There is a God.
        2. We know there is a God because of the writings of his prophet, Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss).
        3. Your Christian morals are stolen from his writings.
        4. Your worldview is therefore self-contradictory and impossible. You don’t even believe in green eggs and ham. I have no way to know your personal position on green eggs and ham, so therefore I’ll just assume and tell you what you think.

        At least this is what I perceive to be an equivalent to your arguments at this point.

      • Of course atheists will grant the existence of logic, consciousness, information, mathematics. What they can’t do is explain what caused them.

        You claim there is no logical basis to imply that the laws of physics would be random if not for the existence of God. I would argue that the laws of physics shouldn’t even exist at all if there is no God. If there is no God, then what caused the laws of physics? The laws would have to be eternal. But, if the laws are eternal, then the universe must be eternal, because the laws are nothing more than a description of how the universe functions. The idea that the universe is eternal is fraught with numerous scientific problems. Most cosmologists realize this; the universe must have had a beginning. Thus the Big Bang theory. But, if the universe had a beginning, so did the laws that describe it. Which once again leads back to the question, what caused the laws of physics? Without an eternal cause that exists outside of and independently from the physical universe, one is left with a neverending circular argument. I would posit that the Biblical God is the necessary external, eternal cause.

        As for your “logic,” it’s not even worth the effort of discussing.

        My logic is actually very simple:

        1. The existence of the Biblical God can explain everything observed in the universe.
        2. No other concept can even come close to explaining everything that is observed in the universe.
        3. Therefore, God is the only rational explanation for the existence of the universe.

        No, it’s not proof. But, if I were a betting man, I’d bet on the horse with a 100% win record over the horse has never actually won.

      • Simple, utterly unprovable, and therefore pointless.

        God used to be the answer for everything, but science has displaced him repeatedly. While it has done so it has also advanced society.

        It’s easy to claim victories for a horse that nobody can see or touch. You need an actual physical horse to be awarded the trophy.

      • God is only “unprovable” when one limits “proof” to physical evidence. However, limiting proof of a nonphysical God to physical evidence is illogical. Yet, that seems to be what you’re doing. Science is limited to examining the physical universe. God is not part of the physical universe. So, of course science can’t prove God.

        When you want to believe nothing exists other than the physical universe, it’s very convenient to limit acceptable evidence to the physical evidence. It’s also arbitrary and an entirely circular logic.

      • Once you go outside of what can be seen and tested any claim can be made, no matter how ridiculous. All such claims are equally valid and equally baseless.

        All praise to the Lorax.

      • Not really. In a court of law, personal testimony is accepted as evidence. So are historical documents; the evidence they contain also cannot be seen or tested. Logical arguments cannot be seen or tested in the same sense as physical evidence, yet they are accepted as evidence.

        Proof of God is more like proof in a courtroom, rather than proof in a science lab. The science lab, by design, only examines physical evidence; since God is not a physical entity, science is the wrong evidence to use.

  4. “If there is no God, then the universe should be random, and should not follow any laws at all!”

    Why?

    Is “God” the order of the natural world? If that is your definition, welcome to deistic pantheism – er something.

    • If one presupposes the “Big Bang” caused the universe to come into existence, then the laws of nature were also caused by the “Big Bang.” Ginormous explosions should not create order – they cause disorder. Where did the laws of physics, chemistry, genetics, logic, and mathematics come from?

      God is separate from the universe, but He created it. The nature of the universe reflects the nature of its Creator. The physical laws that govern the universe are universal, because God is universal; they are unchanging, because God is unchanging; they are orderly, because God is orderly; they are absolute, because God is absolute.

      If God does not exist, then why is the universe controlled by universal, unchanging, ordered, absolute laws? Why do these laws exist?

      • Those laws are made by people to describe the universe. They are not prescriptive. Newtonian mechanics are not universal – for sure. So far we haven’t found any kinks in relativity, but who knows?

        In the end though, they are just descriptions – every model, from the Standard Model, to Cell Theory, to Biological Evolutionary Theory, to good old Mathematics – are all descriptions.

        (By the way, big bang theory does NOT state that the big bang created order. A better description might be that it released order – since it describes the beginning of the universe as “low entropy”. Essentially, the expansion of the universe IS the transformation of the universe from low to high entropy. Frankly, it’s really insulting to assume that cosmologists all failed 1st year thermo.)

        If you define God so broadly as to make “God” a synonym for “Nature” – then you just made “theist” and “atheist” meaningless labels.

        I mean, besides being the source of order, what other characteristics do you believe God has?

      • Those laws are made by people to describe the universe. They are not prescriptive.

        I agree. Yet, most atheists argue as if they were prescriptive – as if the laws of nature could cause the universe to be as it is.

        The question remains – why is the nature of the universe as it is?

        By the way, big bang theory does NOT state that the big bang created order.

        I understand this. The question remains: Why is the universe ordered? The Big Bang cosmology cannot account for the existence of order.

        If you define God so broadly as to make “God” a synonym for “Nature” – then you just made “theist” and “atheist” meaningless labels.

        God is not a synonym for nature – that would be pantheism, not the Biblical God.

        The Biblical God is distinct from His creation; but, the nature of His creation reflects His nature.

        I mean, besides being the source of order, what other characteristics do you believe God has?

        Some of the characteristics of God that are relevant to this discussion include:

        God is unchanging; the laws of nature (physics, math, logic, etc.), are also unchanging.
        God is universal; the laws of nature are universal.
        God is rational; the laws of nature are rational.
        God is omnipresent; the laws of nature exist everywhere.
        God is omnipotent; the laws of nature control everything that physically exists.
        God is distinct and separate from His creation.

        I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment.

        Again, my point is, why should the universe be unchanging, universal, rational, existing everywhere, etc.?

        A foundational presupposition of modern science is that things are the way they are for a reason. Science seeks to understand and explain these reasons. What is the reason for the nature of the universe? The Biblical worldview explains the nature of the universe: it is a reflection of the nature of its Creator. An atheistic worldview cannot explain the nature of the universe; I would argue that no worldview other than the Biblical worldview can.

      • No, science is not a search for reasons – it is a means of describing nature – nothing more, nothing less. I do not think science disproves God or proves God. However, there are certain God concepts that go against observations of the natural world; so science and religion sometimes clash. I think it is sort of telling that the only well-accepted scientific theories that you appear to reject as “not science” are the ones that happen to clash with a God concept associated with a literal interpretation of the bible.

        Why is there order? Quantum fields, I suppose? The standard model? However, those theory are not *why* those are simply theories based on the evidence we happen to have now, a large dose of math, some wishful thinking that the universe is actually all the things you assume it to be (i.e. that it CAN make sense); they are theories explaining our observations.

        Taken to abstraction – “God” exists – if He is simply the hypothetical “why” behind it all. Notice that in your list of characteristics of God – the only one that was not consistent with God=Nature was the last one.

        However, that does not the Christian God make – nor the Hindu gods, nor the Norse pantheon, nor the existence of souls, nor even a conscious thinking God that can make decisions, nor a personal God that communicates with us directly, etc.

        The contention of a great many atheists is not that science somehow disproves the existence of A god, but that our observations of the natural world are inconsistent with YOUR god. Your god is not the only thing that can explain those things that science either hasn’t described yet or by it’s “nature” cannot explain. I could simply make something up – I could write a book, a creation story, that included a creator that was a lot like me; thought like I think, sort of looked like me (maybe thinner); and was really nice but was still powerful. I could make this creator in my story everything I want to be.

        Would my story be the ONLY way to explain the universe and give meaning to the lives of everyone? Of course not. Might people find it compelling, find faith in the truth of my story? Why not?

        This is the stance of the modern agnostic atheist – that you (and no-one else) is able to produce the evidence to place your God concept as more plausible than any other one – that once you strip away the characteristics of God or the stories of God(s) that are no more credible than your average fairy tale or ancient myth; you’re left with a God = Nature proposition where the difference between a theist and an atheist are just semantics.

        So, tell me – why do you think God exists outside nature? If you describe nature as all there is —- well, you get the trick there don’t you?

      • You stated, “No, science is not a search for reasons – it is a means of describing nature – nothing more, nothing less.”

        By this definition, medical science is not science. When a scientist studies a cancer, he or she does not merely describe it; he or she attempts to determine the CAUSE of the cancer, and to develop a cure.

        By this definition, evolution is not science. When an evolutionist studies a fossil, he or she does not merely describe it; he or she attempts to determine its history, and its relationship to other organisms.

        Tell the doctor or the paleontologist they don’t do science.

        You also stated, “So, tell me – why do you think God exists outside nature? If you describe nature as all there is —- well, you get the trick there don’t you?”

        The point is, I don’t describe nature as all that there is. I also accept the existence of the supernatural. You’re using a straw-man argument.

        To claim that my argument means that therefore nature = God is absurd. Let me use an analogy. If I see a painting, I know there must be an artist that produced the painting. Artwork reflects the characteristics of the artist that produced it. An art expert can look at a painting and determine who the artist was, based on the characteristics of the artwork. Similarly, by looking at the characteristics of the universe, one should be able to determine who or what caused it. The characteristics of the universe should be consistent with whoever or whatever caused it. When I point out that the nature of the universe is consistent with the characteristics of God, and totally inconsistent with self-causation, this in no way means that therefore nature = God. Such a claim is just plain nonsense.

        The idea that the universe caused itself is absurd. The idea that life caused itself is absurd. The idea that the information coded into DNA created itself, and that the cellular structures needed to decode and use that information caused themselves it absurd. The idea that the laws of nature existed before nature existed is absurd. None of these things should exist, unless they were caused by something greater.

        As the characteristics of a painting are consistent with the artist that painted it, the nature of the universe is consistent with what caused it. I have argued that only the characteristics of the Biblical God are consistent with the characteristics of the universe. You have not made a rational argument refuting this.

      • I’m using the term “description” very broadly here. YES – in all of those cases, the person is attempting to describe the cause-and-effect relationships, describe the development of life on earth, etc. Those are still descriptions.

        I am using the term “reasons” in a very strict way. A cause is not a reason. To describe a relationship in nature is not ultimately knowing WHY the universe functions the way it does. We are describing the way it functions. I thought that was a fundamental point that you were making – that science does not address the ultimate reasons.

        So, if you define God based on Him being responsible for how the universe functions – then the difference between an atheist and a theist is simply whether or not they see the reason the universe functions the way it does as part of nature or not.

        When a painter paints a fence – we can describe the painter based on the painting because we understand the act of painting (which involves both painter and painting).

      • My point still stands.

        What caused the universe to follow absolute, unchanging, universal laws?
        What caused the universe to behave logically?
        What cause life to come into existence from non-life?
        What caused there to be vast amounts of information in DNA, and what caused cells to suddenly have the structures necessary to interpret and use that information?
        What caused consciousness to arise from non-consciousness?
        What caused morality to arise from chemical processes?

        There are hundreds of other things I can list. It’s still the same argument.

        The characteristics of the universe should be consistent with the characteristics of whatever caused it.
        The characteristics of the universe are completely inconsistent with spontaneous self-causation.
        The characteristics of the universe are, however, consistent with the characteristics of the Biblical God.

        The Biblical God is the only potential cause that is completely consistent with all of the characteristics of the universe. No other concept of a god, especially no god at all, can explain what caused the universe to have the characteristics it has.

      • Well – so far the really fundamental ideas we are getting from our observations are that nature arises from the absence of disallowed states – er something – blah blah blah. I mean, we can talk Quantum Field Theory all day if we wanted to (though that would be bad because I wouldn’t get my grading done). We even have theories about time traveling particles that simply cannot create paradoxes in time because those states that would create paradox appear to simply be disallowed – I mean – go 12 Monkey’s version of time travel! I doubt that sort of conversation is going to get us anywhere, and at some point I’ll be completely outside my depth.

        However, it seems that you’re appealing to ignorance (and no, that’s not an insult, I’m referring to the logical fallacy). Us not knowing something doesn’t mean that some other specific explanation is correct.

        I wrote a blog post about the “God in the gaps” argument here: http://sinmantyx.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/your-creator-is-not-a-shim/

        You can go down that list and either attempt to answer those questions with the relevant set of current scientific theories; or say God did it. However, those two choices boil down to either saying “Well – that’s the nature of Nature” or saying “Well – that’s the nature of God.”

        I’m still not sure how you can maintain that the biblical God is the only god concept that could possibly explain the universe as we witness it. Do you doubt my ability to write a story that would be equally predictive of our observations of Nature? I’m pretty sure I can! (I can also leave out the parts where the earth is 6,000 years old and fully-functional multicellular creatures magically appear out of thin air.)

        The current known developed god concepts are not even exhaustive of what has actually existed in the minds of human beings throughout history – much less exhaustive of all possibilities. What would make one preferred over the other?

        In science we do prefer some explanations over others. That’s Occam’s Razor. The explanation that makes the fewest assumptions possible is the preferred explanation.

        If presented with my story that fits the evidence and the Biblical account that you claim fits the evidence, by what principle do you choose what is your preferred explanation?

      • An appeal to the existence of God is not an appeal to ignorance. The Biblical God explains the evidence perfectly. The fact that one cannot use science to prove God does not mean He does not exist – this would be an appeal to ignorance. Again, I would argue that the existence of God explains the observable facts perfectly, but without the existence of God, there is no explanation.

        It’s interesting that you bring up Occam’s Razor. If one has a single assumption – the Biblical God – everything we observe in the universe is easily explainable. If one begins with the assumption of no gods, then a ton of other assumptions must be made to get anything close to an explanation of how the universe came to be as it is, and even then, there are huge gaps that can’t truly be explained.

        It’s actually rather humorous that you mock fully-functional multicellular creatures magically appear out of thin air, because that’s precisely what is observed in the fossil record at the Cambrian/Precambrian boundary.

        As for you writing a story, go ahead, if you really want to waste your time. Let’s see what you’ve got.

      • There was once a beautiful young girl who fell asleep and dreamed complex wonderful dreams. The universe appeared the way her imagination created it. This happened last Tuesday.

      • So, according to your story, the universe does not actually exist.

        I’m convinced.

  5. Although I appreciate the vigorous debate, I don’t have time right now to keep up with the moderation, so I’m shutting down the comments for a while on this one. Thanks for the comments – I enjoy the discussion!

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