Scientism and the Faith of an Atheist

Science doesn’t answer big questions. The why questions.

However, Science does demonstrate very long odds that all this “just happened by chance.”

Life on this planet in a rare event.  That the universe to exist at all is amazing.  The four forces.  These issues of fine tuning of all variables in our universe — varying any one of which would throw life and the Universe out of existence — provides credibility that God exists in and created the Universe.

 

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Two points from scientific naturalism (atheism):

1.  The natural world is all there is.

This claim is consistent logically equivalent to atheism.  One can’t logically prove atheism or that the natural world is all there is.  How could one prove that there is nothing beyond the natural world, when all they can study is the natural world (and nothing more)?

The only way the naturalists could hold this claim #1 is by faith.  But then the naturalists would contradict claim #2.   Indeed, claim #1 is internally incoherent.

2.  We should only believe what can be scientifically proven.

This second point is far too narrow.  In fact, we accept many intuitive truths that can’t be proven.

Can’t prove these truths:

1) Ethics:  can’t prove good and evil.  2) Esthetics: can’t prove beauty.  3) Metaphysics: the reality of the past.  4) Science itself has unproveable assumptions: Special Theory of Relativity, one-way velocity of light is assumed to be constant. 5) Mathematics and logic truths:  Science presupposes logic and math.

Even statement #2 itself can’t be proven scientifically.  Statement #2 is an opinion or statement of philosophy.  #2 is self-refuting and cannot be true.

William Lane Craig at his best in under 3 minutes:

Great points in 1.5 minutes:

Less than 2.5 minutes:

Awesome demolition in a little over 5 minutes:

Elder Holland, attending the 50th anniversary celebration of discovering chiasmus in the Book of Mormon, gave this talk on evidence:

John Lennox (see video below) has debated the biggest names among today’s atheists.

Christians should have an evidence base for belief in Christ.  John told us of Jesus’ actions so that we might believe.

John 20 : 30-31

30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

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Lennox makes several points from atheist debates:

1) Belief in Christianity is based in evidence — not blind faith.  Review John 20: 30-31 again.

2) Atheists claim to not have faith, but Lennox has challenged many atheists this way: “I’m sorry, but I thought you believed your atheism.”

3) Dawkins believes in or has faith in stuff, including his wife.  Evidence-based faith is still faith.

4) Traditional Christians don’t believe God was created (Mormons theology involves progression).  Dawkins constantly teases, “Who created your Creator?”  Lennox says nobody. Dawkins believes the Universe created him.  So, Lennox asked Dawkins, “Who created your (Dawkins’) creator?”  Still waiting for an answer.

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Top issues:

1) We don’t believe in the God of the Gaps.

2) Science and God are compatible and complimentary:

  •  To say you don’t believe in God, but rather you believe in Science is analogous to saying you don’t believe in Henry Ford, but instead you believe in the laws of internal combustion.  The God explanation is not the same as the Science explanation.  You, obviously, should believe in both.
  • Why is the kettle boiling?  There are 2 explanations: a scientific one about molecules.  And a personal agent explanation:  it’s boiling because I want a cup of tea.

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3) The Law of Gravity describes gravity, but descriptive laws do not create anything.  Ever.  We don’t even know what what gravity is.  However, Steven Hawking and other secular scientists would have you believe laws daily create matter and the entire Universe.  Not true.

4)  God created the world good.  God could have created a perfect world, but none of us would have been in it.  A world without hate will have no love.  Robotic worlds lack sin and many other problems, but they have no humans.  Bringing humans into the world is a risky business.  God’s children can grow up and say no.  Just like our kids.

Another discussion with John Lennox on faith and reason.  Faith of believers.  Faith of atheists.  What is the evidence?  What of blind faith?

Bill Whittle and Andrew Klavan (Christian, former Jew) discuss the limits of Science and atheism.

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At the 5:10 mark in the video below, Bill says when someone says “I believe in Science” you immediately know they don’t know what they’re talking about.  Science is a tool.  Like a hammer.  So, when they exclaim, “I believe in Science,” they’re really saying, “I believe in a hammer.”

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Science is not a philosophy.  It’s not a world view.   It’s a method.  It’s a series of questions, processes, and procedures to isolate variables and extract something out of nature.

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Scientism or Trans-science:  popularized by the new atheists, such as Harris, Hitchens, Dawkins, and Dennett.  An arrogant belief in objectivism — won’t believe anything other than Science — that itself becomes a religion.

What of Philosophy, Art, Ethics, and other obvious truths we can’t prove?

We can’t understand infinity or eternity.  We simply lack the neurons.

Worth 12 minutes of your time.

More from William Lane Craig:

Scientism is not Science.  It’s a theory.  It’s a philosophy.

The statement itself — one should only believe in what can be scientifically proven — is self-refuting.  One can’t prove one should believe this.  It’s a philosophy statement or belief — not something that itself can be proven.

Can’t prove these truths:

1) Ethics:  can’t prove good and evil.  2) Esthetics: can’t prove beauty.  3) Metaphysics: the reality of the past.  4) Science itself has unprovable assumptions: Special Theory of Relativity, one-way velocity of light is assumed to be constant. 5) Mathematics and logic truths:  Science presupposes logic and math.

Fun interchange.  William Lane Craig (on the left) is a skilled debater.  Too bad he’s not LDS.

Another gem by WLC on God.  Now, I don’t agree with all of Craig’s arguments, but the discussion is wonderful.

Compatibility: Science, Evolution, and LDS Thought

Does the Church take an official position on Evolution?  Nope.

Let’s all remain open and humble in our pursuit of all kinds of truths. And let scientists do Science. After all, we have nothing to fear from discovery in any field.

Living the restored Gospel principles saves us.  Scientific principles — even established ones — don’t exalt anyone.  But it doesn’t hurt to understand truths of Science.

Further, there’s so much we don’t know. For example, the world’s best physicists don’t know what light and energy are.  We are only a few hundred years from the Enlightenment. We’re all in the dark to a great degree, and thus must very much live by faith.

Science is only a method, and can ask how.  God answers why.

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Read this October 2016 New Era article.  The first paragraph quoted below:

What does the Church believe about evolution?

“The Church has no official position on the theory of evolution. Organic evolution, or changes to species’ inherited traits over time, is a matter for scientific study. Nothing has been revealed concerning evolution. Though the details of what happened on earth before Adam and Eve, including how their bodies were created, have not been revealed, our teachings regarding man’s origin are clear and come from revelation…”

 

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Dr. Henry Eyring — the father of current Apostle, Pres. Henry B. Eyring — was a world-class chemist and believing Latter-day Saint.  After a full career in Chemistry at Princeton, he returned to Utah Brother Eyring served on the LDS General Sunday School Board.

Pres. Eyring wrote about his world-recognized chemist father:  My Father’s Formula.

A few of his thoughts below:

Some have asked me: “Is there any conflict between science and religion?” There is no conflict in the mind of God, but often there is conflict in the minds of men. . . .

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A young man once inquired: “In high school we are taught such things as pre-Adamic men, and that kind of thing, but we hear another thing in Church. What should I do about it?”

I think I gave the right answer. I said, “In this Church, you only have to believe the truth. Find out what the truth is!”

Simple, but very powerful ideas.

 

Steven Peck is a professor and poet at BYU.  Dr. Peck gave this talk at the Science & Mormonism:  Cosmos, Earth, and Man conference at BYU on 11/9/13.

Why Evolution and LDS Thought are Fully Compatible:  Overcoming our Suspicions of Science.

More from Steven Peck:

Episode 50: A Religion of Both Prayers and Pterodactyls – Steven Peck

You should subscribe to these LDS Perspectives Podcasts. Really, you should.

Home

Other books by Steven Peck here:

 

Valuable perspectives by LDS scientist, David Bailey.

Extreme and atheist scientists are the most vocal critics of religion.  And the most fundamentalist Christians are hostile to science.  We don’t need to take an extreme position.

 

Jeffrey M. Bradshaw on “Science and Genesis: A Personal View” given at the Science & Mormonism: Cosmos, Earth, & Man conference held on November 9, 2013, in Provo, Utah.

Rather than mock the Genesis stories, as many atheist scientists do, Dr. Bradshaw humbly provides his point of view.

LDS Truth Claims on the topic of Science:

 

Alvin Plantinga is a world-class American philosopher.  Plantinga presents a non-Mormon, but traditional Christian point of view:

 

William Lane Craig, a non-Mormon philosopher, shares his opinion about Evolution and Christianity in several videos below:

Short answer: No, evolution doesn’t disprove theism or Christianity.

WLC’s opinion: a six-day creation model is an embarrassment

 

These next two — as the last two philosophers above — are neither LDS.  Though we differ in beliefs about God, they share lots of truth and valuable perspectives!

Bill Whittle (2nd speaker) had a great line about people who say “I believe in Science.”  Bill points out that those people usually have no idea what Science is.

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According to Bill, saying “I believe in Science” is very much like saying this: “I believe in a hammer.”

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Like a hammer, Science is a tool.  A method.  Not a world view.

Watch the video:

Science is awesome, but has obvious and significant limitations.

Not all scientists — especially the new atheists — tell you this.

http://ldsmag.com/10-things-science-cannot-prove/

 

Extraordinary Evidence Needed for Jesus’ Resurrection?

I’m watching quite a few videos on Easter this week. I thought this was a good one. For the LDS Church to be true, Christ had to be resurrected. I believe He was!

William Lane Craig is a passionate defender of the Christian faith. I don’t agree w/ all his positions (he’s an evangelical & I’m LDS), but he is a strong debater and faithful believer in Jesus’ resurrection.

WLC explains in less than 3 minutes in 2013:

This video below is from a debate in 1999: