Book Review: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist – Ch 5.2

5: THE FIRST LIFE: NATURAL LAW OR DIVINE AWE? (PART 2)

A similar argument applies to the author’s claim that philosophy impacts scientific conclusions. He claims that if a scientist assumes beforehand that only natural causes are possible; then probably no amount of evidence will convince him of intelligent design (p 128).  Science requires the ability to test a hypothesis. Granted, it is difficult to test certain hypothesis dealing with very small particles or very large quantities, but a good scientist will attempt to verify that the hypothesis is mathematically consistent and devise ways that testing can be done in the future. Since there is no way to observe or test metaphysical claims, they remain speculations. The author could make the claim, if he wanted, that science has limited boundaries and does not encompass all knowledge, but to expect a scientist to be open minded about supernatural causes when conducting investigations is asking him to go beyond the bounds of science.

The author also says that they don’t know of any creationists who rule out natural causes beforehand (p 128). I give this example of creationists forming a hypothesis based on the Bible and when the physical evidence they expect does not bear out, they do not even appear to consider rethinking their hypothesis, but reinterpret the evidence to fit with what they already believe to be true: Because of our understanding of the Flood from the Scriptures, we might expect to find human fossils in Flood strata, so it is rather surprising, at first glance, that we don’t find any. However, Scripture (backed up by so much other evidence) is very clear that there was a global Flood and the pre-Flood people were destroyed, so there must obviously be an explanation for this lack of human fossils (http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aig/aig-c014.html).

The second point for why materialism is not reasonable is a point that I do not think argues well against materialism. The author says that chemicals are involved in the thought process but cannot explain all thoughts (p 128). He does not offer any proof of this, perhaps expecting it to be self-evident. It is my understanding that just because every thought cannot be chemically mapped, it does not stand that there is not a complete chemical basis for the entire thought process. When we study how the human thought process changes under the influence of certain hormones, after brain damage, and when exposed to certain stimuli, it appears that this assertion is not on firm ground.

The third point does not stand to reason either. Even if life were nothing more than materials, there is no reason that humans would currently have the capability to make a living being out of these materials. Just because something is beyond human ability or human understanding does not mean that it is not possible. There are many natural phenomena that humans are not able to replicate, most of which are not considered by Christians to be a matter of direct supernatural interference. You may also be interested in further research on inorganic structures that resemble organic life (cf. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070814150630.htm)

The fourth point is a sociological argument. The author finds it difficult to believe that every great spiritual leader has been completely wrong about his spiritual experience (p 129). This is of interest not so much because of the argument against materialism, but because if the author does not believe that other religions besides Christianity are true, then he is completely willing to believe that every great non-Christian spiritual leader has been completely wrong about his spiritual experience.

In the conclusion, the author asserts that order, logic, design and truth can only exist and be known if there is an unchangeable objective source and standard of such things (p 130). Conveniently, he leaves the argument there. Since it does not fit into the topic of the origin of life and I expect that it will resurface later, for now I will only comment that in order to accept this, you must begin by assuming that a god of this nature exists, else the absolute certainty of his existence is also circular. This is also a huge assertion to make without even acknowledging the way he intends to circumvent the Euthyphro dilemma.

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  1. Trackback: What radiometric dating techniques are used to date human fossils? | wwwyahoo_yahoomail_video_women

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