Five Atheist miracles
(or materialists believe in magic)
Published: 21 April 2016 (GMT+10)
Atheists often promote themselves as intelligent, logical, scientific, rational, etc. They even had a proposal to call themselves ‘brights’! The aggressive ‘new Atheists’, such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and company, like to portray those of us who believe in a supernatural Creator as irrational, unscientific, unintelligent, ignorant, or even ‘needing help’ (Dawkins). The entertainment industry often reinforces these perceptions by portraying ‘religious’ people (Christians particularly, and especially church leaders) as buffoons or hillbillies (almost never as a university professor, for example).
Reality runs against these perceptions. Isaac Newton, the greatest scientific mind of all time, was a Christian believer, as were other founders of modern science. Surveys have consistently shown that people with a strong adherence to the Bible’s authority are the least likely to be superstitious, in contrast to the average de facto Atheist.1 Indeed, one Atheist expressed his chagrin that “some of the most intelligent and well-informed people” he knew were Christians.2
There is much more to say. Atheists believe that everything came about by purely material processes—the universe, life, mind, and morality. However, do they have a rational, logical basis for this belief?
They actually believe in miracles without any reasonable cause for the miracles. That is, they believe in magic, or the occurrence of things without a sufficient cause. What we commonly call ‘magic’ is actually illusion. For example, a rabbit does not just appear from an empty hat; there has to be a logical physical explanation; a sufficient cause. Illusion needs an illusionist. Stuff does not happen without something to cause it to happen. Even young children understand this law of causation. Magic, where things ‘just happen’, is the stuff of fairytales—there is no such thing.3
Here are five major examples of materialists believing in magic (and there are more), or miraculous events without any sufficient explanation or cause for those events.
- Origin of the universe
Materialists (Atheists) once tried to believe that the universe was eternal, to erase the question of where it came from. The famous British Atheist Bertrand Russell, for example, took this position. However, this is not tenable. The progress of scientific knowledge about thermodynamics, for example, means that virtually everyone has been forced to acknowledge that the universe had a beginning, somewhere, sometime—the big bang idea acknowledges this (ideas like the multiverse only put the beginning more remotely, but do not get rid of the pesky problem).4
The big bang attempts to explain the beginning of the universe. However, what did it begin from and what caused it to begin? Ultimately, it could not have come from a matter/energy source, the same sort of stuff as our universe, because that matter/energy should also be subject to the same physical laws, and therefore decay, and it would have had a beginning too, just further back in time.
So, it had to come from? Nothing! Nothing became everything with no cause whatsoever. Magic!
“The universe burst into something from absolutely nothing—zero, nada. And as it got bigger, it became filled with even more stuff that came from absolutely nowhere. How is that possible? Ask Alan Guth. His theory of inflation helps explain everything.”
So proclaimed the front cover of Discover magazine, April 2002.
Physicist Lawrence Krauss, one of the loud ‘new Atheists’, has tried to explain how everything came from nothing; he even wrote a book about it.5 However, his ‘nothing’ is a ‘quantum vacuum’, which is not actually nothing. Indeed, a matter/energy quantum something has exactly the same problem as eternal universes; it cannot have persisted for eternity in the past, so all their theorizing only applies after the universe (something) exists.6 Back to square one!
Materialists have no explanation for the origin of the universe, beyond ‘it happened because we are here!’ Magic: just like the rabbit out of the hat, but with the universe, a rather humungous ‘rabbit’! ‘Stuff happens!’
There are other aspects of the big bang, the ‘mainstream’ model of the universe’s origin, that are also miraculous. The ‘standard model’ has a period of very rapid expansion called ‘inflation’ (which Alan Guth, mentioned above, invented). There is no known cause for the initiation of this supposed expansion, no known cause for it to stop and no physical mechanism for the extremely rapid expansion (many orders of magnitude faster than the speed of light). However, these three associated miracles must have happened or the big bang does not work because of the ‘horizon problem’. More magic!
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). This is not magic, because God, who is eternal and omnipotent, is a sufficient cause for the universe. And He can exist eternally (and therefore has no beginning) because He is a non-material entity (God is spirit, as the Bible says in many places).
- Origin of stars
According to the big bang, the ‘only game in town’ to explain the origin of stars, there had to have been two phases of star formation. Phase 1 involved the formation of hydrogen/helium stars (which are called Population III stars7). Here is the first problem: how do you get gases formed in a rapidly expanding primordial universe to coalesce together to form a critical mass so that there is sufficient gravitational attraction to attract more gas to grow a star? Gases don’t tend to come together; they disperse, especially where there is a huge amount of energy (heat).8 Hey presto! Cosmologists invented ‘dark matter’, which is invisible undetectable ‘stuff’ that just happens to generate a lot of gravitational attraction just where it is needed. More magic!9
However, we have countless stars—like the sun—that are not just hydrogen and helium, but contain the heavier elements. Phase 2 supposedly comes in here. Exploding stars (supernovas) from phase 1 produced sufficient pressure to force hydrogen and helium together to make new stars that made all the heavier elements (which astronomers call ‘metals’), including the elements of which we are made. These stars are called Population I and II stars.
Now here is another problem: how do exploding stars, with matter flying at great speed in all directions, cause stars made of all those new elements to form? There has to be a coming together of the elements, not a flying apart. Pieces hitting one another would bounce off rather than coalesce. Most hypotheses involve multiple supernovas from phase 1 in close proximity, such that sufficient material collided together to form enough of a proto-star with sufficient gravity to overcome the tendency to fly apart and attract more matter and so grow a normal star. However, supernovas are not common events, especially multiple ones at the same time in close proximity. Thus, this scenario requires a huge number of very improbable events to account for the vast numbers of the heavier stars.
This is more magic; miracles without a miracle worker.
God made the sun and the stars on the fourth day of Creation Week. Again, this is not magic or superstition, because God is able to do such things.
- Origin of life
Astrobiologist Professor Paul Davies said,
“How did stupid atoms spontaneously write their own software … ? Nobody knows … there is no known law of physics able to create information from nothing.”10
Not only must the DNA code be explained (how can a coded information storage system come about without intelligent design?), but the incredible machinery that reads the information and creates the components of life from that information has to be explained as well.
Former hard-nosed English Atheist philosopher Antony Flew abandoned Atheism/materialism because of the growing evidence for such design in living things. He said,
“It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.”11
“has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved”.12
That is, only an incredibly intelligent designer could account for the information systems in living things.
Well-known American Atheist philosopher, Thomas Nagel said,
“What is lacking, to my knowledge, is a credible argument that the story [of cosmic evolution] has a nonnegligible probability of being true. There are two questions. First, given what is known about the chemical basis of biology and genetics, what is the likelihood that self-reproducing life forms should have come into existence spontaneously on the early earth, solely through the operation of the laws of physics and chemistry?”13 (See later for discussion of his second question.)
The scientific knowledge of life grows daily, and as it does the prospects of a naturalistic (materialistic/atheistic) explanation for its origin recede into the distance. The origin of life is another miracle.14 ‘Stuff happens’? More magic.
The origin of life demands a super-intelligent cause, such as the Creator-God revealed in the Bible.
- Origin of the diversity of life (Design? What design?)
The origin of life is only the beginning of the problem for the materialist. Along with other atheistic biologists, Richard Dawkins has spent his life trying to deny that living things exhibit supernatural design. In the book that ‘put him on the map’, he wrote,
“Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”15
The diversity of life is a huge problem. How did a microbe change itself into every living thing on earth, ranging from earwigs to elephants, from mites to mango trees? For almost a hundred years, mutations and natural selection, the mechanisms of ‘neo-Darwinism’, or ‘the modern synthesis’, have been said to explain this diversity of life. However, with our modern knowledge of living things, this has proved useless as an explanation.
In July 2008, 16 high profile evolutionists met, by invitation, in Altenburg, Austria. They had come because they realized that mutations and natural selection did not explain the diversity of life, and they had come together to discuss this crisis in evolutionary biology. The only consensus was that there is a major problem, a crisis.16
Thomas Nagel (continuing from the earlier quote) put it this way:
“The second question is about the sources of variation in the evolutionary process that was set in motion once life began: In the available geological time since the first life forms appeared on earth, what is the likelihood that, as a result of physical accident, a sequence of viable genetic mutations should have occurred that was sufficient to permit natural selection to produce the organisms that actually exist?”17
Think of the supposed origin of humans from a chimp-like ape in six million evolutionary years. Modern comparison of the genomes shows such large differences (of at least 20%) that this is just not feasible, even with highly unrealistic assumptions in favour of evolution.18 Actually, it was not even feasible when the difference was incorrectly trumpeted to be about 1%.19
Materialists have no sufficient explanation (cause) for the diversity of life. There is a mind-boggling plethora of miracles here, not just one. Every basic type of life form is a miracle.
Genesis 1 tells us that God, the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator, made the various kinds of life to reproduce “after their kind”. Here is a sufficient cause, but even the description of the nature of living things to reproduce according to each kind has been confirmed with every witnessed reproductive event (billions of humans alone), and also in the fossil record where the transitional forms are missing20 and ‘living fossils’ testify to consistent reproduction ‘after their kind’ in thousands of species.21
- Origin of mind and morality
The origin of mind and morality from energy and atoms has long been a problem for the materialist. It is a major theme of philosopher Thomas Nagel’s book, Mind and Cosmos, already referred to.
A fig tree produces figs, not apples. That seems obvious. Likewise, physics and chemistry produce physical and chemical outcomes. However, mind and morality are not just matters of physics and chemistry. Sure, creatures that are physical and chemical have mind and morality, but how did such non-material things arise from the material? This is a serious problem for materialism, and the Atheist Nagel candidly admits it, to the extreme annoyance of his atheistic colleagues.22
The famous (and reluctant) convert from Atheism to Christianity, C.S. Lewis, put it well when he wrote,
“If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents—the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts—i.e. of materialism and astronomy—are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milkjug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.”23
The Atheist has no sufficient cause to explain the existence of mind and morality. Magic happens!
Why do apparently intelligent people resort to believing in magic—uncaused events—at so many points? By not believing in God they have put themselves into an irrational philosophical corner. Romans 1:21 in the Bible says that when people deny that the Creator-God exists, they end up with ‘futile thinking’. We have discussed plenty of that in this article. Richard Lewontin admitted that (leaving God out of the picture), “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs … ” (he confuses ‘science’ with materialism).24
Where to from here?
God made man “in His image”, a creature with a mind and morality (Genesis 1:27). As such, we are able to think about God and ‘know’ Him. That is the very reason for our existence. Isaiah 1:18 records God speaking to the people of Israel who had turned away from Him,
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
Trying to live life as if God does not exist is the ultimate rebellion (sin), and the ultimate folly. The good news is that God is in the forgiving business for those who will admit their error and seek Him:
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6–7).
Jesus Christ came into the world to make possible our forgiveness; see Good news!
References and notes
- Batten, D., Superstition vs Christianity, Creation 29(1):6, 2006; creation.com/superstition-vs-christianity. Return to text
- “I hope there is no God!”, Thomas Nagel quote; creation.com/nagel. Return to text
- There is ‘black magic’ where Satan is the sufficient cause for the events; for example, the Pharaoh’s magicians in Egypt, where they threw down their staves and they became snakes. Return to text
- Grossman, L., Death of eternal cosmos: From the cosmic egg to the infinite multiverses every model of the universe has a beginning, New Scientist 213(2847):6–7, January 2012. To say this we assume that the same laws of physics applied at the beginning, and that the Second Law applies to the whole universe (this is consistent with all experimental evidence). This is nothing more than the uniformity of nature in time and space, a foundational principle of science. Paul Davies said, “Yet the laws [of physics] that permit a Universe to create itself are even more impressive than a cosmic magician.” See, The singularity—a ‘Dark’ beginning. Return to text
- Reynolds, D.W., Godless universe untenable: A review of A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss, J. Creation 27(1):30–35, 2013; creation.com/krauss-review. Return to text
- See, Hartnett, J., The singularity—a ‘Dark’ beginning, July 2014; creation.com/dark-beginning. Return to text
- See, Hartnett, J., Have Population III stars finally been discovered?, 2016; creation.com/population-iii-stars. Return to text
- Bernitt, R., Stellar evolution and the problem of the ‘first’ stars, J. Creation 16(1):12-14, April 2002; creation.com/first-stars. Return to text
- Hartnett, J.G., Stars just don’t form naturally—‘Dark matter’ the ‘god of the gaps’ is needed, September 2015; creation.com/stars-dont-form-naturally. Return to text
- Davies, P., Life force, New Scientist 163(2204):27–30, September 1999. Return to text
- Habermas, G., My pilgrimage from atheism to theism: an exclusive interview with former British atheist Professor Antony Flew, Philosophia Christi, Winter 2005; illustramedia.com. Return to text
- Famous atheist now believes in God: One of world’s leading atheists now believes in God, more or less, based on scientific evidence, 2004, Associated Press; sciencefindsgod.com. Return to text
- Nagel, T., Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, Oxford University Press, 2012. Return to text
- Batten, D., Origin of life, November 2013; creation.com/origin-of-life. Return to text
- Dawkins, R., The Blind Watchmaker, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, p.1, 1986. Return to text
- See ReMine, W.J., Desperate attempts to discover ‘the elusive process of evolution’, A review of The Altenberg 16: An Exposé of the Evolution Industry by Suzan Mazur, J. Creation 26(1):24–30, 2012; creation.com/review-altenberg-16. Return to text
- Ref. 13, p. 6. Return to text
- Batten, D., The myth of 1%, Creation 36(1):35–37, 2014; creation.com/1-percent-myth and Batten, D., Haldane’s dilemma has not been solved, J. Creation 19(1):20–21, 2005; creation.com/haldane. Return to text
- 1% difference still adds up to 30 million base pairs (chemical ‘letters’) difference, which is a huge problem for an evolutionary scenario of random mutations and natural selection over supposedly six million years. Return to text
- Bates, G., That quote!—about the missing transitional fossils: Embarrassed evolutionists try to ‘muddy the waters’; creation.com/pattquote. Return to text
- Batten, D., Living fossils: a powerful argument for creation, Creation 33(2):20–23, 2011; creation.com/werner. Return to text
- Nunn, W., Thomas Nagel—The atheist who dared to question materialism, March 2014; creation.com/nagel-materialism (and articles referenced therein). Return to text
- Lewis, C.S., The Business of Heaven, Fount Paperbacks, U.K., p. 97, 1984. Return to text
- Full quote Amazing admission, creation.com/lewontin. Return to text
Unfailingly, the “skeptics.” the “brights,” the “atheists,” and the “rationalists” appeal to reason and science as their ultimate authority. This impulse is founded upon a peerless reality principle which can only arise from a Mind Function. They believe in the most extreme metaphysic imaginable—that lifeless, mindless, primal elements are endowed with the power to make themselves “think.” It’s the purest form of evolutionist religion—_Intelligent Physicalism_.
I can see from comments here that we have the wilfully blind attempting to refute the nature of reality. Namely, that nothing in existence could account for cosmic unity, nor the interconnectedness of the natural world; nor the immense biological complexity of every form of life; nor the reality that the universe cannot sustain itself and is running down towards increasing disorder, loss of information and heat death; Nor the reality that nothing in the universe is self explaining or self sustaining with self-existing or self-creating capabilities. All of which makes a self-existing transcendent first cause beyond the running down dying cosmos – God - both a scientific and philosophical necessity. Were it otherwise nothing would exist and we wouldn't be having this conversation - like it or not, believe it or not.
So, if anyone out there knows of any self-existing, self-creating and self-sustaining entity in the universe the Nobel Committee would like to hear from you. As you will certainly be awarded the ultimate Nobel Prize. Off you go - lets all see what you come up with.
Perhaps in your part of the world things happen in the way you describe in this article, but where I live the people here are in contact with a character called Satan and he is able to do some pretty remarkable things that defy logic. If I were you, I would be very careful about claiming that there is no such thing as an allusion. There are too many instances in the past where people who have had this opinion come up against the "works" of Satan and his helpers and have had to admit they were wrong. Some who were Christian in name only changed their God because of a 'Super Natural' allusion that defied all logic, which is why Satan does these things. He is angry with the Creator God for throwing him and his angel followers out of heaven, and he wants to get even with Him by denying Him his treasures.
"For God so loved the World that He gave his only begotten son . . . . . ." John 3:16. I happen to believe that our God not only loves the people of the World, but the physical World as well. I think Satan shares this opinion with me, and for that reason he has turned this abode of ours into one great big "Garbage Dump". Eventually those of us who live here will
get so fed up the way the way things are, we will beg and plead with this 'God of Love' to come and clean up this mess that we have made. In order to get the job done, it will be necessary for Him to use some 'Fire'. Because He can see the end from the beginning, He has thoughtfully provided a way of escape for His believers just as He did at the time of the 'Flood'. So I have bet the 'Farm' on His plan.
What about you? Are you planning to use His way of escape, or are you going to cling to this belief of yours about cause and effect?
I suggest you read the article a bit more carefully (see footnote 3). I have no doubt that Satan is real and can do 'stuff' and my article does not deny that in any way.
See also my response to Jasper M.
I would like to point out that the magic mentioned in Don Batten's "Five atheist miracles" is SPONTANEOUS MAGIC. If the universe can pop into existence unplanned, uncaused, and undirected, then ANYTHING can happen unplanned, uncaused, and undirected, without warning. If Spontaneous Magic lies at the heart of reality, we have no intellectual justification for believing the future will be like the past, or in Cause-and-Effect, or in the laws of science, or in the laws of logic, morality, or society. Spontaneous Magic is the antithesis of knowledge, science, and rationality. It is also the welcome mat to stark raving insanity.
Don I appreciate the article especially the fact that you included some of atheists responses. It means that they read Creationists articles and their minds are disturbed/stimulated to think. God will help the willing to find truth and we need to pray and witness as you do with your publications. I only wonder how many atheists replied compared to creationists supporters
I think I have published all atheist responses, except one that provided a false email address and did not engage with the article at all. I was surprised that there were not more responses from atheists.
After contending with my Atheistic 16 Yr old nephew who appears to have answers to everything, it was so refreshing to read this article which makes good sense. Thank you, I am refreshed in the knowledge that God is in charge of the universe.
Great article. You mentioned atheists coming to realize there is design behind what they are studying. Quite often I hear atheists claim that scientists who subscribe to Intelligent design are simply creationists in sheep's clothing. I have a feeling this is a smokescreen, but nevertheless, I heard a well known science professor on our national radio say that the concept of Intelligent Design is flawed, citing such things as the blind spot in the human eye, a more efficient eye being found in squids, knee joints being like a 'bunch of marbles held together with gaffer tape', a much simpler joint would be the one found in our hips. I couldn't help thinking he would be right if the intelligence was some kind of cosmic computer. But this is not beyond the realm of a loving God, who said after creation this is good, not perfect. Perfection is still to come! But addressing his points, who would want an eye like a squids'? And who would want knee joints the size of our hip joints? And while we're at it, how would you control a joint like your hip anyway? God doesn't just care about how we operate He cares about how we look!
The 'science professor' is either deliberately misleading the national radio listeners or he is thoroughly ignorant of what he is talking about. If you search for human eye and human knee on creation.com you will find articles that show that these are optimally designed (and evolution could not produce them). The professor is talking nonsense.
"Christians are often portrayed as gullible, uneducated, ignorant and weak".
It is my understanding that most of the schools, universities, hospitals and centers of learning, at least in the western world, were created by Christians. These include many of the facilities where these atheists and materialists use their interpretation of what science is to create and push their "fairy tales".
I am a Doctor of Chiropractic and I see "miracles" of healing every day, but are these miracles or are they just the innate intelligence of the body working with the universal intelligence to preserve life and function, as the being was designed to do.
The human body is more than the sum of all it's parts. Without life this discussion would not exist. Was life yet another miracle that popped up in the slime when a few million/billion other atoms decided to get together and crawl out of the swamp.
Anyone working closely with humans can only be in awe of such complexity and design, and let's face it, we are only one of many millions of species on the planet.
P.S. Even Darwin's survival of the fittest is a joke. Just watch Foxtel and see things like the Wildebeests. Sure the lions knock of a few injured ones at the back, but they wont eat the sick. Look at the front of the pack, the fittest, fastest and strongest, They are the first to get to the river and become the cannon fodder for the crocodiles until they are so full that the weaker beests can then get through.
An excellent article. I can share both D. B's (Australia) comment and your reply with full agreement. Can I add to it that Dr "Rabbi" Duncan of the old Free Church Scotland, "Danced o'er the Brig O' Dee that he was no longer an atheist, But had yet to come to Christ." And It is indeed a Spirit taught view of ourselves and then of Christ the Redeemer that alone makes us a true Christian. I fully support your endeavours to counter Materialism as a true help to unbelievers as well as believers .
Henri D nailed it. Without the Holy Spirit people cannot understand Truth.
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit (1 Cor 2:14)
Of course this is so, as we acknowledge frequently. However, what does it mean for us as Christians in presenting the Gospel to the lost? Does it mean that we don't keep telling them with all the persuasion we can muster? Does it mean we can be slack? No, we strive to do our best (as per the Apostle Paul's example before King Agrippa, in Athens, and being all things to all men...that he might win some), all the while knowing that it is the Holy Spirit Who converts, not our ‘clever’ arguments or actions.
Well done Don. As a Christian and retired Police Detective of 34 years service, I gathered factual & tangible evidence to prove a case. I could never go into Court with any unsubstantiated theory, supposition or guesswork. If I handled a case, like evolutionists handle origins, I'd be thrown out of Court and charged with Perjury or Perverting the Course of Justice.
Excellent article. I believe everyone has experienced the attitude of atheists you talk about in the first few paragraphs of the article. Christians are often portrayed as gullible, uneducated, ignorant and weak.
The truth is that the Holy Spirit gives all those that obey him discernment, inspiration and strength... and many Christians use their mind that Christ has renewed to get an education and advance science and culture.
Sad that atheists attack the people that are their best shot at eternal life in that way.
Don thank you - clear thinking!
Joe please think over your position
“but religious faith doesn't have any place in science - and I can assure you that no scientific method relies upon the idea of any particular god.”
For your assurance to have any value it must be certain. Which by your own admission cannot be scientifically known. Thus you have a religious view or commitment to this. Which you deny. You suffer from duplicity my friend.
“Miracles are a suspension in the known laws of nature. Science offers an ever-improving model of how things work, it doesn't make any claims"
ok you allow me to have a little fun here so i’ll take the opportunity:
Claim 1: miracles are a suspension of known laws of nature
Claim 2: Science does not make any claims
Claim 1 therefore is a religious position held by Joe
Joe clearly suffers from duplicity. Which is destructive.
“3 The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.”
Joe like all of us were or still are is attempting to complete the puzzle without not only having all the pieces but also denying that there is such thing as a completed puzzle. All the while living live in an attempt to solve the puzzle without acknowledging that it or it’s Author exist. Worse than folly.
Joe good news he died for all of us who suffer from duplicity – which is all of us!
James 1:8:” 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
Our thinking was ruined by the fall.
We cannot apprehend reality apart from free revelation by the Good One
You can continue in stupid land or be healed from futility
James 4:8: “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
At great cost he paid the price. He loves you
A great article and thanks to Don for it. I, in my experience talking to Atheists, have never experienced any clear answers to any of the above questions from their perspective; they either tend to attack a straw man on our side or unveil the fact that this is a starting assumption- they believe that this 'just is' without really needing justification. They assume it is self-evident without needing justification, and that their world view is the ultimate place where all the logic and evidence must lead- but if you just have to take these on faith, how does anyone get there with the evidence? 'The Faith Behind the Science' tackles this one well, and really lets us know that this was an assumption of Darwin (et al.) before actually looking at the evidence and developing the framework to interpret it based on his own assumptions. The issue we have is that he said, as a scientist on that program cited, that he '...was leaving it up to future generations to unearth the numerable transitional forms that must exist' (paraphrase) -but since then the big picture of the fossil record has only changed by 4%. The issue in modern times is that the Atheist claims that the absence of transitional forms is for some reason not evidence against evolution, in spite of the fact that leaves them without any observable links, or transitioning between the major kinds. I am still yet to grasp how particles-to-people evolution could occur without evolutionary transitions, as the modern atheist seems to be claiming; this is yet one of the plethora of examples of getting the square pegs of the evidence/facts to fit through the round holes of their interpretations/theories. There's a nice Richard Lewontin quote that comes to mind here too.
Don, great article, but you missed a trick replying to Joe.
He claims ' It's important to use reason and logic to remain skeptical at all the junk information we get, including from people claiming to be scientific.'
Interesting that he uses 'reason' and 'logic' in his argument - neither of which can actually exist in his world of materialism.
Guess the atheists really do need miracles :)
Continue the great work!
Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe a Sri Lankan-born British mathematician, astronomer and astrobiologist arrived at a similar conclusion as Anthony Flew, “From my earliest training as a scientist I was very strongly brainwashed to believe that science cannot be consistent with any kind of deliberate creation. That notion has had to be very painfully shed. I am quite uncomfortable in the situation, the state of mind I now find myself in. But there is no logical way out of it. Once we see . . . that the probability of life, originating at random is so utterly minuscule as to make it absurd, it becomes sensible to think that the favorable properties of physics on which life depends are in every respect ‘deliberate,’ or created… I now find myself driven to this position by logic. There is no other way in which we can understand the precise ordering of the chemicals of life except to invoke the creations on a cosmic scale. . . . We were hoping as scientists that there would be a way round our conclusion, but there isn't.”
I like this argument by Kalam in “I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist”, by Geisler and Turek which states, “If there were an infinite number of days before today, then today would never have arrived. But here we are! So there must have been only a finite number of days before today. In other words, even though we may not be able to see, as we look to the left, where the line begins, we know it had to begin at some point because only a finite amount of time could be passed for today to arrive. You can't traverse an infinite number of days. Thus time must have had a beginning.”
I really appreciate your article. There are many other reasons atheists reject the truth of God. If the universe is eternal, there must be something that ultimately reverses entropy.
It is possible that we are still in the dark ages scientifically, and we don't really know much. In the early 1900s, physicists figured that we had discovered everything there was to discover and were about to stop looking for new areas of study. Then came a flurry of new scientific knowledge. Atheists I've interacted with suppose that some day we will discover where the universe came from and why it, as a singularity, was able to resist the physical laws. Maybe there is some kind of anti-entropy force that kicks in when entropy approaches a universal maximum. That's the impression I get from them when they are backed into a corner: one day we'll discover the reason.
I like Frank Turek's responses to these ideas in "Stealing from God." The first chapter, which deals with causality is free to download from CrossExamined. In this chapter, Turek answers a student (John) at the University of Michigan who insists that if we give science more time we'll find a natural cause for the universe. Turek's powerful reply was, "Since nature had a beginning, nature can’t be its own cause. The cause must be beyond nature, which is what we mean by the term “supernatural.”
John responded by accusing Turek of the God of the Gaps fallacy. It's not what we don't know, but what we do know that since space, time, and matter had a beginning, there necessarily must be an eternal, spaceless, timeless, immaterial, powerful, intelligent first cause. This conclusion flows logically from the evidence of what we do know about physics.
Your article is nothing more than the age old "god of the gaps" argument.
The ONLY leg you have to stand on here is the origin of the Universe. And that's only because we don't have the wherewithal to go back in time and watch as the Universe came into being.
That said, you still run into the problem of the origin of god. If everything in existence requires causality, then god must have an origin, or god does not exist. If god has an origin, then you have the regressive causation fallacy, "What created that god", infinitely backwards.
If god was real, there would be no question, no faith necessary. Everyone would know and there would only be one religion. The very fact that humans have never been able to decide on the nature of god is evidence enough to show that your god is not real, any more than Allah, Krishna, Odin, Zeus, or any number of other gods available to choose from.
The fact that the theory of evolution is supported by evidence from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including paleontology, geology, genetics and developmental biology, not to mention modern medicine that you likely use even now, is ample evidence that the current theory is the correct one. The fact that it disproves much of the beginning of the bible is irrelevant to the theory itself.
Your religion will become just as irrelevant as all the other religions before it, and since. No amount of apologetic arguments, redefining of science, or conjecture will stop that. Believe it if you must, but know that you believe a lie, and believing a lie requires faith. Believing the truth only requires good evidence and reasoning.
I suspect that you won't allow this response to post. That's ok. I saved it.
I wonder how carefully you read the article. It is the advance of knowledge that shows so clearly that materialism cannot explain the items discussed in the article. It is 'we do know...therefore God', not 'we don't know... therefore God'. Advancing knowledge is a problem for materialism, not belief in God.
I also suggest you read a little wider than Richard Dawkins’ pathetic book on hating God. The argument from causality is not that everything must have a cause, but everything with a beginning must have a cause. Please see: Who created God?
Other gods? See Atheists and other religions.
As for your 'elephant hurling' over the supposed massive evidence for evolution, I suggest that you do a bit of wider reading. You could begin here: Is evolution true?
Who is believing lies? Evolution is probably the greatest deception of our time (see above). Molecules became molecular biologists? Really? Again, I wonder if you really read the article.
All beliefs require faith, including yours. The point of the article is that atheists have incredible faith in nothing to achieve miracles.
This article misrepresents current atheist and scientific thinking. Yes, we have many fantastically intelligent people who are religious, some of them are my personal heroes, but religious faith doesn't have any place in science - and I can assure you that no scientific method relies upon the idea of any particular god.
I have boring, rational theories as to why intelligent people can still have faith, but that's not the crux of my reply here:
Miracles are a suspension in the known laws of nature. Science offers an ever-improving model of how things work, it doesn't make any claims, it simply provides a model from which further study can be conducted.
Our theories of quantum mechanics, as incredibly strange as they are, have allowed us to make advances in computing for example. And now that we understand that the stars are not how the Bible described, we understand so much more about how the universe works.
Just because we don't know *for sure* exactly how the universe was created - noone claims to - by invoking the "god of the gaps" argument you are doing Christianity a disservice.
We now understand disease, natural disasters and the laws of nature far better than we did when we believed God was meddling in our affairs.
You can be a deist or a theist and still conduct really good science. It's important to use reason and logic to remain skeptical at all the junk information we get, including from people claiming to be scientific.
When we hit a scientific breakthrough for the origin of life - and we're getting closer - that will yet another "miracle" to scratch off your list and the God of the Gaps will shrink even further.
You accuse me of misrepresenting atheist and scientific thinking, but give not one example of me having done that.
Yes, atheists do believe in miracles ('suspension of the known laws of science'; your definition). Did you actually read the article? The big bang's inflation involves a suspension of the known laws of science. But for more on miracles, see God, miracles and logic.
Re 'god of the gaps', see my answer to Bentley, below.
BTW, we have no problem with such matters of operational science such as quantum physics, or the germ theory of disease, or other such things you mention as if they are a problem for believing in God (how?). But that you throw this in here indicates that you do not understand the fundamental difference between operational science and origins 'science' (where repeatable experiments are not possible). See It's not science!.
Regarding the origin of life, no, 'we' are not getting closer at all. The more we know, the more intractable the 'problem' becomes for the knowledgeble atheist. See the origin of life (this was linked from the article).
Without the Holy Spirit, they will not see or hear. We can only pray that they submit to the loving saving grace of our Lord Jesus. For the Lord God chose to bring salvation in a message that makes no sense to those who are lost.
It is not due to our mere quoting Bible verses that say "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God" (Ps. 14:1;53:1) which proves it to be true, but rather because of the "brute facts" of the universe as set out in this great article which does so! (It would have to be shown that Scripture is inspired first for a mere quotation from it being use to prove "X" is true)--which can be done--but which is more complex. This article and the first response printed do the job admirably with evidence available to all (i.e. General Revelation). Thanks CMI!
Thank you Don,
This is an excellent article.
Rocky & Bullwinkle or The Flying Spagetti Monster maybe ? Nothing up my sleeve...As if.
Anyone up for a bit of Oort cloud spotting ?
Sadly many dont seem to appreciate the deception because it comes under the banner of science, yet as you make clear the ideas have no scientific credibility or validity yet consensus falls at its feet & the media become the TV evangelists.
Thanks again CMI & DB.
Hi guys, I love your site and most of your articles, but this metaphor of atheists believing in magic doesn't quite work. If magic doesn't exist, or if 'black magic' only existed in the days of Pharaoh, how do you explain Dynamo conjuring up fish from an empty bucket, or David Blaine sticking long needles right through his arm, or David Copperfield and many others levitating himself and other people and things, Criss Angel teleporting a guy and walking on water, and others turning water into wine and much more? I can't explain it as an atheist, and it's one of the main reasons I want to become a Christian, to be on the 'good side' as it were (and is). Of course Satan and his demons are sufficient causes, but you could make it more clear in the main text. Thanks again for your amazing site and God bless you.
The point of the article is that atheists who are also materialists acknowledge no forces other than those of 'nature' (physics and chemistry), but they believe in the occurrence of events that cannot be explained by physics and chemistry.
I think you will find that Copperfield and company use very clever illusion techniques.
Nevertheless, one of my former colleagues, a 'confirmed' atheist, came to faith in Christ partly as a result of occult phenomena playing out in his own home that he had no explanation for as a materialist. See Some highlights from Beyond Shadows
Thank you, Don, for this tremendous article! At least 2 other items (previously mentioned by CMI) can be added to Don's list: the origin and presence of (1) information, and (2) transcendent laws of logic. Christians have a clean explanation why these phenomena exist in the creation. Atheists have no adequate explanation.
It may be helpful for us to do a thought experiment, to think (for a moment) as if we were atheists: We have the same task as everyone else--adequately explain the universe and all phenomena within it--but we are constrained to do so only using universe-internal resources. And we are further constrained to allow only random interaction of natural stuff, at a foundational level. (Any other situation threatens the reintroduction of nasty Greek gods--which is why we [as the ancient Epicureans, before and in Jesus' time] moved into atheism, to escape them.)
Further, if we allow the universe to start in a somewhat-organized state, we have no adequate explanation for it, and we again risk the nasty Greek gods (or a universe-external God) reappearing. Thus, we need the universe to start at a maximum-disorganization "ground state".
Since the universe now is not in a maximum-disorganization state, logically:
1. The system-state of the universe has, over time, increased in organization--self-organizing--
2. Through the (supposedly) adequate agency of random interaction.
3. Therefore, random interaction within a system allows / drives it to increasingly self-organize.
This--of course--is a delusion. Randomization factors within a system DECREASE the organization of that system's state. But atheists have to believe the delusion... and develop the above-described 'miracles'.
And atheists sell this perception to wider culture and to some Christians.