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No coincidence

Secularists rail at the evidence for a designer

Wikimedia.org, Luc Viatour total-solar-eclipse
A total solar eclipse

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Published: 10 March 2016 (GMT+10)
First appeared in a CMI (UK/Europe) Prayer News, July 2015.

Many in the United Kingdom will have watched the partial solar eclipse visible throughout the country on 20th March 2015. Sixteen years previously, in August 1999, I was in northern France where I was able to enjoy, for over a minute, a total solar eclipse. Around twenty minutes before totality, the clouds cleared and we were treated to the full works: views of the sun’s corona (its luminous ‘crown’), Baily’s beads (‘pearls of sunlight’ seeping through valleys on the moon’s surface) and the beautiful red ‘prominences’ (eruptions of gas emanating from the sun’s surface). All this was possible, of course, because the moon is just the right size and at just the right distance from the earth, resulting in it just, and only just, covering the sun. Commenting on this, physics Professor Brian Cox1 remarked on behalf of the BBC, “There’s that coincidence so the moon happens to be 400 times smaller in diameter than the sun, but it also happens to be 400 times closer to the earth. Absolute coincidence … ” (emphasis his).2 One might ask, however, what ‘science’ he has to support this statement.

Too many ‘coincidences’

Unfortunately for Professor Cox and his atheistic worldview, there appear to be many other such ‘coincidences’. Earth’s position in the solar system, for example, ensures that our planet never gets too hot or too cold, enabling water to exist in liquid form. If our orbit took us just a bit closer to the sun, all water would evaporate; if just a bit further away, it would all freeze. In both cases life could not exist. Our atmosphere is just right too, being made up mainly of nitrogen and oxygen, with small amounts of argon, carbon dioxide and other trace gases. This ensures a temperate climate, the combination of gases needed for complex life and a transparent sky that enables us to observe the rest of the universe. Earth is part of a planetary system that protects us from comet impacts; it has a suitable magnetic field that shields us from harmful solar radiation; it is ideally placed in the galaxy for astronomical research; and there’s much more. This ‘fine-tuning’ for life is also seen at the atomic level. For example, if the ratio of the electron mass to the proton mass wasn’t just right, molecules essential for life such as DNA couldn’t form; unless carbon and oxygen nuclei had just the right energy levels we could not exist. As admitted by another (non-Christian) Professor of physics, Paul Davies, “The impression of design is overwhelming.”3

The reaction of secularists to all this is as revealing as it is shocking. When Dr Guillermo Gonzalez produced the documentary film, The Privileged Planet,4 in which he argued that coincidence was an inadequate explanation for so many observations pointing to design, there was uproar.5 The Smithsonian Institute in the United States had initially agreed to provide a private screening, but then attempted to cancel it following widespread protests. Atheist groups organised campaigns, encouraging people to send e-mails, write letters and make phone calls opposing its showing. An e-mail was sent to the entire department of anthropology at George Washington University warning everyone not to watch it. Money was even offered to the Smithsonian if they agreed not to show it. Dr Gonzalez himself received much criticism, leading to his promising career at Iowa State University coming to an abrupt end and his being denied tenure—a situation which can have grave implications for a person’s future in academia.

The real battle

In his letter to the Romans the apostle Paul warned about those who “suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Romans 1:18). There is abundant, overwhelming evidence pointing to a supernatural act of creation and there being a creator God; many, however, simply refuse to believe it. Worse still, some appear determined to prevent others considering the evidence. The British Humanist Association, for example, has been very successful in persuading the Government to impose censorship in respect of what information can be presented to youngsters in schools. Teachers in state-funded schools must now be very careful not to be seen to be suggesting that belief in ‘intelligent design’ might be evidence based—even in Religious Education classes.6 Such draconian measures, however, do not protect science as they actually discourage critical thinking, a skill which plays a vital role in good science. Rather, such censorship reflects what the founder of the modern creationist movement, Henry Morris, described as “the long war against God”.

At CMI we realise that we are involved primarily in a spiritual rather than intellectual battle. We know that “the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God” (Romans 8:7–8). Only when God works in the hearts of people through His Holy Spirit will minds be changed. For this reason we are acutely conscious of our need of the prayers of our supporters—and for which we are very grateful.

References and notes

  1. Cox is a particle physicist at Manchester University, UK, and a BBC presenter. Return to text
  2. Stargazing Live, BBC 1, 20 March 2015. Return to text
  3. Davies, P., The Cosmic Blueprint, Simon and Schuster, p. 203, 1988. Return to text
  4. While not produced by biblical creationists, much of the content is supportive of a biblical, ‘young-earth’ framework. Return to text
  5. Bergman, J., Slaughter of the Dissidents, vol. 1, Leafcutter Press, ch. 13, 2008. Available from creation.com store. Return to text
  6. Statham, D.R., Evidence for Creation now banned from UK religious education classes; creation.com/creation-religious-education. Return to text

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