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Is there scientific proof of the existence of God?

Published: 14 August 2010 (GMT+10)
DNA
The genetic code shows abundant evidence of design and the application of supreme intelligence right at the beginning. (Animation by ‘brian0918’, Wikipedia.org)

We received this correspondence from DL in Australia, first reproduced in its entirety. A response by Mark Harwood, Ph.D., of Creation Ministries International (Australia), immediately follows his letter, indented with point-by-point responses interspersed as per normal email fashion.

Thank you for your information and your offer to submit a question in writing. I appreciate the offer as I have previously attended a CMI meeting in Wingham and I was a bit disappointed (not only in the information) but that there appeared to be no time for questions. I prefer the written form as it allows both question and response to be more precise and considered.

My question is not about Dawin’s theory of evolution, which seems to be accepted by the major body of secularly educated people, Christian or not, as a reasonable explanation for the diversity of life forms on earth. It fits, in general, the growing body of evidence and is supported by the newer unravelling of genetic codes and can in some forms be witnessed in laboratories. Even the late Pope John Paul declared "ït is more than a theory" (what ever that means). I suspect the main body of resistance to the proposal springs from the Republican heart of the USA. for reasons which elude me.

My question then is concerning what reasonable alternative theories are out there to explain the evolution of species on earth ? I don’t have any vested interest in Darwin’s proposition so what else is workable and testable ?

The god proposition does not appear reasonable in that it seems yet to be both untestable and soundly founded upon lack of knowledge. One cannot rationally be expected to believe (have faith in) in untestable propositions. The fact that man has been inventing (usually in his own image) a diverse range of gods for at least 5 thousands years (and probably longer than that) gives me no confidence in any of the "god" versions.

The question of the existence of a god or gods could be a very important one. Yet it is one which seems to be ignored by all religions-perhaps for the very obvious reason. That gigantic elephant that really is in the room !

About two years ago I sent an email to Cardinal Pell in response to his newspaper column in a Sunday paper.

I asked, "Is there any scientifically testable evidence for the existence of any spiritual being, no matter how menial ? "

Pell’s reply was a simple "No".

While I gave Pell 10/10 for honesty in answering my question, I gave him 0/10 for preaching untestable propositions as something people can rely upon.

So my question to Mark is the same as I asked of Cardinal Pell: "Is there any scientifically testable evidence for the existence of any spiritual being no matter how menial ? "

If he is in agreement with Pell’s reply then he might explain why clergy of any religion should be permitted to preach untestable propositions as truth people can rely upon.

I must assume that, if Mark has a PhD from a secular university in something other than theology, he will have an understanding that science is essentially about discovering truth and of scientic method. The CMI site seems more like the medieval church, determined to counter knowledge that may challenges the role of clergy.

Thanks for your help and patience. I look forward to a reply.


Thank you for your information and your offer to submit a question in writing. I appreciate the offer as I have previously attended a CMI meeting in Wingham and I was a bit disappointed (not only in the information) but that there appeared to be no time for questions. I prefer the written form as it allows both question and response to be more precise and considered.

Sometimes, within the constraints of a church meeting, it is not possible to take questions from the floor but CMI speakers and our helpers are always available for questions after meetings at the book tables.

My question is not about Dawin’s theory of evolution, which seems to be accepted by the major body of secularly educated people, Christian or not, as a reasonable explanation for the diversity of life forms on earth.

The truth, and in particular the truth about origins, is not determined by majority vote. Many scientists, not only Christians, around the world do not subscribe to Darwin’s explanation for the diversity of life forms on the earth.

It fits, in general, the growing body of evidence and is supported by the newer unravelling of genetic codes and can in some forms be witnessed in laboratories.

In practice, the growing body of evidence does not fit Darwin’s theory at all. In particular, the genetic code shows abundant evidence of design and the application of supreme intelligence right at the beginning. The observable phenomenon of genetic entropy (continual accumulation of genetic errors through mutations) falsifies Darwinian evolution because it reveals an inexorable loss of genetic information and not a gain, the latter being essential for evolution to work.

What is observed in laboratories, and which is proclaimed as ‘evolution in action’, is actually loss of genetic information. Development of antibiotic resistance, for instance, is an excellent example of how loss of information leads to immunity to an antibiotic. However, evolution requires an ever increasing amount of information added to the genome for a simple organism to change into a more complex one. The problem is, such an increase of information has never been indisputably demonstrated to occur through natural processes. In particular, mutations, being accidental changes, are incapable of creating the type of information needed to specify the multitude of new complex biochemical machines that are necessary to change microbes into mankind. Information has only ever been observed to come from an intelligent source.

Even the late Pope John Paul declared "ït is more than a theory" (what ever that means).

No serious creationist would make the criticism that evolution is ‘just a theory’ since the significance of a theory in scientific parlance is well understood.

I suspect the main body of resistance to the proposal springs from the Republican heart of the USA. for reasons which elude me.

Belief in creation is derived from the historical record provided in the Bible and has no connection with political movements or nations. Creation Ministries International had its origins in Australia as a non-denominational group which it remains today.

My question then is concerning what reasonable alternative theories are out there to explain the evolution of species on earth ?

Your question, of course, pre-supposes that evolution has actually happened, but the very thing we are discussing is whether evolution or creation is the best explanation for the existence of life, so we can hardly assume the outcome! I would contend that microbe-to-man evolution has never happened, so the alternative, namely creation, does not seek to explain evolution at all.

There are really only two options available on which to base a model of origins. Either the physical universe made itself or it was made by a Being outside of the physical universe, a supernatural Being, by definition. The only remotely feasible naturalistic model of origins is evolution, which includes cosmological evolution, geological evolution and biological evolution where the latter is usually thought of as Darwinian evolution.

For clarity, what we mean by ‘evolution’ in this context is a naturalistic process by which molecules have changed into all living organisms through unguided random processes over vast aeons of time—molecules-to-man evolution. This is not the same as observing change over time in living organisms.

So, the correct question to ask is this: ‘Does the evolutionary model of origins or the Biblical creation model of origins best describe the observable evidence in the world around us?’

I don’t have any vested interest in Darwin’s proposition so what else is workable and testable ?

Science is based on observable, repeatable experiments. This means that science is conducted in the present and not the past. Forensic science seeks to reconstruct the past based on the observable evidence in the present, but there is always uncertainty because the events were not observed, which of course, is the key ingredient to a good detective story. Evolution is not testable because we cannot observe the past. But, by the same logic, neither is creation testable. What we have is two conflicting beliefs about history, so the challenge is to determine which version of history best fits our observations so we have a reasonable basis for what we choose to believe.

The work of organizations like CMI is directed towards showing the very high correlation between the Biblical account of history, as laid out in the first 11 chapters of Genesis, and the observable evidence in the world around us.

The god proposition does not appear reasonable in that it seems yet to be both untestable and soundly founded upon lack of knowledge. One cannot rationally be expected to believe (have faith in) in untestable propositions.

We actually have faith in untestable propositions every day of our lives. Rather than being based on lack of knowledge, our faith is usually based on very real experience. For instance, as you read this response, it is likely you will be sitting in a room which will be part of a larger building. Can you see the architect and the builder? Have you met them? How do you know they exist? You know the building had a designer and a builder because in your experience you observe that buildings do not make themselves. They all have a designer and builder. So, you believe by faith that the designer and builder exist, or have existed, because the building exists and your faith is based on knowledge. But the existence of the designer and builder is not scientifically testable! It would be irrational to assume there was no designer or builder just because you can’t observe them right now.

In exactly the same way, we look around at the amazing diversity and complexity of living things and we know there must have been a designer and builder. One of the sure evidences of design is the presence of information in the genetic code of living things. The coded information is not inherent in the physics or chemistry of the DNA molecule, just like the information in a book does not reside in the ink and the paper. Instead, the information resides in the way the base pairs of the DNA are arranged, and in the way the ink makes shapes on the paper, so that the code is intelligible and meaning is transferred.

Therefore, the inference that the universe has a Creator who is outside of what has been made, in other words, a supernatural Being, is entirely reasonable and soundly based on knowledge and experience.

The fact that man has been inventing (usually in his own image) a diverse range of gods for at least 5 thousands years (and probably longer than that) gives me no confidence in any of the "god" versions.

So, rather than trust any of the ways in which man has made god in his own image, why not read what the Creator himself has revealed about himself in his book, the Bible? It is in the Bible that we see the character of God and that he has made man in his image, once perfect but now fallen and fallible because of the rebellion of the first man and woman. We would have no possible way of determining the truth about our origins unless God himself had ensured that we had a reliable record of the past. If he can create the universe then it is reasonable to assume that he can also superintend the process of the compilation of the Bible so that we have an entirely reliable and trustworthy record of his dealings with man right from the beginning of time.

The question of the existence of a god or gods could be a very important one. Yet it is one which seems to be ignored by all religions-perhaps for the very obvious reason. That gigantic elephant that really is in the room !

Indeed the question is an important one, probably the most important question you will ever ask! And it is most definitely not ignored by Christianity. The existence of God can be established in many ways. The opening chapter of the Creation Answers Book gives an excellent summary of them.

About two years ago I sent an email to Cardinal Pell in response to his newspaper column in a Sunday paper.

I asked, "Is there any scientifically testable evidence for the existence of any spiritual being, no matter how menial ? "

Pell’s reply was a simple "No".

While I gave Pell 10/10 for honesty in answering my question, I gave him 0/10 for preaching untestable propositions as something people can rely upon.

So my question to Mark is the same as I asked of Cardinal Pell: "Is there any scientifically testable evidence for the existence of any spiritual being no matter how menial ? "

I hope by now you will see that the answer to your question is clearly “No” but the problem is you are asking the wrong question. Perhaps you could answer the following questions for me:

  1. Do you only consider something to be real if it is scientifically testable?
  2. Is love real?
  3. Are historical events real?

Clearly, there are very real things that are not accessible via scientific experiments. Most importantly, past events can only be determined by historical records as they are not available for observation and are therefore not accessible by science.

In particular, to determine the truth about our origins, we need an eye-witness account from someone who knows everything, who does not lie and who has written down (through the agency of human hands) all we need to know about the past. And we have just such a document in the Bible which, I believe, is God’s written word. That is a faith statement, of course, but a very reasonable faith statement because the Bible’s history is exactly consistent with what we observe in the world around us. However, the evolutionary account of history is not consistent with the evidence we see around us, so faith in evolution is not a reasonable faith.

If he is in agreement with Pell’s reply then he might explain why clergy of any religion should be permitted to preach untestable propositions as truth people can rely upon.

On the contrary, the propositions of biblical Christianity are testable as I have shown above.

I must assume that, if Mark has a PhD from a secular university in something other than theology, he will have an understanding that science is essentially about discovering truth and of scientic method.

My Ph.D. was from Sydney University in electromagnetics and I can assure you that science is not always the dispassionate search for truth based on observations and logical deductions leading to irresistible conclusions that the public believes it to be. There are some well-known frauds, like Haeckel’s embryos and the peppered moths, which have occurred in attempting to promote evolution and I recommend you acquaint yourself with them from articles on our website. It seems you have accepted the myth that science is about reality and the Bible is about beliefs. The reality is that this debate is not about science versus religion but about the conflict of two different religions—evolution and creation.

The CMI site seems more like the medieval church, determined to counter knowledge that may challenges the role of clergy.

I don’t believe you could make a statement like that if you had genuinely reviewed our website and read the articles it features. The website points to the authority and authenticity of the Bible through the many evidences discussed in the 7,000 or so articles that are readily available via the search engine. These articles cover a vast range of topics and are scholarly, peer reviewed and pitched at both lay and expert level. CMI employs more Ph.D. scientists than any other Christian organization that I know.

Thanks for you help and patience. I look forward to a reply.

I trust you will read the articles I have referenced and that you will do so with a genuine desire to discover the truth about our origins.

Regards,

(Dr) Mark Harwood