June 19, 2014

In Their Own Words V: Believing Science Will Have All The Answers

[An ongoing series about the profoundly ironic theological/philosophical quotes scientists make.]

Let us start out with a quixotic atheist quote that immediately forces us to beg a question.

“We are all given a gift of existence and of being sentient beings, and I think true happiness lies in love and compassion.” – Adam Pascal, musician and actor

This statement from Adam Pascal immediately begs the obvious question, who gave the gift? Additionally, man is given sentience by God because God created man in His image and part of God’s image is obviously sentience or cognizant self-awareness or the ability to feel, perceive, or to experience subjectivity. 

Genesis 1:27 ~ “So God created man in his own image...”

What is even more ironic about this statement is that there are many philosophers and scientists who believe that all aspects of consciousness (like sentience) cannot be subject to scientific investigation. Some will argue that some subjective experiences will never be explained therefore they have to stay in the realm of the metaphysical. Conversely and argumentatively, it is not surprising militant atheists like Daniel Dennett disagree. According to an article citation by Stanford University on
Eliminative Materialism, Dennett believes all aspects of consciousness will eventually be explained by science. To this point in time, that has not happened. Dennett is taking a metaphysical leap of faith. The irony here being that Dennett's statement is based on his belief. In other words, it is merely his opinion with no empirical evidence to back it. By saying he believes science will eventually have the answers is to make a leap of faith that he cannot prove.

We then have the brilliant but cosmologically conflicted (and deceased) Carl Sagan.

"The idea that God is an over-sized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity." ~ Carl Sagan

The irony of Carl’s statement here is that the Bible never even tells us that God is an old man with a beard but specifically tells us God is spirit. Jesus Himself tells us this fact.

John 4:24 ~ “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

What is further ironic about Sagan’s statement is his reference to law and governing of the universe. One must first ask the question: Who was the one that allowed the universe to be so structured that there would even be laws to govern it? Furthermore, how and why was the universe created in such a way that it loaned itself to human inquiry? Why was it structured in a deconstructable manner at all? Yet it is indeed structured in such a way that make it deducible by human reason and intellect. We look at the periodic table of elements and they are predictable and, well, periodic. Structured folks. Why? I suggest it is because everything is made in accordance to a plan. God in the Bible has told us of things like gravity indirectly.

Other scientists such as Steven Weinberg have even recognized this fact and have stated as much.

 “...how surprising it is that the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the universe should allow for the existence of beings who could observe it. Life as we know it would be impossible if any one of several physical quantities had slightly different values.” - Professor Steven Weinberg [Nobel Laureate in High Energy Physics]

The Bible tells us the following.

Colossians 1:15-17 ~ The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Hebrews 1:3 ~ “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

Furthermore, had Sagan and other non-believers had a better understanding and appreciation of the Law and its principles, their eternal security might have been secured. If they (or even believers) had a much better understanding of the Law’s principles, they would see that it all points to Christ who maintains the laws of physics that Sagan speaks of. What is a shame is that Sagan also makes a mistake common to too many Christian belief systems. He appeals to emotion saying that his emotional needs are more important than his science which he lives and dies by. The truth is that his desire for emotional fulfillment has nothing to do with scientific truth.

If Sagan and others like him understood that it is God behind gravity and forces that hold or push things apart in the universe, then praying to the person behind those forces wouldn’t seem as absurd as praying to the force itself. In reality, God is the so-called law (a metonymy for power) that holds things together in the universe. So praying to Him in lieu of gravity doesn’t really seem that absurd does it? Come to think of it...God is even responsible for the nonscientific human responses such as Carl's emotions.

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