Science needs Christianity to survive

Christians must realize that they need science in order to defeat atheism. But, what’s even more true is that science needs Christianity in order to survive. It has to be stated clearly that genuine and productive science cannot exist without Christianity.

The historical truth is that science was born of Christianity. All of the great pioneers in astronomy and physics were devout Christians, because modern science has been based from its beginning on uniquely Christian beliefs and faith. If Christianity had never existed, there would have been no science to lift humankind out of ignorance and barbarity.

Most atheists are not only ignorant of the true history of science; they make up their own history as in the totally false story of the alleged persecution of Galileo. Those few atheists who know and admit the truth about the origins of modern science would undoubtedly argue that science has outgrown its Christian roots. Richard Dawkins and other scientists-turned-professional-atheists argue that science has been liberated from Christianity, which is either a self-serving delusion or an outright lie. The one thing atheists are correct about is that Christianity has become a diminishing factor in science through the last few generations.

The loss of Christian guidance is distressing, because science cannot survive as a source of truth and useful knowledge without the preeminence of Christian values, beliefs, and faith. Individual humanists and other non-Christians can certainly do real science, but only in a Christian intellectual environment that inhibits the natural anti-scientific impulses of the human mind. Secular humanists see science as a human endeavor that must be in constant and unfailing service to humankind, which really means that science must be bent in service of humanist preconceptions of how the world should be.

True science can serve only one purpose — the search for truth. It is up to engineers, entrepreneurs, and others to use the results of science in ways that are beneficial to society. Scientists, however, can have only one guiding concern, and science is corrupted to the degree to which other concerns (wealth, reputation, and political power) motivate them. Christians as a group were never perfectly motivated by the desire for truth, but the Christian scientific community was effectively guided by that ambition. It is difficult for people who really believe that the scientific search for truth is an attempt to learn something about God to disappoint their God by allowing worldly concerns to get in the way of the search for divine truth.

The vitality and trustworthiness of science is in direct proportion to the Christian influence in a discipline and in inverse proportion to the influence of secular humanism. The following is a list of the major fields of sciences starting with those which have been most influenced by Christianity to those that have been least influenced:

  • Physics and astronomy
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Medicine
  • Climatology
  • Social and behavioral studies

The above also serves as a list of scientific fields from the least corrupted by secular humanism to the most corrupted. It is ironic that humanists think of themselves as the great rational defenders of science, but in truth, the more influence secular humanism has in a discipline, the more it prevents real science from occurring.

Astronomy and astrophysics was for centuries the bastion of Christians trying to understand God through the study of His magnificent creation. Atheists supported astrophysics as long as its findings could be used to undermine Christian beliefs and faith. When the discovery of the big bang confirmed Christian scriptures and a new understanding of the exquisitely precise fine-tuning of our universe for intelligent life destroyed the atheists’ cherished principle of mediocracy, humanists abandoned genuine science and grabbed onto the quasi-scientific notion of the multiverse the way a drowning person clings to a life-preserver. Atheists will destroy astronomy and cosmology before they will accept any science that supports Christian beliefs and faith.

The corruption of science by secular humanism is far worse in biology, medicine, climatology, and the social and behavioral studies. Biology, climate science, and medicine have gone off the rails as secular humanists have infiltrated and appropriated them for humanist social and political purposes. The behavioral and social studies have been constant failures of science because humanist followers of Freud and Marx controlled them from the beginning.

Science can survive individual humanist scientists, but when a critical mass of humanism occurs in a discipline, all of the intellectual failings of the human race are let loose and the ancient barriers to knowledge that prevented science until the intellectual triumph of Christianity 400 years ago are once again raised. Humanism will always destroy everything it touches.

Articles will follow that demonstrate the corrupting humanist influence on science in biology, medicine, climatology, the social fields of study, and the study of individual human behavior.

Why Rationalia is doomed to failure

Earlier this week, science popularizer Neil deGrasse Tyson proposed a virtual nation that sounds like a science-fetishists dream-come-true:

It provoked some mocking responses on Twitter, like this one

The idea is ripe for mockery, because, of all people, a scientist should understand what a subjective basis for policy this is.

As a scientist, I’m very much in favor of evidence and reason; but to base an entire nation’s policy on the weight of evidence is ludicrous, for one simple reason. Has our knowledge of the world stayed the same in the last 500 years? the last 100 years? the last 5 years? the last six months? The last six minutes? The answer, of course, is no. The weight of evidence is constantly changing. There have been so many major revolutions in science and philosophy based on the current weight of evidence that our view of the world has been upended more times than you can probably count. Ironically, to base your policy only on the weight of evidence means that your policy is completely subjective, not objective.

Also, who decides how to interpret the evidence? Interpretation is subject to limitations, like current technology, limited human perception, and human emotions. This is why bad theories persist for so long in spite of evidence to the contrary, and why there are alternate theories for just about everything. And even when there’s consensus, that’s hardly a guarantee that the evidence won’t support an entirely different view in the future. Remember, there was a time when most people thought the Sun went around the Earth and that there were no such things as germs.

But for the sake of argument, let’s accept the premise of Rationalia and apply its sole law of the land to judge whether Rationalia would be a place in which anyone would want to live. We don’t need to imagine it, because there have already been at least two major historical movements based on reason and evidence — the French Revolution and communism. The first devolved into an orgy of violence and produced the exact opposite of what it intended, and the second led to misery and genocide on a scale never before seen on earth before it ultimately collapsed under the sheer weight of its opposition to reality. The weight of evidence says that any nation whose policy is based solely on the weight of evidence will be an unmitigated disaster.

Don’t misunderstand me. The point here is not to reject evidence and reason — evidence and reason are important and have their place in any decision-making process — but they cannot be the sole arbiters of policy.

[This isn’t the post I alluded to yesterday. That one probably won’t be posted until next week. -Ed.]

Letter to a young psychologist

 

Breaking-Down-the-Shame-of-Male-Depression-RM-722x406

Dear Joshua,

In regard to the 24 July 2013 New Scientist article, “Fixing broken brains: a new understanding of depression,” I was disturbed by it for a number of reasons. The author admits that not only are drug treatments for depression not working as well as we would like, they are not working nearly as well as they’ve been advertised — there’s been some serious misrepresentation by researchers and drug companies.

The author also acknowledges that it appears the hypothesis that depression is caused by lower than normal serotonin levels in the brain was treated as established theory for decades before it was effectively tested at all. In particular, she admits the following:

  • Current drug therapies have been used for the past fifty years
  • A 2006 NIHM study found that antidepressants completely failed to help at least 40% of depressed subjects
  • A 2007 study showed that serotonin levels in untreated depressed subjects were double the level of those in non-depressed subjects

It took a half century for researchers to get around to testing their theory and its results, and they found that the theory is false and doesn’t work. This lack of scientific rigor is the hallmark of a very immature field of study. In other words, the article demonstrates that the study of human behavior is not yet a true science. Researchers and clinicians in the social and behavioral fields are making rookie scientific mistakes, because they have a goal other than discovering the truth — they are in a rush to help people find relief from their pain.

Desperate to help their charges, some frustrated clinicians began to look for new therapies.

It is admirable whenever people sincerely want to help others, but that can never be the goal of true science. Any goal other than the pure search for knowledge — no matter how commendable, necessary or noble — corrupts science. In their desire to help people suffering from depression, researchers have utterly failed to accomplish the three necessary stages all genuine sciences have gone through: an initial paradigm shift, the total commitment to empiricism over every other goal, and the discovery of natural laws. That is why the fields of psychology and psychiatry do not yet have their version of Copernicus, Galileo, or Newton. I hope you won’t be offended if I observe that psychology is the undisciplined brat in the family of sciences that thinks it knows better than its elders.

The author makes a telling statement at the end of the article:

Whatever the future holds, glutamate, and the new possibilities it has raised, has at least enabled us to start thinking about depression in a different way. That is rare in the troubled waters of psychiatry. [emphasis added]

It is indeed troubling that researchers in the study of human behavior find it difficult to think in “different ways.” The reason for this lack of creative thought is that the field is hopelessly stuck in old ways of thinking. That’s why a paradigm shift is always the starting point of any true science, as Thomas Kuhn points out in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Researchers have obviously responded to the failure of drug therapy to cure depression by doubling down on their old failed paradigm. The article makes it clear that they’ve decide that since their current drug therapies have failed, what is needed is a newer and more powerful drug. I don’t object to someone proposing this alternative hypothesis; what bothers me is that the overall response is so severely limited to this one possibility. In the father of all sciences, the field of astrophysics, when a hypothesis fails as spectacularly as the serotonin hypothesis has failed, there is a period of magnificently creative chaos where all kinds of alternatives are offered and considered.

There are some obvious alternatives to the current theory about depression that even a layman such as myself can think of. For example, the findings by the noted psychologist Hans Eysenck that two-thirds of all people who suffer from some sort of mental/emotional disorder spontaneously recover within two years without any professional help raises three important possibilities:

  • That the 60% of cases in which drug therapy for depression appears to help are really just instances where people would have recovered spontaneously even without the drugs. The forty percent of subjects that do not appear to be helped by drug therapy represent the one-third of people who don’t recover spontaneous plus a significant number of people who are actually harmed by drug therapy.
  • That what we think of as the undesirable state called ‘depression’ is actually a necessary part of the natural healing process people have to go through when they become mentally/emotionally unbalanced in the same way that drug addicts have to feel terrible when they come off their drugs.
  • That depression cannot be ‘cured’ by drug therapies.

Psychologists are incapable of entertaining such radically different ideas, because they are prisoners to their unrecognized assumptions and slaves to their unchallenged paradigm. As a result, the study of depression is rushing off to repeat the same mistakes that led to the current failure. Researchers and clinicians are once again leaping straight from pure speculation to accepted theory without the smallest effort to address the systemic problems the author recognizes in the study of chronic depression:

  •  Money and profits are distorting the science around drug therapy for chronic depression.
  •  The way drugs therapies for depression are tested is deeply flawed.
  • Clinicians are using new drug treatments before they have been tested adequately in a rush to satisfy their patients’ demands for relief from depression.

The article shows some of the telltale signs of phony science. If you review the article, you will see a lot of ‘we think’,’ may’, ‘could’, ‘might’, and ‘suggests’. Whenever I find people depending on this kind of language, I know things have slipped away from the realm of science and into the primordial human tendency to magical thinking. Science takes mental and moral discipline, which the fields of psychology and psychiatry are sorely lacking. People who call and think of themselves as scientists are actually in the business of magic potions.

From the first moment I realized that knowledge was important to you, I have always had great respect for your capacity to feel frustration about not knowing something. You have a real desire for truth, which means you have the capacity for real science. To be true to yourself and the pursuit of knowledge, you must resist all of the anti-scientific forces in your field. As I have said several times before, I think that you and others like you can and must transform psychology into a true science from its current alchemistic state — what else can you call it when the author suggests that depressed patients simply be given a powerful animal tranquilizer like ketamine to see if it works in lieu of an actual diagnostic test.

I hope that you will not misunderstand or become tired of my efforts to encourage you in that direction. As the article demonstrates, it has always been so easy for even the best people to be corrupted by money, ambition, and feelings of urgency. I know you well enough to be certain that you would never be content with being part of a grandiose failure.

Sincerely,
Surak

Photo credit: Gary Waters/Getty Images

A scientific model that predicts everything predicts nothing

If you’re not following Steve Goddard on Twitter or reading his stuff at Real Science, you should be. He posts a veritable flood of evidence pointing to global warming / human-caused climate change as manufactured nonsense. Yesterday, he Tweeted this.

It made me laugh, because it’s an effective lampooning of the most significant scientific problem with climate science — specifically, the part of climate science that claims human activity is changing the climate — which is its lack of predictive power.

If you read the news, it seems like climate change advocates are blaming everything on climate change. It’s warmer this summer than it was last year — climate change! It’s colder than we expected this spring — climate change! We’re getting record levels of snow — climate change! We’re getting the exact same number of hurricanes this season as we did a hundred years ago — climate change!

This is why climate change activists changed the terminology from “global warming” to “climate change.” Did you notice that bit of sleight of hand? Nobody except for those stuck in 20th century terminology refers to global warming anymore. This is because the average person was, not unreasonably, starting to wonder how global warming could account for every sort of climate phenomenon, including record cold temperatures. But everyone knows the climate has been changing since forever, so it doesn’t sound as nonsensical to attribute everything to climate change instead of global warming.

The problem with this is that any scientific model that predicts everything predicts nothing. The power of a scientific model is its ability to accurately and specifically predict what will happen given a set of inputs. Can you imagine how useless Newton’s universal law of gravity would be if it gave you every possible answer to the question of what the force of gravity is between two bodies of specific mass and at a specific separation? But that’s not much different than the current state of climate science.

As a scientist, I’ve been asked several times what it would take for me to believe that human-caused climate change is real. The answer is simple: evidence. The most powerful evidence would be predictive models that work. I would like to see models that accurately predict temperature trends, hurricane activity, rise in sea levels, and anything else that is currently attributable to climate change for ten years, based on a set of anticipated levels of “human activity.” Climate scientists would create their models, make their predictions based on how much CO2 human activity is pumping into the atmosphere, and then we all see how accurately these predictions match the data for the next ten years.

Now, in order for me to be sure that these models and the data are accurately reflecting reality, I would need to see these results replicated by different groups who are not affiliated with each other. I would also need scientific transparency. I would need the climate models and the raw, unprocessed data as well as the processed data to be made freely available to anyone who requests them. And I would need a detailed explanation of how the data are processed for analysis.

I would feel significantly more confident in these models and data if climate change advocates would stop claiming “the science is settled,” emphasizing the bogus consensus, and demonizing people who are skeptical of climate change. No more labeling skeptics as “deniers,” and there must be a halt to egregious nonsense like threats from government officials to prosecute climate change skeptics.

If the models and data check out, and the models correctly anticipate temperature trends, hurricane activity, rise in sea levels, and anything else that is currently attributable to climate change for at least ten years, and climate change proponents stop behaving in a hysterical and unethical way, then I’ll believe human-caused climate change is real.

You can generalize all this and apply to any field of science to determine if it’s legitimate science:

  • Do the models have predictive power?
  • Do the models of different groups of scientists produce similar results?
  • Are the models made available to others by request?
  • Are the raw and processed data made available to others by request?
  • Are the models and data deemed legitimate by others not affiliated with the scientists who promote them?
  • Do proponents respond to reasonable skepticism with answers to objections instead of scorn, derision, and hysteria?

If the answer to ALL of these questions is YES, then you have a legitimate science.

My problem with climate science — the reason I am skeptical that human activity is changing the earth’s climate — is that, currently, the answer is NO to all of these questions.

Fire Back: Where the Readers Respond

800px-Bloch-SermonOnTheMount

In which we discuss the scientific method in terms of the gospels and one beginning.

PS writes:

Thanks for taking time to answer my questions. I find the Biblical notion of the Gospel very intriguing, as well as current notions within the field of cosmology.

1. When doing science, we employ the scientific method to arrive at a particular degree of certainty for a given problem. How does belief in Jesus differ? Are we to use the same scientific method when assessing the veracity of the Gospel? Or is there another method, rigorously defined and assessed, that we can employ?

2. To what degree of certainty does the average professional cosmologist think space/time had a single beginning? I think I’ve noted that cosmologist who actually study this notion are not very dogmatic.

3. What percentage of actual cosmologists hold to a high degree of certainty (95%?) that space/time had a single beginning?

4. What degree of certainty do you have that the Gospel is true? Is it possible for you to change your mind in the future?

Sorry if these are tough questions, but I’ve been very curious about these notions for a long time.

The eminent cosmologist and professor of philosophy, Michael Heller, points out in his book, Ultimate Explanations of the Universe, that the scientific method has proved so powerful a tool for investigating the physical world that there is a tendency to misapply it by extending its use to anything a person might wish to study. However, the scientific method is not only not applicable to everything we could ever want to investigate, it’s not even applicable to the majority of things we could ever want to investigate.

1. The scientific method is not applicable to the gospels. We couldn’t use science to test them any more than we could use science to test the historical claims about George Washington or Alexander the Great. Instead, we apply the legal-historical method to determine if the claims about Jesus in the gospels are true. My friend, J. Warner Wallace, who is a homicide detective and skilled apologist, explains this approach in his book, Cold Case Christianity.

2. Presumably PS is referring to a cyclical model in which the universe bangs, expands, contracts, and crunches, over and over, possibly for eternity, but the question isn’t answerable as written. We can assign a certainty to something like the measured age of the universe, but not to something that is beyond our ability to measure. Theoretical cosmologists have attempted to come up with models that take the current physical evidence and fit it into a cyclical timeline, and these do have some testable aspects. In terms of the physical evidence, however, there is no support for multiple beginnings, and the models just don’t work. It looks like we’re stuck with one beginning.

3. I have no idea. But, as the link above shows, the best and the brightest in theoretical cosmology have not been able to make cyclical models work. In terms of the models and evidence, the cyclical universe is currently a dead end. That doesn’t mean some cosmologists won’t hold to it for personal or philosophical reasons.

4. I can’t quantify it, but I’m as certain about the claims of the gospels as I am of the claims about other major historical events that are widely accepted, which is to say very certain. Enough to bet my life on it. It’s always possible for me to change my mind about something, given sufficient evidence.

Image: Sermon on the Mount by Carl Bloch

Theory is not fact

Whenever someone even hints at a criticism of Darwinism or “climate change,” the True Believers come out of the woodwork to try to shame the heretics. You can always tell who they are, because they say things like “climate change is a fact” or “evolution is a fact the same way gravity is a fact.” The implication here is, you wouldn’t be so dumb as to deny the reality of gravity, would you, so why are you denying the reality of evolution or climate change?

But here the True Believer shows his blind faith, for with his inability to distinguish between fact and theory he exposes himself as someone whose understanding of how science works doesn’t even rise to the level of middle school. Another way to describe this sort of blind faith is science fetishism. As I told the anklebiting commenter to Surak’s article, we do not permit people to fetishize science here.

A fact is something we observe; for example, that objects in free fall accelerate toward the Earth’s center at a rate of 9.8 m/s2 or that the Moon orbits the Earth with an average orbital speed of 3700 km/s. There is no doubt of the fact that objects fall toward each other, because we see it and measure it all the time; this is what the science fetishist means when he says “gravity is a fact.” But what he apparently doesn’t realize is that gravity is a theory. Theories are not facts, they are models that attempt to make sense of the facts. And, as it turns out, there are several theories of gravity that attempt to make sense of what we know: Newton’s universal law of gravitation, Einstein’s general theory of relativity, modified Newtonian dynamics, and so on. And, as we all know from the various scientific revolutions that have taken place in the last several hundred years, no theory is invulnerable to being overturned by new and better evidence or new ways of thinking.

When a science fetishist leaps into a conversation to tell you that evolution is a fact, the first thing you should tell him is that you are fully aware of the fact that different lifeforms have emerged over the course of the Earth’s natural history and that lifeforms have been observed to change over relatively short periods of time. And then ask him which theory explains it — microevolution, macroevolution, speciation, microbial evolution, or chemical evolution — and why. At that point you will expose what Hugh Ross describes as the evolution shell game when fetishists argue about evolution, wherein he will either substitute the facts of fossils and other evidence for theory or well-established forms of evolution for those that are not at all supported.

As for climate change as “fact,” I can only surmise that our True Believer is not aware that scientists — including the famous hockey stick guy, himself — are now finally admitting that there has been no significant warming in the last two decades. It’s only a matter of time before the whole edifice of human-caused “climate change” collapses.

UPDATE: im2l844 asks in the comments:

Do you have a concise response to the “consensus” argument that is invariably trotted out by the AGW faithful?

Yes, there are two responses: who cares? and what consensus?

Who cares if there’s a consensus? Reality isn’t decided by a vote. There was a time when 97% of scientists thought the Earth was the center of the universe, so that tells you the value of consensus.

The reality is, there isn’t a consensus about global warming or climate change or whatever the True Believer wants to call it. The 97% statistic that is invariably trotted out is based on a laughably small number of scientists polled — just 77 — who met the criteria for a 2-minute survey. What the True Believer either doesn’t know or refuses to acknowledge is that 31,000 scientists from an array of climate-related fields have signed a petition stating they believe “there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”

Fire Back: Where the Readers Respond

In which the blind faith of a True Believer is exposed.

In response to my claims of philosophical corruption in biology and climate change, JLAfan2001 comments:

All of this is just biased assertions. No links or evidence was provided anywhere to support anything that was written in this article. Why? Because there isn’t any evidence for it. Climate change and Darwinian evolution are proven facts because the actual evidence is overwhelming in favor of them. Stop spreading misinformation.

A blog is not a research journal, and it’s unreasonable to expect a blogger to provide links and evidence for every claim he makes. On the other hand, if a reader wishes to engage in a meaningful discussion, he has the obligation to fairly consider and give a thoughtful reply to the claims made.

Darwinism, as some of you are hopefully aware, is based on four principles: common descent, random mutation, natural selection, and gradualism. It is not enough for Darwin to be right about one of these ideas; if any one of these foundations of Darwin’s theory is undone by the evidence, then Darwin was wrong.

There is no need to discuss common descent of all animal life on Earth for two reasons: the evidence for common descent is virtually conclusive, and there is no conflict between science and scripture on this point. There is also convincing evidence that random genetic mutations do occur. There is nothing in Christian scripture that conflicts with the notion of genetic mutation. The problems with Darwinism in regard to both science and scripture occurred from the beginning because of the lack of evidence for natural selection and gradualism, as Darwin’s friend, Thomas Huxley, pointed out to him. There is now overwhelming evidence against natural selection and gradualism.

Consider the following evidence provided by naturalists Peter and Rosemary Grant who studied Darwin’s famed Galapagos finches for about 25 years. Keep in mind that they are highly acclaimed supporters of Darwin’s theory of evolution. The following comes from the Wikipedia article about them and their work:

They won the 2005 Balzan Prize for Population Biology [2]. The Balzan Prize citation states:

“Peter and Rosemary Grant are distinguished for their remarkable long-term studies demonstrating evolution in action in Galápagos finches. They have demonstrated how very rapid changes in body and beak size in response to changes in the food supply are driven by natural selection. They have also elucidated the mechanisms by which new species arise and how genetic diversity is maintained in natural populations. The work of the Grants has had a seminal influence in the fields of population biology, evolution and ecology.” [Emphasis added]

It always amazes me that the followers of Darwin are so dogmatic they don’t realize the real significance of the evidence they uncover. Darwin was able to spend only a limited amount of time studying the finches of the Galápagos — long enough to observe groups of finches that had differences in beak and body structures, which seemed to be determined by available food supplies, but too short a period of time to actually witness changes the way that the Grants did.

The key words from the Grants’ observations are “…very rapid changes.” The Grants witnessed changes as they were taking place over a period of a few years. Darwinian evolution cannot take place like this. Yes, random mutations take place, but the overwhelming evidence is that positive genetic mutations are rare and do not occur often enough to allow natural selection to bring about such significant effects over the incredibly short period of time the Grants reported. According to classic Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism, natural selection cannot cause large changes in body and beak over a period of a few years or generations. The evidence shows that some other process must be at work, and the likely candidate is epigenetics.

The Darwinist’s basic premise about time and evolution was stated by Harvard biologist George Wald in Scientific American in August 1954,

Time is in fact the hero of the plot. The time with which we have to deal is of the order of two billion years. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless here. Given so much time, the “impossible” becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles.

For Darwinism to work, very long periods of time and countless generations are required.

Wald’s argument was undone in the 1970s when Elso Barghoorn, a Harvard paleontologist, discovered fossils of bacteria and algae in rocks that were about 3.5 billion years old. What this fossil evidence shows is that life occurred on Earth almost immediately (in geological terms) after the formation of the oceans at about 3.8 billion years ago. Water is necessary for life as we know it, and the evidence that life suddenly (in geological and biological terms) appeared just after water showed up in significant amounts completely undercuts Wald’s argument. As a result of this conclusive new evidence, Scientific American published a retraction of Wald’s article in 1979. Because of this time problem, Darwinism now has no credible hypothesis about the origins of life on Earth.

Also in the 1970s, eminent paleontologists Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould advanced their hypothesis of punctuated equilibrium in response to the severe problems the fossil record posed for Darwinism. Niles Eldredge was quoted in a Nov. 4, 1980 New York Times article:

The fossil record we were told to find for the past 120 years (since Darwin) does not exist.

The plain truth is that the fossil evidence has fractured the field of evolution.

The genetic evidence discovered during the last few decades has not only failed to support every version of Darwinism, it has simply destroyed the Darwinist notions of natural selection and gradualism. First, this from the book Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea, by the well-known science writer and ardent Darwin supporter Carl Zimmer:

But they [referring to Darwinists] assumed that the genes that built fruit flies would be peculiar to insects and other arthropods. Other animals don’t have the segmented exoskeleton of arthropods, so biologists assumed that their very different bodies must be built by very different genes.

Joy turned to shock when biologists began to find Hox genes in other animals — in frogs, mice, and humans; in velvet worms, barnacles, and starfish. In every case, parts of their Hox genes were almost identical, regardless of the animal that carried them.

Biologists discovered that the Hox genes did the same job in all of these animals: specifying different sections of the head-to-tail axis just as they do in insects. Hox genes in these different animals are so similar that scientists can replace a defective Hox gene in a fruit fly with the corresponding Hox gene from a mouse, and the fly will still grow its proper body parts.

In the simplest possible words, the genetic evidence described by Zimmer refutes the Darwinist and Neo-Darwinist ‘tree of life.’ The Darwinists are seriously wrong.

The genetic evidence gets even worse for Darwin’s theory based on natural selection and gradualism. The following comes from noted biology professor, Sean Carroll, who in his 2005 book, Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo, quotes and supports Thomas Huxley’s opposition to Christian beliefs:

As a natural process, of the same character as the development of a tree from its seed, or of a fowl from its egg, evolution excludes creation and all other kinds of supernatural intervention.

Once again, we find an ardent supporter of Darwinism who is incapable of understanding the most important implications of his own research. Carroll draws these conclusions from the best and most recent fossil and genetic evidence:

For more than a century, biologists had assumed that different types of animals were genetically constructed in completely different ways … But contrary to the expectations of any biologist, most of the genes first identified as governing major aspects of fruit fly body organization were found to have exact counterparts that did the same thing in most animals, including ourselves. [emphasis added]

The discovery that the same sets of genes control the formation and pattern of body regions and body parts with similar functions (but very different designs) in insects, vertebrates, and other animals has forced a complete rethinking of animal history, the origins of structures, and the nature of diversity. [emphasis added]

…the prevailing view of the architects and adherents of Modern Synthesis was that the process of random mutation and selection would so alter DNA and protein sequences that only closely related species would bear homologous genes…Virtually everything I have described…has been discovered in the past twenty years … they have forced biologists to rethink completely their picture of how forms evolve.” [emphasis added]

The fact that such different forms of animals are shaped by very similar sets of tool kit proteins was entirely unanticipated … the discovery … has forced a complete change in our picture of how complex structures arise.” [emphasis added]

Carroll appears incapable of drawing the final conclusion that is irresistible to anyone who is not a dogmatic Darwinist. The evidence from the field of Evo Devo conclusively demonstrates that classic Darwinists and Neo-Darwinists need to “rethink completely” how evolution took place. Let’s help Carroll out and state the obvious: Darwinists have always been and continue to be wrong about the way life evolved on Earth.

Carroll goes on to put a final nail in the coffin of Darwinism. Open your mind if you can to the following evidence from Endless Forms Most Beautiful:

The surprising message from Evo Devo is that all of the genes for building large, complex animal bodies long predated the appearance of those bodies in the Cambrian Explosion. The genetic potential was in place for at least 50 million years, and probably a fair bit longer, before large, complex forms emerged. [emphasis added]

It does not appear that scarcity is a fault of the fossil record. Without confirmed body fossils, paleontology is reluctant to conjure up more than a vague image of a featureless, wormlike creature for the last common ancestor…” [emphasis added]

If we can’t say much for certain from the fossil record, what can we say about the animal ancestors based on other kinds of evidence? We can make inferences based on what is shared among descendants. This is the critical logic used in Evo Devo to peer into the distant past.” [emphasis added]

…the common ancestor of bilaterians…(…Urbilateria…)…had a tool kit of at least six or seven Hox genes, Pax-6, Distal-less, tinman, and a few hundred more body-building genes. It is intriguing to ponder just what so many genes were doing in Urbilateria. [emphasis added]

So, according to the best and latest genetic evidence, the tool box genes necessary for the formation of eyes (Pax-6), hearts (tinman), limbs (Distal-less) and many other complex structures of large and complex animal forms must have predated the Cambrian explosion of animal life forms by at least 50 million years. But, it is during the Cambrian Age when all of these structures, organs, and basic body plans are first observed in the fossil record. What this evidence means in terms of the Darwinian evolution hypothesis is that some very primitive, worm-like, as yet undiscovered animal form must have possessed all of the genes necessary for the Cambrian explosion even though it didn’t have any of the complex structures itself.

So, the best a Darwinist can do to reconcile the evidence with current theory is to “conjure” a primitive organism that developed these genes vital to complex life forms even though no advantage had been gained from the genes and, therefore, natural selection had no chance to work. Carroll’s genetic evidence is irrefutable and his logic is devastating to Darwinism. But, as a devoted secular evolutionist, he does not take and is likely incapable of taking the last step demanded by both evidence, logic, and a commitment to science. So it is left to you to draw and honestly state the only possible conclusion:

Darwin was wrong about natural selection and gradualism.

For someone like our doubtful commenter, being able to admit and publicly state Darwin’s limitations is a test of one’s commitment to true science. Can he pass that test by stating here and now that Darwin was wrong?

Science as true worship, Part III

In Part I of this series, Sarah talked about the Christian influence on the philosophy of science and the increasing corruption of science the further it moves from its Christian roots. In Part II, she discussed how to avoid this corruption. In Part III, Surak delves into where science has dangerously strayed from the pursuit of truth.

Modern science arose in only one time and place: Western Europe, during its peak as the realm of Christendom. Science as an institution is the result of cultures based on Christian beliefs, values, and faith. No other belief system or culture that has ever existed has proven itself capable of originating or sustaining science. With the collapse of Christian culture in Western Europe and North America, one of the most urgent questions mankind faces is whether or not there is any hope that some emerging belief system or culture other than Christianity can effectively support the continued scientific search for knowledge.

The evidence says no. The only likely candidate for the next cultural champion of science is the secular humanist culture that has replaced Christian culture in Western Europe and Canada, and is currently locked in a winner-take-all struggle with Christian culture in the United States. Secular humanists constantly congratulate themselves on how scientifically superior they are to Christians, but the evidence leaves no doubt that humanists have done nothing but corrupt science in the fields of study they’ve dominated for the last century and a half. Let’s examine them.

Biology

It was inevitable that Darwin would get lots of things wrong. He was a scientific pioneer who came up with his theory before the first major work was done on dinosaur fossils, so he couldn’t have known about the profound effects natural catastrophes had on the development of life on earth. He wrote his books before the discovery of the Burgess Shale fossils that led to the discovery of the Cambrian Explosion of animal life about 540 million years ago. All of the fossil evidence uncovered since the publication of Origin of Species has destroyed Darwin’s primary conjecture of a gradual evolution of life on earth, as the modern biologist Niles Eldredge made very clear to his fellow biologists in the early 1970s.

Darwin also formulated his theory long before all of the great advances in the field of genetics. The most recent discoveries in the new field of Evolutionary Development (Evo Devo), which combines the study of embryology with the study of evolution, has utterly destroyed the Neo-Darwinian notion of the ‘tree of life.’

None of this has been publicly admitted by biologists, because biology is no longer a faithful servant of science. Biology’s first loyalty is to the militantly missionary faith of atheistic secular humanism. Thomas Huxley, Darwin’s original arch defender, initiated the use of evolution theory to attack the beliefs and influence of Christianity even though he did not believe in two key parts of Darwinism: gradualism and natural selection. Huxley rightly pointed out to his friend and colleague that there was no evidence for these necessary elements of early evolutionary theory. Darwin countered that people should be patient because as yet undiscovered fossil evidence was sure to confirm his hypotheses. The fossil and genetic evidence has done just the opposite, but humanists dogmatically oppose any challenge to Darwin’s beliefs because he has been anointed as one of the three great prophets of atheistic humanism.

There is a simple way to test this assertion. Find a professional biologist and try to get him to say the following, “Darwin was wrong about most things.” This statement is undeniably true. Darwin was a true scientist worthy of honor, and a case can be made that Darwin’s contributions in the field of biology are equal to those of Copernicus in astrophysics. But, physicists have no problem giving Copernicus credit for his immense contribution to modern science while fully accepting and publicly acknowledging that he was wrong about a lot of things. Biologists who cannot or will not make a similar public statement about Darwin’s limitations because of their opposition to Christianity are not true scientists, they are apologists for atheism who are corrupting science.

Behavioral Science

The effects of secular humanism are even worse than the corruption of an existing science such as biology. Secular humanism has proven to be an absolute barrier to new science. The other two prophets of atheistic humanism, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud, are truly disturbing examples of the deadening effects of humanism on science.

Marx’s so-called ‘scientific socialism’ was dominant for generations in the social sciences. The application of truly scientific beliefs based on Christianity led to genuine science, the Industrial Revolutions, and the rise of governments based on the observance of human rights. Efforts to reform societies according to Marx’s atheistic ‘science’ led to the horrendous death, destruction, and inhumanity of the communist movement. It is truly appalling that after such complete theoretical and practical failure, Marxism is still influential on America’s college campuses.

Freud, the other great prophet of atheism, dominated the study of individual behavior from the beginning of the 20th century. Freud was a charlatan who couldn’t even cure himself or offer any credible evidence for his beliefs. He gained his immense power over behavioral science by simply telling humanists what they wanted to hear — that Christianity is bad. His influence and that of many other atheist intellectuals has prevented psychology from becoming a true science. Again, if you doubt this, ask yourself, “Where are the great accomplishments of the behavioral sciences?”

Around the time Marx and Darwin were becoming influential, true scientists in the field of medicine were developing the germ theory of disease. Through the work of genuine scientists, such as the devoutly Christian Louis Pasteur, medical science has saved and improved countless millions of lives through advances in sterilization and immunology. If psychology, sociology, economics, and the other behavioral disciplines had become true sciences, there would be similar scientific accomplishments and benefits to humankind by now. There is a reason that emotional disorders like chronic depression cannot be prevented or cured, and that reason is, psychology is not yet a true science. It will never be a true science as long as the study of human behavior is dominated by humanists who consistently bend science in their pursuit of social influence and political power.

Humanists will never renounce the three greatest prophets of atheism, because Darwinism, Marxism, and Freudianism form the dogmatic foundation of the secular anti-Christian belief system. Darwin is used to argue that God is not necessary. Freud gave a thin scientific veneer to the atheist lie that Christian values constitute unhealthy restrictions on human desires. Marx justified an all-out assault on Christian culture by falsely characterizing it as an intolerable oppression of the masses. The behavioral disciplines will only become true sciences if secular humanism is overthrown and the barriers to truth that humanism has built over the last fifteen decades are torn down.

Climate Change

The corrupting influence of humanism on science is getting worse. The failed science of climate change demonstrates that not only does humanism stand in the way of science, it is diverting humankind in the direction of collective insanity.

The first clue that something was terribly wrong in the study of ‘global warming’ was the assertion that the science is settled. No true scientist would ever utter or condone such a blatantly anti-scientific statement. Science is never settled! It will never be settled unless people someday achieve a god-like understanding of the world in which they exist. The greatest scientists in the study of physics understand this and would recoil in disgust at any suggestion that the great questions in the fields of astrophysics or quantum mechanics are settled. Any person who makes such a statement or agrees with it is a dangerous enemy of science.

Climate change alarmists constantly disregard the basic law of science, which is to go where the evidence takes you no matter what. They violate the rule, because humanist political goals are more important to them than the search for truth, which Christians hold as sacred. Climate change activists posing as scientists have ignored the evidence about global temperatures from satellites that shows no global warming for almost two decades, they’ve ignored the evidence about global temperatures from weather balloons that confirms the satellite evidence, and they have been caught shamelessly manipulating the ground station evidence so that it conforms to their failed climate models.

Christian beliefs, values, and faith lifted the majority of mankind out of ignorance, squalor, and tyranny through genuine science, the Industrial Revolutions, and the pursuit of human rights. At the beginning of the 20th century about three-quarters of the world’s population lived in abject poverty. At the end of the century only about one-quarter of humanity remained in poverty. The world economy fueled by fossil sources of energy and fired by the Christian scientific spirit could put an end to poverty by the middle of the 21st century if current economic trends are allowed to continue.

The stark reality that mankind should be focused on is the estimated 18 million people around the world who still die as a result of poverty each year. If humanists succeed in stopping economic growth by restricting the use of fossil fuels, over a half billion people could die needlessly of poverty by 2050. Climate alarmists have expressed no concern about these hundreds of millions of victims of poverty. Instead the anti-scientists of the global warming crusade obsess about saving polar bears and preventing a modest rise in sea levels, which even if it occurred would pose only a relatively mild inconvenience to nations free of poverty. It is truly insane to believe that science has achieved the ability to control the climate of the world. It is nowhere near that goal. It is absolutely insane to stop the economic progress that is benefitting billions of people in order to prevent mythical hazards. We can only hope that the evidence that refutes climate change theory becomes so overwhelming that it will be impossible to ignore.

Christians have allowed themselves to become alienated from the science generated by Christian beliefs and faith. There is no past or foreseeable alternative to Christian culture as the champion of science. The humanist corruption of, resistance to, and abuse of science must be ended. Christians have to take back science and turn it back into the search for God’s truth.

Reflections on physics and Christian faith

seagull_nebula

The following is a guest post by Dr. Kelly Cline, who is both a friend and colleague of Dr. Salviander. Originally from Homer, Alaska, Dr. Cline studied physics at Eastern Oregon University, before earning his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2003.  He is currently an associate professor of mathematics and astronomy at Carroll College in Helena, Montana, where he lives with his wife and four children.

“All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be…” John 1:3.

When the actor Gary Oldman was preparing to play Beethoven in the film Immortal Beloved, he asked the director to recommend biographies to read. The director replied: “…there is only one he should consider: the music. This music is an unvarnished, uncensored record of Ludwig van Beethoven’s passions, fears, violent anger, humanity and, finally, victory over unimaginable adversity. It is a direct link to his state of mind.”

In works of art created by the human hand, there is powerful connection between the creator and the created. The symphonies of Beethoven, the paintings of Raphael, and the plays of Shakespeare tell us something very deep about the artists who created them.

In this spirit, there is a very old tradition, going back at least to Galileo of asking the question: What does the scientific study of the basic physical laws of the universe tell us about its Creator? What can physics tell us about God?

Physics is the most fundamental of the natural sciences. The principles of chemistry can be understood as applications of the physical laws of electromagnetism and quantum mechanics. Biology and geology can be understood as applications of chemistry and physics. But in physics we seek to understand the most elemental principles of the physical universe, the deepest laws which govern all physical motion in our universe.

Today we know more about the nature of our physical universe than at any time in history. Of course our knowledge of the laws of physics remains incomplete and imperfect. Yet, we have learned an enormous amount about our universe and its laws since the days of Isaac Newton, and currently our theories at least provide a remarkably powerful and accurate approximation to the laws of physics under a wide range of conditions.

For reasons, such as the incompleteness of our knowledge, it is not simple to see a clear and obvious picture of the Creator painted in the equations of physics. However, as we immerse ourselves in this science, I think that we can see certain striking points of resonance between the Creator that we come to know through science and the Creator that we come to know through scripture. In this essay we will consider (1) the role the unification in the development of physics, (2) the apparently paradoxical discoveries of relativity and quantum mechanics, (3) the discovery of the big bang event, the moment of creation, and (4) the unchanging and universal nature of physical law which has led to the development of the world we know. Perhaps these points of resonance may give us some insight into the Author of all things.

Unity and Unification in Physics

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Deuteronomy 6:4

Physics begins with the study of motion and its causes. The first person we know who wrote seriously about why things move was the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. In approximately 350 B.C., Aristotle examined the world and saw different types of motion in different places. Here on Earth he saw stones fall to the ground, while smoke and flames flickered upward, but in the heavens he saw the moon and planets move in what looked like perfect circles. So, Aristotle proposed that different things move in different ways according to different rules. Aristotle argued that here on Earth all things are made of four basic elements, earth, air, fire and water, and that these seek their natural level in the universe, with the force of gravity causing heavy objects to sink, while the force of levity caused light objects to rise. But Aristotle said that objects in the heavens must be made of a different substance, which he called aether, and Aristotle said that elements composed of this aether must naturally move in circles. Aristotle’s solution to seeing different objects move in different ways was essentially to divide the universe into different realms, composed of different substances, which followed different rules.

Almost two-thousand years later, Isaac Newton finally brought the universe back together again. Perhaps inspired by his deep faith in one God, one hand which shaped every part of the universe, in 1687 Newton published his law of universal gravitation, a precise mathematical theory which explained both the falling of a stone and the orbit of the moon. Newton unified two very different types of motion, showing that they are both a consequence of one universal force of gravity. To Newton, gravity was a force pulling each pair of masses in the universe directly towards each other. So if the Earth pulls the moon straight toward it, why does the moon move in an orbit around the Earth? Using the newly developed calculus, Newton showed that because the moon is in motion, the force of gravity from the Earth bends the moon’s path creating the elliptical orbit that we observe.

Newton took two apparently disparate types of motion and showed that they could be explained as manifestations of one deep underlying principle, the first of several great unifications that have shaped the development of physics.

For you are great and do wondrous deeds; and you alone are God. Psalm 86:10

In the 1700s, the electric force and the magnetic force appeared to be completely unrelated forces. The magnetic force is what attracts and repels magnets from each other, and causes magnets to stick to refrigerators. The electric force is what pulls around electric charges, causing a balloon to stick to wall after you charge it up by rubbing it on your hair. But there does not appear to be any special force between a charged balloon and a refrigerator magnet.

Then, in 1820, while giving a lecture at the University of Copenhagen, the Danish physicist Hans Christian Orsted discovered that an electric current – moving charges – produced a magnetic field and could move a compass needle. Magnets and charges don’t appear to interact when they are at rest. But when charges are in motion, Orsted showed that they can exert a magnetic force. This quickly inspired other physicists to see if the it could work the other way.

In 1831, the English physicist Michael Faraday showed that a moving magnet can create electric forces which can cause the charges in a metal to move, creating an electric current. This is the basic process that causes our electric generators to operate: Spinning magnets create the currents that light our world!

In 1862, this experimental work was finally brought together mathematically by the Scottish physicist, James Clerk Maxwell. Maxwell proposed that electric and magnetic forces were different aspects of one fundamental phenomenon. With one set of equations he unified all that had been done before, and created a theory that made some startling new predictions. Studying these equations, Maxwell discovered that electric and magnetic fields could move together through empty space. A changing electric field could create a changing magnetic field which would in turn create a changing electric field again, in a complete cycle, so that energy could be carried through space as electromagnetic waves. Maxwell calculated that these electromagnetic waves would travel at an enormous speed of about 186,000 miles per second, a speed which closely matched the measured speed of light: Maxwell became the first human in history to understand that light itself is an electromagnetic wave. Even more powerfully the unification of electric and magnetic forces opened up the possibility of other types of electromagnetic waves, and so in 1887 Heinrich Hertz published the first of a series of experiments demonstrating the existence of radio waves.

This great discovery that electric and magnetic forces are the result of a single more fundamental force has shaped our world where we constantly use electromagnetic waves for radio and television transmissions, cellphones, and wireless computer connections.

…one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:6

The 20th century saw the discovery of two new fundamental forces which both seemed completely disconnected from gravity and electromagnetism. Physicists discovered that atoms contain nuclei where positively charged protons and neutrally charged neutrons are packed into a remarkably tiny volume. Positive charges repel each other with a force that gets stronger when the charges move closer together. So the electric force pushing these protons away from each other must be enormous. Binding these protons so closely must require another force, a fantastically strong force to overwhelm this electrical repulsion and hold the nucleus of an atom together. As a result, physicists dubbed this new force, “the strong nuclear force.”

As physicists probe more deeply into the mysteries of the atom, some unusual types of radiation indicated the existence of yet another force which could cause a neutron to transform into a proton and other particles. This force was dubbed the weak nuclear force. Thus by the mid-20th century, it appeared that our universe was regulated by the action of four distinct forces: gravitation, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force.

However, in 1968, Sheldon Glashow, Abdus Salam and Steven Weinberg proposed a startling new theory. Relying on deep mathematical symmetries, they proposed that electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force were both very different manifestations of a single more fundamental electroweak force. Superficially these two forces could not possibly be more different. The weak nuclear force transforms particles and is so short range that it only works inside the nucleus of an atom, while electromagnetic waves can extend so far that they allow us to see the stars. Yet, a profound

mathematical resonance between these two forces led Glashow, Salam, and Weinberg to propose their remarkable theory, and from this theory they predicted the existence of a completely new particle, the Z boson. When the Z boson was discovered at the CERN laboratory in 1983, the physics world celebrated this amazing triumph. Once again, physicists had discovered that two apparently different phenomena could be unified with a single more fundamental theory.

For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, I Timothy 2:5

Again and again, physicists have discovered deeper and deeper unifications in the fundamental laws of our universe. The more closely we look, the more we discover an essential unity in all things. Today physicists are working hard to unify the known laws of physics even further, with “grand unification theories” that integrate the strong nuclear force with electroweak theory, and even more ambitious ideas like “string theory” and “loop quantum gravity” that bring gravity too into the same system of equations.

The Apparent Paradoxes of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways… Isaiah 55:8

The dawn of the 20th century saw an enormous crisis, as physicists were forced to grapple with new phenomena were so strange that they appeared to be paradoxical.

Consider this experimental fact: Every beam of light will always be measured to travel at the same speed, 300,000 kilometers per second, no matter how the emitter of the light is moving or how the receiver of the light is moving. Imagine that you are in a spaceship and someone in another spaceship flashes a beam of light toward you. When you measure the speed of that approaching beam of light, you will get the same speed whether your friend’s ship is flying towards you or away from you. If you were to turn on your own rocket engines and fly directly toward that oncoming beam of light, you would expect to measure that the beam of light would be traveling faster, relative to you. If you were to turn on your rocket engines and fly directly away from that oncoming beam of light, you would expect to measure that the beam of light would be traveling slower, relative to you. Yet, careful measurements make this matter clear: All observers always measures every beam of light as traveling at the exact same speed, no matter how they move relative to the beam of light. This strange fact was first indicated in 1887 by the Michelson–Morley experiment performed at what is now Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Over the past century this reality has been confirmed in numerous experiments, and is used every day by our modern GPS system. In order to accurately pinpoint a location on the surface of the Earth using radio waves from moving satellites, the system must account for the fact that the speed of light is constant, no matter how the satellites are moving.

This bizarre reality seems contradictory. It appears to defy our most fundamental definitions of what speed and motion are all about. Yet, in 1905, Albert Einstein showed that there is a logic to this strange phenomenon. Just because something defies our intuition and contradicts our expectation does not mean it is irrational. Einstein showed that this is only a paradox if we assume that time and length

are universal constants. Speed is what we calculate when we take a distance traveled and divide this by the travel time to get miles per hour, meters per second, or some other measure of speed. If time and distance are the same for all observers, then all speeds must be relative and depend on the motion of the observer. To cause all observers to measure the same speed of light, no matter how they move, different observers must disagree about time and length. The time between two events might be one second for me, two seconds for you, and half a second for someone else, if we are all moving differently.

Einstein’s theory of relativity was a startling revelation to the physics community, but it won the day because although it confounds common sense, it is logically consistent, and it accurately explains the experimental data. But just as this revolution was winning acceptance, an even stranger and more disturbing theory was in its infancy, which would soon shatter our common sense more profoundly.

In order to unlock the secrets of the atom and explain the actions of individual electrons required an entirely new way of thinking. Electrons are bound to the nucleus of an atom by the electric force, because their negative charge is attracted to the positive charge of the protons in the nucleus. So early models of the atom proposed that electrons orbited around the nucleus due to the electric force in the same way that planets orbit around the Sun due to the gravitational force. However, this simple model didn’t explain the strange behavior of electrons, sending physicists back to the drawing board. You see, a planet can orbit around the Sun at any distance, depending on how much energy it has. The more mechanical energy a planet contains, the farther away from the sun it will orbit. However, experiments quickly demonstrated that inside an atom, electrons could only orbit at certain specific distance away from the nucleus. Why would that be? To explain this odd behavior required physicists to completely reimagine the nature of an electron.

Rather than thinking of electrons as being particles orbiting a nucleus, like planets orbiting the sun, in 1924 the French physicist Louis de Broglie proposed that electrons are more like musical notes resonating in an instrument, like a trumpet. Louis de Broglie proposed that electrons act like waves. Consider this: the length of a trumpet tube controls the notes that can be played. For a given tube length, there is a specific set of notes that can be played on the trumpet, which fit different numbers of wavelengths into the tube. There is a lowest possible note that the trumpeter can play, then by putting more energy into the lips the trumpeter can play a note an octave higher, but the trumpeter cannot play any notes between these two, because these would not resonate within that length of tube. The theory of waves explains a certain length of trumpet tube can only play a certain set of notes, and in exactly the same way, Louis de Broglie’s theory explained why electrons can only orbit at certain distances away from the nucleus. He showed that an electron will sometimes behave like a particle, a tiny point with one specific location, and sometimes like a wave which can spread out and fill an enormous volume, in the same way that the sound wave from a trumpet can fill a room. If you fire an electron at a screen, first it spreads out like a wave, but when it hits the screen, it turns back into a particle and we see its flash of energy at one specific point on the screen.

But here’s the crux of the problem: When the electron transforms from a big spread-out wave into a single point particle, exactly where will this point be? How does our universe decide exactly where within the broad electron-wave we will see that single flash of electron energy? The answer

shook the physics community to its foundations: It’s random. It happens by chance. When the electron wave hits the screen, the universe picks the electron’s location in a completely unpredictable way. The quantum theory describes a precise distribution of randomness, which can be tested by using enormous numbers of electrons in our experiments, but the location of each individual electron cannot be predicted. The quantum theory says that randomness is woven into the very fabric of our universe at the deepest level. This contradicted physicists’ common sense about what a theory of physics was supposed to say. Einstein himself was so dismayed by this bizarre discovery that he refused to believe it, saying, “God does not play dice!” He spent the rest of his life trying to find another theory which would explain the strange behavior of electrons without the distasteful random factor.

Almost a century later the quantum theory has survived every experimental test with flying colors. After decades of looking for other alternatives the physics community has been forced to accept that randomness is an essential part of the laws of our universe. Even though it contradicts our common sense about what a law of physics should be, the quantum theory works. Initially it appears strange and irrational, but as we study it, we realize that there is a logic to it. The quantum theory is a rational system, even though it is alien to our common sense.

How often do the scriptures tell us that God’s ways are not our ways? Consider the parable of the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16). Defying all expectations of common sense, the owner of the vineyard chooses to pay all the workers equally, no matter how many or how few hours they worked. Although it violates the common sense of the workers, the owner has his own system for choosing how he will distribute his rewards.

The Big Bang: Echoes of Genesis

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Genesis 1:1-4

A century ago, most scholars in Europe and America thought that our universe had always been here. They thought our universe was infinitely old, that it had no beginning, and that our universe was static, eternal, and essentially unchanging. When Albert Einstein was developing his general theory of relativity, his new theory of gravity, he was quite disturbed to discover that his equations indicated that the universe as a whole should be changing, expanding, contracting, or evolving in some way. Even if all the galaxies of the universe were at rest for one moment, then gravity should then pull them all together, causing the universe to contract over time. Einstein was certain that the universe was unchanging, and so in 1917 he a term to his equations which he called a “cosmological constant,” a pressure from empty space which could oppose the attraction of gravity, and cause the universe to stand still.

Then, in 1927 a young Roman Catholic priest and scientist, Father Georges Lemaître began using Einstein’s equations of gravity to create a revolutionary new theory that we now call “the big bang theory.” In 1931 he proposed that our universe had a beginning, a point in which time itself began.

Einstein was initially very skeptical of this new theory, saying “Your calculations are correct, but your physics is atrocious.” Einstein was concerned that this priest was being inspired more by the book of Genesis than by hard-nosed science.

While Lemaître was doing his theoretical work, the astronomer Edwin Hubble pointed his telescope out at distant galaxies and discovered that our universe is expanding: Galaxies are spreading out through space, getting farther and farther from each other. This means that tomorrow, galaxies will all be a little farther apart and yesterday they were a little closer together. The farther we look into the past, the closer galaxies must have been, until we reach a time when all the galaxies must have been compressed together. At the current rate of expansion, all the galaxies in the universe must have all squeezed together at a time about 14 billion years ago.

Using Einstein’s equations of space and time, Lemaître and others created a theory, a set of mathematical equations, which explains the expansion of the universe we see today. The theory says that the universe began in an instant, when all of space everywhere was filled with hot, dense energy under high pressure. The fires of the big bang equally filled every point in the entire universe. This energy caused space itself to stretch and expand, and as the universe expanded, the energy was smeared out across an ever expanding volume, and so it cooled, turning into first the atoms of hydrogen and helium gas. The momentum of this initial expansion causes the universe to go on expanding to this day.

How can we be sure that this event actually took place? No one was around 14 billion years ago to observe the big bang. However, we can use the big bang equations to make a series of specific predictions about things we can see today. Then astronomers can go to their telescopes and see if these predictions are right.

The first major prediction of the big bang theory came from Russian-American scientist George Gamow and his student Ralph Alpher. In 1948, they used the big bang equations to calculate what types of atoms would have been produced by the big bang. During the big bang, the entire universe was hotter than the core of a star, but only for the first three minutes. This was only enough time to leave the universe with 75% hydrogen gas, 25% helium gas, a few tiny traces of lithium and beryllium atoms, and nothing else. The big bang was not able to create any heavier atoms, no carbon, no iron, no nitrogen, and no oxygen. These heavier atoms must have been created much later, in the cores of stars which eventually exploded, spreading them through our galaxy.

Astronomers have been able to test this prediction by studying clouds of gas out between galaxies, which have never been anywhere near an exploding star. What we have found is amazing: Every intergalactic cloud has precisely the same chemical composition. Every intergalactic cloud is made of the exact mix of atoms predicted by the big bang theory: 75% hydrogen, 25% helium, traces of lithium and beryllium, and not the slightest bit of anything else.

But, the most dramatic prediction from the big bang equations came from Ralph Alpher and Robert Herman, also in 1948. They calculated that because the big bang filled every point in the entire

universe, even after 14 billion years, the afterglow of the big bang should still be out there, filling our sky. In 1965 Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered that what we now call the “cosmic microwave background” really does fill the universe. Over the past 50 years, astronomers have measured this afterglow of the big bang with greater and greater precision: It is out there. It is powerful evidence of the reality of the big bang.

There was a beginning. There was a moment of creation.

Our Universe Has Laws

Your word, LORD, stands forever; it is firm as the heavens. Psalms 119:89

At the most fundamental level, physics tells is that our universe has laws. There are rational, logical, consistent principles behind the amazing vast diversity of our universe. We look out and see beautiful structures on all scales, from the vast archipelagoes of galaxies, down to the tiny structures inside the nuclei of atoms, and all of them are governed by the same set of physics laws. We point our telescopes out to the most distant galaxies, ten billion light years away from us, and we see that they composed of hydrogen, helium, carbon, iron, the same types of atoms that we have here on Earth. Everywhere we look, we see the same laws of gravity and electromagnetism, the same forces and energy at work throughout every corner of the universe, on all scales, through all epochs from the present day, back to the age of the big bang itself.

The laws of physics as we know them can be summarized with equations that can fit on one sheet of paper. Yet, when put into action in this vast universe, these laws are sufficient to regulate the motions of particles, atoms, molecules from water to DNA, living tissues, organisms, ecosystems, planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies, and the overarching structure of the universe itself.

The intricate and precise balance of these physical laws is truly astonishing. If any of the laws of nature were changed in even small amount, then our universe would not have formed stars, planets, life, and humans in the way that it did.

Gravity is the weakest fundamental force while the strong nuclear force is the strongest. The balance between these forces is amazingly precise. These forces are delicately poised, governing the intricate chain of events which has led to the development of human intelligence. Just after the big bang, the nuclear and electromagnetic forces were strong enough to form atoms of hydrogen and helium, but not of the heavier elements. Then the force of gravity was strong enough to gather these atoms together to form the first generation of stars, all enormous giants, where intense heat and pressure were sufficient to allow the strong nuclear force to create the atoms of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, which are so essential to human life. Then the interplay between the nuclear reactions and gravity caused these enormous ancient stars to explode, seeding the universe with these elements. Then electromagnetism allowed the gas to cool enough that gravity was able to gather materials together to form a second and third generation of stars, with each generation enriched with the ashes of their forebears. The electromagnetic cooling properties of these heavier elements allowed stars like our sun to form, with a more moderate mass, so that it and others could provide a steady, predictable

source of energy for many billions of years. From here the interplay of electromagnetic forces and quantum effects allowed amazingly complex chemistry to flourish in the oceans of the young Earth, which led to the development of the first living cells.

If any one of the four forces was just a little bit weaker or stronger, then it is difficult to see how the delicate chain of events which lead from the big bang to the evolution of intelligent life on earth could have happened. The beauty, the structure, and the balance of these fundamental physics laws, is truly awe inspiring.

Resonances in Scripture and Science

In this essay we have explored four points of resonance between the Creator revealed in the scriptures, and the science of physics. (1) The scriptures describe the unity of God, how there is only one Creator, one Author of all things. At the same time, unification is one of the central organizing principles of physics. Many of the more important developments in physics have come from finding a single deep theory which explains two apparently disparate phenomena, whether this is the motion of the apple and the moon, the operation of electric and magnetic forces, or the seemingly different natures of the electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces. (2) The scriptures tell us that God’s ways are very different from ours, at odds with our common sense. The discovery of Einsteinian relativity and the quantum theory revealed aspects of physical law so strange that they seemed paradoxical in the context of our expectations. (3) The scriptures tell us that our universe had a beginning, a moment when it first came into existence. Modern physics clearly establishes that our universe did indeed begin with a single big bang event. (4) The scriptures tell us of a Creator who is steadfast and true, a Creator who is reliable and stalwart through all things. At the most basic level, physics reveals that our universe has laws, and these laws are constant to the most distant views of our telescopes, to the deepest center of atomic nuclei, and throughout the entire history of the universe.

I’ll never forget the amazing moment of discovery when I did the Millikan oil drop experiment for myself as a college. I squirted a faint mist of oil droplets into the air from a little rubber bottle. Then I shined a bright light onto the droplets from the side, and looking through a microscope I could see a few of these tiny drops as they drifted down through the air, pulled by gravity. Next, I switched on an electric field. Some of the droplets had no electric charge, and continued drifting down at the same rate. But a few of the drops had picked up a little static charge, and they responded, dancing in my microscope as I twisted the knob, changing the electric force on them. I adjusted the voltage until one single drop hung motionless in the air, as the force of gravity pulling it down was exactly equal to my electric force pulling it up. This voltage then told me how much electric charge was on the droplet.

Over the course of an hour, I measured the electric charge on a dozen different oil drops and the results were amazingly clear. About half of the droplets carried exactly one electron’s worth of charge. Several of them had exactly two electrons of charge, and a couple had three electrons of charge. The data from my simple little experiment clearly measured exactly how much charge is carried by each electron. With a microscope and a few odds and ends, I personally measured one of the fundamental constants of the universe.

For me, physics is a deeply spiritual experience. Physics is a science based on careful, painstaking measurements of reality stitched together with subtle works of mathematical creativity. I treasure those special rare moments when patterns emerge, when beautiful, striking relationships of amazing power arise out of the fog, and when I see the fingerprints of the Creator.

Image credit for the Seagull Nebula: ESO

Science as true worship, Part II

truth

Part II: The truth will set you free

In Part I, we talked about the Christian influence on the philosophy of science and the increasing corruption of science the further it moves from its Christian roots. I identified the two significant corruptors of science as

  1. the desire for worldly approval.
  2. the desire to cling to a cherished idea or worldview.

Christianity acts as a brake on these corruptors, because encoded in the Christian way of life is the struggle to resist worldly things and to embrace the truth (John 8:32), however difficult it might seem.

As we discussed before, this does not mean Christians are immune to these corrupting influences, and particularly have to guard against dismissing uncomfortable truths because they go against a cherished interpretation of scripture. I promised Christians a way to avoid this trap, and here it is.

Have faith and go where the evidence leads.

Do not be afraid of the truth, because the truth will set you free. That’s how you avoid falling into trap #2. If you truly believe God is the sovereign creator of the universe, then honest scientific inquiry can only reveal truths about God’s character.

So, have faith and go where the evidence leads.

How that works in practical terms is up to you. You can take the approach of Georges Lemaître, and compartmentalize your religious and scientific views, or you can take the approach of Gerald Schroeder or Hugh Ross and attempt to reconcile the two. It will astonish no one that I favor the latter, since that’s what this blog and ministry is all about.

In my last few posts, I repeatedly hammered on the importance of evidence in science, and how that standard is gradually being eroded. Mostly I have criticized atheists for this, but Christians are guilty of it, as well. As Christians, we must not abandon that standard out of a misguided sense of devotion to scripture, but rather uphold that standard as being fully according to God’s will.

Here is a lesson in the importance of empiricism from an unlikely source:

While experience tells us plainly that the earth is standing still, if there were a real proof that the sun is in the center of the universe … and that the sun does not go round the earth but the earth round the sun, then we should have to proceed with great circumspection in explaining passages of scripture which appear to teach the contrary, and rather admit that we did not understand them than declare an opinion to be false which is proved to be true. But this is not a thing to be done in haste, and as for myself, I shall not believe that there are such proofs until they are shown to me.

These words were spoken by Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, who was head of the Inquisition that prosecuted Galileo. As Dinesh D’Souza commented in his book, What’s So Great About Christianity, this is a model of sensible procedure. D’Souza goes on to say:

Bellarmine assumed that there could be no real conflict between science and scripture, which is what Christianity has always taught. Consequently, he argued, if we have been reading scripture one way and the natural evidence shows that we are wrong, then we need to revise our interpretation of scripture and acknowledge our mistake. But first let us make sure that there is in fact conclusive scientific proof before we start changing scriptural interpretations that have been taught for a very long time.

It’s unfortunate that Galileo’s arguments in favor of heliocentrism were flawed, otherwise Bellarmine might well have been convinced. (If you want to read more about Galileo’s run-in with the church, go here.)

History treats the Church rather unfairly with regard to the Galileo affair, because we know in hindsight that Galileo was right (albeit for the wrong reasons), and we now have no difficulty reconciling scripture with the notion that the Earth moves around the Sun. In Bellarmine’s time, there was no conclusive scientific proof of heliocentrism, so he and others like him should be forgiven. We, however, are at the point where there is “conclusive scientific proof” of the very old age of the universe and the Earth, among other things. It is time for Christians to revise our interpretation of scripture, and understand how an old universe is consistent with a literal interpretation of Genesis.

Have faith and go where the evidence leads. And here is why you should not be afraid to do so.

Science does not progress in timid little steps, but in courageous leaps. The history of science is full of revolutionaries who had the courage and perseverance to go where the evidence led, and as a result overturned old, incomplete ideas and replaced them with new ones that have given us astounding insights into the workings of the universe and the character of its Creator.

Here are just a few scientists who had the faith to go where the evidence leads:

  • Copernicus: Overturned the almost 2,000 year-old Earth-centered model of the universe with a model in which the Earth goes around the Sun. The heliocentric model represented the beginning of the scientific revolution.
  • Galileo: Demonstrated the importance of observation and experiment in science, and was one of the first scientists to emphasize the mathematical nature of physical laws. He also laid the groundwork for Newton’s laws of motion and Einstein’s relativity.
  • Newton: Though he made many important contributions, he is best known for uniting the heavens and the Earth with his law of universal gravitation. Newton’s work represented the closing book end of the scientific revolution.
  • Lemaître: Demonstrated mathematically that the universe isn’t necessarily static and eternal, but could be expanding and finite in time. His dedicated work on this idea earned him the informal title of “Father of the big bang.”
  • Planck: Discovered a solution to the so-called “ultraviolet catastrophe” and in the process discovered that energy in particles is quantized. His work kicked off the quantum revolution, and earned him the informal title of “Father of quantum mechanics.”
  • Einstein: With his special and general relativity, he expanded our understanding of gravity and overturned the rigid and distinct concepts of space and time with the concept of a flexible spacetime.

Note that all but one of these men were Christian. Copernicus and Lemaître were both priests, and Newton wrote more about theology than anything else combined. Einstein, though not Christian, characterized his immense curiosity about the natural world as “wanting to know God’s thoughts.”

Science is true worship. The question is, does science worship the world or God? If it abandons empiricism and places anything ahead of the search for truth, it worships the world. If it embraces empiricism and goes where the evidence leads, it worships God.

We will discuss the ways in which science is currently being corrupted in Part III.