A Powerful Apologetic Method: ABDUCTIVE Reasoning!

"What in the world is 'Abductive Reasoing'?" Well, abductive reasoning is employed by crime scene detectives, car mechanics, and your medical doctor.  Abductive reasoning is when you look at all the known facts, and seek to form the best explanation to explain the data.  Abductive reasoning seeks to find the "inference to the best explanation" for the known facts.   

This is a vital way of thinking and investigating that all serious Christians should be engaged in....

 - Pastor J. 

"Is Science The Ultimate Truth?" - Part 7

Can we learn truth about reality apart from empirical knowledge?

(pt.7)

In this seventh and final installment, we will examine Reason #5: That although the scientific disciplines are a good avenue to obtain certain truths about reality and the universe we, inhabit, they are by no means the only pathways to reliable knowledge about our world.  

There are many other forms of truth that are important and necessary for a fuller understanding of our human experience.

The goal of this series is to delineate at least 5 Reasons why science has NOT eliminated the classical and historical Christian concept of God:

1. Scientific Founding Fathers - These individuals were primarily Christian Theists. 

2. "Scientism" - This is a logically self-defeating and self-contradictory concept.

3. Simple Irrelevance - Approximately 95% of scientific knowledge has no bearing on the ideas and truth claims of the Christian Worldview.

4. Strong Support - Approximately 5% of scientific knowledge that does intersect with the Christian Worldview is strongly supportive of Christian Theism. 

5. Single Perspective - Scientific knowledge is only one of many reliable methods we can use to obtain solid understanding and knowledge about reality.

I hope that you will stay with us as we continue to investigate this important question in light of the scientific, historical, and logical evidence - "Has Science Eliminated The Need For God?".

- Pastor J.

"Has Science Made Belief in God Obsolete?" - Dr. JP Moreland

How does the Christian Worldview intersect 

with modern scientific research?

In this lecture, Dr. JP Moreland, a widely recognized Christian philosopher at Biola University, addresses and tackles this interesting and vital question.

As you listen to "Has Science Made Belief in God Obsolete?" you will hear 5 clear reasons why this is not the case, and how you can better answer those people who pose the same question to you.

I also encourage you to go to our"Reason To Believe" podcast on Itunes and download the teaching and PDF notes that I gave on the same topic -

Episode #19 "Has Science Eliminated The Need For God?"

Click HERE to go the the RTB podcast. 

In this modern day culture of "Scientism" which often exalts science as the only reliable way to discover truth about reality, it is vital for Christians to be able to give intelligent and reasonable answers when confronted with this challenge.

Have an Intelligent Faith!

- Pastor J. 

"Has Science Eliminated GOD?" - Pastor J.

Here are 5 good reasons why Christians can answer "no" to that question. 

In this teaching, I investigate the all important question:

"Has Science Eliminated the Need for God?"

 In a culture that is growing increasingly more committed to materialistic naturalism, and to a strong devotion to "scientism", this is an extremely important issue to know how to address with your colleagues and friends when discussing the Christian Worldview.

Here are 5 reasons why science HAS NOT eliminated the need for God:

1. The "Founding Fathers" of science were mostly Theists or Deists.

 2. 95% of science has nothing to do with Christianities truth claims.

3. 5% of science does intersect with our worldview and is tremendously supportive of

         belief in God.

4. 'Scientism' is a logically self-defeating/self-contradictory idea

5. There are many realities that we believe in that are non-physical and outside the 

    realm of scientific verification (morality, mathematics, logic, love, etc...)

Have an Intelligent Faith!

- Pastor J.

What does science tell us about the way the universe will end and how does this relate to Christian views?

For millennia men have wondered whether the world as we know it will come to an end and if so, how the world will end. In ancient Judaism speculation about the world's end took the form of apocalypticism, the view that God will bring about the end of human history, exercising judgement upon the life of every person, and inaugurating His everlasting Kingdom. This apocalyptic viewpoint was taken up into early Christianity through its founder Jesus of Nazareth. The early Christians looked forward to the return of Christ at some unknown time in the future when he would inaugurate a new heaven and a new earth fit for eternal habitation. Here is how that event is described in the Apocalypse of John, the last book in the New Testament:

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."—

Rev. 20.11-21.3

 ESV

Because of its commitment to apocalypticism, one of the major categories of Christian theology came to be Eschatology. From the Greek word 

eschaton,

 which means last or final, eschatology is the doctrine of the last things, including the return of Christ, the last judgement, and heaven and hell. For millennia eschatology remained the exclusive province of theology.

During the last half century all that has changed. Eschatology has now also become a branch of physics, and, yes, the very term 

eschatology

 is the preferred nomenclature for this field of study. Physical eschatology is a sub-discipline of cosmology, which is the study of the large-scale structure and evolution of the universe. Cosmology subdivides into two parts: Cosmogony is the sub-discipline which studies the origin and past history of the universe. Eschatology, by contrast, is the sub-discipline which explores the future and final fate of the universe. Just as physical cosmogony looks back in time to retrodict the history of the cosmos based on traces of the past and the laws of nature, so physical eschatology looks forward in time to predict the future of the cosmos based on present conditions and laws of nature. The challenge for those interested in the interface between theology and science is how to arrive at an integrated perspective on the world's future adequate to the concerns of both theology and science.

The key to physical eschatology is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. About the middle of the nineteenth century, several physicists sought to formulate a scientific law that would bring under a general rule all the various irreversible processes encountered in the world. The result of their efforts is now known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. As first formulated by Clausius, it stated that heat only flows of itself from a point of high temperature toward a point of low temperature; the reverse is never possible without compensation. But heat is only an instance of an even more general tendency toward levelling in nature; the same is true, for example, of gases and electricity. Without this general tendency toward levelling, life would be completely impossible. For example, because of such levelling, the air in the room never suddenly separates into oxygen at one end and nitrogen at the other. It is also why when we step into a bath we may be confident that the water will be pleasantly warm instead of frozen at one end and boiling at the other. It is easy to see why life would not be possible in a world where the Second Law of Thermodynamics did not hold.

The German physicist Ludwig Boltzmann deepened our understanding of the Second Law by showing that this tendency toward levelling is founded on the tendency of any system to pass from a less probable to a more probable state. According to Boltzmann, the probability of a state is a function of its order: more ordered states are less probable, and less ordered states are more probable. The most probable state is therefore a totally disordered state, that is, a state which is completely undifferentiated. Thus, the Second Law could be formulated: all systems have the tendency to pass from a more ordered to a less ordered state.

A third important step in the development of the Second Law was the realization that disorder is connected with entropy, or the measure of unusable energy: the greater the disorder the greater the entropy. This yields a third formulation of the law: all systems have the tendency to pass from a state of lower entropy into a state of higher entropy. In order to exlude the possibility of the system's leaking energy to its surroundings or acquiring energy from them, an additional stipulation is required: the system must be closed. This leads to a fourth formulation of the Second Law: spontaneously proceeding processes in closed systems are always attended by an increase in entropy. Thus, processes taking place in a closed system tend toward a state of equilibrium. The law in this form is virtually certain. To illustrate: the probability of all molecules in one litre of gas occupying only 99.99% of the volume instead of 100% is about 1:10

10(20)

. For all practical purposes, therefore, the Second Law of Thermodynamics may be regarded as certain.

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Evolution: Science or Science Fiction??

What are the odds that must be overcome for Macro-evolution to take place?

In this short but colorful video, Ben Stein analyzes the mathematical odds even a low example biological life, with 250 proteins, arising by purely chance/accidental processes.

Since evolutionists have, at current estimates, under 13.7 billion years for these processes to take place, it is hard to believe that rational intelligent scientists place their trust in such in improbable occurrence.  It seems that it is done because of a prior intellectual commitment to naturalism and atheism, by trust/faith.

It is also very interesting that for this very reason of dramatically improbable odds, the number of Phd scientists around the world that object to Darwinian evolution on purely scientific grounds has been growing every year.

To see/download a document of over 800 international Phd scientists that disagree with the claims and abilities of Darwinian Evolution to produce the complex biological life we see on the earth today, go to www.dissentfromdarwin.org

Have an Intelligent Faith!

- Pastor J.

Who Speaks for Science?

Dear Bill:
I hope you’re doing well.
A couple of people forwarded me (in distress) your response on “Evolutionary Theory and Theism” at Reasonable Faith.
As you no doubt know, your answer is similar to the one that Al Plantinga gives in his important book Where the Conflict Really Lies. Unfortunately, I think you’re making the same mistake that Al makes. (I still love his book and have made it required reading for our summer seminars.) You and Al are two of the most prominent and able defenders of the faith on the planet. So a mistake on this point is profoundly consequential.
Of course you’re right that scientists are not justified in claiming that the history of life is the result of a purposeless processthat is, the empirical evidence doesn’t establish anything like that (quite the contrary, in my opinion). The question, however, is what Darwinists typically claim for their theory and for the evidence. I think you’re confusing what evolutionary biologists are justified in saying with what they typically are saying.
It’s true that if the word “random” in evolutionary theory, Neo-Darwinism, etc., means merely something like “irrespective of their usefulness to the organism,” then it’s logically compatible with theism and teleology (though even this definition clearly excludes all sorts of possible divine activity and goes far beyond the empirical evidence). In your post, you quote Francisco Ayala to establish the official definition of “random” in biology. But why would you trust Francisco Ayala on something of this nature? He has devoted much of his career since he lost his faith by studying (Darwinian) evolutionary theory, trying to convince Christians that they have nothing to worry about (he had been a Dominican priest). He tells Christians that there’s no conflict between Darwinism and Christianity, but if that is so, one might wonder why Ayala lost his faith once he came to identify with Darwinism.
But that’s a tangential issue. The crucial question is this: Do evolutionary biologists, Neo-Darwinists, etc. consistently and representatively restrict their explanations in this way? Absolutely not. Biologists in general, and most presentations of (Neo-Darwinian) biological evolution, are not careful to circumscribe the meaning of “random” or “chance.” One can construct an ideal form of the theory that avoids the metaphysical pretentions, but that a private language game.
In fact, if one reads for long in the relevant literature, one discovers a common bait-and-switch strategy used by Darwinists, which is to present a metaphysically minimal definition of the word/theory in contexts such as “Debating William Lane Craig in public,” and quite another definition in, well, every other context. Their equivocation is often coordinated and intentional. Other times, it’s simply the Darwinian default. Surely one of the important services of “careful philosophical thinking about science” is to identify and expose this equivocation, rather than to obscure it or miss it.
The distinction between “popularizers” and scientists is common but artificial. The problem started with Darwin, who relied heavily on the argument form, God wouldn’t do X that way, so X must have evolved by selection and variation, and it persists across the discipline to this day. If you doubt that the theory is normally and pervasively defined in a-teleological ways, I’m happy to send you quotes from scores of biology textbooks and official statements making it quite clear that the theory is intended to explain biological adaptation as an alternative to design. Words such as “blind” and “purposeless” turn up everywhere. This practice has been ubiquitous since Darwin wrote the Origin of Species. In the quote from Steve Meyer that you discuss, Steve is paraphrasing the famous quote from G.G. Simpson: “Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind.” Simpson was hardly a “popularizer.” It’s inaccurate to treat the a-teleological part of the Darwinian theory as an accidental but easily detachable piggybacker.
I have a hard time understanding the wisdom of defining a theory in a way that fails to accommodate the language and explanations of the theory’s founder and defenders. Surely they have a privileged claim on the question of what they mean by the theory.
Ayala himself often slides into anti-teleological language when talking about evolution even when he’s trying to give a more nuanced definition of the theory. See, for instance, his “Darwin’s greatest discovery: Design without designer," published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA in 2007 (Vol. 104:8567-8573, May 15, 2007). PNAS isn’t exactly a populist publication. He provides some nuanced definitions of “random” and “chance” there as well, and yet notice the very title of the article. He even uses “natural processes” in a-teleological way, as if natural processes by definition exclude divine activity. He says that by finding that “the design of living organisms can be accounted for as the result of natural processes,” Darwin completed a “conceptual revolution” that “is nothing if not a fundamental vision that has forever changed how mankind perceives itself and its place in the universe.” Now why would that be?
He claims that the Darwinian revolution, like the Copernican Revolution, brought a part of nature under the explanation of “natural laws.” One of many problems with this common claim: the selection/mutation “mechanism,” unlike natural laws in physics and chemistry, has no predictive power or mathematical expression, and no significant evidence in its favor apart from some trivial examples within species that no one has ever doubted. He also endorses the old historical myth about Copernicus “displacing the Earth from its previously accepted locus as the center of the universe and moving it to a subordinate place as just one more planet revolving around the sun. In congruous manner, the Darwinian Revolution is viewed as consisting of the displacement of humans from their exalted position as the center of life on earth, with all other species created for the service of humankind.” Notice the metaphysical water that Darwin is carrying here. It is ever thus.
He then goes on to explain: “Biological evolution differs from a painting or an artifact in that it is not the outcome of preconceived design. The design of organisms is not intelligent but imperfect and, at times, outright dysfunctional.” (This doesn’t make sense, since a design could be both intelligent and imperfect. This mistake is ubiquitous with Darwinists but isn’t central to my point here.) He also explains: “The design of organisms as they exist in nature, however, is not ‘intelligent design,’ imposed by God as a Supreme Engineer or by humans; rather, it is the result of a natural process of selection, promoting the adaptation of organisms to their environments.” Notice the word “rather.” He concludes the article by saying that "[n]atural selection does not have foresight; it does not anticipate the environments of the future," and thus "n evolution, there is no entity or person who is selecting adaptive combinations." This is how Darwinian Theory is usually explained by its proponents. The entire point of Ayala’s article is to argue that the Darwinian process provides “some appearance of purposefulness” without actual purposefulness. Notice the explicitly theological language, in an article in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences.

The Meyer quote, incidentally, looks like a garbled quote from a transcript of an extemporaneous speech. I know it’s not from anything he’s written, and it doesn’t come up on an Internet search. In any case, Steve obviously wouldn’t argue that “evolution” is by definition purposeless. His point, no doubt, was something like this: If evolution is a blind and purposeless process, then, by definition, not even God could guide itIf He guided it, then, by definition, it wouldn’t be purposeless. Do you think it’s plausible that Mike Behe and Steve Meyer, after all these years of studying, reading, writing, and debating on the subject, have failed to understand what Darwinian theorists are saying, and that no one had bothered simply to explain to them that the word “random” has a specialized, metaphysically neutral meaning when biologists use it? On the contrary, I can assure you that Steve, Mike, and every other prominent ID advocate is intimately familiar with this Darwinian language game.


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