What Proof Is There For Atheism?

The common argument that atheism is simply “the lack of a belief in God,” still requires a great deal of clarification before it can be considered anything other than shifty rhetoric and polarizing disregard. Many claim to be atheist because the apparent lack of evidence corroborating the existence of an intelligent designer. However, If I were to affirm the existence of God by simply drawing attention to the inability of natural laws and behaviors to account for the origins of space, time, matter, and life, then my atheist counterpart would unquestionably be quick to point out the disparity between my observation and my conclusion.

Atheism has huge scientific implications, a natural and unguided universe is an astounding and remarkable claim that defies the most astronomical probabilities. The key to formulate a compelling case is corroborating ones own argument with as much evidence as possible, then comparing it with competing interpretations to assess the most conclusive and comprehensive argument. Yet what we typically encounter are atheist dismissing the creationist side in a attempt to establish their positions predominance by default. The irony is that this type of “weak” atheism, as it is commonly referred to, is ubiquitous even among the most militant atheist. It seems that rather than engaging in the debate most atheist have cleverly postured themselves on the outskirts of the discussion, often more content with mocking and ridiculing their opponents ideas as puerile than providing compelling arguments of their own.

Because atheism directly infers the universe and everything in it came about by purely natural processes, an educated atheist must offer compelling evidence for said universe, that is if they wish to delineate an objective and educated framework for their world-view. While we understand the kind of events that must of taken place in order for the universe to exist, the fact that we don’t know precisely how it all came about doesn’t directly imply a designer. However, at this point in time we can rest assured that atheism is far from the default position. Any argument that simply asserts the “lack of belief in God” while refusing to provide any alternative evidence for a natural and unguided universe should not be valued for anything other than ignorance. The attempt to depict a designer as inherently puerile and superfluous might be enough for that PBS special, but it’s not going to withstand its critics scrutiny.

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Quick Thought – Posing A Challenge To Atheist

On one hand atheist such as Richard Dawkins agree that “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” On the other hand atheist reject ID on the premise that there is insufficient evidence. Yet when you press the naturalist on the question of origins they concede the fact that even the most advanced evolutionary biologist in the world have no clue how life could have arisen by natural processes.

It’s interesting how so many prominent atheist thinkers agree that life appears designed, yet they all insist a designer is superfluous even though they have no clue how life could have arisen by natural processes. Are atheist guilty of blindly filling in the gaps with a natural unguided process? Is there an apparent prejudice within the scientific community that precludes God as a possibility? If life appears designed and there is no evidence to suggest it came about naturally, isn’t it logical to infer a designer?

The fact that naturalism is incapable of explaining our origins follows the basic predictions from the God-hypothesis. Sure atheist can argue that they’re “still working on it,” but couldn’t this argument be perpetuated indefinitely? At what point does the absence of evidence become the evidence of absence? How can God be considered superfluous when we have no substantiated alternative explanation, and all the while life appears to be purposefully designed? We are far beyond basic God of the gaps here; advances in molecular biology and the current data about the origins of the cosmos have some remarkable design engineering implications.

Unless there is evidence that can adequately explain away the appearance of design, I think it’s safe to assume that Intelligent Design is in inference to the best explanation.

Why I Believe

How I Came To Believe

I can’t say that there was ever some great epiphany that first caused me to start believing in God. Being raised by Christian parents I naturally adopted the values that they instilled within me; and while they never forced me into the pew’s or dragged me to Sunday school, I wasn’t any older than seven or eight when I first started to believe in God. Growing-up I never had any compelling supernatural experiences, there were no great tell-tale signs that were tailored to my life. In contrast my persuasion was a result of a profound intuitive awareness pulsing through my veins; it was my inherent moral consciousness testifying to a God above.

There was never any sharp dichotomy between God and the world around me. Even as a young boy, belief in God always made sense to me. The need to express what I saw and felt through a purely naturalistic world-view seemed irrational. I had no problem believing in a transcendent cause to life because my capacity to reason, intellectualize and soulfully produce profound emotions all seemed wonderfully and inexplicably poetic – call me a romantic but something about the grandeur of life inspired me. Sure I never seen God with my own two eyes, but did people actually expect me to believe that the beauty and complexity of creation came about by some natural unguided process? In my mind such atheistic ideologies seemed mystical, exotic and unequivocatingly absent of reason.

Why the Judeo-Christian God?

So why Christianity? – you might ask. Why not one of the other mono or polytheistic religions such as Islam or Hinduism? While my acceptance of Christianity was initially due to my up-bringing in a Christian household, I can say that there are several key components that have solidified my faith in Christianity over the past several years.

One such component was the historical accuracy of Biblical prophecy – something that no other religion can lay claim to. Foretelling the restoration of the nation of Israel and the predominance of gentile believers, the scriptures persist as relevant even to the present day. Furthermore books like Psalms, Isaiah, and Micha foretold  nearly a thousand years in advance the life and crucifixion of Jesus.

Psalms 22:16 “For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil doers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet.”

Isaiah 53:5 “But He was wounded for our transgression, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

Micha 5: 2 “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village in Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past”

In fact Jesus himself fulfilled over 300 biblical prophecies – how was this to be explained? Was one suppose to simply write it off as coincidence? or conveniently dismiss it all together as fairy-tale? One might simply claim that Jesus never existed, that He was just another illusory fictitious god like Zeus or Hercules. Indeed this is the most common argument that skeptics raise in order to deny the divine anomaly that was the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Bart Ehram, a famous American scholar and self-professed agnostic criticized the absurdity of those who try to argue that Jesus was not a historical figure, saying “this is not even an issue for scholars of antiquity.. there is no scholar in any college or university in the western world who teaches classics, ancient history, new testament, early Christianity, or any related field that doubts that Jesus existed.*”

The life of Jesus as well as his followers are abundantly attested in early sources. Tacitus, a Roman historian from the 2nd century recorded the following events: “Christus, the founder of the name, was Put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign Of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time Broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief Originated, but through the city of Rome also.” I often wonder, once the mischief broke out again why didn’t the Romans simply display the dead corpse of Jesus?  clearly the apostles had been going around telling people that Jesus had risen from the dead, the Romans only needed present his dead body to smash such pernicious superstitions (speaking only as though He had never risen from the dead of course).

The life of Jesus was profoundly unique beyond all historical measures. Even to this day He persist as the most influential person to ever walk the planet – but why? He commanded no great army, He held no official political position, He never conducted any great scientific experiments. On the contrary, He was stricken and we esteemed Him not. Jesus came only preaching the kingdom of Heaven; He came only to bare a cross – a cross that was to be the burden of our sins.

The Greek scholar Fredrick Nietzsche once said “The gods justified human life by living it themselves – the only satisfactory response to evil ever invented.” Jesus came to offer the Gospel of regeneration and redemption, He did not distanced Himself from our suffering, rather He became apart of it – tackling the perennial issues of misery and wickedness that so often fester our minds. It was after his conversion to Theism that the famous English philosopher Anthony Flew said “if there is a truth, it’ll have to be in the person of Christ,” I tend to agree with him.

Further Conclusions

Over the last year I have developed a genuine interest for diverse fields of study such as biology, cosmology and archaeology. Being raised in the public school system I was taught that such studies fundamentally contradicted belief in God; that the existence of a intelligent designer was preposterous and anyone who held such delusions should be patronized. Yet It wasn’t long until I realized such beliefs were simply fashioned around ones willingness to bow to the evolutionary dogma.

It appeared to me as if evolutionist had simply commandeered the secular hierarchy within the scientific community – presupposing a random unguided process as the default for all creation. But what is the precedent in which they derived such a conclusion? Does history tell us that earth like planets just naturally arise from nothing? Does our knowledge of cause and effect tell us anything other than complexity and intelligence most assuredly always point to an agent?

When abandoning God one must sacrifice absolutes; moral law, hope, and meaning all become arbitrary. Self-reference becomes the only grounds that one has to derive any sort of foundation for their values. Thus if self-reference is the only grounds for gaining traction, what right do we have to insist any moral code? The French philosopher Etinne Borne once said that “Atheism is the deliberate, definite, dogmatic denial of the existence of God. It is not satisfied with the existence of appropriate truth or relative truth, but claims to see the ins and outs of the game quite clearly being the absolute denial of the absolute.”

For the longest time I couldn’t fathom why people chose not to believe in God. Who would want to live such a hopeless life? In this I will leave you with the words of Plato:

Behold! Human being living in a underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light..

Here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move..

They see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave..

At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion but that now when is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned more real existence, he has a clearer vision..

And if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, then only catch the offender, and they would put him to death.

Darwin’s Doubt – The Fossil Record

Darwin-Doubt

Charles Darwin knew there was a significant event in the history of life that his theory did not explain. In what is known today as the “Cambrian explosions,” many animals suddenly appeared in the fossil record 530 million years ago without apparent ancestors in earlier layers of rock. Stephen Meyer makes a compelling case for the theory of intelligent design as the best explanation for the origin of the Cambrian animals and the biological information to produce them.


I recently began reading Stephen Meyer’s critically acclaimed best seller “Darwin’s Doubt” and decided to make periodic post in a attempt to provide a comprehensive, yet concise, summary of its contents. Praise for “Darwin’s Doubt” has come not only from his fellow colleagues, but from corners all around the scientific community.

Darwin’s Doubt represents an opportunity for bridge-building rather than dismissive polarization.” – Dr. George Church, Prof of genetics at Harvard Medical School.

“It is hard for us paleontologist, steeped as we are in a tradition of Darwinian analysis, to admit the neo-Darwinian explanation for the Cambrian explosion have failed miserably. New data acquired in recent years, instead of solving Darwin’s dilemma, have made it worse. This book is a game changer for the study of evolution” – Dr. Mark McMenanin, paleontologist at Mt. Holyoke College.


Darwin’s theory of evolution was established on two basic concepts – the idea of universal common ancestry and natural selection

The idea of common ancestry was Darwin’s theory for the history of life, he argued that “all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form.” This process of “descent with modification” acts on the power of natural selection to produce new biological novelties. Meyer explains the ability of natural selection to create new and significant biological changes depends on three different elements: (1) Randomly arising mutations. (2) the heritability of those mutations. (3) a competition for survival , resulting in differences in reproductive success among competing organisms.

“Darwin conceded that the beneficial mutations responsible for permanent change in species are both rare and necessarily modest. Major variations in forms, what later evolutionary biologist would term “macromutations,” inevitably produced deformity and death. Only minor variations meet the test of viability and heritability.”

By the internal logic of his own reasoning Darwin acknowledged that the process of evolution must occur very gradually, thus requiring million of years resulting in innumerable transitional fossils embedded in the strata, thus simply finding a handful of plausible intermediates wouldn’t come close to documenting the Darwinian picture of life. On that note, Darwin fully acknowledged that Cambrian explosion gave rise to fundamentally new biological forms that had no known precursors in the fossil record. “The difficulty of understanding the absence of vast piles of fossiliferous strata, which on my theory were no doubt somewhere accumulated before the Cambrian epoch, is very great.. I allude to the manner in which numbers of species of the same group suddenly appear in the lowest know fossiliferous rocks.

There was one scientist who would not let Darwin forget this. Louis Agassis was a world renown paleontologist from Harvard university. Darwin initially sent Agassiz his book in order to win his support, however it would be Agassiz who ultimately became Darwin’s biggest critic. He called attention to the sudden appearance of complex designs like the compound eyes of the first trilobites, creatures already thriving at the apparent dawn of animal life. The abrupt appearance of complex anatomical features in the Cambrian period presented a challenge to both the main parts of Darwin’s theory.

“Agassiz thought the evidence of abrupt appearance, and the absences of ancestral forms in the precambrian, refuted Darwin’s theory. Of these earlier forms, Agassiz asked. “Where are their fossilized remains?” he insisted that Darwin’s picture of the history of life contradicts what the animal forms buried in the rocky strata of our earth tell us of their own introduction. Let us therefore hear them; -for after all, their testimony is that of the eye-witness and the actor in the scene.”

Because Darwin was well aware of this problem he came up with two different explanations, suggesting that the fossil record may be significantly incomplete: either the ancestral forms of the Cambrian animals were not fossilized or they hadn’t been found yet. “I look at the natural geological record, as a history of the world imperfectly kept.. only here and there a short chapter has been preserved; and of each page, only here and there a few lines.”

Darwin himself was less than satisfied with this explanation. Agassiz for his part, would have none of it, saying “Both with Darwin and his followers, a great part of the argument is purely negative. Thus they throw off the responsibility of proof…However broken the geological record may be, there is a complete sequence in many parts of it. from which the characters of the succession may be ascertained.” Agassiz further argued that “since the most exquisitely delicate structures, as well as embryonic phases of growth of the most perishable nature, have been preserved from very early deposits, we have no right to infer the disappearance of types because their absence disproves some favorite theory.

Stephen Meyer asserts that those who will in turn try to destroy the credibility of Agassiz expertise would be better off taking a different route. Agassiz was tutored by none other than Georges Curvier the founder of paleontology. Darwin himself said this of Agassiz “Both our universities together cannot furnish the like. Why, there is Agassiz – he counts for three.”

While the general population has been duped into believing that evolution and the fossil record share a perfect marriage, a rising consensus is beginning to emerge that theory of evolution is miserably flawed. The sudden appearance of animal forms in the Cambrian period gave Darwin pause, and still persist as one the greatest arguments that can be raised against neo-darwinian evolution.

Materialism, Atheism & Naturalism – The M.A.N. Made World

Naturalist will often argue that the theory of Intelligent Design (ID) isn’t verifiable because we can not “put God under the microscope,” thus they conveniently erect the self-serving impasse that if God can’t be put into a test tube then He must not exist, or simply doesn’t deserve any significant consideration. So If God were alive how does the naturalist presume one might conclude his existence? Its important to distinguish that advocates for ID do not claim to have God in a test-tube, they are simply arguing that ID is in inference to the best explanation.

Naturalism has befuddled itself with the materialistic concept of reality while dismissing the more important concept of actuality, what the naturalist have managed to do is to create a system or rhetoric which precludes their acknowledgment of Gods existence regardless if He actually does or doesn’t exist. It appears as if the naturalist are not concerned in discovering reality as much as they are seeking to preserve a materialistic ideology. It’s followers seem more predicated on defending the walls of their skepticism than expanding their horizons.

Our inability to falsify God hardly disqualifies Him from being true, if one wants  to assume that reality ends where the material stops, then by all means one is welcome to stay in it’s naturalistic conclave. Sir Arthur Eddington, an astrophysicist from the early 1900’s  exemplified this type of argument from incredulity when he said “Philosophically the notion of a beginning of the present order is repugnant to me. I should like to find a genuine loophole. I simply don’t believe the present order of things started off with a bang.. its preposterous.. it leaves me cold.”

The idea behind scientific theories is not to formulate a hypothesis which best conforms to our world view, but to see which explanation can best track the footprints of life back to its origins, technically speaking we will never be able to determine who or what actually caused those prints i.e. the existence of God or an unguided natural process, but we can most certainly tell which foot best fits the shoe.

The poster-boys for the ‘new atheist’ such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens hold the idea of an intelligent designer as superfluous in understanding how the universe began, thus the idea of God is nothing more than a delusion – or a disease as the more militant atheist would argue. However, the concept of design was actually the foundation for early modern scientist such as Kepler, Boyle, Galileo, Copernicus & Newton. The motto of such early scientist was intelligibility; they believed that they could study nature and make sense of it all – Why? because they believed science was intelligible to the human mind in that it was designed by a rational intellect.

Don’t doubt the Creator, because it is inconceivable that accidents alone could be the controller of this universe.” – Isaac Newton

The concept behind materialism is that matter and energy are the entities from which everything arises. Essentially there’s nothing beyond the physical world that exists; ultimately life evolved from non-living particles, thus there is no God and ultimately no purpose – only electrically charged signals blasting through our material brains. Proponents of such naturalistic and atheistic ideologies usually appeal to reason and science while arrogating to themselves the “high-ground” in the debate. Early evolutionary scientist didn’t have any problem with the idea of materialism because they assumed the world was infinite, that the origins of life and the solar system could simply be explained through a seamless materialistic account – Human life, simpler life, chemical life, elementary particles from eternities past. However, several scientific discoveries in the 20th century have brought this materialist thesis toppling down.

In 1935, Astronomer Edwin Hubble headed a startling breakthrough in the field of Cosmology; the great dome telescopes revealed to us that the universe was not eternal like scientist had once thought. Hubble discovered that not only were we just one out of an innumerable number of galaxies, but even more significant was that the light coming from these galaxies was being shifted in the magnetic spectrum, indicating that the light was coming from objects that were receding, revealing that the universe was expanding. This led cosmologist to contemplate, what happens if we begin to wind the clock backwards? if you go back a million years, a hundred-million years, etc. With each step backwards the universe would get smaller and smaller until eventually all matter was locked in a finite beginning; this discovery directly contradicted the materialistic view point that the universe is eternal and self-existent. After looking into Hubble’s telescope for the first time Albert Einstein famously stated

einstein

“I now see the necessity of a beginning”

Edwin Hubble’s discovery of the expanding universe had remarkable theistic implications in the field of astronomy and cosmology. Renown American astronomer, Allan Sandage reluctantly stated “Here is evidence for what can only be described as a supernatural event. There is no way that this could have been predicted within the realm of physics as we know it” Furthermore, leading NASA scientist and astronomer, Robert Jastrow famously said “This is an exceeding strange development unexpected by all but the theologians who have accepted the word of the Bible. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conqueror the highest peak, as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been siting there for centuries.”  

In 1968 Stephen Hawking solved Albert Einstein’s field equations of general relativity and further cemented Hubble’s discovery of a finite beginning. Hawking proved that if you go back in time you eventually reach a point where the curvature of spacetime becomes so tight that it becomes infinitely tight, a circle so tight that it has no volume. Thus we come to the question asked by Stephen Meyer “how much stuff, can you fit in zero space?” obviously no stuff goes into no space, Thus we can see how the ‘big-bang’ theory coupled with general relativity describes both a beginning in time and a beginning in space and matter.

“Hubble’s discovery on the expansion of the universe was one of the most important intellectual discoveries of the 20th century, or of any century. It transformed the debate about whether the universe had a beginning. If galaxies are moving apart, they must have been closer together in the past.. Many scientist were still unhappy with the universe having a beginning because it seemed to imply that physics broke down. One would have to invoke an outside agency, for convenience sake, one can call God.” – Stephen Hawking

Intelligent Design vs Evolution: The Origins of Life

id3

How did life originate? did we appear from simple non-living chemicals? or was life designed? Those who argue from the corner of chemical evolution generally appeal to neo-darwinian evolution in attesting to an unguided process; that natural selection sifts through random mutations and identifies the most sufficient forms and system’s for life’s continuation. While those arguing from Intelligent Design (ID) argue that living systems can best be explained by the activity of a designing intelligence not an undirected natural process such as natural selection acting on random variations.

Richard Dawkins one of the leading spokesman for neo-darwinism says that

“Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed with a purpose.”

The keyword here is “appearance”, is this idea of appearance illusory or is it real? While Dawkins and other evolutionist certainly acknowledges that life looks intelligently designed, is it possible that intelligence is in inference to the best explanation? I believe it is for several reasons which I would like to briefly explain – and no I will not be calling my faith up to the stand.

Firstly I would like to touch on the idea of specified complexity or digital information. In order to create new anatomical novelties you need new genetic code, thus generating a new biological form requires lots of new information or specified arrangements; much like you need new information to give your computer a new function. Thus a critical question in the history of life, both to the point of the origin of the first life and explaining the rise of the new forms, is where did all the information come from?

This is what ex-chemical evolutionary theorist Dean Kenyon described as a huge intellectual road block which ultimately led to his conversion to ID. He says that amino acids can’t organize themselves in a meaningful biological sequence without a pre-existing set of genetic instructions. Kenyon explains that the enormous problem that is neglected is the origins of genetic information itself. Wen you begin to think in light of information, it raises some serious questions about the power of mutations. Could an unguided process of random mutations possibly be responsible for life as we know it?

Genes are sections of genetic code, if you take a section of genetic code, a section of alphabetic text, and you begin to randomly change it blindly, are you more likely to degrade the meaning of the function that’s there or enhance it? How rare or common are the functional sequences of genes in relation to all the possible ways of arranging the base characters (genetic message) in the proteins? If it were fairly common then you could skip from one island of functionality to the next. However, the ratio of number of sequences that perform functions that are meaningful to those that don’t is about 1 to one-trillionth. I know crazy right? But it doesn’t stop there because in order to get a new organism you would need hundreds if not thousands of mutations to occur, the odds are simply astronomical for even one successful transition.

Another signature in the body that leads me to believe in ID is the discovery of nano-technology, which has revealed very tiny complex biological machinery such as the bacteria flagella motor with its rotary engine, drive shafts, and whip-like propeller. Such systems have been defined as irreducibly complex as you can see below

flagella

Michael Behe an American biochemist asserts that random genetic mutations and natural selection can not account for such complexity. We know from experience that when we find irreducibly complex systems such as internal combustion engines invariably intelligence played a roll. Thus using the idea of mutations and natural selection to explain new digital information and irreducibly complex systems would be an exotic explanation not based on the knowledge of cause and effect that we see today.

Thus the conclusion reached is that specified digital information encoded in DNA could not have arisen by any known natural cause. Ultimately intelligent design is not made from an argument of ignorance but is in inference to the best explanation. The structure of the argument is that there are no known naturalistic processes that have been demonstrated to produce the digital code necessary to produce the first life, whether through chance or law. Yet we do know of one cause sufficient to produce specified digital information and that cause is intelligence.

God & Creationism – Quick Fact #1

oxygen&carbon

Fact: The oxygen produced during photosynthesis is used for cellular respiration. The carbon dioxide produced in cellular respiration is used in photosynthesis.

So if plants need the waste product of living organism to exist, and living organisms need the waste product of plants to exist, then they both had to be created at nearly the exact same time.. right?