God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?

GodsUndertakerSuggested by Glenn Fairman • This book addresses such topics as the origin of life; the genetic code and its origin; the nature and scope of evolution; and the scope and limits of science. Gripping and thoroughly argued, it is an illuminating look at one of man’s greatest debates.
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23 Responses to God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    This sounds like a good one. I like this guy’s writing style. He’s not namby-pamby. God, I get so tired of namby-pamby.

  2. Glenn Fairman says:

    This is a good one. Filled with information.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Here’s a related video, one that Glenn brought to my attention: Debate: Atheist vs Christian.

      I’m still listening to it, but was struck by the top comment under the video at YouTube. It’s very indicative of the shallow philosophy that is taught to our yutes:

      Hey William Lane Craig, if the universe can’t be infinite, and something had to create the Big Bang — and that something is God — then what created God? Or does God conveniently defy laws of physics you quote that say nothing can be infinite. What a crock of BS. 

      Obviously something did cause the Big Bang. And it couldn’t have been a “law of nature” because a “law of nature” is not a law but is simply the name we give to the fact that there is a regularity to the physical world that we see. But those “laws” change. As Lennox notes, Newton came up with a “law of nature,” and one that still works today for most things. But it doesn’t work for things at or near the speed of light.

      So “laws” are really just our best approximation of the regularity that we see and not the impetus for that regularity itself. Where does this regularity come from? Who knows? That’s the question. But they do not come from these “laws” for they are not laws. That is just a convention of language.

      Who created God? This is where we have to come to terms that when talking about a cause that exists “outside” of space-time then we are talking about something that is, by definition, super-natural. “God” is whatever creative energy, force, or being (however you want to think of it) that imbued nature with the characteristics that it has….which, according to what we know, didn’t have to be the way that they are. Instead of acknowledging the likelihood that someone set those laws (and the various constants) to what they are, the atheistic reply is to simply say that “randomness” is the answer. Those “laws” exist in various random ways in other universes.

      But even this viewpoint is a serious fudge, for what you have then created is some Creator roller of the dice. It’s the process that sets these laws and constants via some means. And then, smarty pants, who created this process?

      Most people of sound mind and ordered character understand the basic truth of existence: It is larger than we are, it is amazing, and largely inexplicable. Any answer to existence is going to be a remarkable one. We are thus inevitably and inherently going to be talking about realities that are esoteric, difficult, and matters of opinion, logic, and supposition. That’s where we find ourselves. And a smarmy sort of “Then what caused God?” is the sort of non-thought that is so prevalent in our society today by those whose first reaction is conceit, not thought.

      The secular meme pounded into the heads of people has simplified their philosophy to basically comic book proportions. Granted, the God that is out there may not be the god of the Bible. Who knows? But it is reasonable and logical to conclude that “outside” of space-time we are beyond the normal cause-and-effect barriers. Thomas Aquinas, for instance, calls that first cause a “necessary being,” something (or someone) who requires no cause.

      Can we understand this? No. We can only admit that the cause of reality itself is going to have a sufficiently stupendous answer, and one for which “random” or “infinite regress” are not logical candidates. It’s tempting to want to close the loop on this (as is often thrown into the face of the religious) and, instead of being comfortable with a certain amount of uncertainty, to declare an infinite number of random universes as a way out of facing the obvious.

      Perhaps some are indoctrinated into atheism and it is like second-hand smoke to them. It’s their identity. They’ve learned well a certain set of prejudices and inclinations. Perhaps for others the human ego resists having anything put above it. And for still others, the idea that there is right and wrong (thus an ultimate law giver) puts a damper on their behavior. And for still others they may simply be little duckies who were imprinted with a few bumper-sticker slogans (perhaps in college) and, especially in this short-attention-span culture, care not to give the subject another thought. They are “entitled” to believe their own BS, as it were.

      But any reasonable person, especially those who have kept up on biology and cosmology, will understand that a Creator is not some wacko idea that is the special reserve of snake handlers. It is the most logical supposition given what we know today.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        I’m still listening to it, but was struck by the top comment under the video at YouTube. It’s very indicative of the shallow philosophy that is taught to our yutes:

        Hey William Lane Craig, if the universe can’t be infinite, and something had to create the Big Bang — and that something is God — then what created God? Or does God conveniently defy laws of physics you quote that say nothing can be infinite. What a crock of BS.

        Not only yutes have imbibed this shallow philosophy.

        What I find most interesting about such types is the arrogant way in which they display their ignorance. It is impossible to know through what devices the physical universe came into being. But instead of admitting this, these “brights” have the answer. The universe came from nothing. And to expand on your point, for something to come from nothing is, by definition, already supernatural. To pretend it is otherwise is being willfully blind.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I think, Mr. Kung, there can be a lot of social pressure to not believe in God. As you know, all the “Bright” people do not. It becomes a conceit, a sort of cultural shortcut to instant moral and intellectual superiority.

          All the smart people don’t believe in god. I mean, geez, it’s the smart thing to do if such a belief can so easily be cut down with an astute comment such as “Well, then who created God?”

          And, actually, it’s a good question. No doubt avoiding this question is why Einstein, in particular, preferred a steady-state universe — one with no beginning and no end. One that just “always ways.” And when he fudged the equations to try to make that work, he later called it his biggest mistake.

          Stephen Hawking’s “The Grand Design” is all about fudging with the equivalent of the cosmological constant to try to get around the idea of a Creator. Why should it be such an issue? Why not just admit that a Creator makes more logical sense than positing 10500 extra universes?

          Because, again, the smart people have decided that only dolts believe in God. This is a cultural conceit based in little more than a social dynamic. And, of course, the same can occur on the other side of the coin. But the difference is, an ultimate Cause is a justifiable concept that requires no monkeying around with a cosmological constant in order to avoid it. It’s a natural thought and a logical possibility that flows from being and the nature of reality.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            This probably isn’t all that new. In the Twilight Zone episode “Printer’s Devil”, Burgess Meredith (playing the Devil) persuades the main character to sign over his soul to him because, after all, no one can really believe in the Devil; he must really be some sort of rich eccentric.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Yeah, that’s a good episode. Or am I thinking of the one where this guy goes to a country house (a castle, I think) and finds some monks there who say they have the devil imprisoned therein. That’s a good one too.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                That episode was “The Howling Man”. And of course, Satan escaped both times he was held because he was always able to persuade someone that he was being wrongly accused.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I watched a little more of that video and wasn’t incredibly impressed by the defense of Craig. Glenn, I think you would do better. And I guess if you’re Hitchens, you have to ask yourself (except for monetary considerations) why bother with being such a party-pooper?

      A lot of what he says is not unknown to the faithful. The faithful know that life is hard and often precarious. Bad things happen to good people. The universe is enormous. Life is often full of waste and suffering. But to Hitchens, this is a supposedly airtight indictment of the idea of God. And he seems to assume that only he has considered such things.

      As you can see, Hitchens’ main argument boils down to grievance which is seasoned with arrogance. And I must confess, part of my reluctance to believe as others do is that I’ve never had the feeling or experience that God was my buddy. But hopefully I’ve gotten over the grievance.

      And as much as Hitchens tries to argue from a position of reason, he just seems emotionally committed to his atheism, as if to believe anything less would betray some important aspect of himself.

      Now, I must confess, if I were debating him I would agree with many of his points. And I don’t share the kind of faith that others do. And such things are primarily anchored to faith because there is no way to prove them and the world doesn’t always outwardly support our hopes and wishes. There is much truth to what Hitchens says.

      And yet, like nearly all atheists, he will not allow for the many aspects that do not fit with his ideology. Any thinker of basic and honorable integrity must take the entire picture into account, not cherry-pick. Again, I’ve never been very impressed with the supposed intellectual acumen of Hitchens.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          What a nice old Scottish man. I think he sounds a little Scottish. When he’s done with his math career, he should be the chief engineer on the Starship Enterprise.

          I’m still waiting for Fairman vs. Dawkins. I thought Lennox was just okay. Having to defend the idea of intelligent causation (the preferred language of Lennox in “God’s Undertaker,” which I’ve started to read) would be hard enough. Trying to defend Christianity itself is a tougher chore. I would have stuck simply to the idea of an intelligent cause.

          Lennox, nice old man that he obviously is, just seemed to come across whereby his main argument is that he wants the universe to be a certain way. Dawkins was then handed the easy argument that we simply need to accept the universe as we find it. This was a somewhat weak debate against Dawkins.

  3. Timothy Lane says:

    There seem to be a lot of good books of this sort. I can’t get (or read) all of them. But I would be interested in knowing what people think of David Limbaugh’s recent Christian apologetic.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I’m seriously thinking of purchasing this book. The free Kindle sample was enticing. One of the things Lennox notes about the so-called “New Atheists” is that what makes them different is that they are anti-theists more than anything — the assumption being that the “old” atheists were content to live and let live.

    He also plots a good case that the leaders of the New Atheists are totalitarians in thought and perhaps some day in deed, given their bellicose rhetoric. And he makes clear that these New Atheists wish to wipe out religious beleif. But not only that, they wish to establish “science” as the one and only arbiter of truth and morality.

    Islam on one side. The “New Atheists” on the other. Same shit, different day. Everyone wants to establish their Caliphate. And, yes, Lennox rightly notes that these “New Atheists” are yet another religion.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I’m 18% into “God’s Undertaker” and, first of all, it’s worth noting that John Lennox sets up a book about as well as I’ve ever seen done. He defines the issues early and clearly. I was underwhelmed by his debate with Dawkins but, like so many of us, when he gets a chance to sit down and organize his thoughts, he is much better.

    One of the outstanding points Lennox makes is relevant to the pissing contest between theists and atheists. In Mr. Kung’s thread, Atheistic Fundamentalists, I was clearly on the side of theism as the justified default position, by far. That hasn’t changed and, if anything, has grown stronger.

    And one of the strongest arguments in favor of theism is a point that Lennox makes. It’s also highly relevant to the topic of whether science requires atheism:

    In order for science to develop, thinking had to be freed from the hitherto ubiquitous Aristotelian method of deducing from fixed principles how the universe ought to be, to a methodology that allowed the universe to speak directly. That fundamental shift in perspective was made much easier by the notion of a contingent creation – that is, that God the Creator could have created the universe any way he liked. Hence, in order to find out what the universe is really like or how it actually works, there is no alternative to going and looking. You cannot deduce how the universe works simply by reasoning from a priori philosophical principles.

    This point relates directly to the fact of the 20 or so universal “constants” (such as the exact charge of the electron) that need to be fine-tuned to the utmost degree (to put it mildly) for the universe and life to ever exist. And the important point to note is that the Aristotelian method was wrong. One could not deduce was the universe was like from reason alone. You can not just sit back in your La-Z-Boy and work out how the universe had to logically be. And the importance of this point should not be missed. (Stephen Hawking didn’t miss it which is why he proffered his somewhat ridiculous 10500 universes, all with random starting constants).

    Science had dug down very far into the behavior of matter and energy. And what they have discovered is that there is no logic to the way the universe is. That is to say, there is no chain of reasoning based on or derived from the “laws of nature” that say what the electron charge should be, how powerful gravity should be, etc. These things (and more) are just taken as givens.

    That means that the idea of a truly random universe that someone simply “must be” because of the laws of nature is false, at least according to what we know. Instead, the universe very much appears to be arbitrary – as arbitrary, say, as the design of a Corvette as opposed to the design of a Mustang. There is no mathematical automobile rule that can be worked out from the comfort of one’s armchair that points to one, and only one, kind of car as a sort of naturalistic “way things must be.” Instead, like either the Mustang or the Corvette, the universe appears to be specifically designed.

    In order to try to get around this, Hawking has conjectured that there are 10500 universes “out there,” all with random starting constants and laws of physics. This is not meant to be a credible argument. It’s clearly absurd. It’s simply meant to undermine the clear logic that the universe looks arbitrarily constructed. Atheists have become particularly militant and totalitarian-minded — and more than a bit sloppy in their science and philosophy. They will do what they can so that “God cannot get so much as a toe inside the door of science.” It’s a religious sort of fundamentalism. Atheism clearly being a religious-like sentiment.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      That sloppiness is what happens when you reject science for religion while pretending to do otherwise. One article I read today (I can’t remember who wrote it) noted that no one is less logical than a rationalist. If they’re liberals, that undoubtedly is true.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Or, as Lennox might have characterized it, that’s the sloppiness you get when you try to explain everything through a blind dedication to naturalism.

        I’m continue to read this and I’ve got lots and lots of highlights so far. Lots of interesting bits to assemble in the forthcoming days. At 8 bucks, I can say that only 23% into this book, you get your money’s worth. Lennox is a nimble and scrupulously fair thinker.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I’ve highlighted several passages from this book. Let me list a few of them with some thoughts:

    “Nature” was spelt with a capital N and reified. Huxley vested “Dame Nature”, as he called her, with attributes hitherto ascribed to God, a tactic eagerly copied by others since. The logical oddity of crediting nature (every physical thing there is) with planning and creating every physical thing there is, passed unnoticed. “Dame Nature”, like some ancient fertility goddess, had taken up residence, her maternal arms encompassing Victorian scientific naturalism.’

    This is an idea that Lennox has noted before and is noted at least a couple times in the book so far. He had quoted someone in his book, “God and Stephen Hawking,” who noted how Hawking had devised a “scientific” answer that sounded little different from classic theism:

    Tim Radford captures this very cleverly in his review of The Grand Design: “In this very brief history of modern cosmological physics, the laws of quantum and relativistic physics represent things to be wondered at but widely accepted: just like biblical miracles. M-theory invokes something different: a prime mover, a begetter, a creative force that is everywhere and nowhere. This force cannot be identified by instruments or examined by comprehensible mathematical prediction, and yet it contains all possibilities. It incorporates omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence, and it’s a big mystery. Remind you of Anybody?”

    Yours truly is at least minimally intellectually honest enough to say that existence begs an equally ontologically complex and rich answer. Instead of deciding that everything has to be a round hole and then trying to jam the various square pegs in it, one is better keeping a somewhat open mind. This is something that today’s atheists do not have. They are committed to eradicating religion. Any explanation that sounds anything like stepping outside of a “natural” answer is dismissed out of hand. And it’s not because such an answer is unlikely. It’s because such an answer is simply ideologically unacceptable.

    And when you have this attitude, your thinking becomes muddled. Because the facts of reality are what they are (as we know them at the moment, at least), the committed atheist is left to give a God-like character and powers to his particles.

    Lennox notes early and often that the conflict is not between science and religion. And that is because there is no inherent conflict between science and religion (at least of the Judeo-Christian variety….the same cannot be said for the backward and barbaric religion of Islam). Lennox writes:

    No, the real conflict is between two diametrically opposed worldviews: naturalism and theism. They inevitably collide.

    One of the strongest sections of the book so far is Lennox’s coverage of the topic “god of the gaps.” To sum it up, atheists live on the fumes of imagined hobgoblins. They think science was only able to progress when it eradicated the gods. As Lennox notes, this is true to the extent that the small-g nature gods were eliminated. These were the true “gods of the gap.” They were the gods (Zeus, etc.) who were said to be responsible for natural phenomenon.

    As Lennox notes, as far back as Moses in the Bible there were warnings against deifying nature. This is something conveniently forgotten by the fevered minds of the New Atheists. He quotes Richard Swinburne:

    ‘Note that I am not postulating a ‘God of the gaps’, a god merely to explain the things that science has not yet explained. I am postulating a God to explain why science explains; I do not deny that science explains, but I postulate God to explain why science explains. The very success of science in showing us how deeply ordered the natural world is provides strong grounds for believing that there is an even deeper cause for that order.’

    “God” as opposed to the many small gods is a different idea. As Lennox characterizes it:

    The point to grasp here is that, because God is not an alternative to science as an explanation, he is not to be understood merely as a God of the gaps. On the contrary, he is the ground of all explanation: it is his existence which gives rise to the very possibility of explanation, scientific or otherwise.

    And the wry Lennox notes what can happen when the logical idea of a Creator is expunged:

    As we look back over the history of science we have every reason to be grateful to the brilliant thinkers who took the brave step of questioning the mythological view of nature that endowed various bits of the universe with divine powers they did not possess. We have seen that some of them did so, not only without rejecting the concept of a Creator, but in the very name of that Creator. Perhaps there is a subtle danger today that, in their desire to eliminate the concept of a Creator completely, some scientists and philosophers have been led, albeit unwittingly, to re-deify the universe by endowing matter and energy with creative powers that they cannot be convincingly shown to possess. Banishing the One Creator God they would then end up with what has been described as the ultimate in polytheism – a universe in which every particle has god-like capacities.

    This is a marvelous section of the book that needs to be read in full and in context. Lennox builds a very strong case, cutting through the misconceptions. He uses the analogy of an engine in a Model T built by Henry Ford. He notes that science would be on the level of describing how the engine worked. And that’s all well and good. But you could look at the engine all day and not discover by the laws of internal combustion who made the engine and why. It is a different question, but not illegitimate. With the small-g “god of the gaps” you would say that Henry Ford was causing the gas to ignite and the parts to move, etc. This is not the belief of theists. But they would say that it makes sense to talk about who designed the engine and for what purpose.

    Similar to some of Stephen Meyer’s logic in his books, Lennox writes:

    Or take another example, quite literally to your hand at this moment. Consider the page you are reading just now. It consists of paper imprinted with ink (or perhaps it is a series of dots on the computer screen in front of you). It is surely obvious that the physics and chemistry of ink and paper (or pixels on a computer monitor) can never, even in principle, tell you anything about the significance of the shapes of the letters on the page; and this has nothing to do with the fact that physics and chemistry are not yet sufficiently advanced to deal with this question. Even if we allow these sciences another 1,000 years of development it will make no difference, because the shapes of those letters demand a totally new and higher level of explanation than physics and chemistry are capable of giving. In fact, complete explanation can only be given in terms of the higher level concepts of language and authorship, the communication of a message by a person. The ink and paper are carriers of the message, but the message certainly does not arise automatically from them. Furthermore, when it comes to language itself, there is again a sequence of levels. You cannot derive a vocabulary from phonetics, or the grammar of a language from its vocabulary, etc.

    It is likely a fools errand to believe that you can explain everything via reductionism. And Lennox gives the best critique of reductionism that I’ve ever read. He quotes Francis Crick:

    The ultimate aim of the modern development in biology is, in fact, to explain all biology in terms of physics and chemistry.’

    Cutting through the clutter of sloppy thinking of the atheists (which Lennox notes), he writes:

    In each of the situations described above, we have a series of levels, each higher than the previous one. What happens on a higher level is not completely derivable from what happens on the level beneath it. In this situation it is sometimes said that the higher level phenomena ‘emerge’ from the lower level. Unfortunately, however, the word ‘emerge’ is easily misunderstood, and even misleadingly misused, to mean that the higher level properties arise automatically from the lower level properties without any further input of information or organization – just as the higher level properties of water emerge from combining oxygen and hydrogen. However, this is clearly false in general, as we showed earlier by considering building and writing on paper. The building does not emerge from the bricks nor the writing from the paper and ink without the injection of both energy and intelligent activity.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Certainly in line with Mr. Kung’s idea of “atheistic fundamentalists” is this observations from Lennox:

    Another well-known scientist who found the idea of a beginning repugnant is Sir John Maddox, a former editor of Nature. He pronounced the idea of a beginning ‘thoroughly unacceptable’, because it implied an ‘ultimate origin of our world’, and gave creationists ‘ample justification’ for their beliefs.32 It is rather ironical that in the sixteenth century some people resisted advances in science because they seemed to threaten belief in God; whereas in the twentieth century scientific ideas of a beginning have been resisted because they threatened to increase the plausibility of belief in God.

    In addressing these issues of science vs. religion, it’s actually the religion of atheism that has proven of late to be the bully ideology that gets in the way of careful, reasonable, and thoughtful opinion.

    A central logical argument of the idea of Creation is articulated thusly:

    …but that the universe is not self-explanatory, and that it requires some explanation beyond itself, was something they accepted as fairly obvious.’

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    A few more selected quotes as I make my way through this book. But first some general conclusions gained from this and other books on the subject:

    + Nothing regarding science requires atheism or points strongly to it as a default position
    + Atheism is a religion
    + Being religious (Christian or atheist) doesn’t mean you can’t do good science
    + Richard Dawkins is an asshole
    + John Lennox is a very thoughtful, fair, and articulate man
    + Science has become infected with at least a mildly dogmatic or totalitarian atheistic influence (Galileo’s shoe is on the other foot)
    + Who the hell knows how life started and evolved, but both theism and atheism are in a pitched battle to claim the prize

    Regarding atheism and evolution as a religion, Lennox includes this interesting quote from Donald McKay:

    Donald McKay, an expert in research on the communication networks in the brain, has long since described the way this happened: ‘“Evolution” began to be invoked in biology, apparently as a substitute for God. And if in biology, why not elsewhere? From standing for a technical hypothesis… the term was rapidly twisted to mean an atheistic metaphysical principle whose invocation could relieve a man of any theological shivers at the spectacle of the universe. Spelt with a capital E and dishonestly decked in the prestige of the scientific theory of evolution (which in fact gave it no shred of justification), “Evolutionism” became the name for a whole anti-religious philosophy, in which “Evolution” played the role of a more or less personal deity, as the “real force in the universe”.’

    Another terrific quote from the book in this regard is:

    Colin Patterson reminds us54 of Popper’s caution, that even a scientific theory may become an intellectual fashion, a substitute for religion, an entrenched dogma, adding: ‘this has certainly been true of evolutionary theory’. Phillip Johnson of the University of California, Berkeley, who has done much to stir up debate (and high-level debate at that) on the subject, has pointed out: ‘The danger here is that a methodological premise which is useful for limited purposes has been expanded to form a metaphysical absolute.’

    And as one Chinese scientist quipped when he found discomfort from American scientists with his criticism of Darwinism:

    ‘In China we can criticize Darwin, but not the government; in America you can criticize the government, but not Darwin.’

    Lennox wonders why in science there is there a strong standing prohibition with questioning Darwinism:

    Why is it so strong? Furthermore, why is it only in connection with this area of intellectual endeavour that I have ever heard an eminent scientist (with a Nobel Prize to his name, no less) say in a public lecture in Oxford: ‘You must not question evolution’? After all, scientists have dared to question even Newton and Einstein.

  9. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I’m 64% into this book and let me put a very strong “buy” recommendation on it. Even if the rest of the book falls apart from here on in, this is a terrific compendium of the state of Neo-Darwinism and the valid critiques of it (and arguments for intelligent design).

    Although it wouldn’t hurt to read Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box” or “The Edge of Evolution,” or Stephen Meyer’s “Darwin’s Doubt” or “Signature in the Cell,” Lennox’s “God’s Undertaker” includes the main thrust in all of these. And if you read just one of these books, make it Lennox’s.

    And other than fumbling (strange, considering he’s a mathematician) the description of Shannon information and specified information (go to “Darwin’s Doubt” for a better presentation of this info by Meyer), Lennox has synthesized a very concise and easy-to-understand overview of the landscape.

    And I must admit now, it’s starting to sink in. I’ll say more about this later, and present more excerpts. But it’s pretty damn clear now that Neo-Darwinism, at best, describes a a mere truism:

    Furthermore, it has been repeatedly noted that, at the level discussed in Wilson’s definition, natural selection itself is essentially self-evident. Colin Patterson, FRS, in his standard text on evolution,13 presents it in the form of the following deductive argument: all organisms must reproduce all organisms exhibit hereditary variations hereditary variations differ in their effect on reproduction therefore variations with favourable effects on reproduction will succeed, those with unfavourable effects will fail, and organisms will change. Thus natural selection is a description of the process by which the strain in a population that produces the weaker progeny eventually gets weeded out, leaving the stronger to thrive. Patterson argues that, formulated this way, natural selection is, strictly speaking, not a scientific theory, but a truism.

    And because so much of Darwinian “theory” is based upon rhetoric (very much forwarding a “Darwin of the Gaps” mentality), I hate to depend on rhetoric as well to get a point across. But suffice it to say that I’m convinced that natural selection can only ever weed out or denude, not create. That is (to use a slogan) Darwinism is about the survival of the fittest not the arrival of the fittest. Lennox writes:

    Patterson’s description highlights something very easily overlooked – the fact that natural selection is not creative. As he says, it is a ‘weeding out process’ that leaves the stronger progeny. The stronger progeny must be already there: it is not produced by natural selection. Indeed the very word ‘selection’ ought to alert our attention to this: selection is made from already existing entities. This is an exceedingly important point because the words ‘natural selection’ are often used as if they were describing a creative process, for instance, by capitalizing their initial letters. This is highly misleading.

    Lennox does an excellent job as well explaining why the theory of intelligent design in not just a “god of the gaps” argument.

    In suggesting that genetic relatedness involves input of information, are we back once more to the God of the Gaps? Well, from the scientific point of view, of course not, if that is what the evidence demands…

    Certainly similarities, both genetic and morphological, are to be expected whatever hypothesis one adopts – whether design or common descent or a combination of both. Stephen Meyer argues that the hypothesis of common ancestry is methodologically equivalent to that of common design in the sense that any accusations of being scientific or unscientific which can be made against one, can be made equally against the other. For instance, postulating an unobserved Designer is no more unscientific than postulating unobserved macroevolutionary steps.65 It is surely very evident that ‘evolution of the gaps’ is at least as widespread as ‘God of the gaps’…

    Behe ends his survey of the various suggested explanations for life’s prolific complexity by saying: ‘I conclude that another possibility is more likely: the elegant, coherent, functional systems upon which life depends are the result of deliberate, intelligent design.’66 And his reasoning is not ‘God of the Gaps’ reasoning. Far from it. His argument that natural selection acting on random mutation, though it is responsible for the ‘variations on a theme’ present in the living world, is not able to account for the wealth of genuine genetic innovation that lies beyond the edge of those observable variations, whereas intelligence is able to account for it, is based on understanding of the sophisticated molecular biology involved, not on ignorance of it.

    There’s are important points in regards to context to note about the theory of intelligent design. One is that the systems in the cell are mind-boggling complex. And Lennox and others I think have shown a credible job that the mere affinities of chemistry in no way can create this complexity. Of this I am now sufficiently convinced.

    The icing on the cake is the under-reported story (to say the least) of just how fraudulent Neo-Darwinism is. Lennox notes, for example, that even before the Human Genome Project, it was well known that Crick’s “central dogma” was false. His dogma states that there is a one-way information exchange from DNA to proteins (and everything else). For every protein there will be a gene to code for it. As it turns out, this is not true and even before the Human Genome Project they knew of the “spliceosome” which creates proteins by splicing (as the name suggests) bits of code together. Not all genetic information is a function completely of DNA. Crick was wrong about a fundamental point (which, in retrospect, was a mere guess anyway, as so much of Darwinism is):

    For the human genome turns out to contain only 30,000 to 40,000 genes. This came as a great surprise to many people – after all human cellular machinery produces somewhere around 100,000 different proteins so one might have expected at least that number of genes to encode them. There are simply too few genes to account for the incredible complexity of our inherited characteristics, let alone for the great differences between, say, plants and humans. For this reason geneticist Steve Jones sounds a strong cautionary note: ‘A chimp may share 98 per cent of its DNA with ourselves but it is not 98 per cent human: it is not human at all – it is a chimp. And does the fact that we have genes in common with a mouse, or a banana say anything about human nature? Some claim that genes will tell us what we really are. The idea is absurd.’11

    This is (and other facts) puts a fatal arrow through the heart of the materialist “gene-centric”) view of life. This view is dead, kaput, not applicable.

    Basically the fix has been in for some time. Scientists know the fossil record does not show evolution on the macro scale. Instead it shows species seemingly coming out of nowhere and existing virtually unchanged for millions of years. It would seem that the religion of atheism has a powerful hold over the mindset of Darwinists and other secular materialists. It becomes much more important to them to not allow any evidence of a Creator in the door than does truth, facts, evidence, etc.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      “Gene-centric”. I rather like that, with its suggestion of “geocentric”. So Darwin (or his successors) is more like Ptolemy than Copernicus (much less Kepler).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        “Gene-centric” is not my formulation. It’s the generic term for Richard Dawkins’ materialist view of life/DNA. In this view, the central organizing principle of life (and not just DNA as a data bank) is DNA.

        This is a naive view, at best. But it’s clearly a view necessitated by one’s religion of Atheism. And I think Lennox has done will in this book not to avoid that point simply out of some misplaced sense of being “nice.” He addresses it directly. More than that, he is correct.

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