The Theory of Nothing

Hawking by Glenn Fairman   8/25/16
The Philosophy of Science is a seedbed ripe for rich speculation. But perhaps the most profound questions the renowned scientist Stephan Hawking could wrestle with are not related to a multiplicity of bubble universes, but that fantastic Singularity giving form to it all. Does modern science have within itself the wherewithal to penetrate reality and describe an underlying essence hidden behind matter’s persistent gray stronghold? Or is science content, like a rodent, with nibbling around the periphery of a first cause – half fearing what it may encounter if it plumbs too deeply the rich dominion of being?

Indeed, why the intense human desire to “know:” to find meaning, to love, to connect with the transcendent “other?” Yet, if mind and quark are the by-products of merely sterile molecular bodies in motion, why meaning at all?  What prompts the search for origins and astral mechanics when material either exploded into being from nothingness or continues to drone on in cataclysmic cycles with no teleological end or significance? If introspective human lives are accidental absurdities, what relentless existential drive moves us to discern a consistent harmony within the cosmos, a character antithetical to naturalism’s presumption of hostile indifference?

But from the perspective of Scientism, the metaphysical questions are DOA. What cannot be empirically poked or prodded is not only outside the purview of intelligent inquiry, but beneath its sphere of interest. If science is the exhaustive study of causes andbigbangeye mechanics, then why is its program so narrowly focused on the epidermal to the exclusion of a transcendent first cause? Why is an anxious yet aloof science either fearful or unwilling to consider possibilities that might unify and grant coherence to the grand vision? Focused against the backdrop of these questions, this supposed “most intelligent man in the world of science,” and those if his ilk, seem trapped in a hall of mirrors — wrapped in a hermeneutic cocoon of their own construction.

Unable to ascertain the miraculous at face value, Hawking, a stunning miracle in his own right, betrays an ontological illiteracy that is in every sense more debilitating than his ALS. Having barbed-wired his splendid mind within the confines of a narrow ideology, the professor has followed the spirit of the age and has actively participated in cleaving his discipline like Solomon. And like all who adorn men in the prideful cloak of autonomous self-creation, they either consciously or inadvertently place their thumbs on the scale of knowledge, that same thumb which they raise haughtily up into the skies, believing that by the force of their promethean intellects, they can block out the sun.

Does Professor Hawking not understand how his entire handicapped life is supported and maintained by the good will and charity of people whose animating principles are antithetical to his morally barren conjectures about our physical universe? In his present capacity — floundering in a Darwinian world that is silent on the virtues that set charitable human interaction into motion, Hawking would have been tossed onto a dung heap and reviled as an idiot for his inchoate mumblings while he was left to wither and perish — the victim of a worldview that enshrines “survival of the fittest.”

Unable to ascertain the miraculous at face value, Hawking, a stunning miracle in his own right, betrays an ontological illiteracy that is in every sense more debilitating than his ALS. 

If science, as understood by Hawking, means the end of philosophy, then it also means the end of ethics: that same ethics that (ideally) battles the destruction of the tender and voiceless for the short-sighted benefit of some misbegotten utilitarian good. Hailing himself as the de facto champion of brute fact over discarded value, Hawking becomes the poster boy of desiccated inquiry that is emblematic of modernity’s mental labyrinth – where deluded raw sensory intelligence, divorced from Right Reason and theistic moral vision and virtue, leads the pursuit of knowledge into a waterless desert of quantitative abstraction. In truth, it is not Scientism’s poverty in apprehending the world that is so objectionable; it is the insistence that its contemptuous methodology has uncovered all that there is to see. In his mind, Hawking has opted for the simplest explanation:

When people ask me if a god created the universe, I tell them that the question itself makes no sense. Time didn’t exist before the big bang, so there is no time for god to make the universe in. It’s like asking directions to the edge of the earth; The Earth is a sphere; it doesn’t have an edge; so looking for it is a futile exercise. We are each free to believe what we want, and it’s my view that the simplest explanation is; there is no god. No one created our universe, and no one directs our fate.

These myopic antagonists of an intelligent Designer, who live and pontificate at ease in a world whose entire structure and ethic is bathed in the golden penumbra of Christian monotheistic social reciprocation, have no serious idea what a civilization bereft of enlightened religion really looks like. Yet, even if one is a skeptic or unbeliever, one is still the beneficiary of the common grace that has uplifted and informed the very society that seeks to disown its venerable heritage. And in spite of their concerted efforts to effect the totality of this divorce, the now embattled sun of Christendom still shines on both the good and callous alike — at least for a time.

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If he were honest in logically unpacking the implications of his Scientism, Hawking would realize that his Darwinian world, “red in tooth and claw,” would fundamentally degrade humanity into mere flocks ruled by an amoral elite. Moreover, without the game changing Christian influence that imputes dignity apart from materialist considerations, nothing flowing from our beastly imaginations could be withheld from us. And it is these fears: where the unregenerate human mind becomes completely unfettered, that populate nightmares with an endless procession of technologically-inspired horrors.

If the truth be known, human science as we know it could not have flourished as the product of a wholly naturalistic mental construct. Indeed, how could an unordered brain come to the conclusion that a magnificent logic, undergirded by an elegant mathematics, was to be the ruling principle erupting from the frenzy of a feeble cosmos? Having been mysteriously spawned as bastards of such cruel chance or necessity, what compelled man to attempt the derivation of physical laws and coherence from naturalism’s subsumed prima facie chaos? Without an a priori intuitive capacity for material transcendence or even the possibility of discerning the complex motifs of pattern and design, are we not as orphans abandoned in a self-contradictory jungle – where speed, strength, violence, and clever rapacity are the primary “virtues” selected for? Fortunately, for us and for Hawking, naturalism is an untenable theory. It cannot adequately explain the inception and fine-tuning of the universe, and it surely cannot adequately explain the man who values.

Without the higher order moral teachings of the Christ, the character of the world would have been darkened exponentially. Without the incarnation of Divine love and mercy into the world, little near-sighted and hopelessly broken men would gaze mutely at the stars – pondering not the abstractions of time and the multiverse, but the direction from which their next meal would arrive – if at all. How paradoxical that having spent a lifetime hypothesizing an explanation for everything, Hawking tragically settled for a convoluted theory of nothing.


Glenn Fairman returns from the wilderness with a (big) bang and writes from Highland, Ca.
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123 Responses to The Theory of Nothing

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Or is science content, like a rodent, with nibbling around the periphery of a first cause – half fearing what it may encounter if it plumbs too deeply the rich dominion of being?

    A very nice turn of phrase, Glenn.

    Yet, if mind and quark are the by-products of merely sterile molecular bodies in motion, why meaning at all? 

    Materialism/atheism/scientism live on the magical idea of “emergent properties.” That is their all-powerful God who is sanitized from secular ridicule with a scientific-sounding vernacular.

    But if mind can “emerge” from matter, how is that different form just saying “Alakazam”? It’s the same mindset regarding the multiverse. Just layer some scientific-sounding vernacular over it to hide the fact that you’re talking about something that has the power to assemble and bring into existence various universes of different design. That idea reminds me of some of the Hindu conceptions of the universe where the lotus flower arose from the navel of god Vishnu and at the center of the flower sat Brahma (the Creator).

    I don’t dispute that even a theist conception of the creation of the universe is remarkable, but it is at least honest.

    • Rosalys says:

      “A very nice turn of phrase, Glenn.”

      Glenn has many nice turns of phrase. Of all the contributors here, at ST, Glenn’s style of writing I find the most beautiful. I could be jealous, but, as envy is one of the deadly sins, I choose instead to just enjoy! It was one of Glenn’s articles, posted at American Thinker, that lead me to Stubborn Things, my favorite site on the internet.

      • Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

        I agree, Rosalys! I channel my tendency towards jealousy into motivation. But in reality, I could never write as powerfully as he does. I also came here via the same route. Glenn is a treasure.

      • Glenn Fairman says:

        What a sweet compliment you have given me. As for ST, there is a good reason that I have chosen it as my home site, and it is Brad and the people here. To paraphrase Eric Liddell: God decided in His wisdom that I should write, and when I do, I feel His pleasure.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        It’s okay to be jealous. Glenn is indeed the smartest person in the room and the best writer. To not acknowledge that is to stunt one’s own growth. Reading good writers is one of the best ways to improve one’s own.

        • Glenn Fairman says:

          Hardly….

        • Rosalys says:

          I believe that you, Brad, as the proprietor of this site, should officially appoint Glenn Fairman Poet Laureate of Stubborn Things!

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Properly speaking, the Poet Laureate in Britain was supposed to write verses glorifying the monarch and commemorating various events. I don’t know if Brad wants to risk getting that big a head.

            • Rosalys says:

              No! We mustn’t risk destroying Brad’s humility!

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              It was Glenn who was to be appointed. My title remains “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer.”

              • Timothy Lane says:

                The reason I made that comment was that the celebratory verses would presumably be about you, which would risk giving you a swelled head.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Oh, I see. I would be embarrassed to be celebrated. Criticism and ridicule feel more comfortable. And if one can’t manage that, the Trump supporters should at least give $5.00 to the FRAXA Foundation. It seems that the Cruz supports care more about the unfortunate.

                The proceeding was a plug for the FRAXA fund drive. We will build a wall if we receive at least $400.00 in donations by the end of September. We’ll build a pretend wall if it’s only $300.00. But at least that’s something.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            If Timothy is right, then how about Poet Lariat? He is further south than I am. Or how about Poet L’OREAL in case he ever wishes to change gender. Poet Larry is also a possibility. Poet Lori Loughlin?

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    That is, regarding “meaning,” how does that indeed emerge from a completely pointless and random universe? “Emergent properties” has some meaning in regards to the various forms of six-sided snowflakes that “emerge” from the combination of chance, chaos, and the underlying atomic structure of water.

    But if strawberry jam “emerged” from frozen water, wouldn’t you be surprised? “Emergence” has become the abracadabra word of materialist metaphysicians. No one disputes the hard, scientific meaning of “emergent properties” which is: a property which a collection or complex system has, but which the individual members do not have.

    The sleight-of-hand in regards to disingenuous (or just plain indoctrinated) materialistic metaphysics is the separation of the emergent property from the thing it emerged from. It might be remarkable that ice crystals (and snowflakes) emerge from the underlying atomic structure of H2O. But without that underlying structure to act as a seed, there is no emergence. You’re never going to see wholly new and contradictory things “emerge,” such as strawberry jam from frozen water.

    Either a lack of philosophical rigor or just dishonesty leads materialist metaphysicians to inflate their “emergent properties” theory to the universe itself. It just “emerged” as surely as a flock of birds emerged from a single bird. But wouldn’t meaning “emerging” from a completely random universe be as impossible as strawberry jam “emerging” from ice crystals? Where’s the underlying structure that can give life to meaning, let alone mind? If “emergent properties” becomes, for all intents and purposes, the equivalent of “magic” then it means nothing. It’s just a cover-all word…such as God.

    But at least a first cause, a Creator, a necessary being, makes some kind of logical sense even if we can’t wrap our minds around it. Any honest cause of the magnitude of the creator of the universe is likely going to have this property. You can get into matters of supervenience and such. And I don’t dispute that amazing things do emerge from lower order structures, or that a strict hierarchy of inherited properties might not pertain to all things (the mind/matter problem, for example).

    But the main thing is, will we simply take our religion and run it through scientific jargon in an attempt to squeeze the truly remarkable ontological nature of being out of it by substituting cheap materialist metaphysician tricks?

  3. Rosalys says:

    For someone who is supposedly the most brilliant man alive today, Stephen Hawking has said some astonishingly ridiculous things! And why wouldn’t he, having rejected the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom.

    “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22)

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      For someone who is supposedly the most brilliant man alive today, Stephen Hawking has said some astonishingly ridiculous things!

      Indeed.

      Hawking’s problem is his prior commitment to his religious views which restrict the interpretation of scientific data. The questions we’re dealing with here are of the unknowable type. A very “conservative” scientific view would be to admit this as well as admit some of the astonishing evidence for supernaturalism such as the fine-tuned universe and life itself.

      Now, as I often say about these types, maybe a vicar ran over his puppy was he was a child and has held a grudge against religion ever since. It’s hard to know. And certainly I wouldn’t hold it against a man in Hawking’s condition for a prolonged display of self-righteous offense at the idea of a benevolent Creator. I really don’t believe things are as neat and tidy as Glenn and other Christians spell it out. Dinosaurs ruled the earth for 165 million years. One could just as rightly say that the Creator was way more enamored with them then he is with us…who have apparently been around for about 200,000 years, maybe more depending upon what you view as a modern man.

      I have absolutely no problem with modern science casting a suspicious glance as religious stories. Their work should not be hemmed in by them. But neither should the interpretation of their data be restricted by a commitment to being “objective” which has simply melded into a fundamentalist atheism/materialism hardened dogma. The smartest people in the world show themselves to be pretty stupid at times.

      • Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

        You’re on to something, Brad. It’s all about point of view and the width of that view. Science and Religion have often been portrayed in an oppositional frame, but that only restricts full inquiry in those realms. I think they are fully complementary, each informing the other.

        Mathematics is such a beautiful realm to explore that I can understand how a person could be totally captivated by it, and see it only as a manifestation of mankind’s powers. But for me, the further I sunk into the topic, the more appreciation I gained for the majesty of God’s works. Math reflects His glory, as in a similar fashion the complexity of DNA refutes Darwin’s limited understanding, or at least that of those who use his work as a secular cudgel.

        The physical vs. metaphysical is the real boundary to navigate.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Science and Religion have often been portrayed in an oppositional frame, but that only restricts full inquiry in those realms. I think they are fully complementary, each informing the other.

          Science used to be on the leading edge of expanding our horizons, of giving context and meaning to human life. Now it’s a vehicle for constricting our view down to a rather dull and constraining atheism. It doesn’t have to be that way, Tom.

          Data is not meaning or context. The data need to be interpreted, and no scientist owns the interpretation of the data. In fact, due to their ideological blinkeredness, they are amongst the worst interpreters of their own data.

          And raw number themselves are just one kind of data. Not all data is mathematical. But even that which is is quite astonishing. David Berlinski, for one, asks a lot of interesting questions in regards to why anything should be able to be modeled in mathematics as well as (along with John Knox, I believe) whether the realm of numbers exists only inside man’s head or represents something real that is “out there” if immaterial.

          I’m not sure you can have these kinds of discussions (at least in public) in the scientific community where any of the interpretive arts are considered merely opening the door for myth and superstition. Honest to god, I’ve never met a person more afraid of thinking than an atheist.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          My high school geometry text included short biographies of noted mathematicians. They mentioned that when Blaise Pascal found that working on some mathematical problem took away his physical pain (or maybe just distracted him enough not to notice it), he regarded it as a sign that God meant him to work on it.

        • Rosalys says:

          “Mathematics is such a beautiful realm…” and “Math reflects His glory…”

          And I think that you, Tom, are on to something! I watch a lot of shows, and documentaries, and Teaching Company courses about the theory of relativity, string theory, the mathematics of music, etc.. I can’t tell you that this small brain of mine grasps the fullness of these ideas, but I think I can glean enough understanding to be in absolute awe of the intricacy, beauty, and perfection of mathematics. Math seems to permeate ALL of creation; I see in it something divine. But I would not worship math or mathematicians, because to do so would be to worship not the Creator, but His creation, and therefore idolatry. But I have been wondering lately, could mathematics be a language of God?

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            But I have been wondering lately, could mathematics be a language of God?

            That’s a good question. My own answer would be that mathematic is the logic of god. For example, the three sides of a triangle can add up to more than 180 degrees…if the triangle is drawn in curved space. The implication of that? For me it means that the Creator can make things work out any damn way he wants. Two plus two equals four in our universe because that’s the way it was designed to work out.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Apparently the angles of a triangle are linked to the Euclidean postulate regarding parallel lines. Trying to prove that postulate (his others are all very simple by comparison) led to spherical and toroidal geometry.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            But I have been wondering lately, could mathematics be a language of God?

            How about all of Creation is his language and manifestation.

            Perhaps math is simply helping to translate it.

  4. Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

    C.S. Lewis had a conversation one long evening while walking the English countryside. It was shortly after he and his boon companion had finished their painful and debilitating service in the Great War. The topic was the definition, veracity and usefulness of myth. His companion came to Jesus that very evening as a direct result of Lewis’ patience, logic and coherence of argument. His lucky companion was J.R.R. Tolkien.

    The broad, inquisitive and powerful minds of these two make Hawking’s look puny, in spite of his innate God-given intelligence.

    Methinks Glenn has made another case for the importance and reality of our metaphysical endeavors. Thanks, Glenn, once again!

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Science rejects religion as an answer to natural questions for practical reasons, nicely explained in my high school biology text: How do you test supernatural explanations? Many scientists take this further, and assume this means that the natural world is all there is. Zenna Henderson looked into this issue in a story in Holding Wonder (I’m afraid I don’t recall the story title) which concludes with a researcher wondering how to analyze prayer.

      • Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

        Um, how does Science reject anything? It’s not an entity, merely a tool for inquiry, a path to increasing knowledge and wisdom. You don’t “test” metaphysics with science, as you don’t use a hammer to turn a screw. Is this a category error? I’ve never really understood that phrase.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Climate Change.

          FYI, Ian Buttle had a nice article on the king of dogmatists, Bill Nye. If you farted recently, it’s probably because of global warming. This guy is truly a kook…and yet this is the kind of “scientific” education that many young skulls-full-of-mush are receiving.

          the neo-Darwinian model never had the intrinsic explanatory power to be ever so much as a working hypothesis,

          I’ve pretty much devolved to the David Berlinski view of things. He doesn’t even grace it with the word, “theory.” He calls neo-Darwinism a collection of “just-so” stories. It’s basically a narrative, not a science.

          Probably the best evidence for supernaturalism is the fine-tuning of the universe, the mind, and life itself (if not existence itself). As I continue to read about the complexities of life, it’s clear to me that life is an advanced information system — and that’s just for starters. There is zero reason to believe that such complex systems could arise on their own from the simple, algorithmic laws of nature, no matter how much time or chance you throw at it.

          But we run into so many paradoxes that I don’t see any simple story emerging about how life did achieve the various forms it has today as well as leave behind the fossil history in evidence. But that something at least extra-natural is going on seems to be clearly the case. I’ll continue my Nobel-prize winning research and see if I can come up with something more concrete.

          So far as we can see, there is nothing intrinsic in “dead matter” that allows it so self-organize into complex information processing systems. We’ve all become used to the word “organic” as if that was some magical term on par with “elan vitale” (which very well could make more sense, but I digress). The information system of the cell is based upon a vast store of information, small machines, and basic geometry (such as the remarkable rotary engine, ATP Synthase)…all of which take advantage, of course, of the chemical properties of the various elements (atomic bonds instead of how Legos or Tinkertoys bond with each other…but it’s the same basic principle). But the elements themselves are just dumb Lego-like building blocks. There is nothing particularly “organic” about them. What gives life life, at the very least, is how the building blocks are organized and managed. (That mind can somehow emerge from, or be integrated with, matter could show that this dumb, lifeless matter could have more going for it than meets the eye).

          And let’s say that neo-Darwinism is true. Given the number of new biological features needed to produce what exists (or has existed), and the number of genetic mutations required to test all the possibilities in order to get to these finished species, we should look into our microscopes and see a dynamic system of change. Instead, in one of the longest running experiments (on E. coli, which has been running for decades), scientists have been looking for any signs of evolution in this bug over millions of generations. The result is notta, zip, zilch, zero.

          But it’s not that change hasn’t happened. The first life on earth is apparently simple single-celled bacteria…and the latest life includes something as complex us us. Evolution, in the “change over time” manner, has certainly happened. Whether this represents a change and complexity of the implementation of a Designers design, we just don’t know. But given the complexity of life, it’s clear that these forms require planning. Whether that leads to Jehovah or not is not for me to say. But life itself leans more toward the idea of Jehovah than it does the random and purposeless universe of the atheist.

        • Glenn Fairman says:

          How ironic that Science – a supposed neutral methodology- has taken on the status of an authoritative graven image, with all the dogmatic accoutrements that accompany a religious system. Nothing illustrates this more than its stance on Naturalistic Macro-Evolution and on Climate Change.

          As for the former, the Neo-Darwinian model never had the intrinsic explanatory power to be ever so much as a working hypothesis, even before its detractors began making mincemeat of its assumptions by holding its manifold contradictions and threadbare evidence to the antiseptic light of day. Yet, it permeates modernity’s worldview and is as resistant to the call for reconsideration or reformation as any 16th century cleric. If the edifice is now crumbling, it is due to the fact that all idols contrary to truth, like Dagon in the Philistine temple, come to fall on their faces.

          As for the latter, it is no longer an article of contention that those who drive the global warming agenda have made common cause with political forces, and those entities are hell-bent on maximizing their own climate of fear as they aggregate power for their own ends. Having perfected the technique of using a thin veneer of altruism as a fig leaf to cover their nakedness, the Left have become what they once claimed to despise: a monolithic authority impervious to reason. And it is for this reason alone that they have wrangled science into a state of harlotry, using influence, money, and promotion as the methodology by which their new quasi-science will approach the remaking of the world. Those who have whored out a tool of inquiry, in the service of justifying their agenda, revealed their true hand when threats of prosecution, as well as the demolition of professional reputations of the heretical, were laid on the table. Apparently, little has changed from when Galileo was forced to mutter under his breath, “Yet, it moves.”

          That the Leftist/Globalist agenda can not long stand is a testament to the unreflective passion of an ulcerated vision that believes, by the sheer force of its rhetoric, that men will come to see spherical objects as squares.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Climate Change.

            FYI, Ian Buttle had a nice article on the king of dogmatists, Bill Nye. If you farted recently, it’s probably because of global warming. This guy is truly a kook…and yet this is the kind of “scientific” education that many young skulls-full-of-mush are receiving.

            the neo-Darwinian model never had the intrinsic explanatory power to be ever so much as a working hypothesis,

            I’ve pretty much devolved to the David Berlinski view of things. He doesn’t even grace it with the word, “theory.” He calls neo-Darwinism a collection of “just-so” stories. It’s basically a narrative, not a science.

            Probably the best evidence for supernaturalism is the fine-tuning of the universe, the mind, and life itself (if not existence itself). As I continue to read about the complexities of life, it’s clear to me that life is an advanced information system — and that’s just for starters. There is zero reason to believe that such complex systems could arise on their own from the simple, algorithmic laws of nature, no matter how much time or chance you throw at it.

            But we run into so many paradoxes that I don’t see any simple story emerging about how life did achieve the various forms it has today as well as leave behind the fossil history in evidence. But that something at least extra-natural is going on seems to be clearly the case. I’ll continue my Nobel-prize winning research and see if I can come up with something more concrete.

            So far as we can see, there is nothing intrinsic in “dead matter” that allows it so self-organize into complex information processing systems. We’ve all become used to the word “organic” as if that was some magical term on par with “elan vitale” (which very well could make more sense, but I digress). The information system of the cell is based upon a vast store of information, small machines, and basic geometry (such as the remarkable rotary engine, ATP Synthase)…all of which take advantage, of course, of the chemical properties of the various elements (atomic bonds instead of how Legos or Tinkertoys bond with each other…but it’s the same basic principle). But the elements themselves are just dumb Lego-like building blocks. There is nothing particularly “organic” about them. What gives life life, at the very least, is how the building blocks are organized and managed. (That mind can somehow emerge from, or be integrated with, matter could show that this dumb, lifeless matter could have more going for it than meets the eye).

            And let’s say that neo-Darwinism is true. Given the number of new biological features needed to produce what exists (or has existed), and the number of genetic mutations required to test all the possibilities in order to get to these finished species, we should look into our microscopes and see a dynamic system of change. Instead, in one of the longest running experiments (on E. coli, which has been running for decades) scientists have been looking for any signs of evolution in this bug over millions of generations. The result is notta, zip, zilch, zero.

            So it’s not that change hasn’t happened. The first life on earth is apparently simple single-celled bacteria…and the latest life includes something as complex us us. Evolution, in the “change over time” manner, has certainly happened. Whether this represents a change and complexity of the implementation of a Designer’s design, we just don’t know. But given the complexity of life, it’s clear that these forms require planning. Whether that leads to Jehovah or not is not for me to say. But life itself leans more toward the idea of Jehovah than it does the random and purposeless universe of the atheist.

        • Rosalys says:

          Science doesn’t reject anything. It’s modern day “scientists” who are doing the rejecting.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Science rejects religion as an answer to natural questions for practical reasons, nicely explained in my high school biology text: How do you test supernatural explanations? Many scientists take this further, and assume this means that the natural world is all there is.

        It’s astonishing that the supposed smartest people in the world can’t make the simple distinction between “things I can study and specifically quantify” vs. “things I cannot.” Science studies what it can and there used to be (in the original field called “natural philosophy”) other fields of interest that were considered no less legitimate even if the methods were different. Not everything can be expressed analogously in mathematics…which is really the limiting factor in strict science.

        Today’s scientists are the worst of the worst in terms of dogmatism. As for rejecting supernaturalism, that shouldn’t even be an a priori commitment, for what if supernaturalism exists? Would you want to filter that out from the get-go? I have no problem with the assumption of a “natural” explanation (at least in terms of proximate causes).

        And that, dear readers, is all that science can ever measure. And it is simply arrogance that then has them formulate their dogmatism accordingly which states, “If we can’t measure it, then it doesn’t exist or is of little or no significance…the product of folklore, at best.” This absurd way of thinking has caused many scientists or science writers (such as Dan Dennett) to question even the very existence of mind. Mind is a huge problem for materialists…so there isn’t much left (or Left) to do but downplay it.

        As we see regarding so many human endeavors, it’s groupthink that decides what one can or cannot discuss. It’s a circle-jerk of fundamentalist kooks. And that such groupthink is part and parcel of the scientific community is particularly egregious considering that they believe themselves to be committed to open-mindedness, unconstrained by dogmatism.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Tom, I think plenty of religious people are ideologically blinkered as well. Hawking is just another variation of that. The last well-known and relatively unblinkered scientist was Richard Feynman. But no man is perfect.

      The reality is apparently that scientific endeavors are driven by a highly dogmatic and fundamentalist atheism that requires anyone to bow down to certain metaphysical presumptions. That any group of scientists would put up with this is astonishing especially because their conceit is their supposed open-mindedness and freedom from constraining dogma.

      One of the greatest Christian thinkers was Thomas Aquinas whose arguments were persuasive because he was not particularly dogmatic. He was known for taking (and formulating to best advantage) the counter-arguments of others and then addressing those arguments in a rebuttal. C.S. Lewis could do this pretty well as well.

      • Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

        Sure, Brad. I think most people are so blinkered. The mere acts engendered by having a closed mind while “professing” a a purity of open-mindedness is what renders most of the politico-scientific actors in our society to be drooling idiots, at least to me. Many other pseudo-epithets come to mind, many of which I admire as a language buff, such as barking-mad.

        My scientific education began with 12 years of being taught in Catholic schools, where thankfully science was accorded respect and love, but not primacy. In college I was lucky enough to take a full year of logic, aka Critical Thinking, although it wasn’t a required course. That, along with literature and history, were my emotional touchstones amidst the rigors and uncompromising nature of engineering courses. Ah, the glories of Shakespeare along with Laplace!

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          It sounds as if, Tom, you actually had a well-rounded and thoughtful education. Praise be to those crusty old nuns, for sure (although I hear they’re all mostly libtards now, but I digress).

          My own stance, Tom, is to remain open-minded but with a hair-trigger snap-tight pick-proof valve that can still keep out the garbage. 😉

          Seriously…as Mr. Kung often says, culture is everything. Much of the new-age search for one’s “true self” is probably a function of this. We learn (thank god, if the public schools were functioning) how to speak English. We learn (thank God, and hopefully not Allah) the various values and morals and ethics we should have so that we can make our way in the world productively and without being a rat bastard.

          At the same time, we do come of an age where we begin to question received wisdom. This is not bad unless, like the juvenile stance of the Left, the purpose is simply to always and ever reject that wisdom under the guise of “open-mindedness.” Many a Christian has (rightfully, in many cases) rejected their religion only to come back to it with an understanding far deeper than perhaps the comic book version instilled by their parents or the church their parents went to.

          It used to be the purpose of a classical education to not only poke and prod received wisdom but also to better understand that received wisdom…to make people into living souls who could think and reason instead of robots. But it’s clear the intention of the atheistic materialist Left is to turn people into robots. And they’re doing a hell of a job.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            How well people learn to speak English varies, especially if they’re imprisoned in the foreign-language teaching system. And the ability to read and write English are even less common, particularly comprehensible writing.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              It would appear that the English being picked up by much of yute culture is one without spaces between the words. It just gets blurted out rapid fire. I know my hearing isn’t what it was 20 years ago, but I was at a restaurant the other day getting a table for four. The maître d’ was trying to say “Need a kid’s menu? and it came out as something unintelligible. She had to repeat if four times until I understood.

              It’s reminiscent to this video that my brother showed me. He had to play it at least four times before I understood what the kid was saying at the 1:16 mark (it took him several times as well). Hint (listen to the video first), it’s not “Are you an Ewok too?” or “Were you at Iwo Jima too?”. Those were my first two guesses.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                “Were you at Iwo” would fit what I heard. It sounded like “Are you a U-it too?” to me.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                It’s reminiscent to this video that my brother showed me. He had to play it at least four times before I understood what the kid was saying at the 1:16 mark

                Boy, you’d better get your hearing checked. I understood “Are you a hero too?” the first time I heard the kid speak. Of course, something like that was to be expected given the setting.

                But I agree that too many people swallow their words.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                You have to make sure you jump right to the mark, Mr. Kung, so that you don’t gain context.

              • Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

                I went to the mark and heard, “are you a hera too?” The kid mispronounced the o as the dreaded schwa sound. Too young to understand the dire necessity and practicality of enunciation. A nun would have cuffed him, eh Brad?

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                As a reminder that children, throughout the ages, have mispronounced words, and to point out one effective method of correcting such mistakes, I recommend the following piece.

                http://www.stubbornthings.org/my-early-elocution-exercise/

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Definitely would have cuffed the kid, Tom. LOL.

    • Rosalys says:

      I believe it was Tolkien who helped Lewis to become a Christian, not the other way around.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Time didn’t exist before the big bang, so there is no time for god to make the universe in. It’s like asking directions to the edge of the earth; The Earth is a sphere; it doesn’t have an edge; so looking for it is a futile exercise. We are each free to believe what we want, and it’s my view that the simplest explanation is; there is no god. No one created our universe, and no one directs our fate.

    The reason Einstein made his “biggest blunder” by adding a “cosmological constant” to his equations of the universe was because he automatically assumed that the universe was everlasting. No beginning. No end. This is the preferred state of things for atheists. It’s cleaner that way.

    It’s the exact same mindset that has Hawking displays (in the above quote), stating that it makes no sense to speak about the universe being created because there was no “time” to do it in. This is not just a faulty argument, it’s patently and maliciously dishonest. Surely Hawking is informed enough to know that time itself if fungible (basic to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity). Therefore time is not the kind of rock so heavy that even God can’t lift it. It’s not basic to the universe. The best guess is that it was created along with or as a byproduct of the universe.

    Can you imagine a negative number of tomatoes? You’ll never have minus-one tomato in your possession. But by Hawking’s recognizing, any idea not consistent with naturalism is absurd. But negative numbers are very useful, even if they exist only (so far as we know) as a useful idea. We might find it hard to imagine being outside of time or somehow “prior” to time. But clearly the universe itself had no problem with this because it came into being and thus created time.

    Yes, the Earth is round. But it has plenty of edges (such as the outside of the sphere or the edge of a canyon). His analogy is mind-numbingly condescending. And it’s also irrelevant. Hawking is simply making the everlasting argument. But the Big Bang blows that argument all to hell so there’s no problem guessing why this rocket scientist continues with his gibberish. His commitment to his Religion of Atheism trumps all other considerations.

    Now, regarding states of being outside of (if a spatial metaphor is even useful) the universe, who knows? This is where the greatest minds tread carefully because about such things we can speak only of what seems logical or speak in terms of probability. But careful minds can tread here and make useful observations. One would be that some things are just beyond our direct experience. But so are atoms, and yet most scientists believe without a doubt that they exist.

    Materialism is the shrinking of epistemology — how we know what we know. And it’s not wrong to be skeptical. But it’s useful to note that science has absolutely no hard evidence of the mind or feelings. And yet without those, science itself would not be possible. So just remember who and what is on the top of the hierarchy. It is the things that are not quantifiable but that are not only real but absolutely central.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Note that Fred Hoyle was the top popularizer of the Continuous Creation theory as an alternative to the Big Bang. He was no doubt an atheist, though this may have changed later; in his novel The Inferno, he implies that God shielded Earth from enough of the massive radiation from a too-near supernova to allow humanity to survive.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        It seems that the Big Bang isn’t “settled science.” It’s unsettling science. It’s a truth far more inconvenient than any of the drivel in Al Gore’s propaganda videos.

        My own view on these issues is that those who have faith in revealed truth need to stick with that and not try to make the material world always make sense in that regard. Was it really a damn miracle, for instance, that one passenger in a jetliner full of 300 survived the crash?

        Thomas Aquinas was of the opinion that if the facts of the world contradicted one’s religious ideas then it was the religious ideas that needed to change. Why contradict God’s handiwork? And that is what nature is.

        And, really, all atheists and other knuckleheads should read John Lennox’s God and Stephen Hawking and/or his God’s Undertaker. Both books are rigorous philosophical refutations of the (in my view) disingenuous and sloppy metaphysics of the materialists. And Lennox isn’t above taking a shot or two at their nonsense in unvarnished terms.

        The gist is that materialists rarely argue the Christian religion (or any religion). They argue against the straw-men they have constructed in its place. Although many Christians are often just as sloppy in their thinking, the official Christian position is that the natural world is a creation of the Creator and not the creator himself. No Christian need defend the notion that people once thought lightning bolts were the wrath of Zeus. Christians do not believe in the mythical naturalist gods who supposedly inhabited nature.

        Christians certainly believe the laws of nature can be overturned by the Creator as his whim. But the laws of nature themselves are set up to be ongoing and algorithmic. They are created things. So although a Christian can see all of nature as miraculous in the large sense, it would be wrong and foolish to espouse miracles as an answer for what are natural events, even if unknown natural events.

        The divide between science and theology is strictly manufactured by the fundamentalists on both sides. No Christian need throw up barriers to, for instance, evidence that the world is far older than 6500 years. If literal interpretations of the Bible contradict what we know of the world, it’s the literal interpretations that must change.

        Not all atheistic objections to religion have been based up constructed straw-men. There really are a lot of noodle-heads out there who make it easy for them. Christianity, like so many things in our society, has been dumbed down. But I do hope those within the sound of my voice read those Lennox books. They are a very good education in a whole bunch of topics.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          The Big Bang theory, like plate tectonics, tends to fit the religious worldview better than other theories. This is why the first was initially theorized by a Belgian cleric and the second was only very reluctantly accepted by geologists.

    • TR says:

      A most excellent and interesting post, Brad. The last paragraph is a fitting summary to this discussion, which by the way, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Cheers!

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Reading a few comments and quotes from the God and Stephen Hawking book review, I found this quote I had posted from the book that is very relevant to the discussion:

    Sir Peter Medawar pointed out this danger long ago in his excellent book Advice to a Young Scientist, which ought to be compulsory reading for all scientists:

    “There is no quicker way for a scientist to bring discredit upon himself and upon his profession than roundly to declare – particularly when no declaration of any kind is called for – that science knows, or soon will know, the answers to all questions worth asking, and that questions which do not admit a scientific answer are in some way non-questions or “pseudo-questions” that only simpletons ask and only the gullible profess to be able to answer.”

    Here’s another good quote from Lennox:

    That is, the idolatrous and polytheistic universe described by Homer and Hesiod was not the original world-picture of humankind. Nevertheless, this is an impression often gained from books on science and philosophy (including The Grand Design) that start with the ancient Greeks and rightly emphasize the importance of the de-deification of the universe, yet singularly fail to point out that the Hebrews had vigorously protested against idolatrous interpretations of the universe long before the time of the Greeks. This obscures the fact that polytheism arguably constitutes a perversion of an original belief in the One Creator God. It was this perversion that needed to be corrected, by recovering belief in the Creator and not by jettisoning it. The same is true today.

    You can read some more good quotes in the rest of that thread. And one more quote makes a very crucial distinction (and shows just how good of a thinker Lennox is):

    A supernatural being or god is an agent who does something. In the case of the God of the Bible, he is a personal agent. Dismissing such an agent, Hawking ascribes creative power to physical law; but physical law is not an agent. Hawking is making a classic category mistake by confusing two entirely different kinds of entity: physical law and personal agency. The choice he sets before us is between false alternatives. He has confused two levels of explanation: agency and law. God is an explanation of the universe, but not the same type of explanation as that which is given by physics.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I suspect that many atheistic scientists hope that they’re proclamations will lead pro-science religious people away from religion (Richard Dawkins especially). But the likelier result is to lead them away from science. Nor do they seem to be able to learn from their failure.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I’m sure you’re right. In essence, these guys would mess with people’s brains just in order to indoctrinate them against their hated religionists. This really is one of the front lines of the culture wars. This isn’t about science or facts. No reasonable scientist would be bothered by different metaphysical interpretations of the world.

        But it does bother those whose dog was apparently run over by the vicar when they were a child

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Previously posted by A. Wild elsewhere on the site in response to Glenn’s article at American Thinker:

    Hello Mr. Fairman.

    I just read your short article on “Science: A Graven Image”. While I agree with your premises, it is unfortunate you compared it the case of Galileo.

    Your premises regarding Galileo are indeed part of the popular myth. Galileo was not a cleric, he was a layman with children. Secondly, the Church did not condemn Galileo for the heliocentric theory which was known long before Galileo. After all, it was the Church who provided room and board in his old age when under “house arrest”. Rather, the Church found Galileo guilty of making a claim that had as yet not been sufficiently proven in reality. The theory was not the issue. Making hitherto claims not yet verified was the concern. It should also be remembered, Galileo had a knack for alienating his most ardent admirers such as the pope at the time.

    Wild, although Glenn mentions a “16-century cleric” in his post, it’s not at all clear to me that he meant anything but a generic 16th century cleric, not Galileo. In reference to Galileo, Glenn wrote:

    Apparently, little has changed from when Galileo was forced to mutter under his breath, “Yet, it moves.”

    And his point is that it has turned full circle. The 21st century Cardinals and Popes who prohibit what can be stated regarding science are now the scientists themselves, not the Church.

    And from what I’ve read of the incident, you’re quite right that Galileo was a bit of an obnoxious man. My reading of it is that it wasn’t the Galileo forwarding the Copernican theory as much as it was that the Pope (who was an old friend an ally of Galileo) was facing a number of immediate and serious pressures to the authority of the Church. The timing was simply all wrong.

    That doesn’t excuse what happened. But today people are denied jobs and tenure (a concept that should probably be eradicated anyway) because of contrary views on Darwinism or global warming.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Apparently part of the problem was that Galileo, in his written “debate” between heliocentric and geocentric scientists, mocked the latter. Naturally, they wanted some revenge; had he been milder, there might have been no problem. Note that Copernicus was himself a Polish cleric (indeed, a 16th-century cleric).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Popular secular/atheistic myth is likely going to trump facts. But thanks for filling us in a little. The book I read on the general subject of Galileo was Galileo’s Daughter. My summation at the time was as such:

        It tells what is probably a more even-handed and detailed account of Galileo’s conflict with the Catholic Church over his Dialogue. Long story short, the Pope had turned from the touchy-feely fellow (and friend of Galileo) to an embattled and somewhat embittered man who was caught in the 30 Years War. What should have been a relatively minor administrative affair was inflated by Church officials into a cause célèbre. Galileo was a convenient and tangible scapegoat for the Pope’s pent-up frustrations.

        There was much more going on here than “science vs. religion.” It seemed more likely “entrenched power vs. gadflies.”

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Two ships passing in the night.

    I remember my older brother (a devout Christian…or at least he used to be) telling me that it is likely that life exists all throughout the universe. Several years ago, I would have agreed with him, the reason being that having so much time and material to work with, evolution surely would have done wonders.

    I was reminded of this when reading a yute’s article over at NRO: Understanding the Discover of Proxima b: A Second Earth. Apparently they have found a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri whose mass is about 30 percent higher than Earth and “appears to orbit Proxima Centauri at roughly the right distance for liquid water to exist on its surface.”

    And as we all know, for life to evolve, “just add water.” The yute writer opines:

    Everything we know about life tells us that water is the indispensable element; the possible presence of surface water means Proxima b may have evolved life.

    I don’t object to ignorance, per se. There are just too many specialized studies and disciplines for anyone to keep up on things. But what the yute writer shows is how deeply entrenched the popular myth of evolution is.

    Just add water and it’s just a matter of time. But life isn’t a product of time or chemistry. It’s a product of information. That the fossil record and life on earth give the appearance of naturalistic causes is not in dispute. The earth starts with single-celled life and then progresses (somehow) to things as complicated as us several billion years later. Clearly things are moving (relatively speaking) from the simple to the complex. And given the various mass extinctions that have occurred, it seems a preposterous idea of a benevolent Intelligent Designer shepherding life to some kind of goal. A better analogy might be a lightly-tended ant farm so far as we can see.

    But what we can see is that even a single-celled bacteria is so complex that random chance seems an impossible solution. And, indeed, there is no evidence (none) that random chance can produce new biological features (outside of very rare cases), although it can modify…sometimes by degrading…existing features.

    If I were to say to you, “Given enough time and enough space, a McDonald’s franchise will evolve on some planet,” you might rightly think think that incredible. But a McDonald’s franchise is spectacularly less complex than the workings of a living cell.

    So you can see how myths are forwarded. And the main reason is surely not just a matter of indoctrination but that “all the smart people” believe in evolution (as commonly conceived). More importantly, the stigma is that “only stupid and uniformed people believe otherwise.”

    Well, how life got started and how it evolved (as in change over time) into the various species is still anyone’s guess. We have no idea. But I think there could be more life at a Hillary Clinton rally than you’ll ever find at Proxima Centauri.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      The only effort toward showing the naturalistic creation of life was the Urey experiment over 60 years ago, in which applying natural forms of energy to an atmosphere/water mix of the sort believed to be the original form resulted in simple organic chemicals. They never took it any further, and today they think the atmosphere was different anyway (thus rendering the experiment irrelevant).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        The success of Neo-Darwinism is partly due to marketing. One of the best, if not the best, debunkers of the marketing of Neo-Darwinism is Jonathan Wells in his Icons of Evolution. I just re-read chapter two, “The Miller-Urey Experiment.” Even after scientists came to understand that the early Earth did not have a methane-ammonia atmosphere, the Miller-Urey experiment (and accompanying iconic photos) were still being forwarded as an explanation for how life started, at least in the popular press and in textbooks.

        As you noted, Timothy, it is now believed that the early Earth had a much different atmosphere. It had significant amounts of oxygen produced by a process called “photodissociation” (and that has nothing to do with avoiding the visage of Cheeto Jesus). It’s a process whereby ultraviolet rays (not to be confused with her) split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. It is believed that the early atmosphere was produced by volcanoes which primarily release water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and trace amounts of hydrogen. “Since hydrogen is so light, Earth’s gravity would have been unable to hold it.” And the Uri Geller (sorry…I mean Miller-Urey) experiment was pumped full of hydrogen and all the air (and oxygen) were sucked out. As Wells notes, if they had not sucked that oxygen out, that experiment may have been their last when they set a spark to it.

        Within the scientific community, the Miller-Urey experiment became a dogma for some time simply because origin-of-life theories required an oxygen-free atmosphere. Even trace amounts of oxygen would have prohibited the creation of organic compounds via natural processes. As much as 25% of the oxygen that is in the atmosphere today may have been in the earliest atmosphere due to Cheeto Jesus (photodissociation…and I do try to disassociate from it every chance I get).

        You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs and you’ll find it impossible for natural processes to produce the first cell without a lot of natural amino acids floating around in warm ponds (the so-called “primordial soup” which apparently did not exist at all).

        As you said, the experiment was rendered irrelevant but I thought I’d add in a few details. And I highly recommend that book by Wells. It’s eminently readable.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          The extra detail there is probably worth the price. I’ll have to check for it sometime. I certainly have plenty of material already on the general subject.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Let’s just say that if you purchase “The Icons of Evolution” by Jonathan Wells, you won’t need to read chapter two which is the first chapter that deals with a specific icon. The opening chapter is more of an introduction.

            It’s been a while since I’ve read this, but some of the outstanding chapters are:

            Chapter 3: Darwin’s Tree of Life. (Hint: You can draw as many different trees as there are ways to categorize life.)

            Chapter 5: Haeckel’s Embryos. (This is indicative of just how much Neo-Darwinism relies on fraud.)

            Chapter 7: Peppered Moths. (Probably not of interest to you as you understand the difference between macro evolution and micro evolution….but perhaps you didn’t know that this was another fraud perpetrated by Darwin Dogmatists.)

            Chapter 8: Darwin’s Finches. (Season variation of beak sizes was taken as evidence for the evolution of new structures. But beak sizes went back to the norm after the drought. No long-term or even short-term evolution in evidence.)

            Chapter 9: Four-Winged Fruit Flies. (One of the most stunning chapters in that you learn just how resistant biological forms are to genetic mutation…at least in terms of trying to modify them fundamentally and create something new. For me, this is the slam-dunk for why Neo-Darwinism can’t be correct for anything by micro evolution.)

            Chapter 10: Fossil Horses and Directed Evolution. (Another example of fraudulent use of fossils to try to show evolution.)

            I’m sure the other chapters are as good as well. I’m sort of a retard reader so the relatively concise writing (but not too condensed or thick…Wells simply gets to the point and doesn’t have a lot of clutter) in 300 pages made for a pleasant read.

            • Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

              I just bought it, Brad. I’ll check in after reading. I’m always up for a factual take on contested topics. Coulter first stirred my curiosity in one of her finest. So many I can’t recall the title.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                I hope you like it, Tom. I found the book to be a rarity. Wells gets to the point. He doesn’t pad it with a lot of fluff. Very rare these days. But let us know what you think of it.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I know I’ve read about Haeckel’s embryos and the peppered moths before. The continued use of such false or disproven items would be like continuing to cite the Piltdown man.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Perhaps mental narcissism can be defined by refusing to distinguish between what ought to be and what is.

  9. Glenn Fairman says:

    Undeniable
    Another great book that is just hitting its stride.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I’ve read the free Kindle sample. I’m on the fence as to whether to purchase it. I think it covers a lot of the same ground as other books. I got burned in that regard by the mediocre “The Design of Life” by Wells and Dembski.

      And I prettied up your link.

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Rambler1, in reply to Glenn’s article at AT, writes:

    There is garbage and then there is dangerous garbage. Fairman’s fluff is dangerous garbage because it is basically anti-rationalist. His whining about “science can’t explain this or that, so it’s worthless” belongs in the trash can. I fully intend to pour cold water on this junk until Thomas stops publishing it.

    At least give the guy credit for being honest. This is the mindset that fuels the anti-Christian “rationalists.” (Whether you’ll find that these same Leftists are anti-Muslim is a good question…I doubt it in many cases.)

    First off, I have no problem with a scientist dismissing all religion as just mythical stories. It won’t affect doing science one way or another.

    But we’re also dealing with a fascist-like phenomenon of this new “master race” of rationalists who are so cock-sure of their own superior enlightenment that they would, and often have, punish those who don’t share their views. This is the real problem in all this, not someone’s stated belief or disbelief regarding some set of metaphysics.

    This Rambler1 guy oozes the kind of Nazi-like superiority that is dangerous. Perhaps in a bit of psychological transference, he specifies Glenn’s writing as the thing that is “dangerous.” But it’s not Glenn who writes, “I fully intend to pour cold water on this junk until Thomas stops publishing it.”

    What kind of rationalist fears discussing metaphysics, let alone the actual state of the world (including the sometimes awful and constraining state of the culture of science)? These are the kinds of people who are a pimple on the butt of humanity.

  11. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    One person named “mv” has an astute comment over at AT:

    If, before the big bang, there was no time in existence for god to have time to create, then there also was not yet any time in existence in which the big bang could occur. What a conundrum! What to believe?

    It is a conundrum. But it’s also one of those categorical error things. As John Lennox notes in one or more of his books, there is a difference between agency and the laws of nature. The laws of nature do not create themselves. It took some sort of agency (power).

    This is where naturalism goes wrong. Again, I have no problem with those who dismiss any and all religious belief when doing their science. For the most part, it won’t make any difference and this is precisely because of the difference between agency and the laws of nature.

    The laws of nature are algorithmic laws. They don’t change. There is no need to try to out-guess them or ascribe motive or purpose to them. They can be examined with the coldest of the cold hearts and you’ll still come up with the same answers.

    But where those laws came from is a different question and realm. Then we’re talking about agency as well as purpose. We’re even talking about the concept of agency with the atheists’ multiverse theory. This theory is based upon some agency (although they hide this fact in their squishy rhetoric) spitting out different universes (whether at random or however it does so).

    The main categorical mistake materialists make is not recognizing that they take existence itself as a given (and a quite major thing) in all scientific work. The ontological significance of existence is so taken for granted that these world’s supposedly smartest people then wrap around and ascribe agency to their algorithmic laws of nature thereby trying (unsuccessfully) to account for existence itself. Would-be conundrums such as “What came before the Big Bang?” dissolve when you realize that we’re dealing with something deeper than the usual cause-and-effect we experience in our universe. We’re dealing with causes that can cause (or create) cause-and-effect, as well as time itself.

    All that said, it still doesn’t make anyone’s religious beliefs true. But there is a logical and unavoidable difference between agency and the laws of nature, between a creator and the created thing. Most of the amateurish philosophy coming from atheists derives from their lack of dealing with this fundamental fact at the ground floor. Everything they then build is built upon sand.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Isaac Asimov had an interesting explanation for the Big Bang (though I doubt he intended it as serious speculation) in The Gods Themselves. Someone happens on a way of drawing energy from other universes — which leads to the slow modification of both universes’ laws. This can be balanced out for ours once they discover the problem. One such universe is a giant cosmic egg — and at some point the laws and parameters will change enough for it to have its Big Bang. (And how did the first come about? Don’t ask!)

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I take it Asimov, along with being a creative writer, also tended toward atheism. Atheists tend toward a steady-state universe, one without a beginning or end. It’s the only way for them to be able to skip by the idea of a creator.

        So we have the multiverse theory and even the giant cosmic egg theory where no universe stands alone.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      When people ask me if a god created the universe, I tell them that the question itself makes no sense. Time didn’t exist before the big bang, so there is no time for god to make the universe in.

      That Hawking’s comment is dishonest is pretty easy to figure out. Has he never heard the phrase, “outside time and space”? Whether or not he agrees with this phrase is immaterial. Surely the “most brilliant” physicist of our generation understands the idea.

      Thus by ignoring this very well established idea and restricting possibilities to “time”, Hawking is being a very naughty boy.

  12. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I thought Susan D. Harris was a friend of Glenn’s. She writes:

    Big words. Lots of fluff. WTH is American Thinker doing? Yeah, Hawking is a flipping dork without God. We know that. Way too many words to say it. This is meaningless drivel for those that think they’re highfalutin. What are we writing for? What the hell are we writing for?

    I’ve never expected Glenn to do my thinking for me. If he hasn’t addressed something that I think is important, I’ve always found his writing to be a useful jumping-off point. If all you have to say about the atheistic dogmatism in science (an amazing turn of events since Galileo) is that Hawking is a “dork” then what are you even doing reading American Thinker? Presumably the site (and this one) are for thinking.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      This is meaningless drivel for those that think they’re highfalutin.

      One may or may not like Glenn’s writing style, but to call this piece “meaningless drivel” displays a gross misunderstanding of both words.

      Clearly Susan is a product of the failed American education system.

      “Dork” is about the level one expects from these intellectual gnats.

  13. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    This comment is an interesting mix of secular/atheism with a soul who gives evidence of being able to think outside the bubble. Sort of.

    If this site is supposed to be about thinking then why the Christian presumption? I see no evidence of truth there. Why not Hindu gods or Buddha?

    Even in the 17th century Sir Francis Bacon had figured out how not to fool yourself: “If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.”
    https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/
    The scientific method. Still working well.

    I think Lawrence Krauss’s book A Universe From Nothing is a better explanation. That this universe began with a quantum fluctuation.

    There are no answers in Genesis. The light (big bang) came before the stars and way before the earth.

    Shall I harp on a fellow for creating a god of “quantum fluctuation”? As I’ve stated before, I think a Christian/Jewish monotheism is an honest and logical proposition, whether or not the details beyond this are true or not. The idea of a creator is not hidden inside tricky language.

    But in the case of those whose minds have been addled by secular culture (and its horrendous education system), one can actually say “quantum fluctuation” with a straight face and not know that one has just given a quite traditional view of god. Basically this arising from a presumably every-present and all-powerful “quantum fluctuation” is the exact same idea, in principle, as Thomas Aquinas’ argument of a “Necessary Being.”

    So I’m good with the “quantum fluctuation.” We can ask what this quantum is fluctuating in just as we might ask “Who created God.”? The ontological facts of the case — especially considering the Big Bang — necessarily lead to a creator/created-thing dichotomy, no matter why you call it (or how you unwittingly disguise it) and no matter what impossible (for us) conundrums it reveals.

    One fellow, Emcee, makes an astonishingly apt and concise remark in response to this fellow:

    Why the Christian presumption?? Rather, why the atheist presumption?? Atheism doesn’t fit the facts. It is illogical and irrational.

    We had a blow-out her over that very thing due to Mr. Kung’s quite excellent article, Atheistic Fundamentalists where one atheist commenter proved Mr. Kung’s case. I won’t repeat myself. You can read through the comments. But I think clearly theism ought to be the default position no matter that this makes atheists cry.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Indeed, the Big Bang preceded the Earth. But as it says in Genesis (RSV): “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. But the Earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Particularly when combined with the “Let there be light” command, this sounds like a tolerably good version of the Big Bang for primitive people with no scientific knowledge.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I’ve read the first part of Genesis more than once. Maybe it makes better sense in the Greek or Hebrew, but much of that is incomprehensible to me.

        I don’t understand the distinction between “Heaven and the Earth,” for example, or what it means to “divide the light from the darkness.”

        More importantly, what would this stuff have meant to the people who first wrote it and read it?

        What we can get from Genesis is the idea that there was a creation event and a beginning. As for what “waters” and “firmament” mean in that passage, I have no idea.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          One important aspect of this is a sudden creation — which is quite compatible with the Big Bang (first theorized by a Belgian cleric, Georges LeMaître). The Earth being “without form and void” indicates it didn’t exist yet as a separate body.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I’m not sure I understand that distinction. This may be my limitation. I don’t understand most of Einstein’s equations either.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      If there is creation, it follows that there must be a creator. I know, this is too simplistic for the eggheads and idiots of the world, who, perhaps not surprisingly, very often come to the same conclusions.

      If these atheist were honest, they would come and say,

      “I have no idea who or what created the universe. This is something which is beyond the ken of science and must be left to each person to try and figure out for himself.

      However creation came about, it is still a wonder. I am content to try and fathom its mysteries without trying to debunk something which cannot be scientifically proved or disproved.”

      That these fundamentalists will not come close to this type of statement reveals their true motivation does not lie with the search for truth. It lies elsewhere.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Mr. Kung, I’m fully in agreement with you on the belief that we’re dealing with cultural forces (cultural identities, perhaps) rather than facts, evidence, logic, or likely possibilities. Granted, I don’t think religious believers come at this subject dispassionately either. Both sides have an axe to grind. Both sides tend to try to make the facts of the world reduce down to fit their conception.

        But let’s forget all that and just look at the Big Bang. It apparently really happened. There was a beginning to this universe. And quite magically, some very impossibly fine-tuned physical laws were created along with it that just happened to allow for life.

        Even Columbo couldn’t prove the case for God. But the evidence is highly suggestive. And certainly the default position should be some kind of acknowledgment of the divide between the natural and supernatural, even if the latter category is necessarily quite fuzzy — not that we really understand what the “natural” is, so this should very much be kept in perspective….something atheist do not do and will not do….for the atheist, everything must be demystified, yet another “universal acid” like Darwinism. Both atheism and Darwinism have been shown to make people say stupid things.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          But let’s forget all that and just look at the Big Bang. It apparently really happened.

          Perhaps. It would appear that the theory would fit with the “measurables” of nature as they can be presently observed. I suppose it is the best available theory we have, at present. But I must sometimes laugh at the absolute cock-sure manner in which this theory is thrown around as fact. As far as I know, nobody was around to observe the actual event and forward their observations to us.

          If one were to be completely honest, one would have to admit that “scientists” just don’t know. Contrary to the belief of many people, scientists are like everyone else. Some are honest, some are dishonest, some are mentally off-balance and some are mentally sound. Some search for truth and some search for data which supports their bias.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I’m more than willing to take a look at the evidence that the theory of the Big Bang is based upon. We can’t run the clock back except in our imaginations. But with everything apparently expanding, if you do run the clock back, you get the Bang. And the microwave background radiation is apparently case-closed regarding the Bang. It is presumably the leftover evidence of the Bang.

            Still, I wouldn’t be surprise if big surprises await us.

          • Glenn Fairman says:

            It is quite revealing that since the theory of the Big Bang gained traction with empirical testability, those who understand its true implications have been striving to get around it. The multiverse – that endless procession of bubble universes, is merely a return to the cycles of the ancients without beginning or end. Moreover, some of these wishful thinkers believe that a person just like you has inhabited and will continue inhabiting these manifold modes of existence eternally, and this whiff of immortality gives them a modicum of comfort. Now if the multiverse- a raw conjecture that can neither be observed or tested, is not an article of faith without a god –which is what all atheists are seeking deep down, then I do not adequately understand the term.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              It is quite revealing that since the theory of the Big Bang gained traction with empirical testability, those who understand its true implications have been striving to get around it.

              I’ve also read here and there that the idea of inflation theory is an attempt to get around the fine-tuned universe. I don’t pretend to understand inflation theory, but it’s always seemed blatantly concocted to me. There’s actually a good book out that I’ve read by an eminent physicists who says that string theory is very likely little more than the work of imagination. I think it put it on the Bookshelf. Somewhere. I’m pretty sure it was Lee Smolin’s The Trouble with Physics. For a laymen physics book, this is a very nice work. It’s eleven bucks at Amazon for the Kindle version. Not Even Wrong is in the same vein. I don’t believe that I’ve read anything more than the free sample of this one.

              The multiverse – that endless procession of bubble universes, is merely a return to the cycles of the ancients without beginning or end.

              Let’s grant that the multiverse could be true…as true as the Earth resting on the back of a turtle (or held up by Atlas). As with string theory, it is very possible for mathematicians (throwing in a few constants or assumptions, as with fraudulent global warming models) to weave entire fantasies based upon otherwise sound-sounding mathematics. And who are you or I to refute them? Yes, I can do a little more math than just balance my checkbook, but not much more.

              I do think the multiverse theory is about satisfying an emotional requirement and/or ideological commitment — a religion, if you will. It’s, of course, more than possible to be quite religious (Pascal, Newton, Galileo, etc.) and do science. One of the core conceits is that religion is like putting sugar in the gas tank of your mind. It ruins the ability to be “rational.”

              Of course, that is nonsense. Atheistic fundamentalism, if anything, ruins the ability to be rational. And religious over-exuberance and fundamentalism can surely do the same. At the end of the day, science does require a bit of commitment to find what you will find, to be objective, to be inquisitive no matter who you might piss off by the questions you ask.

              Nowadays, of course, the constraints upon the questions being asked are applied by the scientific fundamentalists themselves, and mostly about quite unproven (if not junk) science such as Neo-Darwinism and the theory of the multiverse.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Hot Air had a link few days ago to an article, written by a scientist, looking at what has gone wrong in the field. He noted that most peer-reviewed articles report results that no one can seem to replicate — and that doesn’t even get into the fatal conjunction of science and politics. Scientists have corrupted their fields of study, and rhereby earned the skepticism of the public.

            Addendum: I just came across the article again at the Reason site; it was by Ronald Bailey, their science columnist (who has come to believe in CAGW alarmism to some extent). The link is:

            http://reason.com/archives/2016/08/26/most-scientific-results-are-wrong-or-use

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              I really do believe it is a case of “Whatever the Left touches, it makes worse.” In Glenn’s article (or blog post…I get the two mixed up), he mentions Christianity being a positive influence on culture. Well…that’s surely self-evident considering what we see happening now. It’s a presumed that a good Christian would welcome the discovery of new knowledge no matter whose pet theory it supported or rebuked. That’s integrity. Although Richard Feynman was not a Christian (and, really, about the only good model I can think of for the “secular” man), he had the kind of integrity lacking in many scientists today.

  14. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    VonMisesJr has an interesting (and quite intelligent) comment:

    The irony is that science cannot explain life and as living beings we can deduct science so that everything must fit into our formulas yet we do not fit into the formula? That is why the Spiritual and Material was separated from before the time of Plato and Aristotle. Even Ancient peoples understood that we were not simply material objects existing in a wholly material world.

    One of the most powerful reducing agents is atheism. Atheism is a powerful drug for the smug. In return for reducing all the complexities of life down to a narrow materialist realm, they are given a kind of pseudo-certainty in all things.

    Yes indeed, I try to stifle my laugh when I recount that it is these atheists who commonly chide the religious for not being able to be comfortable with just saying “I don’t know.”

    Atheism, much like Leftism (and they are indeed first cousins), tends to make people stupid.

  15. Glenn Fairman says:

    You never know what’s going to blow up at an AT comment site. As usual, the Christians rise early and the infidels later. Some guy has been sending me evangelical Atheist links in the hope of converting me. The mockers mock, the believer’s hold forth against the sickly toothless lions, and more heat than light is generated. Susan Harris is the one troubling thing. Her email to me sounded of personal despair and the idea of maybe giving up writing for free. I could feel an irritation that I had not encountered from her before.
    This is to be expected when you reveal the nakedness of people’s gods. Whether it gets people to think or merely hunker down in their holes is a question above my pay grade.

    Some people are going to love you and others are going to hate you for attempting something that hopefully is honest. Hawking will never know I wrote this, but others will. If you are reviled for swimming against the spirit of the age, then you are in good company.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      As usual, the Christians rise early and the infidels later.

      LOL. Interesting that that should be noticeable.

      Some guy has been sending me evangelical Atheist links in the hope of converting me.

      One of the problems of such a conversion is that, generally speaking, the theist has considered a lot more possibilities than the atheist. He may even have been an atheist at one point. Whatever the case may be, unless the religionist has simply gained his religion by mindless osmosis, he has likely had to consider a number of things, good and bad. He has lived outside the bubble of idealogical blinkeredness.

      Re: Susan. Hey, with the ascendency of Trump and Hillary, despair is a rational response. And I’d hate to try to keep my sanity by writing for hire. That would mean catering to the cesspool of popular culture of one sort or another. One needn’t be a pointed-headed elitist to not want to wander in the sewer.

      I make no bones about saying that I think most people these days are a little crazy. I approach everyone as if they are right out of the movie, “The Wicker Man” — at least until proven otherwise. It may be difficult for people to come to the realization that there are dark, ignorant, and vindictive forces specifically trying to tear the world apart. Those forces call black “white” and up “down.” There is ample reason to despair.

      I despair on a regular basis. But I also try to learn from it. I also try to make at least small productive use of it. Thus the change in this site’s submission policy regarding purely political articles. There may be reason for despair but I won’t wallow in it. I won’t make a rhetorical sport of it.

  16. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s an interesting quote by Dan the Conservative one. (I wonder…Trump or Cruz?) He writes:

    I defer to C.S. Lewis when he states that reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning. Imagination, producing new metaphors or revivifying old, is not the cause of truth, but its condition. Miracles in fact are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.

    I was coincidentally reading a short article talking about the Tolkien/Lewis friendship and their focus on mythology as a way to state truths (or at least religious beliefs).

    First, let me state my biases: I think imaginative people can become enamored with their own imagination. And that’s a good thing or else we wouldn’t have so many wonderful stories and works of fiction. And those who have a particular skill may tend to put that skill up on a pedestal.

    I think it’s interesting that Tolkien thought Lewis’ Narnia series was too direct and undisguised religiosity. He considered his Lord of the Rings trilogy to be a better blend and with a better chance of the Christianity penetrating (by stealth, it seems) into a reader’s mind.

    This is funny because I’ve heard people time after time talk about how much Christianity is woven in the LOTR. And I say, “Yes, it’s so stealthy that I don’t see it.” Of course, I suspect there are more than a few here who can cite chapter and verse as to when and where Tolkien spun his Christian themes. But I still don’t really see them.

    But I do see them clearly in Narnia. And apparently at the time, Narnia was more of a commercial success as well.

    Lewis clearly thought that myth was not a synonym for “fiction” and that it could, and did, provide a useful way to transmit an idea. But this is a horribly complex subject, particularly because of that squishy boundary between fiction and what we might call an iconic truism. It’s not wrong to tell a story of the little boy who cried wolf, even if that event never took place, for there is a deep truth in it.

    Although “myth” is a word that tends to horrify Christians (Of course all of the Bible is 100% true and not myth!), I like Dan’s (which may be Lewis’) formulation that imagination is not the cause of truth but its condition. And I take that to mean that we needn’t get caught up in the pugnacious details as to whether or not a myth is literally real if we understand that it is a transmitter of truth.

    Myth can obviously be something else as well (pleasant and quite fictional stories that we tell ourselves). But I thought that was an interesting post by Dan.

  17. Glenn Fairman says:

    There is a subtlety to Tolkien’s Christian message and with it the intelligence of having created a world that teaches its themes. In the Silmarillion, one finds a God and archangels that wove creation in harmonious song, and a Lucifer character whose song became dissonant, yet Uru composed more intricate melodies to incorporate that dissonance into a greater beauty.
    The fallen state of man and some angels. The ultimate victory of Good; The power of the small and weak in confronting evil; the idea that Morgoth/Sauron cannot create, only corrupt, redemption and resurrection; the notion that evil is endemic to the world; The First and Second Born; The moral ascendency of Good over numerical might; the theme that God always provides for the virtuous and courageous; the idea that unseen things are working in the background to effect Good, even when things look the blackest; the virtue of selflessness and sacrifice; the myopia of evil; prophesy; The Return of The King; the beauty of simple virtue over the pride of the intellect; the virtue of endurance; the repose of the good in the Lands of the West. There are many more, but these come to mind.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks for the rundown, Glenn. That indeed jibes with Christian values. One the problems is, your run-of-the-mill Progressive is likely going to see himself in that description as well:

      1) The power of the small and weak

      2) The virtue of selflessness and sacrifice (but you sacrifice your wealth, will you, not mine).

      3) The ultimate victory of Good (as defined by them)

      4) That there are forces (capitalism, competition, white European males, racism, sexism, etc.) that can only corrupt, not build the Utopia they envision. Redemption is found (through “diversity,” “multiculturalism,” and recycling). It’s a reverse of methods but the same overall vision.

      But quite a few of those themes are contrary to Progressivism/Leftism:

      1) The fallen state of man (they believe man is basically good, corrupted only by competition, capitalism, white people, racism, sexism, etc.)

      2) And they certainly do not believe in the moral ascendency of Good over numerical might or else we wouldn’t be hammered over the head all the time with supposedly “settled science” and truth being a factor simply of popular fads and fashions.

      3) They do not believe in the beauty of simple virtue over the pride of intellect.

      4) They do not value the virtue of endurance

      And, of course, one should point out that Aragorn wasn’t an ass-kicking female nor a girly-man (despite being played by Viggo in the movies).

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Yes, Tolkien shows Christian ethics (as does Lewis), much of which resembles other systems. He never shows clearly Christian theology in the sense of the resurrection story (which presumably happens long after the events of the books).

  18. Glenn Fairman says:

    I was speaking of the resurrection of Gandalf

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      ” For in his condition it was for him a sacrifice to perish on the Bridge in defence of his companions, less perhaps than a mortal Man or Hobbit, since he had a far greater inner power than they; but also more, since it was a humbling and abnegation of himself in confirmity to ’the Rules’: for all he could know at that moment he was the only person who could direct the resistance to Sauron successfully, and all his mission was in vain. He was handing over to the Authority that ordained the Rules, and giving up personal hope of success.

      …So Gandalf sacrificed himself, was accepted, and enhanced, and returned. ’Yes, that was the name. I was Gandalf.’ Of course, he remains similar in personality and idiosyncrasy, but both his wisdom and power are much greater. When he speaks he commands attention; the old Gandalf could not have dealt so with Theoden, nor with Saruman. He is still under the obligation of concealing his power and teaching rather than forcing or dominating wills, but where the physical powers of the Enemy are too great for the good will of the opposers to be effective he can act in emergency as an ’angel’ – no more violently than the release of St. Peter from prison….

      Gandalf really ’died’, and was changed: for that seems to me the only real cheating, to represent anything that can be called ’death’ as making no difference… He was sent by a mere prudent plan of the angelic Valar or govenors; but Authority had taken up this plan and enlarged it, at the moment of its failure. ’Naked I was sent back- for a brief time, until my task is done’. Sent back by whom, and whence? Not by the ’gods’ whose business is only with this embodied world and its time; for he passed ’out of thought and time’. Naked is alas! unclear. It was meant just literally, ’unclothed like a child’ (not disincarnate), and so ready to receive the white robes of the highest. Galadriel’s power is not divine, and his healing in Lorien is meant to be no more than physical healing and refreshment.”
      [The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, (#156)]

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I have a lot of Tolkien and Tolkien-related material, and may have those; but if so, I haven’t read them. Yet.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I have some materials on Tolkien that I’ve downloaded…including a few photos. Here’s the same one online for Addison’s Walk where the caption of my offline photo reads: “This walk in the grounds of Magdalen College was the site of a long conversation between Tolkien, C.S.Lewis and Hugo Dyson, after which C.S.Lewis became converted to Christianity.”

          Other sites around the web show many more photos of the walk. But this is one good example of why I like getting out and taking a good walk…in somewhat similar surroundings. The hopes for this site is that it can be an extension of Addison’s Walk regarding a great number of things.

          I assume Tolkien, Lewis, and Dyson has some spirited, but generally civil, conversations that veered more toward meaning and less toward intellectualism (and it seems a good bet they didn’t deal in postmodernism or the non-thinking of cultural marxism).

          Those are heavy shoes to try to fill. But instead of making idols of these gentlemen, we might emulate them a bit.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            One thing I would like to see confirmed (or, for that matter, refuted) is the report that Tolkien got many of his interesting hobbit last names (all those Boffins and Bolgers and Proudfoots and such) from an American student (probably a Rhodes scholar) telliing him about the interesting names he came across in the Lexington, Kentucky phone directory.

  19. Glenn Fairman says:

    Lewis believed that you can sneak in a good amount of theology into a story if it is done artfully. He resisted the description of Narnia as an allegory, especially with Santa Claus appearing. Yet all the themes are present and used economically. Lewis’ favorite novel was Perelandra, but he believed his best was “Till We Have Faces.” And it is here that we can see his mature formulation on myth and its use as a stairway to the Gospel, which can be viewed as mythlike (he felt that its quality lacked the romantic) but true.
    Tolkien’s vision is lush and haunting, but he had so much time to give to the creation of a cosmology and language to grant depth to his fantasy. Lewis was much more prolific and produced articles, gave talks, wrote books, presided over the Socratic club, taught. All of the Narnia books in my collection are about 110 pages in length and appeal to both the very young and mature. Tolkien requires a higher level of sophistication than today’s children might be able to summon.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I would probably take That Hideous Strength as my favorite novel by Lewis. It deals heavily with ethics, and only lightly with theology, whereas Perelandra is heavily theological. I also rather like The Screwtape Letters.

      I’m not sure if the resurrection of Gandalf can quite be equated to the resurrection of Aslan. Aslan could be considered God in some form; Gandalf is a Maiar, which in effect would be a demigod or angel. Such spirits probably do have some capacity to come back — note that Sauron was physically destroyed at the end of the Second Age but remained as a spirit through the Third.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I think you’ve captured the distinction between Gandalf and Aslan. I posted Tolkien’s “Letter #156” which apparently is his explanation of Gandalf’s resurrection.

        But both have much the same theme, the giving up of one’s life for a good cause and thus to be transformed into something even more powerful and, presumably, good.

  20. Ben Plonie says:

    Atheism is clearly a belief system of itself.

    Proponents of atheism routinely cite such things as babies with cancer or in the present case ALS as proof that there is no god. By which they mean a benevolent, loving god as represented in the monotheistic as opposed to the pagan tradition. I know someone who is quite bitter for some reason I never learned who insists ‘If there is a god he has to be a sadistic murderer!’

    There are two answers I can think of at this time of night.

    1) Too bad. If God is a sadistic murderer it is just tough luck. The actual answer as always is in the Big Picture, which we ultimately fail to comprehend even tough we may merit to some portion of it, perhaps in retrospect. Anybody ever heard one of those ‘That be good!… That be bad!…’ exchanges?

    2) If a believer is responsible for explaining tragedies and disasters, the atheist is responsible for explaining everything else, which overwhelmingly works perfectly well even if we take it for granted. In the early 80’s I was taught that every cell contains ten thousand enzymes, protein assemblies and sub-assemblies, most of which are vital for sustaining any life at all and a much smaller handful of which are vital for sustaining health. Hawking may be a victim of a flaw in an important physiological process. But he exists because untold thousands of processes (including moral social ones as pointed out) are operating properly. I wouldn’t want to be the one to tell him to look at the bright side, but he is speaking with the authority of intellectualism which obliges him to look at the biggest possible picture.

  21. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s an appropriate article, by coincidence, from Evolution News and Views: A Simple Refutation of the “Universe from Nothing”

    The long and the short of it is that the “nothing” posited by atheists is not nothing but at least several different somethings.

    The important thing to note regarding this subject of “nothing” is the dishonest philosophy of the atheists. Theists posit an everlasting or always-existing Creator god. One can argue whether this is possible or not or a contradiction in terms (who created the Creator?). But it is an honest formulation of an ontology that we find ourselves in, that begs an explanation, and for which explanations can barely be suggested by our imprecise words from inside space and time as we ponder the obscure and inexplicable.

    If atheists posited an everlasting “quantum foam” then at least that would be honest. But I’ve never heard it explained that way. It’s always a universe leaping (perhaps via a “quantum fluctuation”) from “nothing.”

    It’s okay to speculate. It’s okay to be wrong. It’s okay to be obscure (since we are dealing with impossibly obscure topics). None of those things besmirch a writer. But it’s the dishonesty that is so corrosive and so marks the atheist religious movement.

  22. SkepticalCynic SkepticalCynic says:

    Our most brilliant scientists say that at some point in time 13.8 billion years ago suddenly from nothing came a “big bang.” An explosion of gigantic proportions, if you will. As time went by things cooled, solar systems appeared and the Earth with its waters began. As more time went by, low and behold, animals and plants began. Humans eventually emerged and finally we have what we all see around us. A Creation! We, you and I, were blown into existence from that fire. What a cool idea, huh? You can call me dumber than a brick if you like but that is the most preposterous idea that I have ever heard. Much more preposterous than what is in the Holy Bible.

    For your edification, I recommend reading, “Signature in the cell” by Stephen C. Meyer.

  23. Glenn Fairman says:

    I must stop signing my e-mail address in the by-line. A man I will refer to as L.W. has been ejaculating all over himself with his scientific infatuation. I believe he is trying to evangelize me to the Church of Hawking. This self-styled genius wrote the following. Try and count every dubious claim and conjecture. To quote our Lord: “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”

    “The belief that harmonized reactions that can create life could not occur by accident is counter to the facts. The Universe is replete w/ amino acids and organic molecules as shown by spectroscopic analysis. The factual evidence is that the fundamental building blocks of RNA/ DNA exist throughout the Universe around almost every star systems we have looked at.. The Kepler space observatory is showing thousands upon thousands of rocky exoplanets within their own habitable life zones. There are potentially trillions + planets where primitive life forms could emerge just within our Milky Way Galaxy. Since there are over a hundred trillion galaxies in our known Universe and each galaxy containing over a 100 billion + stars, the chance occurrence of some form of life is incalculable. You can do the math re have massive such a number would be. The issue really is not whether so primitive form of life exists in the Universe but whether those life forms could have evolved into intelligible ‘beings.’ The series of [EVOLUTIONARY] events that created humans on Earth could never be repeated. The permutations would be nearly infinite. This does not preclude other intelligible aliens in the Universe but the vastness of the Universe will preclude our contacting them or vice versa. They almost certainly would not have a DNA-like molecular basis.
    My speculative belief is that we are presently the only advanced life forms in the Universe but w/ a billion years of technological progress, we will begin populate the Universe before our sun swells to its red giant phase and consumes the Earth. It’s going to be a great journey populating the cosmos.
    The Universe is so big we could populate it over billions upon billions of years and still never come in contact w/ other ‘beings.’ The Universe probably is infinite in size and we should come to know that in another 10-15 years of research.”

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      He’s completely right if life is a Betty Crocker mix…just add water. Everything this fellow has written makes logical sense if life is a function of inevitable chemistry.

      I won’t speak to any of the other assertions no more than I would to a fairy tale. It’s all a story, with not a shred of evidence to back it up.

      The tell that this fellow hasn’t even a basic understanding of life is given in this:

      They almost certainly would not have a DNA-like molecular basis.

      Maybe. Maybe not. But there would have to be a storehouse of information, because life is a function of information. The actual chemicals involved are simply a means to run the machine. If God (or someone) could use Cheetos to form life (various twists in the individual Cheetos acting as proteins do), then you’d still need an information source because there is nothing in Cheetos or in amino acids that is life-like or contains life. They are the mere clay used to form the vessel.

      Did God hand-craft life? Maybe. We don’t know. We haven’t the barest clue as to how life came about. We can tell all the comforting stories we want till the cows come home, but at present we can’t say “This is how it was done.” We might eliminate some preposterous schemes such as Neo-Darwinism. And that’s helpful. But we still don’t know.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        As usual, that respondent fails to consider the matter of getting from simple organic chemicals to complex ones by random natural means.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Silly you. If you wave a magic wand over matter long enough, simple chemicals will change to complex chemicals which will change to life.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            That’s pretty much the Betty Crocker theory of evolution: Just add water.

            The magic that underlays Neo-Darwinism is the idea that given enough time, anything is possible. If someone wants to call God magic, then fine. Let’s be honest about that. A supernatural being is, for all intents and purposes, a form of magic compared to the world we know.

            But science isn’t supposed to be about magic. It’s supposed to be about evidence supporting (or not supporting) specific theories. It’s not supposed to be about repeating mythical stories that simply sound good and gain weight by sheer repetition, if not the power of compulsive dogmatism.

            But that’s where we are. Society has come full circle on its mythology. Although the mythology operates in the same way and performs the same functions, it’s a mythology that is not even marginally recognized as such.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Yes, there is that small thing. It’s as if someone is pontificating on the next corporate jet design we might see from Learjet — but the Wright Brothers have yet to take off from Kitty Hawk. Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

          But if you take the Wright Flyer I as a given, you can weave a fine story, extrapolating from where we’ve been to where we might go. We can do that with space travel (as he has done), for instance, supposing that because we’ve been to the moon we might, in time, colonize large portions of the galaxy.

          Forever is a long time, and making it to the next star is challenge enough. But who knows? Because the principle has been set that we can traverse the space between celestial bodies, it’s not crazy talk to suggest that one day there could be a McDonalds in the Alpha Centauri system.

          But biologists have yet to build the equivalent of Wright Flyer I. No one has the faintest idea how to do so. Even if natural processes did so, they have not demonstrated it.

          Nor is it likely that “Intelligent Design” will have much more success. Although the theory could be absolutely true, it’s a problematic one because it’s fuzzy regarding whether this theory could ever be falsified. And a theory that can’t be falsified tells us very little.

          That’s the boat that Dogmatic Darwinism is in. Like global warming, it can’t be falsified. Any evidence against it is simply recast as evidence for it. Darwinism is a dogma, not a science. Intelligent Design isn’t that much better, although one could conceive of a designer stepping up and demonstrating how it was all done, thus the possibility exists that the design theory could be proven. But it’s difficult to conceive of how the design theory could ever be falsified, thus limiting the theory’s usefulness to selling books for the time being.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            One advantage intelligent design has is that we know it works, at least somewhat. Just look up Luther Burbank sometime.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Here’s the Wiki entry on Luther Burbank. He sounds as if he did quite a bit of intelligent botany himself.

              I totally get the proposal of “intelligence” as a cause sufficient to produce the result of life. I don’t disagree with it. In fact, I think it’s the best explanation we have.

              And, personally (as if the whole DNA-to-protein-synthesis system were not enough, moving from a 4-bit system and translating to a 3-bit one), I think what is truly astounding about this system, and shows a design far above the likely ability of chance to account for, is the reality of alternative splicing (gene expression that results in a single gene coding for multiple proteins) as undertaken by the spliceosome and the editosome processes. This is a clear sign of sophistication and an extremely fine-tuned ability to adapt…all built-in.

              RNA splicing animation

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