THINKING CORRECTLY ABOUT SCIENCE

Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd (1894-19770) made a major contribution towards Christian theory of reality (ontology). In his theory, Dooyeweerd proposes that we understand creation as having multiple aspects (law-spheres), where an ‘aspect’ is defined as “a basic kind of properties and laws”. Examples of such kinds are: physical, spatial, biotic, logical, sensory, linguistic, ethical, etc. He distinguishes fifteen such aspects of created reality. They are mutually irreducible both in the sense that none can be coherently eliminated in favour of another and also none can be coherently regarded as the cause of any other.

Dooyeweerd

The core idea is that all aspects are created, since there is nothing that God did not create. This includes matter and life, the laws of logic, and the laws governing all the other aspects. The theory goes on to argue that all things in creation have (active or passive) properties of every one of the aspects and so are subject to the laws of all the aspects. For example, a rock has a specific weight whether we know its weight or not. It is has this property independent of an observer. But its sensory colour is not independent. Rather it appears black in relation to a perceiver. Thus the rock’s colour is a passive property because it requires being acted upon by a perceiver to be actualised. The theory takes note of the observed fact that, as far as we know, only humans have active properties in all fifteen aspects. Second the first six (lower aspects) are governed by laws that cannot be broken such as the law of gravity. By contrast higher aspects such as “ethical” can be violated. Dooyeweerd argues that the aspects lower on the list are preconditions for aspects higher on the list, but that no aspect produces an other. For example, it is necessary for there to be things with active physical properties in order for there to be things with active biotic properties, which are in turn necessary for there to be things that have active sensory perception.

The distinctness of modal aspects is anchored in our experiences with all created things: from a molecule over algae and mammals to humans, each kingdom features new active properties that do not exist in the lower kingdoms, neither can they be imagined – as transitional- properties. A philosophy that presupposes a loving God who has given us the ability to observe, know and experience the world in a meaningful way necessarily leads us to trust our observations. The distinctness and irreducibility of modal aspects and laws tells us, then, that things could not have ’emerged’ or evolved form each other, having their origin in God and without the means of some evolutionary process that cannot account for the step changes in the properties we observe.

I would suggest that the only reason special creation is rejected as the best explanation for origins is a pre-existing bias towards materialistic evolutionary explanations.

Extract from article by Martin Tampier in Journal of  Creation Vol. 30 (2) 2016

IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE SCIENCE, IF FACTS OF THE UNIVERSE ARE UNORDERED?

Basic to the unbeliever’s worldview is a denial of creation – the ordered arrangement of the universe according to the mind of God.

The Christian worldview is that not one piece of the created order is where it is, at the time it is, and the size it is , that is not the result of God’s ultimate plan for His creation.

Knowledge requires the ability to differentiate between individual objects (One- and- Many question). This is done by means of universals, or what we might call categories. Examples of categories would be horse, cat, chair, trees, plants and so forth. In the Christian worldview, categories or universals, are part of the creation act of God. This is what unifies everything in the universe (unity and diversity), otherwise we just have a lot of  ‘abstract particulars’ that don’t relate to anything else. Particulars (things, events, words) need something that connects them to something else that will provide meaning to the particular whatever it might be. Right at the foundation of the universe (Genesis 1) God created particulars and kinds (universals), ” The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, each according to its kind …” Genesis 1:11-12.

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In God’s own being, the Trinity, we find both unity and diversity. Christian philosopher, Cornelius Van Til recognized the question of the One-and-Many as a metaphysical issue. “Using the language of the One-and-Many question we contend that in God the one and the many are equally ultimate. Unity in God is no more fundamental than diversity and diversity in God is no more fundamental than unity.”

The doctrine of the Trinity provides a solution to the problem of knowledge , the one-and-many or universals and particulars, and therefore a solution to the issues of relationships, or community. In the Trinity the absolute self-sufficient God is both unity and diversity. Creation reveals a one-and-many universe brought into existence by a one-and-many triune God.

The universe is not an accumulation of unknowable abstractions but a creative act of God. Without such a belief in a unifying principle in the universe, science is not possible. It is the unifying principle, the common denominator, that provides order and coherence – rationality – to the universe. This is one of the unproven assumptions of science. It is no coincidence that science has grown on the back of a Christian culture and worldview.

Extracted from article by Ian Hodge “Trinity’s Truth Reflected in Creation”, http://www.creation.com

 

PHYSICS POINTS TO GOD’S GLORY

Chad-RodekohrDr Chad Family-Grand-Canyon

Dr Chad Rodekohr                                              Chad with his family

Chad Rodekohr earned a B.S. in Aviation Management, an M.S. in Physics, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, all from Auburn University (Alabama). He is an Associate Professor of Physics at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, where he and his wife are raising their five children.

As a mechanical engineer and a physics professor, Dr Chad Rodekohr is passionate about the scientific method. Some might be surprised to find that he is also a biblical creationist. But he says that his career actually helps confirm the amazing design in the world.

“Physics is the study of our real physical surroundings. Since all physical things were created and are now sustained by God, it is easy to point to God’s glory while studying physics.”

Chad points out that: “Those who deal in the historical sciences desire the authority of having used the scientific method. In reality they are peddling a false worldview about history disguised as science and claimed as fact. I think that this is why the scientific method is not taught to most students anymore. Although students all act like they know the scientific method, when pinned down, most can’t actually differentiate between hypothesis, theory, law, or fact. It is no wonder they don’t distinguish between repeatable science and claims about history.”

He was asked to explain how he handled disclosing his creationist views in the classroom as a student, and how he would advise students to handle it themselves.

“What I did may or may not have been the best way to handle it, and is probably not what I would do now if I could do it all over. The primary way I handled the issue was to select carefully the classes that I took. I simply didn’t select courses which were historical in nature—knowing full well what the theme of the class would be. But even in operational science courses, the issue would occasionally come up. In those situations I would only steer into the creation discussion when it was in a personal setting with my fellow students.”

We need to bring academia back to the Lordship of Christ—gently and respectfully, being prepared at every step.

“How would I handle it now? What if I didn’t have the luxury of simply not taking historical science courses? Peter gives us clear teaching on this—1) Honour Christ as Lord by bringing such conversations back to Him—the Creator and Redeemer, 2) Be prepared—understand the scientific issues so you can ‘give an answer’, and 3) be gentle and respectful (1 Peter 3:15). If you are treading into unfamiliar waters, it is easiest to accomplish this with a series of questions leading back to the faulty foundational assumptions on which evolutionary teaching is always based. From there it can be contrasted with the solid biblical witness of our holy Creator, Christ the Lord.”

To students who are considering pursuing a scientific career, Chad says: “Please continue! Please persevere! Please investigate fully! Please teach truth!”

Extract from interview with Lita Cosner on http://www.creation.com

 

GOD’S WISDOM versus SATAN’S/MAN’S WISDOM

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The problem with worldly wisdom is found back in the very first words of the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

God conceived, created, defined, rules, and judges the entire universe. God alone is ultimate. Therefore, creation and all creatures (including us!) are derived and dependent.

That is why Genesis 1:1 is the most offensive verse in the Bible. If this verse is true, then every premise and postulate of the world’s wisdom is a lie. This is why men respond in such fury against even the obvious – the universe demonstrates Intelligent Design. If there’s a Designer, then I am not ultimate—and if that is the case, everything collapses.

If we turn to the last pages of the Bible, we see this:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. (Revelation 21:1)

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5)

God is Lord, on His throne. He designed and created the original universe, which was ruined by sin. God will design and create the new heavens and new earth. So we see here: God’s words (not Satan’s, not ours) that are faithful and true, and God’s deeds (not Satan’s, not ours) that are final and determinative. Worldly wisdom is false, temporary, and doomed.

Our only hope lies in the wisdom of God, which centres in the cross of Jesus Christ. We must turn from the pipe-dream of our own ultimacy, bow before the ultimacy of the Lord God. It is only when we start from God’s ultimacy, and the sufficiency of His Word, that we have any hope of true wisdom and knowledge (Proverbs 1:79:10).

see complete article Competing Wisdom’s by Dan Phillips on http://www.creation.com

A GOOD GOD & A WORLD OF DEATH & SUFFERING?

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One of the most common questions asked of Christians is some version of: “If God is so loving, why are there bad things in the world?” The implication being that if God created this world in the state it is in, He can’t be ‘very good’ Himself. This is sometimes used as a reason to reject belief in God.

If God created everything in 6 days when exactly were ‘bad things’ created?

The first thing we need to understand is that God wasn’t surprised by the Fall of Adam. God is all knowing and so knew that a punishment would have to be meted out following Adam’s (and his offspring’s) rebellion.

According to Scripture, at the time of the Fall the environment changed and there were changes in the physical construction of some things as well. For example thorns appeared where there were none before. Some might ask ‘Doesn’t that mean God must have created new genetic information for these things at that time where there was none before?’ Not necessarily, because ‘hidden’ genetic information can lie dormant within living things and be activated under certain environmental conditions.

For example up to the 1920’s, scientists used to classify grasshoppers as a separate species to locusts. However, researchers have since determined that they are actually the same creature. Under certain (laboratory reproducible) circumstances they exhibit a sort of Jekyll/Hyde transformation that is truly startling!

Behavioural differences happen immediately at the transformation, with physical changes appearing in subsequent generations. The difference in behaviour (grasshoppers are solitary, locusts swarm), and morphology (locusts have smaller legs, wings and bodies but have a 30% larger brain than grasshoppers) is significant and changes neural, muscular and exo-skeletal expression. And the transformation from grasshopper to locust can also be reversed back again. Yet the DNA of the two creatures is identical.7

This ability for DNA to express different programming from the same source code under different environmental conditions is actually fairly common. The epigenetic code, a set of switches that turn genes on and off (e.g. in response to environmental stimuli) is a main contributor to this ability of the ‘finished product’ to vary despite the same DNA ‘instructions. This is known as ‘phenotypic plasticity’.

Not only is the discovery of latent genetic information an incredible challenge for evolution to account for, and a tremendous evidence of design (because it exhibits all of the characteristics of foresight and pre-planning in the genomes of creatures around the world), but it also helps answer the supposedly unanswerable question of how ‘bad things’ appeared after the Fall if God’s creation was completely finished by the end of the sixth day of creation.

God’s word is true

Foreknowing the Fall of man,9 God created the features of a post-Fall world in latent form within His very good world. They only became activated when God cursed the creation as punishment for Adam’s transgression. And the entire creation groans because of that Curse and is evidence that something is desperately wrong with this world. If God had not caused our physical environment to change at the time of the Fall, we would be lost without Him, bound for Hell but still in a virtual paradise. How would we know there was anything wrong and that we were in need of our Saviour

extract from article “The good, the bad and the ugly ….” by Calvin Smith on http://www.creation.com

 

EXCITING DOCUMENTARY – EVOLUTION’S ACHILLES HEEL

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This 96-minute documentary interviews 15 Ph.D. scientists about the greatest weaknesses of modern evolutionary theory. The public generally only hears one side of the origins debate, but with stunning animations and dramatic footage, Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels presents a powerful ‘warts and all’ critique of textbook evolutionary orthodoxy. You’ll also discover just how much this debate impacts your view of yourself and the world around you.

“Never before have this many scientists been brought together for a project of this type. … Visually stunning 3D animations and dramatic footage help to show how the theory’s supposed strengths are, in fact, its fatal flaws—Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels.
CFDb (Christian Film Database)

“If we could award Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels more than five Doves, our best rating, we would! … the fifteen experts in this film blow open the door for God’s foot, the Grand Designer, to walk in boldly.”
The Dove Foundation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEkJezGRJPc

You need to get the video when it becomes available in November from http://www.creation.com

Professor’s atheistic pulpit—his classroom

David-Barash

Professor David Barash

Biology Professor David P. Barash from the University of Washington now thinks that his biology class is the proper forum for explicitly attacking his students’ religious convictions, as he shamelessly announced in his recent New York Times op-ed.1

Barash says, in a class on animal behaviour, Evolution proves that (a) living things were not designed, (b) humans are not exceptional, and (c) God cannot be both all-powerful and all-good.

This religion-bashing seminar is a severe abuse of power. As a public university professor, Barash’s role should not be to proselytize, but to educate—fairly informing students about all sides of legitimate academic disputes. Sadly, however, Barash’s approach to education is nothing more than a prejudicial, intellectually dishonest attempt to indoctrinate students into his own anti-Christian worldview.

If Barash’s New York Times summary is truly representative of his teaching, he hardly even acknowledges, much less addresses, arguments that challenge evolution or support biblical creation. Instead of dealing with the best creationist arguments, he presents caricatures that informed creationists are careful to avoid (e.g., denigrating evolution because it is called a ‘theory’).

Instead of allowing students to hear from all sides of the controversy, Barash tells them evolution is beyond question. He insists, “Teaching biology without evolution would be like teaching chemistry without molecules.”1 His statement would clearly have been news to leading chemist and member of the National Academy of Sciences, Philip Skell (1918–2010), the ‘father of carbene [CH2] chemistry’, who pointed out: ‘Certainly, my own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution. Nor for that matter did Alexander Fleming’s discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin’.

Furthermore, are Barash’s students prompted to consider how men like Linnaeus, Pasteur, and Mendel founded sub-disciplines of biology without any help from Darwin? Are they told that Dr Marc Kirschner, founding chair of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, has admitted, “Molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all”? Have they heard how evolutionary assumptions have often hindered scientific investigations, encouraging scientists to write off so-called ‘vestigial organs’, and ‘junk DNA’, for example, as non-functional by-products of the evolutionary process? Perhaps Barash himself would do well to learn about how creationists accept rapid adaptation and even speciation, and yet recognize why these types of changes are precisely the wrong sort of change needed to turn microbes into men.

In the centres of intellectual power today, creationists and other Darwin dissenters have a hard time maintaining their positions even when keeping their heads down, and they often get expelled anyway. But an evolutionary professor can openly proclaim that his lectures will argue against basic truths of Christianity, and there is hardly a public outcry.

If creation is disqualified from public education because it is too ‘religious’, then why isn’t Barash called on the carpet, for getting too ‘religious’ as well?

  1. Barash, D.P., God, Darwin, and My Biology Class,New York Times, 27 September 2014; nytimes.com.

Abbreviated article, “Darwinist Professor David Barash gets ‘theological’ in the classroom” by Keaton Halley and Jonathan Sarfati on http://www.creation.com

Dr Michael Guillen – do you believe every word in the Bible?

michael-guillen

Yes I do, he says.  So who is Dr Michael Guillen?

He was born in East Los Angeles, earned his BS from UCLA and his MS and PhD from Cornell University in physics, mathematics and astronomy.

For eight years he was an award-winning physics instructor at Harvard University. For fourteen years he was the Emmy-award-winning science correspondent for ABC News, appearing regularly on Good Morning America, 20/20, Nightline, and World News Tonight.

Dr. Guillen is the host of The History Channel series, “Where Did It Come From?” and producer of the award-winning family movie, LITTLE RED WAGON. Among his popular speaking topics is the series “CRAZY! Because Life Is Not Logical.”

Have I read the Bible cover to cover? Yes, I have (as well as the sacred literature of other religions), more than once and in different translations. Do I understand every word of the Bible? No, I don’t but believe every word, yes I do.

As 1 Corinthians 13:12 points out, no one should expect to comprehend everything right here, right now:

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”

Having faith in something I don’t completely understand is not limited to my spiritual life; it’s also true of my relationship to science and rational thought. Science and logic cannot explain everything about the universe – especially since more than 90% of the cosmos is invisible to us – nevertheless, I believe in them so much I dedicated my career to their practice.

For me, science and rational thought are precisely why I abandoned the atheism I practiced during many years of my schooling. As part of my rigorous scientific training, my mind was broadened with respect to things I cannot see. I was urged to believe in black holes, parallel universes, dark energy, and a plethora of other modern scientific exotica based solely on clever theoretical imaginings and indirect, circumstantial evidence. So now, when I read the Bible, which invites me to believe in all kinds of seemingly unbelievable things, my reaction is informed by what I’ve learned as a theoretical physicist. I believe Shakespeare said it best when he penned that immortal line: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

It takes humility to admit that to seemingly intractable problems there are many possible solutions we haven’t thought of yet, and might never think of in this life. It takes humility to have faith in something of everlasting importance that you don’t completely understand yet and can’t possibly, given its infinite nature and our finite capacities. It takes humility, above all, not to jump to any conclusions about what isn’t possible in this glorious, mysterious universe of ours … and what is.

For more information, go to www.michaelguillen.com or get his book Can a Smart Person Believe in God?