Evolution's There-Is-No-God Bias—Quotes

The pro-evolution community does have an anti-God bias, and admits it. Here are some quotes.

Creation Ministries International (previously with Answers in Genesis) has dug up a few interesting ones. Their book Refuting Evolution 2 discusses a Scientific American article, "15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense" by John Rennie (Scientific American, July 2002). They include this quote from the Scientific American article:

"Creation science" is a contradiction in terms. A central tenet of modern science is methodological naturalism — it seeks to explain the universe purely in terms of observed or testable natural mechanisms.

Unless one's mind is already utterly closed to the possibility of a divine creator, the flaw in this logic is readily apparent.

The book also quotes S.C. Todd, from correspondence to Nature 401(6752):423 (September 30, 1999):

Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.

The Rational Wiki, on the topic Methodological naturalism, says:

Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific "dead ends" and God of the gaps-type hypotheses. To avoid these traps scientists assume that all causes are empirical and naturalistic — which means they can be measured, quantified and studied methodically.

If there is a God, then this "naturalistic" line of reasoning will reach a wrong conclusion when it comes to the question of origins. Isn't the scientific method supposed to be a good means of finding truth? But if it turns out that the truth does involve an intelligent designer, then the naturalistic approach is destined to fail to find the truth.

The argument is that invoking "God" adds nothing to scientific knowledge. I would argue instead that excluding God adds nothing to scientific pursuit, and in fact diminishes from the pursuit of truth.

Many fields of science don't directly address the question of origins. A Christian can sensibly believe that God created an ordered universe that behaves according to pre-defined laws, and therefore engage in scientific research of the world according to the scientific method. The assumption is that God doesn't maliciously or on a whim override these laws, but may choose to do so on occasion to accomplish His purpose. Thus many Christian scientists have made useful contributions to the body of scientific knowledge.

Making a wrong initial assumption (either for intelligent design or for naturalism) may not be a catastrophic disruption to scientific discovery in some fields, but it may slow the progress of scientific discovery. But when facing the question of origins, it is even more essential to strive to avoid bias, and not exclude any possible options from the outset.

Comments

Christian Scientist have made contributions

Please name these many Christian scientist who have made useful contributions and what there contribution was.

It boils down to Occham's razor. You don't add anything to a study that doesn't add any value. People used to think lightening strikes were a result of God's anger. Ben Franklin developed the lightening rod and essentially eliminated that argument. Science cannot say God did it because historically it ends the search. So, it is good to leave God out and if there is a God he hides himself anyway. Disease was thought to be caused by Satan or original sin or sin we just did in the Christian frame. Turns out it is micro-organism. If we kept God in the study that would not have been discovered. Christianity has a long history of persecuting scientist, even today they fight stem-cell research. They need to stay out of it if we sincerely want progress.

God and science

Please name these many Christian scientist who have made useful contributions and what there contribution was.

Mendel perhaps?

It boils down to Occham's razor. You don't add anything to a study that doesn't add any value...

Logically speaking, why ever should belief in an intelligent, powerful Creator be the death of science? We believe that many things in the world around us were “intelligently designed” (cars and cameras for example), but that doesn’t somehow bar us from scientific or engineering pursuits.

Historically, people have been wrong, even due to religion. Yes, that frustrates me too. Does human error mean God does not exist? Does human error make science fundamentally incompatible with Christianity? I don’t think so.

If there is a God who is the Creator, that does make a pursuit of a naturalistic explanation of origins difficult. Does such inconvenience mean God cannot exist? That’s bad logic.

It sounds as though atheists are rejecting God for philosophical reasons that are invalid.

People used to think lightening strikes were a result of God's anger. Ben Franklin developed the lightening rod and essentially eliminated that argument... Disease was thought to be caused by Satan or original sin or sin we just did in the Christian frame. Turns out it is micro-organism.

That’s quite likely to be a revisionist history and a vast oversimplification of history. Do you really think religious people of times gone by didn’t notice that thunderstorms followed natural cycles and conditions? E.g. that they happen characteristically during the warm seasons, and that they happen more in certain areas?

Don’t confuse mechanism with originator. Just because we’ve found a mechanism for disease, earthquakes and hurricanes, doesn’t mean there is no God (and no Satan) who originated and can control such mechanisms. If God manipulated these mechanisms rarely, it could be difficult for us to detect. We can’t discount God just because that possibility is scientifically difficult to determine. At the same time we’re free to keep making useful scientific studies of the mechanisms of nature.

If we kept God in the study that would not have been discovered.

Whatever. :)

Christianity has a long history of persecuting scientist, even today they fight stem-cell research. They need to stay out of it if we sincerely want progress.

Well that’s quite a discussion topic there.

Christian Scientists - Stem-cell research

Christian scientists, including but not limited to:
Francis Bacon - Scientific method
Galileo Galilei - Physics, Astronomy
Johann Kepler - Scientific astronomy
Blaise Pascal - projective geometry probability theory ( strongly influencing development of modern economics and social science)
Robert Boyle - Boyle's law
Nicolas Steno - Father of Geology
Athanasius Kircher - Invented the Projector, magnetic clock, megaphone.
(One of the first people to observe microbes through a microscope, he was thus ahead of his time in proposing that the plague was caused by an infectious microorganism and in suggesting effective measures to prevent the spread of the disease.)

By the way, Benjamin Franklin, whom you mention, believed in God as the Creator even on his death bed.

"Christianity has a long history of persecuting scientist, even today they fight stem-cell research."

Check you history a little closer. The Roman Catholic Church was the entity doing the persecution even against Christian scientists like Galileo "in the name of Christianity". Their pursuits in the "in the name of Christianity" were so contradictory to the bible that it led to the “Protestant Reform”, where a group of Christians separated from the Roman Catholic Church because the churches practices were against the fundamental beliefs of Christianity. The Roman Catholic Church “claimed” to be Christian yet did not ACT in keeping with that claim.
I could claim to be a doctor, that doesn’t make me a doctor unless I have the schooling and credentials of a doctor. People have open practices, and treated people. When a person dies in a doctor’s care and a following investigation reveals they are not actually a doctor, just pretending to be a doctor. Considering that person just killed someone and doctors are supposed to heal, I would contend the persons actions proved contradictory to their statement. Does this mean that all doctors are fakes? Of course not! There are still real doctors.
Therefore, if a person or group claims to be Christian, yet their actions are contradictory to Christianity, are they really Christians? Probably not. Yet that doesn’t mean there are not real Christians.

Stem-cell research:

Christians actually support ‘adult’ stem-cell research. They oppose ‘embryonic’ stem-cell research. Why? Because they believe a fertilized egg is the beginning of human life. Since Christians don’t believe we should be killing innocent life, they oppose ‘embryonic’ stem-cell research because the research kills a fertilized cell (beginning life) in the name of science. Therefore their actions are in keeping with their claim “all human life is sacred”.

It should also be noted that no benefits have come from ‘embryonic’ stem-cell research to date. Bernadine Healy, former director of the National Institutes of Health (USA), pronounced embryonic stem cell research “obsolete” and pointed out its dangers, such as an embryonic stem cell experiment that caused tumors in a patient. Even President Obama has cautioned, “The full promise of [embryonic] stem cell research remains unknown.”

Yet ‘adult’ stem-cells (used for decades now) can be changed into nerve, heart, bone, and many other kinds of human tissue, and possibly used to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and even spinal cord injuries. Recent breakthroughs allow researchers to obtain adult stem cells easily from bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, wisdom teeth, and even fat tissue. Also, they can now “induce” adult skin, bone, and sperm cells to become stem cells.

Woah

Interesting compilation of thoughts and quotes. I wish I could compose a more well rounded response.

Interesting

I have been very active in the stock markets recently and I came across the following article. I do not necessarily support it, but found there to be some very interesting points. Would love some feedback.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203440104574405030643556324.html

Karen Armstrong and Richard Dawkins

Hello. I read the article. I'm familiar with Richard Dawkins, but hadn't previously been familiar with Karen Armstrong. At first I expected it to be a typical article with two opposing views, a typical journalistic technique. But, in the spectrum of belief about God, Karen Armstrong is close to the atheistic end near Richard Dawkins, and quite far from the end that believes in a divine creator who created the universe and human beings, and then gave people the Bible to explain why.

Karen Armstrong rejects the essential tenets of Christianity--

  • God who is a divine and eternal being, loving and righteous
  • God created the universe with a purpose
  • The Bible is a gift from God, and a divine revelation
  • Jesus Christ who is the "only name under heaven by which people can be saved"

If Ms Armstrong does not believe this, then what does she believe when she talks about "God"? Her article expresses it in this sentence:

Religion was not supposed to provide explanations that lay within the competence of reason but to help us live creatively with realities for which there are no easy solutions and find an interior haven of peace.

So to her, god has always been a creation of human beings, and her purpose seems to be to work to "update and revise" modern conceptions of god and religion, fitting with modern humanistic ideals. She says "God" but... measured by the Biblical standard, she's an atheist.

Perhaps WSJ is subtly implying that the only feasible alternatives are Richard Dawkins' ("God was never alive"), and Karen Armstrong's (religion needs a fashion make-over for modern times). But I and many others reject both, and continue to preach the old message: God is eternal, loving and rightous; He created the universe and human beings for a marvelous purpose; Jesus Christ died for our sins so that we may not die, but have eternal life.

So what about evolution? It will continue to be a lively debate as to how God did create the world, and what we can reliably understand from both the Bible and the scientific data. But science does pursue a naturalistic (excluding a need for a divine creator) explanation for life, and as such, evolution is the inevitable result of that approach. If there were not a naturalistic bias, how else could the data be interpreted?

re:

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Champagne
www.vssm.org

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