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Jerry Coyne vs Ross Douthat on science-based belief in God

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Darwinian evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne makes a virtue of the fact that he finds typical, widespread points of view hard to comprehend:

I’m always puzzled when people who show reasonably high intelligence confess that they’re religious—even deeply religious. These people include Andrew Sullivan, NIH head Francis Collins, and NYT columnist Ross Douthat. Though I usually disagree with Douthat and his conservative views, at least they’re based on data, however misinterpreted. But his deep faith (pious Catholicism), which he displays in embarassing detail in his new NYT essay, is beyond my ken. For here Douthat not only advances some of the common and unconvincing arguments for God (many taken from Intelligent Design), but also makes many of them, and says that they’re based on science itself.

Jerry Coyne, “Douthat: Science gives us more reason than ever to believe in God” at Why Evolution Is True (August 15, 2021)

Some have suspected that Douthat has been reading Steve Meyer’s The Return of the God Hypothesis.

Back to Coyne:

In this long piece, Douthat makes five arguments for God that I’ll summarize and discuss briefly. But first lays out his claim: that, in fact, believing in God, especially these days, is the most parsimonious thing to do. Atheism is less parsimonious than faith. And, even though science has advanced and explained via naturalism a lot of things once imputed to God, Douthat sees these advances as simply confirming God’s existence even more strongly.

Jerry Coyne, “Douthat: Science gives us more reason than ever to believe in God” at Why Evolution Is True (August 15, 2021)

Actually, Douthat is right. Atheists, to be consistent, must believe in an infinite array of universes, just one of which happens to be law-like enough to work. It would be simpler to believe that a Mind, greatly superior to our minds, created the laws that our minds can recognize.

Significantly, once naturalism runs up against even the human mind, it sputters most painfully. See, for example, “Why do some people’s minds become much clearer near death? Arjuna Das and neurosurgeon Michael Egnor discuss the evidence for terminal lucidity at Theology Unleashed. Dr. Egnor argues that the brain and body constrain the mind. When dying, they may constrain it less, resulting in sudden end-of-life lucidity” and the previous posts in the series.

Uncommon Descent to Jerry Coyne: Come in Coyne, are you reading us?: Buckle that seatbelt, man! This is the BIG roller coaster, Flyin’ Annie. Not the little ones you are used to. Over and out.


You may also wish to read: At Evolution News: Twilight of the Godless Universe. If so, fashionable atheists must all just want to kill Meyer for busting up a sweet faith-and-science racket. Whatever any establishment figure with a PhD in science wants to call science is science and obedient religion profs mostly just bumble along, glad to be noticed. Actually, with all the stuff we have discovered that does not confirm what everyone thinks, it’s a pretty decrepit racket now.

15 Replies to “Jerry Coyne vs Ross Douthat on science-based belief in God

  1. 1
    Fasteddious says:

    Coyne apparently cannot see any alternative to his blinkered worldview. “I’m always puzzled when people who show reasonably high intelligence confess that they’re religious—even deeply religious. ” If you are truly puzzled Jerry, why not take a closer look, with an open mind, at what these people actually believe and their reasons for their faith? Any scientist who finds a “puzzle” and is unwilling to explore further, or look closely at ALL the evidence is not much of a researcher. Perhaps the source of your “puzzle”, Jerry, is your own narrow views?

  2. 2
    Silver Asiatic says:

    I’m always puzzled when people who show reasonably high intelligence confess that they’re religious—even deeply religious.

    He doesn’t seem to know anything about religion or philosophy.

    But his deep faith (pious Catholicism), which he displays in embarassing detail in his new NYT essay, is beyond my ken.

    As above, trying to understand theology is “above his ken”. But he reduces all of life to a blind, mindless output, so that makes sense. I

    He doesn’t answer the question of where God came from

    He wonders where the infinite, timeless, immaterial cause of all being comes from.
    There’s simple idea of causality leading to a first cause and quite a lot of people, even those who write on blogs every day, have no understanding of this.

    even if Douthat’s answer be true—the multiverse leads some universes to be suitable for human life—that is an argument against God, not for him

    I’ll agree that Douthat’s argument was a little strange – he missed the target. A multiverse would be evidence for God simply because one still has to explain its origin. More importantly, it’s unknowable and therefore illogical to use it as a substitute for the God hypothesis.

    You’d think that, observing the history of science and seeing that one argument for God after another has fallen in the face of naturalism (evolution, for instance, replaced the most convincing argument humanity ever had for God: creationism)

    Interesting that he believes creationism to be the best argument for God. It’s a good reason to continue to attack the absurdity of evolution, because if that falls, then right-thinking can prevail again.

    Naturalism is the one route to understanding the universe; it’s the only game in town. Scientists, as Laplace explained, have discarded the God hypothesis because it doesn’t help us explain anything.

    Again, just basic high school philosophy that he fails on here. None of his fan club ever corrects this. He uses a non-naturalist argument to claim that naturalism is the only path of understanding. As for Laplace’s dismissal – obviously, when you have to believe in a fantasy-world multiverse simply because you removed God from your equations, then your dismissal is self-refuting.

    As with Patricia Churchland, I believe consciousness will be explained when we know all the parts required, and how they interact, for a being to become conscious. (Yes, I do realize how hard that endeavor is.) Beyond that, there’s no “hard problem.”

    “Someday we’ll understand consciousness when we can break it down into little bits and pieces of matter and see those bits interact. It’s a very hard thing to do, but it’s not a hard problem to solve. Consciousness obviously evolved from a simpler feature through mutations. Just trust us.”

    As to why there are physical laws in the first place, we don’t know, but it’s likely there could be no universe to observe unless there were physical laws.

    But you’re puzzled as to why people accept that there is a First Cause, a law-maker who designed and created the laws?

    The blind and naturalistic process of evolution, for which (unlike for God) we have evidence, will suffice.

    We have no evidence for blind evolution.

    And if God gave us brains to comprehend the universe, why didn’t those brains include a universal belief in the real God—the one that Douthat thinks exists.

    He asks questions about why God would do something in a certain way while he can’t even accept that the ways of God are worth taking the time and effort to study. He disrespects philosophy and theology but he has to rely on both of those fields for his own denial of God. It’s a childish approach.

    Did God intend to punish atheists by withholding from them the ability to believe in God while still vouchsafing them the mental ability to detect gravity waves? I’m puzzled.

    He floats a loaded question out there with no interest in gaining an understanding. It’s one of those defensive things that atheists do – protecting themselves from having to invest time and energy in understanding God. “Where can I flee from Your spirit, where can I hide from You?” – asks the Psalmist. God loves all people, atheists included, and He calls us – not to punishment but to freedom and new life. People are afraid of God so they create stupid arguments and pretend that they don’t have “the ability to believe in God”.

  3. 3

    Religion generally means to take subjective issues seriously, in a dedicated grand organized way.

    Obviously Coyne does not consider subjective issues in a dedicated way. Like all the atheists his personal judgements are smarmy.

    Basically he states that in the end science will also incorporate subjectivity. That beauty becomes to be a matter of fact, or that the earth is round will become a matter of personal opinion about what you like. Something like that.

    The guy has no clue whatsoever about the way things in the universe are chosen by the spirit.

    It is so tragic that now we have these smarmy people as scientists, where before we had the creationists in science, with a kind of stately personal opinions. People with real personal character, an emotional life, a feeling for the spirit. It is just disgusting.

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    The NY Times is not a place to debate anything. But after reading some of the comments there defending atheism, they are as certain of their beliefs as people are here sure of theirs.

    The major difference is that no atheist has ever come here with a coherent argument for their beliefs. There have been many that tried but all have failed.

  5. 5
    zweston says:

    Jerry, I hope the entertainment is worth whatever you are paying the NYT to continue to exist.

  6. 6
    jerry says:

    I hope the entertainment is worth whatever you are paying the NYT to continue to exist.

    I didn’t pay them anything. I was able to read the article on an incognito page.

  7. 7
    jerry says:

    One of the interesting things about the NY Times article is how shallow are their readers or at least those who comment and are then highly rated.

    The top one rants on about conservatives not believing in science and Douthat writes an opinion on religion. Received 1850+ recommendations.

    The next highest rated one is someone bringing up the God of the Gaps argument. Received 1670+ recommendations.

    The next highest rated on is someone who says there is no evidence or at least Douthat provided none and said God does not provide any explanatory power. Received 1475+ recommendations.

    The next was just sarcastic. Received 1325+ recommendations.

    So these are what the NY Times readers rate as the best. It says more about who reads the NY Times. None of them. could justify their atheism. It wasn’t the point of their comment to justify atheism but the shallowness of the replies indicts the readers.

    The sad thing is they all probably believe the science supports them. But few mention evolution. For example only a couple mention Darwin as support for their beliefs. One actually said that antibiotics work and this proves Darwin.

    Douthat believes Darwin provides some problems for the Fall. Which means he gives it some credence. He may be unaware of what is known about evolution and what is not. Or he may believe it is a third rail to keep away from.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    Jerry Coyne: “I’m always puzzled when people who show reasonably high intelligence confess that they’re religious—even deeply religious.”

    Yet, considering these following blatantly self-refuting claims that Jerry Coyne himself made,,,

    “What you’re doing is simply instantiating a self: the program run by your neurons which you feel is “you.””
    Jerry Coyne
    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/eagleton-on-baggini-on-free-will/

    “Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it.”
    – Jerry Coyne
    https://samharris.org/the-illusion-of-free-will/

    ,, considering those blatantly self refuting claims, then I think Jerry Coyne should be a little more circumspect and humble in his evaluation of the intelligence of other people who believe in God.

    Of related note:

    50 Nobel Laureates and other great scientists who believed in God by Tihomir Dimitrov
    PART IV. FOUNDERS OF MODERN SCIENCE
    (16th – 21st Century) – page 89
    http://nobelists.weebly.com/up.....nglish.pdf

    Were the Greatest Philosophers Theists or Atheists?
    Excerpt: 1. Plato (c. 429-347 BC)
    2. Aristotle (384-322 BC)
    3. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274)
    4. René Descartes (1596-1650)
    5. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
    6. Socrates (c. 470-399 BC)
    7. Benedictus de Spinoza (1632-1677)
    …..
    The first seven philosophers on my list are great philosophers, the rest are important but not great.,,,
    The greatest philosophers on my list are Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, Socrates, and Spinoza. All of these are theists of one sort or another. But even if Spinoza is excluded, that leaves six out of seven. And if you argue that Aristotle’s Prime Mover is not God in any serious sense, then I’ve still got five out of seven.
    If you say I rigged my list so that theists come out on top, I will deny the charge and argue that I used independent criteria (listed above). But if you disagree my assessment, I will consider it par for the course.
    http://maverickphilosopher.typ.....eists.html

    Out Of The Top 10 Most Intelligent People In The World: At Least 8 Think God Exists And 6 are Believing Christians – By Dr. Scott M. Sullivan – September 14, 2015
    Excerpt: Ever heard an atheist claim that only idiots believe in the existence of God? Steve Williams at the examiner has an article that says that out of 10 highest IQ’s on earth, at least 8 are Theists, at least 6 are Christians.
    Some notable intellectuals who believe in God and made the list are:
    1. Andrew Magdy Kamal – apparently the highest IQ ever recorded, at 231.734.
    2. Abdessellam Jelloul – apparently the highest IQ ever scored by an adult- an adult IQ of 198
    3. Christopher Michael Langan – has a verified IQ of at least 195
    4. Christopher Hirata – has a verified IQ of 225
    5. Evangelos Katsioulis – has apparently scored a 198 as an adult.
    6. Rick Rosner – has apparently scored a 192 as an adult,
    7. Mislav Predavec – has apparently scored a 192
    8. Gary Kasparov – is alleged to have an IQ of 190 (Chess player Gary Kasparov has described himself as a “self-appointed Christian”.)
    9. Kenneth Ferrell – has apparently scored a 190
    Now to be sure, none of this is to be taken as an argument for God’s existence, nor is it a claim about the relevancy of IQ tests regarding this question. But since no one would deny the intelligence of these people, it is, at least, yet another example of how off base many claims made by modern atheists can be.
    https://scottmsullivan.com/out-of-the-top-10-most-intelligent-people-in-the-world-at-least-8-think-god-exists-and-6-are-believing-christians/#

    An MIT Professor Meets the Author of All Knowledge
    I used to think religious people were ignoramuses. Then I got smart and took a chance on God.
    ROSALIND PICARD – MARCH 15, 2019
    ,,, Today, I am a professor at the top university (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in my field. I have incredible colleagues who have helped translate my lab research into difference-making products—including a smart watch that helps caregivers save the lives of people with epilepsy. I work closely with people whose lives are filled with medical struggles, people whose children are not healthy. I do not have adequate answers to explain all their suffering. But I know there is a God of unfathomable greatness and love who freely enters into relationship with all who confess their sins and call upon his name.
    I once thought I was too smart to believe in God. Now I know I was an arrogant fool who snubbed the greatest Mind in the cosmos—the Author of all science, mathematics, art, and everything else there is to know. Today I walk humbly, having received the most undeserved grace. I walk with joy, alongside the most amazing Companion anyone could ask for, filled with desire to keep learning and exploring.
    https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/april/rosalind-picard-mit-professor-meets-author-knowledge.html

    Atheists embarrassed: study proves atheism uses less brain function – Oct 26, 2015 by Dr. Joel McDurmon
    Excerpt: This has to be embarrassing . . . if you’re an atheist. A new study performed at the University of York used targeted magnetism to shut down part of the brain. The result: belief in God disappeared among more than 30 percent of participants.
    That in itself may not seem so embarrassing, but consider that the specific part of the brain they frazzled was the posterior medial frontal cortex—the part associated with detecting and solving problems, i.e., reasoning and logic.
    In other words, when you shut down the part of the brain most associated with logic and reasoning, greater levels of atheism result.
    You’ve heard the phrase, “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist”? Apparently we can now also say, “I have too many brains to be an atheist.”
    For a group that makes so much noise vaunting its superior prowess with logic and reasoning, this study has got to be quite a deflator. For a group that claims to be rooted primarily in logic and reason, and to exist for little reason other than that they have used logic and reason to free themselves from belief in God and, as they allege, superstition and fairy tales, this study is the equivalent of a public depanting­—i.e., the would-be emperor’s got no clothes.
    http://americanvision.org/1263.....-function/

    Verse:

    Romans 1:22
    Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

    Proverbs 9:10
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77/8

    50 Nobel Laureates and other great scientists who believed in God by Tihomir Dimitrov
    PART IV. FOUNDERS OF MODERN SCIENCE
    (16th – 21st Century) – page 89
    http://nobelists.weebly.com/up…..nglish.pdf

    Which means little unless we can place it in the context of the number of great scientists and Nobel Laureates who were atheist.

    Out Of The Top 10 Most Intelligent People In The World: At Least 8 Think God Exists And 6 are Believing Christians – By Dr. Scott M. Sullivan – September 14, 2015
    Excerpt: Ever heard an atheist claim that only idiots believe in the existence of God? Steve Williams at the examiner has an article that says that out of 10 highest IQ’s on earth, at least 8 are Theists, at least 6 are Christians.

    I don’t think only idiots believe in God but it is a typical theistic strawman which believers love to beat up.

    An MIT Professor Meets the Author of All Knowledge
    I used to think religious people were ignoramuses. Then I got smart and took a chance on God.
    ROSALIND PICARD – MARCH 15, 2019
    ,,, Today, I am a professor at the top university (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in my field. I have incredible colleagues who have helped translate my lab research into difference-making products—including a smart watch that helps caregivers save the lives of people with epilepsy

    And were these “difference-making products” prayed into existence or the result of materialistic science?

    And how many of your wonderful colleagues are believers?

    I work closely with people whose lives are filled with medical struggles, people whose children are not healthy. I do not have adequate answers to explain all their suffering. But I know there is a God of unfathomable greatness and love who freely enters into relationship with all who confess their sins and call upon his name

    So this “God of unfathomable greatness and love” who has the power to alleviate or even eliminate all “medical struggles” chooses not to do so for reasons – if there are any – that He chooses not to divulge to us.

    I walk with joy, alongside the most amazing Companion anyone could ask for, filled with desire to keep learning and exploring.

    So why are you not asking this Companion the obvious questions such as those raised above?

  10. 10
    jerry says:

    So this “God of unfathomable greatness and love” who has the power to alleviate or even eliminate all “medical struggles” chooses not to do so for reasons – if there are any – that He chooses not to divulge to us.

    Maybe if he did all what you suggest, life would be meaningless.

  11. 11
    William J Murray says:

    Coyne said:

    And, even though science has advanced and explained via naturalism a lot of things once imputed to God, Douthat sees these advances as simply confirming God’s existence even more strongly.

    Materialist science hasn’t explained anything. Materialist science is the process of describing behaviors of phenomena it has no explanation for. Describing behavior is not explaining that behavior.

    For example, “gravity” is a model of the behavior of phenomena, using words like “mass” and “curvature of space-time” as descriptive labels for observed behaviors. Those words are descriptive, not explanatory. “Mass causes a curvature in space-time” does not explain why mass would cause such a curvature. In fact, there is no reason that it should do so; there is no materialist-science-provided reason why anything behaves the way it does. To say that it is not God that causes the apple to fall, but rather “gravity,” is to say that it is your descriptive model of the falling apple that causes it to fall, not God.

    Why things behave the way they do does not become evident until you get to and apply non-materialist science, or quantum physics. It is there that we find out that the reason why phenomena behaves the way it does is due to consciousness interacting with the information potential and making choices.

    Coyne doesn’t realize that science (non-materialist science) has proved God (in one form or another) not only exists, but is in fact the actual explanation for why phenomena behaves the way it does.

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    In response to this citation,,,

    50 Nobel Laureates and other great scientists who believed in God by Tihomir Dimitrov
    PART IV. FOUNDERS OF MODERN SCIENCE
    (16th – 21st Century) – page 89
    http://nobelists.weebly.com/up.....nglish.pdf

    Seversky states,,

    Which means little unless we can place it in the context of the number of great scientists and Nobel Laureates who were atheist.

    HUH? First off, I was simply making the point, directly contrary to what Jerry Coyne was implying,
    that you don’t have to be an atheist to be a great scientist. Far from it. Secondly, in my reference to “FOUNDERS OF MODERN SCIENCE (16th – 21st Century) – page 89” in particular, I was pointing out that virtually all the founders of modern science were devout believers in God.

    “All the early scientists, like Newton, were religious in one way or another. They saw their science as a means of uncovering traces of God’s handiwork in the universe. What we now call the laws of physics they regarded as God’s abstract creation: thoughts, so to speak, in the mind of God. So in doing science, they supposed, one might be able to glimpse the mind of God – an exhilarating and audacious claim.”
    – Paul Davies – Templeton address – 1995

    Indeed, many of the founders of modern science were devout Christians who thought of science, i.e. the study of nature, as a way to worship God and to bring glory to God. Here are a few quotes to that effect,

    “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of His dominion He is wont to be called Lord God.”
    (Newton 1687, Principia)

    “When I reflect on so many profoundly marvellous things that persons have grasped, sought, and done, I recognize even more clearly that human intelligence is a work of God, and one of the most excellent.”
    (Galileo, as cited in Caputo 2000, 85).

    “To know the mighty works of God, to comprehend His wisdom and majesty and power, to appreciate, in degree, the wonderful working of His laws, surely all this must be a pleasing and acceptable mode of worship to the Most High, to whom ignorance cannot be more gratifying than knowledge.”
    (Copernicus, as cited in Neff 1952, 191-192; and in Hubbard 1905, v)

    “Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it befits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God.”
    (Kepler, as cited in Morris 1982, 11; see also Graves 1996, 51).

    “It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion. For while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them, confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.”
    (Bacon 1875, 64).

    “And thus I very clearly see that the certitude and truth of all science depends on the knowledge alone of the true God, insomuch that, before I knew him, I could have no perfect knowledge of any other thing. And now that I know him, I possess the means of acquiring a perfect knowledge respecting innumerable matters, as well relative to God himself and other intellectual objects as to corporeal nature.”
    (Descartes 1901, Meditation V).

    “The book of nature which we have to read is written by the finger of God.”
    (Faraday, as cited in Seeger 1983, 101).

    “I think men of science as well as other men need to learn from Christ, and I think Christians whose minds are scientific are bound to study science that their view of the glory of God may be as extensive as their being is capable of.”
    (Maxwell, as cited in Campbell and Garnett 1882, 404-405)
    – James Clerk Maxwell

    “Overpoweringly strong proofs of intelligent and benevolent design lie all around us; and if ever perplexities, whether metaphysical or scientific, turn us away from them for a time, they come back upon us with irresistible force, showing to us through Nature the influence of a free will, and teaching us that all living things depend on one ever-acting Creator and Ruler.”
    (Kelvin 1871; see also Seeger 1985a, 100-101)

    “When with bold telescopes I survey the old and newly discovered stars and planets, when with excellent microscopes I discern the unimitable subtility of nature’s curious workmanship; and when, in a word, by the help of anatomical knives, and the light of chemical furnaces, I study the book of nature, I find myself often times reduced to exclaim with the Psalmist, ‘How manifold are Thy works, O Lord! In wisdom hast Thou made them all!’ ”
    (Boyle, as cited in Woodall 1997, 32)

    “Wishing them also a most happy success in their laudable attempts to discover the true nature of the works of God, and praying, that they and all other searchers into physical truths may cordially refer their attainments to the glory of the Author of Nature, and the benefit of mankind.”
    — Robert Boyle (1627-1691) largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, speaking of the Royal Society in his will

    “The examination of the bodies of animals has always been my delight, and I have thought that we might thence not only obtain an insight into the lighter mysteries of nature, but there perceive a kind of image or reflection of the omnipotent Creator Himself.”
    (Harvey, as cited in Keynes 1966, 330)

    “There is for a free man no occupation more worth and delightful than to contemplate the beauteous works of nature and honor the infinite wisdom and goodness of God.”
    (Ray, as cited in Graves 1996, 66; see also Yahya 2002)

    “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. Science brings men nearer to God.”
    (Pasteur, as cited in Lamont 1995; see also Tiner 1990, 75)?

    In fact Seversky, if you go through the list of founders of each branch of modern science, (i.e. chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, etc.. etc..), you will be hard pressed to find even one atheist who lay at the founding of a major branch of modern science.

    So Seversky, if atheists are so much smarter than people who believe in God, as Jerry Coyne directly implied, why is this?

    The reason why you will be hard pressed to find even one atheist at the founding of each major branch of modern science is because science itself is based upon Theistic, even Christian, presuppositions, and modern science is certainly not based on atheistic presuppositions.

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons?IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.theistic.net/papers.....cience.pdf

    As Paul Davies stated, “So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”

    Physics and the Mind of God: The Templeton Prize Address – by Paul Davies – August 1995
    Excerpt: “People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”
    https://www.firstthings.com/article/1995/08/003-physics-and-the-mind-of-god-the-templeton-prize-address-24

    Although atheists repeatedly, and falsely, claim that science is based upon the assumption of naturalism, i.e. methodological naturalism, the fact of the matter is that all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of intelligent design and is certainly not based on the presupposition of methodological naturalism.

    From the essential Christian presuppositions that undergird the founding of modern science itself, (namely that the universe is contingent and rational in its foundational nature and that the minds of men, being made in the ‘image of God’, can, therefore, dare understand the rationality that God has imparted onto the universe), to the intelligent design of the scientific instruments and experiments themselves, to the logical and mathematical analysis of experimental results themselves, from top to bottom, science itself is certainly not to be considered a ‘natural’ endeavor of man.
    Not one scientific instrument would ever exist if men did not first intelligently design that scientific instrument. Not one test tube, microscope, telescope, spectroscope, or etc.. etc.., was ever found just laying around on a beach somewhere which was ‘naturally’ constructed by nature. Not one experimental result would ever be rationally analyzed since there would be no immaterial minds to rationally analyze the immaterial logic and immaterial mathematics that lay behind the intelligently designed experiments in the first place.
    Again, all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of intelligent design and is certainly not based on the presupposition of methodological naturalism.

    In fact, assuming methodological naturalism, instead of Christian Theism, as the basis of modern science, as atheists insist that we should do, drives modern science itself into catastrophic epistemological failure,

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist (who believes Darwinian evolution to be true) is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. the illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who also must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the hopelessness of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is simply too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must also hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin).
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    April 2021 – Detailed Defense of each claim
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/philosopher-mary-midgeley-1919-2018-on-scientism/#comment-728595
    https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/from-philip-cunningham-the-human-eye-like-the-human-brain-is-a-wonder/#comment-727327

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science, indeed more antagonistic to reality itself, than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    Perhaps the clearest, and most direct, way to demonstrate that the atheistic worldview undermines science itself is by pointing out the fact that atheists, in their denial of the reality of God, end up denying that they themselves have free will. To requote Coyne’s blatantly self refuting quote,

    “Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it.”
    – Jerry Coyne

    Yet in denying the reality of their own free will, atheists end up undermining any claim that they are, or that they can be, rational in their ability to reason. (And, as should be needless to say, if people lack the capacity to be rational in their reasoning, then science itself is dead in the water).

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    Moreover, although atheists deny the reality of their own free will, (which is a denial that ends up undermining science itself), the reality of free will comes screaming back to us in quantum mechanics and is now experimentally confirmed to be a real and tangible part of reality.

    As Steven Weinberg, who is an atheist himself, states in the following article, “In the instrumentalist approach (in quantum mechanics) humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level.,,, the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.,,, In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure,,, Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,”

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,,
    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,,
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://quantum.phys.unm.edu/46.....inberg.pdf

    In fact Weinberg, again an atheist, rejected the instrumentalist approach precisely because “humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level” and because it undermined the Darwinian worldview from within. Yet, regardless of how he and other atheists may prefer the world to behave, quantum mechanics itself could care less how atheists prefer the world to behave.

    Although there have been several major loopholes in quantum mechanics over the past several decades that atheists have tried to appeal to in order to try to avoid the ‘spooky’ Theistic implications of quantum mechanics, over the past several years each of those major loopholes have each been closed one by one. The last major loophole that was left to be closed was the “setting independence”, “freedom of choice”, and/or the ‘free-will’ loophole:

    Closing the ‘free will’ loophole: Using distant quasars to test Bell’s theorem – February 20, 2014
    Excerpt: Though two major loopholes have since been closed, a third remains; physicists refer to it as “setting independence,” or more provocatively, “free will.” This loophole proposes that a particle detector’s settings may “conspire” with events in the shared causal past of the detectors themselves to determine which properties of the particle to measure — a scenario that, however far-fetched, implies that a physicist running the experiment does not have complete free will in choosing each detector’s setting. Such a scenario would result in biased measurements, suggesting that two particles are correlated more than they actually are, and giving more weight to quantum mechanics than classical physics.
    “It sounds creepy, but people realized that’s a logical possibility that hasn’t been closed yet,” says MIT’s David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and senior lecturer in the Department of Physics. “Before we make the leap to say the equations of quantum theory tell us the world is inescapably crazy and bizarre, have we closed every conceivable logical loophole, even if they may not seem plausible in the world we know today?”
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220112515.htm

    And now Anton Zeilinger and company have recently, as of 2018, pushed the ‘free will loophole’ back to 7.8 billion years ago, thereby firmly establishing the ‘common sense’ fact that the free will choices of the experimenter in the quantum experiments are truly free and are not determined by any possible causal influences from the past for at least the last 7.8 billion years, and that the experimenters themselves are therefore shown to be truly free to choose whatever measurement settings in the experiments that he or she may so desire to choose so as to ‘logically’ probe whatever aspect of reality that he or she may be interested in probing.

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Abstract: This experiment pushes back to at least approx. 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

    Thus regardless of how Steven Weinberg and other atheists may prefer the universe to behave, with the closing of the last remaining free will loophole in quantum mechanics, “humans are indeed brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level”, and thus these recent findings from quantum mechanics directly undermine, as Weinberg himself stated, the “vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.”

    Moreover allowing free will and/or Agent causality into the laws of physics at their most fundamental level has some fairly profound implications for us personally.

    First and foremost, allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”.

    Jesus Christ as the correct “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://youtu.be/Vpn2Vu8–eE

    Thus in conclusion, although atheists like to claim that God is a ‘science stopper’, the fact of the matter is that it is their very own worldview, via their denial of free will, that is a ‘science stopper’, and that it is the Christian worldview itself which lay at the founding of modern science and which is therefore a ‘science starter’. And Christianity is also the worldview in which modern science also happens to find a very plausible and successful ‘theory of everything’.

    Needless to say, those are not minor details for a worldview to be behind and to lay claim to.

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  14. 14
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry @ 7
    Interesting stats. There was a time when NY Times readers were somewhat sophisticated or at least well-read. To see those kinds of numbers for run-of-the-mill atheistic retorts is a big change.

    None of them. could justify their atheism. It wasn’t the point of their comment to justify atheism but the shallowness of the replies indicts the readers.
    There are at least 10 good argument

    There are at least 10 strong arguments for the existence of God. ID is one of them – and over time, it keeps getting stronger with more evidence. Atheism really has nothing. Evolution is the backbone of a lot of it, and that just keeps falling apart. It’s been refuted so many times that atheists don’t even bother trying to defend it (we have a few exceptions here, sort of).

    There was also a time when arrogant atheists would join UD and proclaim their greatness and how dominant their worldview is. But when they encountered arguments they just got angry and insulting – then, rightly, got kicked out. Now it seems they’re huddling up in their safe-places, like the NY Times comment box.

  15. 15
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    I don’t think only idiots believe in God but it is a typical theistic strawman which believers love to beat up.

    BA77 followed with a person who said, exactly, “I used to think religious people were ignoramuses”. It’s not a strawman when people actually say this. I’ve been in discussions with atheists for 20+ years and it’s very common to find the attitude that religious people are stupid.

    Notice in this very OP – Jerry Coyne’s quoted paragraph right at the top of this page:

    I’m always puzzled when people who show reasonably high intelligence confess that they’re religious—even deeply religious. These people include Andrew Sullivan, NIH head Francis Collins, and NYT columnist Ross Douthat. Though I usually disagree with Douthat and his conservative views, at least they’re based on data, however misinterpreted. But his deep faith (pious Catholicism), which he displays in embarassing detail in his new NYT essay, is beyond my ken.

    He’s saying it right here. First, he’s “puzzled” because “people who show intelligence” are are “deeply religious”. He expects only idiots.
    He then says that Douhat’s effort to explain his faith is “embarrassing”. Why? Because people of faith are believed to be ignorant, and the cultured-class of the NY Times or the arrogance of atheism gets embarrassed when someone reveals faith in God. That embarrasses them because they expect it only of the most ignorant and uncultured.
    So – it’s not a strawman.

    And were these “difference-making products” prayed into existence or the result of materialistic science?

    They come from resources not created by human hands. Materialistic science cannot explain their origin – nor can it explain it’s own origin.

    And how many of your wonderful colleagues are believers?

    This question misses the point. It’s about an MIT professor stating that she does good work as a theist. The fact that she might work with atheists only underscores how religion is not an obstacle to science. In her view, it enhances her world. There’s no downside except for the prejudice against religion that we find in society from some people.

    So this “God of unfathomable greatness and love” who has the power to alleviate or even eliminate all “medical struggles” chooses not to do so for reasons – if there are any – that He chooses not to divulge to us.

    Some people believe that if we “eliminated all struggles” in life, then we would be happy and have a paradise and life would be great. Often, many seek to avoid struggles by use of opiates or even plain old excess in alcohol. But many others are greatful for struggles – because these provide an opportunity to excel, show greatness and triumph over obstacles, and realize the inner strength that each person has, which is only shown when tested.
    If you look, for example, at Navy Seal training — you’d see soldiers who embrace the hardest struggles. They want to be stronger, not weaker.
    God made us so that we desire peace, happiness and joy – and pleasures. But these are only appreciated at their best as a result of conflict.
    Some people think that the purpose of life is to get as much pleasure as you can. If there’s no eternity with God, then you don’t have much choice. But that’s the problem with atheism. God made pleasures on earth which are good – but are only temporary. They’re a taste only, of something much better.

    So why are you not asking this Companion the obvious questions such as those raised above?

    There is a wealth of answers to your questions already available, and that without even having to pray personally to find them. But even still, what you asked is far from unanswerable. God reveals answers to the various mysteries of life and has done it for all human history – in every culture.

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