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Quote of the Day


john_a_designer writes:

After his famous 1948 BBC debate with skeptic Bertrand Russell, Jesuit priest Fr. Frederick Copleston expressed some frustration. He said that he felt that Russell had come unwilling to really engage him in any of his arguments. However, during the debate the two men had this brief exchange:

“You say,” Copleston said to Russell, “I think that the universe — or my existence if you prefer, or any other existence — is unintelligible?”

“I shouldn’t say unintelligible,” Russell replied, “I think it is without explanation.”

I would say that was a major concession on Russell’s part. It’s true. Non-theists don’t really have a good explanation for the existence of the universe, theists do. For example, scientists believe that the universe had a beginning about 13 billion years ago. Theists have a good explanation for that. What do non-theists have to offer? Again, Russell concedes that they don’t have an explanation. I would say that a viable, logical and rational explanation for our existence is better than no explanation and that is what we as theists have.


What is at first thought to be an asteroid is seen to be approaching planet earth. Instead of crashing into the earth it gracefully lands. It has the appearance of being an unmanned (un-aliened) drone. After a long and very careful examination of it, it is found to exhibit massive functional complexity. It has mechanisms to constructively and efficiently harness energy in various forms whenever it is available. It appears to be processing signals received from deep space and responding to them. It contains much equipment the purpose of which is unknown, some of which suddenly, while lights flashed and whirring noises were made, produced an object and then ejected from the craft an identical looking object and replaced it with the one just produced. Is it possible that the appearance of design this craft exhibits is due to its actually being designed? If there were scientists immutably committed to the notion that human intelligence is the only intelligence in the Universe, they would be making exactly the same arguments we hear today regarding far more advanced technology that has been discovered right here on planet earth: the digital information-based nanotechnology of life. And those arguments would be just as much an irrational denial of reality as is the notion that life came about mindlessly and accidentally. harry
This morning I got up early and went for a walk in the city park next to where I live. As I was finishing my walk I crossed over a creek via a footbridge and turned to my right onto a paved hike/bike pathway which ran between the creek and the middle school soccer field (or football field, for those outside the U.S.) It was just then I noticed something curious. The pathway just ahead of me, just beneath a row of tall oak trees was wet-- not just damp but wet, actually very wet. How did it get to be so wet? I started to go through the possible explanations. Had it rained overnight? There had been a slight chance of rain but I quickly rejected rain as an explanation. I had observed no evidence of an overnight rain during my walk. Dew? I also quickly rejected that as a possibility. I had cut across the grass at several points during my walk-- there had been very little dew… I was momentarily very mystified. Why was the pathway so wet along this 80 to 90 foot section? Then the light bulb came on-- the soccer field sprinkler system. The local school board has spared no expense on this soccer field, which is used not only for middle school soccer but high school boys’ and girls’ varsity soccer. I am 99.9 % certain that the automatic sprinkler system was the cause of the unusual wetness. Is another explanation possible? Certainly, but from what I know this stands as the best possible explanation. If you can think of another explanation please feel free to share it with me. But please remember, you weren’t there, I was. What I just described to you is an example of abductive reasoning-- also called inference to the best explanation. When debating competing world views inference to the best explanation is the best logical method by which to evaluate competing truth claims. That’s why when someone like Bertrand Russell concedes that there is no explanation for the universes existence we shouldn’t take it lightly. When it comes to one’s philosophical world view explanation is the whole ball game. I am a theist because theism is the best explanation for the existence of not only the cosmos but of life, sentient life and human existence. Maybe there is no explanation, but I don’t see how no explanation can beat a logically possible and viable explanation. john_a_designer
mahuna @1
Up until quite recently (a few centuries or less), theists commonly assigned the “cause” of a storm or earthquake or tidal wave to Divine Intervention. That is, God, or at least a god, directly caused the disaster by conscious decision. And there was no need to look for any physical mechanisms.
This is simply a misrepresentation of the facts. You are confusing the superstitions of polytheism with the beliefs of Jewish and Christian monotheism. The polytheists typically considered every celestial and meteorological event to be either a directly intended act of some god(s) or the by-product of the actions of some god(s). Conversely, Jews and Christians believed that these events were typically governed by laws that had been designed and put in place by God, but that he occasionally intervened in these laws to use what would typically be considered natural disasters as a tool of judgment/punishment in those specific cases. As a rule, however, they believed the universe, the celestial bodies, and the earth itself, operated in accordance with and were governed by a set of laws or statutes. They believed this because the Bible told them this repeatedly. It is a pretty simple fact of history that this Biblical view of the universe, namely that it is intelligible because of operating according rational regularities, is what ultimately led to the rise of modern science. So, in reality, monotheists believe essentially the same thing about these issues today as they did thousands of years ago. They did not need to update their beliefs on these issues in order to conform with modern scientific findings. On the contrary, the entire practice of the modern scientists proceeded from the monotheistic beliefs on these issues. It's time for atheists to stop comforting themselves with fairy tales that conflate monotheism with polytheism, such that the atheist foolishly thinks that when he is mocking polytheistic superstitions he is simultaneously lampooning the intellectual character of ethical monotheism. They are not one thing and they never have been. Just because some claim was generally true of polytheistic religions doesn't mean it was generally true of the monotheistic religions. Apart from certain specific instances of God bringing about judgment through natural phenomena, Biblical references to God causing such phenomena directly are used in poetic passages, ascribing responsibility to God (or God ascribing responsibility to himself) for these effects because he is the one who put in place the laws that govern them. HeKS
God of the Bible has a fantastic sense of humor check what He said to Job way back when..... Job 38:35 "Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, 'Here we are'?" Andre
Magna There is no naturalistic explanation on what triggers lightning for all we know it might still be Thor...... Go look it up... Andre
as to:
Up until quite recently (a few centuries or less), theists commonly assigned the “cause” of a storm or earthquake or tidal wave to Divine Intervention. That is, God, or at least a god, directly caused the disaster by conscious decision. And there was no need to look for any physical mechanisms. But even most Western theists don’t believe that anymore. They’re happy accepting the impersonal, mechanistic explanations offered by Scientists. So to argue that there MUST be a motive for generating the universe is a personal preference.
WOW, those are some big unsubstantiated leaps you are making. First off Christian Theists founded modern science. Secondly, Aristotle, a theist, founded meteorology.
"In 350 BC, Aristotle wrote Meteorology.[2] Aristotle is considered the founder of meteorology.[3] One of the most impressive achievements described in the Meteorology is the description of what is now known as the hydrologic cycle.[4] per wikipedia 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/uploads/4/0/2/0/4020654/50-nobelists-english.pdf
Thus why, if Theists were content to sit back on their laurels, as you claim, and say God caused the storm without any further work trying to understand how He did it, did meteorology and modern science itself arise out of the Theistic worldview? In other words, you have made a false claim for the atheistic worldview in regards to science that you have absolutely no right to make! Moreover, if you think science has done away with God as a coherent explanation, you are sadly mistaken. We can't even explain exactly how a single photon gets from point A to point B in the double slit experiment without reference to God. Much less can we accurately predict storms far in advance. What we have are "educated guesses". In regards to single photon of energy in the double slit, the first mover of Aristotle and Aquinas is back with full force.
Stephen Hawking: "Philosophy Is Dead" - Michael Egnor - August 3, 2015 Excerpt: The metaphysics of Aristotle and Aquinas is far and away the most successful framework on which to understand modern science, especially quantum mechanics. Heisenberg knew this (Link on site). Aristotle 2,300 years ago described the basics of collapse of the quantum waveform (reduction of potency to act),,, Real scientists have a meaningful understanding of natural philosophy as it relates to their work. No atheist scientist in the public spotlight today would pass a freshman philosophy class. Think Dawkins. Think Krauss. Think Myers. Think Moran. Think Novella. Think Coyne. Think Hawking. Our 21st-century scientific priesthood -- mostly atheists and materialists to the extent that their metaphysics is coherent enough to be described -- is dominated by half-educated technicians with publicists.,,, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/08/stephen_hawking_3098261.html Aquinas’ First Way 1) Change in nature is elevation of potency to act. 2) Potency cannot actualize itself, because it does not exist actually. 3) Potency must be actualized by another, which is itself in act. 4) Essentially ordered series of causes (elevations of potency to act) exist in nature. 5) An essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act cannot be in infinite regress, because the series must be actualized by something that is itself in act without the need for elevation from potency. 6) The ground of an essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act must be pure act with respect to the casual series. 7) This Pure Act– Prime Mover– is what we call God. http://egnorance.blogspot.com/2011/08/aquinas-first-way.html
Or to put it much more simply:
"The ‘First Mover’ is necessary for change occurring at each moment." Michael Egnor – Aquinas’ First Way - per ENV
Here is a video that clearly illustrates the need for God so as to coherently explain exactly what is happening in the double slit in regards to a single photon of energy:
Double Slit, Quantum-Electrodynamics, and Christian Theism – video https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1127450170601248/?type=2&theater
Moreover, in regards to the hidden 'argument from evil' that you made in your post, i.e. God would never allow such a thing as destructive storms to happen, contrary to what you seem to believe, the 'argument from evil' that atheists are so fond of using as a argument against God, actually presupposes the reality of God in its premises.
Student (Albert Einstein) Vs. Professor – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3qjDF9ksJU
,,,as the preceding video clearly shows, evil cannot exist without an objective standard of good. i.e. evil is a departure from the good way things ‘ought’ to be. And if good and evil exist, then God must necessarily exist!
If Good and Evil Exist, God Exists: Prager University - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xliyujhwhNM Stealing from God: Atheists Presuppose God for Morality - Frank Turek, PhD - 2015 - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWxBxDMTzjM
Of note: the problem of evil, and how we react to tragedy in our lives, was almost central to Dr. Neal's following talk on her near death experience. At around the 15:00 - 17:00 minute mark of the following video, Dr. Neal spoke about how she, when in the presence of God, and from being able to see things from that much higher perspective, finally understood why God allows evil in the world (i.e. she finally ‘got it’) and understood how our limited perspective on 'evil' severely clouds our judgments and our reactions to those tragedies in our lives. (The take home message is to trust God no matter what)
Dr. Mary Neal's Near-Death Experience - (Life review portion starts at the 13:00 minute mark) - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHXW1erHMtg
Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
The difference though is something like the difference between "cause" and "intention", or "motivation". Up until quite recently (a few centuries or less), theists commonly assigned the "cause" of a storm or earthquake or tidal wave to Divine Intervention. That is, God, or at least a god, directly caused the disaster by conscious decision. And there was no need to look for any physical mechanisms. But even most Western theists don't believe that anymore. They're happy accepting the impersonal, mechanistic explanations offered by Scientists. So to argue that there MUST be a motive for generating the universe is a personal preference. We can discuss the creation of the universe and accept the idea that at Time 0 the forces of compression suddenly exceeded the forces of expansion without bothering about what went on prior to Time 0. mahuna

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