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John Lennox vs Peter Atkins: Can science explain everything?

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From Unbelievable?:

Can we answer all life’s questions using the scientific method?

Unbelievable? presenter Justin Brierley chairs a live dialogue between Oxford professors John LennoxJohn Lennox and Peter Atkins followed by audience Q&A.

See also: Where Did The Laws Of Nature Come From?: Astrophysicist Hugh Ross vs Chemist Peter Atkins (2018)


Mathematician John Lennox Asks, Is Information Evidence Of Something Beyond Nature?

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12 Replies to “John Lennox vs Peter Atkins: Can science explain everything?

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Can we answer all life’s questions using the scientific method?

    I think it’s safe to say no one knows but it’s worked pretty well so far so it seems reasonable to carry on to see how much further it can take us.

  2. 2
    ET says:

    First, there really isn’t any such thing as “the” scientific method*. And second, any method is only as good as the people using it.

    * see how science works

  3. 3
    PaoloV says:

    We human creatures can’t answer all questions associated with our existence just by observing everything and inferring conclusions.
    There are many fundamental issues with explanations that are beyond our capacity to comprehend, unless we want to understand them and they are revealed to us by someone who understand them perfectly well.
    Thinking otherwise is being delusional and clueless.

  4. 4
    AaronS1978 says:

    If evolution is 100% true and the materialistic mindset is also correct it will be entirely impossible for science to explain everything. Our brains will have not evolved with the equipment to discern and observe everything. This is simply not possible.

    The scientific method is good but it’s only as good as the people using it and the people doing it. Itwill never be better.

  5. 5
    PeterA says:

    Someone asked if Professor Peter Atkins was included in that debate in order to make the atheists look incoherent and clueless?

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    In regards to the question of ‘Can Science Explain Everything?’, Seversky states

    “I think it’s safe to say no one knows but it’s worked pretty well so far so it seems reasonable to carry on to see how much further it can take us.”

    By Seversky’s own criteria of working ‘pretty well so far’, i.e. the fruitfulness of a particular scientific theory, Seversky’s own Darwinian worldview is found to be a unscientific worldview.

    Francis Bacon, whom many consider to be the founder of the scientific method, put the ‘fruitfulness’ criteria for determining whether something is science or not this way, “Of all signs there is none more certain or worthy than that of the fruits produced: for the fruits and effects are the sureties and vouchers, as it were, for the truth of philosophy.”

    Is Biology Approaching the Threshold of Design Acceptance? – January 8, 2019
    Excerpt: Simultaneously, biomimetics fulfills one of the goals of Francis Bacon (1561-1626), the champion of systematic, methodical investigation into the natural world. In Aphorism 73 of Novum Organum, Bacon told how best to judge good natural philosophy, what we call science: “Of all signs there is none more certain or worthy than that of the fruits produced: for the fruits and effects are the sureties and vouchers, as it were, for the truth of philosophy.” Good fruits are pouring forth from the cornucopia of biologically inspired design. What has Darwinism done for the world lately?

    This is a particularly interesting failure of Darwinian evolution to think about. Scientific theories have a history of deepening man’s understanding of Nature, and thus providing man with beneficial technological breakthroughs because of that deepened understanding of nature (For instance, Newton’s theory of Gravity was ‘good enough’ to land men on the moon). Evolution, unlike those other scientific theories, has completely failed on this account to foster research and deliver technological breakthroughs:

    “Certainly, my own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution. Nor did Alexander Fleming’s discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin. I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.
    I also examined the outstanding biodiscoveries of the past century: the discovery of the double helix; the characterization of the ribosome; the mapping of genomes; research on medications and drug reactions; improvements in food production and sanitation; the development of new surgeries; and others. I even queried biologists working in areas where one would expect the Darwinian paradigm to have most benefited research, such as the emergence of resistance to antibiotics and pesticides. Here, as elsewhere, I found that Darwin’s theory had provided no discernible guidance, but was brought in, after the breakthroughs, as an interesting narrative gloss.
    Darwinian evolution – whatever its other virtues – does not provide a fruitful heuristic in experimental biology.”
    Philip S. Skell – (the late) Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. – Why Do We Invoke Darwin? – 2005

    “Truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably. But hasn’t evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding? Not very much. Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of ‘like begets like’. Even now, as its practitioners admit, the field of quantitative genetics has been of little value in helping improve varieties. Future advances will almost certainly come from transgenics, which is not based on evolution at all.”
    – Jerry Coyne, “Selling Darwin: Does it matter whether evolution has any commercial applications?,” reviewing The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life by David P. Mindell, in Nature, 442:983-984 (August 31, 2006).

    “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.”
    Marc Kirschner, Boston Globe, Oct. 23, 2005

    “While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas. Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superflous one.”
    A.S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, Introduction to “Evolutionary Processes” – (2000).

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved. It might be thought, therefore, that evolutionary arguments would play a large part in guiding biological research, but this is far from the case. It is difficult enough to study what is happening now. To figure out exactly what happened in evolution is even more difficult. Thus evolutionary achievements can be used as hints to suggest possible lines of research, but it is highly dangerous to trust them too much. It is all too easy to make mistaken inferences unless the process involved is already very well understood.”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit (1988)

    In fact, instead of fostering discovery, it can be forcefully argued that Darwinian evolution has hindered scientific discovery, and has also led to medical malpractice, by falsely predicting junk DNA and vestigial organs.

    Dan Graur, Darwin’s Reactionary – June 21, 2017
    Excerpt: In 2013, biologist Dan Graur criticized the “evolution-free gospel of ENCODE” and accused its researchers of “playing fast and loose with the term ‘function,’ by divorcing genomic analysis from its evolutionary context.”81 In a lecture at the University of Houston, Graur argued that “if the human genome is indeed devoid of junk DNA as implied by the ENCODE project, then a long, undirected evolutionary process cannot explain the human genome.” In other words: “If ENCODE is right, then evolution is wrong.” But for Graur, evolution can’t be wrong. His solution to the problem? “Kill ENCODE.”82,,,
    Lots of evolutionists think that way but only the rare Darwinian atheist materialist is willing to state the matter as nakedly as this. No wonder Dr. Graur is among a list of individuals thanked by Dr. Wells in his Acknowledgments for “making embarrassingly candid or unwittingly humorous statements.”

    Vestigial Organs: Comparing ID and Darwinian Approaches – July 20, 2012
    Excerpt: A favorite criticisms of ID is that it is a science stopper. The opposite is true. The Live Science article shows that the “vestigial organs” argument has not changed for over a century, since Wiedersheim coined the term and listed over a hundred examples (in 1893). Evolutionary theory, in fact, has been worse than a science stopper: its predictions have been flat out wrong. Only a handful of alleged vestigial organs remains from Wiedersheim’s original list, and each of those is questionable.

    In fact, besides leading biological science down blind alleys, by using Seversky’s own criteria of working ‘pretty well so far’, it is also found that Seversky’s entire atheistic worldview is false,

    The unmitigated horror visited upon man, by state sponsored atheism, would be hard to exaggerate,,, Here’s what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians take control of Government:
    “169,202,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusions [20th Century Democide]
    2. The New Concept of Democide [Definition of Democide]
    3. Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth Century Democide
    4. 61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State
    5. 35,236,000 Murdered: The Communist Chinese Ant Hill
    6. 20,946,000 Murdered: The Nazi Genocide State
    7. 10,214,000 Murdered: The Depraved Nationalist Regime
    8. 5,964,000 Murdered: Japan’s Savage Military
    9. 2,035,000 Murdered: The Khmer Rouge Hell State
    10. 1,883,000 Murdered: Turkey’s Genocidal Purges
    11. 1,670,000 Murdered: The Vietnamese War State
    12. 1,585,000 Murdered: Poland’s Ethnic Cleansing
    13. 1,503,000 Murdered: The Pakistani Cutthroat State
    14. 1,072,000 Murdered: Tito’s Slaughterhouse
    15. 1,663,000 Murdered? Orwellian North Korea
    16. 1,417,000 Murdered? Barbarous Mexico
    17. 1,066,000 Murdered? Feudal Russia”
    This is, in reality, probably just a drop in the bucket. Who knows how many undocumented murders there were. It also doesn’t count all the millions of abortions from around the world.

    Hitler, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao – quotes – Foundational Darwinian influence in their ideology (Nov. 2018)

    It would hard to fathom a more unfruitful worldview than Atheism has been thus far.

    As well, I wonder if Seversky will use his own criteria of working ‘pretty well so far’ to reject the radical left’s current push for Socialism in America?

    You Can’t Argue against Socialism’s 100 Percent Record of Failure – April 16, 2018
    After more than two dozen failed attempts, Socialism has proven itself to be a disastrous philosophy.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    In short, Darwinism, atheism and/or socialism, have been abject failures for science and human societies and if Seversky were ever to be honest with his own criteria (that he himself set forth) of working ‘pretty well so far’ then he should rightly and soundly reject his atheistic Darwinian worldview.

    Whereas on the other hand Christianity, by using Seversky’s own criteria of working ‘pretty well so far’, is found to be very fruitful,

    21 Positive Contributions Christianity Has Made Through the Centuries By D. James Kennedy (excerpted from “What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?”)
    (1) Hospitals, which essentially began during the Middle Ages.
    (2) Universities, which also began during the Middle Ages. In addition, most of the world’s greatest universities were started for Christian purposes.
    (3) Literacy and education for the masses.
    (4) Capitalism and free enterprise.
    (5) Representative government, particularly as it has been seen in the American experiment.
    (6) The separation of political powers.
    (7) Civil liberties.
    (8) The abolition of slavery, both in antiquity and in more modern times.
    (9) Modern science.
    (10) The discovery of the New World by Columbus.
    (11) The elevation of women.
    (12) Benevolence and charity; the good Samaritan ethic.
    (13) Higher standards of justice.
    (14) The elevation of common man.
    (15) The condemnation of adultery, homosexuality, and other sexual perversions. This has helped to preserve the human race, and it has spared many from heartache.
    (16) High regard for human life.
    (17) The civilizing of many barbarian and primitive cultures.
    (18) The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world’s languages.
    (19) Greater development of art and music. The inspiration for the greatest works of art.
    (20) The countless changed lives transformed from liabilities into assets to society because of the gospel.
    (21) The eternal salvation of countless souls.

    From ‘Evidence for Christianity’, Josh McDowell, in giving examples of the influence of Jesus Christ, also cites many examples of Christianity’s positive influence on the world. Here are just a few:
    1. Hospitals
    2. Universities
    3. Literacy and education for the masses
    4. Representative government
    5. Separation of political powers
    6. Civil liberties
    7. Abolition of slavery
    8. Modern science
    9. The elevation of the common man
    10. High regard for human life

    Indeed, it was the Christian worldview alone that gave rise to science itself,

    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.

    Christians – Not the Enlightenment – Invented Modern Science – Chuck Colson – Oct. 2016
    Excerpt: Rodney Stark’s,,, book, “For the Glory of God,,,,
    In Stark’s words, “Christian theology was necessary for the rise of science.” Science only happened in areas whose worldview was shaped by Christianity, that is, Europe. Many civilizations had alchemy; only Europe developed chemistry. Likewise, astrology was practiced everywhere, but only in Europe did it become astronomy.
    That’s because Christianity depicted God as a “rational, responsive, dependable, and omnipotent being” who created a universe with a “rational, lawful, stable” structure. These beliefs uniquely led to “faith in the possibility of science.”
    So why the Columbus myth? Because, as Stark writes, “the claim of an inevitable and bitter warfare between religion and science has, for more than three centuries, been the primary polemical device used in the atheist attack of faith.” Opponents of Christianity have used bogus accounts like the ones I’ve mentioned to not only discredit Christianity, but also position themselves as “liberators” of the human mind and spirit.
    Well, it’s up to us to set the record straight, and Stark’s book is a great place to start. And I think it’s time to tell our neighbors that what everyone thinks they know about Christianity and science is just plain wrong.

    Thus, if Seversky were ever to be honest with the abject, even horrific, repeated failures of his own worldview, and were to be consistent with his very own criteria of working ‘pretty well so far’, then he should soundly reject his atheistic worldview and adopt Christianity.


    Matthew 7:15-20
    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

    Supplemental note:

    Agent Causality:
    To continue on from posts 7 & 8 where I showed that both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics have themselves now overturned the Copernican principle and/or the principle of mediocrity, and to further refute the Atheistic presupposition that any real significance, meaning, purpose, and value for ours lives is illusory, I will reiterate my case for Christ’s resurrection from the dead providing the correct solution for the much sought after “Theory of Everything”.

  8. 8
    groovamos says:

    “Can we answer all life’s questions using the scientific method?”

    Seversky I think it’s safe to say no one knows but it’s worked pretty well so far so it seems reasonable to carry on to see how much further it can take us.

    I’m pretty sure I asked Seversky if “science” has discovered why babies cry, and if not is there a research program for this determination: what benefit does a baby recieve from crying while nevertheless being caressed by its mother?

    This is a big part of life and so science apprently should work pretty well at answering it, being a question.

  9. 9
    Fasteddious says:

    “Can we answer all life’s questions using the scientific method?”
    Open any newspaper: how much of its content is “science” or answered by the scientific method? Very little.
    Any “ought” question, and there are many in life, cannot be answered by the scientific method.
    What courses should I take? Which job should I apply for? Should I buy that house? Who should I marry? What should I do today?

  10. 10
    EDTA says:

    To say that science has worked pretty well so far is to implicitly (and illogically) claim that we have some yardstick against which to measure our progress: “There’s the totality of knowledge that is possible, and here’s how far man has come, and therefore we’ve come n percent of the way to complete knowledge.” We have no such yardstick. The claim makes no sense.

  11. 11
    EugeneS says:

    I hadn’t given a lot of credit to Prof Atkins, having listened to his debate with Stephen Meyer before. But even that was too much, after all. He is his own enemy.

  12. 12
    EricMH says:

    Given that science cannot explain itself, it seems unlikely that science can explain everything.

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