Monday, August 24, 2015

Book Review: Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted In Mid-Air

Introduction
More and more it seems that society and culture are attempting to jettison objective morality in favor of their own moral autonomy. It is a challenge that takes place at both an individual level and a political level. The Christian worldview holds that certain actions and behaviors are right or wrong regardless of who believes or does not believe that they are. Christians need to be able to defend this position in their everyday discussions with friends, family, and coworkers; otherwise, they may cave to the "wisdom of the world." Greg Koukl and Francis Beckwith wrote Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air (soft cover, Kindle, GoodReads) precisely with these everyday Christians in mind.

The book is divided into five parts (sixteen chapters) and 170 pages. This review will be a part-by-part review (rather than my usual chapter-by-chapter, due to the short length of some chapters) to provide the reader with a quick summary of what they can expect from the book. My thoughts will conclude the review. While both Koukl and Beckwith are in agreement with all the content in the book, they each were the primary authors of certain parts, so I will refer to them by name (even though both authors are represented).

Monday, August 17, 2015

6 Quotes from Donald E. Johnson on Information in Living Systems

"Laws of chemistry and physics which follow exact statistical, thermodynamic, and spatial laws, are totally inadequate for generating complex functional information or those systems that process the information using prescriptive algorithmic information. Unfortunately, most people investigating origins are unfamiliar with the immensity of the problems, and believe that time, chance and natural selection can accomplish almost anything."

"One cannot use the information of life to 'prove' that information can arise purely from physicality, as that would simply be a tautology based on the assumption of life from physicality. In examining any complex functional information where the source of the information is known, it invariably (no known exceptions) resulted from a source other than chance and/or necessity."

"Those who insist on purely physical causes of life are in an untenable position when it comes to known science. Not only can they not prove that it's possible (non-zero probability) for life to come about by the physical interactions of nature, but the information content of life precludes that possibility."

"In each cell, there are multiple operating systems, multiple programming languages, specialized communications systems, encoding/decoding hardware and software, error detection and correction mechanisms, specialized input/output channels for organelle control and feedback, and a variety of specialized 'devices' to accomplish the tasks of life."

"It is important not only to transmit the messages reliably...from the DNA, but the enzymes and ribosomes must already know how to interpret that coded information in order for proteins (including enzymes), RNA, and replicated DNA to be manufactured appropriately (functional criteria)."

"The challenge for a purely physical origin of such a cybernetic complex interacting computer system is the need to demonstrate the rules, laws, and theories that govern electronic computing systems and information don't apply to the even more complex digital information systems that are in living organisms."

All these quotes can be found in Johnson's book The Programming of Life.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Multiverse Instead of God?: Four Philosophical Problems

Introduction
A few weeks ago a skeptic asked me about my concerns with the multiverse as an explanation for the beginning and fine-tuning of the universe. He stated that he did not want a scientific critique, though, because he believes that the multiverse is outside the ability of science to test. He was more interested in my philosophical concerns. Four issues come to mind. None of them remove the possibility of a multiverse in a theistic world; however, two make the multiverse unpalatable in a naturalistic world, and the other two do remove it from possibility in a naturalistic world.

I will start by showing the power of the multiverse as an explanation, and at the same time I will show how two of the issues make a naturalistic multiverse impossible as a naturalistic explanation (but do not necessarily rule it out). I will then describe the two issues that make the naturalistic multiverse even less desirable as an explanation. Finally, I will conclude by demonstrating how all these issues are consistently and comfortably resolved by a theistic worldview (with or without a multiverse).