Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lawrence Krauss, Astrobiology, and God

Introduction
The other day Eric Metaxas wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal entitled "Science Increasingly Makes The Case For God." Anti-theist astrophysicist Dr. Lawrence Krauss took notice and wrote a response "No, Astrobiology Has Not Made The Case For God" that attempts to undermine Metaxas' conclusions. Today I will address several of Dr. Krauss' arguments in his piece from scientific, philosophical, and theological perspectives.

Krauss takes issue with the teleological argument- the fine-tuning of environmental conditions and the fundamental constants of the universe for the origin of life. His issue is with the probabilities. He summarizes the argument as multiplying independent probabilities of every necessary event to reach a probability so low that it is indistinguishable from zero, thus chance is eliminated (from the three options of chance, necessity, or design to explain life's existence). Krauss argues that the probabilities of each event that leads to life's origin that are calculated are not independent of one another. His concern is that each event is calculated independent of all necessarily preceding events. Meaning that any event in the chain leading to the origin of life will increase the probability that the next necessary event will take place. Thus the probability is not as small as one may think.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Book Review: Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off

Introduction
How did life begin? This question has perplexed humanity for centuries. Some people believe that it came along by natural processes. Others believe that a divine Designer is behind it all. These two options go head-to-head, tested against the latest scientific research in the book "Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off" (hardcoverKindle, Supplemental Site) by astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross and biochemist Dr. Fazale Rana. The book is divided into three sections, seventeen chapters, and 298 pages (including notes and appendices). This review provides a chapter-by-chapter summary of the contents of the book, but it must not be accepted as a replacement for reading the book, itself. The review will conclude with my thoughts and recommendation.

Drs. Ross and Rana take the position that the origin of life is by divine design. To scientifically test their hypothesis, they present their model, competing models, and the latest research; they then compare the predictions of the models to the research to build their case. Before examining the current state of origins research, it is a good idea to take a quick look at the events that led to the current state.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Not Knowing God's Purposes and Wondering If He Exists

In The Business World...
In my professional career I have been in the position of management a few times. One of the responsibilities of such a position is to communicate decisions of upper management to my employees. Often when my directors communicate the decision to me, they also communicate some of the reasons for the decisions, some of which I am not to communicate any further down the chain. When I communicate the decisions, some are received with a positive attitude, and others are received with a negative one.

I have interacted with many different types of personalities in these situations. Primarily with the negative ones, people begin asking questions about the purposes for the decision in order to evaluate for themselves if the decision was the best possible to make given the circumstances. In many cases, the employee is satisfied with the purposes that I provide; however, there are times that is not the case. The employee believes that based on the purposes communicated to them, a better decision could have and should have been made. They often leave the meeting dissatisfied and with less trust in the members upper management.

Unless we are those who make all the final decisions, we all can identify with the employees provided with a decision and the chosen purposes. I feel comfortable with saying that no person has been fully in agreement with every decision made by every management team in their career. To fully make sense, we need the whole story, and that level of transparency is a rare, if not, nonexistent luxury.

This scenario is not limited to the business world, though. Any hierarchical relationship where absolute transparency among the parties does not or cannot exist exhibits this issue. Every relationship from familial to clubs is affected. Today, I want to draw two analogs of this familiar scenario to address two challenges to the existence of God.