Monday, February 9, 2015

Observational Science vs. Historical Science?

It is quite common to hear in Christian discussions about science that there exists a distinction between observational science and historical science. This distinction took center stage in Ken Ham's debate with Bill Nye one year ago (see here). Ken Ham is a young-earth creationist, who often appeals to this distinction to undermine evidence that supports any age of the universe that is older than what he believes it to be (6000 to 10000 years). Bill Nye, as well as the majority of the scientific community reject such a distinction, though, so Ham's critiques based on this distinction are rarely taken seriously. For Christians who wish to demonstrate evidence for the truth that God created the universe, this distinction often stands in the way of their being taken seriously by those who offer scientific evidences against a young universe and earth. If this distinction is one that is not true, then Christians need not defend this stumbling block that stands between their scientifically minded friends and those friends' salvation. I decided to do a search for a piece that might explain the distinction a bit more on Ham's site before I critiqued the distinction. This is what I found: "Deceitful or Distinguishable Terms—Historical and Observational Science." Please read it to ensure that I am accurately representing the claims of the author in this critique.* Ken Ham also posted a blog post the other day that appeals to this distinction. It may be read here.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Book Review: Who's Afraid of the Multiverse?

As a Christian who is deeply interested in the sciences and what they bring to the table for defending the existence of God (and the truth of the Christian worldview, specifically), I have often encountered the idea that multiple worlds may exist, which seems to explain away the beginning of the universe and its designed features. When I heard that astrophysicist Jeff Zweerink (Apologetics 315 Interview) wrote an introduction booklet addressing that very challenge, it caught my attention. "Who's Afraid of the Multiverse?" (paperbackKindleVideo) provides an introduction to the concept of the multiverse and what its implication is for arguments for God's existence. It is a short read at only 53 pages.

The Multiverse Landscape
Zweerink spends the first half of the book setting stage for why discussions of a "multiverse" is even necessary and explaining what scientists mean by the term. Various observations of the universe have led scientists to believe that the universe experienced a period of expansion speeds exceeding the speed of light. Though the evidence is strong that this took place, exactly how and what caused it to begin and end are currently under investigation. One of the types of multiverse is a necessary implications of the fact of inflation, and one of the others types is a necessary implication of a particular model for the possible mechanism of inflation. Each progressive type becomes more speculative and enjoys less scientific evidence than the previous one.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lawrence Krauss, Astrobiology, and God

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.