God's Existence, Science and Faith, Suffering and Evil, Jesus' Resurrection, and Book Reviews

Showing posts with label Science and Faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science and Faith. Show all posts

Monday, August 7, 2017

Top 5 Books On Science and Faith

One of the major challenges to the Christian worldview is the idea that science and Christianity are necessarily in conflict with one another. This general challenge is manifested in many different ways. A few months ago, I posted my Top 5 Books that address the Genesis controversy. This list will address the more general challenge. As before, I will give the list then provide a short explanation for my choices. This list will consist of two primarily philosophical books and two primarily scientific books that are bridged by one that logically connects the philosophy to the science. So, on to the list of my (currently) Top 5 Books I recommend regarding science and faith:

Top 5 Books on Science and Faith: Where the Conflict Really Lies- Alvin Plantinga; Agents Under Fire- Angus Menuge; Origin Science- Norman Geisler and Kerby Anderson; Improbable Planet- Hugh Ross; Creating Life In The Lab- Fazale Rana


Why Did I Pick These Books? 

Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism

In order for discovery and explanation (science) to even take place, a proper philosophy of knowledge (epistemology) must be established. As mentioned in the introduction, many skeptics claim that science (read "evolution") and Christianity are in direct opposition to one another, and they offer that naturalism is the only view supported by science (again, read "evolution"). In this book, philosopher Alvin Plantinga looks at the theory of evolution from a merely conceptual standpoint (not an evidential one- Plantinga does not agree or disagree with evolutionary mechanisms in this book). He makes the case that the theory of evolution, by itself, merely describes a possible mechanism to explain the diversity of life, but it does not make any claims about whether that mechanism was guided or not- philosophical naturalism has to be sneaked into evolutionary theory for guidance to be excluded. He concludes that evolution is compatible with theism, so there is no conflict. But he takes it even further. C.S. Lewis argued in "Mere Christianity" that a naturalistic origin of our brains justifies doubting its ability to reason and come to true conclusions apart from survival advantage. Plantinga builds upon Lewis' argument to place it on very strong scientific grounds. He ultimately concludes that a conflict does exist between evolution and naturalism. Not only are naturalists incorrect in claiming a conflict between Christianity and science, they are incorrect in claiming concord between science and naturalism. Naturalism is simply not a viable worldview for the person who values their ability to reason towards true conclusions despite survival disadvantages of those conclusions.

Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality Of Science

For reasoning independent of survival advantage to take place, a mind that is not subject to the survival of a physical organism must exist (an agent). Naturalism not only does away with the reliability of a brain's ability to reason independent of survival advantage, it also has no room for an agent independent of the physical organism. Naturalists have attempted to explain away agency (along with free will, intentionality, design, and other concepts we take for granted) using strong and weak agent reduction. Philosopher Angus Menuge takes the reader through the scientific and philosophical claims of these proposed solutions and shows how each of them fails the test of reality. He also takes the scientific and philosophical evidence to build the case for agency (minds) actually existing. If minds do exist, then naturalism is false, and we have discovered yet another conflict between naturalism and science. Along with that, science has actually demonstrated a key feature of the Christian worldview: more than just this physical world exists.

Origin Science: A Proposal for the Creation-Evolution Debate

The two previous books focused primarily on philosophical arguments that have scientific implications. But what about scientific evidence that has philosophical implications? Before we can get to the more science-focused evidence for Christianity, we need to establish the reliability of nature as a source of knowledge that we can observe and analyze. In their book "Origin Science" philosophers Norman Geisler and Kerby Anderson do just that. They look at the history of science and the history of science within the Church (drawing the conclusion that science and Christianity are compatible). They then look at how knowledge of how nature currently operates has been obtained: through observation. This connects our ability to accurately observe and validly analyze to draw sound conclusions about how nature operates today (observational science). But what about how nature operated in the past? Using the principle of uniformity (distinct from uniformitarianism) Geisler and Anderson demonstrate that the past can be known with deductive certainty. This makes the connection between the present and the past. If the past operated the same five days ago (verified by repeated experiments), we can keep adding five days to the past until we reach back into the distant past to discover how things operated back then (historical science). The knowledge of the present operation of nature and the truth of the principle of uniformity necessarily imply that we can know the operation of nature in the (distant) past. Thus, our ability to know and nature as a source of knowledge have been connected so that we can discover what nature reveals about its purposeful or purposeless history.

Improbable Planet: How Earth Became Humanity's Home

For several decades, astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross has been scouring scientific journals for scientific evidence for the Christian worldview. The evidence is so frequently in the scientific literature that he has a blog entitled "Today's New Reason to Believe." He has written several books on what he has discovered, but his latest book examines history of our planet, and the hallmark of design for a purpose is difficult to miss. As scientists discover more about how stars, solar systems, and planets are formed, they see just how unique ours is. Numerous features of each are necessary for our planet to be able to support advanced life for the time that it has. For those familiar with Gantt Charts (used to track the progress of large and complex projects), through the entire time span of the project of the creation of our planet for high tech civilization, numerous series of highly orchestrated simultaneous phases begin and conclude at precisely coordinated times. The completion of the project is so dependent upon the plan being followed precisely that every phase, if not started or not completed at their precise time, ensures that the project will be a failure. While many projects must be flexible due to circumstances outside the project manager's control, the Project Manager in charge of our planet did not have that limitation; He was in complete control and could easily complete such a strict project. We know by analogy to human projects that when we see such a complex system come together with a specific end result that it is the product of a designer (project manager). While an argument against a naturalistic explanation would be obvious, Dr. Ross instead argues that the design of our planet positively identifies that it was created for a purpose, and a purpose must have a Purposer. Dr. Ross argues that the most plausible explanation for our planet's sustaining a high tech civilization is the product of the divine Project Manager (God), who's purpose was the redemption of as many of His Image bearers as possible.

Creating Life In The Lab: How New Discoveries in Synthetic Biology Make a Case for the Creator

While the previous book focused on evidence from astrophysics and geochemistry for our planet being created with a purpose (thus a Purposer was necessary), Creating Life In The Lab examines the latest work in the field of biochemistry, specifically what scientists are doing in order to create life. Dr. Rana takes the reader through the history and current state of different approaches scientists have been pursuing to create life. He explains that precisely and constantly controlled environmental conditions are necessary even for the progress that has been made today. Just like with other chemical experiments, these are highly controlled reactions, ones that would not take place outside the intervention of the scientists. And much like other chemical experiments, the reactions must be stopped at precise times to prevent destruction of the product of the reaction. Dr. Rana points out that these experiments and all success they have can only be attributed to the fact that designers (the scientists) are behind the experiments with an explicit purpose in mind. The fact that the scientists have a specific goal in mind allows them to begin chemical reactions, allow them to take their natural course (according to the laws of physics) then intervene to stop the reactions to prevent destruction of the products and set them aside to be later combined with other products of similar processes. Dr. Rana makes the point that even if there is a naturalistic pathway from non-life to life, that pathway is not one that can be traversed without designers to control the conditions, start and stop reactions, and combine products that have each been created independently. He also argues that when we see products of any other process that requires precisely controlled conditions and controlled chemical reactions (say, the device you are using to read this article), we intuitively, logically, and experientially know that it is the product of a designer. Even though life has not yet been successfully created in the lab, the current status provides powerful evidence for life being the product of a Designer. And if (when) life is created in the lab, it will present powerful, positive evidence for the creation of life absolutely requiring a designer.

Bringing It All Together

I would like to add also that these last two books offer such powerful cases for design that if naturalism were true, they would actually bolster Alvin Plantinga's argument in "Where The Conflict Really Lies" with scientific evidence. If the "design" we see in the history of our planet and the creation of life is merely an appearance of design (as many naturalists contend), then arguments for true design break down. And as Dr. Angus Menuge argued in "Agents Under Fire" that breakdown is in the very concept of design- it does not exist if naturalism is true. Everything that we experience and believe to be designed (even human inventions and projects) are not truly designed; the belief that they are designed is merely a useful fiction. And since believing these useful fictions is necessary for us to even get out of bed and eat breakfast (not to mention driving [or walking] to work to perform a series of tasks designed to accomplish several purposes) there is no reason whatsoever to think that our brains were selected for by natural selection to believe what is true- they haven't been and they won't be...interestingly, if we cannot trust our brains to believe what is true (possess knowledge), then what is the point of science in the first place? If God does not exist, neither does knowledge, and every knowledge discipline that we enjoy is the product of yet another series of useful fictions forced on us by our (naive?) desire to survive.

Check Out More Top 5 Books Lists

Monday, July 31, 2017

More Than Water Is Required for Life

A New Habitable Zone Discovered

The other day I saw an interesting article posted on PHYS.org entitled "More To Life Than The Habitable Zone." The "Habitable Zone" is the area around a star where a planet may exist with water in all three states. This is crucial for life's existence. In the article the team of scientists studying a particular star for habitable planets recognizes that the zone where water can exist is not the only area that limits where a life-destined planet may be found. The scientists explain that another factor that further limits that "habitable zone" is the amount of ultraviolet radiation emitted from the host star. Similar to the water habitable zone, the UV habitable zone is the area where the UV radiation is within the maximum and minimum bounds that permits life to exist. Both zones are necessary, so the only area where life can exist is the area where the two zones overlap each other. This area is so tiny that the team of scientists conclude that while a large portion of stars (red dwarfs) scientists have been investigating for habitable worlds are not completely off the table, it would be more prudent for scientists to focus efforts on the relatively few stars that more closely match our sun. Such a star would allow, presumably, for a larger overlapping area of the water habitable zone and the UV habitable zone.

Narrowing the Options

Astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe describes these two habitable zones in his latest book "Improbable Planet: How Earth Became Humanity's Home." He also describes three other habitable zones that have been discovered. Not only is earth located in the water habitable zone and the UV habitable zone, but zones for photosynthesis, ozone, and tides also exist. This means that not only must the water and UV zones overlap, these other three must overlap as well. The only areas where overlap of all five exists are where a planet must exist around its host star to be a candidate for life.

A quick internet search reveals that red dwarfs make up roughly 70% of the stars in the universe. If the team of astrobiologists are saying that the recognition of just one more habitable zone limits the candidate sites in the universe (practically rules out an entire class of stars) by 70%, then how much more will the recognition of these extra three zones limit the possible locations for life? Even though research is revealing a more precise target for where life can exist (thus focusing expensive research time and resources), the number of physical locations available for life to originate are being dramatically reduced. While the universe is huge and scientists already recognize that the majority of it is not viable for life's existence (nowhere near a star), this team of scientists has ruled out 70% of the space already left.

But that's not all. To further focus our research efforts (but reduce the areas for life), two more (non-location) habitable zones exist: the planet's rotation rate and obliquity. Each of these affect the other five zones in different ways, so while one zone may be widened or move closer to the star, another may be narrowed or move further from the star. When the planet's rotation rate and obliquity are taken into account as well, the actual area where a planet may exist and support life becomes even smaller or disappears completely for even more stars.

An Ancient Universe and Evidence for Design

As research continues, the history of our planet is becoming more of a problem for anyone who thinks that life is ubiquitous in the universe. Not only that, the more research continues, the more the history of our planet resembles a complicated project executed for a purpose- a project that includes numerous phases with numerous concurrent and necessary events that, if not started and finished at the proper time, would doom the project to failure. The longer the history of our planet, the longer the project and the more of these complicated phases there are. While many people think that an ancient universe provides naturalists a legitimate reason to deny the need for a Designer, the evidence provided by this ancient universe is revealing the exact opposite: that a Designer is necessary to explain why our planet and its history appear to be designed. The ancient universe is quickly becoming an unstoppable evidential force, declaring the glory of its Creator (Psalm 19:1) and leaving educated unbelievers with even less excuse for rejection (Romans 1).


Dr. Hugh Ross has also posted on this discovery: Inability of Planets Orbiting Red Dwarfs


To Go Deeper, I Recommend These Books:


Monday, June 26, 2017

12 Things Your Professors Won't Tell You About God and Science

Tap the links to learn more!

#1- Christianity and science are NOT at odds with each other

The mantras in today's university classrooms seem to be that science has proven Christianity false and that Christianity is anti-science. This could not be further from the truth of the situation. Science IS at odds with a worldview, and it may surprise you which worldview it is. Tap the link above to discover which one and how!
It is quite common for people to believe that since God is outside this universe that his existence cannot be tested. All the religious views make claims about the universe we live in, and some make the claim that God exists (and that their "holy" books were inspired by that God). Numerous claims are made in the Bible about our universe and can be put to the test. Tap the link to discover the claims and how they can be tested. 
This is a big one! Too many professors are convinced that Christianity claims the universe is 6,000 years old, and (using the idea in the addressing the previous claim) since the universe has been discovered to be orders of magnitude older, Christianity has been shown to be false. However, the idea that Christianity teaches that the universe is 6,000 years old is false. If this is what you've always believed or been told, tap the link above to discover the truth about the Bible's claims about the age of the universe. 
Many more scientifically testable claims of Christianity are found in the book of Genesis. Again, many of those in academia believe these too fail the test of reality. However, the tests fail because they have not read Genesis correctly. Tap the link above to see the proper understanding of Genesis and to see how the claims comport with modern scientific discoveries in uncanny ways. 
While some people have a disdain for big bang cosmology because it demonstrates an ancient age of the universe, others (since it was first proposed) prefer to avoid it because it necessitates the need for a beginner. A big bang needs a "big banger." Everything that begins to exist has a cause; the universe began to exist; therefore, the universe has a cause. This is a powerful argument that the universe was started by something (or Someone) that transcends (is outside- see #2) this universe. Tap the link above to see the details of how such a conclusion can be reached in science. 
Naturalists are wedded to the idea that our universe exists without any kind of purpose. However, when devices are reverse-engineered, the person examines the device's features and construction to determine how it was formed (usually in order to imitate the design). Such an engineer never concludes his reverse-engineering efforts with the idea that the device was not designed or has no purpose. When the earth, the sun, solar system, galaxy, cluster, super-cluster, and the universe as a whole are all reverse-engineered through science, we see that they all appear just like a humanly designed device- designed for a purpose. Tap the link above to get the details of this powerful argument. 

Ever since the Miller-Urey experiment, scientists have been trying to find a naturalistic explanation for the origin of life. Yet as research continues and the scientific knowledge base grows, such a theory becomes less likely, not more. Tap the link above to see the where the research stands and see how naturalism does not have any hope for solving the problems. 

It is common to believe that if two things have similar characteristics, the only explanation for that is a common ancestor. However, engineers and project managers know that is not true, for they employ the same designed features and processes for use in multiple devices and projects. Engineers and project managers do not see common features and conclude "common descent;" rather they conclude "common design," and they are correct. For more on this, tap the link above. 
If scientists create life in the lab does that remove the need for a designer? Not at all. In fact, they just proved that a designer was necessary. For all the scientists involved ARE designers. The lab is not uncontrolled nature; it is a carefully controlled environment where chemical reactions can be started when necessary and stopped when the desired effects are achieved. When scientists create life in the lab, it will provide a powerful argument that life requires a Designer to be created. To learn more about this exciting scientific field, tap the link above. 
If all that exists is this universe, then free will does not exist. This is a common claim in the university. Interestingly enough this necessarily implies that you are not really choosing to read this post or to go to college- rather you are determined by your environment what you are doing and going to do- you have no choice and no control, and neither do the professors. To see how this conclusion cannot logically be escaped, tap the link above (or not; it is your choice; or is it?).
Naturalistic evolution is governed by the drive for survival. If our brains are the product of naturalistic evolution, then they (and the beliefs they generate) are driven by survival. Over time useful fictions (pragmatic but false beliefs) are the beliefs that survive natural selection. If are what is false is necessarily selected by nature to be what we believe, then we cannot trust our beliefs about our world. We can only think that our beliefs have survival value but not truth-value...and we are not free to choose to believe otherwise (see #10). This ultimately undermines the purpose of college and the university. If this has you concerned and just curious, tap the link above for more depth. 
Finally, the idea that morality cannot or should not be legislated because it is the same as establishing a state religion, is rampant in our universities. However, this is another claim that is false, and your professor is not likely to tell you such a thing. But is it really true that legislating morality is actually possible, legal, and wise? If God exists, then it follows that all those are true. Tap the link above for a thorough investigation of how this is the case from a Constitutional, legal, and logical standpoints.

More Resources!

Jonathan Morrow wrote an excellent book for students preparing for college. Welcome To College: A Christ Follower's Guide For The Journey provides an excellent overview of the various challenges the Christian will face in their years at the university.

For more discussions of God and science, please check out the Science and Faith page, Reasons to Believe, Reasonable Faith, and Cold Case Christianity.


*Please note that many excellent college professors affirm many if not all of the items in this list. This list is not meant to be an attack on professors specifically or even the university in general. Rather its purpose is to prepare the student to engage professors and fellow students, who disagree with these items, in an intellectual dialog and be able to support the claims evidentially.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Is Religion the Practice of Avoiding Truth?

Is religion the practice of avoiding truth? Is it a willful delusion? Is it blind faith? The naturalist must tread carefully if they wish to ask such questions.

Introduction

A month or so ago, I came across an interesting challenge to Christianity. A skeptic told me that religion was an exercise in avoiding truth- a willful delusion. He observed that many Christians (and religious people, in general) tend to believe the claims of their "holy" books over what has been discovered about nature, history, or the very nature of reality. He noticed that many religious people have a precommitment to a particular understanding of the world and no amount of evidence provided will persuade them otherwise. He, as an intellectual, does not want to make this same mistake. In this post, I want to explore the possibility that he is making the same mistake based upon the philosophical foundations of the claim he makes for rejecting religion, and Christianity specifically. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hugh Ross: Purposeful Cambrian Explosion Argues for God's Existence

Introduction

I love watching illusionists. They perform feats that seem to defy the very laws of physics- cutting people in half (who live to tell about it), disappearing and reappearing, escapes, and many, many others. It is interesting that we see all these things "magically" happen, but we know that they could not happen unless the illusionist was involved. The illusionist has a purpose for making something "appear" or "disappear." They wish to impress and entertain their audience. They usually pick an object with a certain level of complexity that is easily recognizable- a ball, a playing card, or dove or rabbit for instance. They carefully prepare the environment for the illusion; often the audience is a witness to this setup. Now, if any of those objects just appeared on stage (or in the street for that matter), we would not think for a moment that it "just happened" with no explanation. We would immediately look for a cause, a purposeful agent who designed and orchestrated the stunt.

Appearing Acts in Nature

The Cambrian and Avalon explosions are quite analogous to the appearance of an object by an illusionist. These acts were complete with the setup of the environment and everything. In his book "Navigating Genesis" Dr. Hugh Ross explains what has been discovered in nature and how it argues for a purposeful agent behind the setup and execution of the appearances:
"Only through billions of years of photosynthetic activity could Earth's atmosphere and oceans build up sufficient oxygen to support animal life. The very moment oxygen reached appropriate levels, the Avalon and Cambrian explosions occurred. The lack of any appreciable gap between the time of oxygen's rise to minimum life-sustaining levels and the appearance of animals argues strongly for the involvement of a purposeful Creator."

"Only through billions of years of photosynthetic activity could Earth's atmosphere and oceans build up sufficient oxygen to support animal life. The very moment oxygen reached appropriate levels, the Avalon and Cambrian explosions occurred. The lack of any appreciable gap between the time of oxygen's rise to minimum life-sustaining levels and the appearance of animals argues strongly for the involvement of a purposeful Creator."- Dr. Hugh Ross- "Navigating Genesis: A Scientist's Journey Through Genesis 1-11"


Monday, November 14, 2016

Norman Geisler: Christians Must Build a Positive Case For Creation

Introduction

As a defender of the Christian worldview it is important for me to show how other worldviews fall short of reality. In my discussions regarding the specifics of the biblical model for the origins of the universe, life, and humanity, I do this quite a bit. However, as Norman Geisler emphasizes in his book "Origin Science: A Proposal for the Creation/Evolution Controversy," that is not sufficient:
"If Creationist views are to gain scientific credibility then they must follow the principles of origin science and build a positive case for a primary cause, rather than relying on the ineffective means of pointing out flaws in various evolutionary hypotheses."
"If Creationist views are to gain scientific credibility then they must follow the principles of origin science and build a positive case for a primary cause, rather than relying on the ineffective means of pointing out flaws in various evolutionary hypotheses."- Norman Geisler- "Origin Science: A Proposal for the Creation-Evolution Controversy"

Monday, May 30, 2016

Book Review: Dinosaur Blood and the Age of the Earth

Introduction

"Dinosaur Blood and the Age of the Earth" by biochemist Fazale Rana (softcover, Kindle, video) is a book that I have been anticipating for over a year now. It addresses a challenge regarding the debate within the Christian church about the age of the earth (check here for my reasons for believing internal and theological debates are important for the apologist). The questions that Dr. Rana attempts to answer is if the discoveries of soft tissue in dinosaur fossils is a good argument for a young age of the earth, the historicity of the Genesis 1 account of creation, and the truth of the Christian faith. The book is a mere four chapters with three appendices contained in 88 pages. This review will provide a chapter-by-chapter summary; I avoid going into too much detail so that you, the reader, will have the incentive to get the full work to read the details of Dr. Rana's case for yourself. But first check out this video from Dr. Rana about the book:

Monday, May 16, 2016

Book Review: Who Was Adam?

Book Review: "Who Was Adam" by Christian astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross and biochemist Dr. Fazale (Fuz) Rana of Reasons to Believe (reasons.org)

Introduction

Ten years ago Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. Fazale Rana of Reasons to Believe released their book "Who Was Adam?" that presented a scientific model the posited that Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis were the original pair of humans. They examined the latest discoveries and put forth predictions for the scientific community to evaluate. That book was one of my first apologetics books I read that convinced me of the historical accuracy of the Genesis account of origins. A decade later the authors have released a second edition (softcover, Kindle, promo video) that updates the reader on the latest discoveries regarding the origins of humanity. This is one that I have been anticipating for at least two years; let's see if it lives up to it.

With this edition, Ross and Rana chose to keep the original edition intact in the first two parts of the book then evaluate the model in the third part. This review will provide a chapter-by-chapter summary of the book's contents to give the reader an idea of what to expect, but this review in no way should take the place of reading the book itself. I will conclude the book with my thoughts and recommendation.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Historical Science, Observational Science, and Creation- Clarification and Critique

Introduction

Early last year I wrote a post addressing the common young-earth creationist (YEC) distinction between historical and observational science (click here). It was brought to my attention that a critique of my article was recently posted (click here). The critique was retweeted quite a few times, so it seems that it resonated with many supporters of the blogger and/or the YEC view. After I read the critique, I had mixed feelings. The post did not accurately represent my rejection of the distinction (which could be my fault for not being more specific in the original post), and the author cited scholars who support the antiquity of the earth. These two things are what prompts this short response.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Review: God's Crime Scene

UPDATE: My review of the new Kids' edition has posted! Click Here

Introduction

"God's Crime Scene" (KindlePaperback, GoodReadsPromo Video) is the highly anticipated "sequel" to J. Warner Wallace's "Cold Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels". In his first investigation Wallace looks at the evidence for the claim that the Gospels were eye-witness accounts of the life of Jesus. In his latest book, he investigates the existence of God. He takes his experience and skill-set as a homicide detective to bring together the evidences and present them in a coherent and convincing manner for the jurors (readers) to decide. God's Crime Scene is 204 pages divided into eight chapters. He has also included nearly 80 additional pages of case files for digging deeper into the cases he investigates in the book. This review will provide a chapter-by-chapter summary of the book but it cannot be substituted for reading the full text. I've included short interviews with J. Warner Wallace and Bobby Conway from The One Minute Apologist at the end of chapter summaries so you can hear a synopsis of the chapter directly from the author.


Opening Statement: Has Someone Else Been in This Room?

J. Warner Wallace begins his investigation by taking the reader through one of his first crime scene investigations. The crime scene involved a death that needed to be determined if it was the result of natural causes, suicide, or homicide. Wallace explains that when making this determination, the investigator quickly assess the pieces of evidence in the room and asks whether those pieces originated inside the room or if the came from the outside. If the evidence cannot all be explained by remaining inside the room, then they have evidence of an intruder- someone outside the room. Not only can these pieces of evidence establish that an intruder invaded to commit the murder, but they can also be used to give the identity of the murder (a suspect profile). He notes that it is important to have multiple independent types of evidence to build the strength of the case for the type of death (homicide) and the identity of the murderer.

Wallace explains that investigating God's existence is analogous. If all the evidence of the universe can be explained by staying inside the universe, then there is no need to appeal to someone outside the universe. However, if all the evidence cannot be explained by remaining inside the universe, then we have stumbled upon direct evidence of a source outside the universe. Just as the same evidence can be used to construct a "suspect profile" of the murderer, so too can the evidence that must be explained by going outside the universe be used to construct a profile to identify the "intruder" external to the universe.

Video- How Does A Detective Investigate God's Existence?

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).

Monday, July 13, 2015

Book Review: A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy

Book Review: "A Matter of Days: Resolving A Creation Controversy" by Christian astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe (reasons.org)

Introduction

The debate surrounding the age of the universe has been a hot topic in the Christian Church for quite some time, and it seems that the tensions grow tighter every year. As someone who loves science and who's faith in Christ was solidified by the evidence from the sciences for the inerrancy of scripture, I find it quite discouraging that there is so much emotional hostility in the Church against the sciences and even scientists, themselves. Dr. Hugh Ross is an advocate for Christ and is a practicing scientist. His desire to see growth in the Kingdom has compelled him to write several books showing how many (not all) interpretations of the record of nature demonstrate evidence for the truth of Scripture. Unfortunately, his efforts have been met with a barrage of criticism from within the Church because he believes the evidence conclusively supports the fact that the universe is billions of years old and not merely thousands.

A Matter of Days (Second Edition) is one of Dr. Ross' books that addresses this topic in a humble and gentle manner. He brings the evidence of nature and the evidence of Scripture together to show that there is no real reason to fear the fact that the universe is billions of years old, and that such evidence actually provides spectacular evidence for the God of the Bible and the inerrancy of His revelation to us. The book is divided into twenty-three chapters and is 264 pages long (not counting the almost one hundred pages of notes). This review will provide a chapter-by-chapter summary and will conclude with my thoughts and specific recommendations.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Book Review: The Case For Life

"The Case for Life" by pro-life/anti-abortion apologist Scott Klusendorf (prolifetraining.org)

Introduction

I have been quite excited to read Scott Klusendorf's "The Case For Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture" (paperback, Kindle, GoodReads, Video Trailer, Interview, Life Training Institute). From my elementary school days, I have been exposed to pro-life Christians who have faced ridicule, fines, physical harm, and even jail time for their commitment to the unborn's right to life. It was not until my exposure to Christian apologetics that I became aware that the fight was more than each side just emoting at one another. In this book, Klusendorf provides the scientific case for the humanity of the unborn and the objective moral wrongness of killing them. He addresses many common and powerful challenges to the prolife position. The book is divided into four parts and is 243 pages in length. This review will provide a chapter-by-chapter summary then conclude with my comments. But before I get to my review, check out this introduction to the book from the author in his own words:


Monday, January 6, 2014

Book Review: Agents Under Fire

"Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science" by Angus Menuge

Introduction

This reviewer has long been interested in the discussions about the existence of agents. Since the teleological argument depends on the existence of design being a legitimate concept, and that being dependent upon the existence of agents, Angus Menuge's book "Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science" (Hardcover, GoodReads) was quite appealing. This reviewer balked at the price on Amazon, but it was given as a gift, and this reviewer was ecstatic delve into it immediately. The book is 215 pages divided into eight densely packed chapters. This review is designed to be a chapter-by-chapter summary to prepare the reader to tackle this challenging text.


Preface


Dr. Menuge begins the preface of the book by stating that his purpose behind writing Agents Under Fire is to defend the existence of agency (a non-natural entity capable of reasoning and purposing). He explains that this is a pivotal question in debates about intelligent design, for if there is no agency then there is no agents to design anything (to compare the "designs" in nature to)- design even is an illegitimate concept and should be completely discarded.

Menuge defines two key terms for understanding the book: Strong Agent Reductionism (SAR) and Weak Agent Reductionism (WAR). SAR represents a complete "explaining away" of agency by positing that all decisions are the results of natural cause-and-effect systems- no thought, reason, or purpose are involved in such systems. WAR attempts to explain agency in natural terms- making agency a product of nature. He then offers some quick points of critique of each, but saves the deeper content for later.

Following the definitions is a chapter-by-chapter summary that helps the reader get his or her bearings and recognize how the book will flow. Some people are tempted to skip prefaces of books, but this is a case where doing so will make following the book much more difficult.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review: Creating Life In The Lab

Book Review: "Creating Life In The Lab" by Dr. Fazale (Fuz) Rana of Reaosns to Believe (reasons.org)

Introduction

Creating Life In The Lab: How New Discoveries in Synthetic Biology Make A Case For The Creator is Dr. Fazale Rana's latest contribution to Christian apologetic literature. The goal of the book is to provide a case for God's existence from the controversial efforts of scientists to "play God" by creating life. He has written the book with the backdrop of Frankenstein to provide some cultural connection. The book has thirteen chapters plus an appendix that includes a short refresher on biochemistry. The book, though not officially, is divided into two parts: the first examining the quest to create artificial life and the second investigates scientists research behind the origin of life.

Chapter 1- Waking Up in Frankenstein's Dream

Dr. Rana begins his book by giving a little of his own history- what made him want to study biochemistry and what brought him to the point he is at now. He then begins setting the stage for the rest of the book. He explains what has happened regarding origin-of-life research. He starts at the Miller-Urey experiment and brings the reader to the present. He then discusses a bit about the main topic- scientists' attempts to create life in the lab. He explains the two different approaches commonly used. He acknowledges that historically such attempts have been seen as threats to Christianity, but he believe that the opposite is actually true- that the success of scientists will be empirical evidence that the creation of life requires an intelligent agent to accomplish.