WSJ- Editorial "Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God"

wsj.com/articles/eric-metaxas-science-increasingly-makes-the-case-for-god-1419544568

I saw this article from the Wall Street Journal, and I really found it interesting, persuasive and informative and I wanted to share it with everyone to add to your apologetics repertoire and just pass on some good information.

:smiley:

AI have often wondered where is the funding for research to run probabilistic models on big issues but then I realize science has been taken over by atheists and it is a caustic environment for people who believe in God. In fact a young math doctoral candidate who is a member here on the forum told me it is as such.

Nonetheless, if CERN doesn’t come up with anything conclusive they will have two options, believe in God because a universal equation can’t be formulated or string theory/multiple universes. Since string theory could never be proven it will cause many an impartial scientist to think.

I thought this had been settled (though not recognized by nonbelievers) by St. Thomas Aquinas’ five ways?

The point of the article is science is confirming the philosophical position of theists like Aquinas.

Interesting article. :slight_smile:

The thread title is deceptive, though. An “editorial” is a piece approved by the paper as the representative view of its editors. Metaxas wrote an “op-ed”, which is a piece the editors value, but might disagree with.

When I saw this thread title, I was shocked, because an editorial states the views of the newspaper. But it isn’t shocking at all that the WSJ would publish an OP-ED to this effect.

I did not know this distinction! Thanks for letting me know that. If I could figure out how to change the title I would.

Atheists say science has disproved God. Theists give what they believe to be evidence of God in science. Neither know what they are talking about.

Science can only deal with observed phenomena.
Science has to be falsifiable

God exists outside the natural world, and, being all powerful, would not submit himself to a falsifiable test. Science has no say in God’s existence.

Philosophy, on the other hand, is more arguable.

But when science continually shows how unlikely it is for us to be here, how improbable, and how intricate life is, it makes the philosophical case for there to be no God far less tenable.

This is about a preponderance of the evidence…

In a courtroom, one might say that Science is increasingly making the case that the accused did not commit the crime.

Even though the crime itself and the defendants guilt cannot be scientifically proven or not, science can be part of the evidence that can lead to an indisputable verdict.

So too with this article and the case of science and God.

Science cannot ‘rule out’ or ‘rule in’ matters pertaining to theology except where it intrudes into the natural world.

But science can show how likely or unlikely a series of actions are and how plausible various scenarios are to explain unexplained phenomena.

Science cannot prove that the dealer that dealt himself 15 royal flushes in a row in a poker game is cheating, but it can show it is very probable a result of cheating and that it not being a cheat to be non-plausible.

There are many models to explain the reason why there are human beings in the universe as well as other unexplained phenomena.

One is the multiverse, where literally every version of the universe is brought into reality and we are in just one.
Another is that it’s irrelevant, since if there were no humans, no one would be studying it.
Another is there is a yet unknown natural law that makes it more likely for life to form.

Note that all are equally unfalsifiable, and explain the natural phenomena very well. Still, they are not science, and science can not say the probability points to a multiverse without taking off his scientist hat. The same with saying natural laws point to the existence of God.

Yeah, I guess if you toss out the notion of conservation of matter and energy.

Lol, that is like the poker dealer who dealt himself several hands of royal flushes in a row and when confronted about the incredible odds against that ever happening without cheating simply replied in the same way, "Well, the odds are irrelevant since had it not happened you wouldn’t be pointing it out.’

It is the IMPLAUSIBILITY of such things that allows the critique to still stand and makes the ‘well it just happened’ response kind of silly.

Ah, the old appeal to ignorance, cousin to the appeal to the God of the Gaps.

And just as irrational.

That these are not scientific ideas does not make them unfalsifiable, not at all.

And when one says that natural laws ‘point to God’ one is leaving the realm of science for philosophical opinion by definition.

Your second paragraph is an example of the proper application of probability theory. The reason it is proper is that the probability space of all poker hands is completely known. This makes it possible to scientifically claim how likely it is to deal any particular poker hand.

But when one attempts to use this method to say how likely something is for which there is only one example, mathematics and science fail us. How can we possibly make any meaningful statement about how likely it is for the speed of light to be what it is? Or that Planck’s constant is what it is? It is not as if we had many parallel universes we could visit and do a survey to see how many of them had the same Planck’s constant as our universe. For whatever reason, our universe is the way it is. It is nonsensical to say that it was likely or unlikely that it should turn out so because we only have the one universe to look at.

When it comes to life and how it developed, we are similarly limited in what we can say about probabilities. Take for example the structure of the eye. Does it make any sense to say that the development of the eye was extremely unlikely? To say so with any scientific authority we would have to demonstrate at least one other situation where the development of an eye did not happen, despite the fact that having an eye would have been quite useful. In fact, if one were to claim that it was extremely unlikely for the eye to develop, it should be much easier to find eyeless communities of living things than those with eyes.

Now this thesis about eyes being unlikely might be supported if we found life on 50 other planets, and on all those planets, big creatures live in the light, but did not develop eyes. But until that happens, science cannot say one way or the other how likely it is for eyes to have developed.

What passes for science in articles like the one cited in the WSJ is not really science. It has the trappings and language of science, but the method is not scientific. It analyzes structures and makes calculations about meaningless parameters. Then it asks the reader to imagine how this could possibly be. Our inability as readers to imagine how something could be is never the basis for a scientific conclusion of anything other than our inability to imagine.

These complexity = unlikely arguments are IMO built on shaky ground.

WE can, however show a gazillion theoretically possible values for a thing, and then ask why is it always just that one value we see? Maybe there is a law for it, for example the moons all face their planet as they orbit them as their center of gravity is not along the axis of rotation. That causes the moon to settle into a planet facing spin as billions of years go by. So while it seems unlikely, it is actually a known behavior of moons.

But when we look at the importance of our moons role in civilization we see something interesting. Most civilizations that had advanced astronomy took the apparent same size of the sun and moon to imply a similar humanity between male and female, as they identified with the sun and moon respectively. Our Bible says one was made to rule the day while the other ruled the night, again suggesting to many a division of labor and specialization between genders. The monthly phase of the moon seems to make this feminine identification even more strong as it coincides with the menstrual cycle.

So what are the odds of the only life inhabited planet we know of having such a large moon with such a cycle in parallel with the female gender of the only civilization building species on it?

Maybe the deck is indeed stacked for the benefit of mankind?

And look at the geographical position of the Holy Land, the birth place of Judaism, and Christianity and similar position of the Arabian peninsula. IS it simple coincidence that the Abrahamic faiths just happened to be centrally located in the Old World? Is it just coincidence that the North Star made navigation easier in the northern hemisphere where the majority of mankind has long lived?

There are many more coincidences of our universe that aid mankind in ways unrelated to his evolution biologically but only culturally.

But if they weren’t that way, I guess none of us would bother discussing it would we? lol

This particular behavior can be explained. Objects like moons are not perfectly uniform spheres. Their imperfectly distributed mass makes one side stick out more from the center of gravity than the other. As this sticking out part rotates closer to its planet, it experiences unequal gravitational force compared to when it is on the far side of the moon. These forces eventually slow down the rotation, leaving the “heavier” side pointed at the planet. So it is likely to happen in any universe with gravity like ours.

But when we look at the importance of our moons role in civilization we see something interesting. Most civilizations that had advanced astronomy took the apparent same size of the sun and moon to imply a similar humanity between male and female, as they identified with the sun and moon respectively.

Since there was a close match between the apparent sizes of the moon and the sun, it is not surprising that humanity would latch on to this fact as a symbolic demonstration of truths about human gender. But this coincidence was by no means necessary. If the moon were double the apparent size of the sun, or if we had two moons instead of one, humanity would not have assumed that women were twice as important as men, or that every man should have two women. No, what they probably would have done is find some other physical symbol to stand for the same truth about humanity.

Our Bible says one was made to rule the day while the other ruled the night, again suggesting to many a division of labor and specialization between genders. The monthly phase of the moon seems to make this feminine identification even more strong as it coincides with the menstrual cycle.

The match between the phases of the moon and menstrual cycles is suggestive. But an entirely natural explanation could be made based on evolution. Perhaps women who ovulate during the full moon are more likely to get pregnant. If this were the case, then the menstrual cycles would not only tend to be the same length as a lunar cycle, but they would also tend to be in sync with a particular phase of it. This, in fact, was found to be the case in a study in 1980 and another study in 1986. But subsequent studies disputed these findings, so the question remains unanswered.

So what are the odds of the only life inhabited planet we know of having such a large moon with such a cycle in parallel with the female gender of the only civilization building species on it?

It has indeed been speculated (in Asimov SF stories and elsewhere) that having a large moon is almost a prerequisite for highly-developed life. But the rest is either a not-so-surprising coincidence, or an effect of evolution.

Maybe the deck is indeed stacked for the benefit of mankind?

Quite so. I believe it, anyway. But I cannot support my belief scientifically.

And look at the geographical position of the Holy Land, the birth place of Judaism, and Christianity and similar position of the Arabian peninsula. IS it simple coincidence that the Abrahamic faiths just happened to be centrally located in the Old World? Is it just coincidence that the North Star made navigation easier in the northern hemisphere where the majority of mankind has long lived?

It is not so surprising that the Abrahamic faiths would be located near where Abraham lived. What would be surprising is if the Abrahamic faiths were centered in Paraguay. As for the North Star, it is not exactly in line with the Earth’s axis. It is 0.75 degrees off from the polar axis of the Earth. So close that it serves quite well for navigation. But there are many bright stars in the sky. The probability that one of them would be within 0.75 degrees of our polar axis is not that low.

Can someone please post aan excerpt? For me the article seems to be behind a subscription wall. Thanks.

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