Pantheism Contradicts Science

Are minds real? Do humans have free will? Is evolution true?

The Greek word PAN means “all”, and THEOS means “god”. Simply put, Pantheism is the view that everything is God. Another way a pantheist might explain it is that nature and God are the same thing. That includes people, planets, and your neighborhood platypus…and everything else.

As I wrote in Materialism Contradicts Science, the universe had a beginning. Something caused it to come into existence. If you’re not up to speed on how the concept of entropy proves that the universe had a beginning, you might want to read that article.

Because the universe had a beginning, Pantheism must be false. Like Materialism, Pantheism presupposes that the universe is all that exists. Because the universe couldn’t create itself, something outside the universe had to do the creating. If the universe is divine, what do we call the being that created the universe? Should we worship the creature, or the creator?

One would think that a Pantheist would welcome the opportunity to readjust their thinking, and to worship the One who created our amazing universe…rather than worshipping the universe itself.

Materialism Contradicts Science

Are minds real? Do humans have free will? Is evolution true?

Materialism says that the only thing that can be shown to exist is matter, and that the entire universe can be explained in strictly physical terms. Many atheists and modern philosophers are materialists…that is, they reject the notion that anything non-physical exists.

The second law of thermodynamics, however, proves them wrong. Simply stated, “The entropy of the universe tends to a maximum”. Left alone, the universe’s energy would go from being unevenly distributed (as stars, for example) to being evenly distributed. The average temperature in the universe would approach Absolute Zero. At that point, no physical actions or reactions would be possible. This principle of entropy tells us that the universe had a beginning, and that it’s ‘running down’.

That the universe had a beginning isn’t news to most of us. We’re familiar with the Biblical account of God’s creation of the universe, or – for our non-religious friends – with the non-religious Big Bang. Interestingly, many secular scientists had a serious problem with the Big Bang. Because it suggests that the universe has a beginning, many cosmologists in the 1920’s and 1930’s reacted strongly to what they considered an injection of religion into their work. They preferred to believe that the universe is eternal. Nonetheless, most agree at this point that some Big Bang must have occurred.

Because the universe had a beginning, we must ask the question “what caused the universe to be?”. Cosmology, of course, can’t address this question today. Philosophy, however, gives us some insight. Because the universe can’t have caused its own existence, something outside the universe has to be its cause. Because the universe hasn’t reached heat death, it’s not eternal. Because the universe couldn’t create itself, there is something outside the universe. Now, it’s a huge leap from that to God, but it’s a start…and it’s an answer to the strict materialism that often gets promoted in opposition to any sort of supernaturalism.

Where Did Life Come From?

Does the Miller-Uray experiment prove evolution? Was primordial soup real? Is evolution true?

Here are three interesting quotes from recent articles on Space.com:

For the first time, satellite imagery reveals thick Martian salt deposits scattered across the planet’s southern surface…

Space.com

An ocean seasoned with the chemical ingredients of life may lie hidden beneath the icy surface of Saturn’s moon Titan.

Space.com

A sniff test of water vapor spewing from Saturn’s moon Enceladus shows it is gushing with organic molecules…

Space.com

The common thread between the three articles? Abiogenesis. Simplified, it’s the idea that life on Earth emerged from chemicals alone. Many of us are familiar with the concept of ‘primordial soup’…the supposed chemical conditions that must have existed on prehistoric Earth for life to have arisen on its own.

We’ve been trying to figure out where life comes from for a long time. Aristotle wanted to know. Darwin and Pasteur wanted to know. Seems like everyone wants to know how life on Earth came to be.

Abiogenesis is an idea only. When I was in school (in the post-disco, pre-computer world) I was taught that Stanley Miller had figured it out. He hadn’t.

There are competing theories, of course…but no facts. I have my own theory. Some of you will scoff when you read it, suggesting that I’m a simpleton or a moron or a zealot. However: if you consider it one among many competing theories, I think it stands up fairly well to the scrutiny it deserves:

God did it.

No, really. That’s what I think. While there’s nothing wrong with wondering whether there’s a mechanistic explanation for the origin of life, there is something wrong with closing one eye in your search for truth. Many scientists are so committed to the idea that life arose on its own that they seem to be looking for evidence to back them up…rather than looking wherever the evidence takes them.

Eugenics: Not Just for Nazis Anymore

Is evolution true? Was Margaret Sanger a racist? Is Planned Parenthood bad? Should I get an abortion?

Much is being made of the fact that Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin has a son with Down’s Syndrome. Why is it a big deal? Simple: most women in the developed world undergo testing to see if their baby will have Down’s Syndrome, and an estimated 90% of all babies so diagnosed are aborted. Sarah Palin and her husband Todd – despite knowing that their son would be born with Down’s – decided to raise their child instead of killing it.

I’m pleased to see a politician who shares my distaste for abortion. According to Wikipedia, the approximate number of induced abortions performed annually is a mind-numbing 46 million. According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute – part of Planned Parenthood – 26% of all pregnancies worldwide end in abortion. That’s more than 1 of every 4 babies waiting to be born.

Abortion is obviously far too common. Most abortions are considered birth control, which says a lot about human nature. In 2000, over 90% of US abortions were elective, and according to information given by the mothers, were done specifically for convenience. Yes, I applaud Governor and Todd Palin…but there’s more to learn from this situation than that someone made a difficult and unpopular decision.

I’m talking about Eugenics. The word Eugenics means “well born”. Simply put, Eugenics is man’s attempt at helping evolution along. The idea is that we can improve the gene pool by keeping undesirable traits from being passed to our children. Traits like illnesses, birth defects, lower intelligence, and even simple things like hair and skin color. Eugenics efforts have included selective breeding, sterilization and euthanasia. Adolf Hitler was a proponent of Eugenics, and believed that removing the unfit (blacks, Jews, etc) from the gene pool by killing them was a benefit to mankind.

Margaret Sanger, founder of the American Birth Control League (which later became Planned Parenthood) was a proponent of negative Eugenics…which brings us back to the Palin family. Like many others, they believe that their son’s life is valuable regardless of his Down’s Syndrome. Planned Parenthood is partially responsible for around 48 million abortions in the US since the passage of Roe v Wade. While there’s no question that Planned Parenthood has done a lot of good over the years, there’s also no question that their support of abortion stems as much from Eugenics as from women’s rights.

Hitler’s and Sanger’s brand of Eugenics was responsible for compulsary sterilization in the United States, in which 65,000 individual people in 33 states were sterilized against their will between 1907 and 1981. Among the traits to be removed from our gene pool:

  • Mental retardation
  • Mental illness
  • Deafness
  • Blindness
  • Epilepsy
  • Physical deformations

Native American and African-American women were sometimes sterilized against their will – often without their knowledge – while hospitalized for other reasons (like childbirth).

Eugenics is alive and well in the 21st century…we just don’t call it Eugenics anymore. We call it “a mother’s right to choose”. I hope that Sarah Palin’s choice will be echoed by women everywhere.

Which is more reliable…science, or theology?

Are robots people? Will robots kill people?

This is a common question, even if it’s not expressed out loud. Science and religion are often seen as in conflict. I suggest that most often, they are not…the problem is one of utility. Here’s the problem, in my estimation:

  1. Science cannot accurately comment on that which cannot be observed.
  2. Science, when dealing with unobservable things, has an inherent anti-supernatural bias.
  3. This is as it should be.
  1. Theology cannot accurately comment on that which is not found in Scripture.
  2. Theology, when dealing with non-Scriptural things, has an inherent supernatural bias.
  3. This is as it should be.

The trouble comes from taking one in isolation of the other. Science doesn’t answer questions of ultimate origin or purpose (not in its realm) and theology doesn’t answer questions of detailed mechanism (not in its realm). As both a science lover and a Christian, I’ve never encountered any item that caused me to lose faith in either.

In no way do I mean to say that science and religion should be separate…I simply mean that it’s important to understand what science cannot do, and what the Bible is not for.

Does Science Disprove the Bible?

No. Science doesn’t prove – or disprove – anything.

Now, before you go getting all excited and writing me off as a nut, think about it. What exactly IS science? I’m not talking about science in specific terms, like anthropology or botany or zoology. I’m talking about science in general. You know, the larger principle.

Science (remember, I’m speaking generally) is the compilation of data gathered from observations. If you want to make sure that you fully understand the process of boiling water, you must create a repeatable test so that you have some info to compile. You need some water, a heat source, and a thermometer. You go to the beach, heat your water to 212 and see what happens. Not surprisingly, the water boils and you record your experiment in a notebook. As long as you are at sea level, and your water is pure, and your thermometer works properly, you will likely observe the same results over and over…giving you some very consistent data to compile. So what does that tell us, scientifically?

Not a whole lot. “What?!” you say? Water will always boil at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, right? No, not necessarily. That’s not the right question! What science tells us from observing the same test over and over is not what will happen in the future, but what has already happened. Yes, after repeating the boiling water experiment a billion times we know that the certainty of getting the same result is incredibly high…but it’s not entirely assured. To assume that we will always get the same result is to presume on knowledge that we cannot have.

You see, scientific conclusions are always dependent on the technology available at a given time. In a religion-related example, the Bible speaks quite often of the Assyrian empire. For centuries, secular scientists scoffed openly at Bible-believers who referred to the Assyrians because no archaeological evidence for the existence of such an empire had ever been found. Who could blame the scientists? Not me…except that they made the mistake of acting on the assumption that the information they had was all of the information that would ever be available. When archaeologists dug in the right spot, they found a substantial number of artifacts from the Assyrian empire. The Bible was vindicated and we all learned a valuable lesson: that the absence of evidence in any specific instance proves nothing. In this case, there hadn’t been any observations from which to gather information.

Let’s look at the NASA website for some additional insight:

In science, no theory is ever absolutely proved true. Some theories, however, are stronger and better supported than others.NASA FAQ

Science isn’t in the business of proving stuff. The business of science is to gather information, and to compile it in meaningful ways. I’m not suggesting that we throw out all scientific conclusions. That would be silly indeed. I’m suggesting that we should begin to take scientific conclusions as tentative, potentially temporary…intermediate instead of final. As our technology changes, our information changes. As our information changes, our conclusions change. If we remember that all scientific knowledge is limited in this way, we won’t assume that the Earth is flat, or that the universe revolves around our particular theory. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that we thought it impossible for man to fly, or for an automobile to travel faster than 28 miles per hour. Every conclusion we make could be shown premature in mere moments if our technology or our aspirations prove sufficient. If we allow ‘scientific’ conclusions to control the way we think, we won’t attempt anything ‘impossible’. If we continue to challenge the assumptions we’ve lived by, we will continue to move forward into areas of knowledge and prosperity and progress we’d always thought impossible.