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The Atomic Bomb and Nature’s Secrets

At age 90 as of 2011, my father is one of the few living scientists who developed the atomic bomb during WWII. He named me after the great physical chemist Gilbert Newton Lewis, under whom my dad earned his Ph.D. in his early 20s while working on the Manhattan Project.

When I was a child in the 1950s rumors spread that the communist Chinese were developing an atomic bomb. I asked my dad, “Why don’t we just keep it a secret from them?” My dad replied, and I’ll never forget it, “Gilbert, the secret is in nature, and it’s there to be found by anyone who looks hard enough.”

Of course, my dad was talking about the nature of the nucleus of the atom, physical chemistry, and the potential for a sustained nuclear chain reaction.

I would like to offer the following observation, inspired by my father’s comment: Design is to be found in nature, by anyone who looks hard enough.

The irony is that figuring out nuclear fission requires quite a bit of searching for “secrets,” while design in nature is there to be found with almost no searching at all. Design screams from every corner of creation. Not finding design in nature is what takes a lot of effort.

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21 Responses to The Atomic Bomb and Nature’s Secrets

  1. Andrew Fellows of L’Abri (Francis Scaheffer’s “Shelter”) has a pile of MP3s available online. In one MP3 I listened to recently he talked about God’s general revelation (e.g nature) speaking to us and crying out to us to investigate it. I think this is an exciting part of our God-given lives — to enjoy the natural world, and wonder about it, and discover how it works.

    As Gil says, design screams at us from general revelation from every direction, from the beauty of the nucleus to the majesty of the heavens.

    Btw, it intrigues me how atheists carry on about the waste in nature (e.g. “Why so many stars???”) — but as Special Revelation says, they are for God’s glory and speak of His power.

  2. “Why so many stars?” sounds to me like an act of treason against God’s glory, but I understand.

    What I don’t understand is a certain dichotomy. Secularists, humanists, materialists (whatever they desire to be called) are “champions of science” in the sense that science alleviates ignorance. However, many readily admit that there are certain ignorances, which science does not fully alleviate. We are constantly learning out of our ignorance through science.

    If such is the case, then why do they claim to be such experts in what a god (if one exists) would be like, and what a creation would be like if such a god exists? Sounds as though they’re talking form both sides of their imperfect mouths.

  3. I suppose it wasn’t very exciting for the people in the dark ages when their investigations had not uncovered the germ theory of disease yet, or how to generate electricity, or how to stop women dying during childbirth.

  4. that last comment was meant to be a response to NZer’s statement that investigating nature is an exciting part of our God-given lives. It seems pretty capricious of God to make us find all this life-saving technology ourselves while trillions die over the millennia.

    And CY, I don’t think it’s a matte of being an “expert” about God. It’s just pointing out the absurdities in this apparently perfect being. Replacing scientific ignorance with “Goddidit” is never going to get us anywhere.

  5. @Timbo.

    The Christian view of why the world has disease, pain, struggle, etc. is because of the Fall. Creation has been corrupted, but it will be made new.

    But whether or not nature is perfect or not does not mean that it does not shout DESIGN.

    FYI – Dark ages is not a term anyone really uses anymore. What was once call the “Dark ages” was anything not dark at all.

  6. Um, because science is their only valid source of knowledge?

    So it’s simple. Do the science and you will know what God isn’t like…

  7. Well Timbo, if you begin with atheism, then death and suffering are meaningless.

    And here we go again — now YOU are telling us what God should be like.

    If you are referring to the God of the Bible, then He owes us nothing other than punishment for our crimes against Him. If this makes no sense to you, then you plainly fail to understand simple Biblical theology.

  8. CY: “If such is the case, then why do they claim to be such experts in what a god (if one exists) would be like, and what a creation would be like if such a god exists? Sounds as though they’re talking form both sides of their imperfect mouths.”

    This seems a fairly common argument – i.e., skeptics are accused in falling into a metaphysical trap of assuming certain characteristics about what God would or wouldn’t do. That argument is fine if we don’t actually know anything about God(s) and what they would or wouldn’t do. But we actually do – we can look at scriptures from any number of religious traditions to learn about the nature of character of such God(s). And of course Christianity is no different – in fact Christians even claim that God has revealed Himself through His word. So I think actually it is quite permissible to look at what we can surmise about a “designer” and compare the actions and attributes of a designer against religious deities.

    To me of course the biggest challenge here is that from what we can tell through ID, the Designer seems not to what to reveal itself – and in fact has seemingly done an expert job in covering its tracks, to the point that few can really say without any confidence about the methods used, when they were used, or even if they are still in use now. I found that rather strange and at odds with a Christian God who not only wishes to reveal Himself, but sees it as a matter of extreme urgency because the very souls of humankind are at jeopardy. I dare say some theologizing could resolve this discrepancy (and I have seen some pretty fancy theological two-stepping on this issue), but to me at last the results seem arbitrary and more the result of confirmation bias than an honest attempt to reconcile (or not) these two perspectives.

  9. Didn’t know one of the writers here comes from such a achieving family in the great stories of the use of physics. Too bad its killing people but in reality the atomic bombs had to be used to save people from being killed other ways. The good guys too.
    Its cool to have creationism(s) these days with rightfully confident people.

  10. Thus saith Blaise Pascal:

    In Christ, however, God was still hidden enough that people who didn’t want what was good would not have it forced upon them. Thus, “there is enough light for those who desire only to see, and enough darkness for those of a contrary disposition.”

    Source:

    http://www.probe.org/site/c.fd....._Times.htm

  11. 11

    To me of course the biggest challenge here is that from what we can tell through ID, the Designer seems not to what to reveal itself – and in fact has seemingly done an expert job in covering its tracks, …

    While to many if not most others, the exact opposite is the case; God has manifestly and obviously revealed itself to all but the willfully blind.

    The only way to reach the willfully blind would be to override their free will.

  12. Timbo,

    If there was no eternity, then you would be right to ask that question. Our life in this world is a transition into eternity. And, as NZer rightly pointed out, there is no meaning in anything if you take eternity “out of the equation”. Moreover, I would broaden NZer’s statement by saying that it is not only death or suffering but everything else loses its meaning and becomes an absurdity.

  13. WJM,

    Very observant.

    Woodford,

    “To me of course the biggest challenge here is that from what we can tell through ID, the Designer seems not to what to reveal itself – and in fact has seemingly done an expert job in covering its tracks, to the point that few can really say without any confidence about the methods used, when they were used, or even if they are still in use now. I found that rather strange and at odds with a Christian God who not only wishes to reveal Himself, but sees it as a matter of extreme urgency because the very souls of humankind are at jeopardy.”

    It would seem to me in light of what I understand about the designer (God) that He is not a part of creation. If He were to reveal Himself in the manner you desire, you might get the impression that He is a part of His creation (matter, mechanics, chemistry and all); which would be a false view of who He is, and a false view of who He is could be equally as detrimental as not knowing Him at all.

    But He HAS left us with many avenues for finding Him out. One is through science (His signature), another is through scripture (His Word) and experience (His work), and yet another is through philosophy (His being) and thought (His presence) (of course there are many more, which would be expected if His desire is to be known) (His reality in the synthesis of all our inquiry and experience). These can lead us to accepting His existence, but it doesn’t end there.

    I get the impression that the atheist expectation for evidence of a god or gods would be something simple and mechanical to the neglect of anything else. This assumes that God is simple and mechanical, when in fact, if He exists at all, He’s the author and creator of our and all other being. It seems more appropriate that evidence for His existence would be dispensed through all our experiences, and not simply through some sort of simple and mechanical enquiry on our part. Materialists seem to make the same fallacy as that attributed to the Soviets when they failed discover God in space. I can think of nothing more ridiculous.

    I’m also not certain that your “extreme urgency” is God’s MO. It seems more like a longsuffering patience in our coming to know Him; not simply to acknowledge His existence. It may be an extreme urgency on our part, given our relatively short Earthly life-spans, but to God there doesn’t appear to be any extreme urgency either as revealed in scripture or in the world and universe we observe. It’s comforting to know that the divine Spirit does not operate according to our limited expectations.

    But that’s taking us a little astray of the real issue. Materialist atheists are fond of saying that they see no evidence for a god or gods. I find that rather peculiar in that at the same time, they champion a scientific view that is admittedly incomplete, yet supposedly open to many avenues of enquiry. It’s also peculiar on another plane in that not just ID proponents, not just creationists, but theists of all stripes have been presenting the evidence for millennia. A few of the arguments are weak, but most of them in my view are quite strong. So the issue of evidence appears to me to be rather selective. materialists demand materialist evidence based on their a priori assumptions and expectations of what such a god would be like. Otherwise they will not believe in God. I think God is only happy to oblige in order to avoid a false view of who he is, but He’s equally eager to help the materialist to come to terms with his/her assumptions.

    “This seems a fairly common argument – i.e., skeptics are accused in falling into a metaphysical trap of assuming certain characteristics about what God would or wouldn’t do.”

    You say it’s skeptics who face these kinds of arguments, but I fail to see how they are genuinely skeptics when they don’t appear to question their own assumptions, even when the flaws of their assumptions have been continuously and quite adequately addressed for millennia.

    I think materialists have it easy. They can limit themselves to things that can be immediately examined.

    It’s theists and other religious thinkers who face doubt head on in leaping into faith from a point that combines reason with doubt. Doubt is a good thing, because it forces us to take ourselves beyond our assumptions and to ask the important questions. We all have to make leaps of faith in practically everything we do. Materialists seem to be the one’s deluding themselves that they don’t act on faith.

    Of course, some leaps are more reasonable than others, and the ones I think are the most reasonable are the ones that are open to all avenues of experiencing whatever divine manifestations might be here. I’m not in that saying that all “divine” experiences are authentic; but there is a part of human reasoning that can discern these things (with a little help, of course from the real Divine Presence), which would also be expected if He exists.

    This is why I believe that part of the evidence for God is that which He provides when we ask Him. Unfortunately by their assumptions, materialists often refuse to do so. This is because they are unaware of the avenues I mentioned earlier that would be opened up if they simply ask.

  14. 14

    Replacing scientific ignorance with “Goddidit” is never going to get us anywhere.

    Replacing “God did it” with scientific ignorance is not only never going to get you anywhere, it renders all destinations meaningless and provides no motivation to even try to get anywhere.

    At least if a rational and good “God did it”, you have reason to believe the world comports with rational investigation, that true statements can be discerned from false, and that there is a reason (and thus motivation) for pursuing such knowledge.

  15. Timbo,

    For brevity I would point you to my response at 2.2.1 below. It’s more than “goddidit,” it’s taking what can be expected with what’s really there. Materialists limit their expectations regarding god to their a priori assumptions about what He would be like if He exists; while at the same time assuming that He does not. This to me is a circular approach to the problem.

    It’s saying this: “God doesn’t exist, but if he did, this is how he would be. Since he isn’t like that, he therefore doesn’t exist.”

    Pardon, but if God exists he isn’t limited to your peculiar understanding. I think that’s where you really need to start.

  16. It’s not the evidence or the logic, it is the a prioris.

  17. Very well put CY, I’m amazed at how blind Darwinists are to this ‘theology’ that is driving their science, but then again it took me a while, at Dr. Hunter’s repeated pointing out of the fact, before I finally understood how deeply theology is woven into Darwinian thought:

    In fact there is a peer-reviewed paper that recently came out that highlights just how deeply theology was woven into Darwinian thought AT THE VERY BEGINNING:

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    Excerpt:
    Darwin employed theology in a positive fashion, as support for his own position. “In the Origin,” Dilley writes, “Darwin used a specific theological view of God’s relationship to natural laws in order to argue for evolution and against special creation.” The Origin supplies abundant evidence of theology in action; as Dilley observes:

    I have argued that, in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positive theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation):

    1. Human begins are not justified in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind.

    2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern.

    3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the ‘simplest mode’ to accomplish the functions of these structures.

    4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part’s function.

    5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms.

    6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter.

    7. God directly created the first ‘primordial’ life.

    8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life.

    9. A ‘distant’ God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering.

    10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

    From Philosopher to Science Writer: The Dissemination of Evolutionary Thought – May 2011
    Excerpt: The powerful theory of evolution hangs on this framework of thought that mandates naturalism. The science is weak but the metaphysics are strong. This is the key to understanding evolutionary thought. The weak arguments are scientific and the strong arguments, though filled with empirical observation and scientific jargon, are metaphysical. The stronger the argument, the more theological or philosophical.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....riter.html

    In fact this ‘I know better than God theology’ that is at the foundation of many Darwinian arguments, is what lays at the foundation of many people’s denial of the reality of Hell! i.e. it is the ‘I personally would not create hell therefore God, whom I don’t believe in by the way, would not create hell’ type of atheistic reasoning;

    Erasing Hell by Francis Chan – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnrJVTSYLr8

    Well, contrary to the personal druthers of how atheists would personally not create hell if they were Almighty God, the fact is that the presence of evil in the world, the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and even the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah, testify that we should take the warning of hell very seriously;

    The Physical Ashen Remains Of Sodom and Gomorrah – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwTVFk1HK3Y

    Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age – Front and Back 3-D images – articles and videos
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg

  18. Agreed. It’s the getting through the a prioris that is the challenge. I’m inclined to also agree with WJM in that regard: “The only way to reach the willfully blind would be to override their free will.”

    Since that is neither possible or desirable, the best stance is a defense of truth. Faith in the bright light of truth really is a personal commitment.

  19. BA,

    Thanks. I think Dr. Hunter’s own “Darwin’s God” is also required reading in that regard.

    In his final words:

    “It is important to understand that evolution relies on religious premises, but it is even more important to understand that evolutionists do not acknowledge this reliance on metaphysical ideas. An unspoken, unscientific position underlies evolution, and until this is understood public debate will continue to be more confusing than enlightening. For a fruitful public debate, we need to understand evolution’s foundation. We need to understand the metaphysical interpretations that are attached to the scientific observations. We need to understand these things because ultimately evolution is not about the scientific details. Ultimately evolution is about God.” pg. 175.

  20. NZer, and here you go again, why does atheism mean death and suffering are meaningless? I am an atheist. Death and suffering definitely have meaning to me. That should be obvious. Death in fact is more meaningful to an atheist because there is no belief in an afterlife.

    And what a strange God you describe. It creates a universe and us, it knows exactly what we will do (assuming it is omnipotent), and then chooses to punish us for doing what it knew we would do.

  21. The greatest irony is that ID proponents are following the evidence where it leads, which should be the quintessential definition of science — the search for knowledge about the way things actually are.

    It is Darwinists who are anti-science, because they refuse to abandon tightly held beliefs even when evidence and logic reveal that they are wrong on multiple levels.

    As a former atheistic materialist I was forced by logic and evidence to abandon a lifetime philosophical commitment, because it became apparent that such a commitment had no rational foundation.

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