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Debating Darwin and Design: Science or Creationism? (1)

A couple of days ago I posted my opening statement to a formal online debate I’m currently engaged in with Christian neo-Darwinist Francis Smallwood at Musings Of A Scientific Nature. My opening statement can be found here, and his here. What follows are my opening thoughts on the question whether ID is ‘creationism in a cheap tuxedo’, or a valid scientific theory. At the bottom of this post you can find a link to Francis’ first response to me on his blog.

Is Intelligent Design science or ‘creationism in a cheap tuxedo?

Joshua Gidney-Opening

As I have already outlined in my opening statements, intelligent design theory states ‘that there are tell-tale features of living systems and the universe that are best explained by an intelligent cause…’1 ID theorists also claim that the theory is a scientific one, ‘…an inference from scientific evidence, not a deduction from religious authority.’2 The question whether ID theory is scientific or just creationism is one that provokes much, if not most, of the discussion on this issue and it is a lot rarer to hear measured, rigorous debate about whether the theory has the empirical evidence on its side. Because of this it only seems necessary to sweep away some of these caricatures and straw men in order for us to discuss the validity of the methods by which we can detect design and what the empirical evidence itself suggests. In this part of the discussion, I will argue that ID is indeed a legitimate scientific theory and will attempt to defend it against claims to the contrary. I will also attempt to defend it against the common accusation that it is a synonymous with biblical creationism.

One of my prevailing irritations when it comes to discussions about ID is the fact that it is so frequently misunderstood and misrepresented by many critics and the media, sometimes shamelessly so. I held this position even when I rejected ID. As a result, many people tend to look upon it with much suspicion and unwarranted scepticism. Whilst ID advocates have been largely consistent and clear in their claims, they are often met with accusations of being fringe lunatics, fraudsters, and stealth creationists. The infamous 2005 Dover trial in Pennsylvania had a huge impact on the public perception of ID, where Judge Jones ruled it out as being a religious doctrine and not scientific. Since ID had falsely been given the religious label, and was being used by a group of creationists to get it into school science classes, it was ruled out as being unconstitutional, violating Church-state separation. It was a public relations disaster. Unfortunately one of the most common rhetorical moves used by critics is when they illegitimately equate ID with biblical creationism in order to discredit it. It was famously labelled ‘creationism in a cheap tuxedo.’3 by Leonard Krishtalka.

In Charles Foster’s book The Selfless Gene: Living with God and Darwin, he asserts that intelligent design is ‘The currently fashionable fig-leaf to cover the nakedness of creationism…’4 This asseveration echoes the sentiments of most ID critics but it is plainly a gross mischaracterization. ID theory is solely based on what theorists believe to be empirical evidence and mentions nothing of God, theology, or any religious belief in its premises. It should be pointed out that ID is quite a broad tent because amongst its supporters are Young Earth and Old Earth creationists, Jews, Muslims, agnostics, and it is even technically possible for ID to be embraced by those who hold to an atheistic worldview because design theory is ‘a philosophically minimalistic position’5 and thus carries ‘minimal metaphysical baggage…’6 Even though there are people within the design community who advocate biblical literalism and Young Earth creationism, this does not mean that ID is based upon any religious doctrine.

My own acceptance of ID was not the result of a theological reading. It was the result of a long, arduous, and detailed look at the arguments and evidence. The leading theorists in the ID movement also testify to coming to their position by looking at the empirical evidence and finding out that Neo-Darwinism has many deficiencies. One of the movement’s most prominent figures is Michael Behe. He recalls that one of the reasons he came to his position was through reading Michael Denton’s book Evolution: A Theory In Crisis. Denton is a Biochemist and an agnostic.7 Through Behe’s scientific research he noticed evidence of ID in Biochemistry. From this observation it should be plainly clear that Behe did not come to his position by scrutinising the Gospels through his microscope! ID is not creationism and critics would do well to acknowledge this. It is no fig-leaf and it is hiding nothing.

As ID theorist Steven Meyer writes ‘there are no good-non—question begging-reasons to define intelligent design as unscientific.’8 When considering the scientific status of ID, it is necessary to look in detail at what science is and isn’t. This necessarily involves much philosophy of science because science cannot answer the question itself. One way to help us the answer the question is to look at the history of philosophy and science. It is important to note first of all that throughout history the word science has meant different things and has changed considerably. Science in the early modern period simply referred to the study of nature and was called natural philosophy. Natural philosophers were permitted to appeal to all four of Aristotle’s four causes, which Aristotle thought were necessary in order to truly explain things in nature. It wasn’t until figures like Rene Descartes, Francis Bacon, and Thomas Hobbes that the rejection of final and formal causes was proposed, eliminating reference to function and teleology. When one speaks of science these days, it almost always refers exclusively to the natural sciences and it now seems to be largely equated with the principle of methodological naturalism, a principle I will examine in detail in subsequent responses.

One of the biggest myths about the sciences is that they speak with a single unified voice and that it has a set of principles that are uniform throughout the sciences. The truth is that natural science is very diverse and certain concepts need to be distinguished from one another. It seems that there are several categories in which different scientific fields fall into although many of them overlap: Experimental, observational, historical, and origins. Some unifying features of the sciences are that they are based on public evidence, they can be confirmed and tested empirically, are systematic, and use standard methods of reasoning. ID does conform to these principles and is based on publicly available evidence, is testable, makes predictions, and although falsifiable, this is not a necessary or a sufficient condition for a theory to count as science.

I realise that here I have only touched the surface of this topic and in my following response I will delve deeper into the principle of methodological naturalism and ID’s status as a scientific theory.

 References

  1. Stephen C. Meyer. Signature In The Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design. (New York: HarperCollins. 2009). p. 4.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Leonard Krishtalka. Quoted by Gleen Branch in ‘Human Nature After Darwin by Janet Radcliffe Richards’. Philosophy Now. 40. March/April 2003, p.44.
  4. Charles Foster. The Selfless Gene: Living With God and Darwin. (Great Britain: Hodder & Stoughton. 2009). p.XIV
  5. Marcus R. Ross. Intelligent Design and Young Earth Creationism: Investigating Nested Hierarchies of Philosophy and Belief. http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2003AM/finalprogram/abstract_58668.htm
  6. Peter S. Williams. I Wish I Could Believe In Meaning: A Response to Nihilism. (Southampton: Damaris Publishing. 2004). p. 349
  7. Unlocking the Mystery of Life: The Scientific Case for Intelligent Design. (Illustra Media. 2002)
  8. Stephen C. Meyer. Signature In The Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design. (New York: HarperCollins. 2009). p. 421

    Here is the 1st response from Francis:

    http://musingsofscience.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/debating-darwin-and-design-science-or-creationism-2-2/

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42 Responses to Debating Darwin and Design: Science or Creationism? (1)

  1. There’s can be no real question of whether ID is science, it is.

    The assertion that it’s not science only arises when one attempts to apply ID to areas the Darwinists think they control.

    They think that because ID conflicts with their religious belief in Darwin that ID must be religion as well.

  2. Let’s see- Intelligent Design is based on observations which led to knowledge and experience of cause and effect relationships. Intelligent Design can be tested and possibly falsified.

    So what else does it need before it is accepted as science?

  3. I’m glad to see you reference Meyer. He has laid out in considerable detail the scientific equivalence of design and evolution in Signature in the Cell.

    Incidentally, I should add that Meyer would disagree with those who claim evolution is unscientific (at least in terms of its basic claims; the atheistic philosophical assumptions that sometimes lie behind certain discussions is a separate matter). In any event, his detailed analysis is very useful, both for making the case that design is scientific and for reminding us that evolution can also be a valid scientific inquiry.

    Meyer argues, rather persuasively I think, that if someone’s preferred criteria for “science” are applied equally, either (i) both evolution and ID are science, or (ii) neither are.

  4. To begin with, I sure like your method of verifying humanness! Perhaps a machine could be “intelligently designed” to give a correct answer, but your method sure beats the blotched, run-together and generally illegible “Captcha” boxes on most web sites.

    I believe we should not allow the ID opponents any quarter in defining the word “Creationism”. What they wish is a strict definition of Creationism that is “ex-nihilo” and to exclude all other creation, while accepting society’s use of the word “creation”. (Example – “scientists were honored for “creation” of genetically-modified corn to yield increased ethanol output”). Intelligent agents constantly “create”, but not “ex-nihilo” as believers in the Judeo-Christian God accept for (God’s) origin of the Space-Time Continuum. ID does not postulate “ex-nihilo” creation.

    Just for the record – I am an “Ex-Nihilo Creationist”.

    I think one of the most damning evidences that the miso-theist/neo-darwinist crowd needs to explain is why SETI looks for ordered patterns of radio signals from Deep Space as evidence of intelligence, all the while ignoring the ID patterns of specified complexity which envelope the conscious human experience. I used to tell my computer students not to be overwhelmed by stupid computers with their high-speed ability to create Boolean solutions out of 1′s and 0′s etched in silicon, but to instead get excited about the collective genius in mankind to put these patterns together in meaningful ways.

    Perhaps the resistance to ID for many people is that in accepting the plausibility of ID one cannot forever duck the portentous big-time philosophical questions of Metaphysics, Morality and Epistemology. Atheists who are Neo-Darwinists are better at finessing such questions with non-answers.

  5. I’m glad to see you reference Meyer. He has laid out in considerable detail the scientific equivalence of design and evolution in Signature in the Cell.

    Did Liddle ever finish reading it and publish her remarks?

    lol. amazing what a quick search turns up:

    Upright BiPed:

    I challenged Mr Saunders to attack the semiotic argument for design, perhaps teasing him a bit about being able to provide a more substantive response than either Larry Moran or Dr Liddle. I suppose I was hoping that a bit of gratuitous tempting would motivate him to actually address the physical evidence instead of just folding his cards.

    Alas, my hopes were dashed. He simply said it “makes little sense”.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-411069

  6. I wrote this response on Francis Smallwood’s blog. Also posting here in case anyone finds it interesting:

    What is the mechanism behind the strong nuclear force? It’s a fundamental force of the universe, it’s “just the way it is”, or even “magic” if you prefer, as unsettling as that is. Shall we then call it non-science? Of course not.

    But perhaps in the future we will find something else that explains it, something below it that may just be, falsifying it as a fundamental property. It is then falsified.

    Likewise with ID.

    —————

    A federal judge has ruled that life begins at conception, and although I am strongly pro life, I do not cite this as bearing any weight in the debate. Neither does the decision of judge Jones.

  7. First, I read Joshua G opening with a talk about how ID is misrepresented. Then I read Smallwood’s opener where he features a lawyer successfully peppering Behe with questions about the origin of life, only for Smallwood to turn around and claim it a victory for evolution. Hello?

    There is no thing that can embarrass an ID critic.

  8. as to:

    “accusations of being fringe lunatics,”

    Well I’ve been called many things by Darwinists but never that. In fact the last time I heard that term, “fringe lunatics”, was by Raymond Rogers, the lead Chemist on the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), which is the term he used for people who doubted the carbon dating of the Shroud and came up with outlandish theories to explain it away. Well it turned out that Raymond Rogers ended up being the very one who overturned the Carbon Dating:

    Shroud of Turin – Carbon 14 test proves false (with Raymond Rogers, lead chemist from the STURP project) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxDdx6vxthE

  9. Eric you stated that:

    I should add that Meyer would disagree with those who claim evolution is unscientific (at least in terms of its basic claims; the atheistic philosophical assumptions that sometimes lie behind certain discussions is a separate matter).

    I guess as long as it is alright ignore the foundational presuppositions of a supposed scientific theory then you can build as many castles in the air as you want and call it scientific.

    Notes:

    Murray Eden, as reported in “Heresy in the Halls of Biology: Mathematicians Question Darwinism,” Scientific Research, November 1967, p. 64.
    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.” Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.
    http://www.creationscience.com.....tes32.html

    Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Wolfgang Pauli on the Empirical Problems with Neo-Darwinism – Casey Luskin – February 27, 2012
    Excerpt: “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’” Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28) -
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....56771.html

    Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness – Talbott – Fall 2011
    Excerpt: The situation calls to mind a widely circulated cartoon by Sidney Harris, which shows two scientists in front of a blackboard on which a body of theory has been traced out with the usual tangle of symbols, arrows, equations, and so on. But there’s a gap in the reasoning at one point, filled by the words, “Then a miracle occurs.” And the one scientist is saying to the other, “I think you should be more explicit here in step two.”
    In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.”
    This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....randomness

    In fact there recently was a bit of a dust up between the prominent philosophers William Lane Craig, Alvin Plantinga one one side and between Jay Richards, Casey Luskin of DI on the other side on the exact meaning of randomness:

    Unguided or Not? How Do Darwinian Evolutionists Define Their Theory? – Casey Luskin – August 11, 2012
    Excerpt: While many new atheists undoubtedly make poor philosophers, the “unguided” nature of Darwinian evolution is not a mere metaphysical “add on.” Rather, it’s a core part of how the theory of Darwinian evolution has been defined by its leading proponents. Unfortunately, even some eminent theistic and intelligent design-friendly philosophers appear unaware of the history and scientific development of neo-Darwinian theory.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....63191.html

    Myself, I think the primary ‘source for randomness’ in the universe is fairly easy to find and though it is Theistic in its origin, this ‘source for randomness’ certainly provides no comfort for atheists:

    Blackholes – The neo-Darwinian ‘god of entropic randomness’ which can create all things (at least according to them)
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fxhJEGNeEQ_sn4ngQWmeBt1YuyOs8AQcUrzBRo7wISw/edit

    Further notes:

    Random Chaos vs. Uniformity Of Nature – Presuppositional Apologetics – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6853139

    The Great Debate: Does God Exist? – Justin Holcomb – audio of the 1985 debate available on the site
    Excerpt: The transcendental proof for God’s existence is that without Him it is impossible to prove anything. The atheist worldview is irrational and cannot consistently provide the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. The atheist worldview cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes. In that sense the atheist worldview cannot account for our debate tonight.,,,
    http://theresurgence.com/2012/.....-god-exist

    Epistemology – Why Should The Human Mind Even Be Able To Comprehend Reality? – Stephen Meyer – video – (Notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/32145998

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: What is worse, multiplying without limit the opportunities for any event to happen in the context of a multiverse – where it is alleged that anything can spontaneously jump into existence without cause – produces a situation in which no absurdity is beyond the pale. For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

  10. ba77 @9:

    Let me be clear. There is a difference between saying something is a valid scientific question and saying that the question has been answered in the affirmative by the evidence. Meyer is accepting the former and rejecting the latter (as do I) with respect to the following question: Is it possible that blind, undirected, natural processes could result in the formation of life and its subsequent development and diversity on the Earth?

    The question is a perfectly objective and scientific one. When one closely examines the evidence, however, the answer to the question is a resounding “No.”

  11. Eric, not to seem contrary, since I’m pretty sure you agree with the overriding point, but I hope that it is clear for everyone else that evolution, or any other scientific theory that may be put forth, cannot possibly be considered a ‘valid scientific question’ in the first place unless Theism is held as true as a starting assumption. It is simply impossible to maintain a sound epistemological basis otherwise. That may ruffle a few atheistic feathers but that is simply the way that it is!

    “Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…”
    CS Lewis – Mere Christianity

    Philosopher Sticks Up for God
    Excerpt: Theism, with its vision of an orderly universe superintended by a God who created rational-minded creatures in his own image, “is vastly more hospitable to science than naturalism,” with its random process of natural selection, he (Plantinga) writes. “Indeed, it is theism, not naturalism, that deserves to be called ‘the scientific worldview.’”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12.....wanted=all

    Modern science was conceived, and born, and flourished in the matrix of Christian theism. Only liberal doses of self-deception and double-think, I believe, will permit it to flourish in the context of Darwinian naturalism.
    ~ Alvin Plantinga

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Presuppositional Apologetics – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

  12. @ba77

    We both hold just about the same position. But I disagree that theism is “required”. Can’t deism also create a rational universe conducive to science?

  13. JoeCoder as to:

    Can’t deism also create a rational universe conducive to science?

    At first glance it would seem that a simple Deistic faith, or perhaps even a simple monotheistic faith (such as Islam), would have sufficed to bring about the fruitful heuristic that enabled the birth of modern science, but that simply was not the case for how modern science was born,,,

    “However we may interpret the fact (sustained) scientific development has only occurred in a Christian culture. The ancients had brains as good as ours. In all civilizations, Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, India, Rome, Persia, China and so on, science developed to a certain point and then stopped. It is easy to argue speculatively that science might have been able to develop in the absence of Christianity, but in fact, it never did.” – Robert Clark

    Jerry Coyne on the Scientific Method and Religion – Michael Egnor – June 2011
    Excerpt: The scientific method — the empirical systematic theory-based study of nature — has nothing to so with some religious inspirations — Animism, Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, and, well, atheism. The scientific method has everything to do with Christian (and Jewish) inspiration. Judeo-Christian culture is the only culture that has given rise to organized theoretical science. Many cultures (e.g. China) have produced excellent technology and engineering, but only Christian culture has given rise to a conceptual understanding of nature.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47431.html

    i.e.,, there appears to something ‘required’ about the deep personal, even human, connection that Christianity brings/brought to man’s relationship with almighty God that was necessary for modern science to be brought to a sustained level of maturity and flourish as it has.

    Moreover, many of these Judeo-Christian founders of modern science were so bold in their faith as to publicly defend Christianity against the staunch atheists of their day:

    Christianity and The Birth of Science – Michael Bumbulis, Ph.D
    Excerpt: Furthermore, many of these founders of science lived at a time when others publicly expressed views quite contrary to Christianity – Hume, Hobbes, Darwin, etc. When Boyle argues against Hobbe’s materialism or Kelvin argues against Darwin’s assumptions, you don’t have a case of “closet atheists.”
    http://ldolphin.org/bumbulis/

    The following site has many collected quotes from the Judeo-Christian founders of modern science. Quotes that are anything but bashful in their tone of reverence for God:

    Founders of Modern Science Who Believe in GOD – Tihomir Dimitrov
    http://www.scigod.com/index.ph.....File/18/18

    Of related interest, Dr. Stephen Meyer gives a short overview of the major competing worldviews and how they compare as to rationally explaining the universe,,

    Multiple Competing Worldviews (Naturalism, Theism, Deism, Pantheism) – Stephen Meyer on John Ankerberg – video – November 4, 2011 (registration required)
    http://www.lightsource.com/min.....22384.html

    related notes:

    Epistemology – Why should the human mind be able to comprehend reality so deeply? – referenced article
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qGvbg_212biTtvMschSGZ_9kYSqhooRN4OUW_Pw-w0E/edit

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://vimeo.com/34084462

    Music and Verse:

    Matt Maher – Hold Us Together (w. lyrics) — music
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut0ENzQcjrM

    Romans 11:36
    For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

  14. It seems that’s how it did happen, and if what we believe is true, then abrahamic religions would have had a leg-up. But I disagree that the scientific method would not have still been arrived at through other cultures.

    Also, the http://www.lightsource.com/min.....22384.html link tells me “registration required”.

  15. Hate to OT but,,,

    Missing Transitional Fossils in the Hominid Fossil Record – Casey Luskin – podcast
    Description: On this episode of ID the Future, listen to a short segment of a recent presentation Casey Luskin gave on the hominid fossil record. While popular media often reports that the fossil record is complete and conclusive, the technical scientific literature reveals this to be false. In actuality, human-like fossils and ape-like fossil are clearly distinct from one another, and the so-called transitional fossil record is highly fragmented.
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....3_42-07_00

  16. JoeCoder you state:

    I disagree that the scientific method would not have still been arrived at through other cultures.

    A few years back I would have been inclined to agree with that position, but now, after having been through a fair amount of evidence, I will have to say that I don’t believe this is so. In fact, I believe that Christ was necessary for the founding of modern science and that modern science, once it is at full maturity, will bring glory to Christ.

    I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by men who were inspired. I study the Bible daily…. All my discoveries have been made in an answer to prayer. —
    Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), considered by many to be the greatest scientist of all time

    Electrical genius Nicola Tesla was born in Serbia in 1856,,, his father was a clergyman.
    Excerpt: While walking in Budapest Park, Hungary, Nikola Tesla had seen a vision of a functioning alternating current (AC) electric induction motor. This was one of the most revolutionary inventions in the entire history of the world.
    http://www.reformation.org/nikola-tesla.html

    A very strong piece of suggestive evidence, which persuasively hints at a unique relationship that man has with ‘The Word’ of John 1:1, is found in these following articles which point out the fact that ‘coincidental scientific discoveries’ are far more prevalent than what should be expected from a materialistic perspective,:

    In the Air – Who says big ideas are rare? by Malcolm Gladwell
    Excerpt: This phenomenon of simultaneous discovery—what science historians call “multiples”—turns out to be extremely common. One of the first comprehensive lists of multiples was put together by William Ogburn and Dorothy Thomas, in 1922, and they found a hundred and forty-eight major scientific discoveries that fit the multiple pattern. Newton and Leibniz both discovered calculus. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace both discovered evolution. Three mathematicians “invented” decimal fractions. Oxygen was discovered by Joseph Priestley, in Wiltshire, in 1774, and by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, in Uppsala, a year earlier. Color photography was invented at the same time by Charles Cros and by Louis Ducos du Hauron, in France. Logarithms were invented by John Napier and Henry Briggs in Britain, and by Joost Bürgi in Switzerland. ,,, For Ogburn and Thomas, the sheer number of multiples could mean only one thing: scientific discoveries must, in some sense, be inevitable.
    http://www.newyorker.com/repor.....ntPage=all

    List of multiple discoveries
    Excerpt: Historians and sociologists have remarked on the occurrence, in science, of “multiple independent discovery”. Robert K. Merton defined such “multiples” as instances in which similar discoveries are made by scientists working independently of each other.,,, Multiple independent discovery, however, is not limited to only a few historic instances involving giants of scientific research. Merton believed that it is multiple discoveries, rather than unique ones, that represent the common pattern in science.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.....iscoveries

    The following video is far more direct in establishing the ‘spiritual’ link to man’s ability to learn new information, in that it shows that the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores for students showed a steady decline, for seventeen years from the top spot or near the top spot in the world, after the removal of prayer from the public classroom by the Supreme Court, not by public decree, in 1963. Whereas the SAT scores for private Christian schools, in America, have consistently remained at the top, or near the top, spot in the world:

    The Real Reason American Education Has Slipped – David Barton – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4318930

    Moreover, very contrary to atheistic thought, a significant ‘Christian Revival” accompanied America’s rise to scientific eminence in the world;

    Bruce Charlton’s Miscellany – October 2011
    Excerpt: I had discovered that over the same period of the twentieth century that the US had risen to scientific eminence it had undergone a significant Christian revival. ,,,The point I put to (Richard) Dawkins was that the USA was simultaneously by-far the most dominant scientific nation in the world (I knew this from various scientometic studies I was doing at the time) and by-far the most religious (Christian) nation in the world. How, I asked, could this be – if Christianity was culturally inimical to science?
    http://charltonteaching.blogsp.....-wife.html

    Moreover there is this, it is interesting to note that ‘higher dimensional’ mathematics was developed by committed Christians before Einstein elucidated General Relativity, and even before Quantum Mechanics was elucidated;

    The Mathematics Of Higher Dimensionality – Gauss & Riemann – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6199520/

    JoeCoder, there is a mysterious consistent pattern that is repeated over and over as one goes through the evidence, a pattern that runs like a ‘happy thread of coincidence’, a thread that ties Christianity to directly to the progress of science, perhaps my favorite ‘happy thread’ is this one:

    Centrality of Each Individual Observer In The Universe and Christ’s Very Credible Reconciliation Of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
    Excerpt: I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    Moreover, the argument for God from consciousness can be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/17SDgYPHPcrl1XX39EXhaQzk7M0zmANKdYIetpZ-WB5Y/edit?hl=en_US

  17. ba77:

    I appreciate you taking time to lay out your thoughts and I certainly offer my respect for your viewpoint. I also understand that there are some interesting questions around the question of consciousness, the very existence of truth, our ability to comprehend truth, etc. As interesting as those philosophical questions may be, however, I am focusing on a more narrow point. Namely, what can natural causes do? How much can they do and what are their limitations? These questions remain, even if we accept any particular underlying viewpoint about the nature of reality, consciousness, knowledge, etc.

    To the extent evolution (used in the sense of a historical narrative about the origin and subsequent development of life) is asking those questions, it is a perfectly legitimate inquiry of historical science. In contrast, to the extent atheistic/materialistic philosophies are brought to the table under the heading of “evolution,” then we are not dealing with science, but philosophy masquerading as science. As pervasive as this latter tendency may unfortunately be (given that evolution functions as the materialist creation myth), it does not change the fact that we can strip away the philosophy and ask an objective scientific question about the capabilities of chance and necessity.

    One of the challenges we face in all these debates is that the word “evolution” is so slippery and is used to mean so many different things. I think we all sometimes leave it to context and hope everyone understands which one of the many possible definitions we are using in a particular context (and, frankly, it is just too tedious to spell it out every single time we write the word). Unfortunately, it isn’t always clear. In this particular case, I have hopefully been clear in outlining that there is a difference between the historical question about chance/necessity that evolution asks, and the philosophical gloss that often accompanies the evolutionary narrative. The first is a legitimate scientific question.

    Anyway, I’ve rambled on too long. I think we’re probably not too far apart on this point, but hopefully I’ve been able to express it a bit more clearly just now.

  18. Eric, I agree with your emphasis on empirical evidence and as such I would like to point out that the primacy of consciousness to ‘material’ reality is not a ‘philosophical question’ anymore, but has been confirmed, in fairly stunning manner, by empirical evidence:

    “It will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the scientific conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality” -
    Eugene Wigner – (Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, Eugene Wigner, in Wheeler and Zurek, p.169) – received Nobel Prize in 1963 for ‘Quantum Symmetries’

    Three intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit

  19. @ba77

    I read everything in your post, but didn’t see anything that led me to believe theism is required for science. Only more confirmation that the type of thinking inspired by the abrahamic religions gives an advantage, as I stated above.

  20. ba77 @18:

    The question of the nature of consciousness is extremely interesting. I’m not sure we’ll ever come to understand exactly what it is in this life, but the effort is certainly useful.

    I haven’t read the full article you link to, but in regards to ‘consciousness preceding material reality’ (cited at the bottom of your comment #16) I am curious about your current view on the matter.

    Humans have consciousness, I presume you would agree. Do you think that human consciousness also preceded matter, or are you limiting that primacy in time to the First Cause (God or whatever)?

  21. Well JoeCoder, the primary reason why I see that theism is required for proper science is because atheism leads to epistemological failure (Plantinga; Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism, Gordon; Boltzmann’s Brain). But you maintain that Deism could have possibly given rise to science, but Deism, as far as I can tell in my raw look at this new subject for me, would not posit that man has a transcendent mind, but would hold, much like atheism, that our minds merely emerged from a material basis. Thus that, as far as I can tell, would subject Deism to epistemological failure since you could not appeal to a mind which could stand apart from material particles. i.e. as with materialism you would suffer the loss of free will and consciousness by the strict determinism of the system!

    Here are a couple of references I have, from leading ID proponents, that criticize the Deistic model from another angle:

    The following article shows why the Deistic evolutionary model of ‘front loading’ into the initial conditions of the universe, is insufficient to explain the appearance of all subsequent life on earth:

    The Front-loading Fiction – Dr. Robert Sheldon – 2009
    Excerpt: Historically, the argument for front-loading came from Laplacian determinism based on a Newtonian or mechanical universe–if one could control all the initial conditions, then the outcome was predetermined. First quantum mechanics, and then chaos-theory has basically destroyed it, since no amount of precision can control the outcome far in the future. (The exponential nature of the precision required to predetermine the outcome exceeds the information storage of the medium.),,, Even should God have infinite knowledge of the outcome of such a biological algorithm, the information regarding its outcome cannot be contained within the system itself.
    http://procrustes.blogtownhall.....tion.thtml

    A few more notes:,

    Godel and Turing both found limits to the amount of information generated by purely material computers, thus leading Godel to posit the necessity of ‘human intuition’ (i.e. a mind) to overcome the limits of material processes:

    Alan Turing and Kurt Godel – Incompleteness Theorem and Human Intuition – video (notes in video description)
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/8516356/

    Dr. Dembski notes that a source for information (a mind) is required:

    “LIFE’S CONSERVATION LAW: Why Darwinian Evolution Cannot Create Biological Information”:
    Excerpt: Though not denying Darwinian evolution or even limiting its role in the history of life, the Law of Conservation of Information shows that Darwinian evolution is inherently teleological. Moreover, it shows that this teleology can be measured in precise information-theoretic terms. http://evoinfo.org/publication.....ation-law/

    Thus JoeCoder, if you say that Theism is not required for science, and that Deism would suffice for science, then you are stuck, much like materialists, with no explanation for where the information is coming from since, as Dr. Sheldon clearly pointed out, and others strongly hinted at, the information cannot be hidden in the ‘material’ system! i.e. Just where did the Christian founders of modern science get their breakthrough information??? And just where is the ‘human intuition’ that Godel alluded to, continuing to be nourished from since material processes are certainly not generating the greater levels of information???

    I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by men who were inspired. I study the Bible daily…. All my discoveries have been made in an answer to prayer. —
    Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), considered by many to be the greatest scientist of all time

    Further note, If I recall correctly, I believe Dr. Stephen Meyer weighs in a bit on the Deistic subject here:

    Is Theistic (Front Loaded) Evolution Plausible? – Dr. Stephen Meyer – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5337990

    Here is what Gregory Chaitin, a world-famous mathematician and computer scientist, said about the limits of the computer program he was trying to develop to prove evolution was mathematically feasible:

    At last, a Darwinist mathematician tells the truth about evolution – VJT – November 2011
    Excerpt: In Chaitin’s own words, “You’re allowed to ask God or someone to give you the answer to some question where you can’t compute the answer, and the oracle will immediately give you the answer, and you go on ahead.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....evolution/

    Here is the video where, at the 30:00 minute mark, you can hear the preceding quote from Chaitin’s own mouth in full context:

    Life as Evolving Software, Greg Chaitin at PPGC UFRGS
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlYS_GiAnK8

  22. Eric you ask:

    Humans have consciousness, I presume you would agree. Do you think that human consciousness also preceded matter, or are you limiting that primacy in time to the First Cause (God or whatever)?

    Well that is a very sticky subject, but we have a few clues to help us along:

    This following video interview of a Harvard Neurosurgeon, who had a Near Death Experience (NDE), is very interesting. His NDE was rather unique from typical NDEs in that he had completely lost brain wave function for 7 days while the rest of his body was on life support. As such he had what can be termed a ‘pure consciousness’ NDE that was dramatically different from the ‘typical’ Judeo-Christian NDEs of going through a tunnel to a higher heavenly dimension, seeing departed relatives, and having a life review. His NDE featured his ‘consciousness’ going outside the confines of space/time, matter/energy to experience ‘non-locally’ what he termed ‘the Core’, i.e to experience God. It is also interesting to note that he retained a ‘finite sense of self-identity’, as Theism would hold, and did not blend into the infinite consciousness/omniscience of God, as pantheism would hold.

    A Conversation with Near Death Experiencer Neurosurgeon Eben Alexander III, M.D. with Steve Paulson (Interviewer) – video
    http://www.btci.org/bioethics/...../vid3.html

    Further notes:

    A neurosurgeon confronts the non-material nature of consciousness – December 2011
    Excerpted quote: To me one thing that has emerged from my experience and from very rigorous analysis of that experience over several years, talking it over with others that I respect in neuroscience, and really trying to come up with an answer, is that consciousness outside of the brain is a fact. It’s an established fact. And of course, that was a hard place for me to get, coming from being a card-toting reductive materialist over decades. It was very difficult to get to knowing that consciousness, that there’s a soul of us that is not dependent on the brain.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ciousness/

    Neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander’s Near-Death Experience Defies Medical Model of Consciousness – audio interview
    http://www.skeptiko.com/upload.....xander.mp3

    also of interest:

    Wave function
    Excerpt “wave functions form an abstract vector space”,,, This vector space is infinite-dimensional, because there is no finite set of functions which can be added together in various combinations to create every possible function.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.....ctor_space

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a (photon) qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1)
    http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/fa.....lPSA2K.pdf

    Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: Theoretically, a single qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....tcomp/#2.1

    Thus every time we see (observe) a single photon of ‘material’ reality we are actually seeing just a single bit of information that was originally created from a very specific set of infinite information that was known by the consciousness that preceded material reality. i.e. information known only by the infinite Mind of omniscient God!

    Job 38:19-20
    “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings?”

  23. I’ve just concluded a small debate on human origns with the science editor of the English newspaper ‘The Catholic Herald’ – Quentin de la Bedoyere.
    http://secondsightblog.net/201.....isgusting/
    He begins quite early in the debate stating “the outcome of evolution from earlier forms is no longer seriously disputed” to which I offer various lines of study disputing this only to be told by him initially “If you would like a good authoritative source on human evolution i would recommend Britannica” then finally after submitting more evidence against his authoritative sources I get my notice to quit served via private email away from other readers which I ofcourse posted up straight away on his blog…

    “Dear Stefangillies
    I have somewhat reluctantly left your latest comment on the blog, although it is obscure and of little interest to anyone who is not a specialist in the field. So that you do not think that I am making up ground rules post factum let us agree that in future that such issues should not be raised unless they have received reasonable attention in the general scientific press. Scientific American and New Scientist will certainly have picked up any reputable scientific work with significance for the mainstream theories of evolution.
    But, although there will be exceptions, the invitation to contribute is generally for comments on the existing formal posts – not for raising new subjects. If you wish to do that you will need to start your own blog. Get in touch with WordPress, and they will show you how.”

    Alas one of his readers bites back in saying…
    I cannot see why we kow tow to what appears to be such an absolutist theory. I follow the evolution thing quite closely and cannot see why even the very questioning of it is generally recieved with sneers. I thought the earlier attempt by stefanGillies was very good:

    “…Indeed all of the non-creationist opposition to the modern theory of evolution comes from molecular biologists!
    History teaches us with Galileo Galilei, amoungst others, that just because there is a consensus it doesn’t mean it is correct especially when that consensus is propogated via the vested interests of philosophical materialism…”

    Hope you find this of interest.

    God Bless,
    Stefan Gillies.

  24. @ba77

    That’s very interesting. I never put two and two together to realize that front-loading by itself cannot account for the qualia of the human experience (as Chalmers puts it).

    I concede.

  25. ba77:

    It seems front-loading can have a broader meaning than what is being portrayed in #21. Specifically, there is no requirement that front-loading be contingent on all manner of outside factors (i.e., the organism responding to environmental pressures and other selection pressures in order to be slowly guided up the ladder from amoeba to man). It may be true in that kind of scenario that the number of potential contingent factors to consider up front becomes overwhelming.

    However, the development of life may have been more specifically programmed in. IOW, rather than the initial programming having to be able to deal with every conceivable contingency in its slow climb forward, the initial programming could have step changes similar to what we see in the fossil record. For example, the program produces organism A up until a certain time or a certain type of event, and then produces organism B, etc. It is not at all clear to me why this kind of approach would require an exponentially-growing combinatorial type of information storage.

    I should add that I have serious doubts about how far front-loading can take things (and I often see people propose it in an attempt to reconcile their desire for a ’cause’ with what they think is the evidence of a developmental historical narrative). Nevertheless, I think the idea has some merit and cannot be dismissed out of hand.

  26. I am focusing on a more narrow point. Namely, what can natural causes do?

    What can ‘natural causes’ do?

    Nothing! God upholds the universe. It’s ALL supernatural baby!

    Anything! God, a being which cannot not exist, is the most natural entity there is. It’s ALL natural baby!

    What is ‘naturalism’?

    Naturalism is the set of beliefs which denies that God is the ground of all being.

    Why admit that such a view is even rational and that what ‘natural causes’ can do ‘on their own’ is even an idea worth debating?

  27. I read everything in your post, but didn’t see anything that led me to believe theism is required for science.

    The Savior of Science

    Christ and Science

    The Origin of Science

  28. Kind of ironic. I had what I thought to be a good argument all crafted, when an errant key stroke ( tab key ) wiped out my whole reply. This is why I am, by design, intlelligently typing this one into Microsoft Word so I can copy it to the web page when it is finished. Anyway, here is the best reconstruction of my argument.

    I think any discussion of Evolution vs. Intelligent Design must start with an agreed upon definition of the terms. I like to separate the general from the specific.

    1a ) evolution – small e – The change of populations of organisms over time. This obviously occurs in our world as it is observable in real time.

    1b) The Theory of Evolution – big E – The belief that all of life was created by natural processes without direction by natural selection and biological variation ( mutations, hybridization, horizontal gene transfer, etc. )

    2a) intelligent design – small I – The deliberate and intentional creation of new objects including a vision of their form and function prior to their existence. Anyone who has ridden in a car, used a modern computer, or listened to a Bach fugue would reply that this obviously exists in the world today,.

    I present the following observation.

    If Intelligent Design – big ID – is true, it does not preclude the existence of general evolution – small e. In fact it makes it more probable. A truly intelligent designer practicing Intelligent Design would put into his design adaptability.

    If Evolution – big E – is true, it precludes the existence of general intelligent design. Under the theory that all life was generated by random processes, including our purely physical brains, all appearance of intelligent design must ultimately be an illusion. Not only would it be an illusion that cells are intelligently designed, but it must be true that ultimately cars, computers, and music are the result of random processes. But we regularly admit that things listed in 2a are only believable as the output of intelligent design.

    This is one of the reasons I not only reject the Theory of Evolution, but I believe that people who profess it are deceived.

  29. Oops. Left out something. Really should be able to edit your own posts.

    Right after 2a)…

    2b) Intelligent Design – big I – The belief that creation of all of life involved an Intelligent Designer.

  30. Mung @26:

    I realize you are having a bit of fun, while at the same time pointing to ultimate realities. Let’s focus back to the OP for a moment, however. The question is whether ID is science. Meyer argues (and I believe convincingly so) that as an inference to the best explanation of the historical history of life on the earth, ID is science. So is evolution (commonly defined).

    It doesn’t make any difference whether someone thinks God created the universe and the Earth. God could very well have stopped at that point and done nothing more. As a result, it is a perfectly legitimate question whether natural causes on the Earth or in the surrounding cosmos could result in life arising and developing to its current state. And we don’t get anywhere by playing semantic games with the word ‘natural.’ I mean ‘natural’ in the very common, ordinary sense of the word. And in this context, meaning in contrast to a guided, directed, purposeful (designed) process.

    So God’s existence and God’s creating of (and, if we wish, continued upholding of) matter itself, the very laws of physics, and so on is largely irrelevant to the historical biological question most are asking.

    Now, if we want to talk about the origin of matter and the cosmos itself, or we want to talk about first causes, and so on, then, yes, we can discuss that separate question . . .

  31. ba @22:

    So would you say that our individual consciousness was created at some point prior to the existence of all matter (or at least our individual matter/body)? (Or perhaps existed itself as a kind of ‘ultimate reality’ before the existence of matter?)

  32. Eric, that question is so deep that all I can answer is scripture right now:

    Jeremiah 1:5
    “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;

  33. ba77:

    Interesting. So that scripture might suggest that we existed (at least in the state of some kind of consciousness/spirit/soul) before being born on Earth. Is that consistent with the teachings of any major religious strain, in particular any Christian strain (I’m setting aside for a moment the idea of reincarnation or endless cycle approaches to the question)?

  34. Well Eric, I certainly can’t say for sure. As far as providing a empirical basis from science as to when a ‘eternal soul’ was brought into being by God, I guess it is perhaps on par with trying to measure different degrees of infinity! :)

  35. Fair enough. I’m not trying to get an empirical basis from science, with my last question. Just trying to understand if religion has caught up with the science. Specifically, if I am understanding correctly, based on your research your understanding is that our essential consciousness (soul, spirit, perhaps some other word) existed prior to us being born on Earth (and perhaps before that). I’m just wondering if you are aware of mainstream religious view that would be in line with that viewpoint (particularly Christian viewpoints, which if I’m not mistaken might be more down the lines of your thinking). Interesting stuff.

  36. semi OT to OP:

    Here is a excellent summary of the work Casey Luskin has done exposing the (very) over-hyped claims for human evolution in the fossil record, as well as excellent summary exposing the less than forthright argumentation tactics of Darwinists (shifting the burden of proof for one tactic) when they debate human evolution with someone who doubts it occurred:

    How do Theistic Evolutionists Explain the Fossil Record and Human Origins? – Casey Luskin – September 14, 2012
    Excerpt: In six recent articles (see the links at right), I have argued that the fossil record does not support the evolution of ape-like species into human-like species. Rather, hominin fossils generally fall into two distinct groups: ape-like species and human-like species, with a large, unbridged gap between them.,,,
    Third, not all paleontologists agree with Kidder that the lack of transitional fossils is simply the result of the unsophisticated (and all-too-easy) excuse the fossil record is poor. Consider what paleontologist Niles Eldredge and paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersal (who are both committed evolutionists) co-wrote in a book on human origins:
    “The record jumps, and all the evidence shows that the record is real: the gaps we see reflect real events in life’s history — not the artifact of a poor fossil record.”
    (Niles Eldredge and Ian Tattersall, The Myths of Human Evolution, p. 59 (NY: Columbia University Press, 1982).)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....64301.html

  37. Eric, I really don’t know all that much of the particular Theological details for eternal souls for the different Christian denominations. Although I am fairly sure that reincarnation is not held by virtually 100% of Christian denominations (although even that I can’t say for certainty, but I would be very surprised if any denomination did hold it) What I can say, from a empirical point of view, is that comparing the eternal and temporal frameworks of time becomes very tricky because in the eternal framework one loses a proper ‘sequential’ frame of reference. Here are a few notes to give you a idea of the problem that crops up when one compares the two different time frameworks to each other to try to answer a specific ‘when did something occur? question’ in the eternal framework of time:

    Time, as we understand it, would come to a complete stop at the speed of light. To grasp the whole ‘time coming to a complete stop at the speed of light’ concept a little more easily, imagine moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light. Would not the hands on the clock stay stationary as you moved away from the face of the clock at the speed of light? Moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light happens to be the same ‘thought experiment’ that gave Einstein his breakthrough insight into e=mc2.

    Albert Einstein – Special Relativity – Insight Into Eternity – ‘thought experiment’ video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6545941/

    Moreover ‘hypothetically’ traveling at the speed of light will get us to the place where time, as we understand it, comes to complete stop for light, i.e. gets us to the eternal, ‘past and future folding into now’, framework of time. This higher dimensional, ‘eternal’, inference for the time framework of light is warranted because light is not ‘frozen within time’ yet it is shown that time, as we understand it, does not pass for light.

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12

    “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein – The Einstein Factor – Reader’s Digest

    Time Dilation is confirmed by several evidences but I like the following evidence the best. Time Dilation is actually caught on film in the following video:

    Amazing — light filmed at 1,000,000,000,000 Frames/Second! – video (so fast that at 9:00 Minute mark of video the time dilation effect of relativity is caught on film)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoHeWgLvlXI

    It is also very interesting to note that this strange higher dimensional, eternal, framework for time, found in both special relativity and general relativity, finds corroboration in Near Death Experience testimonies. The testimonies bear out exactly what we would see from the empirical evidence:

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    Mickey Robinson – Near Death Experience testimony

    ‘When you die, you enter eternity. It feels like you were always there, and you will always be there. You realize that existence on Earth is only just a brief instant.’
    Dr. Ken Ring – has extensively studied Near Death Experiences

    ‘Earthly time has no meaning in the spirit realm. There is no concept of before or after. Everything – past, present, future – exists simultaneously.’ – Kimberly Clark Sharp – NDE Experiencer

    ‘There is no way to tell whether minutes, hours or years go by. Existence is the only reality and it is inseparable from the eternal now.’ – John Star – NDE Experiencer

    Thus Eric, as you can see, the problem of trying to say precisely ‘when’ a ‘eternal soul’ was created by God is very hard to do from a empirical point of view since ‘when’, as we understand it, kind of loses its meaning in the eternal framework.

  38. ba77:

    Now we’re getting somewhere pretty interesting. I know we’ve gone OT, so I won’t pursue this much further, but your points reminded me of one last thought I wanted to mention.

    I’ve held the view for some time that one of the main things that “creates” time, if you will allow me to use that crude term, at least for us, is death. Put another way, if we lived forever in some youthful state, then the concept of priorities, what I accomplished yesterday, what I got done today, what I’m going to do with my life, where I will be in 1, 10, even 100 years, would almost lose meaning.

    If we pursue a bit further your idea that it doesn’t make sense to talk about us coming into existence at any particular time, then perhaps we should say that we are eternal beings who are temporarily exposed to a situation that creates for us the experience of time — with everything that entails: different experiences, different life periods, childhood, youth, middle age, golden years, dying, suffering, losing loved ones, having to reach out to others at the time of their loss, learning to be humble enough to accept help when others reach out to us, and so on.

    So this life then becomes a brief, passing, temporal and temporary blip on the screen of our larger eternal existence. But hopefully a blip that has taught us much about who we are, and how we relate to others, and what true joy and sorrow are, and what we may become.

  39. Eric as to:

    So this life then becomes a brief, passing, temporal and temporary blip on the screen of our larger eternal existence. But hopefully a blip that has taught us much about who we are, and how we relate to others, and what true joy and sorrow are, and what we may become.

    Yes, to expand on this a bit, in this following video a NDEr talks about just how important loving others in the here and now, in this temporal existence, is for eternity.

    The Day I Died – NDE Documentary Part 6 of 6
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVjfhsBaups

    The same lesson of the primary importance of love, i.e. learning that love is ‘the currency of heaven’, was learned here in the life review portions of the following video:

    Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200200/

    Or as I heard one NDEr put it after his life review:

    “loving others as you love yourself is not just a good idea it is the way reality actually is!”

    But I have to say that it is a bit of a worrisome burden, at least for me, after learning about the crucial importance of love in regards to eternity, to realize just how petty and unloving I can be sometimes with other people and to realize just how far from the mark of ‘loving others as I love myself’ I can be. All I can say is thank God for the eternal forgiveness bought for us in Christ because I surely see my need for it!

    As well, in regards to time dilation, it is interesting to point out just how well the overall evidence of time dilation fits into the Christian worldview. Time dilation experiments reveal, just as Christian theology claims, that there are two very different ‘eternities’.

    i.e. It is very interesting to note that we have two very different qualities of ‘eternality of time’ revealed by our time dilation experiments;

    Time dilation
    Excerpt: Time dilation: special vs. general theories of relativity:
    In Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity, time dilation in these two circumstances can be summarized:
    1. –In special relativity (or, hypothetically far from all gravitational mass), clocks that are moving with respect to an inertial system of observation are measured to be running slower. (i.e. For any observer accelerating, hypothetically, to the speed of light, time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop).
    2.–In general relativity, clocks at lower potentials in a gravitational field—such as in closer proximity to a planet—are found to be running slower.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation

    i.e. As with any ‘hypothetical’ observer accelerating to the speed of light, it is found that for any observer falling into the event horizon of a black hole, that time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop for them. — But of particular interest to the ‘eternal framework’ found for General Relativity at black holes;… It is interesting to note that entropic decay (Randomness), which is the primary reason why things grow old and eventually die in this universe, is found to be greatest at black holes. Thus the ‘eternality of time’ at black holes can, without overstretching too much, be called ‘eternalities of decay and/or eternalities of destruction’.

    Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010
    Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated.
    http://www.reasons.org/entropy-universe

    It is also very interesting to note that special relativity is found to ‘merge’ with quantum mechanics whereas general relativity does not ‘merge’ with quantum mechanics:

    Theories of the Universe: Quantum Mechanics vs. General Relativity
    Excerpt: The first attempt at unifying relativity and quantum mechanics took place when special relativity was merged with electromagnetism. This created the theory of quantum electrodynamics, or QED. It is an example of what has come to be known as relativistic quantum field theory, or just quantum field theory. QED is considered by most physicists to be the most precise theory of natural phenomena ever developed.
    In the 1960s and ’70s, the success of QED prompted other physicists to try an analogous approach to unifying the weak, the strong, and the gravitational forces. Out of these discoveries came another set of theories that merged the strong and weak forces called quantum chromodynamics, or QCD, and quantum electroweak theory, or simply the electroweak theory, which you’ve already been introduced to.
    If you examine the forces and particles that have been combined in the theories we just covered, you’ll notice that the obvious force missing is that of gravity.
    http://www.infoplease.com/cig/.....ivity.html

    And as pointed out before, Christ offers a very credible reconciliation between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://vimeo.com/34084462

    further notes:

    It is also very interesting to point out that the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, reported in many Near Death Experiences(NDEs), is also corroborated by Special Relativity when considering the optical effects for traveling at the speed of light. Please compare the similarity of the optical effect, noted at the 3:22 minute mark of the following video, when the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape around the direction of travel as a ‘hypothetical’ observer moves towards the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light, with the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ reported in very many Near Death Experiences: (Of note: This following video was made by two Australian University Physics Professors with a supercomputer.)

    Approaching The Speed Of Light – Optical Effects – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5733303/

    As well, as with the tunnel for special relativity, we also have scientific confirmation of extreme ‘tunnel curvature’, within space-time, to a eternal ‘event horizon’ at black holes;

    Space-Time of a Black hole
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0VOn9r4dq8

    And, as with the ‘eternal time framework’, we also have testimony from NDE’s confirming the tunnel in space-time to a higher dimension

    Ask the Experts: What Is a Near-Death Experience (NDE)? – article with video
    Excerpt: “Very often as they’re moving through the tunnel, there’s a very bright mystical light … not like a light we’re used to in our earthly lives. People call this mystical light, brilliant like a million times a million suns…”
    - Jeffery Long M.D. – has studied NDE’s extensively (thousands of cases)

    The NDE and the Tunnel – Kevin Williams’ research conclusions
    Excerpt: I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.(Barbara Springer)

    As well, as with the tunnel being present in heavenly NDE’s, we also have mention of tunnels in the somewhat rare hellish NDE testimonies;

    For example, a man, near the beginning of this video, gives testimony of falling down a ‘tunnel’ in the transition stage from this world to hell:

    Hell – A Warning! – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4131476/

  40. Of somewhat related interest Eric, I believe that timelapse photography reveals a tension between time and timelessness that brings a bit more proper perspective of eternity to us and gives us a bit more appreciation of our place in it.

    Baja California Timelapse Photography – video
    http://vimeo.com/11892211

    The Mountain – Inspirational video
    http://video.yahoo.com/editors.....60678.html

    Timescapes – video – from the 2010 astronomy photographer of the year
    http://www.timescapes.org/trailer.asp

    Ocean Sunset – Inspirational Poem
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4217255/

  41. semi OT:

    Cosmic Fingerprints: Worlds of Evidence from the Cosmic to the Molecular – Dr. Fazale Rana (Part 1)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8OGpYIug-s

    Cosmic Fingerprints: Worlds of Evidence from the Cosmic to the Molecular – Dr. Fazale Rana (Part 2)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RkF2diMmRM

    Cosmic Fingerprints Worlds of Evidence from the Cosmic to the Molecular – Dr. Fazale Rana (Part 3)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxyhqLvun6k

    Cosmic Fingerprints: Worlds of Evidence from the Cosmic to the Molecular – Dr. Hugh Ross (Part 1)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGaiGfRjhoQ

    Cosmic Fingerprints: Worlds of Evidence from the Cosmic to the Molecular – Dr. Hugh Ross (Part 2)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXra71GPm-U

    Cosmic Fingerprints: Worlds of Evidence from the Cosmic to the Molecular – Dr. Hugh Ross (Part 3)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8lUXb6fqSc

  42. JoeCoder: #19 – OK, but science requires a theistic/metaphysical implication, doe sit not? Maybe not if we play loose with the definition of “science”.

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