Atheist Objection # 10
Is this actually the case? Has evolutionary theory answered the question of where we came from. Bob argues:
“I simply say that science has a remarkable track record for teaching us about reality, while religion has taught us absolutely nothing. Religion makes claims—that there is life after death, for example—but these are always without sufficient evidence.”
If Bob expects real philosophers or theologians to take him seriously, he will need to lose the polarizing language and the incredibly misleading statements. I wonder if Bob cares whether or not anyone takes him seriously. It is hard to see how he could with statements like this. It is true that science has a remarkable track record. But is it true that science has a remarkable track record for teaching us about reality? Questions about reality extend far beyond the limitations of science. The Merriam Webster definition of reality is the true situation that exists: the real situation. Has science, or even can science provide us with a true account of reality that exists? I think it can only if one presupposes naturalism. But then again, even if one presupposes naturalism, maybe science is worse off than if they presuppose supernaturalism.
J. Rushdoony wrote, “A myth is a traditional explanation of life and its origins which so expresses or coincides with the contemporary spirit that its often, radical contradictions and absurdities are never apparent, in that they express the basic presuppositions, however untenable, of everyday life and thought.” [Rushdoony, The Myth of Science, 15] Such seems to be the case with modern science. Evolutionary theory, despite its seemingly insurmountable problems, is accepted uncritically to be a fact. Not only is this true, anyone daring to question the theory is laughed to scorn, and be very careful if your job depends on its adoption. It is as if there is new secular book that proclaims, Thus saith science! Science says it, I believe it, and that settles it, I can hear Bob say!
First of all, science is impossible apart from worldview and other philosophical considerations. J. P. Moreland writes, “Anyone wanting an integrated world view will see that nonscientific problems, if they are rationally supportable, will count against conflicting (though not complementary) scientific claims; thus, such external problems should be used in assessing those scientific claims.” [Moreland, Christianity and the Nature of Science, 53] Not only this, there are numerous philosophies informing the numerous theories that go into one “scientific” hypothesis. But if one were to listen to Bob, he or she would think, it’s settled. Science has given us the only rational working model of reality. Don’t both getting up early this Sunday for morning service. Science has pronounced that God is dead. And with his death goes morality, meaning, and hope.
Douglas Axe writes, concerning Darwinian evolution, “The engine of invention that Darwin imagined and Dawkins has spent much of his life promoting doesn’t actually work very well when you put it to the test.” [Axe, Science and Human Origins, 31] Axe actually conducted a small experiment, a simple experiment really to test Darwin’s engine. He asked whether Darwin’s engine can alter a single gene in bacterial cells so that its instructions specify a modified version of the original protein that performs a new task. Remember, each gene inside a cell carries the instructions for building a particular protein, and each protein is a tiny machine-like device that carries out one of the many tasks that must be accomplished for the cell to function properly. [Axe, Science and Human Origins, 33] The result of this experience was utter failure. This demonstrates that the assumption that Darwin’s engine can produce thing B from thing A simply because A and B are similar is false. The point of this is that evolutionary theory is wrong with numerous problems and there are number of scientists who are now not afraid to admit it. If Bob wants to uncritically accept science as the be-all, end-all, and he wants to tout evolutionary theory as scientific fact, all I can say is those two things and a handful of magic beans might make for an interesting fairy tale, but they cannot possible be the ground of our knowledge for the state of affairs in which we find ourselves.
Bob goes on to say, “What’s dishonest about the evolution side? It’s the overwhelming scientific consensus.” In several exchanges with Bob, I have repeated pointed out his informal fallacies only to be ignored. Well, I am afraid that I am going to have to point out yet another one. Bob appeals to the many scientists who accept evolutionary theory as fact, as his “final nail in the coffin.” But Bob knows that his opponent can appeal to the many scientist who do not accept evolutionary theory as fact and remove the nail from and in fact, burn the coffin. But Bob is only interested in telling one side of the story. Bob, from the beginning of his posts on objections to Christian belief, has been dishonest throughout his posts. And with each passing objection, Bob’s credibility has weakened, at least among those who are not blind followers, wishful thinkers, pagan dreamers.
Bob also makes this mind-boggling error: And science does have answers to many of these questions: there’s no evidence of a transcendental purpose to your life, so you’d better get busy assigning your own; there’s no evidence of an afterlife, so you might want to get used to that; and so on. To claim that there is no evidence of a transcendental purpose to life cannot be proven scientifically. This implies that science has exhausted all the evidence, turned over every stone, looked behind every bush, ocean, river, mountain, and lake and there just is no evidence to support the belief that there is transcendental purpose to life. What about the 7+ billion people on the earth who, for some odd reason, despite Bob’s scientism, do believe there is a transcendental purpose to life? What about the religious texts that claim that life has purpose that transcends itself? You see, what I have learned about Bob is that he has decided at the beginning of the inquiry, what can and cannot possible be true. From this belief, Bob has concluded what can and cannot be allowed into the discussion as evidence. So, if you interact with Bob, get ready to be told what evidence you are allowed to use and what is not evidence at all. Bob wants you to accept his presuppositions about what reality is, how we know, and what constitutes evidence. And if you don’t kneel to Bob’s authority, he may call you a name, but he certainly will hold you in extreme contempt.
Has evolutionary theory answered the question of origins? Stephen Jay Gould wrote, “Either half my colleagues are enormously stupid, or else the science of Darwinism is fully compatible with conventional religious beliefs – and equally compatible with atheism.” [McGrath, The Dawkins Delusion, 34] The point to be made here, the point I wish to make is that reality, the thing we call reality is essentially the individual mind’s interpretation of the experience and observations of life. Reality is not a brute fact for human beings. It is an interpretation. The difference between the atheist and the Christian is that the atheist claims that autonomous human reason is the sole authority for interpreting the human experience while the Christian claims that we are to interpret all human experience in the world in accord with God’s prior interpretation of that world. Greg Bahnsen writes, “The plea for Christians to surrender to neutrality in their thinking is not an uncommon one. Nevertheless it strikes at the very heart of our faith and of our faithfulness to the Lord.” [Bahnsen, Always Ready, 3] Jesus himself told his disciples, Whoever is not with me is against me. (Matt. 12:30) There is no neutral ground. This means that Bob’s house of cards rests upon his secular, pagan, atheistic thinking from the start and every piece of evidence is not only subjected to his prior committed atheistic standard, but it is also interpreted in a manner that is consistent with his prior beliefs.
Contrary to Bob’’s claim that Christian belief is irrational, it is Bob’s brand of atheism that is irrational. You see, naturalism leads to materialism. And materialism has only two options for the existence of the universe: either the universe is eternal or the universe came into existence from nothing. Take your pick. Either way, both of these views are contrary to the laws of science. If the universe came from nothing, it raises the question, how do you get something from nothing. From nothing, nothing comes. On the flip side, the second law of thermodynamics, which says the universe is running out of usable energy flatly refutes the theory that they universe could be eternal. Science then, rules out the atheistic claims that there is no evidence for a supernatural origin of the universe. James Trifil, professor of physics at George Mason University, wrote, “The problem of explaining the existence of galaxies has proved to be one of the thorniest in cosmology. By all rights, they just shouldn’t be there, yet there they sit. It’s hard to convey the depth of the frustration that this simple fact induces among scientist.” [Safarti, Refuting Evolution]
The fact is that Bob engages in dishonest arguments. He tells only half the story. He puts forth one straw man after another, commits logical blunders repeatedly, and oversimplifies wherever it suits his purposes. Any honest survey of the literature regarding these issues clearly tells us that the matters about which Bob seems very dogmatic are anything but settled. If you’re going to read an atheist, you should at least read an honest one. I would steer clear of Bob’s posts in the future. His representation of Christianity and his dogmatic and uncritical assertions regarding science and evidence are overblown and unhelpful at best and misleading in most instances.