Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Case for a Creator part II

In the past year I have read two books that had the premise of providing proof that the universe has a Creator. Although I took issue with many of his conclusions The Language of God by Francis Collins was hands down the better of the two books. In The Case for a Creator it is obvious that Lee Strobel set out with his conclusion and then set out to prove it.

Collins is a scientist and understands the definition of evidence and the logical process that science follows. Strobel doesn’t seem to understand the scientific method or what constitutes evidence. He makes generalizations about atheists being nihilistic and immoral without any evidence to support these claims. He demonstrates his lack of understanding of evolution, natural selection and Darwinism by treating the three words as synonyms. They are not.

What Strobel seems to believe is proof of God is simply gaps in our current understanding. By pointing out disputed concerns in current evolutionary theory Strobel asserts that scientists are in disagreement as to the entire process. Nothing could be further from the truth. Strobel also quotes statements made by Carl Sagan in his book Cosmos and then shows that scientist disagree with his conclusions. He didn’t bother to point out that Sagan himself had gone against that same theory years ago. At the very least Strobel is not working with the most current information. At the worst, he is maliciously mining for details that are seem more damning to science without any further research. I seriously doubt many of Strobel’s readers would be aware of this. In fact, I believe he was counting on their ignorance.

Strobel has several chapters devoted to what he, and others, call the fine tuning of the universe; the privileged planet, the evidence of biological information systems, the evidence of physics, the evidence of cosmology, and the evidence of consciousness. Far from being evidence of a creator these chapters build upon each other to show that Strobel has no understanding of the anthropic principle. The fact that humans exist and can have a discussion about whether or not there is a creator proves that we must have consciousness. The fact that we have consciousness proves that we are alive. This in turn proves that we live on a planet which can support life, which in turn proves that we are in a solar system that can create planets. All this proves that were are in a universe that is capable of creating planets. As an outside observer placing a bet on whether life would be created if a random universe were created then this series of events would seem rather improbable. But the fact that we do exist only proves that, no matter how improbable, it has happened at least once. For instance, What if I were to make a prediction that the next time I go drive through my subdivision I will see a green Ferrari with yellow tires? On its face these seems to a very improbable event. However, what if I own a green Ferrari with yellow tires and I take this car out on my search? Can I step out of the car, look back and claim that the existence of that car is still improbable? No I can’t. The same holds true in the Universe we have to take into account that we do exist and so calculating how improbable our existence is proves nothing either way. Strobel’s 100+ pages dedicated to his misunderstanding of the anthropic principle do no better at proving a creator than my green Ferrari does.
I suppose that those who are true believers of Young-Earth creationism would simply add their "amen" to Strobel's book. I felt no such urge. For the record I enjoy reading books of faith. I just have a problem when faith oversteps its bounds and attempts to manipulate science. Many creationist would claim that scientist are attempting to destroy god. There are a few who do exactly that. However, the vast majority of scientists simply feel that religion is a matter of faith and is irrelevant to science. Personally, I think that most religions would be better off taking this same strategy with science. It is simply irrelevant to matters of faith.

1 comment:

  1. Canisunis4:14 PM

    I still have issue with folks that use "Archaeological Findings" as Proof of the Book of Mormon, but when simmilar findings go contrary to the Book of Mormon they dismiss it.

    Forget the Ferrari,, I want the yellow tires....