Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute http://www.discovery.org/csc, Professor of History & Philosophy of Science (College at Southwestern http://college.swbts.edu), & teaches at http://www.biola.edu/scienceandreligion
Posted 9/7/13 at 8:15 PM | Mike Keas
In a comment on my last blog Hraefn refers to this statement from me: "God, if he exists, is the ultimate uncaused cause (self-existent being).” Hraefn responds (emphasis mine):
Why must the creator of the universe, if such exists, be uncaused? By demanding that "God" be uncaused by definition, you are simply raising the (wholly unmet) burden of proof on yourself. I would suspect that few, if any, atheists would accept theist definitions as in any way binding on themselves or view the demand that we reject an uncaused universe, but blindly accept an uncaused creator of the universe, as anything other than a form of special pleading. If God can be uncaused then why can't the universe? Admitedly, a pantheist would likely look at all of this, smirk and say God is the universe, so why are you arguing which is uncaused (which would most likely offend both theist and atheist).
I aim to understand the views of those with whom I disagree, and this includes understanding the way that these folks define the basic terms of their theory. If I'm going to critique a theory, I ought to first grasp it as it is articulcated by its well credentialed proponents. I hope that critics of theism would extend the same generosity and mutual respect. In this spirit I wrote "God, if he exists, is the ultimate uncaused cause (self-existent being).” No thought-control demands are operating here, just an offer to get a crucial idea on the table for critical examination. One can understand the terms of an opponent's theory (even using terms as defined by the other guy), but then disagree respectfully with that theory. It's a free world. Hopefully we can remain civil in our discussion of competing theories about the meaning of life. FULL POST
Posted 9/2/13 at 9:32 PM | Mike Keas
The following are some outlined highlights of my talk at the Confident Christianity Conference, September 6-7, 2013: Does Science Disprove God? The main point of my talk was to analyze the problems in Stephen Hawking's book The Grand Design (2010). Hawking is widely considered the most important physicist since Einstein.
Critique of a Recent Contribution to “New Atheism” … Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design
Posted 8/29/13 at 8:25 PM | Mike Keas
One indication of a failing paradigm in science (or in other disciplines) is an increasingly authoritarian attempt by its believers to curtail open discussion of where the evidence might lead. Recent attempts to shut down conversation about the evidential merits of intelligent design indicate just how insecure many neo-Darwinists and materialists are about their own theories of the world. Let's survey a few of these episodes.
1. Ball State University President Imposes Gag Order on Science Professors who Favor Intelligent Design
In a blatant assault on academic freedom, the President of Ball State University in Indiana has issued an edict banning science faculty from discussing the scientific evidence favoring intelligent science. The President's order is something right out of George Orwell's 1984. Ball State University is fast becoming ground zero in the war to suppress dissent in science in America. Stay tuned in future weeks for ways you can help defend the academic freedom of scientists under attack at Ball State.
2. Ban Discovery Institute: Hank Campbell's Appeal to the Editors of National Review
Displaying the totalitarian mindset of many scientific materialists, Hank Campbell of Science 2.0 is calling on National Review to ban writers associated with Discovery Institute, starting with blogger and bioethicist Wesley Smith. FULL POST
Posted 8/27/13 at 9:29 AM | Mike Keas
2. Interview of Dr. Meyer on America's Number 1 Progressive Radio Show
Most critics of intelligent design are still refusing to grapple with the theory squarely. For example, watch this interview with Thom Hartmann, "host of America's Number 1 Progressive Radio Show." (Go to the bottom of this article about Meyer's book party to watch the Hartmann interview of Meyer). Hartmann tries to cast Stephen Meyer's new book Darwin's Doubt as an attack on science, but then demonstrates his own ignorance of Meyer's scientific argument. Hartmann repeatedly makes claims in the name of science without actually offering evidence-based scientific arguments. Meyer highlights some of the main points in his book that are based on the latest peer-reviewed scientific research. The interview is entertaining.
Posted 8/24/13 at 7:42 PM | Mike Keas
What can we learn from the large volume of comments under my post about whether the Mathematical Laws of Nature Create Everything from Nothing?
Hraefn, responding to MGT2 (who was supporting my claim that “something can’t come from nothing”) wrote:
Your repeated queries as to "how do you get something from nothing" is simply an argument from personal incredulity. Logically fallacious, and thus "illogical". Theoretical physics is very often counter-intuitive.
Counter-intuitive does not mean illogical. Theoretical physics may be counter-intuitive in some respect, but it is never illogical.
As I teach in my Reasoning course each year, we should realize that “illogical” is a subset of that which is unreasonable. Illogical is a label for an argument that breaks one or more rules of logic (and neither MGT2 nor Hraefn breaks any logical rules in the comments section to my post). To argue in an illogical manner is one way to be unreasonable. But one may construct a logically valid deduction that has one or more premises that are unreasonable. That would be a case of being logical, but unreasonable. Just in case anyone wants to dispute this, I should point out that the atheist author (Lewis Vaughn) of the critical thinking textbook I use in my Reasoning course (pictured here) agrees with me. All the informed theists and atheists that I know share common ground here. FULL POST
Posted 8/21/13 at 9:36 AM | Mike Keas
William Lane Craig is well known for advancing many arguments for God's existence, including the moral argument. Here is the moral argument as formulated by Craig:
Stephen Meyer offers a different version of the moral argument in the DVD curriculum TrueU: Does God Exist?
If you wish to compare the two forms of the moral argument and weigh their worth, you might start by watching William Lane Craig debate mathematician Herb Silverman on the topic: Does God Exist? (March 23, 2010). Audio and video here.
Craig and Silverman spend much of their time arguing for and against the moral argument for God's existence. Silverman conflates the epistemological and ontological aspects of morality (as does Hitchens in his 2009 debate with Craig at Biola University), while Craig patiently corrects the error. How so? Silverman says the equivalent of "hey, I'm an atheist and I know that rape is wrong without any alleged god telling me so." Craig agrees that Silverman can know rape is wrong independent of a particular religious text (this is an epistemological issue), but maintains that Silverman's atheistic worldview does not provide a basis for objective moral values, such as "rape is wrong" (this is an ontological issue). Silverman's attempt to dismantle the moral argument for God only unwittingly reinforced one of its premises. I leave it to the reader to decide which premise Silverman's objection actually helped support despite Silverman's intentions otherwise. Audio and video here.
To make Craig-Meyer comparison easier, Craig's argument can be paraphrased:
Posted 8/14/13 at 9:33 AM | Mike Keas
Today we call upon Oxford Mathematician John Lennox to clarify some misconceptions that surfaced in the comments below my last blog. We will focus on the question: Can Mathematical Laws of Nature Create Everything from Nothing? The question itself needs to be reworked, but it is stated this way in order to tie into some common misconceptions. Help is on the way. First, a little backstory is needed.
In his 2010 book The Grand Design, celebrated cosmologist Stephen Hawking and coauthor Leonard Mlodinow claim that the laws of nature are consistent with the universe popping into existence from nothing: “Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” (The Grand Design, p. 180). But something can’t cause itself to come into existence because it would have to exist already to have any causal powers. So Hawking’s statement is self-contradictory. Furthermore, a natural law like gravity is not “nothing.” This is another contradiction. Oxford's Dr. John Lennox's points out these and other contradictions in Hawking's (and Dawkins's) unreasonable worse-than-magic claims in this exclusive full-length video. Even better, read Lennox's book God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway? FULL POST
Posted 8/11/13 at 10:42 PM | Mike Keas
Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss have encouraged atheists to use satire to critique theistic views. To be fair, we should also recognize the legitimacy of satirical treatments of the views of atheists like Dawkins and Krauss. Yesterday somebody did just that in a delightfully satirical remix of several Dawkins videos in which Dawkins asserts his view (taken from Krauss) that the universe came from "nothing." His attempts to qualify and explain what he means by "nothing" are ... well ... entertaining.
In one part of this video collage Dawkins is puzzled as to why the audience thinks his views are laughable (the audience spontaneously laughs at one of Dawkins' serious remarks about something coming from nothing). This is a priceless moment that you need to experience. Watch the video now. Gather your family and friends for "the greatest show on earth" (Dawkins once wrote a book he called The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution).
For some clear thinking about the absurd claim made by some atheists that the universe came from nothing, watch this eight-minute clip of William Lane Craig. Early on Craig notes: "To claim that something can come from nothing is worse than magic."
Here are the source videos for the satirical remix linked above:
Posted 8/10/13 at 8:03 PM | Mike Keas
There are two kinds of critics of intelligent design who don't even get the defining features of the theory correct: those who know that they are mischaraterizing what the proponents of ID are arguing, and those who simply don't understand. Judging from recent comments, I suspect both sorts of ID critics follow my blog here at CP. I just happened to notice that today over at ENV, Casey Luskin addressed this very issue. Let's see how his essay might shed light here.
Luskin responds to this question (sounds like what we've heard here in the CP comment zone, over and over):
What's the "scientific theory of ID"? Who or what is the designer and how can we tell? What did it do and how can we tell? How did it do it and how can we tell? Where did it do it and how can we tell? When did it do it and how can we tell? Please pass on my thanks to all your colleagues for never bothering to answer these questions.
Luskin suspects that the "Nick" who posted this comment on Amazon (reviewing Stephen Meyer's new book) is the same Nick Matzke whose review of Meyer's Darwin's Doubt has spread misinformation about the length of the Cambrian explosion. It turns out that Matzke is simply out of touch with what the leading Cambrian experts think, namely that the "explosion" took only 5-10 million years, a mere geological blink of the eye. I wrote about this earlier in this blog: What is the Significance of a “Darwin's Doubt” Review by a Pulitzer Prize-Winning Science Journalist? I explailned how this set up an otherwise first-rate science journalist to badly misjudge Meyer's book. FULL POST
Posted 8/6/13 at 10:23 PM | Mike Keas
Now that we have established Darwin’s own doubt about the reliability of evolved creatures to exercise certain higher order thinking skills, where is this conversation now? Do such deeper doubts about the capabilities of an evolved brain continue to undermine any good reason an evolutionary biologist might have to believe in his or her own theory today?
The most influential direction this conversation has taken in the last few decades centers on Alvin Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (EAAN). You can listen to him make the argument here. I shall summarize the latest form of EAAN, which is how it is framed in his book Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism (2011) and in this peer-reviewed journal article (the quotations below, if unidentified, come from this article). FULL POST