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Science and Apologetics?

Science and Apologetics?

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Science and Apologetics?

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  1. Science and Apologetics? by Ard Louis Dept. of Chemistry Cambridge University www-louis.ch.cam.ac.uk/urbana/

  2. Biological self-assembly • Biology is soft--matter come alive • Self-assembly of multi-component structures • What hope for the modeller?

  3. Protein folding: Positive design and Negative design for folded state & pathway Levinthal Paradox: resolution relies on negative design in pathway. Another Paradox: Sequence space: 20^150 = more atoms than exist in the universe C.M. Dobson, Nature 426, 884 (2003)

  4. Reversible self-assembly • Reversible self-assembly of one-component structures from individual sub-units: • Virus self-assembly in-vivo (Fraenkel-Contrat&Williams 1955- TMV) • Clathrin

  5. Positive and Negative Design for Virus Self-Assembly Model: petagonal bi-pyramids negative and positive design Iain Johnston: reversible self-assembly D.J. Wales, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. A, 363, 357-377 (2005)

  6. Positive and Negative Design for Virus Self-Assembly gas of monomers

  7. Science has proven: There is no God • Fear?

  8. OUTLINE • What does the Bible say about the natural world? • Using science in apologetics • Witnessing to scientists • The Origins debate ...

  9. God reveals himself through nature • Romans 1:18 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

  10. God reveals himself through nature • Psalm 19: 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

  11. God reveals himself through nature • Psalm 8: 3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

  12. God reveals himself through nature • Austrian Alps “It was a beautiful afternoon and suddenly the remarkable beauty of creation around me was so overwhelming, I felt, ‘I cannot resist this another moment’.” -- Francis Collins on his conversion.

  13. God reveals himself through nature

  14. Francis Collins[Director, National Human Genome Research Institute, USA] “The work of a scientist in this project, particularly a scientist who has the joy of also being a Christian, is a work of discovery which can also be a form of worship. As a scientist, one of the most exhilarating experiences is to learn something….that no human has understood before. To have a chance to see the glory of creation, the intricacy of it, the beauty of it, is really an experience not to be matched. Scientists who do not have a personal faith in God also undoubtedly experience the exhilaration of discovery. But to have that joy of discovery, mixed together with the joy of worship, is truly a powerful moment for a Christian who is also a scientist”

  15. God created and sustains the world • “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” Gen 1:1 • “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Gen 1:2 • “For by him [Christ] all things were created … and in him all things hold together” Col 1:16,17 • “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory … sustaining all things by his powerful word” Heb 1:3

  16. God sustains the universe • Psalm 104 (praising God’s creation) • “ He makes springs pour water into ravines;it flows between the mountains; the wild donkeys quench their thirst’’ v10,11 • “Natural” processes are described both as divine and non-divine actions • 2 perspectives on the same natural world

  17. ‘Science’ studies the “Customs of the Creator” • If God were to stop “sustaining all things” the world would stop existing • Donald MacKay, The Clockwork Image, IVP • “An act of God is so marvelous that only the daily doing takes off the admiration” • John Donne (Eighty Sermons, #22 published in 1640) • “Miracles” are not God “intervening in the laws of nature”: they are God working in less customary ways

  18. Interpreting the Bible • What kind of language? • What kind of literature? • What kind of audience? • What kind of context? • All truth is God’s truth, so, properly interpreted, science and the Bible cannot contradict

  19. Bible is not a science textbook • Moses wrote in a popular style things which, without instruction, all ordinary persons, endued with common sense, are able to understand; but astronomers investigate with great labour whatever the sagacity of the human mind can comprehend ... this study is not to be reprobated, nor this science condemned ... (men) ought not to neglect this kind of exercise ... since the Spirit of God here (i.e. Genesis) opens a common school for all, it is not surprising that he should chiefly choose those subjects which would be intelligible to all ... Moses therefore, rather adapts his discourse to common usage. -- Commentary on Gen 1:16 John Calvin 1509-1564

  20. Bible is not a science textbook • The whole point of scripture is to bring us to a knowledge of Christ --- and having come to know him (and all that this implies), we should come to a halt and not expect to learn more. Scripture provides us with spectacles through which we may view the world as God’s creation and self-expression; it does not, and was never intended, to provide us with an infallible repository of astronomical and medical information. The natural sciences are thus effectively emancipated from theological restrictions John Calvin 1509-1564

  21. OUTLINE • What does the Bible say about the natural world? • Using science in apologetics • Witnessing to scientists • The Origins debate ...

  22. Science/Religion and the conflict metaphor? “Science and religion cannot be reconciled ... Religion has failed, and its failures should be exposed. Science, with its currently successful pursuit of universal competence … should be acknowledged the king” --Prof Peter Atkins, Oxford U, in 1995

  23. Science/Religion and the conflict metaphor? “I don’t know any historian of science, of any religious persuasion or none, who would hold to the theory that conflict is the name of the game between science and religion, it simply isn’t true.” --Prof Colin Russell, Open University, UK

  24. Science/Religion and the conflict metaphor? • Pervasive myth (Emperor has no clothes) • Scientists are about as religious as the general population • Galileo example far more complex • Really about Aristotle/Greek cosmology • “Galilieo Connection”, Prof Charles Hummel, IVP (1986)

  25. Christian origins of science • Science has deeply Christian roots. • Uniformity • Rationality • Intelligibility • See e.g. books by Stanley Jaki; R. Hooykaas; e.g. China • Royal Society, the word’s first scientific society. Founded in London July 15, 1662, many were Puritans

  26. Founders of Royal Society • “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent being.” • Sir Isaac Newton

  27. Founders of Royal Society • Wrote “The Wisdom of God Manifested in Works of Creation”, governor of the “Corporation for the Spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in New England • Sir Robert Boyle(1627-1691)

  28. Mechanism v.s. Meaning • Conflating mechanism and meaning is origin of most confusion why is the water boiling?

  29. enough Fe for 1 nail enough P for 2000 matches enough fat to make 10 bars of soap enough Cl to disinfect a swimming pool Nothing Buttery humans are collections of chemicals:

  30. Scientism • “The cosmos is all there is or ever was or ever will be” Carl Sagan • “The most important questions in life are not susceptible to solution by the scientific method” Prof. Bill Newsome, Stanford U.

  31. God of the gaps • Science can’t understand it => it must be God. • often a reaction to mechanism& meaning or nothing buttery • “When we come to the scientifically unknown, our correct policy is not to rejoice because we have found God; it is to become better scientists” Prof. Charles Coulson, Oxford U

  32. God of the gaps • It is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, while presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, taking nonsense. We should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn .... If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well, and hear him maintain his foolish opinions about the Scriptures, how then are they going to believe those Scriptures in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead • St. Augustine

  33. Newton and the planets • “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent being.” • Sir Isaac Newton

  34. Newton and the planets 18th century Orrery from a London coffee house, used to show the perfection of the orbits, which reflect God’s perfection

  35. Leibnitz objects “For, as Leibniz objected, if God had to remedy the defects of his creation, this was surely to demean his craftmanship” • John Hedley Brooke, Science and Religion, CUP 1991, p147

  36. Laplace and Napoleon • Mécanique Céleste (1799-1825) • Napoleon: Why have you not mentioned the creator? • "Je n'avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là.”

  37. Chaos and the planets • Our understanding of the Solar System has been revolutionized over the past decade by the finding that the orbits of the planets are inherently chaotic. In extreme cases, chaotic motions can change the relative positions of the planets around stars, and even eject a planet from a system. • The role of chaotic resonances in the Solar System, N. Murray and M. Holman, Nature 410, 773-779 (12 April 2001)

  38. Arguments from science: • Unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics • Fine-tuning in cosmology

  39. Schrödinger equation (Quantum Mechanics) Energy-Momentum (Special Relativity) = Dirac Equation (1928) Electrons Positrons (antimatter) discovered 1932 Unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics Quantum Mechanics + Relativity = Antimatter +

  40. Fine Tuning and the Anthropic Principle • “The universe is the way it is, because we are here” – Prof. Stephen Hawking, Cambridge U • If the [fine structure constant] were changed by 1%, the sun would immediately explode Prof. Max Tegmark, U. Penn • “Just Six Numbers” by Sir Martin Rees

  41. We are made of StardustHe C via a resonance • Sir Fred Hoyle, Cambridge U • “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics .. and biology” • His atheism was “deeply shaken”

  42. Fine Tuning and the Anthropic Principle • Fine tuning is not a proof of God, but seems more consistent with theism than atheism • Note the difference with “God of the gaps” • We seem to have three choices'... We can dismiss it as happenstance, we can acclaim it as the workings of providence, or (my preference) we can conjecture that our universe is a specially favoured domain in a still vaster multiverse.’ If this multiverse contained every possible set of laws and conditions, then the existence of our own world with its particular characteristics would be inevitable.” • Sir Martin Rees -- • John Leslie firing squad argument

  43. Using science in apologetics • Key issues are philosophy/worldview • conflict metaphor • meaning v.s. mechanism • nothing buttery • scientism • Arguments based on science: • watch out for “God of the Gaps” or the argument from personal incredulity • Fine tuning, the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics and other arguments in the spirit of Ps 19: “The heavens declare the glory of God...”

  44. OUTLINE • What does the Bible say about the natural world? • Using science in apologetics • Witnessing to scientists • The Origins debate ...

  45. Engaging with Scientists • I.m.h.e. more open than arts/humanities students • Often looking for a higher cause to which to dedicate their lives; idealists • Receptive to truth • Still rarely become Christians through intellectual argument alone

  46. Science as a calling ? • Good Scientific praxis resonates well with Christian principles • Called not driven; makes better scientists • in Christian community • Science and its derivatives will,through globalisation, have an increasingly large influence on thinking in the 2/3 world. Impact on missions. • Christians are needed

  47. Summary • The Bible: • God created the world • Nature attests to God’s qualities (Rom 1, Psalms) • God sustains the universe • Biblical language of Divine action (God sent the rain) • Bible is not a science textbook • world has a beginning • stars, sun, and moon are not Gods etc...

  48. Summary • Science and apologetics • main issues are worldview/philosophy • best to use arguments based on non-controversial science • Scientists • to first order no different from anyone else • Could you be called to science?

  49. Origins • Controversial -- where we come from determines identity, meaning, destiny • 4 views: • 1) Young earth creation science (YECS) • 2) Progressive creationism • 3) Intelligent Design • 4) Theistic evolution old earth