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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Why the Universe Is the Way It Is

By: Hugh Ross

للتحميل: (PDF) (DOC)

thewayitis

نبذة مُختصرة عن الكتاب:

أهمّ وأفضل كُتُب «هيو روس» التي يتكلَّم فيها عن الكون، ومدى ضبطه بإحكام وإتقان للسَّماح بنشأة الحياة على الأرض، وهو في الكتاب يُجيب على أسئلة “لماذا؟”، ويُبيِّن في النِّهاية أنَّ كلّ هذه الظُّرُوف المضبوطة بإحكام وإتقان مُنذ البداية دليل على “عناية” الله بالإنسان، وأنَّ الكون بالفعل له هدف وغاية، وليس عشوائياً، وعُنوان الكتاب ليس بصيغة تساؤل، وإنَّا بصيغة البيان والتَّقرير، أي أنَّ «هيو روس» كَتَب هذا الكتاب ليُبيِّن للنَّاس السَّبب وراء أنَّ الكون موجود بالهيئة التي هي عليها.

يبدأ «هيو روس» بالكلام عن الغريزة البشرية لطرح الأسئلة والسَّعي لتحصيل إجابات، ومن ثمَّ يبدأ بمُناقشة أسئلة مُختلفة حول خصائص مُعيَّنة للكون، والبحث عن السَّبب وراء وُجُود هذه الخصائص بالكيفية التي هي عليها، وهذه الخصائص هي: حجم الكون: لماذا هو كبير؟، عُمر الكون: لماذا هو قديم؟، وجودنا في الكون: لماذا نحن بمُفردنا؟، طبيعة الكون: لماذا هو مُظلم في الغالب؟ ولماذا يتَّجه إلى التَّدهور والانهيار؟ وهل هذا الكون هو أفضل الأكوان المُمكنة؟ ولماذا القوانين الفيزيائية بالكيفية التي هي عليها؟

في النِّهاية، وكعادة «هيو روس»، يُحاول الرَّبط بين المُكتشفات العلمية والكتاب المُقدَّس، ويُحاول جاهداً أن يُبيِّن أنَّ الكتاب المُقدَّس مُتناغم ومُتَّسِق مع كل الاكتشافات العلمية الحديثة الخاصة بالكون والفلك! (الفُصُول الهامَّة من 1 إلى 8، أما من 9 إلى 13 فهي تنصيرية لا قيمة لها! مع الإشارة إلى أنَّ المُلحق الثالث للكتاب يُعتبر أكبر قائمة بالمراجع الدَّالة على الضَّبط الدَّقيق للكون)

الكتاب يستحق تقدير مُمتاز، بغضّ النَّظر عن مُحاولاته التَّنصيرية الفاشلة، ولكنَّه يُقدِّم إجابات رائعة لأشهر الشُّبُهات التي يُثيرها عُلماء الكوزمولوجيا الملاحدة، مثل «فيكتور ستنجر» و «ستيفن هوكينج»، بالإضافة إلى تقديم الأدلَّة العلمية الواضحة على إحكام وإتقان الكون، فيما يُعرف بالضَّبط الدَّقيق، وأدلَّة العناية الإلهية بالكون!

Introduction: Let’s Play “I Spy”

· Famed British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking described this observation in A Brief History of Time, the bestselling science book of all time:   It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us. [Stephen W. Hawking, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (New York: Bantam, 1988), 127.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 197-201). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· American physicist Freeman Dyson expresses this same impression:   The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known that we were coming. [Freeman J. Dyson, Disturbing the Universe (New York: Basic, 1979), 250.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 202-205). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Hawking, Dyson, and many other distinguished physicists emphasize the realization that only in the context of human existence does the universe make any rational sense. Why this is so, however, puzzles even the greatest minds. Albert Einstein has been widely quoted as saying, “The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.” [For the original quote, see Albert Einstein, “Physics and Reality” (1936), in Ideas and Opinions, trans. Sonja Bargmann (New York: Bonanza, 1954), 292.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 206-209). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

1 Why Ask Why Questions?

· This urge compels humans to ask questions, BIG questions. In A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking, the world’s most famous physicist, expresses this compelling desire:   We want to make sense of what we see around us and to ask: What is the nature of the universe? What is our place in it and where did it and we come from? Why is it the way it is? [Hawking, A Brief History of Time, 171.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 237-241). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Scientific curiosity arises from the desire to understand the way things work. People want to understand how things like gravity, electricity, and magnetism—as well as living organisms—function. That type of curiosity stimulated Newton’s question about why apples fall to the ground, Darwin’s question about why the finches on one of the Galapagos Islands had larger beaks than those on another, and my question about why the stars are hot. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 257-260). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Previous to the twentieth century and the building of telescopes that can clearly see galaxies beyond the outer limits of the Milky Way, scientists and philosophers tended to complain that the universe was far too small to be the work of God. While acknowledging that the existence of the universe implied some kind of cosmic Creator, these researchers deduced that the Creator could not be very big or strong. If God were all-powerful and infinite, surely, they reasoned, he would have created an infinite universe or at least a much larger universe. [See, for example, Immanuel Kant, “Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens,” trans. W. Hastie, in Theories of the Universe: From Babylonian Myth to Modern Science, ed. Milton K. Munitz (New York: Free Press, 1957), 240; Giordano Bruno, “On the Infinite Universe and Worlds,” in Theories of the Universe, 174–83; John North, The Norton History of Astronomy and Cosmology (New York: Norton, 1995), 374–79.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 285-289). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· The arrival of the twenty-first century and telescopes powerful enough to help us see back in time (see “Looking Back in Time,” p. 21), even as far back as the initial moments of cosmic existence, has prompted a very different kind of complaint from scientists and skeptics. The universe as now measured appears absurdly too large to serve merely as humanity’s home. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 290-292). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Thanks to modern technology, astronomers today have access to images that show what was taking place in the universe many billions of years ago. Several independent measures establish with a high degree of certainty that the universe is, indeed, 13.73 billion years old. Astronomical images now cover the entire span of cosmic history. In other words, astronomers can directly observe all of cosmic history from its beginning until the present. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 307-310). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· People also wonder or grumble about the age of the universe. Now that astronomers have determined the universe’s age to be 13.73 billion years, many scholars and laypeople ask why, if God’s goal in creating the universe was to provide a home for humanity, he took so much time. They suggest that an all-powerful God would have set up everything all at once (or simultaneously). [For a well-known early example, see Augustine, The Literal Meaning of Genesis, trans. and annotated by John Hammond Taylor, bk. 4, chap. 33–34, and bk. 5, chap. 3, in vol. 41 of Ancient Christian Writers: The Works of the Fathers in Translation, ed. Johannes Quasten, Walter J. Burghardt, and Thomas C. Lawler (New York: Newman, 1982), 141–45, 149–50.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 321-324). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· China’s distinguished astrophysicist Fang Li Zhi declares, “A question that has always been considered a topic of metaphysics or theology—the creation of the universe—has now become an area of active research in physics.” [Fang Li Zhi and Li Shu Xian, Creation of the Universe, trans. T. Kiang (Singapore: World Scientific, 1989), 173.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 366-368). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

2 Why Such a Vast Universe?

· The sheer enormity of the universe is enough to make anyone feel inconsequential. This feeling raises questions: Does life really have any ultimate value, meaning, or purpose? If God is responsible for our existence, why would the universe be so large? [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 386-387). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Physicist Victor Stenger states the skeptic’s case:   If God created the universe as a special place for humanity, he seems to have wasted an awfully large amount of space where humanity will never make an appearance. [Victor J. Stenger, God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2007), 156.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 390-393). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Stephen Hawking echoes this concern:   Our Solar System is certainly a prerequisite for our existence. . . . But there does not seem to be any need for all these other galaxies. [Stephen W. Hawking, A Brief History of Time, 126.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 394-397). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Stenger also points out that only a tiny fraction (0.0007) of the mass of the universe is carbon. “Yet,” he questions, “we are supposed to think that God specially designed the universe so it would have the ability to manufacture in stars the carbon needed for life?” (See “Why So Little Carbon?”) He claims, “Energy is wasted, too. Of all the energy emitted by the sun, only two photons in a billion are used to warm Earth, the rest radiating uselessly into space.” [Stenger, God, 157.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 398-401). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Like an automobile, the universe: has a mass density that can be measured, appears to have been manufactured to certain specifications, carries passengers, burns fuel and emits exhaust, moves forward (though it cannot reverse), is capable of slowing down and speeding up (though not of standing still), won’t run forever. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 404-409). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Why So Little Carbon? Without carbon, physical life is impossible. No other element displays the rich chemical behavior needed to form the range of complex molecular structures life requires. Given that physical life must be carbon-based, why would God make a universe with so little carbon? Researchers have found that the quantity of carbon must be carefully balanced between just enough and not too much because carbon, though essential for life, can also be destructive to life. Too much carbon translates into too much carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and methane. In large quantities, these gases are poisonous. In modest quantities, their greenhouse properties keep the planet sufficiently warm for life. In larger quantities, they can heat a planet’s surface beyond what physical life can tolerate. One of the wonders of Earth is that it is sufficiently carbon-rich and carbon-poor. It carries enough carbon for life but not so much as to interfere with life’s atmospheric needs, such as the appropriate pressure and density for efficient operation of lungs and a temperature range (and variability) that supports a wide diversity of active, advanced species. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 410-420). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· One of the great wonders of the universe is an amazing gift that most people take for granted: the ability to see into the distance. Clarity makes an astounding difference when it comes to exploring, measuring, and understanding the cosmos. The more astronomers learn about the universe, the more they recognize how remarkable it is that the multiple cosmic characteristics that make human life possible also make the universe visible, knowable, and measurable. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 427-431). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· If the universe were any smaller or larger, younger or older, brighter or darker, more or less efficient as a radiator, and if human observers were located where most stars and planets reside, the view would be so blocked as to give few (if any) clues about what lies beyond. We would be blind to the realm we live in! More importantly, no one would even be around to see it. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 431-434). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Right Mass, Right Elements Anyone who hasn’t had the privilege of studying astrophysics may not realize that the universe must be as massive as it is or human life would not be possible—for at least two reasons. The first concerns the production of life-essential elements. The density of protons and neutrons in the universe relates to the cosmic mass, or mass density. That density determines how much hydrogen, the lightest of the elements, fuses into heavier elements during the first few minutes of cosmic existence. And the amount of heavier elements determines how much additional heavy-element production occurs later in the nuclear furnaces of stars. If the density of protons and neutrons were significantly lower (than enough to convert about 1 percent of the universe’s mass into stars), then nuclear fusion would proceed less efficiently. As a result, the cosmos would never be capable of generating elements heavier than helium—elements like carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium, which are essential for any kind of physical life. On the other hand, if the density of protons and neutrons were slightly higher (enough to convert significantly more than 1 percent of the mass of the universe into stars), nuclear fusion would be too productive. All the hydrogen in the universe would rapidly fuse into elements as heavy as, or heavier than, iron. Again, life-essential elements (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, etc.), including hydrogen, would not exist. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 487-498). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Right Mass, Right Expansion Rate The second reason the universe must be hugely massive concerns its expansion rate. The rate at which the universe expands throughout cosmic history critically depends on its mass density. According to the law of gravity, the closer any two massive bodies are to one another, the more powerfully those bodies attract each other. Therefore, the closer various bits and pieces of mass are to one another in the universe, the more effectively they will slow down the universe’s expansion. Conversely, the farther apart those bits and pieces are, the less “braking effect” gravity has on cosmic expansion. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 498-503). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Without any additional cosmic density factors such as dark energy (see pp. 38–40), a universe with less mass density would not form stars like the Sun and planets like Earth. Its expansion would be so rapid that gravity would not have opportunity to pull together the gas and dust to make such bodies. Yet if the cosmic mass density were any greater, gas and dust would condense so effectively under gravity’s influence that all stars would be much larger than the Sun. Any planets such stars might hold in their orbit would be unsuitable for life because of the intensity of the stars’ radiation and because of rapid changes in the stars’ temperature, radiation, and luminosity—not to mention the radiation and gravitational disturbances caused by neighboring supergiant stars. With only a little extra mass, the universe would expand so slowly that all stars in the cosmos would rapidly become black holes and neutron stars. The density near the surface of such bodies would exceed five billion tons per teaspoon (one billion tons per cubic centimeter). At such enormous densities, molecules are impossible. So are atoms. Therefore, life would be impossible. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 503-511). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Cosmic component vs Percentage of total cosmic density: Dark energy (self-stretching property of the cosmic space surface) 72.1%, Exotic dark matter (particles that weakly interact with ordinary matter particles and light): 23.3%, Ordinary dark matter (particles that strongly interact with light): 4.35%, Ordinary bright matter (stars and star remnants): 0.27%, Planets (a subset of ordinary dark matter): 0.0001%. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 546-559). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· This inventory began with an exhaustive compilation by Princeton cosmologists Masataka Fukugita and James Peebles. It was based initially on the best measurements prior to 2005. Updates were made possible in 2006 and 2008 by the second and third releases of the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe’s (WMAP) results. [Fukugita and Peebles, “Cosmic Energy Inventory,” 643–68. Spergel et al., “Three-Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations,” 377–408. E. Komatsu et al., “Five-Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations: Cosmological Interpretation” (preprint, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2008): http://lambda.gsfc.nasa.gov/product/map/dr3/pub_papers/fiveyear/cosmology/wmap_5yr_cosmo.pdf.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 560-563). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Little more than half a century ago astronomers came to realize that the stuff they see through their telescopes makes up only a tiny fraction of the total amount of matter in the universe. [North, Norton History of Astronomy and Cosmology, 502–7; P. J. E. Peebles, Principles of Physical Cosmology (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), 417.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 563-565). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· As that realization dawned, astronomers hypothesized that this “dark matter” was made up of cold gas and failed stars (“brown dwarfs,” stars with so little mass they never ignite nuclear fusion). [Morton S. Roberts, “The Content of Galaxies: Stars and Gas,” in Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, ed. Leo Goldberg, Armin J. Deutsch, and David Layzer (Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews, 1963), 160–63; J. H. Oort, “Stellar Dynamics,” in Galactic Structure, ed. Adriaan Blaauw and Maarten Schmidt (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965), 469–73; Rudolf Kippenhahn and Alfred Weigert, Stellar Structure and Evolution, corrected printing (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1994), 268. Kippenhahn and Weigert, Stellar Structure and Evolution, 215, 266–69.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 565-567). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· A bizarre feature called “dark energy” (discovered so recently that the scientific community still hasn’t settled on exactly what to call it) serves as the acceleration system. Perhaps this quality is best described as a self-stretching property of the cosmic surface (the spatial surface of the universe along which all matter and energy are distributed). [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 589-591). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· The observational verifications that dark energy is the predominant component of the universe and, therefore, that the universe will expand at an ever-increasing rate put an effectual end to the oscillating universe model and to the Hindu/Buddhist concept of a reincarnating universe. [For a more thorough analysis of the demise of the oscillating universe model and of the Hindu/Buddhist/new age concept of a reincarnating universe, see Ross, Creator and the Cosmos, 48–67, 87–98, 169–74.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 599-601). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Accelerating cosmic expansion means the universe can never contract; therefore it cannot rebound. This fact eliminates the possibility of a renewal, rebirth, or second beginning for the universe. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 601-602). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· If dark energy were changed by as little as one part in 10120, the universe would be unable to support life. A number that small can be hard to picture. [Lawrence M. Krauss, Quintessence: The Mystery of the Missing Mass (New York: Basic, 2000), 103–5; Krauss, “End of the Age Problem,” 461, 465.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 606-607). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Though often described in popular literature as an antigravity force, dark energy is not a force. A better, though still imperfect, analogy would be to describe it as the opposite of the effect you feel when stretching an elastic band. The more an elastic band is stretched, the more energy it gains to encourage its contraction. Thus, the more someone stretches the band with his fingers, the more he feels the tension that impels the band to contract. The surface of the universe acts the opposite way—it is like a gigantic elastic band that wants to expand outward. The more the cosmic surface stretches, the more energy the surface gains to propel even more stretching of the surface. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 611-617). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

3 Why Such an Old Universe?

· the latest measurements indicate the universe has been around for 13.73 billion years. That may seem like a long time from a layperson’s perspective, but astronomers think otherwise. From an astronomical view, 13.73 billion years represents the minimum time necessary to prepare a home for humanity. [E. Komatsu et al., “Five-Year Wilkinson Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations: Cosmological Interpretation,” Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series (2008): in press.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 658-660). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· 1. Essential heavy elements need to build up. For its first 365 million years, the universe contained only five elements: hydrogen, helium, and tiny traces of lithium, beryllium, and boron. In addition to hydrogen and (in the case of plants) boron, life requires over twenty different elements heavier than boron. These elements include carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, and iron. But the big bang creation event yielded none of them. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 661-665). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Human civilization, including high-tech societies with automobiles, demands a far greater variety and abundance of heavy elements and radioactive isotopes (see reason #2). Their creation took at least 9 billion years of heavy-element manufacture in stellar furnaces. That’s how long it would have taken, at minimum, to provide for a heavy-metal-rich planet such as Earth. And slightly more than 4.5 billion years ago, just as that essential abundance first became available, Earth’s solar system came together. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 668-671). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Radiometric Isotopes An element is defined by the number of protons that reside in its nucleus. For example, all nuclei that contain six protons are carbon. All that contain seven are nitrogen, and all that contain eight protons are oxygen. However, each element is made up of a suite of different isotopes—that is, nuclei with the same number of protons but with different numbers of neutrons. Most elements are comprised of one or more stable isotopes (those that do not experience any radiometric decay) and several more isotopes that break down. For some elements, like uranium and thorium, no isotopes are stable. All their isotopes undergo radiometric decay. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 680-686). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Uranium-235, uranium-238, and thorium-232 may seem obscure, even dangerous, but they play a critical role in making Earth suitable for human habitation. The radiation they release provides nearly all the energy that drives and sustains plate tectonics. And the energy produced by these elements also helps sustain Earth’s magnetic field. [Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee, Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe (New York: Copernicus/Springer-Verlag, 2000), 191–220; Hugh Ross, Creation as Science: A Testable Model Approach to End the Creation/Evolution Wars (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2006), 104. Ward and Brownlee, Rare Earth, 29, 194, 212–13.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 693-696). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· 3. Dangerous events must subside. The same supernovae so crucial for building up the heavy elements and radiometric isotopes essential for advanced life also shower their environs with deadly radiation. Consequently, advanced life could not be safely introduced until the rate of supernova eruptions in the Milky Way Galaxy had subsided considerably. Bacterial life didn’t need to wait so long, however, because it can survive under much harsher radiation conditions. [Two modern-day examples of highly radiation-resistant bacterial species are Bacillus subtilis and Deinococcus radiodurans. The latter bacterium can survive 500 times more radiation than a human can.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 709-713). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· The Sun’s Stability As stars go, the Sun ranks as one of the most stable and benign stars we know of for the support of advanced life. Stars more massive than the Sun increase in brightness too quickly. Stars less massive manifest significantly greater flaring and chromospheric activity. However, all stars, including the Sun, exhibit some flaring activity. In the Sun’s case, that flaring subsided to a minimum level when the Sun reached about 4.5 to 4.6 billion years of age (see figure 3.2). So advanced life and civilization would not have been viable until then. [M. W. Caffee et al., “Evidence in Meteorites for an Active Early Sun,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 313 (February 1, 1987): L31–L35; M. W. Caffee et al., “Irradiation Records in Meteorites,” in Meteorites and the Early Solar System, ed. J. F. Kerridge and M. S. Matthews (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1988), 205–45; Daniel P. Whitmire et al., “A Slightly More Massive Young Sun as an Explanation for Warm Temperatures on Early Mars,” Journal of Geophysical Research 100 (March 1995): 5457–64; J. Geiss, “Solar Wind Composition and Implications about the History of the Solar System,” in Proceedings of the 13th International Cosmic Ray Conference, vol. 5, ed. R. L. Chasson (Denver: University of Denver Press, 1973), 3375–98; J. Geiss and P. Bochsler, “Long Time Variations in Solar Wind Properties: Possible Causes Versus Observations,” in The Sun in Time, ed. C. P. Sonett, M. S. Giampapa, and M. S. Matthews (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1991), 98–117; J. F. Kerridge et al., “Long-Term Changes in Composition of Solar Particles Implanted in Extraterrestrial Materials,” in The Sun in Time, 389–412; Brian E. Wood et al., “Observational Estimates for the Mass-Loss Rates of α Centauri and Proxima Centauri Using Hubble Space Telescope Lyα Spectra,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 547 (January 20, 2001): L49–L52.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 729-733). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· The Bombardment Subsidence During the solar system’s youth, it was filled with an enormous abundance of asteroids, comets, rocks, and dust. This material once pelted the Earth with great frequency and intensity. These bombardment events made the planet inhospitable to advanced life for a few billion years. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 744-747). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Bombardments also yielded some positive benefits for advanced life. They provided fresh supplies of water to replace that lost to outer space. They also salted Earth’s surface with valuable mineral deposits. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 754-755). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· The Earth’s Transformation Advanced life on Earth needs a rotation rate very close to twenty-four hours per day. Tidal interaction with the Moon and Sun has steadily reduced Earth’s rotation rate from its initial two or three hours per day down to its current twenty-four. However, it has taken about 4.5 billion years of tidal interaction to accomplish this reduction. In addition, advanced life needs lots of free oxygen in its planetary atmosphere. For such oxygen to accumulate to the required level, a huge abundance of photosynthetic life had to work aggressively to pump out enough oxygen to fill oxygen sinks (oxygen-absorbing minerals) in both Earth’s crust and mantle. Oxygen also had to reach appropriate levels in Earth’s atmosphere. Figure 3.4 demonstrates how it took such life 3.8 billion years to raise the atmospheric oxygen level from less than 1 percent to its present 21 percent. [Donald E. Canfield and Andreas Teske, “Late Proterozoic Rise in Atmospheric Oxygen Concentration Inferred from Phylogenetic and Sulfur-Isotope Studies,” Nature 382 (July 11, 1996): 127–32; Donald E. Canfield, “A New Model for Proterozoic Ocean Chemistry,” Nature 396 (December 3, 1998): 450–53; John M. Hayes, “A Lowdown on Oxygen,” Nature 417 (May 9, 2002): 127; Paul G. Falkowski et al., “The Rise of Oxygen over the Past 205 Million Years and the Evolution of Large Placental Mammals,” Science 309 (September 30, 2005): 2202–4.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 757-764). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Many more reasons than these mandate that 4.5 to 4.6 billion years was the necessary preparation period before Earth was ready to receive the human species and its global civilization. Adding the 4.5–4.6 billion years of planetary history to the 9.2 billion years of cosmic history (required to form a planet endowed with the heavy elements and long-lived radioactive isotopes needed by advanced life) yields a required total cosmic age of 13.7 to 13.8 billion years. Given the laws of physics that govern the cosmos, the universe was ready to serve as a home for human beings at the earliest imaginable date. From an astrophysical perspective, its ancientness seems more like youth. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 773-778). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· At 13.73 billion years of age, it is just old enough—and young enough—to facilitate its visual and technological exploration. For several obvious and profound reasons, the universe must be that old for astronomers to properly study its history and structure. At least three of these reasons deserve examination. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 786-789). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· First, in a continuously expanding universe, the space surface of a young universe would be much smaller than when the universe is older. A smaller space surface means that all the light-emitting objects in the cosmos—primarily stars, the regions around black holes, and galaxies—are jammed tightly together. The light of nearby objects would have blinded observers from seeing the more distant objects. Only in a universe where stars and galaxies are sufficiently spread apart can an observer potentially see everything the universe contains. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 789-793). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Second, these lights were much brighter in the past than they are today. The intensity of the light emitted by the cosmos is strongly tied to the rate of star formation. This rate reached a peak when the universe was about 5 to 6 billion years old. It took additional billions of years beyond that peak for the lights of the universe to dim sufficiently so as not to impair astronomers’ viewing capacity. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 795-797). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Third, during Earth’s infancy, its atmosphere was opaque to light. In its youth, the planet’s atmosphere was translucent. Only when Earth reached what astronomers and physicists call “middle age” (an age of over 4 billion years) did its atmosphere become transparent enough to enable its inhabitants to observe the most distant objects in the universe. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 798-800). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· The universe is now sufficiently ancient that astronomers can actually witness the moment when light first separated from darkness (see figure 3.6). The human era is theoretically the earliest possible epoch that allows astronomers to study the light from the origin of the universe. They can see that light clear back to 0.000028 of its present age. Because of the universe’s age, astronomers can directly view 99.9972 percent of cosmic history and almost behold the instant of cosmic creation. Astronomers’ analyses of maps of the radiation from that cosmic origin event have taught them more about its beginning, history, structure, and design than any other set of observations. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 806-811). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Theoretically, the earlier in cosmic history humans arrived, compared to 13.73 billion years, the smaller the fraction of cosmic history they could have observed. If humans had arrived significantly later upon the cosmic scene, the situation also would have been less than optimal. The accelerating expansion of the universe (due to the effect of dark energy) will eventually propel the cosmic origin event beyond the limits of viewing. At some point dark energy will expand the universe at speeds exceeding the velocity of light. Someday, the space surface along which light travels will be stretching that fast. (For an explanation of how that is possible, see “Exceeding the Light-Speed Limit,” p. 56.) Dark energy implies that the later in cosmic history (after about 14 billion years from the beginning of the universe) humans arrive, the smaller the fraction of cosmic history they will be able to see. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 821-827). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Two physicists, Lawrence Krauss and Robert Scherrer, in a prize-winning essay on gravity, calculated that in the distant future, observers on any planet in the universe will be fundamentally unable to ascertain any of the universe’s important features. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 827-829). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]  [Lawrence M. Krauss and Robert J. Scherrer, “The Return of a Static Universe and the End of Cosmology,” General Relativity and Gravitation 39 (October 2007): 1545–50.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 827-831). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· In particular, it will become impossible for any physical sentient being living anywhere within the cosmos to determine whether the universe is expanding or has a beginning. Researchers won’t be able to learn anything about the origin of the elements or discover the existence of dark energy or map the temperature fluctuations in the cosmic background radiation. Cosmology as a science inevitably must come to an end. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 829-832). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Humans indeed are living at the only time in cosmic history when astronomers can see the entire history of the universe. This is our time not only to live but also to comprehend the miracle of our existence. Today scientists possess the tools to explore the origin and characteristics of the cosmos, to study its entire history. Their studies allow us to contemplate what lies beyond. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 847-850). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

4 Why Such a Lonely Universe?

· After 60 years of investigation into several million UFO reports, researchers have concluded that 90 to 99 percent of all UFO sightings are, in fact, IFOs. Identifiable flying objects include natural phenomena, human-made (often experimental) aircraft, pranksters’ hoaxes, and psychological phenomena. Of the remaining 1 to 10 percent, scientists have found no credible evidence (such as crash debris or physical artifacts) indicating that these sightings involve physical craft, with or without beings on board. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 879-883). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Given the limitations imposed by the laws of physics and the conditions of interstellar space within the Milky Way Galaxy, a trip by physical intelligent aliens from another planetary system to Earth would take at least 25,000 years. That length of time implies multiple generations. As challenging as it might be to keep one generation focused on a single mission for their entire lives, the possibility of maintaining that focus throughout hundreds of generations seems hard to imagine. [The 250-light-year minimum trip assumes that an intelligent species capable of interstellar space travel exists just beyond the 200 light-year distant region from Earth that Project Phoenix has ascertained is devoid of any species as technologically advanced as humans on Earth today. However, navigating a spaceship through the benign regions of interstellar space, that is, avoiding major interstellar hazards, will add at least another 50 light-years to the trip.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 899-903). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Jupiter and Saturn operate as gravitational shields for Earth. They protect it from catastrophic hits by asteroids and comets that would render advanced civilization impossible. If either Jupiter or Saturn were any less massive or any more distant, such protection would be inadequate. [For descriptions of how the solar system’s gas giant planets protect Earth from receiving too many comet and asteroid collisions, see Jeff Zweerink, “Jupiter, Friend or Foe?” Reasons To Believe, November 7, 2007, http://www.reasons.org/tnrtb/2007/11/page/6/; and Dave Rogstad, “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back,” Reasons To Believe, September 28, 2007, http://www.reasons.org/tnrtb/2007/09/.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 948-950). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Not all locales within our galaxy would make desirable homesteads for advanced life. For example, anywhere near the center of the Milky Way Galaxy (as of any galaxy), lethal radiation emanates from a massive black hole, as well as from a jam of supernova remnants and gigantic stars. Also, given the density of stars and molecular clouds there, the gravity from such objects would certainly disturb the orbits of any possible planets far more radically than life can tolerate. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 988-991). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· These deadly conditions extend outward more than 20,000 light-years from the galactic core. Earth’s solar system orbits at a distance of 26,000 light-years. Even at this distance, radiation remains a factor—unless the solar system stays protected within the plane of the spinning galaxy’s disk. Virtually all stars bounce up and down, above and below the galactic plane. As soon as they do, any planets orbiting them get blasted with radiation from the galactic core. Within the plane, however, thick dust provides a radiation shield. Because our solar system experiences very little up and down movement in its orbit about the galactic center, Earth’s life remains protected behind that radiation shield. [Fukugita and Peebles, “The Cosmic Energy Inventory,” 643–68. B. Evardsson et al., “The Chemical Evolution of the Galactic Disk. I. Analysis and Results,” Astronomy and Astrophysics 275 (August 1993): 101–52; Guillermo Gonzalez, “Solar System Bounces in the Right Range for Life,” Facts & Faith, first quarter 1997, 4.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 991-997). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Planetary systems farther out than 26,000 light-years from the galaxy’s core face a different problem. Heavy elements (needed for advanced life’s existence and survival) are sparse at such distances. Only within a narrow ring (annulus) about 26,000 light-years distant from the galactic core does advanced life stand a chance. Astronomers call this region the galactic habitable zone. [Guillermo Gonzalez, Donald Brownlee, and Peter Ward, “The Galactic Habitable Zone: Galactic Chemical Evolution,” Icarus 152 (July 2001): 185–200; M. Sundin, “The Galactic Habitable Zone in Barred Galaxies,” International Journal of Astrobiology 5 (September 2006): 325–26; Guillermo Gonzales, “The Galactic Habitable Zone,” in Astrophysics of Life, ed. Mario Livio, I. Neill Reid, and William B. Sparks (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 89–97; Charles H. Lineweaver, Yeshe Fenner, and Brad K. Gibson, “The Galactic Habitable Zone and the Age Distribution of Complex Life in the Milky Way,” Science 303 (January 2, 2004): 59–62; Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards, Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2004), 143–68.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 997-1000). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Ironically, most areas within the galactic habitable zone aren’t all that livable. The galaxy’s spiral arms plus giant stars, star clusters, dense molecular clouds, and young supernova remnants intersect large segments of the so-called habitable region. All these bodies either emit deadly radiation, unleash severe dust storms, and/or cause gravitational disturbances. Earth’s solar system, at least for now, resides far from any of these perils (see figure 4.2, p. 67). Even a planetary system in a rare safe zone won’t likely stay safe for long. The spiral structure of a galaxy like the Milky Way rotates at a certain rate while stars (and their planets) within the galaxy revolve around the center at different rates, depending on their distance from the galactic core. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1000-1006). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· The solar system holds a special position in the Milky Way, close to (but not exactly at) the co-rotation distance—the one distance from the core where stars orbit the galaxy at the same rate as its spiral arm structure does. A star or planetary system located at the co-rotation distance and between two spiral arms would seemingly remain in that safe place. However, stars and planetary systems exactly at the co-rotation distance would experience a “mean motion resonance,” repeated gravitational “kicks” exerted by the galactic arm structure. Such kicks would send the star and its possible planetary system flying out of the habitable zone. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1012-1016). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· This protected location is truly exceptional. Not all spiral galaxies are like the Milky Way. In the vast majority, the co-rotation distance and the habitable zone fail to overlap. Not only is there a match for the Milky Way Galaxy, but also the best possible place for a newly forming planetary system to accumulate all the heavy elements and long-lived radioactive isotopes required for advanced life happens to lie just inside the co-rotation distance. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1028-1031). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· The Milky Way Galaxy is extraordinary in two other respects. First, as figure 4.2 illustrates (see p. 67), the Milky Way Galaxy’s spiral arms are exceptionally symmetrical and evenly spaced with respect to one another. Second, the arms are approximately the same size. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1031-1033). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Unlike other spiral galaxies, including its immediate neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy[15] (see figure 1.1, p. 21), the Milky Way Galaxy has experienced no significant collision or merger events with other galaxies over the past 10 billion years.[16] When we compare the characteristics of other spiral galaxies that come close to matching those of the Milky Way, its unique features for life support become all the more apparent (see figure 4.3). [D. L. Block et al., “An Almost Head-On Collision as the Origin of Two Off-Centre Rings in the Andromeda Galaxy,” Nature 443 (October 19, 2006): 832–34. F. Hammer et al., “The Milky Way, An Exceptionally Quiet Galaxy: Implications for the Formation of Spiral Galaxies,” Astrophysical Journal 682 (June 10, 2007): 322–34.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1036-1039). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Another distinctive of the Milky Way Galaxy is the galaxy cluster in which it resides. Nearly all other galaxies in the universe reside within dense clusters of galaxies, with giant or supergiant galaxies as neighbors (see figure 4.4). These giants and supergiants intermittently blast their whole neighborhood with deadly radiation. Also, their gravity and the gravity of the thousands of smaller galaxies associated with them significantly distort the structures of the galaxies they contain. Thus, advanced life is not possible for galaxies dwelling in typical galaxy clusters. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1039-1043). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· The Milky Way Galaxy finds itself in a tiny cluster of galaxies without any giants or supergiants nearby and where the galaxies are widely dispersed. A typical galaxy cluster contains more than 10,000 closely packed galaxies. The Milky Way’s cluster, called “the Local Group,” contains only about forty galaxies—two medium-sized (Andromeda and the Milky Way) and the rest small or dwarf. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1057-1060). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Here the Goldilocks principle of being “just right” becomes even more obvious. The Local Group (see figure 4.5) is spread apart in such a way that the Milky Way’s spiral structure remains largely undisturbed—an important requirement for the possibility of harboring advanced life. At the same time, the Local Group contains a sufficient number of the smaller dwarf galaxies to sustain the spiral structure of the Milky Way. (Star formation drives the spiral arm structure, and the infusion of gas and dust from dwarf galaxies keeps the star formation rate high enough.) Unless Earth’s galaxy absorbs a smallish dwarf galaxy about once every half-billion to one billion years, its spiral structure will inevitably collapse. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1060-1065). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Not only do galaxies reside in clusters, the clusters themselves exist in clusters of clusters called superclusters. Here again, Earth’s location favors life’s needs. The Local Group sits on the extreme outer fringe of the Virgo supercluster. If it were closer to the middle, Virgo’s mostly massive clusters would disrupt the Local Group or swallow it up. Either way, its suitability for life would be destroyed. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1071-1074). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Astronomers’ discoveries about the rarity of life-habitable locations in the universe challenge Enrico Fermi’s proposition that the cosmos could be filled with inhabitants. While Earth’s location is not geographically central to the solar system, galaxy, galaxy cluster, or galaxy supercluster, it deserves the description “spectacularly favored” for life. Perhaps Someone had a purpose or purposes in mind for limiting life to just one residence. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1074-1078). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Real estate brokers often say the key to property value is location, location, location. If this principle applies to the cosmic scene, Earth’s location would be considered way beyond “prime.” No amount of money could buy it. Earth appears to reside in the only neighborhood in the universe where humans can exist and thrive long enough to enjoy a global, high-tech civilization and to discover how rare they are. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1078-1081). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Dead organisms leave behind (in ancient strata) carbonaceous residues with a distinct ratio of carbon-13 compared to carbon-12 and of nitrogen-15 compared to nitrogen-14, a ratio that differs noticeably from the buildup of carbonaceous substances that arose chemically from inorganic compounds. Measurements of carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios in multiple ancient deposits show that none of the carbonaceous material in those deposits formed from prebiotic material. These findings imply that the quantity of prebiotics on and in ancient Earth amounted to zero. [Minik T. Rosing, “13C-Depleted Carbon Microparticles in >3700–Ma Sea-Floor Sedimentary Rocks from West Greenland,” Science 283 (January 29, 1999): 674–76; S. J. Mojzsis et al., “Evidence for Life on Earth before 3,800 Million Years Ago,” Nature 384 (November 7, 1996): 55–59; John M. Hayes, “The Earliest Memories of Life on Earth,” Nature 384 (November 7, 1996): 21–22; Manfred Schidlowski, “A 3,800-Million-Year Isotopic Record of Life from Carbon in Sedimentary Rocks,” Nature 333 (May 26, 1988): 313–18; Daniele L. Pinti, Ko Hashizume, and Jun-ichi Matsuda, “Nitrogen and Argon Signatures in 3.8 to 2.8 Ga Metasediments: Clues on the Chemical State of the Archean Ocean and the Deep Biosphere,” Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 65 (July 1, 2001): 2309; V. Beaumont and F. Robert, “Nitrogen Isotope Ratios of Kerogens in Precambrian Cherts: A Record of the Evolution of Atmosphere Chemistry?” Precambrian Research 96 (June 15, 1999): 63–82; Jay A. Brandes et al., “Abiotic Nitrogen Reduction on the Early Earth,” Nature 395 (September 24, 1998): 365–67.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1096-1100). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Physicists have discovered at least one fundamental reason for the lack of prebiotics—the oxygen-ultraviolet paradox. If oxygen is present in the terrestrial environment, even in tiny amounts, it inhibits the production of prebiotics. However, without oxygen’s presence, the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation penetrates the environment, causing the destruction of prebiotic compounds. Both oxygen and ultraviolet radiation frustrate prebiotic chemistry. Thus, with or without oxygen in Earth’s environment, prebiotic chemistry would have failed to produce biologically significant molecules. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1100-1104). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Pursuing a less lofty goal, astrobiochemists search for the chemical building blocks of life in outer space and the pathways by which such building blocks might be brought to Earth. Over 120 organic type molecules, including 3-carbon sugars, have been discovered in the interstellar medium and in comets. [For a list of the molecules, see Iain Gilmour and Mark A. Sephton, eds., An Introduction to Astrobiology (New York: The Open University, Cambridge University Press, 2004): 16.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1108-1110). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Recent claims for the discovery of low levels of glycine (the simplest of the amino acids) and for pyrimidine (a nucleobase) in interstellar molecular clouds have been withdrawn. While the possibility remains that such simple building-block molecules may yet be discovered, the upper limits already established on their abundances are so extremely low as to render them useless for any naturalistic origin-of-life scenario. [L. E. Snyder et al., “A Rigorous Attempt to Verify Interstellar Glycine,” Astrophysical Journal 619 (February 1, 2005): 914–30; Yi-Jehng Kuan et al., “A Search for Interstellar Pyrimidine,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 345 (October 2003): 650–56.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1112-1115). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· As for the very low levels of a few of the biologically significant amino acids found in a small percentage of meteorites, researchers concede that much and possibly all of what they have found may actually represent terrestrial contamination by Earth’s life or the remains of Earth’s life. [Keith A. Kvenvolden, “Chirality of Amino Acids in the Murchison Meteorite—A Historical Perspective,” in ISSOL ’99: 12th International Conference on the Origin of Life: Book of Program and Abstracts, comp. and ed. Lois Lane (La Jolla, CA: University of California, San Diego, 1999), 41; Daniel P. Glavin et al., “Amino Acids in Martian Meteorite Nakhla,” in ISSOL ’99, 62; Sandra Pizzarello et al., “The Organic Content of the Taglish Lake Meteorite,” Science 293 (September 21, 2001): 2239nn15, 28.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1118-1120). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· As far back as 1973, a deep sense of frustration over any possible naturalistic explanation for life’s origin on Earth or anywhere else within the vast reaches of interstellar space led Francis Crick (who shared the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the double helix nature of DNA) and Leslie Orgel (one of the world’s preeminent origin-of-life researchers) to suggest that intelligent aliens must have salted Earth with bacteria about 3.8 billion years ago. This suggestion, however intriguing or bizarre, fails to answer the question of where the aliens might have come from. It also contradicts evidence that shows intelligent life could not have arrived on the cosmic scene any sooner than about 13.7 billion years after the cosmic origin event. The implausibility of interstellar space travel also remains an intractable problem. [Francis Crick and Leslie E. Orgel, “Directed Panspermia,” Icarus 19 (July 1973): 341–46. Francis Crick later wrote a full-length book on the hypothesis, Life Itself: Its Nature and Origin (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1981).] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1133-1139). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Stenger sees the hostility of the universe as proof of God’s nonexistence. He writes, “Even taking the most optimistic view of the future of humankind . . . , it is hard to conclude that the universe was created with a special, cosmic purpose for humanity.” To him it seems “inconceivable that a creator exists who has a special love for humanity, and then just relegated it to a tiny point in space and time.” He argues that humanity not only is alone in the cosmos but is imprisoned inside a tiny bubble within the vastness of the universe. For Stenger, this solitary confinement of humanity eliminates any possibility of a loving Creator—certainly of a God who cares for humanity. [Stenger, God: The Failed Hypothesis, 161; 160.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1156-1161). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

5 Why Such a Dark Universe?

· Not only are the quantities and locations of the various kinds of dark stuff exactly what advanced life needs, but because of Earth’s dark cosmic location, the lights of the universe don’t blind us or limit our view. Astronomers can see virtually all of the heavens’ wonders, including the entirety of cosmic history. [Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez and science historian Jay W. Richards wrote an entire book on the supernatural design of the universe and solar system for facilitating human observation of the structure and history of the universe: The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery. In this chapter I have sought to augment the evidence on which their conclusion is based.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1198-1200). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· This visibility is possible because Earth resides in a very dark place. In fact, Earth’s solar system resides in the darkest part of the Milky Way Galaxy’s life-habitable zone. And the Milky Way resides in the darkest life-habitable region of its galaxy cluster, which occupies the darkest life-habitable region of its supercluster of galaxies. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1201-1203). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· The Moon’s large mass relative to Earth’s, the Moon’s proximity to Earth, and the fact that the Moon is solo all play a crucial role in stabilizing the tilt of Earth’s rotation axis. Other planets in our solar system which have either no moons or moons of relatively insignificant mass (compared to their planet’s mass) experience chaotic tilting of their rotation axis. [Keiko Atobe, Shigeru Ida, and Takashi Ito, “Obliquity Variations of Terrestrial Planets in Habitable Zones,” Icarus 168 (April 2004): 223–36; William R. Ward, “Comments on the Long-Term Stability of the Earth’s Obliquity,” Icarus 50 (May–June 1982): 444–48; Carl D. Murray, “Seasoned Travelers,” Nature 361 (February 18, 1993): 586–87; Jacques Laskar, F. Joutel, and P. Robutel, “Stabilization of the Earth’s Obliquity by the Moon,” Nature 361 (February 18, 1993): 615–17. Atobe, Ida, and Ito, “Obliquity Variations,” 223–36; Jacques Laskar and P. Robutel, “The Chaotic Obliquity of the Planets,” Nature 361 (February 18, 1993): 608–12.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1211-1214). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Calculations done by British astronomer Dave Waltham demonstrate, however, that Earth’s rotation axis tilt would still be stable if the Moon were only half as massive as it is. A less massive Moon would be smaller in the night sky and thus less disturbing to astronomers’ attempts to study distant galaxies and quasars. Waltham also demonstrated, though, that unless the Moon is as massive as it is, its gravity would be insufficient to have slowed Earth’s rotation rate to the twenty-four hours per day that human life and civilization require. If days were longer than twenty-four hours, day-to-night temperature extremes would be too great. Yet with shorter days rainfall and benign temperatures would not be so evenly distributed over all the continental landmasses. [Dave Waltham, “Anthropic Selection for the Moon’s Mass,” Astrobiology 4 (December 2004): 460–68.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1215-1221). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Another reason Earth needs the Moon’s precise mass and present proximity has to do with their influence on tides. A Moon less massive or more distant from Earth and, therefore, smaller in the nighttime sky would mean weaker tides. Tides as powerful as those on Earth are necessary to effectively cleanse the coastal seawaters from toxins and to enrich them with nutrients. In fact, the Moon’s specific properties are fine-tuned for life in so many different ways that one astronomer wrote an entire book on the subject in 1993. [Neil F. Comins, What If the Moon Didn’t Exist? Voyages to Earths That Might Have Been (New York: HarperCollins, 1993).] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1221-1225). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· the Moon has an extraordinarily dark surface. It reflects a mere 7 percent of its incident light. Earth, by comparison, reflects 39 percent, some of Jupiter’s and Saturn’s moons reflect 60 to 90 percent, and Neptune reflects 73 percent. Because the Moon is so exceptionally dark, or non-reflective (see figure 5.1), its bounced-back light presents a minor annoyance to astronomers rather than a blinding glow that obliterates astronomers’ work and everyone else’s enjoyment of the night sky. [Henry Norris Russell, “On the Albedo of the Planets and Their Satellites,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 2 (February 15, 1916): 74–77. Also available at http://www.pnas.org/content/vol2/issue2/ (accessed January 21, 2008).] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1227-1230). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· If Venus and Mars traded places, Venus would be about ten times brighter at its closest approach to Earth than it is now, and it would remain bright all night long. Attempts to investigate the heavens anywhere near the position of Venus would be seriously problematic. If Mars and Jupiter traded places, the situation would be far worse. Jupiter, when closest to Earth, would become 1,550 times brighter in the night sky, about the same brightness as the quarter-phase Moon (half the illumination of a full Moon). Again, observation of galaxies would be impossible in such light conditions. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1243-1247). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· The gas giant planets—Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune—work together to shield Earth from life-exterminating collision events. Each gas giant acts like a gravitational blocker either to absorb or to deflect potential colliders such as asteroids and comets. If the gas giant planets were any smaller, more distant, or less numerous, Earth would be pelted more frequently and more disastrously for life. On the other hand, if the gravitational pull of the gas giant planets were too great (as a result of their being closer or more massive), or if the gas giants’ relative positions produced certain gravitational resonances, the result would be a disturbance to the life-critical orbit of Earth. Remarkably, Mars, Venus, and Mercury are exquisitely positioned to break up such resonances. Thus, the solar system’s planets are fine-tuned in two ways: (1) they maximize the observational capabilities of Earth’s inhabitants, and (2) they provide essential protection for all life. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1254-1261). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Likewise, adjacent galaxy clusters and superclusters do little to block out the night sky. The closest significantly large cluster of galaxies is the Virgo cluster. If the Virgo cluster were much closer, it would present a major visibility barrier. However, if it were much farther away, astronomers would lack a large galaxy cluster to study in detail. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1325-1328). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Just as there are superclusters of galaxies in the universe, there are also super-superclusters of galaxies and apparently super-super-superclusters of galaxies. The Local Group is distant enough from the center of the Virgo supercluster that the Virgo does not significantly impair astronomers’ view. So, too, the Virgo supercluster is distant enough from the center of its super-supercluster (the Great Attractor) and its super-super-supercluster (the Monster Attractor) that astronomers on Earth have no trouble probing the depths of the heavens and mapping out in great detail the structure of the entire detectable universe. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1328-1332). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Virtually all the matter and energy in the universe can be described as dark. Imagine the painful glare if it weren’t! And without that dark stuff, we wouldn’t be here to discover it or be mystified by it. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1335-1337). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Swiss American astronomer Fritz Zwicky was the first to recognize that dark stuff dominates the universe and that its location plays a critical role in determining the structure of galaxies and galaxy clusters. In the 1940s he noted that the dynamics of galaxy clusters could only be kept stable if dark matter resides in and/or around those clusters in quantities far greater than the matter astronomers could then see. Not until the 1990s, though, did astronomers establish that exotic dark matter is indeed much more abundant than ordinary dark matter. And the confirmation of dark energy’s existence took until the end of that decade. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1347-1352). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· They have determined where the three different forms of cosmic darkness reside:   Dark energy resides everywhere on the entire cosmic surface at the exact same level or strength. (All of the universe’s matter and energy are confined to the cosmic surface.) Exotic dark matter resides in far-out halos around large galaxies and galaxy clusters. Ordinary dark matter resides in closer halos around galaxies of all types. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1353-1358). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· The very best locations and quantities of all the different forms of darkness to allow humans to observe all the wonders of the universe equate with the very best locations and quantities of the same forms of darkness to allow for the existence of a bountiful, beautiful home for humanity. Such a convergence would seem more than an accident. These multiple “coincidences” speak of supernatural intention. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1382-1385). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

6 Why a Decaying Universe?

· The rate at which decay proceeds in the universe is extremely high. That may seem bad, but it’s not. If the rate of decay were any lower, galactic systems would trap radiation in such a manner that stars could not form. Starless galaxies would fill the universe. On the other hand, if the decay rate were slightly higher, no galactic systems would form at all. [The rate of decay, or entropy, is a measure of the degree to which energy in a closed system dissipates as heat, and thus ceases to be available to perform work. Specific entropy is the amount of entropy per proton. A familiar high-entropy system would be a candle flame. Its specific entropy = 2. A supernova explosion’s specific entropy = 10,000,000. The universe as a whole is the most entropic system known. Its specific entropy exceeds 100,000,000.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1398-1401). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Speculation about possible escapes from heat death ended when astronomers confirmed three facts: The universe had a definite beginning in finite time. The laws and constants of physics have been fixed since then. The universe has been continually expanding since that creation event and will keep on expanding. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1423-1426). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Lawrence Krauss, chairman of the physics and astronomy department at Case Western Reserve University, coauthored along with colleague Glenn Starkman an article titled “Life, the Universe, and Nothing: Life and Death in an Ever-Expanding Universe.” In it they calculate the future consequences of ever-accelerating cosmic expansion. They show that any kind of advanced physical life confined to the space-time dimensions of the cosmos must suffer an inevitable, irreversible, and complete dissipation of heat. [Lawrence M. Krauss and Glenn D. Starkman, “Life, the Universe, and Nothing: Life and Death in an Ever-Expanding Universe,” Astrophysical Journal 531 (March 1, 2000): 22–30.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1434-1438). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Though proton decay has yet to be directly observed, physicists are convinced it occurs. They are convinced because matter predominates antimatter in the universe. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1508-1510). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· If “the cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be,” to repeat Carl Sagan’s claim, then the fact that it results in the extermination of all life and consciousness also extinguishes the possibility of ultimate hope, purpose, or destiny. [Sagan, Cosmos, 4.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1519-1521). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Their calculations essentially falsified the latest doctrinal pronouncements (published in 2002) of the Council for Secular Humanism. In part, its Statement of Principles declares: We deplore efforts . . . to seek to explain the world in supernatural terms and to look outside nature for salvation. We are citizens of the universe. We affirm humanism as a realistic alternative to theologies of despair. We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance. [“The Affirmations of Humanism: A Statement of Principles,” Free Inquiry, Fall 2002, 2. The statements appear on the inside cover of each issue of Free Inquiry.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1536-1541). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

7 Why a Realm beyond This One?

· Earth’s rotation rate: Powerful tidal forces exerted on Earth by the Sun and even more so by the Moon slowed the planet’s rotation rate from two to three hours per day (at the Moon’s formation) to the current twenty-four. This slowing of Earth’s rotation rate has taken 4.5 billion years, thus far, and continues still. In another 100 million years, Earth days will last twenty-five hours. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1602-1604). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Fossil fuels: The decayed bodies of creatures buried during or soon after the Cambrian explosion (about 543 million years ago) made the largest contribution to Earth’s petroleum reserves. While the transformation of these buried remains (via geochemistry) into usable petroleum takes time, given too much time bacteria in the crust will turn the petroleum into natural gas. Likewise, the formation of reservoir structures in Earth’s crust for the collection and storage of petroleum requires certain geological developments that take specific periods of time. However, with too much time, tectonic activity will cause cracks to form in the sealer rocks. Such cracks mean petroleum loss through leaks. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1613-1617). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Solar stability When stars like the Sun reach “middle age” (as ours has), they achieve maximum stability. In the years before and after middle age, flaring activity is greater (see figure 3.2). More frequent and violent flares release radiation with the potential to harm advanced life, particularly those creatures with long life spans. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1621-1624). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Solar luminosity A star’s brightness varies considerably during its hydrogen-burning phase (see figure 3.3). During the past 3 billion years, the Sun’s luminosity has increased by about 15 percent, enough to destroy life if not for the carefully orchestrated introduction of the just-right species at the just-right population levels at the just-right times. These layers of life removed greenhouse gases (primarily carbon dioxide and water) from the atmosphere in just the right amounts to compensate for the Sun’s heat-producing luminosity increase. More than 3 billion years of this ongoing process loaded Earth’s crust with a wealth of biodeposits, the resources humans needed for the rapid launch and ongoing support of global civilization. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1627-1633). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Perfect eclipses Only when the Sun’s diameter exactly matched the Moon’s diameter as seen from Earth’s surface did perfect eclipses become possible. Because the Moon continually spirals away from Earth, this matchup takes place within a certain time window. A few million years ago, the Moon’s diameter was larger than the Sun’s. Only a few million years from now, that diameter will be smaller. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1640-1643). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Perfect solar eclipses also helped astrophysicists confirm general relativity soon after Einstein first proposed the theory. [F. W. Dyson, A. S. Eddington, and C. Davidson, “A Determination of the Deflection of Light by the Sun’s Gravitational Field, from Observations Made at the Total Eclipse of May 29, 1919,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A 220 (June 1920): 291–333.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1647-1648). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Research shows that this is the ideal landmass coverage for sustaining a large, globally distributed, high-tech human population. Not only is the current land area ideal, but so are the shapes, elevation patterns, orientations, and relative positions of the continents, islands, and oceans. All appear to be optimal for the sake of human civilization. [Ward and Brownlee, Rare Earth, 194–234.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1652-1654). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Plate tectonics can be destructive too. Most of the energy-driving plate movement comes from the decay of long-lived radiometric isotopes in the Earth’s interior. If the human race had arrived earlier on the terrestrial scene, this radiation exposure would have been deadly and volcanic and earthquake activity too intense. A later arrival would have meant living without the benefit of abundant nutrient-rich volcanic soils. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1655-1657). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Many other conditions necessary for human existence and beneficial to quality of life are also time critical. [Fazale Rana with Hugh Ross, Who Was Adam? A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of Man (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2005), 97–109.] [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1658-1659). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· The fact that these features, the known number of which continues to grow, all converge simultaneously at the moment human beings arrive on the planet defies realistic probability. One favorable time window’s alignment with even one other window might be considered an astounding coincidence. But the lineup of so many independent time windows with the brief human moment on the cosmic calendar speaks powerfully of purpose. This conclusion is one component of what the scientific community has labeled the “anthropic principle”—the observation that the universe appears to have been engineered for the specific benefit of the human species. [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1659-1664). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

8 Why This Particular Planet, Star, Galaxy, and Universe?

· This idea can be more rigorously tested and established through more detailed comparisons of the fine-tuning required for the support of the following life-forms: ephemeral simple life (unicellular life that survives for 90 days or less) permanent simple life (unicellular life that persists for 3 billion years or more) intelligent physical life (human beings or their functional equivalent) intelligent physical life capable of launching and sustaining a global high-tech civilization [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1763-1768). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

· Cosmic Features That Must Be Fine-Tuned for Any Physical Life to Exist: Date (Features Observed): 1988 (15), 1991 (17), 1995 (26), 1998 (34), 2001 (41), 2002 (47), 2004 (77), 2005 (93), 2006 (140). [Hugh Ross: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Kindle Locations 1789-1811). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

الحمد لله الذي بنعمته تتمّ الصَّالِحات

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The Fingerprint of God

Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator

By: Hugh Ross

للتحميل: (PDF) (DOC)

fingerprint-of-god

وصف مُختصر للكتاب:

            من كُتُب «هيو روس» القديمة، ولكنَّه كتاب نافع جداً، رغم أنَّ العُنوان لا يدُلّ على المُحتوى!

            تناول «هيو روس» في هذا الكتاب مُشكلة التَّعارض المزعوم بين العِلْم والإيمان، خُصُوصاً في مجال الكوسمولوجي، ويحاول «هيو روس» جاهداً إزالة التَّناقض بين النَّظريّات العِلْمية الحديثة وبين الكتاب المُقدَّس!

            يتناول «هيو روس» الموضوع من ناحية تاريخية أولاً، فيقوم بذكر التَّصوُّرات الكوسمولوجية المُختلفة، بدءً بالحضارات القديمة، مُرُوراً بالأفكار التي كانت سائدة في العُصُور الوسطى، وُصُولاً إلى نظرية الانفجار العظيم! وهكذا يُحاول «هيو روس» بيان أنَّ الكتاب المُقدَّس مُوافق للحقّ من البداية، على خلاف مَن قال بأزلية الكون والمادَّة! («هيو روس» يختزل نظرية الانفجار العظيم في مسألة واحدة فقط وهي حُدُوث الكون!).

            الكتاب في كثير من الأحيان يتطرَّق لتفاصيل علمية دقيقة، ويستعرض قوانين رياضية ويقوم بشرحها، ممَّا سيجعل مثل هذه المعلومات غير مفهومة إلَّا للمُتخصِّص في هذا المجال العلمي، ولكنَّ الكتاب في كثير من الأحيان يُقدِّم اقتباسات جيِّدة لأقوال بعض العُلماء المشاهير، ويعرض بعض المعلومات الصَّعبة بشكل بسيط وسهل!

            الرسالة الرئيسية للكتاب هي أنَّ وجهات النظر الفلسفية حاكمة على العُلماء بشكل كبير جداً، وأنَّ نظرية الانفجار الكبير مُتَّسقة تماماً مع فكرة الخلق من عدم الموجودة في ديانات المذهب الألوهي، وأنَّ عُلماء كُثُر رفضوا نظرية الانفجار الكبير، لا لشيء إلَّا لدواعي فلسفية ورفض لتبعياتها اللاهوتية.

            من أهمّ مُميِّزات الكتاب: طرح الأدلة على صحَّة نظرية الانفجار الكبير باستفاضة، مع نقد النظريات الأخرى باستفاضة، والتي افترضها العُلماء بدافع فلسفي لإزالة لحظة خلق من عدم!

            الفصل 12 من الكتاب يحتوي على عرض مُستفيض لأشهر الأدلَّة على الضَّبط الدَّقيق، والإحكام والإتقان في الكون، وللعلم، فإنَّ «هيو روس» يُعدّ من أهمّ العُلماء الذين بحثوا في هذه المسألة، وحصروا أدلتها. (أعتقد أنَّ هُناك تكرار بين الأدلَّة المعروضة في هذا الكتاب، وكتابه الآخر بعنوان: الخالق والكون.)

Chapter Two: Early Historical Roots

· The Mesopotamians described the earth as a floating vessel on the “waters of the deep.” Above it stood a solid dome, covered with the “waters above,” which occasionally seeped through—rain. The sun, moon, and stars whirled around on the inner surface of the dome. [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 161-163). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Virtually all ancient cosmologists conceived of the physical universe as finite in extent and in age. Existence beyond the physical universe was accepted by all. One (or more) of the deities or creative agents was credited with bringing into existence physical matter, plants, animals, and human beings. [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 164-166). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· To be sure, gods did exist in their various philosophical systems, but these gods were said to originate after the formation of the universe or to play no part in forming the universe, which arose, rather, from some nonpersonal spirit or power. According to the majority of these Indian cosmologists, the universe proceeded through an infinite number of cycles. At the end of each cycle every particle “dissolved into the primal, pure waters of eternity” from which everything once again emerged, phoenix-like, from its own ashes. Scientists or not, these ancient theorists preempted the modern proponents of the oscillating theory (see chapter 10), even to the setting of the period of the cycles at several billions of years. [Heinrich Zimmer, Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization, ed. Joseph Campbell (Washington, D.C.: Bollingen Foundation, 1946), 3–22; R. F. Gombrich, “Ancient Indian Cosmology,” in Ancient Cosmologies, ed. Carmen Blacker and Michael Loewe (London: Allen and Unwin, 1975), 120–23.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 168-173). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· China, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India were not alone in spawning cosmological hypotheses. Virtually every culture generated its own account of the origin of the universe. Clearly, the question of ultimate origins proves irresistibly intriguing to mankind. [Edith Hamilton, Mythology (New York: Mentor, 1969), 312; Marie-Louise Franz, Patterns of Creativity Mirrored in Creation Myths (Zurich: Spring, 1972); Wendell M. Oswalt, Alaskan Eskimos (New York: Chandler, 1967), 212–14; Albert R. Kilzhaber and Stoddard Malarkey, eds., Myths, Fables, and Folktales (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1974), 113–14.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 176-178). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· The first significant scientific efforts to determine the structure of the universe were made by the ancient Greeks. Ionian astronomer Thales in the seventh century B.C. noted that while the Big Dipper constellation never dropped below the horizon in Greece, it did in Egypt. His pupil (according to tradition), Anaximander, concluded that the earth could not be flat, but must be a sphere floating free within a sky of stars, itself spherical in shape. [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 179-182). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Born late in the fourth century B.C., Aristarchus actually calculated (relative to the earth’s diameter) the distances from earth and the sizes of the sun and the moon. He did this through geometric measurements of the moon’s phases and of the size of the earth’s shadow relative to the moon’s diameter during a lunar eclipse. [At exactly the first and third quarters of the moon’s phases, the angles earth-moon-sun are 90 degrees. Measuring the angles sun-earth-moon at these times permits the geometric solution of the triangles. When the moon is partially eclipsed by the earth’s shadow, the curved shape of the shadow yields the earth’s diameter relative to the moon’s.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 182-184). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Though his measurements for the sun were twenty times too small, they still revealed the sun to be enormously larger than the earth. In fact, the size difference was so great that Aristarchus concluded that the sun, not the earth, occupied the center of the universe. [George Abell, Exploration of the Universe (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1964), 16–19.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 185-187). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Aristarchus also determined that the stars must be at least many millions of miles away. He based this determination on his total inability to observe parallaxes for any of the stars. In short, Aristarchus established a remarkably accurate picture of the solar system, and of the system of visible stars, some two thousand years ahead of Copernicus. [Parallax is the apparent change in the position of an object relative to much more distant objects due to the motion of an observer. For example, as an observer allows the earth in its orbit about the sun to move him some 180 million miles, he will be able to detect with the aid of a medium-sized telescope what seems to be a slight change in position for a nearby star relative to much more distant stars.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 187-190). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Eratosthenes in the third century B.C. converted Aristarchus’ relative distances and diameters into actual length measurements by determining the earth’s diameter. This he accomplished by measuring the angle of sunlight at locations of known distances apart. [Marshall Clagett, Greek Science in Antiquity (New York: Collier Books,1955), 116–18; Irene Fischer, “Another Look at Eratosthenes’ and Posidonius’ Determinations of the Earth’s Circumference,” in Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 16 (June 1975): 152–67.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 190-193). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Subsequently, Lucretius adopted from Democritus (4th century B.C. Greek philosopher) the concept of “atoms” as the fundamental, eternal components of all matter. Rather than theorizing just an infinite number of universes, he postulated an infinite number of universes going through unending cycles of formation, dissolution, and reformation. He acknowledged that the random assembly of atoms would not always form a well-ordered life-bearing world, but reasoned that an infinite number of cycles in an infinite number of universes would overcome the improbability. He did concede, however, the need for a mechanism to guarantee the longevity of a cycle. The modern “molecules to man” hypothesis, now routinely taught in the biological sciences, has its roots in the ideas of Lucretius. [T. Lucretius Carus, “Nature of the Universe,” 41–57.] [Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, Biological Science: Molecules to Man, blue version, rev. ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1968).] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 222-228). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Not content to have merely silenced the opposition on this one point, Augustine proceeded to develop five “irrefutable” proofs of God’s existence: 1. the cosmological argument—the effect of the universe’s existence must have a suitable cause. 2. the teleological argument—the design of the universe implies a purpose or direction behind it. 3. the rational argument—the operation of the universe according to order and natural law implies a mind behind it. 4. the ontological argument—man’s ideas of God, his God-consciousness, implies a God who imprinted such a consciousness. 5. the moral argument—man’s built-in sense of right and wrong can be accounted for only by innate awareness of a code of law, awareness implanted by a higher being. [These proofs, compiled and summarized by later generations of Roman Catholic scholars, were discussed at great length in Augustine’s Confessions, City of God, and On the Free Choice of the Will. These works may be found in Augustine, vol. 18 in Great Books of the Western World (Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 1952).] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 242-251). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides, in Guide for the Perplexed, sought to establish God’s existence through proofs for a “primary mover,” a “primary cause,” a “necessary being.” His starting point was that motion requires a cause. Reasoning that the series of its causes cannot be infinite, he concluded that there must be a first cause, hence a being to initiate motion. [Étienne Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages (New York: Random House, 1955), 229–31, 650–51.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 253-256). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· In the thirteenth century Thomas Aquinas, building on Maimonides’ proofs for God’s existence, extended and subdivided Augustine’s cosmological argument: a. Where there is motion, there is a mover, and ultimately a first mover, itself unmoved. b. Things here are produced by their causes; these causes in turn were produced by their causes, and so on. Ultimately, there must be a first cause that is itself uncaused. c. Contingent things demand as their ultimate explanation a noncontingent being. d. Where there are degrees of perfection, there must ultimately be absolute perfection. e. There are design and government in the world. Hence there are ultimately a first designer and a first governor. [Paul J. Glenn, A Tour of the Summa (St. Louis: Herder Book, 1960), 5; Thomas Aquinas, “The Summa Theologica,”in Great Books of the Western World (Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 1952), 19:12–14.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 259-267). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

Chapter Three: Rebirth of Science

· Outside Europe, Muslims were the most advanced in astronomy but contented themselves with those studies that would give them the direction to Mecca, the times for prayer, and a predictable calendar. By the thirteenth century, however, Muslim scholars had exported to Europe the new mathematics from India, including trigonometry, algebra, and the counting of numerals from zero. [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 280-282). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Copernicus then picked up the works of the ancient Greeks and Romans, discovering their heliocentric theories and their measurements of vast distance to the stars. Their ideas made sense to him. He studied diligently and produced a book, De Revolutionibus, published posthumously. In it Copernicus not only revived the heliocentric theory but, in referring geocentric observations of the planets to a heliocentric coordinate system, showed that the nearer a planet to the sun, the greater its orbital velocity. He thereby worked out the correct scale for the solar system. [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 288-292). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· The Roman Catholic curia interpreted heliocentrism as a direct assault on its doctrines. Therefore, when Galileo, the Renaissance father of experimental science, produced several observational evidences for the heliocentric theory, he established himself as an enemy of the church. [George Abell, Exploration of the Universe (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1964), 43–45; James Hansen, “The Crime of Galileo,” Science 81 (March 1981): 14–19.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 292-295). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· The generation following Galileo understood intellectually the resolution of this conflict. However, emotional resolution came much more slowly. Galileo’s published works on heliocentrism remained on the church’s Index of Prohibited Books until 1835, and not until 1981 did the Roman Catholic Church officially forgive Galileo. Scientists’ forgiveness of the church has been just as slow, if not slower, in coming. Some scientists report that past mistreatment of Galileo by the Roman Catholic Church still stirs their indignation towards Christian churches and theologians, in general. [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 305-309). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Observational astronomy was reborn through Tycho Brahe (1546–1601), who devoted his entire adult life to making precise measurements of the positions of stars and planets. In the last year of his work, Tycho challenged his assistant, Johannes Kepler, to solve the problem of planetary motion. Using Tycho’s copious data, Kepler derived three laws of planetary motion (published between 1609 and 1619), which enabled Isaac Newton to formulate his laws of motion and of universal gravitation (1687). Subsequent observations of stellar systems substantiated the pervasive validity of Newton’s laws and indicated a size for the universe much vaster than any imagined by the ancient astronomers. [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 310-314). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· The cosmological pioneers of the scientific revolution (Copernicus, Galileo, Tycho, Kepler, Newton, and others) were all devout men. To them, it was clear that God not only created the universe, but also had continually maintained its order and harmony. [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 315-317). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· One such seed was Newton’s suggestion of an infinite universe. He noted in his theory of gravitation that every particle in the universe has an innate attraction toward all the rest. Hence, in a finite universe the matter at the outside edges would fall towards the matter inside. His proposal for a way out of this gravitational collapse was to suggest that matter is evenly distributed throughout an infinite space, a hypothesis that he thought would remove both the edges and the center of the universe. [Isaac Newton, “To the Reverend Dr. Richard Bentley, at the Bishop of Worcester’s House, in Park Street, Westminster from Cambridge, December 10, 1692,” in Theories of the Universe, by Milton K. Munitz (Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1957), 211–12.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 319-323). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· A second seed was planted by Cambridge University scholar John Lightfoot and by James Ussher, the Anglican archbishop of Ireland. In 1642, just 31 years after publication of the King James translation of the Bible, John Lightfoot authoritatively proclaimed September 17, 3928 B.C., as the date of the creation. A few years later Archbishop Ussher adjusted Lightfoot’s date to October 3, 4004 B.C., and proceeded to derive specific dates for every historical event in the Bible. Both Ussher and Lightfoot unfortunately assumed that 1) no generations were omitted from the biblical genealogies, and 2) the numbered days of the Genesis creation account were consecutive 24-hour days. [Paul Johnson, A History of Christianity (New York: Atheneum, 1976), 413.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 323-328). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

Chapter Four: Rise of Non-theism

· Kant’s Theology In Critique of Pure Reason and in his other works, including Critique of Practical Reason, Critique of Judgment, Only Possible Ground of Proof for the Being of God, Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone, and Dreams of a Spirit Seer, Kant more fully developed and explained the theological foundation for his cosmology. He began by sweeping away all accepted proofs for the existence of God, both the philosophical proofs of Augustine and Aquinas and the newer rational developments on these proofs by Kepler, Newton, Lessing, and Herder. [Johannes Kepler, “The Harmonies of the World,” in Great Books of the Western World, ed. Robert Maynard Hutchins (Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 1952), 16:1005–85; Isaac Newton, “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Book III, General Scholium,” in Great Books of the Western World, ed. Robert Maynard Hutchins (Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 1952), 34:369–32; Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Historical Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978), 343–56.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 395-401). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· In summary, Kant began with an unstated fundamental axiom: God’s existence is not provable. Therefore, he deduced, 1. man’s knowledge is limited to that which he can obtain through the five human senses, 2. a cause can never be proved from its effect, 3. man has no innate ideas, 4. no existence beyond the humanly experienced dimensions can be proved, 5. no absolute can ever be established to exist, and 6. miracles are illusory and cannot be proven. Hence, a. the development of the universe is strictly mechanistic, b. the universe has no beginning in time, c. the universe is infinite in extent, d. time and space are strictly relative, and e. everything about and in the universe can be explained by the laws of physics. Conclusion: The question of God’s existence lies beyond the reach of man’s knowledge. [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 439-449). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

Chapter Five: Scientists Rediscover God

· gravitational potential paradox Not until 1871 did anyone formally attempt to calculate the gravitational potential within an infinite Newtonian universe. In that year Johann Friedrich Zöllner demonstrated that at any point within an infinite, homogeneous universe the gravitational potential would be infinite—a conclusion at odds with all observations. However, despite Zöllner’s fame as professor of astrophysics at Leipzig, his objection to the infinite Newtonian universe received no attention. Only when his objection was independently raised by Hugo Seeliger in 1895 and by Carl Neumann in 1896 did astronomers acknowledge a significant problem. [J. D. North, The Measure of the Universe (Oxford: Clarendon, 1965), 16–18.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 509-514). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Special Relativity As the twentieth century dawned, the only conclusions consistent with all observations of the velocity of light were these two: 1. There is no absolute reference system from which absolute motions in space can be measured. 2. The speed of light with respect to all observers is always the same. In 1905 Albert Einstein, who at that time worked as an engineer in the Swiss patent office and studied physics in his spare time, conceded these conclusions in his paper on the theory of special relativity. [Albert Einstein, “Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper,”Annalender Physik 17 (1905): 891–921, as “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies,” in The Principle of Relativity by H. A. Lorentz, A. Einstein, H. Minkowski, and H. Weyl with notes by A. Sommerfeld, trans. W. Perrett and G. B. Jeffrey (1923; repr., New York: Dover, 1952), 35–65; Albert Einstein, “Ist die Trägheit eines Körpers von seinem Energieinhalt abhängig? Annalen der Physik 18 (1905): 639–41, as “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?” in The Principle of Relativity, 67–71.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 529-535). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· During the May 1919 total solar eclipse, British astronomer and mathematician Arthur Eddington catapulted Einstein to worldwide fame. Eddington and his colleagues determined that starlight was bent by the sun’s gravitational field by 1.8 ± 0.2 arcseconds. Einstein’s theory had predicted a bend of 1.751 arcseconds. [One arcsecond is 1/3600th of a degree or about .06 percent of the angular diameter of the moon.] [F. W. Dyson, A. S. Eddington, and C. Davidson, “A Determination of the Deflection of Light by the Sun’s Gravitational Field, from Observations Made at the Total Eclipse of May 29, 1919,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A 220 (1920): 291–333.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 584-587). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Through the years the general theory of relativity has been confirmed by the observational tests proposed by Einstein, and other effects derived since, to better than one-hundredth of a percent precision. A summary of results from observational tests is given in table 5.1. Needless to say, so much evidence now has been accumulated that no one seriously doubts the validity of the general theory of relativity. [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 590-593). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Theological Implications While general relativity implies an age for the universe vastly beyond 6,000 years, it also implies that there is, indeed, a creation date. Expansion, coupled with deceleration, indicates a universe that is exploding outward from a point. [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 605-607). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· The implications can only be described as monumental. Atheism, Darwinism, and virtually all the “isms” emanating from the eighteenth to twentieth century philosophies are built upon the assumption, the incorrect assumption, that the universe is infinite. The singularity has brought us face to face with the cause—or Causer—beyond/behind/before the universe and all that it contains, including life itself. [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 612-615). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

Chapter Six: The Expanding Universe

· Einstein postulated a cosmic force of repulsion to cancel off the attractive force of gravity, despite the body of evidence that gravity was predominant in its influence throughout our galaxy and its vicinity. Einstein had to develop a repulsive force that would have imperceptible consequences for nearby objects but overwhelming effects over extreme distances. The easiest way this could be expressed consistently was to add a term, Λ, to the right hand side of equation 5.3, Λ/3 to the right hand side of equation 5.4, and 2Λ/3 to equation 5.5. In each case Λ represents a cosmological repulsive property, or what Einstein termed the cosmological constant. [For perfect cancellation of the effects of gravity upon the universe, a value for Λ equal to 4πG(ρ + 3 p/c2) must be assigned.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 631-636). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· In 1931, following the publication of Hubble’s law of redshifts, Einstein finally discarded the cosmological constant from his field equations and conceded that its introduction was “the greatest mistake of his life.” [A. Vibert Douglas, “Forty Minutes with Einstein,” Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada 50 (June 1956): 100.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 691-692). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Einstein gave grudging acceptance to “the necessity for a beginning” and, eventually, to “the presence of a superior reasoning power,” but never did he accept the doctrine of a personal God. [A. Vibert Douglas, “Forty Minutes with Einstein,” Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada 50 (June 1956): 100.] [Lincoln Barnett, The Universe and Dr. Einstein (New York: Sloane, 1948), 106.] [Albert Einstein, Out of My Later Years (New York: Philosophical Library, 1950), 27–28.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 693-696). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

Chapter Seven: Cosmic Hesitation

· Arthur Eddington, nonetheless, remained agitated: The difficulty of applying this case [Lemaître’s expansion] is that it seems to require a sudden and peculiar beginning of things. Philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of Nature is repugnant to me…. I should like to find a genuine loophole. [Arthur S. Eddington, “On the Instability of Einstein’s Spherical World,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 90 (1930): 668–78.] [Arthur S. Eddington, “The End of the World: From the Standpoint of Mathematical Physics,” Nature 127 (March 21, 1931): 450.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 744-749). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Eddington worked hard to create a loophole. He stretched Lemaître’s quasi-static period to infinity (see figure 7.4), putting that “repugnant” beginning point all but out of the picture: We allow evolution an infinite time to get started; but once seriously started its time-scale of progress is not greatly different from case (b) [Lemaître’s expansion]. [Eddington, “Instability of Einstein’s Spherical World,” 672.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 750-754). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Lemaître conjectured that the present universe came from the disintegration of a single atom: We could conceive the beginning of the universe in the form of a unique atom, the atomic weight of which is the total mass of the universe. This highly unstable atom would divide in smaller and smaller atoms by a kind of super-radioactive process. [Lemaître, Primeval Atom, 99–100.] At the origin, all the mass of the universe would exist in the form of a unique atom; the radius of the universe, although not strictly zero, being relatively very small. The whole universe would be produced by the disintegration of this primeval atom. [Lemaître, “British Association Discussion,” 706.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 763-770). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

Chapter Eight: Steady State Cosmology

· Hermann Bondi spoke openly of the steady state theory as an expedient tool for answering questions about God, specifically for answering questions about origins. In his book, Cosmology, he says that with his steady state theory “the problem of the origin of the universe, that is, the problem of creation, is brought within the scope of physical inquiry and is examined in detail instead of, as in other theories, being handed over to metaphysics.” [Herman Bondi, Cosmology, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960), 140.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 879-882). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Sir Fred Hoyle has never made any pretense about the personal philosophical motivation behind his cosmological models. In the introduction to his 1948 paper, he makes this statement: This possibility [steady state] seemed attractive, especially when taken in conjunction with aesthetic objections to the creation of the universe in the remote past. For it seems against the spirit of scientific enquiry to regard observable effects as arising from ‘causes unknown to science,’ and this in principle is what creation-in-the-past implies. [Fred Hoyle, “A New Model for the Expanding Universe,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 108 (1948): 372.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 882-887). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· In his undergraduate text on general astronomy written in 1975, Hoyle attacks Friedmann’s relativistic model on what seem to be wholly theological grounds: Many people are happy to accept this position [Friedmann’s] … without looking for any physical explanation of the abrupt beginning of the particles. The abrupt beginning is deliberately regarded as meta-physical—i.e., outside physics. The physical laws are therefore considered to break down at τ = 0, and to do so inherently. To many people this thought process seems highly satisfactory because a “something” outside of physics can then be introduced at τ = 0. By a semantic maneuver, the word “something” is then replaced by “god,” except that the first letter becomes a capital, God, in order to warn us that we must not carry the enquiry any further…. I do not believe that an appeal to metaphysics is needed to solve any problem of which we can conceive. [Fred Hoyle, Astronomy and Cosmology (San Francisco: Freeman, 1975), 684–85.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 893-900). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· In 1982 he declares his rejection of God by defining the universe as “everything there is,” and the first letter of the word universe becomes a capital, Universe. [Fred Hoyle, “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections,” Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics 20 (September 1982): 1.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 901-903). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· There is no need, then, to look beyond the universe itself for anything. By so deifying the universe, Hoyle must, of course, argue against its finite age: The attribution of a definite age to the Universe, whatever it might be, is to exalt the concept of time above the Universe, and since the Universe is everything this is crackpot in itself. I would argue the need for the Universe to take precedence over time as a knockout argument in favor of a negative answer to the above question. [That question: Did the whole Universe come into being, all in a moment, about ten billion years ago?] … One could then dismiss cosmologies of finite age because they were offensive to basic logical consistency. [Fred Hoyle, “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections,” Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics 20 (September 1982): 3.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 903-909). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· In further support of his semantical proof for “God is identically equal to the universe” (i.e., God is the universe, and the universe is God), Hoyle points out that oppression, suffering, and death are expected, even guaranteed, if strictly natural biological evolution operates, but not if an all-loving, all-powerful God is in charge. [Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981), 143.] [Hoyle, Astronomy and Cosmology,522.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 910-913). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· By Hoyle’s own admission neo-Darwinian evolution would be impossible within a time scale of only ten or twenty billion years: I estimated (on a very conservative basis) the chance of a random shuffling of amino acids producing a workable set of enzymes to be less than 10-40,000. [The improbability of random assembly of life molecules was demonstrated in detail in 1981 by Hoyle and Indian authority on interstellar matter, Chandra Wickramasinghe, in their book Evolution From Space. (See pages 14–31 and 129–43.) Their conclusion has since been corroborated in greater detail in The Mystery of Life’s Origin (1984) and a paper by chemists Walter Bradley, Randall Kok, and John Taylor (1988), in Origins by chemist Robert Shapiro (1986), and Origins of Life by biochemist Fazale Rana and astrophysicist Hugh Ross (2004). (Charles B. Thaxton, Walter L. Bradley, and Roger L. Olsen, The Mystery of Life’s Origin [New York: Philosophical Library, 1984], 2–179; Randall A. Kok, John A. Taylor, and Walter L. Bradley, “A Statistical Examination of Self-Ordering of Amino Acids in Proteins,” Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere 18 (March 1988): 135–42; Robert Shapiro, Origins [New York: Summit Books, 1986], 117–31, 155–89; Fazale Rana and Hugh Ross, Origins of Life [Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2004]).] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 916-919). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Since the minuteness of this probability wipes out any thought of life having originated on the Earth, many whose thoughts are irreversibly programmed to believe in a terrestrial origin of life argue that the enzyme estimate is wrong. It is—in the sense of being too conservative. [Hoyle, “Universe: Past and Present,” 4–5.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 919-922). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Since the evolution of life is fundamental to Hoyle’s “faith,” he concludes that the only way to deal with probabilities as small as 10-40,000 is to banish the beginning of the universe and make it everlasting. In the same spirit, Brazilian physicists M. Novello and H. Heintzmann as recently as 1984 justified a revival of the Newtonian analogues to relativistic models (developed by Edward Milne, William McCrea, Otto Heckmann, and Engelbert Schücking) on no other basis than that 1040,000 years—or more—would be the minimum time required for the evolutionary development of life. [Hoyle, “Universe: Past and Present,” 5–6.] [E. A. Milne, “A Newtonian Expanding Universe,” Quarterly Journal of Mathematics, Oxford series, 5 (1934): 64–72; W. H. McCrea and E. A. Milne, “Newtonian Universes and the Curvature of Space,” Quarterly Journal of Mathematics, Oxford series, 5 (1934): 73–80; O. Heckmann and E. Schücking, “Bemerkungen zur Newtonschen Kosmologie. II,” Zeitschrift für Astrophysik 40 (1956): 81–92.] [M. Novello and H. Heintzmann, “An Eternal Universe,” General Relativity and Gravitation 16 (1984): 535–39.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 923-929). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

Chapter Nine: Overthrow of Hesitation and Steady State

· Evidence now is accumulating that the deceleration in the expansion of the universe is more than negligible. With qo, the deceleration parameter, between +0.1 and +0.2 (currently the favored values), the age of the universe would lie between 14 and 15 billion years. [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 955-958). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· There is now no question that the universe expands. Spectral lines of galaxies of all types and at all distances show a consistent wavelength shift toward the red according to the law of redshifts. [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 995-996). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· A surprise came in 1965 when scientists at Bell Laboratories—Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson—intending to measure radio emission from our galaxy, calibrated their antenna at 7 centimeters wavelength (where galactic emission is negligible) and found an unexpected excess of about 3 Kelvin in their antenna temperature. This excess did not vary with time of day, year, or direction. The indication was that the entire cosmos must be the source of the mysterious radiation. Amazingly, two cosmologists, Robert Dicke and James Peebles, had just determined that the radiation left over from the big bang would be observable at radio wavelengths of a few centimeters. What they predicted closely matched the excess temperature found by Penzias and Wilson. Since then, this match has been confirmed to much greater precision over a full range of wavelengths. [A. A. Penzias and R. W. Wilson, “A Measurement of Excess Antenna Temperature at 4080 Mc/s,” Astrophysical Journal 142 (July 1965): 419–21; R. H. Dicke et al., “Cosmic Black-Body Radiation,” Astrophysical Journal 142 (July 1965): 414–19.] [Rainer Weiss, “Measurements of the Cosmic Background Radiation,” Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics 18 (September 1980): 489–535; George F. Smoot, “Comments and Summary on the Cosmic Background Radiation,” in Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union Symposium No. 104: Early Evolution of the Universe and Its Present Structure, ed. G. O. Abell and G. Chincarini (Boston: Reidel, 1983), 153–58.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 1018-1025). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· In the early 1960s, astronomical observations revealed that the helium content of our galaxy and of other galaxies was not only large (about 27 or 28 percent by mass), but also virtually constant from place to place. If this helium were produced by stars or by other current astrophysical sources, the helium content would vary considerably with location. [R. J. Tayler, “The Origin of the Elements,” in Astrophysics, ed. R. J. Tayler, W. Davidson, and J. V. Narlikar (New York: Benjamin, 1969), 4–16.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 1042-1045). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· The very existence of natural radioactive isotopes is evidence that atomic elements are not infinitely old. [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 1073-1074). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

Chapter Ten: Oscillating Universe

· British physicist John Gribbin voiced the opinion of many: The biggest problem with the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe is philosophical—perhaps even theological—what was there before the bang? This problem alone was sufficient to give a great initial impetus to the Steady State theory; but with that theory now sadly in conflict with the observations, the best way round this initial difficulty is provided by a model in which the universe expands from a singularity, collapses back again, and repeats the cycle indefinitely. [John Gribbin, “Oscillating Universe Bounces Back,” Nature 259 (January 1, 1976): 15–16.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 1197-1202). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· To review briefly, that evidence includes the following: 1. Cyclical expansion and contraction of the universe, if such did take place, would result in an ever-increasing radius, traceable backward to a first cycle. 2. The observed density of the universe appears to be at most only one-half of what is needed to force a collapse. 3. The density implied by the inflationary model will not force a collapse. 4. No physical mechanism is known that could realistically be expected to reverse a cosmic contraction. 5. Isotropic compression becomes violently unstable near the end of the collapse phase. 6. If the universe were to collapse, a bounce would be impossible because the universe is so entropic. [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 1297-1305). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

Chapter Eleven: Transcendence and Quantum Gravity

· As far back as 1973, Ed Tryon suggested that a quantum mechanical fluctuation in “the vacuum” created the universe. [Edward P. Tryon, “Is the Universe a Vacuum Fluctuation?” Nature 246 (December 14, 1973): 396–97.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 1376-1377). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· As Pagels puts it: This unthinkable void converts itself into the plenum of existence—a necessary consequence of physical laws. Where are these laws written into that void? What “tells” the void that it is pregnant with a possible universe? It would seem that even the void is subject to law, a logic that exists prior to space and time. [Pagels, Perfect Symmetry, 347.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 1385-1389). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

Chapter Twelve: Design and The Anthropic Principle

· Now that limits and parameters for the universe can be calculated—some, directly measured—astronomers and physicists have begun to see a connection between these factors and the existence of life. They have found it impossible to hypothesize a universe containing life in which any one of the fundamental constants of physics or any of the several parameters of the universe is more than slightly different in one way or another. From this recognition arises the anthropic principle, which says that everything about the universe tends toward man, toward making life possible and sustaining it. The first popularizer of the principle, American physicist John Wheeler, describes it in this way: “A life-giving factor lies at the centre of the whole machinery and design of the world.” [John A. Wheeler, foreword to The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, by John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), vii.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 1464-1470). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· Of course, design in the natural world has been acknowledged since the beginning of recorded history. Divine design is the message of each of the several hundred creation accounts that form the basis of the world’s religions. The idea that the natural world was designed especially for mankind is the very bedrock of the Judaic, Greek, and Christian worldviews. Western philosophers of the post-Roman era went so far as to formalize a discipline called teleology—the study of the evidence for overall design and purpose in nature. [Marie-Louise Franz, Patterns of Creativity Mirrored in Creation Myths (Zurich: Spring, 1972); Albert R. Kitzhaber and Stoddard Malarkey, eds., Myths, Fables, and Folktales (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1974), 113–14.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 1470-1474). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

· It is not just the universe that bears evidence for design. The earth itself reveals such evidence. Frank Drake, Carl Sagan, and Iosef Shklovsky were among the first astronomers to concede this point in attempting to estimate the number of planets (in the universe) with environments favorable for life support. In the early 1960s they recognized that a certain kind of star with a planet just the right distance from that star would provide the necessary conditions for life. [I. S. Shklovskii and Carl Sagan, Intelligent Life in the Universe (San Francisco: Holden-Day, 1966), 343–50.] [Hugh Ross: The Fingerprint of God (Recent Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Unmistakable Identity of the Creator) (Kindle Locations 1633-1636). Reasons To Believe. Kindle Edition.]

الحمد لله الذي بنعمته تتمّ الصَّالِحات

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

God?

A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist

By: William Lane Craig & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

للتحميل: (PDF) (DOC)

God-a-debate

نبذة مُختصرة عن الكتاب:

مُناظرة مكتوبة بين الفيلسوف المسيحية «ويليام كريج» وفيلسوف مُلحد. الكتاب مُقسَّم إلى جزئين، الأول خاص بالأدلة على وجود الله، والثاني خاص بمنطقية الإيمان. في الجزء الأول، «كريج» يُقدِّم أدلَّة وجود الله، ثم ينتقدها المُلحد، ثمَّ يُعلِّق «كريج» على نقد المُلحد. في الجُزء الثاني، يُقدِّم المُلحد الحُجج التي من خلالها يعتقد عدم منطقية الإيمان ويُقدِّم أسباب عدم إيمانه بالله، فينتقدها «كريج»، ثم يُعلِّق المُلحد على نقد «كريج»!

الكتاب ليس للمُبتدئين، ففيه طرح تفصيلي لشُبه الإلحاد (وهذا عيب في الكتاب من وجهة نظري)، بالإضافة إلى أنَّ النِّقاشات الفلسفية في بعض الأحيان عميقة وتحتاج إلى اطلاع مُسبق على المواضيع المطروحة، أو معرفة سابقة بالمُصطلحات المُستخدمة في النقاش!

في هذا العصير، تجاهلت الجزء الثاني تماماً، واعتمدت رُدُود «كريج» فقط في الجزء الأول!

PART 1

CHAPTER 1 Five Reasons God Exists (William Lane Craig)

· David Hilbert, perhaps the greatest mathematician of the past century, states, “The infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought. . . . The role that remains for the infinite to play is solely that of an idea.” [David Hilbert, “On the Infinite,” in Philosophy of Mathematics, ed. with an Introduction by Paul Benacerraf and Hillary Putnam (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1964), 139, 141.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p4.]

· Therefore, as Cambridge astronomer Fred Hoyle points out, the Big Bang theory requires the creation of the universe from nothing. This is because, as one goes back in time, one reaches a point at which, in Hoyle’s words, the universe was “shrunk down to nothing at all.” [Fred Hoyle, Astronomy and Cosmology (San Francisco: W.H. Freeman, 1975), 658.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p4.]

· For as Anthony Kenny of Oxford University urges, “A proponent of the big bang theory, at least if he is an atheist, must believe that the . . . universe came from nothing and by nothing.” [Anthony Kenny, The Five Ways: St. Thomas Aquinas’ Proofs of God’s Existence (New York: Schocken Books, 1969), 66.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p4.]

· The great skeptic David Hume wrote, “But allow me to tell you that I never asserted so absurd a Proposition as that anything might arise without a cause.” [David Hume to John Stewart, February 1754, in The Letters of David Hume, 2 vols., ed. J. Y. T. Greig (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1932), 187.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p5.]

· The contemporary atheist philosopher Kai Nielsen gives this illustration: “Suppose you suddenly hear a loud bang . . . and you ask me, ‘What made that bang?’ and I reply, ‘Nothing, it just happened.’ You would not accept that. In fact you would find my reply quite unintelligible.” [Kai Nielsen, Reason and Practice (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), 48.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p5.]

· As the eminent physicist Sir Arthur Eddington concluded, “The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural.” [Arthur Eddington, The Expanding Universe (New York: Macmillan, 1933), 124.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p5.]

· Many physicists today are quite dissatisfied with this view (the so-called Copenhagen Interpretation) of sub-atomic physics and are exploring deterministic theories like those of David Bohm. [See James T. Cushing, Arthur Fine, and Sheldon Goldstein, Bohmian Mechanics and Quantum Theory: An Appraisal in Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 184 (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996).] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p6.]

· Second, even on the traditional, indeterministic interpretation, particles do not come into being out of nothing. They arise as spontaneous fluctuations of the energy contained in the sub-atomic vacuum; they do not come from nothing. [See John Barrow and Frank Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), 441.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p6.]

· Philosopher of science Robert Deltete accurately sums up the situation: “There is no basis in ordinary quantum theory for the claim that the universe itself is uncaused, much less for the claim that it sprang into being uncaused from literally nothing.” [Robert Deltete, Critical notice of Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology, by William Lane Craig and Quentin Smith, Zygon 30 (1995): 656. (N.B. the review was attributed to J. Leslie due to an editorial mistake at Zygon.)] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p6.]

· First, not all mathematicians agree that actual infinites exist even in the mathematical realm. [See, for example, Abraham Robinson, “Metamathematical Problems,” Journal of Symbolic Logic 38 (1973): 500–516.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p7.]

· Second, existence in the mathematical realm does not imply existence in the real world. To say that infinite sets exist is merely to postulate a realm of discourse, governed by certain axioms and rules that are simply presupposed, in which one can talk about such collections. [See Alexander Abian, The Theory of Sets and Transfinite Arithmetic (Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1965), 68; B. Rotman and G. T. Kneebone, The Theory of Sets and Transfinite Numbers (London: Oldbourne, 1966), 61.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p7.]

· For example, some theories, like the Oscillating Universe (which expands and re-contracts forever) or the Chaotic Inflationary Universe (which continually spawns new universes), do have a potentially infinite future, but turn out to have only a finite past. [See I. D. Novikov and Ya. B. Zeldovich, “Physical Processes near Cosmological Singularities,” Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics 11 (1973): 401–402; A. Borde and A. Vilenkin, “Eternal Inflation and the Initial Singularity,” Physical Review Letters 72 (1994): 3305, 3307.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p8.]

· Vacuum Fluctuation Universe theories (which postulate an eternal vacuum out of which our universe is born) cannot explain why, if the vacuum was eternal, we do not observe an infinitely old universe. [Christopher Isham, “Creation of the Universe as a Quantum Process,” in Physics, Philosophy and Theology: A Common Quest for Understanding, ed. R. J. Russell, W. R. Stoeger, and G. V. Coyne (Vatican City: Vatican Observatory, 1988), 385–387.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p8.]

· The Quantum Gravity Universe theory propounded by the famous physicist Stephen Hawking, if interpreted realistically, still involves an absolute origin of the universe, even if the universe does not begin in a so-called singularity, as it does in the standard Big Bang theory. [See John D. Barrow, Theories of Everything (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), 67–68.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p8.]

· In sum, according to Hawking, “Almost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the Big Bang.” [Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, The Nature of Space and Time, The Isaac Newton Institute Series of Lectures (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996), 20.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p8.]

· Some atheists have charged that the argument’s conclusion is incoherent, since a cause must come before its effect, and there is no moment before the Big Bang. This objection, however, is easy to answer. Many causes and effects are simultaneous. Thus, the moment of God’s causing the Big Bang just is the moment of the occurrence of the Big Bang. We can then say that God existing alone without the universe is either (i) before the Big Bang, not in physical time, but in an undifferentiated metaphysical time or else (ii) strictly timeless, but that He enters into time at the moment of creation. I am not aware of any incoherence in either of these alternatives. [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p8.]

· For example, Stephen Hawking has estimated that if the rate of the universe’s expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have re-collapsed into a hot fireball. [Stephen W. Hawking, A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam Books, 1988), 123.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p9.]

· British physicist P. C. W. Davies has calculated that in order to be suitable for later star formation (without which planets could not exist) the relevant initial conditions must be fine-tuned to a precision of one followed by a thousand billion billion zeroes, at least. [P. C. W. Davies, Other Worlds (London: Dent, 1980), 160–161, 168–169.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p9.]

· As John Leslie explains, “The claim that blind necessity is involved—that universes whose laws or constants are slightly different aren’t real physical possibilities . . . is eroded by the various physical theories, particularly theories of random symmetry breaking, which show how a varied ensemble of universes might be generated.” [John Leslie, Universes (London: Routledge, 1989), 202.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p10.]

· As P. C. W. Davies states: Even if the laws of physics were unique, it doesn’t follow that the physical universe itself is unique. . . . the laws of physics must be augmented by cosmic initial conditions. . . . There is nothing in present ideas about ‘laws of initial conditions’ remotely to suggest that their consistency with the laws of physics would imply uniqueness. Far from it. . . . . . . it seems, then, that the physical universe does not have to be the way it is: it could have been otherwise. [Paul Davies, The Mind of God (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 169.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p10, 11.]

· As the scientist-theologian John Polkinghorne says, “People try to trick out a ‘many universe’ account in sort of pseudo-scientific terms, but that is pseudo-science. It is a metaphysical guess that there might be many universes with different laws and circumstances.” [John C. Polkinghorne, Serious Talk: Science and Religion in Dialogue (London: SCM Press, 1996), 6.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p13.]

· Bertrand Russell observed: . . . ethics arises from the pressures of the community on the individual. Man . . . does not always instinctively feel the desires which are useful to his herd. The herd, being anxious that the individual should act in its interests, has invented various devices for causing the individual’s interest to be in harmony with that of the herd. One of these . . . is morality. [Bertrand Russell, Human Society in Ethics and Politics (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1955), 124.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p17.]

· Michael Ruse, a philosopher of science at the University of Guelph, agrees. He explains: Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory. [Michael Ruse, “Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics,” in The Darwinian Paradigm (London: Routledge, 1989), 262–269.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p17.]

· As John Healey, the Executive Director of Amnesty International, wrote in a fund-raising letter, “I am writing you today because I think you share my profound belief that there are indeed some moral absolutes. When it comes to torture, to government-sanctioned murder, to ‘disappearances’—there are no lesser evils. These are outrages against all of us.” [John Healey, Amnesty International fund-raising letter, 1991.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p18.]

· Taylor writes, “Our moral obligations can . . . be understood as those that are imposed by God. . . . But what if this higher-than-human lawgiver is no longer taken into account? Does the concept of a moral obligation . . . still make sense? . . . the concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God. The words remain but their meaning is gone.” [Richard Taylor, Ethics, Faith, and Reason (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1985), pp. 83–84.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p19, 20.]

CHAPTER 3 Reason Enough (William Lane Craig)

· The philosopher of science Bernulf Kanitscheider emphasizes with respect to quantum vacuum models of the origin of the universe: The violent microstructure of the vacuum has been used in attempts to explain the origin of the universe as a long-lived vacuum fluctuation. . . . From the philosophical point of view it is essential to note that the foregoing is far from being a spontaneous generation of everything from naught, but the origin of that embryonic bubble is really a causal process leading from a primordial substratum with a rich physical structure to a materialized substratum of the vacuum. Admittedly this process is not deterministic, it includes that weak kind of causal dependence peculiar to every quantum mechanical process. [Bernulf Kanitscheider, “Does Physical Cosmology Transcend the Limits of Naturalistic Reasoning?” in Studies on Mario Bunge’s “Treatise,” ed. P. Weingartner and G. J. W. Dorn (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1990), 346–347.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p57.]

· As Kasner and Newman nicely put it, “the infinite certainly does not exist in the same sense that we say, ‘There are fish in the sea.’ Existence in the mathematical sense is wholly different from the existence of objects in the physical world.” [Edward Kasner and James Newman, Mathematics and the Imagination (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1940), 61. For example, Alexander Abian interprets existence in set theory to mean merely that certain specified sets will be listed in an illusory table describing the theory of sets (see Alexander Abian, The Theory of Sets and Transfinite Arithmetic [Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1965] 68).] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p57, 58.]

· Physicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler emphasize, “At this singularity, space and time came into existence; literally nothing existed before the singularity, so, if the Universe originated at such a singularity, we would truly have a creation ex nihilo.” [John Barrow and Frank Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), 442.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p60.]

· Quoting Carr and Rees to the effect that “even if all apparently anthropic coincidences could be explained [in terms of some grand unified theory], it would still be remarkable that the relationships dictated by physical theory happened also to be those propitious for life,” [B. J. Carr and M. J. Rees, “The Anthropic Cosmological Principle and the Structure of the Physical World,” Nature 278 (12 April 1979): 612.] [William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist, Oxford University Press 2004, p64.]

الحمد لله الذي بنعمته تتمّ الصَّالِحات

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview

Edited by: J. P. Moreland and William Lane Craig

للتحميل: (PDF) (DOC)

philosophical-foundations

نبذة مُختصرة عن الكتاب:

هذا كتابٌ ضخمٌ، جامعٌ لمواضيع كثيرة جداً فلسفية في مجالات الإبستيمولوجي، والميتافيزيقا، وفلسفة العلم، والأخلاق، وفلسفة الدِّين، بالإضافة لمُناقشة قواعد المنطق الأساسية.

الكتاب من تحرير الفيلسوف الأمريكي الشَّهير «ويليام كريج» ومعه الفيلسوف الأمريكي «چ. پ. مورلاند»، والكتاب يهدف إلى وضع الأسس والقواعد الفلسفية التي ينبغي أن تكون عند المُحاور قبل الدُّخُول في أيّ نقاش عقائدي، والكتاب يُناقش القضايا بعُمق.

الكتاب ليس للمُبتدئين، بمعنى أنه يجب عليك أن تكون على دراية ولو بسيطة بطبيعة المواضيع التي يتم مُناقشتها في الكتاب، لذا يُنصح بالاطلاع على كُتُب «كريج» الأبسط، مثل: «مُستعدّ للدِّفاع» (On Guard) و «الإيمان المنطقي» (Reasonable Faith) (مُتوفِّر لهما عصير على مُدوَّنتي: التَّاعِب).

الكتاب تعليمي وتأسيسي، حيث أنَّه يُحتوي على مُلخَّص رائع لكلّ فصلٍ في نهايته، مع قائمة بأهمّ المُصطلحات التي تم شرحها في الفصل، بالإضافة إلى مُلحق ضخم يُشير إلى قراءات إثرائية في كافة المواضيع التي يُناقشها الكتاب! (شيء أشبه بالكنز، ويحتاج وحده إلى دراسة واطلاع وبحث!)، ولكنَّ الكتاب في النِّهاية عميق، وأحياناً صعب!

الكتاب «مَرْجِع» بمعنى الكلمة! يهدُف إلى إلمام الطَّالب بكل وجهات النَّظر العالمية المُعاصرة الخاصَّة بكلّ المجالات الفلسفية التي يتعرَّض لها المُدافع عن الإيمان أثناء حواراته مع المُخالفين، لذا قد لا يُدرك القارئ أهمية الموضوع المطروح في فصلٍ من فُصُول الكتاب إلَّا عند مُواجهة مُخالف يتبنَّى هذا الرَّأي؛ فيتذكَّر أنَّ هذا الرأي الفلسفي مذكور في الفصل الفُلاني في الكتاب! لذلك تذكَّر أنَّ الموضوع الذي قد لا يُهمّك اليوم، قد يُهمّك غداً، فتذكَّر المراجع التي تتكلَّم عن هذه المواضيع حتى تستطيع الرجوع إليها عند الحاجة!

الكتاب يحتاج إلى مُذاكرة، وحجم عصير الكتاب دليل مُباشر على أهمية الكتاب وكثرة الأفكار المُستفادة منها، لذا أنصح الدَّارسين الجادِّين المُهتمِّين بدعوة الغرب بشكل عام، والملف الإلحادي بشكل خاصّ، أن يُولُّوا هذا الكتاب أهمية خاصَّة، وأن يتمّ دراسة هذا الكتاب بشكل عميق، بالورقة والقلم مع التَّلخيص، لأنَّه كما قُلتُ مُنذ قليل إن لم تُدرك أهمية الموضوع الآن، فستحتاج إليه غداً، لأنَّ الكتاب يتناول كل العناوين الهامَّة التي يدور حولها الخلافات الفكرية الفلسفية بين أصحاب المذهب الألوهي وأصحاب المذاهب المادِّية الإلحادية.

An Invitation to Christian Philosophy

· Philosophical Foundations is obviously a large book, covering a wide range of issues in epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of science, ethics and philosophy of religion, as well as basic rules of reasoning. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p7.]

Part I Introduction

1 What is Philosophy?

· First one could focus on the etymology of the word philosophy. The word comes from two Greek words philein, “to love,” and sophia, “wisdom.” Thus a philosopher is a lover of wisdom. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p13.]

· Accordingly, philosophy may be defined as the attempt to think rationally and critically about life’s most important questions in order to obtain knowledge and wisdom about them. Philosophy can help someone form a rationally justified, true worldview, that is, an ordered set of propositions that one believes, especially propositions about life’s most important questions. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p13.]

· Second, our understanding of philosophy will be enhanced if we observe that philosophy often functions as a second-order discipline. For example, biology is a first-order discipline that studies living organisms, but philosophy is a second-order discipline that studies biology. In general, it is possible have a philosophy of x, where x can be any discipline whatever; for example, law, mathematics, education, science, government, medicine, history or literature. When philosophers examine another discipline to formulate a philosophy of that field, they ask normative questions about that discipline (e.g., questions about what one ought and ought not believe in that discipline and why), analyze and criticize the assumptions underlying it, clarify the concepts within it and integrate that discipline with other fields. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p13.]

· Philosophy is critical because it examines assumptions, asks questions of justification, seeks to clarify and analyze concepts, and so on. Philosophy is constructive because it attempts to provide synoptic vision; that is, it seeks to organize all relevant facts into a rational system and speculate about the formation and justification of general worldviews. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p14.]

· Second, philosophy aids the church in its task of polemics. Whereas apologetics involves the defense of Christian theism, polemics is the task of criticizing and refuting alternative views of the world. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p15.]

· C. S. Lewis once remarked that “to be ignorant and simple now—not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground—would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defence but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” [C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1949), p. 50.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p17.]

· The biblical notion of faith includes three components: notitia (understanding the content of the Christian faith), fiducia (trust) and assensus (the assent of the intellect to the truth of some proposition). Trust is based on understanding, knowledge and the intellect’s assent to truth. Belief in rests on belief that. One is called to trust in what he or she has reason to give intellectual assent (assensus) to. In Scripture, faith involves placing trust in what you have reason to believe is true. Faith is not a blind, irrational leap into the dark. So faith and reason cooperate on a biblical view of faith. They are not intrinsically hostile. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p18.]

· Consider the following six propositions that describe conditions under which science places a limit on theology or vice versa: S1. Theological beliefs are reasonable only if science renders them so. S2. Theological beliefs are unreasonable if science renders them so. S3. Theological beliefs are reasonable only if arrived at by something closely akin to scientific methodology. T1. Scientific beliefs are reasonable only if theology renders them so. T2. Scientific beliefs are unreasonable if theology renders them so. T3. Scientific beliefs are reasonable only if arrived at by theologically appropriate methods. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p22.]

· Contrary to initial appearances, these propositions are not examples of science or theology directly placing limits on the other, for none is a statement of science or theology. Rather, all are philosophical statements about science and theology. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p22.]

· Again, science assumes there is an external world that is orderly and knowable, that inductive inferences are legitimate, that the senses and mind are reliable, that truth exists and can be known, and so on. Orthodox theology assumes that religious language is cognitive, that knowledge is possible, that an intelligible sense can be given to the claim that something exists that is not located in space and time, that the correspondence theory of truth is the essential part of an overall theory of truth and that linguistic meaning is objective and knowable. These presuppositions, and a host of others besides, have all been challenged. The task of clarifying, defending or criticizing them is essentially a philosophical task. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p23.]

· Another example concerns some conceptions of the mechanisms involved in evolutionary theory. Some scientists have held that evolution promotes the survival of the fittest. But when asked what the “fittest” were, the answer is that the “fittest” were those that survived. This was a problem of circularity within evolutionary theory, and attempts have been made to redefine the notion of fitness and the goal of evolution (e.g., the selection of those organisms that are reproductively favorable) to avoid circularity. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p24.]

2 Argumentation and Logic

· Philosophy, Alvin Plantinga has remarked, is just thinking hard about something. If that is the case, then doing good philosophy will be a matter of learning to think well. That serves to differentiate philosophy from mere emotional expressions of what we feel to be true or hopeful expressions of what we wish to be true. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p28.]

· Every one of us already employs the rules of argumentation whether we realize it or not. For these rules apply to all reasoning everywhere, no matter what the subject. We use these rules unconsciously every day in normal life. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p28.]

· For example: Suppose a friend says to you, “I’ve got to go to the library today to check out a book.” And you reply, “You can’t do that today.” “Why not?” he asks. “Because today is Sunday,” you explain, “and the library isn’t open on Sunday.” In effect, you have just presented an argument to your friend. You have reasoned: 1. If today is Sunday, the library is closed. 2. Today is Sunday. 3. Therefore, the library is closed. Sentences (1) and (2) are the premises of the argument, and sentence (3) is the conclusion. You are saying that if premises (1) and (2) are true, then the conclusion (3) is also true. It is not just your opinion that the library is closed; you have given an argument for that conclusion. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p28.]

· In a good deductive argument the premises guarantee the truth of their conclusions. In a good inductive argument the premises render the conclusion more probable than its competitors. What makes for a good argument depends on whether that argument is deductive or inductive. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p28.]

· A good deductive argument will be one which is formally and informally valid, which has true premises, and whose premises are more plausible than their contradictories. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p28, 29.]

· First, a good argument must be formally valid. That is to say, the conclusion must follow from the premises in accord with the rules of logic. Logic is the study of the rules of reasoning. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p29.]

· An argument that is both logically valid and has true premises is called a sound argument. An unsound argument is either invalid or else has a false premise. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p29.]

· But so long as a statement is more plausible than its contradictory (that is, its negation), then one should believe it rather than its negation, and so it may serve as a premise in a good argument. Thus a good argument for God’s existence need not make it certain that God exists. Certainty is what most people are thinking of when they say, “You can’t prove that God exists!” If we equate “proof” with 100% certainty, then we may agree with them and yet insist that there are still good arguments to think that God exists. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p30.]

· Someone may object to premise (1) of our argument by saying, “But it’s possible that moral values exist as abstract objects without God.” We may happily agree. That is epistemically possible, that is to say, the premise is not known to be true with certainty. But possibilities come cheap. The question is not whether the contradictory of a particular premise in an argument is epistemically possible (or even plausible); the question is whether the contradictory is as plausible or more plausible than the premise. If it is not, then one should believe the premise rather than its contradictory. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p30.]

· Sentential or propositional logic is the most basic level of logic, dealing with inferences based on sentential connectives like “if . . . , then,” “or” and “and.” [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p30.]

· Rule #1: modus ponens: 1. P à Q. 2. P. 3. Q. In symbolic logic one uses letters and symbols to stand for sentences and the words that connect them. In (1) the P and the Q stand for any two different sentences, and the arrow stands for the connecting words, “if … , then … .” To read premise (1) we say, “If P, then Q.” Another way of reading P à Q is to say: “P implies Q.” To read premise (2) we just say, “P.” The reason letters and symbols are used is because sentences that are very different grammatically may still have the same logical form. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p30.]

· Rule #2: modus tollens: 1. P à Q. 2. ¬Q. 3. ¬P. Once again the P and the Q stand for any two sentences, and the arrow stands for “if . . . , then . . .” The sign ¬ stands for “not.” It is the sign of negation. So premise (1) reads, “If P, then Q.” Premise (2) reads, “Not-Q.” The rule modus tollens tells us that from these two premises, we may validly conclude, “Not-P.” [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p31, 32.]

· Modus ponens and modus tollens help to bring out an important feature of conditional sentences: The antecedent “if” clause states a sufficient condition of the consequent “then” clause. The consequent “then” clause states a necessary condition of the antecedent “if” clause. For if P is true, then Q is also true. The truth of P is sufficient for the truth of Q. At the same time P is never true without Q: if Q is not true, then P is not true either. So in any sentence of the form P à Q, P is a sufficient condition of Q, and Q is a necessary condition of P. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p32.]

· Rule #3: Hypothetical Syllogism: 1. P à Q. 2. Q à R. 3. P à R. The third rule, hypothetical syllogism, states that if P implies Q, and Q implies R, then P implies R. Since we do not know in this case if P is true, we cannot conclude that R is true. But at least we can know on the basis of premises (1) and (2) that if P is true, then R is true. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p34.]

· Rule #4: Conjunction: 1. P. 2. Q. 3. P & Q. Here we introduce the symbol &, which is the symbol for conjunction. It is read as “and.” This rule is perspicuous: If P is true, and Q is true, then the conjunction “P and Q” is also true. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p35.]

· The symbol & symbolizes many more words than just and. It symbolizes any conjunction. Thus the logical form of sentences having the connective words but, while, although, whereas and many other words is the same. We symbolize them all using &. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p35.]

· Rule #5: Simplification: 1. P & Q. 2. P. 1. P & Q. 2. Q. Again, one does not need to be a rocket scientist to understand this rule! In order for a conjunction like P & Q to be true, both P and Q must be true. So simplification allows you to conclude from P & Q that P is true and that Q is true. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p35, 36.]

· Rule #6: Absorption: 1. P à Q. 2. P à (P & Q). This is a rule which one hardly ever uses but which nonetheless states a valid way of reasoning. The basic idea is that since P implies itself, it implies itself along with anything else it implies. (…) The main use for absorption will be in cases where you need to have P & Q in order to take a further step in the argument. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p36.]

· Rule #7: Addition: 1. P. 2. P Q. For this rule we introduce a new symbol: , which is read “or.” We can use it to symbolize sentences connected by the word or. A sentence which is composed of two sentences connected by or is called a disjunction. Addition seems at first to be a strange rule of inference: It states that if P is true, then “P or Q” is also true. What needs to be kept in mind is this: in order for a disjunction to be true only one part of the disjunction has to be true. So if one knows that P is already true, it follows that “P or Q” is also true, no matter what Q is! [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p37.]

· Rule #8: Disjunctive Syllogism: 1. P Q. 2. ¬P. 3. Q. 1. P Q. 2. ¬Q. 3. P. This rule tells us that if a disjunction of two sentences is true, and one of the sentences is false, then the other sentence is true. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p37.]

· Rule #9: Constructive Dilemma: 1. (P à Q) & (R à S). 2. P R. 3. Q S. According to constructive dilemma, if P implies Q and R implies S, then if P or R is true, it follows that either Q or S is true. (…) This rule is useful for deducing the consequences of either-or situations, when we know the implications of each of the alternatives. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p39.]

· A special kind of conditional proof is called reductio ad absurdum (reduction to absurdity). Here we show that if some premise is supposed to be true, then it implies a contradiction, which is absurd. Therefore we can conclude that the premise is not true after all. This is an especially powerful way of arguing against a view, for if we can show that a view implies a contradiction, then it cannot be true. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p43.]

· Statements about all or none of a group are called universally quantified statements, since the statement covers every member in a group. When we analyze the logical form of such statements, we discover that they turn out to be disguised “if . . . , then . . .” statements. For example, when we say, “All bears are mammals,” logically we are saying, “If anything is a bear, then it is a mammal.” Or if we say, “No goose is hairy,” logically we are saying, “If anything is a goose, then it is not hairy.” [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p44.]

· So we can symbolize universally quantified statements as “if . . . , then . . .” statements. In order to do so, we introduce the letter x as a variable that can be replaced by any individual thing. We symbolize the antecedent clause using some capital letter (usually the first letter of the main word in the antecedent to make it easy to remember). For example, we can symbolize “Anything is a bear” by Bx. We do the same thing with the consequent. For example, “it is a mammal” can be symbolized Mx. The whole sentence is then symbolized as follows: (x) (Bx à Mx). You can read this as “For any x, if x is a bear, then x is a mammal.” [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p45.]

· Statements which are about only some members of a group are called existentially quantified statements. They tell us that there really exists at least one thing that has the property in question. For example, the statement “Some bears are white” tells us that there is at least one thing in the world that is both a bear and white. The statement “Some bears are not white” says that there is at least one thing that is a bear and is not white. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p46.]

· We symbolize existentially quantified statements by using the symbol . It may be read as “There is at least one ___ such that . . . .” We fill in the blank with the variable x, which can be replaced by any individual thing. So if we let Bx = “x is a bear” and Wx = “x is white,” we can symbolize “Some bears are white” as: (x) (Bx & Wx). This is read as “There is at least one x such that x is a bear and x is white.” [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p46, 47.]

· One of the subdisciplines of advanced logic is modal logic, which deals with notions of necessary and possible truth—the modes of truth, as it were. It is evident that there are such modes of truth, since some statements just happen to be true but obviously could have been false—for example, “Garrett DeWeese teaches at Talbot School of Theology.” But other statements do not just happen to be true; they must be true and could not have been false—for example, “If P implies Q, and P is true, then Q is true.” Still other statements are false and could not have been true—for example, “God both exists and does not exist.” Statements which could not have had a different truth value than the one they have are said to be either necessarily true or necessarily false. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p48.]

· We can use the symbol ■ to stand for the mode of necessity: ■P is to be read as “Necessarily, P” and indicates that P is necessarily true. ■¬P is to be read as “Necessarily, not-P” and indicates that P is necessarily false. Now if P is necessarily false, then it could not possibly be true. Letting stand for the mode of possibility, we can see that ■¬P is logically equivalent to ¬P, which may be read as “Not-possibly, P.” This is to say that it is impossible for P to be true. The contradictory of ¬P is P, or “Possibly, P.” Now if P is necessarily true, it is obviously also possibly true; otherwise its truth would be impossible. So ■P implies P; but it precludes the truth of ¬P. Indeed, ■P is equivalent to ¬¬P. That is to say, if P is necessarily true, then it is impossible that P be false. If, on the other hand, it is possible for P to be true and possible for P to be false, then P is a contingent statement, being either contingently true or contingently false. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p48, 49.]

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· A possible world is a way the world might be. One can think of a possible world as a maximal description of reality; nothing is left out. It may be thought of as a maximal state of affairs, which includes every other state of affairs or its complement, or as an enormous conjunction composed every of statement or its contradictory. These states of affairs or statements must be compossible, that is, able to obtain together or to be true together, otherwise they would not constitute a possible world. Moreover, such a maximal state of affairs must be actualizable or capable of being actual. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p50.]

· A good deductive argument, it will be recalled, must be not only formally valid but also informally valid. In practice, the primary informal fallacy to be on the alert for is the fallacy called petitio principii (begging the question). Sometimes this fallacy is also called circular reasoning. If one reasons in a circle, the conclusion of one’s argument is taken as one of the premises somewhere in the argument. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p57.]

· Genetic Fallacy. This is the fallacy of arguing that a belief is mistaken or false because of the way that belief originated. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p57.]

· Argument from Ignorance. This is the fallacy of arguing that a claim is false because there is not sufficient evidence that the claim is true. Our ignorance of evidence for a claim’s truth does not imply the falsity of the claim. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p57.]

· Equivocation. This is the fallacy of using a word in such a way as to have two meanings. This fallacy is committed in the following argument: “Socrates is a Greek; Greek is a language; therefore, Socrates is a language.” [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p57.]

· Amphiboly. This is the fallacy of formulating our premises in such a way that their meaning is ambiguous. For example, the statement “If God wills x, then necessarily x will happen” is amphibolous. Do we mean “■(God wills x à x will happen)” or “God wills x à ■(x will happen)”? [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p58.]

· Composition. This is the fallacy of inferring that a whole has a certain property because all its parts have that property. Of course, sometimes wholes do have the properties of their parts, but it is fallacious to infer that a whole has a property just because its every part does. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p58.]

· Certainty is an unrealistic and unattainable ideal. Were we to require certainty of the truth of an argument’s premises, the result for us would be skepticism. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p58.]

· Obviously, the most persuasive arguments will be those that are based on premises which enjoy the support of widely accepted evidence or seem intuitively to be true. But in cases of disagreement we simply have to dig deeper and ask what reasons we each have for thinking a premise to be true or false. When we do so, we may discover that it is we who have made the mistake. After all, one can present bad arguments for a true conclusion! But we might find instead that our interlocutor has no good reason for rejecting our premise or that his rejection is based on misinformation, or ignorance of the evidence, or a fallacious objection. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p59.]

· In a sound deductive argument the conclusion follows necessarily from the premises: if the premises are true and the inference form valid, then it is impossible that the conclusion be false. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p59.]

· An inductive argument is one for which it is possible that the premises be true and no invalid inferences be made, and yet the conclusion still be false. A good inductive argument must, like a good deductive argument, have true premises which are more plausible than their contradictories and be informally valid. But because the truth of their premises does not guarantee the truth of their conclusions, one cannot properly speak of their being formally either valid or invalid. In such reasoning the evidence and rules of inference are said to “underdetermine” the conclusion; that is to say, they render the conclusion plausible or likely, but do not guarantee its truth. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p59.]

· A different approach to inductive reasoning that is apt to be more useful in philosophical discussions is provided by inference to the best explanation. In inference to the best explanation, we are confronted with certain data to be explained. We then assemble a pool of live options consisting of various explanations for the data in question. From the pool of live options we then select the explanation that, if true, best explains the data. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p61, 62.]

· 1. Explanatory scope. The best hypothesis will explain a wider range of data than will rival hypotheses. 2. Explanatory power. The best hypothesis will make the observable data more epistemically probable than rival hypotheses. 3. Plausibility. The best hypothesis will be implied by a greater variety of accepted truths and its negation implied by fewer accepted truths than rival hypotheses. 4. Less ad hoc. The best hypothesis will involve fewer new suppositions not already implied by existing knowledge than rival hypotheses. 5. Accord with accepted beliefs. The best hypothesis, when conjoined with accepted truths, will imply fewer falsehoods than rival hypotheses. 6. Comparative superiority: The best hypothesis will so exceed its rivals in meeting conditions (1) through (5) that there is little chance of a rival hypothesis’s exceeding it in fulfilling those conditions. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p62.]

· The neo-Darwinian theory of biological evolution is a good example of inference to the best explanation. Darwinists recognize that the theory represents a huge extrapolation from the data, which support micro-evolutionary change but do not provide evidence of macro-evolutionary development. They further freely admit that none of the evidence, taken in isolation, whether it be from microbiology, paleogeography, paleontology and so forth provides proof of the theory. But their point is that the theory is nonetheless the best explanation, in virtue of its explanatory power, scope and so on. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p62.]

· By contrast, the charge leveled by critics of the neo-Darwinian synthesis like Phillip Johnson that the theory presupposes naturalism is best understood as the claim that the explanatory superiority of the neo-Darwinian theory is a function of the pool of live options’ being restricted by an unjustified methodological constraint, namely, the philosophical presupposition of naturalism. Johnson is quite happy to agree that the neo-Darwinian synthesis is the best naturalistic explanation available (in contrast to Lamarckianism, self-organization theories and so on). But he insists that the interesting and important question is not whether the neo-Darwinian theory is the best naturalistic explanation, but whether it is the best explanation, that is to say, whether it is correct. Johnson argues that once hypotheses positing Intelligent Design are allowed into the pool of live options, then the explanatory superiority of the neo-Darwinian theory is no longer apparent. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p62.]

· On the contrary, its deficiencies, particularly in the explanatory power of its mechanisms of random mutation and natural selection, stand in stark relief. What is intriguing is that several of Johnson’s detractors have openly admitted that Darwinism’s explanatory superiority depends on limiting the pool of live options to naturalistic hypotheses, but they claim that such a constraint is a necessary condition of doing science—a claim which is not, as such, scientific, but is a philosophical claim about the nature of science. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p62, 63.]

Part II Epistemology

3 Knowledge and Rationality

· All men by nature desire to know. [Aristotle Metaphysics 1.1] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p71.]

· Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that tries to make sense out of knowledge, rationality and justified or unjustified beliefs. The term epistemology comes from the Greek word episte4me4, which means knowledge. Accordingly, epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified or warranted belief. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p71.]

· Actually, there are four major areas of focus within the field of epistemology. First, there is the conceptual analysis of key concepts in epistemology: What is knowledge? What is rationality, justification or warrant? This first area of epistemology works hand in hand with the philosophy of language in that the focus of study is the clarification of important epistemological notions in order to be clear about what these concepts really are. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p71.]

· Second, there is the problem of skepticism. Do people really have knowledge or justified belief? If people do have knowledge or justified beliefs in one area, say in mathematics, do they have it in other areas; for example, is there moral or religious knowledge? Can one know something if he is not one hundred percent certain that he is not wrong about it? [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p71.]

· Third, there is the question of the sources and scope of knowledge and justified belief. If people do in fact have knowledge and justified beliefs, how is it that they have these things? What are the different kinds of knowledge? Surely one’s five senses in some way are a source of perceptual knowledge about the external world. But are there other kinds of knowledge and sources for them beyond sensory perception? Is there also knowledge and justified beliefs about the past (memory), about one’s own inner mental states (introspection), about the thoughts, feelings and minds of other persons, about logic, mathematics, metaphysics, morality, God? What are the sources of these different types of knowledge? [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p71, 72.]

· Sentence (1) expresses what is known as knowledge by acquaintance. Here one knows something in that the object of knowledge is directly present to one’s consciousness. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p72.]

· the answer seems to be that people can simply “see” that 2 + 2 = 4 or that (C) must follow if (A) and (B) are accepted. What kind of seeing is this? Many believe that it involves an intuitional form of awareness or perception of abstract, immaterial objects and the relationships among them—numbers and mathematical relations or propositions and the laws of logic. Arguably, all of these examples of knowledge are cases of knowledge by acquaintance. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p73.]

· Know-how is the ability or skill to behave in a certain way and perform some task or set of behaviors. One can know how to speak Greek, play golf, ride a bicycle or perform a number of other skills. Know-how does not always involve conscious awareness of what one is doing. Someone can learn how to do something by repeated practice without being consciously aware that one is doing the activity in question or without having any idea of the theory behind the practice. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p73.]

· Sentence (3) expresses what Bertrand Russell called knowledge by description or what is more typically called by philosophers propositional knowledge. Here someone knows that P where P is a proposition. For present purposes, a proposition may be defined as the content of a sentence or statement. Epistemology involves all three kinds of knowledge. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p73.]

· But for now, it may simply be noted that justification (or warrant) for a belief amounts to something like this: one has sufficient evidence for the belief, one formed and maintained the belief in a reliable way (e.g., on the basis of his senses or expert testimony and not by palm reading), or one’s intellectual and sensory faculties were functioning properly in a good intellectual environment when he formed the belief in question. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p74.]

· the main idea is that there is a big difference between a mere true belief and a true belief that has warrant or justification. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p74.]

· If we say a belief is justified, we usually mean that we either have a right to believe it, that we ought to believe it, or that accepting the belief is an intrinsically good, rational thing to do. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p76.]

· Justification is often closely related to a second issue: the internalist-externalist debate. Roughly, an internalist is one who holds that the sole factors that justify a belief are “internal” or “cognitively accessible” to the believing agent or subject. These factors are various mental states (experiences, sensations, thoughts, beliefs) to which the agent himself has direct access by simply reflecting on or being aware of his own states of consciousness. Justification is grounded in what is internal to the mind of and directly accessible to the believing subject. They are factors the subject can be aware of by simply reflecting upon himself. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p76.]

· An externalist is one who denies internalism, that is, who affirms that among the factors that justify a belief are those to which the believing subject does not have or does not need to have cognitive access. For example, an externalist could hold that among the things that justify a belief is the causal process that caused the belief to be formed—light waves reflecting off of objects and interacting with the eyes and optic nerve in the right way—even though this causal process is entirely outside of the subject’s awareness. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p76.]

· Several objections have been raised against this view. First, how does one determine which processes are, in fact, reliable and just how reliable they have to be to give knowledge? Consider vision. How does one know the visual processes that contribute to the formation of perceptual beliefs are, in fact, reliable and know just how reliable they are? Their reliability varies greatly as circumstances inside and outside the knower change. If one is sick or drunk or if the lighting is poor or the object far away, the processes forming one’s visual beliefs are less reliable. Some argue that the only noncircular way to answer this is to fall back on an internalist view of justification. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p82.]

· First, there is what can be called Aristotelian rationality. In this sense, Aristotle called man a rational animal. Here, rational refers to a being with ratio—a Latin word referring to the ultimate capacity or power to form concepts, think, deliberate, reflect, have intentionality (mental states like thoughts, beliefs, sensations that are of or about things). Humans are rational animals in that, by nature, they have this power of reason. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p85.]

· Roughly, a priori refers to the idea that justification for them does not appeal to sensory experiences, as would justification for an a posteriori claim (e.g., there is a tree in the yard). According to rationalism, some a priori truths are self-evident: upon simply understanding the proposition in question, one can see or feel a strong inclination to accept that the proposition is a necessary truth—it does not just happen to be true, but rather it could not possibly be false. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p85.]

· It is only if people think that rationality or epistemic justification constitutes a means to truth that they have any reason for thinking that rationality is cognitively important. Of course, one could still value rationality and not believe in truth in that one could hold rational behavior to be a means to cultural power, happiness or something else. But if rationality is to be valuable precisely as something related to cognitive and intellectual excellence, then the existence of truth is a necessary condition for such value. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p86.]

· Doxastic voluntarism is a controversial thesis, but it is important to keep in mind that it does not mean one has direct, immediate control over one’s beliefs. If someone offered you a million dollars to believe right now that a pink elephant was in your room, you could not do it if you wanted to. People’s beliefs usually just come to them. Upon looking at a red object, one simply finds himself believing it is red. Nevertheless, one could still have indirect control over a belief. Perhaps people cannot directly change their beliefs, but they may be free to do certain things (e.g., study certain evidence and avoid other evidence) to move themselves to a position to change their beliefs. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p87.]

· For any belief P, say the belief that God exists, there are three important cognitive postures we can take regarding P: we can believe P (as theists do), we can believe not-P (as atheists do), or we can withhold P (as agnostics do) and neither believe P nor believe not-P. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p87, 88.]

· Epistemologically speaking, a person should withhold a belief about P if P is counterbalanced for that person: P and not-P are equally justified for the person; neither position is more justified than the other. If one moves from withholding to believing P or believing not-P, his degree of justification can grow and change over time. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p88.]

· One factor that affects whether and to what degree a belief is justified is the presence of defeaters for that belief. (…) A defeater removes or weakens justification for a belief. There are at least two kinds of defeaters. First, there are rebutting defeaters, which directly attack the conclusion or thing being believed. In the case above, a rebutting defeater would be a reason to believe not-Q, i.e., a reason to believe that the statue is not blue. (…) Second, there are undercutting defeaters. These defeaters do not directly attack the thing believed (by trying to show that it is false), but rather they attack the notion that R is a good reason for Q. Undercutting defeaters do not attack Q directly; they attack R and in some way undercut R as a good reason for Q. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p88.]

4 The Problem of Skepticism

· Common sense assures us that we all know and have justified beliefs about  many things: the external world, God, morality, the past, mathematics, our own mental life and the existence of other minds. And while Scripture places an important emphasis on faith, it places an equally important emphasis on things we can, should and do know. Thus Scripture unites with common sense to affirm that there are many examples of knowledge and justified belief for human beings. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p91.]

· During the Hellenistic period of ancient Greek philosophy, two schools of skepticism arose. The first, known as Academic skepticism, flourished in the third and second centuries B.C. It was founded by Arcesilaus (315-240 B.C.), a philosopher in Plato’s Academy, and was propagated by Carneades in the second century B.C. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p91, 92.]

· There is some controversy over what the Academic skeptics actually affirmed, but the traditional view is that they asserted two things: (1) The skeptical thesis: All things are inapprehensible, no one has any knowledge. (2) Regarding the skeptical thesis itself, we can dogmatically affirm that we know that no one has any knowledge. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p92.]

· It should be clear that, as stated above, Academic skepticism was a difficult position to maintain. For one thing, statement two is self-refuting because it asserts that people know that there is nothing they can know. However, it may be that in asserting the skeptical thesis itself (statement one), the Academic skeptics did not really say that there is no knowledge at all, but rather that there is only one thing that people know: namely, that they cannot know anything else. But this affirmation, while not self-refuting, is still hard to maintain. Is it really possible to know only one thing? Would not a person claiming to know this statement also be implicitly claiming to know that he himself existed, that he knew what the statement meant, that he knew that the statement was true, and thus that there was such a thing as truth? Further, if someone can simply assert that there is one exception to the skeptical thesis (namely, the thesis itself), what would keep others from simply asserting other exceptions to the thesis, say, that they know red is a color? For these and other reasons, a second school of ancient skepticism was more prominent. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p92.]

· The second school was called Pyrrhonian skepticism after its founder Pyrrho of Ellis (360-270 B.C.). It flourished in Alexandria, Egypt, and reached its zenith in the last great Pyrrhonian, Sextus Empiricus, who lived during the last half of the second and the first quarter of the third century A.D. This form of skepticism is rooted in the view that philosophy seeks wisdom and wisdom includes knowledge of truths relevant for living a good, skilled life. The main human problem is unhappiness and this comes, primarily, from a disparity between one’s desires and what he believes to be true in the world. So the key to dealing with unhappiness is to give up on the search for wisdom, suspend judgment about all of one’s beliefs and be free. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p92.]

· The Pyrrhonian skeptics rejected dogmatism and proceeded in three stages: (1) antithesis (both sides of an issue are placed in opposition to each other and skeptical arguments called “tropes” or “modes” are used for each side); (2) epoche (the suspension of judgment); (3) ataraxia (the ultimate, desired state of tranquility). In contrast to the Academic skeptics, the Pyrrhonians suspended judgment about all things, including the skeptical thesis itself. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p92.]

· With the spread of Christianity and writings critical of skepticism such as Augustine’s Against the Skeptics, skepticism did not flourish until the time of René Descartes (A.D. 1596-1650) when it began to flower again. Descartes set out to refute skepticism and set knowledge on a sure foundation. Especially important in this regard is Descartes’s Meditations on First Philosophy first published in 1641. Descartes began his quest for knowledge by adopting methodological doubt. This amounted to the idea that knowledge requires absolute certainty (sometimes called Cartesian certainty) and that if it were logically possible to be mistaken about something, then one could not know the thing in question. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p92.]

· Finally, Descartes opined that a malevolent demon could be tricking people with sensory experiences of an external world when no such world is really “out there.” The logical possibility of such a malevolent demon meant for Descartes that people cannot know the laws of logic or mathematics, since the demon may be tricking people into accepting these laws even though they are false. But there is one thing about which the demon could not trick someone—one’s own existence, for before one can doubt one’s existence he must exist. This insight was expressed in Descartes’s famous maxim (which had been stated in a different form by Augustine) Cogito ergo sum (“I think, therefore, I am”). This was one secure item of knowledge that could not possibly be doubted. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p93.]

· Iterative skepticism occurs when the skeptic refuses to offer an argument for his view but, instead, simply responds to every assertion with the question, how do you know? When this question is answered, the iterative skeptic merely repeats the question, and so on, indefinitely. This form of skepticism is not a genuine philosophical position, since its advocates are not willing to advance arguments against knowledge or accept arguments for knowledge. Iterative skepticism is merely a verbal game and should be treated as such. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p93.]

· A third form of skepticism is heuristic or methodological skepticism. Here, knowledge and justified belief are acknowledged, and skepticism—especially the question “How does one know that X?” and the use of doubt—is taken as a guiding principle to aid people in their search for a better understanding of epistemological issues. In this sense, skepticism is not a position to be refuted or rebutted, but a guiding method to help people understand knowledge. This form of skepticism is, indeed, very helpful, since doubting and questioning knowledge claims can lead one to deeper understanding. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p94.]

· Knowledge skepticism is a thesis to the effect that the conditions for knowledge do not obtain and people do not have knowledge. Justificational skepticism is the same thesis directed, not at knowledge, but at justification and justified beliefs. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p94.]

· Going from stronger to weaker forms of unmitigated skepticism, these grades are as follows: (1) No proposition is knowable, that is, it is not possible for any proposition to be known. (2) While it may be possible for a proposition to be known, as a matter of fact, no proposition is known. (3) While there may be some propositions that are known in some weak sense of that word, nevertheless, no propositions are known with complete certainty. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p95.]

· Global skepticism is the view that there is no knowledge (or justified belief) in any area of human thought. By contrast, local skepticism allows for knowledge in some areas (e.g., in science or in our sensory knowledge of the external world), but local skeptics deny knowledge in this or that specific area (e.g., in theology, ethics, mathematics). [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p95.]

· First-order skepticism is the more typical version and it involves skepticism directed at people’s everyday beliefs, that is, beliefs about the external world (there is a tree in the yard) or about an ethical proposition (Mercy as such is a virtue). Second-order skepticism is directed at people’s beliefs about these other beliefs. Here the skeptic does not directly question whether people have knowledge of this or that particular item. Rather, he challenges the idea that people know that they have this knowledge. It is normally the case that a firstorder skeptic will also be a second-order skeptic because if people do not have knowledge of this or that, then they cannot have knowledge that they do have knowledge of this or that. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p96.]

· The skeptic cites this problem, labeled the argument from error, and generalizes it in this way. In each case of past error we confused appearance with reality and mistakenly thought we had knowledge. How do we know that this is not happening right now? How do we know that this is not universally the case in our sensory awareness of the world? Since we have been mistaken in the past, for all we know we could always be mistaken in our beliefs. If this is so, how can we claim to have knowledge? How do I know I am not mistaken right now? [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p97.]

· Perhaps skeptics do not need to argue from the fact that we have been mistaken on occasions. Instead, skeptics may offer various brain-in-the-vat arguments; they simply need to point out that it is merely possible, logically speaking, that we are mistaken in our knowledge claims. And from the mere logical possibility of error (the fact that a skeptical thesis about any putative knowledge claim is not a logical contradiction), it follows that we cannot have knowledge. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p97.]

· We can distinguish two different questions in epistemology. First, we can ask, what is it that we know? This is a question about the specific items of knowledge we possess and about the extent of our knowledge. Second, we can ask, how do we decide in any given case whether or not we have knowledge in that case? What are the criteria for knowledge? This is a question about our criteria for knowledge. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p98.]

· Methodism is the name of the second solution and it has been advocated by philosophers such as John Locke, René Descartes, logical positivists and others. According to methodism, one starts the enterprise of knowing with a criterion for what does and does not count as knowledge, in other words, one starts with an answer to question two and not question one. Methodists claim that before one can know some specific proposition P (e.g., There is a tree in the yard), one must first know some general criterion Q and, further, one must know that P is a good example of or measures up to Q. For example, Q might be “If you can test some item of belief with the five senses, then it can be an item of knowledge,” or perhaps, “If something appears to your senses in a certain way, then in the absence of defeaters, you know that the thing is as it appears to you.” [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p99.]

· The argument from error. From the fact that one has been mistaken in the past, it does not follow that there are good reasons for thinking that one’s senses are currently deceiving him right now. Until such reasons are given as defeaters, one has a right to be sure that one’s current sensory beliefs are examples of knowledge. One’s current sensory beliefs are prima facie justified, that is, innocent until “proven” guilty. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p102.]

· Evil demons and the mere possibility of error. Just because it is logically possible that one’s current beliefs are mistaken, it does not follow that it is epistemically possible that one is mistaken, i.e., that one has any grounds for doubting one’s current beliefs. Someone does not need to refute the skeptic before he can know things, and the burden of proof is on the skeptic. The mere suggestion that it is logically possible that one might be mistaken does not meet that burden of proof. Knowledge does not require total certainty. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p102.]

· Several thinkers, C. S. Lewis, Richard Taylor and Alvin Plantinga among them, have argued in one way or another that naturalism in general, and evolutionary naturalism in particular, lead to skepticism. [C. S. Lewis, Miracles (New York: Macmillan, 1947), chaps. 1-4, 13; Richard Taylor, Metaphysics (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1963), pp. 112-19; Alvin Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), chaps. 11-12.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p103.]

· This idea is not new. In fact, the same problem troubled Darwin himself: “With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” [This is from Darwin’s letter to William Graham Down, dated July 3, 1881, in The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin Including an Autobiographical Chapter, ed. Francis Darwin, 2 vols. (London: John Murray, Albermarle Street, 1887), 1:315-16.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p103.]

· Plantinga’s case is more detailed than we can present here. But if his argument is correct, then metaphysical naturalism, including evolutionary naturalism, is false. The issue is this: if knowledge exists and if properly functioning faculties are necessary conditions for knowledge, then if the notion of proper function requires the existence of a designer of those faculties and cannot be adequately understood in strictly naturalistic terms, we can conclude that metaphysical naturalism is false. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p104.]

5 The Structure of Justification

· The term noetic structure stands for the entire set of propositions that some person, S, believes, together with the various epistemological relations that obtain among those beliefs themselves (e.g., some beliefs—that apples are red—entail other beliefs—that apples are colored), plus the relations among S himself and those beliefs (e.g., S accepts some beliefs on the basis of other beliefs). Foundationalism and coherentism are normative theories about how a noetic structure ought to be structured such that the beliefs in that structure are justified for the person possessing that structure. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p110, 111.]

· Foundationalist theories are distinguished by the notion that all knowledge rests on foundations. More specifically, the foundationalist notes a fundamental division between those beliefs we justifiably accept on the evidential basis of other beliefs (e.g., the belief that the wind is blowing is evidentially based on the belief that the leaves are rustling) versus those we justifiably accept in a basic way, that is, not entirely on the basis of the support that they receive from other beliefs. For the foundationalist, all beliefs are either basic or nonbasic. Basic beliefs are, somehow, immediately justified. All nonbasic beliefs are mediately justified in some way by the relationship they sustain to the basic beliefs. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p112.]

· To begin with, according to foundationalism, there are beliefs that are called properly basic beliefs. Such beliefs are basic in the sense that they are not justified by or based on other beliefs. If we use the term evidence to mean “propositional evidence,” then evidence refers to cases in which a person S believes a proposition and this serves as the basis for believing another proposition. A properly basic belief is basic in the sense that it is not believed on the basis of evidence, that is, it is not based on belief in another proposition. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p112.]

· According to classical foundationalism, only sensory beliefs or beliefs about the truths of reason should be allowed in the foundations. Other foundationalists claim that additional beliefs should be in the foundations as well; for example, certain moral beliefs (e.g., Mercy is a virtue) and theological beliefs (e.g., God exists). Roughly, a truth of reason is one that can be known independent of sense experience, that is, without requiring a sense experience or sensory belief for its justification. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p112, 113.]

· Strong foundationalism is the view that foundational beliefs are infallible, certain, indubitable or incorrigible. These terms are all attempts to get at the same thing, but they differ somewhat in their meaning. A belief is infallible if it is impossible in some sense for a person to hold to the belief and be mistaken about it. Sometimes the term incorrigible is used in the same way. On other occasions, a belief is incorrigible just in case the person holding the belief could never be in a position to correct it. The notion of certainty has two different senses. Sometimes it refers to a certain depth of psychological conviction with which a belief is held. On the other hand, a belief is sometimes called certain in the sense that at least this must be true of it: accepting that belief is at least as justified as accepting any other belief whatever. Finally, indubitability refers to a feature a belief has when no one could have grounds for doubting the belief in question. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p113.]

· Weak foundationalists deny that foundational beliefs  must have such a strong epistemic status. For them, foundational beliefs must be merely prima facie justified. Very roughly, a belief is prima facie justified for some person just in case that person holds the belief in question and has no good reason to think that he is not justified in doing so, in other words, he has no reason to think that there are defeaters of the belief sufficient on balance to remove his justification for the belief. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p113, 114.]

· Foundationalists also argue that certain types of a priori knowledge, specifically, our knowledge of self-evident truths of reason, fit well into foundationalism and not coherentism. Examples include our knowledge that necessarily 2 + 2 = 4 or that necessarily if A is taller than B and B is taller than C, then A is taller than C. In cases like these, people are justified in believing them without that justification coming from some other things they believe. These truths are “self-evident” and the justification for them is immediate. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p117.]

· the essence of coherentism lies in the fact that there are no asymmetries between basic and nonbasic beliefs. All beliefs are on a par with each other and the main, or more likely, sole source of the justification of a belief is the fact that the belief appropriately “coheres” with the other beliefs in one’s noetic structure. Important coherentists have been F. H. Bradley, Brand Blanshard and, more recently, Keith Lehrer and Nicholas Rescher. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p121.]

· First, there are coherence theories of belief or meaning. These are theories that claim, in one way or another, that the content of a belief, the thing that makes a belief what it is, is the role the belief plays in an entire system of beliefs. This position is sometimes called the holist theory of meaning. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p121.]

· Second, there are coherence theories of truth, roughly, the notion that a proposition is true if and only if it is part of a coherent set of propositions. This theory of truth contrasts with the correspondence theory of truth, roughly, the notion that the truth of a proposition is a function of its correspondence with the “external” world. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p121, 122.]

· Sensory experiences (e.g., being appeared to redly) themselves serve no role in grounding beliefs, even perceptual beliefs, and, in general, a belief acquires no justification whatever from its relationship to experience. Nor do externalist factors like the proper functioning of one’s sensory faculties play a role in justification. Only a belief or set of beliefs can confer justification on another belief. This means, among other things, that all versions of coherentism are internalist theories, whereas foundationalist theories can be either internalist or externalist in orientation. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p122.]

· For the coherentist, there is no basic, privileged class of beliefs (e.g., those expressing perceptual beliefs such as I am being appeared to redly now) that serve as a foundation for justifying other beliefs but which need no justification from other beliefs. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p122.]

6 Theories of Truth and Postmodernism

· As C. S. Lewis put it, “We are now getting to the point at which different beliefs about the universe lead to different behavior. Religion involves a series of statements about facts, which must be either true or false. If they are true, one set of conclusions will follow about the right sailing of the human fleet; if they are false, quite a different set.” [C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1960), p. 58.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p130.]

· The notion of truth employed in Lewis’s statement is called the correspondence theory of truth, roughly, the idea that truth is a matter of a proposition (belief, thought, statement, representation) corresponding to reality; truth obtains when reality is the way a proposition represents it to be. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p130.]

· Is there a biblical view of truth? The answer seems to be no and yes, depending on what one means. No, there is no peculiarly Christian theory of truth, one that is used only in the Bible and not elsewhere. If there were a peculiarly Christian view of truth, two disastrous implications would follow: claims that certain Christian doctrines are true would be equivocal compared to ordinary, everyday assertions of truth, and Christianity’s claim to be true would be circular or system-dependent and, therefore, trivial. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p131.]

· The Old and New Testament terms for truth are, respectively, )emet and ale4theia. The meaning of these terms and, more generally, a biblical conception of truth are broad and multifaceted: fidelity, moral rectitude, being real, being genuine, faithfulness, having veracity, being complete. Two aspects of the biblical conception of truth appear to be primary: faithfulness and conformity to fact. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p131.]

· Thus God says, “I the LORD speak the truth, I declare what is right” (Is 45:19). Proverbs 8:7 says, “For my mouth will utter truth,” and Proverbs 14:25 proclaims, “A truthful witness saves lives, but one who utters lies is a betrayer.” According to Jeremiah 9:5, “They all deceive their neighbors, and no one speaks the truth.” In John 8:44-45, Jesus says that the devil is a liar and deceiver who cannot stand the truth but that he, Jesus, speaks the truth. In John 17:17, Jesus affirms that the word of God is truth, and in John 10:35 he assures us that it cannot be broken (i.e., assert a falsehood). [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p131, 132.]

· According to relativism, a claim is true relative to the beliefs or valuations of an individual or group that accepts it. According to relativism, a claim is made true for those who accept it by that very act. A moral analogy may help to make this clear. There is no absolute moral obligation to drive on the right side of the road. That obligation is genuine relative to America but not to England. Similarly, The earth is flat was true for the ancients but is false for moderns. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p132.]

· Those who claim that truth does not vary from person to person, group to group, accept absolute truth, also called objective truth. On this view, people discover truth, they do not create it, and a claim is made true or false in some way or another by reality itself, totally independent of whether the claim is accepted by anyone. Moreover, an absolute truth conforms to the three fundamental laws of logic, which are themselves absolute truths. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p132.]

· Consider some declarative proposition, P, say, Two is an even number. The law of identity says that P is identical to itself and different from other things, say, Q, Grass is green. The law of noncontradiction says that P cannot be both true and false in the same sense at the same time. The law of excluded middle says that P is either true or false or, put somewhat differently, either P is true or its negation, not-P, is true. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p132.]

· Who is correct, the absolutists or relativists? For at least two reasons, the absolutists are right about the nature of truth. (…) First, relativism itself is either true or false in the absolutist sense. If the former, relativism is self-refuting, since it amounts to the objective truth that there are no objective truths. If the latter, it amounts to a mere expression of preference or custom by a group or individual without objective, universal validity. Thus it cannot be recommended to others as something they should believe because it is the objective truth of the matter and this is a serious difficulty for those who “advocate” relativism. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p133.]

· When most people claim that P is true (or false) to them and false (or true) to others, they are speaking epistemologically, not ontologically, and relativists are wrong if they think otherwise. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p133.]

· The second confusion among those who argue for relativism is the confusion of truth conditions and criteria for truth. A truth condition is a description of what constitutes the truth of a claim. So understood, a truth condition is ontological and it is associated with what the truth itself is. (…) Criteria for truth consist in epistemological tests for deciding or justifying which claims are true and false. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p133.]

· In its simplest form, the correspondence theory of truth says that a proposition (sentence, belief) is true just in case it corresponds to reality, when what it asserts to be the case is the case. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p135.]

· First, what is the truth-bearer? Three main types of candidates have been offered. To begin with, two linguistic candidates are sentences and statements. Second, two mental states, thoughts and beliefs, have been proffered. Finally, propositions have been named as the basic truth-bearer. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p135.]

· A sentence is a linguistic type or token consisting in a sense-perceptible string of markings formed according to a culturally arbitrary set of syntactical rules. A statement is a sequence of sounds or body movements employed by a speaker to assert a sentence on a specific occasion. So understood, neither sentences nor statements are good candidates for the basic truth-bearer. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p135.]

· What are propositions? Philosophers who accept their existence are not in agreement on the answer to this question. However, here are some things relevant to answering it: A proposition (1) is not located in space or time; (2) is not identical to the linguistic entities that may be used to express it; (3) is not sense-perceptible; (4) is such that the same proposition may be in more then one mind at once; (5) need not be grasped by any (at least finite) person to exist and be what it is; (6) may itself be an object of thought when, for example, one is thinking about the content of one’s own thought processes; (7) is in no sense a physical entity. Though assessing the debate about the precise nature of propositions is beyond the scope of the present study, we shall return to propositions shortly. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p136.]

· Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) stated the phenomenological argument most powerfully. The phenomenological argument focuses on a careful description and presentation of specific cases to see what can be learned from them about truth. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p139.]

· In one form or another, the pragmatic theory of truth has been advanced by William James (1842-1910), John Dewey (1859-1952) and contemporary philosophers Hilary Putnam and Richard Rorty. In general terms, the pragmatic theory implies that a belief P is true if and only if P works or is useful to have. P is true just in case P exhibits certain values for those who accept it. Pragmatism is widely taken to be an expression of antirealism regarding external reality. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p144.]

· Further, part of the nature of postmodernism is a rejection of certain things—for example, truth, objective rationality, authorial meaning in texts along with the existence of stable verbal meanings and universally valid linguistic definitions—that make accurate definitions possible. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p145.]

· Postmodernism is both a historical, chronological notion and a philosophical ideology. Understood historically, postmodernism refers to a period of thought that follows, and is a reaction to the period called modernity. Modernity is the period of European thought that developed out of the Renaissance (14th-17th centuries) and flourished in the Enlightenment (17th-19th centuries) in the ideas of people like Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Leibniz and Kant. In the chronological sense, postmodernism is sometimes called “post modernism.” [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p145.]

· As a philosophical standpoint, postmodernism is primarily a reinterpretation of what knowledge is and what counts as knowledge. More broadly, it represents a form of cultural relativism about such things as reality, truth, reason, value, linguistic meaning, the self and other notions. Important postmodern thinkers are Friedrich Nietzsche, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Jacques Derrida, Thomas Kuhn, Michel Foucault, Martin Heidegger and Jean-François Lyotard. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p145.]

· Philosophically, metaphysical realism includes a commitment to (1) the existence of a theory-independent or language-independent reality, (2) the notion that there is one way the world really is and (3) the notion that the basic laws of logic (identity, noncontradiction, excluded middle) apply to reality. Postmodernism involves an antirealist rejection of these realist commitments. According to postmodernism, “reality” is a social construction. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p145.]

· Postmodernists reject the idea that there are universal, transcultural standards, such as the laws of logic or principles of inductive inference, for determining whether a belief is true or false, rational or irrational, good or bad. There is no predefined rationality. Postmodernists also reject the notion that rationality is objective on the grounds that no one approaches life in a totally objective way without bias. Thus objectivity is impossible, and observations, beliefs and entire narratives are theory laden. There is no neutral standpoint from which to approach the world, and thus observations, beliefs and so forth are perspectival constructions that reflect the viewpoint implicit in one’s own web of beliefs. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p146.]

· Postmodernists deny the existence of universals (see chap. 10). A universal is an entity that can be in more than one place at the same time or in the same place at different, interrupted time intervals. Redness, justice, being even, humanness are examples of universals. If redness is a universal, then if one sees (the same shade of) redness on Monday and again on Tuesday, the redness seen on Tuesday is identical to, is the very same thing as the redness seen on Monday. Postmodernists deny such identities and claim that nothing is repeatable, nothing is literally the same from one moment to the next, nothing can be present at one time or place and literally be present at another time or place. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p147.]

· According to postmodernism, an item of language, such as a literary text, does not have an authorial meaning, at least one that is accessible to interpreters. Thus the author is in no privileged position to interpret his own work. In fact, the meaning of a text is created by and resides in the community of readers who share an interpretation of the text. Thus there is not such thing as a book of Romans. Rather, there is a Lutheran, Catholic and Marxist book of Romans. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p147.]

· The first has to do with the postmodern rejection of objective rationality on the grounds that no one achieves it because everyone is biased in some way or another. As a first step towards a response to this claim, we need to draw a distinction between psychological and rational objectivity. Psychological objectivity is the absence of bias, a lack of commitment either way on a topic. Do people ever have psychological objectivity? Yes, they do, typically, in areas in which they have no interest or about which they have not thought deeply. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p150.]

· Put simply, postmodernism is self-refuting. Postmodernists appear to claim that their own assertions about the modern era, about how language and consciousness work and so forth are true and rational, they write literary texts and protest when people misinterpret the authorial intent in their own writings, they purport to give us the real essence of what language is and how it works, and they employ the dichotomy between modernism and postmodernism while claiming superiority for the latter. In these and other ways postmodernism seems to be self-refuting. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p150, 151.]

7 Religious Epistemology

· Positivists championed a verification principle of meaning, according to which an informative sentence, in order to be meaningful, must be capable in principle of being empirically verified. Since religious statements like “God exists” or “God loves the world” were, in their opinion, incapable of being empirically verified, positivistic philosophers held them to be literally meaningless. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p154.]

· Under criticism, the verification principle underwent a number of changes, including its permutation into the falsification principle, which held that a meaningful sentence must be capable in principle of being empirically falsified. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p154.]

· In general, verificationist analyses of meaning ran into two insuperable problems: (1) The verification/falsification principle was too restrictive. It was quickly realized that on such theories of meaning vast tracts of obviously meaningful discourse would have to be declared meaningless, including even scientific statements, which the principle had aimed to preserve. (2) The principle was self-refuting. The statement “In order to be meaningful, an informative sentence must be capable in principle of being empirically verified/falsified” is itself incapable of being verified or falsified. Therefore, it is by its own lights a meaningless statement—or, at best, an arbitrary definition, which we are free to reject. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p155.]

· The assertion “God does not exist” is just as much a claim to knowledge as the assertion “God exists,” and therefore the former requires justification just as the latter does. It is the agnostic who makes no knowledge claim at all with respect to God’s existence, confessing that he does not know whether God exists or does not exist, and so who requires no justification. (We speak here only of a “soft” agnosticism, which is really just a confession of ignorance, rather than of a “hard” agnosticism, which claims that it cannot be known whether or not God exists; such a positive assertion would, indeed, require justification.) If anything, then, one should speak at most of a presumption of agnosticism. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p156.]

· As Flew confesses, the word “atheist” has in the present context to be construed in an unusual way. Nowadays it is normally taken to mean someone who explicitly denies the existence . . . of God. . . . But here it has to be understood not positively but negatively, with the originally Greek prefix “a-” being read in this same way in “atheist” as it customarily is in . . . words as “amoral.”. . . In this interpretation an atheist becomes not someone who positively asserts the non-existence of God, but someone who is simply not a theist. [Antony Flew, “The Presumption of Atheism,” in Companion to Philosophy of Religion, ed. Philip Quinn and Charles Taliaferro (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997).] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p156.]

· Other advocates of the presumption of atheism continued to use the word in the standard way and so recognized their need of justification for their claim that atheism is true, but they insisted that it was precisely the absence of evidence for theism that justified their claim that God does not exist. Thus, in the absence of evidence for God, one is justified in the presumption of atheism. The problem with such a position is captured neatly by the aphorism “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p156.]

· To give an illustration, it has become commonplace in astrophysical cosmology to postulate an early inflationary era in the expansion of the universe in order to explain such features of the universe as its flat space-time curvature and large scale isotropy. Unfortunately, by the very nature of the case, any evidence of such an era will have been pushed by the inflationary expansion out beyond our event horizon, so that it is unobservable. But woe be to the cosmologist who asserts that this absence of evidence is proof that inflation did not take place! At the most we are left with agnosticism. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p156.]

· The most celebrated and oft-discussed, truth-dependent, pragmatic argument is Pascal’s wager, the brainchild of the French mathematical genius Blaise Pascal. Pascal argued, in effect, that belief in God is pragmatically justified because we have nothing to lose and everything to gain from holding that belief. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p159.]

· Pascal reasons that if I believe God exists and it turns out that he does, then I have gained heaven at the small sacrifice of foregoing the pleasures of sin for a season. If I believe and it turns out that God does not exist, then I gain nothing and have suffered the finite loss of the pleasures of sin I have foregone. On the other hand, if I do not believe and it turns out that God does, in fact, exist, then I have gained the pleasures of sin for a season at the expense of losing eternal life. If I do not believe and it turns out that there is no God, then I have the finite gain of the pleasures afforded by my libertine lifestyle. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p159.]

· However, the truly serious objection to Pascal’s wager is the so-called many gods objection. A Muslim could set up a similar payoff matrix for belief in Allah. A Mormon could do the same thing for his god. In other words, state (II) God does not exist is actually an indefinitely complex disjunction of various deities who might exist if the Christian God does not. Thus the choice is not so simple, for if I believe that the Christian God exists and it turns out that Allah exists instead, then I shall suffer infinite loss in hell for my sin of associating something (Christ) with God. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p160.]

Part III Metaphysics

8 What is Metaphysics?

· Metaphysics has a long, distinguished history boasting of some of the greatest thinkers of all time: Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Boethius, Aquinas, Descartes, Leibniz, Locke and many others. Along with logic and epistemology, metaphysics is the most basic part of philosophy. And metaphysics has been the longstanding friend of theology. The early creeds of Christendom are filled with metaphysical terms—person, essence, substance, subsistence—and they give testimony to the help that metaphysics can give to the development of systematic theology. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p173.]

· The term metaphysics was first used as a title for a group of works by Aristotle (384-322 B.C.). One set of his writings was about “the things of nature” and came to be called the Physics. Another set of works (which Aristotle himself never named) was called “the books after the Physics” (ta meta ta physica) by some ancient editors that collected and edited his writings in the first century B.C. Thus metaphysics originally meant “after the Physics” and, while metaphysical reflection existed before Aristotle, the title was first used in the way just mentioned, and it has continued to refer to a certain branch of philosophy ever since. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p173.]

· It is difficult, if not impossible to come up with an adequate definition of metaphysics. Usually, it is characterized as the philosophical study of the nature of being or reality and the ultimate categories or kinds of things that are real. This definition is adequate to capture much of what is done in metaphysics. Typical metaphysical questions are these: What is the difference between existing and not-existing? Is reality one or many? Are there abstract objects that exist but are not spatial and temporal? Are there substances and, if so, what are they? Are we free or determined? Is matter real and, if so, what is it? Do humans have minds as well as bodies? Is the property of being red real and, if so, what is it? Where is it? [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p173, 174.]

· Metaphysical study should begin with and take into account the things we already know or have reason to believe are true before we begin doing metaphysics. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p179.]

· Use thought experiments as sources for counterexamples to metaphysical arguments. In metaphysics, we are primarily interested in what something must be, not in what it merely happens to be by accident. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p181.]

· The naturalist has three tasks before he or she can defend naturalism as a broad metaphysical view: 1. The naturalist must show that mental entities are not real (a) by denying their existence outright (e.g., since beliefs, if they exist, must be mental, then we should treat beliefs like a flat earth and deny that there are such things) or (b) by reducing them to physical entities in space and time (e.g., beliefs exist, but they are really nothing but states of the brain) or (c) by trying to show that in some way or another they depend on the physical world for their existence. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p184.]

· The naturalist must deny that properties and relations are abstract entities by either (a) denying that they exist (extreme nominalism) or (b) accepting the existence of properties and relations but treating them as material realities that are wholly inside of space and time (nominalism and impure realism). [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p184.]

· The naturalist must show that abstract entities are not real by either (a) denying their existence outright (e.g., propositions, like witches, do not exist at all) or (b) reducing them to physical entities in space and time (e.g., propositions exist but they are really nothing but physical scratchings called sentences). [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p185.]

11 The Mind-Body Problem: Dualism

· It is virtually self-evident to most people that they are different from their bodies. Almost all societies throughout history (unless they are taught to think otherwise) have believed in some form of life after death, and this belief arises naturally when a human being reflects on his or her own constitution. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p228.]

· In some contexts, it is possible and important to make a distinction among the mind, the soul, the spirit, the ego or the self. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p229.]

· Our main concern here is to focus on the mind-body problem, which, in turn, involves two main issues. First, is a human made of only one component, say matter, or is a human made of two components, matter and mind? Second, if the answer is two components, do mind and matter interact, and if so, how does that interaction take place? [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p229.]

· The two main views are physicalism and dualism. Physicalism claims that a human being is completely physical, and dualism claims that a human being is both physical and mental. Dualism, in turn, comes is two major varieties: substance dualism and property-event dualism. Physicalism comes in different varieties as well. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p299.]

· Today, physicalism often means something more restrictive than materialism so defined: Physicalism can be understood as the view that all entities whatsoever are merely physical entities. There are no abstract objects, and all substances, properties and events are merely physical entities. Some physicalists hold that while there are only physical substances, there are genuinely mental properties that emerge from and are dependent on their physical bases. This view seems to be a version of property dualism, and we will treat it as such. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p230.]

· What is meant by a physical entity? Three different things can be meant here. First, physical can mean whatever can be described using the language of physics and chemistry. Second, physical can include the sense just given and be extended to include whatever can be described in any physical science, especially including biology. Third, physical can be extended beyond the first two senses to include any commonsense notion of physical. This is often, though not always, taken to include the primary qualities (shape, mass, size, motion) and to exclude the secondary qualities (those experienced through only one sense organ such as color, smell, texture, sound, taste). The restricted sense of physicalism, therefore, implies that all entities whatever are merely physical in one of these three senses. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p230.]

· This sense of physical is widely used by physicalists in stating and defending their views, and it captures what is, for many, the driving force behind physicalism: the unity of science. The unity of science means, among other things, that a completely developed physics and chemistry could give a complete, unified description and explanation of all phenomena because the world is one physical system. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p230.]

· According to physicalism, a human being is merely a physical entity. The only things that exist are physical substances, properties and events. When it comes to humans, the physical substance is the body or brain and central nervous system. The physical substance called the brain has physical properties, such as a certain weight, volume, size, electrical activity, chemical composition and so forth. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p230.]

· According to physicalism, when someone has an occasion of pain or an occurrence of a thought, these are merely physical events, namely, events where such and such C-fibers are firing or certain electrical and chemical events are happening in the brain and central nervous system. Thus physicalists believe that we are merely a physical substance (a brain and central nervous system plus a body) that has physical properties and in which occur physical events. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p230.]

· What is matter? There is no clear definition of matter, and the fact of the matter is that we know precious little about what matter actually is. But examples of matter are not hard to come by. Material objects are things like computers, carbon atoms and billiard balls. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p230.]

· There is one very crucial observation to make about material substances, properties and events. No material thing presupposes or requires reference to consciousness for it to exist or be characterized. You will search in vain through a physics or chemistry textbook to find consciousness included in any description of matter. A completely physical description of the world would not include any terms that make reference to or characterize consciousness. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p231.]

· Dualists disagree with physicalists. According to them, mental entities are real and the mind and its contents are radically nonphysical. As with matter, it is hard to give a definition of mental entities. Some have defined a mental entity as something such that it would not exist if there were no sentient creatures. Others define a mental entity as something about which the subject is in a better position to know than is anyone else, or something to which a subject has private, firstperson access. Mental entities belong to the private world of inner experience. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p231.]

· According to property dualism (also called property-event dualism), there are some physical substances that have only physical properties. A billiard ball is hard and round. Further, there are no mental substances. But there is one material substance that has both physical and mental properties—the brain. When one experiences a pain, there is a certain physical property possessed by the brain (a C-fiber stimulation with chemical and electrical properties) and there is a certain mental property possessed by the brain (the pain itself with its felt quality). [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p232.]

· The brain is the possessor of all mental properties. A human is not a mental self that has thoughts and experiences. Rather, a human is a brain and a series or bundle of successive experiences themselves. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p232.]

· Substance dualism, on the other hand, holds that the brain is a physical object that has physical properties and the mind or soul is a mental substance that has mental properties. When one is in pain, the brain has certain physical (e.g., electrical, chemical) properties, and the soul or self has certain mental properties (the conscious awareness of the pain). The soul is the possessor of its experiences. It stands behind, over and above them and remains the same throughout one’s life. The soul and the brain can interact with each other, but they are different things with different properties. Since the soul is not to be identified with any part of the brain or with any particular mental experience, then the soul may be able to survive the destruction of the body. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p232.]

· Physicalists are committed to the claim that alleged mental entities either do not exist at all or if they do, they are really identical to physical entities, e.g., brain states, properties of the brain, overt bodily behavior or dispositions to behave (e.g., pain is just the tendency to shout “ouch!” when stuck by a pin instead of pain being a certain mental feel). If physicalism is true and if mental entities exist but are really nothing but physical entities, then everything true of the brain (and its properties, states and dispositions) is true of the mind (and its properties, states and dispositions) and vice versa. If we can find one thing true, or even possibly true of the mind (or its states) and not the brain (or its states), or vice versa, then some form of dualism is established. The mind is not the brain. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p232, 233.]

· To establish physicalism, it is not enough that mental states and brain states are causally related or constantly conjoined with each other in an embodied person. Physicalism needs identity to make its case, and if something is true, or possibly true of a mental substance, property or event that is not true, or possibly true of a physical substance, property or event, physicalism is false. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p233.]

· If a doctor touches part of one’s brain with an electrode, it may cause a certain mental experience, say a memory, to occur. But all that proves is that the mind is causally connected to the brain, not that they are identical. A sound is not stored in the groves of a record, but rather is causally connected with those groves (one can cause a sound by doing something to the grooves). Likewise, memories are neither parts of nor stored in the brain, but are stored in the mind, yet causally connected with the brain (one can cause a memory by doing something to the brain). [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p233, 234.]

· A simple thought experiment may further illustrate the point. Try to picture a pink elephant in your mind, or if you do not have a vivid imagination, look at a colored object, close your eyes, and you will continue to have an awareness of that object called an after-image. Now, if you imagine a pink elephant or have, say, a blue after-image, there will be an awareness of pink or blue (a sense datum or a sensory way of experiencing) in your mind of which you are aware. There will be no pink elephant outside of you, but there will be a pink mental image or an awareness of pink in your mind. Now at that time there will be no pink or blue entity in your brain nor any awareness of pink or blue; no neurophysiologist could open your brain and see a pink or blue entity or an awareness of such an entity while you are having the sensory experience. But, then, the sensory event has a property—being pink or blue or being an awareness of pink or blue—that no brain event has. Therefore, they cannot be identical. The sense image is a mental entity. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p234.]

· Consider the following argument: 1. No physical properties are self-presenting. 2. At least some mental properties are self-presenting. 3. Therefore, at least some mental properties are not physical properties. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p234.]

· Mental properties, like feeling sad, experiencing red, having a thought that three is an odd number, are self-presenting properties, that is, they present themselves directly to the subject, they are psychological attributes, they are directly present to a subject because that subject simply has them immediately in his field of consciousness. There are two pieces of evidence for the claim that mental properties are self-presenting, while physical properties are not: One can have private access to one’s mental properties and not one’s physical properties, and one can know at least some of one’s mental properties incorrigibly, but this is not true of one’s knowledge of his physical properties. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p234.]

· First, let us look at the issue of private access. A person has private access to his own mental life. A woman is in a privileged position to know about what she is thinking and sensing compared to anyone else. Whatever ways one has for finding out if someone else is presently sensing a red after-image (by analyzing the other’s brain states or by looking at her behavior, say, her shouting “red” after looking at the flag), those ways are available to the other person in her attempt to know about her own sensation. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p234.]

· Physical objects, including one’s brain, are public objects, and no one is in a privileged position regarding them. A neurophysiologist can know more about one’s brain than the person himself does, but the scientist cannot know more about one’s mental life than the person himself. In fact, a scientist’s knowledge of one’s mental states will, ultimately, depend on the first-person reports of the persons having them, but a scientist’s knowledge of any physical state whatsoever will not depend on a first-person report. People have private, privileged access to their mental life because it contains self-presenting properties. Physical properties are not self-presenting. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p235.]

· Some physicalists respond to this by claiming that we may reach the time when a scientist will know more about a patient’s current mental states than the patient does, and such scientific knowledge will not depend essentially on first-person reports. However, it is hard to see how such progress in scientific knowledge would be possible without the subject having to report verbally or by behavior his own mental states to the outside observer because he alone has private access to them. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p235.]

· Not only do people have private access to their own mental states, but also, people can know them incorrigibly. If something is incorrigible to a knowing subject, then that subject is incapable of being mistaken about that thing. (…) Again, one can be wrong if one thinks that a chair is in the next room. But one cannot be wrong about the fact that one at least thinks that the chair is there, i.e., that a certain, specific thought is occurring to one. The former claim is about a physical object (the chair); the latter is about a mental state within a person—a thought that one is currently having. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p235.]

· Physicalists deny that people know their own mental states incorrigibly. For example, one may be experiencing an itch and mistakenly classify or report it to others as a pain. Dualists respond that in cases like these, people are still incorrigibly aware of the felt texture of the experience itself, even though they may not have the correct word to report it to others or even if they don’t remember past experiences of different kinds of itches well enough to know how to classify the present itch in light of their past, poorly remembered experiences. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p236.]

· As Howard Robinson puts it: The notion of having something as an object of experience is not, prima facie, a physical notion; it does not figure in any physical science. Having something as an object of experience is the same as the subjective feel or the what it is like of experience. [Howard Robinson, Matter and Sense (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), p. 7.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p236.]

· Subjective states of experience are real—people experience sounds, tastes, colors, thoughts, pains—and they are essentially characterized by their subjective nature. But this does not appear to be true of anything physical. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p236.]

· Secondary qualities are qualities such as colors, tastes, sounds, smells and textures. Primary qualities are qualities thought to be among the properties that characterize matter—weight, shape, size, solidity, motion. According to some, physicalism seems to imply that secondary qualities do not exist in the external world. For example, some claim that color is really nothing but a wavelength of light. So in general, physicalism reduces the properties of matter to being nothing but primary qualities. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p236.]

· Frank Jackson has put the point this way: It is a commonplace that there is an apparent clash between the picture Science gives of the world around us and the picture our senses give us. We sense the world as made up of coloured, materially continuous, macroscopic, stable objects; Science and, in particular, Physics, tells us that the material world is constituted of clouds of minute, colourless, highly-mobile particles. . . . Science forces us to acknowledge that physical or material things are not coloured. . . . This will enable us to conclude that sense-data are all mental, for they are coloured. [Frank Jackson, Perception (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), p. 121.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p236, 237.]

· Now there is a clear tendency in physics to claim that color is just a wavelength of light, and thus, when we say that an apple is red, this just means that the apple has certain physical dispositions to absorb certain wavelengths of light and reflect others and so forth. We do not need to postulate that the apple actually has a shade of red on its surface to explain all the scientific cause-and-effect relationships that occur between the apple, light waves and the bodies of observers. Now this same strategy is what many physicalists want to use in reducing mental states to physical states. For those physicalists who do not apply this strategy to secondary qualities, it would seem to be more consistent for them not to apply that strategy to mental states. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p237.]

· When we pay attention to our own consciousness, we can become aware of a very basic fact presented to us: We are aware of our own self as being distinct from our bodies and from any particular mental experience we have. We simply have a basic, direct awareness of the fact that we are not identical to our bodies or our mental events; rather, we are the selves that have a body and a conscious mental life. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p238.]

· This point can be expanded by noting that through introspection a person is directly aware of the fact that (1) he is an immaterial center of consciousness and volition that uses his body as an instrument to interact with the material world; (2) he is the owner of his experiences and he is not identical to a bundle of mental experiences; and (3) he is an enduring self who exists as the same possessor of all his experiences through time. This direct awareness shows that a person is not identical to his or her body in whole or in part or to one’s experiences, but rather is the thing that has them. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p238.]

· The first-person perspective is the vantage point that one uses to describe the world from one’s own point of view. Expressions of a first-person point of view utilize what are called indexicals—words like I, here, now, there and then. Here and now are where and when I am; there and then are where and when I am not. Indexicals refer to one’s own self. I (and, most likely, now) is the most basic indexical, and it refers to one’s self, which one knows by acquaintance with one’s own ego in acts of self-awareness. That is, one is immediately aware of one’s own self, and one knows who I refers to when one uses it—it refers to that very person as the owner of his or her body and mental states. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p239.]

· According to physicalism, there are no irreducible, privileged, first-person perspectives. Everything can be exhaustively described in an object language from a third-person perspective. A physicalist description of Tom would say that there exists a body at a certain location that is five feet, eight inches tall, weighs 160 pounds, etc. (…) But no amount of third-person descriptions capture Tom’s own subjective, first-person acquaintance of his own self in acts of self-awareness. In fact, for any third-person description of Tom, it would always be an open question as to whether the person described in third-person terms was the same person as Tom is. The reason Tom knows his self is not because he knows some thirdperson description of a set of mental and physical properties and also knows that a certain person satisfies that description. Rather, Tom knows himself as a self immediately through being acquainted with his own self in an act of selfawareness. He can express that self-awareness by using the term I. Arguably, I refers to one’s own substantial soul. It does not refer to any mental property or bundle of mental properties one is having, nor does it refer to any body described from a third-person perspective. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p239.]

· It would seem that a person can maintain absolute sameness through change, that is, personal identity. More specifically, even though one’s body constantly gains new parts and loses old ones, and even though one’s mental states come and go in rapid succession, nevertheless, the person himself remains the same because he is a mental self that is other than his body parts and mental states. If one were merely a body or a body with mental properties, then when one’s body parts or mental life changed, one would not literally be the same. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p239.]

· For our purposes, when we use the term “free will” we mean what is called libertarian freedom: Given choices A and B, one can literally choose to do either one, no circumstances exist that are sufficient to determine one’s choice; a person’s choice is up to him, and if he does one of them, he could have done otherwise, or at least he could have refrained from acting at all. One acts as an agent who is the ultimate originator of one’s own actions and, in this sense, is in control of one’s action. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p240.]

· If physicalism is true, then, arguably, determinism is true as well, at least for normal-sized objects like brains or bodies. If one is just a physical system, there is nothing in him that has the capacity to choose freely to do something. Material systems, at least large-scale ones, change over time in deterministic fashion according to the initial conditions of the system and the laws of chemistry and physics. A pot of water will reach a certain temperature at a given time in a way fixed by the amount of water, the input of heat and the laws of heat transfer. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p240.]

· Now, when it comes to morality, if determinism is true, some argue that it is hard to make sense of moral obligation and responsibility. They seem to presuppose libertarian freedom of the will. If one “ought” to do something, it seems to be necessary to suppose that one can do it in the libertarian sense. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p240.]

· If physicalism is true, one does not have any genuine ability to choose one’s actions. It is safe to say that physicalism requires a radical revision of many people’s commonsense notions of freedom, moral obligation, responsibility and punishment. On the other hand, if these commonsense notions are true, physicalism is false. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p240.]

· According to epiphenomenalism, when matter reaches a certain organizational complexity and structure, as is the case with the human brain, then matter “produces” mental states like fire produces smoke, or the structure of hydrogen and oxygen in water “produces” wetness. The mind is to the body as smoke is to fire. Smoke is different from fire (to keep the analogy going, some physicalists would identify the smoke with the fire or the functioning of the fire), but fire causes smoke, not vice versa. Mental states are byproducts of the brain, but they are causally impotent. Mental states merely “ride” on top of the events in the brain. It should be obvious that epiphenomenalism denies free will, since it denies that mental states cause anything. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p240.]

· In agent causation, substances are the cause; in event-event causation, a state within a substance is the cause. According to event-event causation, when one raises one’s arm, there is some state within one that causally necessitates or determines that the arm goes up; for example, a state of desiring that one’s arm go up or a state of willing that one’s arm go up. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p241.]

· H. P. Owen states that: determinism is self-stultifying. If my mental processes are totally determined, I am totally determined either to accept or to reject determinism. But if the sole reason for my believing or not believing X is that I am causally determined to believe it I have no ground for holding that my judgment is true or false. [H. P. Owen, Christian Theism (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1984), p. 118.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p241.]

· Why are physicalism and property dualism thought by many philosophers to be self-refuting? The simple answer is that they undercut the necessary reconditions for rationality itself to be possible. In other words, they make rationality itself impossible. If someone claims to know that physicalism or property dualism are true, or to embrace them for good reasons, if one claims that they choose to believe in them because of good reasons, then these claims are selfrefuting. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p242.]

· First, humans must have certain mental features true of them. They must have genuine intentionality, they must be capable of having thoughts and  propositions in their minds, they must be capable of having awarenesses of the things they claim to know as well as of the contents of their own minds. But intentionality, thoughts and propositions, and awarenesses are mental notions, not physical ones. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p242.]

· Second, in order to rationally think through a chain of reasoning such that one sees the inferential connections in the chain, one would have to be the same self present at the beginning of the thought process as the one present at the end. As Immanuel Kant argued long ago, the process of thought requires a genuine enduring “I.” If there is one self who reflects on premise (1), namely, “If P, then Q,” a second self who reflects on premise (2), namely, P, and a third self who reflects on the concluding statement (3), namely, Q, then there is literally no enduring self who thinks through the argument and draws the conclusion. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p242.]

· As H. D. Lewis noted, “one things seems certain, namely that there must be someone or something at the centre of such experience to hold the terms and relations together in one stream of consciousness.” [H. D. Lewis, The Self and Immortality (New York: Seabury, 1973), p. 34.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p242.]

· Finally, rationality seems to presuppose an agent view of the self and genuine libertarian freedom of the will. There are rational “oughts.” That is, given certain evidence, one “ought” to believe certain things. One is intellectually responsible for drawing certain conclusions, given certain pieces of evidence. If one does not draw that conclusion, one is irrational. But ought implies can. If one ought to believe something, then one must have the ability to choose to believe it or not to believe it. If one is to be rational, one must be free to choose his beliefs for the sake of certain reasons. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p242.]

· How could a soul, totally lacking in any physical properties, cause things to happen to the body or vice versa? How can the soul move the arm? How can a pin-stick in the finger cause pain in the soul? Response: This objection assumes that if we do not know how A causes B, then it is not reasonable to believe that A causes B, especially if A and B are different. But this assumption is not a good one. We often know that one thing causes another without having any idea of how causation takes place, even when the two items are different. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p243.]

· A magnetic field can move a tack, gravity can act on a planet millions of miles away, protons exert a repulsive force on each other and so forth. In these examples, we know that one thing can causally interact with another thing, even though we may have no idea how such interaction takes place. Further, in each case the cause would seem to have a different nature from the effect—forces and fields versus solid, spatially located, particle-like entities. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p243.]

· Evolutionist Paul Churchland makes this claim: The important point about the standard evolutionary story is that the human species and all of its features are the wholly physical outcome of a purely physical process. . . . If this is the correct account of our origins, then there seems neither need, nor room, to fit any nonphysical substances or properties into our theoretical account of ourselves. We are creatures of matter. And we should learn to live with that fact. [Paul Churchland, Matter and Consciousness (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1984), p. 21.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p244.]

· Since humans are merely the result of an entirely physical process (the processes of evolutionary theory) working on wholly physical materials, then humans are wholly physical beings. Response: Dualists could point out that this objection is clearly question begging. To see this, note that the objection can be put into the logical form known as modus ponens: If humans are merely the result of naturalistic, evolutionary processes, then physicalism is true. Humans are merely the result of naturalistic, evolutionary processes. Therefore, physicalism is true. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p244.]

12 The Mind-Body Problem: Alternatives to Dualism

· John Searle, one of the leading philosophers of mind in the twentieth century,

· has made the following observation: Acceptance of the current [physicalist] views is motivated not so much by an independent conviction of their truth as by a terror of what are apparently the only alternatives. That is, the choice we are tacitly presented with is between a “scientific” approach, as represented by one or another of the current versions of “materialism,” and an “unscientific” approach, as represented by Cartesianism or some other traditional religious conception of the mind. [John Searle, Rediscovering the Mind (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1992), pp. 3-4.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p249.]

· In other words, the main intellectual drive that underlies physicalism is not primarily philosophical arguments against dualism and in favor of physicalism, but what are taken to be the implications of a scientific, naturalistic worldview. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p249.]

· The problem of many minds is this: If dualism is true and the mind and body are different, then why would we expect that there would be just one mind attached to one body? When we meet a person, how could we ever know that the body before us had only one mind in it instead of seventeen minds? Since dualism cannot rule out the possibility of many minds, dualism leads to skepticism about our knowledge of how many minds others have, and thus it is to be rejected. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p260.]

· As Howard Gruber explains: The idea of either a Planful or an Intervening Providence taking part in the day-to-day operations of the universe was in effect a competing theory [to Darwin’s version of evolution]. If one believed that there was a God who had originally designed the world exactly as it has come to be, the theory of evolution through natural  selection could be seen as superfluous. Likewise, if one believed in a God who intervened from time to time to create some of the organisms, organs, or functions found in the living world, Darwin’s theory could be seen as superfluous. Any introduction of intelligent planning or decision-making reduces natural selection from the position of a necessary and universal principle to a mere possibility. [Howard E. Gruber, Darwin on Man: A Psychological Study of Scientific Creativity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974), p. 211.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p263.]

· Daniel Dennett notes that “Darwin saw from the outset that his theory had to include an entirely naturalistic account of the origins of ‘mind,’. . . for if Man were to be the golden exception to Darwin’s rule, the whole theory would be dismissible.” [Daniel Dennett, review of Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior by Robert J. Richards, Philosophy of Science 56 (1989): 541.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p263.]

· Paul Churchland makes this claim: The important point about the standard evolutionary story is that the human species and all of its features are the wholly physical outcome of a purely physical process. . . . If this is the correct account of our origins, then there seems neither need, nor room, to fit any nonphysical substances or properties into our theoretical account of ourselves. We are creatures of matter. And we should learn to live with that fact. [Paul Churchland, Matter and Consciousness (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1984), p. 21.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p264.]

· D. M. Armstrong asserts the following: It is not a particularly difficult notion that, when the nervous system reaches a certain level of complexity, it should develop new properties. Nor would there be anything particularly difficult in the notion that when the nervous system reaches a certain level of complexity it should affect something that was already in existence in a new way. But it is a quite different matter to hold that the nervous system should have the power to create something else, of a quite different nature from itself, and create it out of no materials. [D. M. Armstrong, A Materialist Theory of Mind (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1968), p. 30.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p264.]

· Arthur Peacocke agrees: I find it very hard to see why that functional property [consciousness] coded in a certain complex physical structure requires a new entity to be invoked, of an entirely different kind, to appear on the scene to ensure its emergence. How could something substantial, some substance or some other entity different in kind from that which has been evolved so far, suddenly come in to the evolutionary, temporal sequence? [Arthur Peacocke and Grant Gillett, eds., Persons & Personality (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987), p. 55.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p264.]

· Howard Robinson: [William] James called materialism a tough-minded theory. We began this essay by wondering why, if this is so, materialists are so often on the defensive in philosophy. The explanation seems to be that though the materialist makes a show of being tough-minded he is in fact a dogmatist, obedient not to the authority of reason, but to a certain picture of the world. That picture is hypnotising but terrifying: the world as a machine of which we are all insignificant parts. Many people share Nagel’s fear of this world view, but, like Nagel, are cowed into believing that it must be true. . . . But reason joins with every other constructive human instinct in telling us that it is false and that only a parochial and servile attitude towards physical science can mislead anyone into believing it. To opt for materialism is to choose to believe something obnoxious, against the guidance of reason. This is not tough-mindedness, but a willful preference for a certain form of soulless, false and destructive modernism. [Howard Robinson, Matter and Sense (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), p. 125.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p265.]

13 Free Will and Determinism

· First, there is the freedom of permission—the social/political notion of freedom involved in discussions of rights, the authority of the state, and law. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p268.]

· Second, there is freedom of personal integrity—the ability of fully developed, ideally functioning persons to act as unified selves in a responsible, mature way. This sense of freedom contrasts with the slavery and bondage that comes from being an immature, divided, undeveloped self. So understood, the freedom of personal integrity is in large measure a developmental concept largely employed in studies of psychological and spiritual formation, though it does have philosophical aspects to it. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p268.]

· Finally, there is freedom of moral and rational responsibility—that freedom, whatever it turns out to be, that is part of human action and agency, in which the human being acts as an agent who is in some sense the originator of one’s own actions and, in this sense, is in control of one’s action. This type of freedom serves as a necessary condition for moral and, some would say, intellectual responsibility. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p268.]

· We can define determinism as the view that for every event that happens, there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could have happened. For every event that happens, its happening was caused or necessitated by prior factors such that given these prior factors, the event in question had to occur. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p268.]

· Hard determinism denies the existence of free will (as understood by libertarians) and libertarianism accepts free will and denies determinism with respect to human freedom. Soft determinism, also called compatibilism, holds that freedom and determinism are compatible with each other, and thus the truth of determinism does not eliminate freedom. As we will see, compatibilists have a different understanding of free will from the one embraced by libertarians and hard determinists. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p268.]

· Compatibilism. The central idea behind compatibilism is this: If determinism is true, then every human action (e.g., raising one’s hand to vote) is causally necessitated by events that obtained prior to the action, including events that existed before the person acting was born. That is, human actions are mere happenings—they are parts of causal chains of events that lead up to them in a deterministic fashion. Moreover, determinism is true. But freedom properly understood is compatible with determinism; both determinism and freedom are true. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p269.]

· Major compatibilists in the history of philosophy have been Locke, Hume and Thomas Hobbes. Contemporary advocates are Daniel Dennett and Gary Watson. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p270.]

· Libertarianism claims that the freedom necessary for responsible action is not compatible with determinism. Real freedom requires a type of control over one’s action—and, more importantly, over one’s will—such that, given a choice to do A (raise one’s hand and vote) or B (leave the room), nothing determines that either choice is made. Rather, the agent himself must simply exercise his own causal powers and will to do one alternative, say A (or have the power to refrain from willing to do something). When this happens, the agent either could have refrained from willing to do A or he could have willed to do B without anything else being different inside or outside of his being. He is the absolute originator of his own actions. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p270.]

· Historically, well-known libertarians have been Thomas Aquinas and Thomas Reid. Currently, Timothy O’Connor, Peter van Inwagen and William Rowe are among the advocates of libertarian freedom. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p271.]

· Most philosophers agree about the ability condition: that in order to have the freedom necessary for responsible agency, one must have the ability to choose or act differently from the way the agent actually does. A free choice, then, is one where a person can act, or at least will to do otherwise. Most compatibilists and libertarians agree about this. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p271.]

· In Summa contra Gentiles 1.8, Thomas Aquinas states a principle about causal chains that is relevant to this example and, more generally, the type of control necessary for freedom according to libertarians: In an ordered series of movers and things moved [to move is to change in some way], it is necessarily the fact that, when the first mover is removed or ceases to move, no other mover will move [another] or be [itself] moved. For the first mover is the cause of motion for all the others. But, if there are movers and things moved following an order to infinity, there will be no first mover, but all would be as intermediate movers. . . . [Now] that which moves [another] as an instrumental cause cannot [so] move unless there be a principal moving cause [a first cause, an unmoved mover]. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p275.]

14 Personal Identity and Life After Death

· Traditional Christian theology, common sense and various philosophical arguments unite to affirm that persons sustain absolute, real sameness through various kinds of change. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p286.]

· Such questions have been part of philosophy since its inception, and they have often focused on the ship of Theseus, an ancient Greek sailor and warrior who was a king of Athens. Here is Plutarch’s reference to the ship of Theseus: The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their place, insomuch that this ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same. [Plutarch, “The Life of Theseus,” in The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, trans. John Dryden, rev. Arthur H. Clough (New York: Random House, n.d.), p. 14.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p288.]

Part IV Philosophy of Science

15 Scientific Methodology

· If Christians are going to speak to the modern world and interact with it responsibly, they must interact with science. And if believers are going to explore God’s world by means of science and integrate their theological beliefs with the results of that exploration, they need a deeper understanding of science itself. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p307.]

· There are two very different and competing approaches to the philosophy of science. The first is called an external philosophy of science (EPS). In this view, science itself is the object of study, and one applies a general philosophical understanding of reality (metaphysics), knowing (epistemology) and logical structure to episodes of science, evaluating the episodes as good or bad science. Philosophy is seen as a normative discipline that justifies the presuppositions of science and evaluates certain scientific claims in light of what we already have reason to believe from metaphysics and epistemology. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p308.]

· By contrast, a recent view in the philosophy of science, developed by thinkers like W. V. O. Quine and Wilfred Sellars, is called an internal philosophy of science (IPS). In this view, philosophy is a branch of science. There is no difference in kind between philosophical and scientific questions but only one of degree— usually, philosophical questions (e.g., What is reality in general?) are broader than scientific ones (e.g., What is matter?). [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p309.]

· The inadequacies of IPS have kept most philosophers from accepting it. IPS assumes that we can already recognize the difference between good and bad science in our attempt to describe science, but such a recognition will involve distinctively philosophical assessment. Moreover, IPS begs the question against skeptics that ask why are we justified in accepting the cognitive authority of science in the first place. IPS merely asserts the epistemological authority of science and this is question begging. Finally, IPS breaks down the distinction between normative and descriptive issues. Descriptive scientific questions about how we do, in fact, form our beliefs are very different from and presuppose answers to normative philosophical questions about how we are justified in trusting beliefs in general. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p309.]

· First, there is the epistemology of science, which investigates the process of discovering scientific laws and theories, how we use those laws and theories to explain things, and how laws and theories receive confirmation from various sources like successful predictions. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p309.]

· Second, there is the ontology of science, which focuses on the realism-antirealism debate. Should good scientific theories be interpreted as true or approximately true descriptions of the theory-independent world and/or should we believe in the existence of the theoretical entities postulated in those theories? Or should we interpret the success of good scientific theories in ways that do not require commitment to the existence of the theoretical entities in those theories? [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p309.]

· Finally, there is the philosophy of nature: Given that we accept scientific realism, how should our scientific beliefs about what is real factor into our broad worldview about reality in general? [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p309.]

· For example, the following statement, taken from a widely used high school biology text, is typical: “Scientists use the scientific method in attempting to explain nature. The scientific method is a means of gathering information and testing ideas. . . . The scientific method separates science from other fields of study.” [Peter Alexander et al., Biology: Teacher’s Edition (Morristown, N.J.: Silver Burdett, 1986), p. 4.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p310.]

· In this section, our exploration of scientific methodology will lead us to two discoveries: First, there is no such thing as the scientific method, but rather there is a cluster of practices and issues that are used in a variety of contexts and can be loosely called scientific methodologies. Second, various aspects of scientific methodologies are used in disciplines outside science. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p310.]

· Inductivism is a view of the scientific method made popular in the nineteenth century and usually associated with the ideas of Francis Bacon (1561-1591), J. F. W. Herschel (1792-1866) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), though the actual description of scientific methodology by these three figures is much more complicated than the sort of inductivism to be described in this section. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p310.]

· Inductivism is an entire view about scientific methodology and should not be confused with induction itself, which is a form of inference wherein the truth of the premises does not guarantee but only supports the truth of the conclusion to one degree or another. As it came to be understood by the middle of the twentieth century, inductivism is a view of scientific method wherein scientists are seen as starting with unbiased observations of facts, progressively piling up more and more facts by means of those observations, generalizing them by enumerative induction into laws, combining these generalizations into broader and broader generalizations by piling up more facts and, finally, arriving at various levels of scientific laws whose contents are nothing but the facts in general form. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p310.]

· The epistemology of justification refers to the normative, logical structure by which a scientist or community of scientists justifies scientific laws and theories. Inductivism implies that a scientific law or theory is justified only if the evidence in favor of that law or theory fits the inductive scheme already mentioned. Scientists form and test laws and theories by (1) starting with observations without any bias or prior guesswork as to what is important or unimportant to be observed, (2) observing and analyzing the facts gathered in step 1 so as to classify them in different ways, (3) inductively deriving generalizations from this classification of facts, (4) testing these generalizations by further observations and experiments and forming higher-order generalizations. Scientific knowledge is a conjunction of well-attested facts that grows by the addition of new facts that usually leaves previous facts unaltered. One’s belief in the plausibility of a law grows in proportion to the number of observed positive instances of the phenomenon described in it. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p311.]

· First, one cannot merely start with observations without some guiding hypothesis or background assumptions, however tentatively they are held, to guide in deciding what is and is not relevant to observe. Pure, presuppositionless observations are a fable in science, and scientists almost never start with observations. Usually, they start with a problem to be solved and a set of assumptions and hypotheses about what is and is not relevant to observe. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p312.]

· In fact, sometimes a shift in theory can turn seeming facts into falsehoods, as Rom Harré has pointed out: For instance, consider the history of the determination of the atomic weights. What were the facts? Under the influence of Prout’s hypothesis some chemists considered that the discrepancies between integral values for the atomic weights of the elements [e.g., chlorine is approximately 35.5] were errors, since Prout had maintained that all elemental atoms were combinations of whole numbers of complete hydrogen atoms, and hence their atomic weights had to be integral numbers by comparison with hydrogen. Those who did not accept or had abandoned Prout’s hypothesis were inclined rather to suppose that the non-integral weights were the facts, that is a genuine measure of a natural phenomenon. What the facts were depended in part on whether one held or did not hold to a particular theory. [Rom Harré, The Philosophies of Science (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972), p. 43.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p312.]

· Several other problems have been raised against inductivism: the problem of induction (what justifies the inference from “All observed A’s are B” to “All A’s whatsoever are B”); the difficulty of deciding between accidental generalizations about a phenomenon that merely happen to be true (e.g., plants grow from the sun’s warmth) and lawlike generalizations that express real necessities in nature based on a background theory of the true nature of the phenomenon in question (e.g., plants grow from the sun’s light by photosynthesis); and the fact that scientists do not try merely to describe phenomena by generalizations, but also to explain them with theories about underlying mechanisms, often unobserved or even unobservable, that account for observational generalizations. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p313.]

· A better way of picturing scientific reasoning is called the hypothetico-deductive method, advocated by Carl Hempel, among others. Roughly, this view sees scientists as, in one way or another, forming and putting forth a hypothesis, deriving test implications from it (along with what are called boundary conditions), then seeing if observations corroborate with the hypothesis. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p313.]

· There are seven aspects of the proposed eclectic model to explore: (1) the formation of scientific ideas, (2) the nature of scientific questions and problems, (3) the use of scientific ideas and scientific explanation, (4) the nature of scientific experiments, (5) the testing of scientific ideas (scientific confirmation), (6) the nature of scientific ideas (laws and theories) and (7) the aims and goals of scientific ideas. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p313.]

· While some views we will look at are not as plausible as others, nevertheless, each is logically consistent with the practice of science, and this supports an eclectic model of scientific methodology; it shows that scientific methodology is a cluster of different methodologies and not one single method worthy of the title “the scientific method.” [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p314.]

· The formation of scientific ideas. Area one is sometimes called the psychology of discovery and refers to the process by which individual scientists or communities of scientists discover and form their ideas. It is generally agreed that there is no formalized method, no step-by-step procedure that characterizes the process of scientific discovery. Sometimes scientists discover things by accident. On other occasions they generate their ideas in more bizarre ways. It is well known, for example, that F. A. Kekule (1829-1896) came up with the hexagon formula for the benzene ring by having a trancelike vision of a snake attempting to chase its own tail and thus curving into such a ring! [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p314.]

· First, scientists generate ideas by a creative process of educated guesswork known as adduction or abduction. Adduction refers to the process of inventing a theory to explain observed facts. Science is a craft, and after a scientist has worked in an area for a while, this personal involvement allows the scientist to develop savvy about that area, a sense of tacit know-how. Part of this knowhow is the ability to see things in a certain way, to intuit patterns of phenomena and, by the use of creative imagination, to adduce a conceptual web to explain those patterns. Often a scientist cannot say how it was that he or she came up with a theory. This same sort of tacit knowledge is used by auto mechanics, judges, biblical exegetes and others who use their knowledge of a field to weigh things and adduce a solution to a problem. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p314.]

· The nature of scientific questions and problems. Often, scientists try to solve problems by answering at least three types of questions. First there are “what” questions: What does the fossil record look like? What is the half-life of uranium? Here scientists try to establish facts even if they cannot, even in principle, explain those facts. For example, scientists could try to establish what the rest mass is of some alleged ultimate particle, even if they do not believe there is a further explanation for why the rest mass is some specific value because the particle is taken as ultimate. Second, scientists answer “why” questions: Why do metals expand when heated? Here the focus is on stating the cause for some phenomenon (e.g., the efficient or final cause). Third, scientists answer “how” questions: How does light dislodge an electron from the surface of a metal? “How” questions are requests for a description of how it is that some cause accomplishes an effect. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p315, 316.]

· Two things should be noted about these questions. First, disciplines outside of science ask and answer very similar types of questions. Second, scientific methodology is not exhausted by a search for answers to “how” questions. They also answer “what” and “why” questions. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p316.]

· It is worth noting that the epistemological impact of anomalies for scientific theories is parallel to the impact of anomalies in areas outside science. For example, just exactly when is it no longer reasonable to believe in biblical inerrancy in light of anomalous data outside Scripture or problem passages? Answering this question is no easier in theology than in science. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p316.]

· First, there are internal conceptual problems. These arise when the concepts within a theory appear to be vague, ambiguous, circularly defined or contradictory. For example, some have argued that the wave-particle nature of electromagnetic radiation is contradictory, that the evolutionary pathway from reptile scales to bird feathers through a series of slightly changed intermediaries is unclear and vague, that the use of imaginary time by cosmologists such as Stephen Hawking is unintelligible and that “survival of the fittest” is circularly defined. The point is not that these objections have been decisive, but rather that they are examples of internal conceptual problems. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p316.]

· First, there is the covering-law or inferential model of explanation made popular by Carl G. Hempel and Ernest Nagel. According to this view, two factors make an explanation a scientific one: the logical form of the explanation and the nature of the explanation’s premises. The terms explanans and explanandum mean, respectively, “that which does the explaining” and “that which is to be explained.” [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p317.]

· There are compositional or structural explanations: the properties of an object are explained in terms of the properties or structural relations of its parts. There are historical explanations, which explain the properties and existence of an object in terms of the temporal development and history of the object and its ancestors. With functional explanations the capacities of an object are explained in terms of the function they play in some system— the function of x (the heart) is to do y (pump blood). Transitional explanations explain a change of state in some object in terms of some disturbance in the object and the state of the object at the time of the disturbance. Finally, there are intentional explanations, which explain the behavior of an organ ism or the existence of some state of affairs in terms of the beliefs, desires, fears and intentions of that organism. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p319, 320.]

· There is no reason that can be derived from the nature of scientific explanation for why the same type of argument could not be used to explain some sort of phenomenon in biology or a related field, say in explaining the origin of life. Whether or not the explanation would be a good one would, of course, largely be a scientific question. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p320.]

· In sum, falsificationism is the view that positive test results only show that the theory has so far not been falsified and that it is possibly true. Justification ism is the view that in one way or another, positive test results increase the probability that the theory is true and give it positive support. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p321, 322.]

· For one thing, there are three basic ways to distinguish a law from a theory. One way is to hold that a theory is roughly a hypothesis and, if it becomes well confirmed, can graduate to the status of a law. On this view, the only difference between the two is that a theory should be held tentatively and a law should be held firmly; that is, the differences lie in their relative degree of epistemological strength. While this way of speaking is fairly popular, it is the least helpful for understanding the nature of scientific methodology and thus is not widely used among philosophers of science. A second way to distinguish a law from a theory focuses on their relative degrees of generality—a theory is broader in scope than is a law. (…) A third way to distinguish theories from laws is embraced especially by those

· who hold to some form of scientific realism (see chap. 16) and who hold to the realist, causal model of scientific explanation discussed earlier in this chapter. On this view, laws merely describe the lawlike regularities that are observed in nature, and theories explain those regularities by offering a model for the theoretical entities, structures and processes thought to be causally responsible for those regularities. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p323.]

· Two different types exist: extrinsic and intrinsic goals of science. Extrinsic goals are the motives or reasons that scientists do science—for example, to glorify God, to exert power over nature, to protect the environment, etc. More important for assessing the truthfulness or epistemic strength of a scientific theory are intrinsic goals. These goals are the epistemic virtues that scientists seek: simple theories, empirically accurate theories and so forth. Further, part of understanding intrinsic scientific goals is how we should interpret a scientific law or theory that embodies various epistemic virtues and is, therefore, a “good” theory. Do scientists seek virtuous theories because they seek true theories that accurately describe the real world or do they seek virtuous theories because such theories work and are useful fictions? Scientific realists adopt the former view of intrinsic scientific goals, and scientific antirealists adopt the latter. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p324.]

16 The Realism-Antirealism Debate

· If scientific realism is accepted as the correct view of a scientific theory—for example, the idea that by employing the notion of imaginary time as something real, one can avoid postulating that the universe had a beginning—then if that theory seems to run counter to some theological affirmation, say, that the universe had a beginning, then Christians will either have to refute that scientific theory, adjust their understanding of the theological affirmation or adopt a different strategy. Thus much depends on what it means for a theory to be well established or successful. This, in turn, is related to the debate about realism and antirealism. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p327.]

· However, if antirealism is adopted for and limited to scientific theories, then one would not take a well-established scientific theory to be true or approximately true—perhaps the theory is just a useful fiction—and there will be no pressure to adjust the truth of the theological affirmation. For example, if a theologian believes that all physical events have causes, and if quantum physics seems to deny this, then if quantum theory is taken in an antirealist way, there would be no need to adjust one’s view of causation. On the other hand, there may be dangers in adopting antirealism for scientific theories because, once this move is made, it may be difficult to limit antirealism to scientific theories alone. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p328.]

· Scientific realism was a minority view in the first half of the twentieth century, at least among the more vocal philosophers, but is now the majority position among current philosophers of science. Prominent scientific realists are Ernan McMullin, Richard Boyd, W. H. Newton-Smith, Karl Popper and Rom Harré. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p329.]

· According to this argument, scientific realism is the best explanation for the fact that (1) our theories actually work (i.e., embody various epistemic virtues); (2) science makes progress in solving its problems; (3) often, a scientific theory will have a host of independent, empirical confirmations for it that converge together to support the theory, even if some of those empirical confirmations were not originally conceived as part of the domain for which the theory was thought to be responsible. Scientific realists claim that the best explanation for these three facts is that our theories succeed in laying hold of reality and giving at least approximately true descriptions of what really exists. For the scientific realist, it is because our theories capture the way the world is that those theories embody epistemic virtues, allow us to solve problems, obtain empirical confirmation and can be extended into new, previously unthought-of domains of investigation. If we abandon scientific realism, say its advocates, these facts about science can only be regarded as fortuitous miracles. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p332.]

· Among other things, phenomenalism is an epistemological doctrine that includes a view about the nature of perception. It was discussed in chapter eight, and thus it will only be briefly treated here with special focus on the way phenomenalism relates to the nature of science. Phenomenalism is a view that was more popular earlier in this century. Major proponents of one form or another of phenomenalism have been Benjamin Brodie, Ernst Mach and A. S. Eddington. Essentially, phenomenalism is a radical empiricist theory of epistemology to the effect that all our knowledge is derived from and is about immediate sensory experiences. Applied to science, the view implies that scientific knowledge is about what can be directly observed. Any thing or process that cannot be perceived cannot be supposed to exist for science. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p336.]

· Operationalism, occasionally called operationism, is an approach to science very similar to phenomenalism. Its major proponent has been P. W. Bridgman (1882-1962). Whereas phenomenalism links scientific terms, laws and theories to actual or possible sensory experiences, operationalism links them to actual or possible laboratory operations. For the phenomenalist, scientific laws and theoretical terms really refer not to mind-independent entities and events but to mind-dependent sensations. For the operationalist, scientific laws and theoretical terms really refer to experimental activities and operations. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p337.]

17 Philosophy and The Integration of Science and Theology

· The theorist who maintains that science is the be-all and end-all—that what is not in science textbooks is not worth knowing—is an ideologist with a peculiar and distorted doctrine of his own. For him, science is no longer a sector of the cognitive enterprise but an all-inclusive world-view. This is the doctrine not of science but of scientism. To take this stance is not to celebrate science but to distort it. [NICHOLAS RESCHER, THE LIMITS OF SCIENCE] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p346.]

· Scientism, expressed in the quotation by Rescher at the beginning of the chapter, is the view that science is the very paradigm of truth and rationality. If something does not square with currently well-established scientific beliefs, if it is not within the domain of entities appropriate for scientific investigation, or if it is not amenable to scientific methodology, then it is not true or rational. Everything outside of science is a matter of mere belief and subjective opinion, of which rational assessment is impossible. Science, exclusively and ideally, is our model of intellectual excellence. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p346, 347.]

· Strong scientism is the view that some proposition or theory is true and/or rational to believe if and only if it is a scientific proposition or theory; that is, if and only if it is a well-established scientific proposition or theory that, in turn, depends on its having been successfully formed, tested and used according to appropriate scientific methodology. There are no truths apart from scientific truths, and even if there were, there would be no reason whatever to believe them. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p347.]

· Advocates of weak scientism allow for the existence of truths apart from science and are even willing to grant that they can have some minimal, positive rationality status without the support of science. But advocates of weak scientism still hold that science is the most valuable, most serious and most authoritative sector of human learning. Every other intellectual activity is inferior to science. Further, there are virtually no limits to science. There is no field into which scientific research cannot shed light. To the degree that some issue or belief outside science can be given scientific support or can be reduced to science, to that degree the issue or belief becomes rationally acceptable. Thus we have an intellectual and perhaps even a moral obligation to try to use science to solve problems in other fields that, heretofore, have been untouched by scientific methodology. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p347.]

· Advocates of weak scientism are claiming that fields outside science gain if they are given scientific support and not vice versa. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p347.]

· If either strong or weak scientism is true, this would have drastic implications for the integration of science and theology. If strong scientism is true, then theology is not a cognitive enterprise at all and there is no such thing as theological knowledge. If weak scientism is true, then the conversation between theology and science will be a monologue with theology listening to science and waiting for science to give it support. For thinking Christians, either of these alternatives is unacceptable. What, then, should we say about scientism? [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p347.]

· Note first that strong scientism is self-refuting (see chap. 2 for a treatment of self-refutation). Strong scientism is not itself a proposition of science, but a second-order proposition of philosophy about science to the effect that only scientific propositions are true and/or rational to believe. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p347.]

· First, scientism (in both forms) does not adequately allow for the task of stating and defending the necessary presuppositions for science itself to be practiced (assuming scientific realism). Thus scientism shows itself to be a foe and not a friend of science. Science cannot be practiced in thin air. In fact, science itself presupposes a number of substantive philosophical theses which must be assumed if science is even going to get off the runway. Now each of these assumptions has been challenged, and the task of stating and defending these assumptions is one of the tasks of philosophy. The conclusions of science cannot be more certain than the presuppositions it rests on and uses to reach those conclusions. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p348.]

· Strong scientism rules out these presuppositions altogether because neither the presuppositions themselves nor their defense are scientific matters. Weak scientism misconstrues their strength in its view that scientific propositions have greater epistemic authority than those of other fields like philosophy. This would mean that the conclusions of science are more certain than the philosophical presuppositions used to justify and reach those conclusions, and that is absurd. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p348.]

· John Kekes strikes at the heart of weak scientism: A successful argument for science being the paradigm of rationality must be based on the demonstration that the presuppositions of science are preferable to other presuppositions. That demonstration requires showing that science, relying on these presuppositions, is better at solving some problems and achieving some ideals than its competitors. But showing that cannot be the task of science. It is, in fact, one task of philosophy. Thus the enterprise of justifying the presuppositions of science by showing that with their help science is the best way of solving certain problems and achieving some ideals is a necessary precondition of the justification of science. Hence philosophy, and not science, is a stronger candidate for being the very paradigm of rationality. [John Kekes, The Nature of Philosophy (Totowa, N.J.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1980), p. 158.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p348.]

· Here is a list of some of the philosophical presuppositions of science: (1) the existence of a theory-independent, external world; (2) the orderly nature of the external world; (3) the knowability of the external world; (4) the existence of truth; (5) the laws of logic; (6) the reliability of our cognitive and sensory faculties to serve as truth gatherers and as a source of justified beliefs in our intellectual environment; (7) the adequacy of language to describe the world; (8) the existence of values used in science (e.g., “test theories fairly and report test results honestly”); (9) the uniformity of nature and induction; (10) the existence of numbers. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p348.]

· The problem of induction is the problem of justifying such inferences. It is usually associated with David Hume. Here is his statement of it: It is impossible, therefore, that any arguments from experience can prove this resemblance of the past to the future, since all these arguments are founded on the supposition of that resemblance. Let the course of things be allowed hitherto ever so regular, that alone, without some new argument or inference, proves not that for the future it will continue so. In vain do you pretend to have learned the nature of bodies from your past experience. Their secret nature, and consequently, all their effects and influence, may change without any change in their sensible qualities. This happens sometimes, and with regard to some objects. Why may it not happen always, and with regard to all objects? What logic, what process of argument secures you against this supposition? My practice, you say, refutes my doubts. But you mistake the purport of my question. As an agent, I am quite satisfied in the point; but as a philosopher who has some share of curiosity, I will not say skepticism, I want to learn the foundation of this inference. [2David Hume, An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748; Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965), pp. 51-52 (section 4.2 in the original).] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p349.]

· Now the debate about the existence and nature of numbers is a philosophical one, and thus stating the debate and defending the existence of numbers is another philosophical task presuppositional to science. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p349.]

· In sum, scientism in both forms is inadequate. There are domains of knowledge outside and independent of science, and while we have not shown this here, theology is one of those domains. How, then, should the domains of science and theology be integrated? [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p350.]

· According to these models: A. Science and theology focus on two distinct, nonoverlapping areas of investigation, viz. the natural and the supernatural. B. Science and theology involve two different, complementary approaches to and descriptions of the same reality from different perspectives. Each involves a different level of description, tells us different kinds of things, and uses a different vocabulary. Each level of description is complete at its own level without having gaps in its perspective. Nevertheless, each is only a partial description of the whole reality described. Science and theology do not directly interact with each other in epistemically positive or negative ways, but are complementary views of the total reality described. Science and theology only conflict if one field illicitly encroaches into the territory of the other field. C. Science can fill out details in theology or help to apply theological principles and vice versa. D. Theology provides the metaphysical and epistemological foundation for science by justifying or, at least, helping to justify the necessary presuppositions of science. E. Science provides the boundaries within which theology must work. Theology can do its work only after consulting science. Thus science can inform theology but not vice versa. F. Science and theology involve descriptions that can directly interact with each other in mutually reinforcing or competing ways. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p350, 351.]

· This leaves us with position (F), labeled theistic science. This view, more than any of the others, allows for the possibility that science and theology may directly interact with each other in epistemically positive or negative ways. That is, (F) implies that some propositions of theology may support or gain support from science or they may conflict with and count against a scientific belief or vice versa. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p352.]

· The term evolution has several meanings. It may simply mean “change over time.” This sense of evolution is uncontroversial if taken to mean that microevolution has occurred, that is, that organisms can and have changed in various ways within certain limits. The second meaning of the term is the thesis of common descent: all organisms are related by common ancestry. This is sometimes called macroevolution, especially when coupled with the third meaning of evolution: the blind watchmaker thesis. This is a thesis about the mechanism of evolution, an explanation of how evolution in the first two senses has occurred. This thesis states that the processes of evolution are nonintelligent, purposeless and completely naturalistic (e.g., through mutation, natural selection, genetic drift). [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p353.]

· There are three main camps (with different subgroups within each camp) among Christians regarding the creation-evolution controversy. First, there is young earth creationism. Advocates of this view, like Duane Gish, Henry Morris and John Morris, hold that God’s work of creation took place in six literal, consecutive days of twenty-four hours and that the original creation of the universe took place recently, say ten to twenty thousand years ago. Moreover, most young earth creationists hold that the flood of Noah, understood as a universal deluge, is a major key for understanding the earth’s geological column. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p353.]

· Second, there is progressive creationism (sometimes called “old earth creationists”), held by people such as Bernard Ramm, Walter Bradley and Hugh Ross, who hold that theistic evolution is scientifically and biblically inadequate. More positively, they hold that there is strong scientific and biblical evidence for the claim that God has acted through primary causation to create at various times. Progressive creationists differ over just how often God has done this, but many progressive creationists say that God directly created each “kind” of organism (which is in need of more clarification), and most of them agree that God directly created “the heavens and earth,” first life (especially animal life) and Adam and Eve. Progressive creationists do not take the days of Genesis to be consecutive, literal twenty-four-hour periods, preferring instead to take them as long, unspecified periods of time or as six twenty-four-hour periods separated from each other by long periods of time. Either way, they view the age of the universe and earth in terms of billions of years, though most progressive creationists hold that Adam and Eve are recent creations. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p353.]

· Finally, theistic evolutionism, represented by Howard J. Van Till and Richard Bube, generally holds that theology is complementary to science, that Scripture is not a science textbook, and that methodological naturalism (according to which answers to questions are sought only within nature, within the contingent created order) is the correct posture to take while doing science. Thus theistic evolution is the proper view to take regarding origins. Accordingly, the general theory of evolution is to be taken as approximately true. Most theistic evolutionists accept all three senses of evolution listed above, except they would modify sense three. They would hold that naturalistic processes were, indeed, operative in the creation of all life and these are complementary to God’s creative and providential activity. Some theistic evolutionists hold that when God created the world in the beginning, he caused it to have functional integrity— the created world had no gaps, no functional deficiencies that would require God to act through primary causation. Rather, God implanted potentialities in his original creation such that all the various kinds of creatures would arise through normal processes as these potentialities unfold. Others hold that God simply guides and sustains the widely accepted processes of evolution and creates through secondary causation solely by means of those processes. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p353, 354.]

· The main debate between young earth and progressive creationists is over the use of the Hebrew word yom (day) in Genesis, and thus over the age of the universe and earth and over the usefulness of the flood for doing geology. They are agreed, however, that the general theory of evolution is false and that some sort of theistic science is appropriate. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p354.]

· Theistic evolutionists, on the other hand, usually hold that science presupposes methodological naturalism, that science and theology are complementary to each other, and that evolution is only a problem for Christians when it is coupled with philosophical naturalism as a broad worldview, that is, the doctrine that the natural world is all there is. Thus the dialogue among these groups is not merely one about scientific fact. It never has been, because beginning with Darwin himself, the creation-evolution controversy has significantly been a debate about philosophy of science: Should theology directly interact and enter into the very fabric of science or should science adopt methodological naturalism? [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p354.]

· Thus theistic science can be understood as a research program that, among other things, utilizes the insights of theology, where appropriate, for doing science. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p354.]

· Theology can provide propositions “from above” for guiding research and, in keeping with the hypothetico-deductive method, which can generate positive and negative test implications (e.g., that evidence of human origins should be found in the Mideast, that models of the universe entailing an infinite past like certain big bang models will be falsified). [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p355.]

· Theology can provide and help solve external and internal conceptual problems (e.g., problems of overcoming the improbabilities of life originating by chance without a guiding intelligence). [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p355.]

· Theology can provide explanations for certain scientific problems and data. Some of these explanations involve the use of a primary causal act of God, and thus the use of personal agency (e.g., in solving the problem of gaps in the fossil record by noting that they are to be expected due to God’s primary causal activity in creating discrete “kinds” of organisms). Other explanations involve theological propositions that do not directly include personal agency (e.g., the notion of original sin to help explain different types of psychological defense mechanisms). [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p355.]

· Theology can shed light on various issues in the confirmation of scientific hypotheses in at least four ways: (a) by providing rationally justified background beliefs against which rational assessment of a specific scientific theory can be made (e.g., given the belief that man was created by a primary causal act of God, then various evidences for prehuman ancestral forms will carry less weight than they would without this background belief); (b) by yielding positive and negative results that can be tested (see [1] above); (c) by recommending certain methodological rules over others (e.g., prefer explanations of living organisms on a substance model over those that treat them as machines and property-things when the two come into conflict—see chap. 10); (d) by specifying a certain ranking of epistemic virtues in certain cases (e.g., in origin of life research, prefer theories that solve external and internal conceptual problems theologically to theories that claim to offer avenues fruitful in guiding research for naturalistic mechanisms as to how life arose). [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p355.]

· Theology can provide extrinsic goals for science (e.g., to glorify God, to show that our Scriptures are not in conflict with what it is reasonable to believe from sources outside them) and can help justify certain intrinsic goals for science (e.g., as we saw in chap. 16 with those Christian theists who use their theism to justify scientific realism and thus the goal of truth for scientific theories). [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p355.]

· In recent years, a new movement has arisen called the intelligent design (ID) movement. Major participants in the ID movement are Phillip E. Johnson, Michael Behe, William Dembski, Jonathan Wells, Paul Nelson and Stephen Meyer. The ID movement rejects methodological naturalism and is committed to the in-principle legitimacy of theistic science. The ID movement is an entire approach to science, and as such it goes far beyond the topic of evolution. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p356.]

· Regarding evolution, ID proponents are committed to two central claims: (1) The central issue is between an intelligent design hypothesis and the blind watchmaker thesis. According to the blind watchmaker thesis, there is no scientific evidence or intellectual justification for appealing to an intelligent designer in order to explain the history of life and the existence and nature of living things and their parts. Rather, nonintelligent, purposeless naturalistic processes are fully adequate to explain all the relevant scientific facts. Advocates of ID demur and believe an intelligent design model is superior to the blind watchmaker thesis. (2) The facts that justify an inference to an intelligent designer and the inference itself are properly construed as being within the domain of science. ID proponents reject methodological naturalism and accept theistic science. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p356.]

· If theistic evolution is construed such that it includes a commitment to (1) the thesis of common descent (all life is related by a common ancestry), (2) the functional integrity of creation (subsequent to the initial creation of the universe, there are not gaps and God does not act in natural history by way of primary causal miracle) and (3) methodological naturalism, then theistic evolution is not compatible with ID theory. However, if theistic evolution is taken to include the first two commitments and not the third, then theistic evolution and ID theory are compatible. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p356.]

· Dembski analyzes cases in which insurance employees, police and forensic scientists must determine whether a death was an accident (no intelligent cause) or brought about intentionally (done on purpose by an intelligent agent). According to Dembski, whenever three factors are present, scientific investigators are rationally obligated to draw the conclusion that the event was brought about intentionally: (1) The event was contingent, that is, even though it took place, it did not have to happen. (2) The event had a small probability of happening. (3) The event is capable of independent specifiability. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p357.]

· Dembski and other ID theorists argue that the fine-tuning of the universe, the biological information in living organisms, and other phenomena justify the scientific inference of an intelligent designer. Thus ID theorists accept theistic science and reject methodological naturalism. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p358.]

· Many Christian theists believe that in the natural sciences (defined ostensibly as the sciences of chemistry, physics, biology, geology and other branches of science usually taken to be the “hard” or “natural” sciences) one ought to adopt methodological naturalism. In one form or another, this position has been advanced by Howard J. Van Till, Charles Hummel, and Paul de Vries. [See Howard J. Van Till, Robert E. Snow, John H. Stek and Davis A. Young, Portraits of Creation (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990); Charles E. Hummel, The Galileo Connection (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1986); Paul de Vries, “Naturalism in the Natural Sciences: A Christian Perspective,” Christian Scholar’s Review 15 (1986): 388-96.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p358.]

· The goal of natural science: The goal of natural science is to explain contingent natural phenomena strictly in terms of other contingent natural phenomena. Explanations should refer only to natural objects and events and not to the personal choices and actions of human and divine agents. Natural science seeks knowledge of the physical properties, behavior and formative history of the physical world. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p358.]

· Methodological versus philosophical naturalism. Within science, we should adopt methodological naturalism, according to which answers to questions are sought within nature, within the contingent created order. For example, in describing how two charged electrodes separate hydrogen and oxygen gas when placed in water, the “God hypothesis” is both unnecessary and out of place. The physical universe—the world of atoms, subatomic particles and things made of atoms—is the proper object of scientific study, and methodological naturalism is the proper method for pursuing that study. Philosophical naturalism, on the other hand, is the philosophical doctrine that the natural world is all there is and that God, angels and the like do not exist. Science presupposes methodological naturalism but not philosophical naturalism, and the two should not be confused. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p358.]

· Philip Kitcher, no friend of creationism, admits this: Moreover, variants of Creationism were supported by a number of eminent nineteenth-century scientists. . . . These Creationists trusted that their theories would accord with the Bible, interpreted in what they saw as a correct way. However, that fact does not affect the scientific status of those theories. Even postulating an unobserved Creator need be no more unscientific than postulating unobservable particles. What matters is the character of the proposals and the ways in which they are articulated and defended. The great scientific Creationists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries offered problem-solving strategies for many of the questions addressed by evolutionary theory. [Philip Kitcher, Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1982), p. 125.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p360.]

· Now some branches of science—for example, SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence), archeology, forensic science, psychology and sociology— use personal agency and various internal states of agents (desires, willings, intentions, beliefs) as part of their description of the causal entities cited in their explanations of the things they try to explain. This is especially true in the historical sciences as opposed to the empirical sciences. Thus there is nothing nonscientific about appealing to divine agency in creationist explanations of certain phenomena such as the origin of the universe, first life and human beings. At the very least, such an appeal cannot be faulted as nonscientific on the grounds that it involves an agent causal explanation and not an explanation in terms of subsumption under natural law. Moreover, such an appeal to divine agency may be especially (but not solely) appropriate where there are theological reasons to believe God acted through primary and not secondary causes. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p361.]

· For example, one often finds Darwin and other evolutionists making claims to the effect that if God were an optimal, efficient designer who was also free to use variety in his designing activities, then certain biological structures (e.g., homologous structures like the forelimbs of birds, porpoises and humans that have a similar structure but serve different purposes) would not be present because they are not very efficient nor do they show much creativity. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p361.]

· Finally, as we noted above, advocates of ID theory practice theistic science without being committed one way or another to gaps in the history of the cosmos. According to ID advocates, one can use science to discover the products of intelligent design without having any idea how those products came about. Critics who raise a “god-of-the-gaps” objection against theistic science fail take into account ID theory. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p364.]

· As Richard Dickerson put it, “The most insidious evil of supernatural creationism is that it stifles curiosity and therefore blunts the intellect.” [Richard E. Dickerson, “The Game of Science: Reflections After Arguing with Some Rather Overwrought People,” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 44 (June 1992): 137.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p364.]

· Nicholas Rescher has pointed out: One way in which a body of knowledge S can deal with a question is, of course, by answering it. Yet another, importantly different, way in which S can deal with a question is by disallowing it. S disallows [Q] when there is some presupposition of Q that S does not countenance: given S, we are simply not in a position to raise Q. [Nicholas Rescher, The Limits of Science (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), p. 22.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p365.]

18 Philosophy of Time and Space

· In fact, Newton makes quite clear in the General Scholium to the Principia, which he added in 1713, that absolute time and space are constituted by the divine attributes of eternity and omnipresence. He writes: He [God] is eternal and infinite; . . . that is, his duration reaches from eternity to eternity; his presence from infinity to infinity. . . . He is not eternity and infinity, but eternal and infinite; he is not duration or space, but he endures and is present. He endures forever, and is everywhere present; and, by existing always and everywhere, he constitutes duration and space. Since every particle of space is always, and every indivisible moment of duration is everywhere, certainly the Maker and Lord of all things cannot be never and nowhere. [Newton, Mathematical Principles, 2:545.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p375.]

Part V Ethics

19 Ethics, Morality and Metaethics

· Ethics can be understood as the philosophical study of morality, which is concerned with our beliefs and judgments regarding right and wrong motives, attitudes, character and conduct. When an ethicist studies morality, certain value concepts are the center of focus: “right,” “wrong,” “good,” “bad,” “ought,” “duty,” “virtuous,” “blameworthy” and so on. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p393.]

· The following have been offered by a number of philosophers as a set of necessary (and/or sufficient) conditions for defining morality: 1. A judgment is moral only if it is accepted as a supremely authoritative, overriding guide to conduct, attitudes and motives. (…) 2. A judgment is moral only if it is a prescriptive imperative that recommends actions, attitudes and motives and not merely a factual description about actions, attitudes and motives. (…) 3. A judgment is moral only if it is universalizable, that is, if it applies equally to all relevantly similar situations. (…) 4. A judgment is moral only if it makes reference to proper human flourishing, human dignity, the welfare of others, the prevention of harm and the provision of benefit. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p394, 395.]

· Metaethics involves two main areas of investigation. First, metaethics focuses on the meaning and reference of crucial ethical terms, such as right and wrong, good and bad, ought and ought not, duty, and so on. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p396.]

· Noncognitivism denies that moral statements (e.g., “X is right”) are indicative statements that can be either true or false. Consider the statement “The apple is red.” This is an indicative statement. It asserts an alleged fact which has ontological implications. It asserts that there is an apple that exists and has an existent property, redness, in it. So indicative statements have ontological implications. Further, they can be either true or false. In this case, if the apple really is red, the statement is true. If the apple were green, it would be false. So indicative statements are cognitive in the sense that they can be either true or false, and they have ontological implications because they assert that some state of affairs obtains in the world. Noncognitivist theories or moral statements, however, deny that moral statements are either true or false and that moral statements have ontological implications. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p398.]

· Imperativalism/prescriptivism agrees with emotivists that moral statements are not indicative statements of fact. But they do not think that moral statements are expressions of feeling. Rather, they hold that moral statements are merely moral commands whose sole function is to guide action. “X is right” is merely the command “Do x!” [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p398.]

· Cognitivism holds that moral statements make truth claims because they are indicative statements that convey descriptive factual information: the statement “x is right” can be either true or false. Nevertheless, cognitivist theories of the meaning of moral statements differ in what they identify as the object that ethical statements describe. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p400.]

· Subjectivism holds that moral statements convey information about the speaker of the moral statement. According to private subjectivism, “x is right” states the psychological fact that “I like x.” This differs from emotivism. Emotivism holds that moral statements merely express feelings. Private subjectivism, however, holds that moral statements do not express feelings but describe the psychological state of the speaker. An expression of feeling cannot be false. But if person A says “I dislike x,” then this can be false if A really likes x but does not want to admit it. Cultural relativism is the view that statements like “x is right” state the sociological fact that “We in our culture like x.” [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p400.]

· Ethical naturalism is a reductionist view that holds that ethical terms (goodness, worth and right) can be defined by or reduced to natural, scientific properties that are biological, psychological, sociological or physical in nature. For example, according to ethical naturalism the term right in “X is right” means one of the following: “What is approved by most people”; “What most people desire”; “What is approved by an impartial, ideal observer”; “What maximizes desire or interest”; “What furthers human survival.” The important point here is that these moral terms and moral properties are not irreducibly moral in nature. Moral properties (e.g., worth, goodness or rightness) turn out to be properties that are biological or psychological. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p401.]

· Ethical nonnaturalism is the only view we have considered that holds that irreducible moral facts and properties really exist as part of the furniture of the universe. In addition to natural properties (redness and so forth), there are moral properties (rightness, goodness, worth), which persons and acts have and which moral statements ascribe to persons and acts. “X is right” ascribes an unanalyzable, irreducible moral property to X, just as “The apple is red” ascribes the natural property redness to the apple. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p401.]

· Mackie argues: If there were objective values, then they would be entities or qualities or relations of a very strange sort, utterly different from anything else in the universe. Correspondingly, if we were aware of them, it would have to be by some special faculty of moral perception or intuition, utterly different from our ordinary ways of knowing everything else. [J. L. Mackie, Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong (New York: Penguin, 1977), p. 38.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p402.]

· Mackie’s objection is a mere assertion of bias in favor of naturalism. It seems reasonable to say that if a physicalist version of philosophical naturalism is true, then objective moral values do not exist. But it is often the case in philosophy that one person’s modus ponens is another’s modus tollens. Mackie would affirm the antecedent and deny the objectivity of moral values. However, an opponent would deny the consequence and thus deny that a physicalist version of philosophical naturalism is true. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p402.]

20 Ethical Relativism and Absolutism

· Louis Pojman observes: Eskimos allow their elderly to die by starvation, whereas we believe that this practice is morally wrong. The Spartans of ancient Greece believed, and Dobu of New Guinea believe today, that stealing is morally right, but we believe that it is wrong. The Nuer of East Africa throw deformed infants to the hippopotamus, but we abhor infanticide. Ruth Benedict describes a tribe in Melanesia that views cooperation and kindness as vices, and Colin Turnbull had documented that the Ik in Northern Uganda have no sense of duty toward their children or parents. Some societies make it a duty for children to kill (sometimes strangle) their aging parents. Eskimos sometimes abandon their elderly as they move on to new locations. Sexual practices vary over time and clime. Some cultures permit homosexual behavior, whereas others condemn it. Some cultures practice cannibalism, whereas we detest it. Cultural relativism is well documented, and custom seems “king o’er all.” [Louis P. Pojman, Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 1990), p. 19.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p406, 407.]

· In general, a fact or factual belief involves a description about the way the world is: empirically, metaphysically, religiously. Some descriptions have nothing to do with morality, such as, “The lamp is on the desk.” If a descriptive statement does involve morality, then it is a statement about morality; for example, “Most people in America think racism is wrong.” In contrast, a value or value belief involves the adherence to some moral proposition that prescribes what morally ought to be. An “ought” statement makes a prescription. Moral, prescriptive statements are statements of morality, e.g., “Racism is wrong” or “Racism is morally permissible.” [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p407.]

· Differences in factual beliefs can play a decisive role in ethical disagreements. For example, when a Jehovah’s Witness refuses a blood transfusion and dies, does this imply that he or she accepts the moral appropriateness of suicide? Not at all. Jehovah’s Witnesses may agree with others that suicide is morally forbidden. But because they believe that God disapproves of eating blood and transfusions are examples of eating blood, these religious factual beliefs lead them to the following position: An act of refusing a blood transfusion is not an act of suicide but rather an act of sacrificing one’s life for God. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p408.]

· First, a moral dispute can be about a factual difference. For example, debates about abortion sometimes involve debates about whether the fetus is a person or a human being. Such a debate is a factual debate, not primarily a moral one, though of course it has serious moral implications. Both sides in the debate can agree that murder or manslaughter is wrong, but they differ about whether abortion is murder or manslaughter because they have different factual beliefs about the status of the fetus. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p408.]

· To begin with, a value difference can occur when one side affirms and the other side denies a moral proposition, such as the proposition that it is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being. On the other hand, a value difference can occur when both sides accept two or more moral principles, but weigh their relative strengths differently. For example, the right to life and the right to choice could both be embraced by each side of the abortion debate, but the two sides weigh them differently. Pro-life advocates could hold that the right to life takes precedence over the right to choose, and pro-choice advocates could reverse this order. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p408, 409.]

· Someone could respond that sometimes the fact that people cannot agree about something shows that there is no real fact of the matter at stake, that is, that no one is right and no one is wrong. On the other hand, from the simple existence of unresolved disagreements about something it still does not follow that no one is right. This further conclusion needs to be argued for, not merely asserted. Moreover, if a case can be made for true moral values (see below), then the presence of disagreements in moral views shows something other than the relative truth value of moral statements—for example, that people often form their moral views for self-serving, sinful reasons. Finally, ethical differences may not be as widespread as many people think. This leads to a second observation. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p409.]

· A second ethical thesis is called normative relativism or ethical relativism. This substantive moral thesis holds that everyone ought to act in accordance with the agent’s own society’s code. What is right for one society is not necessarily right for another society. (…) Put differently, normative relativism implies that moral propositions are not simply true or false. Rather, the truth values of moral principles themselves are relative to the beliefs of a given culture. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p410.]

· The majority of moral philosophers and theologians do not embrace normative relativism because of the seriousness of the criticisms raised against it. First, it is difficult to define what a society is or to specify in a given case what the relevant society is. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p410.]

· Second, a related objection is the fact that we are often simultaneously a member of several different societies that may hold different moral values: our nuclear or extended family; our neighborhood, school, church or social clubs; our place of employment; our town, state, country and the international community. Which society is the relevant one? What if I am simultaneously members of two societies and one allows but the other forbids a certain moral action? What do I do in this case? [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p410.]

· Third, normative relativism suffers from a problem known as the reformer’s dilemma. If normative relativism is true, then it is logically impossible for a society to have a virtuous, moral reformer like Jesus Christ, Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. Why? Moral reformers are members of a society who stand outside that society’s code and pronounce a need for reform and change in that code. However, if an act is right if and only if it is in keeping with a given society’s code, then the moral reformer is by definition an immoral person, for his views are at odds with those of his society. Moral reformers must always be wrong because they go against the code of their society. But any view that implies moral reformers are impossible is defective. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p411.]

· A fourth thesis often associated with ethical relativism is ethical skepticism. This is the view that no one’s ethical beliefs are true, or even if they are, no one is ever in a position to know that they are true. There are two main versions of ethical skepticism: an epistemological version and an ontological one. The epistemological version does not state that there are no objective moral values that are true; it merely holds that even if such values exist, we can never know what they are. The ontological version of ethical skepticism claims that there is no moral knowledge because there are simply no objective moral truths to be known. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p413.]

· First, one could adopt the standpoint of particularism and claim that it is self-evidently true that some things are simply right or wrong—mercy as such is a virtue; rape as such is wrong. The skeptic could respond that this claim is question-begging. He could ask us how we know these things are wrong. The particularist could reply that one does not need a criterion that tells us how we know the above claims before we are rationally entitled to make them. Further, we have more grounds for believing that mercy as such is a virtue than we have for believing that ethical skepticism is true. Thus the burden of proof seems to be on the skeptic in this case. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p413.]

· A statement is self-refuting if it falsifies itself and thus cannot be true. The statements “I do not exist,” “There are no truths whatever,” “I cannot utter a sentence in English” (uttered in English) are all selfrefuting. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p414.]

· Finally, if ethical skepticism is true, one cannot recommend any moral behavior whatever, including toleration of different moral opinions or even the alleged moral obligation to be skeptical. One cannot deny the existence or knowability of moral “oughts” in one breath and affirm a moral “ought” in the next breath; at least one cannot do this and remain consistent. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p414.]

· To understand this position, we need to make a distinction between a formal and a material moral principle. A formal principle states necessary conditions for the thing in question and gives the structure of that thing. It can be likened to the mold used to form a statue. It provides the necessary structure for what that statue will be like, but by itself it is not a statue. A material principle states a sufficient condition for the thing in question and gives its content. The material principle is like the content you pour into the mold to get the statue. The whole statue is a combination of its formal and material principle. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p414.]

· Combinatorial relativism is view that combines a formal principle, taken as a moral absolute, with a material principle that is taken to be relative. For example, some versions of combinatorial relativism state that we ought to respect creatures with biographical lives, or that we have a duty to pursue the good life and to allow others to do the same, or we have a duty not to harm others. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p414.]

· According to the classical sense of the principle of tolerance, a person holds that his own moral views are true and those of his opponent are false. But he still respects his opponent as a person and his right to make a case for his views. Thus someone has a duty to tolerate a different moral view, not in the sense of thinking it is morally correct, but quite the opposite, in the sense that a person will continue to value and respect one’s opponent, to treat him with dignity, to recognize his right to argue for and propagate his ideas and so forth. Strictly speaking, on the classic view, one tolerates persons, not their ideas. In this sense, even though someone disapproves of another’s moral beliefs and practices, he or she will not inappropriately interfere with them. However, it is consistent with this view that a person judges his opponent’s views to be wrong and dedicates himself to doing everything morally appropriate to counteract those views, such as using argument and persuasion. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p415, 416.]

· The modern version of tolerance, popular in the general culture, goes beyond the classical version in claiming that one should not even judge that other people’s viewpoints are wrong. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p416.]

· What does it mean to claim that some moral principle P is an absolute? There are at least three answers to this question. First, one can mean that P is objectively and unchangingly true irrespective of the beliefs of individuals or cultures. Someone who holds this form of absolutism would embrace one or more of the following: (1) Moral statements have truth values which make no reference to the beliefs of individuals or cultures. (2) There are objectively good/bad arguments for the truth of moral positions people take. (3) Nonmoral facts (e.g., persons exist) and moral facts (irreducibly moral properties like goodness) are relevant to the assessment of the truth value of moral statements. (4) When two moral statements conflict, only one can be true. (5) There is a single true morality. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p416.]

· A second understanding of an absolute is as follows. A moral absolute is true and completely exceptionless. This is sometimes put by saying that a moral absolute is universalizable: it is equally binding on all people at all times in relevantly similar circumstances. An exception to a moral principle is a case in which that principle normally applies, but for some reason it does not apply in this particular instance. On this understanding of a moral absolute, moral principles have no exceptions. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p417.]

· First, since one must either be a relativist or an absolutist, then arguments against relativism count as arguments for absolutism. An absolutist can try to show that the various forms of relativism are inadequate and use this as evidence for absolutism. For example, one can point out that if absolutes are denied, then morally unacceptable and irrational consequences follow. For example, if there are no absolutes, one could argue, then what Hitler and the Nazis did to the Jews was not plain and simply wrong, but only wrong in some lesser, relative sense. If this conclusion is unacceptable, then the premise that led to it (there are no absolutes) must be false. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p421.]

· Second, one can try to show that absolutes are to be expected, given that a certain worldview is judged reasonable. For example, theists or Platonists (those who hold that objective properties and propositions, including moral ones, exist whether or not they come from some divine being) could cite the fact that their worldview has this result: Absolute morality is at home in their conceptions of the world and is to be expected. On the other hand, physicalistic or naturalistic worldviews labor to justify moral absolutes in a way not necessary for theism or Platonism, because objective moral properties and propositions that refer to human beings are odd and surprising within their worldview. This type of argument moves the debate to the level of general worldview and the relationship between a worldview and objective morality. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p421.]

· Finally, one can seek to justify belief in the existence of moral absolutes by appealing to fundamental, basic, moral intuitions. We have already had occasion to see examples of this strategy. The moral relativist can respond that such appeals are question-begging. The issue boils down to different views of the burden of proof regarding moral relativism (cf. chap. 4). The absolutist believes that there are more grounds for believing these basic intuitions than there are for believing that relativism is true. The mere fact that it is logically possible that he or she is wrong is not sufficient to grant victory to the relativist. The relativist holds the opposite view and claims that the possibility of error is sufficient to justify abandonment of the claim to know that certain moral propositions are objectively true. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p421.]

· Princeton philosopher Saul Kripke once remarked that it was difficult to see what could be said more strongly for a view than that it squared with one’s basic, reflective intuitions. Kripke’s remark reminds us that in philosophy, ethical theory included, intuitions play an important role. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p422.]

· What is an intuition? The philosophical use of intuition does not mean a mere hunch or a prereflective expression of, say, a moral attitude. Nor is it a way of playing it safe, as when one says, “My intuition tells me that P is true but I really don’t know, and if you chose to accept P, you do so at your own risk.” While philosophers differ over a precise definition of intuitions, a common usage defines an intuition as an immediate, direct awareness or acquaintance with something. An intuition is a mode of awareness—sensory, intellectual or otherwise— in which something seems or appears to be directly present to one’s consciousness. For example, one can have a sensory intuition of a table or an intellectual intuition of a conceptual truth, for instance, that 2 + 2 = 4. Intuitions are not infallible, but they are prima facie justified. That is, if one carefully reflects on something, and a certain viewpoint intuitively seems to be true, then one is justified in believing that viewpoint in the absence of overriding counterarguments (which will ultimately rely on alternative intuitions). [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p422.]

21 Normative Ethical Theories: Egoism and Utilitarianism

· Roughly, deontological ethics focuses on right and wrong moral actions and moral laws and holds that some moral acts and rules are intrinsically right or wrong irrespective of the consequences produced by doing those acts or following those rules. According to deontological ethics, morality is its own point, at least in part, and moral duty should be done for its own sake. By contrast, virtue ethics focuses on the nature and formation of a good person, and the sort of dispositions and character traits that constitute the good person. According to virtue ethics, the good person is the one who is functioning properly, that is, as a human ought to function and thus is one who is skilled at life. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p446.]

· The term deontology comes from the Greek word deon, which means “binding duty.” Accordingly, the essence of deontological approaches to ethics lies in the notion that duty should be done for duty’s sake. Moral rightness or duty is, in part, independent of the nonmoral good realized in the consequences of moral acts. On this view, a moral act is right when it conforms to the relevant, correct principle of moral duty. A correct principle of moral duty is one that is intrinsically right or derived from a principle that is intrinsically right. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p447.]

· Something has intrinsic value just in case it is valuable as an end in itself—for example, friendship. Something has instrumental value just in case it is valuable as a means to an end—for example, money. Some things can exemplify both kinds of value. Thus friendship is intrinsically good and also a means to pleasure. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p447.]

· Moral value, sometimes called rightness, is the value possessed by moral acts and rules. Nonmoral value, sometimes called goodness, is the value possessed by things besides moral acts and rules—for example, pleasure, beauty, health, friendship. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p447.]

· Now according to utilitarianism, rightness is merely an instrumental value, that is, rightness is simply a means for obtaining goodness, namely, the maximization of utility, which, as we saw in chapter twenty-one, has been defined differently by various advocates of utilitarianism. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p447.]

· On a deontological theory, persons have intrinsic value simply as such and ought not be treated solely as a means to an end. According to utilitarianism, persons do not have intrinsic value; rather, they have value as units that contain utility. On this view, persons do not have intrinsic value simply as persons. Rather, they are in some sense “bundles of nonmoral good,” and as such they have value insofar as they exemplify pleasure, health and so forth. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p448.]

· Regarding social relationships, utilitarianism implies that there is one fundamental moral relationship between people, namely, the relationship of benefactor to beneficiary. On this view, people relate to each other morally as recipients or creators of utility. On a deontological view, there is a wide range of special social relationships that create their own special, intrinsic moral duties: parent-child, promisor-promisee, employer-employee and so forth. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p448.]

· In these moral actions, we may distinguish four things: a motive, an intent, a means, and a consequence. A motive is why one acts. Jack’s motive was a feeling of love; Jill’s was greed. An intent is what act one actually performs. The intent answers the question “What sort of act was it?” Jack’s intent was to show kindness toward his grandmother and he performed an act of kindness. Jill’s intent was to secure a place in the will, and her act was one of attempting to secure that place. The means is the way an agent purposely carries out his or her intention. Jack and Jill each perform the same means, namely, each spends the afternoon visiting with the grandmother. Finally, the consequence is the state of affairs produced by the act. In each case, the grandmother was cheered up. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p448.]

· For the utilitarian, the consequences of the act are the sole intrinsic factor that determines its moral worth. Means are evaluated according to their effectiveness in securing the maximization of utility. Intentions and motives are assessed morally in the same way. Intentions and motives receive moral praise and blame not because some are intrinsically right or wrong, but on the basis of whether or not those acts of moral praise or blame will themselves maximize utility. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p449.]

· Virtue theory, also called aretaic ethics (from the Greek word arete3, “virtue”), has a long and distinguished pedigree, going back to Aristotle and Plato, running through Thomas Aquinas, and including many contemporary advocates. Virtue ethicists sometimes claim that deontological ethics fails because it abstracts from the moral agent himself, it focuses entirely on doing the right things instead of on being a good person, and it provides little guidance for understanding how to develop ethical character and moral motivation. By contrast, central to virtue ethics is the question of what a good person is and how a good person is developed. Further, the claim is made that deontological ethics places too much emphasis on moral autonomy, whereas virtue theory includes an emphasis on community and relationships. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p454.]

Part VI Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology

23 The Existence of God I

· Within the discipline of philosophy of religion certain standard topics have emerged, such as the nature of religious language (Do sentences having religious content make factual assertions which are either true or false?); religious epistemology (How can one can be justified or warranted in believing religious truth claims?); the existence of God (Is there such a being as God?); the coherence of theism (Does the concept of God make sense?); the problem of evil (Does the suffering in the world preclude God’s existence?); comparative religions (How are the religious truth claims of other religious faiths to be evaluated?); the problem of miracles (How should divine action in the natural world be understood?); the soul and immortality (What is the nature of man and life after death?); religious experience (Can we experience God and how?); and revealed religious doctrines (How are we to understand doctrines such as the Trinity, the Incarnation, heaven and hell, providence, predestination, biblical inspiration and a host of other doctrines?). [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p464.]

· The cosmological argument is a family of arguments that seek to demonstrate the existence of a Sufficient Reason or First Cause of the existence of the cosmos. The roll of the defenders of this argument reads like a Who’s Who of western philosophy: Plato, Aristotle, ibn Sina, al-Ghazali, Maimonides, Anselm, Aquinas, Scotus, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz and Locke, to name but some. The arguments can be grouped into three basic types: the kalam cosmological argument for a First Cause of the beginning of the universe, the Thomist cosmological argument for a sustaining Ground of Being of the world, and the Leibnizian cosmological argument for a Sufficient Reason why something exists rather than nothing. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p465.]

· A simple statement of a Leibnizian cosmological argument runs as follows: 1. Every existing thing has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause. 2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God. 3. The universe is an existing thing. 4. Therefore the explanation of the existence of the universe is God. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p]

· The kalam cosmological argument may be formulated as follows: 1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause. 2. The universe began to exist. 3. Therefore, the universe has a cause. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p468.]

· This objection, however, is based on misunderstandings. In the first place, not all scientists agree that subatomic events are uncaused. A great many physicists today are quite dissatisfied with the Copenhagen interpretation of subatomic physics and are exploring deterministic theories like that of David Bohm. Thus subatomic physics is not a proven exception to premise (1). Second, even on the traditional, indeterministic interpretation, particles do not come into being out of nothing. They arise as spontaneous fluctuations of the energy contained in the subatomic vacuum, which constitutes an indeterministic cause of their origination. Third, the same point can be made about theories of the origin of the universe out of a primordial vacuum. Popular magazine articles touting such theories as getting “something from nothing” simply do not understand that the vacuum is not nothing but rather a sea of fluctuating energy endowed with a rich structure and subject to physical laws. Thus there is no basis for the claim that quantum physics proves that things can begin to exist without a cause, much less that universe could have sprung into being uncaused from literally nothing. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p469.]

· Other critics have said that premise (1) is true only for things in the universe, but it is not true of the universe itself. But the argument’s defender may reply that this objection misconstrues the nature of the premise. Premise (1) does not state merely a physical law like the law of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics, which are valid for things within the universe. Premise (1) is not a physical principle. Rather, premise (1) is a metaphysical principle: being cannot come from nonbeing; something cannot come into existence uncaused from nothing. The principle therefore applies to all of reality, and it is thus metaphysically absurd that the universe should pop into being uncaused out of nothing. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p469.]

· Premise (2), The universe began to exist, has been supported by both deductive philosophical arguments and inductive scientific arguments. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p470.]

· The first of four arguments for this premise that we will consider is the argument based on the impossibility of the existence of an actual infinite. It may be formulated as follows: 1. An actual infinite cannot exist. 2. An infinite temporal regress of physical events is an actual infinite. 3. Therefore an infinite temporal regress of physical events cannot exist. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p470.]

· In order to assess this argument, it will be helpful to define some terms. By an actual infinite, the argument’s defender means any collection having at a time t a number of definite and discrete members that is greater than any natural number {0, 1, 2, 3, . . .}. This notion is to be contrasted with a potential infinite, which is any collection having at any time t a number of definite and discrete members that is equal to some natural number but which over time increases endlessly toward infinity as a limit. By exist proponents of the argument mean “have extra-mental existence,” or “be instantiated in the real world.” By a “physical event,” they mean any change occurring within the space-time universe. Since any change takes time, there are no instantaneous events. Neither could there be an infinitely slow event, since such an “event” would in reality be a changeless state. Therefore, any event will have a finite, nonzero duration. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p470.]

· Take, for example, Hilbert’s Hotel, a product of the mind of the great German mathematician David Hilbert. As a warm-up, let us first imagine a hotel with a finite number of rooms. Suppose, furthermore, that all the rooms are full. When a new guest arrives asking for a room, the proprietor apologizes, “Sorry, all the rooms are full,” and that is the end of the story. But now let us imagine a hotel with an infinite number of rooms and suppose once more that all the rooms are full. There is not a single vacant room throughout the entire infinite hotel. Now suppose a new guest shows up, asking for a room. “But of course!” says the proprietor, and he immediately shifts the person in room #1 into room #2, the person in room #2 into room #3, the person in room #3 into room #4 and so on, out to infinity. As a result of these room changes, room #1 now becomes vacant, and the new guest gratefully checks in. But remember, before he arrived, all the rooms were full! Equally curious, according to the mathematicians, there are now no more persons in the hotel than there were before: the number is just infinite. But how can this be? The proprietor just added the new guest’s name to the register and gave him his keys—how can there not be one more person in the hotel than before? [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p471.]

· For instance, is not every finite distance capable of being divided into 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, . . . , on to infinity? Does that not prove that there are in any finite distance an actually infinite number of parts? The defender of the argument may reply that this objection confuses a potential infinite with an actual infinite. He will point out that while you can continue to divide any distance for as long as you want, such a series is merely potentially infinite, in that infinity serves as a limit that you endlessly approach but never reach. If you assume that any distance is already composed out of an actually infinite number of parts, then you are begging the question. You are assuming what the objector is supposed to prove, namely that there is a clear counterexample to the claim that an actually infinite number of things cannot exist. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p472.]

· The second argument against the possibility of an infinite past that we will consider is the argument based on the impossibility of forming an actual infinite by successive addition. It may be formulated as follows: 1. The temporal series of physical events is a collection formed by successive addition. 2. A collection formed by successive addition cannot be an actual infinite. 3. Therefore, the temporal series of physical events cannot be an actual infinite. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p473.]

· Here one does not assume that an actual infinite cannot exist. Even if an actual infinite can exist, it is argued that the temporal series of events cannot be such, since an actual infinite cannot be formed by successive addition, as the temporal series of events is. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p473.]

· But such an objection fails to reckon with two crucial disanalogies of an infinite past to Zeno’s paradoxes: whereas in Zeno’s thought experiments the intervals traversed are potential and unequal, in the case of an infinite past the intervals are actual and equal. The claim that Achilles must pass through an infinite number of halfway points in order to cross the stadium is questionbegging, for it already assumes that the whole interval is a composition of an infinite number of points, whereas Zeno’s opponents, like Aristotle, take the line as a whole to be conceptually prior to any divisions which we might make in it. Moreover, Zeno’s intervals, being unequal, sum to a merely finite distance, whereas the intervals in an infinite past sum to an infinite distance. Thus his thought experiments are crucially disanalogous to the task of traversing an infinite number of equal, actual intervals to arrive at our present location. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p475.]

· In 1917, Albert Einstein made a cosmological application of his newly discovered gravitational theory, the general theory of relativity (GTR). In so doing he assumed that the universe exists in a steady state, with a constant mean mass density and a constant curvature of space. To his chagrin, however, he found that GTR would not permit such a model of the universe unless he introduced into his gravitational field equations a certain “fudge factor” in order to counterbalance the gravitational effect of matter and so ensure a static universe. Unfortunately, Einstein’s static universe was balanced on a razor’s edge, and the least perturbation would cause the universe either to implode or to expand. By taking this feature of Einstein’s model seriously, the Russian mathematician Alexander Friedman and the Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaître were able to formulate independently in the 1920s solutions to the field equations which predicted an expanding universe. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p476.]

· In 1929 the astronomer Edwin Hubble showed that the red-shift in the optical spectra of light from distant galaxies was a common feature of all measured galaxies and was proportional to their distance from us. This red-shift was taken to be a Doppler effect indicative of the recessional motion of the light source in the line of sight. Incredibly, what Hubble had discovered was the isotropic expansion of the universe predicted by Friedman and Lemaître on the basis of Einstein’s GTR. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p476.]

· According to the Friedman-Lemaître model, as time proceeds, the distances separating galactic masses become greater. It is important to understand that as a GTR-based theory, the model does not describe the expansion of the material content of the universe into a preexisting, empty space, but rather the expansion of space itself. The ideal particles of the cosmological fluid constituted by the galactic masses are conceived to be at rest with respect to space but to recede progressively from one another as space itself expands or stretches, just as buttons glued to the surface of a balloon would recede from one another as the balloon inflates. As the universe expands, it becomes less and less dense. This has the astonishing implication that as one reverses the expansion and extrapolates back in time, the universe becomes progressively denser until one arrives at a state of “infinite density” (This should not be taken to mean that the density of the universe takes on a value of )0 but rather that the density of the universe is expressed by a ratio of mass to volume in which the volume is zero; since division by zero is impermissible, the density is said to be infinite in this sense.) at some point in the finite past. This state represents a singularity at which space-time curvature, along with temperature, pressure and density, becomes infinite. It therefore constitutes an edge or boundary to space-time itself. The term “big bang” is thus potentially misleading, since the expansion cannot be visualized from the outside (there being no “outside,” just as there is no “before” with respect to the big bang). [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p476, 477.]

· The standard big bang model, as the Friedman-Lemaître model came to be called, thus describes a universe that is not eternal in the past but that came into being a finite time ago. Moreover—and this deserves underscoring—the origin it posits is an absolute origin ex nihilo. For not only all matter and energy, but space and time themselves come into being at the initial cosmological singularity. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p477.]

· There can be no natural, physical cause of the big bang event, since, in Quentin Smith’s words, “it belongs analytically to the concept of the cosmological singularity that it is not the effect of prior physical events. The definition of a singularity … entails that it is impossible to extend the spacetime manifold beyond the singularity. … This rules out the idea that the singularity is an effect of some prior natural process.” [Quentin Smith, “The Uncaused Beginning of the Universe,” in Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology, by William Lane Craig and Quentin Smith (Oxford: Clarendon, 1993), p. 120.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p477.]

· Sir Arthur Eddington, contemplating the beginning of the universe, opined that the expansion of the universe was so preposterous and incredible that “I feel almost an indignation that anyone should believe in it—except myself.” He finally felt forced to conclude, “The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural.” [Arthur Eddington, The Expanding Universe (New York: Macmillan, 1933), p. 124.] [Ibid., p. 178.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p477.]

· The devil is in the details, and once you get down to specifics you find that there is no mathematically consistent model that has been so successful in its predictions or as corroborated by the evidence as the traditional big bang theory. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p477.]

· In sum, according to Hawking, “Almost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the Big Bang.” [Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, The Nature of Space and Time, The Isaac Newton Institute Series of Lectures (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 20.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p478.]

· The fourth argument for the finitude of the past is also an inductive argument, this time on the basis of the thermodynamic properties of the universe. According to the second law of thermodynamics, processes taking place in a closed system always tend toward a state of equilibrium. Now our interest in the law concerns what happens when it is applied to the universe as a whole. The universe is, on a naturalistic view, a gigantic closed system, since it is everything there is and there is nothing outside it. This seems to imply that, given enough time, the universe and all its processes will run down, and the entire universe will come to equilibrium. This is known as the heat death of the universe. Once the universe reaches this state, no further change is possible. The universe is dead. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p478.]

· There are two possible types of heat death for the universe. If the universe will eventually recontract, it will die a “hot” death. As it contracts, the stars gain energy, causing them to burn more rapidly so that they finally explode or evaporate. As everything in the universe grows closer together, the black holes begin to gobble up everything around them, and eventually begin themselves to coalesce. In time, all the black holes finally coalesce into one large black hole that is coextensive with the universe, from which the universe will never reemerge. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p478.]

· On the other hand if, as is more likely, the universe will expand forever, then its death will be cold, as the galaxies turn their gas into stars, and the stars burn out. At 1030 years the universe will consist of 90% dead stars, 9% supermassive black holes formed by the collapse of galaxies, and 1% atomic matter, mainly hydrogen. Elementary particle physics suggests that thereafter protons will decay into electrons and positrons so that space will be filled with a rarefied gas so thin that the distance between an electron and a positron will be about the size of the present galaxy. Eventually all black holes will completely evaporate and all the matter in the ever-expanding universe will be reduced to a thin gas of elementary particles and radiation. Equilibrium will prevail throughout, and the entire universe will be in its final state, from which no change will occur. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p478.]

· Now the question that needs to be asked is this: if given enough time the universe will reach heat death, then why is it not in a state of heat death now, if it has existed forever, from eternity? If the universe did not begin to exist, then it should now be in a state of equilibrium. Like a ticking clock, it should by now have run down. Since it has not yet run down, this implies, in the words of one baffled scientist, “In some way the universe must have been wound up.” [Richard Schlegel, “Time and Thermodynamics,” in The Voices of Time, ed. J. T. Fraser (London: Penguin, 1948), p. 511.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p478, 479.]

24 The Existence of God II

· There are five ways in which one can prove that there is a God. [THOMAS AQUINAS SUMMA THEOLOGIAE 1A.2.3] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p482.]

· I believe also that nearly all the means which have been employed to prove the existence of God are good and might be of service, if we perfect them. [G. W. LEIBNIZ, NEW ESSAYS ON HUMAN UNDERSTANDING] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p482.]

· What is meant by fine-tuning? The physical laws of nature, when given mathematical expression, contain various constants or quantities, such as the gravitational constant or the density of the universe, whose values are not mandated by the laws themselves; a universe governed by such laws might be characterized by any of a wide range of values for such variables. By “fine-tuning” one typically means that the actual values assumed by the constants and quantities in question are such that small deviations from those values would render the universe life-prohibiting. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p482, 483.]

· Various examples of cosmic fine-tuning can be cited. The world is conditioned principally by the values of the fundamental constants—α (the fine structure constant, or electromagnetic interaction), αG (gravitation), αw (the weak force), αs (the strong force) and mp/me (proton to electron mass ratio). When one assigns different values to these constants or forces, one discovers that the number of observable universes, that is to say, universes capable of supporting intelligent life, is very small. Just a slight variation in some of these values would render life impossible. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p483.]

· In investigating the initial conditions of the big bang, one also confronts two arbitrary parameters governing the expansion of the universe: Ω0, related to the density of the universe, and H0, related to the speed of the expansion. Observations indicate that at 10-43 seconds after the big bang the universe was expanding at a fantastically special rate of speed with a total density close to the critical value on the borderline between recollapse and everlasting expansion. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p483.]

· Classical cosmology serves to highlight another parameter, S, the entropy per baryon in the universe. The structure of the big bang must have been severely constrained in order that thermodynamics as we know it should have arisen. Not only so, but S is itself a consequence of the baryon asymmetry in the universe, which arises from the inexplicable, built-in asymmetry of quarks over anti-quarks prior to 10-6 seconds after the big bang. Oxford physicist Roger Penrose calculates that the odds of the special low-entropy condition having arisen sheerly by chance in the absence any constraining principles is at least as small as about one part in 1010(123) in order for our universe to exist. Penrose comments, “I cannot even recall seeing anything else in physics whose accuracy is known to approach, even remotely, a figure like one part in 1010(123).” [Roger Penrose, “Time-Asymmetry and Quantum Gravity,” in Quantum Gravity 2, ed. C. J. Isham, R. Penrose and D. W. Sciama (Oxford: Clarendon, 1981), p. 249.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p483.]

· Regardless of whether one adopts Dembski’s analysis of design inferences, the key to detecting design is to eliminate the two competing alternatives of physical necessity and chance. Accordingly, a teleological argument appealing to cosmic fine-tuning might be formulated as follows: 1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance or design. 2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance. 3. Therefore, it is due to design. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p]

· A T.O.E. actually has the limited goal of providing a unified theory of the four fundamental forces of nature, to reduce gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force and the weak force to one fundamental force carried by one fundamental particle. Such a theory will, we hope, explain why these four forces take the values they do, but it will not even attempt to explain literally everything. For example, in the most promising candidates for a T.O.E. to date, super-string theory or M-theory, the physical universe must be 11-dimensional, but why the universe should possess just that number of dimensions is not addressed by the theory. Hence, one must not be misled by talk of a T.O.E. into thinking that the universe possesses all its fundamental constants and quantities by physical necessity. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p485.]

· As Davies states: Even if the laws of physics were unique, it doesn’t follow that the physical universe itself is unique. . . . The laws of physics must be augmented by cosmic initial conditions. . . . There is nothing in present ideas about “laws of initial conditions” remotely to suggest that their consistency with the laws of physics would imply uniqueness. Far from it. … It seems, then, that the physical universe does not have to be the way it is: it could have been otherwise. [Paul Davies, The Mind of God (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), p. 169.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p485.]

· As the physicist-theologian John Polkinghorne says, “People try to trick out a ‘many universe’ account in sort of pseudo-scientific terms, but that is pseudo-science. It is a metaphysical guess that there might be many universes with different laws and circumstances.” [John C. Polkinghorne, Serious Talk: Science and Religion in Dialogue (London: SCM Press, 1996), p. 6.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p487.]

· Lee Smolin made the ingenious suggestion that if we suppose that black holes spawn other universes beyond our own, then universes that produce large numbers of black holes would have a selective advantage in producing offspring, so that a sort of cosmic evolution would take place. If each new universe is not an exact reproduction of its parent universe but varies in its fundamental constants and quantities, then universes that are proficient in producing black holes would have a selective advantage over those less proficient. Thus in the course of cosmic evolution universes whose fundamental parameters are finetuned to the production of black holes would proliferate. Since black holes arethe residue of collapsed stars, cosmic evolution has the unintended effect of producing more and more stars and hence, more and more planets where life might form. Eventually observers would appear who marvel at the fine-tuning of the universe for their existence. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p487, 488.]

· The fatal flaw in Smolin’s scenario, wholly apart from its ad hoc and even disconfirmed conjectures, was his assumption that universes fine-tuned for black hole production would also be fine-tuned for the production of stable stars. In fact, the opposite is true: the most proficient producers of black holes would be universes that generate them prior to star formation, so that life-permitting universes would actually be weeded out by Smolin’s cosmic evolutionary scenario. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p488.]

· Given the complexity of the human organism, it is overwhelmingly more probable that human beings will evolve late in the lifetime of the sun rather than early. In fact Barrow and Tipler list ten steps in the evolution of Homo sapiens, each of which is so improbable that before it would occur the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and incinerated the earth! [John Barrow and Frank Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford: Clarendon, 1986), pp. 561-65.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p489.]

· Many philosophers have argued that if God exists, then the objectivity of moral values, moral duties and moral accountability is secured, but that in the absence of God, that is, if God does not exist, then morality is just a human convention, that is to say, morality is wholly subjective and nonbinding. We might act in precisely the same ways that we do in fact act, but in the absence of God, such actions would no longer count as good (or evil), since if God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist. Thus we cannot truly be good without God. On the other hand, if we do believe that moral values and duties are objective, that provides moral grounds for believing in God. We should thus have an axiological argument for the existence of God. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p490, 491.]

· Philosopher of science Michael Ruse writes, The position of the modern evolutionist . . . is that humans have an awareness of morality . . . because such an awareness is of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. . . . Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says “Love thy neighbour as thyself,” they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. . . . Nevertheless, . . . such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory. [Michael Ruse, “Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics,” in The Darwinian Paradigm (London: Routledge, 1989), pp. 262, 268-69.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p491.]

· Now it is important that we remain clear in understanding the issue before us. The question is not: Must we believe in God in order to live moral lives? There is no reason to think that atheists and theists alike may not live what we normally characterize as good and decent lives. Similarly, the question is not: Can we formulate a system of ethics without reference to God? If the nontheist grants that human beings do have objective value, then there is no reason to think that he cannot work out a system of ethics with which the theist would also largely agree. Or again, the question is not: Can we recognize the existence of objective moral values without reference to God? The theist will typically maintain that a person need not believe in God in order to recognize, say, that we should love our children. Rather, as humanist philosopher Paul Kurtz puts it, “The central question about moral and ethical principles concerns their ontological foundation. If they are neither derived from God nor anchored in some transcendent ground, are they purely ephemeral?” [Paul Kurtz, Forbidden Fruit (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus, 1988), p. 65.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p492.]

· Atheistic moral realists affirm that objective moral values and duties do exist and are not dependent on evolution or human opinion, but they also insist that they are not grounded in God. Indeed, moral values have no further foundation. They just exist. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p492.]

· As the ethicist Richard Taylor points out, “A duty is something that is owed. . . . But something can be owed only to some person or persons. There can be no such thing as duty in isolation.” [Richard Taylor, Ethics, Faith and Reason (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1985), p. 83.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p493.]

· Taylor writes, “Our moral obligations can . . . be understood as those that are imposed by God. . . . But what if this higher-than-human lawgiver is no longer taken into account? Does the concept of a moral obligation . . . still make sense? . . . the concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God. The words remain but their meaning is gone.” [Richard Taylor, Ethics, Faith and Reason (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1985), pp. 83-84.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p493.]

· This presents a pretty grim picture for an atheistic ethicist like Kai Nielsen. He writes: We have not been able to show that reason requires the moral point of view, or that all really rational persons should not be individual egoists or classical amoralists. Reason doesn’t decide here. The picture I have painted for you is not a pleasant one. Reflection on it depresses me. . . . Pure practical reason, even with a good knowledge of the facts, will not take you to morality. [Kai Nielsen, “Why Should I Be Moral?” American Philosophical Quarterly 21 (1984): 90.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p494.]

· As Ruse himself confesses, “The man who says that it is morally acceptable to rape little children is just as mistaken as the man who says, 2 + 2 = 5.” [Michael Ruse, Darwinism Defended (London: Addison-Wesley, 1982), p. 275.] [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p495.]

· Furthermore, consider the nature of moral obligation. The international community recognizes the existence of universal human rights, and many persons are willing to speak of animal rights as well. But the best way to make sense of such rights is in terms of agreement or disagreement of certain acts with the will or commands of a holy, loving God. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p495.]

· Proponents of the argument [ontological argument] claim that once we understand what God is—the greatest conceivable being or the most perfect being or the most real being—then we shall see that such a being must in fact exist. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p496.]

25 The Coherence of Theism I

· The difficulty with theism, it was said, was not merely that there are no good arguments for the existence of God, but, more fundamentally, that the notion of God is incoherent. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p501.]

· Ever since Aristotle, God has been conceived in Western philosophical theology as a necessarily existent being (ens necessarium). Christian theologians interpreted the revelation of the divine name “I am that I am” (Ex 3:14 KJV) to express the same idea of God’s necessity. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p502.]

· Aseity (from the Latin a se, “by itself”) refers to God’s self-existence or independence. God does not merely exist in every possible world (as great as that is) but, even more greatly, he exists in every world wholly independent of anything else. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p504.]

· “God is spirit” (Jn 4:24), that is to say, a living, immaterial substance. God’s immateriality entails the divine attribute of incorporeality, that God is neither a body nor embodied. As a personal being, God is therefore of the order of unembodied Mind. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p507.]

· As an incorporeal being, God is clearly not to be thought of as localized in space, having a certain circumscribed size and shape. The Scriptures present God as having the attribute of omnipresence; he is everywhere present in his creation in virtue of his incorporeality. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p509.]

· That God is eternal is the clear teaching of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures (Ps 90:2), and God’s eternality also follows from divine necessity. For if God exists necessarily, it is impossible that he not exist; therefore he can never go out of or come into being. God just exists, without beginning or end, which is a minimalist definition of what it means to say that God is eternal. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p511.]

26 The Coherence of Theism II

· Divine simplicity is a doctrine inspired by the neo-Platonic vision of the ultimate metaphysical reality as the absolute One. It holds that God, as the metaphysical ultimate, is an undifferentiated unity, that there is no complexity in his nature or being. As such, this is a radical doctrine that enjoys no biblical support and even is at odds with the biblical conception of God in various ways. According to the doctrine of divine simplicity God has no distinct attributes, he stands in no real relations, his essence is not distinct from his existence, he just is the pure act of being subsisting. All such distinctions exist only in our minds, since we can form no conception of the absolutely simple divine being. While we can say what God is not like, we cannot say what he is like, except in an analogical sense. But these predications must in the end fail, since there is no univocal element in the predicates we assign to God, leaving us in a state of genuine agnosticism about the nature of God. Indeed, on this view God really has no nature; he is simply the inconceivable act of being. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p524.]

· For Aristotle, God was the Unmoved Mover, the unchanging source of all change. God’s immutability is also attested in Scripture (Mal 3:6; Jas 1:17). But the biblical authors did not have in mind the radical changelessness contemplated by Aristotle nor the immutability required by the doctrines of essential divine timelessness or simplicity. They were speaking primarily of God’s unchanging character and fidelity. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p526.]

· Although one of the biblical names of God is El-Shaddai (God Almighty), the concept of omnipotence has remained poorly understood due to its recalcitrance to analysis. Few thinkers, aside from Descartes, have been willing to affirm that the doctrine means that God can do just anything—for example, make a square triangle. Such a view has been construed as affirming universal possibilism, the doctrine that there are no necessary truths. [J. P. Moreland & William Craig: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, InterVarsity Press 2003, p527.]

الحمد لله الذي بنعمته تتمّ الصَّالِحات

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

A Reasonable Response

Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible

reasonable-response

By: William Lane Craig & Joseph E. Gorra

للتحميل: (PDF) (DOC)

نبذة مُختصرة عن الكتاب:

من أهمّ كُتُب الفيلسوف الأمريكي «ويليام كريج» في مجال الرَّدّ على أسئلة المُشكِّكين في الإيمان والدِّين.

الكتاب مُقسَّم إلى ستَّة أجزاء، الجزءان الأخيران مُختصان بالدِّفاع عن المسيحية تحديداً، أمَّ الأجزاء الأخرى تتناول الإجابة عن أسئلة مُختلفة مُشتركة بين أديان المذهب الألوهي، وهي: إمكانية معرفة الحقّ، وجود الله، الحياة والغاية من الوجود، وجود الشر والحياة بعد الموت.

الكتاب يُناقش بعُمق إشكاليات حول كيفية المعرفة، والصِّياغات المنطقية للحجج، والقِيَم الموضوعية، ووُجُود الله، وطبيعته وصفاته، ونشأة الكون، وسبب وجوده، وكيف أن يكون الله هو خالق الكون (مُناقشة عميقة وصعبة جداً)، ومعنى الحياة، وفلسفة العِلْم وعلاقته بالمذهب الألوهي، وكذلك نظرية التَّطور (في نقاش فلسفي عميق جداً لم أقرأ مثله مِن قبل)!

الكتاب تعليمي من الدَّرجة الأولي، يهدف إلى تنمية مهارات المُدافعين عن الإيمان في الرَّد على الأسئلة التي تُوجَّه إليهم من قِبَل الذين يرفضون الإيمان، وذلك من خلال تزويدهم بخُلاصة خبرة «كريج» في مجال الرَّد على أسئلة غير المُؤمنين، مع إرشادهم لمراجع أخرى على مُستويات علمية مُختلفة للمزيد من القراءة الإثرائية!

الكتاب ليس للذين لم يطَّلعوا على مُؤلفات «كريج» مِن قبل، ولهذا يُشير الكتاب إلى المؤلَّفات الإثرائية قبل طرح الأسئلة والأجوبة، وليس بعدها، فالكتاب يُناقش بعض الإشكاليات المطروحة حول مواضيع من المُفترض أنَّك قرأت عنها من قبل، خُصُوصاً كما يطرحها «كريج».

وقد تطرَّق كريج إلى مواضيع مسيحية خالص، مثل الثالوث والتجسد والصلب والفداء، ومصداقية وموثوقية الكتاب المقدس، وبعض الأخلاقيات المسيحية، وكيفية مُعالجة مُشكلة الشر والألم، وقد تجاهلت كل هذا لعدم اهتمامي بهذه الأبواب حالياً، أو بسبب معرفتي لمؤلَّفات أخرى اكتفيت بها في المواضيع السابقة.

الكتاب يستحقّ تقدير جيِّد جداً، مع العلم أنَّه كتاب فلسفي من الدَّرجة الأولى، يهدف إلى الوُصُول للضَّبط الصَّحيح للمُصطلحات والتَّعبيرات والحُجُج المنطقية التي يتمّ استخدامها في مُناقشة المواضيع المُختلة التي تُهم كلّ إنسان.

Introduction

· For example, two people may ask about whether there are good arguments for God’s existence. Even if posed as the same question, it does not follow that an identical answer should be given. For two people could ask the same question out of different needs and desires, background, degrees of care, assumptions, concerns, etc. So, we have tried to dignify the inquirers (who are real people on the other end) by keeping the context of their correspondence intact. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p15.]

· The purpose in responding, of course, is not to win arguments, but to remove barriers that keep the inquirer from seeking further, all the while responding in a gracious and patient manner. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p20.]

· Step 1: Read a question directed to Bill. Step 2: After you read the correspondence and understand what is being asked, pause, don’t rush to Bill’s answer, but ponder the following two questions:2  What is this person revealing about the question(s) they ask? (e.g., assumptions of their mind, “reasons of their heart,” role of their passions in the question-asking). How would I directly respond to this person if I had an opportunity to enter into real, give-and-take communication? Step 3: You may want to briefly document your thoughts to the two questions so that you can compare what you would say with what Bill says. In so doing, you can open up your thought process to be weighed by Bill’s approach, and then also assess his approach in light of your own take on the matter. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p21.]

· Tough questions not only require tough-minded answers, but the skillfulness to know how to say what needs to be said in order to help others come to understand this for themselves. In that regard, we should seek to have patience, to stay with people in their question asking and communicate for the sake of educating insofar as they want to know what it is that they need to know. Ultimately, the practice and ministry of answering questions, like most anything else that is meaningful in life, is for the “whosoever is willing.” [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p22.]

Part 1: Questions On Knowing and Believing What Is Real

· But one of the dignifying features of theism, and Christian theism specifically, is the acknowledgement that human beings are “more than” what our society pressures us into being. We have minds to know, hearts to grow in love and understanding, and beliefs to help order our ways in the world. Herein, the dignity of asking questions and discovering answers is given a hospitable home. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p47.]

1 On Believing and Knowing

Does Knowledge Require Certainty?

· Q: They state that since every possible option has not been explored that nothing can be said for certain. Since nothing can be said for certain, all of the premises that you pose may seem true to us, but we cannot say they are absolutely true. If they cannot be proven absolutely true, then there is no reason to believe them, and the argument dies right there. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p53.]

· ask them for their justification for thinking that knowledge requires certainty. Anything they say, you can reply to by asking, “Are you certain of that?” If they say, “No,” then they don’t know that knowledge requires certainty. If they say, “Yes,” then it’s not true after all that we can’t know anything about life, the universe, or logic. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p54.]

On How to Confront the Challenge of Apatheism

· Q: However, I’ve recently come across a person who describes himself as an apatheist. After a little research, I find that all of the arguments that I can come up with will be responded by, “Your God’s not relevant, and it doesn’t matter to me.” [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p55.]

· “Apatheism” (presumably from “apathy” + “theism”) characterizes people who just don’t care whether or not God exists. As such, apatheism is not a truth claim and so can be neither true nor false. It asserts nothing and denies nothing. It is merely an attitude or a psychological state of indifference with respect to God’s existence. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p56.]

· In fact, it would be interesting to see what your friend would say if you were to respond to his apatheism by saying, “I realize that you don’t care whether or not God exists. But do you think He does exist? Since it doesn’t matter to you, you can be totally objective. So what do you think? Is there a God?” He may reveal that he’s really an atheist or agnostic after all, and then you can ask him for his reasons for believing as he does. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p56.]

On Common Sense, Intuitions, and the Limits of Reason

· Q: We are not in an age where we can be confident that the laws of reason are the same as the laws of reality, like people in the time of Aristotle believed. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p58.]

· First, it seems to me that we have no choice but to take common sense and intuition as our starting points. I very strongly suspect that even those who claim to place no stock in common sense and intuition in fact rely on them all the time with respect to unconscious metaphysical assumptions. So when a philosophical viewpoint flies in the face of common sense and intuition (e.g., that the external world does not exist), then we may justly demand a very powerful argument in favor of that viewpoint. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p60.]

· As science advanced in our understanding of nature’s laws, Aristotelian physics was replaced by Newtonian physics, which was in turn replaced by Einstein’s physics, which will soon, we expect, be superseded by a quantum gravitational unified physics. In each successive scientific revolution, the earlier science is not simply abandoned; rather its truths are recast and preserved in the theory that supersedes it and its inaccuracies abandoned. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p61.]

How Is Belief in God Properly Basic?

· Q: According to universal sanction, a belief is properly basic if it is pragmatically indispensable. The nice part about this criterion is that it allows for a type of evidentialism which avoids all of Plantinga’s counterexamples. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p64.]

· Q: For instance, under universal sanction, memory beliefs, belief in the reality of the external world, belief in other minds, and so on, are properly basic because doubting or denying them would make living a normal human life impossible. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p64.]

· Q: The reason we accept belief in other minds, the external world, and our memories is not because we somehow “know” that they are true; it is all psychological, for we desperately want these beliefs to be true because we know that it would be impossible to live a fulfilling life without them. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p64.]

· But the more important point is that given the admitted present absence of such evidence, it is currently irrational to accept classical foundationalism. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p67.]

· Most of our properly basic beliefs are highly individualized and, therefore, not universally sanctioned. (If you relativize your criterion to individual persons, then you’ll have to allow that for some people belief in God might be pragmatically indispensable!) (ii) The belief that only universally sanctioned beliefs are properly basic is not itself universally sanctioned. But neither is there any evidence that only universally sanctioned beliefs are properly basic. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p68.]

· An intrinsic defeater-defeater is a belief that is so powerfully warranted that it defeats the putative defeater brought against it without any need of additional beliefs to come to the rescue. Plantinga gives the charming illustration of someone accused of a crime that he knows he didn’t commit even though all the evidence is stacked against him. He is rational in believing in his own innocence despite the evidence that would rightly convince someone else that he is guilty. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p68.]

· As for the content of Christian beliefs, you’re overlooking the role of Scripture in Plantinga’s model: it is through Scripture that we learn of the great truths you mention, and then the Holy Spirit commends these truths to us. We don’t just come up with them out of the blue; we read of them in Scripture. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p69.]

· No longer can unbelievers grumble that Christians are irrational, unjustified, or unwarranted in believing as they do in the absence of evidence. Unbelievers will have to come up with disproofs of Christian beliefs in order to show that such beliefs are irrational, unjustified, or unwarranted. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p69.]

On Question-Begging and Appealing to the Holy Spirit

· Plantinga distinguishes between what he calls de facto and de jure objections to Christian belief. A de facto objection is one aimed at the truth of the Christian faith; it attempts to show that Christian truth claims are false. By contrast a de jure objection attempts to undermine Christian belief even if Christianity is, in fact, true. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p71.]

· Plantinga identifies three versions of the de jure objection: that Christian belief is unjustified, that it is irrational, and that it is unwarranted. Plantinga’s aim is to show that all such de jure objections to Christian belief are unsuccessful, or, in other words, that Christian belief can be shown to be unjustified, irrational, or unwarranted only if it is shown that Christian beliefs are false. There is thus no de jure objection to Christian belief independent of a de facto objection. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p71.]

· According to Plantinga’s model, God warrants to us the great truths of the gospel by means of the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. Such beliefs are for us properly basic  beliefs grounded in (but not inferred from) the witness of the Holy Spirit. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p72.]

· The unbeliever who wants to argue that Christian belief is unjustified, irrational, or unwarranted has to present objections to the truth of the Christian faith. For if he doesn’t, then for all he knows, Christianity may well be true, in which case there just is no problem with Christian belief. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p72.]

· Now, of course, a Muslim could make exactly similar claims about Islam, as Plantinga acknowledges. There is, therefore, no de jure objection to Muslim belief either. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p72.]

· In order to show our Muslim friend that his beliefs are not properly basic, we can present de facto objections to the truth of Islam. Since he does not in fact have a genuine witness of the Holy Spirit to the truth of Islam, we can hope that his confidence will crack under the force of the evidence and that he will come to see that his experience was either non-veridical or misinterpreted. Again, the Muslim can say the same thing and so engage in Muslim apologetics aimed at providing de facto objections to Christianity. Great! Bring on the debate! [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p72, 73.]

2 On Argumentation and Logic 101

What Is a Criterion for a Good (Apologetics) Argument?

· “Question-begging” is an informal fallacy that pertains to whether a person’s only reason for believing in a premise is that he already believes in the conclusion. Notice one could believe in a premise because he believes in the conclusion and this would not be question-begging unless that reason for believing were the only reason. Bottom line: we want to learn to offer arguments that have reasons for a premise that are “independent” of a conclusion. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p79.]

· What makes for a sound deductive argument? The answer is: true premises and valid logic. An argument is sound if the premises of the argument are true and the conclusion follows from the premises by the logical rules of inference. If these two conditions are met, then the conclusion of the argument is guaranteed to be true. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p79.]

· However, to be a good argument, an argument must be more than just sound. If the premises of an argument are true, but we have no evidence for the truth of those premises, then the argument will not be a good one. (…) in the absence of any evidence for its premises it won’t, or at least shouldn’t, convince anyone. The premises have to have some sort of epistemic warrant for us in order for a sound argument to be a good one. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p79.]

· I presume the classical Principle of Bivalence, according to which there are only two truth values, True and False. There are different degrees of plausibility, not of truth, given the varying amounts of evidence in support of one’s premises. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p80.]

· Moreover, in a valid deductive argument, like the kalam cosmological argument, any probabilities assigned to the premises are not used to calculate the probability of the conclusion. If the premises are true, then it follows necessarily that conclusion is true, period. It’s logically fallacious to multiply the probabilities of the premises to try to calculate the probability of the conclusion. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p81.]

Why “Soundness” Is Not Sufficient for Making a Good Argument

· Just as we cannot get outside our five senses to check their veridicality and so prove that we are not the proverbial “brain in a vat” being stimulated by a mad scientist to perceive an external world, so we cannot get outside our moral sense to check its veridicality. But in both cases we are perfectly rational, in the absence of any defeater of our beliefs, to believe that we do apprehend objective realities. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p83.]

· On this basis you construct a parallel argument, which, if dubious, ought to make us think that the moral argument is also dubious. Now, the parallel argument you construct is actually a sort of cosmological argument for God’s existence. In fact, I think it is a sound argument! It is obviously valid, and both the premises seem to me to be true. For the objective outer world obviously exists, and if God did not exist, then no world at all would exist, including an objective outer world! It’s not that if God did not exist, then the outer world would be merely a subjective illusion; rather it’s that there wouldn’t be anything at all! [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p83.]

· The argument must also not commit any informal logical fallacies like begging the question, and the premises must be more plausible than their negations. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p84.]

· In order to run a good cosmological argument, we need to provide some reason to think that if God did not exist, then the world would not exist. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p84.]

3 On the Basis for Objective Morality

Is There Objective Truth?

· Q: Having had conversations with several individuals in my school years has taught me that most do not think that there is such a thing as truth, rather the word “truth” is only a matter of opinion and, therefore, has no absolute meaning. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p85.]

· Just ask yourself the question: is the statement “1. There is no such thing as truth” true? If not, then no need to worry, right? On the other hand if (1) is true, then it follows that (1) is not true, since there is no truth. So if (1) is false, it’s false; and if (1) is true, it’s false. So either way (1) is false. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p85.]

· you go on to affirm quite a number of alleged truths: 2. The word “truth” is only a matter of opinion and, therefore, has no absolute meaning. 3. Anything that is not a scientific fact is false. 4. Truth is only a coping mechanism that human beings have created. 5. Life really has no meaning. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p86.]

· (Anything that is not a scientific fact is false) is not itself a scientific fact. There are no experiments you could conduct to prove it, nor will you find it asserted in any science textbook. It is a philosophical statement about the nature of facts. But it states that anything that is not a scientific fact is false. But then it follows that (Anything that is not a scientific fact is false) itself is false! [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p86, 87.]

· We all are led by something or someone. If our “guides” cannot direct us to what is real and knowledge of it, (among other reasons) they should not be considered reliable. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p87.]

· Surely you can think of all sorts of statements you think are true quite independently of whether so thinking helps you to cope in life. Indeed, some of the things we think are true are positive impediments to our coping successfully with life! But let that pass. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p87.]

On the Value of Appealing to One’s Moral Experience

· Q: My pastor flat out deemed this as logically flawed, saying that we could not use it at all. He disagreed with premise 2, that objective moral values exist. He said that although we believe they exist, we cannot say they exist until we know that God exists. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p88.]

· His fundamental confusion concerns the difference between the truth of a premise and our warrant for it. I take it as obvious that a statement can be true even if we have no evidence at all for its truth; by the same token we can have pretty strong evidence for a statement that is, in fact, false. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p89.]

· Rather what he thinks is that we have no warrant for believing (2) independent of our belief in God. For he thinks that once we do know that a transcendent God exists, then we know that there is a ground for objective moral values. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p89.]

· People don’t believe in (2) because they believe in God. They believe in (2) because of their moral experience, in which they apprehend certain values that impose themselves upon us and certain duties that lay claim upon us. That goes for atheists and agnostics as well as theists. Non-theists who accept (2) obviously do not do so in a question-begging way, and neither do theists, I should say. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p89.]

· This is an important encouragement to take stock of our own moral experience and to help others learn to pay attention and articulate their experiences in this way. One may think of heinous moral acts— e.g., the 2012 Colorado theater shooting—and show that the response was (and justifiably so) moral outrage at such an evil and unjust act of killing. For it was not a mere “human tragedy” (like a tsunami, for example). [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p90.]

· Your pastor seems to be confusing the order of knowing (ordo cognoscendi) with the order of being (ordo essendi). In the order of knowing, we first apprehend a realm of objective moral values and then infer to God as their ground. But in the order of being, God is primary as the ground of objective moral values, and moral values depend for their objective reality upon Him. Just because God comes first in the order of being doesn’t imply that He comes first in the order of knowing. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p90.]

· So in answer to your question, the best way to convince anyone of the objective reality of moral values is to appeal to his moral experience. Give some illustrations of moral outrages and ask people if they think such things are really evil or wrong. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p90.]

How Can God Be the Ground of Morality?

· First, God’s existing necessarily is not related to His being all-powerful, all-knowing, and morally perfect, at least in any direct way. For God to be logically necessary He simply needs to exist in every logically possible world; indeed, to say that God is logically necessary just is to say that He exists in every possible world. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p91.]

· The kalam and fine-tuning arguments imply the existence of an enormously powerful and intelligent being, but not an omnipotent or omniscient being. The moral argument can be augmented to lead to the conclusion that God, as the ground of objective moral value, is morally perfect, but that is not the conclusion of the argument itself. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p91.]

The Importance of Distinguishing Between Moral Epistemology and Moral Ontology

· The claim that moral values and duties are rooted in God is a Meta-Ethical claim about Moral Ontology, not about Moral Linguistics or Epistemology. It is fundamentally a claim about the objective status of moral properties, not a claim about the meaning of moral sentences or about the justification or knowledge of moral principles. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p94.]

· A proponent of that argument will agree quite readily (and even insist) that we do not need to know or even believe that God exists in order to discern objective moral values or to recognize our moral duties. Affirming the ontological foundations of objective moral values and duties in God similarly says nothing about how we come to know those values and duties. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p94.]

· By distinguishing between moral epistemology and moral ontology we can be in a better place to introduce Scripture’s witness as an indispensable source of knowledge and wisdom about the moral life and its duties. We can do this by helping people pay attention to their moral experience and considering how Scripture has insight into questions like “how do I become moral?” [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p94.]

Is It Arbitrary to Adopt God’s Nature as the Good?

· Q: If Christianity were proven false, and Islam true, would you simply drop your current moral convictions and adopt those of Islam because you found you “had the wrong God”? Would there not be a part of you t hat may rebel, against Allah, when faced with certain scenarios concerning judgments on creaturely wellbeing? [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p95.]

· The important question is not what I would do under the envisioned circumstances, but what I should do. What I would do is an autobiographical fact about my personal psychology, which is of little philosophical interest. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p97.]

· So stated, the question’s answer is clear: if Islam were proven true and Christianity false, then Islam would be true, and so of course I should believe in it. The same answer would present itself to the atheist: if atheism were proven false and Islam true, then should you obey the commands of Allah? Of course, for then Islam is the truth, and you really do have those moral obligations, however difficult it might be for you to stomach them. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p97.]

· On most Divine Command theories God possesses His moral qualities essentially (indeed, that’s just what it means to say they’re part of His nature!). So there is no possible world in which God is not kind, impartial, gracious, loving, and so on. So I don’t think it is possible that Allah is God, since Allah is not all-loving and impartial. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p98.]

Part 2: Questions About God

1 On the Existence of God

On Whether God’s Existence Can Be Evident to Every Sincere Seeker

· God’s existence may not be evident to someone at certain stages of his life but may become evident when and through what means God chooses. If a person is truly seeking God, he will persist in his search and will eventually find God. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p133.]

· The problem with such an argument, however, is that we’re just not in a position to look into the human heart and judge a person’s sincerity in this regard. This would require a kind of psychological insight that is not available to us. Only God is capable of doing the spiritual cardiogram necessary for answering this question. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p134.]

· if a person persists in unbelief until his death, then the evidence for Jesus’ identity and the truth of His claims gives us reason to think that that person was not as sincere as he imagined himself to be. (…) Notice as well that this answer is not to say that “every non-Christian [who persists until death in unbelief] is lying, either about God’s existence being evident or about being sincere.” Rather such a person may be self-deceived. He imagines himself to be sincere and earnest in seeking God, when in truth he may not be. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p134.]

· A Muslim might well claim that Allah will make his existence evident to anyone who sincerely seeks him. I don’t find that claim at all implausible, given that Allah exists. The problem is, we have good reasons to think that the God described in the Qur’an does not exist. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p134, 135.]

What Does It Mean to Define “God”?

· During the positivist era back in the 1920s and ‘30s, it was widely thought among philosophers that “metaphysical” notions like God were meaningless. Why? Because no empirical content could be given to such notions. To be meaningful an informative sentence had to be empirically verifiable. Since it was thought that sentences like “God exists” could not be verified through the five senses, they were dismissed as meaningless. The so-called verification principle of meaning, however, was soon found to be unduly restrictive, rendering even some sentences of science meaningless, and in the end self-defeating. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p136.]

· Richard Swinburne, a prominent Christian philosopher, treats “God” as a proper name of the person referred to by the following description: a person without a body (i.e., a spirit) who necessarily is eternal, perfectly free, omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good, and the creator of all things. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p136.]

· The best definition of God as a descriptive term is, I think, St. Anselm’s: the greatest conceivable being. As Anselm observed, if you could think of anything greater than God, then that would be God! The very idea of God is of a being than which there cannot be a greater. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p136.]

What Does It Mean for God to Have Necessary Existence?

· Metaphysical necessity has to do with what must be the case, even though its denial does not involve a contradiction. For example, I think it is metaphysically necessary that everything that begins to exist has a cause, even though there is no logical inconsistency in saying that a certain thing came into being without a cause. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p139.]

· Now, de re (from the Latin, meaning pertaining to a thing) modality has to do with a thing’s essential properties. When it is said that a property belongs to a thing’s essence or is essential to it, that means that the thing could not have lacked that property and still remained itself. If something loses one of its essential properties, then that thing ceases to exist. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p139.]

· Properties that a thing has which are not essential to it are called contingent properties. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p139.]

· When we say that God is metaphysically necessary, we mean that it is impossible that He fail to exist. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p139.]

· Rather, the claim here is that God exists in every possible world. What God has that we don’t, then, is the property of necessary existence. And He has that property de re, as part of His essence. God cannot lack the property of necessary existence and be God. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p139.]

· We have here the germ of the ontological argument for God’s existence. For if it is possible that God exists, there is a possible world in which God has necessary existence. But then He exists in every world, including this one. Thus, the atheist is thrust into the awkward position of having to say that God’s existence is impossible. It is not enough to say that in fact God does not exist; the atheist must hold that it is impossible that God exists—a much more radical claim! [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p140.]

Naturalistic Appeal to Ignorance

· Scientific evidence can support a premise in an argument leading to a conclusion having theological significance. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p147.]

· The question will always be, what does our best evidence indicate is true? For example, is the evidence of contemporary cosmology more probable given the beginning of the universe or more probable given that the universe is beginningless? [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p148.]

· Note, finally, that some of the theistic arguments are philosophical, for example, the moral argument and the ontological argument, or have premises that are supportable not just scientifically but philosophically, and are, therefore, immune to the objection based on scientific ignorance. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p148.]

On Assessing the Argument from Contingency

· Some atheists have tried to justify making the universe an exception to premise 1 by saying that it’s impossible for the universe to have an explanation of its existence. For the explanation of the universe would have to be some prior state of affairs in which the universe did not yet exist. But that would be nothingness, and nothingness cannot be the explanation of anything. So the universe must just exist inexplicably. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p150.]

· This line of reasoning is obviously fallacious. For it assumes that the universe is all there is, so that if there were no universe there would be nothing. In other words, the objection assumes that atheism is true! The atheist is thus begging the question, arguing in a circle. I agree that the explanation of the universe must be a prior state of affairs in which the universe did not exist. But I contend that that state of affairs is God and His will, not nothingness. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p150, 151.]

Justification of the Moral Argument’s Second Premise

· Louise Antony, herself a non-theist, put it so well in our debate a few years ago at U Mass, Amherst: Any argument for moral skepticism will be based upon premises which are less obvious than the existence of objective moral values themselves. That seems to me quite right. Therefore, moral skepticism is unjustifiable. [You can access this debate for free by visiting ReasonableFaith.org (http://bit.ly/CraigAntony).] [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p154, 155.]

· It is not only valuable when considering objections against the moral argument for God’s existence, but it is also useful for weighing a skepticism, in general, which tends to proffer assumptions that are “less obvious” than the existence  of x. Bottom line: moral skepticism fails to attend to our direct acquaintance with reality even though this is how our moral experience encounters objective moral values and duties. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p155.]

· The humanist philosopher Peter Cave gives the following example: Whatever skeptical arguments may be brought against our belief that killing the innocent is morally wrong, we are more certain that the killing is morally wrong than that the argument is sound … Torturing an innocent child for the sheer fun of it is morally wrong. [Peter Cave, Humanism (Oxford: OneWorld, 2009), 146.] [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p155.]

· In moral experience we encounter objective moral values and duties, and so, in the absence of some sort of defeater of that belief, we are perfectly rational to hold to it. Moral realism is the default position, and the moral skeptic needs to provide some powerful defeater to overcome it. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p155.]

· For any argument for skepticism about our moral perceptions we could run a parallel argument for skepticism about our sensory perceptions. But you’d have to be crazy to doubt the veridicality of your sense perceptions of a realm of objectively existing physical objects. Similarly, until we are given a defeater, we ought to trust our moral perception of a realm of objectively existing values and duties. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p155.]

· Even if the unbeliever has no justification for believing in premise (2), so long as he does believe in premise (2), the argument goes through. Since almost everyone does believe that (2) is true, the debate really comes down to (1). The unbeliever will have to explain how objective moral values and duties can exist in a world without God as an absolute standard and law-giver. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p156.]

· You want to make the intellectual price tag of atheism as high as you can, in hopes that the unbeliever will come to see that the price is simply too high, that to maintain his atheism in the face of the argument would compromise his intellectual integrity. That is the method of good argumentation. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p156.]

2 On the Trinity

Is Trinity Monotheism Orthodox?

· As Murray Harris explains in his fine book Jesus as God, the reason one finds relatively few references in the New Testament to Jesus as ho theos (God) is because that term was reserved for the Father. When the New Testament writers use the word “God,” they are typically referring to the Father. Since the New Testament writers didn’t believe that Jesus was the Father, they had to find other expressions to indicate His deity, such as ho kyrios (Lord). The creed follows this idiom. [Murray J. Harris, Jesus as God (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992). This has now been reprinted by Wipf and Stock (2008).] [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p159.]

3 On Divine Attributes

On Appraising Perfect Being Theology

· Note this important distinction. It also underscores how “conceivability” is not the same as “imaginability,” [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p169.]

In What Sense Is God a “Simple Being”?

· But “simple” can also mean “non-composite,” that is to say, not composed of parts, and this is the relevant sense here. An electron, for example, is a simple particle, whereas a proton is not, the latter being composed of quarks. The degree to which an entity is simple is the degree to which it is made up of potentially separable parts. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p173.]

· Thomas upholds an extraordinarily strong doctrine of divine simplicity, arguing that God is utterly without composition of any sort. In my discussion of this divine attribute, I reject Thomas’s very strong view in favor of a weaker form of divine simplicity. I see no reason, for example, to think that God’s essence and existence are the same. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p173.]

· Having an avid interest in medieval Islamic philosophy and having chosen Islam as my side area of specialization in my doctoral work in theology, I very much enjoy talking with Muslims about these important questions (…) Since Muslims and Christians alike accept Genesis as God’s revealed Word, we all must deal with the question of what the text means when it says that when God saw the pervasive sin of mankind “it grieved Him to His heart” (Gen. 6:6). [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p180.]

· The view that God is in no way affected by creatures is called the impassibility of God. This seems to be the view that you favor. God cannot suffer emotional pain. Divine impassibility was thought by medieval Christian theologians to be one of the attributes of God. So you would find many Christians historically who would agree with your view. But on the contemporary scene there are very few theologians who would defend such a doctrine. There seems to be no good reason for taking the biblical descriptions of God’s emotions non-literally. Far from seeing susceptibility to emotional pain as a weakness, most contemporary Christian philosophers and theologians would say quite the opposite: that it is a weakness for a person to be unmoved by human suffering and a strength to feel emotions, including pain, indignation, compassion, etc. In fact, think of the etymology of the word “compassion”: to suffer along with. As the greatest conceivable being, God must be compassionate and share our sorrows and joys. Impassibility is actually a weakness, whereas compassion redounds to God’s greatness. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p180, 181.]

· Alvin Plantinga speaks for many Christian thinkers when he writes: As the Christian sees things, God does not stand idly by, cooly observing the suffering of his creatures. He enters into and shares our suffering. He endures the anguish of seeing his son, the second person of the Trinity, consigned to the bitterly cruel and shameful death of the cross. Some theologians claim that God cannot suffer. I believe they are wrong. God’s capacity for suffering, I believe, is proportional to his greatness; it exceeds our capacity for suffering in the same measure as his capacity for knowledge exceeds ours. Christ was prepared to endure the agonies of hell itself; and God, the Lord of the universe, was prepared to endure the suffering consequent upon his son’s humiliation and death. He was prepared to accept this suffering in order to overcome sin, and death, and the evils that afflict our world, and to confer on us a life more glorious than we can imagine. So we don’t know why God permits evil; we do know, however, that he was prepared to suffer on our behalf, to accept suffering of which we can form no conception. [Alvin Plantinga, “Self-Profile,” Alvin Plantinga, Jas. Tomberlin, ed. (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1985), 36.] [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p181.]

· I find that Muslims frequently fail to understand that on the Christian view Christ has two natures: His divine nature which He has possessed from all eternity and His human nature which He assumed at the moment of Mary’s conceiving Jesus in her womb. Defenders of divine impassibility say that Christ’s human nature has both a human soul and a human body, and it was in these that He suffered, not in His divine nature, which was and is impassible. If you want to hold on to divine impassibility, Mun, you can take that route and be a Christian. But like Prof. Plantinga, I think God is greater if He is not impassible. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p182.]

Part 3 Questions about Origins and the Meaning of Life

1 On the Origins of the Universe

“God” and “the Cause of the Universe”

· On the other hand, if you think there is a world in which something other than God is the cause of the universe, then you should give up the principle that only God can create a material thing ex nihilo. In such worlds, God would be the cause of the cause of the universe (e.g., a super-powerful angel to whom God delegated the task of creation). But there is no reason to think that there are worlds like that. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p188.]

On Bringing into Being Things Which Do Not Exist

· Thus, (P1) seems to assume that there are things that do not exist, which most philosophers would regard as absurd. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p189.]

· But neither creatio ex nihilo nor beginning to exist implies that something undergoes a change from non-existence to existence. As C. D. Broad put it, absolute becoming is not a case of becoming this or that but just of becoming, period, just beginning to be. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p190.]

Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow: Philosophical Undertakers

· Hawking and Mlodinow open The Grand Design with a series of profound philosophical questions: What is the nature of reality? Where did all this come from? Did the universe need a creator? Then they say this: Traditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge. (p. 5) [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p191.]

· Two scientists who have, to all appearances, little acquaintance with philosophy are prepared to pronounce an entire discipline dead and to insult their own faculty colleagues in philosophy at Cal Tech and Cambridge University, many of whom, like Michael Redhead and D. H. Mellor, are eminent philosophers of science, for supposedly failing to keep up. I couldn’t help but wonder what evidence our intrepid authors have of Mr. Redhead’s laggard scholarship? What recent works in philosophy have they read that form the basis for their verdict? Alas, they do not say. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p192.]

· Notice what Dr. Craig is describing and the difference it makes in one’s evaluation of the authors’ ideas. He exposes their naïve disdain for philosophy. This attitude is to their detriment, since philosophy is unavoidable. Such an attitude also precludes any fruitful interdisciplinary discussion between science and philosophy. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p192.]

· Like their claims about the origin of the universe from “nothing” or about the Many Worlds Hypothesis to explain fine-tuning, their claims about laws of nature, the possibility of miracles, scientific determinism, and the illusion of free will are asserted with only the thinnest of justification and little understanding of the philosophical issues involved. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p192.]

· But Hawking and Mlodinow complain than unless one invests God with certain attributes, this answer amounts to no more than defining God as the embodiment of the laws of nature. I find this complaint perplexing. Since the classical theists they have in mind (including Descartes, whose views they misrepresent) thought that nature’s laws were freely willed by God, God could not be just the embodiment of those laws, since God could have established quite different laws. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p193.]

· What Mlodinow and Hawking are describing is the view of Spinoza, a pantheist who regarded “God” and “nature” as synonyms. Of course, classical theists regarded God as having certain attributes, which distinguished Him from nature; that is simply entailed in the answer that God established the laws. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p193.]

· Suppose one is a deist who thinks that God, having established the clockwork universe, chooses not to intervene in it? In that case, there is no “crunch” at all in answering (i) by “God” and (ii) by “No.” [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p193.]

· In any case, why answer (ii) negatively? Incredibly, Hawking and Mlodinow think that science requires it: The scientific determinism that Laplace formulated is the modern scientist’s answer to question two. It is, in fact, the basis of all modern science, and a principle that is important throughout this book. A scientific law is not a scientific law if it holds only when some supernatural being decides not to intervene. (p. 30) [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p193.]

· This argument is multiply confused. First, it is false that Laplacean determinism is the basis of modern science. Never mind the hordes of theistic scientists who affirm the reality of miracles; there are plenty of scientists, including Hawking and Mlodinow themselves (p. 72), who regard the indeterminism characteristic of quantum physics as ontic, not merely epistemic. [That is to say, real, not just a matter of our limited knowledge. It is an unresolved debate whether the indeterminacy characterizing quantum physics is just a matter of our ignorance or is a mind-independent reality. For example, do sub-atomic particles really lack a precise location at a specific time, or is it just that we cannot simultaneously measure a particle’s precise location and motion? Many, if not most, scientists take quantum indeterminacy to be ontic, not merely epistemic, in which case Laplace’s boast noted above falls to the ground.] [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p193, 194.]

· Perhaps what Hawking and Mlodinow really mean to say is that science must presuppose naturalism in order to be a viable enterprise. But in that case, they have failed to distinguish methodological naturalism from metaphysical naturalism. [Metaphysical naturalism is the view that no supernatural entities exist. Usually, this is taken to imply that nothing other than space-time and its contents exists. Methodological naturalism makes no such claim. It holds that science only seeks for natural explanations of natural phenomena. There may be supernatural entities, but they’re not the concern of science.] [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p194.]

· Their argument at best would show that science is methodologically committed to entertaining only hypotheses positing natural causes; but that would do nothing to justify a negative answer to (ii), that there are no miracles. And even the question of science’s commitment to methodological naturalism is not itself a scientific question but a philosophical question about the nature of science. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p195.]

· Hawking and Mlodinow plunge into still deeper philosophical waters when they proceed to argue that because people live in the universe and interact with other objects in it, “scientific determinism must hold for people as well” (p. 30). Therefore, “we are no more than biological machines and . . . free will is just an illusion” (p. 32). [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p195.]

· Hawking and Mlodinow ask, “If we have free will, where in the evolutionary tree did it develop?” If this is supposed to be an argument, there are at least two things wrong with it. First, my having free will does not depend upon my being able to specify where in the evolutionary process organisms first acquired it. Second, free will presumably arose as soon as the human brain evolved sufficient complexity to support self-conscious, rational reflection. So what’s the problem? [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p195.]

· I wonder, for example, why they think that anything they’ve said in their book is true, since, on their view, they were determined to write it. Everything they say is the product of blind physical causes, like water’s gushing from a pipe or a tree’s growing a branch. What confidence can they have that anything they have said is true—including their assertion that determinism is true? [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p196.]

· Ontological pluralism holds that there really is no right answer to many ontological questions (such as, “Do composite objects exist?”). According to the ontological pluralist there are just different ways of describing reality, and none of these is more correct or accurate than another. There literally is no fact of the matter at all in answer to these questions. So if you were to ask, “Is there such a thing as the Moon?” the ontological pluralist would say that the question has no objective answer. It’s not true that the Moon exists, and it’s not true that the Moon does not exist. There just is no fact of the matter about whether there is such a thing as the Moon. Ontological pluralism is thus a radical view that is defended by a handful of philosophers. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p196.]

· They (Hawking and Mlodinow) explain: our brains interpret the input from our sensory organs by making a model of the world. When such a model is successful at explaining events, we tend to attribute to it, and to the elements and concepts that constitute it, the quality of reality or absolute truth. But there may be different ways in which one could model the same physical situation, with each employing different fundamental elements and concepts. If two such physical theories or models accurately predict the same events, one cannot be said to be more real than the other; rather, we are free to use whichever model is most convenient. (p. 7) [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p197.]

· On this view, a model seems to be an (at least in part) unconscious way of organizing sense perceptions, which can be refined by scientific theorizing. We never come to know the way the world is; all we achieve are more or less convenient ways of organizing our perceptions. Such skepticism would be bad enough; but the situation is even worse. For these various models are not, even unbeknownst to us, more or less accurate approximations of reality. Rather there is no objective reality to which our models more or less accurately correspond. This is full-blown ontological pluralism. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p197.]

· Mlodinow and Hawking are thus extreme anti-realists. Now, they try to distinguish their view from scientific anti-realism by defining the latter as the view that “observation and experiment are meaningful but that theories are no more than useful instruments that do not embody any deeper truths underlying the observed phenomena” (p. 44). [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p197.]

· Hawking and Mlodinow are more anti-realist than the positivists, for they not only deny that theoretical statements express objective truths about the world, but they deny this of observation statements as well, since even observation is model-dependent. Again, what they’re denying is not just knowledge of the way the world is, but that there even is an objective world to be known. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p197.]

· All that Mlodinow and Hawking have to offer is the fact that if we were, say, inhabitants of a virtual reality controlled by alien beings, then there would be no way for us to tell that we were in the simulated world and so would have no reason to doubt its reality (p. 42). The trouble with this sort of argument is that it does not exclude the possibility that we have in such a case two competing theories of the world, one the aliens’ and one ours, and one of the theories is true and one false, even if we cannot tell which is which. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p198.]

· Mlodinow and Hawking, not content with ontological pluralism, really go off the deep end when they assert, “There is no model-independent test of reality. It follows that a wellconstructed model creates a reality of its own” (p. 172). This is an assertion of ontological relativity, the view that reality itself is different for persons having different models. If you are Fred Hoyle, the universe really has existed eternally in a steady state; but if you are Stephen Hawking, the universe really began with a big bang. If you are the ancient physician Galen, blood really does not circulate through the human body, but if you are William Harvey, it does! [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p198.]

· The answer to your question, Matthew—“how can physicists make these statements?”—was given long ago by Albert Einstein, when he remarked, “The man of science is a poor philosopher.” Hawking and Mlodinow’s book bears witness to Einstein’s sagacity. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p199.]

On Whether the Universe Must Have a Material Cause

· Let me begin by affirming that Christian theology is committed to creatio ex nihilo, that is to say, the doctrine that God created the universe without any material cause. God is the efficient cause that produced the universe, and there was no material cause. He, Himself, created the matter and energy. When we say that the matter and energy were created out of nothing, we mean merely that, although created, they were not created out of anything. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p201.]

· For that reason, something’s coming into being spontaneously from nothing is metaphysically impossible. For, as you say, non-being has no potentialities, no powers, no properties—it is not anything. That’s why being comes only from being. Ex nihilo nihil fit—out of nothing, nothing comes. So if something has an absolute beginning of existence, there must exist an actual being which produces the thing in existence. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p201.]

· The question, then, is whether there is a conflict between the principle Ex nihilo nihil fit and creatio ex nihilo. Clearly not! For in creatio ex nihilo there is an efficient cause of the effect, whereas the principle Ex nihilo nihil fit concerns something’s beginning to be in the absence of any sort of cause. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p201.]

· But, as Thomas Aquinas pointed out, in creatio ex nihilo the potentiality of the universe lay in the power of God to create it. Since God has the power to create the universe, then even in the state of affairs of God’s existing alone, there is the potential for a universe to exist. That potential resides, not in some non-existent object or in nothing, but in God Himself and His ability to cause the universe. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p201, 202.]

· This solution is very different from the panentheistic solution you mention and rightly reject, that the universe is made out of God’s own being. Rather, the idea is that God has causal powers and, therefore, there is a potential for the universe to be actualized. This account underlines the fact that creatio ex nihilo is not a type of change. For in creation there is no enduring subject that goes from non-being into being. It is an absolute beginning of existence. It is not as though there were something with a passive potentiality to be actualized and God acts on that potentiality to actualize it. Rather the potentiality lies wholly in God’s power to create. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p202.]

Must the Cause of the Universe Be Personal?

· What do i mean by “eternal” in the argument from the principle of determination? In a word, permanent. Something is eternal if it exists permanently, or without beginning or end. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p205.]

· There seems to be only one way out of this dilemma, and that is to say that the cause of the universe’s beginning is a personal agent who freely chooses to create a universe in time. Philosophers call this type of causation “agent causation,” and because the agent is free, he can initiate new effects by freely bringing about conditions which were not previously present. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p206.]

· I agree that it makes no sense to ask why the universe didn’t begin at an earlier point of time. But it doesn’t follow from that that it is meaningless to ask why a universe with a beginning exists rather than an eternal universe with no beginning. Nor is it meaningless to ask how an effect with a beginning can originate from a changeless, permanent cause. That’s the real head-scratcher! I think al-Ghazali and those medieval Muslim theologians were dead-on concerning this argument for a free agent as the cause of the universe. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p206.]

· If the argument so far is correct, then we have proved that there exists an uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, enormously powerful, indeterministic cause of the universe. Now, the question is, what is it? What entity fits this description? The answer, it seems to me, is clear: a person, an unembodied mind. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p206.]

· We can think of this conclusion as an inference to the best explanation. In inference to the best explanation, we ask ourselves, what hypothesis, if true, would provide the best explanation of the data? The hypothesis that there is a personal Creator of the universe explains wonderfully all the data. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p206, 207.]

· There are two ways to defeat such an inference to the best explanation: (i) provide an equally good explanation that does not involve the existence of a personal Creator; or (ii) provide overriding reasons to think that a personal Creator does not exist. The arguments against the coherence of an unembodied mind would be examples of strategy (ii), while our present discussion concerning an alternative explanation is an example of strategy (i). [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p207.]

· Finally, as for the suggestion that the singularity is the cause of the universe, this has the merit of at least positing some explanatory entity. But in my original response to Cyrus, I explained why the initial cosmological singularity cannot be the ultimate cause of the universe, since it is either unreal or else part of the universe and, therefore, itself in need of explanation of its coming into being. The sense in which the singularity is “timeless,” Shah, is a highly technical sense in that in the General Theory of Relativity, it is not a point in space-time. Rather it is a point on the boundary of space-time. But it is not eternal in the ordinary sense of the term; namely, it is not permanent. On the contrary, it is fleetingly evanescent. It is, therefore, temporal and began to exist and, therefore, requires a cause. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p208.]

2 God and Time

On a Framework for Thinking about God, Creation, and Time

· I argue that God, existing changelessly alone without the universe, is timeless. Time comes into existence at creation and so has a beginning and is finite in the past. God, in virtue of His real relation to the temporal world, becomes temporal at the moment of creation. So God exists timelessly without creation and temporally since the moment of creation. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p212.]

· If I am right, then there is no moment prior to creation. Rather, time begins at creation. This is the classical Christian view, as defended, for example, by Augustine. On this view, it is logically incoherent to ask, “What was God doing prior to creation?” because “prior to creation” implies a moment before creation, which the view denies. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p212.]

· Now, some theists have disagreed with the classical view. Isaac Newton, the founder of modern physics, for example, believed that time is infinite in the past and never had a beginning. For Newton absolute time just is God’s duration. Because God has always existed, time goes back and back and never had a beginning. So on Newton’s view, it makes perfect sense to ask, “What was God doing prior to creation?” [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p212.]

· One nice way of expressing God’s priority to creation is to say that God is causally but not temporally prior to the beginning of the universe. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p213.]

· The very nature of free will is the absence of causal determinants. So a free choice has the appearance of a purely spontaneous event. The man can simply freely will to stand up. Thus, you can get a temporal effect from a changeless cause, if that cause is a free agent. Now, in God’s case, God exists changelessly without the universe. Creation is a freely willed act of God that, when it occurs, brings time into being along with the universe. Thus, to say that “a finite time ago a Creator endowed with free will could have willed to bring the world into being at that moment” does not imply that there was time prior to that moment. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p213.]

· What timelessness entails is that one doesn’t do anything different, that is, that one does not change. Timelessness implies an unchanging state of being. Now, some activities don’t require change and time. For example, knowing something doesn’t require change or time. God can know all truths in that timeless state without any change. Similarly, one can have unchanging intentions. So long as one’s intentions don’t change they can be timelessly held. That’s why I said that God can exist without the universe with a timeless intention to create a world with a beginning. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p213.]

· Here we have insight into the nature of the love relationship among the three persons of the Trinity in that timeless state without creation. There exists a perfect, changeless state of mutual knowledge, will, and love among the persons of the Trinity without the creation. (The wonder of creation is that God would bother to create a world of creatures and invite them to freely enter the joy of that fellowship as adopted children!) [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p213, 214.]

· reflecting on agent causation leads me to think that in addition to that timeless intention there must also be an exercise of causal power on God’s part. That act is simultaneous with the moment of creation—indeed, it just is the act of creating—and brings God into time. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p214.]

Tenseless Time and Identity over Time

· the nature of time: the tensed view, which holds that temporal becoming is a real, objective feature of the world, and the tenseless view, which holds that all moments of time, whether past, present, or future, are equally real and existent, so that temporal becoming is an illusion of human consciousness. Philosophers are deeply divided as to which view is correct. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p219.]

· What this implies is not that the tenseless time theorist must abandon the principle of identity, since that is a necessary truth of logic, but rather that the tenseless time theorist must hold that intrinsic change is impossible and that nothing actually endures through time! These consequences are generally acknowledged by tenseless time theorists. They hold that what we call persons are just three-dimensional slices of four-dimensional space-time “worms.” The various slices are different objects, just as the different slices of a loaf of bread are. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p219.]

· I have every reason to believe that there is at least one thing that endures through intrinsic change, namely, I myself. I existed a second ago, and despite the changes which have taken place in me, I still exist now. No sane person really believes that he is not the same person who existed a minute ago. Moreover, the tenseless view is incompatible with moral responsibility, praise, and blame. The non-conscious, four-dimensional object of which I am a part cannot be regarded as a moral agent and is, therefore, not morally responsible for anything. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p219.]

3 On Atheism and Meaning in Life

Is Life Absurd without God?

· I’ve tried to analyze the absurdity of life in terms of life’s lacking ultimate meaning, value, and purpose. The word “ultimate” is important here, for obviously we can have subsidiary purposes and conditional values without God, but my claim is that ultimately nothing really matters if there is no God. It seems to me that there are two prerequisites to an ultimately meaningful, valuable, and purposeful life, namely, God and immortality, and if God does not exist, then we have neither. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p225.]

· By “meaning” I mean something like significance or importance. By “purpose” I mean a telos or goal of life. By “value” I mean objective moral values and duties. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p225.]

· “If what we do now is ultimately insignificant because it will make no difference in a million years, then what happens in a million years is also ultimately insignificant because it makes no difference to what we do now.” That doesn’t make sense because the arrow of time is from past to future. To see if what happens in a million years makes any difference, you don’t look to its impact on today but to its impact on the future, and there isn’t any in the end. So, of course, in the absence of backward causation, it makes no difference now what will happen in a million years. The point is that what happens now or in a million years makes no ultimate difference on the outcome of the universe. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p226.]

· Maybe Nagel’s claim is that it doesn’t matter that nothing matters; but that doesn’t deny my point that it doesn’t matter, that there is no ultimate meaning. I agree with him that immortality alone is not sufficient for ultimate meaning: mere prolongation of existence isn’t enough. But it is a necessary condition. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p226.]

· Here, Nagel misses my point entirely. He asserts that if we were extended throughout all space and time, that would not invest our lives with ultimate significance. But I agree with that! He’s confusing necessary with sufficient conditions. Immortality is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for ultimate meaning; we also need God, as I have argued. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p227.]

· As someone whose life has been transformed by the love of God, I, by contrast, find from the engaged perspective nothing more fulfilling than knowing Him. Obedience to His commands comes, not grudgingly, but gratefully and eagerly from a willing heart. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p228.]

· As for your final point, if you’ve read my work, you know that I never argue for God’s existence on the basis of the absurdity of life without God. I’m very explicit about this. Rather the purpose of this exercise is to arouse apathetic people from their stupor and get them to think about the importance of the question of God’s existence, to get them to be as passionate as you are! Then, perhaps, they will be interested to hear my arguments for the existence of God. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p228, 229.]

Is Unbelief Culpable?

· I find that contemporary atheists take great umbrage at the biblical claim that God holds people to be morally culpable for their unbelief. They want to maintain their unbelief in God without accepting the responsibility for it. This attitude enables them to reject God with impunity. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p230.]

· Now, we can agree that a person cannot be held morally responsible for failing to discharge a duty of which he is uninformed. So the entire question is: are people sufficiently informed to be held morally responsible for failing to believe in God? [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p230.]

· On the biblical view, people are not like innocent, lost lambs wandering helplessly without a guide. Rather they are determined rebels whose wills are set against God and who must be subdued by God’s Spirit. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p231.]

· unbelief is a choice. It is a choice to resist the force of the evidence and the drawing of God’s Holy Spirit. The unbeliever is like someone dying of a fatal disease who refuses to believe the medical evidence concerning the efficacy of a proffered cure and who rejects the testimony of his doctor to it and who, as a result, suffers the consequence of his own stubbornness. He has no one to blame but himself. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p231.]

Deism and Christian Theism

· Ayala, though an ardent Darwinian, is very candid that when biologists affirm that “evolution is a fact,” what they are talking about is common descent. But he says that “evolution,” when defined as either a reconstruction of the evolutionary tree of life or as an account of the mechanisms that explain evolutionary change, is very uncertain and a matter of ongoing study. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p232.]

· Moreover, you’re persuaded by the kalam cosmological argument for a personal Creator of the universe. This argument gives us an uncaused, beginningless, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, enormously powerful, personal Creator of the universe, who, as we may infer from the design argument above, designed the universe and the Earth to bring forth intelligent beings like ourselves. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p233.]

· Now, if such a Creator and Designer exists and has brought us into existence, doesn’t that suggest to you that He would have some purpose in mind which He would want us to know so that we might achieve the ends for which He created us? This consideration ought to make us take the claims of revealed religion, or at least the claims of the great monotheistic faiths that are consistent with the existence of such a transcendent Creator and Designer, very seriously. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p233.]

· So why don’t you do what most New Testament scholars do: set aside the theological conviction that the gospels are inspired and look at them as ordinary historical documents about the life of this remarkable man, Jesus of Nazareth? What you’ll find, Paul, is that we have more information about this relatively obscure man than we do about most major figures of antiquity! It’s really quite amazing when you think about it. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p233.]

4 On Theology and Science

Is Scientism Self-Refuting?

· Neel, your friend is confusing scientism (an epistemological thesis) with naturalism (an ontological thesis). Scientism is the view that we should believe only what can be proven scientifically. In other words, science is the sole source of knowledge and the sole arbiter of truth. Naturalism is the view that physical events have only physical causes. In other words, miracles do not happen; there are no supernatural causes. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p236.]

· what problems are there with scientism? There are two that are especially significant. First, scientism is too restrictive a theory of knowledge. It would, if adopted, compel us to abandon wide swaths of what most of us take to be fields of human knowledge. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p236.]

· And what about science itself? Science is permeated with assumptions that cannot be scientifically proven, so that an epistemology of scientism would destroy science itself. For example, the principle of induction cannot be scientifically justified. Just because A has always been succeeded by B in the past provides no warrant for inferring that the next A will be followed by B. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p236.]

· Secondly, scientism is self-refuting. Scientism tells us that we should not believe any proposition that cannot be scientifically proven. But what about that very proposition itself? It cannot itself be scientifically proven. Therefore, we should not believe it. Scientism thus defeats itself. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p237.]

· methodological naturalism, that is to say, the view that in doing natural science we should assume that all physical events have only natural causes. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p237.]

· is there the possibility that a naturalistic explanation might give way to a supernaturalistic explanation. They argue that it should in the case of biological complexity. But because they are working with a conception of science outside the mainstream (namely, they reject methodological naturalism), it’s highly unlikely that their view will ever become the paradigmatic view of science, no matter what the evidence. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p238.]

On Evolutionary Theory and Theism

· How could anyone say on the basis of scientific evidence that the whole scheme was not set up by a provident God to arrive at homo sapiens on planet Earth? How could a scientist know that God did not supernaturally intervene to cause the crucial mutations that led to important evolutionary transitions, for example, the reptile to bird transition? Indeed, given divine middle knowledge, not even such supernatural interventions are necessary, for God could have known that were certain initial conditions in place, then, given the laws of nature, certain life forms would evolve through random mutation and natural selection, and so He put such laws and initial conditions in place. Obviously, science is in no position whatsoever to say justifiably that the evolutionary process was not under the providence of a God endowed with middle knowledge who determined to create biological complexity by such means. So if the evolutionary biologist were using words like “undirected” and “purposeless” in the sense that the theist is using those words, evolutionary theory would be philosophy, not science (which is precisely what some theists allege). [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p239, 240.]

· According to Ayala, when the evolutionary biologist says that the mutations that lead to evolutionary development are random, the meaning of the word “random” is not “occurring by chance.” Rather it means “irrespective of their usefulness to the organism.” [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p240.]

· If we take “random” to mean “irrespective of usefulness to the organism,” then randomness is not incompatible with direction or purpose. For example, suppose that God in His providence causes a mutation to occur in an organism, not for the benefit of the organism, but for some other reason (say, because it will produce easy prey for other organisms that He wants to flourish or even because it will eventually produce a fossil that I will someday find, which stimulates my interest in paleontology, so that I embark upon the career God had in mind for me). In such a case, the mutation is both purposeful and random. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p240.]

· In a recent report from the National Center for Science Education, which self-advertises as “the premier institution dedicated to keeping evolution in the science classroom and creationism out,” Daryl Domning writes: In truth, many (perhaps most!) evolutionists are theists of one sort or another. Their views are as sincerely and validly held as those of the atheists and have as much (perhaps more!) claim to be representative of evolutionist thinking. Atheists have every right to believe that theists are woefully misguided in failing to see the obsolescence of religion after Darwin; but that is their philosophical opinion, not an infallibly proven proposition of science or logic. [Daryl P. Domning, “Winning Their Hearts and Minds: Who Should Speak for Evolution?” Reports of the National Center for Science Education 29:2 (March-April 2009), accessed online: http://bit.ly/Domning.] [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p241.]

· As an anthropological dualist who thinks that human beings are body/soul composites, I think that a hominid animal, however advanced, which lacks a human soul is not a human being. So it really doesn’t matter whether or not there was a sharp dividing line biologically between pre-human hominids and human beings. In any case, anthropologists to my knowledge have not been able to come to any sort of consensus on the tree of human ancestry, so that all the hominids you mention may simply be dead ends on the tree of primate evolution which never led to man. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p242.]

· Were Neanderthals truly human? God knows! I don’t need to know exactly when humans emerged in the evolutionary process in order to maintain that in God’s providence a first human being did arrive on the scene. So while your question poses an intriguing puzzle, I don’t see that a theist needs to be able to answer it in order for theism to be rational to hold. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p242.]

Who Speaks for Science?

· that insofar as a person claims that the evidence of evolutionary biology has shown that the evolutionary process, based as it is on genetic mutations and natural selection, is undirected, purposeless, or non-teleological, he is making a claim that hopelessly outstrips the scientific evidence and so is unjustified. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p246.]

· The fundamental question, then, is, who determines the content of a scientific theory? Who speaks for science? Now, at one level the answer to that question is easy: the expert practitioners of a theory tell us what the content of that theory is. In practice, however, things are not so easy. For scientists, being philosophically untrained, may be blind to the philosophical assumptions and ramifications of their views, so that careless statements are often made, especially by those who have a philosophical or theological agenda, that are not really part of the theory itself. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p247.]

Part 6 Questions about Issues of Christian Practice

1 On Social-Moral Issues

Do We Live in a Postmodern Society?

· Most people don’t for a minute think that there are no objective standards of truth, rationality, and logic. As I said in the article, a postmodern culture is an impossibility; it would be utterly unlivable. Nobody is a postmodernist when it comes to reading the labels on a medicine bottle versus a box of rat poison. (If you’ve got a headache, you better believe that texts have objective meaning!) [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p337.]

· The first half of the twentieth century was dominated by a philosophy of meaning called verificationism. On this view anything that cannot, in principle, be verified through the five senses, that is, through science, is meaningless. Since religious and ethical statements cannot be so verified, it follows that they have no factual content whatsoever. They are merely expressions of personal taste and emotions. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p337.]

· Christians (or Muslims) who claim that their religious view is the objective truth and that those who disagree with them are wrong will be perceived as closed-minded and dogmatic bigots, on a par with someone who says, “Vanilla tastes better than chocolate, and anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong.” [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p338.]

· Look at the poignant words of Bertrand Russell penned in 1903: … even more purposeless, more void of meaning, is the world which Science presents for our belief. Amid such a world, if anywhere, our ideals henceforward must find a home. That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built. [Bertrand Russell, “A Free Man’s Worship,” in Why I Am Not a Christian (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1967), 106–7.] [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p338, 339.]

· All of this is important because an effective response to our culture requires an accurate diagnosis of that culture. [William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra: A Reasonable Response (Answers to Tough Questions on God Christianity and The Bible), Moody Publishers 2013, p339.]

الحمد لله الذي بنعمته تتمّ الصَّالِحات

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist

Or: The Dreadful Consequences of Bad Arguments

By: Andy Bannister

didnt-exist

للتحميل: (PDF) (DOC)

نبذة مُختصرة عن الكتاب:

الكتاب من تأليف «أندي بانِّيستر» الحاصل على درجة الدُّكتوراه في الدِّراسات الإسلامية! الذي يعمل في مؤسَّسة «رافي زكارايوس» التًّنصيرية، ولمن لا يعلم، فإنَّ «رافي زكارايوس» من أشهر المُنصِّرين في العالم، يكاد يكون بشُهرة الشيخ «أحمد ديدات» عند المُسلمين، إذ أنَّ نشأتهم مُشابهة!

الكتاب يبدأ بالكلام عن «أوتوبيس المُلحدين» الذي يسير في شوارع بريطانيا وعليه إعلان مكتوب عليه: “من المُحتمل أنَّه لا يوجد إله، كُفّ عن القَلَق واستمتع بحياتك!” ومنها يتحدَّث الكاتب عن الحُجج الواهية التي يطرحها أئمَّة «الإلحاد الجديد» بهدف التَّرويج لإلحادهم!

أوَّل حُجَّة واهية يُناقشها الكتاب هي العلاقة بين عدم وجود الإله والاستمتاع بالحياة، ثم ينطلق منها إلى فكرة أنَّ الإلحاد في حدّ ذاته يُعتبر «نظام إيماني» أو بالأحرى «دين» يهدف إلى أن يكون النظام الأمثل الذي يجب أن يعيش الإنسان وفقه، وهُنا نجد أنَّ المؤلِّف يلفت الأنظار إلى ما يُسمِّيه «عقائد نشطة» و «عقائد خاملة»، ويُشير إلى أنَّه يجب تقديم الدَّليل على صحَّة «العقائد النَّشطة»، وهي النَّاتِجة عن قرار واعي، وتشغل عُقُولنا وتفكيرنا، وتنعكس على تصرُّفاتنا وأفعالنا وتعاملاتنا، بعكس الأفكار التي نتبنَّاها بشكل غير واعي، ولا تشغل بالنا، وغالباً ما تكون بديهية ولا تحتاج إلى إثبات، مثل: عدم وُجُود فيل في الثَّلاجة!

يُشير المؤلِّف أيضاً على أنَّ الإلحاد كـ «نظام إيماني» ليس مُجرَّد عدم الاعتقاد السلبي بعدم وجود إله، وإنَّما يتكوَّن الإلحاد من عقائد كثيرة مُركَّبة، مثل الاعتقاد بصحَّة «المذهب الطَّبيعي» naturalism، وكذلك الاعتقاد بصحَّة «المذهب العِلْمَوِيّ» scientism، وكذلك الاعتقاد بصحَّة نظرية «التَّطوُّر الدَّارويني» Darwinism ممَّا يُبيِّن أنَّ الإلحاد له «أركان إيمان» كأي نظام إيماني! وفي النِّهاية يُبيِّن المؤلِّف أنَّ المُنتسبين لـ «دين الإلحاد» يُكوِّنون مُجتمع ديني له نفس خصائص أي مُجتمع ديني آخر!

المؤلِّف يُشير إلى «فطرية التَّديُّن»، وأنَّ الإنسان بطبيعته وفطرته مُتديِّن ويؤمن بمُعتقدات مُختلفة، وأنَّه يجب على كلّ إنسان أن يُبرهن على صحَّة مُعتقداته وإيمانه، ويتناول المؤلِّف أيضاً موضوع الطفولة، والأفكار التي تُبثّ في عُقُول الأطفال، وقام المؤلِّف بالرَّد على شُبهة استغلال الأطفال وإقناعهم بالخرافات والأساطير والأوهام، ويتناول أيضاً فكرة أنَّ الدِّين مُجرَّد ظاهرة نفسية مع اختراع الإنسان ليشعر بالأمان والطَّمأنينة!

المؤلِّف تناول أيضاً الشُّبهة الشَّهيرة التي تقول إنَّ الدِّين يُسمِّم كلّ شيء (عبارة «كريستوفر هيتشنز» الشَّهيرة والتي كرَّرها عنه «سام هاريس» كثيراً، وفي المقابل هُناك كتاب للدكتور «هيثم طلعت» بعُنوان: «الإلحاد يُسمِّم كلّ شيء» وسلسلة مرئية على «قناة البيِّنة» أيضاً بنفس العُنوان)، ثمَّ تناول موضوع فلسفة العُلُوم والحُدُود العلم وقدرتها على إعطاء الإجابات، ثمَّ تطرَّق إلى البرهان الأخلاقي كدليل على وجود الله، أو بالأصحّ، توضيح أنَّ وجود الله هو التفسير الوحيد لوجود الأخلاق، وفي النهاية يتناول المؤلِّف موضوع الهدف والغاية من الحياة، وإثبات أنَّه لابد من الاعتقاد بوجود الله لإعطاء هذه الحياة قيمة وغاية لنعيش من أجلها، ثمَّ الكلام عن مدى موثوقية الأدلَّة التَّاريخية (في سياق إثبات وجود يسوع المسيح تاريخياً انتصاراً للمسيحية).

المؤلِّف الذي يدَّعي أنَّه قضى عشرين عاماً في دراسة الإسلام والحُصُول على درجة الدُّكتوراه في الدِّراسات القرآنية يذكر الإسلام أحياناً سواء بالصَّواب أو بالخطأ، والعجيب أنَّ أخطاءه لا يُمكن أن تقع من شخصٍ قرأ القرآن الكريم ولو مرَّة واحدة، فضلاً عن شخصٍ حاصلٍ على الدُّكتوراه في الدِّراسات القرآنية، ممَّا يجعلني أشكّ في أنَّ هُناك مُشكلة حقيقية عند أهل السُّنَّة في توصيل «اللاهوت الإسلامي» للغرب بلغة إنجليزية واضحة! (أو أنَّ المؤلِّف كعادة المُنصِّرين مُجرَّد كذَّاب أشرّ لا يختلف كثيراً عن أستاذه «رافي زكارايوس» الذي له في قلبي بُغض خاصّ!)

شكر خاص للأخ أحمد عيسى الذي أعطاني الكتاب!

الكتاب يستحقّ تقدير جيِّد جداً لمُحتواه المُميَّز ونقده الرائع، بالإضافة إلى وجود إشارات لقراءات إثرائية في نهاية كلّ فصل، مع الإشارة إلى أنَّ المؤلِّف في أحيانٍ كثيرة يقول كلاماً كثيراً بدون أي فائدة، وله أسلوب سخيف ومُستفِزّ في سرد بعض الحكايات في بداية كلّ فصل ويظُنّ أنَّه خفيف الظِّلّ ويستطيع إضحاك النَّاس (تجاهل هذه الحكايات المُستفزَّة لن يؤثِّر على فهمك للكتاب)! لكنَّه عندما ينتقد يضع النقد في محلِّه!

1 The Loch Ness Monster’s Moustache (or: The Terrible Consequences of Bad Arguments)

· And then, at last, a bus rounded the corner. A big, red London bus sporting a huge advertisement on the side, which announced in large friendly letters: “There’s Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Life.” [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 127-128). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· First, because the slogan, despite its friendly pink letters, is a perfect example of a really bad argument. An argument so bad, so disastrous, in fact, that one has to wonder what its sponsors were thinking. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 134-135). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· See e.g. Julian Baggini, “Yes, life without God can be bleak. Atheism is about facing up to that”, The Guardian, 9 March 2012 (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/mar/09/life-without-god-bleak-atheism).

· The bus advertisement typifies what’s come to be termed the “New Atheism”, a phrase coined back in 2006 by Wired magazine to describe the group of media-savvy atheists – men such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and the late Christopher Hitchens – whose books attacking religion in general and Christianity in particular have sold by the truckload.  [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 139-142). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Indeed, the full gamut of human emotions spans the alphabet. To be fully, authentically human is to have experienced anger, boredom, compassion, delight, expectation, fear, guilt, hope, insecurity, joy, kindness, love, malice, nonchalance, obligation, peace, queasiness, relief, sensuality, thankfulness, uneasiness, vulnerability, wistfulness, yearning, and zealousness. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 188-191). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· I stress you, second person singular, had better pull yourself together, because, if the atheist bus slogan is right and there is no God, there’s nobody out there who is ultimately going to help with any pulling. You’re alone in a universe that cares as little about you (and your enjoyment) as it does about the fate of the amoeba, the ant or the aardvark. There’s no hope, there’s no justice, and there’s certainly nothing inherently wrong with poverty, incidentally, so quit protesting. Life favours the winners; some get the breaks, and others get the sticky end of the stick. Still others get to make millions selling books on atheism, enough for a lifetime of lattes. Enjoy your life? Nice work if you can get it.  [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 199-205). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· It’s easy to sloganize lazily, to try to reduce complex arguments to something that fits on the side of a bus or sounds good on Twitter, but in so doing you usually lose nuance and depth. In fact, it’s worse than that: the temptation to sloganize can result in arguments that are not merely wrong but are utterly bizarre and have some terrible consequences when you turn them around. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 207-210). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· It’s awfully easy, for example, to tap out something like this quickly on one’s smartphone: Stalin, Hitler and Saddam Hussein were evil, murdering dictators. All had moustaches. Therefore moustaches are evil. [Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins), 2 March 2014, 5:14 p.m., https://twitter.com/RichardDawkins/status/440233751965364224.] [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 214-216). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Hitler is a somewhat unique case. Christians and atheist apologists are both occasionally guilty of suggesting Hitler was a card-carrying member of the opposite side, but the truth is that Hitler seems to have cobbled together a unique set of beliefs, drawn from religion and science and mashed up to produce a toxic nationalistic myth. When you read the history of the Third Reich, what you discover is that nobody comes off well. Too many Christians and atheists stood by and did nothing, while there were also brave men and women of all beliefs who took a stand. One famous Christian example is the German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose stance against the Third Reich ultimately led to his death. See Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2010. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 2950-2956). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Yet if Dawkins is right, we can ignore all of this. We can lay aside what Stalin did and said – ignore Stalin’s very own reasons – and instead offer a random explanation of our own making, one that suits our own purposes. Look, Stalin had a moustache! Don’t look at his atheism; look at his facial hair! [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 245-247). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Listen to these words from another atheist writer, the philosopher Patricia Churchland: Boiled down to the essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed at four things: feeding, fleeing, fighting and reproducing … Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost. [Patricia Churchland, “Epistemology in the Age of Neuroscience”, Journal of Philosophy 84.10, 1987, pp. 544–553, citing 548.] [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 255-257). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· And, finally, what about reproducing? Well, one can easily imagine how “I’m a famous author, don’t you know?” could open many a hotel-room door at the kind of secular conferences frequented by pretty young sceptics.  [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 269-271). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Because here’s the thing: the “God Question” is arguably the most important question that anybody can think about. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 289-290). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· (It has been remarked that the difference between a doubter and a sceptic is that a doubter is somebody who hopes there might be an answer; a sceptic hopes that there isn’t).  [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 302-304). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· What the world needs more than ever is a reasonable dialogue between those who believe in God and those who have questions or doubts (however deeply held), not a clash of fundamentalisms. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 308-310). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

2 The Scandinavian Sceptic (or: Why Atheism Really is a Belief System)

· The argument goes this way: atheism is a disbelief in God, and therefore one does not need to give reasons for it. The idea lying behind this is that atheism is purely negative, the mere absence of belief, and it is only positive beliefs for which we need to provide reasons. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 345-347). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· So is atheism purely the absence of belief, a wholly negative claim? Well, certainly many atheists seem to think so. For example, listen to the late New Atheist Christopher Hitchens: Our belief is not a belief. [Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great, London: Atlantic Books, 2007, p. 5.] [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 350-352). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· The first problem is that the statement “Atheism is just non-belief in God” proves too much. What do I mean? Well, if this claim is true, consider what it entails. It would mean, for instance, that my cat is an atheist, because she does not believe in God. Likewise potatoes, the colour green, Richard Dawkins’s left foot, and small rocks are all atheists because they, too, do not possess a belief in a deity of any kind. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 359-363). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· When I’ve mentioned this to atheist friends, the usual response is: “But a potato can’t believe anything!” To which I always reply: “So you’re now saying that atheism is the lack of belief in God by a creature that has the ability to form beliefs?” You see that is a different claim entirely. Why? Because it’s a positive claim. My atheist friend is now claiming that she believes that the external world really exists, that we are not simply brains in a jar, our thoughts and experiences manipulated like those of the humans in The Matrix movies. Furthermore, she is claiming that other minds exist, that it is possible for the human brain to form beliefs, and that our thinking is more or less reliable. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 363-369). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· I think we all instinctively know there is a definite difference between active beliefs and passive beliefs. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 397-398). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· For our active non-beliefs, disbeliefs that consume our time and energy, for those, yes, we do need to give reasons. But for other, lesser, non-beliefs, we don’t, and thus we can safely dismiss protestations about bathroom hippos and the Tooth Fairy quite easily. Why? Because those non-beliefs don’t lead to action. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 402-405). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· So what about atheism? Well, it doesn’t take a lot of thought to realize that atheism causes all manner of actions. For a non-belief, it leads a pretty busy and exciting life. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 411-412). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Many things stand upon belief in God, such as the idea that human beings have intrinsic value. Ethics, law, and human rights theory are based on the belief that you are not just a random collection of atoms, but a person with dignity and worth. [Michael J. Perry, “The Morality of Human Rights: A Nonreligious Ground?”, Emory Law Journal 54, 2005, pp. 97–150.] [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 434-436). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Reject God by all means, says Nietzsche, but then you must start again with new foundations, explaining why one particular creature thrown up by the blind forces of time and chance churning the primordial soup for billions of years possesses inalienable rights whereas amoebae, cockroaches, and eggplants do not. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 438-440). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Novelist and atheist Llewelyn Powys wrote: [The atheist] must be bold to weave a bower of “endless night” upon the very edge of the abyss of abysses. This precarious cat’s-cradle he must make his intellectual habitation. It is not only belief in God that must be abandoned, not only all hope of life after death, but all trust in an ordained moral order … We must be prepared to take our bearings without a compass and with the slippery deck of our life-vessel sliding away under our feet. Dogmatic nihilists, profoundly sceptical of all good, we are put to our resources like shipwrecked seamen. We have no sense of direction, and recognise without dispute that all beyond the margin of our own scant moment is lost. [Llewelyn Powys, Glory of Life, London: The Bodley Head, 1938, p. 27. See also the discussion of Powys in John Gray, The Silence of Animals: On Progress and Other Modern Myths, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013, pp. 176–207.] [E.g. John Gray’s hauntingly bleak book Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003, or Bertrand Russell’s classic essay, “A Free Man’s Worship” (1903, the text is available on numerous websites, if one searches for the title).] [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 441-447). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· So, once again, we can ask: what about atheism? Does the statement “I do not believe in God” stand alone: stark, naked, and proud, utterly self-reliant? Or does it attract other beliefs to it; does it possess a kind of gravitational pull? Once again, it is tremendously easy to show that atheistic beliefs rarely exist in isolation. For example, most atheists believe in naturalism, the world view which says that only material things exist. Many atheists also believe in some form of scientism, the belief that science can answer any and all questions both about the natural world and about the human condition. The list goes on and on. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 459-464). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· If you believe that God does not exist, you are highly likely to believe that physics, chemistry, and biology can explain everything. You will also be tempted to pounce opportunistically on materialism as a way of keeping the divine foot out of the door. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 465-467). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· There is one last powerful piece of evidence that atheism really is a belief system, if not even more than a belief system, and that’s its increasing tendency to function as an identity marker. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 473-475). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· On the other hand, many atheists do use their non-belief in God very much as an identity marker. They introduce themselves as atheists, they proudly write “freethinker” or “sceptic” in their social media profiles – with the more zealously enthusiastic changing their profile pictures to little icons of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Furthermore, many atheists show a tendency to gather together in communities centred on their atheism. Some hang out online at places like the Richard Dawkins website in order to beat up on non-believers and remind one another how cool it is to be an atheist. They attend conferences, groups, and seminars; they buy the latest books written by atheist gurus; they have creeds and accuse those who disagree with them of heresy. They are even starting churches. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 482-488). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel was deluged with thousands of angry messages, many calling him a “heretic”, after his book Mind and Cosmos questioned several aspects of evolution and suggested that materialism could not explain several key features of reality. See Joseph Brean, “What has gotten into Thomas Nagel?: Leading atheist branded a ‘heretic’ for daring to question Darwinism”, National Post, 23 March 2013 (online at http://life.nationalpost.com/2013/03/23/what-has-gotten-into-thomas-nagel-leading-atheist-branded-a-heretic-for-daring-to-question-darwinism/). [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 3007-3011). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Andrew Watts, “The church of self-worship: Sunday morning with the atheists”, The Spectator, 22 February 2014 (http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9141372/so-tell-me-about-your-faith-journey-sunday-morning-at-the-atheist-church/). [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 3011-3013). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· See e.g. “Atheist Church Split: Sunday Assembly and Godless Revival’s ‘Denominational Chasm’”, The Huffington Post, 23 January 2014 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/06/atheist-church-split_n_4550456.html). [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 3015-3017). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Would it be possible even to describe some forms of atheism as a religion? Some scholars of religion think that you can, for instance Stephen Prothero of Boston University: Atheism is a religion of sorts, or can be. Many atheists are quite religious, holding their views about God with the conviction of zealots and evangelizing with verve … It stands at the center of their lives, defining who they are, how they think, and with whom they associate. The question of God is never far from their minds. [Stephen Prothero, God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World, New York: HarperOne, 2010, p. 326.] [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 500-505). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· But here’s the important thing to consider: simple disbelief in God does not make one non-religious. There are plenty of religious people who don’t believe in God – such as many adherents of Buddhism, Confucianism, some forms of Judaism, and most of the Canadian United Church. To be “religious” doesn’t simply mean “to believe in God”. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 506-508). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· A very helpful suggestion was once offered by sociologist Émile Durkheim, who defined religion as “a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things”. By “sacred things”, Durkheim meant anything a person holds dear, including their ideas and values. [See Émile Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, Translated by Carol Cosman with Introduction and Notes by Mark S. Cladis, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, esp. pp. xxi, 46.] [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 508-511). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· There’s a second way to think about the word “religion” and that’s to consider a “religion” as a system of belief that attempts to answer ultimate questions. Is there a God? Why are we here? How do we determine good and evil? What happens when we die? Even the most hard-nosed, nihilistic atheist has answers to those questions (“No”; “Time plus chance plus natural selection”; “Personal preference”; “We rot”, etc.) and so it fits the definition quite well. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 512-515). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Being religious is simply part of what being a human being is. As the French philosopher Julia Kristeva put it in a memorable book title, we all have this incredible need to believe. [Julia Kristeva, The Incredible Need to Believe, New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. See also Christian Smith, Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.] [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 516-517). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Everybody has beliefs that are central for them, beliefs that cause actions, beliefs that define them, beliefs that have implications. And for those kinds of beliefs we can be asked to give reasons. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 519-521). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Christopher Hitchens, who said: “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Quite right too. [Hitchens, God Is Not Great, p. 50.] [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 521-523). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

3 The Aardvark in the Artichokes (or: Why Not All Gods are the Same)

· For example, it bears an uncanny resemblance to one particular claim that has been advanced by some contemporary atheists. Known as the “One God Less” argument, an illustrative specimen occurs in this paragraph from Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion: I have found it an amusing strategy, when asked whether I am atheist, to point out that the questioner is also an atheist when considering Zeus, Apollo, Amon Ra, Mithras, Baal, Thor, Wotan, the Golden Calf and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I just go one god further. [Dawkins, The God Delusion, p. 77.] [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 562-566). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Dawkins is, for example, a bachelor with regard to every other woman except his wife, but I am not sure that it would be entirely fair on that basis to deny existence to Mrs Dawkins. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 567-569). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· “Another damnable creationist,” the former Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science would mutter, scarcely breaking his stride. “I’m not a creationist,” the passer-by retorts. “I’m a biologist, just like you. Also just like you, I’ve rejected Pangenesis, Lamarckian Inheritance, and Punctuated Equilibrium. But, unlike you, I’m a more consistent sceptic. Indeed, I just go ‘One Theorem Further’ and also deny Natural Selection.” [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 606-609). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Alvin Plantinga, “Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments”, available online at: http://bit.ly/plantinga24. At a more popular level, I can also recommend C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Glasgow: Collins, 1990, and Timothy Keller, The Reason for God, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2008.

· I occasionally encounter enthusiastic young atheists who inform me that physicists can explain, using science alone, why there is a universe at all, why there is something rather than nothing. A commonly quoted work in this regard is Lawrence M. Krauss’s A Universe From Nothing, New York: Free Press, 2012. In a nutshell, his argument is: (a) Nothing isn’t really nothing, but is really a kind of something; (b) Science can tell us a lot about something; (c) Therefore we don’t need God. You may accuse me of simplistic parody here, but quite seriously that’s the argument and many reviewers (including fellow atheists) have called him out on it, pointing out that the book is woefully mistitled, since it doesn’t answer the question at all. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 3045-3050). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Indeed, as somebody once remarked, even to argue against God is to tacitly admit that he exists. What do I mean? Well, to argue against God, to write books like The God Delusion, is to admit that truth is important (otherwise, why does it matter what somebody believes?). It’s to claim that pursuing knowledge is a virtue (otherwise, why choose the hard truth over a comfortable lie?). It’s to claim that justice matters (Dawkins’s book is a profoundly moral tract, even offering us an atheist ten commandments). But truth, the pursuit of knowledge, the existence of ultimate values such as justice – those are grounded, ultimately, in God. And so to pick these things up and wield them as weapons against God is to play by his rules. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 689-694). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· I find it fascinating that many atheists suddenly look like Unitarian Universalists at this point, claiming that all religions teach the same thing, so therefore we can’t possibly discriminate between them. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 711-713). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· I ended up studying Islam for twenty years and getting a PhD in Qur’anic Studies. One of the discoveries that fascinated me the most in my doctoral research was that Allah, the God of the Qur’an, is startlingly different from Yahweh, the God of the Bible. Indeed, on almost every major point of Christian doctrine, I think it is safe to say that Islam teaches the opposite. [Andrew G. Bannister, An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qur’an, New York: Lexington Books, 2014.] [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 714-717). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Among the major differences between Islam and Christianity is that of the character and nature of God as understood by the Bible and the Qur’an. For the Bible, Yahweh is a relational God, a God who appears to his people throughout the Old Testament, who took on flesh in the incarnation of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, and who will be present, the Bible claims, in heaven with us once again: “For now we see through a glass, darkly,” wrote the apostle Paul; “but then face to face”.76 This is very different from Allah in the Qur’an, a God who is distant and remote, transcendent and lofty, who does not deign to step down into his creation, and is not present in Paradise. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 720-725). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Central, too, to the Christian understanding of God is that Yahweh is loving; indeed, the Bible goes as far as to boldly make the claim that God is love,78 the one whose character and nature define what love actually is. You will commonly hear people opine that all religions teach that God is love, but this is simply not true – for instance, nowhere does the Qur’an claim that “Allah is love”. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 728-731). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Finally, at the heart of Christianity stands the belief that, in Jesus, God has experienced suffering, paying the price of the cross in order to reconcile humanity to himself. Now atheists may choose to dismiss, laugh at, or even scoff at that claim, but it is a claim unique to Christianity.80 It is certainly not an idea found in Islam, where the Qur’an goes as far as to deny that the historical event of Jesus’ crucifixion ever happened. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 732-735). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· All other religions of which I am aware tend to work in one of three basic ways: they claim that if you know the right things, do the right things, or experience the right things, then you will achieve paradise, nirvana, wisdom, a higher state of consciousness, good teeth – whatever it is you are looking for. Islam adopts this model (“Keep the commandments”), as does, incidentally, the New Atheism, whose message is that if you think the right way – think good, secular, scientific thoughts – you’ll be one of the smart ones, one of the brights,81 one of the elite, the elect. [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 737-742). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

4 The Santa Delusion (or: Why Faith in God Does Not Mean You’re Insane)

· Let me give you a flavour: A beautiful child close to me, six and the apple of her father’s eye, believes that Thomas the Tank Engine really exists. She believes in Father Christmas, and when she grows up her ambition is to be a tooth fairy. She and her schoolfriends believe the solemn word of respected adults that tooth fairies and Father Christmas really exist. This little girl is of an age to believe whatever you tell her. If you tell her about witches changing princes into frogs, she will believe you. If you tell her that bad children roast forever in hell, she will have nightmares. I have just discovered that without her father’s consent this sweet, trusting, gullible six-year-old is being sent, for weekly instruction, to a Roman Catholic nun. [Richard Dawkins, A Devil’s Chaplain: Selected Writings, London: Phoenix, 2004, p. 151.] [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 801-806). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· It’s a theme to which Dawkins regularly returns. Here he is again: Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy are part of the charm of childhood. So is God. Some of us grow out of all three. [Quoted in Third Way magazine, Vol. 26, No. 5, June 2003, p. 5.] [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 809-812). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Now Dawkins is not the only one to compare God to Santa Claus; for example, here is another of the New Atheists, Daniel Dennett: The kindly God who lovingly fashioned each and every one of us (all creatures great and small) and sprinkled the sky with shining stars for our delight – that God is, like Santa Claus, a myth of childhood, not anything a sane, undeluded adult could literally believe in. That God must either be turned into a symbol for something less concrete or abandoned altogether. [Daniel Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, London: Simon & Schuster, 1996, p. 18.] [Andy Bannister: The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (Kindle Locations 813-817). Monarch Books. Kindle Edition.]