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Creation and Design

Douglas Adams on the Anthropic Principle

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Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it’s still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise.

What Darwin Didn’t Know

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The author, a medical doctor, in this book recounts his conversion from a Darwinist to an Intelligent Design advocate. He also goes into detail about his indoctrination into Darwinism in school and why he began to doubt Darwinism in later life (as have more and more intellectuals today). What Darwin Didn’t Know is an excellent, very readable, work about how little Darwin knew about biology, especially cell biology, because so little was known when he lived and worked. If he lived today in a non-Darwinian world, his theory would have difficulty getting published in a mainline journal. For example, in the middle 1800s cells were thought to be simple globs of protoplasm that served as mere building blocks of a body much like bricks are used to construct a house. Now we realize that cells are the most complex machine in the known universe that can live on their own in the right environment. Over 200 very different types are known. Much of the book is on human anatomy and physiology and why our modern knowledge has proven Darwinism wrong. It is an excellent introduction to anatomy and physiology that covers all 10 organ systems plus cell biology.

The Argument From Design

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I understand by an argument from design one which argues from some general pattern of order in the universe or provision for the needs of conscious beings to a God responsible for these phenomena. An argument from a general pattern of order I shall call a teleological argument. In the definition of ‘teleological argument’ I emphasize the words ‘general pattern’; I shall not count an argument to the existence of God from some particular pattern of order manifested on a unique occasion as a teleological argument.

The Blank Slate

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In The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker, one of the world’s leading experts on language and the mind, explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits-a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century-denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of politics, violence, parenting, and the arts. Injecting calm and rationality into debates that are notorious for ax-grinding and mud-slinging, Pinker shows the importance of an honest acknowledgment of human nature based on science and common sense. ~ Product Description

J.L. Mackie on Mind Creating Matter

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On the other side, the hypothesis of divine creation is very unlikely. Although if there were a god with the traditional attributes and powers, he would be able and perhaps willing to create such a universe as this, we have to weigh in the scales the likelihood or unlikelihood that there is a god with these attributes and powers. And the key power … is that of fulfilling intentions directly, without any physical or causal mediation, without materials or instruments. There is nothing in our background knowledge that makes it comprehensible, let alone likely, that anything should have such a power. All our knowledge of intention-fulfillment is of embodied intentions being fulfilled indirectly by way of bodily changes and movements which are causally related to the intended result, and where the ability thus to fulfill intentions itself has a causal history, either of evolutionary development or of learning or of both. Only by ignoring such key features do we get an analogue of the supposed divine action.

Knowledge, Truth, and Duty

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This volume gathers eleven new and three previously unpublished essays that take on questions of epistemic justification, responsibility, and virtue. It contains the best recent work in this area by major figures such as Ernest Sosa, Robert Audi, Alvin Goldman, and Susan Haak.Topics in this book include: 1. Whether we have voluntary control over what we believe. 2. Whether the issue of voluntary control is relevant to epistemic justification. 3. And the relationship between issues 1 and 2 to the analysis of knowledge. ~ Product Description

Academic Fray over Kansas Decision

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Following the recent Kansas decision eliminating Evolution from state testing, Time Magazine invited Stephen Jay Gould to reaffirm a complementarity view of the interaction between science and religion and the unflagging support for Evolution by the scientific community. After a furious call to arms in the Wall Street Journal editorials, the dauntless Phillip Johnson explained what he sees as the real issue. Leadership University has reprinted Johnson’s article as part of a special focus on Evolutionary hegemony. Nancy Pearcey attempts to clarify the decision and lessen the hysteria in, “The Sky is not Falling.” *Also see: “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore”

The Fine-Tuning Design Argument

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Suppose we went on a mission to Mars, and found a domed structure in which everything was set up just right for life to exist. The temperature, for example, was set around 70o F and the humidity was at 50%; moreover, there was an oxygen recycling system, an energy gathering system, and a whole system for the production of food. Put simply, the domed structure appeared to be a fully functioning biosphere. What conclusion would we draw from finding this structure? Would we draw the conclusion that it just happened to form by chance? Certainly not. Instead, we would unanimously conclude that it was designed by some intelligent being. Why would we draw this conclusion? Because an intelligent designer appears to be the only plausible explanation for the existence of the structure. That is, the only alternative explanation we can think of — that the structure was formed by some natural process — seems extremely unlikely. Of course, it is possible that, for example, through some volcanic eruption various metals and other compounds could have formed, and then separated out in just the right way to produce the “biosphere,” but such a scenario strikes us as extraordinarily unlikely, thus making this alternative explanation unbelievable.

Dallas Willard on the Life of God

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We should, to begin with, think that God leads a very interesting life, and that he is full of joy. ¶ We pay a lot of money to get a tank with a few tropical fish in it and never tire of looking at their brilliant iridescence and marvelous forms and movements. But God has seas full of them, which he constantly enjoys. ¶ Human beings can lose themselves in card games or electric trains and think they are fortunate. But to God there is available, in the language of one reporter, "Towering clouds of gases trillions of miles high, backlit by nuclear fires in newly forming stars, galaxies cart wheeling into collision and sending explosive shock waves boiling through millions of light-years of time and space." These things are all before him, along with numberless unfolding rosebuds, souls, and songs, and immeasurably more of which we know nothing.

Del Ratzsch on a New Creationism

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But there is barely beginning to emerge a new generation of creationists with legitimate and relevant credentials who are undertaking to actually do some of the painstaking, detailed drudgery that underlies any genuinely live scientific program. This emergence has begun to produce a separation in the creationist movement — an upper and lower tier, so to speak. I think that what ultimately separates the two tiers is different levels of respect for accuracy and completeness of detail, and different levels of awareness that a theory’s looking good in vague and general form is an enormously unreliable predictor of whether in the long run the theory will be disemboweled by recalcitrant technical details. That appreciation is something that typically comes only with a legitimate scientific education, which some of the creationist popularizers and many in their audiences lack…The newly emerging upper tier of the creationist movement, however, seems to have little patience with the vague popularized treatments and is, again, undertaking to do the meticulous detail work that a genuinely scientific creationism requires. As yet, this upper tier is not associated with any particular organization.

Robin Le Poidevin on Theistic Arguments

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The probabilistic teleological argument exploits the idea that it is extremely improbable that the laws of the universe should be so balanced as to permit the development of life unless we adopt the hypothesis that these laws were fixed by a creator who desired the development of life. The argument, however, faces the same kind of objection as the one we brought against the cosmological argument in the previous chapter: it takes a certain concept out of a context in which it is obviously applicable, and applies it to a context in which that concept is not applicable. In the case of the cosmological argument, the crucial concept is that of causation; in the case of the teleological argument, it is statistical probability. Neither argument carries conviction because we can plausibly deny that the concept in question can be extended to cover extraordinary contexts.

The Creation Hypothesis

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Is there evidence from natural science for an intelligent creator of the universe? For a century the reigning scientific view has been that God is not necessary to account for the existence of the world and of life. Evolutionary theory is said to be all that is needed to explain how we got here. In addition, many theistic evolutionists contend that God likely used many of the mechanisms of evolution to achieve his will. In this book J. P. Moreland and a panel of scholars assert that there is actually substantial evidence pointing in a different direction. First, they consider philosophical arguments about whether it is possible for us to know if an intelligent designer had a hand in creation. Then they look directly at four different areas of science: the origin of life, the origin of major groups of organisms, the origin of human language and the origin and formation of the universe. The team of experts for this work includes a philosopher, a mathematician, a physicist, a linguist, a theologian, a biophysicist, an astronomer, a chemist and a paleontologist. Their data and their conclusions challenge the assumptions of many and offer the foundation for a new paradigm of scientific thinking.

Pearcey and Thaxton on Hubris and Math

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At the time of the scientific revolution the reliability of human knowledge was grounded in the belief that God had created humanity in His image, to reflect His rationality. But the success of the mathematical approach to science was so intoxicating that Western intellectuals no longer felt that the need for any external guarantee of knowledge. They regarded mathematics itself and the axiomatic method derived from it as an independent means of gaining indubitable, infallible knowledge. They set human reason up as an autonomous power, capable of penetrating to ultimate truth. Mathematics, as the crown of human reason, was essentially worshiped as an idol. ¶ But then something unexpected happened. With no grounding in divine creation, human knowledge was cut adrift. If the universe is the product of blind, mechanistic forces, how do we know it has any intelligible structure at all? If there is no Designer, how can we be confident there is a design? If human beings are not created in the image of God, how can we be sure the design we think we detect is really there? Where is the guarantee that the concepts in our minds bear any relation to the world outside?

Brennan Manning on the Fine-Tuned Universe

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The slant of the earth, for example, tilted at an angle at 23 degrees, produces our season,. Scientists tell us that if the earth had not been tilted exactly as it is, vapors from the oceans would move both north and south, piling up continents of ice. If the moon were only 50,000 miles away from earth instead of 200,000 the tides might be so enormous that all continents would be submerged in water, even the mountains would be eroded. If the crust of the earth had been only ten feet thicker, there would be no oxygen, and without it all animal life would die. Had the oceans been a few feet deeper, carbon dioxide and oxygen would have absorbed and no vegetable life would exist. The earth’s weight has been estimated at six sextillion tons (that’s a six with 21 zeros). Yet it is perfectly balanced and turns easily on its axis. It revolves daily at the rate of more than 1,000 miles per hour or 25,000 miles each day. This adds up to nine million miles a year. Considering the tremendous weight of six sextillion tons rolling at this fantastic speed around an invisible axis, held in place by unseen bands of gravitation, the words of Job 26:7 take on unparalleled significance: “He poised the earth on nothingness.” The earth revolves in its own orbit around the sun, making the long elliptical circuit of six hundred million miles each year — which means we are traveling in orbit at 19 miles per second or 1,140 miles per hour. Job further invites us to meditate on “the wonders of God” (37:14). Consider the sun. Every square yard of the sun’s surface is emitting constantly an energy level of 130,000 horse power (that is, approximately 450 eight-cylinder automobile engines), in flames that are being produced by an energy source much more powerful than coal. The nine major planets in our solar system range in distance from the sun from 36 million to about 3 trillion, 6,664 billion miles; yet each moves around the sun in exact precision, with orbits ranging from 88 days for Mercury to 248 years for Pluto. Still, the sun is only one minor star in the 100 billion orbs which comprise our Milky Way galaxy. if you were to hold out a dime, a ten-cent piece, at arm’s length, the coin would block out 15 million stars from your view, if your eyes could see with that power.

William Dembski on the Origin of Life

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Dawkins, to explain LIFE apart from a designer, not only gives himself all the time Darwin ever wanted, but also helps himself to all the conceivable planets there might be in the observable universe (note that these are planets he must posit, since no planets outside our solar system have been observed, nor is there currently any compelling theory of planetary formation which guarantees that the observable universe is populated with planets). Thus Barrow and Tipler, in order to justify their various anthropic principles, not only give themselves all the time and planets that Dawkins ever wanted, but also help themselves to a generous serving of universes (universes which are per definition causally inaccessible to us).

Stephen Hawking on the Big Bang

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Hubble’s observations suggested that there was a time, called the big bang, when the universe was infinitesimally small and infinitely dense. Under such conditions all the laws of science, and therefore all ability to predict the future, would break down. If there were events earlier than this time, then they could not affect what happens at the present time. Their existence can be ignored because it would have no observational consequences. One may say that time had a beginning at the big bang, in the sense that earlier times simply would not be defined. It should be emphasized that this beginning in time is very different from those that had been considered previously. In an unchanging universe a beginning in time is something that has to be imposed by some being outside the universe; there is no physical necessity for a beginning. One can imagine that God created the universe at literally any time in the past. On the other hand, if the universe is expanding, there may be physical reasons why there had to be a beginning. One could imagine that God created the universe at the instant of the big bang, or even afterwards in just such a way as to make it look as though there had been a big bang, but it would be meaningless to suppose that it was created before the big bang. An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when he might have carried out his job!

Stephen Hawking on the Anthropic Principle

Go The intelligent beings in these regions should therefore not be surprised if they observe that their locality in the universe satisfies the conditions that are necessary for their existence. It is a bit like a rich person living in a wealthy neighborhood not seeing any poverty."

Stephen Hawking on Cosmology

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The idea that space and time may form a closed surface without boundary also has profound implications for the role of God in the affairs of the universe. With the success of scientific theories in describing events, most people have come to believe that God allows the universe to evolve according to a set of laws and does not intervene in the universe to break these laws. However, the laws do not tell us what the universe should have looked like when it started — it would still be up to God to wind up the clockwork and choose how to start it off. So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator. But if the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, it would have neither beginning nor end: it would simply be. What place, then, for a creator?

Shaken Atheism: A Look at the Fine-Tuned Universe

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Both astrophysicists and microphysicists have lately been discovering that the series of events that produced our universe had to happen in a rather precise way—at least, they had to happen that way if they were to produce life as we know it. Some might find this fact unremarkable. After all, we are here, and it is hardly surprising that the universe is of such kind as to have produced us. It is simply a tautology to say that people who find themselves in a universe live in a universe where human life is possible. Nevertheless, given the innumerable other things that could have happened, we have reason to be impressed by the astonishing fact of our existence. Like the man who survives execution by a 1,000-gun firing squad, we are entitled to suspect that there is some reason we are here, that perhaps there is a Friend behind the blast.

Richard Dawkins on Creation Myths

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Nearly all peoples have developed their own creation myth, and the Genesis story is just the one that happened to have been adopted by one particular tribe of Middle Eastern herders. It has no more special status than the belief of a particular West African tribe that the world was created from the excrement of ants. All these myths have in common that they depend upon the deliberate intentions of some kind of supernatural being.

Richard Dawkins on Simulacra

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We cannot disprove beliefs like these, especially if it is assumed that God took care that his interventions always closely mimicked what would be expected from evolution by natural selection. All that we can say about such beliefs is, firstly, that they are superfluous and, secondly, that they assume the existence of the main thing we want to explain, namely organized complexity. The one thing that makes evolution such a neat theory is that it explains how organized complexity can arise out of primeval simplicity.

Richard Dawkins on Postulating God

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If we want to postulate a deity capable of engineering all the organized complexity in the world, either instantaneously or by guiding evolution, that deity must already have been vastly complex in the first place. The creationist, whether a naive Bible-thumper or an educated bishop, simply postulates an already existing being of prodigious intelligence and complexity. If we are going to allow ourselves the luxury of postulating organized complexity without offering an explanation, we might as well make a job of it and simply postulate the existence of life as we know it!

Henry M. Morris on Mature Creation

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Another point important to recognize is that the creation was ‘mature’ from its birth. It did not have to grow or develop from simple beginnings. God formed it full-grown in every respect, including even Adam and Eve as mature individuals when they were first formed. The whole universe had an ‘appearance of age’ right from the start. It could not have been otherwise for true creation to have taken place. ‘Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them’. (Genesis 2:1).

I.L. Cohen on DNA

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‘Survival of the fittest’ and ‘natural selection.’ No matter what phraseology one generates, the basic fact remains the same: any physical change of any size, shape or form is strictly the result of purposeful alignment of billions of nucleotides (in the DNA). Nature or species do not have the capacity for rearranging them, nor adding to them. Consequently no leap (saltation) can occur from one species to another. The only way we know for a DNA to be altered is through a meaningful intervention from an outside source of intelligence: one who knows what it is doing, such as our genetic engineers are now performing in their laboratories.

Paul Davies on Physical Laws

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The laws which enable the universe to come into being seem themselves to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design. If physics is the product of design, the universe must have a purpose, and the evidence of modern physics suggests strongly to me that the purpose includes us.