Saturday, May 31, 2008

Micro vs. Macro

So, I need to address another of the comments left by an anonymous Darwinbot recently. This one is one of those that tips you off right away to the fact that the person offering the comment is in way over his head; he's parroting what others have said with no real understanding of the issues. Here's his quote...
Evolution is evident today in how bacteria evolve to resist antibiotics.
That bacteria are capable of developing resistance to antibiotics is completely non-controversial, as is the fact, for example, that Americans are on average six inches taller than they were 100 years ago.

These are indeed examples of "evolution," if by that term we mean simply a change over time in the characteristics of a species. And while such changes are evident in their physiological or morphological manifestations, it is also well-documented that they can correspond to changes in the genotype. Of course, environmental factors play a role--and perhaps, at least in the case of human height, a larger role than genetics in the observed changes. Nonetheless, changes in the genetic make-up of a population or entire species have been documented. The generally accepted term for this phenomenon is "microevolution." Again, this sort of change within a species is completely non-controversial.

What IS controversial is whether the same mechanism appealed to in order to explain change within a species (that mechanism being natural selection acting upon gene mutations) can be extrapolated to explain how not only new species but also new families, orders, classes, and phyla came to be. The term given to this larger, hypothetical idea is macroevolution. And the evidence overwhelmingly refutes the idea that macroevolution occurs or has occurred in life's history.

It should be quite obvious that change within a species, for which there is evidence, is an entirely different kettle of fish than all-life-descended-from-a-single-common-ancestor. That's why scientists (and others) actually interested in discovering truth about the origin of life's diversity differentiate between microevolution and macroevolution. If you hear (or read) someone arguing for Darwinian evolution who fails to make this obvious distinction, you can be sure that he or she is being disingenuous (deliberately ignoring the problem), or fallacious (guilty of a critical error in thinking), or both.

Specifically, the informal fallacy generally involved here (as in the argument put forth in the comment left on my blog) is the fallacy known as "equivocation." This is where one changes the meaning of (equivocates on) one of the terms between the argument's premises and conclusion. Here's what the Darwinist argument looks like...
Premise 1: The development by bacteria of resistance to antibiotics is an example of evolution.

Premise 2: Such development has been documented.

Conclusion: Therefore, the evolution of all life from a single common ancestor has been proven.
I hope this is obviously fallacious to you. And the most significant problem with it is that the meaning of the term "evolution" in premise 1, where it refers to microevolution, is significantly different than the meaning of the same term in the conclusion, where it stands for macroevolution.

The bottom line is that evidence for microevolution cannot be used in support of the theory of macroevolution. Don't let your neighborhood Darwinist get away with such a poor argument.

In the next post, I'll discuss some of the evidence regarding the limitations of microevolution. In the meantime, here's an example from Hank the Cowdog of equivocation (for my oh-so-sophisticated reader and friend, av8torBob*)...
Drover: Hank, how long's a centipede?

Hank: One foot.

Drover: Isn't that a miracle? All those legs and only one foot!

* I just checked Bob's blog, and his most recent post is on the same subject! Check it out here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Post Hoc, Ergo Procter Hoc

I hope all of my readers are sophisticated enough to be familiar with Hank the Cowdog, protagonist of more than 40 novels (short novels) by John R. Erickson, many of which are also available as books on tape. We were listening to one the other day (The Saddle House Robbery), in which the humor of the first major section all revolved around a single logical fallacy.

First, Hank himself decided to bark up the sun a half hour earlier one morning. In this attempt, he unwittingly entered into a game of "talk-back bark" with the nefarious coyote brothers, Rip and Snort. Hank only eluded a fight by convincing the brothers to join him in barking up the sun. They failed. Finally, the ranch's rooster, J.T. Cluck, came out and did the job.

We all smile at this, because we know that all of them--Hank, Rip and Snort, and J.T. Cluck--are guilty of fallacious thinking. We know that their barking, howling, and crowing does not in fact cause the sun to come up. And there is (of course) a name for the logical fallacy involved here.

It's called "post hoc, ergo procter hoc," which means simply, "after this, therefore because of this." This particular fallacy is an error that is common to much scientific thinking. This is because science frequently involves inductive reasoning (which, unlike deductive reasoning, means arguing from particular to general and from effect to cause). In observing an effect and seeking its cause, it can be easy to snatch at antecedents (prior events) as the cause when they are not actually the cause.

The only thing is, when modern scientists are guilty of this fallacy, it's not always as obvious as when it trips up the talking animals of the Texas Panhandle in Erickson's uproarious books.

Friday, May 23, 2008

On Argumentation

In my last post, I responded to some misstatements made by a Darwinbot that had visited the blog. I demonstrated--by appeals to Darwin himself and to some of the most notable paleontologists of our genertion--that the idea that the fossil record supports Darwinian macroevolution is absurd. Here's a portion of the Darwinbot comment that appeared in response to that post...
You make your little points, twist quotes, name drop, and delete any real threats. Deleting posts is not defending the faith..
True, deleting posts is not defending the faith. I very carefully explained why I felt compelled to delete his previous comment--if he chose to read that explanation, he also chose not to accept it. But he also fails to realize that what he does--making stale assertions contrary to demonstrable facts and reason--is not a positive defense of his position.

He accused me of twisting quotes. This, of course, is untrue. Were there any truth to this claim on his part, he could have been expected to provide the quotes in full, thereby showing where I had twisted them. He doesn't do this, and that is precisely because these men said and meant exactly what I credited them with saying.

I "name drop." By this, I assume he is implying that I was guilty of a faulty appeal to authority. This logical fallacy comes in many forms. In our age, a common example is appealing to a well-known celebrity regarding a subject on which he or she is no authority. If, for example, Oprah is followed as an expert on theology, or we buy a new car on the authority of Tiger Woods, or we are impressed by Richard Dawkins' appeal to magazine editor Thomas Flynn on a question of biblical interpretation, we have stupidly accepted a fallacious argument.

A more subtle form of this fallacy is to appeal to someone who is a recognized authority in the field at issue, but to ignore the fact that his opinions are in the minority, to pretend that he speaks for the majority of the experts in that field. As an example, Answers in Genesis touts their having a PhD astronomer--Jason Lisle--on their staff, as though his claim that the universe is young counteracts the opposite assertion on the part of virtually every other astronomer in the known universe. :) Similarly, a faulty appeal to authority might involve citing someone who is indeed in the particular discipline at issue but who is not well-recognized or considered an expert.

Of course, none of this applies to my use of Stephen Jay Gould, Niles Eldredge, and Steven Stanley to refute the Darwinbot idea that the fossil record supports Darwin. These men are among the most prominent paleontologists of our generation. Indeed, Gould was arguably the most well-known expert on the fossil record. What's more, the particular statements of these men that I quoted have not been refuted by any paleontologists since. Again, my AD seems to be grasping at straws.

I "make little points" and "delete any real threats." Believe me, the statements I chose not to delete were the heart of AD's original steamrolling comment. There were no "real threats" anywhere in his writing, as you can well imagine from the portions to which you have been subjected. And so the "little points" I am accused of making just so happen to be the complete refutation of his--AD's--most important point--that Darwinian evolution has been validated by the fossil record.

Now, were there really something wrong with my argument, a meaningful rebuttal (a truth-seeking discussion) might look something like this...
Your allusion to Gould and Stanley is fallacious for this reason... Evidence contrary to their views has since surfaced, and here's an example of it... Eldredge made an error in critical thinking that can be demonstrated thus...
You see the sort of thing, what reasoned argumentation would look like. But that's not what AD treats us to. And that's because there's no meat on that bone. His is an untenable position, and his weak posturing is the best that he (or others seeking to defend that position) can do.

I'm open to meaningful discussion about whether or not the fossil record validates Darwinism. Darwin recognized that it did not in his day. The leading paleontologists of our day concur. But I'd be happy to be shown the evidence or reasoning that I've overlooked.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fossil Validation?

I promised yesterday to address some of the most important misinformation offered by a recent comment on the blog. Here's the oft-recited but completely bogus claims that I'll tackle in this post...
Darwin’s theory has lasted for over 150 years of relentless rigorous testing by science. At each significant step, evidence that confirms the fact of evolution has been compounded. Fossils are the most easily observed evidence for evolution.
There are two assertions here, the first being that Darwin's theory has been validated by rigorous testing, and the second being that the fossil record supports that theory. Neither could be further from the truth.

But before I present the actual evidence of paleontology, let me explain why I spend so much time arguing against evolution. It is NOT because I think evolution is irreconcilable with Christian faith or with the Bible's accounts of the universe. I don't happen to interpret relevant passages to include macroevolution as a significant process in how life came to be the way it is, but some serious, Bible-believing Christians do. And frankly, Scripture doesn't explicitly address this issue in very clear terms (and arguments about it generally end up turning on just how 'literally' a particular verse or passage should be taken).

No, my reasons for pointing out the failures of Darwinian and neo-Darwinian theory have more to do with my caring about science as a worthwhile human endeavor and my recognition (along with a whole lot of other folks) that science in our day has been led by belief in Darwinian evolution into thought patterns that actually stifle progress and prevent discovery of truth about the universe and world in which we live. (Numerous other aspects of our culture have wrongly followed biology in its error, with terrible consequences, but I don't have the time to go there just now.) It's because I care about science that I bother to point out the falsehoods of the belief that currently has a stranglehold on science.

The Darwinbot comment had at least one thing right--that the most obvious test of Darwin's theory should be the fossil record. As Phillip Johnson has it,
There was a way to test the theory by fossil evidence...
But, contrary to the rehearsed-but-unexamined claim made by today's Darwinbots, the fossil record doesn't support Darwin's theory at all.

Nor did it in Darwin's own day. He advanced his notions not because of but despite the fossil record. Darwin called the fossil evidence
the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory
and the reason
all the most eminent paleontologists ... and all our greatest geologists ... have unanimously, often vehemently, maintained the immutability of species.
Referring to the Cambrian explosion, he said that
The case at present must remain inexplicable, and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained.
Darwin did not find this wealth of contrary evidence fatal to his theory. Rather, he insisted that paleontology was a young science and that further digging would uncover the necessarily vast number of transitional forms. He likewise expected that the Cambrian explosion would eventually be demonstrated to be less extensive and sudden than the evidence implied. These scientific predictions, if fulfilled, would support his theory and, if unfulfilled, would prove it false.

Has subsequent research revealed a wealth of transitional intermediates? Does the fossil record demonstrate that species appear gradually and undergo change throughout their tenure on earth? Has the extent and significance of the Cambrian explosion been diminished by the latest evidence? The answer is a resounding “No!” Darwin’s predictions have not been fulfilled. The fossil record problems that troubled Darwin not only remain to this day—they have grown worse.

As Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote,
The history of most fossil species includes two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism...
These are stasis, that species appear in the fossil record looking the same as when they disappear, and their sudden appearance, i.e.,
a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed.’
Likewise, Stephen Stanley, commenting on research from the Bighorn Basin in Wyoming—where a continuous record of deposits covering millions of years led paleontologists to expect evidence for transitional forms—wrote,
the fossil record does not convincingly document a single transition from one species to another.
Niles Eldredge concurs,
We paleontologists have said that the history of life supports [the story of gradual adaptive change], all the while really knowing that it does not.
In fact, Gould referred to
the extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record
the trade secret of paleontology.
In other words, what is being taught by educators, textbooks, and media (and regurgitated by Darwinbots) is not what paleontologists actually have found.

Not only that, our increased understanding of the Cambrian explosion is overwhelming Darwin’s theory. More precise estimates of the date and duration of this appearance of new body plans, and new fossil beds—particularly in the Burgess shale of the Canadian Rockies and the Yuanshan Formation near Chengjiang, China—reveal the great extent of the animal phyla involved. The latest research places the beginning of this explosion of animal forms at 530 million years ago, and demonstrates that it occurred within an extremely narrow time of 2-3 million years. Likewise, the extent or breadth of this explosion directly opposes Darwin’s predictions. Rather than phyla (new body plans) being shown to have had precursors that appeared prior to the Cambrian, more phyla have been found to have appeared during the Cambrian. These include not only the chordates—the phylum that includes all vertebrate animals—but each of the three chordate subphyla as well. Some experts argue that
All living [and extinct] phyla may have originated by the end of the [Cambrian] explosion.
Darwin’s theory—as exemplified by his “tree of life” —posits an accumulation of small differences (from an ancestral form) over the course of biological history. That is, the large differences—as between earthworms, starfish, crickets, and elephants—should appear very late in life’s history. They do not. Instead, the phyla represented by these diverse animals (with the unique features that distinguish them at the phylum level) appear instantaneously (geologically-speaking) during the Cambrian era. Jan Bergström (of the Swedish Museum of Natural History) states,
There is absolutely no sign of convergence between phyla as we follow them backward to the Early Cambrian. They were as widely apart from the beginning as they are today.
This, too, contradicts Darwin’s predictions.

If the fossil evidence refutes Darwinian evolution, why do so many still appeal to fossils as evidence for evolution? Two primary reasons come to mind. One is historical; it involves error on the part of past scientists. The other is an ongoing problem, a failure to apply critical analysis to scientific claims.

Here's the Phillip Johnson quote (from above) in its entirety,
There was a way to test the theory by fossil evidence. The test would not be fair to the skeptics, however, unless it was also possible for the theory to fail. Imagine, for example, that belief in Darwin’s theory were to sweep through the scientific world with such irresistible power that it very quickly became an orthodoxy... Suppose that paleontologists became so committed to the new way of thinking that fossil studies were published only if they supported the theory, and were discarded as failures if they showed an absence of evolutionary change. As we shall see [in the remainder of Johnson’s book], that is what happened. Darwinism apparently passed the fossil test, but only because it was not allowed to fail.
In other words, part of the reason people today mistakenly believe that Darwinism is supported by the fossil record is that several generations of scientists allowed their enthusiasm for this novel idea to close their minds to the actual evidence.

While some of the blame, then, belongs to scientists and educators of the past, this myth—that the fossil record supports evolution—persists because of our own failure to think clearly about the issue. Quite simply, people confuse the fossil record itself with this popular explanation for it. The fossil record does reveal that different life forms inhabited the earth at different times. Darwinian evolutionary theory, however, is just one of many attempts to explain this record. Other explanations include punctuated equilibrium theory, intelligent design theory, old-earth creationism, and directed panspermia (the theory that life was seeded here by intelligent beings from elsewhere in the universe). Proponents of each of these theories agree that the life forms inhabiting earth exhibited differences through time. Based on the evidence, however, they disagree with the notion that earlier species evolved into later species as Darwin hypothesized.

This confusion—of the fossil record itself with a particular explanation for it—was well (albeit inadvertently) illustrated by evolutionist Tim Berra. In attempting to defend Darwinism, Berra used the analogy of a series of car models.
If you compare a 1953 and a 1954 Corvette, side by side, then a 1954 and a 1955 model, and so on, the descent with modification is overwhelmingly obvious. This is what [paleontologists] do with fossils, and the evidence is so solid and comprehensive that it cannot be denied by reasonable people.
This is an excellent analogy for what we see at certain places in the fossil record, but it supports Darwinism only if Corvettes evolve by strictly natural processes, without the involvement of any designers (or manufacturers). Of course, they do not. Berra’s analogy demonstrates that—of the explanations posited for the history of life—intelligent design, old-earth creationism, and even directed panspermia find more support from the fossil record than do Darwinian evolution or other naturalistic theories. This, of course, was not Berra’s intent, and his use of this analogy has been called—by Phillip Johnson—“Berra’s Blunder.” Johnson notes that this blunder was published following review by a number of other scientists. In other words, this muddled thinking—mistaking common design for common ancestry—is prevalent among the biological and educational communities today.

In the final analysis, the validity of any scientific theory rests not on its popularity, its metaphysical assumptions, or its theological implications. It depends not upon the sincerity or the rhetorical skills of its proponents. A scientific theory is valid only to the degree that it matches reality, that it provides satisfactory explanations for the sum of the pertinent evidence. In the case of Darwin’s evolutionary theory, the fossil record is the surest place to expect confirmation or refutation. Though the popular notion is that fossil evidence supports Darwinism, we have seen that the reality is just the opposite. Darwin himself and the geologists and paleontologists of his day agreed that the evidence contradicted his theory. The leading paleontologists of our day concur—Darwinism has been falsified by the fossil evidence.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Darwinbot Sighting

In cyberspace--at least in those portions of cyberspace where the findings of science are discussed--can be found entities known as "Darwinbots." These are beings that apparently cannot think originally or critically about issues and cannot deal with any new information. Instead, they seem able only to dump information that is stale, outdated, and false, misinformation programmed into them in some cases long, long ago.

I'm not sure who originally coined this term for such entities, though if I had to guess I'd suspect Canadian author and blogger Denyse O'Leary. Nonetheless, these robot-like Darwin enthusiasts are common problems on many web sites and blogs.

And the point of my mentioning all this is that--for a short time yesterday--this very blog was corrupted by a Darwinbot dump. I have excised it (for reasons I'll explain in a moment), but will here offer just a small portion of the Darwinbot comment that was offered in response to my last post...
Darwin’s theory has lasted for over 150 years of relentless rigorous testing by science. At each significant step, evidence that confirms the fact of evolution has been compounded. Fossils are the most easily observed evidence for evolution. DNA profiles show evolutionary relationships among species. There was no field of genetics when Darwin published the Origin of Species. The development of the field of genetics stood to topple natural selection. It turned out to be one of the strongest demonstrations of the fact of evolution there is. Evolution is evident today in how bacteria evolve to resist antibiotics. The list goes on and on…
I will address some of the many factual and logical problems with even this short bit of misinformation. But first, I should explain my deviating from my general policy of not deleting comments.

#1. This is easily identified as a true Darwinbot message. It betrays no accurate understanding of the fields of science to which it appeals, but rehearses a monotonously common list of misunderstandings and logical fallacies. It is quite easy to find the same sort of thing (or even more of the like) simply by searching the comments section of any website or blog that promotes intelligent design or scientific integrity or (alternatively) a Darwinist site (where Darwinbots can be found whipping themselves into a frenzy with such nonsense). There's nothing that lowers the intellectual credibility of a blog quicker than allowing Darwinbots to post at their leisure.

#2 Worse yet, this was an anonymous Darwinbot (AD). The normal variety can be bad enough, but those unwilling to put their name behind their posts are capable of the worst damage. While there are instances (in blog discussions) where anonymity is okay (or even preferred), in this case it demonstrates some form of unwillingness to stand personally behind the claims being made. (There may be a person inside this Darwinbot who yet realizes that he is not in complete control of some of the tripe his keyboard is being caused to regurgitate.)

I will say, however, that this particular AD hit came without the abuse and obscenities that is more frequent among Darwinbots. I'm grateful for that. As bad as ADs are, they're nothing compared to an Obscene AD.

#3 The real reason, though, that I felt compelled to delete most of what was written in this comment is that this AD was also a steamroller (thus, an SAD). In written "argumentation," a steamroller is one who overwhelms the discussion with misinformation, not making one or two well-supported, significant points, but swamping the thread with so many unfounded assertions that it would take weeks to address each one. Were I to leave such a comment uncensured, there would be some readers who might wrongly believe that some of these claims cannot be refuted. In oral conversation, one must warn a steamroller and then , if he continues, silence him. When someone tries to steamroll your blog, you silence him by removing his posts.

In the next post, I'll begin to address the four claims in the brief section of SAD misinformation that I quoted above. These are...

Evolution has been rigorously tested and validated.
The fossil record supports evolution.
Genetics demonstrates that evolution is true.
Antibiotic resistance in bacteria demonstrates evolution.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Whence the Badger's Senses?

In my last post, I said,
Badgers possess good hearing and an excellent sense of smell, but fairly poor eyesight.
An anonymous comment then asked...
Did God make them with good hearing, smell, and bad eyesight or did they evolve this way?
I'd like to take a couple or more posts to answer this question.

And let me start by asserting that badgers are extremely well-adapted to their ecological role--that their combination of senses serves them very well in the environment in which they live. Moreover, both evolutionists and creationists (to use very general terms) agree upon this. So the question is, Is this adaptiveness designed or not? Or, to put it another way, Are the badger's nose and ears purposed for smelling and hearing, or do they just happen to function (at the long end of a purposeless evolutionary history) to gather smells and sound waves in such a way as to make the badger so adapted for his environment?

I, like the vast majority of thinkers and scientists who have ever lived, come down firmly on the side of teleology--the belief that these things are the way they are by design and purpose. Indeed, so overwhelming are both the intuition and the evidence that this is so, that it boggles my mind that a few modern-day biologists have hoodwinked so much of the public into thinking that this position has somehow been disproven.

You see, the true evolutionist must daily remind himself that everything--the universe, the galaxy and solar system, individual life forms and whole ecologies--only appears to be designed. The evolutionist cannot even use words like "purpose" or "design," because his naturalism cannot condone such concepts. The badger's nose was not produced "in order to smell." Smelling was not the goal or telos of the cells that today make up the badger's olfactory system (nose and associated nervous and circulatory systems and such). Rather, incremental evolutionary changes in some (undiscovered) pre-olfactory cells of some (unfossilized) proto-mammal allowed that hypothetical creature to out-reproduce those members of his cohort whose pre-olfactory cells didn't have those small changes in place. The fact that today the badger's nose gives it sufficient information about his environment--to successfully survive, reproduce, and pass along the genetic blueprint for his fully-functional (but purposeless) nose--has no bearing on the very interesting question posed by anonymous. And that's because Natural Selection is so much more powerful than any purposeful designer could possibly be.

And yet, in the 160 years since Darwin posited Natural Selection as a driving force in biological diversity, the actual evidence has served to refute Darwin's claims at every significant step. We now can say with great certainty that there is no evidence (read 'zero,' 'nada,' 'zippo') that natural selection has any ability to cause any genetic, morphological, or physiological advance. Instead, natural selection's only role is to maintain the integrity of an organism's existing morphology and physiology. In short, natural selection works to ensure that a well-adapted species remains much as it always has been.

Despite overwhelming claims to the contrary, evolutionary theory and its many outspoken proponents have singularly failed to explain the apparent design that surrounds us at every moment and at whatever scale of the universe we might consider. In regards to the question of design or chance, you can bet that the most primitive tribesman is much closer to the truth than the 'New Atheists' produced by some of our modern university systems. The evidence and common sense are still all on the side of the position that has predominated throughout the history of Western civilization--that things in this universe appear designed because they are in fact designed.

In coming posts... "What about theistic evolution?" and "Is there then no evolution occurring?"

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Badger Day

I'm spending a bit of time these days in badger country, and last week had one walk right up to me. (The photo is of another one I met a few years ago, one that was in a more wooded habitat than most.) Members of the Mustelid (weasel) family, these creatures are fairly elusive for their size, and every encounter is one I treasure and remember. I can think of twelve that I have seen over the years, in Idaho, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon, including the two in the Snake River area that put on a fight thirty yards from Dawn and me in the year we married.

Badgers possess good hearing and an excellent sense of smell, but fairly poor eyesight. Getting close to one (or, as was the case last week, having one get close to you) generally requires a stiffish wind carrying both the sound and scent of you away from the animal.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Ability to Reason

One of the men I most admire and appreciate is Ravi Zacharias, Christian apologist, author, philosopher. When he makes a pronouncement, I sit up and take notice. This was especially true today when he ended a brief radio message with these words...
The West is on the verge of collapse because we have lost the ability to reason.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Our Desire

Pastor Ken Wytsma of Antioch (in Bend, Oregon) is doing an expositional series on 1 Peter. Yesterday, focusing on the first verses of chapter 2, he preached on our desires. The Lord must be wanting to drive a message home to me, because after hearing that sermon I came across this passage from David Winter's Closer Than a Brother (a modern paraphrase of Brother Lawrence's Practicing the Presence of God)...
...if we are to practice God's presence truly, our hearts must be emptied of everything else. We cannot have the presence of God and an ambition for fame or money. We cannot have the presence of God and a love of luxury, or success, or prestige. Our desire must be first and foremost for Him, with these other things taking the places He has allowed them to have in our lives. He cannot possess our hearts unless first He has emptied out the part that is already filled by someone or something else. ...this is not a dry, negative, hard thing. It is not the end of pleasure, but its true beginning. For there is no life more delightful or satisfying than one spent in continual conversation with God, as anyone who has experienced it will testify. But let me add a warning: don't set out to practice the presence of God in order to obtain these joys and pleasures. It is God we seek, not delights or satisfactions. We long to be with Him because we love Him, not because He hands out good things to those who are nearest to Him.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Revealed in Nature

I'm speaking at a youth summit this Saturday, on the topic of Science and Christianity. I intend to assure those in the audience who are not all that interested in science that--contrary to what is portrayed by academia and the media--the latest research from all fields of science supports the Bible's claims about the universe in which we live. I hope also to encourage those in the audience who do feel called to a vocation* in science. The following quote by astronomer, pastor, and Christian apologist Hugh Ross sums it up well...
Wherever we look in the realm of nature, we see evidence for God’s design and exquisite care for His creatures. Whether we examine the cosmos on its largest scale or its tiniest, His handiwork is evident. Whether we work in disciplines where simplicity and rigor predominate (for example, mathematics, astronomy, and physics) or in disciplines where complexity and information predominate (for example, biochemistry, botany, and zoology), God’s fingerprints are visible.

Because of the quickening pace of technology and scientific research, the picture of God’s attributes available to us through nature grows clearer. Further, since all the nations and cultures of the world are gaining scientific knowledge and technological competence, this testimony to God through nature is reaching out to all the peoples of the earth, paving the way for a surge of response to the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed by human messengers.

* Did you spot the redundancy? ("Vocation" means "calling.")