Tag Archives: universe

Intellectual Reasons for Belief

We, as Christians, as often asked by people who believe that they are intellectuals why we believe what we believe. I am not aware of any brief list which is not woefully inadequate. The following list could easily be expanded, but it is a good ready reference. (Please note that many of these points are dealt with in Antidisestablishmentarianism.)

I. Evidence from reason

A. The Design of the universe demands a Designer

B. Life begets life; no scientific evidence of any form of spontaneous generation

C. Thermodynamics

1. 1st law of thermodynamics: matter and energy are interchangable and can neither be created or

destroyed.

2. 2nd law of thermodynamics: (entropy) all energy transformations are in a downward direction.

The universe is gradually deteriorating from a position of greater complexity and order to an

eventual end of complete disorder with the simplest elements, probably only hydrogen, motionless

at a uniform temperature.

II. Evidence from ancient writings

A. The value of oral tradition: many cultures disdain writing (Thoth/Plato)

B. All of the oral traditions and writings which are mentioned here are pre-Christian

C. New Zealand: The Lore of the Whare-wananga; or the teachings of the Maori College

D. Egyptian: History of Creation

E. Mayan: Popol Vuh and The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel

F. Mexican: Origin de los Indias

G. Japanese: The Kojiki

H. Babylonian/Assyrian: Enuma Elish: The Seven Tablets of the History of Creation and Another

Version of the Creation of the World by Marduk

I. Greek: Hesiod Theogony, Plato Critias

J. Roman: Ovid Metamorphoses

K. Norse: The Poetic Edda, Voluspp

L. Hopi

M. Cherokee

N. Persian: Zoroastrianism Bundahis

III. Evidence from the Scriptures

A. The authority of God

1. God existed before the material universe and everything material was created by God. John 1:1-3,

Col 1:16, Heb 1:10

2. God upholds the material universe today Heb 1:2,3

3. The material universe is temporary. Heb 1:10,11 Matt 24:35 2 Peter 3:10, Rev 20:11, 21:1

B. The origins of the material universe

1. heavens and earth Gen 1:1

2. “the earth was formed out of water and by water” 2 Pet 3:5

3. “the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit  of  God was moving over the surface of the waters.” Gen 1:2

IV. Evidence from the material world: What we can know from our senses.

The following scientific facts do not prove the Bible or the Biblical timeline to be true. While each of these scientific facts work within a Biblical framework or timeline, they tend to discredit the possibility of Uniformitarianism.

A. Genetics

1. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to daughter

a. estimates of the rate of mutations were made based on uniformitarian assumptions and mitochondrial Eve was estimated to be 144, 000 years old.

b. a 500 year old sample was taken; the calculated results show mitochondrial Eve to be approximately 6,500 years old (Nature Genetics vol. 15, April 1997 pp. 363-367. )

2. Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon DNA samples are both well within the range of modern homo sapiens.

3. Lucy and other proposed links between homo sapiens and animals have DNA samples well within the range of modern animals.

4. RNA

B. Dating methods

1. potassium/argon

2. uranium 235

3. Carbon 14: it becomes such a small amount that it is almost unnoticeable after about 60,000 years and disappears entirely after a little more than 100,000 years. All fossils which have been tested have C14.

4. all dating methods have an unknown point of origin

C. Ammonites

1. extinct marine creatures

2. wide dispersement

3. intact

4. on top of Mount Everest

D. Rock layers put in place while still moist

1. sharp bends, folds following matching contours

2. massive sections at unusual angles

E. Volcanism

1. modern lava flows have dates compatible with lava flows dated as ancient

2. physical appearance of recent eruptions shows multiple layers laid down

in minutes or seconds

F. Sea levels

1. salt content; no evidence of constant flow

2. massive recent rise in sea levels

3. Hudson river canyon

4. Niagara river canyon

G. Antarctica

1. evidence that Antarctica was once warm

2.  ancient maps with the land mass of Antarctica visible

H. Starlight

1. uniform background radiation

2. uniform red shift

I. Fossils

1. fossils not formed today: require unusual conditions to make fossils

2. massive fossil beds; billions of creatures, died in agony

3. creatures which do not exist today

4. very large creatures; very different climate

5. petrified wood

6. coal

J. Entombed creatures younger than fossils

1. different from fossils: different creatures and a different climate

2. usually frozen

3. ivory still usable

4. huge numbers

K. Lake Titicaca

1. salt content, marine life; highest lake in world (12,507 ft.)

2. tilted

3. city under water

4. existing city now far from water once a port

L. Massive stone structures

1. thousands of buildings and ruins of buildings

2. everywhere on earth

3. how they were made; either

a. poured in place like cement

b. floated into place

c. used a technology of which we are unaware

4. why they were made

a. to impress (who?)

b. protection from earthquakes

c. public works projects

d. unknown reasons

M. Insects in Amber

N. Diamonds can be manufactured

1. less than a year to make

2. are currently being manufactured in quantity

O. salt content of oceans

1. inconsistent flow rate: we do not know how much salt was

coming into the oceans as little as 3,000 years ago.

2. using ocean salt levels for dating is circular reasoning: assuming constant flow proves age; age is proved by salt levels

P. varves

Q. ice cap layers

1. assumption made that each layer represents one year

2. missing squadron

Conclusion: Many books are written to explain each subpoint. Few people, however, will stay around to listen. This list is a good starting point, however, for honest people who are legitimately seeking the truth.

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The Religion of Physics IV: What is “Scientific Evidence?”


All quotes, unless otherwise noted, are by Stephen Hawking from his book A Brief History of Time.

“A theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations.”

“Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory.”

“There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win, because it works.”

“If they will not believe you (Moses) or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign. But if they will not believe even these two signs or heed what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water which you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.” Exodus 3: 8,9 NASB

In the Bible the word belief means intellectually examining the evidence, and accepting the evidence. The Bible uses the word belief the same way we think of a juror examining the evidence. The juror votes according to what he believes about the evidence. Actively following up on that evidence is faith and passively following up on the evidence is trust.

Anyone can examine evidence, come to certain conclusions about that evidence and believe that their conclusions are correct. Orville and Wilber Wright believed that a heavier than air machine could fly. Their faith in that belief built an airplane. After building the airplane, they trusted in what they built and flew it. Our beliefs can be incorrect. We can place our faith in things which are not true. We can trust in things which are not true and people who will let us down.

The difference between the religion of Stephen Hawking and the Bible is absolute truth. The Bible claims to be absolute truth. Though few people today believe that it is absolute truth, all honest people know that it claims to be absolute truth. The religion of Secular Humanism demands that there is no absolute truth.

A very tiny number of people ever gain access to the multimillion-dollar equipment necessary for modern physics experiments. Only a tiny number of that tiny number are privileged enough to set up and run their own experiments. Of these who run their own experiments, very few ever see the experiments of others. These physicists are trusting in the records of others. They believe that the total sum of the experiments performed worldwide will reduce or eliminate error. They have faith in the peer review process.

They also believe, with a dogmatic faith, that the records of the Bible are untrue, or at least unscientific. Yet the historic record of Moses meets every test for science. It has multiple, credible witnesses. It was repeated. It can be falsified. It accurately predicted the future. It is based on observation and reason, Men reject Moses, not because of science, but because their religion is opposed to Moses.

“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands concerning the Word of Life.” 1 John 1:1. NASB This is both scientific and legal testimony. John is either telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth or he is lying.

The scientific information of the Bible records that the processes which govern the universe today are different from the processes which brought the universe and life on this planet into existence. These records are as scientific as the photographic plate which record the collision of antimatter with matter. As anyone can mistrust or disbelieve the photographic plate, or the interpretation of the information on that plate, so we can mistrust or disbelieve the scientific information recorded in the Bible.

Secular Humanists believe that the miracles of Moses were not scientific because they cannot duplicate them today. Yet these same men believe in peer-reviewed studies which they cannot duplicate, such as a supernova. The only difference is that they believe in the results of these studies, while they reject the historic accounts of Moses.

The scientific records of Moses have no less authority than the peer-reviewed studies produced today. The basic difference is the information. Modern peer-reviewed studied usually have false conclusions for the primary content. The actual scientific data is usually contained in footnotes, appendices and attachments. In the published articles the conclusions usually lead. I believe the reason for this common layout is the difficulty very educated men have understanding how the available data supports their conclusions.

By contrast, the scientific data in the Bible is clearly laid out. From the beginning of the Bible we must simply choose to believe or reject the clearly laid out evidence of the witnesses. The data in the Bible is scientific.

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The Religion of Physics I: What Is Physics?

“I put a lot of effort into writing A Briefer History [of Time] at a time when I was critically ill with pneumonia because I think that it’s important for scientists to explain their work, particularly in cosmology. This now answers many questions once asked of religion.”1

“What I have done is to show that it is possible for the way the universe began to be determined by the laws of science. In that case, it would not be necessary to appeal to God to decide how the universe began. This doesn’t prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary.”2

“There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win, because it works.”3

“So Einstein was wrong when he said, ‘God does not play dice.’ Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can’t be seen.”4

Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time is modern Physics. Only the Bible and Shakespeare have sold more copies in the nonfiction books category. The deep disagreements Stephen Hawking has with Albert Einstein’s meaning of general relativity are actually religious disagreements. Before reading A Brief History of Time you should grasp Albert Einstein’s understanding of general relativity. A clear and simple work is the 1938 The Evolution of Physics by Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld.

They take us to 221-B Baker Street where Sherlock Holmes ponders the great mystery of the universe. How do we go about solving this great mystery? What tools does Sherlock Holmes have available? How should he use them? What clews are available?

Since both Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld were born and raised as German Jews, English was a foreign language to them. The book is filled with archaic British spellings, such as clew for clue, which will either annoy or amuse you. While their writing style requires some thought, their perspective helps us think through some complicated issues. This book has no formulas or mathematics. The illustrations are very simple and the picture plates are black and white. This three hundred-page book only has four chapters.

“There comes a time where the investigator has collected all of the facts he needs for at least some phase of his problem. These facts often seem quite strange, incoherent, and wholly unrelated. The great detective, however, realizes that no further investigation is needed at the moment, and only pure thinking will lead to a correlation of the facts collected.”5 Sherlock Holmes hones in on the problem of defining motion. Because of the concepts of point, line, curve and vector developed by the ancient Greeks, we have the tools to analyze motion. Einstein and Infeld then expand to the rest of Euclid’s two-dimensional geometry. These ancient concepts are the foundation of modern physics.

The opening chapter, “The Rise of the Mechanical View,” covers almost 2000 years of thought, from Greece to the kinetic theory of matter developed by Sir Isaac Newton. According to Einstein, Newton was the most important physicist prior to the twentieth century. He wrote down two ideas which define classical physics. The formula for gravity allows for the prediction of mass, velocity and direction of objects. Even more important than the formula for gravity is the concept of inertia.

The Ancients, including the Babylonians, the Egyptians and the Chinese, built massive stone structures which required advanced math. Whatever tools they developed are lost. The Greeks rediscovered some of these tools and their math is written down. In Einstein’s book, they developed physics in what we call three-dimensional space, but only used two dimensions. Galileo, Copernicus and Kepler used three-dimensional physics in astronomy. The next step was developed by Newton. The mathematical basis of Calculus was written down by Newton, though the theory of Calculus goes back to Egypt.

The value of a theory is its ability to make a prediction. Though gravity was known and understood since Adam, Newton was the first to understand that gravity is field-related to mass and to derive formulas for the relationship between gravity and mass. With these formulas, careful observations of objects such as planets, moons, comets, asteroids, etc. can be used to predict their orbits, determine their mass and calculate their relationships to one another. These gravitational formulas depend on a new discovery by Newton, inertia. He also wrote down the two laws for inertia.

His laws for inertia, building on the mathematics of the Greeks and Arabs and extending via gravity into the motion of heavenly bodies, depend on what Einstein calls absolute time and absolute space. That is, everyone views the same actions and reactions the same way at the same time. For the way the average person views the universe, this is true.

Newton even had a theory of relativity. Newton’s example uses a man with a ball bouncing up and down on a table with two observers. One man is traveling with the table and bouncing ball. To the man in motion with the table, the ball appears to be bouncing straight up and down. The other man is stationary and observes the other man, the table and the ball bouncing up and down to have an additional motion which the man traveling with the ball and table do not observe. Newton believed that even though the two men observed different motion of the ball, time was absolutely the same for both men. However, more precise instruments began to find problems with this.

The next chapter, “The Decline of the Mechanical View,” begins with these words: “The following pages contain a dull report of some very simple experiments. The account will be boring not only because the description of experiments is uninteresting in comparison with their actual performance, but also because the meaning of the experiments does not become apparent until theory makes it so. Our purpose is to furnish a striking example of the role of theory in physics.”6

This entire chapter is devoted to the problems of mechanical physics and is theoretical. Though the authors use humor and clever illustrations, it is a boring topic. It is also very necessary to properly understand the rest of the book. What are heat and light? What is magnetism? What is electricity? What is gravity? Are they energy? Are they properties of the substance emitting them? Do they have mass? The answers to these questions require a new examination of the facts and new theories to explain the facts.

The next chapter, “Field, Relativity,” begins about the time of Newton, so it covers much of the same time period as the previous chapter with a great shift in perspective. “The Decline of the Mechanical View” examines the problems and failed attempts to explain the universe with the mechanical view. “Field, Relativity” abandons the mechanical view and proposes different solutions. Modern readers will be more familiar with the term classical physics to describe what this book calls the mechanical view and field theory.

Field theory is better known today as electromagnetism. Field theory deals with the forces between neutrons, protons and electrons, rather than the matter made by atomic particles. Understanding the relationship between electromagnetism and gravity was the “death knell” for strictly Newtonian physics and the need for a new approach.

Though many men before him worked on the problem before he tackled it, Albert Einstein was the first to work out the math of special relativity. The real import of The Evolution of Physics is the distinctions between special and general relativity in Einstein’s own words. These distinctions are written in terms as simple and easy to understand as is possible.

Albert Einstein attempted to solve these problems with the mechanical view by using the mechanical view. His failure resulted in the theory of special relativity. He illustrates special relativity with a man in an idealized elevator falling forever towards the earth. He releases both a handkerchief and a ball. The elevator, the man, the handkerchief and the ball are all falling at the same rate. Inertia is real to the man because he is part of the closed system. Time, as well as gravity, is the same for all four because they are all part of what Einstein calls the same co-ordinate system (CS). Therefore, time is part of that CS. This relationship between this particular CS and time Einstein calls the space-time continuum. To the observer inside this CS, it is not much different from classical or mechanical relativity, except that time is added as part of space. It recognizes, however, that there are other co-ordinate systems existing at the same time as your CS.

General relativity, which Einstein worked on for years after publishing special relativity, is looking at the first CS (the man in the falling elevator) from a viewpoint outside of the elevator, an entirely different CS. Now time is moving at two different speeds. Time slows down with greater gravity and each CS has its own gravity. Now there is no inertia, only apparent inertia. Gravity warps time. Objects, such as photons of light, traveling outside of any gravitational field, such as between stars or galaxies will travel much greater distances in the same amount of time as an object in a gravitational field, such as on earth. The speed of light is a constant, but the time it is traveling is not.

Too much information, too quickly? This is why Einstein uses so many illustrations and spends many pages laying the foundation.

The chapter Quanta clearly shows differences between classical and modern physics. In the serious rift between the quanta physicists, such as Steven Hawking and the classical physicists, this brief chapter is a very fair presentation of the quanta position by a classical physicist. Modern physicists regard Albert Einstein’s views as classical and opposed to modern quantum mechanics. That is certainly the position of Stephen Hawking.

Newton wrote a theory of relativity which is called classical or mechanical today. The way Einstein describes classical relativity is a ball bouncing up and down on a table in a moving train. To the man on the train moving with the train, the ball seems to be bouncing straight up and down. But to a man standing on a platform looking into the window of the train, the ball is taking a zigzag path as it moves with the train. Both observers, however, use the same clock and the same space (CS, Co-ordinate System). This led to some problems with the results of several experiments with light.

“Today scientists describe the universe in terms of two basic partial theories – the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. They are the great intellectual achievements of the first half of this century. The general theory of relativity describes the force of gravity and the large-scale structure of the universe, that is, the structure on scales from only a few miles to as large as a million million million million (1 with twenty zeros after it) miles, the size of the observable universe. Quantum mechanics, on the other hand, deals with phenomena on extremely small scales, such as a millionth of a millionth of an inch. Unfortunately, however, these two theories are known to be inconsistent with each other. They cannot both be correct.”7

“However, we still use Newton’s theory for all practical purposes because the difference between its predictions and those of general relativity is very small in the situations that we normally deal with. (Newton’s theory also has the great advantage that it is much simpler to work with than Einstein’s!).”8

Einstein’s oft-repeated statement God did not play dice with the universe showed at least a deistic belief. As Einstein grew older, he seems to have returned to some form of liberal Judaism. He also stated quite often that the most miraculous part of the universe was that it made sense. The variety and complexity of the universe should result in chaos, not order. General Relativity to Einstein was an astronomical increase in complexity and order of the Universe.

“Modern” or “Progressive” physicists represented by Stephen Hawking see General Relativity as an infinite universe with life becoming insignificant. “The human race is just a chemical scum on a moderate-sized planet, orbiting around a very average star in the outer suburb of one among a hundred billion galaxies. We are so insignificant that I can’t believe the whole universe exists for our benefit. That would be like saying that you would disappear if I closed my eyes.”9

Stephen Hawking disdains religion, because religion “is based on authority” while science “is based on observation and reason.”3 The only honest scientific answer is that is this statement is a lie. The entire basis of the religion of modern physics is Stephen Hawking’s Papal pronouncement, “The life we have on Earth must have spontaneously generated itself. It must therefore be possible for life to exist spontaneously elsewhere in the universe.”10

Spontaneous generation is anti-science. Every attempt to generate life has failed. Spontaneous generation is pure religious belief without a shred of any kind of evidence, scientific, circumstantial or hearsay. It is a desperate belief in the ridiculous in order to ignore the scientific evidence.

1 A Brief History of Time Chapter 8 1988, 1996, 2001

2 Der Spiegel (17 October 1988)

3 Interview with Diane Sawyer, as quoted in “Stephen Hawking on Religion: ‘Science Will Win'” on ABC World News (07 June 2010)

4 During the 1994 exchange with Penrose, transcribed in The Nature of Space and Time (1996) by Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, p. 26 and also in “The Nature of Space and Time” (online text)

5 The Evolution of Physics by Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, 1938, 1966, 2007, 2008, p. 4.

6 The Evolution of Physics by Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, 1938, 1966, 2007, 2008, p. 69.

7 A Brief History of Time Chapter 1 1988, 1996, 2001

8 A Brief History of Time Chapter 1 1988, 1996, 2001

9 From an interview with Ken Campbell on the 1995 show Reality on the Rocks: Beyond Our Ken

10 From an appearance in the Discovery Channel program “Alien Planet” (May 14, 2005)

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