Sunday, August 22, 2010

Reason upon Faith, part 1

The Christian is often accused of using invalid reasoning in using Scripture to prove Scripture; e.g., using nothing more than 1 Thess. 2:13, 2 Tim. 3:16, etc. to validate the idea that God’s Word is actually God’s Word would be entirely circuitous logic; apart from elsewise evidence, such confidence would rightly be unfounded. But Paul’s statement that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God” only reaffirms what Scripture’s many manifold witnesses (prophecy, natural & archeological history, early church fathers, as well as the less tangible, but no less real Holy Spirit) cause us to reasonably embrace- that God has preserved His revelation of all man needs to understand of both the natural & supernatural in the 66 books of Scripture.

Nevertheless, there is the fact that most of what is called knowledge & reason is primordially founded upon faith. Logically deduced knowledge, if extensively traced to its origin, finds some postulate made as a fundamental starting point. Take the “Big Bang” model of natural creation; astrophysicists devote their lifetime to constructing reasonable causations that assimilate with one another in order to arrive at an integrated, rational timeline from the very nanosecond of the singularity’s “bang” all the way to the present day.

But what they don’t tell you as they boldly assign precise dates to all the events of their timeline (so often with such certitude that those dates & events seem to be as sure as yesterday’s news events) is that all their reverse-engineering of the universe is presumed upon three fundamental faith-filled suppositions:

1. The ubiquity of current classical & quantum mechanics; in other words, is the empirical physics of today acting in same way, with the same metrics, as the physics of 13.7 billion years ago? Especially questionable since science seems all too eager to toss established physics in the pursuit of a rational early ontology, i.e. the period of time prior to "Planck time". If it can be said the physical laws of the universe somehow “changed” at the onset of “1 Planck”, then how can we be so confident of anything transpiring prior to that? Or even after that? How are the physical laws “changed”, & if so, then have they morphed again & again, or just that once? Indeed, after thousands of years of observation, we still don’t comprehend all the physical laws acting upon us right now, so any theory based on unempirical physics has to viewed with extreme skepticism.

2. The isotropic (same in all directions) nature of the universe.

3. The homogeneous nature of the universe (e.g.- is the entire universe composed of the same basic elements, e.g.- hydrogen & helium?)

I'm not saying that their model is wrong, I'm simply saying that it takes a tremendous degree of faith to believe that it is right.

Science of the day rests its beliefs upon its chronologically & spatially narrow viewpoint of the physical universe. Should I confidently claim to know that all birds can fly simply because all the ones I’ve been able to observe from my residency in Florida have been able to do so? Or that no snake can kill simply I’ve never seen anyone die from one? This is the weakness of inductive logic, & much of the in vogue establishment (money-hungry) science is rife with it. They preach Copernicus (that we hold no special place or viewpoint in the universe), but, so ironically for them, this makes science’s dependency on induction so much the greater, due to this lesser vantage point. Yes, deductions are made, but the problem is they are boastfully touted, all the while the frailties of the founding inductions are ignored.

In other words, their knowledge is founded on faith. The only problem- it is not honestly spoken of as such.

Unfortunately, man is so myopic in his ability to perceive even his own tangible sphere while concomitantly being so arrogant in claiming understanding of things his limited vision prevents him from seeing. Witness the episode of “Seinfeld” where the character George goes around making outrageous claims about things he thought he saw after losing his glasses. With a modicum of humility, he could have said “I think I might have seen…”, but unfortunately, humility was not his forte. So people were led astray, & in the end, George had to endure embarrassment for his cocksureness in the midst of his clear myopic hindrance.

Science desires to do likewise. They have wasted billions on building & operating radio telescopes around the world for fifty years now hopelessly trying to detect a single sign of extraterrestrial intelligent life, only to incessantly hear the same interstellar static that any of us can hear for free in our car on an empty radio frequency. They spend untold billions on particle colliders in an effort to demonstrate the existence of a “God particle” (the Higgs-boson particle- a hypothetical particle that would allow for the construction of mass into massless particles), while leaving God Himself forlorn in their lifelong examinations of the physical causes of creation. They treat this potential particle as if it were capable of excluding God from the act of creation (therein its media name), all the while feigning ignorance that, as elementary as this particle would be to the theorized Big Bang model, something still would have had to create it. As science states, neither energy nor mass can be created or destroyed, they can only change forms (& even massless photon particles are considered as mass in this case, subject to the same laws of conservation). Thus there exists no rational theory, or even a founding postulate, of how the Higgs-boson “God-particle” came to exist, despite the fact that its supposed reality has flaunted by science for over 40 years now. No atheistic physicist (they’re not all atheists, but many are deists) has been so bold to propose a “first cause” for their “God”; its cause is essentially taken on faith. This type of challenge is known as the “ontological argument” & it is just as relevant today, despite the tremendous increase in scientific knowledge in the 1000 years since Anselm first used it to add reason to a faithful belief in God’s existence. It is the most fundamental bulwark against arrogant atheistic claims to have an ontology based purely on reason. They present the atheism vs. theism debate as solely about reason vs. faith, instead of truthfully stating it as two separate ontologisms, each with an abundance of reason, but each also founded on faith.

The fact is, for both, it is not a matter of reason vs. faith, but reason built upon faith.

The bigger question: which is more believable- that matter & energy are self-creative, that a singularity containing all the potential of the universe just appeared without a causal dynamic, or that God exists “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalms 90:2)? Neither gives any rationale for the academic to rally around to explain how something can come from nothing. God never tells us in His Word how He can exist infinitely in the space-time continuum; He simply says that He does. Atheists may mock such blind faith in a self-existent God, but to me at least, it seems eminently more reasonable that the supernatural can have this quality than the natural.

Indeed, such is my fundamental schoolyard-style challenge to the atheistic bully - that my blind faith is better, more reasonable even, than your blind faith.

Isaiah 44:24-25 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: "I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, (25) who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish.


Even So... said...

Excellent...and indeed, Steve, it is epistemelogical idolatry when some, who want so desperately to have a seat at the table of secular academia, bow to raw empiricism.

Even So... said...

I speak of BioLogos and others who claim Christianity, yet in essence deny divine revelation...

Even So... said...

Oh, btw, I spoke about the weakness of the inductive method last Wednesday night, also...

Zoarean said...

Thanks for the comments, JD.

Yea, I guess I'm conflicted some times about Christians who readily toss aside the literal interpretation of Scripture every time science, & particularly raw, unvetted science, seems to conflict with the literal reading. Most of the time the Hugh Ross, Biologos types irk me greatly; but then sometimes I consider the possibility that the Spirit uses them despite their poor theology to reach the otherwise unreachable scientific community, in a 1Cor. 9:21, maybe John Wesley kind of way.

Zoarean said...

I'm not sure about Biologos, but I think Reasons to Believe holds to the Gospel fairly well...