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rob_lock
22 February 2009 @ 09:29 am

 

In reflecting on the passing of my Grandmother Marjorie, I remembered a poem that I think captures a her character and helps me to understand it. It is a semi-intangible quality she possessed among her many. It is something that although I always saw, it something I only recently began to grasp..

 

In one of his messages, Ravi Zacharius uses a short poem by G.K. Chesterton to capture a reality that is very difficult to put into words.  Ravi sets what I believe is the proper context so that we can catch the spirit of what it is Chesterton was trying to convey. I would like to pass all of it along to you.

 

In a startling passage, Jesus says, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live". ( John 14:18-19)

 

Because I live, you also shall live...

 

Chesterton catches a glimpse of what might have gone through Lazarus' mind when called back from the dead by way of his own conversion. 

 

        The Convert

 

        After one moment when I bowed my head
        And the whole world turned over and came upright,
        And I came out where the old road shone white,
        I walked the ways and heard what all men said,
        Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed,
        Being not unlovable but strange and light;
        Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
        But softly, as men smile about the dead.

        The sages have a hundred maps to give
        That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
        They rattle reason out through many a sieve
        That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
        And all these things are less than dust to me
        Because my name is Lazarus and I live.

       

        --G. K. Chesterton

 

 

Perhaps I have an incorrect view of Grandma. Maybe my perception is a slight romanticizing of her. I do not believe so. She was a mysterious woman to me for many years. She said little. And I mean even when she had much energy and relative youth. To someone like me, whose mind wanders and whose mouth often follows, she spent much of her life already experiencing this theme. For many years, she had already been patient with the nonsense that much of our words and concerns must have been to her.
 
 

What could she say to those who cannot understand? It is not a matter of intelligence but experience. What does a wise old Maple say to the saplings who cannot really understand without having lived through the long winters that breed such wisdom?

 

I'm not trying to sound wiser than I am. Clearly, the answer is 'little'! Words must be given, but great pearls can be cast, and only distant and puzzling parables are heard by the students. Wisdom cannot have communion with foolishness in Word alone. But wisdom can live and embody the example. And we all know she did. Word can become flesh. And we know where she learned it. She learned it from her Lord.

 

I had heard Chesterton’s poem before. But I did not know the title until I looked it up. For the recent convert like myself, the connection is very clear in spite of the fact that there is still much to learn and understand. These things do not come into focus overnight.

 

According to Ravi, that is what Jesus meant when he said, "Because I live, you also shall live". I agree. When you were blind and now you see. And the title confirms that we can experience 'this life' even before tasting death. It is only consummated and brought to total fruition in resurrection. But it is seen in the life of extraordinary and faithful individuals long before the beloved steps into his or her full glory.

 

The mystery of Grandmother Marjorie; her love, joy, peace, patience, meekness, firmness, discipline, and grace is the mystery of Christ living within individual temples of His larger church.

 

'No student is greater than his teacher'. 'It is enough for the student to be like his teacher', [so that the light of the teacher will shine in a dark world].

 

Grandma's light shined. She will be missed and remembered by many.

 

 

 
 
rob_lock
27 October 2008 @ 09:07 pm

A debate based upon a clip from the movie 'Expelled'.

http://www.worldwideword.net/dreamcatcher/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=270&start=0
 
 
rob_lock
20 September 2008 @ 10:08 am

This is a link to a discussion about the implications of a Scientific American article that is very telling.

http://www.worldwideword.net/dreamcatcher/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=182
 
 
rob_lock

I was once sharing my faith and had a conversation with a man about the claims of the Bible (Jesus in particular) while we unloaded lumber products in Benbow California . His name is Tom, and he is a very honest individual when discussing such things. He is Irish, and has a very hard exterior (and a huge heart deep down from what I could sense). Anyway, at one point he became very agitated and said, 'I have a real problem with any God, who would condemn me for the way He made me’.

 

One need not reflect on his comment too long to see his point and all of the thorny implications. It is definitely a genuine point of contention at least on the surface of things.

 

I didn’t know how to respond to such an emotional reaction right away. Fortunately I kept my mouth shut (which is hard for me). We just worked for a few moments, and then something occurred to me I asked him, something to the effect of, so a real and genuine God would take responsibility for our sins’?

 

Tom's countenance immediately changed, and neither of us said a word for a little while. When we did resume conversation we talked about work. I don’t know what Tom is doing now, or what his thoughts are toward Christ, but I know that neither of us will forget that moment. Together we had arrived at a reality that was bigger than both of us when God showed up.

 

What I find interesting looking back, is that in his comment he essentially confesses his sinfulness. He also implied that his genetics and environment were predominantly not of his choosing (at least in early life). Implicit also was the assumption of free will, and then a logical connection that God had made things this way. 

 

I personally don’t see anything wrong with admitting that God is ultimately responsible for all of creation. I think it is sound theologically and very Biblical when placed in proper context. What intrigues me is the uniqueness of Christianity in that context and the credibility it gives to the gospel. Rather than us taking the responsibility through all sorts of religious ritual and dogma, bringing to fruition our desires for love, justice, and forgiveness (which has led historically to disaster), we can partner with God and have a personal relationship with Him because He has already taken the responsibility and knows the way.

 

One of the most obvious implications is that Tom revealed that our fleshly nature really doesn’t want to let God take that responsibility. God put the choice back in our hands when He went to the cross. We can accuse other gods of not meeting this one essential point of contention (assuming certain other realities), but not Jesus Christ.

 

 

Our pastor once made the distinction this way… He said in essence that all religions have a common thread, and the onus is on us to do, do, do. Do this or do that, to earn our way to a better life or build our utopias. Christianity is uniquely true to the reality touched by Toms comment in that with Christ it is ‘Done’. As He took His last breath He said, ‘It is finished’.  And afterall, such matters are ultimately a God sized responsibility.

 

He paid the price by taking the responsibility for the world when He picked up our cross and bore it's shear brutality.  

 

Now obviously, in terms of an appeal to the truth of Christianity, this is no knock out argument. No such argument exists. However, when we allow ourselves to consider the incredible way in which many such individually interesting facets of what is inevitably a very large jewel, combine into a coherent portrait, we have something weightier to lean upon in terms of its truthfulness.

 

Faith was never encouraged in the Biblical sense to be a mindless endeavor. I for one was, still am, and expect to be more than I have yet discovered, shocked at the exquisite intellectual satisfaction of genuine theology as opposed to mere religion. The Bible opens to me a little more each day. And when I combine that with the emotional peace that we all long for and find a growing match revelation upon revelation, I cannot help but trust (have faith) that I have indeed found the very meaning of life itself in the person of Christ. I was under the impression for many years that faith was the realm of ‘pick your poison’, ‘myth, and legend’. I am pleasantly surprised that I was wrong.

 

Not only could only a real God save this mad world. But only a real God could save this madman. And only a real God would be so patient, kind and merciful to take responsibility for a wretch such as I.

 

If we really want truth and we really seek it, He promises that we will find. I have found that to be true. The only barrier is myself. From every angle I have examined thus far, I can stand and declare, like the Roman Governor Pilate and say, 'I find no fault in Him'.

 

 
 
rob_lock
13 April 2008 @ 03:20 pm

With the release of the movie 'Expelled... No Intelligence Allowed' the irrationality and totalitarian attitude of the opponenets of Intelligent Design is a major theme. Here are three examples of such obstinance that I have personally encountered durring debate. The second and third examples are threads that were simply shut down by the opposition since silencing dissent is a common theme when the establishment can either no longer follow the argumentation, or are unwilling to follow due to their own philosophical bias. 

These exchanges and debates are not for the faint of heart, but illustrate the the claims of supression made by Ben Stein in the movie 'Expelled'. 

Conversations such as these are played out everywhere in our Western culture on a daily basis:

http://www.worldwideword.net/dreamcatcher/viewtopic.php?t=126&start=0

http://www.worldwideword.net/dreamcatcher/viewtopic.php?t=119

http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=8&t=166&m=1



Portions of the debates linked to above, were concerning topics relevant to the predictive power of genuine scientific theories. The claim is often made that Intelligent design cannot make predictions and is therefore not  a genuine scientific theory. This is simply not the case. 

Dr. Sean Pitman has some excellent information for this discussion. I have quoted just a portion from the following link: http://www.detectingdesign.com/pseudogenes.html

"...the real informational complexity and functionality lies in the non-coding portion of the genome.  This portion of the genome directs when and where the protein building blocks are placed and therefore is vitally important to the overall structure and ultimate function of the resulting creature.  It was because of the evolutionary bias that these non-coding regions of DNA were assumed to be junk for so long - and therefore overlooked and unrecognized as key informational components in the genome. Interestingly enough, such findings actually support the predictions of intelligent design theory while countering long-held evolutionary assumptions. Of course, there are always ad hoc modifications to explain such failed predictions resulting from an evolutionary bias...

...What is especially interesting about all of this is that creationists and intelligent design theorists have been claiming for many years that the concept of "Junk DNA" (as well as vestigial structures) was incorrect. I myself have been promoting this idea for over 10 years (as of June, 2007). I'm sure many are not resisting the urge to say, "I told you so".  Yet, only now are mainstream scientists finally starting to realize the significant errors in their long-cherished beliefs when it comes to the ill-conceived notion of junk DNA - an idea which was based on ardently held evolutionary presuppositions."

There are many regions of DNA that do not code for proteins. When we hear of the human genome being mapped, those doing the mapping are referring to protein coding. There is much more in the genome (of all creatures) that we do not understand. Intelligent Design predicts that these regions or segments of DNA code for all kinds of process within the cell such as gene expression timing and cell division control.

The following is from another excellent resournce on the subject: http://www.researchintelligentdesign.org/wiki/Junk_DNA

T. Ryan Gregory summarizes:[44]

In fact, quite a lengthy list of proposed functions for non-coding DNA could be compiled (for an early version, see Bostock 1971[45]). Examples include buffering against mutations (e.g., Comings 1972[46]; Patrushev and Minkevich 2006[47]) or retroviruses (e.g., Bremmerman 1987[48]) or fluctuations in intracellular solute concentrations (Vinogradov 1998[49]), serving as binding sites for regulatory molecules (Zuckerkandl 1981[50]), facilitating recombination (e.g., Comings 1972[51]; Gall 1981[52]; Comeron 2001[53]), inhibiting recombination (Zuckerkandl and Hennig 1995[54]), influencing gene expression (Britten and Davidson 1969; Georgiev 1969; Nowak 1994; Zuckerkandl and Hennig 1995; Zuckerkandl 1997), increasing evolutionary flexibility (e.g., Britten and Davidson 1969[55], 1971[56]; Jain 1980[57]; reviewed critically in Doolittle 1982), maintaining chromosome structure and behaviour (e.g., Walker et al. 1969[58]; Yunis and Yasmineh 1971[59]; Bennett 1982[60]; Zuckerkandl and Hennig 1995[61]), coordinating genome function (Shapiro and von Sternberg 2005[62]), and providing multiple copies of genes to be recruited when needed (Roels 1966[63]).


 
 
 
rob_lock
06 April 2008 @ 10:12 am
 

Intelligent design and empirical evidence

As Stephen C. Meyer has shown, there is no known material (natural) explanation for the origin of the biological information in DNA. It is simply asserted by the scientific establishment, that a natural explanation must exist for biological information.

How can we say that a particular assumption for a phenomenon must exist without empirical evidence or logical consistency? In this instance, the assumption is an inductive process that says that if some phenomenon have natural causes; then, all phenomenon have natural causes.

In another discussion, I brought up the fact that such a conclusion does not follow from the premise. One gentleman reminded me that though this is method truly inductive, a stone will fall a thousand times if dropped. He went on to say that it is still possible that the next stone will not, but he will put his money on the stone falling again. In other words, he is arguing that we have found many natural causes for things previously considered ‘supernatural’’, so we must assume that this is the case once again. I concede that point, but it is really the other way around with regard to information. If a thousand times information is found to have causation that is not merely material but intelligent, then when confronted with the information in DNA we must put our money on intelligence once more. We would never compose a hypothesis on the properties of tannins, pulp, glue, granite, etc… and postulate as yet unknown properties in the laws of physics or material universe to explain the origin of a newspaper or cave drawing.

Information is not 'merely natural' or material. Information is supernatural as opposed to unnatural; it something ‘in addition’ to the material medium. That doesn’t make it mystical, but actually quite mundane. On at least one occasion, C.S. Lewis referred to the non-material dimension (quantum) as the ‘sub-nature’. Information is not itself material, just as gravity is not an orbiting body.

There is empirical evidence for intelligent causation of information; namely the intelligent patterns produced by human beings such as binary digital computer codes. There is no empirical evidence for nature producing information.

There is no evidence that matter can produce information. Matter is simply the material medium by which intelligence produce patterns in the medium. SETI researchers listen for such patterns in hopes of scientifically verifying the existence of intelligence elsewhere in the cosmos. But it would first be beneficial to find a likely intelligent signal, so they also listen for narrow band signals that would require a purposefully built transmitter that itself would have required information arising from intelligent guidance.

Here is what SETI says about what they usually look for.

"Virtually all radio SETI experiments have looked for what are called
"narrow-band signals." These are radio emissions that are at one spot on
the radio dial. Imagine tuning your car radio late at night… There's
static everywhere on the band, but suddenly you hear a squeal - a signal
at a particular frequency - and you know you've found a station.

Narrow-band signals, say those that are only a few Hertz or less wide,
are the mark of a purposely built transmitter."
 
( http://www.seti.org/about-us/faq.php#a1 )

Interestingly, the addition of information to matter or energy causes no difference in mass to the medium. A CD that is full of 70MB of information is no different in terms of mass than one that is empty. So as Dr. Meyer has explained, “Information is a mass-less quantity”.

The paper and resources to create the blueprint for a transmitter already exist, but it takes intelligent guindance to compile and organize the resources into information specified to the transmitter. 

There are a lot of material emissions coming from space, but they contain no intelligent information. There is no demonstrable natural process by which information is produced. And that’s why SETI Researchers know that such a pattern would signify intelligence. It isn’t the matter or energy that contains the information, but the pattern itself that proves intelligent guidance.

Imagine two newspapers, both with an equal numbers of letters, and paper. One has intelligible sentences, and the other has the same letters distributed randomly (unintelligibly) across the pages. It is the logical order of the digits that contains information, not the material medium itself.

When it comes to DNA we’re dealing with the most sophisticated and efficient code in the known universe. Random and repetitive forces of nature cannot produce a Dick and Jane book, let alone quaternary digital codes.

Is there evidence to the contrary?

So when it comes to origins we have a choice between two theories. One provides no explanation for the origin of biological information, but insists on a natural explanation. The other offers a logical and coherent hypothesis sustained by actual empirical evidence.

Darwin assumed that we could start with something simple (the single cell) to explain evolution from non-life to life. We believed in evolution because life supposedly worked it's way from simple to complex forms. As it turns out, to have any life (even single celled life) we must start with the most complex and efficient digital code in the known universe.

It appears that creatures are adapting to their enviornment alright... That part of Darwin's theory is at least scientific; but, that is not necessarily evolution. What fits the over-all evidence best is to describe this process as de-volution.

For a two-part video on the design inference follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmjt4fzuN1U&feature=related

For a detailed video segment describing the enormous problems associated with an assumed evolutionary origin of DNA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPBHPqUIn7I

 
 
rob_lock
09 March 2008 @ 12:19 pm

The logical simplicity of the scientific method

 

Abstract

 

In the debate and discourse involving the theory of intelligent design (ID), we inevitably run up against a difficulty in the definition of science. Intelligent design advocates hold, among other things,  that historically, the institution of science has relied upon ‘the inference to the best explanation’ as the criteria for determining which theory best explains a given body of evidence, and is thus given reasonable consideration and treatment. As a result, in some of my own debates, I have heard ID proponents being accused of opening the door to all manner of metaphysical nonsense. This is not the case.

 

In my opinion, what the leading proponents of ID have failed to do is offer a clear alternative definition of science that incorporates the legitimate aspects of the current convention, as well as consistently incorporating new evidence within a design paradigm. If that is to be accomplished, we must re-examine science so as to uncover what science actually is. In the process, I propose that there is a clear and distinct definition of science that has always existed. This proposed definition satisfies both of these requirements.


R
ather than expanding the definition of science to allow a more liberal methodology prone to philosophical abuse, the proposed definition would actually be a conservative motion which restricts science to more rigorous and disciplined criteria, particularly where the empirical world relate to our philosphical lenses.
 

Terms

 

sci•ence
Pronunciation: \
ˈsī-ən(t)s\

Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin scientia, from scient-, sciens having knowledge, from present participle of scire to know
1: the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/science )


log·ic
Pronunciation: \
ˈlä-jik\

Function: noun

Etymology: Middle English logik, from Anglo-French, from Latin logica, from Greek logikē, from feminine of logikos of reason, from logos reason — more at legend

Date: 12th century  1 a (1): a science that deals with the principles and criteria of validity of inference and demonstration : the science of the formal principles of reasoning (2): a branch or variety of logic <modal logic> <Boolean logic> (3): a branch of semiotic; especially : syntactics (4): the formal principles of a branch of knowledge ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?logic )

 

 

Thesis

 

The law of contradiction (also known as the law of non-contradiction) is the philosophical foundation of scientific methodology and where science begins. As such, the law is our only basis for the bricks and cornerstones by which we proceed. It is also the capstone by which we can look back and examine our progress and thereby detect missing or misplaced stones. With the law of contradiction we begin, build, and test our theories regarding our empirical impressions of the natural world.

 

In this way, science is accomplished only when a test for contradiction has been performed. If, for example, scientific testing reveals a contradiction, then the accuracy of our ideas is held to be in question. We are forced to believe before we begin the journey, that the empirical world is ordered logically and coherently and is intelligible to us only if our analysis is also coherent and therefore compatible with the assumed order. This point begs to be repeated; if nature is ordered in an intelligible, logical, and coherent fashion, then our philosophical constructs (theories) regarding it, must also be coherent if they are to be compatible with the assumed empirical order.

 

Many in the scientific community claim that science is primarily a search for empirical evidence. Susan Kruglinski, the editor of Discover Magazine reported that, since the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, science has been limited to the search for natural causes to explain natural phenomena. This revolution entailed the rejection of the appeal to authority, and by extension, revelation, in favor of empirical evidence. Since that time period, science has been a discipline in which testability, rather than any ecclesiastical authority or philosophical coherence, has been the measure of a scientific idea's worth”.[1]

 

That is fascinating since coherence is both the authority that founds science, and the revelation given by the scientific method.  Natural science is the application of the law of contradiction to the empirical world. Science itself is really only our faith in logic and coherence. The term empirical is a corruptive and deceptive label that conjures images of material certainty. This is not the case! The empirical world is only one of the entities in a natural science equation, and it must be measured against our ideas in order to provide a tested result. Empirical evidence just is. If we interpret it without the lens of philosophical coherence (i.e. logic), then we are only declaring our bias by ecclesiastical declaration.

 

Listen to further commentary by Susun Kruglinski in explaining the scientific validity of intelligent design theory: “After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science.” 1

 

That is also fascinating!  How can something true be unscientific, unless science is not true, logical, or coherent?

 

Scientific testing is done with the assumption that ‘cohering two or more entities into a systemic whole is a reliable scientific method’. Coherence is the only objective revelation and authority. Logic does not give us the prerogative to smuggle in our own bias. Scientists cannot simply assert by ecclesiastical authority that empirical evidence is proof of anything without first having faith that our philosophy (theory) is coherent.  I am afraid that the only cure for this situation is omnipotence (which we dare not claim).

 

C.S. Lewis pointed out the illusion of a purely empirical or natural science in his book’ Miracles’.

He said, “…Unless human reasoning is valid, no science can be true. It follows that no account of the universe can be true unless that account leaves it possible for our thinking to be a real insight. A theory which explained everything else in the whole universe but which made it impossible to believe our thinking was valid, would be utterly out of court. For that theory itself would have been arrived at by thinking, and if thinking is not valid that theory would, of course, be itself demolished. It would have destroyed its own credentials. It would be an argument which proved no argument was sound -a proof that there are no such things as proofs- which is nonsense.” [2]

 

Logic was the first science, and upon this rock we build our towers and move mountains. Natural science came after the acceptance of the validity of logical reasoning by which to study the natural world.

 

 

Scientific Reasoning vs. Religious Reasoning?

 

The conflict between science and religion is not over the existence of God because the terms God and reality are synonymous. Both are absolute, ultimate, and sovereign. The question is really one of God’s (or reality's) characteristics. Is reality a living being or merely an impersonal material force? Whatever or whoever reality is; reality is God by definition. It is what it is or I am who I am. The only difference between the philosophies of naturalism and monotheism is the nature of God. All reasoning is philosophical. Whether we use inductive or deductive reasoning (and we rely almost exclusively on deduction) contradiction and coherence are what we seek in order to verify or refute premises and conclusions.

 

Definition of God / 1capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality [3]

It matters not whether our philosophy is monotheistic, pantheistic, polytheistic, atheistic, etc. The deist philosophizes that Theo (God) has left the building. All philosophy is theistic. Even the agnostic is in the same boat, since his philosophy purposely excludes deciding the question of Theo. To put it plainly, without theism, there is no such thing as an agnostic. The absolute character of reality (irrespective of its/his other qualities) does not give us the option of excluding ourselves from philosophizing about Theo.

 

Moving on to more difficult terrain, our current definition (or convention) of science is called Methodological Naturalism. It says thatonly material explanations are scientific'.  It asserts and exalts this philosophical position, yet is itself not a material explanation, and thus, cannot be stated with internal coherence. In fact, it is imposed without any logical authority whatsoever. It is an ecclesiastical proclamation.

 

Our current definition of science says that 'only material explanations are scientific' though that definition is itself only a philosophical proposition. So, if philosophical propositions are not scientific, then neither is the philosophy of ‘methodological naturalism’. Can a naturalist prove that methodological naturalism is scientific? Actually the answer is yes; but, only if he/she uses the law of contradiction. But as C.S. Lewis points out, it is not coherent and self destructs.

 

More from Susan Kruglinski’s report: “This self-imposed convention of science, which limits inquiry to testable, natural explanations about the natural world, is referred to by philosophers as "methodological naturalism" and is sometimes known as the scientific method. Methodological naturalism is a "ground rule" of science today which requires scientists to seek explanations in the world around us based upon what we can observe, test, replicate, and verify.” 1

 

Naturalists cannot predetermine where logic can and cannot lead us without contradicting themselves. The objective authority of scientific revelation is found in the power of logical coherence. The whole purpose of science is to lead us wherever logic will go without bias. If logic is valid, and science is logical, then methodological naturalism cannot be what science is.

 

Listen to how Paul Davies (theoretical physicist / Arizona State University) admits the real history of science, yet still dodges the implication. “The worldview of a scientist, even the most atheistic scientist, is that essentially of Monotheism. It is a belief, which is accepted as an article of faith, that the universe is ordered in an intelligible way.

 

Now, you couldn’t be a scientist if you didn’t believe these two things. If you didn’t think there was an underlying order in nature, you wouldn’t bother to do it, because there is nothing to be found. And if you didn’t believe it was intelligible, you’d give up because there is no point if human beings can’t come to understand it.

 

But scientists do, as a matter of faith, accept that the universe is ordered and at least partially intelligible to human beings. And that is what underpins the entire scientific enterprise. And that is a theological position. It is absolutely ‘Theo’ when you look at history. It comes from a theological worldview.

 

That doesn’t mean you have to buy into the religion, or buy into the theology, but it is very, very significant in historical terms;  that that is where it comes from and that scientists today, unshakably retain that worldview, as an act of faith. You cannot prove it logically has to be the case, that the universe is rational and intelligible. It could easily have been otherwise. It could have been arbitrary, it could have been absurd, it could have been utterly beyond human comprehension. It’s not! And scientists just take this for granted for the most part, and I think it’s a really important point that needs to be made.”[4]

 

So science is faith. And it is faith in logic. And that is a very interesting observation since now we must remember that, any logical equation or test requires at least two entities (or witnesses). The coherence of at least two entities becomes the third element in the equation.  Assuming the entities involved achieve coherence, then theory + evidence = knowledge. All scientific observation is therefore triune in principle. There is no escaping this reality. No claim is scientifically valid without the testimony of at least two witnesses or variables. If an idea is not testable, repeatable, observable, and falsifiable, it is not considered scientific. All of those qualities assume the law of contradiction to be valid and are dependant upon its application.

 

 



[1] http://discovermagazine.com/2005/dec/intelligent-design/?searchterm=bacterial%20flagellum

 

[2] C.S. Lewis /  Miracles / Chap 3 The Cardinal difficulty of Naturalism pgs 21,22

[3] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/god

 

[4] Paul Davies / The Privileged Planet  Q&A segment

 
 
rob_lock
24 February 2008 @ 04:05 am

No test for authoritative revelation can be achieved with less than a triune equation. Logic is systemic by its very nature. Although our knowledge based upon this faith in logic is not comprehensive, it is our only light. We simply have no other authority for any form of objective revelation. That is not an ecclesiastical proclamation, but is the profound quality of self evident and logical propositions.

 

Methodological naturalism is neither logical (philosophically), nor scientific (empirically) when exalted to the status of an absolute. The only absolute in science is logic. Logical coherence (non-contradiction) must be assumed to be an idisputable part of the nature of reality (God), in the triune sense illuminated to us by the apostle John. I think we miss a good deal of John's message if we do not understand his terminology in the context of that time. John used the Greek term 'logos' which is the etymological root of the English term ‘logic’.[1]

 

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word (logos),  was with God, and the Word (logos), was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men…14 The Word (logos) became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

So science is indeed a  very triune and monotheistic affair. Paul Davies understands the history of scientific thought very well. Even so, it appears that the connection is far more implicit than he, or many of us bargained for. Logic has always been so, long before we discovered its power and recognized its uncanny nature. Logic is our only authority. Without its coherent order, all things would become unintelligible philosophically, and fall to pieces empirically.

 

Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

 

Non-contradiction is the law of laws and reflects the logical and intelligible character of the living triune God. The coherent quality of His work is the intelligibility behind the physical laws, and the power and certitude of our moral laws (love thy neighbor as thy self). Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

 

What I want to know is how did 16th and 17th century philosophers (who were ironically called empiricists) fool us for so long into framing every question pertaining to reality in material terms such as ‘what is life?’, ‘what is reality?’, and 'what is energy?’  

 

Since the scientific establishment so adamant about reducing all relevant terminology to material terms, let us remember that energy is defined by physicists as 'the capacity to do work'.  I think it is worth noting the abstract quality of the definition. ‘Scientists’ can tell us what energy does, and they can mathematically measure and quantify it in that way, but they cannot tell us what energy is.

I have concluded that the reason they fail is because they insist without philosophical necessity or empirical proof that reality and the material universe is only a question of ‘what’, and not ‘who’. I do not deny that the perspective of 'what' is applicable and relevant to a very high degree when studying the natural order. But it is terribly insufficient in many areas. Just as the philosophical zealots of their day presumed to invoke deity too often to explain mysterious phenonmenon like lighting, so too the philosphical zealots of materialism today reduce all phenomenon to matter. But matter is ultimately just concentrated and ordered energy, and they do not know what energy is. I find it fascinating that the best the materialist can muster is that energy is the capacity to do work.

 

John 5:17 Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."

John 10:17 “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

Was it a lack of intellectual capacity on our part that made us prone to asking questions that assumed reality to be a ‘what’ that is completely at our disposal, or was our dilemma really only an intellectual/moral discontinuity? One need not look far for the answer. It has been on our shelves for at least two thousand years.

 

Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.

 

Ultimately, the most important facet of the question has always been, ‘who is reality’. That’s what the historical and empirical evidence shows; man’s hunger for the personal existential answers of being, and not so much then impersonal material provisions. We seek 'real food' and 'real drink'. Can scientists, dismiss such evidence as irrelevant?  


‘Who’
is this holy, logical and coherent Spirit of truth that we are necessarily dependant upon and implicitly commanded to worship and seek as our only light and savior? Since this holy spirit of coherence is the only intelligible self evident truth, and our only way to finding God (reality), then if logic could speak, what would He say?  If logic, is to a very high degree, the way the truth and the life, wouldn’t logic itself (or Himself) affirm such a thing if he were truely living?

John 14:6 "…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

John 8:12 "…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

 

 

Conclusion

 

Is empirical evidence really the most important thing in science today, or is a group of materialist philosophers giving the illusion of breath, voice, and speech to the material beast called the empirical world that in and of itself is deaf, dumb, and blind?  

 

We have to ask ourselves if, like me,  we have bought into this too much, ‘what exactly is this illusory image I have paid homage to for much of my life’? Can we answer that question?

 

As one prophet of the illusion that deceived us, let’s go straight to the words of David Hume the 18th century empiricist/philosopher, who must take much credit for putting one of the nails into the presumed coffin of the philosophical foundations of science durring the revolution. When speaking about books like the Bible, Hume said the following:

 

"When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance, let us ask, ‘Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number’? No. ‘Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence’? No. Commit it then to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion."[2]

 

Ravi Zacharius observed that, 'his own statement does not contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number. Nor does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence'. The empiricists like David Hume missed something vital. And the best way to see the illusion is to ask the question Dr. Zacharius asked when faced with Hume’s remarks. He asked, “How do we make a meaningful statement that is metaphysically stated, in order to tell us that metaphysics is meaningless”?[3]

 

Put another way, ‘How do we propose a philosophy that says that philosophy is meaningless?’ It’s like saying, ‘English is unintelligible’, or ‘words do not have any meaning’. And later philosphers have said as much! Fascinating...  It takes a spirit to deny spirit. It takes an intellect to deny intellect. And that is what we should expect, since the empirical world does not deny intellect. If anything, the rocks cry out that, ‘God is not mocked’.

 

Our propositions concerning the empirical world must also support our own propositions as a real insight and as meaningful, otherwise we are all just speaking empty, dead, and incoherent gibberish.

 

C.S. Lewis said it well, "To be ignorant and simple now - not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground - would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered. The cool intellect must work not only against cool intellect on the other side, but against the muddy heathen mysticisms which deny intellect altogether."[4]

 

 

So what exactly is science?

 

Science is the honest and complete application of the law of contradiction. Within those logical boundaries we find the only knowledge, truth, words, or facts of life that we are capable of knowing meaningfully and objectively.

 

 

rob.lockett@sbcglobal.net

 

 

 

 

 

 



[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/logic

[2] David Hume / An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding / sec. XII, pt 3

[3] Ravi Zacharius / The Loss of Truth and a Proposal for its Recovery

[4] C.S. Lewis / Learning in War-Time 1949, pg51

 
 
rob_lock
09 February 2008 @ 02:50 pm
 

We are often seeking a way to solve our problems technologically. But in a strange twist of fate, what we seek already exists. The problem is, we really don’t want it. And this appearently more organic and quantum technology we still consider 'miraculous' in our primitive state. Our own technology only gives us the illusion of power understanding.

When we think about it, the human frame, in all of its mystery, is far more complex than our computers will ever be. This is so, because a creation can never be greater than its creator. It is the simple barrier called the 1st law of thermodynamics. The truth, having been put into perspective recently in molecular biology, is that our technology cannot match even the complexity of the simplest organisms. Our mathematics and scientific understanding is impotent to explain the existence of such machinery and technology other than in broad general terms. And new evidence has culled many of the old sacred cows of science. The complexity of even a single cell is baffling. Biological life appears more as alien machinery than anything else we know. And that is just the relatively simple single celled life.

 As regards the human being, we are quite literally self replicating sentient machines. If we want to produce a sentient intelligence, we don't have to invent ‘artificial intelligence’. All we have to do is 'procreate'.

If the concept eludes you, consider the android named 'Data' from the Star Trek series. Such an android is first of all fiction, and secondly an artificial attempt to duplicate what already exists. In one motion picture Data is given the sensation of feeling, and even tempted by it as well. Very interesting! The more sophisticated the technology, the more human he becomes. And the more the moral choices come. What does that tell us about how sophisticated we actually are?

In a very real sense, we are the androids of science fiction fame and we have rejected the program which speaks to us through our conscious. We have opted for the temptations of our feelings and abandoned balancing those things with the logical capacity given by our creator. We have become slaves to our DNA and environmental programming. Our conscious is like mental telepathy between the programmer and the machine; creator and creation. Talk about a sensitive and advanced instrument! And we ignore it. We we given nature to rule over. We were even ordered to rule over it.  Yet our nature rules us. And we obey it like slaves and live like 21st century schizophrenic androids. All the while we deny we need salvation. We have the audacity to think that we can handle it alone. And the God who became one of us, and showed us what a man looks like who is in full control of His biological nature we proverbially crucify by our rejection of Him. God did not say to subdue nature alone. It was always something done as a family and with His fellowship. Have we not grasped that yet? For me, it is the hardest thing to remember even after considerable reinforcement.

Only when in tune with the sovereign which orders the whole universe is the machine (you and I) then truly what it was meant to be. It isn't science fiction but present fact! We must be willingly operated by the programmer. That does not mean control, but rather... willing cooperation and relationship.

What if we were able to create sentient androids similar to ourselves (e.g. Data). If we give them the power of free will, then would they not also do as we have done (question the programmer’s ideas of what is good and what is bad)? After all, we would necessarily be creating them for our own benefit. Perhaps they would have their own ideas about their purpose without us in the picture. Why should they live for us? I cannot even get my kids to just believe me when I tell them the stove is hot. They must experience the pain themelves. Then, sometimes, they relent and listen to me. How much more must god know this role as compared to us?

Such is the Biblical dilemma between God and His creations.

It has occurred to me that if we were to impose programming that only allowed peace and harmony that we would not be creating sentient beings but merely automatons. I have since learned that it has also occurred to many a thinker before me (C.S. Lewis for example).

Perhaps we do not agree, but think about it.

A related theme is this...

A man once said to me that he was hoping for an alien race to come and save us from our own tendency to destroy ourselves.

My first instinct, aroused by his cynical tone, was to tell him that his proposal is ridiculous and a totally faith based hope (no such thing as aliens). But instead, I said to him, "It already happened two thousand years ago."

"The Aliens came... not in some relatively crude spacecraft that we envision to be advanced, but rather in the most sophisticated vessel in the known universe; a human body. He told the Roman Governor Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world. He revealed His true self to His disciples in the transfiguration on the Mount of Olives which left them terrified, but He said to them, 'be not afraid'. We then crucified this alien visitor because He claimed these things and threatened our power and narrowminded plans. He rose again on the third day. He then mysteriously ascended into heaven in a fashion that is possibly similar to a Star Trek transporter (not technologically so to speak, but quite naturally). And before leaving, He told His followers that He would return to raise them to life again and take them into His eternal dwelling."

The man’s face grew a bit pale when I told him this. I was only glad to see Him make the connections for the first time and see that the Biblical Christ was far more simmilar to his own hopes than he had ever considered He no longer saw a disjunction between his own hope, and that offered by Christ. he had never observed the simmilarities. He thought 'aliens' were a new concept. But the concept and perspective is not modern but primitive. Chirstianity, once studied objectively, is a story nothing like the popular myths of 20th century skeptics portray. Science (knowledge) is about evidence not pure blind faith. And this visitor did not only promise to reward us with the inner peace we seek if we simply believe blindly; but promised to open our eyes to the truth, and reveal Himself in the present by the Holy Spirit individually if we ask Him. It is seeing faith, not blind faith. You can know Him.

The only reason I am sharing this with you is because I have seen Him in the very way He promised.

It may seem too fantastic to believe, but I assure you it is more so... ...it is more than a group of four fisherman two thousand years ago could ever have invented. The fact is, God has imagined far more than we, because intelligence is superior by the creator in relation to the created.

It is not religion, but reality. And the only reason to reject Him, is because you and I will have to admit to Him that we are sinners who have not only been dishonest with Him, but with our true selves. And we will face the derision of the mob in revolt.

John 14:21
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

John 18:37
"You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."

 
 
rob_lock
09 February 2008 @ 02:44 pm
 

Death to Extremists

 

I was delivering a deck package to a home in California, and one of the guys working on the project has a bumper sticker on the back of his pick-up that says, ‘DEATH TO EXTREMISTS’.

 

I was quite amused and after exiting my truck I spoke to him and explained how much I enjoyed his bumper sticker. He chuckled somewhat anxiously, not exactly sure what I had meant.

 

I said, “Its a little ‘extreme’ though…isn’t it?” To which he nervously replied, “Yeah, there’s some irony there.”

 

He then went on to explain that some of his family had become born-again Christians and that they were driving him crazy, so being a ‘moderate’, his wife had the sticker custom made for him a while back.

 

I asked him, “So you are ‘extremely’ moderate?”

 

He said, “No… I am only ‘moderately’ moderate.”

 

That was about the extent of our conversation. I did tell him that I too was born-again like his family members and understood the terms.

 

I might have said to him in response to his last statement (“No… I am only’ moderately’ moderate”) that, “That would explain your ‘extreme displeasure’ with extremism”, but I did not think of it so quickly.

 

I could tell that he had come to understand the dilemma (and not in terms of irony, but contradiction), and that his acidic cynicism had waned over some period of time. I sensed he wanted to speak more about it, and I also would have loved to sit down and discuss these things in detail. He was seeking resolution to the mess (very cautiously), but we both were in a rush to get back to our responsibilities with work.

 

Anyway, there’s no sense in pushing people who are beginning to see the light (of reason). I think that once they understand that their beliefs contain violent contradictions, it’s only a matter of time. At least… that’s how it was for me.

 

Ps. It reminds me… ‘Do you know what the ‘fundamental’ problem with this world is?’

Fundamentalism!

 

Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.