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Rebirth of Reason

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Saturday, June 27 - 11:39amSanction this postReply

I got this unsolicited e-mail blast and posted it here for anyone who cares to shoot fish in a barrel.


If a person opposes even the possibility of there being a God, then any evidence can be rationalized or explained away. It is like if someone refuses to believe that people have walked on the moon, and then no amount of information is going to change their thinking. Photographs of astronauts walking on the moon, interviews with the astronauts, moon rocks - all the evidence would be worthless because the person has already concluded that people cannot go to the moon.
When it comes to the possibility of God's existence, the Bible says that there are people who have seen sufficient evidence, but they have suppressed the truth about God. (Romans 1:19-21). On the other hand, for those who want to know God if he is there, he says, "You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you" (Jeremiah 29:13-14).  Before you look at the facts surrounding God's existence, ask yourself, If God does exist, would I want to know him? Here, then, are some reasons to consider...
1.       Does God exist? The complexity of our planet points to a deliberate Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today.
Many examples showing God's design could be given, possibly with no end. But here are a few:
The Earth...its size is perfect. The Earth's size and corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases, only extending about 50 miles above the Earth's surface. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter (R.E.D. Clark, Creation (London: Tyndale Press, 1946), p. 20).  Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain plant, animal and human life.
The Earth is located the right distance from the sun. Consider the temperature swings we encounter, roughly -30 degrees to +120 degrees. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze. If it were any closer, we would burn up. Even a fractional variance in the Earth's position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. The Earth remains this perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph. It is also rotating on its axis, allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day.
And our moon is the perfect size and distance from the Earth for its gravitational pull. The moon creates important ocean tides and movement so ocean waters do not stagnate, and yet our massive oceans are restrained from spilling over across the continents (The Wonders of God's Creation, Moody Institute of Science, Chicago, IL).
2.       Does God exist? The universe had a start - what caused it?
Scientists are convinced that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light, which we now call the Big Bang. This was the singular start to everything that exists: the beginning of the universe, the start of space, and even the initial start of time itself.
Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described agnostic, stated, "The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion at the moment of the cosmic explosion... The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen."
Robert Jastrow; "Message from Professor Robert Jastrow"; LeaderU.com; 2002.
Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment of this explosion, "the universe was about a hundred thousand million degrees Centigrade...and the universe was filled with light" [Steven Weinberg; The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe; (Basic Books,1988);     p 5.].
The universe has not always existed. It had a start...and what caused that? Scientists have no explanation for the sudden explosion of light and matter.
If I told you that the watch on my wrist was designed by a team of engineers, skillfully crafted by a team of highly trained technicians, sent to a jobber, and from there to the store where my wife bought it as a gift for me, would you believe me?
Well, let me tell you what really happened: Millions and millions of years ago, there were atoms freely floating through the universe. Cosmic winds drew them together, clustering them into various materials: silicon, crystals, metals, and other various parts. Through the random effects of chance, over millions of years, of course, these various elements were thrown together into his interesting device that now adorns my wrist, and it has been keeping accurate time ever since!
Ridiculous, isn’t it. The notion that this complex little device “happened” by the caprice of chance alone is, of course, absurd. It is obviously the object of careful and skillful design. Strange that we reject the notion that this watch happened by accident, yet it is vastly simpler than the wrist upon which it resides.
The watch is a simple “open loop” design. The wrist is a “closed loop” servo system, which is vastly more sophisticated. It adjusts to ambient conditions, fights off invaders, even repairs itself and involves design elements we are only just now beginning to understand! Why is it that we require a designer to explain the origin of the watch, yet are willing to ascribe the biological systems which it adorns chance?
3.       Does God exist? Design parameters of the universe.
The limits and parameters of the universe have come within the measuring capacity of astronomers and physicists, the design characteristics of the universe are being examined and acknowledged. Astronomers have discovered that the characteristics and parameters of the universe, and our solar system are so finely tuned to support life that nothing less than a personal, intelligent Creator can explain the degree of the universe being fine-tuned It requires power and purpose.
Approximately two dozen parameters of the universe have been identified that must be carefully fixed in order for any kind of conceivable life to exist at any time in the history of the universe. Here are a few examples of these given below.
1.            Gravitational coupling constant. If larger: no stars less than 1.4 solar masses, hence short stellar life spans.  If smaller: no stars more than 0.8 solar masses, hence no heavy element production.
2.            Strong nuclear force coupling constant. If larger: no hydrogen; nuclei essential for life are unstable. If smaller: no elements other than hydrogen
3.            Electromagnetic coupling constant. If larger: no chemical bonding; elements more massive than boron are unstable to fission. If smaller: no chemical bonding.
4.            Ratio of protons to electrons. If larger: electromagnetism dominates gravity preventing galaxy, star and planet formation. If smaller: electromagnetism dominates gravity preventing galaxy, star, and planet formation.
5.            Ratio of electron to proton mass. If larger: no chemical bonding. If smaller: no chemical bonding.
6.            Expansion rate of the universe. If larger: no galaxy formation. If smaller: universe collapse prior to star formation.
7.            Entropy level of the universe. If larger: no star condensation within the proto-galaxies. If smaller: no proto-galaxy formation.
8.            Mass density of the universe. If larger: too much deuterium from big bang, hence stars burn too rapidly. If smaller: no helium from big bang, hence not enough heavy elements.
9.            Age of the universe. If older: no solar-type stars in a stable burning phase in the right part of the galaxy. If younger: solar-type stars in a stable burning phase would not yet have formed.
10.          Average distance between stars. If larger: heavy elements density too thin for rocky planet production. If smaller: planetary orbits become destabilized.
11.          Solar luminosity. If increases too soon: runaway green house effect. If increases too late: frozen oceans.
12.          Fine structure constant (a function of three other fundamental constants, Planck’s constant, the velocity of light, and the electron charge each which, therefore, must be fine-tuned) If larger: no stars more than 0.7 solar masses, if smaller: not stars less than 1.8 solar masses.
13.          Carbon to Oxygen energy level ratio. If larger: insufficient oxygen. If smaller: insufficient carbon.
14.          Decay rate of proton. If greater: life would be exterminated by the release of radiation. If smaller: insufficient matter in the universe for life.
The degree of the universe being fine-tuned for many of these parameters is utterly amazing. For example, if the strong nuclear force were even two percent stronger or two percent weaker, the universe would never be able to support life. More astounding yet, the ground state energies for He, Be, C, and O cannot be higher or lower with respect to each other by more than four percent without yielding a universe with insufficient oxygen and/or carbon for any kind of life. The expansion rate of the universe is even more sensitive, it must be fine-tuned to an accuracy of one part in 1055! Clearly some ingenious Designer must be involved in the physics of the universe.
4.       Does God exist? Origin of life
Life. What is it? Where did it come from? What makes it different from dust, the air and the water on earth? From the time we humans achieve self awareness there develops a fascination with the things that crawl, slither, walk, swim and fly. This fascination with the “living protoplasm” on earth is basic to our constitution. This fascination with living things leads us all to the point when we ask “where did they come from?” The question of the origin of life has been debated by philosophers, theologians, scientists for thousands of years and is at the very core of the debate between the atheists and the creationists. Creationists see the creation of life as powerful, visible, manifestation of an awesome designer, creator, God. To the creationist, life is the product of the greatest chemist, biologists, mathematician and engineer in or out of the universe! To the atheist, life is viewed as incredibly lucky result of billions of years and countless violations of the laws of nature acting on non-living matter. As some have put it, life is “The fortuitous occurrence of accidental circumstances.”
Atheists assume that 3 to 4 billion years ago, non-living, inanimate, inorganic matter developed into highly complex living organism, by random chance. No one knows where it happened, but it generally assumed to have occurred somewhere on earth, in a “primordial ooze”, near hot oceanic vents or some shallow tidal pool. No designer, no blue prints, no instructions, no concept or purpose are allowed in the evolutionary scenario of the origin of life. Only the laws of nature, random chance and long periods of time are allowed to act on the raw materials of life.
5.       Does God exist? The DNA code informs, programs a cell's behavior.
All instruction, all teaching, all training comes with intent. Someone who writes an instruction manual does so with purpose. Did you know that in every cell of our bodies there exists a very detailed instruction code, much like a miniature computer program? As you may know, a computer program is made up of ones and zeros, like this: 110010101011000. The way they are arranged tell the computer program what to do. The DNA code in each of our cells is very similar. It's made up of four chemicals that scientists abbreviate as A, T, G, and C. These are arranged in the human cell like this: CGTGTGACTCGCTCCTGAT and so on. There are three billion of these letters in every human cell!
Well, just like you can program your phone to beep for specific reasons, DNA instructs the cell. DNA is a three-billion-lettered program telling the cell to act in a certain way. It is a full instruction manual.
Why is this so amazing? One has to ask....how did this information program wind up in each human cell? These are not just chemicals. These are chemicals that instruct, that code in a very detailed way exactly how the person's body should develop.
Natural, biological causes are completely lacking as an explanation when programmed information is involved. You cannot find instruction, precise information like this, without someone intentionally constructing it.
6.       Does God exist? Encyclopedia on a Pinhead: Chance or design?
At the moment of conception, a fertilized human egg is about the size of a pin head. Yet, it contains information equivalent to about six billion “chemical letters.” This is enough information to fill 1000 books, 500 pages thick with print so small you would need a microscope to read it! If all the DNA chemical “letters” in the human body were printed in books, it is estimated they would will the Grand Canyon 50 times!
The information on the DNA molecule is transferred to RNA and ultimately to proteins in the form of structural and functional proteins. A fundamental dilemma for the evolution theory is that the duplication and translation of the information on the DNA molecule requires the employment of proteins. However, living cells cannot make proteins until the DNA replication and translation machinery is in place! The only rational explanation for this dilemma is that the protein production and DNA replication and translation machinery system arose simultaneously! This could only happen by design.
Question: Would a DNA molecule that arose by chance possess any information, codes, programs, or instructions? According to the basic principles of information theory the answer is clearly NO!
7.       Does God exist? A Complex Engineering Puzzle
Suppose you were asked to take two long strands of fisherman’s monofilament line, 125 miles long, then form it into a double helix structure and neatly fold and pack this line so it would fit into a basketball.
Furthermore, you would need to ensure that the double helix could be unzipped and duplicated along the length of this line, and the duplicate copy removed, all without tangling the line. Possible? This is directly analogous to what happens in the billions of cells in your body every day. Scale the basketball down to the size of a human cell and the line scales down to six feet of DNA.
All of this DNA must be packed so the regulatory proteins that control making copies of the DNA have access to it. The DNA packing process is both complex and elegant and is so efficient that it achieves a reduction in length of DNA by a factor of one million. When the cell needs to divide, the entire length of DNA must be split apart, duplicated and repackaged for each daughter cell. No one knows exactly how cells solve this topological nightmare, but the solution clearly starts with the special spools on which the DNA is wound.
Each spool carries two “turns” of DNA, and the spools themselves are stacked together in groups of six or eight. The human cell uses about 25 million of them to keep its DNA under control. DNA is wound around histones to form nucleosomes. These are organized into solenoids, which in turn compose chromatin loops. Each element in this complex, yet highly organized arrangement is carefully designed to play a key role in the cell replication process.
8.       Does God exist? Unlike any other revelation of God, Jesus Christ is the clearest, most specific picture of God revealing himself to us.
Why Jesus? Look throughout the major world religions and you'll find that Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Moses all identified themselves as teachers or prophets. None of them ever claimed to be equal to God. Surprisingly, Jesus did. That is what sets Jesus apart from all the others. He said God exists and you're looking at him. Though he talked about his Father in heaven, it was not from the position of separation, but of very close union, unique to all humankind. Jesus said that anyone who had seen Him had seen the Father, anyone who believed in him, believed in the Father.
He said, "I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12).   He claimed attributes belonging only to God: to be able to forgive people of their sin, free them from habits of sin, give people a more abundant life and give them eternal life in heaven. Unlike other teachers who focused people on their words, Jesus pointed people to himself. He did not say, "follow my words and you will find truth." He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me" (John 14:6).
What proof did Jesus give for claiming to be divine? He did what people can't do. Jesus performed miracles. He healed people... the blind, crippled, deaf, even raised a couple of people from the dead. He had power over objects, and created food out of thin air, enough to feed crowds of several thousand people. He performed miracles over nature, walked on top of a lake, commanding a raging storm to stop for some friends. People everywhere followed Jesus because he constantly met their needs, doing the miraculous. He said if you do not want to believe what I'm telling you, you should at least believe in me based on the miracles you're seeing (John 14:11).
Jesus Christ showed God to be gentle, loving, aware of our self-centeredness and shortcomings, yet deeply wanting a relationship with us. Jesus revealed that although God views us as sinners, worthy of his punishment, his love for us ruled and God came up with a different plan. God himself took on the form of man and accepted the punishment for our sin on our behalf. Sounds ludicrous? Perhaps, but many loving fathers would gladly trade places with their child in a cancer ward if they could. The Bible says that the reason we would love God is because he first loved us.
Jesus died in our place so we could be forgiven. Of all the religions known to humanity, only through Jesus will you see God reaching toward humanity, providing a way for us to have a relationship with him. Jesus proves a divine heart of love, meeting our needs, drawing us to himself. Because of Jesus' death and resurrection, he offers us a new life today. We can be forgiven, fully accepted by God and genuinely loved by God. He says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you" (Jeremiah 31:3).  This is God, in action.
Does God exist? If you want to know, investigate Jesus Christ. We're told that "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
God does not force us to believe in him, though he could. Instead, he has provided sufficient proof of his existence for us to willingly respond to him. The earth's perfect distance from the sun, the unique chemical properties of water, the human brain, DNA, the number of people who attest to knowing God, the gnawing in our hearts and minds to determine if God is there, the willingness for God to be known through Jesus Christ.
If you want to begin a relationship with God now, you can.
This is your decision, but if you want to be forgiven by God and come into a relationship with him, you can do so right now by asking him to forgive you and come into your life. Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door [of your heart] and knock. He who hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him [or her]" (Revelation 3:20).  If you want to do this, but aren't sure how to put it into words, this may help: "Jesus, thank you for dying for my sins. You know my life and that I need to be forgiven. I ask you to forgive me right now and come into my life. I want to know you in a real way. Come into my life now. Thank you that you wanted a relationship with me. Amen."
God views your relationship with him as permanent. Referring to all those who believe in him, Jesus Christ said of us, "I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:27-29).
So, does God exist? Looking at all these facts, one can conclude that a loving God does exist and can be known in an intimate, personal way.


(Edited by Luke Setzer on 6/27, 1:48pm)

Post 1

Monday, June 29 - 3:47pmSanction this postReply
1.       Does God exist? The complexity of our planet points to a deliberate Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today.
Who designed a mysterious and perfect God?  A parent God who created God the Son and who sustains him?  And who designed God the Father?  God, the Grandfather?  And who designed him?  We are thus led to an infinite regress of designers.  The point is that if God doesn't need a designer or a creator (which the theist would argue that he doesn't), then neither does the universe.  Design or creation presupposes existence -- it presupposes the existence of something to act as a designer or creator -- not the other way around.
In fact, the very concept of 'design' makes sense only because we see that some things are naturally occurring, such as trees, mountains, planets, stars, etc., while other things are designed such as watches, computers, cars, etc.  To claim that the universe was itself designed makes no sense, because it obliterates the distinction between the designed and the naturally occurring.
2.       Does God exist? The universe had a start - what caused it?  Scientists are convinced that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light, which we now call the Big Bang. This was the singular start to everything that exists: the beginning of the universe, the start of space, and even the initial start of time itself.

Same argument.  The Big Bang could not have been the cause of the universe -- the cause of everything that exists -- because in order for there to be a Big Bang -- in order for there to be an explosion -- there has to be something already in existence to explode.

3.       Does God exist? Design parameters of the universe.
Same argument from design, already refuted.
4.       Does God exist? Origin of life:  Life. What is it? Where did it come from?
Again, the same question could be asked of a Supreme Intelligence.  Where did He come from? 
Besides, intelligence is a faculty of living organisms, whose function is to further the organism's survival.  Intelligence requires a functional brain, sense organs and a central nervous system.  There is no such thing as a non-vital, non-physical intelligence.  Intelligence presupposes life, because it arises only within the context of life; life does not presuppose intelligence.  Intelligence is impossible without life.
5.       Does God exist? The DNA code informs, programs a cell's behavior.
Simply another variant of the argument from design.
6.       Does God exist? Encyclopedia on a Pinhead: Chance or design?
Chance or design is not a valid or exhaustive alternative.  A plant does not grow by chance.  Nor does it grow by design.  No one designed plant life; plants are part of nature, which grow and propagate according to the laws of nature (i.e., by the laws of botany).  The same is true of all living organisms including human life.  Natural law governs their growth, behavior and reproduction.  In fact, chance does not operate in the universe at all.  Chance simply refers to our lack of knowledge about the causes of an event.  Strictly speaking, nothing happens by chance.  We say that the chances are 50/50 that a coin will land heads or tails, but in reality it can only land one way (either heads or tails) given the physical forces determining its trajectory.  Events occur either by natural law or by human design; nothing happens by chance.
7.       Does God exist? A Complex Engineering Puzzle

So we're back to complexity.  If a god designed the complexity of the universe, how complex must he have been?  So who engineered the God who engineered the universe?  Same old argument from design, which (as we have seen) leads to an infinite regress unless one recognizes that causality presupposes existence -- the existence of something to act as cause.  Existence doesn't presuppose causality.

8.       Does God exist? Unlike any other revelation of God, Jesus Christ is the clearest, most specific picture of God revealing himself to us.
Begs the question.

Post 2

Monday, June 29 - 4:55pmSanction this postReply

The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia says that when we say that a brave man is a lion, we know that we are speaking in analog, but when we say that God is all-knowing or God is all-loving or God is all-powerful, we do not realize that we are also speaking in analogy.  

Yet sometimes men are led by a natural tendency to think and speak of God as if He were a magnified creature — more especially a magnified man — and this is known as anthropomorphism. Thus God is said to see or hear, as if He had physical organs, or to be angry or sorry, as if subject to human passions: and this perfectly legitimate and more or less unavoidable use of metaphor is often quite unfairly alleged to prove that the strictly Infinite is unthinkable and unknowable, and that it is really a finite anthropomorphic God that men worship. But whatever truth there may be in this charge as applied to Polytheistic religions, or even to the Theistic beliefs of rude and uncultured minds, it is untrue and unjust when directed against philosophical Theism. The same reasons that justify and recommend the use of metaphorical language in other connections justify and recommended it here, but no Theist of average intelligence ever thinks of understanding literally the metaphors he applies, or hears applied by others, to God, any more than he means to speak literally when he calls a brave man a lion, or a cunning one a fox. -- http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06612a.htm

The Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno (author of Turn Left at Orion) is a Jesuit.  He says that when you call God the creator of the universe, you reduce God to a primitive nature-deity.  


One of my Catholic friends - who asked me rhetorically why I did not become a Jesuit - likes to quip about fundamentalist Protestants: "The King James Bible was good enough for Saint Paul and it is good enough for me."  One day at work - we worked together then - one of our fundamentalist Protestant colleagues was blabbing about The End of Days and the Last Judgment. Ann said to him, "You don't even know how many books are in the Bible."


Protestants - and ignorant Objectivists - claim that the Catholic Church prevents people from thinking for themselves by having a priesthood that interprets the Bible for the common people.  Well, when people can interpret for themselves, you get these fundamentalist idiots saying whatever pops up at the moment in their pointy little heads.  During the high Middle Ages, there was a lot of that.  As literacy improved, many people learned Hebrew from their Jewish neighbors and then read the Old Testament and wrote their own glosses on passages of it.  It was just their personal feelings.  But it got so out of hand that the Church created the Inquisition.  It was not to punish heretics, but to identify heresies. Thomas Aquinas was approved -- Nihil Obstat: Nothing Prevents it; and Imprimatur: Let it be published.  

Post 3

Tuesday, June 30 - 12:14amSanction this postReply

It would have been proper to send them a reference to my article "There are no gods," but it would have been senseless to do so, for what these people lack is the main faculty that makes us humans: Reason.


Further on, my quote - which is also on my portal at Facebook - applies, but, here again, those who wrote and sent you the mail wouldn't have understood a jot of it:

"A further thought on us and existence: Among the many bad and disgusting lies that religions of all kinds and colors have imposed upon mankind, is the believe that there’s life beyond death, a notion that is a total bogus and fully harmful to all human beings that accept is as truth, for it renders this one and only life we will ever have as superfluous. We know that there is no life after death, but, as Tim Minchin correctly raps, advanced civilization and medicine doubled and even tripled our life’s length; for the life of savages and those who live in lower types of what can barely be called “civilization” scarcely extends to 30 years, with the appalling amount of death during childhood to be added. By accepting the truth of this one and only life, most people would oblige themselves to do their most and very best to fulfill it with a PEACEFUL and PRODUCTIVE existence and, thus, be able to reach happiness. We learn only that THIS existence exists (one of the basic premises of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism) after coming out of our mother’s belly, a fact that Gustave Courbet so aptly showed in his painting “The Origin of the World,” and it will, of course, cease for each of us at the moment of our death. Hence, we should all take to heart my quote that “The world exists for us human beings. It is not we, the human beings, who exist for the world, as the enemies of mankind would have it, for a world without humans lacks every sense of existence.” Should you not accept this for what it means, just think of the following: Can you PROVE the world’s existence BEFORE you were born? Could you PROVE it AFTER you die? So, instead of going out to butcher others, as most religions command, do your best to fulfill a PEACEFUL and PRODUCTIVE life!"


(Edited by Manfred F. Schieder on 6/30, 12:15am)

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