Friday, February 7, 2014

Worldview Analysis

Another follow-up from the debate on 2/4/14 between Bill Nye, The Science Guy and Ken Ham, the CEO of Answers in Genesis.

Mr. Ham clearly taught during his presentation time that everyone has the same evidence. Nye clearly did not understand the depth of that argument, because he continually spouted his mantra that science has evidence and biblical creationists have a 3000 year old book.

Hopefully, I can help define the argument a little more clearly for Nye and his pre-Christian friends. As was said by Mr. Ham, everyone has the same evidence. There's not a secret stash of evolutionary evidence and there's not a secret stash of creation evidence upon which we put on a scale to measure which side would win. Instead, everyone has the same evidence, and everyone has to interpret the evidence according to their worldview.

Here are three examples of how people can see the same evidence and come to completely different conclusions based on their presuppositions:

1. Scientists A and B want to know the declining rate of distance that a frog can jump as legs are removed. So they get a healthy frog and say, "jump, frog, jump!" With all four legs he is able to jump 40 cm. They cut off 1 leg and say, "jump, frog, jump!" The frog jumps 30 cm with three legs and they note the change in their notebooks. They cut off another leg and say, "jump, frog, jump!" With two legs, the frog is able to jump 20 cm. Another leg is removed and they say, "jump, frog, jump!" With herculean effort, the frog jumps 10 cm. They cut off his last leg and say, "jump, frog, jump!" Scientist A writes in his conclusion, "There is a consistent decrease of distance that a frog can jump as legs are removed. Curiously, the frog goes deaf when all legs are cut off." Scientist B writes in his conclusion, "There is a consistent decrease in distance that a frog can jump as legs are removed. As expected, the frog is unable to move with no legs."

2. Jerry tells Paul that he saw Paul's wife waving goodbye to a handsome man leaving Paul's house this morning after Paul was already as work. Jerry says, "I think she's having an affair." Paul says, "I think she has been faithful, and I trust her." Same evidence. Different conclusion.

3. Scientist A and B are analyzing the complexity of DNA. Scientists A says, "Look at the complexity of the information within DNA molecules. There must have been an unimaginably great amount of time for natural processes to aggregate all of this information from countless copying mistakes." Scientist B say, "Look at the complexity of the information within DNA molecules. As a computer scientist, I know that information and programs only come from intelligence, so the programmer of DNA must be unimaginably intelligent!"

From the examples, you can see that everyone had the same information, but chose different conclusions because of their worldview. So, when debating someone about the veracity of origins stories (whether biblical creation or naturalistic evolution), a worldview analysis is in order.

Which worldview more clearly makes sense of reality and has the fewest contradictions. From my understanding of the naturalistic worldview, they believe that 13.7 billion years ago an unexplained singularity expanded into all of the known matter in the cosmos. Over time, matter coalesced into greater and greater objects until eventually they began to ignite into fusion-powered stars. As time passed planets coalesced around the star, Solar, and the third rock distant from this star generated a simple life form. With energy and radiation from Solar, the life form changed due to random mutations in the life form's genetic material. Through many generations of natural selection acting on the random mutations great diversity of life spread out and formed until mankind appeared. Homo Sapiens Sapiens is currently the pinnacle of organized complexity in the universe.

From this origins story, many questions arise regarding how to explain the existence of:

  1. Laws of logic. In a constantly changing, random, material cosmos, how would unchanging, universal, immaterial laws of logic have come about?
  2. Reason. Since mankind's existence is a result of random processes, why would we trust the way that chemical reactions in a person's brain uses reason? Reason seems not to have a proper foundation in this worldview. 
  3. Information. Information is known to come only from intelligence. How could a constantly changing cosmos account for information which requires a medium, syntax, code, code generator, and code recipient.
  4. Evil. Since everyone recognizes that there is evil, there must be a standard by which we can compare actions. The standard of good/evil does not have a basis in organized chemicals (our brains) which came about by processes that included randomness. While not everyone agrees on where the line is drawn, we all understand how things OUGHT to be. If things ought to be a certain way, then when things are not that way, it can be defined as evil. If the universe simply exists as the naturalistic worldview would presuppose, then there would be no recognition of evil/bad/ought. Things would just be amoral. 
Each of these things is better explained by believing the biblical account of creation.
  1. Logic is a representation of how the Creator God thinks. We are made in his image, so that we can comprehend and use the universal laws of logic.
  2. Reason/wisdom is part of the gift that God imparted to Adam. Proverbs 9:10 and Psalms 111:10 says "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Knowing the Creator of all matter/knowledge has imparted to us the ability to know some things and make decisions...reason.
  3. Information requires intelligence. Compared to DNA, the programming/code inside the most complicated computer, is infantile. But no one would argue that the programming/code in the computer came about naturally. It was the product of thousands of hours by intelligent programmers.
  4. Evil is manifest when people irrationally make choices without/against the guidance of Almighty God. 
So, a worldview analysis would appear to conclude that when one presupposes that the God of the Bible is the Creator and we are responsible to Him, then reality makes sense of the evidence around us.

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