Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Polar Bear Attacks and the Origin of the Universe

Before you read this post, let me make one quick point. The analogy that I have used here is obviously not perfect. Every analogy breaks down at some point. So it is not necessary to critique the finer details, like how there may actually be a zoo in Nebraska with polar bears. If there is, great. If not, all the better for my analogy. Thanks!

If a forensic investigator decided at the outset of his career that, "Polar Bear attack", could never be a possible cause of death, then it could be argued that he would not be doing his job to the fullest extent. Sure, maybe he lives in Nebraska and the nearest polar bear is thousands of miles away in a zoo somewhere. It is not unreasonable to think he could go his entire career without facing such a bizarre scenario. But what happens if one day all of the evidence clearly points to "death by polar bear"? Evidence like claw marks, fur samples, footprints etc. He would have to either: A) reject the evidence to maintain his original assumption (defeating the purpose of his job) or B) reject the original assumption in light of the evidence.

Unfortunately, many Atheist/Naturalist/Materialist scientists have taken this same approach. Before they ever began their research, they determined that God could never be a possible cause or explanation. Sure, they live within the finite constraints of time and space and have never been able to test God in a laboratory. It is not unreasonable to think that nothing exists that cannot be tested or doesn't fit within those same boundaries. But what happens if one day all of the evidence clearly points to, "caused by an intelligent, transcendent creator"? Evidence like specific and purposeful complexity, the incredible fine tuning of the universe for life on Earth, the laws of thermodynamics, recent discoveries that demonstrate the universe had a definite beginning etc. From there the rest of the analogy is the same as above. That begs the question, if the scientist is forced to reject evidence to uphold his premise, is he really doing science? In reality he is just as bound to a theological position (albeit a negative one) as the person who believes in God. He accuses the believer of ignorantly dismissing any evidence that seems to be against God while at the same time dismissing all evidence that seems to be for the existence of God.

The reason I use the example of the forensic investigator is that he actually has a lot in common with a person trying to understand the origin or space, time, life etc. Unlike the operation scientist in a lab performing tests that can be duplicated and analyzed, the forensic investigator must analyze evidence and determine the most likely explanation. The same holds true when trying to understand the nature of existence. If God exists, he must by definition be immaterial. That is to say that since he existed before time, space, and matter, he cannot be made of those things. Therefore, it is a misunderstanding when an Atheist argues that since God cannot be observed by science that he cannot exist. The truth is that nothing immaterial can be observed, measured or tested by traditional operation science. For example, the past is immaterial and cannot be observed. The existence of the past can not be proven. For all we know, the entire universe spontaneously came into existence five seconds ago with all of our "memories" built in. To determine what actually happened in the past, the historian is forced to draw conclusions based on the best interpretation of the evidence. The human consciousness is immaterial. I cannot prove that I am not the only real person and that everyone that I meet is not actually an artificially intelligent and biologically accurate robot. Yet, the evidence against both of these hypothetical scenarios makes their conclusions very unlikely. Morality is also immaterial, and yet ethicists can study it by obersving it's effect human existence. To study the origin of the universe and/or first life, the same principals must be applied. And if the best interpretation of the evidence is that God created the universe and is the source of life, morality, creativity, love and everything else, then it would not be a ridiculous or anti-scientific conclusion. It could not be said to have been technically proven and therefore would need to be ultimately taken on faith, but I believe I have demonstrated how the same is true of the opposite conclusion as well.


  1. I like it. we should trade hardlinks on our blogs! I'm of a similar bent and run the Holy Schmitz! blog: christopherschmitz.blogspot.com

  2. This... This made my day. God Bless.

  3. Thanks for another great post, Jason. I think your forensic investigator is a great analogy, and certainly makes sense. These sorts of conclusions are ones reached in basic philosophy; and yet poor arguments still abound… keep at it :)

  4. I like your post Jason (I like your vocals more), but I want to offer one constructive critique:

    "If God exists, he must by definition be immaterial."

    I would say that is a false statement. Jesus is still a human being. He is flesh and blood and bone. There is a human being, made of the dust of the earth, fully participating in the divine life of the eternal Triune God. That really messes with our theology, but to deny it is to deny the bodily resurrection of Christ and his ascension to the right hand of the Father. I know that you are not in any way trying to do that, but I would say its an implication of the above quoted statement. What do you think? Am I misreading that statement?