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Science Increasingly Makes The Case For God

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In 1966 Time magazine ran a cover story asking: Is God Dead? Many have accepted the cultural narrative that he’s obsolete—that as science progresses, there is less need for a “God” to explain the universe. Yet it turns out that the rumors of God’s death were premature. More amazing is that the relatively recent case for his existence comes from a surprising place—science itself.

Here’s the story: The same year Time featured the now-famous headline, the astronomer Carl Sagan announced that there were two important criteria for a planet to support life: The right kind of star, and a planet the right distance from that star. Given the roughly octillion—1 followed by 24 zeros—planets in the universe, there should have been about septillion—1 followed by 21 zeros—planets capable of supporting life.

With such spectacular odds, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a large, expensive collection of private and publicly funded projects launched in the 1960s, was sure to turn up something soon. Scientists listened with a vast radio telescopic network for signals that resembled coded intelligence and were not merely random. But as years passed, the silence from the rest of the universe was deafening. Congress defunded SETI in 1993, but the search continues with private funds. As of 2014, researches have discovered precisely bubkis—0 followed by nothing.

What happened? As our knowledge of the universe increased, it became clear that there were far more factors necessary for life than Sagan supposed. His two parameters grew to 10 and then 20 and then 50, and so the number of potentially life-supporting planets decreased accordingly. The number dropped to a few thousand planets and kept on plummeting.

Even SETI proponents acknowledged the problem. Peter Schenkel wrote in a 2006 piece for Skeptical Inquirer magazine: “In light of new findings and insights, it seems appropriate to put excessive euphoria to rest . . . . We should quietly admit that the early estimates . . . may no longer be tenable.”

As factors continued to be discovered, the number of possible planets hit zero, and kept going. In other words, the odds turned against any planet in the universe supporting life, including this one. Probability said that even we shouldn’t be here.

Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life—every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing.

Yet here we are, not only existing, but talking about existing. What can account for it? Can every one of those many parameters have been perfect by accident? At what point is it fair to admit that science suggests that we cannot be the result of random forces? Doesn’t assuming that an intelligence created these perfect conditions require far less faith than believing that a life-sustaining Earth just happened to beat the inconceivable odds to come into being?

There’s more. The fine-tuning necessary for life to exist on a planet is nothing compared with the fine-tuning required for the universe to exist at all. For example, astrophysicists now know that the values of the four fundamental forces—gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the “strong” and “weak” nuclear forces—were determined less than one millionth of a second after the big bang. Alter any one value and the universe could not exist. For instance, if the ratio between the nuclear strong force and the electromagnetic force had been off by the tiniest fraction of the tiniest fraction—by even one part in 100,000,000,000,000,000—then no stars could have ever formed at all. Feel free to gulp.

Multiply that single parameter by all the other necessary conditions, and the odds against the universe existing are so heart-stoppingly astronomical that the notion that it all “just happened” defies common sense. It would be like tossing a coin and having it come up heads 10 quintillion times in a row. Really?

Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who coined the term “big bang,” said that his atheism was “greatly shaken” at these developments. He later wrote that “a common-sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology . . . . The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

Theoretical physicist Paul Davies has said that “the appearance of design is overwhelming” and Oxford professor Dr. John Lennox has said “the more we get to know about our universe, the more the hypothesis that there is a Creator . . . gains in credibility as the best explanation of why we are here.”

The greatest miracle of all time, without any close seconds, is the universe. It is the miracle of all miracles, one that ineluctably points with the combined brightness of every star to something—or Someone—beyond itself.

 

http://www.wsj.com/articles/eric-metaxas-science-increasingly-makes-the-case-for-god-1419544568

 

 

I'm not a big fan of "the more science can explain, the less room there is for God" type of arguments. I believe they are absolutely non sequitur and anti-science. However, if they shake an atheist's beliefs, more power to them.

 

But since we are going the other way on this one, I have to say it goes against my preference for a universe teaming with life and not one like Isaac Asimov's universe in which the all powerful robots altered the universe to ensure humanity would not have much competition.

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I'm not a big fan of "the more science can explain, the less room there is for God" type of arguments. I believe they are absolutely non sequitur and anti-science. However, if they shake an atheist's beliefs, more power to them.

 

But since we are going the other way on this one, I have to say it goes against my preference for a universe teaming with life and not one like Isaac Asimov's universe in which the all powerful robots altered the universe to ensure humanity would not have much competition.

I have always believed that the existence of the universe is the greatest of all miracles. Thanks for posting this.

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Surely, God could have caused birds to fly with their bones made of solid gold, with their veins full of quicksilver, with their flesh heavier than lead, and with their wings exceedingly small. He did not, and that ought to show something. It is only in order to shield your ignorance that you put the Lord at every turn to the refuge of a miracle.

Galileo

 

God has to mean more to you than just where science has yet to tread.

Dr. Tyson

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Surely, God could have caused birds to fly with their bones made of solid gold, with their veins full of quicksilver, with their flesh heavier than lead, and with their wings exceedingly small. He did not, and that ought to show something. It is only in order to shield your ignorance that you put the Lord at every turn to the refuge of a miracle.

Galileo

 

God has to mean more to you than just where science has yet to tread.

Dr. Tyson

 

He made bumble bees. 

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Surely, God could have caused birds to fly with their bones made of solid gold, with their veins full of quicksilver, with their flesh heavier than lead, and with their wings exceedingly small. He did not, and that ought to show something. It is only in order to shield your ignorance that you put the Lord at every turn to the refuge of a miracle.

Galileo

 

God has to mean more to you than just where science has yet to tread.

Dr. Tyson

I've observed you are an intelligent man, yet I'm struck at how often you seem to miss the obvious. Man was not made to endure destruction by fire, yet Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego emerged unharmed after being pushed Into a white-hot blast furnace. Though man was definitely not designed to walk on water like a water bug, Jesus and Peter walked on the waters of the Sea of Galilee. Man was designed to lift, at most, a few hundred pounds, yet Enoch had the power to lift a mighty mountain from its foundations and replace it elsewhere. These miracles were not wrought by magic but are evidence of laws of higher sciences as yet undiscovered.

You cause me to wonder why someone who seems to doubt or disregard the many miracles recorded in the scriptures would be impressed by the God of miracles found in Mormonism?

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Miracles are merely God's use of natural or physical laws that we do not yet understand. The idea that we prove God's existence through ascribing things to the miraculous, is to me inconsistent with Mormon theology. Yes, miracles happen because we do not have God's understanding of the universe.

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I've observed you are an intelligent man, yet I'm struck at how often you seem to miss the obvious. Man was not made to endure destruction by fire, yet Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego emerged unharmed after being pushed Into a white-hot blast furnace. Though man was definitely not designed to walk on water like a water bug, Jesus and Peter walked on the waters of the Sea of Galilee. Man was designed to lift, at most, a few hundred pounds, yet Enoch had the power to lift a mighty mountain from its foundations and replace it elsewhere. These miracles were not wrought by magic but are evidence of laws of higher sciences as yet undiscovered.

You cause me to wonder why someone who seems to doubt or disregard the many miracles recorded in the scriptures would be impressed by the God of miracles found in Mormonism?

 

If you have to invoke a miracle of God in order to make science work, it is many things but science it ain't.

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I have always believed that the existence of the universe is the greatest of all miracles. Thanks for posting this.

Almost as miraculous as the existence of God, isn't it.

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Science is not making the case for God. Knowledge gleaned from scientific inquiry might hint at God's existence but that is about it. Problem is the Science vs. God debate sells magazines and gets clicks despite the whole topic having become incredibly boring.

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If you have to invoke a miracle of God in order to make science work, it is many things but science it ain't.

 

Am I correct in presuming that your are a believing Latter-day Saint and that you believe Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nigo emerged unharmed from the white-hot furnace, that Peter succeeded in walking on water and that Enoch, unaided by earth moving machinery, was able to move a mighty mountain whole from one place to another? And if you do believe these holy men did succeed in accomplishing all of these feats, did they succeed by magic or by the application of higher laws of science?

 

The message of the op article is that it is only by the confluence of many serendipitous and highly improbable coincidences that life is able to exist on this earth, and the fact that all of these improbable coincidences occurred strain credulity that they could have all happened purely by accident. What's the big deal for a believing Latter-day Saint to acknowledge this is the case? And in case you didn't already know, the scriptures say all these simultaneous occurrences were not at all coincidental. Are not the laws of probability part of science? And if they are, why give the laws of probability short shrift if they are a part of science?

 

I don't understand why some believing Latter-day Saints are loathe to admit that the laws of probability are strained beyond all reasonable possibility when it comes to the unlikelihood that so many unlikely simultaneous occurrences had to take place in order for planet earth to function in the marvelously efficient way it does without admitting to the great likelihood that a divine Designer planned and executed it. You do believe in a creator God who commanded all of these things to take place, don't you?  If not, then let's just agree to disagree and not bother each other over these things any further.

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Am I correct in presuming that your are a believing Latter-day Saint and that you believe Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nigo emerged unharmed from the white-hot furnace, that Peter succeeded in walking on water and that Enoch, unaided by earth moving machinery, was able to move a mighty mountain whole from one place to another? And if you do believe these holy men did succeed in accomplishing all of these feats, did they succeed by magic or by the application of higher laws of science?

 

The message of the op article is that it is only by the confluence of many serendipitous and highly improbable coincidences that life is able to exist on this earth, and the fact that all of these improbable coincidences occurred strain credulity that they could have all happened purely by accident. What's the big deal for a believing Latter-day Saint to acknowledge this is the case? And in case you didn't already know, the scriptures say all these simultaneous occurrences were not at all coincidental. Are not the laws of probability part of science? And if they are, why give the laws of probability short shrift if they are a part of science?

 

I don't understand why some believing Latter-day Saints are loathe to admit that the laws of probability are strained beyond all reasonable possibility when it comes to the unlikelihood that so many unlikely simultaneous occurrences had to take place in order for planet earth to function in the marvelously efficient way it does without admitting to the great likelihood that a divine Designer planned and executed it. You do believe in a creator God who commanded all of these things to take place, don't you?  If not, then let's just agree to disagree and not bother each other over these things any further.

 

I am and have been an active believing LDS for the last 43 years, and resent the implication that I am anything less. I don't know the answer to many questions. In fact my knowledge is but a tiny thimble in the vast oceans of my ignorance. That being said what I do know what I do know. As Galileo once said: "Surely, God could have caused birds to fly with their bones made of solid gold, with their veins full of quicksilver, with their flesh heavier than lead, and with their wings exceedingly small. He did not, and that ought to show something. It is only in order to shield your ignorance that you put the Lord at every turn to the refuge of a miracle".

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