(Centennial Fellow) There is a growing intensity among atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens (the four horsemen of the new atheism) and others who believe that materialism is the ultimate reality. Their writings are passionately opposed to promoting theism and specifically, Christianity.
Philosopher Alvin Plantinga states there are three reasons why philosophers accept materialism. "First, some materialists argue that dualism (the thought that a human being is an immaterial self) is incoherent. Second, naturalism entails that there are no immaterial souls. Third, materialism will ordinarily endorse Darwinian evolution."
This essay will examine the failures of materialism to simultaneously explain creation, the Anthropic principle (necessary for a life-permitting universe), the origin of life by chance, the origin of information by chance, the appearance of morality through chemical or biological evolution, and the prophetic evidence for the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The joint probability of these events occurring by chance is less than one divided by the number of atoms in the universe.
I. The universe had a beginning.
Atheists believe that the universe is eternal. We see from Edwin Hubble's work at the Palomar Observatory (on Mt. Wilson near Los Angeles) that the universe is expanding. This expansion is confirmed through observation of the "red shift." In physics (especially astrophysics) redshift happens when light seen coming from an object that is moving away is proportionally increased in wavelength, or shifted to the red end of the spectrum. Albert Einstein traveled to see Hubble's work and famously said "I now see the necessity of a beginning." Since the universe is expanding, it follows that reversing the expansion would ultimately lead to a contraction or what physicists call "the singularity" known as the beginning of the universe. The Kalam Cosmological argument (widely accepted in professional philosophy and logic communities) states that:
1) Everything that began to exist, has a cause.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.
Time and space came into existence at the singularity. Since there was a cause to bring the universe into existence, it has to be a cause that is outside of time and space. As a result, the cause is both immaterial and transcendent. This is God.
II. A life-permitting universe requires that cosmology and physics are exactly tuned to support life.
This concept is called "the Anthropic Principle." We currently understand that there are about 35 parameters that are perfectly harmonized to support life on our planet. These parameters must all be set within a very narrow range to support life. The probability of these 35 attributes being set at the correctly to support life is less than 1 in 10 40 equating to essentially zero probability. Some examples of these parameters include:
The unique properties of water
Earth’s atmosphere (nitrogen, oxygen, and small amounts of other gases)
Earth’s reflectivity or “albedo”
Earth’s magnetic field
Earth’s place in the solar system
Our solar system’s place in the galaxy
The color of our sun
The force of gravity
The density of matter must equal the critical density needed to prevent the Big Crunch
The earth must be angled in its orbit perfectly to prevent temperature extremes.
Our moon must be its exact size to support the earth's orbit.
The rate of universe expansion (cosmological constant).
This fine tuning requires a fine tuner. This is God.
III. The origin of life did not arise by chance.
There are 20 individual amino acids that are used in building proteins. Most proteins have a combination of approximately 450 amino acids. There are about 600 proteins in the most elementary cell. There are a total of about 30,000 proteins.
Darwin thought the cell was a globule and did not understand cell complexity. If you calculate the probability of individual amino acids combining to form one protein you would multiply (since sequence matters) 1/20 x 1/20 x 1/20 (for each protein) all the way out to 450 amino acids (an average protein length) equating to a probability of essentially zero. A protein that is 150 amino acids in length has a chance probability of 1 in 10 145 There is zero probability that the origin of life came about by chance. When one adds the additional complexity of DNA (which goes beyond the complexity of amino acid formation), we must further reduce the probability of chance creating life. Dr. Francis Crick, Nobel Laureate and co-discoverer of DNA, acknowledged that chance played no role in creating DNA. He was a philosophical atheist so he supported the idea of Panspermia (that life originated elsewhere in the universe and was transported through interstellar systems by some unknown space aliens.) Scientists agree that chance alone using matter alone has a zero probability of explaining life. The sequence hypothesis (DNA nucleotides) confirms this.
The origin of life requires both design and an animating force based on biogenesis. This force is God.
IV. The origin of information did not arise by chance.
Information is the immaterial foundation of all biological life yet it requires material to transmit through. Information requires an intelligent source. We saw this in the formation of proteins and DNA. How much does information weigh? It is a nonsensical question because information has zero weight since it has no physical properties. Highly intelligent people don't weigh more than others because they have more information. According to information scientist Dr. Werner Gitt, DNA is billions of times more densely packed information than is our most sophisticated technology. Darwin was ignorant about information coding. Neo-Darwinists believe that natural selection and mutation explain the advancement of new species. However, a new species requires new information. Mutations by definition are the loss of original information, not the creation of new information. Microevolution has existed for centuries (adaptation within a species, a.k.a. "breeding"). Macroevolution, one species creating a new life form, is without example in the fossil record (the Cambrian explosion showed a sudden appearance of all current life forms without transitional forms.) Darwin tried to use microevolution to explain macroevolution. His philosophical descendants today try the same trick. This deception is widely perpetrated throughout the American education system.
Information, by definition, requires a transmitter or source. There are 10 80 elementary particles (electrons, etc.) in the known universe. The oldest estimate of the age of the earth is 10 16 seconds, thereby creating 10 43 number of particle interaction possibilities or 10 139 maximum event probabilities in the history of the universe.
The intelligence behind the information that created the enormous but finite universe, the 30,000 proteins, the complexity and wonder of DNA, and life itself is called God. There is no naturalistic/materialist explanation that can fit within the event horizon of probabilities. Information requires intelligence. This intelligence is God.
V. Morality did not evolve physiologically by chemical or biological evolution. Morality requires a transcendent measure.
Atheists pretend that God does not exist by using the intellectual arguments of science
while the root cause of their opposition to confessing God's existence is moral. By pretending that God doesn't exist, the atheist deludes himself into thinking that he is not morally accountable to the God that created him. Evolutionary ethicists state that there is no free will; we are the products of time and chance. There is no concept of right or wrong or ought in DNA. If our morality is evolved, who can say that torturing children for fun is wrong? Who can say that the Nazis were wrong in killing Jews? Evolutionists must say they are just doing what their genes programmed them to do. If evolutionary ethics were true, how do you explain acts of courage, valor, and sacrifice that appear noble but would not lead to reproduction (they die in battle for example.) If evolutionary ethics and morality were true, the biggest, strongest, and smartest would do anything to advance their cause. This has happened occasionally with horrors such as eugenics, Nazi Germany, and other examples of genocide, etc. If everyone chose their own morality, there would be chaos and evil rampant with no punishment and no justice. Necessary conditions for moral objectives are:
1) A transcendent standard of measurement
2) A human free will or freedom to choose.
3) The belief that humans have intrinsic, not instrumental, value.
Moral evolutionist/relativists can not ascribe right or wrong or the word "ought." They can't complain about justice or evil. Everybody would do just what their genes programmed them to do, based upon chemistry and evolution. The contrasting reality is that humans are free will creatures who recognize moral right and wrong and therefore are free to choose beyond their genetic endowment. This is clearly indicated in the economic and social mobility of classes and individuals who operate as moral agents. This moral awareness comes from God.
VI. The life, death, resurrection, and fulfillment of prophecy by Jesus of Nazareth requires theism.
The life and impact of Jesus is corroborated through the eyewitness testimony contained in the Bible. The biblical manuscript evidence attests to its authenticity. Extra-biblical sources, e.g., Tacitus, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, Suetonious, Phlegon, Lucian, and Josephus are just a few examples of those that wrote of the historical veracity of Jesus' existence. The evidence for the crucifixion, the empty tomb, the post-resurrection appearances, and the transformation of the early church all best explain the circumstances surrounding the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Finally, there are approximately 100 prophecies in the Old Testament that relate to the first coming of Jesus. Mathematics professor Peter Stoner, author of Science Speaks, assembled other mathematicians to calculate the probability of one man fulfilling 48 of the 100 Old Testament prophecies. The resulting probability was estimated at 1 in 10 157 This miraculous fulfillment is from God.
Conclusion The cumulative weight of evidence from cosmology, physics, biology, information science, ethics, and fulfillment of prophecy clearly establishes that God is the best explanation as the creator of the universe, of life, of information, of morality, and as the one who transcends time and space, thereby fulfilling prophecy without error.
The new atheists have to climb a formidable mountain of improbability to assert that there is no God. Not only is it impossible to assert a "universal negative" that there is no God but the joint probability of the foregoing events is less than one divided by the number of atoms in the universe (estimated at 1080 ). Clearly, the probability is overwhelming that God exists. It was over 350 years ago that the great French mathematician Blaise Pascal formulated "Pascal's wager". It posits that there is more to be gained from wagering on the existence of God than from atheism, and that a rational person should live as though God exists, even though the truth of the matter cannot be incontrovertibly proven. The evidence presented herein confirms that Pascal was perspicacious. The question before the reader now is what will be done with what we know to be true?