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The tutor does his best to be fair to all opinions.


... for the animal - such as leaves, bark, petals, wings, eyes, livers, lungs, blood ... Daniel Osmond (Prof of Physiology and Medicine (Toronto) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The tutor does his best to be fair to all opinions.

  • The tutor does his best to be fair to all
  • However in the interests of honesty he may
    explain what he believes is true.
  • Although the tutor has his own opinions, (the
    assessment of essays will not be affected by a
    student's own different opinions.)
  • Knowledge of the subject and good argument are
    all important for assessment.
  • Holding the same beliefs as, or different beliefs
    from, the tutor will not be relevant for
    assessment of essays.

Christianity, Philosophy and Science. God. The
Soul, Life, The Atom, The Universe.
Physical Matter (the material) is studied by
science. Physical matter is everything we can
see, hear, touch or smell. Even very small things
like the cells of our bodies which can be seen
through a microscope are physical matter. Or very
large things like stars galaxies. Or very
complicated things like the human brain. The
spiritual the soul (or perhaps God) is not
studied by science.
World Views.
  • Materialism
  • Only the material exists. Therefore science can
    tell us everything that is real.
  • The Soul is nothing.
  • Idealism Only the spiritual (our souls) really
  • The physical world is our imagination or dream.
  • Dualism
  • Both exist and are fundamental and affect one
  • Many theists are dualists, but not all. (not all
    theories about body and soul are dualist)
  • If dualism is right, can the soul survive the
    death of the body or does it depend on having a
    new heavenly body?
  • My hands, my happiness and my thoughts.

Worldviews (cont), Science and Philosophy. Under
each of these headings there are many sub
sections not mentioned here.
  • The material universe is an illusion or a dream.
    Only the spirit or mind is real. (Some versions
    of Eastern Religions are Idealism.)
  • Now the opposite view
  • The material universe is all that there is the
    whole story. (Materialism.)
  • Combining them together
  • Both the material and the spiritual are real,
    basic (dualism) and interact. However the
    spiritual may give rise to the material world.
  • With which worldview does science and philosophy
    fit most comfortably?

World Views Materialism.
Francis Crick You, your joys and your sorrows,
your memories and your ambitions, your sense of
personal identity and free will, are in fact no
more that the behaviour of a vast assembly of
nerve cells and their associated molecules. (The
Astonishing Hypothesis page 3)
The most beautiful and deepest experience a man
can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is
the underlying principle of religion as well as
of all serious endeavour in art and in
science.... He who never had this experience
seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind.
The sense that behind anything that can be
experienced there is a something that our mind
cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity
reaches us only indirectly and as feeble
reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense
I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at
these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with
my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of
all that there is. Albert Einstein (Speech in
Berlin, Germany 1932).
A Common Mistake.
  • Because science studies physical matter religious
    belief is only about the spiritual in humans
    and God.
  • Wrong!
  • If God exists He is relevant to all things
    spiritual and physical.
  • If God exists He created the material, physical
    world not just the spiritual world.
  • In the beginning God created the heavens and the
    earth. (The first words of the Bible).
  • And God made man in His own image. (Near the
    beginning of the Bible)
  • The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John

Brain - Mind - Consciousness - Soul. The Brain -
extremely complex. Prof. Ambrose (Emeritus
Professor of Biology in London University) in his
book 'The Nature and Origin of the Biological
World' page 152 , describing the complexity of
the brain says that it is like 500 million
telephone exchanges all connected properly. The
connections possible are 101,300,000,000,000.
(To write this number out in the normal form
l,000,000 . . . etc. would take about one hundred
thousand years to do.)
  • Could a brain scientist of the future know you
    or me by examining our brains?
  • Our thoughts?
  • Not the results of our thinking, but our actual
    thoughts? (Leibnizs argument.)
  • What you and I see when we look at something red.
  • Not the results of red light on the brain, but
    the actual experience of that colour?
  • Could he know my experience of me as I?
  • Could he know what it feels like to be a cat, a
    snail etc?
  • If the answer to these questions is no then
    science can examine the brain but not our
    thoughts (the mind).
  • Therefore brain and mind are not the same (not

Physical forces just exist. They are not true or
false. It does not make sense to ask whether they
are true or false. Thoughts can be true or
false. Therefore thoughts are not merely physical
forces. They interact with the physical. They are
the main reason for decisions about the physical.
We cant understand the physical by
itself. Thoughts, decisions and intentions are
basic to human history. If we imagine a world of
mere matter, there would be no room for falsehood
in such a world, and although it would contain
what may be called facts, it would not contain
any truths, in the sense in which truths are
things of the same kind as falsehoods. In fact,
truth and falsehood are properties of beliefs and
statements hence a world of mere matter, since
it would contain no beliefs or statements, would
also contain no truth or falsehood.1 1
Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy,
page 70.
If we imagine a world of mere matter, there would
be no room for falsehood in such a world, and
although it would contain what may be called
facts, it would not contain any truths, in the
sense in which truths are things of the same kind
as falsehoods. In fact, truth and falsehood are
properties of beliefs and statements hence a
world of mere matter, since it would contain no
beliefs or statements, would also contain no
truth or falsehood. (Bertrand Russell, The
Problems of Philosophy, page 70.)
Participants and speakers at the Out of Body -
Near Death Experience (NDE) lecture
  • David Lorimer, Scientific and Medical Network
  • Dr Olaf Blanke, Dept. of Neurosurgery, University
    Hospitals of Geneva and Lausanne
  • Dr Pim van Lommel, Consultant Cardiologist,
    Rijnstate Hospital, Arnhem, Netherlands
  • Dr Peter Fenwick, Institute of Psychiatry,
    University of London
  • Professor Bob Morris, Koestler Chair of
    Parapsychology, University of Edinburgh.
  • For more on the scientific research see The
    Lancet December 15th 2001.

  • Interesting results of research reported at the
    April 2003 Edinburgh Science Festival.
  • NDEs are reported by 18 of resuscitated patients
    (a very much higher proportion for children)
    often involving
  • Seeing the old body from above and watching the
    medics at work.
  • One example given was of seeing way beyond the
    hospital to distant places where the mind
  • Many of such things seen produced verifiable
  • A review of earlier life including childhood.
  • Travelling down a tunnel to a beautiful light
    where deceased family members and religious
    figures are there to welcome.
  • An awesome experience of peace, unconditional
    love, beauty and freedom.
  • Finally seeing a border beyond which there will
    be no return.
  • Not all experience all of these phases. Many
    return to their body after the first one or two

  • Attempts have been made to explain these
    experiences from the consequences of the body
    closing down and starving the brain of oxygen. It
    is alleged that this lack of oxygen would produce
    illusions including an illusion of light.
  • However those addressing the Science Festival
    said this could not provide an explanation
  • The experiences happened when the brain had
    become completely inactive (no electrical
    activity at all).
  • The reported sensory experiences (visible,
    audible and tangible) were clear and coherent and
    could not come from a failing brain.
  • What was seen of the hospital room (and beyond)
    was verified as true.
  • People born blind who had never seen anything
    report seeing clearly as the experience

  • In answer to questions afterwards we were told
  • Previous culture or religious practice are not
    relevant to the experience/non-experience of NDE.
  • There was no statistical difference between
    reports from religious former West Germany or
    from non-religious former East Germany.
  • Types of illness/accident, or drugs used in
    treatment, are not relevant to the
    experience/non-experience of NDE.
  • NDEs usually (but not always) lead to
  • belief in the after life transformed attitudes
    to other people a belief in purpose for life on
    earth a loss of fear of death.
  • The religious content experienced does not always
    correspond with the persons previous religious

  • Two days after attending the presentation I
    received this message from a friend in Malawi
    (who did not know about the lecture I had
    attended). It is about a former Moslem. I quote
    it verbatim
  • He is a man who used to be a Moslem but is now a
    Christian. His testimony was unusual to say the
    least. He had a near-death experience (some
    describe it as a post-death experience!) and
    during that time, although he was a follower of
    Allah he heard God saying to him that Jehovah is
    the true God and Jesus Christ is His Son. He
    recovered to life, found himself clear of the
    disease that he had had, and became a Christian.
    He says that his Christian faith has brought him
    liberation and a joy unimaginable beforehand.

After the meeting the two of the presenters told
  • Typically the person feels that his/her new life
  • (a) embodied AND ALSO (b) clothed.
  • The clothes are not those worn in the hospital
    bed, but clothes associated with life when he/she
    was in the prime of life.
  • My comments
  • The NT teaching on the nature of resurrection is
    that the resurrected self is not a disembodied
    soul but an embodied self - in a transformed
    spiritual body.
  • Jesus left the grave clothes behind but did not
    appear naked to Mary Magdalene.
  • The day after the presentation was Easter Day
    but, not surprisingly, the presenters did not
    mention this.

  • Near death experiences almost always convince
    those who experience them that God exists.
  • There are some known exceptions e.g.
  • A.J.Ayer, during his middle years was one of the
    most famous 20th century atheist philosophers.
  • But late in life, he had a near death
  • In his article What I saw when I was dead, he
  • "The only memory that I have of an experience,
    closely encompassing my death, is very vivid. I
    was confronted by a red light, exceedingly
    bright, and also very painful even when I turned
    away from it. I was aware that this light was
    responsible for the government of the universe .."

  • What kind of response and evaluation of his
    experience did A. J. Ayer make?
  • "My recent experiences have slightly weakened my
    conviction that my genuine death, which is due
    fairly soon, will be the end of me, though I
    continue to hope that it will be. They have not
    weakened my conviction that there is no god."

  • Animal and human consciousness - the differences?
  • Higher animals are conscious but not
  • They dont think universally or abstractly.
  • They dont ponder their own existence?
  • Language and signals.
  • Human personhood dependent on interpersonal
    relationships. - Ultimately the relationship with
    the Person of God?
  • Dark side of human self-awareness.
  • Contemplating pain and death.
  • Self-worship - the foundation of human sin.

A Word from the Bible 1 Cor 211. 11 For who
among men knows the thoughts of a man except the
man's spirit within him? In the same way no-one
knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of
Fundamental to Christianity is that, not only
does God know us from the outside looking in, but
also - through Christ who became one with us - He
knows us from the inside looking out. He is thus
the Redeemer of the whole person - body and soul.
Now to life and evolution. The Mystery of the
Origin of Life. (Biological evolution can only
get going once life has begun to exist). A common
theory In the early earth there was a cosmic
soup of gases and liquids. Electricity from
lightening produced, in the cosmic soup, amino
acids - the building blocks of life. This can be
replicated in the laboratory today.
  • How did life originate? (Cont)
  • However it is one thing to know how stones (say)
    were formed but another to know how an intricate
    stone palace was built from the stones.
  • Energy and an mind are needed to work on the
  • Simple proteins involve many amino acids in
    correct sequence.
  • How are proteins actually made?
  • In the cells of life.
  • In each cell of life there is a chemical factory
    (cytoplasm) for making the proteins, a computer
    program (the DNA) and a translation system (the

Cytoplasm for making proteins. It receives its
instructions from the DNA via the RNA translation
Nucleus of cell made up of DNA
Professor Francis Crick, who received the Nobel
Prize for discovering the structure of DNA (the
famous double helix), writes The origin of
life appears to be almost a miracle, so many are
the conditions which would have had to be
satisfied to get it going (italics
added). Professor Harold Klein, chairman of the
U. S. National Academy of Sciences committee that
reviewed origin-of-life research, writes The
simplest bacterium is so damn complicated that it
is almost impossible to imagine how it happened
(italics added).
American Spectator magazine (May 2005)
the state of the art microminiaturized rotary
motor and propeller system that drives a tiny
vessel through liquid. The engine and drive
mechanism are composed of 40 parts, including a
rotor, stator, driveshaft, bushings, universal
joint, and flexible propeller. The engine is
powered by a flow of ions, can rotate at up to
100,000 rpm (ten times faster than a NASCAR
racing engine), and can reverse direction in a
quarter of a rotation. The system comes with an
automatic feedback control mechanism. The engine
itself is about 1/100,000th of an inch wide - far
smaller than can be seen by the human eye. And
then goes on
Most of us would be pleasantly surprised to learn
that some genius had designed such an engineering
triumph. What might come as a greater surprise is
that there is a dominant faction in the
scientific community that is prepared to defend,
at all costs, the assertion that this marvellous
device could not possibly have been designed,
must have been produced blindly by unintelligent
material forces, and only gives the appearance of
being designed.
  • How did life originate? (Cont)
  • The chemical factory receives its instructions
    from the very complicated DNA code.
  • The DNA is a code written in a four letter
    alphabet. (Each letter is a different
  • The DNA code even for a simple bacteria may be a
    thousands of letters long.
  • These letters have to be in a particular order to
    provide the information necessary for the
    manufacture of the proteins.
  • The DNA sends its instructions to the cytoplasm
    via the RNA which translates the instructions
    so that the cytoplasm can understand.
  • The DNA, cytoplasm and the RNA are themselves
    made by the very cells of which they are a part!

Some say that lifes beginnings may have been
much simpler than this. However we still have the
problem of the origin, not just of complexity,
but of information.
How did life originate? (Cont) The Atheist
Richard Dawkins writes What lies at the heart
of every living thing is not a fire, warm breath,
nor a 'spark of life'. It is information,
words, instructions . . . Think of a billin
discrete digital characters . . . If you want
to understand life, think about information
How did life originate? (Cont) In his award
winning book Consilience Edward Wilson the
eminent non religious science writer who has
recently won many prestigious prizes tells us
that cells use very modern technology involving
digital logic, analogue-digital conversion and
signal integration. He tells us that this
complexity exceeds that of super-computers and
space vehicles.
How did life originate? (Cont) Encyclopaedia
Britannica The origin of the code. A critical
and unsolved problem in the origin of life is
the origin of the genetic code. The molecular
apparatus supporting the operation of the code
the activating enzymes, adapter RNAs, messenger
RNAs, and so on are themselves each produced
according to instructions contained within the
code. At the time of the origin of the code such
an elaborate molecular apparatus was of course
How did life originate? (Cont) Douglas
Hofstadter, (a world famous and non religious
artificial intelligence expert) writes "A
natural and fundamental question to ask, on
learning of these incredibly, intricately
interlocking pieces of software and hardware is
'How did they ever get started in the first
place?'..... from simple molecules to entire
cells is almost beyond one's power to imagine.
There are various theories on the origin of life.
They all run aground on this most central of
central questions "How did the Genetic Code,
along with the mechanisms for its translation
originate?" For the moment we will have to
content ourselves with a sense of wonder and awe,
rather than with an answer.'
Michael Polanyi's gave his reaction to the claim
that the discovery of the DNA double helix is the
final proof that living things are physically and
chemically determined. No said Polanyi it proves
the opposite. No arrangement of physical units
can be a code and convey information unless the
order of its units is not fixed by its physical
chemical make-up. His example is a railway
station on the Welsh border where an arrangement
of pebbles on a bank spelled the message -
"Welcome to Wales by British Rail". This
information content of pebbles clearly showed
that their arrangement was not due to their
physical chemical interaction but to a purpose on
the part of the stationmaster ... The
arrangement of the DNA could have come about
chance, just as the pebbles on that station could
have rolled down a hillside and arranged
themselves in the worlds of the message, but it
would be bizarre to maintain that this was so ...
But how did self-replicating organisms arise in
the first place? It is fair to say that at the
present time (2006) we do not know. No current
hypothesis comes close to explaining how .. the
prebiotic environment that existed on planet
earth gave rise to life. (Francis Collins, head
of the human Genome project)
Messages, languages, and coded information ONLY
come from minds. (Minds are conscious.) - minds
that have agreed on an alphabet and a meaning of
words and sentences and that express both desire
and intent. If we analyze language with advanced
mathematics and engineering communication theory,
we can say Messages, languages and coded
information never come from anything else besides
a mind. No-one has ever produced a single
example of a message that did not come from a
mind. Languages etc can be carried by matter or
energy (eg sounds, ink, electronic and radio
signals) but they are none of these things.
Indeed they are not matter or energy at all. They
are not physical. The physical universe can
create fascinating patterns - snowflakes,
crystals, stalactites, tornados, turbulence and
cloud formations etc. But non-living and
non-conscious things cannot create language. They
cannot create codes.
Retired professor of Mathematics in Oxford Roger
Penrose FRS (making no religious profession but
calling himself a Platonist, in his book Shadows
of the Mind ) claims in his more recent book
Road to Reality that there is a transcendent
truth, a transcendent beauty, and a transcendent
goodness and that they are one. So for him
mathematical truth is to be discovered, not
invented. (Bertrand Russell held this position
until his escape from Pythagoras, as he calls
A hierarchy of mysteries The nature of
  • Conscious life (human) that can
  • reason (think abstractly and universally),
  • ponder its own life, death, and possible life
    after death.
  • be aware of good and evil,
  • know that it is responsible (partly) for its own
  • Conscious life - such as the higher animals have.
  • Life - anything that is alive - such as plants.
  • Matter - material or physical existence.

The Argument from Design. Bertrand Russell
(sceptic though he was) greatly respected the
argument from design especially as expounded by
Leibniz. (He regarded Leibniz, in whom he
specialised, as "one of the supreme intellects of
all time") BR writes "This argument contends
that, on a survey of the known world, we find
things which cannot plausibly be explained as the
product of blind natural forces, but are much
more reasonably to be regarded as evidences of a
beneficent purpose." He regards this familiar
argument as having no "formal logical defect". He
rightly points out that it does not prove the
infinite or good God of normal religious belief
but nevertheless says, that if true, (and BR does
not give any argument against it) it demonstrates
that God is "vastly wiser and more powerful than
we are". (See his chapter on Leibniz in his
History Of Western Philosophy.)
How do we arrive at a scientific theory? By
inferences. Are these inferences or reasonings
themselves physical? The materialist says Yes.
Because he/she believes the physical is
everything. One person makes one inference and
another makes another based on the same data. How
do you decide which is right? By reason. But that
too would be the result of physical
processes. But evolution is a physical theory. It
cant therefore explain the human capacity for
reasoning and making scientific theories. It
cant explain human attributes that have nothing
to do with survival in the future. E.g. music.
How did natural selection prepare the mind for
civilisation before civilisation ever existed?
He goes on That is the great mystery of
evolution how to account for calculus and Mozart
Natural Selection does not anticipate future
needs. (E. O. Wilson Consilience)
Harvard to Investigate Origins of Life Mon Aug 15
2005. Harvard University is joining the
long-running debate over the theory of evolution
by launching a research project to study how life
began. The team of researchers will receive 1
million in funding annually from Harvard over the
next few years. The project begins with an
admission that some mysteries about life's
origins cannot be explained. (This is an
admission that the origin of life remains a
But how did self-replicating organisms arise in
the first place? It is fair to say that at the
present time (2006) we do not know. No current
hypothesis comes close to explaining how .. the
prebiotic environment that existed on planet
earth gave rise to life. (Francis Collins, head
of the human Genome project, and author of The
Language of God.)
Science has been v. successful in explaining
much (but not all) in the physical world. It
does not follow that non-physical does not exist
or is not needed to explain the behaviour of the
physical world!
How did life originate? (Cont) My comment We can
add to the mystery of the miracle' by noting
that the DNA, by itself, is useless it must be
translated via the RNA so that its message' can
be put to use by the cytoplasm factory'. The
problem is that the RNA that links the DNA with
the factory, itself is manufactured by that very
factory which cannot function without the RNA and
the DNA! Indeed each component depends on the
other for its manufacture. Try to imagine a
factory for making computers - the factory itself
being run from the beginning by the very
computers it alone can manufacture! This is only
one of the enigmas of the origin of life even in
its simple forms.
  • An individual life form is more complex than the
    DNA codes in his cells.
  • I am more complex than even the cell of life from
    which I grew.
  • Just consider one of a thousands of possible
  • the brain.
  • Writing about the brain Richard Dawkins in his
    preface to The Blind Watchmaker', tells us
  • "The brain with which you are understanding my
    words is an array of some ten million
    kiloneurones (ten thousand million neurones).
    Many of these billions of nerve cells have each
    more than a thousand electric wires' connecting
    them to other neurones."
  • Where does this greater complexity come from?

  • An individual life form is more complex than the
    DNA codes in its cells. (Cont)
  • The Plot thickens - differentiation!
  • Research Chemist Ernest Lucas tells us
  • "The single fertilised egg does not have
    miniature arms and legs. These new structures
    appear later as the cells multiply and divide.
  • If every cell in my body contains the same DNA
    code, how, at the beginning of my life, does each
    new cell know whether it is to be part of a nose,
    my liver, etc?
  • How does this mystery of differentiation happen?
  • Who or what tells it?

An individual life is more complex than its DNA
codes. (Differentiation Cont) Paul Davies
writes If every molecule of DNA possesses the
same global plan for the whole organism, how is
it that different cells implement different parts
of that plan? Is there, perhaps, a metaplan' to
tell each cell which part of the plan to
implement? If so, where is the metaplan located?
In the DNA? But this is surely to fall into
infinite regress.
An ancient belief in Evolution?
St Basil, the 4th century Archbishop of Caesarea
in Cappadocia Why do the waters give birth also
to birds? he asked, writing about Genesis.
Because there is, so to say, a family link
between the creatures that fly and those that
swim. In the same way that fish cut the waters,
using their fins to carry them forward, so we see
the birds float in the air by the help of their
wings. (Quoted in the Spectator25th October
  • Random mutations (changes) in the DNA sometimes
    produce improvements which make the species more
    able to live in its environment.
  • So it then survives better and passes on its new
    characteristics to succeeding generations - and
    so on.
  • This process is called Natural Selection or The
    Survival of the Fittest.
  • However it would have to be the result of an
    aggregation of very small steps
  • "Natural selection acts only by taking advantage
    of slight successive variations she can never
    take a great and sudden leap, but must advance by
    short and sure, though slow steps. (OOS page 162)

A note about Mutations. (Summary of Denis
Alexanders explanation). Point Mutations
involve the change of a single base (the letter
in the genetic alphabet). Other mutations may
happen because of a loss or gain of a whole
sequences of DNA. If such a gain happened it
would be DNA that had been added inappropriately
from some other chromosomes in the same cell.
Such events occur quite often during the process
of cell division. The copying process is
extremely accurate, but the enormous rate at
which cell division occurs in some tissues leads
to errors in replication. Many of these are
rectified by the DNA repair enzymes, which are
constantly on the look out for mistakes. However
some mutations may still be passed on to daughter
  • Evolution (Cont)
  • Micro evolution - non controversial.
  • Small changes and adaptations do occur within a
    species but they do not produce new parts of the
    plant or new organs for the animal - such as
    leaves, bark, petals, wings, eyes, livers, lungs,
    blood streams, brains, nervous systems, etc.
  • Micro evolution alone cannot explain how bacteria
    changed into elephants, oak trees, spiders and
    humans etc. So is there macro evolution?
  • Macro evolution (controversial) says that
    evolution can bring entirely new organs into
    being and thus explain the whole process from
    bacteria to tiger, swallow, rose and human.

Barrow, Tipler and Carter have calculated the
chances of bacteria changing to a human being
given the alleged time allowed. They calculate
the possibility as 1 in 1024,000,000. (See The
Anthropic Principle and Its implications for
Biological Evolution by Brandon Carter in The
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal
Astronomical Society A370 1983 347-360 and
Tipler and Barrow, The Anthropic Cosmological
Principle page 510-573.)
  • Darwin's Finches on the Galapogas Islands.
  • The finches on different islands vary by the
    shape of their beaks and what they eat - some
    eating seeds and others eating insects.
  • Their beaks vary in accordance with their diet.
  • They seem suited to the environment on their
    respective islands.
  • The Ground Finches eat ticks they remove with
    their crushing beaks from Tortoises.
  • The Sharp Beaked Ground Finch jumps on the backs
    of other birds pecking at their flesh and feeding
    on their blood.
  • Woodpecker and Mangrove Finch use small twigs and
    cactus spines as tools to dine on the larva
    stored in dead tree branches.

Though they have adapted to allow for specialised
feeding most finches are generalised eaters.
Their different beaks come into their own in
times of drought and what is left on their
respective islands during the droughts. Then
these specialised beaks allow the birds to better
compete for food sources with other birds and
animals. Certain kinds of beaks and diet are
suited to certain islands. Those that had
suitable beaks survived and those that didn't
died out. (i.e. Natural Selection.) Therefore
each island had finches suited to its
environment. Not that God created this finch for
that island. The fittest to survive did survive
and then it passed on its characteristics to its
  • Some important questions.
  • 1. How did the initial change in the shape of the
    beak come about? - before Natural Selection could
    begin to work?
  • 2. Does this relatively small change give us
    solid ground for believing that creatures without
    nerves, brains, blood streams, bark, petals could
    change into the many life forms we see today? (It
    is spoken of as if the evidence is clear.)
  • But is it clear?
  • 3. Isnt the belief that these developments took
    place solely by random mutation and natural
    selection based on the assumption that only
    physical causes exist?
  • But what is the evidence for that assumption?
  • In principle there can be no such evidence.

  • Evolution (Cont)
  • In response to a claim in late 2001 by Eugene
    Scott of the (US) National Center for Science
    Education that virtually every reputable
    scientist in the world supports (Darwinian)
    evolution, a list of over 100 reputable
    scientists was published in an advert in the New
    York Times - entitled A Scientific Dissent from
    Darwinism. Signatories included 5-times Nobel
    nominee Henry F Schaefer, University of Georgia
    chemist, and other research scientists who are
    faculty members at Princeton, Berkeley, Yale, MIT
    etc. These are not arguing for creation in 4004
    BC, but scientists who dare to doubt Darwinism on
    the basis of the evidence itself.

  • Evolution (Cont)
  • Darwin did not believe that Natural Selection
    could provide a full explanation for the origin
    of species.
  • Many modern evolutionary biologists (such as
    Steven Jay Gould) agree with Darwin that there
    must be more to it than that.
  • Militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins insist
    that natural selection alone will one day provide
    sufficient explanation.
  • What is the evidence for their prophecy? That is
    the question.

Evolution continued Irreducible complexity.
(This is one of the points made by the
controversial Intelligent Design
movement.) Challenge from Darwin If it could be
demonstrated that any complex organ exists which
could not possibly be formed by numerous
successive slight modifications, my theory would
absolutely break down. Michael Behes Darwins
Black Box responds, claiming there are many
irreducibly complex organs in nature. He uses the
workings of a mouse trap to illustrate his point.
If just one of the eight parts of the mouse trap
is missing the mouse trap will not trap fewer
mice - it will trap none at all. See Handout
Behe Defends ID. Others dispute this claim (see
for example Forrest and Gross's Creationism's
Trojan Horse The Wedge of Intelligent Design,
(OUP) - the debate continues.
Two statements from cell biologist Franklin
Harold in his 2001 book (OUP) titled The Way of
the Cell. 1. We should reject, as a matter of
principle, the substitution of intelligent design
for the dialogue of chance and necessity.
(Chance random mutation Necessity Natural
Selection.) This statement (1 above) is
immediately followed by 2. But we must concede
that there are presently no detailed Darwinian
accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or
cellular system, only a variety of wishful
speculations. (I have adapted this from an
article by Bill Dembski Unintelligent Evolution.)
Evolution (Cont)
  • Problems for the view that natural selection
    alone can account for the origin of the species
    of life
  • If the mutations were truly random then one would
    expect harmful changes to be common and
    improvements to occur very rarely indeed - if
  • A common answer is to say that there were
    billions of forms of primitive life - so
    improvements are not all that unlikely.
  • A response says that this does not explain
    alleged evolutionary changes in bigger species
    where their numbers were relatively small.
  • If the changes in DNA code are not random - what
    or Who guides them?

Evolution (Cont)
  • Perhaps a clue to the development of life could
    come from the underlying quantum physics in the
    cell - the language at the subatomic level.
  • Lothar Shäfer's quantum view of evolution.
  • However that only pushes the question about the
    source of lifes developing information, one
    stage further back.

Evolution (Cont) My Comment I do find it
difficult to believe that purely accidental
processes and random changes, even given billions
of years of the survival of the fittest', could
change a single cell (without brain, nervous
system, liver, eyes, ears, blood, lungs, leaves,
feathers, bark, roots, petals, etc. etc.) into
all the wonderful forms of animal and vegetable
life we see around us. However this process
could have occurred if the process of mutation
was not random but guided by an overarching
purpose that transcends the universe. That could
happen only if the universe itself were an open
  • The Biblical view is that God is overflowing
  • His Word and Spirit creates and upholds all
    things and moves them towards their purpose.
  • Can this help us to understand the existence of
    life in its countless and marvellous forms?
  • Fundamental to Gods purpose is the redemption of
    the world from evil through the death and
    resurrection of Christ.

Daniel Osmond (Prof of Physiology and Medicine
(Toronto) I do not wish to build a "God of the
Gaps" argument built upon gaps in evolutionary
knowledge. This would be dangerous because
science has a habit of filling gaps, sooner or
later. Nor would I wish to predict that, because
these particular data are either unavailable or
very difficult to obtain, evolutionary gaps will
never be filled and use this prediction to argue
in favour or Creatorship and Purpose. My point is
simply that, in the presence of such huge gaps in
knowledge concerning their most important theory
pertaining to biological origins, all scientists
should exhibit a more realistic, humble attitude.
With such huge gaps staring us in the face in the
empirical domain, we should refrain from usurping
other domains, not accessible to empirical study,
with an air of arrogance of super confidence.
What evidence is there that physical effects
must have physical causes?
  • Common descent
  • Behe, Origin of Life and Then TE. His latest
  • We share much of our DNA with animals.
  • Bananas.
  • Or
  • Common Creator.
  • Cambrian explosion. (500 million years ago.) In a
    relatively short time most major groups of
    animals, fully formed, appeared in the fossil

Junk DNA and Vestigial Organs. It is commonly
claimed that present day creatures have useless
parts of their DNA or anatomy which are
left-overs from their distant ancestors. However
as time goes on, what was once thought to be
useless, is, after all, discovered to have
function. E.g. Tonsils and Appendices. Also it is
not completely clear that our all our supposed
ancestors did have these extra parts. Since our
science is in its infancy in this area, we should
hesitate before using this as evidence for or
against evolution.
But how did self-replicating organisms arise in
the first place? It is fair to say that at the
present time (2006) we do not know. No current
hypothesis comes close to explaining how .. the
prebiotic environment that existed on planet
earth gave rise to life. (Francis Collins, head
of the human Genome project)
  • TE verses ID
  • ID is proposing an extra miracle to creation.
  • ID is saying that the creation of life exhibits
    one aspect of creation.
  • Creation is one seamless whole (DA).
  • Creation was in several steps, each not reducible
    to the former.
  • Physical effects must have physical causes.
  • What about thoughts and their physical effects?
  • God of the gaps. (Nature does this and God does
  • It is the advance of knowledge that has led to
    ID, not ignorance. The advance of knowledge
    reveals a code and information, not just

AE (Intellectually fulfilled atheist.) Weak TE
(Fruitful potentiality) Strong TE (ID) OEC
(ID) YEC. (ID) Universal Flood, Catastophism,
Dating Methods, No suffering before the
Fall. Fallen Time and Redeemed time. We could
never get back to Gods time. Jewish year
commemorates Adam, not Creation, because Genesis
1 is Gods time unknown to us. What is the
alternative to Evolution? It does not bear
thinking about. Hence the passion. Much is at
  • TE crits of ID
  • Behe and Dembski. Parts of nature exhibit Design.
  • No, all do.
  • The word Designer is inadequate. (Beauty
    goodness too).
  • ID Crits of TE
  • The natural world is One Seamless Whole say TE.
  • No, it comes in a series of stages each stage
    needing creative input.
  • TE is guilty of dualisms.
  • Spiritual/Physical. Gen 1 is Theology (mere?)
  • Creation/Redemption. Miracles are allowed in
    Redemption but not in Creation.
  • Dishonesty about the difficulties. All sown up.

The Atom. Two of Bertrand Russells questions
without answers 1. What is mind (where your
thoughts are)? Leibnizs mill or mountain. 2.
What is matter? Leibnizs monads or souls. We
know consider this one What is matter?
  • What is matter? Or What is energy?
  • Since the time of the Greek philosophers, (before
    Christ) there have been two different theories as
    to the fundamental nature of matter/energy. Also
    the first Buddhists asked What is everything
    made of?
  • Atomist
  • Matter is made up of tiny particles. (Molecules,
    atoms, etc)
  • In differing combinations they make up the
    physical world as we experience it.
  • When school science teaches us about atoms
    electrons etc., we get an atomist picture of
  • Plenum
  • The whole of space is filled with a field which
    manifests itself as matter.
  • When school science teaches us about fields of
    force (like magnetism) we get the plenum
    picture of reality.

A Mystery. If matter is made of particles -
what are the particles made of? If matter is a
wave - a wave in what medium?
Consider a message in a letter or a formulae in a
mathematical treatise. You receive a letter
written by hand in a foreign language. It gives
you instructions as to where to find the hidden
money and a mathematical formula you have to
follow as well. Would you take the letter to a
laboratory to analyse the chemistry of the ink
and paper to understand the message? No! The
message does not come from the ink or paper (they
only carry the message). The message comes from
of the mind (the thoughts) of the person who
wrote the letter using the ink and the
paper. The information is not explained by the
chemistry of the ink and paper, but the mind who
wrote the letter/treatise?
Information and Word? (1) If we think of
matter/energy as a wave or field (plenum) we find
that it is a wave we can understand by
Mathematics. Galileo Mathematics is the
language with which God wrote the universe. In
one of his non-religious books on Quantum theory,
Sir John Polkinghorne (Professor of Theoretical
Physics at Cambridge University and also Priest)
says it is intelligibility from which all
physical existence emerges. So information or
language, (in the form of mathematics?) lies in
and behind all physical reality.
John 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the
Word was with God, and the Word was God. All
things were made through Him and without Him
nothing was made.
Information and Word? (Cont.)
  • The theoretical physicist Paul Davies in The New
    Scientist recently wrote "Normally we think of
    the world as composed of simple, clod-like,
    material particles, and information as a derived
    phenomenon attached to special, organised states
    of matter. But maybe it is the other way around
    perhaps the Universe is really a frolic of primal
    information, and material objects a complex
    secondary manifestation. (New Scientist, January
    30, 1999, Pg. 3),
  • (Rather than the other way round information
    emerging from mindless particles and energy.)
  • If Paul Davies is right then it resonates with
    the Bibles teaching that Word is the
    foundation of all things.

Bertrand Russell (atheist/agnostic) believed the
most powerful argument for Gods existence comes
from Mathematics. Pythagoras Numbers 1. have
properties 2. dont exist in our
space-time. Penrose Numbers exist in a
transcendent world. (So does beauty and
goodness). All three are One. Human consciousness
accesses this transcendent world and can
therefore make discoveries about numbers. But Is
Mathematics discovery or is it merely
invention? Russell and The Principles of
Mathematics. Godel. (Electrons etc are not
picturable as things in space-time. Some say it
is consciousness that gives them the property of
particles in space-time.)
Consider this from Bertrand Russells Study of
Mathematics Mathematics, rightly viewed,
possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty - a
beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture,
without appeal to any part of our weaker nature,
without the gorgeous trappings of painting or
music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern
perfection such as only the greatest art can
show. The true spirit of delight, the exaltation,
the sense of being more than Man, is to be
found in mathematics as surely as in poetry. And
consider this from Paul Dirac (Nobel Prize
Quantum Theory) .. fundamental physical laws are
described in terms of a mathematical theory of
great beauty and power One could perhaps
describe the situation by saying that God is a
mathematician of a very high order and He used
very advanced mathematics in constructing the
universe. Eugene Wigner, (Nobel Prize for Maths)
and Diracs brother-in-law, wrote of the
unreasonable effectiveness of Mathematics in
understanding nature. He said It is a wonderful
gift which we neither understand nor deserve.
A hierarchy of mysteries The nature of
  • Conscious life (human) that can
  • reason (think abstractly and universally),
  • ponder its own life, death, and possible life
    after death.
  • be aware of good and evil,
  • know that it is responsible (partly) for its own
  • Conscious life - such as the higher animals have.
  • Life - anything that is alive - such as plants.
  • Matter - material or physical existence.

  • TE crits of ID
  • Behe and Dembski. Parts of nature exhibit Design.
  • No, all do.
  • The word Designer is inadequate. (Beauty
    goodness too).
  • ID Crits of TE
  • The natural world is One Seamless Whole say TE.
  • No, it comes in a series of stages each stage
    needing creative input.
  • TE is guilty of dualisms.
  • Spiritual/Physical. Gen 1 is Theology (mere?)
  • Creation/Redemption. Miracles are allowed in
    Redemption but not in Creation.
  • Dishonesty about the difficulties. All sown up.

The Beginning and the Big Bang. In
the Beginning God created the heavens and the
earth. (Genesis 11)
  • Father of the Big Bang Theory
  • Georges-Henri Lemaître (Catholic priest and
    scientist) was born July 17, 1894 in Charleroi,
    Belgium. Lemaître is credited with proposing the
    Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe,
    although he called it his 'hypothesis of the
    primeval atom'. He based his theory, published
    between 1927 and 1933, on the work of Einstein,
    among others.
  • Einstein did not, at first, like the theory
    because it was too much like the teaching of the
  • However in 1935 Einstein, after having travelled
    on a long train journey with Lemaitre, applauded
    a lecture on the subject, given by Lemaitre
    himself, and said, "This is the most beautiful
    and satisfactory explanation of creation to which
    I have ever listened".
  • Against much opposition from the scientific
    community, Lemaîtres theory finally triumphed
    from the sheer weight of evidence. (In the second
    half of the 20th Century.)
  • He estimated the age of the universe to be
    between 10 and 20 billion years, which agrees
    with modern opinions.

The Beginning and the Big Bang. In
the Beginning God created the heavens and the
earth. (Genesis 11)
  • Did the universe (in one form or another) begin
    or is it eternal?
  • Steady State or Beginning?
  • Evidence for beginning.
  • Stars still burning.
  • Not fallen in on one another.
  • Anti-Gravity?? No!
  • Hubble discovered that the universe is expanding
    as if from an explosion.
  • Big Bang of light fifteen billion years ago.
  • Seemingly from nothing!
  • From this Big Bang hydrogen and helium eventually
  • The hydrogen clouds contracted and heated up and
    stars were created.
  • The inside of stars created the heavier elements
    from which planets are made.
  • Background radiation - as if from the Big Bangs
    echo - confirmed the theory.
  • Did this confirm the Biblical teaching that God
    created the cosmos out of nothing?

Robert Wilson, one of those who discovered the
background radiation was asked by journalist Fred
Heeren if the Big Bang indicated a
Creator. Wilson said, "Certainly there was
something that set it all off.  Certainly, if you
are religious, I can't think of a better theory
of the origin of the universe to match with
At this moment it seems as though science will
never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery
of creation. For the scientist who has lived by
his faith in the power of reason, the story ends
like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of
ignorance he is about the conquer the highest
peak as he pulls himself up over the final rock,
he is greeted by a band of theologians who have
been sitting there for centuries. Now we see how
the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical
view of the origin of the world. The details
differ, but the essential elements and the
astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are
the same the chain of events leading to man
commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite
moment in time, in a flash of light and
energy. God and the Astronomers, Astrophysicist
Robert Jastrow.
  • Will the Universe contract again to a Big Crunch?
  • Did the Big Bang come from a Big Crunch?
  • An oscillating universe? Probably No!
  • But even if the universe is oscillating between
    crunch and bang, the series could not be
  • We still have the problem of the genesis
    (beginning) of everything.
  • Could Quantum fluctuations in a vacuum have
    caused the Big Bang?
  • What are and why are there quantum fluctuations?
  • Colliding membranes and eleven dimensions
    creating the Big Bang?
  • The Wave Function of the Universe?
  • If that exists why does it exist? Where did it
    come from?
  • The end of the universe - heat or cold death?

The Biblical Teaching is that there has been, is,
and will be a New Creation. Not a creation out of
nothing but out of the ashes of the old. When
evil and decay have done their worst to this
world, God intervenes in New Creation. The link
between the Old and New is the Death/Resurrection
of Jesus Christ in whose Person, God and the
world are held together and humanity is forgiven
and nature healed. Too good to be true? Perhaps,
but we are faced with the reality of our
universe. Where did it come from? Why should
anything exist at all is surely amazing - but
here we are - too good to be true?
  • The Universe is finely tuned!
  • If the properties of the universe had been a tiny
    bit different
  • the stars would not have formed
  • or if they had, they would have not lasted long.
  • there would have been no sun, no planets and no
  • the universe would either have been black holes
    or gas.
  • there would have been complete darkness.

  • What are the variations in the initial conditions
    of the universe that would have made it dark and
  • Rate of expansion from the big bang. (1 in 1060)
  • Strength of gravity.
  • Dark Energy.
  • Initial conditions together 1/10 to power 10 to
    power 30!
  • Origin of materials that go to make up earth
  • Elements (e.g. carbon) were made in the centre of
  • However the process is a very very delicate one.
  • The Whole Universe seems very finely tuned!
  • Earths position in the solar system for liquid
  • Jupiter, Position in the galaxy.

The recent theories about Dark Energy have
strengthened this point. In their paper
"Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological
Constant" two atheist scientists from Stanford
University stated that the existence of this dark
energy term "Would have required a miracle... An
external agent, external to space and time,
intervened in cosmic history for reasons of its
Blaise Pascal (d.o.b. 1623) and the Meaning of
Life. I owe the material in these slides to
Thomas V. Morris and Peter Kreeft.
  • His accomplishments
  • He
  • invented the precursor of the calculator,
  • founded Probability Theory,
  • designed the first system of public
    transportation in Europe.

Pascal accepted the metaphysical proofs for God.
For example the argument from the objective
reality of numbers. However he cautioned as
follows The metaphysical proofs for the
existence of God are so remote from human
reasoning and so involved that they make little
impact, and, even if they did help some people,
it would only be for the moment during which they
watched the demonstration, because an hour later
they would be afraid they had made a mistake.
(190) and in (449) he says Even if someone were
convinced that the propositions between numbers
are immaterial, eternal truths, depending on a
First Truth in which they subsist, called God, I
should not consider that he had made much
progress towards his salvation.
  • Blaise Pascal (French Philosopher and
    Mathematician 17th C.)
  • He wrote about the human condition. He said we
    are both glorious and wretched.
  • We are capable of advanced mathematics, reasoning
    and science and great goodness. We are made in
    the image of God.
  • We are capable of evil and we are all moving
    towards death.
  • We are all seeking but not finding happiness and
  • This is a sign that we have lost something.

Pascals Illustration. Two labourers. 1. The
first used to be a prince. He has lost his
royalty and so feels unhappy. 2. The second was
never a prince and so he has not lost anything.
He is n