googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: What Is Their Ultimate Authority? Because It Isn't Science!

Monday, April 15, 2013

What Is Their Ultimate Authority? Because It Isn't Science!

Evolutionists pretend to be believers in science. I don't mean they intentionally treat science like it's a religion (although they often act like it is), but certainly they put their confidence in the findings of science. They pretend to be thirsty seekers of knowledge who go only where the evidence leads them. They pretend to reject creation not because they reject the Bible but because “science” has shown that the world is billions of years old and that evolution is true. Blah, blah, blah.

I've often written about the self defeating worldviews of unbelievers. The simple fact that they their worldview rejects the Bible means they have laid the foundation of their arguments on shifting sand. As a consequence, their philosophies cannot stand up to scrutiny. The idea that knowledge ultimately comes from science is another of those self defeating philosophies.

Have you ever heard someone say, “I don't believe anything without scientific evidence”? That's about the most ridiculous statement I think I've ever heard anyone utter. It can't stand up to the most cursory examination yet I hear it all the time. My usual response anymore is to simply ask the person this: “So, you don't believe anything without scientific evidence, eh? Could you please show me the scientific evidence that led you to that belief?”

You can imagine the kinds of responses that I get. Sometimes they launch into a rant where they mock, ridicule, and insult me. Sometimes they attempt a psuedo-intellectual argument to justify their stance. But not one time has anyone ever showed me any scientific evidence to justify this belief.

It's fairly obvious that there really is no scientific evidence to justify the belief that we should only believe things with scientific evidence so the people who claim believe this actually do believe some things without scientific evidence. Therefore, their statement contradicts itself and, according to logic, something that contradicts itself cannot be true.

Since these people have a belief that isn't based on science, I next wonder what they consider to be the final authority in determining what is true. After all, it can't be science. What I mean is, these people already believe something for which there is no scientific evidence (namely, that they should only believe things with scientific evidence) so what else – besides science – convinced them that belief was true?

How do we know anything is true? How do we know what is right and what is wrong? There must be some ultimate authority which we can use to determine these things. For the believer, of course, the final authority is the word of God. The Bible has the last word on anything it addresses. I know what is right and wrong because I can appeal to the one who created right and wrong. I know the true origin of the universe because the one who created the universe has revealed it to us.

On the other hand, to what authority can the unbeliever appeal except his own opinion? And if he is his own authority in determining what is true, then truth cannot be absolute. Neither can right or wrong be absolute. The atheist has no grounds on which he can say Christians are wrong. If absolute truth exists... if absolute right and wrong exists... they can only exist if God exists!

I don't appeal to the Bible because it's the easiest explanation. I believe the Bible because it is the only explanation. Nothing in this universe makes sense unless God is real. It's difficult for evolutionists to persuade me that scientific evidence trumps Scripture when they cannot even support their own claims using scientific evidence. If you want to convince me that I'm wrong, give me something besides your opinion.

I'm asking in earnest. Atheists, how do you ultimately decide what is true? Science doesn't do it. There has to be something else going on in your brain. What is it? Go ahead. I'm listening.


Steven J. said...

Ah, the joys of presuppositionalism. We start with the premise that the Bible provides the basis for the very possibility of science, and then use this to reject any scientific findings that contradict our interpretation of the Bible. In extreme cases, it has the same effect on morality: catch a creationist in a blatant lie, and you're likely to be told that unbelievers have no moral basis for objecting to lies (one might suppose that creationists have such a basis, but it doesn't seem to restrain them as much as it ought to).

Actually, I can't remember if I ever have heard someone say "I don't believe anything without scientific evidence." I do think that most people who would say this have not thought through their position rigorously (as the atheist philosopher Stephen Law has noted, not all facts are empirical, and not all empirical facts are "scientific").

Science works. Relying on evidence over intuition, gut feelings, and folklore works; that's why we have passenger jets rather than endless outbreaks of famine and bubonic plague. In the end, perhaps there's nothing to appeal to but the pragmatic success of evidence-based methodologies and the search for testable theories that survive testing -- but there is that.

Well, there is one other thing, even vaguer than mere pragmatism. Everyone assumes that evidence is relevant to some things. If you want to know whether a jug is full of water, just looking gives you more certainty than just feeling that it must be full (or empty). We all readily accept evidence as relevant where it confirms things we want to believe or disconfirms opinions we disagree with -- or where it bears on questions we have no strong feelings about one way or the other. The position you're arguing against simply asks that this enthusiasm for evidence be carried over even when it requires that you modify or abandon religious traditions.

On the other hand, I don't think anyone really believes that the Bible is the last word on anything it addresses. Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Pope Urban all thought that the Bible addressed the question of whether the sun orbited the Earth or vice-versa, but it turned out that the Bible could be reinterpreted so that, basically, it no longer addressed a subject all previous generations of Christians had assumed it did address.

Occasionally it works the other way, and apologists end up telling you that the Epistle to the Hebrews really does speak of atoms, or that Isaiah spoke of the expansion of space, despite no one ever having noticed that before scientists accepted these ideas based on scientific evidence.

And let's face it: it's not as though enshrining the Bible as the last word on any subject it addresses gets rid of differences in opinion: hence the scores of different Christian theologies, some (such as pacifism vs. just war positions, or, earlier, slavery vs. abolitionism) with quite practical consequences. Insisting that God backs you up may be good for certainty, but it's much less obvious that it's good for accuracy.

And yes, I'm aware that there are only a very few Bible-believers today defending slavery. Yet the Bible hasn't changed, and the passages cited by defenders of slavery still exist. So obviously, something is going on beyond mere acceptance of an unchanging Bible as the last word on the subjects it addresses.

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

Thanks for your comment. I see that you have basically resorted to the pseudo-intellectual argument to which I referred in my post. You have invoked pragmatism, experience, and a little bit of the “you too” fallacy. I've talked about these in previous posts so I won't address them now. Suffice it to say, you've not enlightened me to any subjective, transcendent authority beyond “well it works, it's always worked, and you do it too.”

You mentioned that you can't recall ever hearing someone say “I don't believe anything without evidence.” I could Google a few online sources but you could do that. There is the Sagan quote included in the image in the post: a claim made about evidence without evidence for the claim (very funny). There is another quote from the late Christopher Hitchens that said, “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” Obviously he didn't put much stock in beliefs without evidence. And certainly you've heard the many claims from atheists who claim their lack of belief is due to a lack of evidence.

Do people who make these claims really think through their position? Probably not. But that's why I'm here. I intend to show them how foolish these statements are.

God bless!!


Anonymous said...

"THEORETICAL" physicist Stephen Hawking at his atheistic best. The atheists believe with absolute certainty that there is no God, that the big bang happened, Science has proven it beyond doubt, cosmological evolution is absolutely scientifically proven. BOOM!

Why do these people act as if evolution in all its forms is fact,...unquestionable, undeniable fact..., is the thought of being judged by a higher authority so unpalatable. Do they need to 'believe' there is no God? Is it because then, they themselves become their own higher authority? Ye shall be as Gods!

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good." psalm 14.1

"If there is no God, then all that exists is time and chance acting on matter. If this is true then the difference between your thoughts and mine correspond to the difference between shaking up a bottle of Mountain Dew and a bottle of Dr. Pepper. You simply fizz atheistically and I fizz theistically. This means that you do not hold to atheism because it is true , but rather because of a series of chemical reactionsÂ… Â… Morality, tragedy, and sorrow are equally evanescent. They are all empty sensations created by the chemical reactions of the brain, in turn created by too much pizza the night before. If there is no God, then all abstractions are chemical epiphenomena, like swamp gas over fetid water. This means that we have no reason for assigning truth and falsity to the chemical fizz we call reasoning or right and wrong to the irrational reaction we call morality. If no God, mankind is a set of bi-pedal carbon units of mostly water. And nothing else."

Douglas Wilson

RKBentley said...


Thanks for visiting and for your comments. Thanks also for the interesting link. It's typical Hawking but I still shake my head every time I hear things like this from him. It's a wonder how someone can be so brilliant and so foolish at the same time.

I've written before about some of the self defeating philosophies of unbelievers. When people reject the truth, they have built their house on sand and their arguments cannot stand up to scrutiny. It happens every time. If you get a chance, you might peruse my archive.

Please keep visiting and commenting. God bless!!


Steven J. said...

Anonymous, note that not everyone who accepts the Big Bang is an atheist. Some, indeed, are not merely Christians but creationists. Conversely, while most atheists accept the Big Bang, I don't think that all do (granted, an eternal "steady-state" universe is probably no more acceptable to you than the Big Bang -- but it is not the same thing!). I have seen, more than once, the Big Bang cited as proof of creation and, hence, of a Creator (and, yes, obviously Hawking disagrees).

Douglas Wilson makes an error (the fallacy of composition, I think) in the quoted passage. It is precisely on a par with arguing that a computer, calculating what 2 plus 2 equals, reaches "4" not because that is the answer but because electrons are darting back and forth. The electrons are doing so, of course, but they are doing so in the course of carrying out calculations. By the same token, to hold that thoughts have purely materialistic causes by no means implies that they cannot reflect or draw valid abstractions from reality (from an evolutionary standpoint, mental processes that modeled reality grossly inaccurately would not favor the survival of the modeler; natural selection would favor "chemical fizzing" that led to better internal representations of the external world.

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

I feel a little silly. When my anonymous visitor cited Douglas Wilson at the end of his comment, I thought he was signing his own name. That's why I addressed my reply to , “Douglas.” I see my error now.

You gave the following example of a logical fallacy, “It is precisely on a par with arguing that a computer, calculating what 2 plus 2 equals, reaches "4" not because that is the answer but because electrons are darting back and forth. The electrons are doing so, of course, but they are doing so in the course of carrying out calculations.”

You suggested that might be the fallacy of composition. It's actually a bifurcation. In other words, the computer either answers “4” because it's the correct answer OR it answers “4” because of the electrons darting back and forth. It's a bifurcation because it presents the options as mutually exclusive when there is really a third option – namely that both options are true.

But I don't think Wilson is committing a bifurcation. Instead, I believe he is using the logical tool of reductio ad absurdum. That is, he's showing that the logical consequence of atheism is self contradictory. If we are only matter, then our beliefs (including atheism) are merely chemical reactions in our brains. There would be no such thing as objective truth. So if atheism were true, we couldn't objectively know it to be true. You can see how it contradicts itself.

As always, you're comments are very welcome. Please keep visiting and commenting.

God bless!!