Do science and God’s Word butt heads as much as you’re led to believe? How was the earth created and where did mankind really come from, the hand of God or a long line of pre-human ancestors not yet discovered? Which is true, evolution or creation? Do you really know?
Most of us won’t be called upon to defend God’s Word. But just in case, here’s an introduction to the topic. What’s more fun than an atheist physicist teaching other atheists how to debate logical Christians?
Science and Christianity
Where you find yourself fifteen minutes into eternity depends on what you believe and if what you believe is real or delusion. My 2016 book, Fifteen Minutes into Eternity – The War Between the Human Spirit and the Holy Spirit, describes where we came from and how we got to where we are today. It contains secular and religious history, philosophy, science, and plain-speaking about topics most folks shy away from.
In other words, the content is factual, objective, biblically accurate, painstakingly-resourced, and won’t win any awards for political correctness. Some might call it Christian apologetics for the everyday Christian.
An article by noted and extensively published atheist physicist, Dr. Vic Stenger, How to Debate a Christian Apologist, appeared in The Huffington Post online, February 2014. Dr. Stenger died four months later. The following discussion includes excerpts from that piece.
Stenger writes, “I will mainly emphasize scientific arguments, that is, those based on empirical evidence or lack thereof. However, the atheist debater is very likely to be confronted with any one of many possible philosophical arguments based on logic alone, so I will present these first.”
Three anticipated statements from Christian apologists are followed by Dr. Stenger’s proposed response. I’ve taken the liberty of answering Dr. Stenger. Note that my comments are taken – often verbatim – from the text of his rebuttal.
Order of Go:
- First – what logical Christians might say.
- Second – Dr. Stenger’s attempt at one-upmanship.
- Third – My response to Dr. Stenger, using his own reasoning right back at him.
1. Apologist: Science still has not shown how life began.
Stenger’s suggested Rebuttal: “That is true; but it does not follow that life had to be created by God. To assert that, you have the burden of proving that science will never discover the natural origin of life. We have no reason to think that’s impossible. The basic ingredients of life are copious in space. Amino acids were produced spontaneously out of simple ingredients in the lab in 1953 by graduate student Stanley Miller after running his experiment for only a week.“
My Comment: It does not follow that life was not created by God. To assert that, you have the burden of proving that science will never discover that life originated as documented in Genesis. We have no reason to think that’s impossible. The basic ingredients of life are fully contained in the rich organic soup produced by pulsating a live frog in a blender. Life no longer exists and science cannot re-introduce it even though every physical requirement is present. About those amino acids; condensing water from super-humid air in a laboratory is not proof that the content of the oceans may one day be recreated in like manner.
2. Apologist: Atheists claim that the universe just “popped” into existence. I can’t believe this. It’s preposterous.
Stenger’s suggested Rebuttal: “Just because you can’t believe it, doesn’t mean it could not have happened. Several plausible scenarios for the natural origin of the universe have been posited by reputable cosmologists in reputable scientific journals. If you insist they are impossible, then you have the burden of disproving them.
Also, are you implying it is preposterous to believe that the universe popped into existence from nothing by an act of God? Now, that is preposterous.”
My Comment: Just because you can’t believe it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happened. Reputable scientists have published several few plausible scenarios for Creation as the natural origin of the universe. If you insist they’re impossible, then you have the burden of disproving them.
Does Dr. Stenger imply it’s preposterous to believe that the universe popped into existence from nothing without any cause or reason? Now, that is preposterous.
The basic point made in this exchange is that each finds the others’ belief preposterous. Which side wins depends on who has the power to assign the burden of proof; a completely subjective decision.
Note the words or phrases Dr. Stenger uses to defend science: could have, plausible scenario. A complete analysis of the Big Bang Theory and why the science supporting it stands in direct opposition to the science supporting Darwin’s Theory is found in Fifteen Minutes into Eternity (beginning on pg 193.)
3. Apologist: Just because there is no evidence for God, that does not mean he does not exist. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Stenger’s suggested Rebuttal: “Absence of evidence is evidence of absence when it is evidence that should be there and is not. If the God most people worship exists we should have seen evidence for him by now. The fact that we do not proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he does not exist.”
My Comment: Absence of evidence is evidence of absence when it is evidence that should be there and is not. If Darwin’s Theory were true we should have seen evidence for it by now. The fact that we do not proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it does not exist.
Christians will testify that evidence of God is rich and overwhelming. Some scientists will testify that evidence of macro-evolution is rich and overwhelming. Accepting that stalemate for the moment, I yield to Dr. Stenger himself to decide the matter of evidence.
Dr. Stenger’s rebuttal to the first example perfectly refutes his response here, that “you have the burden of proving that science will never discover the natural origin of life. We have no reason to think that’s impossible.” Science has not found the natural origin of life. Dr. Stenger says so himself. Failing to provide evidence that should be there but is not, “… proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that (Evolution) does not exist.”
Does the absence of evidence that God does not exist therefore prove that He does?
 Physicist Vic Stenger, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/victor-stenger/how-to-debate-religion_b_4876997.html
Antagonists to Christianity rely upon circular reasoning, defending their opinions with their opinions. This is precisely what they accuse Christians of doing. Matthew 7:3-5 speaks to that error.