Francis Collins Language of God

My latest audio book in September 2023. Stimulating many thoughts.

So on vacation in the mountains I listen to this. Part of the reason is the insane Answers In Genesis agonists who call everybody heretics.

Francis Collins has a degree in physical chemistry. And medicine. He took up biology and genetics after pchem. And reading CS Lewis caused him to reconsider his agnosticism and after applying some logic he became a christian!

I may have thoughts on his book after finishing it. Those will be topical and appear in various categories.

Surely You are Joking, Mr Lightman.

When an atheist (Mr.X.) declares to you “I don’t care what Alan Lightman thinks about God” you know you are talking to a narcissist.


Because Alan Lightman, to the best of my knowledge, doesn’t think anything at all about God. He isn’t a theist.

Mr X, the narcissist, is either lying or he is an idiot.

Alan Lightman isn’t talking about God and religion. He is talking about physics.

The real question about what atheism is: what does atheism really have to say to humanity? Atheists need to explain the following: “How do you know thought and mind does not exist? And if it does not, isn’t your religious world view then nihilism? Is the logical conclusion of reductionism nihilism?”

Nihilism means if thought does not exist then minds do not exist. if minds do not exist then humans do not exist. The human race does not exist. its a fantasy. and values do not exist. Love, hate, justice, hope, all these are fantasies because none of them really exist. They are figments of the imagination and have no reality.

“Well, gee, batman”, a student mutters under his breath, “the trans person with hurt feelings is just going to have to lump it, aren’t they?”

What do nihilists really have to say to humanity? Nothing. They add no value. Values do not exist in their world view.

That doesnt answer the question of, “Is the logical conclusion of reductionism nihilism?”

Atheists aren’t talking. They do not know. They rage against theists on the basis of, well, as far as I can tell, a basis of ignorance. I think Jonathon Haight describes it best. They have a preconceived conclusion, really just a moral belief, and they are looking for evidence to shore up their belief. What Jonathon Haight calls “the elephant and the rider problem.” There is a cognitive dissonance in that process, and also a dishonesty.

Alan Lightman, by contrast, ponders the unknown and the unknowable and attempts to label them. That is why is is so hilarious that Mr X boldly declares “I don’t care what Alan Lightman says about God.”

Answers In Heresy (I mean Genesis)

AIG apologist Isaac Bourne claims Christians are going to hell (cannot be saved) because they fail to follow AIG theology. Here is his argument. It depends on having a belief about the age of the earth (being young).

Issac Bourne

That’s because the worlds education requires one to accept the worlds views. You cannot be educated with secular degrees and expect not to be rejected by the groups that educated you if you proclaim God and the Bible. God plays second fiddle to no man’s: Education, opinion or whatever. Period. And when this person gets to Heaven, God won’t be opening a science book either. And Darwin won’t be sitting next to Him giving judgment on how well every accepted evolution.

Which creation belief can you use to draw people forward to salvation?

God used evolution to create? Nope.

God used millions and billions of years to create? Nope.

God’s creation is literally true aka YEC? Yep. Happens everyday.

This is why you won’t see God used evolution to create do alter calls.

This is why you won’t see God took millions and billions of years do alter calls.

Because there is no God in it therefore God will not draw people unto his Son through a lie. So those 2 teachings come back void while YEC does not.

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17 KJV

When you know what the truth is and you instead decide to believe a lie.

Then what you believe becomes a sin because you knew better. That is why the word knoweth is used. Do you know God’s Word say nothing about using evolution during creation? Of course you do. Do you know God’s Word and tracible time line supports 6-24 hour days and 6.000 years? Of course you do.

And yet you believe something else right? So your belief is now a sin, not by my opinion, but what God’s Word states. And if you do not respect God’s Word enough to accept correction then you are already lost in that sin.

Here’s what happens when you mess with God’s Word.

“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:19 KJV

And can you enter Heaven without you name in the book of life?

“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:15 KJV

And because you now know, you can never claim true ignorance which is covered by grace because this ignorance is on purpose. YEC is just a literal belief. God’s Word judges what happens when you go outside of such things, not those who believe YEC, Did I not back up everything concerning that? Then your problem is not with YEC, it’s with God’s Word. And all we do is abide by that is that also is what you have a problem with. prove me wrong.

I said to him

Issac Bourne Origins theories have nothing to do with salvation as far as I can figure. Ive started to ask lifelong bible scholars, ordained ministers, and theologians about this. Is Christianity dependent upon a particular narrative or belief about origins? The answer I get is “no”. Salvation depends on Jesus of Nazareth and his death, burial, resurrection, and propitiation for sin, etc, etc, and faith in him and his work Age of the earth? Has nothing to do with that except you have constructed a narrative and turned it into a doctrine. The sorting of sheep and goats will depend on response to the Christ, not on opinion about origins. Unless you create some kind of “new and different?” doctrine that says judgement does depend on a believer’s opinion about origins. I dont see that requirement in the scriptures. It looks to me like this doctrine, if it is a doctrine at all, did not exist in the 1st and 2nd century but was added in modern times. Which adds doctrine to the scriptures. Its either modern additive doctrine or its not doctrine at all but instead is just personal opinion. A bit hard to tell.

I dont see the core beliefs of christianity being affected by your world view here.

Dustin Burlet, another AIG apologist says no, their belief about the bible and theology does not affect salvation per se. But if not accepted it does destroy the truth in the bible.

There is a lot to unpack here – if I have understood the scenario (about YEC) correctly much hinges on Jesus. Allow me to explain (citing C. John Collins, Science and Faith: Friends or Foes, pg. 106)

Collins states:

“The argument for a young earth . . . goes like this: the phrases ‘from the beginning of creation’ (Mark 10:6) and ‘from the beginning’ (Matt 19:4, 😎 do not refer to the beginning of mankind [sic] but to the beginning of creation itself. Therefore, Jesus was dating the origin of mankind [sic] to a time very shortly after the initial creation of Genesis 1:1. If there is any kind of time very shortly after the initial creation and the beginning of the creation week, or if the week itself lasts much longer than an ordinary week, then we must conclude that Jesus was mistaken (or worse, misleading), and therefore he can’t be God. “

Collins goes on to clarify:

“If this argument is sound, I’m in trouble, because . . . I cannot follow this reading of Genesis 1. On the other hand, I firmly believe in the traditional Christian doctrine of Christ, and tremble at the thought of doing anything to undermine it. But the argument is not sound. It finds its credibility from the way the English “from the beginning” seems so definite; but the Greek is not fixed in meaning. “

NB: Specifically, the use “of the article in Greek is not like use of the definite article in English, not least because Greek does not have the same choice of forms . . . Once a Greek speaker or writer chose to use the article, there was not a choice whether an indefinite or definite one would be used. Therefore, the presence or absence of an article does not make a substantive definite or indefinite.” Porter, Idioms of the Greek New Testament (London: Sheffield Academic 2nd. ed, 2005) 103. See too Middleton, Doctrine of the Greek Article (London: Rivington, 2nd ed, 1841). Notably, though, the term ἄρχη is not actually articular in any of the texts cited above save Matt 19:4 (Cf. John 1:1).

Irrespective of the minutia, what is clear from the above is that Collins does not dismiss the question of the age of the earth as a secondary issue. Instead, he (rightly) ties a proper understanding of these matters to biblical authority via connecting them to the doctrine of Christ (cf. John 18:37).

As such, In a similar way, Terry Mortenson asserts: “Exodus 20:8–11 resists all attempts to add millions of years anywhere in or before Genesis 1 because in Exodus 20:11 . . . God says He created the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them during the six days described in Genesis 1. He made nothing before those six days. It should also be noted that the fourth commandment is one of only a few of the Ten Commandments that contains a reason for the commandment. If God created over millions of years, He could have not given a reason for Sabbath-keeping or He could have given a theological or redemptive reason as He did elsewhere (cf. Exod 31:13 and Deut 5:13–15) . . . Ultimately, the question of the age of the earth is a question of the truth and authority of Scripture. That’s why the age of the earth matters so much and why the church cannot compromise with millions of years (or evolution).” Terry Mortenson, “Young-Earth Creationist View Summarized And Defended.” No Pages. Online. Italics original.…/young-earth-creationist…/

Elsewhere, Mortenson also opines: “The . . . larger controlling thesis for this book is that the age of the creation is foundationally and critically important for Christian doctrine. It really does matter what we believe on this issue. To be sure, we are not insisting that a person must be a young-earth creationist to be saved and in a right relationship with God. Faith in Christ alone is sufficient for that. But what we believe on this topic does relate critically to inerrancy, hermeneutics, and Scripture as the final authority in all matters that it addresses.” Terry Mortenson, “Foreword,” in Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth, 20. New Leaf (2008).

Lastly, another YEC scholar (Joanthan Sarfati) maintains:

“OK, let’s assume for the sake of the argument that firstly, creation was by evolution, over millions of years of death and suffering—and that Jesus did perform some sort of lobotomy7 on Himself, so that He could no longer recall what really took place. So He just understood Genesis in the most natural straightforward way, not realizing what the real truth was. What you’re claiming in that case amounts to this: That God the Father, knowing the real truth, permitted not just the Apostles, but His beloved Son, while on Earth, to believe and teach things that were utter falsehoods. Furthermore, it means that the Father permitted these false teachings to appear—repeatedly—in His revealed Word. With the result that for some 2,000 years, the vast majority of Christians were seriously misled about such things as not just the time and manner of creation, but gospel-crucial matters such as the origin of sin, and of death and suffering.”

The doctrinal position of AIG

What you’re claiming in that case amounts to this: That God the Father, knowing the real truth, permitted not just the Apostles, but His beloved Son, while on Earth, to believe and teach things that were utter falsehoods. Furthermore, it means that the Father permitted these false teachings to appear—repeatedly—in His revealed Word. With the result that for some 2,000 years, the vast majority of Christians were seriously misled about such things as not just the time and manner of creation, but gospel-crucial matters such as the origin of sin, and of death and suffering.”

Wow, all of Christianity has been misled for 2000 years? Really?

AIG Fragility?

What I am left thinking:

Seems to me that if Adam ever stepped on a bug, or ate a bug, then death came into the world before the sin of Adam and their entire theological world view instantly collapses.

A Re-evaluation

If all the truth in the Bible were to be destroyed then how does anybody come to a saving faith in Jesus of Nazareth as their saviour? So, truth be told, perhaps the AIG belief really is about who can be a Christian? It is all about heresy.

Caveat: Is it possible for the bible to be true but AIG simply does not understand what it says? BINGO!

Is it possible for God to have spoken in parables in Genesis and the bible is still true? You see, AIG claims if Genesis is parables then the bible is not true. That is based on their opinion. Only on their opinion.

Raindrops Caught My Eye:

Scientific knowledge is of two types: knowledge of the properties of physical objects, like the size and mass of a raindrop, and knowledge of what we call “laws of nature.” One of the first human beings to formulate a law of the physical world was Archimedes, more than two thousand years ago. Archimedes “law of floating bodies”:

Any solid lighter than a fluid will, if placed in the fluid, be so far immersed that the weight of the solid will be equal to the weight of the fluid displaced.

We can speculate on how Archimedes arrived at his law. At the time, balance scales were available for weighing goods in the market. The scientist could have first weighed an object, then placed it in a rectangular container of water and measured the rise in height of the water. The area of the container multiplied by the height of the rise would give the volume of water displaced.

Finally, that volume of water could be placed in another container and weighed. Undoubtedly, Archimedes would have performed this exercise many times with different objects before devising the law. He probably also performed the experiment with other liquids, like mercury, to discover the generality of the law. 

All laws of the physical world are like Archimedes’ law. They are precise. They are quantitative. And they are general, applying to a large range of phenomena. Most importantly, all laws of nature discovered by scientists are considered provisional. They are considered to be approximations to deeper laws. They are constantly being revised as new experimental evidence is found or new (and testable) ideas are proposed. 

It is in the process of revision that we see the strongest differences between the methods and beliefs of science and religion.

Knowledge and believing

Everything that we know about the physical world – the domain of science – is subject to revision. Everything must be tested and proved. The knowledge of religion, coming from either the divine authority of the sacred books or from the irrefutable personal transcendent experience, is not subject to revision. It is not an approximation. It is certain. And it cannot be proved. It must be taken on faith.

Paradoxically, all of the knowledge of religion is considered certain, and all of the knowledge of science is considered uncertain. Still, science has done pretty well with its uncertainties and approximations. The approximations of science have been good enough to give us antibiotics and smart phones and rocket ships that can land men on the moon.

Science demands proof for what it believes, even though those beliefs are constantly changing as new experimental evidence becomes available. There is something that scientists believe in that cannot be proven. It is a principle I call the Central Doctrine of Science: The physical world is lawful. All properties and events in the physical universe are governed by laws, and those laws hold true at every time and place in the universe. Graduate students in science absorb this belief through every pore of their skin. It is an unconscious but powerful commitment.

I call the Central Doctrine of Science a doctrine because, despite its success in the past, it cannot be proved. It must be accepted as a matter of faith. No matter how lawful and logical the material cosmos has been up to now, we cannot be sure that something illogical, unexplainable, and fundamentally unlawful might happen tomorrow. Our faith in the Doctrine is so strong that when we find physical phenomena that cannot be explained in terms of current laws, we attempt to revise those laws rather than abandon our belief in a lawful universe.

When it was found in the 19th Century that the orbit of Mercury could not be completely explained in terms of Newton’s law of gravity, scientists did not attribute the discrepancy to an unsolvable mystery or to the breakdown of order in the physical world or to the intervention of a whimsical god. Instead, they recognized a physical problem that required a more advanced physical understanding.

That more advanced understanding was provided by Einstein’s theory of gravity. In fact, I cannot imagine any event in the material world that would cause most scientists to label the event a miracle, unexplainable by science. If a wheelbarrow began to float, a scientist would look for magnetic levitators or, if necessary, assign the phenomenon to some new kind of force. But a natural and lawful force, not a supernatural force. 

So, perhaps I am a person of faith after all. I will have to share this discovery with Micah.

Memphis native Alan Lightman is a physicist, novelist and professor of the practice of the humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His new book, “Searching for Stars on and Island in Maine” is published by Pantheon.

Is your pronoun XY?

#DarwinCancelled? 😉

A post I saw today from a dentist says,

I am a practicing Dentist, but also a biology major. I do believe there are just two biological sexes: XX and XY. That is not a theory it is a fact. Gender issues are social constructs to normalize behavior. Darwin would have said: survival of the species selects for the strong biological sexes.

Central Tenet of Science

Atheism is based on the irrational belief that the Central Tenet of Science is true.

But according to MIT physicist Alan Lightman the Central Tenet of Science cannot be proven. Therefore it is accepted by faith (my words, not his). Because it is faith it is metaphysics and has the same status as any metaphysical belief. But atheists lie to us and tell us the central tenet is FACT.

In all my life no atheist has ever given me one single rational reason to have any hope. Not one tiny thimbleful of any reason. The very best they come up with is humans are doomed for a life of misery and meaninglessness followed by an eternity of oblivion.

But if anyone believes in any other viewpoint the atheist says its all imaginary and foolishness. They will cry “science says so”and claim to KNOW they are correct. Really know. Without a shred of doubt. Not just a matter of what they happen to have chosen as a belief. No, they have KNOWLEDGE. And all who doubt them are idiots.

They have millions of followers who believe them without question. Its like a mind numbed cult.

One aspect of atheism is its lack of explanatory power about purpose. The opposite of purpose is nihilism.

Atheists tell us the best anyone can hope for is we go to oblivion. They never explain why that is a better place. Or why it is hope. But they sure do criticize anyone who doesn’t believe them. “What a wonderful future we will have” they claim. When their core belief is we have no future. Is that even rational? Who cares what people a million years from now think is wonderful if we are all in oblivion? Who could possibly care?

This is one reason I believe in hell. Surely there must be a punishment for the people who strip away all hope from humans.

A just God would create a hell if one did not already exist. Just for the atheists, because they have created a sense of despair and hopelessness for all humankind.

Noah’s Flood?

December 21, 2012  · 

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ABC News mentioned new scientific evidence tonight that Noah’s flood happened. Its been dated at 5000 BC. It was a melting of the ice caps that swelled the Mediterranean and when it broke through it flooded the Black Sea and covered a great deal of Asia Minor. It flooded almost all the ancient world of humans. The old coastline is about 400 feet below the surface.

Lithium Mining in Thacker Pass?

Looks like a Nice Place.

The environmental movement says “No” to mining lithium here. But listen to him repeat the “drumbeat” on lithium battery powered cars. Yes, that is the common drumbeat.

But when you have environmentalists join conservatives in opposing lithium, what will the outcome
really be? I don’t know. But things are not what they seem.


I personally know someone who stopped a wind farm development by the state of Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Half the counties in Iowa have moratoria on wind farms. The reason? Bird kills are opposed by environmentalists.

Things are not as they seem.

Undergraduate basics.

Lorraine and Corson is the standard E&M textbook in upper division physics at California State University, or at least it was for many years. It is the one I used for my undergraduate work. It is a core prerequisite for senior level physics courses. Generally you take 16 credits of physics per semester and add in one general ed easy course as the 5th to make 18, but this varies.

Lorraine and Corson was WONDERFUL as a course.

I was in my senior year of physics when I got married and moved across the country and well, life took a different turn.

Let me just say right now: I have never met a BIOLOGIST who took this E&M course. Doesn’t mean there aren’t some. I myself eventually became an engineer who shipped 30+ engineering products. But I also went on to study biology, microbiology, and biochemistry.

Let me quote a review from about Lorraine and Corson:

5.0 out of 5 stars Great reference work.Reviewed in the United States on October 20, 2001

This book is intended primarily for students of Physics or Electrical Engineering at the junior or senior levels, although some schools will prefer to use it with first-year
graduate students. The book should also be useful for scientists and engineers who wish to review the subject.
The aim of this book is to give the reader a working knowledge of the basic concepts of electromagnetism. Indeed, as Alfred North Whitehead stated, half a century
ago, “Education is the acquisition of the art of the utilization of knowledge.” This explains the relatively large number of examples and problems. It also explains why
we have covered fewer subjects more thoroughly. For instance, Laplace’s equation is solved in rectangular and in spherical coordinates, but not in cylindrical
A chapter on vectors (Chapter 1), a discussion of Legendre’s differential equation (Section 4.5), an appendix on the technique that involves replacing cos wt by exp jwt,
and an appendix on wave propagation.
After the introductory chapter on vectors, Chapters 2, 3, and 4 describe electrostatic fields, both in a vacuum and in dielectrics. All of Chapter 4 is devoted to the
solution of Laplace’s and of Poisson’s equations.
Chapter 5 is a short exposition of the basic concepts of special relativity, with little reference to electric charges. It requires nothing more, in the way of mathematics,
than elementary differential calculus and the vector analysis of Chapter 1. Chapter 6 contains a demonstration of Maxwell’s equations that is based on Coulomb’s law
and on the Lorentz transformation and which is valid only for the case where the charges move at constant velocities.
Chapters 7 and 8 deal with the conventional approach to the magnetic fields associated with constant and with variable currents. Here, as elsewhere, references to
Chapter 6 may be disregarded.
Chapter 9 contains a discussion of magnetic materials that parallels, to a certain extent, that of Chapter 3 on dielectrics.
In Chapter 10, the Maxwell equation for the curl of B is rediscovered, without using relativity. This is followed by a discussion of the four Maxwell equations, as well
as of some of their more general implications. The point of view is different from that of Chapter 6, and there is essentially no repetition.
The last four chapters, 11 to 14, concern various applications of Maxwell’s equations: plane waves in infinite media in Chapter 11, reflection and refraction in Chapter
12, guided waves in Chapter 13, and radiation in Chapter 14. The only three media considered in Chapters 11 and 12 are perfect dielectrics, good conductors, and
low-pressure ionized gases. Similarly, Chapter 13 is limited to the two simplest types of guided wave, namely the TEM mode in coaxial lines and the TE1,0 mode in
rectangular guides. Chapter 14 discusses electric and magnetic dipoles and quadrupoles, as well as the essential ideas concerning the half-wave antenna, antenna arrays,
and the reciprocity theorem.
For a basic and relatively simple course on electromagnetism, one could study only Chapters 2, 3 (less Sections 3.3, 3.4, 3.8, 3.9, and 3.10), 4 (less Sections 4.4 and
4.5), 7, 8, 9 (less Section 9.3 but conserving the equation v – B = 0), and 10. For a rather advanced course, on the other hand, Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9 could be
reviewed briefly using the summaries at the end of each chapter. One would then start with Chapter 6, and then go on to Chapter 10 and the following chapters. There
are, of course, many other possibilities.
In Chapter 12, Sections 12.3 and 12.7 could be dispensed with. They involve the application of Fresnel’s equations to particular cases and are not essential for the
remaining chapters. Chapter 13 is instructive, both because of the insight it provides into the propagation of electromagnetic waves and because of its engineering
applications, but it is not required for understanding Chapter 14. Finally, Chapter 14 is based on Chapter 10 and on the first two sections of Chapter 11.

Scientific Religion?

Saying Scientific Materialism is like saying Scientific Religion.

Materialism is a philosophic opinion. It is not science. It is actually a leap of faith. But people talk about it because it sounds scientific, and because it is not very obvious that it is a leap of faith.

Putting the word scientific in front of materialism does not make materialism into science any more than putting the word scientific in front of the word religion turns religion into science.

It takes more than a label or an adjective to describe what is scientific.

Philosophers refer to materialism as being “scientific materialism” because the people talking about it talk a lot about science. I use the term too. It really means “science-y sort of like one would use the word geeky. But it is just plain old materialism spoken of in science-like terminology to dress it up a bit. What would be the difference between scientific materialism and non-scientific materialism? None.

Its a bit like grape nuts. They are not grapes. They are not nuts. They are just a name. Not even a description. More of a metaphor. Grape nuts is metaphorical language, not definitive or descriptive language. Scientific materialism is metaphorical language for materialism.

Shocked by Reductionism

Recently I watched a portion of a debate between an atheist and Dinesh De Souza in the wake of the Sean Carroll debate.
The atheist team member (who I thought was Sean himself) stated that thoughts are imaginary. They arise from chemical phenomena in the neuron but themselves are imaginary, i.e., do not exist. We only think they exist, but they actually do not. In other words, they are ontologically imaginary.

To me this has huge implications. It implies that minds are imaginary (and do not really exist). The trappings of minds, such as love and justice and morality and meaning are also imaginary. Personality does not exist. What a convenient way to get rid of the ultimate personality we call God. It is a very convenient solution to an atheists problem set! Define God as non-existent.

One problem: this means people also not exist! They are just chemical reactions.

I thought at the time, how does one who believes this way describe himself? Is he a reductionist? Is that his philosophy? Hmmm.

I want to touch briefly on reductionism. Here is a quote from Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy about Reductionism.


Reductionists are those who take one theory or phenomenon to be reducible to some other theory or phenomenon. For example, a reductionist regarding mathematics might take any given mathematical theory to be reducible to logic or set theory.

Or, a reductionist about biological entities like cells might take such entities to be reducible to collections of physico-chemical entities like atoms and molecules. The type of reductionism that is currently of most interest in metaphysics and philosophy of mind involves the claim that all sciences are reducible to physics. This is usually taken to entail that all phenomena (including mental phenomena like consciousness) are identical to physical phenomena.

The bulk of this article will discuss this latter understanding of reductionism.

This definition (in grey) certainly does describe the position of the atheist person debating Dinesh. It was presented as the position of modern physicists when arguing against Dinesh’s theism.

I do not think reductionism is the position taken by most physicists, and this is why the claim surprised me.

There is a related belief: scientific materialism.

Scientific materialist say “if a phenomena is not part of the physical world of matter and energy then the phenomena is not REAL. I.E., does not ontologically exist. It exists only as a concept (which of course is held by an imaginary non-existing entity we call a mind). This is what they mean by “imaginary”.

Who can question the word of a physicist?

What about John Polkinghorne? John Charlton Polkinghorne KBE FRS (16 October 1930 – 9 March 2021) was an English theoretical physicisttheologian, and Anglican priest.

*GASP* A “theist”. See some of what PolkingHorne has to say in his FAQ pages.

Or Stephen M Barr? Stephen Matthew Barr[1] (born November 28, 1953) is an American physicist who is a professor emeritus of physics at the University of Delaware.[2] A member of its Bartol Research Institute, Barr does research in theoretical particle physics and cosmology. In 2011, he was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, the citation reading “for original contributions to grand unified theories, CP violation, and baryogenesis.”[3]

*GASP* … another theist.

Whats going on here?

Alan Lightman (Alan Lightman, both a novelist and a physicist, teaches at MIT. ) wrote about how many scientists see no problem between science and God’s intervention with the physical universe:

Francis Collins, leader of the celebrated Human Genome Project and now director of the National Institutes of Health, recently told Newsweek, “I’ve not had a problem reconciling science and faith since I became a believer at age 27 … if you limit yourself to the kinds of questions that science can ask, you’re leaving out some other things that I think are also pretty important, like why are we here and what’s the meaning of life and is there a God? Those are not scientific questions.” Ian Hutchinson, professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, told me: “The universe exists because of God’s actions. What we call the ‘laws of nature’ are upheld by God, and they are our description of the normal way in which God orders the world. I do think miracles take place today and have taken place over history. I take the view that science is not all the reliable knowledge that exists. The evidence of the resurrection of Christ, for example, cannot be approached in a scientific way.” Owen Gingerich, professor emeritus of astronomy and of the history of science at Harvard University, says: “I believe that our physical universe is somehow wrapped within a broader and deeper spiritual universe, in which miracles can occur. We would not be able to plan ahead or make decisions without a world that is largely law-like. The scientific picture of the world is an important one. But it does not apply to all events. Even in science we take a lot for granted. It’s a matter of what you want to trust. Faith is about hope rather than proof.”

Devoutly religious scientists, such as Collins, Hutchinson and Gingerich, reconcile their belief in science with their belief in an interventionist God by adopting a worldview in which the autonomous laws of physics, biology and chemistry govern the behavior of the physical universe most of the time and therefore warrant our serious study. However, on occasion, God intervenes and acts outside of these laws. The exceptional divine actions cannot be analyzed by the methods of science.

Alan Lightman declares himself to be an atheist, yet can conceive of a religious belief that ould be valid once we learm more of the universe. Why? He says,

However, I certainly agree with Collins and Hutchinson and Gingerich that science is not the only avenue for arriving at knowledge, that there are interesting and vital questions beyond the reach of test tubes and equations.

But he ascribes such knowledge as belonging to the realm of arts and humanities.

Problem: To a reductionist (or to a scientific materialist) those realms of knowledge are NOT REAL. They are not really knowledge.

Lightman drops a bomb.

As another example, I cannot prove that the Central Doctrine of science is true.

Lightman seems to, ahem, cough, cough, not be a reductionist.

My Question: What makes a reductionist so sure he really knows?

Lightman drops another bomb:

I imagine the conversation in the MIT seminar room, with the murmurings of students in the hall and the silent photographs of Einstein and Watson and Crick staring from the wood-paneled walls:

I agree with much of you’ve said, says Jerry, but we need to distinguish between physical reality and what’s in our heads.

Something like the resurrection of Christ is a physical event. It either happened or it didn’t.

So he gets back to the actual historical claims of Christianity. These are not elements of religious faith. They either happened or they did not happen. How does a reductionist know they did not happen? Well, they just define it as not being possible. By faith in scientific materialism.

If reductionists cannot proven history did not happen how can they insist everybody must believe them? This seems a tough proposition – made more tough by the idea they want to tell the people doing the believing they themselves do not really have minds or personalities that are anything except imaginary.

Unless I misunderstand reductionism of course. Perhaps it is possible to have a mind but one where thoughts are all imaginary, as the reductionist said. Its difficult to ponder what such a mind would think of itself. It sounds sort of like Brave New World where Huxley proposes that if you don’t like your beliefs you just take a pill, and this alters chemistry, and this alters reality – POOF the world changes and history itself changes. This does not sound to me like the most rational of belief systems, but then again, I do not believe in reductionism so it is not my problem to solve.

I am just trying to understand 1) what reductionist are saying and 2) why they think it makes sense and is convincing.

Then came an anti-reductionist thought.

Physicists teach that the real state of matter at a microscopic scale is in indeterminate states until an observer interacts with matter. (i.e., does an observation). then there is a “quantum collapse” and the state of the matter becomes fixed. Example: an electron is both a wave and a particle and acts like both a wave and like a particle. And nobody knows which until it is observed. Then, having been observed, it is only a particle. If there isn’t an observer then it stays as both a wave and a particle. This is a well known paradox.

This implies that thoughts alter the material universe. Not the other way around. Perhaps I missed something and perhaps I am naive as can be. But to me this is hysterically funny.

What if an entity, made of only thought, outside the universe observed an electron? Or any other particle? Would it suddenly change it’s physical state? How do we know that is not possible?

What do we mean by “observer” anyway?

If an observer is imaginary, how can it affect physical states of matter?

Anyway, the bold declarations of the atheist debating with Dinesh just seemed to be a bit too strong to be taken at face value. It’s got to be more complicated and I see no reason to take his word for it.

I am going to discuss scientific materialism (separate post) and this may shed some light.

A final point on an argument between physicists.

First I want to mention one thing about Polkinghorne’s point that science and religion relate at a conceptual level. The atheist scientist I heard debate Dinesh, if I understand him correctly, would as a reductionist say Polkinghorne is wrong. They do not relate at a conceptual level. Why? Because thought is imaginary whereas physics is real. That is his belief.

I do have a question here. When this belief is expressed, is that KNOWLEDGE? I ask because if thought is imaginary then … isn’t knowledge itself also imaginary? I am somehow bothered by this sweeping thought under the rug by declaring it to be imaginary. I’m unsure how philosophers sort this out.

I think physicists really should disagree about this and really stop making categorically true statements that reductionism is the sole definition of scientific knowledge.

It’s called HOPE

Physicist John Polkinehorne writes about how the human mind, what we call the soul, is a hypercomplex machine that exists in higher level dimensions but which is linked to the three dimensional physical universe, i.e., our chemical based brains, and the two co-evolved (or were co-engineered to work together) by the creator.
This is a quantum computing phenomena that is beyond what physics can measure and thus is non-deterministic the same way that all quantum events are non-deterministic.

It is a metaphysical belief that is supported (inferred) by physical evidence. But we cannot measure it any more than we can measure the location of an electron.

Naturalists have no place in their metaphysical reality for such concepts.

But the soul is congruent with Christian beliefs. Not with naturalist’s beliefs.

Naturalists (and atheists) live in a soul-less universe where people are just an illusion produced by chemical reactions.

Chemical reactions can have no rights. Naturalism is dangerous to people’s rights. That is the political result of the American left. They have no basis for rights because humans are just illusions to them.

One way to understand the bankrupt socialist left is to read Francis Schaeffer.