Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Biblical View of Science and Nature - Dr. Vern Poythress


This is a report from the recent Science & Faith: Friend or Foes? Conference held at Westminster Theological Seminary.

Dr. Vern Poythress, an apologetical presuppositionalist, opened the conference with an address on A Biblical View of Science and Nature. His basic theme was that the characteristics of the universe we inhabit "just happen" to correspond with the characteristics of God, its Creator.

Highlights:

* The universe is law-based. Laws are pervasive - it is the regularity of law that permitted, e.g., the astronauts to land on the moon and safely return. Regularity extends from the outer reaches of the cosmos to the microscopic cell.

* Regularity, from Latin regula, rule - ordered according to law, principle or type

Scientific laws have the following characteristics.

* all-places (omnipresent)
* unchanging (immutable)
* all-times (cf. "eternal")

Coincidence (?) that the attributes of law correspond to the nature of God

The universe was spoken into being -- God's speech is the real law, and scientists investigate the proximation. Law is also

* immaterial
* truthful
* omnipotent (i.e., has teeth, e.g., law of gravity)
* invisible
* transcendent

Scientists merely investigate the regularities -- they cannot create or change them.

Are scientific laws the product of a personal God who speaks, or, are we in the midst of an impersonal mechanism that can grind us to pieces?

Law, in ordinary terms, implies a law-giver.

Scientists have to believe in the rationality of scientific laws, yet, only persons are capable of reason and rationality.

Laws are language-like -- they are expressed as vocabulary.

According to Romans 1:19-20 (a favorite verse of apologetical presuppositionalists like Dr. Poythress), it is not that there is not enough evidence from the cosmos to believe in God, a rational Agent must be presupposed to have confidence in the rational composition of the universe; therefore, in refusing to acknowledge God, according to Romans 1:19-20, "it is not that there isn't enough evidence, it is not a matter of being religiously neutral, it is a matter of being idolatrous".

Dr. Poythress is the author of Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach.

5 comments:

David Thomson said...

Double talk, with no credible arguement there at all.
There is no god.

Leeky Sweek said...

"There is no god."

You wouldn't be here if there wasn't.

Audrey II said...

If only we could be so lucky that so many people were attending celebration services devoted to the omnipresent, immutable, eternal laws of the physical universe. Sadly, that's far from the case.

I did like the hamfisted, Kirk-Cameron-esque amphiboly with the term "law", as though the difference between the physical properties that govern the relationships between matter and energy are somehow the same as the constructs that humans have come up with to shape the social behaviour of their fellow, conscious beings. Kinda makes the whole "law necessitates lawgiver" thing a bit of a non-sequitur.

"Presupposed" to belief in the irrational, indeed. Logic Fail.

Lindsay Stewart said...

regular, denting the daily movement of the bowels. therefore god is...

Where's Waldo? said...

Perhaps Vern should read Spinoza before he starts presenting arguments such as the one described in this posting. Spinoza's logic is slightly more compelling. In the end, he uses basic logic to demonstrate that there is no personal god and that the universe exists for its' own sake. Using current language to greatly simplify Spinoza, god is the system where the system is physics. We were not created - we are a random development within a system that is fairly stable. We can observe the universe only because of the anthropomorphic principal.

Vern's arguments are primitive in comparison and have some element that are verging on circular argumentation.

BTW, Spinoza was excommunicated and viewed as an atheist.

Where's Waldo

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"