So far in this series, I have reasoned that the scientific evidence for the beginning, and apparently design, of the universe points to a supernatural, powerful, personal, and intelligent Creator of the universe who may roughly fit the description of the God described in the Christian Bible. There are a growing number of people, like Prof. Dawkins, who do not believe in God, gods, or anything else outside the natural world. Looking at the same scientific evidence I have already described, they claim it does not point to any supernatural being. Many of them even claim that the more scientific knowledge humanity gains, the less credible belief in the supernatural becomes.
They tend to believe that the only objective source of truth is scientific knowledge, and discount objective reason, logic, and morality. I have an atheist friend who claims he does not believe in anything that is not observable, repeatable, and testable. This may sound far-fetched to some, but it is not something I just made up.
During his debate with Dr. William Lane Craig, Prof. Lawrence Krauss had this to say about logic.
Now the other thing that Dr. Craig has talked about is logic. And the interesting thing about the universe is it is not logical. At least it’s not classically logical. That’s one of the great things about science. It’s taught us that the universe is the way it is whether we like it or not. And much of what Dr. Craig has talked about and will talk about again tonight is the fact that he doesn’t like certain ideas. He doesn’t like the idea of infinity, he doesn’t like the idea of beginning, he doesn’t like the idea of chance. And in fact, it doesn’t make sense to him. He doesn’t like a universe in which morality is defined as allowing rape; doesn’t make sense to him. But the point is, if we continue to rely on our understanding of the universe on Aristotelian logic, on classical logic, by what we think is sensible, we would still be living in a world where heavier objects, we think, fall faster than light objects, because they’re heavier, as Aristotle used to think, instead of doing the experiment to check it out.
There are so many incorrect assumptions in Prof. Krauss’s statement that it is hard to know where to begin. However, for now this statement is sufficient to show that even educated and seemingly intelligent people will attempt to logically explain to us that logic is invalid. Also notice that he criticizes Dr. Craig for believing rape is immoral.
The truth is, there are such things as objective reason, logic, and morality. Human beings generally know this intuitively, and their existence can be demonstrated. The fact that such things exist objectively is another line of evidence for the existence of God, and another step closer to the Christian God. Only in the Judeo-Christian worldview is rational thought and objective morality rooted in God’s nature.
In fact, the scientific knowledge Professors Krauss and Dawkins, along with their antitheistic followers, put their faith in is completely unreliable apart from logic. To understand why science does not work without logic, we must understand what logic is. The most basic way to define logic is a statement that does not contradict itself. A statement that is logically valid is not necessarily true, but if that statement contradicts itself it is certainly not true. If any statement — even a scientific statement — contradicts itself, it cannot be true. Therefore, science must be logical in order to be a reliable source of truth.
There are four fundamental laws of logic:
1. The Law of Identity: Something is what it is, and not soemthing else. A is A.
2. The Law of Non-contradiction: A statement cannot be both true and not true at the same time, and in the same sense. A does not equal non-A.
3. The Law of Excluded Middle: Just because two things have one thing in common does not mean they have everything in common. Something is either A or non-A.
4. The Law of Rational Inference: Everything has a reason. For example:
A) All men are mortal.
B) Socrates is a man.
C) Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
As you can see, the fundamental laws of logic are concepts we all use every day to get to the truth. We use these principles whether we mean to or not, because they reflect how the world around us works. Aristotle may have been the first to systematize logic, but humans have been using it to figure things out since time immemorial.
When Prof. Krauss says, “…the universe is the way it is whether we like it or not,” it shows how little he understands logic. He apparently thinks that logic is merely an opinion formed by someone based on what what they like or what makes sense to them. However, if objective, classical, Aristotelian logic does not actually exist (which would be the case if Prof. Krauss is correct in his assumption that the universe is not logical), then we have no reason to trust science.
If anything — logically coherent or not — can happen, we have no reason to take scientific observations of the physical world seriously. In other words, we may observe today that gravity pulls objects to the earth, but tomorrow we may float about completely unimpeded by the force of gravity for no reason. We may observe right now that lungs are necessary to breath oxygen, but five minutes from now find that the brain is our respiratory organ without any concievable purpose. Objects may pop into existence uncaused, and nothing can be something. Does this scenario better describe the nature of reality, or a fantasy novel? This is exactly the sort of universe Prof. Krauss argued for in his debate with Dr. Craig.
But a stupid man will get understanding when a wild donkey’s colt is born a man!
Job 11:12, ESV
The “observable, repeatable, testable” scientific method championed by my atheist friend is meaningless apart from logic. It is no coincidence that the founders of modern science were Christians. According to the Judeo-Christian worldview, the universe was created by a wise, powerful, personal, and supernatural God. His power and nature are revealed in the demonstrably consistent and logical laws of nature. Science makes sense is such a wordview, and these early scientists never saw a conflict between their Christian faith and their scienctific observations.
The physical sciences… depend on the validity of logic just as much as metaphysics or mathematics. If popular thought feels ‘science’ to be different from all other kinds of knowledge because science is experimentally verifiable, popular thought is mistaken. Experimental verification is not a new kind of assurance coming in to supply the deficiencies of mere logic. We should therefore abandon the distinction between scientific and non-scientific thought. The proper distinction is between logical and non-logical thought. I mean, the proper distinction for our present purpose: that purpose being to find whether there is any class of thoughts which has objective value, which is not merely a fact about how the human cortex behaves. For that purpose we can make no distinctiob between science and other logical exercises of thought, for if logic is discredited science must go along with it.
Herein lies the problem for the atheist. Objective logic and reason must be assumed in order for us to make sense of the world. We can’t observe it, repeat it, or test it as we might test things that exist in the natural world. How much does logic weigh? What is the color of reason? Do ideas have fur, scales, or feathers? The very fact that 2 + 2 consistently equals 4 seems to suggest there are things over and above the natural world — supernatural things.
When the atheist asserts that there is nothing outside the natural world, the atheist denies objective reason and logic, without which there is no way for us to understand reality. Not all atheists go this route, but Prof. Krauss certainly has. In order to affirm science, Prof. Krauss has to borrow from the Christian worldview. This is what Cornelius van Til called living on borrowed capital. Prof. Krauss has to sit in God’s lap to slap Him in the face.
We have yet to observe intelligence arising spontaneously out of non-intelligence. If there is no supernatural origin of intelligence, where did humans get their intelligence? Just as something can never come from nothing, rational thinking doesn’t happen by accident. Such things cannot be explained by mere molecules in motion. Even over the course of millions and billions of years, it is irrational to believe that atoms and molecules just so happened to organize themselves into the precise and highly sophisticated world we live in. Objective reason and logic exist apart from humans, and were discovered rather than created by them. This is a strong line of evidence in favor of a supernatural, intelligent Creator whose nature is the source of reason and logic.
Can we carry through to the end the view that human thought is merely human: that it is simply a zoological fact about homo sapiens that he thinks in a certain way: that it in no way reflects (though no doubt it results from) non-human or universal reality? The moment we ask this question, we receive a check. We are at this very point asking whether a certain view of human thought is true. And the view in question is just the view that human thought is not true, not a reflection of reality. And this view itself is a thought. In other words, we are asking, ‘Is the thought that no thoughts are true, itself true?’ If we answer Yes, we contradict ourselves. For if all thoughts are untrue, then this thought is untrue.
There is simply no escaping the fact that objective reason and logic do exist. They cannot be empirically verified, but must be assumed in order to verify any truth claim, scientific or otherwise. They are outside the empirically verifiable physical realm, and therefore point to the supernatural. A supernatural, intelligent source for intelligent life is a better explanation for this than intelligence rising out of an unguided natural process. In fact, Jesus is refered to in the Gospel of John as the Logos, which is the same Greek word that the English term logic is derived from.
Prof. Krauss not only criticized objective reason and logic, but also objective morality. He said of Dr. Craig, He doesn’t like a universe in which morality is defined as allowing rape; doesn’t make sense to him. I must confess, it doesn’t make much sense to me either; not as a matter of personal taste as Prof. Krauss implies, but because I know intuitively that rape is objectively wrong, just as I know intuitively that illogical statements cannot be true.
The Apostle Paul pointed out that even though the Jewish people had received a special revelation from God, the heathen nations that surrounded them knew the difference between right and wrong apart from the written law. He even wrote that God would hold them accountable because they knew there was such a thing as objective morality.
For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
Romans 2:14-16, ESV
The Old Testament of the Bible records several instances of God’s judgment on wicked nations. He was perfectly just to punish them, because the moral law was written on their hearts and their consciences bore witness to the truth. He judged the five cities of the plain because of exceptional pride, gluttony, complacency, ignoring of the poor, and sexual perversion including homosexuality (Genesis 18:16-19:29; Ezekiel 16:49; Jude 1:7). He judged the seven nations of Canaan because they sacrificed their own children, and practiced divination, fortune-telling, sorcery, and spiritism (Deuteronomy 18:9-12). Many non-Christians, and even some liberal Christians, are offended by the fiery judgment against homosexuals, or the military campaigns of the Old Testament, but a holy and morally just God had to hold these people accountable for actions they knew were wrong.
On the other end of the spectrum, some object to the existence of God because of the existence of evil in the world.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then He is not omnipotent.
Is He able, but not willing?
Then He is malevolent.
Is He both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is He neither able nor willing?
Then why call Him God?
~the Epicurian Paradox
So on one hand, some people object to a biblical God who is the standard of all goodness and morality because He punished the Canaanites. On the other hand, people object to a biblical God because the existence of evil supposedly precludes the existence of such a deity. Often enough, the same skeptics propose both objections.
What is common to either objection is that the skeptic must presuppose an objective moral standard. Here is the problem with these objections: one cannot have an objective moral standard apart from something — dare I say Someone — like the God of the Bible.
If you claim there is such a thing as real, objective evil (not merely something that offends, or is hard to understand, as in Prof. Krauss’s idea of morality), then you have to admit there must be such a thing as objective good in contrast to objective evil.
If you claim there is such a thing as objective good and evil, then you have to admit there must be such a thing as an objective moral law by which you are judging good and evil.
If you claim there is such a thing as an objective moral law, you have to admit there is such a thing as a moral law giver.
The best explanation for such a moral law giver is that it cannot be a human being or society in general because in that case it cannot be an objective moral standard.
The common atheistic explanation is that morality as we know it evolved in order to give our remote ancestors a survival advantage. Primitive humans found it easier to survive in groups, and moral principles — they argue — made social interaction easier. No doubt, treating one’s neighbors as one would likes to be treated does make cooperation, and therefore survival in a human community, more likely.
However, this can hardly be the basis of an objective moral law. This might explain a subjective moral code of ethics because it would make morality relative to whatever gave us a survival edge. There is nothing objective about a standard based on survivability rather than truth. This also opens the door to all sorts of societies that we would recognize as immoral. The basis of National Socialist ethics was the idea that the government of Germany had a moral obligation to promote the supremacy of the Aryan race over all other races. This led to the idea that exterminating less desirable people was morally acceptable, and even something to be desired. Hitler and his Nazis were devoted to the destruction of the Jews, and any other people that stood (or were percieved to stand) in the Führer’s way. All was done to elevate, and promote the continued survival of, the German people.
In order to be objective, morality must come from a higher authority than humanity. If it is something that evolved, or was invented by a human society, it is a fairy-tale. It seems our scientific observations of the universe point to a supernatural, personal, powerful, intelligent being who created the universe from nothing, and inbued us with a universal sense of objective reason, logic, and morality which confound atheistic claims.
We still have not quite got to the point of making the complete case for the Christian God. What we have so far is an excellent case for a being a lot like the God of the Bible. The strongest evidence for the Christian God is the historical accounts of Jesus of Nazareth. This will be the subject of my next post.