Main Page| Choose another chapter |SYNOPSIS
ABOLISH THE ABSURDITIES
It's OK to Believe in Both Creation and Evolution
by D. R. Cruise
This book is now in print. As the publisher requested, this chapter has been replaced with a synopsis. To read the unabridged chapter, please order the book. [more]
Chapter Five. Further Discussions
5.0 This chapter serves two purposes. First it attempts to tie up some loose ends from previous chapters. Secondly, the author addresses some comments that he has received (mostly via the internet).
The discussions that follow would have been digressions in previous chapters. Therefore, they appear here in their own chapter. To a noticeable extent, the sections below are independent of each other. None are presented in depth, and they serve to suggest areas of interest and investigation to the reader.
The “loose ends” considered in this chapter include: (1) a brief discussion of anthropic coincidences, (2) more discussion on the Big Bang, and (3) more discussion on containment.
The comments portion of the chapter include: (4) a discussion of some verbal mischief, (5) some creation fundamentalist responses to the material in this book, (6) a possible conflict between scriptures and Physical Order, and (7) comments on the Genesis flood.
As in all chapters, the author freely presents his views. However, he also respects the views of those who have kindly provided comments and criticisms.
We begin by returning to a basic question: Was intelligent life on Earth, the result of chance or was human life intended from the beginning?
Does the fact that these and many other highly unlikely events allowed humans to exist and achieve high civilization, prove that there was a divine plan? No, it is not proof; and, strictly speaking, it is not even evidence. (It is not proper or meaningful to make a hypothesis after we have already gathered the data.) [more]
The preceding discussion may be summarized as follows: The universe is well designed for human existence. This argues for (but does not prove) a designer.
Expressing the nature of the universe in terms of design proves nothing. Nevertheless, it gives a great deal of comfort to believers in God and a divine plan.
Comfort is not as good as proof, but it instills a certain amount of confidence that one's faith is justified. Also, it must give non believers a certain amount of discomfort. (For the sake of full disclosure the author admits he takes some comfort in such notions.)
Did the universe have a beginning? Everyone knows the scriptures have an answer to this question. The universe began at the time of creation. An equally interesting question is: What does science say?
Throughout history, wherever science has answered a question about the workings of the universe, it has often given rise to questions about earlier events.
Logically science must continue to confront ever earlier questions or it must reach back to a beginning.
The Big Bang is a theory that points to a beginning. However, some scientists do not like starting points. They would prefer to believe the universe was always here. Let us investigate this matter further.
There is another theory (actually it has the status of law) that also raises questions about the beginning and end of the universe. It is the Second Law of Thermodynamics (a term sometimes shortened to Second Law). One way of stating it, is that the entropy of a closed system must either increase or remain constant.
Entropy is sometimes called, chaos, although that is somewhat simplistic. One may then say that a closed system either must become more chaotic, or it must remain the same. The opposite of chaos is order. Therefore, we may also say that a closed system cannot become more orderly as time passes.
Nevertheless, order may increase in one part of a closed system, if order is destroyed in equal or greater amounts somewhere else in the system. However, the creation and the destruction of order must be coupled in some way. [more]
life is a parasitic process in a thermodynamic sense, It couples itself with an increase in chaos, occurring on the Sun or elsewhere, to sustain itself and evolve into more organized forms.
Let us expand this thought. If the universe itself is a closed system, then the Second Law says that the universe is becoming more chaotic as time passes. In fact, some day it may become so chaotic that there will be little order left to destroy. At that time life will no longer be possible. (Of course, this will not happen anytime soon). [more]
In Chapter Three we discussed the containment versus the non containment of God. If God is contained in space-time and has to abide by its physical laws, then He is a limited God.
On the other hand, non containment would mean that God is not restrained in any way by space-time. A simplistic way to describe non containment is: God observes all space as here, and observes all time as now. [more]
Non believers prefer to argue against a contained God; it makes their arguments more manageable. Most believers have the same motive when we argue in favor of a non contained God. It makes our arguments more manageable. Neither containment nor non containment is provable and, of course, all arguments are moot if there is no God.
However, believers are not united on the issue of containment. Some, in fact, argue in favor of containment.
They believe that God marches to the cadence of a clock as we humans do. Therefore current events can surprise and confound Him just as events often confuse and confound us. This also allows them to contend that God has changed His attitude toward humans over time.
Scriptures are said to show that God was extremely harsh in the earlier times and became more loving and forgiving at later times. (An inclination to change His mind should be a scary thought for believers. If He can change His mind in our favor, then He can change His mind in the other direction also.)
The best treatment on this subject, that the author is familiar with, appears in [BSW]. Mr. Easterbrook argues for containment in [BSW] whereas this book argues for non containment. [more]
Let us analyze the situation. With or without God, we are part of Physical Order. We might say that we are prisoners of the Physical Order. (Perhaps God can decide whether He abides by Physical Order and Well-behaved Temporal Flow, but we cannot!)
Every day we risk injuries that range from minor scratches to fatal accidents. We are at risk from diseases and ailments of varying severity. We are at risk from earthquakes, tornadoes and other natural calamities. We are vulnerable to the cruelty and mayhem committed by our fellow humans. We live in a world where a Hitler dies unpunished. A Mother Theresa dies unrewarded.
If there is no God, then there is only one explanation for the events in the previous paragraph. That is the way the Physical Order unfolds (or the way the cookie crumbles :-).
If there is a God, He may still choose to preserve Physical Order in spite of its risks to humans. That way He does not force people to believe in Him. God perhaps integrates us into the Physical Order to test our faith and our observance of the commandments. [more]
Mr. Easterbrook spends a generous portion of his book on the previous question, is God limited? Other people try to obtain a “quick and dirty” answer.
They do this by posing the following question: "Can God create a stone so big that even He cannot lift it?" (Actually, there are several variations of this question around.)
It would appear that if one answers, yes, then God is limited in his lifting powers. If one answers, no, then God is limited in His creative powers. However, this argument is a play on words.
Some non believers assert that this simplistic question and answer process disproves the existence of God. The assertion is not based on sound logic. [more]
All the arguments against the material presented in the preceding chapters originate from the evolution side (except, the historic God-would-be-a-liar argument revealed in Section 3.1.7). To provide equal time, the author provides some specific arguments that he has received from creation fundamentalists. [more]
An astute reader had a question about the strong and weak hypotheses of the last chapter. It goes as follows:
The reader's question: “In Section 4.4.4, the author presented a pair of conjectures about divine reluctance to intervene. The author used them to argue against the possibility of interventions in the evolution process. Could we not use the same hypotheses to argue against the scriptural miracles? “
This is admittedly a tough question. However, reluctance to intervene is not the same as refusal to intervene. The distinction may be due to necessity. [more]
A favorite topic among creation fundamentalists is the Genesis flood. Discussion of the event is not necessary to serve the purpose of this book. However, it provides an example of a communication miracle.
Furthermore, the author himself has used Noah's Ark as an example of an unexpected discovery that might force non believers to accept the authenticity of the scriptures. Also, it allows the author the opportunity to throw a few more barbs at both the evolution and creation fundamentalists (all in friendly fun, of course :-). [more]
The account of the Genesis flood is a perfect example of people on both sides of a controversial issue running amuck. The creation-only people have been carried away by their imagination. The evolution-only people have been just as gullible. They see no evidence of a planet wide flood. They therefore have convinced themselves that they have disproved scriptures and creation.
The chapter ends here. It also concludes our close focus on creation. The next three chapters focus more closely on the historical details of evolution. They will deal with human biological and social evolution, past, present and future.
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