Perspectives on Spiritual, Intellectual and Pastoral Issues: Host – Lowell Qualls

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Calling All Atheists and Theists #3

Dear friends engaged in the discussion of beliefs (both atheistic and theistic),

Abu Ali al-Basra (a Tenth Century Persian scientist, also known as Ibn Al-Haytham, 965-1039 CE) interests me because my wife is an optometrist, and his Book of Optics has greatly influenced the development of lenses, mirrors, refraction, and theories of vision and the dispersion of light.  This great Muslim scientist is “a pioneer of the scientific method,” that is, the search for truth.  He said, “Truth is sought for its own sake.  And those engaged upon the quest for anything for its own sake are not interested in other things.  Finding the truth is difficult, and the road to it is rough.”  (Physical Thought from the Pre-Socratics to the Quantum Physicists;© 1979, ISBN 0-87663-712-8)

I bring him into our discussion because I love his take on the search for truth, and the fact that he is seen as the “Father of the Scientific Method.”

The Scientific Method was described in laymen’s terms by “Ubiquitous Che” – a commenter in my previous blog articles on Atheism and Theism – this way:

“I was drawn to atheism for a very simple reason.  I find the naturalistic explanation for how the universe came to be the way it is to be wholly satisfactory.  (my emphasis) From this, I find it highly irrational to propose a supernatural entity as an ‘add-on’ explanation when no add-on was needed in the first place.

“Also, because the naturalistic explanation is … well … naturalistic, it means that we can get stuck into it very deeply.  It removes the foggy, murky veil of mystery and brings the picture of the universe into sharp focus, allowing us to peer deeper and deeper into its workings and bring about change according to our will.

“There’s more to it than just that, but it’s the core of the matter.”  (Ubiquitous Che, 5/04/2008)

I will paraphrase/interpret the quotation above this way:  Natural Science (Che’s “… naturalistic explanation for how the universe came to be the way it is”) is the truth.  It explains the origin of the Universe in a way that satisfies man’s search for the truth. 

While there is much more to his rationale, Che says that Naturalism provides “the core” for his belief system.

The Scientific Method involves the collection of observable, empirical and measureable data (“evidence of and for cause and effect”), observation, experimentation, and the formulation of a theory (“hypotheses”) based on reasoning. 

This 20th Century “hypothetico-deductive model” of the Scientific Method has been the engine that has driven the study of physics and biology – the very foundation stones of Naturalism.

But because the Scientific Method has its limitations when talking about the origin of the Universe (you and I can’t collect observable, empirical DNA-rich data, experiment with it, and then observe measurable cause-and-effect outcomes).  Because of these limitations, the scientific community had to develop a whole “new class” of scientists:  scientific philosophers.  (These are the “atheologians” of the atheistic community.)

This new class of scientist is not limited in their search for truth by the Scientific Method’s primary requirement – “proof.”  Their only limitation has been the span and capacity of human imagination.  These new scientists (the “Darwinist Class”) began with (and still begin with) a belief – what they call their “theory” – and they search for evidence that will reinforce their belief.

In the scientific community, the guardian of the Scientific Method was “peer review.”  The object of these guardians of truth – peer scientists – was to find possible mistakes in observations, reasoning, and the interpretation of data.  [The way out now for peer review, when it comes to the origin of the Universe anyway, is simply that peer review only applies to the “experimental sciences” (physics, chemistry).] 

When it comes to proof, scientific philosophers are exempted!  They are not held to tough, evidentiary standards when it comes to defending their theories.  Scientific philosophers don’t have to “substantiate” their beliefs.  They just have to write about them, and see if the ideas postulated will find an accepting audience.  And they do, because now there are more scientific philosophers than true scientists.  Scientific philosophers have bastardized the proof systems inherent to the Scientific Method’s search for truth … and then these people have the audacity to say to people of faith (i.e., believers in God), “Show us your proof!”

Honest biologists and physicists are coming forward now, swimming against the tide of atheistic belief, saying, “There are unexplainable gaps in the evolutionary chains,” and “There are mysteries that defy logical human interpretations when it comes to what we are observing in the Universe.”  They are daring to suggest that Naturalism is built on “un-faith,” so to speak.  They are challenging the scientific philosophers to defend their un-beliefs.

Interesting, don’t you think?

I really like Ubiquitous Che’s style, and respect his intelligence.  (I even like the name he has chosen to describe himself because his peers are “everywhere, omnipresent!”)  U-C is a modern “every-man.”

Would his friends please care to comment on what I have written above.

The Times … they are a changing.

There’s such a vacuum of leadership in this country, and in our world.

Jesus had something to say about our times.  His disciples asked Him questions about the future, any “signs” they would recognize that would signal His return to earth, and “signs” that would portend (warn, foreshadow) the “end of the world.”

Jesus gave them the following information (all taken from St. Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 24):

1.  False “messiahs” would come, and would lead people astray.

2.  Wars would break out.  “Nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other.”

3.  There would be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world.

4.  Christ-followers would be hated all over the world, and would be “arrested, persecuted, and killed.”

5.  “False prophets” would lead many people astray.

6.  Something “sacrilegious” would desecrate “the Holy Place.”

7.  A time of “great horror” – so terrible that if that time of calamity is not supernaturally shortened (by God Himself), the entire human race would be destroyed.

In other places in the Old and New Testament (Daniel in the OT and The Revelation in the NT) “end time” events are described.  It’s all interesting reading.

One of the striking things that Jesus and God’s prophets also spoke about was the longing for leadership the entire population of the Earth would have in the “end times.”  Right now in America this desire for leadership is very much present.  America is looking to her politicians for strong, intelligent leadership that will prevent economic ruin, and produce military victory.  America is longing for a “messiah.”

Every major religion is looking for a messiah.  What a perfect time for a false one to appear.

Think about it.

People Watching – Maui Style

I’m a people watcher.  Are you?

waiting-in-maui-airport.jpgI had a wonderful occasion to watch people … all strangers … over the last 24 hours.  About 175 people arrived at Maui’s airport to fly back to the mainland.  Dallas was our destination – about a seven hour flight, give or take, depending on the jet stream.  From Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, we would fan out from there – one guy to Brazil, one lovely lady to New York’s Hudson’s valley, another guy to St. Louis, a couple to Florida.  Me?  Back to Richmond, Virginia.

American Airlines is a great airline.  I love their reach.  British Air, Quantas, and Cathay Airlines are a few of their partners.  American fits most of my world travels.

Last night our AA 767 had mechanical problems, so we had to deplane and wait for repairs.  It turned out that our plane needed a part, and that the repairs couldn’t be done until today.  American put us up in a really nice hotel, The Grand Wailea, and gave us a food voucher.  The other passengers and myself didn’t get to enjoy all the fantastic amenities of this “Five Diamond” hotel, but we did get a decent rest.

Up at 3:15 AM, on the bus by 4, and back to the airport at 4:40.  Whew!

It’s now 11:15 AM, and we’re still not on the plane.  The repair part the mechanics needed and ordered for American Flight 6 came in, sort of.  Turns out whoever does the part-sending-out sent the wrong one.  Hmm.

But I gotta tell you, if you’re going to be delayed … and delays happen … you will want to have a similar experience to mine.  American employees (from the pilots and flight attendants to the mechanics) at Maui’s airport are the best, and they have gate and ticket agents you’ve only imagined in your dreams.  Every one is full of ALOHA!  Each person waiting on us has been so sweet.  And nice.  (You can’t teach the kind of “nice and sweet” we experienced, and you certainly can’t put it in a policy manual.)

I’m not sure when we’ll get off the ground, but being safe is better than being on time, right?

And if you’re going to be delayed at an airport, wouldn’t it be great if everyone you had to work with was sweet and nice?

Another mind-blowing observation I made today is … surprise … how nice MOST of the passengers have been.  Oh, there’s a few boneheads who have complained about anything/everything, maybe because of brain damage or a shallow gene pool.  Whatever.  Why make it tough on the people around you, or the children with you?

Anyway, back to “the MOST.”  Former strangers have chatted, shared stories, and been downright friendly.  Smiles were the rule, not the exception.  I watched one family do homework together, the dad quizzing his kids on math and English while the mom sat close by, smiling and encouraging.

Human beings, when tested, can show such cool and admirable qualities.  True character comes to the surface when put to the fire.

How’s your day?

Think about it.