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"How Life Began" extract - Main Page

#4 - Redefining Science to
Eliminate the Creator

by Thomas F. Heinze
 

You are walking down the road with a friend and come to a wreck. Your friend knows cars, so you point to one of the fragments on the road and ask your him, "Is this a piece of the car, or just a chip of rock?"

He explains: "This is one of the computer chips that control the motor. It checks the sensors, processes the information and gives commands. When the motor is cold, it provides a mixture richer in gasoline than when it is hot. If it detects one thing or another in the exhaust, it uses that information to change the mixture or the timing to make the motor run more efficiently."

What made the chip? You have two choices:

It was put together by the blind forces of nature.

It was developed by an intelligent designer.

We recognize things that were conceived by a mind every day, but in the cases in which the designer of a complex object could not be a person, we are told that we should not reason like we do for everything else. Schoolbooks suggest that living cells, which control far more complex operations than any chip, came about by chance or by natural selection with no designer at all. As more and more has been learned about the fantastic complexity of what were once thought to be simple cells, the atheistic position has become ever more difficult to maintain. Something is being done about that!

The new definition

The definition of science is being changed in a way that will no longer permit the rather obvious conclusion that God created living things. The term "science" once meant "knowledge discovered by experimentation, observation and objective investigation." We were taught that science was to be observable, testable, and repeatable. When one scientist did an experiment, others could repeat his experiment, and obtain the same results. If no one who repeated the experiment came up with the same results, those results had been "falsified," that is, shown not to be true. This definition of science has served us very well, but for those who teach that life formed spontaneously with no Creator involved, it has become a problem. They want to teach their philosophy as science, but the idea that a first cell came together spontaneously from chemicals without a Creator is an opinion about ancient history. It is not observable, testable, or repeatable, so it does not fall under the usual definition of science.

To make the idea that the first life came about with no help from an intelligent Creator appear scientific, science is being redefined. Many are now insisting that science must explain all that we observe by solely natural causes.

In Kansas the state guidelines redefined science as, "The human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us."1

The meaning of the term, "natural explanations" in this context is, "without any input by an intelligent creator." It is used in place of saying, "atheistic explanations" which would stir up opposition. Notice, it does not say, "The human activity of seeking the best explanations," or "the most probable explanations" or "the explanations indicated by the evidence." The fact that it says that science is the "activity of seeking natural explanations" means that when studying such things as the origin of life, the new definition has already determined the conclusion before the research has even begun! To these people, there can be no Creator.

Fry, a philosopher of science, puts it:

" origin of life research consists in looking for a naturalistic alternative to the idea of the creation of life by a designer."2 In context she is responding to the very influential book, Darwin's Black Box, by Michael Behe, a professor of biochemistry. He makes the point that even the most simple cell would not function without a certain number of essential parts. Behe is not speaking of parts like arms and legs, but of parts on the molecular level. He uses as an illustration the common mouse trap, the kind with a base, a wire that snaps down, etc. If even one part of a mouse trap is eliminated it will not catch mice. It has as few parts as it can have and still work. Behe calls this "irreducible complexity" because the machine will not work if even one part is taken away. This applies to cells because they also need a certain number of parts to work. Because none of these parts would work without the others, all of the really essential parts must have been present from the first. This is strong evidence for an intelligent designer, and against the idea that a cell could have been put together from an "organic broth" or from contact with clay, ideas which are championed by the biology books used in many schools.

Fry summarizes the work of most of the important origin of life scientists and says that they are attempting to " reduce the irreducibly complex." She means that the goal of their research is to find methods by which a cell could function without irreducibly complex molecular machines that would have to have come about by intelligent design. They are looking for a way that something simple could have survived and reproduced; something that was simple enough to have started right out without irreducible complexity, and without a Creator.

Each of the first life researchers presents a somewhat different scenario by which he hopes to succeed where the others have failed. Some explain why the attempts of other scientists have not produced a cell, and theirs may be successful.

My question to Fry and these researchers, each with his doctor's degrees, standing as it were on the shoulders of the scientists who came before him is: "If after many more years of accumulating knowledge and ability, one of you really does succeed in producing life in a test tube, will you really have shown that life came about with no intelligent creator involved?" Perhaps the question is irrelevant, because no one has succeeded in creating life, and I see little hope that they will. As the research continues, is there some point at which we can say that their idea that life could have started without a Creator has been falsified? If it is not falsifiable, it is outside the realm of science, unless one accepts the new definition of science, and with it the idea that " origin of life research consists in looking for a naturalistic alternative to the idea of the creation of life by a designer."

If the world really accepts the new definition of science, it will find that in one diabolical act, it has eliminated both the basis of science as we have known it, and of the morality which made science possible. Modern science, to prosper requires a certain level of honesty which has been rooted in the commands of God. Modern science did not really get moving until after the invention of the printing press which put the Bible in the hands of a good portion of the people of the world. It is among those people that modern science flowered. Will the philosophers of science be able to derive sufficient new moral standards from the driving force of naturalism: natural selection, the elimination of the less fit, and the survival of the fittest?

Put it to the test

When you try to find or invent a naturalistic alternative to anything you know was designed by a mind, a brick for example, another problem with the new definition becomes obvious. You could say, "Two inches of clay were deposited in a flat spot on the side of a volcano between two vertical flat rocks four inches apart. This gave the clay the shape of a brick. The next eruption heated the clay and baked the brick." That would be a naturalistic alternative, but instead of helping us understand how bricks, or cells, or whatever are really made, imaginary naturalistic scenarios often hide true origins, and impede real science.

In addition, a definition of science like, "The human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us," can only be applied when studying certain specific things. It cannot be used when studying anything made by people because this definition only permits us to search among "natural explanations" for the things around us. Whether we are studying a brick or a complex new jet aircraft, under the new definition we are to reject the idea of an intelligent designer, and search for a natural cause, a way that it could have been put together by the forces of nature. The evidence does not matter. Under the new definition, the researcher is not allowed to look where the evidence leads when it leads to an intelligent designer.

In the case of man made objects, we can easily test the definition because we know they were products of intelligent design. Any definition which does not permit intelligent design is so wrong as to be utterly ridiculous, yet, if we strictly apply the new definition, whether we are studying a cell or an automobile, our conclusion must always be that it had no intelligent creator. Since the new definition does not work where it can be put to the test, why in the world would anyone trust it in areas in which it cannot be put it to the test?

To avoid this problem, an unspoken exception is made for the cases in which people did the designing. We are expected to not use the new definition in these cases so as to hide the fact that it does not work were it can be tested. The test, however, is still valid. A definition of science that does not work where it can be put to the test is so obviously faulty that in the long run it may become more of a problem than a help to our atheist friends who are jumping on that bandwagon.

Having said this, I understand the motivation for wanting the change. If one is allowed to follow the evidence for the origin of life wherever it leads, it leads to God. The evidence is so stacked against a purely naturalistic source for living things that redefining science seems to be the only way to get there.

Where did presidents come from?

The heads of some of America's most famous presidents have been carved out of the solid rock of the side of Mount Rushmore. Because these heads are right out in the wind and the rain, a visitor who knew nothing about them could ask, "Are these heads a natural occurrence? Did weathering and erosion just happen to shape the surface of the rock so it resembles the heads of presidents?"

Someone could ask that, but no one does because even though the resemblance is not even skin deep, the likeness of the presidents is so perfect that it is obviously a product of design. It is the work of a great sculptor. Ask a thousand science teachers. All of them will give you that kind of an answer. However, caught in the convoluted web of their own strange logic, many of these same teachers will stand up in class the next day and teach their students that not only the single cell with all its complexities, but the very presidents themselves evolved through the blind forces of nature.

"There is none so blind as he who will not see!"
 

1 Peter Keeting, "God and Man in OZ" George, Oct. 2000, p. 87.

2 Iris Fry, The Emergence of Life on Earth, 2000, p. 184.
 

Adapted from information in the book Answers to my Evolutionist Friends, How Life Began, by Thomas F. Heinze, published in 2002 by Chick Publications, 160 pages, $8.50. or read it free at:

http://www.chick.com/catalog/books/0123.asp


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