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Two Synopses of the book, chapter by chapter
Introduction The introduction is an autobiographical description of my own philosophical development, in which I changed from an agnostic to someone who believes in God. It also contains a description of the plan of the book. See entire introduction
Chapter One, Enemies or Helpmates, reviews the events of the past 500 years and discusses the current author combatants. At one extreme are atheistic scientists and at the other are Young Earth Creationists who believe in a six-earth-day literal creation, and who feel that the scientists are sinners in a conspiracy to fake their results. I repeat my thesis that scientific results tend to prove God. See First Page.
Chapter Two, Our Designer Universe Fine-Tuned for Life, is a summary of scientific discoveries in cosmology and particle physics that are precisely tuned to allow life. The accuracy required is one part in 10123. The scientists try to avoid ‘creation’ demonstrated in the Big Bang, by imagining multiple universes, and we happen to be in the ‘lucky’ one. The chapter closes with Nahmanides, a 13th Century Jewish commentator on Genesis, describing the Big Bang, from his analysis of the first six chapters of Genesis. See First Page.
Chapter Three, Is Life a Glorious Accident? No Chance, presents the research into the origin of life, and the enormous odds against a chance accident changing inanimate matter into living matter. Descriptions of DNA and RNA are given in a simplified manner. See First Page.
Chapter Four, Is the Evolution of Humans a Glorious Accident?, describes the Darwin Theory and demonstrates the many problems with it. Controversies among Darwin scientists are presented, as well as criticisms from non-Darwin scientists. Darwinism is a passive process that claims to have been able to produce the obvious increasing complexity of evolution. It is clear that random mutations cannot have produced the information necessary to create life as we know it. A divine source for that information is an alternative. See First Page.
Chapter Five, Our Hat Size is too Big for Darwin, asks why is our brain so big, and is so complex that we have an enormous intellect, marked aesthetic abilities, consciousness, and religiosity. The brain’s abilities are far beyond what is needed for survival of the species by natural selection; for instance, inventing advanced theoretical mathematics or classical music. Further, as the brain enlarged in the human baby, upright posture required a change in pelvic shape and at the same time the maternal pelvic outlet had to enlarge to handle the baby. This requires simultaneous changes by separate individuals (mothers and babies) from chance mutations! See First Page.
Chapter Six, Hallucination or Glimpse of the Afterlife, describes near-to-death and out-of- the body experiences. Ten episodes with strong confirmatory evidence of the experiencer’s observations are presented. Medical research into meditation and mysticism explores our religiosity and these experiences. Human species consciousness and intercessory prayer experiments are described. These appear to be divine gifts. See First Page.
Chapter Seven, Belief in God through Rational Philosophy, uses the method of Mortimer J. Adler (How to Think About God, 1980) to logically present the material in the book as showing that God exists beyond a reasonable doubt. There is an argument from first cause: the Big Bang appears uncaused. There is an argument from design of the universe and of life. There is an argument from Darwin. Darwinism is an attempt to do away with the need for God. The Darwin theory is not proven. And finally there is an argument from consciousness. Consciousness is a very special attribute of humans, which was not required to appear, and is not present in any other surviving species. See First Page.
Chapter Eight, Reflections on a Personal Theology, covers my thinking after completing my research and my conclusions. I encourage independent thought to reach one’s personal theology. I point out that one must go from reason to faith in two major steps. In discussing the ‘problem of evil’, I feel it is the result of how critics define God, and I think of God as a ‘tough-love’ parent who allows us free will and therefore the ability to do evil. In my opinion we are made in the image of God through our consciousness, which is a part of the Divine Consciousness, as many mystics propose. I make a plea for pluralism in religious thought, not the approach of many people that ‘only my way is the right way.’ I ask for studies of comparative religion in high school, so we understand each other, and also that the gaps in the Darwin theory be taught in science classes, not just his evolutionary theory as if proven. And finally, some scientists feel that science robs the universe of all mystery and purpose leading to existentialism. My answer is ‘our lives with God have meaning.’ See First Page.
This book is written to show that the scientific discoveries of the past 150 years can be viewed as proving that God exists beyond a reasonable doubt. It follows the method outlined in Mortimer J. Adler’s book, How to Think About God, 1980. In this way the book removes the need for Science and Religion to continue as combatants in their 500-year war. The two areas of knowledge complement each other. The material presented was culled from well over 100 books read over the last 15 years (actual count, a few not quoted in this book because of repetition). Also innumerable articles from lay magazines (for example, Scientific American; Science & Spirit), scientific journals, newspaper reports and articles, and several Internet websites (especially, metanexus.net) added vital material.
The book is a broad over-view of the science/theology debate and offers many reasons why the two fields of knowledge should not be conflicted. The book is written at a high school level, not the higher reading standards of some of the scientific and philosophic works, to facilitate understanding by the ordinary reader who wishes to study this field. The bibliography presented offers a fertile ground to expand one’s own research. The book contains scientific knowledge that clearly supports religious faith. However, it does challenge Creationists who deny scientific facts, and it also challenges atheists and agnostics to reconsider their positions. I never insist that ‘my way is the only way’, and ask the reader to think and make choices of personal theology comfortable for himself, after considering the material I present.
The overall plan of the book initially presents a history of the 500-year conflict including current combatants. The contributions of science are next displayed with analysis as to pertinence for religion over several chapters. The two final chapters are, first, one of philosophic reasoning that beyond a reasonable doubt God exists, based on the science presented, and finally, a chapter of my own personal thoughts and theological conclusions as a result of my research.
In the Introduction I explain my own background and reveal that the book is in large part a description of my own search for God, very much as Adler searched most of his life. Therefore, the approach is from reason, with faith arriving later. Logic is employed with the use of Occam’s razor. Years ago I had noted the amazing comparison between creation as described in Genesis and by the Big Bang Theory, and was inspired to write this book after discovering Gerald Schroeder’s two books, Genesis and the Big Bang (1990) and The Science of God (1997) Another inspiration was my realization that the enormity of human intellect far surpassed the needs of ‘survival of the fittest’, and therefore the Darwin Theory did not have the whole explanation for the appearance of the human race. And finally a number of patients described near to death experiences to me. They were startling and suggested the patients had seen the way to heaven.
Chapter One, Enemies or Helpmates, starts with a review of events 500 years ago when the world and the Catholic Church were startled by the assertions of Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo. To help in the discussion of the science/religion conflict, there is a description of scientific reductionism and the God-of-the-Gaps mistake. Many current authors who have written on both sides of the conflict are presented: Gerald Schroeder, Paul Davies, Chet Raymo, Edward O. Wilson, John Polkinghorne, Kenneth R. Miller, Michael J. Behe, and Frank J. Tipler are some of the scientist/authors. Michael Shermer, Kenneth C. Davies, Robert T. Pennock, and William A. Dembski are some of the non-scientists. It is explained that the King James Version of the bible is not an accurate representation of the original five books of Moses. This leads to a review of some Creationist literature and explanations of why I think they are wrong in insisting upon six literal days for creation, and creating the theory that the Noachian flood damaged the layers of the earth so that geologic aging is wrong and our earth is only 6-10,000 years old. Science has found evidence of a severe flood local to the Middle East suggesting how the story came to be.
Pennock’s book, The Tower of Babel (1999), is discussed at length. He defends Darwinism against creationists and also against proponents of ‘intelligent design’. This latter group feels that Darwin’s theory is incomplete, that chance alone cannot have created us and that evolution requires the input of other information. I present a number of scientists who have strong objections to Darwin. Behe’s book, Darwin’s Black Box (1996), is a major example. He claims that biologic systems are so ‘irreducibly complex’, requiring so many interlocking and cooperative steps, that evolution one step at a time could not have organized biologic processes. Blood clotting is used as an example. Pennock and Miller both defend Darwin. As a medical physician, I come down on Behe’s side, as does Michael Denton, M.D. in his book Evolution, A Theory in Crisis (1986), in discussions of other biochemical evidence. The chapter concludes by offering the logical advice that religion and science really complement each other and should be working together.
Chapter Two, Our Designer Universe, Fine-Tuned for Life, is a summary of the scientific discoveries in cosmology and particle physics that describe our universe and how it was formed. Several of the 100 parameters that are fine-tuned to ‘allow’ life are described. Roger Penrose in The Emperor’s New Mind (1989) calculates our universe requires an accuracy of one part in 10123 to develop the universe in which we have appeared. The special qualities of our Earth to allow life are also presented. The universe is a very hostile place and the earth is positioned to be very protected. (Rare Earth, Ward & Brownlee, 2000) Obviously we are here, because the design allows it. Was the universe designed for us? There are two possibilities. Philosopher John Leslie ends his book, Universes, with this conclusion: "Much evidence suggests…that God is real and/or there exist many, very varied universes." Is it purposeful design or luck of the draw? Many scientists have jumped on the idea of multiple universes (impossible to prove) to get around the problem of ‘creation’. I think it violates Occam’s Razor. The Big Bang has been shown to be a true beginning. The chapter closes with a description of the Big Bang from a 13th Century commentator on Genesis, Nahmanides; a very accurate description!
Chapter Three, Is Life a Glorious Accident? No Chance, to start the discussion, uses Stephan Jay Gould’s famous phrase, which implies that the origin of life and our appearance are just accidental chance occurrences. (A Glorious Accident, Wim Kayzer, 1997) " The accident is 60 trillion contingent events that eventually led to the emergence of Homo sapiens," in Gould’s exact words, and that includes the accidental origin of life. The odds against such an accidental or spontaneous origin of life are presented from several authors, reaching enormous values ranging from 10 2000 to 1078000. The complexity of DNA is explained to show why such odds are not unreasonable. The attempt to create life in the laboratory is described by looking at the work of Leslie Orgel and Robert Hazen, both of whom, representing this research, have been unsuccessful. David Bartel has studied over a 1000 trillion random RNA molecules screened by computer to find one molecule that could make a short copy of another RNA with 95 percent accuracy. If a rudimentary form of life occurs in laboratory, intelligence will have guided its production, not chance.
Chapter Four, Is the Evolution of Humans a Glorious Accident?, continues using Gould’s theory as a foil. I state that I believe evolution occurred, but the Darwin theory is incomplete. The problem of whether evolution is a passive process or whether there is an underlying mechanism toward complexity is addressed, and the opinions of evolutionary scientists on both sides of the question are covered. Bacteria are the first form of life. They are very simple single-celled forms and very successful, which raises the question of why complexity appeared. A history of evolution follows demonstrating there are many controversies among evolutionists. Gould states that evolution reduces diversity and Conway Morris states that diversity is increased. Darwin’s proposal has many problems, as noted by several authors presented in the chapter. The Darwin theory does not explain the ‘Cambrian Explosion’, a 5 million year period when the ancestors of 34 of the existing 35 animal phyla (families) suddenly appeared. Darwin proposed gradualism, slow changes over time. The Cambrian Explosion was very abrupt. The fossil record shows no forerunners to it. The history of evolution is carried up to the appearance of Homo sapiens. Many mathematicians, including Darwinists, have shown that mutation rates appear to be too slow for the time allotted for our development, another reason for suggesting built-in information driving complexity. (Lee Spetner’s Not By chance!, 1997, is discussed here) It is made very clear that Darwin Theory is absolutely passive. ‘Like pushing a rope and expecting it to move straight ahead,’ is the way I express it. William Dembski (No Free Lunch, 2002) calculates that the odds against developing the E. Coli flagellum by chance is 10-234. The pace and complexity of evolution strongly suggest pre-programming and that a divine source be considered. I do not think humans are an accident.
Chapter Five, Our Hat Size is too Big for Darwin, takes up the issue of why is our brain so big. As we developed from hominid ancestors to human form our brain grew four times larger in the 2.5 million years it took. And the brain’s attributes in creating the arts, music, theoretical mathematics, concepts and abstractions, and religiosity are qualities that extend way beyond the needs of natural selection. Even though we Homo sapiens have been around for 150,000 years, most of these abilities have been discovered and used in the last 4-6,000 years. Ian Tattersall comments that our species "is not simply an improved version of its ancestors---it is a new concept, qualitatively distinct from them in a highly significant if limited respects." To illustrate the mental requirements of 150,000 years ago, the life of hunter-gatherers is described. The development of speech, morals, religion and other capabilities of the brain are reviewed, quoting many authorities. "Exaptations" are described as physical developments that remain unused for many millennia, and then employed. Their possible significance as indicators of pre-planning is suggested. The significance of our consciousness is explored, including comments from Roger Penrose, one of the world’s leading mathematicians.
Another problem raised is, how did Darwin’s version of evolution handle the enlarging brain from a mechanical standpoint? The pelvis had to change its shape to allow upright posture. At the same time the enlarging baby head required a coordinated enlargement of the maternal pelvic outlet, simultaneous changes in two separate individuals!
I view our intellectual capacity and our consciousness as divine gifts. The Darwin theory does not explain why we have such a brain.
Chapter Six, Hallucination or Glimpse of the Afterlife, explores near to death (NDE) and out of the body (OBE) experiences, as well as other paranormal properties of the mind including mysticism and meditation. Most NDE’s have startling religious content and seem to contain the same experiences occurring in meditation. Both experiences are described in detail taken from a number of investigating authors, including a medical article in Lancet, a world-renowned medical journal. Ten episodes that appear to have strong confirmatory evidence of the experiencer’s observations are taken from the literature. (The very best is number 5) Medical proof that these are not hallucinations is presented to counter the objections presented by the resident skeptic I have chosen, Susan Blackmore in her book, Dying to Live, 1993. She represents CSICOP. (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal)
How the brain functions during meditation at the moment that the mystic feels at one with the universe, has been thoroughly researched by neurophysiologists Newberg and D’Aquili, and described in their book, Why God Won’t Go Away (2001). This mechanism gives us our religiosity. There is a center in the temporal lobe that gives some epileptics religious experiences. Whether this capacity was given to our brain or evolved is discussed.
In preparation for the presentation of scientific studies on intercessory prayer influence on medical outcomes, studies in "species consciousness" both in animals and humans are reviewed. Rupert Sheldrake’s work on human species consciousness and the amazing results of the PEAR laboratory at Princeton on individuals mentally affecting the results of random energy generators are reviewed. There are equally startling early findings of the "Global Consciousness Project" (also Princeton) which appear to have detected some evidence of a universal human species consciousness. More than half the intercessory prayer studies show a positive effect on medical outcomes. Does God answer these prayers or do the patients sense the outside support and respond optimistically? The consciousness that seems to arise from our brain may be even more of a gift than we currently realize, an opinion of Brother Wayne Robert Teasdale, the Catholic mystic. I offer the theory that consciousness and the psychic phenomena described may exist at the quantum level of reality, in the theorized six or seven hidden dimensions found in the membrane and/or superstring theories.
Chapter Seven, Belief in God Through Rational Philosophy, using Adler’s book, How to think About God, (1980) as a guide, has several sections that analyze logically the material presented in the preceding chapters, concluding a la Adler that it can be shown, beyond a reasonable doubt, that God exists. It is recognized that absolute proof is not available to us. The chapter opens with a review of Adler, his terminology and the methods he uses. The argument for God is then divided into sections.
1) Argument from first cause. This is a special universe permitting life. The alternative of multiple universes is discarded as contrary to Occam’s razor: they can never by proven. The Big Bang/Big Crunch theory is discarded because it has been proven that this is a ‘flat’ universe which will expand forever. Scientists may be able to eventually combine relativity and quantum theories and possibly be able to look at what happened before 10-43 of the first second, but there had to be a ‘start’ at zero, the ‘boundary’ shown by Guth et al in 2002. Therefore, a Creator is required.
2) Argument from design. The use of the word design involves a ‘designed’ universe and also that amazingly complex living organisms appear to be ‘designed’. Proposals by authors looking for alternatives to God raise the issue of "The Anthropic Principle" and alternative quantum realities, both of which are refuted. Fine-tuning of the universe and apparent design in living organisms allowed us to appear, but we know of nothing that required us to appear. What drove increasing complexity? Another objection to God is the assertion that not all designs by evolution are perfect, implying that God would only employ perfection. This point is also refuted: even if God is defined as perfect, it does not imply that each design must be perfect, but only rise to the necessary level of efficiency. And finally, the complexity of life created by evolution, when analyzed mathematically, appears to require the infusion of extra information, which is called by its proponents ‘intelligent design’. All of these facts imply the hand of God.
3) Argument from Darwin. Disproving Darwin does not prove God. The thrust of the argument is that Darwinism is incomplete. First, it does not seem possible that life started by chance. Secondly, the Darwin theory is a passive process, and there is an overwhelming sense of a mechanism driving increasing complexity, which would require the active input of more information than chance mutations and natural selection can provide. Again, the design of life allows complexity but does not appear to require it. Exaptations appear to represent pre-planning. The ‘irreducible complexity’ described by Behe also requires and implies an input of extra information. Further, Darwin anticipated very tiny progressive alterations leading from one species to another, and thought appropriate fossils would be found. The gaps between species have never been filled. I feel that evolution required ‘intelligent design’.
4) Argument from consciousness. The special attributes of consciousness are described. Again the question is asked: the universe was designed to allow life and it appeared, but was not required to appear. Consciousness was not required to appear either, but it did. No other primate species had this happen, only the branch becoming human. I offer Swinburne’s reasoning that the presence of consciousness is evidence for God’s existence. Our religiosity comes from our consciousness and I argue that it did not evolve gradually as E. O. Wilson proposes (On Human Nature, 1978). Robert Wright in Non-Zero (2000) and Karen Armstrong (A History of God, 1993) tend to agree with me. Of course, no one can be sure exactly how it developed. Out of Body Experiences (OBE’s) and Near Death Experiences (NDE’s) are discussed in relation to our religiosity and the proposition offered that NDE is part of the plan of the religiosity given to us. I note that the universe is very dangerous, but we have been given consciousness to plan ways to protect ourselves.
The conclusion of the chapter is that each section adds to the evidence "that God exists either beyond a reasonable doubt or by preponderance of reasons in favor of that conclusion over reasons against it."(Adler)
Chapter Eight. Reflections on a Personal Theology. This chapter covers the revisions and developments in my personal thinking and philosophy after the research was completed. As with the entire book, my personal conclusions are meant to offer only food for thought, not conversion. The first subsection, Organized Religion and the Independent Thinker, discusses the complexity of organized religion, the insistence by many that only one theology is correct, problems in Biblical interpretations, and whether the three monotheistic scriptures are inerrant.
The second subsection, From Reason to Faith, observes that all the reasoning in this book that God exists does not bring faith, another major step within itself. Professing that one has faith, and actually acting like it, are very separate attributes for most people.
The third subsection, Good, Evil and the Garden of Eden, concludes that the Problem of Evil is not really a problem. My view of God is as a tough-love parent who allowed us free will, and therefore the ability to be evil. We grow to our adult maturity by learning from the challenges of life and of evil. The universe is dangerous, but it is the universe that gave us life. We can counter those dangers. Evolution requires savagery among animals, but that permits only the best to survive and advance the process. Some people who recognize God as perfect thereby expect His creations to be perfect. This expectation creates the issue of evil. The inference is perfection should not allow evil. Change the definition of God and the problem of evil is no longer a problem. We are given an intellect which allows us to overcome all of the challenges of life if we try.
The fourth subsection, Made in the Image of God, observes that our intelligence and consciousness is part of a universal mind, a Divine Consciousness, as many mystics propose. I suggest that our souls may go to one of the hidden dimensions, which we now refer to as heaven.
The fifth subsection, Only My Way is the Right Way, is my plea for allowing pluralism in religious thought. God is not disturbed by the multiple ways He is worshiped.
The sixth subsection, Science and Theology in Public Schools, suggests having comparative religion courses in public school, and that the Darwin Theory be presented honestly, full of holes and controversies. The evidence for the possibility of extra guiding information (intelligent design) should be presented. The development of all theological interpretations should be limited to the students’ parents input in discussions at home.
The final subsection, Philosophic Postscript, discusses the issue of science robbing the universe of all mystery and purpose, leading to existentialism. Viktor Frenkl is quoted. He found meaning in life, surviving the concentration camps. My book shows that we are not here by chance or accident. Our lives with God have meaning.