Saturday, April 6, 2024

“God of the gaps” vs “God in the system”

1. God of the gaps:

- The concept of "God of the gaps" refers to a theological perspective that seeks to explain phenomena or gaps in scientific knowledge by invoking the intervention of a higher power, namely God.


- It suggests that when there are gaps in scientific understanding or explanations for natural phenomena, some people attribute these gaps to the direct intervention of God.


- This perspective is often criticized for being a form of argument from ignorance, where God is used to explain things that are not currently understood by science.


- As scientific knowledge expands and fills these gaps, the need for invoking God as an explanation diminishes in this perspective.


2. God in the system:


- "God in the system" refers to a perspective that sees God as being inherently the mind behind the natural world and its systems, rather than being invoked to explain gaps in knowledge.


- This perspective often aligns with the idea of a God who set up the natural laws and systems of the universe and continues to work within them rather than frequently intervening in a supernatural or miraculous way (although it does not obviate it for special circumstances).


- Proponents of this view often see the laws of nature as reflecting the will or design of a Divine Developer, and they view scientific exploration and discovery as a way to understand God's creation framework more deeply.


- It reconciles scientific explanations of the natural world with Biblical faith, as it posits that God's presence and influence are present throughout the natural order.


In summary, while "God of the gaps" involves invoking God to explain gaps in scientific knowledge, "God in the system" views God as inherently engaged as the Developer of the natural world and its systems, allowing for a more harmonious relationship between scientific understanding of creation and Biblical faith.

Friday, April 5, 2024

The Case for an Intelligent Developer: Evidence and Inferred Best Explanation (IBE)

Introduction:


When contemplating the grand questions of existence - the origin of the universe, the fine-tuning of the cosmos, the emergence of life and consciousness - there are a limited number of potential hypotheses to explain these phenomena. One possibility that merits serious consideration is that of an Intelligent Developer - an immensely powerful and knowledgeable mind that purposefully created our reality. Here we examine logical arguments and empirical evidence from fields such as computer science, physics, information theory, and biology to build a case that an Intelligent Developer is the best explanation of our reality based on causes now in operation.


Here is the logical framework:


Argument 1:


P1 All coded systems have an intelligent developer


P2 Life is a coded system 


C1 Life has an Intelligent Developer (i.e., God)


Argument 2:


P1 All coded systems have an intelligent developer


P2 Reality is a coded system


C1 Reality has an Intelligent Developer (i.e., God)


Information and Code:


Our universe is fundamentally informational in nature. At the most basic level, elementary particles, and the quantum fields that comprise them, can be understood as excitations of abstract information. Moreover, this information is not random, but highly specified. The laws of physics that govern the behavior of all matter and energy are described by elegant mathematical equations - formulas that are remarkably simple in form yet unimaginably far-reaching in their explanatory and predictive power.  


The laws of nature appear fine-tuned to a staggering degree to allow for a universe capable of supporting complex structures and life. Dozens of physical constants like the strength of gravity, the mass of electrons, the ratio of the electromagnetic force to the strong nuclear force, etc. are set to highly precise values. If any deviated by a tiny fraction, stars would not form, atoms would fly apart or crush together, and chemistry as we know it would be impossible.


Where does all this specified complexity - this vast informational code at the heart of reality - come from? Our uniform experience affirms that information always arises from a mind, not mindless processes. Blueprints require architects. Novels require authors. Likewise, the informational laws and constants of our universe, finely-tuned to allow for life and inscribed in an elegant mathematical language, point to a Cosmic Programmer, a master Developer behind it all.


Biological Information:  


Nowhere is the appearance of design and development more striking than in the arena of biology and living systems. With the discovery of DNA, we learned that life is based on an immensely complex informational code. The human genome contains around 3 billion base pairs encoding over 20,000 genes. Each of our cells contains more organized information than the Library of Congress. 


Where did this staggering infusion of biological information originate? Once again, all our experience affirms that such information only arises from intelligent agents, not undirected material processes. Computer code requires programmers. Software requires software engineers. In the same way, the highly sophisticated information in DNA, essential for life, points decisively to an intelligent source - a master Bioengineer who wrote the language of life.


Abductive Logic: 


The form of reasoning used here is called abductive logic or inference to the best explanation. When faced with an effect or phenomena (like the fine-tuning of the universe or biological information), we infer that the explanation which best accounts for it is likely true. In this case, just as the specified complexity in computer code, literature, and human artifacts are best explained by intelligent minds, so too the informational nature of the cosmos and DNA are best accounted for by a superintelligent mind. An Intelligent Developer is the most causally adequate and parsimonious hypothesis.


Furthermore, this reasoning is not an argument from ignorance or "God of the gaps." Rather, it is based on knowledge of cause and effect - our uniform experience that information, irreducible/specified complexity, and sophisticated technology invariably arise from intelligent agency. When we see the same hallmarks in nature, we are justified in inferring the same type of cause now in operation - a supreme intelligent agent.


Objections:


Some object that the Intelligent Developer hypothesis explains a mystery (the origin of information in the universe) by appealing to an even bigger mystery (the self-sufficient, uncaused, and uncreated Developer). But all explanatory ultimate accounts cannot be explained in terms of anything more fundamental - that's why they are ultimate accounts. 


Positing a self-existent, immaterial, non-spatial, atemporal, immensely powerful, supremely intelligent mind as the best explanation does not contradict any facts of science, but rather elegantly accounts for them.  


Others object that inferring design is unscientific. Yet cryptographers, archaeologists, and crime scene investigators use these very methods of abductive reasoning to reliably detect intelligent agency. If such reasoning is valid to infer human intelligent action, why not for inferring non-human intelligence as well?


Conclusion:


In summary, the universe is fundamentally an informational realm, underlain by mathematical laws fine-tuned for life. 


Living systems themselves are based on a vast digital code storing encyclopedic information. The simplest, most causally adequate explanation for the origin of all this information is a transcendent mind. An Intelligent Developer stands as the most powerful and parsimonious hypothesis. This conclusion is based not on an argument from ignorance, but on the same abductive logic and inferences to the best explanation used by archaeology, cryptography, and forensic science. If our reasoning to intelligent activity is valid in these spheres of human activity and investigation, it ought to be valid when applied to the grandest artifact of all - our finely-tuned, information-rich cosmos. 


When we observe in nature the same kind of characteristics that in all other cases invariably arise from intelligent agency, we are amply justified in inferring an intelligent agent was responsible. The best, most causally adequate explanation for an information-rich universe fine-tuned for life and containing life based on vast stores of information is an Intelligent Developer. The heavens declare the genius of a Cosmic Programmer.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Sensus mali: the real problem of evil

The real “problem of evil” is that we are unwilling to accept that our genetic heritage causes us to believe that we are a peer with our Sovereign and that we are more just than He is.


We desire eternal life, but are unwilling to accept the consequences of having the ability to sense, desire, and persue those things which are not “of God” (i.e., evil).


Because we are *all* spiritually eternal yet *all* inherently traitorous, God has levied fitting punishment. 


Eternal rebellion by an eternal spiritual being (us) against an eternal Sovereign merits eternal punishment.


God has mercifully offered amnesty through Christ to anyone willing to resist and recant their inherent mutinous nature.


Are you willing to accept that God is Sovereign, just, yet merciful? Or do you want to embrace the stance that you are a better judge than the Sovereign King and continue in your evil rebellion?