Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Paradox of Life?

In an article entitled Adam and Eve in the Land of the Dinosaurs, author Edward Rothstein proposes this seeming paradox regarding origins, miracles and the very beginning of life.
But one problem is that scientific activity presumes that the material world is organized according to unchanging laws, while biblical fundamentalism presumes that those laws are themselves subject to disruption and miracle. Is not that a slippery slope as well, even affecting these analyses?

I encounter this argument frequently in my creation/evolution debates online. Individuals arguing for evolution insist that creationists are "anti-science" because they propose a supernatural force (God) who superceded the known scientific constraints in creating the world.

I have not yet received an adequate response when I point out that the paradox exists independent of creationism. Whether you accept creation or evolution, the question "where did it all start?" still exists.

For evolution, the origin of life proposes an even greater problem. It is scientifically impossible for living matter to originate from non-living matter. If common sense doesn't tell you that, Pasteur's spontaneous generation experiment should.

So what do evolutionists say when I propose this significant problem?

"Evolution doesn't cover that."

I kid you not! I likened it to that annoying telephone service person who, when asked a question they cannot answer, replies "that's not my department, let me transfer you." Despite Berkeley's own tutorial on evolution stating otherwise, these evolutionists conveniently duck out of answering the question altogether by saying evolution doesn't cover the origins of life.

Supposing for a moment that this were true, evolution still makes the assumption that life somehow spontaneously generated. The claim is not testable in science because evolution operates within the confines of naturalism, which is basically a philosophically humanist belief that there is no supernatural.

So whether evolution "covers" it or not, sooner or later, evolutionists must somehow concoct a response to the paradox proposed by Mr. Rothstein. Sooner or later, they smack into a wall not of scientific improbability, but of scientific impossibility. Naught can save them but some act that reaches outside the confines of known scientific restraints -- a supernatural act.

It is here that creationism is stronger than evolutionism. Creationists do not shy away from stating it took a supernatural act from a supernatural being to overcome these restraints.

So what then, of Mr. Rothstein's suggestion that this is a "slippery slope"? C.S. Lewis once summed up the functionality of miracles in the natural world. He likened it to a game of chess. There are established rules of chess agreed upon beforehand. But every now and again, you may allow an opponent to take back a move, and your opponent may permit the same for you. These acts may be considered the "miracles"; by doing so, you are actually violating the rules of chess. No one thinks the less of you for this, of course. In a friendly game of chess, moves can be taken back without consequence. But no game can be played if every single move can be taken back. Absolute anarchy would result, and the game would be worthless. Likewise, Jesus Himself performed miracles (little acts defying the natural rules of the universe set in place by God) but did not fly about defying natural laws as a rule.

For the life of me, I cannot discover to which book or passage of Lewis's the quote comes from, but there it is.

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