A Facebook friend (# 1) shared this image from the AtheistRepublic, adding the caption: “Controversy alert! (But I’ll still listen if you disagree. 😂)”.
After several other comments, one from me triggered the following exchange:
Me: I’m a scientist who can’t quite manage to stretch my faith to believe there’s no God behind this wondrous world.
# 1: See, that does fascinate me. I can perfectly understand why lots of people need to ascribe a coherent, humanlike intelligence to the design of the universe; the incontrovertible facts of science tend to be explained in relatively complex language, and one really does need to concentrate. Where I’m interested is when genuinely intelligent people with a sound grasp of scientific principles also have this need. I get quite irritable when anthropomorphic viewpoints are described as facts, so I’d love to know why you, in particular, believe there must be a god. But only if you have time one day, and can be bothered! 😁
Me: Not sure this is the place for apologetics. But here goes:
I just watched a woodpecker hammering away at a dead tree, and about a million wood ants mobilising to rebuild their hill that someone must have destroyed. A few days ago I read about the midwife toad, where the male cares for the spawn until the tadpoles are ready to hatch. I find it much easier to believe these creatures with their unique behaviours were deliberately designed than that they are the result of random mutations over billions of years. Nearly every human being who ever lived thought the same. Many made serious efforts to investigate the Creator and contributed significantly to improving society.
Neither General Relativity nor Natural Selection can answer the big questions, only superficial details. Electromagnetic theory, optics, thermodynamics, classical gravity, atomic theory, string theory, etc. offer ways of predicting behaviour in their various fields, but neither explanations of why they should behave that way nor how the ‘laws’ came about. [Aside: I was part of a research group at CERN, the European nuclear research centre. As we investigated the properties of the growing collection of subatomic particles, a distinguished colleague said they reminded him of the whole range of animals in a zoo: most of them are unnecessary, but nevertheless they exist.]
When I heard that this Creator decided to reveal Himself to His Creatures – which is only what one would expect from such a God – I came to see Jesus as the true answer to man’s yearnings. And I’ve realised that most significant social advances were initiated by people who believed in that God. That’s a powerful – though not a scientific – argument in my opinion.
# 2: I don’t think those are mutually exclusive. As a scientist, I think part of who you are is someone who understands there are a lot of things we don’t know and maybe never will.
# 1: Okay. Thanks for that. It’s food for thought anyway. It makes sense to me that there are things that won’t be understood in my lifetime, but I do still question them. I wish I’d had the brains to be a scientist.
# 2: Questioning is perfectly reasonable and everyone should do it!
# 1: Come to think of it, that’s the anthropomorphic principle in action, really. We see things that we have no logical reason to presume were ‘created’ for us, and marvel at their design. If life evolved over millennia, why do we marvel at its diversity? If those mutations had been different, we’d view them exactly the same way, because we wouldn’t know them any other way. On other planets there may, (almost certainly will), be more or less or different life. It’s how the cookie crumbles, and I can’t begin to imagine the kind of intelligence that could, or would, design each thing deliberately. But, still, there’s no proof that god doesn’t exist either, so I remain on the fence, but tilted away from him.