Tag Archives: worldview

Possibilities, probabilities and reality

When we look at the natural world, do we see order or chaos? There is order everywhere in the universe except where man has taken control. Even what we call “natural disasters” are caused by the order in the universe. They are a process of cause and effect. In other words, man can explain why they occurred based on various physiological factors that already existed. What man cannot explain is why anything exists at all. Scientists deal with possibilities and probabilities and are confounded by reality.

We live in an ordered universe. As one scientist put it: “A system requiring such a high degree of order could never happen by chance since random processes generate disorder rather than order, simplicity rather than complexity and confusion instead of “information.”’

Another scientist posted on the internet:

 “In living cells, most catalysts are protein enzymes, composed of amino acids, but in the 1980s another kind of catalyst was discovered. These are RNA molecules composed of nucleotides that are now called ribozymes. Because a ribozyme can act both as a catalyst and as a carrier of genetic information in its nucleotide sequence, it has been proposed that life passed through an RNA World phase that did not require DNA and proteins.

For the purposes of today’s column I will go through the probability  calculation that a specific ribozyme might assemble by chance. Assume that the ribozyme is 300 nucleotides long, and that at each position there could be any of four nucleotides present. The chances of that ribozyme assembling are then 4^300,  a number so large that it could not possibly happen by chance even once in 13 billion years, the age of the universe.

But life DID begin! Could we be missing something?”

The answer is, of course, yes, they are missing something. They are missing another possibility, one that the reality of the universe demonstrates to be a real probability—an intelligent  divine Designer. I am talking about a God that is wise enough and powerful enough to design and created our universe. It can be denied but it cannot be disproved.

Anything that has a zero probability of happening must have a zero possibility of happening. I.L. Cohen, in his Darwin Was Wrong: A Study in Probabilities states: “Mathematicians agree that any requisite number beyond 1050 has, statistically, a zero probability of occurrence.”

Even the simplest replicating protein molecule that could be imagined has been shown by physicist Marcel Golay to have a probability of one in 10450. Frank Salisbury, a plant physiologist,  calculates the probability of a typical DNA chain to be one in 10600. Again, probability zero; possibility zero.

This is what Freeman Dyson, a theoretical physicist at Princeton University posits about evolution:

“You  had what I call the garbage bag model. The early cells were just  little bags of some kind of cell membrane, which might have been  oily or it might have been a metal oxide.  And inside you  had a more or less random collection of organic molecules, with the  characteristic that small molecules could diffuse in through the  membrane, but big molecules could not diffuse out. By converting  small molecules into big molecules, you could concentrate the organic  contents on the inside, so the cells would become more concentrated  and the chemistry would gradually become more efficient. So these things could evolve without any kind of replication.  It’s a  simple statistical inheritance.  When a cell became so big that  it got cut in half, or shaken in half, by some rainstorm or environmental  disturbance, it would then produce two cells which would be its daughters,  which would inherit, more or less, but only statistically, the chemical  machinery inside.  Evolution could work under those conditions.”

Yes, that is a theory worthy of the garbage bag!

“Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory … we would still be justified in preferring it over rival theories [creationism].”
—Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker

The basis for a conclusion of this nature is obviously not observed facts, but a predetermined theological conviction that a divine Designer does not exist. There is a risk involved in making this presupposition. As I write in Chapter 7 of my The Kind of Old Man I Want to Be (which should be released by September) about the existence God:

Maybe you are not convinced. Are you a betting man? Are you willing to bet the rest of your life in this world and your eternity in the afterlife that I am wrong? According to Pascal’s Wager, that would not be a rational bet. Blaise Pascal was a seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician and physicist who charted new territory in probability theory and the formal use of decision theory. Pascal argued that belief in God is pragmatically justified in the long run because we have nothing to lose and everything to gain from holding that belief. If there is no God, there is no eternal judgment to fear. When life is over it is over, no matter how good or bad it was. But if there is a God…? Pascal was speaking of the God of the Bible, the God of Christianity. Here is the way his argument shaped up:

  1. If you believe in and live for God, and it is true that God does exist, you will be rewarded with eternal life in heaven—an infinite gain.
  1. If you do not believe in and live for God, and it is true that God does exist, you will be condemned to eternity in hell—an infinite loss.
  1. If you believe in and live for God, and it turns out that God does not exist, in the end you will have lost nothing because when you are gone you are gone—a finite loss.
  1. If you do not believe in God and God does not exist, you can live like you want to but in the end you lose everything because when you are gone you are gone—   a finite loss.

Put simply, Pascal argued that the expected value of believing in God is vastly greater than that of not believing, since if you believe in God and commit yourself to a life of faith and obedience to God and it turns out to be true, then you win an enormous good (eternity in heaven). But if you believe and it turns out to be false, then you have lost nothing except a few years of living for yourself that disappears when you die. Therefore, the rational thing to do is believe in God.

If you look at our universe with an open mind, the reality of it speaks to the possibility and the probability that it had an intelligent Designer.

Living Right in a World of Woe

LRWW eBook coverWoe is inevitable when ungodliness is the law of the land. This book will help Christians live in an ungodly world that brings woe upon itself and woe upon Christians for not conforming to it. Helpful guidance is given for understanding this present world and how to overcome it by living like Jesus Christ.

CHAPTER TITLES:
Why a World of Woe?
See Right to Live Right
God’s will is Right
The World Started Right but Went Wrong
The World That is Wrong
Be Right to Live Right
Doing Right is Living Right
Living Right in a World of Woe

Living right requires seeing the world in the right way from a biblical worldview. Living right in this world of woe requires knowing God’s will as He guides us through these perilous times. The history of the world is traced from the biblical origin of the world’s culture to how philosophy and science has lead the West away from God.  A description of today’s Western culture that brings on the woe is presented. Finally, the Sermon on the Mount is used as a guide for being right and doing right in the home and in society as we live right in a world of woe.

Paperback: 134 pages
Publisher: Antioch Publications (October 2015)
Language: English
ISBNs:
978-0-9967929-0-5 Print
978-0-9967929-1-2 Mobi
978-0-9967929-2-9 ePub

You can find this book at major booksellers including:
Amazon USA
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million

Modern logic is no longer logical

Before you read this blog post please drop down and read the excerpt on Logic from my Making Disciples in Africa book. The section quoted deals with logic and worldview.

It is only logical to say that if a person’s worldview changes, their view of logic would have to change. That is because worldviews have to be logical to be livable. To change a worldview would require a change of the logic behind it. The West has undergone a major worldview change and its view of logic has been cast out altogether. In moving from a biblical to a secular worldview, logic has to be ignored because it only proves the secular worldview to be illogical and false. Remember that logic can only detect error, or what is not true; it cannot tell you what is true.

So, where is the secular worldview illogical? It begins in its materialistic view of the origin of the universe. Its denial of miracles leaves no explanation for the origin of the material of the universe or for life in the universe. Something coming from nothing is unscientific and illogical. Dead matter coming to life is unscientific and illogical. These two beliefs are the first principals of the secular worldview. Neither can be proven scientifically and both violate at least two of the laws of logic. The logic in believing the secular worldview is that it has to be true because, without a belief in God and miracles, there is no other explanation. That means people with the secular worldview have to be happy living without knowing how and why the world exists and why they exist. Does that sound logical to you?

Logic
 Aristotle wrote a series of essays titled, ‘Logic’ or ‘Organon’ in which he put forth principles of human reason, both valid and invalid. His goal was to establish the steps to be used in logically constructing a body of knowledge. Aristotle showed how every science begins with certain obvious truths that he referred to as first principles, explaining how these first principles form the foundations upon which all knowledge rests. First principles are the fundamental truths from which inferences are made and on which conclusions are based. They are self-evident, and they can be thought of as both the underlying and the governing principles of a worldview.

If Aristotle was right, then one’s worldview is only as valid as the first assumptions on which it is based and the logical inferences drawn from them. Correct reasoning should enable us to determine if one’s worldview is credible, and correct reasoning is established by the principles of logic. We all use logic in the form of human reason to think about the reality of our existence. The use of reason and the reality of our existence are fundamental assumptions that all people share. They are unavoidable; in order to deny them one would have to use reason to think of a basis for the denial, and one would have to exist to engage in the reasoning process. Once we begin using reason to think about our existence we have begun to philosophically construct a worldview using the principles of logic.

The first principle of logic is the principle of contradiction, also called the principle of non-contradiction, and is the principle that a statement and its negation, or opposite, cannot both be true. This principle is also called the law of noncontradiction (LNC) and asks, can opposite truth claims both be true? Can the Christian claim that evil is real and the Hindu claim that evil is an illusion both be right? According to the LNC if one claim is true, the other claim must be false. The LNC is a self-evident truth and its usage is unavoidable even in its denial. To say that there is no such thing as absolute truth is to affirm a statement as being true that denies what it affirms. By invalidating the statement the LNC is automatically validated.

Two more first principles of logic are important in analyzing the truth claims of a worldview. To communicate properly, we must share a mutual understanding of the meaning of the words communicated. Words are used as symbols to represent certain aspects of reality called referents. This gives rise to another law of logic called the law of identity (LID). This law states that something is what we say it is, the symbol and the referent are one and the same (A is, in fact, A). The third law of logic is called the law of the excluded middle (LEM). It states that something is either A or non-A, but it cannot be both at the same time and in the same context. These principles are absolute and form the basis of all valid thinking. Words vary from language to language, but if they refer to the same reality their meaning is universal.

These three first principles or laws of logic (LNC, LID, LEM) are necessary in analyzing truth claims, but logic’s function is to correct erroneous thinking and is therefore a negative test for truth. Logic by itself will not help us find truth but will only help us detect error because the true must be logical, but the logical does not necessarily have to be true.  Two unicorns plus two unicorns equals four unicorns is a logical statement, but it does not mean that unicorns, of a truth, really exist. How can we discover truth in worldviews if logic, by itself, only detects errors?

The first presupposition that is required of anyone searching for truth is that truth can be found. To say that truth does not exist is to assume that view to be true which violates the LNC and is self-defeating. Truth is a symbol, or statement that matches or corresponds to its object or referent, whether it is an abstract idea or something concrete. To say that true statements can be made about reality is rationally justifiable.