Friday, April 11, 2008

Big God, big science - audio lecture by John Houghton (Online at the Faraday Institute)

Quotes and comments;

1. As far as I can ascertain, the gist of the lecture is that if we want to have 'big science' we have to have a 'big' idea of god. (I take this to mean we must reject the 'simple' God of the bible, for the 'god' of the Liberal theologians. This means we must replace the 'simple' creation of the Fundamentalists, with the God of the big bang and evolution.) I take it he has some fear that this 'American' belief in creation will somehow limit what scientists can do. (And I take it his view is that there is Nothing scientists shouldn't be allowed to do.)

2. He wants to convince us that ID is anti science. The ID people are just reacting against Richard Dawkins. (I assume he means they're offended by his aggressive atheism, and so want to go to the 'extreme' position of actually (if one can believe it) of attacking Darwinism. (Which as you know is a criminal offense in Great Britain.)
- why then is ID anti science? Well, he tells us because it gives up the search for natural explanations in favor of some 'mystical' solution. (i.e. god did it)

3. Houghton admits that many things in 'science' can't yet be explained... but he has faith that one day all things will. (i.e. will have a naturalistic explanation.)
- this is sometimes called the promissory view.
- he seems to confuse description with explanation. Just because you can describe X, doesn't mean you've explained it. A person whose never heard of, or seen a computer, could describe it, but that in no way would explain it.

4. I don't know how you can say (as H. does) that all science is god's science and then be against ID.
- I don't think he's in any way familiar with the people he slanders. (Has he no duty to know what he's talking about?)

5. His rebuttal of ID is so weak as to be laughable.
- To say god created the universe, but it's impossible to see any design in it is more than a little strange. Doesn't this amount to saying God is irrational? But maybe he's blind? Or maybe he had no idea what he was doing? There he was one day in the lab.... playing around with things and lo and behold a universe exploded into being :=) I really fail to see how these claims can be put together. The picture he gives us isn't one of a creator, but of some mindless bungler, that didn't have a clue what he was doing. If he did, we would see design... wouldn't we?

6. H. talks of Stephen Hawking who looks forward to a single theory of the universe.
- This is nonsense. The only single theory (explanation) of the universe is God. I wonder how people can be so foolish as to believe in a single theory. Do they really imagine they can explain gravity, prayer, light, science fiction, poetry, art, planet formation, music, ethics, etc. by a single theory? It's simply not possible. (But this is the kind of delusionary thinking one falls into when one rejects a personal Creator.)

1. Why is Houghton so down on Biblical creation? Well I think it's easy to see. His fear is that if people believe in creation this will limit what the social elite can do in the area of science. If one has a 'literal' view of creation, then genetic engineering (etc.) depends to be seen as a 'defamation' of what God created. If on the other hand one believes that all we see is just an accident, well then 'tampering' with things isn't a destruction of god's creation at all.
- just yesterday I read the following; 'Even though ethicists have called it “a monstrous attack on human rights,” to blend human embryos with animals, UK scientists created the first chimera of cow and human genetic material, reported PhysOrg. (From Creation/Evolution Headlines)
- he's down on any orthodox reading of the bible because this obligates man to conforming to God's moral law. This is anathema to any liberal, as man must be autonomous in all things. Man cannot be limited by any commandments from God. (In other words, the political elite must be free to do exactly as they please.)

2. Liberals like Houghton don't want a 'big' god of course; they want a god so 'small' he (it?) won't 'interfere' with man's autonomy in all things.

3. The lecture is poor; both in sound quality and in content. I'd give it a 2/5.


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