"The word "nature" usually refers to the physical world in its normal condition. If something is "natural," that means it is unmodified by human (intelligent) actions. Many of us love "nature," the unspoiled outdoors, the world of forests and rivers and mountains and meadows.
Dan Graves, MSL
View of the Evidences of Christianity was an immediate hit and so was its successor Natural Theology. In Natural Theology he included his famous "watchmaker" argument. If a savage were to find a watch in the middle of the jungle, he would at once suppose it the work of an intelligent being. Nature is far more complex and elaborate than a watch and therefore also requires a designer. View of the Evidences of Christianity argues for the credibility of biblical miracles.
Skeptics over the years attacked Paley's watchmaker argument on philosophical grounds. However, in 2005, researcher Jimin Wang reported detail which appears to be direct evidence of Paley's Watchmaker. Certain cyanobacteria have a "circadian oscillation" which is regulated by a rotary device, composed of proteins, that literally functions as a clock.
Apart from the watchmaker argument, none of Paley's works were highly original. He freely admitted he borrowed whatever he could use from others; to some extent, all theologians must, the field has been so well covered. However, Paley's ideas in a third book Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy anticipated thinkers who came after. "The general consequence of any action may be estimated by asking what would be the consequence if the same actions were generally permitted." This sounds like Kant. Bentham devised his utilitarian ethic after reading Paley's comment that "we should carry out those actions which promote the general happiness and avoid those which diminish it."
Paley was an odd duck. Physically uncoordinated, he once fell off a horse seven times in a single ride to town. He was constantly laughed at (and laughed at himself) because of his absent-mindedness. When he walked it was with weird gesticulations and the tip of his cane in his mouth! Yet he enjoyed people and would draw them out for what they knew. He was a devoted father. And his work was the fitting culmination of a century and a half of natural apologetics which began with John Locke.
- Eerdman's Handbook to the History of Christianity. Editor Tim Dowley. Berkhamsted, Herts, England: Lion Publishing, 1977.
- Guillen, Michael. Bridges to Infinity. Los Angeles, Tarcher, 1983. p.122.
- Jimin Wang, "Recent Cyanobacterial Kai Protein Structures Suggest a Rotary Clock," Structure 13 (2005): 735-41.
- Kunitz, Stanley L. British Authors Before 1800; a biographical dictionary. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1952.
- Paley, William. Moral and Political Philosophy. New York, S. King, 1824.
- "Paley, William." Dictionary of National Biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. London: Oxford University Press, 1921-1996.
- "Paley, William." Edwards, Paul, editor. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. New York, Macmillan, 1967.
- Sampson, George. Concise Cambridge History of English Literature.Cambridge, 1961.
Here is a short excerpt. It would be hard to imagine an open-minded critical thinker who could watch this movie and still be a die-hard Darwinist! Go ahead and see for yourself!
There is a clear line drawn in the sand. Darwinists stand on the side of naturalism and anti-theism. I could call them Evo-Atheists. Creationists remain on the side of both discernible evidence and the written testimony of the Bible.
The word "nature" usually refers to the physical world in its normal condition. If something is "natural," that means it is unmodified by human (intelligent) actions. Many of us love "nature," the unspoiled outdoors, the world of forests and rivers and mountains and meadows.
By adding "ism," however, we get a related but different meaning. "Naturalism" is the belief that in the final analysis, nature is all that there is, and that "nature" is essentially unmodified by anything other than itself. In other words, nature itself is thought to be the ultimate reality.
Nature is dynamic and active, but according to the world view known as "naturalism," there is nothing beyond nature that has any causal influence or effect upon nature. Either there is no God or God has no effect or influence on nature. Some might suggest that nature itself may be thought of as a creative being. Naturalism claims that life on earth arose from natural substances by natural selection for natural ends. There is no reality that can properly be called super-natural. Spiritual realities, according to naturalism, are either illusions or else they are merely complex or unusual natural realities.
Since the eighteenth century, a materialistic philosophy has been gaining influence in the western world. Previously, most people in the West believed that the world was a divine creation, but naturalistic thinking gradually challenged that view and sought to replace it, first with naturalistic methods and then with a more comprehensive naturalistic philosophy.
Prior to the rise of naturalism as a prominent world view (or comprehensive mind-set), most western people believed that God had created the world and was responsible for its form and for its very existence. It was understood that God was upholding all things by the word of His power, for in the beginning God had created all things. Since God was a living being, it was logical to expect life in the world, because life comes from life. Twentieth century naturalism built itself on the idea that the universe (and everything in it, including life itself) came into being because of a natural quantum fluctuation (or by some other strictly natural means) and developed by natural processes from its original natural state to its present natural state. Life arose from non-life.
Naturalism affirms no God except the god of impersonal, non-living, undesigned, physical chemistry. A natural process of change is essentially random and/or undirected, but natural processes actually seem to "select" some processes and activities in the sense that "better" or stronger ones survive while others perish. Naturalists believe that this unconscious, non-directed "selection" process along with random genetic fluctuations (i.e., mutations) are the keys that explain the origin of the world of living things as we know it today.
Thus the naturalistic "world view" is the overall belief that nature itself is all that there is. God did not design it. Intelligence was a result not a cause of the developing world. Nature formed itself by strictly natural processes. This claim has several implications.
On the earth there seems to be a host of different conscious personalities. Naturalism by definition says that personality arose (evolved) from the non-personal, from that which was matter and energy only. There is nothing in a naturalistic universe that is essentially personal.
Not only must personality have arisen from the non-personal, it also supposedly arose spontaneously, without direction or guidance from any personal source. This would appear to violate the natural law of cause and effect. Energy dissipates. Complexity changes by simplifying. No system spontaneously becomes more complex unless additional energy and order is added from outside the system. A "cause" must either contain the "effect" or at least be sufficiently complex to be capable of producing the less complex "effect." Personality, however, is far more complex than the natural chemical and physical order of things observed in nature. How could this be? The naturalist usually assigns such questions to the intellectual dust bin. Personal beings are here (they and you and I exist), and thus naturalists accept that fact regardless of the significant improbability of highly complex and intelligent and self-aware personality naturally arising from the non-personal reality of non-intelligent and non-aware matter.
The same with life! Naturalists admit that there is life (usually they are alive). But to maintain their naturalism, they argue that nature spontaneously and without direction or external cause produced life out of non-life. The lack of evidence for and high improbability of this kind of event does not dissuade these thinkers, because (they say) it only had to happen once. In fact the genetic similarity of all life forms leads naturalists to assume that all life must have come from a single simple cell or collection of chemical processes approximating a working cell. This simple cell must have randomly (and without direction or programming) initiated orderly energy usage and replication processes over the years. The chemical activity and physical changes supposedly led to more complex arrangements that then mutated and began to use energy and replicate in new ways. Over time, all living things supposedly arose from those simple and randomly collected natural chemicals, with those evermore complex processes arising randomly and without intelligent design.
This also means that at some late stage of development, rational mental states arose out of utterly non-rational precursors. Rational thinking was and is, for naturalists, simply a complex form of natural chemical interactions. Reason was never intended by the natural, non-intelligent process, for intention is a rational characteristic. So intention or purpose could not exist until reason came into being, but naturalism denies that reason existed in the beginning. Reason evolved only at the end of the process. Prior to the appearance of reason, there could only have been substances characterized by non-reason.
This leads us finally to a very important insight. Reason itself, in the naturalistic world view, is nothing more than the natural and random result of a particular randomly changing original bit of matter. Reason is not really an independent evaluative process that can critique itself. Reason is only what the chemistry allows through self-arrangement and self-organization, and the shaping of logic and rationality and grammatical language is merely a chance result of an undesigned process that has no necessary relation to truth or meaning. All truth could be merely a pragmatically qualified set of ideas. No intrinsic truth would exist, and yet naturalists claim that naturalism itself is true. But how could that claim avoid the inevitable skeptical conclusion. Nothing can be known for sure to be objectively true, for there is no standard other than the chemical pattern one happens to be using at the time. Why should reason be trusted? How could naturalism be known to be true? The answer is: it can't.
Thus naturalism fails to be able to sustain its own truth claim. In fact, all knowledge becomes mere temporary chemical behaviors in the brain, which is a product of meaningless and random chemical processes. You and I are nothing more than two sets of chemical processes temporarily in this present configuration. Nothing can in the traditional sense be true, for there is no objective standard. The human mind is only a temporary effect of a particular set of chemical processes, and thus is not a true observer of fact and reality.
Naturalism claims to be the best and most scientific way to seek truth, but it is an extreme case of circular reasoning that has forgotten its objective roots in the knowledge of the world that stands upon divine revelation ("In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"). Only in theism do we have a personal, living, intelligent cause. Only theism has a sufficient explanation of life in the world. God is a necessary being, but this is exactly what naturalism denies. Thus reason is lost. Truth is lost. Knowledge is lost. Meaning is lost.
Naturalism dies of its own success.
L. Russ Bush, The Advancement: Keeping the Faith in an Evolutionary Age. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2003.
A Review: Chemical barriers to life, no natural sources for life and information and powerful evidence for design.
by John D. Morris, Ph.D. *
The strength of the magnetic field has been reliably and continually measured since 1835. From these measurements, we can see that the field's strength has declined by about seven percent since then, giving a half-life of about 1,400 years. This means that in 1,400 years it will be one-half as strong, in 2,800 years it will be one-fourth as strong, and so on. There will be a time not many thousands of years distant when the field will be too small to perform as a viable shield for earth.
Calculating back into the past, the present measurements indicate that 1,400 years ago the field was twice as strong. It continues doubling each 1,400 years back, until about 10,000 years ago it would have been so strong the planet would have disintegrated--its metallic core would have separated from its mantle. The inescapable conclusion we can draw is that the earth must be fewer than 10,000 years old.
Compare this "clock" with others used to estimate earth's age. This method utilizes a long period of measurement, amounting to over one-tenth of a half-life, whereas radioisotope decay has been accurately measured for only about 100 years, while its half-lives are typically measured in the billions. The short half-life should be favored by uniformitarians for it minimizes the chances that something dramatic has happened to change things, since longer spans are more susceptible to out-of-the-ordinary events. Magnetic field decay also involves a whole earth measurement, and on this large scale it cannot be easily altered or "contaminated," as could any rock selected for radioisotope dating. The young-earth implications are even stronger when the energy of the field is considered rather than its strength, for the energy's half-life decays each 700 years.
Recent creation ideas are necessarily coupled with the global Flood in the days of Noah, during which all of earth's processes and systems were severely disrupted. As ferro-magnetic material rose through the existing magnetic field (when the "fountains of the great deep [were] broken open," Genesis 7:11), temporary reversals in both local and planetary fields would have been induced rapidly, as in an electromagnet. This would have been recorded as "magnetic stripes" flanking mid-ocean spreading centers. Uniformitarians propose a self-generating dynamo (itself a contradiction in terms with inferior theoretical support) of circulating core fluids that slowly decline to zero strength and start up again with reversed orientation. While all processes wane in intensity over time, if a planetary field caused by fluid movements ever went to zero, it could not restart itself.
All things considered, the magnetic field "clock" might be the very best of geochronometers, nearly all of which indicate a maximum age for earth far too short for evolution to occur. The weight of the scientific evidence is on the side of the young earth--and of biblical doctrine.1
- For more details, see Morris, J. 2007. The Young Earth, revised ed. Green Forest, AR: Master Books; and Snelling, A. A. 2009.Earth's Catastrophic Past. Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research, 509.
Cite this article: Morris, J. 2010. Earth's Magnetic Field. Acts & Facts. 39 (8): 16.
1) an argument from analogy; or
2) an inductive generalization based on a sample of size zero
These were Hume’s two main criticisms of the argument from design. The first is that the design argument is based on a weak analogy. This, says William Dembski, “is still the criticism that for many philosophers of religion remains decisive against design.” (Dembski, ID, 271) Dembski sets up the argument from analogy like this:
1. U has property Q.
2. U and V share properties A, B, C and D.
3. Therefore, V also had property Q.
Translating this into Paley’s argument we have:
1. Watches are intelligently designed.
2. Watches and organisms are similar.
3. Therefore, organisms are also intelligently designed.
The main problem with arguments from analogy is that there are also and always disanalogies. “If U and V were identical there would be no question about V having property Q if U has that property.” (Dembski, ID, 272-273) But U and V are not identical. So there are properties that U has but V does not have. And, as the argument shows, U has property Q. Does V have Q, or is this an area of disanalogy? “Without additional information the argument from analogy has no way of deciding this question.” (Ib., 273)
Dembski agrees that “if the design argument is nothing but an argument from analogy, then it is a very weak argument indeed.” (Ib.) But, say Dembski and Elliott Sober, the design argument is “much more” than an argument from analogy. Sober says it is not even an argument from analogy, but is “an inference to the best explanation.” (Ib.) Sober writes:
Hume did not think of the design argument [as an inference to the best explanation]. For him… it [was] an argument from analogy, or an inductive argument. This alternate conception of the argument makes a great deal of difference. Hume’s criticisms are quite powerful if the argument has the character he attributes to it. But if the argument is, as I maintain, an inference to the best explanation, Hume’s criticisms entirely lose their bite. (cited in Ib., 273-274)
Sober holds that Paley’s argument compares two different arguments, one argument about a watch, and a second argument about living things. The statements involved in the watch argument are:
A. The watch is intricate and well suited to the task of timekeeping.
B. The watch is the product of intelligent design. (This is one possibility)
C. The watch is the product of random physical processes. (This is a second possibility.)
Sober says that Paley is arguing that the probability of A given that B is “much bigger” than the probability of A given that C. Paley then reasons that “the same pattern of analysis applies to the following triplet of statements:” (Sober, in Ib., 274)
D. Living things are intricate and well-suited to the task of surviving and reproducing.
E. Living things are the product of intelligent design. (This is one possibility.)
F. Living things are the product of random physical processes. (This is a second possibility.)
Sober writes: “Paley argues that if you agree with him about the watch, you also should agree that” P(D/E) >> P(D/F). (Ib.) Both arguments are inferences to the best explanation. So, Sober thinks Hume’s criticism of the design argument fails.
Dembski notes that this does not lead Sober to accept the design argument, since for Sober, because of Darwin, we have a third possibility G: Living things are the product of variation and selection. Sober admits that “perhaps one day [design] will be formulated in such a way that the auxiliary assumptions it adopts are independently supported. My claim is that no [design theorist] has succeeded in doing this yet.” (Ib., 275) To which Dembski responds that the burden of his writing “has been to show that design remains a live issue and can once again be formulated as the best explanation for the origin and development of life.” (Ib.)
Yet for both Sober and Dembski Hume’s criticism fails because Paley’s design argument is not best construed as neither an argument from analogy nor an inductive argument.