Here we go again, trying to argue that science proves the existence of god

Apparently yet another new book is out that tries to make the scientific case for god’s existence. According to the publisher’s blurb, these are the five main arguments “for the existence of God and of intelligent design of both the universe and life.”

1.) Evidence showing that the material universe had a beginning; 2.) Evidence showing that, from its beginning, the universe was been finely tuned to allow for the possibility of life; 3.) Evidence from biology showing that after the universe came into being, large amounts of genetic information similar to computer code came about in DNA that made, and continue to make, life possible; 4.) Evidence from research conducted at the University of Virginia School of Medicine showing that the brain does not create consciousness, but rather, that the brain can be compared to a cell phone or a radio that receives consciousness that originates somewhere else, and then integrates it with the body; 5.) Evidence from quantum mechanics and a number of other sources that consciousness or mind—the medium of thought—is nonlocal and appears to be present everywhere.

This book will likely appeal to those believers who seek to find some scientific sounding justification for their beliefs that goes beyond saying that they believe because they want to or need to believe or because they grew up believing. The link above tells you how to get a free Kindle download before September 13.

My own forthcoming book THE GREAT PARADOX OF SCIENCE: Why its conclusions can be relied upon even though they cannot be proven seeks to challenge some of the misapprehensions about the nature of science that underlies such arguments.


  1. flex says

    I’ll give them 1. The universe, very likely, had a beginning.

    2 is problematical as we have no other universes to compare against. Maybe life could develop within universes which have very different properties than ours. Not that we know if such universes exist.

    3 is crap. DNA is not like computer code. And we have both theories and evidence to support those theories on how DNA could have evolved on earth within the timespan allowed (which is much shorted than the age of the universe).

    4 is research I’m unaware of. I suspect it’s a miss-understanding of some metaphor used in an explanation of other research, but it also could just be really bad research. Color me very skeptical until I read the research paper, and a book expanding on the idea isn’t going to convince me.

    5 is crap. I don’t understand quantum mechanics, but I understand it well enough to know that this author knows even less about it than I do.

    At one point I read Roger Penrose’s book, The Emperor’s New Mind and his basic idea because there is a gap between the relativistic physics understanding of the world, and the quantum physics understanding of the world, this is a realm where the body-less mind (or soul) could inhabit. It’s an interesting idea, but not really borne out by any evidence. Only the absence of any evidence that there is anything else there. So fill this gap with your own prejudices, like souls, god(s), or (my own personal favorite) pistachio ice cream. And the gap keeps getting smaller, and we still haven’t found the ice cream. 🙁

  2. Andrew G. says

    Author appears to be a life-after-death crank and this is self-published (the author is listed as publisher and editor-in-chief of “The Oaklea Press Inc.”, the ostensible publisher). Not worth the oxygen of publicity.

    The University of Virginia reference is likely to these guys.

  3. file thirteen says

    I like to imagine the universe as a simulation. All consciousness is that of aliengodthing projecting its consciousness in for aliengodthingreasons that our limited brains can’t even begin to fathom. Anywhere matter becomes sophisticated enough to develop a thought process, the aliengodthing consciousness field fills the void (it also fills the void where there isn’t thinking, but it probably doesn’t get much of a buzz from experiencing what it’s like to be a rock. Then again, aliengodthing has aliengodthing reasons my puny mind can’t understand). Outside the constraints of what we call time of course, so that means we are all the same consciousness experiencing everything simultaneously, past, present and future, from the “start” until the “end” of the simulation.

    There are ramifications some might find disturbing. That fact that we’re all the same aliengodthing experiencing our different lives simultaneously means that whenever we hurt each “other” we’re actually only hurting ourselves (think of it like reincarnation but with the time constraint removed -- if you haven’t already experienced the other life, eventually you will). Also, all “lesser” creatures are experienced as well, so we get/have got to experience all facets of nature red in tooth and claw, and who knows, plants, aliens, AIs, even your parents. And oh yeah, meat really is murder.

    Whadayareckon, should I start a cult?

  4. flex says

    @ colinday, #3. I said “very likely”. I’d probably hang my hat on the universe having a beginning, but I wouldn’t offer the eat my hat as a bet that it did.

    @ Andrew G. #2 -- I’ll have to look at the link when I get home from work, it’s blocked at my workplace.

    @ file thirteen #4 -- Change it to “meat is murder, but in a good way”, and I might just subscribe to your newsletter.

  5. Rob Grigjanis says

    colinday @3: The author is probably referring to the BGV theorem, which says, roughly, that in an expanding universe, any causal wordlines (the paths of massless or massive particles), must have begun a finite amount of time in the past.

    Much has been made of this by theists like William Lane Craig, presumably because they see the initial hypersurface as some sort of creation.

  6. Owlmirror says

    The Amazon page for the book, linked to from the press release, has a slightly different wording

    In the final chapter, Martin draws two conclusions that he writes are clearly supported by the evidence. They are that God—or “Infinite Mind,” which is the other term he uses—not only was the “First Cause” but also continues to be involved in our universe today. He then presents his thoughts about the nature of God and the meaning and purpose of life based on information that comes from what appears to be a legitimate and credible modern psychic source.

    (bolding is my own, and that part of the text does not appear in the Religion News piece)

    Hm! Who could this legitimate and credible modern psychic possibly be?

  7. Owlmirror says

    And why is Mr. Martin so shy about mentioning a legitimate and credible psychic in a religion news piece?

  8. consciousness razor says

    I said “very likely”. I’d probably hang my hat on the universe having a beginning, but I wouldn’t offer the eat my hat as a bet that it did.

    I’ll just say “we don’t know,” because that’s honest. I have no reasonable way to offer up a probability about it, and neither does anyone else. We don’t have to “give” anyone a claim that the universe had a beginning, because that’s not entailed by what we actually know about big bang theory or cosmology in general.

    And why is Mr. Martin so shy about mentioning a legitimate and credible psychic in a religion news piece?

    According to a dream I had, Martin’s mind is being controlled by a legitimate and credible modern psychic. No, not that one; I mean a different legitimate and credible modern psychic.
    And based on another dream, I’ve determined that all of his works were actually ghostwritten by real ghosts. One of them is a dead chimpanzee with a typewriter who used to be in the circus.

  9. Owlmirror says

    And based on another dream, I’ve determined that all of his works were actually ghostwritten by real ghosts. One of them is a dead chimpanzee with a typewriter who used to be in the circus.

    Hey!!!! Spoilers . . . !!

  10. consciousness razor says

    Hey!!!! Spoilers . . . !!

    But it’s alright to say what I was wearing?
    Yeah, it was one of those…. I need to consult with my spiritual advisor. Surely, the viking helmet must mean something.

  11. mnb0 says

    Yawn. Just another example of an apologist not justifying the salto mortale from our concrete world to a divine one (Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis, last quarter of the 19th Century). For instance point 2 assumes what it wants to prove. Fine-tuning only makes sense on an immaterial agent having the goal of human life in mind.

  12. consciousness razor says

    Fine-tuning only makes sense on an immaterial agent having the goal of human life in mind.

    No, it’s worse than that. Coarse-tuning for life would’ve sufficed for life, because that also gets you life. A creator god might have made a universe with life that way too, if life is what it wanted.
    Some evidence that we really do have is that there is life. (This information comes as no surprise to anyone, but you nonetheless know it and can try to use it.) Nothing relevant has been added to the picture when apologists point at things they believe are “fine-tuning for life.”
    Maybe an analogy will make this a little easier to follow. If I want to have a salad for lunch, I could make it very difficult to produce a salad (fine-tuning), or I could have set things up so it would be relatively easy (coarse-tuning), perhaps even requiring no additional work from me at all. Knowing there are salad ingredients doesn’t in any sense raise the probability (i.e., count as evidence) that I’d prefer to get my salad via fine-tuning. (The difficulty of it, for this analogy, is something you should assume is one of the things under my control.)
    What you have known all along is that salad greens and so forth exist; but not about me, what I allegedly want to do with salads, how hard I want to make it on myself to get salads, etc. If you know somehow that salads with all the stipulated ingredients are difficult to make intentionally (propose that it should be a very fancy salad, if you like), it’s true that you can’t logically rule out the possibility that I’m making a salad for lunch and have decided that my task should be extra-super-duper difficult. (This is because, rather strangely, that’s how I wanted it to be, even though nobody will explain why or how they know this about me.)
    So, what you know here doesn’t indicate that the theistic sort of belief is true, that I’ve set things up in this very particular way in order to make a salad for lunch. At best, you still only have beliefs that I might have wanted to make a salad for lunch, if I exist at all — nothing in the evidence mentioned rules that out, as I said. But you (or the proverbial theist) may have formed these beliefs, despite the facts supposedly gathered about the difficulty of making salads. The point then is that those can rationally support an atheistic type of view, no matter how rational we should consider the theists’ view.
    That said, I don’t think this evidence is merely consistent with either. It does seem better for the atheistic conclusion, because fine-tuning is not an obvious choice that should have been made by an arbitrary rational (and sufficiently powerful) being, not if the goal were simply to make life, as easily as that could be done, with a minimal amount of extra work. And if we have to assume even more, in order to say why God liked doing it the hard way rather than the easy way, the theory only becomes even less parsimonious … besides, answers about that aren’t even being provided by the theist (only stuff I could try to imagine, for the sake of argument). The lack of parsimony was already a serious problem, and this all just looks like it’s making things worse.

  13. Mano Singham says

    I downloaded the free Kindle version and took a quick look.

    It’s terrible! It is just warmed over intelligent design rubbish, told in anecdotal form. There are no citations to any primary sourses, no index, and the bibliography seems to be just a list of his own self-published stuff. In the text the author mentions various popular books (without page numbers for the specific mentions) but that is about it.

  14. file thirteen says

    @Mano #15

    It’s terrible! It is just warmed over intelligent design rubbish, told in anecdotal form.

    No, really?? I’m shocked -- shocked I say!

  15. mynax says

    One of the (many) problems I have with fine-tuning arguments is that they don’t matter. So what if the universal constants result in a universe that consists of only hydrogen and magnetic fields? If God is omnipotent, he could make life happen there, though it wouldn’t be based on carbon at room temperature. The concepts of “hard” and “easy” don’t apply to an omnipotent being.

  16. file thirteen says

    Trying to come up with some scripture for my cult *. So far all I’ve come up with is:

    -- Helping others out is good and hurting others is bad (directly or indirectly, so use your head) because what goes around comes around.
    -- “Others” includes all living creatures, plants too.
    -- Torture is really bad.
    -- Vaccination is really good.
    -- Killing pests like wasps and tapeworms is good (within reason -- try not to disrupt the ecosystem) because who wants to be a tapeworm anyway.
    -- Education is good.

    Geez, do I have to make commandments out of all that now?

    * no, I’m not really going to start a cult.

    @flex #5

    In the words of Maynard James Keenan:

    “This, is, necessary! THIS, IS, NECESSARY!! LIFE, feeds on LIFE, feeds on LIFE, feeds on LIFE!!!!!”

  17. file thirteen says

    @19 Holms

    “Be excellent to each other” is shorter.

    Yes, but it has been done.

    As for your closing quote, a good use of it is here: (snip)

    Spoiler alert! I could have posted that link, but don’t you find half the fun is tracking down obscure references yourself?

    Congratulations though, you win the Internet. 🙂

  18. Holms says

    “Yes, but it has been done.”
    No need to mess with perfection.

    And what I meant was, here is a version of that song without that annoying 8 minute (or whatever it is) outro.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *