Harry Biltz on Noticing That Modern Science Has Rendered Atheism Irrational
As a Catholic who made his living writing computer software, I have an interest in science as well as in what's going on these days in what is still mistakenly referred to as "Catholic" higher education. Any number of those who teach in these academies are willing to take contemporary atheism seriously, yet I wonder how many of them realize that modern science has rendered it irrational. Those who do realize it must be more committed to being accepted by atheistic academia than to promulgating orthodox Christianity.
For the fact is that modern science now has very well corroborated evidence that the natural universe (time, space, matter, and energy) had a beginning. Since that fact makes it irrational to take the very unscientific position that things popped into existence uncaused, from true nothingness (nothingness in terms of the absence of time, space, matter, and energy), the rational person would conclude that the natural universe must have been caused by a reality that transcends the natural, that is, by a supernatural reality.
Modern science now knows that even the simplest reproducing, single-celled life form consists of ultra-sophisticated, digital-information-based nanotechnology the functional complexity of which is light years beyond anything modern science knows how to build from scratch. It would be far easier to explain how a laptop computer might come about mindlessly and accidentally than to come up with a plausible explanation of how such beyond-our-own nanotechnology might have been produced that way. The computer you use everyday is crude technology compared to that of a living organism. Can your computer replicate itself, or even a simpler version of itself, using available resources? Can it build and install new parts for itself? Single-celled, reproducing life forms do all that and more using digitally stored assembly instructions.
Technology, by definition, is the result of the application of knowledge for a purpose. That is why technology never comes about mindlessly and accidentally. It is utterly obvious that life is technology that is astoundingly superior to our own, and therefore it must be the result of the application of knowledge (tremendously superior to our own) for a purpose.
More Certain Than Gravity
There are individuals who, because they are extremely naive about what it takes to develop software, could be convinced that a given suite of functionally complex applications running on a computer actually came about mindlessly and accidentally. But there are very, very few individuals who would believe, in addition to that, that the computer itself came about mindlessly and accidentally. Yet that is basically what contemporary atheism is asking the world to believe.
Life is a suite of complex applications running in an environment that was far more unlikely to be arrived at mindlessly and accidentally than were the computer and operating system required by any functionally complex software. Just how unlikely was it that the Big Bang would produce an environment where life was a possibility? Renowned physicist/mathematician Roger Penrose (Stephen Hawking and Penrose were jointly awarded the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society), in his book The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe, calculates that the odds of the Big Bang mindlessly and accidentally producing a universe where life was possible were one in 10^10^123. The double exponent makes that number so large that one can have far more certainty that the universe was not a mindless accident than that the laws of physics will continue to apply consistently to nature.
So except, I suppose, for those who have all their possessions tied down just in case gravity stops working, it is now apparent that it is simply irrational to conclude that the universe and the living things within it are mindless accidents.
Thus, God, in his perfect providence, has mocked the arrogant and darkened minds of the so-called Enlightenment with the results of militantly atheistic science's own discoveries. It is too bad Catholic academia seems to be among the last to have noticed this, or worse, finds it easier to deny the truth than to point out the irrationality of the atheistic establishment. It was the humility of the child that allowed him to point out that the emperor was wearing no clothes.
more on science from the online archives
calling all readers
"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand
"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor
• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!
Purchase Print &
Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!
Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives including pdf downloads for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!
GIVE Print &
Give six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for the reduced rate of $29.95. That's only $2.50 per month!
Transactions will be processed on a secure server.
Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.
OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)
Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.
more from the online archives