Posted in Apologetics, Christianity and Culture, Evolution

Aliens and Evolution (What Happens When Imaginary Green Men Get Credit for God’s Work)

By Weylan Deaver

Aliens are ingrained in our cultural psyche. They abound in books, movies, radio, and a thousand theories about the extra-terrestrial, little green men, UFO sightings, abductions, Area 51, and Roswell.

The year 1898 saw publication of H. G. Wells’ novel, War of the Worlds, which helped pioneer the concept of aliens (and aliens versus man). It was adapted in a 1938 radio broadcast which frightened many into believing aliens were invading America. H. G. Wells was an adoring student of Thomas Huxley, who was known as “Darwin’s bulldog” due to his staunch defense of Charles Darwin’s theory of human origins.

If aliens are defined as physical creatures inhabiting other planets or galaxies, then they have no place in a worldview informed by the Bible. Angels and demons are treated as matter-of-fact realities in the Bible, but not as living in space. Stars are created by God (Gen. 1:16) and, though sophisticated instruments will only allow scientists to guess at their number, God knows the precise number of stars and has already named every one of them (Psalm 147:4). One thing the Bible never hints at is intelligent life in outer space.

However, aliens do go hand in glove with evolutionary theory. In his 2008 documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, Ben Stein chronicles extreme prejudice in academia against belief in intelligent design in the universe. At the movie’s end, Stein interviews Richard Dawkins, one of today’s leading advocates of atheism. Asked about the possibility of the world’s being intelligently designed, Dawkins replies:

“Well… it could come about in the following way: it could be that uh, at some earlier time somewhere in the universe a civilization evolved… by probably some kind of Darwinian means to a very, very high level of technology and designed a form of life that they seeded onto…perhaps this… this planet. Um, now that is a possibility. And uh, an intriguing possibility. And I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the um, at the detail…details of our chemistry molecular biology you might find a signature of some sort of designer.”

In other words, even an atheist like Dawkins feels the pressure to admit the possibility of what to so many of us is painfully obvious: we are surrounded by intentional, intelligent design. So, with straight face, he posits as a serious suggestion that unidentified aliens, at an untold time, from undisclosed location, by an unknown method, “seeded” on earth a “form of life” they “designed.” Dawkins’ desperation is palpable, and a grasping at cosmic straws.

The debate may be shifting. Whereas atheists used to deny intelligent design in nature, at least some now seem willing to admit it, as long as the designer is anyone but God. What but an entrenched anti-God bias would produce a baseless assertion, such as Dawkins’ theory of intelligent design by aliens? Yet, some will doubtless view it as scientifically credible, since Dawkins said it, even though there is nothing scientific about it.

Scripture affirms the existence of Adam and angels, but not aliens. Rational, thinking beings that we are, there is no excuse for confusion about where we came from. Noting the inescapable evidence for God all around us, the apostle Paul writes that “the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).

Posted in Apologetics, Books, Reviews

God’s Undertaker (Book Review)

By Weylan Deaver

Richard Dawkins, irascible critic of the Creator, says “I am utterly fed up with the respect we have been brainwashed into bestowing upon religion” (p. 8). He would like nothing better than to banish theism and religion to the ash heap of historically bad ideas. But, has science buried God? That question is the subtitle of God’s Undertaker, a Lion Hudson book penned by John C. Lennox. With three doctorates, Lennox is a mathematics professor at Oxford and a philosopher of science at Green Templeton College. His twelve chapters are a volley of withering fire against pseudo-science masquerading as the real thing.

Is a Dawkins an atheist because of the evidence, or because of a worldview, not founded on science, which he carries with him to the microscope? Lennox’s thesis is that real science actually points toward an intelligent Designer. That some scientists are so vehemently opposed to God speaks more to their unscientific prejudice and presuppositions than it says about God. The degree of atheistic animosity toward theism is itself a curiosity to Lennox, begging investigation why, if God were fiction, anyone should hate Him so. Lennox gives the much needed reminders that “Statements by scientists are not necessarily statements of science” (p. 19) and “you cannot deduce a worldview from a science” (p. 121). Worldviews are not mixed in a test tube; they originate outside science, but end up influencing the conclusions of scientists.

Lennox claims the biblical worldview, grounded in the ancient Hebrews’ concept of a single, omnipotent Creator has done more to advance science than any contribution from the ancient Greeks. Far from stopping scientific investigation, it was belief in an orderly universe created by God which initially propelled the discipline. Theism gave science its beginning; atheism gives science a black eye.

Lennox takes evolutionary theory to task, pointing out there is an “edge to evolution,” beyond which it cannot go. This is why small changes within species are observed (i.e. microevolution), but evolution across species (macroevolution) has never been observed, much less duplicated by science. Gaps in the fossil record tell an embarrassing tale too often buried as science’s dirty secret.

Further, as science is able to see increasingly on a microscopic level, it is becoming more difficult to argue against design in the universe. Lennox discusses the marvel of DNA from a scientific and mathematic perspective, adding up facts that make it impossible for life to have arisen on the basis of mindless chance. And, as information theory begins to blossom, he draws a striking point on the biblical teaching that, prior to the incarnation, Jesus existed as the “Word” of God. Information is real, but not physical. And there is nothing anti-science in recognizing divinely-put information in a cell, which gives design to an organism (especially when evidence points to the impossibility of its being undesigned).

Rejecting the popular concept that faith is not evidence-based, Lennox gives a cutting edge, refresher course on why we need not bow to brash scientists who overreach into metaphysics and stake claims far too weighty for science to bear. The last chapter is a devastating critique of David Hume, the 18th century Scottish philosopher who did much to destroy belief in biblical miracles.

Lennox is an engaging writer, pulling the rug from under atheism with true British courtesy. But his kindness does not disguise the tatters in which he leaves materialism. His final two sentences are worth the book’s price: “Either human intelligence ultimately owes its origin to mindless matter; or there is a Creator. It is strange that some people claim that it is their intelligence that leads them to prefer the first to the second” (p. 210).

[This review was originally published in the April 2011 issue of Sufficient Evidence (pp. 56-58), the journal of the Warren Christian Apologetics Center.]