Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in The Recorder of Greenfield, Massachusetts. It’s titled The case for intelligent design: Gill pastor sees faith supported by evidence. The newspaper has a comments section.
Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. But today we’ve got a preacher — Gary Bourbeau, pastor of the Gill Congregational Church, which seems not to have a website. Excerpts from the rev’s letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
Isn’t it interesting that the debate over intelligent design (creationism) and the theory of evolution (naturalism) continues 150 years after Darwin?
Interesting? Perhaps, if one is a psychologist. For us, it’s merely a source of amusement. Anyway, the rev says:
Science has spoken on this issue, but not all of us believe it has spoken coherently.
Whoa! Brave words indeed. We assume the rev’s letter will be a model of coherence. Let’s find out as he continues:
Many on the “science” side often speak more philosophy and opinion, and are determined to not at least consider the view of those who espouse the position that there is plenty of evidence to support the view that an intelligent creator is the cause of all that exists.
Yeah, science is just a bunch of philosophy and opinion. The rev says he’s got “plenty of evidence,” and we’re eager to learn about it. Let’s read on:
I would like to present three pieces of evidence that support the existence of God, as set forth by the biblical, Judeo-Christian view, and to plead the case for the evidence supporting the plausibility (necessity) of a creator. If there is a God, which I believe there is (faith supported by evidence), then it make sense He has revealed something about Himself and his character in the laws governing the universe and our existence.
We’re listening, rev. Tell us what you’ve got. Here’s the rev’s evidence:
First, let’s look at the cosmological argument, which, simply stated, says: Whatever begins to exist has a cause; the universe had a beginning; therefore, the universe has a cause.
Note that the rev says “whatever begins to exist. That probably excludes god. The rev is playing with a stacked deck. He continues:
Ironically and uncomfortably for the naturalist, Genesis and science agree on the above statement. “In the beginning God created … let there be light.” Almost every scientist agrees with the big bang explanation for the beginning of light, time and matter.
Where is this going? The big bang is the rev’s evidence for god? We’re about to find out:
Many scientists have shifted toward the Intelligent Design explanation through modern discoveries within creation, than have shifted away. The more we have discovered, the more God seems to be the explanation, rather than discounted, due to those discoveries. By the cosmological argument, we can logically infer that the Cause is all powerful beyond anything in the human experience, since He is outside of all that exists.
Yeah. Okay. Here comes the rev’s second piece of evidence:
Next is the teleological argument. The Greek “teleo” means end or purpose. This states that the order and design of the universe makes it likely, indeed, necessary, that a wise and omniscient God exists. Since the cosmos is ordered to a precise degree of physical properties and values, from the galaxies to the atom and its parts to the periodic table, it appears to be ordered to a specific purpose. The fine-tuned balance of these laws and the vast amount of information contained in the DNA molecule, speak loudly of the wisdom of the Creator.
Uh huh. The universe exists and things are what they are — therefore god. Nothing new so far. We’re coming to the rev’s third chunk of evidence. Maybe it’ll be something we haven’t seen before:
Last, let’s consider the moral argument for the existence of God. Remember, my purpose here is not to attempt to “prove” God, but rather to explore some areas that support His existence, and reveal some characteristics that would identify His nature. Some things are right and some things are wrong. There is good and there is evil. Every time we use “should or should not” and “ought or ought not,” we appeal to an objective standard.
[*Groan*] Nobody wants to be assaulted, raped, murdered, robbed, cheated, etc. Since everyone agrees, that’s the objective standard. What’s so complicated about it? Why must we resort to Oogity Boogity to know how we should behave? But the rev doesn’t see things that way. He says:
We all make judgements in every area of our lives every day. We know that cruelty, hatred and selfishness are undesirable, and kindness, love and generosity are desirable. There has to be a source beyond ourselves that informs us as to what constitutes those ideas. The logical, remaining step is to acknowledge that if there is a moral law, there is a moral lawgiver.
That’s it? The big bang, the laws of nature, and morality? Are you convinced, dear reader? Anyway, that’s the rev’s evidence. Here’s how he ends the letter:
Taken together, we see an all powerful God, who is both wise and good.
Maybe so, but the rev hasn’t made much of a case. Nice letter, nevertheless.
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