Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Proof is Not Ultimate

Another book I read in my reading blitz at the beginning of the summer: The Ultimate Proof of Creation, by Dr. Jason Lisle. Actually, I started this book over the long, miserable winter but put it aside for a while because I was less than enthralled. Which hints at the gist of my review here.

The author purports to give the "ultimate proof" that the universe was created as described in the Bible and not by Big Bangs and evolutions. Let me disclose here that, while I'm not a rabid 6-day creationist, I find many of their arguments and evidences very plausible and many of the evolutionists' arguments and evidences completely disingenuous. That said, this book didn't really cut it for me.

To summarize his basic argument: one can't use physical evidence solely to convince anyone on either side of the origins debate, because that evidence will always be interpreted according to one's worldview. An evolutionist looks at fossils in layers of earth and sees millions and millions of years; a creationist looks at the same and sees the remnants of a catastrophic global flood. No one was there when the layers were laid, and either explanation is feasible, so nothing can be "proven" from the physical evidence. (Yes, the flood explanation is most definitely feasible if you genuinely consider the evidence objectively, as a scientist is supposed to do.)

The key, he says, is to show the superiority of the creationist's worldview. And he does so by showing that only a creationist worldview can account for the "preconditions of intelligibility" -- the conditions that must be accepted as true before we can know anything about the universe. Such as the reliability of our memory, the reliability of our senses, and the laws of logic. He argues that when an atheistic evolutionist depends upon these things, as he must when he is making his case about the origins of all things, he is being arbitrary and inconsistent -- his belief system or worldview can offer no basis for their existence or validity. He must "borrow" those beliefs from Biblical thinking.

I have some sympathy for his point. I think it is true that most atheists and most evolutionists have not thought through the implications of their beliefs to their irrational and despairing end. But I am quite skeptical of this notion of "ultimate proof" -- that we will ever be able to offer rational arguments that will bring such people to a hallelujah-come-to-Jesus moment. Faith is an affair of the heart and will as much as the intellect. We do need to address the questions the intellect presents to us, but they will never be the "ultimate" answer.

Beyond that, the book was just rather dry. Only recommended if you're really into logic and apologetic argument. Not exactly light-hearted summer reading.

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