This week's paper version of Unfair Park features a cover story on Roy Abraham Varghese, who founded the Institute of Metascientific Research in Garland four years ago. Its mission: to refute the arguments put forward by atheists and scientific materialists and thus prove the existence of God. He does this with an assortment of arguments, boiling down to the unexplained existence (in material terms) of thought, consciousness, self-awareness and rationality.
Science cannot proceed without a set of basic scientifically unprovable assumptions that imply the existence of God, he says. These are that the universe is rational, that it is governed by a logical set of physical laws and constants, that these assumptions are valid and that we can know and understand them. Varghese asks: If the fundamental doctrine of atheism is valid and the universe truly is the result of a blind and unguided process, then why assume it is ultimately intelligible and investigate from that premise? How can one maintain that the universe is at bottom chancy and irrational while at the same time invest faith in science, rationality and calculation to explain its specifics? Atheism is incoherence, Varghese insists.
While Varghese provisionally accepts the validity of evolutionary theory as an explanation for species variation, he insists it ultimately backs itself into a brick wall. It can’t, for example, explain the complex process of reproduction, because without reproduction there is no evolution via natural selection. It simply can’t get started. Reproduction has a nonmaterial source.
Whoa, say his critics. There are reproductive precursors to reproduction in nature. Compounds emerge in rapid chain reactions. Crystals grow. But Varghese counters these are nothing more than weak, ineffective analogies. Such processses are examples of chemical formation, not self-replication. No chemical in nature duplicates itself outside of living organisms. Replication is dependent on life. Where did this ability come from?
This is strange stuff in this current environment of evangelical atheism, expressed in raging bestsellers like The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins calls God a “psychotic delinquent.” How else to explain the unpleasantness of the Old Testament tyrant who commands genocide, pillaging, slavery and the ravishment of women?
Yet Varghese’s arguments ultimately helped sway the world’s most influential atheist: British philosopher Antony Flew, who set the agenda for modern atheism in 1950 with the publication of “Theology and Falsification.” Now Flew believes in God. But not all the way. He doesn’t think much of the Biblical God, though he thinks the Bible is a good read. Flew doesn’t believe in an afterlife, or rather he hopes there isn’t one. Why? He thinks the facts of the universe suggest it was created by an evil being. A God that uses his power to maintain souls in eternal torment is neither good nor the kind of guy you’d want to spend an afternoon with, let alone eternity. Varghese is currently working on a book with Flew titled There is a God, to be published in November.
Of course, Varghese could be full of it, right? --Mark StuertzGo
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