Damning Religion and Mocking BeliefsIn the so-called war between science and religion, is religion — specifically, the belief that In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth — going down in flames? If you are listening only to the strident voices of the "new atheists" and to the culture that idolizes them, you might begin to actually believe that the scientific advances and discoveries of the past century have forced God to apply for unemployment by proving conclusively (pound table or podium here) that purely material forces account for all of life and reality! So confident are the leaders and consumers of this worldview in their assumptions, that Richard Dawkins, Darwin's most aggressive and popular evangelist, boasts with pride, "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."
No wonder the organizers of last month's first-ever "Reason Rally" (March 24, 2012) invited the celebrated Dr. Dawkins to be the main speaker. Despite gloomy weather conditions, thousands of atheists (initial guesstimates, 20,000; revised estimates, "several thousand") gathered near the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., "hell bent," in the words of a USA Today reporter, "on damning religion and mocking beliefs." In fact, various accounts of the Reason Rally make it clear that "mocking beliefs" was a primary purpose of the Rally. Rather than encouraging their followers to engage in substantive dialogue with their worldview opponents, to, as the prophet Isaiah entreated the skeptics of his own day, "come, let us reason together," they were urged to "ridicule and show contempt" for them. As reported by USA Today, the Rally's organizer gave a "thundering call for 'zero tolerance' for anyone who disagrees with or insults atheism." So . . . who is it that has a problem?
Well, Let's Do Reason TogetherHow "reasonable" is such a rally and how solid the ground upon which its proponents stand? Perhaps you have read the short book we offer, How to Be an Intellectually Fulfilled Atheist (or Not), co-authored by William Dembski and Jonathan Wells, and titled to echo Prof. Dawkins' famous boast. It examines cogently and carefully the "science" behind the naturalistic arguments for a purely material origin of the first living cell. What is undeniable (at least for anyone not in denial) is the brick wall into which every naturalistic theory of origins ultimately smashes. Despite the vast funding dedicated to origin-of-life research and the proliferation for several decades of publications in scientific journals, no plausible theory of how the first living cell came into existence has survived the critiques of even fellow naturalists.
Just as a journey of a thousand miles must begin with the first step, so the quest to explain the origin of life must begin with the very first, single, living cell. In fact, that's exactly where the publishing program of FTE began. Explaining the origin of the first living cell is naturalism's greatest vulnerability.
The Mystery of Life's OriginAnd it is not surprising that one of the most influential and important works in the past five decades exploring the depths of this invincible challenge for the scientific community was FTE's own The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories, authored by three extraordinary scientists, Charles B. Thaxton, Walter L. Bradley, and Roger L. Olsen, and published in 1984 (New York: Philosophical Library.) Mystery laid out the physics and chemistry of the origin of a first cell, one problem at a time, with stunning detail and clarity, and an absolutely disarming fairness that all scientists could respect. With a refusal to exaggerate and by being scrupulously disciplined and unbiased, Mystery became the first book favorable toward intelligent design (although it didn't use that term) to be published by an esteemed New York publisher, one that had published titles by more than two dozen Nobel laureates. Mystery sold extremely well, including to faculty on university campuses across the U.S., and it garnered numerous accolades. In the mid-90s, Mystery was reprinted under the imprint of Lewis and Stanley and 10,000 copies were distributed to Christian Leadership Ministries members. It won wide acclaim among top researchers on the pages of elite science journals. Through Charles Thaxton's influence, it was translated into three Eastern European languages. Mystery had a profound role in educating the scientific and academic worlds.
Thus, it is no surprise to the readers of Mystery that now, almost thirty years later, origins researchers are even farther from a credible naturalistic explanation for the first cell. Rather than putting to rest the need for a nonmaterial explanation for the origin of the first living cell, recent scientific efforts and discoveries are doing just the opposite, giving us knowledge that Darwin simply did not have a hundred and fifty years ago. The understanding we have today about the incredible complexity, nano-engineering, and functional information embedded in the most basic living cell raises such insurmountable obstacles to Darwin's assumptions as to make Dawkins' boast of "intellectual fulfillment" laughable. This is what made Ben Stein's interview with Prof. Dawkins toward the end of the documentary, Expelled! No Intelligence Allowed so devastating. Pressed for an answer to the question of how it all started (the "slow process" that led to the creation of the heavens and the earth), Dawkins gives away the store. First, he acknowledges that neither he nor anyone else has "any idea" how the first self-replicating molecule came into existence, then states that he is "intrigued" by the theory that a higher intelligence elsewhere in the universe designed and seeded the first living cell on earth, though this "higher intelligence couldn't have jumped spontaneously into existence." "It too," he offers, "would have to be the product of some kind of Darwinian evolutionary process."
Does this outrageous, evidence-free circular thinking sound reasonable to you? Is it so reasonable that the growing numbers of Darwin skeptics both inside and outside of the scientific community should be mocked, ridiculed, and held up to contempt by the new atheists and their adoring fans? The irony, of course, is that the very concept of reason and the human desire and ability to reason comes from the One in whose Image we are made!
The Universe and the ParkTo Dawkins' mind, an explanation he can accept for the first living cell is floating out there in the universe, and there is plenty of time to find it. So he is taking some time off to speak to skeptics in the park by the Washington Monument, helping to foment ridicule and contempt for those who aren't yet convinced.
Meanwhile, because it is precisely at the threshold of the first self-replicating, functioning cell that naturalism is critically vulnerable, FTE has been contributing since the publication of The Mystery of Life's Origin to a powerful arsenal of weapons with its books. Now, as we cross the digital divide, we add exponentially to the strength of that arsenal.
So many of you have been praying with us for the success of our efforts to digitize How to Be An Intellectually Fulfilled Atheist (Or Not) so it can be read by an unlimited number of young and twenty-somethings anywhere in the world. At only 115 pages, it is a lean, mean, up-to-date version of the disarming case for the design of the first living cell. How to Be is one of our next two books to go digital and in fact is already in production. Previously published by ISI and FTE and available on Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook, the new FTE eBook version will be accessible to tens of thousands of additional young people with tablets and smart phones, making it easier to own and begin reading than going to the nearest newspaper stand.
How we thank you for all you do to make our work possible and effective. We ask you to continue with us as we fight the war on faith and reason that threatens to engulf our young people and deprive them of a future of religious and intellectual liberty. There is so much at stake, and our case is so sound that we will not give up, and we are truly grateful for your partnership with us.
Because He Lives,
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