This week, a two part series of essays was published by atheist physicist Dr. Brian Blais. These essays challenged some of my key contentions from the debate, particularly my employment of Bayesian epistemology. In this essay, I reply to Dr. Blais’ remarks.
Since the resurrection is intended, in Christian theology, to function as an authenticating sign, it is highly predicted that Jesus’ resurrection will deviate from the normal course of nature. That the resurrection does, in fact, deviate from the normal course of nature should not be taken as a cause for concern.
The “young earth” teaching introduces an unnecessary and erroneous tension between Scripture and science that has confused many and I have personally met many people who have turned aside from their faith due to what they see as the impossible challenge of trying to reconcile that understanding of Scripture with the clear scientific evidence. They end up being neither ‘old’ or ‘young’ earth and worst of all not believing that God is the Creator at all.
So confident was David Hume about this principle that he said, humble man that he was, “I flatter myself that I have discovered an argument…which, if just, will, with the wise and learned, be an everlasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusion, and consequently, will be useful as long as the world endures.”
The Bayesian formulation of biological design arguments is, in my opinion, deserving of greater attention. Bayesian inference is widely used when dealing with design in the physical sciences. Perhaps the time has come for this structure of argument also to be used in design arguments in the life sciences.
In my judgment, what matters with an apologetic system is primarily its adherence to sound principles of reason and secondarily its persuasiveness. Arguments that are unsound can be persuasive to the uninitiated, and the apologist must resist the temptation to compromise his intellectual integrity by forsaking sound principles of reason for the sake of effectiveness.