Wednesday, October 8, 2014

British Study Points to Life after Death

If naturalism is true, human consciousness is nothing but brain activity. Yet studies have repeatedly shown that consciousness can continue even when there is no brain activity. Why is naturalism considered a viable worldview when it has been decisively refuted by scientific research?
Telegraph—Death is a depressingly inevitable consequence of life, but now scientists believe they may have found some light at the end of the tunnel.

The largest ever medical study into near-death and out-of-body experiences has discovered that some awareness may continue even after the brain has shut down completely.

It is a controversial subject which has, until recently, been treated with widespread scepticism.

But scientists at the University of Southampton have spent four years examining more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria.

And they found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted.

One man even recalled leaving his body entirely and watching his resuscitation from the corner of the room.

Despite being unconscious and ‘dead’ for three minutes, the 57-year-old social worker from Southampton, recounted the actions of the nursing staff in detail and described the sound of the machines.

“We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating,” said Dr Sam Parnia, a former research fellow at Southampton University, now at the State University of New York, who led the study.

“But in this case, conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped.

“The man described everything that had happened in the room, but importantly, he heard two bleeps from a machine that makes a noise at three minute intervals. So we could time how long the experienced lasted for.

“He seemed very credible and everything that he said had happened to him had actually happened.”

Of 2060 cardiac arrest patients studied, 330 survived and 140 said they had experienced some kind of awareness while being resuscitated.

Although many could not recall specific details, some themes emerged. One in five said they had felt an unusual sense of peacefulness while nearly one third said time had slowed down or speeded up.

Some recalled seeing a bright light; a golden flash or the Sun shining. Others recounted feelings of fear or drowning or being dragged through deep water. 13 per cent said they had felt separated from their bodies and the same number said their sensed had been heightened.

Dr Parnia believes many more people may have experiences when they are close to death but drugs or sedatives used in the process of rescuitation may stop them remembering.

“Estimates have suggested that millions of people have had vivid experiences in relation to death but the scientific evidence has been ambiguous at best.

“Many people have assumed that these were hallucinations or illusions but they do seem to corresponded to actual events.

“And a higher proportion of people may have vivid death experiences, but do not recall them due to the effects of brain injury or sedative drugs on memory circuits.

“These experiences warrant further investigation.“ (Continue Reading.)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Why Doesn't God Give Us More Evidence That He Exists?

According to the Bible, everyone knows that God exists, and people who say that God does not exist have suppressed their knowledge. In Romans 1:18-20, Paul writes:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Nevertheless, atheists often ask why God doesn't provide even more proof, such as writing his name in the sky. This objection assumes, however, that God is simply attempting to convince people that he exists. But this is not the Christian position.

Here's a short video by William Lane Craig on the atheist demand for more evidence.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Did the Universe Have a Beginning?

Up until the beginning of the 20th century, atheists typically argued that the universe was eternal and uncaused, so much so that even Albert Einstein "fudged" his equations and introduced a "cosmological constant" to avoid the conclusion that the universe began. After looking through Hubble's telescope and observing the red-shift in moving galaxies, Einstein acknowledged that the "cosmological constant" was the biggest blunder of his career.

Leonard Susskind on the Fine Tuning of the Universe for Life and Consciousness

Leonard Susskind is a professor of theoretical physics at Stanford University and one of the developers of string theory. In this interview, Susskind discusses cosmological fine tuning and the various ways of explaining it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

More on the Fine Tuning of the Universe

Here's another short video on the cosmological fine tuning required for life and consciousness.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Moral Argument for God's Existence

Human beings generally believe that some actions are morally right and that other actions are morally wrong. We may disagree about which specific actions are right or wrong, but there is little disagreement on basic moral principles.

What is the source or origin of these moral principles? If naturalism is true, shared moral values and duties must be the product either of evolutionary development (that is, they are hardwired into us biologically) or of cultural development (that is, they are instilled in us by society).

Notice that neither of these options allows moral values and duties to be something objective (true regardless of our opinions). On the evolutionary view, moral values and duties originated as features that helped our ancestors survive and reproduce (the same way the claws of a tiger help it survive or the colorful feathers of a peacock help it reproduce), but this has nothing to do with objective right and wrong. The statement "It's good to be compassionate" wouldn't be true. Instead, the true statement would be: "Compassion helped our ancestors pass on their genetic information." Our belief that compassion is objectively good would be a kind of illusion. Of course, one might think that whatever helps survival and reproduction must be good. But bedbugs reproduce through violent rape. The violent rape helps the species survive and reproduce, but this says nothing about whether violent rape is right or wrong.

On the cultural view, moral values and duties developed because they were needed by society. A society without rules is impossible, for the absence of rules would lead to chaos. But here again, moral values and duties are not objective. The statement "You should do unto others as you would have them do unto you" wouldn't be true. Instead, it would mean "Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you helps society." One may suggest that whatever helps society is good, but various societies have thrived on cruelty, oppression, and subjugation. Does this mean that cruelty, oppression, and subjugation are good?

Hence, if moral values and duties are going to be something beyond biology and culture, they need a transcendent source. This is the basis of the Moral Argument for God's Existence.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Fine Tuning of the Universe

One of the most popular arguments for God's existence is the "Argument from the Fine-Tuning of the Cosmos" or the "Fine-Tuning Argument." The Fine-Tuning Argument is a version of the Design Argument (various versions of which claim that certain observable features or structures are best explained by an appeal to intelligence).

Here's the gist of the Fine-Tuning Argument. In order for you to be reading this right now, the fundamental structure of the universe has to be finely tuned for intelligent life. The forces, principles, and constants of physics, certain physical quantities, the ratios between the masses of atomic particles, and the properties of elements and compounds have to be just right, or you wouldn't exist.

There are only three possible explanations for the fine-tuning of the cosmos: (1) necessity, (2) chance, and (3) design. The constants of physics aren't necessary, and they are too unimaginably improbable and goal-oriented to be the product of chance. Hence, design is the only reasonable explanation.

Here's a short video on the argument:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Atheists Advocating Book Burning?

One of the saddest results of the "New Atheism" movement has been the radicalization of many atheists. Instead of calmly arguing against the existence of God, many of the "new atheists" are now taking a far more extreme stance (e.g., calling religion a "disease" that must be eradicated). Some atheists are even calling for book burnings.

Of course, as Heinrich Heine said: "Where they burn books, they will in the end also burn people."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ravi Zacharias Responds to the New Atheists

Here's a short talk by Ravi Zacharias on man's predicament and the emptiness of atheism.