Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Science versus God? Or SCIENTISM versus God?
A recent yahoo piece pits science against God and from the tenor of the article it appears that in the end God loses out (or will still lose out). But the title is misleading. It is not actually science that is pitted against God but the SCIENTISM of SOME scientist such as Sean Carrol that is allowed to pontificate on matters that are BEYOND the domain of science. 

So what is scientism? MIT physicist Ian Hutchinson gives this basic definition; scientism is the assertion that “Science, modeled on the natural sciences, is the only source of real knowledge.” Scientism claims that real knowledge is scientific knowledge. If something can’t be demonstrated by the strict methods of science then it is not real knowledge. So spiritual realities, since they can’t be measured by science, are not considered as real knowledge. They are but myths, fantasies or illusions. Scientism is alive and well among popular science writers such as the late Carl Sagan who made this statement, “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” (Cosmos).This statement actually is NOT a scientific statement. It is impossible to scientifically demonstrate the veracity of this statement. For an extended discussion on scientism see
What I will do is to cite sections (with quotes) from the article and give brief rejoinders (in blue).

Will Science Someday Rule Out the Possibility of God? By Natalie Wolchover

“Over the past few centuries, science can be said to have gradually chipped away at the traditional grounds for believing in God.” -- Really? What might be those “traditional grounds”? Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that science has chipped away at “religious misconceptions about the world”? I did not really find anything in this article that is even close to chipping away at the classic arguments for God’s existence (see Dean Overman’s excellent book A Case for the Existence of God).  

“Much of what once seemed mysterious… can now be explained… Although cosmic mysteries remain…” -- From “can now be explained” to “mysteries remain”; hmmm.

“Sean Carroll… says there's good reason to think science will ultimately… leaves no grounds for God whatsoever.” Good reason. Science. To leave “no grounds for God whatsoever.” Can’t wait for the argument! But wait a minute, science’s domain is the NATURAL; things that can be physically measured, tested and experimented on right? Then how in the world can science as science “leave no room for God” when science can’t apply its physical tools for physical things on God who, by very definition, is SPIRIT (non physical) and SUPERNATURAL (transcends the natural)? Somethin’s fishy here.
“Carroll argues that God's sphere of influence has shrunk drastically in modern times…” -- How does Carrol actually know that “God’s sphere of influence has shrunk”? What “God” is he talking about? 
“He thinks the sphere of supernatural influence will eventually shrink to nil. But could science really eventually explain everything?” -- Actually science can’t. It is Carroll’s PHILOSOPHY of scientism that is attempting to “shrink” God.
Note this line, “However, in Carroll's opinion…” -- In Carroll’s “OPINION” (my emphasis). It is his opinion based on scientism and not on science.
“Such a theory, called "quantum gravity," will necessarily account for what happened at the moment of the Big Bang.” -- Ok, let me get this. So “quantum gravity” did it. Umm, how did this “quantum gravity” came to BE in the first place? So is “quantum gravity” the Alpha and the Omega? So you want your “quantum gravity” but you will not allow others to have God as their Alpha and Omega? O Caroll please!
 “Some versions of quantum gravity theory… one model holds that the universe acts like a balloon that inflates and deflates over and over under its own steam.” -- So back to the oscillating universe? Wasn’t that theory, because of so much contrary data, discredited quite a while back (see
“If, in fact, time had no beginning, this shuts the book on Genesis.” -- Really? How?
"Other versions of quantum gravity theory currently being explored by cosmologists predict that time did start at the Big Bang." -- “Other versions”. So how many “versions”? And which version is correct? Interesting. So what happened to “shuts the book on Genesis”?
“But these versions of events don't cast a role for God either…"Nothing in the fact that there is a first moment of time, in other words, necessitates that an external something is required to bring the universe about at that moment" (Carroll) -- Why do I get the feeling that I don’t have to take Carroll’s word for it? Sorry, naked assertions won’t do. So Carroll tell me, how did NOTHING as in NOTHING (unless you postulate that your “quantum gravity” always existed, but you have to prove that first), how can absolute NOTHING bring about SOMETHING?
“Alex Filippenko, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Berkeley, said... "The Big Bang could've occurred as a result of just the laws of physics being there. With the laws of physics, you can get universes." -- Umm, ok, so you would rather think that the laws of physics are eternal? So they were there from eternity to eternity? Really? Can your science prove this or is this on the basis of faith in your scientism? What if I ask you science guys, since you’re so big on science, to demonstrated scientifically that the laws of physics are eternal, and if not where did they come from? And if you can’t prove this then do you expect me to take this by faith? Faith in you and in your assumptions? No thanks!
“multiverse… We find ourselves in one of the lucky universes (because where else?).” -- Multiverse, hmmm. Isn’t it true that there is no way for us here in our universe to ever detect, see, measure, demonstrate, much less prove, other universes? So then the multiverse idea is just that, an idea, without any means of being scientifically verified! So how is this science?
“Carroll retorts that the multiverse wasn't postulated as a complicated way to explain fine-tuning. On the contrary, it follows as a natural consequence of our best, most elegant theories.” -- Really? More honest scientist admit otherwise. Actually the multiverse position is an appeal to consequence argument i.e. a loophole to escape God.  Tim Folger, award winning science writer, wrote a very fascinating, interesting and revealing article in the web magazine DISCOVER, Science's Alternative to an Intelligent Creator: the Multiverse Theory -- <From the December 2008 issue; published online November 10, 2008>

Leibniz asked the question, ‘Why is there something instead of nothing?’ “According to Carroll… There can be no answer to such a question” -- Hmm. So Carroll now plays God and says that he has the answer to this Leibniz’s age old question, and that the answer is that there can be no answer? Now why do I find that totally unconvincing? 
Now watch this > "Most scientists … suspect that the search for ultimate explanations eventually terminates in some final theory of the world, along with the phrase 'and that's just how it is,'" Carroll wrote. People who find this unsatisfying are failing to treat the entire universe as something unique — "something for which a different set of standards is appropriate." A complete scientific theory that accounts for everything in the universe doesn't need an external explanation in the same way that specific things within the universe need external explanations. In fact, Carroll argues, wrapping another layer of explanation (i.e., God) around a self-contained theory of everything would just be an unnecessary complication. (The theory already works without God.) --
Wow! How unconvincing is this argument!!! So Carroll, you expect me to take your word for it, again? And on the basis of what, faith in you and in your scientism? No thanks, again! 
When dealing with everything else in this universe, in the universe that we are in, of space time matter and energy, you (and every other real scientist) uphold the scientific rule that everything in this universe demands an explanation for its existense. But when dealing with this great and awesome universe you suddenly suspend this rule and say, ‘Well, there’s no need to answer Leibniz’s question. No explanation is necessary for the universe to exist.’ To quote our dear good Senator Santiago, "Wa!!!" Sorry bud, no can do. Carroll, you sneaky scientist!
“Psychology research suggests…” -- So psychology explains away religion eh? How neat! So when will the next psychological theory come out and dismiss the current psychological theory?
"We're not designed at the level of theoretical physics," (Daniel Kruger) What matters to most people "is what happens at the human scale, relationships to other people, things we experience in a lifetime."
I say amen! And science can’t even begin to measure the things that matter most to us.
So “Will Science Someday Rule Out the Possibility of God?” Well, Carroll thinks so. But Carroll is not science, let’s remember that. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The West, Christian Thought, and the Rest, 

"Universalistic egalitarianism, from which sprang the ideals of freedom and a collective life in solidarity, the autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of continual critical appropriation and reinterpretation. To this day, there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a postnational constellation, we continue to draw on the substance of this heritage. Everything else is just idle postmodern talk." (Jürgen Habermas - Philosopher and Sociologist Jurgen Habermas, self-confessed methodological arheist, "Time of Transitions", Polity Press, 2006, pp. 150-151).

Today it is fashionable for secularist talking heads, scholars, writers and what have you to disparage the influence of religion in the world. It is understandable. Many atrocities that are being committed today are done in the name of religion (911!). Not all, however. In fact, atrocities committed under atheistic worldviews beat, hands down, atrocities done by religionists. (See links for figures *).

The problem with many secularists is that they commit the error of throwing the baby with the bathwater. Just because some religious nut did some evil thing, these atheists jump to the non sequitur conclusion, ‘There, ALL religions are bad for people and bad for the world. Let’s get rid of the filthy thing!’ Driven by his secularist zeal Sam Harris puts on his atheistic superhero uniform and sets out 'to demolish the intellectual and moral pretensions of Christianity…' Sure superhero Sam, go kick some Christian butt. But let’s not take Sam’s word for it; it’s good for us to visit history lane and check out for ourselves the role that the Judeo-Christian Faith has played in world history, Western Civilization in particular, the civilization that has fully dominated the world since the 1500s.

At the outset let me be clear on what I am NOT saying. I am NOT saying that America is a Christian Nation. What I do assert is the undeniable historical fact that the Judeo-Christian worldview has been a tremendous blessing to the world, greatly contributing to the uplifting of societies, cultures and nations. America is a critical example because today it is the most dominant Western nation (though sadly in decline). And perhaps having the most impact on our country (for better or worse). America, though NOT a “Christian nation” from a political or technical sense, has been greatly influenced by the tenets of the Judeo-Christian faith in its beginnings and foundational convictions.

For example, in the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776) it explicitly states,

“We clearly hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”

This conviction has its roots in the Judeo-Christian faith. In fact the entire Western civilization cannot be completely understood without considering the strong and deep influence of the Judeo-Christian faith. But modern secularists who are THEOPHOBIC and allergic to anything “religious”, particularly Christian, do everything they can to eliminate whatever Christian influence there was in the development of Western thought. But this is historical revisionism at its worst and a boldfaced lie!

The irrefutable historical fact is that the entire Western Civilization that has dominated the world for five centuries now was DEEPLY influenced and impacted by Judeo-Christian thought and is evidenced in its foundational convictions.

Is the West in decline these days? Yes. In fact, many describe Western Europe as “post-Christian Europe”. It has departed from its historical foundations in Judeo-Christian thought. America also is sadly following a similar path. In fact some are already saying that America now is “post Christian America”!

Writer Fred Hutchinson quotes a critical observation made by a historian.

“Historian Christopher Dawson (1889–1970) devoted much of his life's work to studying and writing about the interaction of Christianity and civilization over the course of history. He claimed that every rising civilization had a religion at its core, and was driven forward by religious zeal and spiritual aspirations. Dawson also wrote that every civilization that loses touch with its religious roots must eventually fall, no matter how rich and powerful it has become. Dawson was alluding to a "higher religion" like Christianity, which is conducive to civilization, and not to pagan religions that are conducive to primitive tribalism.”

Nietzsche castigated the secularists who want to get rid of the Christian Faith yet romantically hold on to its moral and ethical ideals. If you cut the tree then go the whole way and totally uproot the whole thing and replace it with something totally new. Good riddance! Nietzsche offered that new thing—what’s left is THE WILL TO POWER!

Here are some revealing comments --

"Let me begin with a striking passage from Niall Ferguson's recent book, Civilization. In it he tells of how the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences was given the task of discovering how the West, having lagged behind China for centuries, eventually overtook it and established itself in a position of world pre-eminence. At first, said the scholar, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we concluded it was because you had the best political system. Then we realised it was your economic system. "But in the past 20 years, we have realised that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West has been so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don't have any doubt about this.” (by UK Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks)

The Chinese scholar was right. The same line of reasoning was followed by the Harvard economic historian, David Landes, in his magisterial The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. He too pointed out that China was technologically far in advance of the West until the 15th century. The Chinese had invented the wheelbarrow, the compass, paper, printing, gunpowder, porcelain, spinning machines for weaving textiles and blast furnaces for producing iron. Yet they never developed a market economy, the rise of science, an industrial revolution or sustained economic growth. Landes too concludes that it was the Judeo-Christian heritage that the West had and China lacked."

Jurgen Habermas' statment is worth quoting again,

"Universalistic egalitarianism, from which sprang the ideals of freedom and a collective life in solidarity, the autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of continual critical appropriation and reinterpretation. To this day, there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a postnational constellation, we continue to draw on the substance of this heritage. Everything else is just idle postmodern talk." 


Sociologist Rodney Stark, a convert to Christianity after a serious study of historical and sociological data, made this observations, 

“Christianity created Western Civilization. Had the followers of Jesus remained an obscure Jewish sect, most of you would not have learned to read and the rest of you would be reading from hand copied scrolls. Without theology committed to reason, progress and moral equality, today the entire world would be about where non-European societies were in, say, 1800: A world with many astrologers and alchemists but no scientists. A world of despots, lacking universities, banks, factories, eyeglasses, chimneys and piano. A world where most infants do not live to the age of five and many women die in childbirth – a world truly in the ‘dark ages.’”

“The modern world arose only in Christian societies. Not in Islam. Not in Asia. Not in a ‘secular’ society – there having been none. And all the modernization that has since occurred outside Christendom was imported from the West, often brought by colonizers and missionaries. Even so, many apostles of modernization assume that, given the existing Western example, similar progress can be achieved today not only without Christianity but even without freedom or capitalism – that globalization will fully spread scientific, technical and commercial knowledge without any need to re-create the social or cultural conditions that first produced it.” (THE VICTORY OF REASON’ © 2005 Random House Publishing, (pp233)

For the evidence of the influence of Christian thought on the West (and the world!) please check the links below. But a summary (from D’Souza’s ‘What’s So Great About Christianity?’) of some of Christianity’s influence on Western thought and civilization would be helpful. They include:

> preservation of learning and science during the Roman Empire invasion by barbarians

> enormous contribution in art, literature and music

> putting the basis for Western politics and the respect of each person’s conscience through the teaching of separation between church and state

> human dignity & rights, democracy through the respect for the poor and lowly

> social accountability for leaders who are called to be servants

> major importance given to the notions of family and marriage

> development of institutions like hospitals, churches, schools, charities, orphanages, homeless shelters, and universities

> development of capitalism; the Christian principles of work excellence, love, honor, team spirit, wisdom, trust etc stay at the basis of capitalism’ prosperity

> development of modern science through Christianity’s emphasis on the importance of reason as well as the tremendous work of some famous Christians scientists

> the Western or Protestant work ethic that propelled the West to become the dominant economic force in the world since the 1500s. Eminent scholar Niall Fergusson argues this in his widely recognized work Civilization: The West and the Rest. Reviewer Nubia Nieto of the Peace & Conflict Review (Volume 5, Issue 2 ISSN: 1659-3995) states that according “to Ferguson, the sixth killer application is work ethic, described as a moral framework and mode of activity derivable from, among other sources, Protestant Christianity, which provided a measure of stability and duty to balance the dynamic and potentially unstable values created by competition and consumer society. Ferguson argues that Protestantism was essential to develop capitalism, as adherents devoted themselves to work as a purpose of life, contributing then to reinforce the supremacy of the West.”

"The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." Gal3:8 (NIV)


On the Judeo-Christian influence on Western civilization, see
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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Finding Rembrandt

"Aha!" -- Argument Against Motive

Recently I blogged on the movie Prometheus. In particular I discussed the controversial issue of Intelligent Design that the movie touched on (and was criticized for). There has been much heated debate on the topic—from scientists, philosophers, theologians to internet trolls pontificating on the matter. However, a lot of the discussion generate more heat than light.

A problem I have observed is prejudice. The issue has become so politicized that it is difficult to raise the topic without attack-dogs barking from both sides. Though I consider myself a design theorist I do not follow all that is proposed by the Intelligent Design movement. At this time I choose to remain agnostic on some of the specific points in the debate.

A problem I will address in this post is what I call MOTIVE MONGERING. When either side engages in motive mongering argument the conversation quickly degenerates from a useful discussion about the data into nasty accusations and mudslinging.

Recently I tried to engage a young and scientifically minded skeptic who aggressively promotes Darwinian evolutionary theory in his blog (he is a self-styled agnostic-atheist) and utterly despises the Intelligent Design movement. I applauded his article “Some preliminary thoughts on developing a scientific form of intelligent design” that appeared to move the discussion to a more fruitful level.

In his article he stated, “Intelligent design, as a cultural movement, is demonstrably religious in nature. The vast majority of its proponents and supporters are evangelical, conservative Christians, and a large proportion of its outreach programs are aimed at churches and other religious institutions. While the main leaders of the movement actively deny it, hiding behind a façade of seeming scientific credibility, even going so far as branding themselves academic martyrs and mavericks, it is an easy and obvious conclusion to draw.”

I commented that even granting this to be true, in the end it’s an irrelevant point. I argued that this approach is in fact being used as a squid tactic to avoid any legitimate discussion on some pertinent matters.

To illustrate my point I gave this illustration – Finding Rembrandt

An important art find is being investigated by art experts to determine its date and origin. A Rembrandt scholar is among the experts investigating the find. After studying the evidence they come together and discuss the matter. The Rembrandt scholar excitedly makes his suggestion and the conversation follows –

Rembrandt Scholar (RS from here on): “This is a Rembrandt (R from here on).”

Other Art Experts (OAE from here on): “Excuse me?”

RS: “I think this is a R.”

OAE: “You think? Do you have evidence directly linking this painting to R or are you just making a ballpark guess?”

RS: “Well, I can’t make a direct physical link from this work to R but upon looking at the painting itself e.g. the theme (mythological and religious), the strokes, color combinations, materials, etc, all are consistent with what is known of R’s works. And plus the fact the dating of this art—early to mid 17th century— indicates that it matches the time when R was producing a lot of work. It is also significant that this work can be traced to have come from Amsterdam.”

OAE: “Ok, but you don’t have direct physical evidence that links this work to R, right?”

RS: “Well, that’s correct. But if it looks, sounds, feels, smells like a R then maybe it is a R—you know what I mean?”

OAE: “Tell me, what’s your expertise?”

RS: “I’m a R scholar. Did my PhD on the history of art with a focus on R. I confess I like the guy. I like his work.”

OAE: Looking at each other and some rolling their eyes mocking, “No offense but we suspect that you may be seeing what you want to see in this painting. It’s understandable, I mean, we all at times suffer from that error. This is an important find and you’re a R scholar, and so you will be tempted to see R in this work, but perhaps the things you see may not really be there.”

RS: “You’re misunderstanding me; I’m arguing that the physical data strongly suggests that this is R, and I can argue from the evidence. Of course I’m happy to see R fingerprints in the work but I’m arguing that the raw data cries R. I’m not imposing R on it.”

OAE: “I’m going to be blunt here. Being a R scholar makes your proposition that this is R very suspicious. I believe you’ve compromised your judgment by your prior commitments being a R scholar.”

RS: “Common guys, I think I’m competent enough to make my own judgments based on the evidence irrespective of my background. Critique my proposal on the basis of the evidence and not speculate on my motives, conscious or subconscious. Hey, you may be correct that my proposal may just be a projection of my own subjective desires but you will have to demonstrate that on the basis of the evidence and not just accuse me of it. I will not put up with that nonsense. I say it’s R and I am prepared to argue from the evidence. You say no. Fine. But demonstrate to me that my interpretations are demonstrably erroneous. Don’t just reject my proposal in toto on the basis of motive-mongering. How about you—what’s your proposal?”

OAE: “Well, since we do not have physical evidence, not even testimonial or literary evidence, directly linking this painting to any known artist then the best and most rational conclusion we believe is that we don’t know. Source unknown.”

Some observations: 

1.OAE may be correct but they must demonstrate their point and not simply assume its correctness.

2. Motive-mongering argument is never valid; the evidence will speak for itself irrespective of the motive. The evidence will either totally destroy the argument, exposing the motive to be erroneous, or affirm the argument and prove the motive to be correct.

3. The RS has an advantage in this scenario for his expertise is in R and so he has a keener eye to discern a R work when he sees one.

The argument cuts both ways.

Designed or Not-designed

Now to the debate on whether there is a designing intelligence behind nature or none. On the one hand the theist (who believes that God or a Supernatural Mind is behind the universe and is the source of life) may fall into the error of reading too much theism into the data. While on the other hand the atheist/materialist/reductionist (believes that there is no such thing as God or the Supernatural, that nature is all there is) may also read too much his atheism into the evidence. Both errors must be avoided and exposed. But neither is to be disqualified just because of his/her worldview background.

Some questions when dealing with the data –

> Is the data/evidence friendlier toward a design paradigm or a no-design paradigm? 

> Which paradigm best explains the data (Ockham’s Razor may be utilized here)?

There are some data that can fit neatly to either paradigm while others tend toward one of the other.

I stated that I agreed with his following statements –

“But no matter how simple it is to label the central idea behind a movement with the same characteristics as the movement itself, it should be avoided. Ideas are independent of those who put them forward, and the fair assessment of every rival idea and hypothesis is one of the best principles of the modern scientific method...”

I said that this was the right attitude.

I also appreciated his thought that, “The pure idea of intelligent design, removed from its cultural context, is not religious – not necessarily.”

“Now you’re talking!” I said.

Unfortunately, and quite uncharacteristically, for some reason he did not engage.

Any takers?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Prometheus - Whodunit?

This is a selective review of the movie Prometheus. I will focus on a particular theme that drives the movie narrative. WARNING: If you’re still planning to see the movie then stop here. This review will contain spoilers. But do visit again after watching. Enjoy.

Big Movie
Prometheus is big. Big on the box office (earning $50 million since opening). Big on special effects.Director Ridley Scott is big in Hollywood with such hits as Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Blade Runner, the original Alien series et al. But the biggest things about the movie are the questions it asks. Questions that have serious practical ramifications (e.g. social, moral/ethical, legal, political) – “Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going?” Or as Weyland, a character in the film puts it, “Where do we come from? What is our purpose? What happens when we die?” These are questions that have haunted humanity for millennia. We humans are curios critters; we have an itch to “know”. We want to know. We want to know all that is possible to know.

C. S. Lewis states that “One of the things that distinguishes man from the other animals is that he wants to know things, wants to find out what reality is like, simply for the sake of knowing. When that desire is completely quenched in anyone, I think he has become something less than human.” 

And the questions that Prometheus asks are the bottom line questions; “the most meaningful questions ever asked by mankind” (a line from the same character), the sine qua non questions that may help us give some sense of the present and possibly give us answers to the pressing issues we face today. What does it mean to be human? How are we to live? Weyland seems to make this connection. He says that whatever power created life on earth also has the power to save humanity (of course he was thinking of his own desire to have his lease in life extended or perhaps even achieve that most elusive thing called eternal life or immortality).

Sadly, these questions are on the one hand largely ignored by the modern, image-driven, overly sensual, mindless pop culture, and on the other are given up by postmodernism’s intellectual equivocations. And thus Prometheus is a breath of fresh air in the often mindless entertainment that Hollywood dishes out. At least it attempts to raise truly crucial questions. However, when it comes to answers Prometheus fall dismally dull.

Designed Life?
The protagonist Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) is a person of faith. She “believes”. What? Perhaps in the Supernatural behind the natural? A Spiritual reality beyond physical reality? Perhaps she believes in God as the source of the universe and even the source of life itself—human life in particular? And the cross she’s wearing suggests that her Faith is Christian, though it’s not made explicit. However, what’s explicit in the film is an attack on faith. Just like her father she believes because she “chooses” to believe, with the subtle suggestion that faith is nothing but a matter of “choosing”; just the will to believe even in the face of contrary evidence, or choosing to believe even in the face of grim realities unfriendly to faith.

The film treads on the very weighty topic of abiogenesis (the origin of life on earth). The character Holloway critiques our protagonist’s (his girlfriend) faith by asserting that there’s no need to believe in some religious creator and that aliens could easily have done it; “There’s nothing special about the creation of life. All you need is a dash of DNA and half a brain.” I find this strange and even laughable. So where did that DNA come from?

In the prologue the movie shows that life was seeded by aliens in this planet (and the matching DNA between aliens and humans is given as evidence for that). And thus did not just develop naturally through some cosmic happenstance. And how to account for the “half a brain” (they call it the “engineer” in the movie) that engineered, designed, the creation of life? In their dialogue our protagonist correctly rebuts by asking, ‘Who created the aliens who brought life on earth?’ So it’s like, “Well, these are our parents. Sure. But who are their parents, and the parents of their parents, and…” You get the point. No answers here.

At least the movie says that human life was DESIGNED, even intelligently designed, and did not just naturally pop out of some steamy ancient soup somewhere. And this is where film becomes controversial (as some critics have pointed out). Naturalists or philosophical materialists who are aggressive in their atheism are nervous about the very idea of an “engineer” behind life. They cannot, indeed they must not, allow an “engineer’s or a designer’s foot in the door. It’s nature alone that produced life. They insist. No intelligent engineer. No intelligent designer. In spite of the fact that they can only assert this and cannot demonstrate this scientifically (arguing from ignorance), and in spite of the fact that nature itself seem to suggest the impossibility of life developing spontaneously, and that nature also seem to demonstrate Intelligence (both in the creation of the universe itself i.e. the Big Bang, and in the very structure of life (see, these reductive materialists aggressively assert that life is nothing but cosmic dust that happened to accidentally settle on this accidental planet, that happens to have the right kind of atmosphere, and accidentally is just located in the right kind of solar system, that accidentally just happens to have the right kind of sun and the right kind of moon, and of course all this in an accidental universe. And then the stardust supposedly assembled themselves and then suddenly, I dare say MAGICALLY, the inanimate turned animate, from dead matter to living, from non-life to life, from mud to Manny Pacquiao—all by accident! Just like a rabbit out of a magician’s hat. Hmmm. Now that’s what I call true faith!

From Nothing?
Some scientists such as cosmologist Lawrence Kraus (A Universe from Nothing) are actually trying to argue that nothing can produce something. However, criticisms of his ideas have been merciless.* A major problem is that Kraus' "nothing" is not really NOTHING. He is sneaking in some very REAL THINGS into his "nothing". Kraus still doesn't have a rebuttal to the point in this story --

A scientist goes to God and boldly says, "We don't need you anymore. I can create a human from nothing more than a handful of dust."

"Alright then, let's see." God replies.

"No problem." Says the scientist, and he bends over to scoop up some dust.

"Hey wait a minute," God interrupts. "Make your own dust."

"Huh?" Reacts the scientist. "That's crazy. How the hell do you expect me to do anything!?"

"Exactly." God says.

Actually, in their more honest moments many of these atheists, faced with the staggering challenge of how can life spontaneously come out of non-life (see, seriously entertain the theory known as panspermia i.e. that life did not originate locally but was in some way transported here by aliens or by extraterrestrial debris from somewhere else in the universe. 

Donald Johnson lists some scientists who suggest this: S. Arrhenius., Worlds in the Making, 1908. Francis Crick, “The Origin of the Genetic Code” J. Mol Biol: 38, 1968, p. 367-379. Fred Hoyle, The Intelligent Universe, 1983, pp. 16-17. Bernstein. Max, Jason Dworkin, Scott Sandford, George Cooper, and Louis Allamandola, “Racemic amino acids from the ultraviolet photolysis of interstellar ice analogue,” Nature”: 416, 3/28/02. Also Leslie Orgel (origin of life researcher) 

Even the outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins was caught suggesting this in the movie Expelled. (See

Now this does not really solve the problem. It just moves the problem to some other planet. Who brought life to that alien planet? Who created those aliens? So we’re back to square one.

Now What?
So back to Weyland’s questions, 1) “Where do we come from?” Prometheus says aliens did it. And O my, very unfriendly aliens! Anyway, who created the aliens? No answer. 2) “What is our purpose?” Prometheus is hopelessly confused about this. Aliens supposedly created us and then when we were “born” they changed their mind and wanted us dead. Comforting thought! Hopefully Prometheus II will give answers. 3) “What happens when we die?” Absolute silence.

The character Weyland stated that the power that created us also has the power to save us. Suggesting that humanity needs some sort of “redemption”, a redemption that humanity itself cannot deliver.  But Prometheus tells us the opposite. The aliens that supposedly created us are now hell-bent on annihilating us! So the movie starts with good questions but then leaves us with more questions. Where to for answers?

Faith in an "Alien"
However, according to an ancient Faith, a Faith that does indeed claim to have made contact with an “Alien”, we really don’t have to travel far and wide in the universe to find answers to these age old question. The Faith tells us that a genuine “Alien” actually came and visited us. But he is not like the alien in the Prometheus movie. He is THE Alien, The Ultimate Alien, One who claims, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (Rev1:8)

This Alien made many astonishing claims such as “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (Jn14:6) He also said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (Jn11:25-26)

C. S. Lewis, a literary genius who was an atheist turned Christian, perceptively observed that we really only have very limited options when it comes to the claims of this Alien. He writes, “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -- on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg -- or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” – Mere Christianity

Was Jesus an “alien”? He said these words Himself, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.” (Jn8:23) The man Saul of Tarsus whose name was changed to Paul after he personally encountered this Alien, came to the shocking realization that this Alien who transformed him from a murderous religious fanatic to a humble servant, was actually humanity's Maker. He wrote, “Christ is the visible representation of the invisible God, the Firstborn and Lord of all creation. For in Him was created the universe of things in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, thrones, dominions, princedoms, powers--all were created, and exist through and for Him. And HE IS before all things and in and through Him the universe is a harmonious whole. (Col.1:15-17)

And unlike the alien-creator of Prometheus that seeks humankind’s annihilation, Jesus “came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” (Jn12:47)

“I have come as a light into the world, so that no one who has faith in me will go on living in the dark." (Jn12:46)

Jesus Christ claims to give the ultimate answers to those age old questions. “Where do we come from?” From the Personal God who, out of love and generosity, created the universe and breathed life into it. “What is our purpose?” To know God and to have the chance to live with, and enjoy Him for all eternity. “What happens when we die?” We get to meet God personally and give an account of our lives before Him.

One day we will all stand before this Alien who claims, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Rev22:13

*Kraus was eaten up by Craig in a recent debate. Here's a review

Also here

A scathing critique of the movie’s script is here