Testimony from a former astrophysicist

This post is a continuation of my informal apologetic look at theism in general and Christianity in particular. I haven’t gotten into revealed theology yet.

So far, I’ve been accused by a few atheists of being dishonest, disingenuous, deceptive, hypocritical, practicing avoidance behavior and bait and switch, and generally being a dullard because I’m obviously not intelligent enough to understand their concise points (tongue firmly in cheek, they’re anything but concise!) and their unassailable arguments.

I so look forward to what I will be accused of with this new post. Oh, what fun! 🙂

In the last post we looked at the confusion surrounding how we make a conclusion about the possibility of design or agency. I think the 200+ comments proved the author’s point about how confused some atheists are about the argument for design.

This is what was said in the video:

When we look at claims for things that are, by definition, outside the natural world, we obviously cannot do a scientific experiment. That would be like “show me the empirical proof in space-time” for something that exists outside of space-time!” It is simply nonsense.

Natural theology does not attempt to prove a designer exists, like one proves a scientific fact through measurement or observation. Rather these philosophical arguments take the evidence we can evaluate (the Universe has a beginning, fine-tuning, moral realism, the Universe acts like a quantum computer, consciousness, etc.) to reach the most rational inference of something outside the universe to explain things where science cannot go because the logical mind seeks the most rational inference to the evidence. The evidence points to an inference of design from outside the universe.” (emphasis mine)

I’m not going to go into the epistemological and ontological arguments because, frankly, this series would go on forever. Again, you can go to YouTube channels like “InspiringPhilosophy” to learn how theists argue these things.

But before we move on, understand that I’m still not to the point of talking about revealed theology, even though these videos include a Christian testimony. So trying to goad me in that direction will be an exercise in futility.

I want us to look at one more position from natural theology to infer a designer by sharing a testimony from a former astrophysicist and current Christian apologist, Dr. Hugh Ross.

Dr. Ross earned a B.Sc. in physics from the University of British Columbia and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Toronto; and he was a postdoctoral research fellow for five years at Caltech, studying quasars and galaxies. In 1986, he founded “Reasons to Believe,” a ministery dedicated to Christian apologetics.

Two points before we go to the video:

First, Dr. Ross is an old-earth creationist. I fully realize that many of my Christian brothers and sisters do not agree with this position. There are Scriptural reasons for his position but that’s not my point (and using him doesn’t mean I have to agree with every doctrinal point he makes either). Regardless, his is a valid position within the Christian faith. If you would like more on my position on this, you can read my post, “Does it really matter how old the earth is?

Second, I’m fully aware that you skeptics are probably rolling your eyes right now, thinking you’ve already dismissed (“debunked”) the likes of Dr. Ross. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but spare me your ridicule. The truth, whatever it may be, doesn’t care whether you accept it or not. And Ross is an expert in his field. You are free to disagree but you cannot rightfully dismiss him as a scientific hack.

With that said, here are two video with Dr. Ross. The first one is a short testimony about how he became a Christian through scientific inquiry (in spite of his culture). The second video is a longer testimony, including his explanation of how the creation account in Scripture led him to faith in God.

Short testimony:

Longer testimony (includes some of his cosmological arguments from Scripture):

NOTE: Please confine your comments to the subject matter on the video. Also, please keep your comments concise (under 500 words, preferably much shorter).

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 36 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
This entry was posted in Christian apologetics, Theology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Testimony from a former astrophysicist

  1. KIA says:

    He also believes in a type of theistic evolution and has videos avail on YouTube debating Kent hovind

    • Mel Wild says:

      I know that Kent Hovind accuses him of being one, but Ross is not an evolutionist in the normal sense of the word. While he believes in micro-evolution, he advocates the supernatural creation of species.

    • KIA says:

      You may want to read Ross again. http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-c014.html
      Progressive creation, punctuated equilibrium, death and disease before the garden and sin.
      Theistic Evolution.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thank you for the link. I read it. Keep in mind, this review is a rebuttal of Ross’s beliefs, so they are casting him in a poor light. But, for the most part it was a fair assessment. Here’s one example:

      For Dr. Ross, the advances are the result of a multitude of divine miracles. He seems to accept far more miraculous creations (“hundreds of millions of species of life”) than most Progressive Creationists when he claims to “deny any significant biological evolution over time scales long or short.”

      So, it’s basically what I said. He makes room for micro-evolution but believes in “divine miracles” on the macro level. That makes him more conservative the Progressive Creationists, as stated in the quote.

  2. Arkenaten says:

    First, Dr. Ross is an old-earth creationist …

    Beep!!! Fail. Do not pass Go! No $200 for you! Naughty Mel
    Return to beginning and roll again.

    Twenty-six words.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Are we straining gnats again, Ark?

      Hugh Norman Ross (born July 24, 1945) is a Canadian astrophysicist, Christian apologist, and old Earth creationist. (Wikipedia)

      Definition of “Old Creationism”
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Earth_creationism

      I suppose you’re referring to “day-age view of creation” or some derogatory garbage springing forth from your sarcastic imagination.

    • Arkenaten says:

      No, he is a Christian Creationist. I have read up on Ross a considerable while ago, Mel.
      Accommodation I think is the correct term. Was it Jerry Coyne who used it? Can’t honestly remember?
      In his short Testimony he states (something like)
      ”At age sixteen I realised there had to be some kind of god behind the universe.”

      Really? He realised all this by 16 that a god did it did he?
      And there was not a drop of presupposition involved at all?
      At sixteen I wondered too, and I thought:
      I do not know. And of the scientists I read (admittedly not that many and only brief excerpts) they also said: ”We don’t know”
      In fact, it was only Christians who kept saying , ”It was god”
      And when I asked these people, my mother, for example,”How do you know? ”
      The answer was invariable … ”Because the bible says so.”
      To me, a person that enjoys straightforward, unambiguous conversation, ”I don’t know,” was the only truly honest answer, as all the rest relied on a book that included such crap as Noah’s Ark and the Exodus and dead people coming back to life.
      So while Ross may be very very good at what he does, his day job, if you like, he is perfectly capable of compartmentalizing his religious faith so it does not interfere with any hard science.

      But he is not 100% honest as he doesn’t know anymore about the creation of the universe than Coyne , or de Grasse Tyson, or Einstein, or Barnes, or Stenger or anyone is this field.

      And to claim otherwise, he is simply lying.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I think I did say he’s a Christian apologist. Besides, he wasn’t raised in a Christian culture. He found Christ for himself as he sought the truth, in spite of his culture.

      And what does knowing more than Coyne, Tyson, et al, have anything to do with it, Ark? Again, you show how confused you are about how we infer anything outside of nature (universe). We’re back to the problem you have from the last post. Of course, it’s a faith issue to believe in God! It’s a faith issue to say there is no God, too. Not you, nor Coyne, nor Tyson, or anyone else, knows that answer. We can only infer to the best explanation.

      You know, your “not honest” accusations gets a little old after awhile. Of course, no one is honest who is a Christian, and everyone who disagrees with Ark’s position is lying. We must dismiss them and only trust experts who are not Christians. Only people like de Grasse Tyson are honest, right? Haha…that’s rich!

    • Arkenaten says:

      Read this from his website:

      blockquote>We believe the Bible (the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments) is the Word of God, written. As a “God-breathed” revelation, it is thus verbally inspired and completely without error (historically, scientifically, morally, and spiritually) in its original writings.

      Which means he accepts Noah’s Ark and the Exodus as written.
      Which means he is a quite simply, an arsehole.

      I’m fed up to the back teeth with your posturing.

      You have no integrity and the bottom line is you are nothing but a disingenuous fuck.

      Go soak your guilt-ridden apologist head.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I’m not sure why you’re bringing up Ross’s position on the Bible. I said he was an astrophysicist not a Bible scholar, or even a good theologian. I also made it very clear that we don’t have to agree with all of his doctrinal viewpoints. Besides, what does his doctrinal stance have to do with his expertise in astrophysics and his testimony? He was basically using his training in scientific inquiry to test the creation account. It doesn’t make him a Bible scholar.

      You have no integrity and the bottom line is you are nothing but a disingenuous fuck.
      Go soak your guilt-ridden apologist head.

      Well, that’s an intelligent and informed response. Just how is it that I have no integrity and am a disingenuous f***? And “guilt-ridden apologist”? Huh? Where is that coming from? Is this what you do with people who push back on your assertions, dismiss them with personal attacks?

    • Arkenaten says:

      I stated, that he is probably very very good at his ”day job”, but compartmentalizes his Christian beliefs so he can function on a day to day basis.

      Besides, what does his doctrinal stance have to do with his expertise in astrophysics and his testimony?

      Because he heads an evangelical ministry that preaches this garbage … and maybe even to kids. As I keep explaining.
      He has no right to assert HIS god is responsible (to kids, in particular) when he cannot demonstrate the fact, and especially as the bible is nothing but Historical Fiction.

      And this is why you are being disingenuous.

      And Tildeb has pointed this out, John has pointed this out, Violet has alluded to it and Keith has.
      And you stated up front you would side with a Creationist Fundamentalist like Wally over me.
      Oh, and by the way. I did not teach atheism to my children, they grew up without any sort of forced doctrine thus allowing them to discover things in their own time.
      No. God. Necessary.
      So, like Ross, you push a Creationist agenda that has no basis in evidence; no basis in biology,no basis in geology, history, or cosmology.

      You are basically, making shit up.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thank you for explaining what you mean.

      He has no right to assert HIS god is responsible (to kids, in particular) when he cannot demonstrate the fact, and especially as the bible is nothing but Historical Fiction.

      Actually, he has every right to share what he believes is true, just like you have a right to your militant anti-theism. You are not the standard of truth. And when you say the Bible is “nothing but historical fiction” you are making a claim that not only cannot be substantiated but is nothing but emotive hyperbole.

      And this is why you are being disingenuous.
      And Tildeb has pointed this out, John has pointed this out, Violet has alluded to it and Keith has.

      Wait a minute. How did they prove I was disingenuous? Because I disagreed with them? And I tried to point out that they failed to understand that biology will never answer the designer question, one way or the other. We can only infer and come up with the most reasonable conclusion. Design can be inferred from the universe, just like my analogy of coming upon the pyramids for the first time and assuming they were designed, even though you would have no idea who or what designed them. It’s just flat out irrational to say it cannot be designed. It’s not an argument that science can solve. As John Z. said, physics fails before the Big Bang. It cannot prove or disprove causation. It’s a philosophical argument, Ark. Why don’t you get this? I disagree with your method of trying to argue against design. Again, how is this being disingenuous?

      And you stated up front you would side with a Creationist Fundamentalist like Wally over me.

      I hypothetically chose putting my kids in a believer’s home over a militant anti-theist’s home. Based on my very limited knowledge, I don’t think Wally belongs to the likes of the Westboro Baptist cult. He seems like a nice guy who would not be terrorizing children. At the very least they would be hearing about a God who loves them and has a purpose for their lives. You seem bent on making sure everyone knows that God and the Bible are complete works of fiction, which is an extreme fringe view that no reputable scholar or historian would agree with. Scholars may argue against a lot of what the Bible claims, but even an atheist Bible scholar (there are a lot of them) would never say it’s all fiction. I wouldn’t want my kids around such unsubstantiated vitriol.

      Oh, and by the way. I did not teach atheism to my children, they grew up without any sort of forced doctrine thus allowing them to discover things in their own time.

      Good. And I didn’t terrorize my kids with fear of hell either. They knew what we believed but we taught them to think for themselves. They all grew up very healthy and balanced and are functioning well in their respective fields. None of them are Bible thumpers or alt-right whackos.

      So, like Ross, you push a Creationist agenda that has no basis in evidence; no basis in biology,no basis in geology, history, or cosmology.
      You are basically, making shit up.

      Ark, this is what’s interesting. I let you go on and on with your anti-theist agenda where you are making stuff up all the time and I don’t even call you out on it. Ridiculous suppositions like “no basis in evidence.” I let you say it, even though it’s not true. But I don’t call you a liar. I think you actually believe your own propaganda. But, in the real world, there is nothing that can prove there is no God. And one thing this post has proven is that you don’t have a good argument to make us not believe in God. In fact, I can make the case that to say that there is no intelligent causation or designer is irrational. You are free to disagree with it, but you cannot say I’m being dishonest. And again, philosophy, ontology, cosmology, etc., can only tell us it’s possible, it cannot prove or disprove theism. We can show that it’s reasonable with the evidence I talked about. So we have no logical reason not to believe, which is faith, of course, but it’s not blind faith. It’s reasonable faith. There’s nothing dishonest or disingenuous about believing this.

    • Arkenaten says:

      Before we move any further let’s back it up and try to cover the basics, shall we?

      If you are going to argue for your god then you first have to have the integrity to state up front which god this is.
      I realise this will probably seem pedantic but is is necessary because every single argument leads from this initial proposition/assertion.
      So for the record:

      1.What is the name/s of your god. (how do you refer to it)
      2. Is the bible the sole, primary written historical source?

      Once these cards are firmly laid on the table then we can work forward from this assertion, should you choose to make it.

      This way I will ask simple, straightforward questions, free of ambiguity with no intent to ”Gotcha” or bait and switch.

      Any time you’re ready ….

      I have a little bit of work to take care of, I’ll check in a bit later.

    • Mel Wild says:

      No problem. Fair enough. And that’s exactly where I was headed with this series anyway.

      1. My “God” is the Trinitarian God of the Bible, fully expressed in the incarnated Son of God, Jesus Christ.
      2. No, not the sole source but, obviously, the primary source. I believe there is extra-biblical evidence for Jesus and the Bible’s claims, as much if not more than any other work of antiquity.

      And before we proceed. To be clear. I am going to cover why I believe these things in a series of posts in the next two or three weeks, so if you jump ahead and ask questions not relating to the post, you’re just going to be wasting both of our times. Of course, you are free to disagree with all of it. I’m not trying to win an argument. In the end, it comes down to a matter of faith. My point is, it’s reasonable faith.

    • Arkenaten says:

      I did ask for names. Would you include Yahweh in this?

    • Mel Wild says:

      And I gave you a name. 🙂
      But yes, Yahweh of the Old Testament is revealed in Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

    • Arkenaten says:

      Excellent…. want to carry on?

    • Mel Wild says:

      Yes, when we get to the appropriate posts. The teacher in me doesn’t want to get ahead of things here. I’m attempting to lay this out in a systematic way with the limited time I have.

    • Arkenaten says:

      The why did start this series Arse Backwards?

    • Mel Wild says:

      How is that so? I can’t talk about my revealed theology until I establish that it’s possible that God exists. That is a foundational premise.

    • Arkenaten says:

      Actually, we have to establish the bona fides of your god first, before you can make any claims for it.
      And this includes the capital ‘G’
      At this point it is just one claimant among many.
      As an example: We can sit and discuss the performance stats of my car that I claim I have in my garage all day long, but I’m sure you’d rather know that I actually have the car and it is the make and model that I claim, yes?

      So let’s make sure of those bona fides , of this Yahweh, do you agree?

    • Mel Wild says:

      I will reference some bona fides for Jesus in the next post.

    • Arkenaten says:

      Not the Lake Tiberius pedestrian … we need to sort his dad out first.
      So I want to see Yahweh front and centre.
      I presume you are up for it, Mel, yes?
      Remember: 1 Peter 3:15 ?

    • Mel Wild says:

      No, it doesn’t work that way. Jesus explains God, not the other way around (Matt.11:27; John 1:18, etc.) I will explain more when I get to “why Jesus.”

    • Arkenaten says:

      Yes, it works that way. The Old Testament came first. And if you are going to try some more of your hand-waving apologetics it will end the same way.
      Yahweh is your god … period.
      We start with it/him and we establish his bona fides first .

      It wasn’t Jesus of Nazareth who walked in the Garden of Eden, now was it?

      You sound like you are afraid to take this on Mel?
      You are a pastor for the gods’ sake. This suggests you have at least read your bible even if you don’t know it very well.
      You have read it, I presume?
      And you are surely not trying to give me the run around, I hope?
      Or are you flipping the bird at the verse from Peter?

    • Mel Wild says:

      No, Ark, it doesn’t work that way and I am not afraid of your taunts. I have written fairly extensively on how I understand the Bible on this blog. But I won’t be bullied by you, or anyone else, to follow your agenda, going about it in some wrong-headed way of understanding the Bible and Christianity. This is my blog. I set the agenda. I will deal with these questions as we go.

      And in doing so, I will actually be following 1 Pet.3:15 “But keep the Lord Christ holy in your hearts. Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have.” That’s precisely what I’m doing.

    • Arkenaten says:

      I am not bullying you!
      You are the one making the sweeping claims.
      You are the one so intent on demonstrating that the Supernatural is possible.
      And now you shit bricks when I say we must examine the bona fides of Yahweh first.

      Yes you do set the agenda…. don’t you?
      And we can all see that perfectly.

      I think you are just a moral and intellectual coward.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thank you for your moralizing judgmentalism. It still doesn’t change anything.

    • Arkenaten says:

      Certainly not for you or your lack of honesty, that’s for sure.
      I am so surprised your minions have not rallied to your aid here?
      They probably blanche at my abrasive style – I’m used to this, trust me – but I wouldn’t bet against a few of them wondering why you are not simply taking me to the cleaners with your superior knowledge and impeccable apologetics.

      Maybe a few are beginning to squirm a little at your obvious machinations.
      How do you deal with fact that you are not actually be totally honest in your approach?

      Do you follow Eusebius’s lead on this?

    • Wally Fry says:

      Sure, I’ll bite. Mel needs little or no aid in this wasted endeavor. You have clearly revealed that you aren’t even remotely interested in having a real conversation, but only in hijacking a post so you have an opportunity to preach an atheist sermon.

      Mel has clearly laid out his plan for this discussion in a way that makes substantial sense. You simply want to derail the discussion, and when you don’t get to, you respond with cursing and insults.

      You are in fact nothing but a bully with an agenda.

      @ Mel. Your patience and forbearance are admirable, but I would strongly consider shaking the dust from your feet and quit casting your pearls before swine. 1 Peter 3:15 is not a command to chase scoffers around in circles.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I would strongly consider shaking the dust from your feet and quit casting your pearls before swine. 1 Peter 3:15 is not a command to chase scoffers around in circles.

      Very true, Wally. I agree with your assessment and appreciate the concern. But I’m certainly not doing this to prove anything to Ark, which is why he won’t force my agenda and get me to go down his rabbit holes. I really don’t care what militant anti-theists believe or don’t believe, but I do care that honest seekers and believers who are not knowledgeable about this stuff don’t get duped by these Internet bullies. So much garbage is being thrown around on the Internet as though it were authoritative. So I will put a systematic series of posts on this subject on my site for people to see to show that we have a very good and reasoned argument for what we believe. Whatever I don’t cover I will reference apologetic sites they can go to for more information.

      Besides, I have found the dialogue quite educational and illuminating. 🙂

    • Wally Fry says:

      In that case…drive on! I do agree there is a place for what you are doing here, and I am quite glad you are willing to take on this mission. As you said, there are always folks reading who can use a reasoned defense of the Faith.

      I really think it would make Ark happy if you and I just started shooting at each other or something, though LOL.

    • Mel Wild says:

      LOL! True.
      I don’t think that anti-theists understand that it isn’t lock-step doctrinal agreement on every point of the Bible that makes us united in Christ. It’s His life-giving other-centered love working in us and through us for one another (John 13:35; 17:23).
      May God richly bless you for all the guff you’ve had to endure from these guys. 🙂

    • Wally Fry says:

      Well, I don’t worry about the guff too much. The Lord made me thick skinned and a bit pugnacious for a reason. The honest truth is, and I believe this with all my heart: I believe the , that the Holy Spirit is still calling and convicting some of these, and somebody has to be there to help them along, even if it hurts.

    • Mel Wild says:

      The honest truth is, and I believe this with all my heart: I believe the , that the Holy Spirit is still calling and convicting some of these, and somebody has to be there to help them along, even if it hurts.

      I sincerely do hope so. Of course, if anyone one of them actually admitted this, it would be sure evidence for miracles. 🙂

    • Arkenaten says:

      Oh, and we both know perfectly well why you refuse … are afraid to examine Yahweh first don’t we Mel?

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