Wonderful Weekend with Dr. Baumgardner
Geophysicist Dr. John Baumgardner came to Edmonton after having delivered lectures in the Lower Mainland of B.C., and in Calgary. In Edmonton he delivered four lectures to large appreciative audiences. In all his presentations Dr. Baumgardner set the context by declaring that in our society today, secular science is used as a weapon to draw young people away from their early Christian training. Dr. Baumgardner illustrated this with images of five castles, strongholds deployed in a battle against the knowledge of God. These strongholds are Darwinian evolution, uniformitarian geology, big bang cosmology, materialist philosophy and radioisotope dating methods. During this lecture series in Edmonton, our guest speaker touched on materialist philosophy (Friday evening), Darwinian evolution (Saturday morning and afternoon) and uniformitarian geology (Saturday evening).
This issue of Dialogue will discuss the first lecture, and the following issue will discuss the other lectures including the study of massive upheavals in the Earth (possibly integrally connected to flood — the subject of the Saturday evening keynote lecture).
Dr. Baumgardner’s first lecture was entitled “How Language Powerfully Affirms God’s Reality.” Our speaker began by declaring that the phenomenon of language falsifies philosophical naturalism. This latter concept, espoused by most scientists, is that there is nothing beyond matter and processes working on matter. Philosophical naturalism rules out any possibility of our seeing the work of God revealed in nature and it also means that the universe must be billions of years old in order to allow for processes to produce what we see today.
Language however is non-material. Right away we see that there is something beyond matter and process. Language is an integral aspect of our minds. Einstein himself apparently recognized the logically unbridgeable gap between our experiences of the material world and the concepts we develop to describe those experiences. Our ability to utilize language demonstrates that we have non-material attributes. Thinking, apart from language, seems impossible. Since language is non-material, it demands a source, an explanation that is also non-material.
Dr. Baumgardner described the existence of information behind the complex molecular machines that we see in living cells. He also declared that mathematics is a language with non-material concepts. Thus he declared that the laws of physics and their mathematical equations, are a linguistic description of the structure of the material universe.
Summarizing his remarks, Dr. Baumgardner declared that in the natural realm, in our experience, the only source of linguistic expression is the human mind. The obvious conclusion is that within all nature apart from our minds, the only source of messages (be they controlling metabolism in the cell or determining the laws of physics) must be the supernatural mind of God. What alternative can there be? Simply through our use of language, we can see that the materialist philosophy is false.
The God of the Bible, Dr. Baumgardner pointed out, is a God who speaks. It was God’s spoken command that brought everything into existence (as per Psalm 33:6 +9). And of course the entire Bible is the communication of God to mankind.
The rationale for this lecture series is that we need to be engaged in the conflict for the minds of our young people. We need to train the next generation to defend themselves against the bastions of secular arguments.
In keeping with Dr. Baumgardner’s concern for youth, Carson Lueck of our association, in the noon hour presented a discussion on how to address young people with both Biblical and scientific arguments. Having experienced serious challenges to his faith from evolutionary arguments while at university, Carson’s presentation was compelling and very well received. We actually had to move his presentation to a much larger room than originally scheduled. Local groups who would like to hear him, can reach Carson through our website.
For a fuller discussion of Dr. Baumgardner’s first lecture see: John R. Baumgardner and Jeremy
D. Lyon. 2015. A Linguistic Argument for God’s Existence. JETS 58 (4) pp. 771-786.
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