From my blog
Once more, quotations are taken from Robert L. Dabney: The Sensualistic Philosophy, Naphtali Press, 2003.
Robert L. Dabney’s philosophical observations of science are not stale; on the contrary, his observations are still crisp and refreshingly prescient after more than 125 years.
The permeation of scientific thought with Sensualistic philosophy displaced religion with Materialism; creation with force, motion, and chance; God with unknowable, impersonal forces; the soul with nerve bundles; and consciousness with organically advantageous neural impulses. As Dabney notes, we are compelled to look beyond science and philosophy to Biblical revelation “to learn that a man goeth upward and a beast downward” (p. 125).
“That a fortuitous conjunction of atoms should account for all the marvels of design in the universe, and that material mass should be endowed with consciousness, reason, and conscience, are difficulties common to this and all the other phases of this philosophy” (p. 128).
Anyone who studies modern science, or has children studying modern science, is exposed to the difficulty of which Dabney speaks.
Bad science shares eye space with celebrity affairs in grocery store aisles. It is inescapable but not irrefutable. Refutation requires background, and Dabney, a contemporary of Charles Darwin, provides background.
Noting the teleological arguments (we’re here because we’re here because we’re here because we’re here) evolutionists use to refute Christianity, Dabney remarks that the evolutionist “requires us to go back, discarding all the acquisitions of human civilization in this department, and immerse ourselves in the stupidity of barbarism” (p. 147).
Further, he asserts:
“These speculations are to be deplored, in that they present to minds already degraded a pretext for materialism, sensuality, and godlessness. The doctrine can never prevail permanently among mankind. The self-respect, the conscience, and the consciousness of men will usually present a sufficient protest and refutation. The world will not permanently tolerate the libel and absurdity that this, wondrous creature, man, “˜so noble in reason, so infinite in faculties, in form and moving so express and admirable, in action so like an angel, in apprehension so like a God,’ [quoting from Shakespeare: Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2] is but the descendant, at long removes, of a mollusk or a tadpole” (p. 141).
I pray Dabney is not overly optimistic.
Evolution is based on compact records; its star theory is also its undoing. If lifeforms evolved to the fortunate fittest, where are the intermediates representing the unfit? Um…well, they haven’t exactly been discovered yet. Dabney published this book in 1875 and we’re still waiting for the fossils to vindicate the theories of their existence.
Evolution is a theory that has to fabricate missing links from whole cloth because its hypotheses are untestable and unsupported by evidence–and yet its conclusions remain on the books as facts. Perhaps this is why evolution theory has had to resort to the force of law in the courts: It has no recourse in the laws of science.
I happen to agree with Dabney, and not with some other Christians, in that I do not subscribe to the idea of “creation by law.” I believe in creation by fiat of the spoken Word of a particular Creator, the triune God who calls himself Jehovah in the Bible. I perceive the existence of laws as evident in creation, not causal of creation. I think this is more consistent with the Christian world view.
I see the existence of laws evident in, and not causal of creation, because I perceive a Who behind the act of creation, as opposed to a “how.” God created the heavens and the earth. The “how” God employed is given as: moving, speaking, dividing, making, creating, blessing, forming, breathing, and planting. None of these initial acts of creation originated in natural law. There was no natural law before there was a creation–there could be no such thing as preexistent laws waiting for something to act upon. Natural law originated in the template of God’s creation and is expressed in that creation. God is the First Cause and the Lawgiver. Creation by law implies secondary causes on which God was reliant. Creation is reliant; God is not.
The same God who created us and this world for us gave us the ability to know something of himself. By grace he gave to some more ability than others. This truth impelled Pharisees to pick up stones to hurl at Christ. It still does today.
Evolution is a pragmatic theory that violates the very carbon and silicon of pragmatism: It doesn’t work.