God, science & miracles: as conversations go

—A biblical creationist in the skeptics lion’s den

by John H.1 (this is not me, John Gideon Hartnett, see footnote)

Daniel in the lion’s den is an event I can vaguely relate to. Some years ago I attended a movie screening held by the NSW Humanists in Sydney. I was the lone Christian and Biblical creationist at a meeting attended by scientists, atheists, Skeptics and hard-core Darwinians. I had attended the meeting to secure a public debate between a visiting leading American Christian Apologist, Dr John Warwick Montgomery, and the then President of the Australian Skeptics, Mark Plummer, both lawyers. The subsequent debate was well attended and reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Sir_Peter_Paul_Rubens_-_Daniel_in_the_Lions'_Den_-_Google_Art_Project

Daniel in the Lion’s Den by Sir Peter Paul Rubens. Credit : Wikipedia

After the screening that night, I engaged in a lively conversation with the head of the science department of a major Sydney university. We both enjoyed the conversation. He gave me a draft copy of his forthcoming book on evolution, and invited me to be his guest at the post screening dinner to continue our discussion.

During the meal I asked him whether he was an atheist or otherwise. He said he was probably an atheist. So, the following exchange took place:

John H: Do you regard yourself as a hard-boiled atheist, or a soft-boiled atheist?

Scientist 1: What’s the difference?

John H: Well! The hard-core atheist says that God doesn’t exist.

Scientist 1: Yes that’s probably my position.

John H: Einstein said he had less that 1% of all available knowledge. How would you compare yourself to Einstein? Would you have more or less knowledge?

Scientist 1:
I would have to say less.

John H: So, how can you say with any certainty that God doesn’t exist when you have less than 1% of knowledge? You would need 100% knowledge of all that exists to affirm that no God exists. You can’t substantiate that, can you? Continue reading