Is Modern Science Compatible with Christianity?

A Review of Stephen M. Barr’s book Modern Physics and Ancient Faith

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Professor Stephen M. Barr has written an accessible yet scientifically in-depth book that shows how science, over the last one hundred years, has made several discoveries which strengthen the arguments for the existence of God. His book Modern Physics and Ancient Faith was published by the University of Notre Dame press in 2003. All citations below are taken from his book.

Barr explained that over the last few centuries there has been a brooding conflict between religion and materialism. He defined materialism as the philosophical view that nothing exists except matter (p.

Does Evolution Prove that Christianity Is False? Part 1

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

What if evolution is false? I’ve talked with many people who considered themselves Christians but then, for whatever reason, came to believe that evolution is true. These individuals were greatly troubled because they thought, now that they had accepted evolution, that they’d have to reject Christianity. However, many of them remained confident that the basic tenets of Christianity were true, i.e., God exists, Jesus is God, the Bible is from God, and a person can be forgiven and reconciled back to God through faith in Jesus Christ. With such individuals I’ve tried to lovingly point out that evolution doesn’t prove that Christianity is false. In this article I’ll summarize my argument in the hope it will be a benefit to others. This article will be published in two parts. I’ll begin by stating the obvious: If evolution is false, then certainly it doesn’t prove that Christianity is false. Therefore, in part one of this article, I’ll present the strongest argument against evolution.

Does Evolution Prove that Christianity Is False? Part 2

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

What if evolution is true? This is the second part of an article where I’m attempting to answer this question: does evolution prove that Christianity is false? I’ve chosen to write about this subject because I’ve encountered many people who have rejected Christianity because they think evolution is true; in other words, they think these two beliefs are mutually exclusive. In the first part of this article, I began by stating the obvious: if evolution is false, then it surely doesn’t prove that Christianity is false. I went on to summarize the strongest argument against evolution that I’m aware of. Now, here in part two, I’ll argue that even if evolution is true, this still doesn’t prove that Christianity is false.

When the Machines Take Over… Or Have They Already?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

People have been intimidated by machines for a long time. It’s hard to say when this first began, but it definitely was ramped up during the industrial revolution when machines were taking over more and more jobs. It’s easy to understand why people felt intimidated; machines were superior to humans in certain respects – they were stronger, faster, and more reliable. Computers have only exacerbated this anxiety because now machines can be smarter than humans in certain ways – they can remember more and compute faster. This was strikingly driven home in 1997 when IBM’s computer “Deep Blue” beat World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov.

Does Evolution Prove There’s No God?

Some people claim that evolution has defeated the argument for God’s existence from the design found in life, but has it? Evolution is the idea that all of life can be traced back to a common ancestor and that natural selection of random mutations can explain all the diversity in life. We know that natural selection is simply a scientific fact, but how powerful is it? Can natural selection produce new types of organisms? One scientist, Michael Behe, has argued that natural selection is not powerful enough to produce new species. Based on the evidence from studying fruit flies, malaria interacting with sickle-cell anemia, and HIV, Behe says that there seems to be a limit to what the evolutionary process can produce that falls short of new species. If this is true, then it indicates that evolution, on a large scale, is false. If evolution is false, then certainly it can’t prove that there is no God. However, even if evolution is true, it still doesn’t prove that there is no God. It might weaken the design-of-life argument somewhat, but evolution still can’t explain the origin of life in the first place. Plus, there are many other good arguments for God’s existence that aren’t related to evolution at all. The existence of God and evolution are not mutually exclusive beliefs.

The Design Argument for God’s Existence

The design argument for God’s existence, also called the “teleological argument” or the “fine-tuning argument,” says that God exists because the universe, earth, and life all look like they have been designed. This type of argument has been around for thousands of years, being formulated by figures such as Socrates, Plato, and even Hindu thinker Adi Sankara. Through empirical observation, we can see that every design has a designer. We’ve never observed design coming from any other source than from an intelligent mind. How do we detect design? When something is both complex (it has multiple parts) and specified (the parts are not randomly arranged), it can be said to be designed. One way we notice design in the universe is by the fine tuning of its physical constants. We also notice design in the way that the earth is very specifically situated in our galaxy and solar system to allow life to exist. Finally, we notice design in the way life itself is put together and in the information it contains in its DNA. All of this evidence of design points to the existence of a designer, an intelligent supreme being like God.

The First-Cause Argument for God’s Existence

The first-cause argument for God’s existence, often called the “kalam cosmological argument,” says that God exists because the universe had a beginning. If the universe had a beginning, then the universe needs a first cause, and that cause is likely God. In fact, there have been many first-cause arguments made by philosophers in different cultures, such as Aristotle’s unmoved mover. Today, it is well established that everything that beings to exist has a cause; things don’t just pop into existence out of nothing. In addition, based on the evidence from many scientific discoveries, scientists almost unanimously agree that the universe had a beginning. This is based on Einstein’s general theory of relativity, Hubble’s discovery of the red shift through his telescope, cosmic background radiation, and other phenomena. Therefore, since everything that begins to exist has a cause, and the universe began to exist, then the universe must itself have a cause. But what is this cause? From the first-cause argument, we can infer that this cause must be spaceless, timeless, immaterial, incredibly powerful, and intelligent – much like how God is described.

A Cabin in the Woods: Considering the Bayesian Fine-Tuning Argument

A Former Statistician Responds to a Critique of the Bayesian Fine-Tuning Argument for God

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.


In the last few decades scientists have discovered numerous astonishing facts about our universe that seem to indicate it has been precisely fine-tuned for life. As engineers who design our spaceships to sustain human lives in space can attest, life can only exist if numerous factors are set to precise specifications. Similarly, our universe seems to have been finely tuned for intelligent life to exist and thrive. The fact that these laws of physics are set just so has led many to conclude that our universe was designed by a supreme being with an intelligent mind.

Evolution and the Mechanical View of the World

After Kant’s influence, some thinkers continued down the path of attempting to only use reason to understand the world. They concluded that there were no ultimate answers, because reason alone couldn’t give us ultimate answers, but reason could at least help us do science. They focused their philosophy predominantly on the physical realm, the phenomena of nature. If you reject the transcendent realm and limit yourself to only nature, you are likely to conclude that there is no ultimate truth. Because of this, the mechanical view of the world began to gain influence – viewing the world as nothing more than a machine controlled by the laws of nature. The theory of evolution was a pivotal development in this area, because it alleged that humans were just physical machines themselves, just a part of the larger machine of nature. These reductionistic views caused people to view things like morality, love, art, beauty, meaning, purpose, and humanity itself as not really valuable in and of themselves but merely as expressions of how nature and evolution had programmed us.

Scientism and Deism

In the 1600s and 1700s, modern Western culture tried to go down a path of using reason by itself. Descartes pushed Western philosophy from the pre-modern era into the modern era, and that gave birth to many new ideas. Descartes’ mistake was that he thought he could prove things with absolute certainty using reason alone. This led to a greater focus on science as the means of knowing reality, which led to scientism, the belief that scientific knowledge is the only type of knowledge that can be trusted to give reliable answers about the world. Scientism introduced a shift from thinking of science as a means to know God to merely a mechanism for human progress using only those things we can know through reason and nature. Because of this, the idea of deism became popular among Western thinkers. Deism is the idea that God exists but that He reveals truth to us only through nature, not through Scripture or special revelation.