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An extract from:
Reality Check: Science Meets Religion

Preface


Do conflicts between science and religion make it impossible for you to accept both? Or do you struggle with certain aspects of your faith because science seems to undermine it? Maybe you believe in science and religion but find it necessary to compartmentalize your mind to suppress the conflicts. (That used to be me.)

One of these statements applies to most people. This is strange, given over half the world’s population believes in God and most of us believe in science. So how come they are so often regarded as being mutually exclusive? This is a question I asked myself many years ago and I became determined to find the answer. It seemed logical to suppose neither religion nor science were wrong but that any apparent conflicts were due to misunderstandings on both sides. So I investigated this and pondered on it for years, certain this notion must be correct. Eventually I came to a satisfactory viewpoint that seemed to prove religion and science were actually complementary. This book is my attempt to explain this as simply as possible.

While I do think inspiration complemented my perspiration, this is just a personal view and there is such a thing as human error. So please don’t imagine I believe everything I say must be right—although I do believe it would be right to think about everything I say. God shares a powerful mind with us and he undoubtedly wishes us to use it. In what better way might we apply it than by trying to better understand him?

Every person’s belief is individual, but not everyone has thought deeply about such issues. Where to start? It might seem there are just too many imponderables to even begin. Yet I hope that, as a result of helping you to focus your mind through this book, you may thereafter be able to relax into a logically-founded faith unfettered by niggling doubts about whether it is sometimes at odds with science.

I hope to show you that theologian and scientist are looking at the same picture without realizing it and that science is merely the study of creation. I employ what I believe to be an exciting new way to convince you there must be a God: by providing evidence that ‘brain’ and ‘mind’ are separate entities and that your non-physical mind—and God’s—must lie beyond the realms of his creation: the space-time continuum. During this fascinating journey we will question the true nature of reality and I will explain why I believe both evidence and logic suggest our consciousness survives death. I will also show how the latest scientific theory may unknowingly reveal the location of Heaven—as hinted at by the words of Jesus. This might sound fantastic, but so is modern science—especially if it is brought to bear upon religion. Trust me for now, for this is a powerful combination.

I hope accompanying me on this journey will allow you to gain a better understanding of the ‘paranormal’; it is, after all, just that part of ‘normal’ creation we do not fully understand. We will consider why many of the classic arguments ‘against’ God are now inadequate, and evaluate which of the classic arguments ‘for’ God are the most convincing. As part of this exploration I introduce a new ‘External Consciousness Argument’ to counter such arguments against there being a God as the ‘Ultimate Boeing 747 Gambit’ proposed by Richard Dawkins in his book The God Delusion.

I am excited to be able to show you why the Bible creation story is actually compatible with science and evolution—that there was both ‘evolution’ and ‘creation’ in God’s process—and we will resolve enigmas like why God would ‘allow’ seemingly bad things to happen. Finally I will explain how you can simultaneously have a ‘destiny’ and ‘free-will’, and how this relates to ‘the meaning of life’ and your ‘purpose in life’.

Hopefully, you will find this book entertaining, accessible and as fascinating to read as I found it to research and write. Please forgive my quips, for such a serious subject can have its lighter side. Jesus was a human being on earth, so I don’t doubt he sometimes enjoyed a laugh with his friends; certainly his disciples must have caused him some amusement at times. Did he joke? Well, he liked wordplay, which suggests he did. Consider phrases about a camel passing through the eye of a needle (Mark 10:25) and the blind leading the blind and both falling into a pit (Matthew 15:14).

If you are already a believer, I hope any new insight you gain through this book may unburden your mind regarding apparent conflicts between science and religion—and maybe also help you to convince a doubting friend to believe. Or, if you never imagined there could be a sound logical argument that could persuade you to believe in God, I hope this one might prove to be your godsend.

Ian Kingsley, 2011


Chapter 1:
Removing the Blinkers


Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.

Mohandas Gandhi


The fact we have separate words for ‘brain’ and ‘mind’ clearly reveals man’s gut-feeling they are separate entities. And if they are it means the mind must be non-physical—for where else could it be within your body? I need to firmly convince you of this because certainty will remove the blinkers which mask an enlightened understanding of creation. You will then be able to grasp the amazing nature of consciousness and why a ‘mind’ many people call ‘God’ must exist beyond space and time.

I wish to take you on an exciting journey to a viewpoint where science and religion are compatible. Author Robert Jastrow has written that: ‘The scientist has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.’ I will lead you to that same peak by an easy but previously unexplored route. Those few theologians and scientists who are already there took their own individual routes. Sadly for them, the greater majority of their colleagues will not even take an interest in what they have discovered. So it is brave of those theologians to admit scientists may make a contribution towards overall understanding, and for those scientists to give due respect to theologians when they agree God did have a hand in creation.

Although not a lot of people know this, even the Catholic Church has officially come round to the idea that it is not an anathema to consider evolution as part of God’s plan. It’s a pity this doesn’t filter through to more of the Christian Church. Consider these admissions. On 22nd October, 1996, in his message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope John Paul II gave a defence of a caring God who employed evolution. He said (my italics): “In his encyclical ‘Humani Generis’ (1950), my predecessor, Pius XII, has already affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do not lose sight of certain fixed points.” John Paul went on to say: “Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than a hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies—which was neither planned nor sought—constitutes in itself a significant argument in favour of the theory.” Remember that. Two popes admitted evolution might be fact. (A full transcript is available online. ) This could help a lot during peace talks at the top of that mountain.

Put bluntly, despite traditional conflicts, two of the most important Christian leaders in the world have confirmed they were prepared to consider evolution may have been part of God’s process of creation. I hope to provide evidence that is exactly what happened. Given over half the world’s population believe in God, and there is ample evidence supporting science and evolution, it seems logical to suppose evolution must have played a part. All we need do then is to solve this little enigma! A satisfactory answer to it would be a logical outcome, after all, and logic is what this book is all about. And how wonderful if this idea is right, for how could so much evidence on either side be totally wrong? What we need are connections to tie the two different perspectives together. This book aims to achieve that.

I began my career in the field of scientific research. It taught me to carefully consider all the evidence I could find before drawing any conclusions. Although I went to church as a child, my new probing nature led me to question whether there was a logical foundation for belief in God. Faith is easy for people who can just accept and believe—like ‘little children’, as Jesus put it—but my enquiring mind demanded something more substantial.

Most people have a biased or pre-conditioned opinion about the existence of God, and they give little or no thought as to whether their view is sound judgement; their lives are far too busy to ponder on what appear to be imponderables. But, after many years of research and personal questioning, I reached a viewpoint which gave me a faith so strong I now feel the need to share it—and hopefully make this important consideration much easier for you. My faith is based on science, the Bible and logic, and I find this a particularly strong trinity.

If there really is a God, and if truly believing in that God could offer you eternal life after death, would you not consider it worth a few hours of your time to investigate it further? If so, this book makes that really easy for you. I hope its new insight, hard logic and the evidence I shall present will make a critical difference for many doubters. It could also help believers to convince others who might respond to a modern approach that is not at odds with science. So please read on, wherever you stand on faith. I want to show believers science need not be undermining; it is, after all, just the intimate study of creation. Nor need faith be blind, and the marvels of life and our universe, when seen from an enlightened scientific perspective, need not be at odds with a belief in God.

A man who knows faith can go hand-in-hand with science is top scientist, Dr, Francis Collins, former Head of the Human Genome Project in the USA, the project which cracked the code for human genetics: the ultimate link between humankind and our creator. (Perhaps you remember President Clinton’s momentous announcement of this achievement on TV with Francis Collins at his side.) Collins knows all about science and yet he has no doubt about the existence of God, as he makes clear in his book The Language of God. He believes God is responsible for our universe and he has looked at the ‘nuts and bolts’ of creation more closely than practically anyone else in the world.

Arguably, the most voluble opponent to that view must be atheist Richard Dawkins, who has put forward his opposite opinion in books such as The God Delusion. He believes chance was the only influence in our world, that we are just lucky to have come into being, and that anyone who believes in God is seriously deluded.

Creation is a difficult subject for anyone to fathom—not to mention a time-consuming one—and that is probably why most people leave all the thinking to others and then plump for what they consider to be the most plausible argument. This book allows you to do that but, be warned, it will make you think a little. But it is worth it if the result is a unified view that embraces both science and religion—without compromise.

I believe one of the problems with scientists is that they tend to think that predicting how a sequence of events takes place—better still, putting a formula to it—gives it some inviolate rights of existence which obviate the need for a creator. Yet they do not know how things happen: just how things interact: cause and effect.

Ask a scientist where everything comes from and he will point back billions of years to the ‘Big Bang’ as if this explains everything. They may have formulae covering the expansion of the universe, but whatever happened at the very instant of the Big Bang—at the beginning of time—remains a mystery. Ask where all the energy needed to create the Big Bang came from and the scientist will shrug and say that one day science will have it cracked; it’s just a matter of time. (So who created ‘time’, exactly?) Science assumes this answer will lie in the ‘holy grail’ they call the ‘Theory of Everything’ yet this, despite being named, is really a non-theory: no more than wishful thinking. I think there is more chance of them turning into believers than coming up with that. Three decades ago, Stephen Hawking famously declared a Theory of Everything was on the horizon, with a 50 percent chance of its completion by the year 2000. In 2010, Hawking said he had given up—because there may not be a final theory to discover after all. Yet, somehow, I cannot imagine Hawking will be satisfied with a ‘Theory of Nothing’.

If there ever is a Theory of Everything, surely it must specify that everything comes from a single source? A single source would surely suggest ‘God’ in any case? Great knowledge gives mankind an inflated sense of superiority, which is why many scientists think ‘knowledge’ is the only altar to which they need bow.

The huge gap between science and religion is a hard one for man to grapple with, given his past makes him inclined to believe in a God offering eternal life beyond death; yet his present persuades him to imagine everything came about by chance. Yet how could a universe of space and time just happen by chance? How did energy and space suddenly appear from nowhere? How did time begin? The ‘chicken-and-egg’ riddle has nothing on this.

As a result of this intellectual conflict, a problem many believers face today is the need to compartmentalize their conceptions. On the one hand they have a belief based on ancient religious texts, written in days when man had no knowledge of science. On the other hand they see compelling scientific evidence which sometimes appears to conflict with their religious belief and cast doubt upon it. This uncomfortable juxtaposition is hardly a satisfactory union. Many imagine the only solution is to choose between the two—science or religion—which is why I believe it is time to force a reality check to show this need not be the case. We do not need to have split-personalities to be both believers and realists; but we do need to be pragmatists. I am very certain of this and hope to prove it because religion and science are equally strong ‘beliefs’. Yes, I also use the word ‘belief’ in connection with science because that is all scientific theory really is: faith in itself. If not, why does it change when scientists ‘learn’ more—and hence believe in something new? Ironically, in that respect, religion is far more stable than science.

Have you heard of ‘Occam’s Razor’? A very bright 14th-century English logician, theologian and Franciscan friar, Father William of Ockham, came up with this. Briefly stated, it postulates the simplest explanation for anything is most likely to be correct. In this spirit I aim to show you why monotheism—belief in a single God—does not, in any way, contradict the findings of science. Furthermore, I will demonstrate why modern science is actually very close to being able to show us the true nature of creation—and even where Heaven might be. (Just suspend your disbelief about that for a while and trust me, because I promise I really will!)

If you come to view religion and science as complementary, I can assure you life and creation then seem to make a lot more sense. It will even help you to understand some of the great enigmas of life: like why, if there is a loving and caring God, such terrible things can still happen in the world.

This logical approach can lead you to a place where spiritual growth is possible in line with both the Bible and science. In other words, I want to remove the blinkers which limit our understanding by pre-conditioning and dogma and thereby reveal a wider picture in the light of modern knowledge. We will get to grips with what I believe to be the true nature of reality and creation. Instead of taking the extrospective route of science, looking through microscopes and telescopes, or probing outer-space, I aim to take an introspective route via the inner-space of a logical mind.

If you looked at a masterpiece of art through a microscope you would only see paint pigments and the weave of the fabric upon which they are lodged. This is not as beautiful as the picture and it does not get you any closer to understanding the talent of the artist: its creator. So it is with this world. In order to understand the creation in which we live—and its creator—we need to step back and realize something very important. A creator can never be a part of his creation. A painter might paint a representation of himself in a picture, but that will never be a true, living being. So if our world is one of space and time, any creator responsible for it must exist outside the realms of that space and time.

Before Christians point out the Bible describes God as walking on the earth (Old Testament only), having a humanlike personality, and being the same as Jesus and the Holy Spirit, let me clarify something. If we believe there is a single creator, he is also perfectly capable of creating a physical being—and a spirit being—that channel his thoughts and embody his personality: through a presence called God, or Jesus. Even a computer game’s creator can create what are called ‘avatars’, and we, as gamers, can control avatar representations of ourselves in the electronic world he created: much the same thing, conceptually. Similarly, if our separate minds subtly communicate with our brains, it is no wonder we imagine the brain is doing all the work. The primitive brain clearly does ‘perform’ many of the tasks that are allocated to it. I do not deny this great ‘machine’ helps to control our physical body, but many of the things it does for us run on autopilot: control of breathing being one of the most obvious. The mind tackles more difficult stuff: like thinking.

I will show the real power of the mind lies beyond space and time and that it has great influence on what happens in that space with respect to time. The substance of mind must therefore be the same substance as God.

We need to reconsider apparent conflicts between religion and science and come to an understanding that makes sense in both. They have to be different sides of the same coin: the ‘head’ is of God and the ‘tail’ is his creation. The truth is that science merely investigates creation; it cannot claim any responsibility for it or truly understand it: for that takes a great leap of faith.

We tend to excuse our limited understanding by clinging on to outmoded perceptions. When the Bible was written, the concept of a space-time continuum was not understood, so there was no chance of anyone—including Jesus—explaining that God existed somewhere beyond it. In the same way, with our modern understanding of space, we can no longer envisage a Heaven as being somewhere high up in the sky—the place we put satellites—but that was the only unknown ‘space’ people of that time could figure it could possibly exist. Now we know only the international space station offers any form of habitation ‘up there’. Jesus knew better than try to explain, and artist’s impressions of angels—necessarily winged—reinforced an assumption that became embedded in the human psyche. Now time—and space—has moved on, and so should our conceptions.

The exciting journey upon which you are about to embark begins by considering hard evidence to show the brain (something physical), is quite separate to the mind (something non-physical). It then explains that because the mind is non-physical, it lies outside the confines of space and time and, because of this, does not cease to exist when the physical body dies. Therefore eternal life is a distinct possibility and there could, indeed, be a Heaven; amazingly, the latest scientific theories may actually suggest where this is.

I will demonstrate how consciousness can exist outside the brain in ‘out-of-body’ experiences and how information is transferred between minds via telepathy and shared dreams. I will even tell you about the remarkable dream I ‘shared’ with my wife. (It is more detailed than any of the other recorded cases I have found, and it certainly convinced us!)

I will prove that ‘mind’ is the source of all creation, and this journey will show how you are created in the ‘mental’—not ‘physical’—image of God. I will show you the Bible’s account of creation is actually in-line with evolution and science, and that ‘reality’ is just in the mind of the beholder. I will introduce you to a ‘Restricted Viewpoint Argument’ to help you understand many of the enigmas concerning God, and to an ‘External Consciousness Argument’ to formalize our understanding of the nature of God. With its aid I will refute a host of the classic arguments against there being a God and will evaluate classic arguments for there being a God.

I refute Richard Dawkins much vaunted ‘Ultimate Boeing 747 Gambit’ which, roughly summed up, states that a God responsible for the creation of the universe would require his own designer, ad infinitum. I will show there is actually a fallacy in his argument, just as there is in the so-called ‘Omnipotence Paradox’, which considers arguments such as: ‘Could God create a rock so big he cannot lift it?’ This particular argument is really just as silly as it sounds, but others need a little more effort to counter. In all, I consider 16 classic arguments ‘against’ there being a God and show them to be erroneous or illogical, and I assess a similar number of classic arguments ‘for’ there being a God before, hopefully, coming up with a new and more effective argument that takes into account the new insight gained during the course of this journey.

In order to soundly substantiate my arguments aimed at proving there must be a God, I include many external internet links to supporting evidence. May I please request you firstly read this entire book before you follow any of these links. You will then avoid the distraction such diversions will bring and better focus on our fascinating journey. After that, please do follow the links, for they prove I am not making this amazing stuff up. What is original in this book is the synergistic way I pull these strands together into a cohesive whole. I am aiming at unity, and if everything is God’s creation that is what we should seek: unity. This is my ‘Theory of Everything—without the maths’. Don’t worry, it will not get too deep; so you won’t need a lifebelt.

I will show it is not paradoxical for you to have both a destiny and free-will. I will also demonstrate how a more holistic view of creation leads you to the very meaning of life and how determining your personal ‘destiny-chain’ will allow you to discover your purpose in life.

Despite the depth of the subject matter, I have chosen not to introduce complex philosophical or theological terms into this book because, apart from making it far less ‘reader-friendly’, I do not want to go down existing paths lined with intimidating labels and narrow pigeon-holes; I want to be free-thinking—and for you to be likewise during the course of this very special journey. Why? Take the label ‘dualism’, for example. It has somewhat different implications in philosophy (the world has two fundamental entities, mind and matter), psychology (mind and body function separately), and theology (the world is ruled by two antagonistic forces, good and evil, and also human beings have two natures: physical and spiritual). Do you see how one little term immediately introduces complexity, confusion and assumption? If I say I am talking about dualism then different people will already be way ahead of me, yet they may baulk when my route leaves the one they anticipated.

Assumptions or interpretations accepted without question for hundreds—or even one or two thousands—of years might be a little skewed due to earlier lack of knowledge about our universe and science. So we should ask ourselves whether everything we have assumed to be correct actually tallies with a reasonable acceptance of where science stands today. If it does not, then is the solution to be found in careful thought about interpretation? An example of this is the assumption that Heaven is somewhere up in the sky. Space exploration has shown us that is pretty unlikely. So let us shed dogma and consider everything afresh. (As some reassurance for believers, let me say at this point that our final destination does not question the Bible; it just offers a possible explanation for one or two long-held puzzles.)

Rigidity would be a severe handicap on this journey, and the synergy behind the thinking in this book is new, so ‘logic’ is its primary authority—not to mention three decades of pondering, research and, thankfully, some compelling inspiration. So please do not try to pin a label on me other than one which says ‘guide’. I will be tentatively leading you through mountainous terrain, but I want you to use a logical mind and a moral compass to follow where we are going, not an existing map which will not depict this route. If you forego diversions this journey should not prove too much of a struggle.

Please put aside preconceived notions for a while and consider this entire book with a truly open mind. It is then an exciting adventure that flexes the metaphorical muscles of the mind on a trip leading to a ‘unified theory’ where science meets religion. Although you can be sure there is some rocky ground to cross, we will navigate it successfully, and I guarantee you will encounter some tremendous views en-route: ones, I promise, that will always be held in your mind. And understanding the nature of ‘mind’ is the first challenge. At the moment it is firmly stuck within your brain, so firstly we must release it from all that limiting grey matter. Follow closely as we climb into a more rarefied atmosphere—through the mists of time.


Chapter 2:
Mind and Brain—Separate Entities


I was taught that the human brain was the crowning glory of evolution so far, but I think it's a very poor scheme for survival.

Kurt Vonnegut

The first thing I need to do is to convince you is that brain and mind really are separate entities, even if during normal careless talk we do exchange the terms in phrases such as: ‘I’ve got this tune on my mind,’ or ‘I’m racking my brains’. I shall aim to do this by citing examples where the exchange of information between minds obviously overcomes the physical constraints placed upon the brains of those involved.

Firstly, we will consider evidence of information which passes between people without conventional communication—via telepathy. Like all supernatural phenomena, this is very hard to prove scientifically. Some of the most common examples concern mothers well aware of their baby’s needs even when out of sight and hearing of them.

A strong emotional bond seems to be a common success factor in telepathy tests. This is something which future researchers would do well to bear in mind; many picky scientists would prefer it to work well between strangers before they believe. Intuitively, it hardly seems surprising that close bonds are necessary for the merging of minds.

In his study of telepathy, Dr. Paul Stevens, at Edinburgh University, recognized this. The subjects he used were ‘emotionally close’ couples comprising lovers, friends and relatives. They were split into groups of ‘senders’ and ‘receivers’. Randomly selected video clips from a library of 100 were shown to the senders who were told to try to telepathically transmit related information to the receiver in a soundproof room 25 metres away. The receivers were asked to speak in a stream of consciousness, stating the first things that came to mind. Sound signals called ‘white noise’ lulled the receiving partners into an ultra-receptive state and they were asked to say what came into their heads while their bodies were measured for physical changes. Many subjects were able to talk about the information being seen by their partners. Skin conductance tests confirmed when receivers were aware of receiving information. (One of several records of this can be found online. )

Many of us have experienced successfully guessing who is calling when the phone rings. Phone calls are particularly conducive to telepathy. I guess this is because the caller is focusing on the recipient and the synchronization of the ring causes the recipient to wonder who is calling. Often the called person can guess who is calling if they are emotionally close. Has this even happened to you and made you wonder about telepathy?

In order to investigate this common experience, 1,000 telephone telepathy tests were carried out by renowned biologist and author Doctor Rupert Sheldrake...

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READER COMMENTS:

"This is a very intriguing piece. I believe there is a significant demand for such discussions... I especially appreciate the inviting style, which will definitely be a plus for more skeptical readers." (Faith Rose - Authonomy)


"The survey of arguments both for and against the existence of God provides the reader with a way to better compare and contrast different viewpoints… Presenting the strengths and weaknesses of all of these different viewpoints was one of the things I liked most. I was really interested to read these chapters because, as a mathematician and a Christian, while there may be perceived conflicts between science and religion, I believe there are no conflicts between the structures and systems of the universe and God. This book also explains things very well… [and is] accessible without sacrificing scientific integrity… I think the book will be enjoyed by many and will encourage lively discussion." (David Bortress - Authonomy)


"Extremely well written, researched and set out. Every point is very clear. The analogies are extremely imaginative and very effective. The passion in this work is powerful and every paragraph is thought provoking. The arguments are well thought through and persuasive... I would suggest that everyone reads it and think very carefully about what you say." (Gareth Naylor - Authonomy)


"'Reality Check' is an interesting and accessible book... that sets up the basic argument well, an intriguing one at that: proof of God in brain and mind being two different things, mind existing beyond the time-space continuum. At this stage my interest was piqued. I haven’t come across an argument like this before so it appears original... I was entertained and informed along the way and feel richer for the debate. Anyone interested in these themes would do well to have a read of 'Reality Check'." (Ross Clark - Authonomy)


"This is one hell of a book, excuse the pun; and so well researched, and the thoughts are radical on this matter... [the] Albert Einstein line, very relevant to-day and very much relates to what you have written... I was totally intrigued... and found it to be very informative." (Tom Bye - Authonomy)


"The most abstract of concepts are communicated in a clearly digestible form… There is a tremendous need for the genre represented here: arguments which transcend the physical world. For many, if not most, the task of adequately preparing oneself to respond to such questions is simply too daunting. I appreciate the scholarly professionalism and the extensive referencing… [The author] rises to the challenge of what most would consider an extremely difficult calling." (James Revoir - Authonomy)


"This is a very intriguing piece. I believe there is a significant demand for such discussions... I especially appreciate the inviting style, which will definitely be a plus for more skeptical readers." (Faith Rose - Authonomy)