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Science Uprising Challenges Atheism as the “Smart” Option

A new YouTube series, Science Uprising, challenges the notion that the smart money is on atheism. I was part of the creative team behind the project. One of our aims was to reach those “digital natives” who get much of their impression of the wider world from the Internet, including streaming services like YouTube.

This group tends to encounter well-articulated arguments for unbelief earlier than ever before, and they often encounter those arguments online. Science Uprising is part of an increasingly rich body of material that pushes back against anti-theistic online propaganda.

The video series features researchers at the forefront of the intelligent design movement, including Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe and Cambridge-trained philosopher of science Stephen Meyer. But it also features some top researchers outside that circle, including renowned research psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz (UCLA), leading synthetic organic chemist James Tour (Rice University), and physicist Frank Tipler (Tulane University). For you physics/cosmology folks out there — yes, that Tipler.

A Contrary Perspective

Each Science Uprising video is six to eight minutes long, fast-paced, and produced by filmmakers with extensive experience in the television industry. Each episode begins with a masked host who appears to hack into TV and Internet feeds around the country to offer a contrary perspective. One moment people in restaurants, classrooms, living rooms, Times Square, etc., are watching science popularizers like Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson peddle a vision of man and nature as mere matter in motion. The next moment, the hacker host has replaced them onscreen to question their claims and introduce the episode topic.

In the first episode, of four so far, Carl Sagan famously intones that “the cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be,” then the masked host crackles onto the screen and asks, “How do they know the cosmos is all there is?”

In the second episode evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne tells his audience that free will is an illusion since humans are essentially just “robots made out of meat.” The masked host asks, “Are you and I really robots?”

The Idea Behind the Hacker

The point of this hacker framing device isn’t that we live in an Orwellian police state. The United States enjoys tremendous press freedom — a freedom we are taking full advantage of through this video series. The idea, rather, is that if you passively absorb mainstream media and public education in the West, you will get a blinkered sense of what the latest scientific evidence suggests about the nature and origin of humankind and the cosmos.

New episodes will be released every Monday into July. They explore everything from DNA and genetic mutations to the curious way that Earth and the laws of nature appear to be fine-tuned to allow for life. Each video includes one or more experts providing evidence that reality is more than matter, and that the world is charged with purpose and design.

To take one example: In the first episode, philosopher Jay Richards argues that scientific materialism — the idea that matter and energy are all that really exist, and immaterial things like emotions, beliefs, and personalities are merely illusions — is contradictory and self-defeating. As he notes, “Oddly, the scientific materialist has to deny the existence of scientists.”

The Modern Age

“In the modern age,” he continues, “people often try to identify this philosophical idea of materialism with the practice of natural science itself, but there’s no reason these two things would go together. Natural science is just a formal way to discover truths about nature.”

This is why Nobel Prize-winning physicist Charles Townes, quoted in a later episode of the series, could study the striking fact that the laws and constants of the universe appear to be exquisitely fine-tuned for life, and then conclude without contradiction, “Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe. It’s remarkable that it came out just this way.”

This is a side of the story many people never hear. Science Uprising is all about changing that.

Cross-posted from CNSNews with the permission of Jonathan Witt.