God's Crime Scene

J. Warner Wallace

Opening Statement. Has Someone Else Been in This Room?

p19 Describes a murder scene where they looked for evidence that someone/something outside the room had to be involved. For a crime scene involving a death, he proposes four options: natural death, accident, suicide, murder. Only the fourth, murder, would require evidence that was "outside the room". This sets up the framework for "God's Crime Scene" where an the evidence for a purposeful Creator would require evidence "outside the room" of the universe.

p24 Illustration of crime scene evidence

p24 Categories of evidence for the universe "crime scene".

  1. Cosmological evidence
    • Our universe had a beginning.
    • Our universe appears to be fine-tuned for human life.
  2. Biological Evidence
    • Life in our universe emerged from non-life.
    • Biological organisms appear to be designed.
  3. Mental Evidence
    • Non-material consiousness emerged from unconscious matter.
    • As humans, we are "free agents" in our otherwise "cause and effect" universe.
  4. Moral Evidence
    • Transcendent, objective moral truths exist in our universe.
    • Evil and injustice continue to persist, in spite of our best efforts.

p25 Illustration of evidence for the universe "crime scene" "In the room" is a key phrase.

p26 Note that the details of the real crime scenes he uses are altered, and that a series of "expert witnesses" are used in the discussions.

p27Ch 1: In the Beginning. Was the Universe an Inside Job?

p27 Story of a fast-food restaurant murder, key evidence a piece of foam, 30 year-old case.

p27 Box: discussion of causation

p28 Illustration: origination, causation, explanation

p29 "begin to exist" applied to universe.

p30 Impossibility of infinite regression.

p31 Box: reasoning through the lens of experience

p32 The expanding universe implies a beginning.

p32-34 The red shift and the Hubble law

p34 Thermodynamic evidence, the 2nd Law of thermodynamics

p35 The abundance of helium as big bang evidence

p35 The cosmic background radiation, Penzios and Wilson, COBE, Planck satellite

p37 Paulo Saraceno "The discovery of the background radiation, together with the abundance of helium, was a mortal blow to the theory of a stationary universe; only an initial fireball could have produced it. This meant the universe had an origin." Paulo Saraceno, "Beyond the Stars: Our Origins and the Search for Life in the Universe" (Singapore, World Scientific, 2012) p26.

p38 Illustration: Diverse, cumulative case for a beginning.

p39 Inside the room proposals: Eternally expanding universe, cyclic universe, Box on liabilities of such.

p40 Larger eternal universe proposal

p41 Vilenkin's case for a beginning of the universe.

p42 Considering the universe from "outside the room"

  • Big bang as beginning of space, time and matter (so they are "inside the room")
  • The external cause is then outside of those.

Illustration of personal agent causation.

p43 William Lane Craig as "expert witness" - impossibility of an infinite - cited his book "Creation Out of Nothing"

p44 Finishing "crime scene". Explanation of the piece of foam. Led to conviction and imprisonment.

p45 Paul Davies: The universe's evidence points to a cause outside of space, time and matter. "One might consider some supernatural force, some agency beyond space and time as being responsible .. or one might prefer to regard the [beginning of the universe] as an event without a cause. It seems to me that we don't have too much choice. Either ... something outside of the physical world ...or...an event without a cause." "The Birth of the Cosmos" in "God,Cosmos, Nature, and Creativity", ed. Jill Gready (Edinburg:Scottish Academy Press, 1995) p8-9

p45 Illustration of Inside vs Outside for the universe.

p46 The nature of the "Suspect" at this point.

p47 Ch 2: Tampering with the Evidence, Who is Responsible?

p47-49 Model case is mother and child smothered by deliberately designed natural gas trap.

p51 Paul Davies (agnostic about divine designer) "Everyone agrees that the universe looks like it was designed for life." "Goldilocks Dilemma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life? (Boston:Mariner Books, 2008) p191

p51 Back story. The foundational, regional, and locational conditions of the universe that produce the "fine tuning" argument.

  • p52 Layer 1: Foundational conditions and evidence
    • Forces governing the atom, elementary particles and forces
    • Forces governing the matter - large scale, gravity, expansion rate
    • Forces governing the creation of chemicals
    • Illustration: Foundational Fine-Tuning
  • p55 Layer 2:Regional Conditions and Evidence
    • Hugh Ross as expert witness
    • Shape of the Milky Way is favorable to life
    • p56 Position of the Milky Way is favorable to life
    • Leonard Susskind as expert witness
    • The size of the Milky Way
    • The position of our Sun
    • The composition of our Sun
    • The age and mass of our Sun
    • The relationship of planets to our Sun
    • p58 Illustration: Regional Fine Tuning
  • p58 Layer 3: Locational conditions and evidence favorable to life
    • The Earth's relationship to the Sun is favorable
    • p59 The Earth's atmospheric conditions
    • The Earth's terrestrial nature
    • The Earth's relationship to the Moon
    • Illustration: Locational Fine Tuning

p61 Illustration: Layered Evidence of Tampering

  • Inside the room: What caused this appearance of fine-tuning?
    • Chance?
    • Physical necessity?
    • Observational phenomenon?
  • Outside the room: What external causes could account for fine-tuning?
    • p64 Multiverse?
    • p65 Design?
    • Illustration: Internal vs External Explanations
    • Illustration: Inside the room or outside the room?
    • p67 Profile of "suspect"

p65 Arno Penzias "Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say 'supernatural') plan." "Creation Is Supported by All the Data So Far" in "Cosmos, Bios, and Theos" ed Henry Margenau and Roy Abraham Varghese (Peruu, IL: Open Court, 1992) p78.

p69 Ch 3: The Origin of Life, Does the Text Require an Author?

p69-71 Story of an arranged murder, information a key aspect of investigation. Woman sent message to alienated partner to set up murder and theft by new partner.

p70 Evidence "in the room",

p72 Leslie Orgel "The problem of the origin of life on Earth has much in common with a well-constructed detective story ... There are far too many clues and far too many suspects. It would be hard to find two investigators who agree on even the broad outline of events." "The Origin of Life: A Review of Facts and Speculations", Trends in Biochemical Sciences 23, no.12 (1998); p491

p72 The complexity of life at the cellular level

p72 "Microscopic cellular apparatuses, transportation vehicles, and tools interact with factory-like cooperation and precision. In order to understand what constitutes biological life, we'll need to examine the sequence of events leading to the formation of these components inside the cellular factory."

p73-75 Essential to the understanding of the development of life are the formation of

  • carbon atoms
  • amino acids and nucleotide bases
  • homochirality; Illustration p73
  • proteins
  • nucleotides
  • nucleic acids, DNA,RNA
  • primitive cells

p77 Illus DNA unzipping and RNA creation

p78 Paul Davies as expert witness

p79 Describing the chicken and egg conundrums.

p79 Paul Davies "Take DNA ...It has a grand agenda, but to implement this, DNA must enlist the help of proteins ... proteins are made by complicated machines called ribosomes, according to coded information received from DNA via mRNA. The problem is, how could proteins get made without the DNA code for them, the mRNA to transcribe the instructions, and the ribosomes to assemble them? But if the proteins are not already there, how can DNA, ribosomes and all the rest of the paraphernalia get made in the first place? It's Catch-22." "Fifth Miracle" p124 (Illus Catch-22)

p80 Where could it have happened? Atmosphere? In water? On land? In the Earth? In space? p83 Illus: Where?

p83 When did it occur? Quickly with surprising complexity.

p84 why did it happen? Chance? Necessity? Illus p86 Stephen Meyer as expert witness.

p86 Outside the room. How did it occur? Information required. Illus inside or outside?

p87 Werner Gitt and the degrees of information.

p91 The case for external intelligence for the internal information, Illus

p92 Update of the picture of the "suspect".

p93 Ch 4: Signs of Design Is There Evidence of an Artist?

p93 Story of a designed murder weapon p118 arrest and conviction nearly 35 years later.

p95 Characteristics reasonably associated with designed objects. p101 Wallace uses the bacterial flagellum, described by Michael Behe in his book 'Darwin's Black Box', to provide examples for the elements of his "Design" acronym. "Harvard biophysicist Howard Berg has publicly described the bacterial flagellum as 'the most efficient machine in the universe'" quoted in Intelligent Design:William Dembski and Michael Ruse in Dialogue, ed. Robert B. Stuart (Minneapolis: Fortress,2007), p233

  • D
    • Dubious probability of having occurred by chance alone.
    • p102 Complex structure, 40 coordinated pieces, profoundly unlikely by unguided steps.
  • E
    • Echoes of familiarity.
    • p103 Flagellum is obviously a motor, and a man-made motor with its compatible and cooperating parts is obviously designed.
  • S
    • Sophistication and intricacy.
    • p104 Over 40 different specifically shaped proteins, precisely employed, employing power from membrane transport of an acid.
  • I
    • Informational dependency.
    • p104 Information in DNA guides the construction and assembly of the parts. Instructions in over 14 distinct operons, which are engaged in sequence to construct the flagellum.
  • G
    • Goal direction and intentionality.
    • p106 The specific protein parts are created in the proper sequence and assembled in a logical order. There is a goal-directed assembly pathway from the basal body to the universal joint to the whip. Such interactive systems resist explanation by the tiny undirected steps that a Darwinian path would be expected to take.
  • N
    • Natural inexplicability (given laws of physics and chemistry.
    • p107 The laws of chemistry and physics do not help explain or improve the odds of organizing and assembling the many necessary building blocks of the molecular motor. They fail to account for the complexity and purposeful relationships in molecular machines.
  • E
    • Efficiency/irreducible complexity.
    • p108 Undirected random processes can't account for the irreducibly complex bacterial flagellum. All the large assemblage of pieces must be constructed in one sweeping step with foresight, certainly not random steps.
  • D
    • Decision/choice reflection.
    • p109 Different types of flagella are used by different species, showing specific fitness for their applications. The specific use of one kind of flagellum, when other types are clearly available, is best explained by intelligent selection.

p98 Illus: Cumulative case for design.

p100 Evidence "in the room": the appearance of design in biological organisms.

p100 Richard Dawkins "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose."

p100 Robert Dorit: "The apparent fit between organisms seems to suggest some higher intelligence at work, some supervisory gardener bringing harmony and color to the garden." "Biological Complexity", in "Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism", ed. Anddrew J Petto and Laurie R. Godfrey (New York: W.W. Norton, 2007), 244.

p100 "Dawkins believes, however, the power of natural evolutionary processes can explain 'the illusion of design and planning.'" (Blind Watchmaker, p21)

p 102 Dawkins "A complicated thing is one whose existence we do not feel inclined to take for granted, because it is too 'improbable'" "Blind Watchmaker" p8
Dawkins rests on the Darwinian premise of multiple small increments by random events guided by natural selection alone. As I see it, he is taken in by the same erroneous presumption as Darwin that complex information can be produced by random events.

p102 "In recognizing the insufficieny of chance in the appearance of complex biological structures such as the flagellum, Dawkins seeks to account for their existence through a series of smaller - and therefore more likely - random events guided by natural selection alone. But in order for this explanation to be reasonable, the number of unguided steps necessary to arrive at the flagellum is staggeringly unlikely. Undirected material processes, even when assisted by natural selection, cannot achieve the task."

p110 Illus: Cumulative case for design of the bacterial flagellum.

p 110 Staying "inside the room" Appearance of design without a designer?

  • Philosopher Philip Kitcher believes that the flagellum formed by "borrowing" from a less complex type III secretion system (T3SS)
  • T3SS similar and share some common proteins, but they are also irreducibly complex with no discovery of the source of those proteins.
  • Many now consider that T3SS devolved from the flagellum rather than acting as its source.

p113-116 Looking "outside the room", what kind of cause would suffice?

  • All-powerful intelligent designer should be able to design optimally without any imperfections.
  • DNA has many apparently non-functional genes, called "junk dna"
  • Much of junk DNA has now been shown to function as regulators or other epigenetic entities.
  • William Dembski cited as expert witness with his "explanatory filter"
  • Vestigial features such as the appendix (immune function?) are shown to be functional
  • Not "God of the gaps" but based on what we know that we imply a Creator.

p117 Illustration of the weakness of the "Inside the Room" position.

p118 Update of the portrait of the "Suspect". "As we are about to see, the best explanation for the creative cause of the universe is a mind."

p119 Ch 5: Our Experience of Consciousness: Are We More than Matter?

p119 Case is a double murder and suicide by an estranged husband. Uses it to reflect on whether the victims were more than material and a reflection on the non-material and the soul.

p121 Reflection on abductive reasoning.

p122 Discussion of mind and consciousness. "Consciousness poses one of the most difficult conundrums for philosophers and scientists. As philosopher David Chalmers lamented, 'Conscious experience is at once the most familiar thing in the work and the most mysterious. There is nothing we know about more directly than consciousness, but it is far from clear how to reconcile it with everything else we know. Why does it exist? What does it do? How could it possibly arise from lumpy gray matter?'"

p126-127 Illustration About-ness is not equal to Is-ness. Not characteristic of material objects - they don't have aboutness, just isness. Also illus indisputable unequal to incorrect.

p128-129 impersonal unequal to personal

p129 measurable unequal to measureless

p130 The brain unequal to the mind?

Ch 6: Free Will or Full Wiring; Are Real Choices Even Possible?

Good discussion of cases for and against free will.

p141 Story of two addicts and burglary to by drugs. Paul did burglary, Sandy waited as driver. Discussion of Sandy's responsibility.

p144 "In the room" illus

p145 Daniel Wegner and Sam Harris see free will as an illusion. Benjamin Libert 1980s EEG showed brain electrical action before conscious reports of decisions. John-Dylan Haynes with MRI showed brain activity 7 to 10 seconds prior to push-button indication of their decision to do so. Uses Sam Harris as "expert witness".

p146 Starts a good and extensive discussion of free will. Criminal liability is a good context for this discussion, since if everything is physically determined, there is no basis for criminal liability. "Physical determinism" is the phrase he uses.

p146-147 "If determinism is true, our efforts to rightly praise or blame the actions of ourselves or others seems a nonsensical endeavor; our efforts at justice seem equally pointless.Perhaps this is why the Supreme Court has rejected determinism and cited free will as the foundation of our legal system. In 1978, the Court, deciding against a defendant in an appeal related to the defendant's sentencing, expressed the important relationship between free will and any effort to seek justice. The Court said 'a deterministic view of human conduct' was 'inconsistent with the underlying precepts of our justice system.' In fact, the Court described 'belief in freedom of the human will and a consequent ability and duty of the normal individual to choose between good and evil' as the 'universal and persistent' foundation of our system of law, and particularly in our approach to punishment, sentencing, and incarceration.'

p147 Illustration of purely physical vs free will and responsibility

p147 "Here, then, is our dilemma: We live in a physical universe in which natural laws act on matter over time, yet we have the persistent, practical experience of making what appear to be free choices as we love, reason, and make moral judgments. We also condemn or praise one another as though our choices and decisions are our own. How are we to reconcile the material, deterministic nature of the universe with our own experience of free will and responsibility?"

p148 Asserts that explanations of free will from "inside the room" fail in one of more of the areas: support by the evidence, maintaining correct definitions related to the data, or avoiding logical contradictions.

Cites Philosopher Harry Frankfurt who asserts that the "first order" desires such as the desire to eat a hamburger may be deterministic, but our agreement with the desires might be described as free will. Wallace sees this as logically inconsistent -- if deterministic on first, then must be deterministic on second to stay "inside the room".

p149- Other options for "inside the room":

  • Free will "emerged" - but non-material explanations unless "outside" the material universe
  • Attribute to quantum physics? "popped into our heads as indeterminate quantum events?"
  • Reject existence, necessity and importance of free will. i.e., no free will

p152 Illus: We cannot explain our experience of free will by denying its existence. Box: All of us are "eyewitnesses", Powerful case for validity of multiple agreeing eye witnesses.

p153 Introduces the idea of "agent causation". Different from event-event causation of determinism. "Persons are agents who are capable of acting as first causes."This view of agent causation accurately describes our experience as humans." We have an intuitive desire to assign personal responsibilities.

p153-154 Rejects Benjamin Libet's and John-Dylan Haynes's interpretation of the 7-10 sec delay in brain electrical activity by attributing it to an unconscious planning stage rather than determinism.

p153 Roderick Chisholm (more detail p284) Philosopher, author and professor at Brown University. Defended the existence of free will and rejected the possiibility free will could exist in a deterministic universe. He argued an action is the result of free will only if an agent acts because of a choice and this choice cannot have been caused by other events preceding it.

p154 Cites secondary investigation on p250.

p155 Illustration of "Both-And" nature of criminal responsibility.

p156 Illustration "Inside the Room" or "Outside the Room"

p157 "Our common experience of free will and our innate inclination toward praise and blame are important pieces of evidence "inside the room" of the natural universe."

p157 Updated summary of characteristics of "suspect".

Ch 7: Law and Order Is Morality More Than an Opinion?

p159 Story of Jesse Valdez who brutally tortured and murdered a rival gang member who made a sexually suggestive remark to his sister. Both Jesse and his sister thought the murder was justified and had fun doing it.

p160-161 Hierarchy of moral precepts.

p162 Expert witness Mark Linville. Linville believes objective moral truths exist and are best explained as being rooted in the nature of a transcendent moral lawgiver (God). Wrote "The Moral Argument" in the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (2012).

p163 C.S. Lewis "Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to - whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or every one. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first. Selfishness has never been admired." Mere Christianity p6.

Ch 8: The Evidence of Evil Can God and Evil Coexist?



Closing Argument Make a Decision and Make It Now


p250 Secondary investigation on free will

p284 Roderick Chisholm cited on pg 153

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