Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jesuit Robert Spitzer rebuts Atheism

Just today I received a copy of Robert Spizer's New Proofs for the Existence of God - Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy, sent by a friend in USA. Obviously, I haven't read it. I tried to find out about it, and it looks like a heavy, I mean difficult, book with lots of scientific jargon.

One reason I was interested in "New Proofs" was that there seem to be extremely few books from God-affirming scientists rebutting the arguments of God-denying scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Stephen Hawking. There are, surely, many apologetic books from so-called believers, who simply repeat what they were taught, without much critical or scientific reflection. Even in debates, often the believers come across as 'uninformed' or 'naive' with little awareness of contemporary science and are easily talked down to by their opponents. The only book of a God-affirming scientist that made waves internationally--prior to Spitzer's--was Francis Collins' Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. Spitzer is not a professional scientist like Collins; but he is a Doctor of Philosophy, and hearing him talk, one cannot but conclude he does have quite a bit of scientific knowledge. Perhaps his doctoral studies were in Philosophy of Science, combining Philosophy and Science. Anyway you can judge for yourself after watching, for example, this fiery and eloquent presentation of Spitzer:

Here is another video clip of Spitzer speaking on "The curious Metaphysics of Dr. Stephen Hawking."

Hearing him talk and having read about 60 pages of his book, I believe Spitzer's rebuttal of atheistic scientists boils down to the age-old maxim, "Nothing can come out of nothing!" The 'something' of a scientifically established Big Bang, initially formulated by the Catholic Priest-Scientist Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître, cannot simply come out of nothing--going against all sicentific principles. Spitzer quotes numerous scientists, talks their language, and presents their formulae and theories to show that Science simply has no other valid hypothesis except God to explain the origin of the universe at Big Bang.


As we know, even among atheistic scientists, the conscientious ones do not say, "There is no God," or "We can prove there is no God," but only say, "God is unnecessary," or "We don't need God to explain any of the observable phenomena." For example, when buses were run in Spain and England procaiming atheism, the awkwardly worded poster read: "There's probably no God! Now stop worrying and enjoy your life!" [Not clear what the significance of the poster is when most surveys suggest that people who believe are the ones who enjoy life and have fewer worries!]


Spitzer appeared a couple of weeks ago together with Stephen Hawking and Deepak Chopra on Larry King Live to discuss the book of Stephen Hawking, which the media proclaimed as Hawking's attack on God. There are three video segments of this discussion: the first presents the curt answers of Hawking to Larry King's questions, and the other two the responses of Spitzer et al. Here is the second segment in which Spitzer plays a major role:

Click here to watch the First segment.
Click here to watch the Third / Final segment.

Whatever the merits of Spitzer's book, it is great to see a book that talks science and debates with scientists on an even plane. I was impressed by the number of scientists that he presents as supporters of a God-hypothesis. It is up to atheistic scientists to rebut Spitzer's arguments! You can read more about Spitzer's work at his site http://www.magisreasonfaith.org/library/ and even order a copy of his book New Proofs for the Existence of God - Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sophia University Ranked First!

Sophia University A recent article in the Nikkei Career Magazine Special Edition (日経特別編集キャリアマガジン, June 10, 2010) ranks Sophia University first among the 480 Japanese universities surveyed for "Developing students' skills most needed for contemporary employment." The survey, limited to only four-year universities--thus excluding professional schools, junior colleges, etc.--was based on the responses of 4,684 students who were about to embark on job hunting.

The 25 survey questions dealt with four significant areas concerning (1) Personal feeling towards the university (大学愛 'Love for the university'), (2) Social relationships (交友関係 'friendships'), (3) Extracurricular Activities (課外活動), and (4) Satisfaction with academic work (学業 'Academic work'). Why these four topics? The surveyors say that a major difference between students who get employment and those who don't is their social skills or their ability to fit smoothly into society. The four major areas explored are indicators of students' social skills, and the university that contributes to the development of these skills is the most successful in educating the future workforce of Japan. The questions were of Multiple Choice format with 2, 3, 4, or 5 options.

According to the survey, the scores that Sophia obtained were as follows:
(1) Feeling towards the university: 234
(2) Social Relationships ... ... .: 614
(3) Extracurricular Activities.. .: 506
(4) Academic Satisfaction ... .. .: 478
Total Score:... .. .: 1832

For comparison, here are the scores of second-ranked and third-ranked universities (in the same order):
2nd-ranked university: 290, 615, 455, 445, 1805
3rd-ranked university: 232, 595, 455, 491, 1773

It is noteworthy that Sophia's impressive scores were mainly in "Academic Satisfaction" and "Extra-curricular Activities"--both hallmarks of a Jesuit University. Sophia usually demands much from students (rigorous attendance, lots of homework, etc.), and Sophia students are remarkably cooperative and committed to academic excellence. Many of Sophia's "Extracurricular Activities" are humanitarian activities, inspired by the traditional Christian concern to be socially responsible and to do something for the socially downtrodden. Worth mentioning are voluntary organizations such as Meguko that help the poor and STP 'Summer Teaching Program' that go out to teach skills to high-school students both in Japan and overseas.

Of course, all such surveys must be taken with a pinch of salt, and I don't think there is any reason for Sophians to boast or be complacent. Probably most Sophians are themselves a bit surprised at the first rank, though the report is sure to be a moral boost to all Sophians, especially the students.