I bought Melissa’s book earlier this year, and was blown away by the clarity and compelling nature of her arguments. Then, while at BIOLA University in June, I had the pleasure of meeting her in person and listening to her talk about her “Maker Thesis.”
In her book, Melissa observes our Western culture is constantly pushing the notion that nature can be explained without resorting to God, and that no one should stick with such a Medieval superstition as Christianity to understand the world. Aren’t people who persist in doing that just “scientifically illiterate or suffering from some kind of religious-induced delusion?” This actually reminds me of someone who said to me on Facebook recently, “clearly Stuart your belief in God shows you suffer from some sort of lack in your life. I am sorry for you.”
Clearly, many people are comfortable with the Naturalistic worldview today and are therefore antagonistic towards those who do not subscribe to it. Naturalists exclude God and see the Universe as a closed system. This leads to materialism which says the “cosmos … can be reduced to, matter and energy governed by the laws of nature.” And this forms a naturalistic bias among scientists. She points out that methodological naturalism is the claim that “scientists should always seek natural causes to explain observed phenomena.”
The problem with all of this is it has a serious effect on our culture’s ability to KNOW things.
The scientific approach is only useful for explaining certain very specific areas. But it starts to break down when we ask the questions usually posed by a child. Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life, and what happened when my grandparents died? Where did they go? We become incapable of grappling with these obvious questions under materialism. So, Melissa reasonably says, “we should be free to contemplate the possible philosophical and theistic implications of scientific discoveries without being wrongly accused of having an antiscience mentality.”
But – hang on. Don’t Christians always try to push God into the gaps caused by our ignorance? Wait – we cannot always be accused of trying to shoehorn God into the gaps in our knowledge. In fact, it is because we are doing Science, and gathering vital data about nature, that leads us to infer God as a reasonable explanation based on our observations! She admits that God cannot be proven or disproven using scientific methods. But, the discoveries of the natural sciences help us to infer that the God explanation is a reasonable one for the Universe, and also explains humanity’s act of doing Science itself.
I think Melissa is also saying that materialistic arguments tend to beg the question, in other word they assume what they are trying to prove.
She then goes on to ague for her “Maker Thesis” in three ways:
- using current scientific evidence to support philosophical arguments for a Maker.
- observing many features in the Universe had to converge to make Science possible.
- demonstrating that creatures with a rational mind and soul account for the practices of the sciences.
For example, there is increasing evidence of a finely tuned Universe to support life. The materialist’s response to this evidence explains away this incredible physical specificity by positing an infinite number of randomly ordered universes, or multiverse. They claim we happen to inhabit life permitting universe that randomly occurred. Yet, this assumption seems unwarranted. There’s “no observational evidence [of the multiverse] … the theory cannot avoid philosophical problems associated with past infinities … it would explain why all the [universal] constants … must be what they are … [not] why we have a life permitting … [universe].” So multiverse theory is a fallacious attempt to avoid the conclusion the universe is intentionally designed to permit life.
Melissa’s “Maker Thesis” powerfully explains “origin, rationality and intricacy of nature.” And she illustrates this through cosmology, biology, the rightness of mathematics to explain nature, and the philosophical arguments for the mind. She says, scientific study gives a “glimpse into the mind of the Maker.” I have to agree with her. And, having met her and heard what she has to say, I’m looking forward to hearing more from her in the future.
 Melissa Cain Travis, Science and the Mind of the Maker, (Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 2018), kindle edition, loc 172.
 Travis, loc 181.
 Travis, loc 219.
 Travis, loc 237.
Travis, loc 3260.
 Travis, loc 3357.