God and Science: Friend or Foe?

Dr. John Oaks, president of the Apologetics Research Society, speaks during his lecture at UConn's Information Technologies Engineering building in Storrs, Connecticut on Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

Dr. John Oaks, president of the Apologetics Research Society, used his knowledge of chemistry, physics and the bible to give insight into the relationship between God and science Friday night in the Information Technologies Engineering building to a packed room of students hailing from many other universities beside UConn.

Oaks is a chemistry professor at Grossmont College in San Diego, California and UConn alum (Class of 1977). When he was a teenager he was president to a church youth group, but at the time considered himself to be an atheist. 

Through studying science in college he came to believe in God. First following Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, and then converting to Christianity.

He began the lecture mentioning the “atheist perspective.” He talked about English biologist, Thomas Huxley, known as “Darwin’s bulldog” for his advocacy of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Huxley believed there was no purpose for our existence, we just are here according to Oaks. He also talked about Richard Dawkin, a British ethnologist, evolutionary biologist and writer, for having the same ideology as Huxley.

Oaks contrasted the two men’s way of thinking with that of English philosopher William Paley. Paley, who was also a clergyman, Christian apologist and utilitarian, is best known for his natural theology exposition of the teleological argument for the existence of God. To put into simpler terms, Oaks describes Paley’s beliefs classifying things as accident or design.

The first link between science and religion that Oaks discussed was that God invented the periodic table of elements. He says this because there are a handful of elements that are needed for there to be life on earth.

Oaks went on to say that the atheist perspective is irrational. “[The idea] life came about though random processes is absurd,” he said.

According to Oaks, science has proved that if the mass of gravity were .000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 smaller or larger than what it is, there would be no life. Therefore Oaks said it (gravity of mass) could not have been by accident or random chance, God designed it that way.

While the first half of Oaks’ lecture covered God and science, the second half focused on science and the bible. 

Oaks used the following quote by Delos B. McKown to argue that the atheist belief system does not make sense. “Christianity is scientifically unsupported and probably insupportable, philosophically suspect at best and disreputable at worst, and historically fraudulent,” McKown said.

“The bible has no scientific error,” Oaks said. He used genesis 17:12 as an example to support that. In genesis 17:12, the bible says, “for generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised.”

The eighth day is important because any day before the baby does not have high enough levels of vitamin K or prothrombin, according to Oaks. He then proceeded to display a graph that showed from birth to the following days of a newborn child, the eighth day is the day with the highest prothrombin levels.

The end of the lecture was followed by a question and answer with the audience. 

One student asked Oaks about falsifiable statements in science regarding design. “Design is not a science, its real intellectual and philosophical,” Oaks said. “The world is designed. If you don’t agree with me, find. That’s not my job.”

When asked about evolution, Oaks said that it is a reasonable scientific proposition that we came from animals, but that he believes God created Adam and Eve because the bible says so.

Oaks said that our ability to be conscious, understand universe and morality are all signs that our species did not derive through evolution, but that we are a creation of God.

“His responses were well researched and interesting.  It was super cool and encouraging to hear [about the links between science and the bible,]” eighth semester at Amherst College, Kamaria Laing said.

Nick Marinelli, first semester psychology major at UMass Amherst, who identified himself as being an atheist, said, “I got all I could get out of it. I’ve heard all the arguments he’s used before, it wasn’t anything new to me.”


Angie DeRosa is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at angelina.derosa@uconn.edu. She tweets @theangiederosa.