The 153 Questions from Edgar Andrews: His 2018 Book “What is Man?”
How do we find an “expert” (someone with comprehensive/authoritative knowledge or skill in a particular field) to aid us in growing in our knowledge in that field? First, we look at the person’s credentials. Then, we assess their “open-mindedness”. We want someone whose arguments are not based on rhetoric but instead follow the advice of Dr. Antony Flew: “We must be willing to follow the argument wherever it leads (Socratic method).” Finally, we want someone who can communicate solutions to complex issues in an easy-to-understand style.
When it comes to linking scientific facts to biblical truths, especially in the field of Physics, few are better choices to choose for an expert than Dr. Edgar Harold Andrews, an English physicist and engineer.
First, his credentials. He holds a BS in theoretical physics, PhD in Applied (Solid State) Physics. He is Emeritus Professor of Materials at University of London. He is an international expert on the science of polymers (large molecules), sought after for more than 20 years by both Dow Chemical and 3M as their expert technical consultant. Dr. Andrews has also published over 100 scientific research papers and books, together with two Bible commentaries and various works on science and religion and on theology. His book From Nothing to Nature has been translated into ten languages.
Second, applying the Socratic Method. In his latest book “What is Man? Adam, Alien or Ape?”, Dr. Andrews presents the issues associated with the origin and nature of man, both in terms of mankind as a living being and as a unique creature from all other life forms, presenting us with 153 provocative questions about mankind and then providing the best answers (not rhetoric) using the scientific evidences. And third, his communication style is simple and concise. Whether you are a teenager or an adult, a pastor trying to grow in apologetics or a seasoned scientist, Dr. Andrews will speak to you..
For example, in his introduction to chapter 2, Dr. Andrews expounds on the origin of the universe: “If the universe is an accident if nature, then man is also likely to be a meaningless accident. If, on the other hand, the universe was created by God, then humanity is also likely to be a purposeful creation. So the question ’Where is Man?’ will directly affect the way we resolve the question ‘What is Man’? Until about 100 years ago, most scientists who studied the universe as a whole (cosmologists) believed the universe was eternal and had no beginning. But this began to change in 1916 when Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity, which implied that the universe could not be static or unchanging.
Subsequently in 1929, astronomer Edwin Hubble showed that the universe (or cosmos) is expanding, and this result was confirmed in 1963 by the discovery that the Earth is bathed in a background of weak microwave radiation – now interpreted as the remnants of a ‘hot big bang’ origin of the universe. The Bible’s opening verse declares that ‘in the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth,’ and the theological implications of these new discoveries greatly alarmed those who reject the ancient idea of divine creation.
By now, there’s scientific consensus that our universe exploded into existence almost 14 billion years ago in an event known as the Big Bang. But that theory raises more questions than it answers, including the most basic one: what happened before the Big Bang? Some cosmologists have argued that a universe could have no beginning but simply always was. In 2003, Tufts cosmologists Alexander Vilenkin and his colleagues Arvind Borde and Alan Guth proved a mathematical theorem showing that, under very general assumptions, the universe must, in fact, have had a beginning.”
Another great example of Dr. Andrew’s three expert credentials is shown in his introduction to chapter 9, “On Human Consciousness”, where he begins by asking the question “What is the relationship between the physical brain and the non-material mind?”. He then quotes J.B.S. Haldane from 1926 to show that the mind is not a physical entity: “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, I am compelled to believe that the mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” In other words, the mind being outside of matter is well recognized in science.
Here are the 153 questions that Dr. Andrews presents throughout his book “What is Man?”, with the page number where it is found in his book, and organized into 9 topics. These questions are coming from one of the great scientific minds available to us today. They are meant to be a challenge to anyone (teenager, adult, layman or scientist) to examine the evidence, because it will lead any open-minded seeker toward the existence of God, and specifically the God of the Bible.
WHAT IS MAN
- What evidence exists for each of the 4 options for what is man, and are they mutually exclusive (p. 1)?
- Why does “positivism” (philosophical worldview that all knowledge is ultimately based on sense experience”) matter (p. 6)?
- Why do we possess these potential powers of memory (p.9)?
- Why have these powers of memory allegedly evolved (p. 9)?
- The modern form of Darwin’s theory has been raised to its present high status because its said to be the cornerstone of modern experimental biology. But is that correct (p. 11)?
- Okay, you might say, you have told us what is wrong with the biological account of human beings, but isn’t this only the beginning, and not the end, of the matter? (p. 13)
- These “human-looking-but-not-human” fossils should greatly outnumber genuine human fossils, so where are they (genuine human fossils) hiding (p. 15)?
- With such close resemblance between humans and prehumans, would there not have been interbreeding to further confuse the picture (p. 15)?
- David Attenborough, a champion of common descent, asked me scornfully if I believed that God took a handful of mud and fashioned it into a man. I didn’t get a chance to answer because the presenter Jon Snow broke in. What I would have said in reply to David’s question is “But isn’t that what macroevolution teaches, except that it took 4,000 years to happen by random mutations?” (p. 17)
- Aren’t the arguments for special creation intrinsically negative, being limited to rebutting the positive claims of evolution (p. 17)?
- Where does this search for extraterrestrestrial life leave us? How does it help us answer the question “What is Man” (p. 57)?
WHERE IS MAN
- What difference does a reported miscalculation on a planet’s location make to a gullible public (p. 39)?
- What are the facts on “exoplanets” (planets that exist outside the solar system) (p. 40)?
- How does the online Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia know about “exoplanets” (p. 40)?
- Even if they do find bacterial life on Mars, will it prove that life evolved there independently (p.43)?
- Could meteor impacts on Earth have ejected material which arrived on Mars carrying a component of Earth’s bacteria (p. 44)?
- If there are billions of Earthlike planets out there in the universe as many claim, and if intelligent life arises whenever the conditions are just right, where are all these advanced civilizations hiding (p. 47)?
- Whether or not these expanded SETI efforts will yield any results is doubtful, whatever amount of money is spent in the attempt. So why does anyone bother (p.48)?
- What exactly does it take for a planet to nurture and sustain life (p.50)?
- What is needed to allow the development and survival of a teeming biosphere such as we find on Earth (p.50)?
- If we are not alone in the universe, why do we seem to be (p. 52)?
ORIGIN OF UNIVERSE
- How did the universe come to exist (p. 22)?
- Why is there something rather than nothing (p. 22)?
- If God made everything, who made God (p.22)?
- An intelligent atheist knows that theists believe that no one made God because God is the uncreated ground of all existence. So why do atheists persist with the question “Who made God?” (p.22)
- Why do we spend billions of dollars building atom-smashing machines like the Large Hadron Collider at Geneva, or radio telescopes seeking to tune in to alien versions of “family favorites” (p. 26)?
- So how exactly did something emerge from nothing (p. 29)?
- What do we mean when we talk about a scientific explanation (p. 31)?
- How could the laws of nature created the universe in the first place (p. 33)?
- Which came first, the cosmic chicken or the legal egg (p. 33)?
- Who or what created the laws of nature (p. 33)?
- Might the laws of nature (or some overarching precursor of these laws as we know them) constitute eternal truths having an eternal existence and thus no need to be created (p. 33)?
- If so, we must ask in what form and medium did they exist (p. 33)?
- And if so, where exactly might they be located (p. 33)?
- This surely is the situation for laws that preexist the origin of the material universe – there would be no material medium or space in which to inscribe them, so where would they reside (p. 33)?
- The atheist might argue that the rise of multiple alien civilizations would suggest that each arose by the same accident of nature, but is it really logical to believe in multiple accidental coincidences (p.58)?
- Can SETI be justified, given the poor prospects of success (p.58)?
- What prompted Fred Hoyle’s statement “It looks like a put-up job” (p.65)?
- Can we discuss fine-tuning as a happy accident (p.68)?
- Might the universe be just a diversionary tactic – an escape mechanism crafted from conceptual tinsel to prevent atheistic cosmologies being shot down by the evidence (p.68)?
- Since every possible combination of laws and constants had been tried, wasn’t the creation of our universe inevitable (p. 70)?
- Who is to say which combinations are “possible” and which are not (p. 70)?
- Why should the cosmic cookbook include any life-sustaining recipes (p. 71)?
- Even if a cosmic database does exist, who is to say that the fine-tuned cosmos we know is derived from that database and is not an independent phenomenon that owes nothing to the hypothetical database (p. 71)?
- If a cosmic cookbook does exist, who or what compiled it (p. 71)?
- Many who do believe in divine creation, see value in the discussion we’ve embarked upon. Why (p.72)?
- What are Martin Rees’ six numbers (for fine-tuned constants), and why are they important (p. 72)?
- What keeps the particles together in a stable nucleus (p. 78)?
- What determines whether the real universe is closed, open or flat (p. 80)?
- Is this really a case of fine-tuning (p. 81)?
- Which happened in the infant cosmos (p. 81)?
- What determines whether or not the lumpiness of a universe is “just right” (p. 81)?
- How about a world with four space dimensions (p. 85)?
- Why should there be a whole number of dimensions (p. 86)?
- Can the fact that we live in a universe having the fundamental properties necessary for our existence be explained by invoking a multiverse, as Martin Rees suggests (p. 87)?
- If collective noun for universes is “multiverse”, what is collective noun for multiverses? Megamultiverse (p. 92)?
- What happens when a galaxy is so far away that its speed of recession reaches the speed of light itself (p. 98)?
- What determines the arrangement of particles in a physical system? Do they arrange themselves, and if so, what rules do they follow in the process (p. 100)?
- Are we not personally involved moment by moment in deciding how these particles are arranged (p. 100)?
- Is physicist Brian Greene not aware that life is based primarily on information which is nonmaterial, rather than simply on chemistry and physics (p. 100)?
- How did the tiny cosmic seed expand to become a universe (p. 102)?
- Doesn’t the inflationary theory still leave us with just one universe (p. 104)?
- What’s the point of the quantum multiverse, seeing that there are alternative explanations (p. 107)?
- Proponents of multiverse theories are among the most intelligent of people, but get lost in a jungle of unreality (their supposed “realities” turn out to be mirages masquerading as science). Why do they do it (p. 109)?
HUMAN UNIQUENESS & EVOLUTION
- The narrative that has come to dominate Western thought in recent decades is that man is just a highly evolved animal who differs from our animal precursors only in degree but not in essence. Is this true (p. 114)?
- Aren’t many of the huge differences between chimpanzees and men obvious anyway? So what’s the point of comparison (p. 120)?
- How do evolutionists know that humans and chimpanzees diverged from a common ancestor over 5-7 million years ago (p. 121)?
- Where on “tree of life” do we find the life forms we know today, whether living species or fossil remains (p. 122)?
- Where is the last common ancestor of humans and chimps (p. 124)?
- How many genetic mutations would be required to produce the upright stance and bipedal gait that is unique in man (p. 125)?
- Why is man so much more highly “evolved” than his alleged cousin (p. 127)?
- How can it be that the LCA (last common ancestor) was itself a great ape and (according to some anthropologists) uncommonly like a chimpanzee (p. 127)?
- DNA differences cannot be the whole story when comparing organisms with different appearances, so what is going on (p. 142)?
- How do epigenetics work (p. 142)?
- Could the differences between man and chimpanzees be largely due to epigenetic factors? Could chimpanzeelike ancestors be the “caterpillars” that turned into human “butterflies” (p. 144)?
- While epigenetic effects can influence (and sometimes improve) the way information is extracted from a genome, they are incapable of creating information that is not already present. Why not (p. 144)?
- Can epigenetic changes in parents be inherited by their offspring (p. 146)?
- So how about chimps (p. 149)?
- How did the splicing differences between humans and chimpanzees arise (p. 149)?
- What if a geographical or similar isolation event triggers speciation (p. 150)?
- Are there other processes besides epigenetic ones that could cause evolution (p. 151)?
- What are paleoanthropologists (p. 157)?
- Is man only an animal, or is he something more (p. 159)?
- Might fossils help us piece together the story of mankind (p. 159)?
- Can soil and stones date fossils (p. 164)?
- Do fossil tools mean “Fred” used tools to skin and cut up food, or might it indicate that humans hunted Fred and his tribe for their lunch (p. 164)?
- How can we explain this seeming saltation (evolutionary) jump between Homo erectus and Australopithecus (Ernst Mayr) (p. 168)?
- What do the Carbon 14 results tell you about your discovery (p. 171)?
- Any better luck with the soil and stones (p. 171)?
- Where do you put fossilized creatures that have no modern counterpart (p. 175)?
- How can anyone tell whether “Fred” was an ancestor of modern chimpanzees or modern humans, or was simply home-alone – an evolutionary dead-end with no known antecedents and no known descendants (p. 175)?
- What is the relationship between the physical brain and the non-material mind (p. 180)?
- Do neurons, neural circuits, or any of the brain’s physical hardware, have any capacity to make decisions that lead to one form of behavior rather than another – regardless of whether the decision is wise or unwise (p. 188)?
- Granted that a decision to grab the snake could prove fatal (unless you’re a mongoose), how can a random decision not to grab the snake help you next time you meet one (p. 188)?
- It is widely accepted today that our brains give rise to consciousness. But how (p. 190)?
- One of the strongest arguments against dualism is that a non-physical entity such as a mind could have no influence on a physical object like a brain. But why not (p. 192)?
- How can my non-material self (or mind) become the “form” of my physical brain, so as to integrate my soul and body into a single entity (p. 194)?
- We could for example liken the mind to an electrical system which controls the mechanical machinery that performs such basic tasks. But can that be all (p. 195)?
- How could the results of neurologist Benjamin Libet’s experiment be explained (p. 198)?
- We all know that encouragement stimulates improvements in performance, whatever the field of endeavor. But why (p. 200)?
- If a human brain is damaged or destroyed, the mind associated with the brain is also damaged or destroyed. Doesn’t this prove that mind and brain are just different aspects of the same thing (p. 201)?
- Can information exist without residing in a physical organ (p. 202)?
- Can information be encoded and utilized by physical organs (p. 202)?
- Is mind composed of information (p. 202)?
THE NATURE OF REALITY
- By leaving God out of the equation, all such theories and speculations (together with the worldviews they support) actually offer no ultimate explanations at all. But what is the alternative (p. 207)?
- How are we to know which assumptions are true and which are false (p. 208)?
- How can we recognize which assumptions (if any) represent reality as distinct from error or illusion (p. 208)?
- If, in the last analysis, we can only believe things on the basis of our own subjective observations, how can we be sure that those observations provide access to the same reality as others see and talk about (p. 209)?
- Is there a real reality out there beyond our inner experiences (p. 211)?
- Is it possible to formulate a biblical worldview (p. 212)?
- How can a random compilation of ancient literature offer us any meaningful explanation of life, the universe, and everything today (p. 213)?
- If we presuppose God exists, and that He desires to communicate with man, how would He do this (p. 213)?
- What are the basic building blocks of a biblical worldview (p. 217)?
- If God is both good and almighty, why does He not prevent all evil, whether arising from natural disasters, human wickedness, or any other cause (p. 222)?
- Did the human race really begin with Adam (p. 227)?
- If it did, how many “Adams” actually existed (p. 227)?
- The whole human race couldn’t have descended from a single couple, can it (p. 230)?
- How far does the biblical creation narrative as a whole reflect real history (p. 232)?
- Is the genre used in the first eleven chapters of Genesis the same as employed in other Near East writings and creation stories (as some assert) (p. 232)?
- When Genesis 1 tells us that God said ‘Let there be light’ and proceeded to introduce each new creative act in similar terms, what language did He use (p. 233)?
- Why did Jesus Christ come into the world (p. 237)?
- What, according to the Bible, actually happened in the paradise called Eden (p. 237)?
- Was God’s punishment in the Garden too severe for first time offenders committing a victimless crime (p. 239)?
- What is the symbolism of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (p. 239)?
- What is exactly the knowledge Adam and Eve acquired (p. 239)?
- What did God mean when He said, “you shall surely die” (p. 242)?
- What does it mean to be “dead in trespasses and sins” (p. 242)?
- When God defines sin as failing to hit the target, what is the target we fail to reach (p. 243)?
WHY MAN IS UNIQUE
- Why are human beings unique (p. 252)?
- Can we take it for granted that there is a special relationship between God and man, other than that of Creator with creature (p. 252)?
- How could two people, allegedly made in God’s likeness, turn out so badly (p. 252)?
- What does it mean that man bears the image and likeness of God (p. 252)?
- In what sense did Adam and Eve share the nature of God (p. 254)?
- God’s image in man is seen firstly in our possession of soul and spirit. What do these words mean (p. 255)?
- Do Jesus’s words mean that body and soul are separable (p. 256)?
- What happened in the late 20th century to change the situation for the origin of language (p. 261)?
- Which came first, logic or language (p. 264)?
- Is competence the outcome of mindless evolution or the outworking of the image of God (p. 267)?
- We are commanded by God to love our fellow men and women, regardless of who they are, and seek to do them good, not harm. Why should we do that (p. 271)?
- Has there ever been a perfect human being (p. 274)?
- Who is right about the future, the Christian church or the unbelieving world (p. 274)?
- Did Jesus Christ really exist, and if so, who was He (p. 274)?
- Was Jesus Christ an ill-fated reformer, a deluded romantic, a master conman or (as He and His disciples claimed) the incarnate Son of God (p. 274)?
- Did Jesus Christ exist historically? If He did, who was He and what claims did He make (p. 276)?
- The two ideas of Jesus being divine and human hang together logically, but is there any supporting evidence for these amazing claims (p. 278)?
- If Jesus was bad or mad, how do we explain why, by consent, His moral teaching is unsurpassed (p. 278)?
- Why is the moral system explained in the Sermon on the Mount unsurpassed (p. 278)?
- If, either intentionally or by honest mistake, the disciples falsified the New Testament records concerning Christ’s claims, how can we logically accept what they wrote about His teaching (p. 279)?
- What did Jesus claim about Himself, and what are the parallel claims by others in the New Testament (p. 280)?
- How can we know whether or not Christ really did rise from the dead following His crucifixion (p. 294)?
- Why was it impossible for Christ to remain dead (p. 296)?
- What is the evidence that Jesus did rise from the dead (p. 297, 299)?
- Why does physical resurrection of Christ lie at the heart of historical Christianity and biblical worldview (p. 301)?
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence”. He can be reached with our questions through the LS Tribune, on Facebook, and at the website fse.life.