Bryan Fischer's writing appeared once before on these pages, when he was arguing that grizzly bears should be eradicated if they threaten even one human life. I wasn't especially impressed with that argument.
Now he has penned what he apparently takes to be a refutation of Darwin. Darwin wasn't interested in most of the problems he raises, however, so it might be better said to be a broad attack on the secular worldview, which often considers itself to be firmly rooted on scientific theory.
There's a rebuttal here, which contains some important points, but which hardly attains the tone one would expect from a defender of dispassionate science. This is not exactly the Leibniz-Clarke debate on substantivalism versus relationism as the proper foundation for physics. No one will be reading this debate for insight into the question in a hundred years, let alone three hundred.
There is one problem that they touch on that very well may be of interest in that timeframe, though: the problem of the creation of the universe. (And why shouldn't it remain of interest a few more centuries, given its track record? The first sentences of Aristotle's Metaphysics point us toward it.)
Stephen Hawking published an article last year that continues to bother me in the fashion of a thorn that has burrowed under the skin. After starting off appropriately with Viking mythology -- always a good start -- he wrote:
In Western culture the Old Testament contains the idea of providential design, but the traditional Christian viewpoint was also greatly influenced by Aristotle, who believed "in an intelligent natural world that functions according to some deliberate design."To say that "the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing" is to say something that is not, strictly speaking, true. If these laws "allow" effect X (say, the appearance of the universe), then there is not nothing -- there are, at least, these laws. They have to be in effect already in order to produce the effect attributed to them. Where did they come from? How are they sustained in such a way that they produce many universes "with different laws"? Apparently they must not be laws of the type that might be "different" under another system, as they must predate the creation of each system on this model. What sustains them in the time described as "nothing"?
That is not the answer of modern science. As recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.
Our universe seems to be one of many, each with different laws.
Phrase it another way, friendlier to Hawking, and just say that the universe is such a thing that it can arise from nothing. Even now, though, we still don't have nothing. We have something: specifically, we have the latent potential of a universe coming to be. That's very different from nothing.
The question physics is capable of answering here is, "What triggered that potential to execute itself in the particular way we can observe?" If the answer is "gravity" or "quantum mechanics," an account of 'what they were doing before creation' is going to be just as troubling for the physicist as it was for St. Augustine.
Even so, it doesn't answer the real question, which is: How did such a potential come to exist? You exist because you got your existence from something that already existed -- your mother and father, perhaps. What was the thing that already existed that gave existence to this potential for creation?
Mr. Hawking hasn't answered the question at all. I fear to say, given my respect for his intelligence and accomplishments, that he may not have understood just what the question really was.