googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: May 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

More About Koalas

A recent visitor commented anonymously on blog “Koalas on the Ark.” He took many exceptions to my arguments. Though he claims to be a creationist, his comments sound more like what I usually hear from atheists, evolutionists, and other critics. I started to write a reply but realized I had written enough to make a post so rather than reply in a comment, I thought I'd simply use his comments to make another post. It's actually longer than a typical post so I apologize in advance.  

The visitor's comments are in blue and are italicized.  He begins very abruptly.

HORRIBLY explained.

That's odd. Another commenter on the same article, “roylopez,” felt it was “well explained.” Of course, “horribly” is a somewhat subjective term and difficult to quantify. I'll put the “horribly” aside for now and see if any specific criticism has merit.

I stumbled onto your site while looking up pics of platypii.

People find my blog in all sorts of strange ways. I'm sure I don't have any pics of platypuses. But, hey, however the visitors get here, they're welcome.

By the way, there's some disagreement over the correct plural form of “platypus.” I lean toward “platypuses.” To me, it seems to follow the same form as “walruses.” No one would say, “walrusi.” Most words that use the “i” ending for their plural (like “alumni”) are Latin. “Platypus” is Greek.

I am open to lots of theories but this thing you've written has mistakes, dead ends, and huge leaps of logic to 'conclusions'.

Wow, how could I make so many mistakes in so few words? For some reason, I don't believe this poster is sincere when he says he's open to lots of theories. It sounds very much like he already has one interpretation of the fossil record and anything that doesn't comport with that is “wrong.” Let's look at a few of his criticisms.

You would lose miserably in an argument against an evolution scientist.

I guess we'll get to the criticisms in a moment.  Considering that I was a business major and am not a scientist, I don't think anyone would expect me to do well against a PhD biologist in a debate. However, I have engaged many scientists online for years (including those who comment on my blog) and I feel I've held my own. I appreciate his concern, though. If I ever have the opportunity to formally debate a biologist on evolution, I'll remember that I was warned!

I am a Creationist.

Creationist” is a fairly broad term. I'm a young-earth creationist. From his comments, I suspect my visitor is not a YEC. I don't want to misrepresent him but if he's not a theistic evolutionist, I would guess he's a progressive creationist in the same vein as Hugh Ross.

But the Bible is not specific on everything.

Yet the Bible is specific on some things. We use the things we know to help us understand the things we don't know. We KNOW that all terrestrial mammals outside of the Ark died in the Flood. We KNOW the Ark landed in the middle east. Therefore, we must conclude that the ancestors of koalas were on the Ark, they landed in the middle east, and migrated to Australia after the Flood. There is no other possibility.

One point you make is that we don't know much about koala distribution before the flood. But we DO know where they Weren't hanging out. There are no fossils, no matter how old they might be, of any koalas anywhere but Australia.

Finally, a specific criticism!

First, this is an argument from silence. He's saying that since we've not found koala fossils outside of Australia that it's evidence there were never any koalas outside of Australia. There is an oft quoted phrase that says, “the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

Besides that, I refer my readers to my article, “They Weren't Polar Bears Before They Got There.” We have found marsupial fossils on every continent. Koalas are a species (Phascolarctos cinereus) and speciation occurs when “kinds” become adapted to their environments. The “Phascolarctidae-kind” (if I may invent a term), to which the koala species belongs, was on the Ark. There were no koalas on the Ark. They weren't koalas until they reached Australia and became adapted to that environment.

Fossils, even if they were created 12,000 yrs ago, of all Australian mammals are found there.

Ditto my last comment. They weren't “Australian mammals” until they reached Australia. Panda bears, too, for example, weren't panda bears until they reached Asia. The bears that reached the Arctic became polar bears. Get it?

Where ever the surface of Australia was located before the flood, that's where they lived.

You have got to be kidding me! This visitor is saying virtually the same thing as the atheist-evolutionist I was quoting in my article. His straw man argument of the Bible was that Koalas swam from Australia carrying eucalyptus leaves, lived on the Ark during the Flood, then swam back to Australia.

Actually, the visitor is probably a subscriber to a “local flood” interpretation of Genesis. In that case, he is using the shifting views of science to interpret the clear, immutable words of Scripture.

Marsupial fossils are found on every continent... but Australian mammal fossils are only found in Australia. [ellipsis in original]

That's really funny, when you think about it. “Australian fossils are only found in Australia.” What a riot! And American Indians were only found in America. Asians were only found in Asia. Australian aborigines were only found in Australia. Please excuse the sarcasm but I thank my visitor for stating the obvious.

[quoting RKBentley] "In the case of koalas, they ended up in what is now Australia." What do you mean by 'ended up'? This implies that they were traveling, and then they stopped there. Huh? How? And along with all the Australian-specific animals?

I mean exactly what I said. The ancestors of koalas were on the Ark. They landed in the middle east. They began to spread out over the globe. Their descendants ended up in what is now Australia. And every other animal that ended up in Australia could now be considered “Australian-specific.”

Did you know that ALL native mammals in Australia are marsupials? That's pretty significant to the evolutionists.

Technically, no animal is native to anywhere. Wherever their ancestors lived before the Flood, all animals arrived at their “native” habitat after the Flood. Marsupial mammals simply arrived in Australia first. Since marsupials generally don't compete well with placental mammals, perhaps it's only because there were no placental mammals there that allowed the marsupials to prosper in Australia.

Panda bears are different since they live, and are from, a huge continent, which is known to have been connected in the past to other continents, fairly recently in geologic terms. Not the case for koalas or any other Australian land animals.

It's comments like “fairly recently in geological terms” that make me suspect my visitor is a progressive creationist. Hugh Ross generally subscribes to evolutionary time lines but believes they roughly correlate to the Biblical days of creation. Ross believes that God specifically created the koala species in Australia and they've been there since. The Flood did not reach them since it was a local event, limited to the middle east.

It is late and I'm tired, sorry if I am coming off as being crabby... but there are a half dozen more points that even a garage scientist would laugh at...
I'm not saying I have all the answers, but this is def full of holes. But you're right, koalas can eat other stuff but eat mostly eucalyptus, because they taste the best.

Well, at least it was nice of him to acknowledge that I was right in saying koalas can eat other things besides eucalyptus leaves. Look, I'm used to being laughed at by evolutionists so that doesn't bother me. Laughter and ridicule hardly rebuts any argument I've made anyway. And if we strip away all the “you're so wrong” comments and look at this visitor's actual criticisms, I don't see any rebuttals either.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Time Dilemma for Naturalists

I've been reading a little about time, lately. Time is an interesting phenomenon and even though we experience it all our lives, there's still a lot about it that we don't know or understand. Of course, there are many things we have discovered about time. For example, most of mainstream science sees time as a sort of “fourth dimension”. That is, any object in our universe occupies height, depth, and width, but it also must occupy time – the fourth dimension – in order to exist.

When some people think of the Big Bang, they picture something like all of the matter in the universe pressed together into a single point suspended in space somewhere for countless eons – then BANG, it exploded and all the matter became the stars and planets. That's a false impression since, according to the theory, even space did not exist prior to the Big Bang. What's more, neither did time exist prior to the Big Bang! It's a misnomer to even say “prior” in regards to the Big Bang; that would be like saying something could be “north” of the North Pole.

Here's a wrinkle I see in the Big Bang: It's one thing to say that all matter and space once existed in a single, infinitesimally small point.  It's quite another thing to say that time did not exist before the Big Bang.  If time is truly a fourth dimension in our universe (so nothing could exist outside of time), and if time began at the Big Bang, then NOTHING in our universe could have existed before the Big Bang.  The Big Bang is not simply when a singularity of preexisting matter began to expand. The Big Bang would mark that moment when everything literally poofed into existence. There was nothing, then there was everything. It's poofism.

Some people are more than a little squeamish about the idea that everything literally poofed into existence and so they cling to an equally unscientific idea; namely, that matter is infinitely old. This might rebut the incredible notion of “poofery” but an infinitely old universe carries its own, philosophical difficulties.

There are a few people who think of infinity like it's just a very large number so when they think of an “infinitely” old universe, they simply stretch the billions of years into a number larger than they can imagine. That's completely wrong. If someone began counting, he would never “eventually” reach infinity. He could count forevermore and he would simply reach bigger and bigger numbers. He'll never get “half way” to infinity. In fact, no point in infinity is ever obtainable. No matter how long he counts, he'll not even have begun to take a step toward infinity. You can't count an infinite set of numbers, you can't travel across an infinite amount of space, and you can't cross an infinite amount of time. Get it? It's important that this point be understood because I'm going somewhere with it.

Those people who believe matter is infinitely old have to believe that the Big Bang occurred “after” an infinite history. In other words, they have to believe the Big Bang happened at some point after an eternity had already passed! Logically speaking, that's absurd. It's even more absurd than believing in poofery. No matter how much time has passed, there hasn't been enough time for us to have reached this point if the universe is infinitely old!

I was looking for some quotes to use in this post and it seems I'm not the first person to notice this dilemma. Physicist and blogger, Dr. Dave Goldberg, made this comment in a post titled, What Happened Before the Big Bang:

[W]e absolutely don't know what happened before the Big Bang. Regardless, logic dictates that we're left with one of two possibilities:
  • The universe had some sort of beginning, in which case we're left with the very unsettling problem of what caused the universe in the first place.
  • The universe has been around forever, in which case there's literally an infinite amount of history, both before and after us.

Wow! My thoughts exactly. Once I read his article, I feared people might suspect me of plagiarism. He even uses my “north of the North Pole” analogy (it's not my analogy, of course, but one that has been used many times before). Hopefully my readers know me better than to suspect me of plagiarism.

I'm sure the absurdities of their theory weigh heavily on the minds on many scientists. A good theory should explain all the facts but all natural theories about the origin of our universe leave way too many questions unanswered to satisfy the curious mind. There are so many facts still unexplained that no natural explanation of the ultimate origin of matter is deserving of the title, “theory.” Dr. Goldberg explores some very fanciful solutions. Each one is very technical sounding but none of them amount to anything more than story-telling.

Dr. Goldberg makes no effort to defend the second option. Perhaps he sees impossibility of an infinite past. What strikes me most about his quote is his use of the word, “unsettling.” The first option is only “unsettling” if you reject the very reasonable conclusion that the universe has a supernatural Creator: One who is, Himself, eternal and so is able to create a “beginning” at any moment He desires. One who is also able to create ex nihilo (out of nothing).

There is such a Creator. We call Him, Lord!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What George Jones Can Teach Us About Atheists

George Jones died last Friday (April 26). Jones was an icon of country music since before I was born. I admit that my father was literally a hillbilly, having been born and raised in eastern KY, and he was also a big fan of country music. Jones was one of my dad's favorites. I remember being only five or six and sitting with my father, in his den, listening to the old vinyl records of Jones and other country singers. Later, I actually bought him the Best of George Jones and Tammy Wynette on 8-track. That gives you an idea of how old I am.

Anyway, Jones wasn't what anyone would call a model Christian character. He was married four times. His early career was marred by alcoholism and later he became involved in cocaine. I'm not trying to disparage the man, mind you, I'm just trying to say that Jones is not usually the kind of person we would turn to for spiritual advice.

Stay with me, because I'm going somewhere with this.

So, I'm watching some George Jones videos on YouTube – He Stopped Loving Her Today is probably my favorite – when a thought occurred to me. One of Jones' biggest hits was, She Thinks I Still Care. If you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself to watch it.

Here's the first stanza of the song:

Just because I asked a friend about her
Just because I spoke her name somewhere
Just because I saw her then went all to pieces
She thinks I still care

Excuse the gross alliteration but the story in the song is simple: the man has lost the woman he loves – a typical country theme – and he begins doing little things like asking friends how she's doing, “accidentally” calling her number, going to the same places they used to go together, etc. He denies that these things mean he still cares about her but as you hear all the things he does, you know that he obviously still does.

What, then, can George Jones teach us about atheists? Let me give you a theory. People may deny feeling or believing certain things.  But when they obsess over that thing they deny, it belies their denials. Have you ever noticed that? Maybe so. I know I certainly have.

I believe in God. I believe the Bible. I believe in creation. I'm not coy about my beliefs and spend a great deal of time defending them. If you've ever read my blog, you'll see that I'm sincere. Conversely, I don't believe in Big Foot, I don't believe professional wrestling is real, and I don't believe in alien abductions. These things aren't important to me. If other people want to believe in them, I don't care. I think it's foolish but I guess people have the right to be foolish. I'm not going to waste a lot of my time trying to talk them out of it.

I think a lot of people feel the same way that I do. How many websites have you visited that are dedicated to disproving Big Foot? People might mention it, as I've done here, but they don't dedicate a blog to it. They don't write books about their non-belief.  They don't visit college campuses and lay out their arguments against Big Foot for impressionable, young students.  In other words, they don't obsess about it.

You probably see where I'm going with this but let me spell it out. Atheists claim they don't believe in God. I get it. To them, my belief in God is about as rational as a belief in alien abductions. However, atheists don't “not believe” in God the same way that I don't believe in Big Foot. They don't passively disbelieve but rather, they actively promote their disbelief. They blog about how foolish it is to believe in God. They wax on and on about how science has disproved the Bible and Jesus wasn't a real person.  They write books and make speeches about why they don't believe... yadda, yadda, yadda. They want to not believe and they also want everyone else to not believe. Atheists obsess about the idea of God.

Isn't that curious?  I mean, if I were an unbeliever, why should it bother me if someone else believed in God? I'm sure it also wouldn't bother me even if someone tried to persuade me to believe in God. It doesn't bother me now, for example, when people try to convince me there's a Big Foot. I listen politely but later I put it out of my mind. It's not so with atheists. They militantly brandish their unbelief and would bludgeon Christians with it if they could.

I think I know the reason why they speak so. They deny there's a God but their continued obsession belies their denial. They act like they don't care about the existence of God but, as George Jones said, I think they still care.