googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: May 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

Typical Evo Rant

I've mentioned before that I sometimes post on Yahoo! Answers. Many of the questions asked there are on topics that I've already written about on my blog so I usually just copy what I've already written here and paste it there. I then paste a link to my blog so that people might visit if they want to read more. Anyway, one Yahoo! poster (who posts only under the name “Richard” with no avatar) asked the following question:

Why do creationists say there's no evidence for evolution? Is it possible they don't know what they're talking about?

He then cited 4 books he's read about evolution (Wow! Four books!) and concluded his question with this remark:

Countless dozens of evidences for evolution in each book with virtually no overlap. But still creationists say there's no evidence for evolution. Why do they say this even though they're completely wrong?

On my blog, I've written many times about the nature of evidence. I've explained many times that evidence is neutral and isn't “for” any theory but, instead, theories seek to explain the evidence. I had many posts that I could have used to respond to his question but I chose my post, “Evidence for the Tooth Fairy.”

You might visit that post and read it but here's the point I was making: a “Tooth Fairy” might seem to explain all the evidence (the missing tooth, the money under the pillow, etc) but it's still not true. Likewise, the theory of evolution might seem to explain some of the evidence reasonably well but that still isn't “proof” the theory is true.

Richard did not like my answer and posted this comment:

You just compared DNA sequencing and the other powerful evidences for evolution to evidence for the tooth fairy fantasy. Do you have any idea how f*cking stupid that is? Grow up you bloody moron.

Hmmm. Not a very thoughtful rebuttal, wouldn't you agree? As always, I remained calm and tried to respond with substance. I said to Richard:

Do you not understand the concept of analogy? I gave you an obvious example of how "evidence" can support an obviously false theory (like the tooth fairy) in order to demonstrate how theories can seem to explain the evidence yet still be wrong.

It was here that Richard completely blew a gasket. His responded with two more comments:

You compared the tooth fairy fantasy to the strongest fact of science. Take your complaints and your supernatural magic to the world's biologists. You disgust me. Drop dead.

"God made the world as described in Genesis." BULLSH!T. Where's your f*cking evidence? What kind of magic wand did your fairy use? You reject science supported by tons of evidence and instead invoke your Magic Man which has zero evidence. Obviously you're a f*cking idiot. Grow up or shut up tard boy

I got a little chuckle from Richard's rant. I was going to respond again but found that he had blocked me so I couldn't. Discussion and reason are the enemies of liberalism. Unfortunately for him, he can't block me from posting his rant on my blog. I was going to say something like, “You're obviously a very enlightened thinker. Do you persuade a lot of people with arguments like this? 'Grow up or shut up tard boy.' Brilliant!” The funniest thing is that I suspect Richard is probably 12-13 years old judging by how impressive he thinks having read 4 books is, yet he tells me to grow up.

So why am I posting this here? One reason is because I really did get a chuckle from it and thought maybe some of my readers would also. But beyond that, I wanted to show readers the kind of response I often get from militant evolutionists. Certainly, I wouldn't say this is representative of all evolutionists, but Richard has resorted to many of the same arguments I've heard and wrote about many times before. You could say that his is a typical rant.

Besides the scarcely censored profanity (Richard himself had typed it that way, obviously to hide his foul language from Yahoo! Answers) let me spend a few moments pointing out a few of his logical failings.

First, we see the oft use argumentum verbosium or “argument by verbosity,” sometimes called “elephant hurling.” This is where a person throws out lists of terms or lays claim to “mountains of evidence” without ever really making a specific argument. Richard has said there are “countless dozens” [that's an odd term, don't you think?] of evidences for evolution yet in all his rant, he fails to cite a single one. He did say, “DNA sequencing” but that is a simply a method of determining the order of nucleotides in a DNA molecule (per Wiki). It's not “evidence” for evolution. That would be like saying, “digging” is evidence for evolution because that's how paleontologists find fossils.

Did you notice too how he said, evolution is “the strongest fact of science.” I'm not sure if I should include that in with his fallacy of elephant hurling or count it as a separate fallacy. I'm not sure how to label it, though. Some have identified “overstatement” as it's own logical fallacy. If so, this would certainly qualify as such.  "The strongest fact of science?"  Tsk tsk.

Richard also conflates “science” with all of evolution, a tactic I just recently had addressed. He used the term “science” instead of “evolution” when he said, You reject science supported by tons of evidence.” I don't reject science at all. Yet, as I've already said, if I reject “evolution,” I'm accused of rejecting all of science as though science and evolution are the same thing.

Do I even need to point out the obvious use of ad homenim? This is where a person attacks his opponent rather than addressing his argument. I made a valid point, namely that evidence can seem to support even a false theory. Richard never addressed my point but, instead, merely called me names. Likewise, should I mention the frequent use of loaded words? Richard didn't make a case against creation; he merely described it using unflattering terms like “magic” and calling God a “fairy” and “Magic Man.”

I could go on but I've gone on too long already. Let's wrap this up with some life lessons. It's because of people like Richard and Human Ape that I have to moderate my comments. Without it, my comments would be filled with rants and profanities worse than theirs. The simple presence of moderation causes most visitors to reflect on what they will say before they write it. But it's also because of people like Richard and Human Ape that I blog. I want people to hear the truth. People as bitter as they are usually hardened against the truth but I still want them to hear it. Remember the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-7). The Sower didn't just sow in the good earth, he sowed in the hard earth as well.

I also want to encourage other Christians. You will encounter people like this. Don't let them bully you. Don't let them shame you. Be reminded of Jesus' instructions to His apostles: Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16).

Monday, May 19, 2014

What Does Noah Have in Common with Barney?

My daughter loved watching Barney the Dinosaur while she was growing up. I mean, she really loved it. She would dance, sing the songs, and be memorized the entire ½ hour the show was on. My wife and I didn't mind so much because barney was a decent show. It taught lessons like sharing, playing nice together, picking up after yourself, and other things kids need to learn. I guess a lot of parents felt the same way because Barney, at least at that time, was enormously popular.

So what does any of this have to do with Noah? I'll tell you. Have you ever been in a kids' Sunday school class where they told Bible stories about Noah, or Daniel, or David? They sometimes color pages with little cartoons of Bible characters. They sing songs and play Bible themed games. They hear life lessons about being nice to other people, obeying your parents, and worshiping God. These are all things that Christians parents should want their kids to learn. It's a lot like watching Barney.

My daughter is 21 now and doesn't watch Barney anymore.

I think Churches sometimes do a disservice to kids by teaching them from the Bible like it's a fairy tale. They might not say it's a fairy tale, but they teach it with the same trappings and trimmings as kids see on Barney. It has the music, the games, and it always seems to end with “a moral to the story.” In their little minds, I'm not really sure how kids can be expected to distinguish between Bible stories taught in this manner and other fairy tales like Barney, Mother Goose, or Aesop's Fables.

When these same kids start school, what might happen? Ask yourself this question: If I wanted to learn about science or dinosaurs or the universe, where might I look? Really. Think about it for a second. Name some places where you might learn about science. Next ask, If I wanted to learn about morality or religion where might I look? The answers seem obvious. Like it or not, if people want to learn about science or “facts,” the first places they think to look are schools or text books and if people want to learn about religion, only then would they look to the Bible or the Church. People tend to only think of the Bible as a book about religion. If they want to learn about the “real world,” then you have to go to school or turn to science.

We are telling kids that schools are important and will teach them things they need to know about the world. We believe it ourselves. So when these kids go to school and hear that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago, there really was no Flood, and men used to be apes, I think they're apt to believe it. Worse yet, these things directly contradict the “stories” they heard in Sunday school. On Sunday, they sing songs like, Oh God said to Noah, 'There's gonna be a floody floody....' Then they go to school on Monday and hear that there really was no Flood. Which do you think they'll believe? The nursery rhyme or the “facts” they learned in school?

Simply telling children that we don't believe in evolution isn't enough. Imagine a group of kids going to a museum and seeing the fossils of dinosaurs, seeing stone tools used by “ape-men,” and reading that these things lived hundreds of thousands or even millions of years ago. To them, these are “facts.” This is “evidence.” They might ask their Sunday school teacher about evolution or if dinosaurs really lived millions of years ago. The Sunday school teach might answer, “Oh, we don't believe that.” A curious child might ask, “No? Then what do we believe?” The teacher answers, “We believe that, 'God said to Noah there's gonna be a floody floody....' You can see how that's not convincing.

Christ called us first to preach the gospel. He then commanded us to make disciples. Preaching the word is only have the job; we also must be teachers. When we teach the Bible to children, I think we should approach the task in much the same way that kids learn in school. We don't just talk about a man named Noah. Instead, we explain that he was a person who lived in history. When they find a fossil (probably of a shell), it's evidence that this place was once under water – just like the account of Noah tells us. Instead of showing cartoons of Noah's Ark with Noah standing on the deck of the Ark in a raincoat surrounded by a menagerie poking out of every window, we need to show them to scale drawings of what the Ark might have looked like. When they ask us about fossils of dinosaurs or Neanderthals, we need to show them how these things are explained by the Bible.

Making lessons interesting and understandable to kids is fine. But above all else, we need to be sure that they understand that the “stories” from the Bible are real events that happened in history. David, Daniel, and Noah were real people just like their moms and dads are real. We need to explain that Barney is just a character like Sponge Bob.

Kids grow up and they stop believing in Barney.  We don't want them to grow up and stop believing the Bible.  Noah is really nothing like Barney.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

An Enemy Has Done This!

If you've read my blog for a while, you will know that I talk a lot about the creation account in Genesis. I do this because I think it's important. It's important in a lot of different ways but perhaps it's most important to understand how Genesis is foundational to the gospel. There are some compromising Christians who “reconcile” their interpretation of Genesis to fit with secular science. This usually takes the form of theistic evolution. That is, they say God created us via evolution. He also created the universe over billions of years via the Big Bang. Now, since these interpretations aren't compatible with a plain reading of Genesis, the genre of Genesis is assigned to the category of metaphor or – even worse – to myth.

One problem that I see with theistic evolution is that it would mean the world is the way that God intended it to be. Death, therefore, is not the judgment for sin; it is the tool by which natural selection drives a species to evolve. Millions of years of struggle and death and struggle and death is how God turned microbes into men. It was His plan all along.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that theistic evolutionists see death as part of God's plan. Here's a quote I've used before made by a self-proclaimed theistic evolutionist who used to frequent my blog. While commenting on John 12:24, The Paleobabbler said:

Jesus describes a process of change, the bringing about of something new. This can be applied to Christ himself, where his death on the cross changed everything and brought about new life - this alone should be ample reading for seeing the death in the John verse as intended. Evolution by natural selection is a process which involves death, but it does not stop there. The death is instrumental in bringing about change, in bringing about new life. It is an act of redemption, which is small in scale compared to Christ on the cross, yet large in scale with regards to cosmic history. Many scientifically minded theologians have noted that evolution is a cruciform process. It redeems death into new life. What better way for Christ to create?

Now, I must say that I rejoice in knowing that Jesus died to give us life. However, when I look around at the world we live in, I see hunger, famine, disease, and misery everywhere. When tragedies like tsunamis or earthquakes kill thousands of people, it's sad. Yet theistic evolutionists would have us believe these things have been happening for millions of years and it's how God intended it! How awful it is that they would malign the character of God this way. Such a view of God seems ineffective in winning people to Christ. It seems to me that a skeptic would rightly ask, “if there is a God, then why are these bad things happening?” As I was doing a Bible study on the Wheat and the Tares (Matthew 13:24-30), I saw that Jesus has already brought up that question and answered it.

I strongly encourage you to read the parable for yourself (of course, I strongly encourage everyone to read all of the Bible. Often). Here's the dilemma: a landowner sowed wheat in his field. When his workers were sleeping, an enemy sowed tares (weeds) among the wheat seed. When the plants began to bear seed, the tares became apparent. Then the workers asked the landowner the million dollar question (v. 27):

Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’

Wow! That's the same question everyone asks God now. “God, if you made everything, where do the bad things come from?” It's a legitimate question. I believe it's perhaps among the most important questions Christians must be prepared to answer if they seek to evangelize in this modern world. The “problem” of evil is a major stumbling block preventing people from coming to a saving knowledge of Christ.

How does theistic evolution answer that question? Very poorly, I think. People who subscribe to TE would have to say that the bad things happen because God always intended them to happen. Death was the plan all along. But the landowner in the parable correctly pointed out that this wasn't the plan. He didn't want there to be tares in his good field of wheat. He explained to the workers, “An enemy has done this!”

When God created everything, it was all “very good” (Genesis 1:31). There was no death and God never intended for things to die. It was only through Adam's disobedience that death entered into the world. And now, death has also passed on to all men because all have sinned (Romans 5:12). Death is the penalty for sin (Romans 6:23). Death is an enemy that God will abolish when He restores His creation (1 Cor 15:26).

Our beliefs have consequences. The understanding of our origins directly impacts our understanding of the gospel. The word translated as “gospel” in the Bible literally means, “good news.” What is the good news? When someone dies, do we comfort their loved ones by saying, “Sorry for your loss but that's just the way God made things”? That doesn't sound like good news. This is not how God intended it.

God intended there to be no death. We have brought His judgment through our own disobedience.  But God is not only just but He is also merciful.  When men disobey God and earn death, God has sent His Son to pay the penalty for our disobedience.  Finally, God also has a plan to fix everything that sin has spoiled and in the new creation, there will be no more death or curse or tears.

Now that sounds like good news!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Does “Science” Contradict the Bible?

I'm approaching the 7th year of my blogging career (my first post was October 19, 2007) but my online “ministry” of apologetics goes back way before that. I remember getting my first computer when my now 21 year old daughter was just a baby and began debating people live in AOL chat rooms. But enough reminiscing; I'm getting to a point. I'm not sure when it happened, exactly, but there came a time when I stopped hearing original arguments from evolutionists. It was just the same, tired canards being repeated over and over.

I'm a fairly bright guy. I'm also usually realistic about my own importance. It's not like I'm the mouthpiece for all things conservative nor all things biblical. But sometimes I get frustrated when people bring up arguments to me that I've already discussed many times on my blog before. There's this instinct in me that says, “Why are you bringing this up? I've already answered that.” It's as though I feel like, once I've said something on any particular point, no one is allowed to bring it up to me anymore. Weird, huh? Alas, it isn't so. No matter how many times I address a certain issue, I'm certain to hear it used by evolutionists again in the future. By necessity, then, I have to repeat points I've already made before. I'm sorry to everyone who has heard me say these things already.

One of the most annoying and oft repeated canards I hear from evolutionists is how “science” has proved creation is wrong or if I don't believe evolution then I'm against “science.” This has to rank as perhaps the laziest argument used by evolutionists. It is so full of fallacies that evolutionists should be too embarrassed to ever utter those words. Yet they do repeat them and so they force me to repeat my response.

First off, comments like this reek of conflation. The theory of descent of all biodiversity from a common ancestor is a theory in the discipline of biology. It's a small part of science. When these people say “science” they mean “evolution” as though the words are synonyms. It's shameful. Likewise, if I don't believe the theory of evolution, I'm accused of hating “science” - as though all of science is represented by evolution.

When I point out to people who make this argument that the term “evolution” isn't the same thing as “science,” their correct response should be to reword their argument. However, this is never the case. Instead, they sort of double down on their assertion. They say that the theory of evolution is supported by the scientific method, therefore, it is supported by all of science. They next throw out a long list of terms like geology, chemistry, dendrochronology, trigonometry, anthropology, astronomy, physics, gravity (yes, I've even heard them say gravity), radiometric dating, blah, blah, blah, and again say that all of science supports evolution. They are never careful to distinguish between a single theory in biology and all of science. They always conflate the two as though they are the same thing. Have they no shame?

Besides the error of conflation, comments such as these are also examples of a sweeping generalization. That is, they act as though science is a single body of thought and all of science unanimously disagrees with the Bible (creation in particular). There are many scientists who are creationists and who see no conflict at all between the observed world and the Bible. They are practicing scientists with degrees in their respective fields from reputable universities. So the broad term of “science” should necessarily include them but obviously they don't disagree with the Bible. Also, many fields of science are silent on the veracity of the Bible so neither should they be included in the assertion that “science” disagrees with the Bible. And in the field of evolutionary biology, there is seldom 100% agreement on every point of the theory. Yet hasty comments like, “science has proved the Bible wrong” gives the false impression that all of science stands against the Bible.

Lastly, these comments are also blatant examples of reification. Reification is a logical fallacy where people personify inanimate things or abstract ideas. An example of this would be, “the rocks say the earth is 4 billion years old.” Well, the rocks don't really say anything because rocks can't speak. It's the scientists who study the rocks who are saying the earth is 4 billion years old. Likewise, “science” doesn't say anything about the Bible. “Science” doesn't say anything because science isn't a sentient being and has neither a mind nor a voice. Instead, there are some secular scientists who say the Bible is wrong but, as we've already seen, they don't speak for all of science.

I should conclude by saying something like, “Evolutionists should stop making these comments because it just embarrasses them.” However, I know they won't stop. I've heard it a hundred times before and will probably hear it a thousand times more. At least I can say I've shown how silly such statements are. Let them be embarrassed.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Liberalism: The Cult of Intolerance

My recent visitor, Carvin, has given me a lot of points to discuss. In a reply to him, I mentioned I would make use of some of his comments to write future blog posts. Many of the points he raised are of interest to everyone.

His first comment was to a post I had written titled, “And You Think We're Embarrassing?” You can read the post for yourself, of course, but my main point was how certain liberals (like Pam Platt of the Courier Journal) seem embarrassed by Bible believing Christians while liberals seem to embrace outrageous antics like those seen at Gay Pride parades. In his response to my point, Carvin said:

[M]ost liberals are perfectly fine when you limit your trouble to an opinion which you express. Your certainly do run the risk of being considered homophobic, but that comes with the territory of the fundamentalist view of homosexuality- it is, in fact, homophobic. It is a Biblical interpretation that is used in the oppression and control of non-hetero people. Again, just having a view on this is still fine. Most liberals would be quite happy if the fundamentalist view was kept within house- that is, if you feel it is wrong to be in a homosexual relationship, this is fine: just don't force anyone else to live by your standard.

If liberalism were just someone's opinion, I would happily agree with Carvin. Everyone is entitled to his opinion – even a wrong opinion. Liberals are wrong about a lot of things and I can live with them being wrong. The real problem, though, is that liberals aren't content with expressing their opinions. Liberals are elitists who not only think they know what's best for every, they aggressively seek ways to impose their standards on everyone else.

Do you think I'm exaggerating? I've been writing this blog for almost 7 years now and I have more than a few examples of this occurring. Let me remind you of just a few that I've already discussed.

Compelling Christians to comply with secular standards probably occurs most often in public schools. In June, 2006, valedictorian, Brittan McComb, was asked to give a speech to her graduating class. She was a Christian, and wanted to give thanks to God for His role in her life. School officials warned her to omit references to God and on the day of her graduation, when she began making reference to God, the school officials turned off her mic. This was her speech talking about her achievements yet school officials didn't think she should be thanking God. I guess it would have been OK if she thanked Oprah.

When the Creation Museum opened, a group called DefCon attempted to thwart their efforts. A board member of DefCon was also an elected, public school official who encouraged public school teachers to sign a petition against the museum. What ever happened to the supposed “separation of church and state”?

Nature wrote an article called, “Dealing with Design” wherein it explained to educators how they should teach students to reconcile their religious beliefs (as in the creation account in Genesis) with “science” (meaning “evolution”). This is not just teaching evolution; it's an active attempt to dissuade a student away from his biblical belief and accept a secular belief.

Do I even need to talk about the National Center For Science Education? The groups stated purpose for existing is to combat a belief in creation among students. More recently, the group also has been recruited to combat doubters in global warming.

But of course, liberals don't just limit their attempts to control to just students. In 2001, a lesbian couple sued two Christian doctors who had refused to provide artificial insemination on the grounds of their religious beliefs. The lesbian couple was able to get the service elsewhere but sued in order to punish the Christian doctors for not complying to the liberal lesbians' standards.

Because of his support of traditional marriage, the president of Chick-fil-A was told by an Chicago alderman, “There are consequences for freedom of speech (and) in this case the consequences are... you're not going to have your first free-standing restaurant in Chicago.” So, in this case, who is forcing their standard on whom?

Obamacare is forcing all employers, including businesses owned by Christians, to provide birth control and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees, regardless of the employers' religious objections. Not only is the employer's right to practice his religion made subservient to the employee's unenumerated “right” to an abortion, the employer is ordered by law to pay for it!

There are even more that I have cited on my blog and many, many more that I haven't. People can't buy 32 oz colas in NY because they might get fat. McDonald's can't put toys in their happy meals because parents can't say no to their kids. School officials search students' lunchboxes to make sure parents are doing their job. Parents can't have school vouchers because they might send their kids to white supremacy schools (I'm not kidding). Need I remind Carvin that he himself has endorsed compelling business owners to pay higher wages because the liberal thinks the wage should be more. The list goes on.

When liberals think something is right, they don't just talk about it. They don't just express their opinion about it. They want to force people to comply with it. They do it because they think they're the experts and we just don't know how to take care of ourselves. See this video and hear it for yourself. Time after time after time, liberals are happy to compel people to conform to the liberal standard. I don't blog about liberals just because they annoy me (though they do). I blog about liberals because they are a threat to liberty.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Minimum Wage

A recent visitor to my blog, who posted under the name, Carvin, shared some sharp opinions about his view of corporations, the wealthy, and the minimum wage. Here's a sample of what Carvin said:

Many of our biggest corporations pay little to no taxes due to their corporate welfare. This money does not go to anyone who works, but the richest people in the company that merely own it, often through nepotism. Meanwhile, they pay their employees so little that they will either starve and/or fall ill because of it. Since the rich control almost all areas of occupation, they can agree that no one should be payed enough, and do. Our minimum wage is criminally low, a point of utter shame. Our healthcare system is set up so only the rich can be healthy.

Carvin is certainly passionate, but his points lack any substance. He paints a picture where America resembles the caste system of medieval Europe. The world he describes is completely foreign to the real world that I live and work in every day. I'm sure most would agree. Where you work, do you see emaciated people chained to their desks? Are there wooden carts being pulled through your neighborhood with a crier ringing a bell saying, “bring out your dead”? How can Carvin say that workers “starve” or “fall ill” and “only the rich can be healthy”? I'm certainly not rich and neither am I ill or starving. This plague on workers he describes exists only in his imagination.

There are a lot of points I could address, but in this post, I'm going to specifically address the minimum wage issue he raised. Considering, too, that an increase in the minimum wage was just defeated in Congress, the topic is rather timely.

I've always wondered how a minimum wage ever became acceptable in the first place. OK, I do see how. It's an example of that old adage that when you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can count on the support of Paul. Some people don't mind when others are being robbed of their property if they know they will be the beneficiaries of it. I see no justice in it at all. On what grounds does the government have the right to set the wage an employer can pay his employee? It seems to me that it should be up to the employer and worker (as in Matthew 20). The employer decides how much a particular task is worth and offers someone that much or less to do it. The worker then decides if the job is worth the pay and might decide to accept. The sounds like the epitome of fairness. What sounds unfair is to demand an employer paid $10 per hour for a job that is only worth $7.

Now, some people might say, “But $7 per hour is not enough to live on.” Well, maybe it's not – but that still doesn't justify paying someone $10 to produce $7 worth of work! This is supposed to be a business, not a charity. Liberals seem to think that the purpose of a business is to provide jobs, promote diversity, and create social equality. I hate to break the news to them but the purpose of a business is to produce goods/services for a profit. Creating jobs is a fortunate consequence of the business's pursuit of profit. Companies that cannot produce a profit eventually go out of business and then there will be not only be no goods and services produced, there will be no jobs either.

Most jobs that pay minimum wage do not require much skill or education. These are often high turn-over jobs (such as in the fast food industry) or temporary, seasonal jobs (like department stores). Many are filled by teenagers or adults who only work part-time. It's also an introductory wage. People who stay with the same employer for any length of time begin receiving raises and/or promotions. According to the US Census Bureau, the average income for an individual in the US is $28,051 – well above the minimum wage. So an increase in the minimum wage won't do anything to help the overwhelming majority of people who work. It will only mean employers will have to pay more for teenagers to flip hamburgers during the summer.

Beyond that, though, increasing the minimum wage will actually hurt many of the people it's intended to help. Let me give you an example that everyone can understand: If you eat at a fast food place that only charges $1 for a burger, but then they suddenly raise their price to $2 for a burger, do you think you'll buy more burgers or fewer burgers in the future? It's obvious that you would probably buy fewer burgers. Most people would. Now, suppose it currently costs an employer $15K to higher a worker but suddenly it costs $20K. Do you think that employer will higher more people or fewer people? Labor is an expense to a business just like food is an expense to an individual. Labor is an expense just like rent or utilities is an expense. People try to save on expenses. You do it and businesses do it. And if labor costs more, businesses will try to reduce their labor costs somehow. It might mean they higher fewer people. The end result is that there will be less jobs available for low skilled workers.  So instead of making more money, many low skilled workers will simply be out of work.

A higher minimum wager also means employers might replace labor with technology.  Think about that for a minute. If a labor saving machine is very expensive, I might continue using cheap labor indefinitely. For example, I might pay a crew $7.25/hr to dig with shovels but if I had to pay them $15/hr, then I might choose to replace the crew with an excavator. Then I only have to pay one man $15/hr to work the machine and the rest are out of work. Once again, a higher costs of labor has cost jobs.

We should also consider the consequence to everyone else if the minimum wage is increased. Suppose a business has 50 employees and its annual labor cost is $1 million. Some of the workers make minimum wage and some make more. If the business suddenly had to pay higher wages to the lowest wage earners, it doesn't magically have more than $1 million to pay. Some workers could be laid off but what else will happen is that the workers who are making more than the minimum wage already will likely get smaller raises or no raises on their incomes. So a raise on the minimum wage actually suppresses the wages of everyone.

Finally, when forced to pay a higher amount for labor, many businesses will be forced to raise the prices on the goods and services they produce. This affects everyone since the value of a dollar is eroded by higher prices on everything. Inflation usually hits poor people the hardest. Do you think McDonald's will still sell burgers for $1 if they have to pay its part-time, teenage workers $15 per hour to cook them? Who eats at McDonald's? Only rich people?

So let's sum up. Increasing the minimum wage will:
  • give employers an incentive to cut their labor costs
  • cause employers to higher fewer people
  • cause some businesses to replace workers with machines
  • suppress the wages of everyone
  • raise the prices on everything
Did I miss anything? Some people would cut off their nose to spite their face. Raising the minimum wage doesn't mean more prosperity for the poor. It would mean fewer jobs and higher prices. More poor people will be out of work and it will be harder for them to buy food, clothes, and housing. Oh, and by the way, the rich will still be rich.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Ham v. Nye Debate: Millions of Species

The debate of the decade happens while I am on a hiatus from blogging. Go figure. I'm talking about the Ken Ham v. Bill Nye debate, of course. You can still watch it on YouTube here in case you missed it.

I did watch the debate live online and there was a lot I wanted to say about it but I didn't have the opportunity then. I feared that once I was back online that I the information would no longer seem timely or relevant. However, there's still a lot of buzz about the debate so I'm going to weigh in on a few points. I don't really intend to make this a series. Instead, I'm going to blog as usual but will use material from the debate from time to time as inspiration.

One point raised by Bill Nye was that if there were 14K or so animals on the Ark (7K kinds) then there would need to be an average of 11 new species created every day from then until now to account for the 16 million species that exist today. That sounds like a lot. As a matter of fact, it's only because it sounds like a lot that the argument seems to have weight. When you get right down to it, this is nothing more than an argument of incredulity, where the speaker tries to assert something is untrue on the flimsy grounds that it just sounds incredible. After all, 11 new species per day is only around 4,000 new species per year which is only .025% of 16 million. I don't know if that even seems unreasonable. If we look at the opposite end of the spectrum, we have been warned for years that between 1,000-10,000 species are going extinct every year. The Center for Biological Diversity says there are, literally dozens going extinct every day.

Also, I'm not sure exactly where Nye got his “16 million species” number. Does he mean 16 million is an estimate of the number believed to exist or that 16 million have been identified? I've read varying estimates but the number of identified, extant species of creatures is closer to 1.5-1.9 million. Of course, there are more species that are certain to exist but just haven't been discovered. How many more there might be is somewhat subjective.

A key point in the evolutionary theory is that life has been evolving for billions of years. Over that vast time, countless generations of creatures would have evolved from species to species. Each transitional form technically would be a different species. Darwin expected the geological column to be full of these intermittent species but the innumerable forms he predicted are curiously absent from the fossil record. The lack of abundant, transitional fossils doesn't discourage evolutionists, though. They still believe they existed but simply weren't preserved as fossils. Because of their faith in their theory, evolutionists estimate an absurdly high number of species to have existed. An interesting article explaining evolutionary math can be found on Answers in Genesis. Extreme guesses by evolutionists are upwards of 150 million species – even though only about 250,000 extinct species have been identified in the fossils.

Nye's “16 million” figure is about 10 times the actual number of identified, extant species. If the actual number were less, then of course the number of new species required each day to account for that figure would be much less as well. 400 new species each year (only 1-2 per day) would total 1.6 million new species in only 4,000 years. There are probably more than 1.6 million species but, hopefully, you can see my point. Assuming a more conservative number of species, even a modest speciation rate could have reached that number in the time since the Flood.

But what if the higher number is the estimate is correct? What if there truly are 16 million or even 30 million as some scientists estimate? Here is the key flaw in Nye's point – a flaw I wish Ham would have pounced on immediately: The overwhelming majority of identified species are insects, bacteria, fungi, and plants. Noah did not have to accommodate any of these species (though many of them probably made it on board the Ark, either as food or carried by animals). The actual number of vertebrate species is closer to 80,000 but even ½ of these are marine animals. There are only about 40K species of terrestrial, vertebrate animals. That's a lot smaller than the “16 million species” straw man that Nye presented.

Now, a species is a little more narrow than a “kind.” There are currently 32 species of cats but Noah only had 2 cats on the Ark. There are 8 species of bear but Noah only had 2 bears on the Ark. You get the idea. We're not exactly sure how many kinds Noah had on the Ark, but probably less than 6,000 animals needed to be on the Ark to account for the 40K terrestrial, vertebrate species estimated to exist today. That's only around 9 new species per year for 4,000 years. Suddenly, it's not unreasonable at all.

In my opinion, Bill Nye failed miserably in this debate. One of his key points, a point that has been touted by some as one of his hardest hitting, is a complete bust. Seven thousand kinds did not have to become 16 million species. Bill Nye either doesn't understand the creation argument or has deliberately misrepresented it.