googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Brain Damaged Liberals are at it Again: Public School Principal Bans Christmas

Santa Claus is banned. The Pledge of Allegiance is no longer recited. “Harvest festival” has replaced Thanksgiving, and “winter celebrations” substitute for Christmas parties. New principal Eujin Jaela Kim has given PS 169 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, a politically correct scrub-down, to the dismay of teachers and parents.... A memo last month from assistant principal Jose Chaparro suggested a “harvest festival instead of Thanksgiving or a winter celebration instead of a Christmas party.” He urged staff to “be sensitive of the diversity of our families. Not all children celebrate the same holidays.” (NY Post, December 13, 2015)

I'm sure I've mentioned before how liberals are brain damaged. We see yet another example in Public School 169 in NY where a new principal has “banned” the Pledge of Allegiance, Thanksgiving, and now Christmas. There's no secret about their motive; they've done in for the sake of sensitivity and diversity. Blah, blah, blah. It's typical liberalism: trampling the rights of everybody in order to be fair. I guess they don't see how their move might be insensitive to the families who do celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, do they?

The NY Post article says that Ninety-five percent of the 1,600 kids at PS 169 are Asian or Hispanic. Hmmm. Why do you think they would cite that statistic? Is it because they assume most of the kids – or as least a large number of them – don't observe these holidays anyway? “Asian” is a very broad term because there are a lot of different kinds of Asians including both Orientals and Indians. There are also a lot of places where the natives could be called Hispanic – Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and many Central/South American countries. These various places all have people with different beliefs but wouldn't it be stereotyping, for example, to assume someone of Asian descent – living in the US – doesn't observe Christmas? Wouldn't a more relevant statistic be how many of the 1,600 kids in the school observe these holidays? But liberals are racists and so they assume people of color don't (or shouldn't) celebrate “white people's” holidays.

But for the sake of argument, let's assume that only a tiny fraction of the student's at PS 169 observe Thanksgiving or Christmas. In that case, I might agree it's not necessary to organize special activities geared toward holidays these students don't even recognize anyway. But that's not what is happening. It's not that they're not celebrating these days – there's an outright ban on anything related to these days. The PTA president said in the article, We can’t even have a star because it can represent a religious system, like the Star of David. The Business Manager for PS 169 said in a memo even Santa is banned banned because he is considered an ‘other religious figure. So even if it were a tiny minority of students were Christians who thanked God on Thanksgiving and celebrated the birth of Christ, the staff can say or do nothing that might acknowledge those beliefs.

Remind me again, aren't liberals the ones who want to educate kids in cultural diversity? They talk about diversity and respecting people of other cultures but that surely cannot mean all cultures because they don't want to talk about American or Christian traditions. I copied this from an educator's blog:

How can we celebrate diversity and help students build on positives while paying special attention to disenfranchised students? The first way is to open a dialogue on the topic. One of the first discussions I have with teacher candidates is to explain what it means to be culturally responsive in teaching. As an educator, you have to understand how language and culture affects a student’s self-worth.

Am I right?  Aren't they saying we should "celebrate" diversity but we have to be especially sensitive to the disenfranchised (aka, “minority”) students?  And in order to protect their fragile “self-worth,” we have to have discussions about their language, their cultures, and their beliefs – except Christians of course. Christian traditions and beliefs like Thanksgiving and Christmas are offensive.

Racists. Hypocrites. Liberals. Yes, they're brain damaged.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Is the Bible Immoral? Part 3b: Does the Bible Condone Slavery?

I hadn't intended to write another post on this series. In my last post on this subject, I explained that it would take too much time to address every passage in the Bible that discusses slavery – not that there are a lot of them, by the way. However, I can see now that there are a few other points that need addressing.

First, there is the irony that if there really is no God, then the critics have no moral grounds to say the Bible is “wrong” about slavery. If there is no transcendent, objective standard of morality, then there is no weight in the critic's claim that our modern attitude of slavery is more “correct” than the attitudes held by ancient slaveholders. Critics who use slavery to attack the Bible are relying on a general sense of outrage over the word “slavery” to give their argument any credibility. Therefore, they invariably want to equate the type of slavery in the Bible with the type of slavery we once had in the US.

If you do a Google image search for “slavery Bible,” you'll get hundreds of images showing mostly dark skinned people chained, whipped, and tortured. Completely absent from the criticisms are Scripture references supporting the things the critics portray. There is no passage in the Bible, for example, that talks about putting slaves in chains. Why, then, are there so many pictures of blacks in chains with Bible verses written beneath them? Whether it's done out of ignorance or intentional deceit, it doesn't matter. It's a straw man caricature of what the Bible teaches.

Just as I said in my last post, slaves in the ancient world were a socioeconomic class. They were chronically poor or indebted people who entered indentured servitude because they could either not take care of themselves or they could not repay their debts. This type of indentured service was practiced in many places in the world. The slavery discussed in the Bible not only didn't resemble the slavery once experienced in the South, it wasn't really even like the slavery practiced in contemporary nations.

Usually, entering into this kind of servitude was a lifelong commitment. If the master died, the slave would continue in the service of the master's family. This was also true of foreign slaves living in Israel. Jews, on the other hand, were required to forgive the debts of other Jews every 7 years; this included freeing Jewish servants. In Leviticus 25:46, the admonition to not treat their fellow Israelites “ruthlessly” cannot be interpreted as a license to beat foreign born slaves. It precisely meant the Jews could not exclude indentured service from the debts forgiven. By the way, even freed Jewish slaves could voluntarily remain in their master's employ permanently. This is really the only difference between servants taken from among Jews and servants taken from other nations.

Some key differences between the kind of service detailed in the Bible and the cruel slavery seen in other parts of the world are as follows:
  • People could not be kidnapped and sold into slavery against their will. Exodus 21:16.
  • Slaves who ran away could not be forced to return to their masters. Deuteronomy 23:15-16.
  • Slaves were required to be given a Sabbath day of no work, just like free men. Exodus 20:10.
  • If a master kills a slave, he is guilty of murder. Exodus 21:20.
  • If a master permanently injures a slave, such as knocking out a tooth, he must free the slave. Exodus 21:26-27.
Nowhere in the Bible are masters commanded or even allowed to chain, torture, and kill their servants. Nowhere! Yet that is exactly the false impression critics want to portray when they show dark skinned people in chains. When asked to cite specific verses where such practices are allowed, critics really can only resort to one verse, Exodus 21:20-21:

If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property.”

The verse is cited to make it sound like it's OK to beat a slave as long as he doesn't die immediately; if he dies later, it's fine. This is another example of taking a passage out of context. The passage isn't talking about murder but about what happens if you injure a man but he doesn't die. In verses 18-19, the two verses immediately prior to the above verses, the Bible proscribes exactly the same punishment for fights between free men. The only difference is that if you strike a free man and he doesn't die immediately, but only remains in bed for a while, he must be compensated for the time he was injured. A slave that is struck but doesn't die immediately doesn't have to be compensated for the time he was injured because his work belongs to his master anyway!

The idea of permanent servitude still will sound strange to a lot of modern readers. I've tried comparing it to being a squire or vassal – words that are less emotionally charged – but even these types of service don't exist anymore. It's just hard for some people to think of a being a “slave” as anything less than repulsive. They can't imagine being a slave as being a kind of job. They can't imagine a person wanting to be a slave. It might help if you think of the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). A man's son asked for his father for his inheritance now. He took the money and went into a foreign land where he squandered it all. When the money was gone, he began to starve and considered returning to his father as a slave. Read the boy's thoughts (Luke 15:14-20):

After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father

Further Reading:
Is the Bible Immoral:

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Are Humans “Naked Apes”?

This is a picture of me. Really. My blog is not about me even though I constantly write in the first-person voice and often use myself as an example to make a point. In this post, I again intend to use myself as an example to make a point.

I've recently grown a goatee. I'd never had one before. I did have a mustache for more than 20 years and even grew a full beard a couple of times but for the last 2 or 3 years I've been clean shaven. My facial hair grows pretty quickly and when we were vacationing recently, I had gone several days without shaving. My wife asked me to try one so I trimmed it up and returned to work with a goatee. I still haven't decided if I like it or not but my wife really likes it so I'll probably keep it for a while.

My beard grew in a lot grayer this time than it was the last time I had one. When I was young, I had coal black hair. The gray makes my beard seem a little thinner than it really is but you can still see in this pic that it's a little bushy. I'm probably ready for another trim. I noticed too that my hairline has receded a little. Wow! I'm looking old. Bear with me because I'm going somewhere with all this.

So, I'm online the other day watching a YouTube video and the speaker flashes a picture of a chimp on the screen. It was a tight shot of just the chimp's face and I noticed something that I hadn't noticed before. Compare the picture of the me to the chimps. Do you notice anything different about our hair? In case the answer isn't immediately obvious, let me point it out:

Men grow facial hair on their upper lip, jaw, and chin. We also have hair on our brow ridge (aka, our eye brows). Chimps have virtually no hair around their mouth nor on their brow ridge. Isn't that interesting? It goes further than that though. You can see in this picture that the chimp has a heavy coat on its shoulders and arms but the hair is much thinner on its chest. The other picture of a reclining chimp shows not only thinner hair on the chest but also its arm pits. Human males, on the other hand, have thicker hair on their chests and under their arms but much thinner hair on their shoulders and arms.

Humans have been called, “naked apes.” As the name suggests, humans are considered by evolutionists to be merely another species of ape – one which has lost its heavy coat of fur. It's a little more complicated than that though. You see, evolution is supposed to be about descent with modification. If humans and chimps share a common ancestor, evolution should predict that we have hair patterns similar to our ancestor. But we don't. The closest similarity is the top of our heads. Everywhere else, where chimps have the most hair, we have the least and where we have the most, chimps have the least.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to have noticed this. I've heard it suggested that humans have facial hair for warmth because our clothes cover our bodies but not our faces. Such an explanation is blatantly circular. Why would we need to start wearing clothes in the first place except that we lost our fur? And even if we accept the explanation, it still doesn't explain why humans have heavier hair under their arms.

Good theories are supposed to make predictions. If evolution were true, we should see similar hair patterns between humans and chimps. The ad hoc explanations about why it isn't this way are “just so” stories invented simply to ignore another failed prediction of evolution.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Is the Bible Immoral? Part 3: Does the Bible Condone Slavery?

Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly. (Leviticus 25:44-46, NIV)

Another way that critics try to portray the Bible as “evil” is to claim that the Bible condones slavery. The criticism strikes a chord with many people because of America's tragic history of slavery. We consider ourselves to be a better nation for having ended the practice here and so, when we read passages like Leviticus 25 which seem to support slavery, doubt about the Bible can creep into our minds.

It should be noted first that there's a little bit of dishonesty behind the criticism – even if it's not intentional. When we hear the word, slavery, we immediately think about the subjugation of blacks in the South. It's a highly, emotionally charged word which is the impression critics want us to have. It's an unfortunate consequence of translation that words of different languages seldom have exactly the same semantic range of meaning. It's nearly unavoidable that when we substitute an English word for a Hebrew or Greek word, we interpret the text according to our understanding of the English word. In English, slavery sounds like a terrible thing which makes this criticism seem to have merit.

This is not a trivial point. This criticism's entire weight rests upon the negative connotation implied by the word, slavery. Critics routinely beat this drum by using disparaging language like, Except for murder, slavery has got to be one of the most immoral things a person can do (source). It's a type of straw man argument. The moral quandary only exists if the slavery mentioned in the Bible resembles the slavery as the typical, modern reader understands it.

The reality is that the “slavery” discussed in the Bible is not at all like we experienced in the US. For example, Exodus 21:16 specifically proscribes the death penalty for anyone who kidnaps a person in order to sell him. In his letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul includes “enslavers” (ESV) in the same list as murderers, liars, and other sinners (1 Timothy 1:8-10). The type of slavery once practiced in the US, where dark-skinned natives were kidnapped in Africa and sold in America, is specifically forbidden in Mosaic Law and is clearly identified as a sin.

When the Bible talks about “slaves,” it is primarily talking about 2 groups of people. First, a tiny minority of slaves were prisoners taken in war. War was a grim reality at the time of the Old Testament and conquered kingdoms meant defeated populations that needed to be dealt with. If you defeat and enemy, you can't simply pack up and go home or else you'll be fighting the same enemy again sometime later. The Law gave instructions in dealing with enemy prisoners that was more practical than internment camps and more humane than summary execution. This doesn't mean that God “condones” war or slavery. Just like Jesus said about the law allowing divorce (Matthew 19:8), laws dealing with captured prisoners were merely allowances made for people living in a fallen world. It doesn't reflect God's perfect will.

The far more common slaves in biblical times are what we might call indentured servants. In biblical times (both the Old and New Testaments), there were no such things as government welfare or bankruptcy. Out of economic necessity, chronically poor people could pledge their future labor in exchange for things like forgiveness of debt, a lump sum of money, and food and shelter. The practice isn't as foreign when we look at similar arrangements that aren't called slavery. Kings had vassals. Knights had squires. Vassals never became kings and squires never became knights but in both situations, the subordinate served the master exclusively and permanently.

Such an arrangement might still sound bizarre to modern readers, but it was often easier for the impoverished person to do this rather than try to provide for himself. Once again, such an arrangement isn't “condoned” by the Bible. God created a world where “work” meant tending a garden and picking food off the trees to eat. In the fallen world, people have to work hard to eat. This type of arrangement existed and the Law gave instructions to regulate it.

It would take too much space to address every verse in the Bible that discusses slavery but, in general, the Bible tries to make the arrangement more professional and less like “slavery” as we typically understand it. Colossians 4:1 commands masters to treat their slaves “justly and fairly.” Jewish slaves were commanded to be freed in the year of Jubilee (every seven years). Even after being freed, a Jewish servant could choose to permanently remain with his master. In other nations, female slaves were often used for sex but the Law commanded that if a Jewish owner had sex with a slave, he must treat her like a wife. These are just a few of the types of regulations the Bible lists concern the practice.

Finally, God ultimately does not distinguish between slave and master – both are equal in His eyes (Galatians 3:28). In his letter, Paul tells Philemon to receive Onesimus, not as a slave but as a brother (Philemon 1:16). Paul even refers to himself as a “slave” to Christ (Greek, δοῦλος, Romans 1:1, et al). Indeed, Christ Himself gave us the parable of the unprofitable servant, Luke 17:7-10. He has forgiven my debt, paid the penalty for my sins, and given me eternal life. He is my Lord. I owe Him all I have and could serve Him my entire life and still never repay all He has done for me.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Is the Bible Immoral? Part 2: Did God Order a Genocide?

Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey. (1 Samuel 15:3)

As we consider critics' claims that the Bible is immoral, one of the most cited examples comes from 1 Samuel where God commands King Saul to destroy the city of Amalek along with everyone and everything in it. Critics typically use words like “genocide,” “atrocity,” and “infanticide” to describe the account. It's a clever use of loaded words to make God seem capricious.

Critics usually quote verse 3 out of context. 1 Samuel 15:2 says, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt.” Critics don't include verse 2 because they intentionally want to omit God's motive for His command to Saul. Israel's encounters with Amalek began back in Exodus 17. After their flight from Egypt and during their wandering in the desert, the Jews were a nearly helpless people. They had no city, no walls, and no forts. They had to rely upon God daily for food and water. Deuteronomy 25:17-18 described it this way,

Remember what Amalek did to you along the way when you came out from Egypt, how he met you along the way and attacked among you all the stragglers at your rear when you were faint and weary; and he did not fear God.

At one point, while they were camped at Rephidim, the Amalekites came and attacked them. Moses told Joshua to lead armed men to resist the Amalekites and God gave the Jews the victory after a hard fought battle. Afterward, God made a promise to Moses:

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” Moses built an altar and named it, The LORD is My Banner; and he said, “The LORD has sworn; the LORD will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.” (Exodus 17:14-16)

God could have rained fire down on Amalek just as He had done with Sodom and Gomorrah, but it was many generations later, after the Jews settled in the Promised Land and Saul had become the king, that God fulfilled His promise.
So God's command to destroy the Amalekites wasn't arbitrary but rather was His judgment on that city for their crimes against Israel. Critics call the event “genocide” because that sounds more effective to their cause than calling it “justice.” Here's something that might put this into perspective: we need to consider the attitudes of Americans right after 9/11. Do you remember the calls that we should bomb Afghanistan and the Taliban back into the stone age? Were we interested in genocide or justice?

Of course, some people aren't satisfied with this explanation. Some have asked, “Why would God command the babies to be killed?” There are a couple of other points we need to keep in mind.

First, we have to remember that not only did all the people of Amalek die but Saul also died. Every one of Saul's soldiers died too. Every Jew in Israel died. Every prophet mentioned in the Old Testament has died. The Bible says that it is appointed unto a man to die and then he is judged (Hebrews 9:27). Some die old; some die young; some die violently; some die quietly. The mortality rate among people is 100%. Death has reigned since the Curse and just like it came to the Amalekites, it will also come to all of us. To say that God was cruel in His treatment of Amalek is to deny that God judges all of humanity fairly.

There is still another point we must consider, a point which relates to God as our Creator. Read this passage from Jeremiah:

Then [Jeremiah] went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to [Jeremiah] saying, “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.” (Jeremiah 18:3-6)

No one can credibly deny that the vessel a potter makes belongs to the potter. If the potter doesn't like how the vessel turns out, it is his right to scrap it and start over. In this haunting passage, we are reminded that we are created by God and so are subject to His will.

Words like “genocide” and “atrocity” are misleading characterizations of God. The Bible gives us a complete picture of Him. He is not a tyrant who smites innocents on a whim. He is not a pacifist who will shower grace on vile, unrepentant sinners. He is Holy and Just. We all face the same fate – a grave. We all have the same opportunity – eternal life through Jesus. I will have to stand before God and give an account for my sins; my only plea will be the shed blood of His Son. Critics are welcome to tell God He's not being fair.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Is the Bible Immoral? Part 1

Some people criticize the Bible with the claim that it is immoral. That is, they believe the history recorded in the Bible and the commandments of the Mosaic Law offend our sense of right and wrong and so are evidence that the Bible is not the revelation of a good God. It's an excuse to not be a Christian or believe in God.

Critics who use this argument will also sometimes accuse Christians of picking and choosing which parts of the Bible we want to believe. If a Christian, for example, speaks out on the political issue of gay marriage, a critic might ask why doesn't the Christian also believe in executing homosexuals as commanded in Leviticus 20:13? This is an obvious attempt to undermine the Christian's credibility, claiming he appeals to the Bible when condemning homosexuality but ignores other parts of the Bible. If Christians feel we can ignore parts of the Bible with which we disagree, then how can we condemn the critic for doing the same?

Two of the most often cited examples of the Bible's immorality are probably God's command to the Israel army to kill the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15) and the Bible seeming to condone slavery (Leviticus 25:44-46, et al). I intend to discuss these two examples in more detail in my next two posts. In this post, I intend to discuss the weakness of these criticisms in general.

When responding to arguments like this, there are several points that should be kept in mind. The first, and probably the most significant, is to ask by what standard does the critic judge these acts to be “wrong”? If there were no God, then the universe is empty of morality. Everything that happens is nothing more than matter acting on matter. One man killing another is no more “evil” than a lion killing a zebra. When a person says it's “wrong” for God to command the Israelites to kill the Amalekites, it begs the question: wrong according to who? Obviously the Universe doesn't care what happens. The Israelites didn't believe it was wrong. What makes the critic's opinion on the subject the “correct” one? No one can call anything “wrong” without first acknowledging an absolute standard of right or wrong exists. There is no such standard in an impersonal universe. Objective morality exists only if God exists.

Moving on to my second point: We can see that the critic can't ever objectively say the Bible is wrong. At best, he can only say his sense of morality differs from how he understands the Bible. Ok, then what is the critic's point in raising this criticism? Is he trying to say there is no God because the Bible records things he finds offensive? You can see how that doesn't work. It would be sort of like me saying the Holocaust didn't happen because no dictator could be that cruel. This is a logic fallacy known as an argument from outrage.

Noted apologist for atheism, Richard Dawkins, wrote in his book, The Greatest Show on Earth, “Even if it were true that evolution, or the teaching of evolution, encouraged immorality that would not imply that the theory of evolution was false.” This is one of the few things on which Dawkins and I can agree. I would never try to attack evolution by saying Darwin was a racist. By that same token, though, someone claiming the Bible is immoral is not evidence that the Bible is not true.

We can see already that these criticisms of the Bible are built upon shaky foundations. Yet there are still a couple of more points we must consider. One thing is that God established the Law specifically for His people. When God established the Nation of Israel, it differed from other nations in that it did not have an earthly ruler – God was their ruler. The Jews lived their lives according to the Law and Judges were appointed to interpret the Law whenever a dispute arose.

Eventually, the people demanded to have a king like other nations. God relented and gave them Saul. Since then, we are subject to earthly rulers and laws during our lifetimes. The Law commanded that adulterers, for example, should be stoned. In the US, adulterers aren't executed but God is still the final Judge and someday we still must stand before Him to give an account for our sins. We are still judged according to the Law. However, the punishment for our sins is no longer necessarily at the hands of earthly rulers.

Finally, the Law was given to a fallen world. Some of the things it contains do not represent God's perfect will but rather are allowances God has made for sinful people who live in a corrupt world. Consider this passage from Mark 10:

And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Mark 10:2-9)

We see in this passage that when Jesus was asked about divorce, He explained that it was God's intentions that people never divorced. The Laws governing divorce were only written because of the hardness of our hearts. So even if the Bible seems to allow certain things, it does not necessarily mean the Bible “endorses” that thing.

I'll talk more about specific examples in my next couple of posts. For now, suffice it to say these are weak criticisms of the Bible.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Most Mammals Have 7 Cervical Vertebrae – Not Quite Enough to be Evidence for Evolution

Giraffes have seven cervical vertebrae (neck bones), the same number as humans. Given that the giraffe's neck is so much longer than ours, some people are surprised we have the same number of neck bones. The fact of the matter is that nearly every mammal has seven neck bones – mice, dogs, and even whales. I've heard it proposed that this is because all mammals are descended from a common ancestor which also had seven neck bones and so the nearly universal number of seven vertebrae is strong evidence for evolution.

A similar argument is often made concerning the bone structure of the forelimbs in tetrapods. Mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds all have representative species that have the homologous structure of humerus, radius, and ulna. The case is made that these limbs are similar because all these creatures have descended from a common ancestor which had the same structure.

I heard this argument – the one about giraffes having seven neck bones – online again the other day. The whole story sounds kind of contrived to me. I got to thinking about how I might be able to test that theory. Like any scientific theory, it should be able to make predictions. So, if different species which are descended from a common ancestor have the same number of cervical vertebrae, what else might I expect to be true?

The first prediction I might make is that if giraffes and humans have the same number of neck vertebrae due to common descent, then all mammals should have the same number of cervical vertebrae. Is this what we find? In short, no. Most mammals do indeed have seven neck bones but not all of them do. The two-toed sloth has 5-7 vertebrae, the three-toed sloth has 8-10, and manatee have only 6. So this prediction fails.

I might also predict that mammals should also have similar numbers of vertebrae in other parts of their spines. A quick look at Wiki shows this isn't the case. In the thoracic vertebrae, numbers vary between 12-15 in different species of mammals; in the lumbar region there are usually 6-7 but some species have 20; the number in the sacral region can vary between 3-10. Any similarity in the number of vertebrae exists only in the cervical area of the spine and even that isn't universal. Another failed prediction for the theory.

I would also think that if descent with modification were true, then there should be a discernible pattern in the number of ribs among mammals. There isn't any. Mammals have varying numbers of ribs between 6 and 15 pairs. Even in the famous horse evolution sequence, there are reversals in the numbers of ribs between oldest alleged ancestor and the “transitions” to the modern horse. Still another fail.

Now, since there is supposedly homology in the forelimbs of, say, mammals and birds, then could we also predict 7 cervical vertebrae among birds? We might, but birds have far more cervical vertebrae than mammals. So similar forelimbs in mammals and birds is supposedly the product of evolution and a different number of neck bones is also the product of evolution?  Fail.

Think about this too: all mammals (well, we've already seen it's not all mammals) have the same number of cervical vertebrae. Then could we expect something similar to occur among the members of other classes? Do all birds, for example, have the same number of cervical vertebrae? No. Do all reptiles? No. Do all amphibians? No. Why does common descent “explain” this common feature among mammals when we don't see a similar thing occur among the other classes of animals? Fail.

Finally, birds are alleged to have evolved from dinosaurs. If descent with modification is true, then wouldn't there be some correlation in the number of cervical vertebrae between birds and dinosaurs? Well, there isn't any. Long-necked sauropods had up to 19 cervical vertebrae. Most bipedal dinosaurs had less. Birds have up to 25. Fail.  Fail.  Fail.

Time after time, we see that things we might predict if evolution were true aren't found. Any claim that the common number of neck bones among mammals is evidence of descent from a common ancestor is nothing more than special pleading. If the same number of vertebrae is evidence for evolution, than differing numbers should be evidence against the theory. Of course, evolutionists don't see it that way. They're perfectly content with a theory that could explain the same number of neck bones in different species but doesn't require it. In other words, they have a scientific theory that doesn't really explain or predict anything.

Not a very good “theory,” is it?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Can Darwinian evolution produce a healthy society?

Evolution is amoral. If nature is all there is, then there is really no such things as good or evil. One man killing another is really no different than a lion hunting a zebra or an apple falling from a tree. They are all just descriptions of things that happen without an interest if they're right or wrong. Of course, we recoil at comparing murder to an apple falling from a tree. We know, almost instinctively, that murder is “wrong.”

It's this built-in sense of knowing some things are always wrong which suggests that maybe nature really isn't all there is. Maybe there's an absolute standard of what is right – a transcendent truth that trumps any individual's opinion. Where might this universal standard be? Some might suggest that our sense of morality comes from community. It's a collective agreement on what works best for society as a whole. Everyone is better off if people don't kill, steal, and cheat.

When we start looking to societal norms as “right,” we still cannot find solid grounds to identify any particular behavior as wrong. Most people consider slavery to be wrong. However, slavery was allowed in the US for 400 years – from the time of the early settlers to the time it was a flourishing, world power. How can we objectively say that we're right now and they were wrong then? When the Nazis were being tried after WWII, most of them claimed that their war “crimes” were legal in their society. Again, who are we to say that another people in another place are wrong and we're right? The bottom line is that if there is no immutable law that transcends human opinion, then might makes right. There are no, inalienable, God-given rights. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are only privileges the state lets us have.

I was on YouTube the other day and I was watching a debate between an evolutionist (David Silverman) and a creationist (John Rankin). Most debates of this kind focus on the evidence for or against the respective theories. However, this particular debate discussed the question, “Can Darwinian evolution produce a healthy society?” As usual, Silverman, the evolutionist argued that our moral values are basically evolved instincts to do what is best for the community. Blah, blah, blah. I've blogged about these types of comments before.

To his credit, though, Silverman was a little more candid about the idea that there is no ultimate right or wrong according to evolution. His opinion was basically, “whatever works is right.” But the most intriguing thing he said was that it is the very idea of “absolute truth” that is harmful to society! According to him, it's the religious zealots, the ones who think they know God's truth, who will strap bombs to themselves or fly planes into buildings. His is a clever tactic. Well, maybe not clever but certainly novel. He says on one hand that whatever provides the most benefit to the most people is “good” but believing there is a such thing as objective good is “bad.” Incredible!

I see a couple of flaws in his approach. Obviously, it contradicts itself. After all, how can he seriously say in one breath that there is ultimately no objective right or wrong, then in the next breath say that believing in an objective moral standard is “wrong”?

But the thing that really struck me is a point that seems to have completely escaped Silverman. His claim is that our sense of morality is an evolved trait that instinctively drives us to act in a way that's best for society overall. He further claims that religious dogmatism works against the best interest of society. What Silverman completely overlooks is that, if evolution were true, then our seeming irresistible urge to believe in a divine being is also an evolved trait. The overwhelming majority of people in the world today – indeed, the majority of people who have ever lived – all believe in some deity. So then, if evolution is true, there must be some sort of survival benefit to believing in God (or at least a god or gods)!

Once again we see the case of a flawed world view unable to measure up to its own standards. If our sense of right and wrong is an evolved trait, then our belief in God, another evolved trait, is instinctively right. Since the majority of people believe, then belief seems to be the preferred trait. Therefore, unbelief – aka, atheism – is morally “wrong.”

What we have is a paradox; if Silverman is right, then he's wrong.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Why are there gun free zones?

An Oregon college campus was the site of another mass shooting. Nine innocent victims were killed before the deranged shooter took his own life. Before nearly any facts behind the shooting were known, the President was already on the air calling for more gun control laws. Since we knew hardly anything about the shooting, how could the President know that any gun law he was suggesting would have done anything to prevent the shooting? He couldn't have known, obviously. He was merely exploiting the tragedy to push his agenda. Shame on him. However, we did know one thing about the shooting almost immediately – it happened in a “gun free zone.”

I saw this meme on FaceBook the other day. We defend the President with guns. Celebrities defend themselves with guns. When money is delivered to my office, I've noticed the armored car courier carries a gun. Why then do we “protect” our most precious treasure, our children, with signs that say, “This is a Gun Free Zone”? It seems counter intuitive that if guns can help protect the President from harm, that they couldn't also help protect children. Why then do some people still want gun free zones – especially in the case of protecting the children?

Not being able to completely understand the insane logic known as, “liberalism,” I did an internet search, trying to find out why people think gun free zones are a good idea and found a lot of rhetoric rebutting criticisms of the concept. Here are some of the “facts” being presented by defenders of gun free zones: I took these quotes from one source, but I've found the same points being made by many people so I'm considering them to be representative.

Mass shooters are completely unconcerned about whether or not an area is a “Gun-Free Zone.” A study conducted by Mother Jones found that, in 62 mass shootings over 32 years, there were exactly zero instances of a killer targeting a place because of a gun ban.

OK, that's interesting. I've read some criticisms of the Mother Jones study but let's assume this point is true. Even if mass shooters never target any place because he thinks unarmed people are softer targets, how is that an argument for gun free zones?

Furthermore, thirty-six mass shooters in the Mother Jones study committed suicide at or near the crime-scene, and 7 more committed ‘suicide-by-cop’ by engaging in a knowingly unwinnable shootout with police. This is not the sort of behavior that suggests that mass shooters are deterred by the prospect of gun-imposed security.

Hmmm. It also shows the shooter is not deterred by a sign that says, “this is a gun free zone.

Instead of guns deterring crime, not one of the 62 mass shootings surveyed was ended by an armed civilian

I'd laugh if it weren't so tragic. If law abiding citizens are observing the “gun free zone” restriction, it's not surprising that there weren't any around to prevent or stop the shooting once it started.

Also, does this study take into account those times when guns are used to stop crimes? There is the case, for example, where an armed, “resource officer,” Carolyn Gudger, confronted a gunman at Sullivan High school, Blountville, TN, and held him at bay until deputies arrived. The gunman was killed in a shootout with the police. Since no students were harmed, this incident didn't qualify as a mass shooting. However, it is certainly a case where an armed civilian very possibly stopped a massacre. I might post some videos sometime of showing guns being used by civilians to stop criminals. It happens all the time.

Despite the fact that one-third of our nation’s schools have armed guards or officers, there is no evidence that these measures have deterred or de-escalated mass shootings.

I believe the Gudger incident I cited above is one example where an armed guard deterred a mass shooting. Maybe there are more. But let's again assume armed guards do not deter mass shootings. We can still see clearly that neither are mass shooters deterred by gun free zones! At least if there are armed guards present, there is someone on hand to stop a shooting spree once it's started. That's not the case in a gun free zone.

As I read article after article defending gun free zones, what I mostly saw were weak rebuttals to the criticisms of them. I found very little arguments as to why we should have them in the first place. The article where I found the quotes above only had this to say in favor of gun free zones:

While there is little evidence to validate the efficacy of armed guards or officers, there is a plethora of research showing that a large armed presence on school grounds institutionalizes the early criminalization of Black and Latino males. Armed officers at schools are quick to make arrests and write tickets, fast-tracking these students into the criminal justice system, rather than college, having an overall negative effect on net educational outcomes.

Am I reading that right? Does it really say that if we have armed guards in schools then blacks and Latinos are more likely to become criminals? But then again, liberals are racists so it shouldn't surprise me that they would think if a security guard arrests a student, it must be a black student.

The more common argument made in defense of gun free zones is the possibility of accidental shootings. The cartoon I reprinted from the Armed With Reason article paints a straw man image of students walking around with rifles and lunch boxes. You do realize we're not talking about having students carrying guns, right? Now, I concede that it is a reality that the mere presence of a gun comes with the risk of accidental injury. After all, it's impossible to accidentally discharge a gun if there is no gun present. But apparently the President isn't so worried about that possibility that he won't protect himself with armed guards.  And by the way, how is it that celebrities and the President think they should protected with armed guards but don't think “the masses” have the same right?  We as parents in local school districts should be the ones to weigh the risks and make the final decision on how to protect our children.  If Rosie O'Donnell wants to protect herself with armed, security guards, I demand we have the right to make that same choice to protect our children.

So what's left then? Why are liberals so bent on imposing gun free zones? I have a theory: I think liberals would really like to have all of the US become a gun free zone where only the aristocracy (liberal politicians, celebrities, and the mega-wealthy like Warren Buffet) have guns and “the people” are unarmed. I believe that they think if students are raised in a gun free environment, they will be less likely to protest tighter gun restrictions in the future. I sincerely believe that gun free zones aren't intended to make kids safer but are all about controlling us. It's always about control with liberals.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Liberals are also lazy

One of the reasons more people don't turn away from liberalism is that they're just plain lazy. They're too lazy to expend any effort looking into an issue beyond a 30 second sound bite they hear on the radio between pop tunes. I'll give you a case in point.

Liberals have run for cover in light of the damning videos taken of Planned Parenthood executives and employees brokering deals to sell aborted baby parts. Their first response was a blanket denial but that turned out to be fruitless since people could watch the videos for themselves and see Planned Parenthood officials, like Dr. Mary Gatter, literally haggling over the price per “specimen.” The most recent tactic is to dismiss the videos as “doctored” and “heavily edited.”

A YouTube channel by a group called, The Young Turks, posted its own video “debunking” the controversial videos. Here's an excerpt I've transcribed from the Young Turk's rebuttal:

The NY Times has done its due diligence and has investigated the two videos that were released by the Center for Medical Progress.... Now, I'm glad a member of the mainstream media has delved into this and is actually telling people the truth about those videos – how many of the statements were taken out of context or how the statements were misrepresented.... No one else in the media is saying that. Everyone else in the media is saying, 'Oh look, here's what the Center for Medical Progress is saying they experienced. Judge for yourself.' No, no, no! Don't judge for yourself. Be a journalist and actually investigate this and figure out whether or not the claims are true. And thankfully, the NY times did do this.”

The video continues by quoting the findings of the NY Times investigation. It's rather hilarious that these young liberals, who stage their video like it's a news program, exhort people to be journalists and investigate the claims of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) while they themselves seem to have not done any investigation beyond reading the NY Times article. Have they bothered to investigate the CMP? Oh, and have they bothered to investigate the NY Times? It sounds to me like theirs is a case of simply believing those with whom they agree. Their channel isn't journalism – it's propaganda.

Listen to me, all ye who are liberal: The entire, unedited videos taken by the CMP are available on YouTube. You can watch them for yourselves here. They're not doctored. They're not edited. They are the raw footage of Planned Parenthood employees and partners discussing the selling baby parts. If you think the 8:25 version of Dr. Gatter haggling like a used car salesman is taken out of context, you can watch the entire 1:13:38 and see if she made any other comments that might paint an entirely different picture of her intentions. Go ahead and watch it. I dare you.

So my question is, why didn't the Young Turks bother to watch the unedited videos for themselves? Instead of posting quotes from the NY Times claiming the edited parts of video were exculpatory, they could have included the relevant parts in their phony news show. I sincerely believe that even at the time the Turks posted their own video, they had not bothered to watch the unedited videos provided by the CMP. It wouldn't surprise me if they haven't watched them even to this day.

I think the liberal elite is counting on the fact that the peasant class they call their base is too lazy to sit through an hour long video. People like Nancy Pelosi repeatedly call the videos “heavily edited” knowing that none of their base will ever learn that the unedited versions show the same things as the shorter versions. By the way, neither has Pelosi watched the unedited videos.

The liberal aristocracy can throw around works like “doctored,” “edited,” and “fake” and your run of the mill liberal will believe without question – all the while, the truth can be found with the click of a mouse and a small investment of time. But a small investment of time is too much to ask. Most liberals are too lazy.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

ABC is a bunch of intolerant bigots

Several months back, I wrote about how many, large corporations seem oblivious to the feelings of millions of Bible believing Christians while simultaneously being hypersensitive to even the slightest offense against gays. When one member of the Robertson family on A&E's “Duck Dynasty” made a comment in support of traditional marriage, A&E's first reaction was to throw him off the show. A southern cuisine restaurant chain, Cracker Barrel, pulled Duck Dynasty merchandise off the shelves. However, the public outcry against both companies was so severe, they almost immediately reversed their positions. Both companies offered half-hearted apologies.

Now, ABC, a subsidiary of Disney, has a show slated to air this fall called, The Real O'Neals. The show has been described as a “semi-autobiographical” comedy inspired by Dan Savage – who is also credited as the show's executive producer. I've written about Dan Savage on my blog before. His bio champions him as the founder of the “anti-bullying” movement known as, It Gets Better. He's more notoriously known for his perverted sex columns, his incendiary anti-christian comments, his invitations to GOP presidential candidates to perform oral sex on him, and for just being an abrasive jerk in general.

So let's get this straight: A&E wanted to throw Phil Robertson off their show based on his views on gay marriage while ABC gives a bombastic theophobe his own show. Obviously, Hollywood has made its priorities clear. A&E, of course, reversed their decision in the face of public protest. ABC, on the other hand, has stood firm on its decision to air the show in spite of the protest it has received.

I've watched the official trailer for the show. It begins with the narrator saying, “The O'Neals are your typical, Irish, Catholic family.” Really? From the video we see that the parents are divorcing, the older son admits to an eating disorder, the daughter runs scam fund raisers and pockets the money, the family priest drives a Lexus - oh, and the main character is gay. Yeah, that's a real typical Catholic family. //RKBentley rolls his eyes//

In one scene, a young girl in a Catholic school girl uniform is pressuring the main character (the gay one) into having sex (how cliché) when she produces a giant box of condoms. The scene cuts to the boy standing in front of the mirror admiring a male, underwear model in a magazine. I guess he's trying to psych himself up for sex with the girl. He chickens out and flushes the condoms which causes the toilet to overflow. Desperately plunging the toilet, the boy pleads to a statue of the Virgin Mary on the toilet by saying, “Come on, girl. You've got to help me out.” Hmmm. Can't ABC see how this might be offensive?

Now, ABC has every right to make the show. But I also have the right to say I will refuse to watch it. I also have the right to tell everyone I know not to watch it. I have every right to say I hope the show fails miserably (which I'm sure it will) and that ABC will lose millions of dollars just for having produced it in the first place. I have the right to wish that every company who advertizes on the show will hear a million protests from angry consumers, all promising to boycott their products for supporting such trash. Finally, I have the right to say that I'm sick and tired of corporations that thumb their noses at their Christian consumers all in the sake of “tolerance” and “fairness.”

ABC! You're not tolerant or fair. You're a bunch of anti-christian theophobes who has embraced the crowned Prince of intolerance. Savage is a bigot of the worst sort who has nothing in common with the values once held by Walt Disney. You have made your bed and now you will lie in it. It's values like this that have contributed to the overall decline of TV and movie audiences. You habitually offend the beliefs held by millions of people. ABC, if this show represents your corporate values, then your viewership will continue to decline. Maybe later, you'll regret having aired the show. You were warned.

By the way, I won't accept any apology. My rant is over. Carry on.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Answering the 10 Theological Questions No Young-earth Creationist Can Answer: Conclusion

9. Why is incest wrong?

An extremely common criticism leveled at the Bible is the rhetorical question, “Where did Cain get his wife?” The point being that if only Adam & Eve were created, and they only had Cain and Able, then how could Cain have found the wife mentioned in Genesis 4:17?

This question has always stumped me. Not in the sense that I can't answer it but rather why do people even ask it. I've sometimes answered this with a short analogy: I've heard various statistics but one source says that if you start with a single pair of rabbits, you could end up with over 50,000 rabbits at the end of three years! Do you understand how that works? The first pair has babies, then the babies have babies, and so on. It's not rocket science. Well, that same principle works with people – albeit not quite as fast.

The Bible names three children of Adam & Eve. They are Cain, Able, and Seth. However, the Bible is clear that Adam had other, “sons and daughters” (Genesis 5:4). So, in case you still haven't figured it out, Adam & Eve had babies, then their babies had babies with each other. That's how it worked and it was how God intended it.

As people start to think about this, a queasy feeling of taboo starts to set in. If their babies had babies with each other, isn't that incest? If it occurred today, that's how we'd describe it but obviously it wasn't seen the same way then. In his article, Francke describes incest as, weird and disturbing and more than a little icky.” I believe his view (which I share, by the way) is the product of our Western culture. What we might consider gross, other cultures have embraced. Marrying close relatives – such as sisters, cousins, and nieces – has been practiced around the world for millenia.

Why, then, is incest wrong? It's wrong precisely because the Bible has declared it to be wrong. When God gave the Law to Moses, this thing which had been practiced for thousands of years was commanded to cease. Next you might ask why a practice that God intended, He now would say to stop? I won't pretend that I know exactly why but I do know that God is not arbitrary. I suspect it probably is a matter of health.

In the first few generations after Adam and Eve, marrying a close relative was unavoidable. Many generations later, by the time of Moses, there were enough people in the world that it was no longer necessary to marry anyone closely related to you. Furthermore, the genetic burden each successive generation inherited became worse and worse and marrying a close relative now carried a greater risk of defects in the offspring of incestuous couples. When God gave the Law to Moses, He commanded the practice to cease.

Something similar has happened concerning our diets. When God created Adam and Eve, He told them they could eat any green thing. After the Flood, God told Noah he could also eat meat (likely because the world was not as lush as before the Flood). But when God gave the Law to Moses, it included strict prohibitions against eating certain foods. We have, then, another example of something originally allowed but later commanded to end. So what point is proved by Francke asking this question? Absolutely nothing.

10. And finally, if it is so vitally important that Christians take Genesis literally, why did Jesus never once instruct us to take Genesis literally?

I've always thought it a weak argument to build upon points Jesus didn't make. If it's important that we wash our hands after we sneeze, why didn't Jesus ever tell us to do that?! If it's so important to eat vegetables, why didn't Jesus ever tell us to do that?! It should be obvious that these things are important so the fact that Jesus didn't instruct us about them doesn't prove they're not important. I guess I shouldn't say I've never used a “negative argument” but I still say it's the weaker route.

Now, I don't know everything Jesus said – I only know what is recorded in the Bible. I do know we have no record of Jesus ever having said, “Truly I say to you, you shall read Genesis literally.” Such a statement makes little sense, anyway. I generally do not take things “literally” but I take them in the sense they are intended. Can you imagine having conversations where every word is meant to be literal? How would we interpret expressions like, “scared to death” or “my wife's going to kill me”? So Jesus instructing us to take Genesis “literally” would have probably created more problems than it would solve. Taking the Bible “literally” is a straw man caricature made by critics of conservative Christians.

Instead of looking at what Jesus didn't do, let's look at what He did do. We know that time after time, when confronted by His critics (chiefly, the Pharisees), He often responded with, “Haven't you read...” and would then cite some Old Testament passage applicable to the situation. In those situations, rather than offering some “figurative meaning” of the text, He always relied on the obvious meaning of the passage to make His point.

At the end of the day, though, Jesus did often quote from Genesis. Perhaps His most relevant comment on the subject is found in Mark 10:6-8 where Jesus refers to both Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 in the same comment. He certainly seemed to be referring to Adam & Eve as real people. In Matthew 23:35, Jesus refers to a history of martyrdom beginning with Abel and ending with Zacharias (the latter apparently recently murdered by the Pharisees). In Luke 17:27, He compared the suddenness of His next coming to the Flood of Noah. In all of these cases, and others I could cite, He names these people as though they are real characters in History. How ridiculous would it be to talk about Abel (a fictional character) in the same context as Zacharias (a real person known to the Pharisees) or to compare the Flood of Noah (a fictional event) to the Second Coming (a literal event)?

Perhaps I should turn the question around on Francke. I believe Jesus treated Genesis as real history. If Genesis were not meant to literal, why didn't Jesus instruct us to interpret it figuratively? That “what Jesus didn't do” argument works both ways. The difference is that the Bible repeatedly shows Jesus treating people and events from Genesis as “literal” and never as “figurative.” By continuously referring to the things as history, I believe Jesus was indeed instructing us on the correct way to read Genesis.

Read the entire series:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Answering the 10 Theological Questions That No Young-earth Creationist Can Answer: Part 4

7. Can you name any other piece of literature in which the existence of a talking snake and trees with magical powers would suggest to you that it was meant to be taken literally?

I've always been a little confused about the “talking snake” caricature people use to describe the Serpent in Genesis 3. Most people understand this is Satan, right? I mean, it wasn't just a garden variety snake talking to Eve – it was Lucifer. I'm not even sure he was in the form of a snake; he is merely being called a “serpent.” He is similarly described in Revelation 12:9, where he is again called that old “serpent”:

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

I'm entirely aware that most artistic renderings of Eve and the Serpent show a snake in a tree so maybe I'm at odds with many Christians. I just don't believe Satan appeared to Eve in the form of a “talking snake.”

Let's put all that aside for a moment. The question was, are there any other examples where talking animals are meant to be believed as real. Of course there are. In Norse mythology, Fenrir, the wolf, could talk. In Greek mythology, Arion, was a talking horse. In Hindu tradition, there was a man named, Kindama, who could assume animal form. There are also myriad examples of satyrs, fawns, and other woodland creatures which possessed varying degrees of human attributes but it always included speech. Of course, we know now that all of these creatures were mythical but they were believed to be real.

I'm sure the author was aware of these other examples because he says he, “just completed a survey of 6,842 stories that feature talking animals.” He follows up his point by saying, “none of them were history,” which, I believe, makes his point entirely non sequitur. What exactly is proved by his point? Is it that because Aesop wrote about talking animals, there can't really be talking animals? One doesn't necessarily follow the other. I could similarly say that Jesus didn't really turn water into wine because similar, miraculous feats (like King Midas turning anything he touched into gold) are all mythical. You can see how that doesn't really work.

Francke's entire premise in asking this question is a sort of argument of incredulity. He's trying to say that since these things might sound far fetched, they can't be true. I wonder if he would try the same thing with other “incredible” accounts from the Bible – like the Resurrection?

8. Why do Genesis 1 and 2 contradict?

The short answer is that Genesis 1 and 2 don't contradict each other. They are talking about different things. Genesis 1 describes the creation of the universe in six days and God's rest on the 7th day. This initial chronology – described in the King James as, “the generations of the heavens and the earth” - ends at Genesis 2:4. Genesis 2:5 begins an elaborate description of the creation of Adam and the Garden which occurred on day 6.

Now in Francke's defense, a lot of Christians don't get this – even some young-earth creationists. Why? I believe the passage if extremely clear. In fact, I cannot see how anybody doesn't get it. Yet, the confusion persists. It's very curious. I have a theory about why people miss what should be obvious. I believe the confusion exists precisely because people like Francke and other, old-earth Christians write commentaries that seek to “reconcile Genesis with science.” Worse yet, some theistic evolutionists, like Francke, probably understand the difference and intentionally hype the alleged contradictions in order to bolster their claim that the entire creation account is allegory.

In his criticism, Francke links to a article that explains the seeming contradiction between Genesis 1 and 2. In that article, we find this quote:

It should be evident that chapter 2 is not just ‘another’ account of creation because chapter 2 says nothing about the creation of the heavens and the earth, the atmosphere, the seas, the land, the sun, the stars, the moon, the sea creatures, etc. Chapter 2 mentions only things directly relevant to the creation of Adam and Eve and their life in the garden God prepared specially for them.”

Francke has either not read the article to which he linked, has read it but doesn't understand it, or has read it but thinks that what calls, “evident,” isn't really that evident. Of course, there is still the other possibility that he understands perfect well but is just flat out lying and continues to claim the chapters are contradictory in order to make a literal interpretation seem impossible.

Read the entire series: