googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: 2017

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Are creationists arrogant? A review of King Crocoduck's series: Part 4

King Crocoduck (abbreviated here as, KC) begins his 4th video with this thought: “You know, the most remarkable thing about science is that it works.” What follows is a 9 minute diatribe about how it is only through science that we can learn about reality. I laughed out loud at 58 seconds into the video where he says, “Science works. Hate the method for being so rigorous – hate the conclusions for not conforming to your expectations – but do NOT deny its power!” He sounds like a super-villain.

At one point, KC says, “Theology and philosophy simply cannot compete with science if the goal is to construct accurate models of reality.” It's textbook scientism. defines scientism this way:

Unlike the use of the scientific method as only one mode of reaching knowledge, scientism claims that science alone can render truth about the world and reality. Scientism's single-minded adherence to only the empirical, or testable, makes it a strictly scientifc worldview, in much the same way that a Protestant fundamentalism that rejects science can be seen as a strictly religious worldview. Scientism sees it necessary to do away with most, if not all, metaphysical, philosophical, and religious claims, as the truths they proclaim cannot be apprehended by the scientific method. In essence, scientism sees science as the absolute and only justifiable access to the truth.

Yep, that's KC to a tee! PBS is not a religion-friendly source and I disagree with their characterization that fundamental Protestants reject science but, I must say, I find their comparison of people like KC to religious zealots somewhat hilarious. I doubt KC would accept that label but, if the shoe fits, he should wear it.

KC's worldview suffers from many flaws, many of which I've written about before.  I can't cover them all again now but I will touch on some of the most obvious difficulties. Take morality, for example. Is there really such a thing as morality? Certainly the universe doesn't care what we do. Science can only describe what happens but can't say if a thing is right or wrong. What some might call “murder” is just one animal killing another. It happens all the time in nature and it's no more wrong than an apple falling from a tree. Theology and philosophy are far better tools for examining the reality of good and evil.

Science is also limited when examining history. Pick any person from history and try to prove – scientifically – that he really lived. The best evidence we have for people or events of antiquity is what has been written down about them. The evidence we have for the life, miracles, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus is the same type of evidence we have for Columbus having sailed to the Americas.

Speaking of miracles, scientism is also at a disadvantage when examining miracles. At about 6:27 in the video, KC says, “The bottom line is this: scientists don't interpret evidence in a manner that fits an a priori conclusion.” KC is wrong. Secular scientists do have a bias – an a priori commitment to naturalism. Consider this quote from Scientific American Magazine which I've cited on my blog before:

Creation science” is a contradiction in terms. A central tenet of modern science is methodological naturalism--it seeks to explain the universe purely in terms of observed or testable natural mechanisms.

Now, there is no scientific reason to believe every phenomenon must have a natural cause. It's an assumption – a tenet that cannot be observed anywhere in the universe. So, if a miracle has occurred in reality, KC would have to deny it happened on no grounds other than his religious-like faith in scientism.

When it comes to interpreting the evidence, KC asserts, “I'm sorry, creationists, but we are not standing on even grounds. Not even close.” KC resorts to a typical tactic used by evolutionists which is to claim dibs on the evidence. He rattles off a bunch of items as though it's evidence only for his theories. One item on his list, for example, is “observed speciation events.” It's true that speciation happens. However, it's a lie to suggest that only evolution can account for speciation. Speciation is a critical part of the creation model. In fact, creationists are often chided with claims that a few thousand years is not enough time for speciation to happen. When we have observed speciation events, it's evidence that speciation can happen quickly – just as predicted by creationists. Furthermore, the speciation we observe are usually examples of the re-sorting of already existing traits via natural selection. It is not the trait-adding sort of change required for evolution.

The worst thing about scientism, though, is that it retards critical thinking. Skepticism is supposed to be at the heart of scientific inquiry. Once a majority of scientists accept any particular conclusion, it becomes, “settled science.” Any expression of doubt about the conclusion is met with ridicule, insults, and the label of being a “science denier.” This brings me back to the same point I made in my introduction to this series; KC is defining arrogance to mean disagreeing with the majority of scientists on the secular theories of origins. It's a blatant appeal to authority: “we're scientists – if you disagree with what we say, you're an idiot.”

Finally, KC conflates the theories of the Big Bang and evolution with all of science. In other words, because we've used “science” to eradicate small pox and put men on the moon, we must also believe in evolution and the Big Bang. At about 1:23, KC says this overtly, “The method that allows you to watch this video and hear my voice, is the same method that has been used to construct the theories that creationists deny. That these other theories have not had as much of an impact on our day to day activities as quantum theory or germ theory have, is irrelevant.” Let me say, quickly, that it's no small point that evolution has no impact on our daily lives. It's a trivial pursuit that is a huge waste of our resources and a waste of students' time in school. What's more concerning here, though, is how KC seems to link me watching his videos as evidence that men and apes have a common ancestor because it's the same scientific method that discovered both! You can see how that doesn't quite work.

Merriam-Webster defines arrogant as, “1. exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one's own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner. 2. showing an offensive attitude of superiority : proceeding from or characterized by arrogance.” Now, honestly, isn't that exactly how KC sounds in this series? I think that devotees of scientism are most arrogant people I've ever met. Perhaps I should do a video series on that!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Are creationists arrogant? A review of King Crocoduck's series: Part 3

In his third video of his series, King Crocoduck (whom I refer to as KC, for short) talks about terms used by creationists that he feels are vague or misused. Specifically, he discusses the terms information and kind. I don't think he's very successful in his criticisms which I will expound upon.

He first discusses information. Now, typically, I avoid using the word information because it can lead to confusion. It's usually evolutionists, though, who try to muddy the waters. Take the two words book and koob; only one of these words has meaning (in English) but both contain information. From a statistical viewpoint, the second word has different information than the first word even though both words have the same letters. So when a creationist starts talking about how mutations in the DNA don't add new “information” to the DNA (like how a mutation might cause book to become boko but destroys its meaning), evolutionists respond much like KC does – that is to ridicule the word and make demands for a definition which derails the conversation.

KC suggests that comparing DNA to a language or calling it a blueprint are simply analogies used to explain to lay people how DNA functions. They're not scientific terms. I agree to a large part but I think KC fails to realize that most people understand an analogy when they hear one. I don't think anyone actually believes DNA has little words written on it. When creationists are explaining our theory to a lay audience, we tend to use the same analogies of “blueprint” and “language” that we heard when we learned these things. Why then does KC object so strongly to creationists using the same terms and analogies as evolutionists?

But I've notice that the word, information is not only used when talking about DNA to lay persons. The following is a quote from an online article by the National Center for Biotechnology Information:

Interestingly, even using the most conservative estimates, the fraction of bases likely to be involved in direct gene regulation, even though incomplete, is significantly higher than that ascribed to protein coding exons (1.2%), raising the possibility that more information in the human genome may be important for gene regulation than for biochemical function.

So, even in a scientific paper, scientists who actually study DNA (unlike KC who is a physicist) describe DNA as having information.

KC says, “[DNA] is merely a sequence of molecules that, under the right conditions, will react with other molecules in a specific predictable way.” I should point out that KC seems to be describing DNA function like it's something as simple as a row of dominoes falling over. DNA is a highly organized, highly complex molecule whose “instructions” are encyclopedic in length. Human DNA, for example, is over 3 billion base pairs in length. Perhaps KC doesn't like the term, “information” being used when discussing DNA. How about terms like “organized,” “ordered,” or “complex”? He would probably object to those as well, saying they are also too vague.

Hold that thought and consider what KC says next: “DNA does not contain information. It contains biochemical potential and, as such, is subject to the laws of statistical thermodynamics and biochemistry – not the laws of information.” As KC is saying this, he flashes a shot of Ludwig Boltzmann's tomb on the screen. Boltzmann, if you remember from my last post, talked about how systems will tend to either be in disorder or moving toward disorder (per the 2nd law of thermodynamics). So if DNA is subject to the laws of thermodynamics, please explain how applying heat to chemicals could ever cause them to become organized into a highly complex DNA molecule? Also, if mutations to the DNA provide the raw data that allows evolution to happen, how can evolution even be possible if the DNA molecule is being corrupted thousands of times faster than it is improving? Eventually the DNA should become too disorganized to sustain life!

In spite of KC's objections, creationists will continue using words like “information” and “organization” when describing the DNA molecule. It's organization and complexity is strong evidence for a Creator!

KC next moves to talking about the term, kinds. KC says, “A much more common and much more frustrating example of nebulous, creationist language is when they insist that evolutionary theory predicts a change in kinds, without actually defining what kinds are.” The Bible says that God created animals according to their kind; Genesis 1:24-25 says, for example:

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

It should be noted that the demand for a rigorous definition of a kind is usually nothing more than a red herring raised by evolutionists. When discussing their own theory, for example, evolutionists sometimes describe macroevolution as “evolution above the species level.” The problem is that I have yet to hear a rigorous definition of the word species. So if evolutionists can discuss their own theory using words as imprecise as species, they have no grounds to harp on our use of the word kind. Yet harp the do. //RKBentley sighs//

I've written before about kinds. For practical purposes, a kind is a group of creatures originally created by God that would reproduce creatures similar to themselves. It includes all of the various species that are descended from the original group. Perhaps my definition isn't technical or terribly precise, but it's at least as precise as the term species. It's easy enough to understand in concept that we can use it while discussing our theory. Evolutionists, on the other hand, play word games. Let me give you an example I've used before:

Dogs, wolves, and coyotes can all reproduce together yet evolutionists identify them as different species. Because of their very different anatomies, Great Danes and Chihuahuas cannot reproduce together yet they are still considered the same species. Both evolutionists and creationists believe all canines have descended from a common ancestor but if creationists call canine a “kind,” evolutionists pretend they can't understand what we're talking about. KC says the term kinds is "no less arbitrary than 'makaka.'" I know most evolutionists aren't stupid. In this case, they're just playing dumb.

KC further clouds the discussion by demanding an exact equivalent between kinds and some other label in taxonomy – such as species, genus, family, etc. If pressed, I would say a kind is most analogous to a family but the fact of the matter is that there is no exact equivalent. KC provided a slide which Ken Ham used in his debate with Bill Nye. On the slide, Ham lists cat-kind (which is a family according to Linnaean taxonomy), dog-kind (also a family), and elephant-kind (which is an order).

Evolutionists believe there is some evolutionary order in behind their method of classification. In other words, they believe all mammals have a common ancestor – then, among mammals, all marsupials have a common ancestor – then, all diprotodonts – then, all macropods (Kangaroo-kind) – then, the various species. With this in mind, where to place animals on the Linnaean hierarchy can be somewhat subjective. For example, bison were once considered to be a different genus than domestic cows... until it was discovered they could hybridize! Technically, that should make them the same species according to the reproductive rule used by evolutionists but evolutionists are rather arbitrary in applying that rule. Regardless, bison and cows are obviously the same kind regardless of where evolutionists label them.

There is a field of study within the creation sciences called, baraminology, which attempts to identify the original created kinds and to assign species to their respective kinds. The Linnaean system is completely inadequate for that so it's rather ignorant (and arrogant) of KC to demand that creationists use their terminology to describe our theory.

KC said, "As far as anyone can tell, this standard for kind was selected simply to elminate the need for millions of animals on Noah's Ark and, in all accounts, is completely arbitrary." KC is either ignorantly or deceitfully repeating the straw man argument where evolutionists say that Noah didn't have room on the Ark for millions of species. KC does not mention the simple fact that the vast majority of the 6.5 million species believed to exist are bacteria & viruses, plants, insects, and marine creatures. Noah didn't have to provide for these on the Ark.

According to Wikipedia, there are only around 66,000 species of vertebrates. More than 1/2 of these are fish or amphibians meaning there are only 20-30k species of terrestrial, vertebrate animals (remember too that even some mammals and reptiles are aquatic). So the oft repeated claim that Noah would have to have had "millions of animals" on the Ark is a blatant lie and KC has fallen for it! The 30k modern, terrestrial species we've identified are descended from a smaller group of kinds Noah took aboard the Ark so Noah had to accommodate only a few thousand animals.

KC concludes this video saying, "Creationists, we don't use technical terminology to try to look smart. We use it because it has what your words don't – precision." Really? Why do evolutionists constantly equate evolution with science? Why do they frequently use evolution and natural selection interchangeably? Why do they harp on creationists for calling evolution "just a theory" when they use theory to describe the unobserved, unduplicated, unscientific phenomenon of abiogenesis?

Evolutionists want to define terms in their favor. They use a definition of evolution that basically describes any change in a population but gives no consideration to the type of change. In the creation v. evolution debate, the dispute is not over wolf-to-dog type evolution but over fish-to-frog, dino-to-bird, or ape-to-man. Somehow, they believe birds continuously removing one color from a population of moths (by eating dark moths, for example) is the same thing as dinosaurs acquiring feathers – it just has to continue long enough.

Maybe scientists are careful to use words with precise meanings but evolutionists aren't. They're happy to abuse the language in order to deceive a lay public. KC certainly does his part, using this video to add to the confusion. KC claims information isn't useful in science even though I can cite many examples of secular scientists using the term. KC also pretends he can't understand the term kinds even though an average 10-year-old can get it. Remember too, KC is the same person who tried to define nothing as all the energy in the universe!

Evolutionists are the truly arrogant ones. They think it's their right to tells us what words mean. They can whine, they can kick and scream, but at the end of the day, words mean only what the majority of people think they mean. Sorry, KC, but you're not the word czar. I find your video less instructive and more annoying.

Read the entire series:

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Are creationists arrogant? A review of King Crocoduck's series: Part 2

In the second video of King Crocoduck's (who I refer to as, KC for the sake of economy) video series, he deals with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It's a difficult video to critique because KC makes very few arguments. Instead, he spends most of the 13 minutes of the video making assertions like (paraphrasing), “Creationists are stupid, they don't understand anything, they hate science, etc.” He does show a couple of very short clips of creationists mentioning the law but he doesn't really expound on how he thinks anything they're saying is wrong. He merely plays a clip and then insults the creationists as being stupid.

Let me start by making an admission. I'm sure that most creationists can't name all the laws of thermodynamics. I'll also admit that most creationists' understanding of the second law is grossly simple. Let's face it, most people aren't physicists. By the way, that also includes most people who believe the secular theories of our origins – those who are usually called, evolutionists in this debate. Neither do they fully understand the second law nor can they name all the laws of thermodynamics. It's a fact that most creationists went to public schools and learned science while sitting right next to evolutionists. I would say the average lay-creationist understands science about as well as the lay-evolutionist. The simple summaries of the first and second laws that KC cites in his video (i.e. "matter can neither be created nor destroyed"), weren't invented by creationists but are the explanations we were taught in science class.

Of course, being untrained or unlearned doesn't automatically mean “wrong.” No one is an expert in everything. Lay people can have opinions – even correct opinions – in areas where they have little training. It's not enough for KC to say that creationists hate science and don't fully understand the second law of thermodynamics. He needs to demonstrate precisely how natural processes can allow something like abiogenesis in spite of the second law.

KC spends some time explaining the second law of thermodynamics. He begins by talking about the flow of heat. Heat is a form of energy that can be directed to do work. KC offers the example of a piston. Of course, no system is perfectly efficient so as energy is used to perform work, some of it is expended and becomes “useless.” Over time, all the available energy will be spent and work can no longer be performed. This is why perpetual motion is impossible; new energy must be continuously added to any system or it will eventually fail.

The second law is sometimes called, the law of increasing entropy. KC objects to calling entropy, disorder because he thinks that term is too vague (just like he thought the term, nothing was vague). He explains his objection beginning about 5:55 into the video by describing what should be the presumed fate of the universe. Eventually, all usable energy will have been spent and all the atoms in the universe will be motionless, suspended uniformly throughout. KC's point is that such an organized arrangement of matter could hardly be described as, chaotic, so chaos and disorder are misleading terms to use when describing the second law.

Let me pause for a moment and remind everyone what KC said in his first video. He asserted that, in accordance with the first law of thermodynamics, energy was eternal. There, he chided Tom the Creationist saying, “I've already explained how something can come from nothing [no he didn't by the way] and, until you explain exactly why the second law of thermodynamics prohibits the universe from having always existed, you have no case.” Um, KC? Did something come from nothing or has everything always existed because you seem to be saying both here? Anyway, in this video, KC says, “Because of the second law of thermodynamics, the universe will eventually use up all of its available energy and will lose the capacity to perform work.” So, in KC's own words, if all the energy in the universe were eternally old, it should have reached total entropy already.

Now, getting back to what we were saying about disorder: KC claims the term, disorder is, “no less arbitrary that 'ooga booga'” (see slide at 4:29). It's ironic then, that Ludwig Boltzmann, the man KC practically venerates later in the video as the patron saint of entropy, is sometimes described as, “The Master of Disorder.” Per Wikipedia, The idea that the second law of thermodynamics or "entropy law" is a law of disorder... is due to Boltzmann's view of the second law. So the use of the word, disorder to describe the second law was not coined to, “allow creationists to commit as many fallacies of equivocation and goal post shifting as desired” as KC alleges.

The Master of Disorder article cited above offers these definitions: Order means that there are very few configurations, if changed, which would go unnoticed. Disorder means that there are many configurations, if changed, which would go unnoticed. Boltzmann noted that, since there are far more combinations of disordered arrangements possible than ordered arrangements, any system will either be in disorder or moving toward disorder. He called organization, “infinitely improbable.”

Boltzmann likened gas molecules to billiard balls moving around on a table.  At any given moment, they are far less likely to be ordered (as in a rack) than disordered (spread randomly around the table).  When we see things in the universe like design, purpose, order, fine-tuning, or pick your adjective, creationists acknowledge that as evidence for a Designer.  Per the second law, we see an ordered, organized universe being the result of random, un-directed energy is, "infinitely improbable."

KC also spends a good amount of time explaining how the earth is receiving more heat (energy) from the sun than it emits. In his typical, over-dramatic voice, he exclaims, “[Creationists] can whine. You can kick and scream. But the inescapable fact of the matter is that we receive more useful energy than we expend.” It's curious because KC includes a clip where creationists are admitting the earth receives energy from the sun – they're not whining, kicking, or screaming but never mind that. What KC fails to explain is how having available energy – by itself – can create order.

Let me give you an example: a living system is all about organization. You can have molecules, amino acids, and even proteins, but you won't have a living cell unless these things are organized a certain way. If you apply heat to amino acids, will they become more or less organized? In order to convert energy to work, you need something like an engine. Plants, for example, are like machines that can convert sunlight to food. The problem for evolution is that the sun shining on lifeless chemicals won't produce plants. In fact, the second law seems to argue against it. Heat applied to chemicals will tend to make them less organized! So KC really does nothing in this video to rebut the creationists' position or even explain how having energy from the sun helps his position.

KC spends the last few minutes praising the work of Boltzmann. He makes him out to be some sort of martyr. I don't know what Boltzmann's views on God were. It's my understanding, though, that he was likely bi-polar and was driven to suicide in large part because of criticism from his peers. Even so, I'm not sure what any of this has to do with creationism.

Over all 5 of his videos, KC continuously commits the fallacy of conflating evolution with science as though they're the same thing. I don't know of any creationist who has a problem with science. There are – and have been – many scientists who believe God created the universe. People like Newton, Pasteur, and Mendel, and Kepler immediately come to mind. Even today, Drs. Ben Carson and Raymond Damadian are admitted, young-earth creationists. Now, I'm not saying that these people's belief in a Creator made them better scientists. I'm saying that they have all made great contributions to science – they're belief in creation not withstanding.

The images of toothless men in overalls and the endless barrage of juvenile insults made by KC are arguments I would expect to see on the playground of an elementary school. They do nothing to support his premise that creationists are arrogant. Conversely, KC's prolific use of scientific jargon is nothing more than smoke and mirrors used to dress up his empty arguments. KC's entire series can be summed up with this analogy: Imagine an 8-year-old bully in the 3rd grade telling a 2nd grader, “I'm a scientist. You're a poopy head.”

Read the entire series:

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Are creationists arrogant? A review of King Crocoduck's series: Part 1

In my first post of this series, I drew attention to the way King Crocoduck (abbreviated here as KC) pronounced, “defecate.” I've since learned that KC's first language is Russian so, given that English is his second language, he actually speaks it well. I've studied Greek and Spanish and, though I'm not fluent in either, I know how difficult it is to learn a new language so I shouldn't slight KC for what is technically an accent. Still, he does have a peculiar manner of speaking. Based on the way he interjects mellow drama into his narration, I believe he's trying to sound like Carl Sagan but comes off sounding more like an annoyed Adam West. That's just my musings. Anyway, in his first video on the Arrogance of Creationism, KC attempts to address the ultimate origin of everything. He uses a lot of technical terms and scientific-looking graphics but, in spite of his verbosity, he really doesn't explain anything.

In a snippet provided by KC as an example of the arrogance of creationists, Tom the creationist says, “Nothing cannot explode or expand – or whatever – or bounce, as some now say.” KC thinks it would be helpful to define terms so he provides his own definition of “nothing.” Aristotle is quoted as saying, “Nothing is what rocks dream about.” That's actually very clever. KC, however, dismisses a philosophical definition in favor of a definition that is “concordant with physical reality.” He then goes on to describe a vacuum which, according to KC, “is as close to the philosophical definition of 'nothing' as you can get.” KC is cheating. A vacuum is still something. Space, time, and physical laws, for example, still exist inside the vacuum. So KC equivocates in his explanation of a universe from nothing by redefining “nothing” to mean “something.”

Michael Shermer, the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, once described a conversation he claims to have had with his daughter. He was trying to explain the initial singularity before the Big Bang to her and said (paraphrasing), “Imagine all the planets and stars and everything else in the universe crammed into a single suitcase.” His inquisitive daughter replied, “What was outside the suitcase?” That insightful question exposes the flaw in KC's definition of 'nothing.” According to the theory, nothing exists outside of the suitcase – no space, no time, no dimensions, no anything. It is so foreign to anything we have experienced that it is only through philosophy that we can attempt to describe it.

A common misconception of the Big Bang is that all the matter in the universe once existed in a single point, then began to expand into already existing space. That's the exact impression KC gives when he says, “Now, [Tom] asserted that 'nothing' cannot expand. But space can and is. And since the vacuum is an inherent property of space, the vacuum can expand as well.” So either KC doesn't understand his own theory (meaning he is ignorant) or he is intentionally exploiting the common misunderstanding, hoping that people won't see how he's not addressing Tom's criticism (meaning he is a liar). He concludes this point emphasizing how it's important to define your terms in science to “avoid vagueries like, 'nothing.'” //RKBentley shakes his head//

Next, KC attempts to address the origin of matter. He plays another short clip of Tom asking, “So where did your matter come from?” KC begins his reply by talking about how matter is just a condensed form of energy, cites Einstein's formula, E=MC2, rattles off a list of scientific terms, talks about the inflationary epoch, rattles off some more scientific terms, and concludes his “explanation” saying, “3 minutes and 20 seconds later, the universe expands to the point where the temperature cools sufficiently to allow protons and neutrons to form and there are your first hydrogen atoms”. In other words, he spends nearly a full minute trying to sound very scientific but, at the end of it all, offered nothing but smoke and mirrors. If you strip away all the technical terms, KC is basically saying, “the Big Bang started, and a few minutes later, all the atoms in the universe appeared.”

At this point, KC spends some time talking about the formation of stars and the fusion of higher elements. I could offer some criticisms on these points but why bother? So far, he still hasn't addressed the origins of space, time, or matter. Without these things, the formation of stars and the higher elements is academic.

What KC says next is very telling. At about 3:22 in the video he says, “So, in summary, all matter comes from energy and energy – in accordance with the first law of thermodynamics – is eternal.” You can see, then, that all the scientific jargon was just fluff. At the end of it all, KC mere asserts that matter (energy) is eternal. Why didn't he just say that in the first place?

I see at least 3 problems with KC's eternal matter argument. 1) It really is a dogmatic statement which hardly differs from saying an eternal God did it. 2) KC knows that no system is perfectly efficient so if all energy were contained in a single point for an eternity, it should have reached total entropy already. 3) I wrote a post about an infinitely old universe a while back. It's logically impossible to cross an infinite amount of time. If a person believes in an infinitely old universe, he is saying we have reached this point of time after an infinite amount of time has already passed which is absurd.

KC next spends a little time critiquing Tom about a quote made by Paul Davies which, for the sake of space, I won't detail too much except to say KC did raise some valid points about Tom misquoting Davies and also creating the false dichotomy of “Christians versus evolutionists.” From there, he segues into talking about the initial singularity from which the Big Bang supposedly began to expand. I noticed while he was speaking, he seemed to waver back and forth between two positions.

Listen careful to some of the things KC is suggesting: he just finished saying that energy is eternal and was converted to matter in the conditions of the Big Bang. But earlier, when defining, “nothing,” he said, “if you have a system to remove all the matter and all the energy, you've essentially removed everything that physically exists including the 4 fundamental forces, what you're left with is a vacuum.” Still, KC was quick to add, “But even then, you still have the vacuum energy in the system.” According to Wiki, Vacuum energy is an underlying background energy that exists in space throughout the entire universe.” We see again that, even though KC is trying to say how the universe came from “nothing,” he still is assuming space and energy – not what most of us think of as “nothing.”

Next KC talks about quantum fluctuations within a vacuum. He says the “inseparable energy [of the vacuum] is made of up of particle/anti-particle pairs spontaneously popping in and out of existence... Seeing as you [Tom] are aware this process exists and is very well understood, it remains a mystery to me as to why you are so appalled at the notion that something can come from nothing. It can and it does – all the time.” Time after time, KC says things come from “nothing,” but in every case, he is talking about “something.” He is talking about space, time, and energy. It reminds of comedian, Steve Martin's investment strategy: “OK, you start with $1,000,000....”

KC spends the last few minutes of his video talking about how weighty the science is in studying origins and how most people are too stupid to understand it. Interestingly, he completely denies any utility in philosophy when considering the origin of the universe. For example, he objects that Tom's, “philosophical ponderings on causality are even remotely comparable to the rigor and discipline required to even understand the subject under discussion – much less disprove it.”  Hmmm. Tom said the effect cannot be greater than its cause. What exactly is KC's objection to that? KC wants us to believe something can come from nothing but all he was able to do in this video is say that everything came from an eternal something which he simply redefined as nothing. If an effect can be greater than its cause, then something like perpetual motion should be possible. KC knows it's not but he can't admit to that because it gives credence to Tom's argument. Instead, KC attacks all of philosophy.

KC obviously doesn't realize how much of science is based on philosophy and assumptions. He basically wants us to take off our thinking caps, put logic aside, forget common sense, and listen to what “scientists” say about the origin of the universe.

No thank you.

Read the entire series:

Friday, June 30, 2017

Are creationists arrogant? A review of King Crocoduck's series: Introduction

I recently came across a 5-part series of videos titled, “The Arrogance Of Creationism.” They were made by a belligerent evolutionist who posts under the name, King Crocoduck (who will henceforth be referred to as KC). For anyone unfamiliar with the term, crocoduck, it's an imaginary creature invented by Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort to highlight evolution's glaring shortage of transitional creatures. I'm fairly certain it was done half in jest but evolutionists have seized upon it and now tout it as an example of creationists' supposed lack of understanding of evolution. The term isn't really relevant to my series; I just mentioned it to give some background.

Anyway, KC's biography describes him as, Just a physics graduate, here to debunk pseudoscience of all varieties. His mission is to “crush” the beliefs of “those who seek to defecate all over [science.]” By that, he means creationists. His YouTube channel boasts over 57,000 subscribers and over 4.1 million views. In the first video, he introduces a young-earth creationist identified only as, “Tom.” In the description, he says his first video in this series is a response to a 15 minute video made by Tom and provided a link to the original video. When you click on the link, though, you find the original video has been removed.

KC says that Tom is a member of a group that identifies themselves as the Truth Defenders. I googled “Truth Defenders” and found a FaceBook page, a Twitter account, and a website that all appear to belong to the same group but I couldn't find anywhere where they talked about creation. There are also a couple of YouTube videos that have “Truth Defenders” in the title but none seem to deal with creation. KC describes Tom as having a trait common to all creationists – arrogance. Without knowing anything about Tom besides the short snippets KC includes of him in the video, I can't say if KC is representing Tom fairly. It's a little frustrating too because, when I hear the contempt and condescension spewing from KC as he narrates his own videos, I would love to know what he considers to be arrogance.

Actually, I know what KC means by arrogance: creationists are arrogant because they disagree with secular theories of origins. Yes, that's precisely what he means. In KC's world, science is the ultimate method of gaining knowledge, only what can be known scientifically is true, and anyone who disagrees with a scientific conclusion is a pompous jerk who “defecates” on all of science (KC pronounces it as “dee-fe-cates” which I find amusing). It's a sort of No True Scotsman argument – everyone who agrees with KC is normal, rational, and cool. Everyone who disagrees is an imbecile.

KC is certainly a ardent follower of the scientism I discussed a couple of months ago. He considers science to be the final arbiter of what is true and any opinion held by a majority of scientists is a fact. Throughout the series, KC cites questionable ideas, that have only been published in scientific papers and never observed, and asserts them as though they are settled science. In his first video, for example, he talks about the ultimate origin of matter and energy (a subject that is certainly controversial and far from settled) as though it's yesterday's news. He fearlessly asserts “facts” he cannot possibly know are true then insults and belittles creationists who are skeptical of them.

I'm going to do a short series critiquing each of the videos in KC's series. A critique of the first video will be in my next post. I'm using this post as a sort of introduction so that I might highlight a few things to look out for. Logical fallacies abound: appeals to authority, ad hominem, equivocation, conflation, and plenty of old-fashion name calling. Curiously absent from the series, though, are concrete examples of how creationists are being arrogant.

KC said creationism cannot survive without arrogance. He even named his series, “The Arrogance of Creationism,” so you would think he would spend his time showing us supposed examples of arrogance. Instead, KC spends most of the time presenting an argument for his theory, then calls creationists arrogant for disagreeing. The arrogance and mellow drama in KC's voice make for a certain irony. It's a sort of pot-calls-kettle-black approach.

Check back soon for my first critique. God bless!!

Read the entire series:

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Selective outrage by the liberal media and its consequences

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of many mainstream media. Everyone knows most cable news channels have a liberal slant. You know what, though? I would even watch liberal news shows if they presented the news. What we have instead is a bunch of channels presenting half-truths and radical opinions with the objective of smearing republicans and excusing democrats. They're not news shows – they're the propaganda arm of the DNC.

A recent example was this non-response of a CNN panel to the Kathy Griffin photo/video showing her holding the severed head of Donald Trump. Jake Tapper introduces the clip calling Griffin's photo, “disgusting” and saying, “it's hard to imagine how anyone would think that's appropriate.” As he is saying this, though, you can hear him chuckle so obviously he's not overly disgusted and certainly not outraged. This is about as harsh a criticism the panel can muster.

Next, Tapper quotes Donald Trump, Jr as saying, “This is now considered to be acceptable discourse by the left,” and turns it over to his panel for discussion. Molly (I don't even know her last name because most CNN contributors are that unimportant to me) and Tapper share another chuckle before she admits, “I have a hard time bringing myself to even care about something like this.” She even goes so far as to blame the Trumps for making a big deal about this saying it, “speaks to the need to see themselves as the victim.” The remaining two panelists added nothing except to say that there are bigger issues than Kathy Griffin.

There were no calls to tone down the rhetoric. There were no pleas for people to come together. It was just pompous rebukes by liberal elitists telling the Trumps to stop whining.

I don't watch CNN. I guess most people don't watch CNN. Conan O'Brien said the only people who watch CNN are the people who clean the offices at CNN. Now that's funny. Anyway, the only reason I'm writing about this is to draw attention to the precise reason I don't watch shows like CNN.

Most people will remember from before the election, the leaked audio tape of Donald Trump joking with a male reported. In a high school like display of machismo, in what was thought to be a private conversation, Trump bragged that women will let a celebrity grope and kiss them. For months there was non-stop coverage about how Trump is a sexual predator and misogynist. CNN has held on to it like a dog with a bone. Now, a high-profile celebrity, in an intentional attempt to incite, holds up a terrorist-like image of her holding the bloody head of the President, and CNN says... meh.

The left calls Trump divisive. That's a laugh. They see an evil motive when Trump doesn't attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner. They shout “unfair” that the President gets two scoops of ice cream. But they can't even bring themselves to care about Griffin's incendiary display. //RKBentley shakes his head//

The selective outrage of liberal media has consequences that reach far beyond a lack of viewers. Kathy Griffin recently held a press conference which, in my opinion, was probably her funniest performance ever. In it she lamented that Trump is a bully who is trying to ruin her career. Hilarious, right? I mean, come on – Griffin poses with the President's severed head and Trump responds in a Tweet saying she is sick and should be ashamed. Now she's the victim? Excuse me while I have a chortle.

Griffin also expressed her concerns over the death threats she's been getting because of this. Here's the problem: for months, conservative pundits like Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro, and Milo Yiannopoulos have received real threats when they appear somewhere to speak. These aren't anonymous letters or emails – they're rioters who wear masks and burn buildings. Black Lives Matter protesters march in the streets and chant they want dead cops now! The mainstream fake news media simply makes excuses and tries to distance the violence from the ideology. The typical liberal commentator usually starts with something like, “I don't condone violence but....”

The violent rhetoric has reached a fevered pitch and it's all coming from the left. The response from the right has been relatively mild. How far will CNN and news outlets let the line be pushed? If the political rhetoric needs be toned down, they need to stop providing cover to the purveyors of the worst hate speech.

There have been other folks on CNN who have been a little more firm in their condemnation of Griffin but her actions were so far over the line they simply realize there's no excusing it this time. I think if there hadn't been a history of complicity between liberal media and the Democrat party, Griffin might have thought twice before doing the photo shoot. When the people who are supposed to report the news sit silently by while mobs riot and threaten, it allows the violence to escalate.

CNN, I don't care that no one watches you. I hope you lose more viewers. I hope your station goes bankrupt. I wish I could hurry it along. I'm just sorry that you've endured this long.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Why even teach evolution?

I don't have anything against education. As a matter of fact, if I won the lottery and didn't have to work anymore, I'd be a professional student for the rest of my life. I love learning. Some people like to study very narrow subjects – something like Russian literature. These might not be very practical degrees to have when you look for a job but, if you like Russian literature, then go for it. Studying evolution is sort of like studying Russian literature. No, it's actually more like studying Big Foot. There's no practical use to it, really, but if you're interested in pseudo-science, then the theory of evolution is for you. I won't stop you – not that I could anyway – but I do object to the way evolution is being taught in many public schools now.

Several years ago, I wrote about a NY Times article that talked about teaching evolution in the classroom. The article cited a dilemma faced by a FL biology teacher:

ORANGE PARK, Fla. — David Campbell switched on the overhead projector and wrote “Evolution” in the rectangle of light on the screen.
He scanned the faces of the sophomores in his Biology I class. Many of them, he knew from years of teaching high school in this Jacksonville suburb, had been raised to take the biblical creation story as fact. His gaze rested for a moment on Bryce Haas, a football player who attended the 6 a.m. prayer meetings of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in the school gymnasium.
If I do this wrong,” Mr. Campbell remembers thinking on that humid spring morning, “I’ll lose him.”

Never mind the Constitutional concerns for a moment, where a government employee sees it as his personal mission to rid his students of a religiously held belief, I'm more interested in this idea that learning evolution is somehow critical to kids' education. Bill Nye, my arch-nemesis (at least, my “would be” arch-nemesis,” if he knew I existed), is on record for saying the following:

[T]here are more people in the world — another billion people all trying to use the world’s resources. And the threat and consequences of climate change are more serious than ever, so we need as many people engaged in how we’re going to deal with that as possible.... My biggest concern about creationist kids is that they’re compelled to suppress their common sense, to suppress their critical thinking skills at a time in human history when we need them more than ever.... There are just things about evolution that we should all be aware of, the way we’re aware of where electricity comes from.

I'm just puzzled by this idea that a kid can't understand technology or science unless he believes in evolution. I've seen no evidence, anywhere, to support the idea that people who believe in creation suffer academically (except perhaps being discriminated against by teachers). Furthermore, I've never seen a compelling example of how a belief in evolution is critical to any other field of study.

I've linked before to an article by Dr. Jerry Bergman: a survey of college text books showed that most barely discuss evolution. The anatomy and physiology text books examined didn't mention evolution at all. Of the colleges surveyed in Ohio and Michigan, biology majors were required to only take one class in evolution. Also from the article, National Academy of Science Member and renown carbene chemist, Professor emeritus Dr. Philip Skell of Pennsylvania State University (see Lewis, 1992), did a survey of his colleagues that were “engaged in non-historical biology research, related to their ongoing research projects.” He found that the “Darwinist researchers” he interviewed, in answer to the question, “Would you have done the work any differently if you believed Darwin's theory was wrong?” that “for the large number” of persons he questioned, “differing only in the amount of hemming and hawing” was “in my work it would have made no difference.”

If colleges are supposed to be equipping scientists in their various fields of research, they must not think evolution is very important, considering it's barely mentioned. And you can see that even people who work in biology have admitted that evolution isn't really relevant to their research. Consider this too: can anyone name a single invention or technological advance in the last century that hinged upon an understanding of evolution? Maybe somebody could name one but that is dwarfed by the virtual explosion of technology we've seen in the last 100 years that didn't depend on evolution at all!

If evolution is so ancillary to science, if there is no study linking understanding evolution to improved test scores, if evolution is something that kids learn in school but never use again, then why is there this grim determination that students still must learn evolution? We're facing an education crisis where kids lack proficiency in critical skills like reading, math, and history. Why are we wasting time and resources teaching them a skill that is so useless yet still so controversial? Why force public schools into court to defend a sticker in a text book or to remove a teacher who mentions creation? Let's just stop the controversies altogether. I'm not saying, “give equal time to creation.” I'm not saying, “teach the difficulties.” I'm saying stop teaching evolution!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Heidi Baker, drunk in the Spirit?

Anyone who has reads my blog regularly could probably guess that I'm a cessationist. While I don't agree with the continuation of charismatic gifts (tongues, prophecy, etc), neither do I usually condemn too harshly people who feel they have these gifts. I believe many people who “speak in tongues,” for example, are likely simply overwhelmed emotionally and are acting out in the same way they've seen others act. It may not be genuine but it may still be sincere. However, there are other people who, I believe, are being deceitful.

I've seen many videos like this but here is another one I've come across recently. It features Heidi Baker acting, “drunk in the Spirit.” The whole notion of acting drunk is rooted from a verse in Acts 2. At Pentecost, when the apostles were gathered together in a room, the Holy Spirit came upon them like a flame of fire and they began speaking in tongues. The apostles were all Galilean but the people gathered there, from many different nations, could understand the apostles in their native language. They were amazed and perplexed by this sign but v. 13 tells us that some mocked them saying, “They are full of sweet wine (aka, “drunk”).” Some people in the charismatic movement understand this verse to mean the apostles must have appeared to be drunk while the Holy Spirit moved them.

I couldn't find a link to the original footage; this one has been edited down to about 20 minutes. Even though it's been edited, there are long segments of uninterrupted footage that are enough to convince me the edited video is likely a fair representation of the whole. As always, I invite you to watch the video for yourself. I would hate to be accused of mischaracterizing Ms. Baker's action. As you watch it, keep an eye out for the following tell-tale signs that make me think she's pretending the whole time.

First, Ms. Baker seems to have trouble standing. Sometimes, she's kneeling with her head against the lectern. Another time, she's lying prostrate on the floor with her hands beside her. Through all of this, though, she never seems to have any trouble keeping the microphone to her mouth. Isn't that interesting? I will admit, there have been a few times in my youth when I drank too much. I remember one time in particular that I couldn't seem to hold my glass upright. It seemed that if I just stood, holding the glass without paying attention, I would let the glass tilt and spill some drink. I wasn't even “falling down” drunk like Ms. Baker seems to be. If I couldn't keep from spilling my drink, I find it incredible she constantly remembered – and was able – to keep the microphone to her mouth.

I noticed too, at the end of the video, you can see the drummer has slipped into position behind her as she starts the invitation. What am I supposed to conclude from that? Does he have the gift of knowing exactly when someone's “anointing” will end? More likely, it was nearing the allotted time Ms. Baker was given to speak and he knew she was about to start wrapping it up. That's further evidence it was an act.

From a theological perspective, there were a few other things that concerned me. Acts 2 says the apostles, were speaking of the mighty deeds of God (v. 11). Ms. Baker spent the majority of her time speaking about herself. As if her actions weren't obvious enough, she would constantly say things like (paraphrasing), Look how “toasted” I am, You must think I'm weird, Why would the church allow someone like me speak? Imagine that someone is speaking in tongues, but keeps stopping to say, “Listen, I'm speaking in tongues!” That's how I see Ms. Baker's performance.

Finally, there is the matter of the “tongues” Ms. Baker continuously spoke. At Pentecost, when the apostles spoke in tongues, everyone gathered there understood what was being said. They heard the words in their own language – even their own dialect. Some of the words Ms. Baker spoke were gibberish. I certainly didn't understand them. Her performance didn't resemble at all the scene described in the Bible.

In the 1970s, Foster Brooks played a lovable drunk. He was funny. Ms. Baker? Not so much. I've heard she has done a lot of missionary work in Mozambique. I know that she and her husband started Iris Global ministries. But do I just ignore foolish displays like this because of the good work she's done? Folks like this claim they are being moved by the Spirit but when you can see they're not, it makes their claims blasphemy. They're taking the Lord's name in vain which is no small thing. I can't just sit by, watching behavior like this, and not say something.

I'm sadden most by the people who sit in services like this and laugh along. I'm reminded of 2 Timothy 4:3, the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires. These people seem less interested in learning the word of God and more interested in being entertained. Ms. Baker was eager to oblige them. I implore people to be more Berean (Acts 17:11). Study your Bibles.  We should be anxious to hear the word whenever it is preached but we need to compare what is preached to the Scriptures to see if it is true!