googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: 2017

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Friendly Atheist Has 78 Questions for Christians: Part 2

Hemant Mehta describes himself as a friendly atheist. In his video, 78 Questions for Christians, he groups the questions according to subject. The first section dealt with heaven and hell. The next section deals with prayer. I've numbered the questions according to how Mehta numbered them but I've rearranged them in my answer.

10) Whose prayers does God answer?
11) And if it's ultimately God's will what happens, why even bother praying?

We can see from the questions that Mehta has a very rudimentary understanding of what prayer is. For example, what does it mean for God to “answer” a prayer? Judging by the Mehta's list of questions about prayer, Mehta certainly believes “prayer” means “asking God for things” and “answered prayer” means “God gives you what you ask.” I could paraphrase the two questions above as:

Who gets what he asks?
If nobody gets what he asks, why even bother praying?

It sounds a little shallow when I phrase it like that, doesn't it? That's because it is shallow. Mehta has caste God as a year 'round Santa Claus and, every day, we get to tell Him what we want in our stocking. Just think about this: what kind of relationship would you have with your child if he only ever talked to you when he wanted something? And if you didn't do everything he asks, he would stop talking to you? If my children were like that, I'd be both very hurt and very angry. Yet this is apparently how Mehta thinks our relationship with God should be. I've written about this before, people have a false idea of who God is, then claim He must not exist because they can't find a god who acts like they imagined.

Jesus gave His disciples a model of prayer, often called the Lord's Prayer. He said, “Pray like this....” If you examine the prayer, you'll see that includes things like acknowledging God as our Father, praising Him, desiring His will to be done, and asking Him to forgive our sins and keep us away from temptations. Of course, we do also ask Him to help meet our needs – our “daily bread” - but Metha seems to think that's all prayer is.

Have you ever heard the child's prayer of grace? “God is great, God is good. Thank you, Lord, for this food.” What a wonderful prayer! Praise – thanksgiving – adoration – all presented in a few simple words. If all Christians prayed like this – praising God, seeking His will, asking for forgiveness and seeking His guidance – then revival would break out in America.

James 4:3 says, Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. I know I'm not a model Christian so I can't say my prayer life is where it should be. But if I spent all my prayer time telling God what I want Him to do for me, I would feel more spoiled than edified. Unfortunately, too many Christians spend their prayer time focusing more on themselves than God.

8) If your son or daughter were dying – and I hope that never happens – would you just pray for them or would you take them to a doctor?
9) And if you say you'd do both, which one do you think has more of an impact?

Unfortunately, my son and daughter are dying. My step sons are dying, too. My wife is dying. My mother and siblings are dying. My wife's family is dying. I'm dying. Everyone reading my blog is dying. Romans 5:12 says, Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. It's not a question of if you're dying – it's only a question of when. And, yes, prayer is THE most important thing I can do for my children, my spouse, my family, and my readers – especially if death is imminent. It's my prayer that they will all seek Christ, ask for His forgiveness, accept Him as their Lord, and be saved.

If my child were sick or hurt, yes, I'd take him to the doctor. I would pray that God would help him recover, that He would give the doctors and nurses wisdom, that He would give my son comfort, and give me peace. Above all this, though, I pray that my son comes to Christ. Let's face it, doctors can't stave off death forever. One day death will claim everyone I love and, at that time, all the doctors in the world are useless. But if my prayers have been answered, then they will have had an infinitely greater impact.

12) If you have cancer right now, what's going to help you more: drugs or prayer?
13) Let's say you have an amputated limb. Would prayer ever bring it back?

Several years ago, I wrote a series in response to the video, “Why Won't God Heal Amputees?” Certainly, Jesus is able to heal us. Luke 22:50-51 tells us that Jesus healed the ear of Malchus after Peter had cut it off with a sword so I know that Jesus is able to heal even a severed limb. It's just that I don't expect Him to miraculously heal people today like He did during His ministry.

Jesus overtly said that He did miracles to demonstrate His authority. In Mark 2:1-12, Jesus healed a paralyzed man to prove He had the authority to forgive sins. In John 11, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead to show Martha that He is the resurrection and the life. When Jesus appointed His disciples, He gave them the ability to perform miracles including healing the sick and raising the dead (Matthew 10:7-8). This was to show their authority to preach in God's name. But now we have the Scriptures to evidence His authority and the need for miracles has passed.

Jesus has promised us an eternity where there is no more pain or sorrow or death but paradise is not on this earth nor in these bodies. This is a cursed world where there is sickness and disease. Does Metha think we should be able to pray and no one should ever die or even get sick? I guess he does. Like I said, he has a very rudimentary understanding of prayer.

16) If you had an exam coming up, what do you think would help you more: prayer or studying for the test?

Heck, why even bother with school – or even a job? I could just stay home and pray that God mails me a paycheck! Really, Metha? God never commanded us to do nothing. In fact, He condemns laziness. Matthew 5:16 says, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. We should strive to be the hardest workers, the best students, the friendliest neighbors, etc. And, yes, we should seek God's help while doing this. There's an old saying that says we should work like it depends on us and pray like it depends on Him!

18) What matters to God more: the quantity of prayers or the quality of prayers?
19) If it's the quantity that matters, how come the most popular team doesn't always win the Super Bowl?
20) And if it's the quality that matters, how come people we really love, people who are close to us, how come they die no matter what we say to God?
21) Is it possible that your prayers have no supernatural effect and only serve to make you feel better?
22) And if that were true, would you ever admit it?

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “pray without ceasing.” If you were to walk through the mall with your spouse or drive down the road with your child, wouldn't you talk to them? Well, we're never truly alone because God is always with us so I try to talk to God just like that – like He's sitting there next to me. I tell Him I love Him. I thank Him for all He does for me. I tell Him about things I struggle with and ask for His guidance.

I believe that, as we draw closer to God, His will becomes our will. When that happens, we worry less about how things affect us. When things are going well, some Christians will say, “God is blessing me.” When things aren't going well, some Christians will say, “God is testing me.” I think if we prayed like we should, more Christians would start to say, “It's not about me.”

Lord, help my team win the Super Bowl. Don't let anyone in my family get sick or die. That's how a 5-year-old prays.

O Lord, I come to You with praise. You alone are good. You alone are worthy to be worshiped. Let me know Your will and give me the strength to be obedient. Forgive my sins and let me rest in Your mercies. Let me trust in You for everything I need and let my thanksgiving never end! Amen! These are the kinds of prayers that get answered!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

We don't have a gun problem, we have a sin problem!

I'm taking a break from my series to make a few comments about the shooting in Las Vegas. First, I join with the millions who are praying for the victims. I pray for the families of those who were killed and I pray for speedy recoveries for all those who were injured.

After a tragedy, there is, of course, a time of grief and confusion. People struggle to understand what caused this and seek some way to prevent anything like this from happening again. As usual, even before the sun had set on the tragedy, many on the left were saying guns are the problem.

I must say, I can see the lure of wanting to ban guns. It seems to be such a simple solution: take away all the guns and there can be no more gun crime. The reality of a ban, though, is far from simple. Think about Prohibition, when we tried to ban alcohol. How did that go?

We can always pass more laws, hire more police, build more prisons, and give up more liberties. We could live in a police state. Even then, though, there would still be brutal men who steal, rape, and kill. It's what people do. It's part of our fallen condition – our sin nature.

Robert Charles Winthrop said, Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet.

If men lived only according to their passions, there is no police force great enough to restrain them.  We don't have a gun problem, we have a sin problem. I would like to see less calls for stricter laws and more prayers for revival!

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Please, Lord, let it be! Amen!

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Friendly Atheist Has 78 Questions for Christians: Part 1

Like I said in my introduction to this series, I'm not going to write a point by point reply to every question Hemant Mehta asks in his video. Several of the questions seem to be making the same point and Mehta did a good job of grouping together questions that deal with similar subjects. The first several questions he asks deal with who is in heaven or hell.

1) Is Anne Frank burning in hell right now?
2) How about Mahatma Gandhi?
5) Should a kindhearted atheist be forced to go burn in hell for all eternity?
6) What about any, non-Christian, good person? Should they be burning in hell?

I dealt with this subject about a year ago in a post titled, Will “good” unbelievers go to hell? Mehta is committing the logical fallacy of appealing to emotion by making God seem unfair for sending “good” unbelievers to hell. Such questions do nothing to establish the existence (or non-existence) of God. What, God must be imaginary because He's mean? You can see how that doesn't work. Critics ask these questions for the sole purpose of trying to make Christians feel uncomfortable. They are not arguments for the correctness of atheism.

Besides their weak footing in logic, the other flaw in these types of questions is that there really is no such thing as a “good” person. Ray Comfort has a ministry called, Way of the Master, where he witnesses to people on the street. His approach is to ask a person if considers himself to be a good person. Most will say, yes. Then he asks the person to judge himself according to the 10 commandments. He will say, for example, “Is it wrong to tell a lie? Have you ever told a lie? What do you call someone who lies? Then by your own admission, you're a liar!” People lust. People steal. People envy. People hate. Even an atheist will say it's wrong to do these things yet he still does them. On what grounds does he consider anyone good?

Also, people often use extreme examples to excuse the average. Maybe Gandhi was a good person according to earthly standards – but does the critic believe he's as good as Gandhi? Probably not. So ask the critic, “You're not as good as Gandhi, are you? If God were to judge you fairly, according to the 10 commandments, do you think you'd be guilty?” Atheists know they're guilty and they desperately want to believe there is no God who will judge them.

Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Like it or not, the truth is exclusive. Everyone faces the same fate – a grave. Everyone also has the same opportunity – eternal life through Jesus Christ. You can pout all you want about it not being fair, that doesn't change the reality of it.

3) Is Fred Phelps in heaven because he believed in the divinity of Jesus?
4) Should a killer who genuinely repents be able to go to heaven?

Just as the questions above, these questions also use the same weak approach of questioning the fairness of God – this time, for God forgiving people who are bad by earthly standards. I've written about this same point before too. And, like above, Mehta is using extreme examples to marginalize the average.

God forgives sin. That's good news! And if we repent of our sins and accept Jesus as our Savior, our sins will be forgiven! That's the gospel. Why does Mehta worry about the murderers? What sins has he committed? Shouldn't he worry about those sins? It's easy to point to someone worse than you and say, “Well, I'm better than him?” What, you think God shouldn't judge you because he's a murderer and you're just a liar? You should rejoice that God can forgive every sin, including yours. God forgives teens who disobey their parents and and men who look at pornography and people who cheat on their taxes and women who have had abortions and husbands who divorce their wives and people who spend time on FaceBook when their employers are paying them to work.

Isaiah 1:18 says, Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.” Why would someone scoff because God can forgive a person who's “really bad”? Instead, we should rejoice that God can forgive even you!

As for Fred Phelps, Jesus said that not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” will enter heaven (Matthew 7:21). In that same chapter, He told us that we can judge people by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20, et al). The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23). I can't say that we saw this fruit in Phelps which makes me wonder if he really was a Christian.

Maybe Phelps believed Jesus was God. But James 2:19 correctly points out that even demons believe in God so simply believing in God isn't enough for salvation. Jesus also has to be our Lord. Did Phelps accept Jesus as his Lord? It doesn't seem like it. In Luke 6:46, Jesus asked, “Why do you call me Lord and not do the things which I say?” It all goes back to judging people by their fruits. People should see Christ in us. If they don't, maybe it's because Christ isn't in us.

At the end of the day, though, it's not me who must decide if Phelps is in heaven. It is God who searches the hearts and knows who will be rewarded and who will be condemned (1 Chronicles 28:9).

7) Would you be happy in heaven if someone you loved was in hell?

Revelation 20 talks about a grim event commonly called, the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11-15), where those people who rejected Christ in life will be judged according to their works. If they thought they were “good,” this will be their chance to prove it. Verse 12 says their works will be judged according to the things written in “the books” - which I believe are the books of the Bible. Every lie the person told, every careless act, every evil thought will testify to his guilt. It says also that another book will be opened, the Book of Life. Every Christian's name is in the book and every sinner who's name is not written in that book will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

No, I will not be happy seeing this happen – especially to someone I love. Knowing this is their fate should make us try all the more to reach them. Charles Spurgeon said:

If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Friendly Atheist Has 78 Questions for Christians: Introduction

There's a YouTube channel called, The Atheist Voice, hosted by a guy named, Hemant Mehta. He calls himself, “The Friendly Atheist” and he really is kind of friendly. I say, “kind of” because he still uses a lot of the same, frustrating arguments that other atheists use – like creationists don't believe evolution because they don't understand it – but he's much less snarky and condescending than the truly obnoxious atheists like Dawkins and Nye.

I knew that friendly atheists exist because a frequent visitor to my blog, Steven J, is one. Even so, they're sometimes hard to find. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 10% of Americans don't believe in God. Many of them are just your average Joe who may be a neighbor or coworker but they aren't militant about their atheism. It's only those atheists who are very vocal about it, like starting a blog or having a YouTube channel discussing atheism, who are confrontational so these are the ones that seem to represent the group.

I like to watch videos made by atheists. Well, maybe I don't actually like to but you could say it's part of the job. If I want to change the mind of an atheist or evolutionist, I have to really understand what he's thinking. The problem is that too many atheists' videos are posted by the militant, smarmy kind of atheist and their condescending tone, incessant insults, and frequent use of profanity make the videos uninteresting and difficult to sit through. Mehta, however, besides being friendly, is also articulate and sums up typical atheists' arguments fairly well. Most of his arguments aren't original (which is fine) but he presents them concisely and it's much easier to listen to him than many of his partners in crime.

Anyway, Mehta has one video titled, 78 Questions for Christians. Kudos to him for not calling it, “78 Questions Christians can't answer” or something like that. I've always been annoyed by titles like that – not just because they're incredibly presumptuous but I have yet to see such an article that lives up to its title. Of course, even though Mehta didn't say these questions have no answers, he clearly seems to think they are difficult to answer. His motive appears to be to make Christians uncomfortable which might lead them to question their beliefs. It's a common tactic.

Since I'm all about defending the faith, my first thought was to do a series answering all 78 questions. Then reality smacked me on the forehead. There's no way I'm going to write a 78-posts-long series. Still, he does have some interesting points I'd like to discuss. Instead of a point by point reply, I'm going to address his questions in general. Several of the questions he asks make duplicate points anyway so I can answer many of the duplicates with a single post. I can probably get cover the video pretty well in about 6 posts. We'll see.

Answering the questions will begin in my next post but here is some food for thought about the series: First, it's not unusual for someone, especially a lay person, to not understand everything about a subject. If someone isn't able to calculate the acceleration rate of a falling object, for example, that's not evidence against gravity! Likewise, if a Christian isn't sure how to answer some critic, it's not evidence against Christianity.

Next, some of Mehta's questions are pointless or are poorly premised. Think about the old, gag question, “Have you stopped beating your wife?” To say either yes or no condemns the person who answers. The correct response is point out that the premise of the question is flawed: “Your question assumes that I used to beat my wife.” When engaging with a critic, don't get trapped by their logical fallacies.

Finally, I want to be clear that the point of me doing this is as much about equipping saints as it is about answering critics. We are commanded to study (2 Tim 2:15) and to be ready to give an answer (1 Pet 3:15). The questions Mehta asks are the same questions atheists ask all the time. Mehta is trying to provoke us to doubt but some unbelievers ask these questions in earnest. They want to know, for example, if God would send “good” people to hell. If you can give well thought out answers to their questions, they may be more open to accepting Christ.

Keep checking back for part 1!!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Are creationists arrogant? A review of King Crocoduck's series: Part 5

King Crocoduck (which I abbreviate as KC) concludes his series with a brief recap of the first 4 videos. As I listened to the summary of each video, I kept thinking of things I'd like to have included in my previous criticism that I could include now but I'm going to resist for the sake of space. Anyway, he seems to express a belief that his first 4 videos built upon each other in a logical progression leading up to his main point which is what he claims is the motive behind creationists' arrogance. I just don't see the progression. Actually, I wasn't even sure of his main point in video 4 until I heard his summary but OK, I'll concede that each video made a different point. Even so, KC's always-present condescension and incessant barrage of insults made all of the videos sound alike.

I wanted to cite a pithy quote from KC to summarize his point in video 5 but couldn't find so I'll have to provide my own summary. KC is saying that creationists – all creationists – intentionally lie and pervert science solely to make the available data seem to fit our narrow interpretation of our sacred text. Beginning at around 9:48, KC says, “Creationists, if your position is so strong, why do you rely on such dishonesty to defend it? I'm not just referring to examples of fraud, like the Paluxy riverbed footprints or the creationist leaders with fake academic degrees. I'm talking about the entire philosophy of creationist claims.” Now, lest anyone think KC is using hyperbole when he says, “the entire philosophy of creationist claims,” I will quote KC further. He says, “Any and all creationists claims will, without exception, fall into at least one of the following categories:”
  • Failure with regard to the scientific method and/or relevant scientific principles
  • Unreasonable/Inconsistent standard of evidence
  • Vague terminology
  • You just have to beeleev!” (that is, to have blind, dogmatic faith in creationism)
There you have it, folks. Every claim, every argument, every fossil, every fact, every piece of data ever cited by a creationist is a fraud!

Keeping this list in mind, back up the video to about 2:38 where KC says, “A scientist's judgment remains tabular rasa and a scientist will only follow evidence wherever it leads – not wherever they want it to go!” OK, then here is my question: When KC overtly states that all evidence for creation will be flawed or fabricated, how can he possibly believe that all scientists look at the evidence objectively? You see, KC is doing exactly what he accuses creationists of doing. He has already made up his mind that origin models like the Big Bang and evolution are true. Therefore, any evidence I could present to the contrary will be - indeed, has been already – dismissed a priori without even being examined.

Let me give you an example of the how scientists have a bias that influences how they interpret evidence. Young earth creationists believe dinosaurs were contemporary with humans and only became extinct a few thousand years ago. A few years ago, Dr. Mary Schweitzer found red blood cells in a t-rex fossil. Since creationists believe the dinosaur fossil could only be a few thousand years old, it's not really a surprise there might be original biomatter still contained in it. Many creationists, myself included, have cited this as evidence in support of our theory. It's one of my “10 Evidences for Biblical Creation.”

Evolutionists, on the other hand, believe the fossil is 68 million years old. How do they explain the fact that it still contained red blood cells? Their first instinct was to deny that it was red blood cells. Many believed it was misidentified or was possibly the result of contamination. This objection could not be supported for long because we've since found original biomatter in other dinosaur fossils It turns out to be somewhat common – it just wasn't discovered earlier because nobody was cutting fossils open to look for it. Since it really is original, soft tissue in the fossils, they have to explain it somehow. According to, If particles of that one dinosaur were able to hang around for 65 million years, maybe the textbooks were wrong about fossilization.... [this find is] showing us we really don’t understand decay.

Hmm. Maybe we really do understand decay. Maybe we understand decay so well that we know these fossils can't really be 65 million years old. KC says scientists are “blank slates.” In this case, they refuse to consider the most obvious conclusion only to look for a solution that flies in the face of what we have learned through simple observation. Why? If scientists were truly blank slates, why won't they even consider “younger than 65 million years” as one possible explanation - especially knowing that even a dinosaur found alive today doesn't necessarily disprove evolution? It's because they have a vested interest in preserving their dating methods and any evidence that might contradict the assigned date of the fossil puts other parts of their precious theories in jeopardy. They're certainly not going where the evidence leads. Their theory is leading them around by the nose when it comes to interpreting the data.

Zealot followers of scientism stubbornly deny reality because of their religious-like commitment to naturalism. Nothing miraculous can be true. They will believe any outrageous theory regarding the origin of the universe besides special creation and for no other reason than creation is a miracle and miracles don't happen. Even where they have no other explanation for something, they still remain certain that God didn't do it.

This goes back to what I said in my introduction to this series: KC believes there is exactly one possible interpretation of the evidence – the natural explanation agreed on by a majority of scientists. He states as fact things he cannot possibly demonstrate scientifically (like matter being eternal) and paints anyone who disagrees with him as arrogant. Any argument made by a creationist, no matter how reasonable it may sound, no matter how well examined it may be, no matter how many credentials the creationist may have, can be valid. End of debate.

If you haven't watched the entire series, let me sum up every point made by KC like this: “We weren't created by God. Anyone who says that is just stupid and a liar trying to con you. Scientists don't have all the answers but that doesn't matter because you wouldn't be able to understand them anyway. Just trust us because we're brilliant and we study this stuff.” Oh, and while you read this, try to sound as condescending and obnoxious as you can possibly be and there you have KC's entire series.

Read the entire series:

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!

Read the entire series:

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: