googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: April 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017

Stop spouting facts... the science is settled!

According to Wikipedia, scientism is a term used to describe the universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or the most valuable part of human learning—to the exclusion of other viewpoints. Followers of scientism tend to be zealots, more devout even than the average followers of traditional religions. What makes them especially stubborn is that they tend to not think of their beliefs as their “religion;” instead, they think scientism is simply the default way of thinking for any person and so they cannot comprehend any argument made from a different point of view. To them, if something can't be examined scientifically, it can't be true.

Now, you would think that people who practically worship science would welcome scientific debate. They say they do. Actually, they brag that they do. In the new Cosmos series, Neil deGrass Tyson offered these five, simple rules for science:

(1) Question authority.
(2) Think for yourself.
(3) Test ideas by the evidence gained from observation and experiment.
(4) Follow the evidence wherever it leads.
(5) Remember: you could be wrong.

Ignore the self-contradiction going on here – like, how can someone test the idea that we should test ideas by evidence? My point in citing these “rules” is to show how skepticism is supposed to be at the heart of science. According to Tyson, I'm not supposed to accept a conclusion just because someone in authority says it's true. I'm supposed to think for myself. Right? I could be wrong but maybe it's the person making the claim who is wrong.

There are real scientists who are skeptics. At the risk of sounding cliché, scientific advancement often comes when people think outside of the box. Science Alert once published a list of 8 scientific papers that were rejected during peer review before going on to win a Nobel Prize. Obviously, these authors were on to something and the scientific establishment just couldn't see it. How often has one radical idea, one that other scientists may have thought sounded crazy, turned out to be true? Maybe we should ask Galileo.

Devout members of scientism aren't skeptics. They claim to be but they aren't. They blindly follow the majority opinion without question. You can often identify them by their frequent use of the phrase, “The science is settled.” To them, truth is whatever is accepted by a majority of scientists. Anyone who disagrees is considered a heretic. Actually, they don't call them heretics – they call them, “science deniers” but, in scientism, it means the same thing. Doubters of some scientific theory aren't ever called “skeptics” or “free thinkers;” they're “deniers.”

Let me give you a few examples of scientism's doctrine. The first is obviously evolution. I cannot tell you the number of times I've heard rabid evolutionists defend their theory by saying no credible scientist denies that evolution happened. Note the use of the word “credible,” but never mind blatant No True Scotsman fallacy. Truth is not decided by popular vote. Evolutionists often refuse to debate creationists on the grounds that “the science is settled,” “there is no debate among scientists whether evolution is true,” and debating the theory with a creationists gives the impression there is still doubt over the theory. Followers of scientism want to squelch any dissent over evolution by suing public schools who want to “teach the difficulties,” rejecting any creationist paper submitted for peer review, and even protesting a privately funded, religious organization like the Creation Museum.

Another long standing doctrine of this godless faith is climate change. Once upon a time, it was called “global warming” but after decades of no noticeable increase in the global, mean temperature, they had to replace “warming” with the much more ambiguous term, “change.” Actually, none of the dire predictions made by these alarmists have happened. In 2008, ABC aired a video montage showing all the terrible things that would happen by 2015 because of climate change: New York flooding, hundreds of miles of scorched earth, and skyrocketing food and fuel prices. I remember 2015. It was nothing like the predictions made by the video but followers of scientism aren't embarrassed by their failed predictions; The “science is settled” concerning climate change and bad things are going to happen unless we do something now. //RKBentley shakes his head//

Bill Nye was recently embarrassed by Tucker Carlson when he tried to pull that “the science is settled” crap. Carlson was asking basic questions about climate change and Nye was obviously making up the answers. Before we spend trillions of dollars on this “crisis,” we need to have some answers: the most fundamental question is, is there even any warming? The trend for the last few decades says no. If it is happening, to what extent are humans causing it? If we could stop warming, should we? What is the earth's temperature supposed to be? Every air-breathing animal produces carbon dioxide. Humans produce about 2 pounds of CO2 per day. Even if we converted the entire world to 100% emission-free energy, humans will still produce billions of pounds of CO2 every day just by breathing. How can that be bad? Plants require CO2. What will happen to our forests if we could reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere? These are legitimate questions but they are heresy to dogma-driven zealots like Nye. A real scientist on CNN recently brought up some of these points and Nye scolded CNN for, having one climate change skeptic, and not 97 or 98 scientists or engineers concerned about climate change.

The most recent political discussion which followers of scientism have weighed in on is the transgender issue. Scientists now “know” that things like gender identity or even our biological sex aren't immutable but exist on a spectrum. You would think that after 6,000 years of human history, the science would at least be settled about who is a male and who is a female. Wrong! Now we're being told that doctors sometimes got it wrong when they checked “male” or “female” on a birth certificate. I'm a 51 year old white guy. Why can't I identify as a 65 year old person and start receiving social security? Why can't I say I'm a black guy and maybe qualify for affirmative action programs? But I can say I'm a woman and folks like Nye will rush to defend my delusion as being normal, usual, and healthy. Anyone who disagrees is a hate-filled, homophobic, bigot. Colleges are adopting strict policies requiring the use of gender-neutral pronouns. If I call a female, “she,” suddenly I'm the one who has the problem. Several years ago, I wrote about California's ban on gay-conversion therapy for minors. Really? So after little Johnny was abused by an uncle, he seeks help because he doesn't like the sexual feelings he now has toward men and the only acceptable response is, “You're gay, Johnny, you can't change it. You'd better learn to live with it!”

Bill Nye has said that being a creationist suppresses critical thinking. I believe Nye's religion of scientism is a far worse assault on critical thinking than being a creationist could ever be. He does not want debate. “Science deniers” must be ridiculed and insulted until they have lost all credibility. Maybe they should even be put in prison. Nye and folks like him have their minds are made up. Stop confusing them with facts. The science is settled.

Friday, April 21, 2017

It's a numbers game... and evolution is losing!

Evolution is a theory fraught with difficulties – so much so that I'm genuinely surprised that people still take it seriously. I'm not talking about answers we don't have – like, a plausible explanation for the origin of the first common ancestor or not finding any fossils for the “innumerable” transitional species Darwin understood must have existed if his theory were true; I'm talking about things that we do know, scientifically, that make evolution impossible.

Let me give you a thumbnail sketch of how the theory is supposed to work. Some people conflate evolution with natural selection. Natural selection is the opposite of evolution. If you start with a population of light and dark moths, and birds continuously eat (i.e. “select”) the light moths, you will eventually have a population of only dark moths. Natural selection can only “select” from traits already present in the population. You cannot add new colors by continuously removing colors no matter how long it continues. For evolution to be possible, you have to add new traits to a population. To turn a dinosaur into a bird, for example, you would have to add feathers. Get it? Natural selection is not a mechanism that can add new features to a population.

The only candidate for a mechanism that adds new features to a population is genetic mutation. Mutations are an observed phenomenon where duplication errors in the DNA of a the parent creature are passed along to its offspring. Most of these errors are neutral and are not expressed in the offspring. Even though they aren't expressed, though, they still exist in the genome. Sometimes, the mutations are expressed and can be harmful or fatal to the host. On very rare occasions, a mutation can convey a benefit to its host.

One example of an observed, beneficial mutation is tusk-less elephants. Ivory poachers will shoot elephants for their tusks. However, due to a genetic mutation, some elephants are born without tusks and so poachers won't shoot them. This is a benefit to the elephant. These elephants tend to live longer and pass the “tusk-less” mutation onto its offspring. In recent years, there has been a noticeable surge in the numbers of elephants born without tusks. But this type of mutation is not the trait-adding kind of mutation that could make evolution possible. Elephants being born without tusks does not explain how dinosaurs could acquire feathers.

The supposed first ancestor did not have feathers, hair, skin, scales, bones, blood, eyes, or organs of any kind. To turn a molecule into a man would require a billions of years long parade of novel features being added generation after generation. If evolution has happened, we should have many examples of observed, trait-adding mutations. We don't. In all my years of asking for examples of novel features appearing in a species, I continuously hear the same 3-4 questionable examples.

Trait-adding mutations are either astonishingly scare or non-existent. Evolutionists, however, are not deterred by the glaring lack of examples. Time is the hero of their fairy tale. In a 4 billion year old world, a new feature every million years or so is enough to rescue their theory. I'll tell you why it doesn't.

Are we agreed that trait-adding mutations are infrequent? OK. How often can we agree that they happen? Is it once every hundred mutations? Surely, it's not that often. I don't think it happens at all but, for the sake of argument, I could say it's more like 1 in 10,000 or even 1 in 100,000. Actually, in a moment you'll see why higher numbers are worse for evolution but I'm going to be very, very generous and say it's 1 in 1,000. Now, let's look at some math.

If 1 in every 1,000 mutations is a beneficial, trait-adding mutation for the host, then for the host to inherit 2 beneficial mutations means there will have been 1,000,000 neutral or harmful mutations (1,000 x 1,000). To inherit only 3 means there will have been 1,000,000,000 neutral or harmful mutations in the genome (1,000 x 1,000 x 1,000). Can you see where this is going? The genome is deteriorating 1,000 times faster than it is improving. To inherit even a handful of successful mutations comes at the great expense of billions and billions of unsuccessful mutations. How many successful mutations would it take to turn a molecule into a man? How long could such a wasteful process continue before the entire genome becomes too corrupted to sustain life? Remember, this is assuming 1 beneficial mutation in every 1,000. If it were 1 in 10,000, then 2 successful mutations comes with the burden of 100,000,000 other mutations!

In 1995, A.S. Kondrashov published a paper in the Journal of Theoretical Biology where he discussed contamination of the genome by very slightly deleterious mutations. Over time, the ratio of harmful mutations to good mutations should become unbearable and he says, This paradox cannot be resolved by invoking beneficial mutations or environmental fluctuations. In the title, he asks, Why have we not died 100 times over?” Can you see now the problem that he saw? Any small success a mutation might mean for a species comes with many more mutations that should eventually kill it. It's a numbers game... and evolution is losing!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Is creationism driving young people out of the church?

In my last post, I made some comments about an articled titled, 5 Ways Creationism Is Bad For Christianity. Just recently, someone I am friends with on FaceBook linked an article from the Huffington Post titled, Creationists Drive Young People Out Of The Church. The headline might sound similar to my last post but I'm going to make different points. Bear with me.

My first thought when I read that article was that it is fake news. It's not fake in the sense that I don't believe it's correct (although it is very misleading). I'm saying it's fake in the sense that it's not news. Does anyone really believe a left-leaning site like The Huffington Post is at all concerned with young people leaving the church? The point of the story isn't, “What are we going to do about these young people leaving the church?” It's more like, “Ha, ha. Look at how stupid these young people think creationists are.” The author seems to want to shame people away from believing in creation. It's a common tactic which I've written about years ago. Consider this quote from the first paragraph:

Particularly disturbing is the finding that only 27 percent of evangelical pastors “strongly disagree” with the statement that the earth is 6,000 years old.

Do you see what I mean? The author finds a belief in a young earth, “particularly disturbing.” In spite of its headline, the article is less about young adults leaving the church and more about getting Christians to stop believing in creation. But the liberal bias and shoddy reporting of The Huffington Post is not the point of my post today. I was more interested in what my FaceBook friend said. When he posted the link to the article, he commented:

Young Earth Creationists need to think about this.

Now, I can't claim to know exactly what this person was thinking when he said this. He seems to be making the same point that unbelieving evolutionists make when they write similar comments; he seems to be saying to creationists, “Just stop it because you look silly.” Maybe this person was trying to make a legitimate point that completely escapes me. I've thought and thought about his comment and the only thing I can conclude is that it is a blatant appeal to consequences.

Let me ask this: if a six-day, literal, miraculous creation is the correct understanding of the Genesis account, then what else is there think about? If I tell people the truth, and they leave the church, am I wrong for having spoken the truth? Should I not tell the truth for fear of offending someone? What else about the truth should I water down? What if people leave the church because I tell them Jesus was rose from the dead? Another reason cited for people leaving the church is that they are uncomfortable with the exclusivity of Christianity. So then are we to teach universalism instead? Jesus is one way but any way is fine.

If people leave the Church because we believe the Bible about creation, that does nothing to prove a belief in a miraculous creation is wrong. And if creation is correct, then why should we compromise on the truth of it in order to make the Bible seem compatible with the incorrect theory of evolution?

Articles like this one and comments like that made by my FaceBook friend are pointless. It's a worthless argument. But I have something to say to Christians who make these arguments: I think you're doing far more harm than good with your compromise!

The Bible commands us to love God with our minds (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37, et al). Evolution is a worthless theory. It is rife with difficulties, it makes no useful predictions, and it has made no contribution to any scientific advancement made in the last century. If a young person is wavering in his faith because he sees a conflict between “science” and the Bible, you need to know how to defend the Bible rather than giving credence to some useless, fairytale dreamed up by men how proudly boast that miracles never happen. Do you think it's helpful to say to an inquisitive youth, “Well, the Bible doesn't always mean what it says”? I think young people are leaving the church because they don't see the church as having any authority. When Christians pick and choose which parts of the Bible they will believe, it sets a bad example that these young people can see.

Jesus faced this same problem during His ministry. He preached the truth and people turned away because of it. John 6:53-68:

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.” These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.

Jesus spoke the truth. People left following Him because they didn't want to hear the truth. I will be like Peter and accept the truth no matter how difficult it seems. I will not be like those Christians who compromise on the truth of the Bible for the sake of making it seem more appealing.