Monday, May 23, 2011
I've written a few posts lately dealing with some of the presuppositions behind science. Before making the last two posts on this subject, I tried my arguments out on some militant evolutionists (“evos”) on another site. I really wanted to know how they might answer my points. Perhaps I was a little optimistic because most of the answers I received were the usual insults, red herrings, and obfuscations.
One response though, is worthy of more discussion. It was made by a person who posts under the name of “Hispid.” Unlike many of his fellow evos, Hispid is a decent fellow. His posts are usually civil – even cordial. We disagree on many things, of course, but he can discuss them with minimal drivel. His response on this matter was not so much a rebuttal to my point but rather is an opportunity to discuss some other irrational arguments used by evos.
Hispid introduced his comment with the following sentence:
… There's nothing wrong with a purely faith based belief in young earth creationism on two provisos
Considering how evolutionists seem so interested in evidence, I would like to ask Hispid if he has any evidence for this statement. It sounds like a bald assertion. He has absolutely no grounds for this statement beyond his own opinion.
Notice too that there's another question raised by Hispid in this comment. Did you catch how he said, “There's nothing wrong...”? Doesn't that presuppose that there is some standard of what is right and wrong. OK. What is this standard? Show me scientifically where it exists. It is observable and testable?
I've always heard that science is amoral. Indeed, if evolution is true, then there is no absolute standard of right and wrong. However, scientists are arbitrary because they live their lives as though such absolutes exist.
Continuing on, though, let's look at Hispid's provisos:
1. Don't pretend that the evidence which may contradict this faith is wrong or flawed for no other reason than it contradicts your faith. That is dishonest.
Dishonesty is forbidden in the Bible so I certainly don't want to be dishonest. However, if evolution is true, then dishonesty would be OK if it conveyed some survival value. What is the evolutionary standard for claiming dishonesty is wrong? In other words, show me the scientific evidence that it is wrong to lie.
The problem is that dishonesty is only absolutely wrong if there is some absolute standard of right and wrong. Such an absolute only exists in the Christian worldview. Therefore, an evolutionist can call me wrong only by presupposing that my worldview is true!
By the way, in his comment about evidence, Hispid demonstrates that he's unfamiliar with the purpose of a theory. Theories explain the data. Theories never accuse the evidence of being “wrong or flawed.” That's like saying a fossil is “wrong”; it doesn't make any sense. What we object to is the interpretation of the evidence offered by evolutionists. We have competing theories about how fossils were formed, for example. The evos are wrong. The fossils themselves are neutral.
2. Don't pretend that a purely faith based belief in young earth creationism is in any way backed by sentific [sic] evidence. That is simply wrong.
There's that “wrong” word again. Now tell me again where is the scientific evidence that something can be wrong? If evolution is true, then my responses are not transcendent or super-mundane. They are only the result of chemical actions taking place in my brain. To say that I'm wrong is like saying that an apple falling from a tree is wrong.
Notice too what he is claiming is “wrong”; namely that creationists pretend their “faith based belief” system is backed by scientific evidence. Yet in the same breath he makes a faith based statement – without scientific evidence – that something can be wrong. It's truly incredible!
I'm often accused of denying reality. If you ask me, it's evos who are divorced from reality. They act like their brand of science is noble and pure but it is riddled with logical inconsistencies. To believe their views on the physical have no bearing on the immaterial or philosophical is to deny reality. Hopefully I've shown you why the two (material and immaterial) are irrevocably connected.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:17-22)
Before we had the Bible, God promised His people that He would send prophets who would let them know God's will. The LORD knew, of course, that anyone could claim to be speaking for God, and so He give His people in advance a simple test that would help them distinguish false prophets who claimed to be speaking for God and the real prophets whom He had sent. He said that the things spoken by a true prophet would come to pass. If a prophet spoke something “in the name of the Lord” and it didn't come to pass, he is exposed as a false prophet. The Bible says we should “not be afraid” of someone who has spoken presumptuously. In other words, “don't worry about any more warnings he might give.”
So what are we to think now of Harold Camping? This man has made not one but two false prophecies concerning the rapture of the Church. His most recent prediction – that the rapture would occur yesterday at 5:59 PM – came and went without incident. Actually, he said that 200,000 believers would be raptured while the earth itself would be destroyed by earthquakes. As I write this, Mr. Camp had not been reached for comment. Perhaps he and 199,999 others were taken? Nah! Just in case I've not been clear - I never believed Camp's claims for even a moment.
I don't think anyone really took this guy seriously. It didn't matter that he'd already had one failed prediction – people simply don't take any end-times prophecies seriously anymore. Matthew 24:36 specifically disqualifies in advance any certain time given for His return. Christians, therefore, should never give ear to such drivel. However, such false prophets – that's right, I'm calling Camp a false prophet – are seen by the world as representative of Christians. So, when someone claiming to be a Christian acts like a nut, he makes all Christians look like nuts. An event as significant as the rapture is trivialized.
Interestingly though, the Bible has already told us about this attitude. Consider the following passage:
This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (2 Peter 3:1-4)
How ironic. If I didn't fear it might be blasphemy, I might suspect God were playing a prank on unbelievers. Those who are without Christ scoff at His return. When bogus claims are made about His imminent return, it's even more reason to ridicule His return. As I hear their jeers, I know now more than ever, Christ could come at any moment. It's not because of the presumptuous claims spoken by false prophets, however, but because of the scoffers who Peter said would come in the last days!
Friday, May 20, 2011
Think about this for a moment: if the law says that blacks must be treated equally, is that “promoting blacks”? If the law said to a business, “you can't deny that person service simply on the grounds that he's black,” wouldn't you agree that's only being fair? Certainly no one can argue that equal rights are not necessarily special rights.
Let's move forward to this year. Just yesterday, the Ark Encounter received the final approval from the KY Tourism Development Finance Authority on a $43 million tax incentive. The Ark Encounter is a religiously-based, for-profit business that intends to build a full-scale replica of Noah's Ark in Northern KY. The decision to give them special tax incentives now has many liberal groups up in arms. I'm not sure what the controversy is. Those who object seem to be arguing that it's a violation of the “separation of church and state.” That's hardly an accurate statement.
First off, the “tax incentives” are not the state of KY opening its checkbook (actually it's our checkbook) and writing a check to the Ark Encounter. Instead, it's a rebate of sales tax raised by tourists to the park. For every dollar of sales tax raised by sales at the park, a percentage is given back to the park. The state will actually make money from the park. It doesn't cost them anything. Secondly, and most importantly to this discussion, is the simple fact that these special tax incentives are already available to secular businesses now. A few years back, a NASCAR race track received the same deal in KY. I've driven by the track many times. The Newport Aquarium, which I have visited on a few occasions, has also received the same incentives. So this is not a special consideration being given to a religious group – this is an incentive made available to any, for-profit business.
I ask you then, if this incentive is available to secular businesses, under what premise can it be denied to a religious business? Is this somehow "promoting religion"? We have just seen how equal rights aren't always special rights. Allowing a religious person in the door isn't promoting religion anymore than letting a black person in the door is promoting blacks.
Liberals are such hypocrites. Religious discrimination isn't significantly different than racial discrimination, If they want to deny the same deal to a religious group that is available to any other group, the state of KY might as well hang a sign on its door saying, “No Christians Allowed.”
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
This is a follow up to my last post, The Funny Thing about Science. There, I talked about how the fundamental presupposition behind science is self defeating. Scientists – without a shred of evidence – accept a worldview that requires them to not accept anything without evidence. I still laugh every time I think about it. Before I get into my own worldview, let's consider a couple of other things about the worldview of secular science.
Scientists (both Christian and secular scientists) have done a pretty good job in describing processes. They have learned to apply physical laws in practical ways. Take our first trip to the moon, for example. We had to create a method to leave earth's atmosphere, land on the moon, lift off the moon, and return the astronauts safely to earth. A million and one things had to be taken into consideration but here's one thing I've not heard discussed: how did the scientists know that the physical laws we understand on earth would be the same on the moon? We had never been to the moon before. We've never observed or tested physical laws there. They merely assumed they would be the same.
Scientists never really talk about it but they don't have an explanation for the origin of physical laws. Where did gravity come from, for example? They don't know; they just know that it exists. It must have poofed itself into existence. If they don't know where physical laws came from, what rational reason do they have to expect them to continue to operate in a predictable way? Some might say that since the laws have always behaved in predictable ways they expect them to continue behaving in predictable ways. This is about as logical as saying, “Well, I've never died before so I don't expect to die in the future.” The truth is, they have no logical reason to believe physical laws will continue behaving in predictable ways. They merely assume they will. If physical laws poofed themselves into existence, there is no rational reason to believe they will always operate in predictable ways.
Along those lines, how do scientists know that physical laws operate the same everywhere? We've not been everywhere to observe or test them. Ultimately, scientists have to assume they do. It's another one of those faith-like things that scientists practice.
Finally, how can scientists have confidence in their own senses as they make observation? After all, if evolution is true, then our brains are simply the products of millions of years of mutation and selection and our thoughts are merely chemical reactions in our brains. Even our memories could not be relied upon. Yet scientists assume their senses are reliable.
Uniform laws, predictability, and repeatability are all necessary in science. Scientists assume these things are true but really have no reason to expect them according to their own theory.
Now, here's the cool thing about Christianity. I have a worldview that God created us and has given us His revealed word – the Bible. The Bible affirms itself to be true – unlike the secular worldview which contradicts itself. The Bible says that God not only created the universe but He also sustains it. Since God is everywhere, I have a rational reason to believe that His physical laws will be the same everywhere. Since God doesn't change, I have a rational reason to believe His physical laws will always continue to operate in predictable ways. Since God created us in His image, I have a rational reason to have confidence in my senses that I can observe and understand His creation.
The secular worldview really cannot make sense of the universe. The Christian worldview does. Indeed, it is the Christian God that even makes science possible. As I've said, though, secular scientists can do a decent job in describing the universe; if their worldview is so arbitrary, contradictory, and self defeating, how are they able to do that? It's only because my worldview is true!! Cool, huh!?
Monday, May 16, 2011
A frequent visitor to my blog left some comments concerning my post a while back called, The Evolutionists' Empty Demand for Evidence. There, I talked about the arbitrary nature of the philosophical assumptions that underlie science. I've discussed the point a few more times with other critics online and thought I would visit the matter one more time.
Here's a favorite quote that I've found. I've used it a couple of times on my blog but it fits so well here that I'm going to trot it out still another time.
“"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.” Scientific American Magazine, July 2002 [emphasis added]
I think it's funny that the quote begins by saying that creation science is a contradiction in terms. You'll see how ironic that is in a moment. Anyway, please consider the quote carefully. It states first that methodological naturalism is a central tenet of science. It then sort of summarizes what is meant by methodological naturalism – that is, it seeks to explain the universe purely in terms of observed or testable natural mechanisms. Am I putting words into their mouth? Are they not saying they demand observed or testable natural mechanisms? Are we all agreed? OK, let's move on.
Please show me evidence where this principle is observed or testable! I expect “scientific evidence” only please. Take your time. I'll be here when you get back. //RKBentley taps his foot patiently//
Do you see what's going on here? Put another way, secular science demands explanations that are observed and testable but begins with a presupposition that is neither observed nor tested! And they say “creation science” is contradictory?! My irony meter has just exploded!
Now, everyone has presuppositions. I admit that I have them. However, our presuppositions should be rational. To believe in a world view that requires everything be observed or testable without such a view being observed or testable is self defeating. It's a contradiction. It is irrational.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. Now the Jews' Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, "Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world." For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. (John 7:1-7 ESV)
Has there ever been a time when someone hated you because of your faith? It doesn't even have to be full-blown persecution. It may have just been a time when someone mocked, laughed at, or ridiculed you because of your faith. Maybe someone just said, “I don't like so and so because he's just such a Bible-thumper.” Has anything like that ever happened? Ever?
If not, you might want to examine your faith. I'm not necessarily saying you're not a Christian but it could be that you're not acting like one. Jesus was hated by the world because He spoke out against it. He talked openly about people's sin and reminded them of Scripture. He condemn the hypocrisy of the religious rulers. He preached the gospel to Publicans, prostitutes, Samaritans, and even to Romans. He gored many sacred bulls, as it were, and people didn't like it.
If we are to be like Christ, we should do many of the same things He did. We should preach the word openly. We should speak out against sin. We should concern ourselves with the spiritual condition of those around us. And as we do these things, we might expect to receive some of the same reactions He received. It's inevitable that these things will make some people uncomfortable.
So what does it mean if the world doesn't hate you? It could be because they don't see Christ in you. They never hear you condemn sin. They never hear you quote Scripture. Instead, they see you as one of them. If we are like the world, John 15:19 says that the world loves its own. Notice the dichotomy: If we were of the world the world loves us. Otherwise, it hates us. There's nothing in between. We can't be neutral about this. If the world doesn't hate us, it precisely means it's because they see us as its own.
It's time to make an appraisal of your spiritual condition. Are you hated or loved by the world? My opinion about it doesn't matter. Your own assessment will tell the whole story.
Friday, May 13, 2011
I used to post frequently on a Christian discussion forum called CARM. Because of my other pursuits, though, I now only visit there once in a while. The debates I often had with non-believers on CARM played a large part in my decision to start a blog. I still lurk there occasionally for ideas and inspiration for my blog.
Just recently, I came across a thread started by an evolutionist who goes by the name of LeszekUK. It demonstrates wonderfully the evolutionist tactic of straw man arguments. LeszekUK's quotes are in indented and italicized:
Here is a puzzle for the Creos. (It works for pandas and bamboo, as well!)
By the way, by “Creos” he means “creationists.” Note that he also said this works for pandas and bamboo as well. I intend to leverage that in a moment.
Koalas eat only eucalyptus leaves.Actually, it's not “only” eucalyptus leaves. They do primarily eat eucalyptus leaves but I've found a source that says they occasionally “eat [leaves] from other trees such as wattle or tea tree.” This is not a trivial point. As we will see, LeszekUK's argument hinges on the premise that koalas eat only eucalyptus leaves. If they can, in fact, eat other things, it immediately undermine his whole point.
Yet the myth of Noah's Ark claims that all the animals came on board, two by two, male and female... So how did these koalas manage to make it across continents and oceans, all the way from Australia to the Middle East, when all their food stayed in Australia?
LeszekUK has made two mistakes here. First, he assumes koala's lived in Australia before the Flood. The present distribution of animals throughout the world is merely that – their present distribution. We can't say with certainty where Koalas lived prior to the Flood. Marsupial fossils are found on every continent.
Second, LeszekUK also assumes that koalas ate only eucalyptus leaves prior to the Flood.. Modern koalas diets are more specialized but we already know they don't eat eucalyptus leaves exclusively so it's possible, even likely, that their ancestors had a much broader diet.
By the way, in the same way we don't know the animal distribution before the Flood, neither are we sure of plant distribution before the Flood. LeszekUK has also assumed that eucalyptus trees only grew in Australia prior to the Flood so I guess that's a third mistake he made in that one statement. Wait! Make that four mistakes – Noah wasn't necessarily in the Middle East prior to the Flood. The Ark merely came to rest there.
Aside from the problem of how one koala pair knew they had to make it to the Ark, how did they manage to make the crossing? Swimming and starving? Did Noah travel to Australia first to gather up eucalyptus leaves?
You can see now how this is a straw man. The koala (rather, the kind to which koalas belong) did not have to swim from Australia carrying eucalyptus leaves with it. For all I know it might have lived in Noah's back yard eating the leaves of whatever trees grew there.
Even worse for Creos, when the Ark came to rest on Mt Ararat, once all the vegetation had been drowned, how, exactly, did they make it back whence they came?
Koalas did not have to travel back to whence they came. The fact of the matter is that their previous habitat no longer existed. Instead, they had to carve out a new niche in the new world. In the case of koalas, they ended up in what is now Australia.
As far as vegetation goes, anybody who has maintained a yard all summer knows that plants need little coaxing to grow. Plants grow like... well, like weeds. Remember that the dove returned with an olive leaf in its mouth (Genesis 8:11) signifying that plants had already been regrowing for a while. When the animals finally left the Ark, there was no doubt an abundance of vegetation already grown and ready to be eaten.
Let me visit the panda bear example now. Bears are a little different than koalas because they are more diverse and us Western folks are more familiar with bears. Pandas eat almost nothing but bamboo. However, we know that their cousins (polar bears, black bears, grizzly bears, etc), eat a variety of things.
Creationists and evolutionists both agree that pandas have a common ancestor with all other bear species. So tell me: did the common ancestor only eat bamboo and all other bear species have since evolved the ability to eat other things? More likely, the common ancestor had a more varied diet and its descendants, the pandas, now have a more specialized diet. Furthermore, bears are distributed throughout the world. If they are descended from a common ancestor, they must have been all in one place at some point.
So, let's sum up. It can hardly be argued that pandas have a common ancestor with other bears that could eat things other than bamboo and did not necessarily live in Asia. The panda did not have to walk from China to the Middle East while carrying bamboo, then walk back to China after the Flood. Why then, can some people not understand that even though modern koalas are adapted to their environment, it does not mean their ancestor only lived in Australia and only ate eucalyptus leaves?
We know Creos have no intelligent answers, because the Ark is a myth.
This criticism of our position is rather mundane. It borders on being a canard and the rebuttal is rather simple. It makes me wonder, then, why this criticism continues being raised. It can only be one of two things:
1) The critic is aware of the responses I've offered here but is unsatisfied by them. If this is the case, then the critic is being disingenuous when claiming that creationists have no answers. Instead of pretending this point hasn't been answered, the critic should move on to any possible counter rebuttal so there can be a discussion.
2) The critic is unaware of these plausible responses and so continues to repeat the canard out of ignorance. This is demonstrative of the fact that the critic has never really looked into the creationist theory. He has made up his mind about his theory without having considered all of the evidence.
The real mystery is why Creos haven't the ability to realise this is a myth. Why are they so wedded to biblical mysticism, they regard this nonsense as truth?
Ha! This comes from a person who claims to seriously believe that koalas had to swim from Australia to the Middle East and then back again. He obviously has not given a second thought to the Biblical account of the Flood beyond his desire to criticize it.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Bin Laden is dead and a lot of people are happy about it. I admit, it's hard to not be happy about it. A lot of the folks I saw rallying in front of the White House after the President's announcement looked like they were in their twenties. Weren't they, like, 10 when 9/11 happened? Maybe they are old enough to remember but I know I can certainly remember where I was and how I felt when I saw the Towers fall. My first thought when I heard bin Laden was dead was, “good.” But is that how I should react?
When we search the Scriptures for an answer on how we might act, a lot of verses come to mind. Some people will immediately go to Exodus 21:24, “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” Not that it really matters but that is OT Law so some people reject it out of hand. Therefor, some will turn to the teachings of Jesus and cite something like Matthew 26:52, “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Thus, if bin Laden lived by the sword, it is just that he should die by the sword.
Certainly it's just that bin Laden should die for his crimes. Even so, does that mean we should rejoice about it? I'm reminded of the words in Ezekiel 33:11, “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.”
God, who is the perfect Judge, holds the guilty accountable for their crimes – if not in this life then certainly in the next. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). We all die physically because of our sins but the unrepentant face the second death which is the lake of fire. God isn't “happy” about it. It's His will that the wicked would turn from their sins and live. Jesus said, “this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40). So God's will is not that anyone should die but that all should come to Jesus and live.
I think God's will should also be our will. I know there will never be peace in the world until the Prince of Peace returns so there will always be a military component to the war on terror. Even so, shouldn't we also be zealous about winning radical Muslims – indeed, wining all Muslims – to Christ? In the war on terror, the death of Osama bin Laden is a huge victory. In the Great Commission, any person who dies without Christ isn't a victory; it's a loss.
Monday, May 2, 2011
On this day, in 1611, the first King James Version of the Bible was sold. Since then, it has been the best selling book in history with more than 1 billion having been published worldwide. It has become a cornerstone of English culture and language. There are even those who argue that the KJV is the ONLY inspired, English translation of the Bible – but that's a discussion for another post.
92% of American Households have at least one Bible with the average household having at least 3 copies of the Bible. I've read that if you stacked all the KJV Bibles sitting in American homes now, you would have a tower rising 29 million feet!
The KJV has stood the test of time well. There are a lot of other Bible translations and some are better than others. The KJV, however, has become the standard to which all other translations are compared.
Happy 400th Birthday, KJV!!