Friday, January 23, 2009

So I Went to See Bob Dutko

Here's an interesting story. At least to me. Bob Dutko was going to be speaking in Flint at a church on the topic of evolution. This is not far from me, so I thought I'd go. It worked out pretty well because I had car repairs being done that were only about 10 miles from the church, so I picked up the car and headed up.

What I didn't realize was that this was a youth event. I knew it was sponsored by the youth ministry, but I didn't realize that it was basically exclusively teenagers. This church youth ministry was unlike anything I had seen. As I entered there were two rows of teenagers on either side of the doors that lead to the youth room. They cheered you like you were a football player coming out the tunnel. "Hey, thanks for coming!! Way to go!!" Inside Christian music is blasting. Foosball tables, pool tables, xbox, wii, a bar with popcorn and (non alcoholic) drinks. It's a huge party.

I walked right by Bob Dutko who was sitting at a desk trying to sell his CD's, not realizing it was him until the last second. I paused, then went back and introduced myself as "Jon in Commerce." This didn't ring a bell for him. I told him I called and argued with him on the air about his errors. "What is it that I'm wrong about?" "Oh, everything." He laughed. I told him I'd like to maybe argue a little after his talk, but that I wouldn't make a ruckus or anything and would be discreet.

Fortunately there were lots of people, so I didn't stand out too badly (I don't think). They started with this toilet paper race thing that I won't describe. Then it was the very loud band. Finally Bob Dutko gave his talk "The Missing Think: Why Evolution Doesn't Make Sense". Nice title.

Most of the talk was material I'd heard on his radio show. Marco Polo described a dinosaur. Lack of fossil evidence. He gave an interesting analogy using the movie "My Cousin Vinny". He used the movie to show that if you only get one side of the story, like when you've heard the prosecution's case only, the defendant might look pretty guilty. It's the other information that is left out that actually reveals the truth. It's a worthwhile analogy, but as I sat in the audience I couldn't help but think how this applied more to his listening audience than it does to biology students.

Afterwards I didn't approach him immediately. I wanted to give him plenty of time to sell his CD's and talk with the kids. I ended up gabbing with a a parent that happened to be there. A little too long, because as we talked I could see Bob was packing up. So I broke off the conversation to speak with Bob for just a moment. I brought up Tiktaalik and Lucy. We went back and forth a little on that.

What I expected was that we might have a little more of an even exchange. When I call on the radio I understand that it is his show, and he's going to dominate the microphone. But there's no need for that now. But as our discussion progressed he dominated the conversation even more than he does on air.

His assistant Jen, did indicate she remembered me. Bob is in the middle of making a point as she said this, and also told me to call in again Friday and she'd put me through. I said I would. Bob is still arguing some point, but I try to get him to recall me. "Remember, we talked about Iraqi sanctions" I said. He nodded yes, but kept arguing.

Jen interrupted him to say in a half laughing voice "Please Bob, we really gotta go." Bob didn't miss a stride as he kept talking at me, simply acknowledging with his eyes that he had heard her. I laughed a little and tried to bring levity to the discussion and said "Boy Bob, you and I could have so much fun arguing if we had more time." Bob did not smile at all, but just grew more intense. As he continued talking I interrupted him to say "I know you gotta go. We can walk towards the car if you want to keep talking." So they walked towards the car as Bob continued to talk, with me inserting one or two sentences here and there which he would take and run with.

Jen asked if I could help with directions as Bob continued to talk at me. It was almost like we had a little mini-conversation as I stood in silence while Bob talked. I grabbed my hand held GPS to show her things as Bob kept going. Unfortunately my battery was dead and she said don't worry. She'd just call someone. All the while Bob is still going at it. He's getting even more irritated and I'm barely talking. He slams his trunk shut angrily. He opens his car door and says something, and if I quickly reply he can't allow himself to get into his car. He must have the last word.

All in all a pretty weird, completely unproductive conversation. I was obviously getting on his nerves. I don't know if he realized who I was and decided he didn't like me or what.

So I dutifully called him as I said I would. Listen here. We talk about how ERV's are powerful evidence for evolution. Bob had no idea about them and didn't reply on substance one bit. He just denied that they showed evolution.

I didn't intend to describe my evening with Bob, but when I called in towards the end he suggested that I am not letting things go, just like I didn't let things go in the parking lot, and he says that he was trying to leave and I wouldn't let him go. If you listen you'll see that I was about to set the record straight, but I decided not to. But the fact is Bob is the one that would not let things go. I was not holding him up. He was holding himself up.

66 comments:

Eric Y said...

haha, what a funny story!

JKG said...

It is a funny story, but sad too. It really sounds like that guy is mentally unbalanced.

Jazzbutcher said...

The more religion is misunderstood the more it is accepted. The more science is misunderstood the more it is rejected. Our society teaches people religion is "good". Whether this is motivation to spread the word or not is debatable. Your description of the events certainly shows the religious movement is hard at work doing that regardless of motivation. They have even learned all the ways to reinforce their agenda. I'm sure at the same time they will deny the existence of reinforcement because it is science. Irony. Funny, but sad. Thank you Jon for poking holes in the charade. Hopefully we only see positive short term effects and the long term effects favor the truth. After all the truth is "good". It promotes scientific research to prevent disease, is against war, is for helping instead of praying, etc... Us moral relativists may not see an absolute good, but we do see what is good for our fellow man is good for us. NO Dogma! Thanks again Jon for doing what is "good" (not to mention backed up by evidence).

Betsy said...

//Thanks again Jon for doing what is "good" (not to mention backed up by evidence).//

I really wonder how you can explain the lack of fossil record in supporting your point. Wouldn't that be "real" evidence? Makes no sense at all to me. Where is it???

Jon said...

Betsy, there is a lot of fossil evidence for evolution. I live near the Ann Arbor Museum of Natural History. They have a Basilasaurus specimen. It's a precursor to modern whales. It's 50 ft long but has legs that are 2 feet long at the rear. Evolution predicts that a creature like this must have existed before, and it was subsequently discovered. If you've ever watched "Cosmos" you may have seen a sequence where they sketch out basically with little stick drawings the changes our ancestors went through, along with a time scale. At about the 375 year ago mark they have a creature shown that had not been discovered when Cosmos was created. Since then they've found in rock dated to 375 million years of age a fossil that looks remarkably like Sagan's drawing. It's pretty staggering.

And there is much more.

schmidt said...

Maybe everyone should look into prgressive creationism. Its like evolution w/ God's hand in it. If everyone could get passed the arguing and be more open-minded you could come up with the answers that both sides are lacking. I believe science and religion can work together in harmony. Just because one Christian might be having a bad day, or one sided, dosen't mean we are all like that. You should try talking to a Christian thats not so busy and consumed with their choice of career. The truth of the matter is, we spend to much time looking at the past when we should be looking at the future. The dinos are not coming back. Both sides are lacking, if you put them together something amazing could happen. So i guess at this point I'm nuetral, if someone is willing to look at both side you can emial me. Lets not judge each other, and work together, you may be suprised what can happen.

feller said...

Were the facts being stated by Mr. Dutko true or not? We have all had truth hurled at us at one point and it doesn't change the fact that it's true stuff!! Examine content, not means of delivery. If you say something is false when you know in your heart it's true, what then does that make you? Or me?

Jeannine Swickler said...

Jon, I was wondering how it is that they dated this rock to be 375 million years of age? What is the method they used to prove this fact?

Jon said...

Jeannine, I'm guessing you already know how I'm going to answer, but I'll tell you anyway. They use radiometric dating methods. These work for lava flows. So what you do in the event the rock you are considering wasn't a lava flow is you look to layers above and below to bound it. Having done this for many years geologists can now look to fossils within a layer and based on earlier radiometric tests they can kind of look up what the age of a deposit would be. The geological column is a tool that can be used.

I see you are in Michigan and that means you may listen to Dutko regularly, so let me take a crack at what you're thinking. The geological column doesn't exist in it's entirety anywhere in the world. And at the Grand Canyon Rubidium Strontium dating shows that the rocks on top are older than the rocks on the bottom. Well, those claims are both wrong. And we don't expect the full column at all locations. Because of land uplift sometimes one area of the world is receiving sedimentary deposits and another isn't, and then 10 million years later this could reverse. One area would have deposits that the other would lack.

Hooray for home schooling. We home school our kids.

The said...

Just came across this post in a 'search' and had some time to reply...sorry it might be considered stale at this point.

Well, it seems like you needed to highlight that your biggest argument and substantive point w/ Bob & his views VS your own centered around the fact that he was busy and didn't know about one of the topics you brought up like ERVs.
It's not as though your recounting of the night actually contained any examples of you proving Bob's claims to be false or logically frail.

ERVs seem to be the evolutionist's 'after the fact' grasp at using something not yet fully understood to answer & finally prove evolution as true. Of course, one has to assume evolution for the argument to reach that conclusion as the info is just not there for it to arrive at that conclusion on it's own merit. Soooo many holes centered around origin, function & rate of disappearance/variance still exist around ERVs. Yet, the assumption is that with time "you'll see" that it all comes together on the side of evolution. It just so happens that there is a staggeringly equal to greater amount of probability that further science will again refute the certainty of evolution, as has happened time & time again.

*ERVs are simply proteins that serve specific functions (just like any other protein.) Evolutionists claim that ERVs differ from other proteins because ERVs are junk DNA and retroviral incretions; however these assumptions are known to be wrong, or at the very least highly questionable,*

..... hope you had some fun while you were at the event though, and hopefully you don't find enthusiasm as intimidating in the future :)

Jon said...

I didn't actually claim that I proved Bob wrong in my discussion with him. I merely described the night as it happened because I thought it was interesting and thought others may find it interesting as well.

With regards to the rest, I like to encourage people that post here to make an effort to back up arguments with evidence. So for instance you say evolution must be first assumed in order for ERV's to serve as evidence. OK, that's your opinion. Can you offer a reason for us to draw that conclusion? I fail to see how that can be true. Or this claim that certain assumptions about "retroviral incretions" are known to be wrong and the evolutionist claim is dependent on these assumptions. OK. You can say that. But if you don't provide any evidence why would I believe it? I can't really respond to you if you don't offer evidence. If ERV's aren't good evidence I'd like to know why. If you know, please share.

Chip C said...

If you really believe that radiometric decay rates show evidence for an old Earth, you should "Radioisotopes and the agte of the Earth" from ICR. It is a 5 year 8 million dollar peer-reviewed study by 6 scientists of 4 different disciplines showing the diffusion rates of both Helium and Argon in various crystal lattices at different temperatures show supposedly old rocks to be 5000 years + or - 3000 years. The radiometric decay appears to be the result of a couple of periods of increased decay.

Desiree said...

First of all, Bob doesnt have to prove himself to anybody and to me it sounds like YOU followed him to his car...and if anyone who looked at his top ten proofs would have to be a complete ignoramis not to see that there is far more evidence that we have a creator...so what if he got irritated!!!...You athiests think Christians are supposed to be perfect?! we are no different, just believe the TRUTH and love our Savior Jesus Christ...why dont u people just sit and think, what if its true? what if there really is a heaven and hell?? when he comes on judgement day guess what it will b too late for u to figure it out...and why dont u question all the athiests that did do the research with an OPEN MIND and ended up turning to Christ....what do u have to say about the historical proofs and witnesses that prove the stories from the bible are true?! Hello, wake up...Bob is no diffetent from you, hes a debator that is passionate about what he believes and what he believes is the truth, I might add

chichiflys said...

I just listened to your exchiange with Bob.
Dutko has no intellectual integrity. He complains that you pre-suppose evolution, which is a false assertion, but then in his very next rebuttal blatantly presumes a creationists point of view. Such hypocrisy.
His main argument, at least with respect to evolution, seems to be that common similarities are just as much an argument from design as an argument from common ancestry. Not realizing of course that NO MATTER WHAT WE SEE IN NATURE you can argue common design, because it is an inherently UNFALSIFIABLE position...it also has no predictive power. None. His ideas are intellectually bankrupt.
ERVs are some of the most important evidences for common ancestry. That is because the theory of evolution requires that we see these. It is an inherent prediction that should exist. Creation ideas offer no such predictions, because the creator can do whatever they wish, and thus there is no prediction that MUST follow from the idea of a supernatural creator with respect to making living organisms...again since they can do whatever they want, there is NO reason to see certain patterns of similarity at all. If evolution is true we must find something similar to ERVs.

Bob goes on and makes the same poor claptrap argument that HE doesn't see the similarities as evidence for common ancestry. Well that's a huge problem for him and his creation nonsense. People don't make the predictions, the theories themselves make the predictions. In other words the theory dictates what we OUGHT to find, not the scientists or lay persons. The theory must require it, inherently. An UNFALSIFIABLE idea, such as creation "theory" offers none of these. Now the biblical account of creation does offer one such prediction...that is, we ought to find that all the living organisms should be found in close time-proximity to one another, since they were all created at roughly the same time. But of course, in fact, we do not find this at all. Major fail for the one prediction that biblical creation makes.
Same goes for the discovery of transitional creatures in the fossil record. The most recent and probably popular one being Tiktaalik. Oh and same goes for ativisms. The evolutionary theory of common descent requires we see something like this...and guess what? We do.

elhart said...

I listen to Bob all the time and kind of like him, but I don't trust him. He claims to use "logic" and "reasoning," But, he has his Christian world view to protect, not only for him but the whole Bible believing world, he can't, for their sake, be wrong. He's a good enough debater to wiggle out of any tight spot. But that doesn't make his Bible view the "truth." I believe Jewish and Christian "truth" evolved. Christians made the Sabbath and the Hebrew Laws extinct for their new and improved creation. Atheists, among others, are trying to kill that beast. It won't die without a fight, especially with warriors like Dutko. The question I have is: If we all live by laws and God gave us laws, why don't we use them? I believe because they don't work in modern civilization. We had to modify our concepts and laws to make are species survive. It seems everything evolves.

Garts said...

My best evidence for evolution vs. creation is to use my common sense...

If you asked someone whether or not the Pyramids in Egypt were created or developed naturally over time, they would (hopefully) say they were created. Use the same argument for your ipad, your favourite painting, your favourite book...

The reasons would be the complexety of the design, how all the blocks fit together to satisfy it's purpose, the shape, the size, the semmetry, and the funcionality... and yet, none of us were there to witness it being made, so conclusively I cannot say I saw it being built...

It COULD have come together via random winds, combining with the sand, water from rain, heat from the sun, and evolved into its current state. If you believe that the pyramids came into existance that way, then at least you have consistancy in your argument and I will commend you for that.

I would use that same argument for the human body or any multicellular organisim. The sheer complexety and functionality are mind boggling. Self regulating pH, temperature, motor functions, sensory perception, honestly amazing. Not to mention things like emotions and self awareness, all of which are honestly incredible.

To think that via some process of abiogensis (never been seen) a single celled organisim would then, via random unfocused energy from the closed system of the universe (which I would debate is an open system but that's another argument), become the being I am today seems well... rediculous. It defies the laws of entropy really (thing will go towards chaos without energy input, and even with energy input it has to have some direction to it) and more over it seems improbable if not impossible.

It would seem more likely that the complexity and diversity of functioning living organsims came into existance ON PURPOSE, not by coincidence. Even the smallest ameoba has ribosomes and golgi bodies right down to the carbon atoms that it is made of, all of which operate perfectly to give it LIFE. If it didn't work exactly how it's supposed to, then it would be non-life, and we wouldn't be posting these blogs.

Microevolution, sure why not... dogs get bigger ears, birds bigger beaks, monkeys longer fingers, humans stupider, I'll believe that. But my dog is not becoming a fish, my bird is not becoming a cow, and my monkey is not becoming me.

You and me are alive, and that is proof enough to me at least that I was created on purpose. I (as well as everything else) came into existance on purpose, by will of he who is called I am.

I feel bad for athiests who think their life is meaningless and search to find ways to explain how they are a coincidental accident and de-value their existance.

I am a gambling man, I love roulette (my favourite sin) and I will put it like this. If you are right, and there is nothing else out there but this, then you have nothing to gain and nothing to lose. If I am right, and there is a God to which you will anwser, then you have everything to lose, and nothing to gain.

If you sold your lifes worth and took it to the roulette wheel and your options were red/black with no green, and the payback was nothing on black and 10000x on red, wouldn't you bet red?

Believe in Him my friends because He believes in you.

We're all in this together, so buckle up it's going to be a bumpy ride...

Jon said...

Hey Garts,

A couple of comments in reply. First of all I agree with you on the pyramids in Egypt. But there's reason to think life (replicating molecules) are different in a fundamental way. A good video explanation here.

The 2nd law doesn't say that things can't organize by natural means. It says they don't organize without an outside power source. Like the sun. The sun produces organization, like the layering of strata you see at the grand canyon. We can watch water go from liquid to solid (a decrease in entropy). The second law doesn't say that molecules couldn't form into patterns that replicated, and then nature couldn't select which molecules are best suited for further replication within a particular environment. It says that within a closed system the total amount of useable energy tends to decrease. The earth is not a closed system. We get energy from the sun.

Sure, if you're right and God exists and he will be really mad if I don't think he's there, then I'd be better off believing in him. But what if God exists and he's really mad at people that don't follow evidence? What if he doesn't care if people believe in him or not, or worship him or not, but he doesn't care for people that genuinely believe he's not there but pretend he is out of fear? What if he's there but he wants me to be honest with myself?

See, the question you ask assumes the existence of a vindictive, petty God that gets angry that people don't tell him how great he is. But if there really is a God I doubt he's that petty. I doubt he's insecure and needs people to worship him. If anything I'd expect he'd be more likely to punish people that continue to attribute genocide and infanticide to him just because they're afraid of upsetting their families or friends or whoever else it is that expects them to be a Christian. I can see God saying "You saw that this book attributed infanticide to me and you wouldn't stand up for my honor and say that no, a good God wouldn't do this, so this is really not the words of God."

If I'm wrong and I'll face God I feel pretty good. I'd be more nervous approaching him having pretended that Numbers 31 is a good example of God's moral character. I feel better saying that I realized that if there is a God he wouldn't do that. Should I pretend a good God would act in that way? Should I approach God as too much of a coward to stand up for his goodness? There was a lot of pressure on me to believe when I left Christianity and I could have caved to that. But that scares me more than what I'm doing.

Garts said...

Well I watched your video and I had to laugh because a person with a British accent always makes arguments sound more sensible and reasonable. He sounds so smart you would be stupid and absurd to question any of the conclusions made. Reminds me of Saurman from the Lord of The Rings (The Two Towers Chapter 10, pg 222)

So if I understand properly, which I likely don't, molecules of their own accord, will form into more complex molecules, and via millions of years of evolution will form living organsims, which again through millions of years of evolution will form more complex organsims, which eventually become us.

While there are plenty of arguments that would suggest the Earth is not Billions of years old (which it has to be to support your theories) that is a debate of a different colour. We would spend hours siting different research on dating techniques ultimately reaching no conclusions. I like the argument of heat death in the universe, but critics will try to bash that too. The whole carbon dating theory assumes that isotopes decay at a known rate, of which you can extrapolate the starting point, to which I would argue this could likely be untrue.

For simplicity sake we say that the speed of light is a constant, but studies have shown it can be sped up and slowed down. In much the same way I do not believe that the decay rates of elements are a constant throughout time and could very easily have been 10 or 1000 or 1,000,000 times of what we measure today. Thus making what would calculate to be 4.5 billion years old, 4500 years old.

On to Part II

Garts said...

The painter and painting argument is still valid as the functionality and complexity of life has to lend itself towards a guiding hand as opposed to random co-incidence. Molecules would have no desire to form more complex molecules, and keep up the repeating cycle, they simply exist. For some reason they WANTED to form life. Evolutionists would say because it "benefited" them... hows does Cyanide benefit from being RNA? I just don't buy it.

The narrator suggests that RNA/DNA can form on it's own and from there start replicating itself. At least he is smart enough to say "there is much study still required in this area" meaning to say "we can't prove any of this".

"Scientist think they can explain where the phosphate group came from..."

"It is still uncertain where the Ribosome came from"

Well you get the picture.

On to the rest of it...

Calling God petty and vindictive is funny too as if He does exist, which I believe, then He calls the shots, not you.

He is a jealous God, He is a wrathful God, and He does demand plenty of us peons. But the best part is, that's HIS choice, and He created us to glorify HIM, not the other way around... You don't get to tell God how to act, or what is right and wrong, He tells you... That's the beauty of it!

People ask me what the "meaning of life" is... I'll tell you... it's a test, a proving ground, to make yourself worthy of His belief in you. And He believes in you (Luke 12:7).

He has done plenty of wrathful smashing in his days from Soddom to the Flood to the Plagues, to what is to come in Revelation (and if you have read any of it, then I would think it smart to be scared). I would argue in all cases humanity deserved it because we cannot align to the guidelines and commitments He asks us to obey. Note that He asks, not forces, but as with any choice there are consequences. If you break the law, you should expect to pay the consequences.

It is not wrong to punish the wicked, and innocence is a point of view. To get all biblical, every person that is born is born into sin... fair or not (God's decision) we inherted the sins of our forefathers (Adam & Eve) as soon as they took the apple. Even a precious child born into the world is a sinner in God's eyes although we can fault them of nothing. I doubt not that child will receive infinitely more mercy than me, but just the same they are part of the Dark Side.

On to Part III

Garts said...

The "Good God" argument chaps my butt a little as it fails to recognise 2 things... one, the majority of BAD things that happen are in light of Human choices, not His choice, and two, if there is a God, then there is a Devil.

To be cliche I like the quote "the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing Man he doesn't exist"... but the Dragon is just as real as the Father.

We are constantly told in scripture to be wary of the Devil, and I do not doubt that Satan carries tremendous powers here on Earth... Afterall it is where God cast him when Uncle Lu got the boot from the big house (Heaven). Talk about an idiot, Lucifier was in heaven with the Father, was one of His favourates, and STILL rebelled... kinda makes me feel better about my stupid choices. I at least have the excuse I've never seen God (in the literal sense).

All of that aside...

My counter point would be that although that theory is plausible, it has never been witnessed or reproduced. Should science be able to perform abiogensis in a machine, throwing all sorts of chemicals into the ideal conditions and out pops a functioning lifeform of even the simpliest type, I am open to the idea.

Garts said...

Stupid text limit really put everyting out of place, apologies... had to cut and paste with Word, now it's all over the place!

You mentioned approaching God... I would approach God in humble prayer, and recognise that you may not be called to be a martyrdom, but you are still called to worship.

And since you came from the "cram it down your throat" church of Christianity, you now have a residing hate for the gospel it tried to teach you. In cases such as these it is probably appropriate to "shoot the messenger".

To be sure the Christian Church has done terrible things in His name, and they still do. You read about these child molestations and money grabs from preists and it's like... seriously. But believe me they will get their due when the time comes. To represent God here on Earth and to do such horrific things wearing his faith is just lining yourself up for disaster.

You say you feel good about meeting Him if you were to die tomorrow, but I don't know how you could.

You've invested plenty of time and energy into denying and mocking Him, even when you were raised in His faith. You don't even have the chance to plead ignorance, and that's the worst part. I don't want you to have to face that judgement hence why I took the time to write a few scribbles, but I can't imagine what you would say to Him tomorrow if your number was up.

I would start with "I'm sorry", that usually is a good ice breaker.

Jon said...

You sound like a reasonable person, Garts. That's refreshing. Sorry about the text limitations. Your response as written was easy to understand, so no problems on my end.

Let me reply to some of what you said. On evolution, molecules don't want to evolve into patterns that resemble life. What happens is molecules formed into replicating patterns. Nature simply imposes an environment on those molecules to where those that are best suited to replicate further do so, and those that don't won't. So the RNA didn't "want" to be attracted to a protective lipid membrane. It just happens that on this hypothesis an RNA molecule found itself inside a lipid membrane and this just made it better suited for replication. That process could lead to life as we know it without any divine intervention.

Yes, we're uncertain. But in my view if you have a plausible natural explanation then you should prefer that to a supernatural one. So for instance let's suppose I see a large collection of snow at the bottom of a mountain. I'd probably conclude an avalanche ocurred. Gravitation and all that. But can I prove it? No. I mean, maybe gremlins flew around collecting snow and deposited it at the bottom of the mountain. It's possible. I can't disprove it. But I prefer natural explanations. They have a better track record. I recognize that there is uncertainty, but this doesn't mean gremlins is a plausible answer.

I'm not calling God petty and vindictive. I'm saying that your question assumes he is. I don't grant it. Here you say he is wrathful and jealous. Why should I believe that? See, your question (I might as well believe because I have nothing to lose and everything to gain) assumes that we can expect that God, if he exists, is petty, vindictive, jealous, and wrathful. He smashed Sodom, imposed a flood and plagues. Look at all the assumptions you're bringing to the table. God was a big jerk and he'll be a big jerk if I die and don't believe in him.

He might be a big jerk. You might be right. Or he might be reasonable and nice. If he's reasonable and nice he won't punish me for failing to believe in him. Like I said he might be more ticked at people like you that attribute genocide, floods, and plagues to him and tell the world he's a big vindictive baby that needs everyone to tell him how great he is.

Jon said...

I could be wrong about God. I'm not like 100% confident there is no God. So I have to make a calculation of my own. If there is a God, do I want to approach him having attributed genocide and pettiness to him? Or do I want to approach him having said that I didn't really see evidence he was there, but if he was I was going to assume he wasn't a big jerk and a baby? See, you do have something to lose believing in a big baby jerk God. Maybe God won't be pleased that you did that. Of course if you are right and the Bible is the Word of God then you'll be in good shape. But how sure are you? You're taking a risk too.

You're right that I did get raised in a "cram it down your throat" version of Christianity. But despite that I don't hate the gospel. Yeah, I invested some time in proving he wasn't there. Did I mock the Bible God concept? Maybe. That's not mocking God. That's mocking what I view as silly ideas man has created about God. Even that though I shy away from these days. I can understand the hostility some deconverts have. They feel like they wasted their lives. They feel like they were bullied and tricked into believing. Maybe they've given tens of thousands to their church. I think anger is understandable. But I don't feel that way now and if I did feel that way in the past it was very slight. I actually admire Jesus as I wrote about recently at this blog. I have no problem with people that believe the gospel. Actually I wish right wing people would listen more closely to Jesus. If you believe in Christianity and that works for you I'm happy for you.

I have nothing to be sorry for if I face God. Belief in him didn't seem plausible to me. Am I to be faulted for believing what seemd plausible to me? But I'm not pretending I could know with 100% confidence. I'm betting God isn't a petty baby and won't care. You are betting he is and that if you're wrong he won't mind that you attributed pettiness and vindictiveness to him. He may not mind that either. But he might.

Garts said...

On the molecules topic:

I am still at an impasse in understanding why molecules combining to form more complex molecules would lead to them forming functioning life...

"Nature simply imposes an environment on those molecules to where those that are best suited to replicate further do so, and those that don't won't"

Nature imposing an environment sounds an awful lot like a Deity guiding a development. Nature has no interest in developing life anymore than molecules would. Carbon atoms do not think or presuppose or make decisions, they simply exist. At a molecular level all I am is a combination of carbon/oxygen/nitrogen/phosphorous, etc, in a very conveniently placed order and yet I have my own thoughts, my own dreams, my own personality, and my own emotions. These things you would say are electrical signal interpreted by my brain… HA the irony! The molecules of my brain are able to interpret the molecules of my knee when I smash them into my desk causing me the sensation of pain? Life is more than molecules… we refer to it as the breath of life, not the breath of protons/neutrons/electrons.

Life existing at all would seem a logical enough conclusion to me to suggest a creator.

The evolutionist claim of "time + energy + chance = life" is too flawed. The time part we can argue at nausim, but again I do not believe Earth has existed for 4.5 billion years, but that's beside the point. The energy part I will give you (but where did all the matter in the universe come from to create the sun's energy in the first place?) but of course it has always been there or at least that is the only re-buttle I like.

That's about where I throw out the heat death argument, then comes the recent big bang re-buttle, but we're still back at the beginning because even if all the atoms in the world were squeezed into a tiny dot the size of the period on this screen, they still had to come from somewhere to begin with.

Garts said...

Mathematically the chances of life coming into existence are so far away from probability and plausibility that I am confident to say it is impossible. The reason it is possible is Divine intervention not random co-incidence. Even forming the simplest amino acid involves an exact replicating process that if done wrong at any point nullifies the usefulness of the protein, creating a big waste of time and a non-functioning life form (commonly referred to as nothing).

I like the visualization of the computer. If I took all the components out of my computer and put them into a laundry machine and hit the spin cycle, how long would it have to run until I got a functioning computer out of the dryer? Keeping in mind all the parts were already pre-formed to fit together in the first place. 50 trillion years? I like the answer never.

The human body is far more complex than a computer, yet you are willing to say it is accidental, but the computer was clearly created?

Come now... Trust your instincts Luke, use the force hahaha. You exist, therefore a creator exists.

As far as God goes and the religious side of things, yes I am making the assumption that the Bible is a true and accurate assessment of the nature of our creator. That is why I believe He is wrathful and jealous because that is how it describes Him to be in the Bible (He even wrote it down for Moses to bring to His people – Ref the 10 Commandments). God is going to be pretty upset that you turned your back on Him, as he specifically said “Thou shall have no other God but Me”. That does not make Him a jerk however; as again, He decides what is right and wrong and how to act. We are not the moral judge of God’s character; He is the judge of ours.

If God came down to Moses and said, “Thou shall cut off the arms of every person over the age of 55” then I believe that is what should be done. Obviously this would seem to make no sense to our current society and if anything it seems cruel, unfair, and unjust, but if God the creator specifically said to do it, then who am I to question him? Our moral authority is given to us by God, not created by humans in our magnificent wisdom. Our wisdom comes from Him; our stupidity comes from his rival. For this reason we look at something like circumcision and are like “Really why?” But the faithful Jews of days gone by they said “Ok you’re the boss”… You had to wait until 16 to have the skin off your (you know what) cut off because God said so… and believe me they didn’t have anesthetists back then. I’m sure every Jewish kid was like… are you sure? That’s what I call faith!

Garts said...

People tend to think of the Bible as a great story full of adventure and neat characters, where as I tend to think of it as the oldest history book, made up of the greatest story ever told (because it's true). Arguing the validity and testimony of the Bible is another great debate, but suffice it to say it is a collection of the oldest surviving scriptures man has ever created and the fact that it survived at all lends itself towards some Devine intervention. Yes MEN wrote the Bible, but God moved their pens, or so we believe and there are good reasons to think so.

You can attribute genocide and pettiness to Him if you want to but I don’t think it’s wise. As per my arm cutting example, you make the mistake of thinking your judgment is better than His. He may have had very good reasons for genocides (we just don’t know what they are), and though we find it unfair and tragic it was what must be done. We can question all sorts of His judgments, for instance why did he let Satan tempt Adam & Eve in the first place? Why didn’t he just lay the beat down on Satan right then and there and lay it to rest. I don’t know, it’s not my call, and I prefer it that way. I trust His judgment and there is likely a very good reason. If I am so spared the chance I will ask Him.

But getting back on track, we need to use the logic tree to determine what we believe… if we can get you off of atheism (which is sounds like you’re not 100% committed to that) then we are at least on the right track. Questions to answer (in order) are:

1) Is there a God or creator at all? (if no, you are an atheist and we stop here)
2) Has God revealed himself to man? (If no, you are an agnostic and we stop here… and from what I’ve read this seems to be your spot “I could be wrong about God. I'm not like 100% confident there is no God”).
3) Which of the established revelations of God seems the most logical and or truth? (Christianity/Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Etc)


Once we cross that threshold then we are making progress and I think from there if you apply reasonable open minded study you would draw up only one conclusion.

In question 3 we have to consider this, that there are many religions all of which have conflicting statements about the nature and intents of God. At which point either one of them is true, or none of them are, as they cannot all be true.

Garts said...

Not knowing the slightest thing about you, I believe you had some poor experiences in Church; someone really hurt you at some point, so you turned your back on God and the faith to give yourself comfort and ease the pain. To hurt them back for the hurt they gave to you. It is very easy to inflict pain on God, you simply choose to not believe in Him, spend your life without Him, and try your hardest to persuade others to leave Him to. If people were to treat you the same way you would be crushed, and so is He. He is not so indifferent to you and me as He created us in His image. You mention people being bullied and tricked into the faith and giving away tens of thousands of dollars to a wasted cause, which makes me think you fall into at least some of those categories. Bottom line here is you can punch God in the face if you want to, but you do so at your own peril, and He would rather have a relationship with you than fight with you, but if you choose to fight you will not profit from it.

In the end, God is not to blame for the shortcomings of His Church. It is the weak people who serve it that are failing, and I suppose to some extent it is His adversary. If I were Satan and I wanted to undo and corrupt all the goodness of God the first place I would start is the Church. If I can make Christianity a dirty word and make them unpopular, right wing lunatics, homo hating bigots, and the source of all wars and evils to fall upon the world, then I can separate the Sheep from the Shepard.

It is not by chance that we the people are referred to as Sheep in the Bible and not another animal. Dogs will instinctively find their way home (at least the smart ones), but not so with Sheep. They will wander and wander until they find the wolf’s den and not have a clue how they got there.

Jon said...

Being at an impasse in terms of understanding the development of life is perfectly fine. I'm at an impasse too. It's not like I can fill all the gaps in my understanding. It's a complex topic.

But to go from "I'm at an impasse" to "Therefore God must have done it" is in my view irrational. It's straight God of the gaps. It has a terrible track record. People thought the cause of disease was demons. They thought lightning could only be God showing his power. Same with meteorites. In so many cases that which was at the moment not understood was therefore attributed to supernatural causes. And later we would discover that this was mistaken and that natural causes could explain these phenomenon. Supernatural causation is batting zero. It's been invoked a thousand times. Never been proven true. But proven wrong 999 times. My money is on natural causes for the development of life, even though I don't presently understand it all.

You seem to think you can avoid making judgments and instead can trust God. If God had said cutting arms off was OK you'd trust his judgement. But unfortunately you do not get to avoid making a judgment. You wouldn't know that God said cutting arms off is OK. What you'd know is that someone that claims to speak for God says cutting arms off is OK. You have to make a judgment about whether or not that person actually speaks for God.

Take I Sam 15. God orders the slaying of infants and others because 300 years in the past their ancestors had done something offensive to God. Do you see the big assumption there? Is that what we actually know? That God ordered a slaying? No. What we know is that Samuel claims that God ordered infants slain. It's not about trusting God. Sure, even I would trust God. It's about trusting Samuel. Do you trust Samuel? Do you even know that this is written by Samuel? Do you know that the claims about Samuel are true? The whole thing hinges on the credibility of Samuel, not the credibility of God. And the credibility of Samuel is very difficult to establish.

Jon said...

So you have to ask yourself the question. Does this sound like God? Just because someone claims to speak for God, this doesn't make it true. We should ask what we expect God's character to be like and if this order is a reflection of that character.

You seem to have no idea. He could have just as easily ordered the arms of elderly people cut off. Really? Don't you think God is the source of all that is good? Do you think that reflects the desires of a good God? Again, you have to make a judgment. Because God didn't tell you to cut off arms. Someone told you that God told you to cut off arms. You don't automatically believe something just because someone says God said it, do you?

The Bible is not the oldest surviving Scriptures. Those would probably be the Hindu texts. Those survived also, and longer than biblical texts. Lots of texts are older than the Bible. Does the fact that they survived prove they are from God?

Your beliefs about my experiences in church are quite wrong. A fair guess. That's true of a lot of people. Not me though. I loved church. Can't recall anyone that I could say hurt me. I really don't spend much time trying to convince people not to believe in God. My wife is a Christian. Both of my kids consider themselves Christian. No problem for me. I think Christianity is a fine religion. Abused by those with power, whether Rome or the US, but generally a force for good. If you enjoy being a Christian I'm happy for you. I am not all that interested in changing your mind. I think the discussion is interesting. I enjoy a good debate. But seriously, if you need Christianity to find purpose in life or meaning I wouldn't even try to take that away from you. I don't think Christian claims can be sustained by historical or scientific evidence, so I don't believe them. That's why I'm not a Christian nor a believer in God. Would that there was a God. Alas, there most likely isn't. We're on our own. I'm OK with that. If you aren't OK with that you should keep believing.

Garts said...

True, the Bible is not the oldest scriptures surviving, and what I should have said was “The Bible is a collection of some of the oldest scriptures”… we will get back to this later on.

True, the question as to whether the rules and regulations really came from God or Man is again a matter of debate. And you are correct that you have to decide whether or not the information obtained was truly from God or just some made up lie. In the instance of the Old Testament the Jewish people believed in God because of the miracles that God did among them, miracles that can not be scientifically explained then or now.

The Red Sea does not just PART because some old guy holds up a stick, either it was going to part on it’s own due to some “natural process” already and Moses just got the timing right, OR God really did part it for the Jews. HOW God did it is the interesting question, but again He is not bound to the laws of physics that we are, so good for Him.

That is what you would likely refer to as a “God Gap” because it defies explanation, and it’s just a convenient answer… as does the existence of life itself and God creating it. Using a Deity to fill that explanation is not wrong, as that seems the most likely and logical explanation given the circumstances and evidence. If Moses is God’s prophet, and God tells Moses I will lead you out of Egypt, and the Red Sea opens up exactly when you needed it to, doesn’t that make it very likely that God is real and that Moses actually communicates with him? Same idea applies with the plagues that came to Egypt and the reason why Pharaoh booted the Jews out in the first place.

For the same reason the miracles of New Testament give credibility to the Old Testament and the New. According to the witnesses of the time Jesus did some incredible things so much so that they believed in Him, and what he preached as being the truth from God. They believed Jesus to be God in the flesh, as He proclaimed Himself to be and performed many miracles that defied explanation among them. He was born into a Jewish family and knew well the Jewish Old Testament. He claimed to be God’s son, so I would think that if the Old Testament were all BS, Jesus would have shot that down as not being from God, but He didn’t, instead he referenced prophecies from the Old Testament describing Himself to give further credibility to his claims of his own divinity.

Certainly you could say “We’ll I’ve seen David Copperfield walk on water, and Chris Angel turn water to wine, and David Blaine heal the sick”… but none of these people are claiming to be God, and if they were would they be willing to be crucified for it? And of all the miracles Jesus raised the dead and raised Himself from the dead, giving His testimony some credibility. But of course you will deny all of these things ever even happened in the first place or the way in which it happened was recorded or transcribed incorrectly. That is really the only card you have left to play.

Garts said...

The sad part is that we’ve become such a God hating cynical society that if we witnessed the miracles and powers of God today we would find some way to write them off as co-incidence. If you met Jesus on the street and he told you, “I am the Son of God and God in the flesh, I have the power to forgive sins, I have the power over death and life, and no one comes to heaven but through me… today I will die but in 3 days I am coming to your house…” you would say, “The mental hospital is on 5th street, have a nice day buddy…”

And if he pulled out a shotgun and blew off his head right in front of you, you’d be like, that was crazy what an idiot. But trust me in 3 days you’d be looking over your shoulder, and if he showed up what would you do? I know what I would do, drop to the knees, but you would likely find any and every possible reason not to believe. “The guy probably has a twin brother” or “that was some crazy special effects” or “I must have been on drugs”… you would find any and every possible reason to deny what you saw with your own eyes. And again, Jesus didn’t just perform one miracle he performed many. And for what motive? He was hated, beaten and killed for what He said about himself… why would he lie? There is no motive in it, nor the apostles or the early Christian church. The society of today will lie up one side and down the other to obtain wealth, but there was no wealth in being a Christian back then… something happened out there in the desert.

I don’t know if it’s because we are the TV generation, so we have to see it on the box for it to be true? If we had a video tape of God in heaven and the Red Sea parting for Moses, would we believe then? Obviously not.

You said “I don't think Christian claims can be sustained by historical or scientific evidence, so I don't believe them. That's why I'm not a Christian nor a believer in God.”

I don’t know how you can say with a straight face that there is no historical or scientific evidence for Christianity. Even secular historical scholars widely agree that Jesus was a real person that walked this Earth 2000 years ago, and if you bother to read any creationist “propaganda” there is plenty of evidence to support a young Earth and give validity to events described in the Bible. If you are so inclined I can give you a plethora of websites and books to read, but you could easily find them with some time investment.

You’ll actually have to look for it though because you’re not going to see it in National Geographic, News Week, CNN, Harvard Review, or any school textbooks because all of it is censored and filed under “lunatic”. You will be laughed right out of your university classroom for even suggesting creationism, no matter how valid an argument you make, because people don’t want to believe. But I will have to sit there any lap up evolution until the cows come home because “they” say it is true. I don’t know who “they” are but if I ever find them I want to join…

I don’t think abiogensis can be sustained by historical or scientific evidence at all, but you’re willing to believe in it. It has never been documented or seen in all of recorded history, but you believe it to be true, and “someday” we will discover and prove how it happened. No you won’t.

Garts said...

There are more source scriptures and historical references to Jesus as the Son of God than there are to George Washington being the president of the United States. How can you prove to me he was the President? Give me your best arguments for General George being President of the U.S. and I can rip them apart too and make it all seem a lie.
People used to think that it rained and stormed when God was mad, and that diseases came from demons, and that asteroids were God’s wrath. Sure all of these have scientific explanations today, but that doesn’t mean they are all wrong. Maybe when God gets upset it does storm. We explain storms through science to be warm air masses meeting with cold air masses to create electric potential that discharges as lightening. Could the “natural process” of the water cycle not be watched over by a Deity controlling when, where, and how it happens? I absolutely believe that people can be demon possessed, and I don’t doubt that it has happened throughout history and continues to happen today. God could very well use asteroids and meteors to destroy cities if so required as He did to Sodom, and He has his reasons for doing so. The people that believed in Samuel would hopefully have had good reasons to do so, and did not kill those people for no good reason.

Is it war and death that makes you reject God? This is the third time you’ve reference the genocide, so I’m thinking that you really disagree with God exacting revenge on people for the suffering that they caused to the Jews. It violates who you think God should be, not who God is. Maybe every one of those Amalekites was a child molesting pedophile, who constantly committed adultery, theft, murder, and burned Jews at the stake for their own amusement as they were trying to come to the promised land… would that make you feel better about God ordering their deaths? You presume that the Amalekites were as innocent as baby seals and how dare anyone harm them... What loving good God would do such a thing? Keep in mind that the one God of the Bible made a covenant with Abraham to make his descendants a mighty nation. He didn’t make a covenant with all… He promised to reward the Israelites not the rest of the world, does that make you upset? That is unfair, and thus your version of God couldn’t or wouldn’t do that, thus making Him not exist?

You mean to tell me that life isn’t always fair? GET OUT!

Essentially what I see is a definite rejection of the Bible as anything more than made up stories of Men.

2000 years from now, do you think society will believe that the holocaust happened? Obviously not, as there are plenty of current people that don’t believe that. I can assure you it did happen as my grandfather told me about what he saw there, and I’ve seen his photographs he brought home with him. Why would he lie? There are plenty of scriptures outlining the people that were sent there and eye witness testimony of the atrocities that happened. There is the physical evidence of the buildings and the locations of where it happened, but in the end they will say that’s not enough proof. It was a conspiracy, and all a bunch of lies. Trust me, it happened.

No surprise that the 3rd Reich was super interested in the Final Solution of exterminating the Jews… why not the Mexicans or the Blacks or the Muslims, or the Feminists, or the French or the Communists? No it had to be the Jews… I don’t see co-incidence I see a continuation of the greatest story ever told. Of COURSE the Jews were targeted, they are God’s people, and the enemy really hates them for that. I am not Jewish, but I wish I was at least I’d have a better chance of going upstairs.

Jon said...

You say the only card I have left to play is to deny that Moses parted the Red Sea or Jesus walked on water. I guess that's true. That's the only card anybody plays when they are confronted with miracle claims. Do you believe Joseph Smith really met an angel that offered him golden plates? Do you really believe Mohammed dictated the Qur'an after meeting an angel in a cave? The only card you play is that card that says no, these are all made up stories and I don't believe them. That's a card you play and it's a card I play. The difference between you and me is I play the same cards when confronted with all religious claims. I don't go with a different approach when I consider a preferred religion, like Christianity (which is preferred in our country).

When I say there is no evidence for Christianity I mean the claim that Jesus rose from the dead and other similar claims, not claims like there was a Jesus or there was an Apostle Paul. There's evidence for the existence of a person named Jesus. Not particularly great evidence, but there is some. The evidence for the miracle claims though simply cannot be sustained. If you want to believe it on faith that's fine.

I'm quite familiar with the arguments and websites justifying belief in a young earth. When I was a Christian I decided that I couldn't accept that. I followed Hugh Ross and thought his rebuttals to AIG and other young earth sources were persuasive.

As far as George Washington, we have his own writings. We have writings of his enemies. We have paintings, newspaper articles from the time of his life, etc. What do we have concerning Jesus?

Jon said...

Nothing he wrote. Nothing that was written within at least a couple of decades of his lifetime. What was written is written by devoted and superstitious followers that don't even claim to have known Jesus during his lifetime or ever met him. The earliest writings are from Paul, who never met a fleshly Jesus but only in visions. Mark is the earliest Gospel. He wasn't an eyewitness. Luke says that many had undertaken an effort to write of the things of Jesus, so he thought he'd give it a try as well. He's writing well after the events and well after other stories had been written. He's not an eyewitness. Matthew copies the non-eyewitness Mark word for word and modifies his story to improve on it or based on his own preferences. That's not the sign of an eyewitness. There is a vast difference in the quality of evidence we have about Jesus as compared to George Washington.

Maybe storms are about God getting upset. Maybe snow is at the bottom of the mountain because gremlins deposited it there. Do you believe that?

I really do disagree with the concept of a God that is supposedly good, yet also orders the slaying of infants. Infants aren't child molesters and they don't commit adultery. They don't burn Jews or steal. Infants can't do anything. It's not that it upsets me. It's about evaluating whether this concept of God is rational. I think it's a contradiction. Hitler says "I'm a good person and I build concentration camps for millions of people, including children, to be gassed." Sorry, you can't be both good and do that kind of thing. It's just a contradiction.

Isn't it possible that there is a good God but he didn't in fact order the slaying of children? Are you open to that concept of God?

There are other peoples that have been nearly exterminated. Not just the Jews. What about Native Americans? They were killed by design. Regarded as savages. Sub human. Tens of millions were killed. Look at the Congo under Belgian domination. 10 million or so. Does this prove their respective religions are true or something?

Garts said...

Ok so I’ll try to stay in order…No I don’t really believe in Mormon lore, nor the Qu’ran as I am confronted with a few facts that I don’t like about them. In both cases, they are essentially a continuation of the Old and New Testaments… they are a twist on the same story, but they don’t have enough back up or meat to them to make me want to believe them as opposed to what I am already given through the Bible.

Islam would claim to be an Abrahamic religion containing the TRUE word of the One God (referred to as Allah) as given to Muhammad by the arch angel Gabriel and laid down in the Qu’ran. So as a matter of speaking, he didn’t get the perfect word of God from God himself, but from one of his high ranking angels. I suppose this is still good and logical, but seems to diminish the validity as its not from God himself, but putting that aside.

Arguably the two “miracles” Muhammad performed was writing the Qu’ran as an illiterate man, and speaking to an angel directly. Is that enough to follow his teachings? And what did he bring to the people of Earth that was of great interest or revelation? Did he pay the ultimate price for it? How did he back up the claim of his conversation with Gabriel other than the scripture itself?

The funny part is Muhammad of course claiming to be a descendant of Abraham himself (thus giving himself some divine lineage and more credibility) and this would arguably make him a Jew. Don’t say that too loud though because you’ll cause a shit storm with your Muslim friends.

Mormonism is again another twist on the same story. Because the early apostles and church founders were martyred, the ability to lead the Church died with them. Joe Smith (through communication with an angel not identified, I’ll assume Michael, and Jesus) was then handed the mantle of Church leadership as outlined in his golden tablets? If the tablets existed I would think he would want to show them to all as proof of the miracle not seal them up for the second coming. He found them in the 1800’s so certainly being made of gold they should have survived 200 years? He sealed them with some other witnesses, so shouldn’t someone know where the tablets are hidden? Can we have a look at them? I just don’t follow…

Again, Joe Smith “pulled a Muhammad” and took the existing scriptures and stories of God, and “upgraded” them to be a better more pure version of God’s true message and meaning. He conveniently backed it up with… being murdered? I don’t know… I didn’t see any other miracles performed than finding an angelic book that only he could translate.

I just see more continuity and believability in the story of Christ than the story of Islam or Mormon.

The accounts of Christ were too numerous and miracle laden for me to just simply right them off. The ultimate torture, death and resurrection of Jesus would lead me to suggest that his divinity was sound, meaning to suggest that his messages and teachings would also be sound. He also referenced himself in the prophesies of the Old Testament, giving those scriptures their validity through his miracles and attesting to the Hebrew Bible’s true word of God.

Garts said...

There were plenty of detractors in Jesus’ day (hence why he got crucified), yet there are not any refuting scriptures outlining him as a fraud at any point immediately after his death. To my knowledge there are no scriptures from the centuries after his death outlining him as a fraud. No death bed confessionals from Apostles or eyewitnesses or anyone saying “we made it all up”. At the very least, none that I am aware of… Even the Qu’ran does not refute Jesus, they simply suggest that he was a prophet and did not have the “truth” from God, and only parleyed part of the intended message. That message was then of course PERFECTED by Muhammad through his conversations with Gabriel.

This leads you to the credibility argument that the scriptures were not written soon enough to be true and accurate. You would suggest that the scriptures are too far removed from the date of the events thus making them untrue… that is debatable, as the earliest texts would come from about 60 years after his death, again debatable, but well within the lifetime of eye witnesses or at the very least descendants of eye witnesses who could have refuted any of the testimony given.

I didn’t witness the holocaust, but I heard all about it from my Grandpa who was an eye witness, and I would refute any of the contradictory evidence given if someone were to say “it never happened”. In a similar manner I would expect the eye witnesses of Christ would be sharing everything they saw and heard with their descendants. As Christians were being murdered for their faith in Jesus during those times, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t write it down and release the information right away as you wouldn’t want to be caught with those manuscripts at that time unless you wanted to be martyred and that is not everyone’s calling.

If you were 20 when you saw the miracles of Christ, and told your kids about it over and over again, and you told their kids (your Grandkids) over and over about it, and they wrote it down in their adulthood, it is not possible that the from when the events took place to when they were recorded was maybe 200 years? Does that make the testimony false? Keeping in mind this isn’t a game of telephone where you see if the word comes back the same, this is the most important and significant thing you have ever witnessed in your life. It would be 1000 times more important than your wedding day and you would be damn skippy about how it all when down right to the details.

Why then the outbreak of Christianity spreading throughout the world if the eye witnesses could rebuke all that was being said as made up nonsense? There was a hate on to crush Christianity by all who were in power at that time, and they martyred people left right and centre. The apostle Paul was the chief persecutor before he became an Apostle.

We also neglect the Bible’s validity through prophesy as there is plenty of evidence to suggest that prophesy as outlined in the Bible have come true. Not the sort of coming true of Nostradamus who predicts that “there will be a loud bang and people will run” which can be tied to just about anything, no I’m talking about specific predictions.

There are plenty of books that discuss the evidence about the prophesies coming true as well as the evidence of the manuscripts and their dating before and after Christ’s death. Our chronology is based around Christ’s death for some reason, so someone felt it was important at some point.

Garts said...

As far as Jesus vs. George Washington goes… we have paintings of Jesus, just as of George. In fact there are probably more paintings of Christ than there are of George, so does that make him more real? Obviously the ones of George are much more recent and you would argue consistent, but does that make them fact that George actually looked like he does in the paintings? Maybe George Washington was Black or Hispanic? (Obviously I don’t think he was, but this would be the skeptic’s argument about Jesus).

We have the writings of Jesus as outlined in the gospels, just as we have the writings of George as outlined in his speeches and edicts. The only difference was someone else was writing down what Jesus said vs. George writing it himself, but does that make the statements of Jesus false?

Most courts have a person taking a dictation of what is said in court, and it is considered to be reliable and can be later used as testimony. If the apostles wrote down what Jesus said does that make it less true than Jesus himself writing it?

We have writings from multiple enemies of Jesus giving testimony to his stature among the people as well as his significance during those days.

No the snow at the bottom of the mountain got there because of the “natural process” of gravity pulling it towards the Earth. But I ask you this, if you found snow inside an active volcano, would it be wrong to believe God put it there? It defies any explanation, thus I would consider it a miracle performed by He who is above the laws of “natural processes”. The same premise applies for Sea’s parting, and worldwide floods coming on schedule, and water turning to wine, and cripples walking, and dead rising, all on command.

I mean think about it, if you had a brother that had cerebral palsy and was crippled from birth, runs up and touches a guy’s cloak, and then he can walk and talk without issue… You’d be like, what the heck, who was that guy… and when that guy says “I’m the son of God, God in the flesh, I have power over sin and death, come follow me…” I would think it would be logical and wise to do so.

Sure I am open to the concept that there is a good God, and that he wouldn’t order the slaying of infants, but again it is the why we must answer. Perhaps those infants would have grown into titans the size of buildings and crushed the Jews, so God ensured His people would be protected thus keeping his promise to Abraham. Murder is the taking of innocent life, perhaps they were all guilty or would become guilty and God knew it so He took action.

Maybe those children would have opened the gates of hell, and God wanted to stop that from happening prematurely. My best idea so far would be that the Amalekites were raising their children to be evil and destructive and God saw fit to stop the cycle. Those innocent children were killed and welcomed into the kingdom of heaven before their parents had the chance to corrupt them and pull them away from God. You see death as such a punishment and bad thing, when in reality it could have been a great blessing.

Death will only be feared and shunned by those who do not believe there is anything more than this Earthly life (thus there is nothing to look forward to), or by those who expect they will not see the gates of heaven (thus there is nothing to look forward to).

Garts said...

My point with the holocaust was only to say that the Jews were yet again targeted. They have been the beating stick of all history and they continue to be so now in Israel.

The genocides in Rwanda, or the ethnic cleansings in Croatia/Yugoslavia, or the historical wars with the Natives are all bad in their own right, but what was the reason for them? In general they were fighting for territory or for resources and it was a war with willing combatants. To be sure there were civilian casualties and great cruelty on both sides, but there was a materialistic purpose for the fighting. The natives killed plenty of white men over the course of history the difference being Europeans had more numbers and better firepower so they won. And when the fighting was over, they gave them separate land to live on and left them alone (sure we can argue that part with all the political BS that goes on, but that’s another story).

The Hutu’s and the Tutsis killed each other because different “races” wanted to be in power, which came from the Dutch naming them by their physical attributes. Of all the killings this one is the craziest. This was closer to the holocaust in the sense the combatants and civilians were all treated the same… The Hutu’s wanted the Tutsis dead, by any and all means necessary. They wanted them exterminated because they oppressed them for so long and it finally snapped… I suppose this would be the Nazi reason for killing Jews, but the Jew’s oppressing the German people? I just don’t see it…

The Nazis didn’t have much of a reason to systematically kill the Jews… other than because they wanted them dead. Again it’s the why that bothers me… they weren’t fighting them (well only after the holocaust started they started forming resistances)… but the Nazis went well out of their way to find, identify, and snuff out any and all Jews. Not just in Germany, but anywhere they could find them… Hitler never said he was a good person. He thought of himself as a God, but again what miracles (other than organizing a country) did he perform?

They built buildings solely for the purposes of killing Jews faster and more efficiently… this sort of reckless hate and evil purpose against none other than God’s favorite people strikes to me of more continuity of the same old story. But again, the holocaust never happened right?

Garts said...

How much creationism do you study? All I’m asking is you is to do an honest two sided look at the evidence for creation and evolution and draw your own conclusions. I think if you invested the next 2 years of your life into reading nothing but creationist books and theories from reputable authors you would “see the light” to steal a crappy pun and not feel as strongly as you do about evolution.

If you tell me that you have done all the research into both sides and picked the one you’re in because it seems the most plausible and likely to you, then I don’t know what else to I can tell you. There is nothing I can say that will ever change your mind… I am open to changing my mind and completely throwing out creationism and Christianity as bullshit but there is no reason for me to do so at this time. Evolution and atheism and or other religions do not explain to my satisfaction the purpose and nature of my being as well as creationism and Christianity do.

I don’t believe because I need it for a “crutch” or so that I can get through everyday life… I don’t believe it to make me popular, or better, or happier… I believe it because it is what I deem to be the truth. Not “my truth”, THE truth. In my world of logic there can only be one right answer, it’s just math.

Bottom line being I hope for your sake that you are 100% right about everything you’ve said and believe. Because the truth is you will die eventually and at that point the answers will be revealed to you one way or another. You’ve bet eternity on being correct and on the notion that if you are wrong that God will simply forgive you for all of your non apologetic disbelief in him. All I’m saying is that IF God does exist and has revealed himself to man, in none of the organized religions does God simply excuse your disbelief in him and gives pardon. Even as a Buddhist you’ll be sent back as a fly or something trivial to live out a crappy second existence.

Yes God is good and loving and merciful and if you’ve been a good person who likely lives by the moral code as given in the Bible (because you live in North America where the laws of the country were based on the laws of the Bible) then you may have a chance of his mercy, but wouldn’t you want to improve your chances? God is also just and wrathful…

You seem to expect God’s mercy for your disbelief in him, but would it not be more just and righteous for you to get receive his wrath? It’s the thing where people can’t wrap their head around God punishing people in hell with a burning lake of fire because of some trivial thing they did while on Earth… What good and loving God would do such a thing (back to your infant problem)? I believe the burning lake of fire is reserved for the special people who really deserve it (thus there is some justice in the afterlife if not in this one), but for the rest it will be eternal separation from God.

You will see him at the throne and marvel in the magnificence, you will meet him, and you will be cast out because you cast Him out your whole life and it will be righteous for God to do so. It will be the greatest house party of all time and you will have to sit on the curb and listen and watch through the windows. You’ve seen him and heard his word throughout your life yet you would cast him aside just the same. Do you not see God in your children’s eyes?

I ask myself this; would I let me into heaven? Absolutely not, and thus the reason for a savior. Christ doesn’t guarantee your admittance but He does improve your chances.

Jon said...

Garts, you write a little too much to keep up with. I'll take a couple of points.

You're of course right to dismiss Mormon claims and Islamic claims. No argument here. The point is this. It's not like we know Joseph Smith met the angel Moroni. What we know is there's a story that he did. That's very different. Keep that in mind, and then let me quote you here:

The ultimate torture, death and resurrection of Jesus would lead me to suggest that his divinity was sound, meaning to suggest that his messages and teachings would also be sound.

We don't know that Jesus was tortured killed and resurrected. What we know is there's a story that he was tortured, killed, and resurrected.

Sure, there's nobody describing Jesus as a fraud. There's nobody saying he's genuine either. Nobody says a thing about him for decades. When they finally do talk about him it's people that never met him talking about him. When you finally get to people that don't follow him talking about him you're nearly 100 years after the events. So what does it prove that he wasn't immediately proved to be a fraud?

You say 60 years after the events is within the lifetime of eyewitnesses. What if there were no eyewitnesses? What if it's all stories about a guy that may have existed, but none of the stories are true. What you call eyewitnesses could be people that don't even know that the gospels are talking about the same person they knew because the stories are so far removed from anything the real Jesus did. Or what if they did know and they did object. How do you know they didn't object to false stories? Paul is fighting with people that are claiming that the teachings of Jesus are one thing and he says they are another.

Regarding prophecies, give me one. A couple of points though. First, show me the prophecy and show me that the author new it was a prophecy. Show me that it was actually fulfilled and show me how we know that. I mean, Jesus being born of a virgin. How do you prove that? Here's a guy and his Mom says she was a virgin. Was anybody there? How could you ever know something like that?

Also don't give the trivial stuff, like Jesus rode in on a donkey. Everybody rides a donkey. or "he was despised". Everyone is despised by some people and loved by others. Give me something concrete.

Jon said...

We do not have paintings of Jesus. George Washington sat and posed and someone painted his picture. The earliest paintings of Jesus are just people's idea of what he would have looked like (and they all look suspiciously like the painter himself or his contemporaries, not like Jesus might have actually looked.) In other words he's very European looking for European painters and Asian looking for Asian painters.

Jesus didn't write anything. Except the letter to King Agbar of course. :) Someone wrote down something that they claim he said. That's not a writing from Jesus.

Show me the writings from his enemies in those days.

Sure, if my brother with cerebral palsy was healed by touching someone's cloak I'd take notice. If someone was crucified and rose from the dead after 3 days I'd notice. I'd notice all kinds of things. But these are just stories. Stories are one thing and seeing them is another. We don't see these things happen today. We know that in the past (and still today) people make up similar stories that we know are false. What's the most plausible conclusion here?

You write:

Perhaps those infants would have grown into titans the size of buildings and crushed the Jews, so God ensured His people would be protected thus keeping his promise to Abraham.

And perhaps those infants would have grown up and cured disease. That would make this action all the more worse, which is proof that God couldn't have ordered it. We're not arguing about what is possible. We're arguing about what is plausible to believe. Is it plausible to believe a person that orders the killing of children when he tells you that it's OK because God told him? That's what you are doing when you believe Samuel.

I spent years studying creationism. Have you ever read a book laying out the evidence for evolution? Would you be interested in doing that? I've looked at both sides of the issue.

You ask:

You seem to expect God’s mercy for your disbelief in him, but would it not be more just and righteous for you to get receive his wrath?

I don't think so. You ever see that movie "Castaway" with Tom Hanks. His fiance thought he was dead. He shows up. He's not dead. Should he be enraged at her? Should he unleash his wrath? She did the best she knew. She thought he was dead. Is she to be blamed for that? It's childish to think this would justify punishment because what this really is, in my view, is just bullying priests and holy men. They want you to be scared to step away from them, so they promise eternal suffering if you doubt. But it makes no sense. If God is just and reasonable, as the priests claim he is, then he wouldn't be angry at such a trivial thing.

I would let you into heaven (probably). Even if you didn't believe I existed. Who cares? Whatever wrongs you have done are not worth an eternity of suffering. Am I more merciful than God? Am I more just than God? If there is a God I don't think I'd be better than him. So he can't be this way.

Garts said...

Ok so addressing the “stories” of Jesus…

Because they happened along time ago, and there are no current eye witnesses or any one that can claim to be descendant from an eye witness, then they can at best be described as “stories”. Stories which arguably changed the course of human history, and stories written to no gain of the authors (if anything they were killed for it).

By that same logic, the “stories” of Alexander the Great could be a load of non-sense, as is Genghis Khan, or any historical figure pre what date? At what point do scriptural documents get a pass from being made up stories to factual events? There are more scriptures written about Jesus than either of the two aforementioned historical icons, yet they are real and Jesus was made up? Refer to The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict-by Josh McDowell. The Bible is one of the most studied and historically sound documents of all time in accordance with the principles of historicity.

As I mentioned previously it seems to be your position that the date and time in which the life and events of Jesus were recorded make the events false there by taking them into the category of fiction and “stories”. Again please refer to my rebuttal regarding the Holocaust and the stories of my Grandpa. It is not unlikely that the events and details as seen by the eyewitnesses were not physically recorded until many years after the events had occurred. This does not by any logic make the events false. You even go so far as to say there may have been no eyewitnesses to any of the events described in the Bible, making the entire thing out to be Greek Mythology. Prove Hercules isn’t real, or Apollo, or Athena, or Zeus, I can hear it now hahahaha… The Bible was not written as a mythology, nor were the scriptures of George Washington or Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great. These were all REAL people that did REAL things in REAL history.

How do I know people were not making up stories about George Washington and painted elaborate pictures to further the hoax that he existed? How can you prove his edicts and speeches were really his or that such a man ever existed in the first place? Perhaps the army made up such a fearless General to help them win a war, a fake person and banner for people to rally behind… again, short of a video tape of him giving the speeches or riding in battle we have to take a look at the historical writings, evidence, events, and rippled outcomes through history to make a logical conclusion. Don’t get me wrong, He existed and I don’t doubt it. Just as I believe Jesus existed and what happened back then actually happened.

The “Good God” argument seems to be the one you love the most for denying a Biblical version of God, as it defies your reasoning that a good God as the clergy and the Bible would suggest could not have allowed the travesties of old and of new to have happened, thus making him a lie. It is impossible that a good God could allow bad things to happen. And from a math perspective, I get it, y does not equal x.

Again I go back to the origin of sin, and the choices of men, and the strength of the enemy. In the end God allowed sin (or bad things) to enter this world, He cast Satan out of heaven down to Earth. He could have just as easily mopped Lucifer up and gave us paradise right here right now, but he didn’t…Your version of God would not allow infants to die, nor people to suffer, nor bad things to happen. Would it make you feel better if God smashed the Amalekites with a rain of holy fire (like He did to Sodom) as opposed to ordering Samuel to get it done?

Garts said...

What I would argue is that the true identity of God as outlined in the Bible destroyed Sodom with fire, Flooded the Earth and killed tens of thousands (who knows millions), sent forth great plagues, and if you take a read through the book of Revelation the worst is yet to come. I’m guessing when the trumpets sound and the scrolls get opened that there is going to be a lot of shotgun repenting going on…

It’s the story of the thief in the night… if you knew you were going to be robbed you would leave the lights on, arm yourself, and defend your life and your property. It’s when you least expect it that they show up hence you get caught with your pants around your ankles.

I’ve studied evolution, I’ve read Dawkins, I’ve been through the public education system and got my degree in biochemical engineering… I’ve been an atheist for 90% of my life, and I’ve said all the same things you’re saying now. It wasn’t until you really open your mind up to the idea that things start to line up.

I’m not saying your dooming yourself to an afterlife of suffering at this point, I have no idea what your heart is really like or what you’ve done in your life… and I have no idea what God will and will not forgive 100% but I have a pretty good inclination. I’m just going by God’s historical track record in the Bible and by what He says about the rules and codes of conduct for humanity. He doesn’t take kindly to blaspheming (which denying His existence has to be right up there); heck were not even supposed to use his name in vain.

And you’ve been educated in what I would argue (and you would disagree) is the truth of His word. As a consequence you understand the obligations you are to conduct yourself by while here on this Earth, and yet you would turn away from him. The “castaway” argument might work for those who do not know of the Bible or Christ (like tribes in the middle of no where) or those who were forced into a different faith by their cultural upbringing, but for you there will be no plea of ignorance.

To turn your back on Him after a relationship with Him is to put a knife through His chest… and you’re making the assumption God will pull it out and be ok with it. I just don’t by it. I think you’re taking an unnecessary gamble…

No I’m not telling you to play the part and believe just because it’s the odds on bet, but what I am telling you is that is the mentality to start with. Because if you start there pretty soon you’ll do some serious soul searching, thinking, research, and before too long you’ll find a reason to truthfully believe.

I can think of one prophesy that you yourself may be fulfilling right now:

Matthew. 24:12 The love of many will wax cold, because iniquity
shall abound.

Because of the iniquity you see all around you and abundant in the world, your love of the Lord grows cold. How could a good God let this happen? And you’re not the only one…

More directly one of the more often quoted prophesies regards the city of Tyre and the book of Ezekiel or that of Babylon. But you are right the bulk of the prophesies made true are about Jesus himself, but at your request we will toss those aside. As mentioned earlier however I think the most concrete prophetic writings come from the book of Revelation which conveniently for my argument’s sake hasn’t happened yet. I pray it never does, but the reality is I believe it will. Apologies for the long windedness, but as you can sympathize complex problems have complex answers.

Jon said...

Biochemical engineering? Cool. I'm a mechanical engineer. I got my education in the public system. I learned almost nothing about evolution there. Did you? Can you tell me what in your opinion are the top 2 or 3 strongest arguments in favor of evolution?

The Tyre prophecy is one of the classic failed prophecies. Ezekiel himself admits it failed just a couple of chapters after you read about it. He said Nebuchadnezzar would get them. He didn't so then Ezekiel promised him a consolation prize. The place would be totally desolate and barren, like a bare rock. Go look at a map of Lebanon. Tyre is still there. It's a little island city off the coast. Alexander the Great did conquer Tyre like centuries later, but he didn't totally destroy it.

There's really almost nothing in terms of evidential prophecy in the Bible. Any time you hear someone say that, just ask for the evidence. Look at the actual texts. They fall apart every time. And think about how easy it could have been for God to offer on unambiguous prophecy that wasn't vague and nebulous. How about a volcanic eruption or a comet? Heck, he could have given us medical advice, like wash our hands. Nothing. Not even an eclipse at the hour Jesus was killed. We know it was done during Passover, which is a full moon and an eclipse would be impossible. We could have gone back and figured out exactly when an eclipse in Palestine must have happened and we could at least be a little impressed. We get nothing. Kind of like what you'd expect if it was written by men that weren't inspired of God.

Garts said...

So now I have to argue for your team too? The Matrix must have me…

The best evidence for the theory of evolution is (in my opinion):

1) Microevolution
2) Layered Strata
3) Fossil Record of Extinct Species


1) Microevolution has been seen and documented in recent times and the theory is sound. For example if a member of a bird species by random chance “evolves” a longer beak giving it the ability to prosper and feed better than its counterparts, this particular bird will likely flourish and breed more than it's counterparts and pass on the genetic trait to it's descendants which in turn will flourish more than it’s counterparts, giving rise to a new “species” of bird. But in the end, the bird is still a bird, and is not in any way becoming a snake or some other species. It is simply a more advanced version of the same species.

In no way does that suggest that it came from some other species or is going to become a different species. You would argue if these small differential changes continue to happen over the course of billions of years then who knows what this bird could become. Again it will still be a bird, with a very long beak, smaller claws, wider wings, three eyes, but still a bird. And as I’ve stated before, the billions of years is questionable at best.

My question is why would a bird WANT to be a fish, or WANT to be a snake in the first place. There would be no real advantage for a fish to become a snake as it is merely a fulfillment of its being. The biggest gap to me is how does a single celled organism become a multi-cellular one. How does an amoeba “evolve” into a plant? The real complex one would be anything evolving into a mammal… I hope it didn’t “evolve” its stomach first as it would have no eyes to catch the food it needed to survive. I would also expect life forms to be far more asymmetrical and misshapen (like a Picasso painting) as there is no reason I can think of for symmetry in life forms. I would think we would be as random looking as a pile of leaves swept by the breeze or a bucket of paint thrown at a wall.

But let’s say you are right, and the billions of years existed and that microevolution could cause macroevolution, the idea has some flaws still.

If a single celled organism formed itself via abiogensis billions of years ago, then all the life on earth should be descendant from it. I can’t rationalize how the plethora of different life forms on this earth would have evolved from a single ancestor. In theory there would be no need to evolve as there would be no competition, everything would have been for the taking in the beginning as there was no other life out there. I suppose then it would start to compete with itself? How very cannibalistic… I just think it is too far fetched, but again show me abiogensis creating a living bacteria and I’m willing to change my mind.

The main takeaway is this is why evolutions MUST have the Earth being billions of years old otherwise the theory is wrecked. My point would be even at billions of years old life would still need a creator as life does not come from non-life.

To me this is the fundamental evolutionist flaw… they assume their theory is correct and go about the rest of their lives trying to find or create the evidence to prove it. I would say the evidence for a creator already exists (just open your eyes), hence I draw to the conclusion of creationism. Picking Christianity is another methodology altogether, but atheism and evolution as the origins of life just do not line up for me.

Garts said...

2) Layered strata of different colors and variations of rock type would suggest that throughout time the landscape of the Earth has been changing. Evolutionists would use these different layers to suggest different periods of history throughout time caused by change over millions of years. I tend to stop there… true the layers would suggest different time periods, but the span of the period does not need to be millions of years.

Different strata layers could be caused by natural events like volcanic activity, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, meteorites and anything else that can stir up rock and let it settle back down within a matter of days or months. Noah’s flood could have caused many layers to form as well… and the dating of the strata raises concern.

Often strata is dated by the bone fossils that they find in the ground, which then determines which period the ground is and how old it is. If they pull out a T-Rex bone from a strata of rock, then it must have been in the Cambrian era (or whatever era it’s supposed to be in). Conversely, fossils are commonly dated by the strata layer in which they are pulled out of. Thus if they pull out a T-Rex bone from a strata of rock, then it must have been in the Cambrian era (or whatever era it’s supposed to be in). I just don’t like the circular reasoning.

Team Science would suggest carbon dating the bones places the strata, however even Libby knew that carbon dating was only good up until 50,000 years, so at best that’s how old it could be. Potassium-Argon dating as well as the accuracy and techniques used can give plenty of error, not to mention my assumption that the decay rates of isotopes is assumed constant which is not certain. Einstein’s theory says that E=mc2 where “c” is the speed of light. If the speed of light can change (which science is proving it can) then theoretically the energy of any given particle can change exponentially. This is mind-boggling science, but cool none the less.

Trans-permeating fossils are also an interesting dilemma as there are organic fossils that permeate 2 to 3 layers of supposed strata. Thus the fossil is 100, 300, and 500 million years old all at the same time? In addition if you dig a straight hole down your back yard heading for China you will find that many of the layers you’re suppose to see don’t exist, or are in the wrong order… To date I am unaware of anywhere on Earth where all the layers of strata line up the way that science has published they should from Precambrian to current (or whatever start to finish is these days).

Garts said...

3) Archeologists are super keen on digging up bones that don’t appear to resemble anything that currently walks the Earth and placing them in an order that seems convenient to support the theory of evolution. If I take a monkey and place it next to an orangutan and then place it next to a small gorilla and then next to a “Neanderthal” and then next to a human, the picture it paints seem very interesting. The reality is that you have different bones of different species and put them in an order to suggest that is how they got there when there is no evidence to support that.

Again the claims will be made that monkeys with different hand shapes and joint structures were on their way to becoming humans and these are the supposed “intermediate species”… no they are not… they are monkeys with hip flexor problems or arthritis or what have you. The “Neanderthals” with the enlarged skulls were not necessarily “early” humanoids becoming Homoerectus; they are humans with skull deformities from perhaps a birth trauma. Hospitals weren’t exactly great thousands of years ago.

Finding extinct species that look nothing like what we see today does not mean that we evolved from them. Just because we don’t see dinosaurs like we do in the Earth today doesn’t mean that they didn’t walk the Earth in the recent past. Again we refer to the Behemoth in the book of Job, or the cave drawings of dinosaurs archeologists find today. A “caveman” is nothing more than a human who lived in a cave… they were just like you and me and they lived in caves because it was the best shelter available. And while they were there they drew pictures of what they saw around them, and they saw beasts which were historically called Dragons… it wasn’t until the last 100 years they became dinosaurs. Dragons are not mythical creatures from ancient times millions of years ago; they are a different word used to describe REAL creatures that walked this Earth in recent times. Their pictures of Dragons look an awful lot like animals we refer to as Dinosaurs. There are plenty of references to Dragons throughout history as well as quests to go and destroy them. People think of this as fantasy story telling (like the Bible), I tend to think of it as recorded history.

Food for thought… studies have shown that as we age our bone structure changes and our skulls begin to elongate as our spine begins to shrink up. Thus your Grandpa will have a slopped head, warped jaw structure, and start to shorten up. If people lived to hundreds of years old (like the Bible would suggest) perhaps these “Neanderthal” skulls we are finding are the remains of our first run at humanity prior to Noah’s flood. Perhaps they just had more time to let their heads slope out than we have…

Garts said...

As far as God giving conclusive prophetic evidence, again we are back at the nature of God and your disapproval of His decisions and actions.

In the end, the word of God has to be based on SOME faith as otherwise what is the point in free will. God could just MAKE you believe in him, but what would be the point in that. I often wish God would make everyone on Earth fall asleep at the same time, and have the same dream (all in their native tongues of course) and wake up with the same message. And that message would contain all of the answers to all of the questions we’ve struggled with all of our lives and bring peace to all the world… but would it? I sincerely doubt it.

I would argue that God himself DID come down to Earth, and gave us His word from His own mouth, and preformed many miracles among us so that we might believe, and in the end we crucified Him for it. The people of that day (not so indifferent to day) saw what they saw, and killed the son of God, God in the flesh, out of fear and pride.

“Think about how easy it could have been for God to offer on unambiguous prophecy that wasn't vague and nebulous. How about a volcanic eruption or a comet? Heck, he could have given us medical advice, like wash our hands.”

I would think that the plagues, floods, holy fire, Jesus, the miracles of Jesus, and the revelation to come can be considered unambiguous prophecy fulfilled. Again you will say that all of these things never happened, so we are back at square one. As far as God giving advice, He gave us 10 very specific commandments and we aren’t even able to follow those. What good is practical advice like “make sure to wash your hands” when people can’t even stop murdering each other for money or drugs or you name it. Again, what good and loving God would allow such bad things to happen? This horse is getting the crap beat out of it hahahaha…

Essentially you are looking for concrete proof that God exists and that the Bible is true, and unfortunately you will never get bullet proof (video tape) evidence... Even if you had the video tape of it, you could say it was photo shopped… the “proof” is the miracles of Jesus during his life as recorded in the scriptures we call the Bible. You agree the man existed, so the problem is with the claims of miracles. In previous posts I’ve thrown out every logical reason why they should be trusted and considered accurate, so I’m out of ideas on that topic. In the end as it always has been it will be about faith. The miracle of childbirth was once considered a living miracle, but it has happened so many times it’s just commonplace. Do some internet searching about modern miracles and there is plenty of testimony about people having miraculous healings in the name of Jesus. Similar stories about people overcoming additions and diseases or living when they should have died… Again they are all just making it up to no profit of their own, and we can right these all off as coincidence.

That is the point; it is a test of faith. God asked Abraham to take his only son to the mountain to be sacrificed by his sword to prove his faith and trust in God. Tremendously Abraham was willing to go through with it, and thus was rewarded for his faith, and the people of Israel are the chosen people because of his faith. Your faith is being tested, and it would appear that you don’t want to keep it…

You don’t see life as being special or significant or meaningful thus you have no faith that a God put it here for any purpose and your life is meaningless and devoid of purpose, but I’m trying to tell you it’s not. Again I reference Luke 12:7…

You are worth more than a flock of sparrows… Is it the accountability to God that you don’t like so much, thus you don’t want to be accountable? If He doesn’t exist then there is nothing to be ashamed of doing on Earth? Counterpoint, there would be nothing to be proud of either…

Jon said...

I like the question because it gives me a sense of how well you really understand it. Not too bad for a young earth Christian, but some mosconceptions are there.

Your question about why would a bird WANT to be a fish just such a misconception. Evolution is not something that happens to invididuals in a species. The dinosaur didn't want to become a bird. What happened was the dinosaur had offspring and those offspring of course were a little different from the parent. Some will be different and it will make them less successful at reproduction. Others will be different and it wil make them more successful at reproduction. In this way changes come about. It doesn't matter what I would want to change to or what my kids might want to change to. The fact is they are different from me and they will either be better or worse at producing offspring because of the differences.

Did you know Darwin was the first scientist to claim that the earth would have to be at least hundreds of millions of years old? The dominant theory at the time was that the earth couldn't be older then a few tens of millions. Darwin said that his theory required more time. This is another confirmation of the theory now that we've shown that the earth is older through a variety of independent methods. I know you don't agree, but from my perspective it was pretty impressive. The mark of a good theory is predictive capability.

Don't just go with the "open your eyes" defense of a creator. The fact of the matter is life is complicated. Sometimes things are not intuitive. If everything was intuitive we wouldn't need science. Take Einstein's Theory of Relativity. He says that as things speed up they get heavier. Well, that's pretty bizarre. Should I just say "Give me a break! Open your eyes. Go with a simple explanation. That's too bizarre for me." But he made non-intuitive predictions, he did the tests, and he confirmed his claim. It doesn't matter if it's intuitive or not.

And that's what evolution has done. Check out some of Darwin's predictions here:

http://bigwhiteogre.blogspot.com/2009/01/darwins-startling-predictions.html

Jon said...

You're right that strata is a big deal. Take ice cores. You can count years into the past looking at ice cores. There's a little line corresponding to the annual warmth of the summer and cold of the winter. They find volcanic ash exactly where it is expected in accordance with recording of volcanic activity from thousands of years ago. And they can count back something on the order of a million years. That's a big deal for the claim that the earth is only thousands of years old.

Science hasn't shown that the speed of light in a vacuum could change. The speed can change when it passes through certain mediums, but not a vacuum, and most of space is a vacuum. So if you know a light source is 300 million years away (and you can know that with basic trigonometry) you can know that light started coming our way 300 million years ago. A cool video on this topic starting here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg1fs6vp9Ok

Yeah, it's that British guy again, but it's a good video.

All the layers do exist in some parts of the world, despite Dutko's constant denial. We don't expect all layers at most locations because sediment accumulates when land is under water. Sometimes a section of land is under water. Throughout other times of history it isn't. But still, you can see the full strata record at some locations.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/geocolumn/

Did you know that if you dig straight down what you'll find as you get deeper is stuff that looks absolutely nothing like anything that exists today? Why do you think everything is entirely different? Early creationists were forced to posit several creation events prior to the creation of Adam because they knew what I'm telling you. Of course on the Theory of Evolution this makes perfect sense.

Please show me the studies that show that as we get older we look like Neanderthal. If by studies you mean peer reviewed and published scientific claims I say to you the same thing I said about prophecy claims. Look for the evidence. It doesn't exist. If on the other hand you just mean that somebody made that claim, fine, I'm sure they did. But the scientific method (hypothesis, test, report, peer review, correct, publish, confirm via independent experiment) has a way of filtering false claims out.

Garts said...

Going back to the strata layers… I don’t think Dutko’s argument is invalid… I would think if there was a location anywhere on Earth where all the layers existed exactly how they are supposed to exist, containing at least some of the creatures from the appropriate periods that Evolutionist claim existed during that time, than Evolutionists would be publishing the crap out of it. I should know about this, and it should be beating me in the head every time I look up evolution… I just don’t see it and I’ve looked…

Maybe I’m not looking hard enough OR it doesn’t exist. It’s like John Smith with the golden tablets… if you have the tablets, please show them to me so I can believe.

The strata does not exist anywhere on Earth as my geology textbook says it does, so why should I believe it? If there are organic fossils that permeate 2 to 3 different layers (polystrate fossil), why should I believe that the 2 or 3 different layers are 200+ million years old each? Their explanation is that that particular fossil experienced rapid sedimentation and layering… sooooo why the heck couldn’t the rest of the layers of strata be formed the same way in thousands of years as opposed to millions of years? Fossilization has been shown to occur in relatively short time periods so the argument that we find a fossil therefore it must be millions of years old is irrelevant.


Had a look at your link and if what they are saying is true and they have found the strata exactly as predicted in all these different places in the world shouldn’t this be plastered all over the internet? Why do I have to go to a “talk origins” site to find this? The footnote suggests that the information is “too valuable” to be released thus I have to work in the oil and gas industry to find it… well I do, so I must have my eyes closed. I would love to see the photographs, sample deposits, strata depth measurements, carbon dating, fossil extraction, and identical strata placement on 25+ drill sites of over 15,000 ft each detailing the evidence supporting the geological columns as outlined by evolution.

Not a single footnote referenced in the discussion is newer than 1995, so evolutionists/geologists have sure been hot on top of these very significant finds for the past 17 years…

Fischer, A. G., 1993, "Cyclostratigraphy of Cretaceous Chalk-Marl Sequences" in Evolution of the Western Interior Basin, (GAC Special Paper No. 39, 1993) pp. 263-295 cited in Petroleum Abstracts, 35:12, March 25, 1995, p 1001.

Conveniently titled “Evolution of the Western Interior Basin”… not “Discovery of the Western Interior Basin” or “The Findings of the Western Interior Basin” hhahahah. If this was all vetted by peer and public review findings and debate I would think this sort of information would be contained in every evolutionist “bible” and spoon fed to me every day, but again this is the first I’m hearing about it and I don’t live in a cave on Mars with my eyes closed and my ears covered.

Garts said...

As far as forehead bones elongating with age I shouldn’t have to provide you some medical study to prove it to you, it’s just a fact… link below is to a doctor at Duke University who is studying the phenomenon in hopes of improving cosmetic procedures… typical human vanity…

http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/004788.html

Bottom line here is that as we age we would expect our bone structure to resemble that of a Neanderthal skull if we consider the Bible is true and that in the past age of humanity people lived to be 500+ years old.

In your evolution claim you say that the offspring of dinosaurs will have minor changes that they will pass on to their offspring and so on until eventually change happens… AGAIN I go back to my argument that it will still be a dinosaur with different features. It will not evolve into a different species, only a different version of the same species. Microevolution I believe, but it does NOT lead to macroevolution and changes in the species of the organism.

What you would suggest is that because you dig deep into the earth and find species that do not at all resemble ones we see today that somehow that proves the species today evolved from them. That is so far from an argument it just doesn’t make sense. There have been plenty of species go extinct during recorded human history and in no way did they evolve into something else. Unless these previous life forms they are finding deep in the Earth’s core are not carbon based life forms I fail to see how this proves evolution. Simply put, they are species that no longer exist. I wouldn’t think that creationists wouldn’t have any problem explaining where these life forms came from as they are species that God created in the beginning of time that were no longer necessary or beneficial to continue in existence. The creatures they find are still carbon based life forms so I have no idea what you are arguing. They are creatures there were created, died out, and no longer roam the Earth. How does this prove evolution?

Garts said...

I am not against Einstein or science at all, but you interpret science to give explanations to something you have already concluded as a fact. You are so convinced that evolution is true that I am surprised you would need to do any more investigation at all. As far as Darwin’s’ predictions from whatever evolutionist website you pulled it from I think are bogus:

1) Darwin predicted the Earth was millions of years old… AGAIN it HAS to be to support your theory and there are plenty of time clocks that would suggest it isn’t that old at all.

http://www.earthage.org/youngearthev/evidence_for_a_young_earth.htm

2) Darwin predicted that genetic traits would be passed down and dominant traits would be reproduced… Microevolution is true! Good Job Darwin, 1 for 5!
3) Darwin predicted that human DNA would be similar to Ape DNA… WOW it’s also similar to just about everything else in the world…

- Genome-wide variation from one human being to another can be up to 0.5% (99.5% similarity)

- Chimpanzees are 96% to 98% similar to humans, depending on how it is calculated.

- Cats have 90% of homologous genes with humans, 82% with dogs, 80% with cows, 79% with chimpanzees, 69% with rats and 67% with mice.

- 75% of mouse genes have equivalents in humans (source), 90% of the mouse genome could be lined up with a region on the human genome (source) 99% of mouse genes turn out to have analogues in humans

- The fruit fly (Drosophila) shares about 60% of its DNA with humans.

- About 60% of chicken genes correspond to a similar human gene.

Soooo does this suggest that cats/cows/mice/fruit flies/and chickens all evolved from a common ancestor? We also share very high percentage DNA similarities with plant life… I don’t see how this proves anything… I would interpret this to mean that we have an intelligent creator that uses the same basic building blocks of life (which were again CREATED) to mould into existence the varying species of life we have on this planet.

4) Darwin predicted we’d find fossils in the Pre-Cambrian era… WOW that’s amazing since a pre-Cambrian era doesn’t exist as far as I’m concerned. There are not millions of years of strata to look through in the first place…

You then go to talk about chromosomes and human conditions…

What about genetic disorders like Down syndrome where EXTRA chromosomes show up? Or conditions like fragile x syndrome or a whole plethora of genetic diseases. So my sister who has Downs must be evolved from a superior genetic being as she has chromosomes to spare… I’m not seeing the argument.

Because our genetic sequencing requires us (as well as apes) to acquire vitamin c we must have evolved from each other? How about we were simply created that way… again I’m not seeing the argument. Refer to the earlier discussion about our genetic similarities to plenty of other life forms. Surprised Pig was not mentioned as they are right up there in the 90% range.

The ERV is a reasonable argument but I fail to see it as a silver bullet by any means. Perhaps the mammalian species that particular virus attacked were more susceptible to it than other species of the animal kingdom in much the same way viruses (such as avian flu) are more prevalent in birds than in other animals. I could argue that mice were more resilient to those ERV’s than apes or humans and as a consequence we share some similar virus residues that mice don’t share. This in no way means we evolved from a common ancestor; more that we have a similar susceptibility/immune capabilities or virus contraction throughout history.

A 4 footed fish like creature you say? Tiktaalik could not be a deformed or similar version of any type of fish or platypus could it not? Or as we have mentioned earlier, why could this not be a previous CREATION of life that no longer exists due to extinction. Why does Tiktaalik HAVE to be an intermediate species of evolution… Because you NEED it to be, not because it necessarily is.

Garts said...

Then last but not least you mention that certain whales have specific oxygen isotopes in them? What particular isotopes of oxygen do they have that any air breathing creature does not have? What are the “oldest two species” of Whale? How do you date their age? Did much of the Earth’s water mix together in a 40 day flood that could have put freshwater isotopes into saltwater seas via deep underground springs that may have popped open during a biblical event?

Again you have a preset conclusion and you are producing evidence to fit that conclusion not necessarily that the evidence concludes your theory or that there are not other plausible explanations.

The non-trivial, unexpected prediction that Creationism has produced is that life exists in the first place.

Shiloh said...

not really a funny story at all. just sad really. sad that you are so lost in arrogance and fear. you walk in pride, seeking controntation and strife in order to fledge out a superficial kind of security from "taking your stand". Bob no doubt gave every kind of explanitory answer to any objection to Creation you could possibly raise, and shot down all the points for evo you had in your arsonal, which by the way is no hard task. yet in your conceit you stand there rudely thinking about how you will blog about it while he's talking, talking to his producer "JAN" (not Jen), like a "hear no evil" monkey with your hands over your ears you blocked out everything he was saying. i seriously doubt he was angered and slamming trunks and doors , expect in frustration with your fear stricken state of deafness to any other viewpoint but your own.

Funny? no just pathetic and sad that there are so many lost souls like yourself unable to hear logic and truth, that with the humility it takes to open your heart to them, might in fact someday find everlasting life by hearing. Calling all the time on the show, going to see him in person...blogging about your encounter with him. Everyone can see you're obsessed and fear stricken. If you have the real truth with your evo, why do you feel the need to spend every waking moment badgering someone who contradicts it? isnt it because you are really insecure about what you believe and are trying to deal with a nagging inner voice of love and reason you are too paranoid to open your ears to? Who's twisting your arm to believe in Creation science? who's forcing you to reject what you latch onto with more religious conviction than any church fanatic in history? no one. your conscience is tryiing to help you bro. God put it there. He loves you. give up the wrstling match. He's not trying to enslave you to religion!! He actually HATES religion!..H just wants to bless your life ,. make it full with peace and joy, and give you eternity!...stop the fighting ..let go of the torment and fear. find rest to your soul. its what Christ died for, and rose this Sunday a couple thousand years ago to bring you.

Jon said...

Hi Shiloh,

You assume Bob shot down all the arguments for evolution, but did you listen to my call into the show? Did he shoot down the argument about Endogenous Retro Viruses and if so exactly how did he do that? What did he say?

If you click on my Bob Dutko tag you'll see that I spent an hour and a half with him in studio debating the existence of God. Is that what a person does that is fear stricken?

As far as me being obsessed, I'm not going to apologize for calling in and addressing his arguments and otherwise blogging about him. He spends 4 hours a day demonizing me and people that think like me. The only way that I know to respond is to call in and challenge him, write about the experience, etc. I think if you look at the timeline of my blog posts and see the frequency with which I post about him I think it's pretty obvious that this is not an obsession for me, but it's something I think is worth doing because I think he does a lot of damage. I also think (in fact I would say I've proved) that he's quite deceptive, quite misinformed, and quite wrong on a regular basis. Take something like global warming. I called him about that months back. He's out there trying to convince people that really the earth is cooling. This is an incredible head in the sand mentality, and that would be fine if it didn't hurt others, but it does. Or take his constant war mongering. He's constantly agitating for more death to Muslims. This harms them and makes it more likely that Americans will be killed in retaliation. This is worth addressing and refuting in my view, and if this means I get labeled as obsessive that's fine. I accept that as the price that must be paid.

Regarding Creation Science, yeah, nobodies twisting my arm to believe it. Frankly I don't care that much about it. It's kind of interesting to me. i thought it was important years ago, but I've come to kind of agree with what you say. Who cares. You can deny the obvious on evolution if you want and I'm not going to get too fired up about it.

And if you want to believe Jesus rose 2K years ago, I'm fine with it. That doesn't really hurt anything. Read some of my more recent blog posts and you'll find that I'm a pretty big fan of Jesus. I think it would be great if Bob paid more attention to him. I mean, is Jesus the kind of guy that puts walls up at the border to prevent the poor from coming in where food is available? Is he advocating invasions to acquire more oil resources. The fact that Bob regards himself as a Christian is what is really ironic. Jesus was all about telling people to look in the mirror rather than pointing out the sins of others. But if people in America suggest we look in the mirror Bob will call you anti-American, like I suppose Jesus wouldn't have been an anti-Semite as he focused on the Pharisees and others within his own community. So yes, please listen to the words of Jesus and if you do you'll be compelled to distance yourself from war mongerers like Dutko.

Reason said...

I enjoy grappling with these issues. I am a chemist working in the biotechnology field.
Check the information here
evolutiondismantled.com
before drawing a conclusion as to whether ERVs are best explained by the materialism/naturalism world view (hypothesis).

Also explore the issues around the "expanding/accelerating universe", and the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Study the terms and areas of: logic, rationale, and reason.

After exploring these and related issues, IF atheists were painfully honest they would admit that the existence of God is logical, rational, and reasonable. Before atheists freak out over that statement please examine all the definitions for Logic, Rational, and Reasonable. The only REAL negative thing they can say (like others have) is that they philosophically do not like the theists conclusions or the implications of certain, recent findings in cosmology, biology, physics, etc.

It would be truly refreshing if atheists would acknowledge the logic, rationale, and reason for the theistic argument even while they may not philosophically agree with it.

Unfortunately there is a propensity to allow personal philosophy to affect how we view evidence. To help counteract that propensity I recommend using the following reasoning method: inference to the best explanation (in the process of assessing multiple competing philosophies). Evaluate each hypothesis to determine which one best explains the evidence.

In our secular society that appears to pride itself on freedom and choice, how is rejection of the theistic world view justified while all other world views (materialism/naturalism, pantheism, deism, etc.) considered acceptable world views? If atheists do not believe that then they should have no problem doing a study on developments in government, laws, bills, education, media, etc. in relation to expunging theism from society.

I can admit that atheists have logical, rational reasons for their belief in the materialism/naturalism world view. Can atheists admit there are logical, rational, reasons for theism? If not that would appear to imply they are not consistent in their application of the principles of freedom and choice. I acknowledge I could be wrong in assuming atheists, in general, value freedom and choice.

If we attempt to approach the question of prime reality (the thing from which everything else came, or the God question, or beginnings) without philosophical preconceptions and continue to search for clues (evidence) to adjudicate between multiple competing philosophies (world views), theism appears to provide the best explanation.

Reason said...

For reference so we all understand the terms used:

REASON
noun
1. a basis or cause, as for some belief, action, fact, event, etc.: the reason for declaring war.
2. a statement presented in justification or explanation of a belief or action.
3. the mental powers concerned with forming conclusions, judgments, or inferences.
4. sound judgment; good sense.
5. normal or sound powers of mind; sanity.
6. Logic. a premise of an argument.
7. Philosophy .
a. the faculty or power of acquiring intellectual knowledge, either by direct understanding of first principles or by argument.
b. the power of intelligent and dispassionate thought, or of conduct influenced by such thought.
c. Kantianism. the faculty by which the ideas of pure reason are created.

REASON
verb (used without object)
8. to think or argue in a logical manner.
9. to form conclusions, judgments, or inferences from facts or premises.
10. to urge reasons which should determine belief or action.

REASON
verb (used with object)
11. to think through logically, as a problem (often followed by out ).
12. to conclude or infer.
13. to convince, persuade, etc., by reasoning.
14. to support with reasons.

LOGIC
noun
1. the science that investigates the principles governing correct or reliable inference.
2. a particular method of reasoning or argumentation: We were unable to follow his logic.
3. the system or principles of reasoning applicable to any branch of knowledge or study.
4. reason or sound judgment, as in utterances or actions: There wasn't much logic in her move.
5. convincing forcefulness; inexorable truth or persuasiveness: the irresistible logic of the facts.
6. Computers. logic circuit.

RATIONAL
adjective
1. agreeable to reason; reasonable; sensible: a rational plan for economic development.
2. having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense: a calm and rational negotiator.
3. being in or characterized by full possession of one's reason; sane; lucid: The patient appeared perfectly rational.
4. endowed with the faculty of reason: rational beings.
5. of, pertaining to, or constituting reasoning powers: the rational faculty.
6. proceeding or derived from reason or based on reasoning: a rational explanation.
7. Mathematics .
a. capable of being expressed exactly by a ratio of two integers.
b. (of a function) capable of being expressed exactly by a ratio of two polynomials.
8. Classical Prosody . capable of measurement in terms of the metrical unit or mora.

RATIONALE
noun
1. the fundamental reason or reasons serving to account for something.
2. a statement of reasons.
3. a reasoned exposition of principles.


I am honestly not trying to change your world view. Atheists have their reasons for their beliefs. I acknowledge your system of belief is rational based on your interpretation of the evidence.

Will you as an atheist AT LEAST be able to acknowledge (even though you may not agree with their position) that some theists hold their world view after employing valid logic and rationale; and therefore, their theistic world view is reasonable?

Reason said...

Some atheists will attempt to use logic and rationale in interpreting the evidence and consider themselves logical and rational. They sometimes communicate as if those who doe not arrive at the same conclusion, "there is no God", are illogical, irrational, and unreasonable. Is it safe to say that atheists, or anyone for that matter, would not appreciate being considered illogical, irrational, and unreasonable because they do not arrive at the same world view conclusion after examining the evidence?


In your earlier post you posited "the scientific method (hypothesis, test, report, peer review, correct, publish, confirm via independent experiment) has a way of filtering false claims out."
As a scientist I appreciate you acknowledging the scientific method. Here is a similar presentation of the scientific method:
1. Make observations (Ask a Question)
Do Background Research
2. Construct a Hypothesis
3. Make a prediction
4. Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment(s)
Repeat the experiments
5. Analyze Your Data
6. Draw a Conclusion (theory)
7. Communicate Your Results


In regard to the prime reality / the thing from which everything else came / the God question / beginnings, it would be refreshing if atheists would acknowledge that the beginning of the universe cannot be proved using the scientific method.

The truth is no one, not even atheists, can prove how our universe came into existence. Jon, I am not saying you are doing this, but I encourage other atheists to have the academic integrity of admitting atheism or evolution (not necessarily equating the two) is not absolutely proven. Hopefully we all do our best to examine and properly interpret the evidence then infer to the best explanation. If multiple competing hypotheses equally explain the evidence we should look for more evidence. The "trick" may be properly interpreting the evidence. We all understand that approaching the evidence with philosophical presuppositions can be blinding to reality. After examining many world views it has become obvious proponents of them are not arriving at their conclusions solely by the evidence: there is an element of faith in EVERY world view.

Jon said...

Hi Reason. I do acknowledge that many theists do believe God exists based on proper use of logic. I think it's perfectly rational to believe in God. Just as one example, I think it's perfectly reasonable to look at the complexity of a living organism and draw an inference based on the fact that other things with even less complexity are designed. Perfectly rational. As you know I think the apparent design you see in a living organism can be explained by natural causes. For me evolution is a bit counter intuitive. You look at the complexity of the eye and it's baffling to imagine something like this could arise without some sort of agent causality. But as even William Lane craig has admitted (you mentioned the Kalam Cosmological argument and if you're familiar with it you know he is a big proponent of it), yes, nature can produce the eye. That's crazy and if someone says they just can't believe it I understand that. But as Craig would tell you nature can produce the eye.

So here's a logical argument.

1-There's a certain kind of complexity that can't come about without agent causation.
2-The eye exhibits that kind of complexity.
3-Therefore the eye came about due to agent causality.

Perfectly logical, I understand why people think it. So the error is not one of logic but of facts. The second premise is wrong.

And I also agree that at this point scientifically you can't demonstrate how the universe came about. We can speculate. Maybe it was God. Maybe there are other causes we haven't considered. We just don't know. But not knowing things is not an argument that God exists. Thousands of years ago people might not have understood gravity. This doesn't mean invisible gremlins attach themselves to all suspended objects and pull on them. People just didn't know.

Jon said...

Now, in the past when people have invoked supernatural agency for unexplained phenomenon they've often been proven wrong, never been proven right. So it's rational to say that though we don't today understand the cause of the existence of the universe we need not assume supernatural agency. That hypothesis has been wrong every time in the past, that is every time we've ultimately developed a means of testing it, so it's rational to assume the same of this currently unexplained phenomenon. If we ever do explain it we'll then discover a newly unexplained phenomenon and theists will run and shove God into that gap as an explanation and the cycle will repeat. The atheist is the person that has recognized this pattern and has a rational expectation that just as in the past the supernatural explanation has failed, we therefore expect that trend to continue. Maybe we'll end up discovering we are wrong. But I don't think I will.

You say multiple competing explanations are available to interpret the evidence for evolution. The problem with the God explanation is that it explains every conceivable piece of data. ERV's? God put them there (I read your article and in the end that's what it amounts to.) The Lions won? God did it. This child has DNA sequencing that matches mine and this suggests I'm the father? Nope. God just put those sequences there (they have a function for him and for me). A hypothesis that explains every realistically imaginable piece of data that would ever be observed is not really an explanation. The difference with evolution is it is falsifiable. If chimpanzees and humans lack various genetic similarities evolution is in trouble. Not the God explanation. The God explanation would readily explain that. If the earth isn't old evolution is in trouble. If you find a rabbit in Cabrian era rock evolution is in trouble. No problem for any of that for the God explanation. That's the strength of the evolutionary explanation. We can tell you what you could go and find that would disprove what we claim. Tell us what we could possibly observe that would defeat the God explanation? People in the past would have said a round earth, a cosmic system that doesn't have the earth as the center, if you dug deep and found a whole world of life entirely unlike what exists today. None of that really did it. An explanation that explains everything really explains nothing.

Reason said...

Hi Jon, thanks for the response. I appreciate you not getting belligerent like some other atheists have been on other websites. Sadly some Christians can also come across as belligerent.
You bring up an interesting concept of falsifiability (in relation to science or metaphysics). On this subject, the information I gleaned from the internet is intriguing. I read a suggestion that the scientific method should involve sincere attempts to disprove a theory in question. There are a range of opinions: for a theory to be considered scientific it must be falsifiable (that makes sense); others say there are exceptions and that something can be scientific (or true) even if it is not falsifiable; still others say just because something is not falsifiable does not make it not true.

Some made comments that evolution is not falsifiable because proponents of evolution have consistently proposed theories (e.g., steady state theory, quasi-steady state theory, and many others) to fill in certain inadequacies of materialism/naturalism. New theories seem to always be introduced when a previous one may be falsified or rejected by cosmology for example.
Therefore, it appears that some cosmologists will never find materialism/naturalism falsifiable because there is "always" a new theory to account for "everything".

I have also heard it said that the sciences are not appropriate tools to answer questions regarding "origins". Do you see faith and reason as both necessary when studying the origin of the universe?

I appreciate your response. Let's keep looking and testing...and using faith and reason... = )
Have a good weekend!

Dave Birnie said...

Hey John,

Just wondering if you can give me the site you may be using for your facts on ERV's. Just would like to see where you are coming from.

Also the link is now broken (or maybe my operating system) but do you have a link about the discussion you had with Bob?

-Dave

sharon said...

Jon

No one is perfect.......you need to forget about Bob......and thank god for your christian wife and christian children...who have been blessed with jesus christ unconditional love for you.....no doubt they are praying for your salvation.....so that some day you will all be together in heaven with our loveing savior........my husband is a scientist......and came to christ 4 yrs.....ago......he teaches me all about creation science.........

sharon said...

Jon

No one is perfect.......you need to forget about Bob......and thank god for your christian wife and christian children...who have been blessed with jesus christ unconditional love for you.....no doubt they are praying for your salvation.....so that some day you will all be together in heaven with our loveing savior........my husband is a scientist......and came to christ 4 yrs.....ago......he teaches me all about creation science.........

ToJon The Arguer said...

http://www.debate.org/debates/Endogenous-Retroviruses-are-not-evidence-for-evolution-as-shown-by-Daniel-Nahum/1/