Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Christian perspective on Radiometric dating

Not to lazily hand the research over to someone else but this is a rather interesting paper on radiometric dating by a Christian arguing for the accuracy of radiometric dating.

I must say it is refreshing to know you have allies

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Review of Answers In Genesis' review of Eugenie Scotts talk on science and faith part 2

Now they begin to discuss how faith affects scientific research, it is true that science owes a significant part of its ideological foundations to a Christian theistic worldview but does this mean that we should force a certain interpretations of the bible on the scientific community? The fact is that while the young earth interpretation was once an adequate interpretation because it did not contradict what science knew at the time evidence of an old earth, evolution, and a very old universe have been uncovered which contradicts it and a better interpretation of the bible is needed.

Anyways the creationist author goes on to state the following paragraph;
What I’ve tried to make clear so far is that one’s belief about God does make a
difference in how one understands science and what one thinks about the origin
of life. Specifically, while creationists do value inferential explanation, we
However, notice that even when we find data that points to design, such as irreducible complexity, Darwinism is not considered falsified or challenged. In fact, we argue that nothing evolutionists find would be considered enough to falsify evolution, because Darwinism isn’t just another falsifiable hypothesis that’s made its way to the core; rather, it is a presupposed, foundational paradigm that is used to interpret the actual facts.value the authority of an infallible, direct observer over inferential
explanations that start out by arbitrarily decreeing that a designer is “less
probable” (ruling out supernatural explanations).

To this, I agree your religious beliefs do have an affect on how you look at science and scientific discoveries. However not to the extent that creationists would suppose, while your religious beliefs or lack thereof give you different philosophical perspectives on different discoveries and the nature of science, it does not and should not cause you to rewrite science and force-fit it into your religious views which is exactly what creationists are doing. While I agree that arbitrarily assuming there is not designer is fallacious, I don't think we should then attribute the origin of everything to direct creation of the deity without good solid evidence, otherwise it is not science.

After describing Eugenie Scotts illustration of core, frontier, and frings ideas of science the creationist author responds;
However, notice that even when we find data that points to design, such as
irreducible complexity, Darwinism is not considered falsified or challenged. In
fact, we argue that nothing evolutionists find would be considered enough to
falsify evolution, because Darwinism isn’t just another falsifiable hypothesis
that’s made its way to the core; rather, it is a presupposed, foundational
paradigm that is used to interpret the actual facts.

That is just the problem, Irreducible Complexity is not evidence of design so by simple logic evolution has not been challenged by IC therefore it has not been falsified, and even if IC did challenge a completely naturalistic outlook on natural history it would not disprove evolution. This doesn't prove that Design has been rejected for philosophical reasons by the scientific community it simply proves the obvious fact that IC has failed to disprove it, evolution is easy to disprove also; just find evidence of human fossils in the Triassic period and evolution is dead. Now it should also be pointed out that in a sense the creationists are right; facts have to be interpreted but there is only one correct interpretation and young earth creationism is not it.

Now onto whether or not evolution (or darwinism as they call it) is a paradigm;
One might suggest that, even if Darwinism is a paradigm rather than a simple
hypothesis, the evidence would still help scientists choose between competing
paradigms (as though they were competing explanatory hypotheses). But facts
don’t speak for themselves; they must be interpreted through a paradigm.
Interpreting facts to prove a paradigm is thus ultimately an exercise in
circular logic. Furthermore, since the only paradigms that challenge Darwinism
are design-based, there is effectively only one paradigm to chose from for those
like Scott who reject that science can discover intentional design.

Although this is true it does not help creationists since evolution is not a paradigm but a testable hypothesis which has passed the test of time. Now on Methodological Naturalism (which is what creationists really mean when they say "Darwinism"), Methodological Naturalism was developed many Christian philosophers (among them being Francis Bacon) who understood that uniformity was the key foundation of science. The supernatural was not to be denied or denigrated but when it came to the natural world the supernatural would be left out since they were dealing with the way God usually upheld his creation (natural forces) rather then the way God upheld his creation only in very special moments (supernatural forces) so the supernatural is left out of the equation when it comes to science. This is wise because capricious supernatural explanations will not give us a better understanding of the natural world. Now it is true that some people will not accept supernatural explanations of any kind (even theists such as Kenneth Miller), if the evidence points toward a deliberate supernatural act (actual evidence not just a God-of-the-gaps argument) I will accept it. I have no philosophical reason to reject design, however the current Intelligent Design movement is disappointingly lacking in evidence for their theory, and that is in a nutshell the reason I am a Christian who believes in Evolution. As a result I am not convinced that anyone, Christians in particular should be so eager to support Intelligent Design for its potential apologetic uses.

In the end it is up the reader to decide which one is true, evolution is a testable hypothesis which has been proven, and if you believe I am wrong don't just sit there, argue with me and tell me why I am wrong, you might even change my mind who knows.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Review of Answers In Genesis' review of Eugenie Scotts talk on science and faith

Excuse the incredibly long name but there isn't really any other way to phrase it.

Anyway I was just reading a recent article on the AiG website about a talk Eugenie Scott gave back in September (yes it took them that long to get to it, but I can see why, they are probably quite busy). It is basically a discussion about how science and religion mix. Now since I am a theist and Eugenie is not I will probably find myself agreeing with a lot of things the creationists are saying from a philosophical standpoint yet rejecting many of their conclusions (example, I agree that there is a God who created the universe and revealed himself to mankind through a book, however I disagree that this means he couldn't have used natural processes to create the universe).

To begin, she points out that there are three ways of gaining knowledge; personal experience (intuition internal knowledge etc.), Authority (a book such as the bible, an experienced individual in a particular field etc.), and science which she describes as a limited way of knowing the world which through natural processes alone. She also points out that science is limited in the sense that it can only know what can be observed and tested. I agree with most of what she is saying, although if evidence of something outside the natural world (say, God) could be gleaned then it would probably be accepted as scientific.

Next she goes onto the creationist argument that you cannot know anything about something if it happened in the past because there were no witnesses. Eugenie uses a humorous example of finding on a road, cow dung with a road stripe painted over it, and then humorously asks the audience if we would not be able to figure out what happened because it happened in the past. She goes onto state that we could figure out what happened through seeing a logical sequence (cow comes and defecates on a road stripe, the road maintenance crew comes to paint fresh stripes on the road and doesn't clean of the dung but simply paints the line over it).

The creationist argument that we can't figure something out because it happened in the past is indeed a weak argument. And although I agree that an omniscient witness who can't lie is a good witness to have I also believe Creation is a witness from God telling the human race how he created the universe, it is simply logical that God's creation would be just as reliable as his on natural history as his revealed word would be on matters of human history, spirituality and morality.

Now enough babbling, lets get to the creationists' response;
Now, let me make it clear that, unlike Scott’s implication, creationists do
believe inferential explanation is, on the whole, pretty accurate. If you return
home and your dog is out of the cage with trash scattered about, it’s not
unreasonable to conclude, based on past experience and circumstantial evidence
(e.g., teeth marks on garbage, the dog’s dirty snout) that the dog is
responsible. This sort of deduction can be quite reasonable when there are no
observers and can be important even when there are observers—if they’re fallible
(for example, the aforementioned witnesses to a crime).
Likewise, Scott’s
answer to her highway conundrum makes sense based on what we know about the
behavior of cattle, the physics of highway paint striping, and so forth.
just as it seems foolish to conclude that inferential explanations are never
right, it also seems foolish to conclude that inferential explanation—especially
about unrepeatable historical events—is just as reliable as directly observing
repeatable, carefully controlled scientific experiments. This is where we get
into the distinction between operational (or observational) science and origins (or
historical) science
—a distinction evolutionists fail to recognize, by the
For instance, a dog tearing up garbage isn’t a one-time event; it’s
something that happens more regularly than most people would like, has been
observed many times, and violates no laws of science. We could even set up a
two-way mirror or hidden camera and document Fido’s destruction.

And now for my rebuttal: While it is true that sometimes accurately describing historical events can be difficult it is not impossible. Although we cannot absolutely know how a battle happened we can get a pretty good idea (like from where the enemy attacked, we can tell what era it occured in by the armour of the soldiers, etc.). A dog tearing up garbage isn't a one time event but neither is biological change, and we can actually observe it happening in the same way we can see dogs tearing through garbage. Creationists need to show that these two cases are somehow different; now it is true that we have not actually watched a reptile evolve into a bird but we don't have to. Just like in at a crime scene you look for clues from the site to see what happened, scientists look for any changes of that type in the fossil record which is essentially (not to use a word twice but) a record of earth's history. If we didn't find any evidence of this sort of change whatsoever evolution would have been thrown in the garbage can a long time ago.

Now onto why they think evolution is different;
But as for the differences: first, Darwinian evolution is based on
conjecture about a one-time event that we cannot repeat experimentally; the
“documentation” of the fossil record is actually just an interpretation of unevolving fossils that
presupposes evolution.3 Second, Darwinian evolution violates the law of biogenesis and the second
law of thermodynamics. Third, there are good alternatives to evolution regarding
the origin of life/biodiversity. These differences distinguish the dog-and-trash
and the cattle-and-road-stripe examples from Darwinian evolution.

Well I am sorry to say this creationist is w-r-o-n-g; Darwinian evolution is not based on conjecture and it is based upon an event which we can repeat experimentally, evolution does not violate the second law of thermodynamics or the law of biogenesis (evolution has nothing to do with abiogenesis), and no there are no good alternative explanations. It should also be pointed out that Intelligent Design as a concept is valid, however the current movement which wants to make Intelligent Design a scientific alternative to evolution has failed to make a convincing case. I would like nothing better then for a more theistic framework for biology to appear but until that happens, I will stay with evolution. Next he makes the point that inference is only accurate if the source is accurate. Now this is true, but if data gained through careful examination and experimentation is not a good source of inference then I don't know what is. Creationists deny it but that is indeed how our knowledge of evolution has been gained over the past 150 years.

The last point I am going to address tonight is that God being incapable of lying and omniscient would be a perfectly reliable witness; this is very true but creationists need to remember that creation was also made by God and it was made to give a reliable account of the past, shouldn't we also take the witness of God's creation into account?

I will be making a part two of this tomorrow (I apologize for my laziness in updating this blog, I will attempt to do better next month) but for now, farewell and goodbye.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Glaciers found buried on Mars

Now this is interesting, evidence of buried glaciers have been found on Mars miles off of cliffs and mountains. This helps explain aprons (gently sloped areas with rock deposits at the base of the slope carried by water) found in that area.

This is of course more evidence of water on Mars and an earthlike martian environment in the distant past.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ten myths about evolution part 5

The next myth appears to be that just because you find an ape fossil with human like characteristics doesn't mean its a transitional form. So just because it has all of the appearances of being a transitional form its still not a transitional form? Does that make sense to anybody? Now it is true that some characteristics attributed to apelike ancestors of humans are found in apes today, but this does not automatically mean that that early hominids could not have been ancestors to humans anymore then the fact that mid browns being alive today proves that we did not come from Adam and Eve (mainstream creationists believe that Adam and Eve were mid browns therefore having greater variability).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Top 10 so called myths about evolution part 4

Well the real 7th top myth (I accidentally labeled the 8th top myth as the seventh sorry about that) about evolution is that ape-human genetic similarities prove evolution.

Well in this case it depends on how you look at it. Creationists are right in pointing out that ape-human similarities don't necessarily prove evolution. But it is not simply the similarities but the pattern of these similarities which make evolution a better explanation. there is no reason not to assume that since humans and apes have the same retroviruses, Pseudogenes, junk DNA, and one of the human chromosomes is a fusion between two chimp chromosomes; they are therefore related. Creationists can rationalize this all by saying that God designed them with similarities, or that God purposely infected apes and humans with the same retroviruses because of some unknown purpose (yes they actually suggest this), and that pseudogenes have a function which has not been discovered yet (to be fair some pseudogenes have actually been found which do have a function). But that still doesn't refute the genetic similarity argument used by evolutionists.

P.S. Wow, this is the first month in which I've made more then seven posts since July; a new record!

P.P.S. Well anyways, good day.

Created Rationalist

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Top ten so called myths about evolution part 3

Now after a rather busy week we get to transitional forms. Then 7th top myth is that there are clear transitional fossils. Well if you creationists could remind paleontologists of that, it would be quite nice. one of the more extraordinary transitional forms is Tiktaalik with phalanges, a neck, and inner ear structures which appear half-way between land animals and fish. Also lets not forget our friends Archaeopterix and Microraptor. Also here are two videos about transitional forms, part 1 and part 2. The guy despite being a professing Christian is an especially rabid anticreationist which some of my creationist associates might find offensive but he does have good information.

Hence transitional forms is another scientific reason to become a theistic evolutionist.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Top 10 so called myths about evolution part 2

forgive me for being a little slow on this series, my next posts on this series will hopefully be more frequent.

Anyway this one is about homologous structures; the "evolutionist" myth is apparently that it proves evolution. Their counter-argument is that physical or genetic similarities does not prove two organisms are related anymore then the fact that two phones are alike means they are related. One person actually denied that the similar characteristics can also prove common design. I don't think the argument is invalid; it also logically follows that organisms without the the same structures would have greater genetic differences then organisms that do have the same structures and vice verca. The problem with this argument is deciding which similarities are due to common design and which are due to common descent. Mainstream creationists (AiG, ICR, and CMI mainly) think that all species come from larger more diverse kinds, so obviously you would have some organisms which are similar also due to common descent, so two different breeds of dogs being genetically similar due to common descent is not a problem for creationists. But what about say, chimpanzees and humans who are about as similar as two breeds of dogs? A theologically consistent special creationist would have to say that humans were of a different kind then chimpanzees, even though his scientific definition of a kind says otherwise. The question is how far can you go back in animals before you the kind level? If

If this aspect of creationist genetics were correct then should be large gaps in genetic similarity between two species from different kinds. For example; chimpanzees should be more like 90% or even 80% similar, not 98% similar.

My point here is while the common design argument is valid as far as logic goes, but it fails in the fact that the genetic similarities are more consistent with a non-creationist interpretation of the data. As far back as we go back largely unrelated organisms (such as dogs and bears) become more and more genetically similar to the point where they would classify as being in the same creationist kind. Following a creationist interpretation we have to make an arbitrary cut off point which has no other then a weak theological justification for it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A few tips for creationist tract makers

Now I really hate to sound like I am putting down other Christians, I'm not and try hard not to; what I am doing is helping out my fellow Christians who happen to be creationists make tracts so they'll look more credible. And one way is to mend their gospel tracts. The gospel tracts I am referring to are the ones directed at mainly atheistic evolutionists. Often they have things in them which would probably cause the audience these Christians are trying to reach to dismiss them as ingorant bible-thumping bumpkins, and that is rarely a good thing. So this is to help out those evangelical tract-makers who want to send high quality tracts to their client churches.

The one I am reviewing is from A.C.T.S. ministries and interestingly enough it is actually much better written then most creation/evolution tracks put out by Way of the Master or Living Waters ministries (Ray Comfort and Kirk Camoren's ministries) but it still has a lot of the things which I find would not impress the average biology student.

Consider the introduction;
"Please don't put this down until you have read it thoroughly. We've taken
the time to share these truths with you and ask that you keep an open mind just
as you did when embracing darwinism

Please understand that all the scientific theories about the origin of
life, as taught in the public school system, have been proven by science,
history and the fossil record to be wrong. Evolution, Big Bang and others just
don't fit.

Please, read on and we believe you will conclude that Mr. Darwin was not a
bad man, but he was very wrong"

Now whats wrong with this introduction? Two things;
1. It calls evolution "darwinism," I know this is a minor point, but most evolutionary apologists do not like this term. Darwinism is a group of ideas and notions not necessarily connected to evolution so it should not be used when referring to evolution. When a creationist says "darwinism" most evolutionists other then myself take that to mean the creationist thinks evolution is some sort of cult which its not (some evolutionists even go as far to think creationists think that they worship Darwin as their deity which unfortionately some creationists do) and the creationist is dismissed as an idiot (yes as rediculous as it sounds many evolutionary apologists do make that big of a deal about it) and being seen as bigger idiots then they are already stereotyped is the last thing creationists need.
2. Never, ever say the Big Bang talks about the origin of life. It does not, it doesn't even talk about the origin of the universe only what happened afterwards (that the universe expanded and stars and galaxies were formed, etc.). Most creationists speak of evolution as an umbrella term referring to a veriaty of naturalistic explanations concerning origins whether cosmological, biological, or geological. Most educated creationists understand that they are studied in different fields and apply to different topics but they use the word "evolution" to refer collectively to naturalistic origins scenarios. However to the evolutionists' ears this sounds like you can't tell the difference between cosmology and biology. And just from the very first few sentences of your tracts you will be dismissed as a scientific ignoramus.

In then next section they talk about transitional forms between humans and apes. The problem with the next section is that the first part is a bit of an argument from personal incredulity (I can't imagine apes evolving into humans because they're to different) you want to watch out for that one. An argument from personal incredulity is basically stating you lack the of the ability to imagine something happens proves it did not happen; it is not a good argument and simply makes you look illogical and at best, unimaginative. If you want to make anymore then a comedic impression on an evolutionist leave those arguments out.

The next is to actually research your arguments before you use them. The second point of the tract consists of them talking about how radiometric dating is false. They simply give a few examples of radiocarbon dating giving off wild results. All the of the stated examples (a freshly killed seal being dated at 1300 years old, a living mollusk being dated at 2300 years old, and a shell on a living seal being dated at 27,000 years old) even if these count they only disprove radiocarbon dating, which only is used to date thins younger then 60,000 years. It does not disprove the accuracy of Potassium-Argon dating, Rubidium-Strontium dating or other methods used to date rocks that are actually millions of years old. Also all the examples can be explain by natural processes (because of more C14 in certain deep waters sea creatures can get more C 14 then usual thus making them look much older then they actually are). I should also add radiocarbon dating has been used to date the dead sea scrolls to have been written before Jesus' time, this means that we know from comparing the dead sea scrolls to modern day bibles that Christians didn't alter the text to make it appear more consistant with the New Testament.

In their third point about the fossil record the conclude by saying most scientists have abandoned Darwin's theories. This is simply not true, and shouldn't be propogated; yes a small number of scientists do oppose Darwin but they make up less then 1% of the scientific community, thats hardly most of the scientific community. If you say this the evolutionist may think you are lying (creationists have a rather nasty stereotypical trate which is lying) and your tract will be ignored.

Final suggestion, at the end of a tract, don't immediately launch into a discussion on the ten commandments and how your going to hell and need to be saved. The evolutionist reader whether atheistic or not will take this as a scare tactic (which is especially bad if you have a really bad tract going along with it) and dismiss you as religiously motivated scaremongers. Instead I would suggest simply ending it with the suggestion of there being a God and that God possibly being the God of the bible, then directing them to a source for more information. It makes you sound less like a cult and more like an evangelist.

Now to A.C.T.S. ministries I'd like to say keep up the good work but try to do a better job with your creation/evolution tracts.

And to Way of the Master; shape up.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Top 10 so called myths about evolution

This is a response series to the AiG web article series Top 10 myths about evolution. Myth 10 is apparently that computer programs prove evolution.

While it is true that it doesn't necessarily prove anything. Computer simulations however do help to visualize concepts such as natural selection creating new species. What they do prove is that that random mistakes can generate meaningful information. Thus even if it does entail a rigged results thats not the point. The point is that random mistakes can generate order if controlled by natural selection; hence evolution.

It is interesting that the picture they use to illustrate the point depicts the evolutionist program designer as being 100% biased against God. Of course this is not accurate since many evolutionists myself including believe in God and agree with evolution. While I have no philosophical problem with creationism or Intelligent Design I have yet to see evidence of it in nature. As I have said before once I get good evidence I will wholeheartedly become a creationist against all odds.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Religulous; the atheist equivalent of expelled

Most of those reading this blog have heard of the movie Religulous which came out on October 3. I haven't actually seen the movie so this won't be a comprehensive review. If I do review it, the review will be on my other blog Apologia Physis. This is just a passing comment on Elles's review. Her review was the first positive review I've seen; other reviews I read were from Christian sources so I will admit I am a little biased. But from what I have heard of the video (even from the one positive review) it doesn't seem to anything of substance.

He goes to people who are not equipped to defend their faith in the first place and butchers them on spot. And to prove faith is not reasonable, rather then going to noted religious scholars such as Alister McGrath or religious apologists such as Lee Strobel, Normon Geisler, Josh McDowell or J.P. Holding who deal with these kind of problems with the faith as a profession (although I do disagree with them on certain scientific and theological issues) Maher goes to people who not onlu are unable to answer challenges to the faith but also have misconceptions about it. It is a tragedy how many Christians are unprepared to give a reasonable defense of their faith (I doubt some of my fellow Christians would be able to answer Maher's questions). He also seems to go out of his way to find the nuttiest religious believers possible to make religion look insane.

Also I don't see what his problem is with believing the world is going to end; even most atheists agree that eventually sun will consume the earth and the solar system will be destroyed one day. And that the universe will reach an ultimate fate in the distant future; why isn't Bill Maher laughing at Alan Guth or Carl Sagan? It seems very unfair that he would single out religious believers who believe in an eschatology for ridicule

Also I obviously think that the "grow upor die" theme is just a little harsh.

In summary I think its obvious Maher meant it to be a parody, but in doing so didn't make himself look good.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Is it possible for evolution to inspire faith?

That is an interesting proposition; it is true that the granduer of evolution can create a religious experience in some people while it creates the opposite feeling in others.

An interesting article discusses this idea of evolution being something which can lead one to God, however being that it comes from Emmergent Village, which is a hub of the Emmerging Church I would take what they say with a grain of salt.

Being a Christian who believes in evolution, I see it as a method of creation which God invented to allow for the emmergence of life and what he wanted, other sentient beings to have a relationship with. Although I do not believe evolution would inevitably lead a man to God anymore then it would inevitably lead a man to atheism, evolution does have religious implications nonetheless.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Science and Presuppositions; Christians who contributed to "evolutionary" science

Creationists such as Terry Mortension attempt to strengthen the illusion of a worldview difference between secular geology and flood geology as well as secular and young earth astronomy by stating many of the early uniformitarians were deistic and atheistic.

While this is true, not all early long-agers were atheists or deists;

Emmanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) A Swedish mystic and scientist who proposed a form of the Nebular Hypothesis on the origin of the Solar System, although he also studied philosophy, physics, and mechanics; he even drew a sketch for a flying machine. Along with being a rationalist he was also a mystic and claimed to have received visions from God telling him to reform the true Christianity. Although he did hold some heterodox and other downright heretical views about the trinity (Newton did as well, not that holding heterodox views pf the trinity is a good thing of course, it is simply that even though Newton did have unorthodox views he is praised by creationists as a Christian in science), he could nonetheless be described as a Christian, and he could also be described as uniformitarian in his thinking towards natural history. He obviously had a very strong belief in the bible and that did not stop him from being a long age astronomer.

Emmanuel Kant (1724-1804) An influential German enlightenment thinker; most of his works are on philosophy although he did develop the Nebular Hypothesis which gave a naturalistic for the origin of the Solar System. Although most of his scientific work was in astronomy he did write on the history of the earth as well.

More recent scientists include who contributed to the more controversial parts of secular science include Roman Catholic Georges Lemaitre who developed the Big Bang theory, (this is interesting being that many creationists call the Big Bang an atheistic idea when in fact it sprang from the mind of a clergymen!) Jesuit scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who contributed to the field of evolutionary biology (although his theology was in the stratosphere), and evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky.

These are just two 18th century uniformitarians who were indeed Christian theists, many Christian Geologists and Astronomers who believed in an old earth came later in the 19th century when more evidence for such ideas had come. Interestingly enough creationists who were contemporaries of Darwin were often old earthers, among them being Paleontologist Sir Richard Owen and the Theologian Charles Hodge. It is simply not true that all supporters of an old earth had deistic or atheistic philosophies, There were differing views on both sides in both centuries. Belief in an old earth was not because of compromise with an anti-theistic philosophy it was simply because of the evidence for an old earth.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A debate between Old earth creationists and Young earth creationists

A few months ago there was a debate between young earth creationists creationists Ken Ham and Jason Lisle and old earth creationist Hugh Ross with professor of the Old Testament Walter Kaiser on the John Ankerberg show; I don't agree with everything Hugh Ross says but I am much closer theologically and scientifically to Hugh Ross' position then Ken Ham's. It is rather interesting, I do not have the time now but I will give my comments on parts of it in later articles. You can see the debate here (it has ten parts so don't expect it to be short).

Please watch and share your opinions.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

examining Creation Guys episode 5

Since I responded to their fourth one already I decided to respond to each in order. This episode has to do with faith and logic. The first topics they talk about is news about someone trying to sneak an intentionally poor paper past Answers Research Journal peer review, and then the question, "who created God?" I don't have much of a problem with their answer to that question although I would definitely not go as far to call it an unintelligent question. Also I am dismayed at their dismissive attitude, they don't even really answer the question even though it is a serious question.

However the next statement borders on infuriating;
Jonathan Samson: "Now a lot of people--there's a lot of Christian theologians out
there--who just don't really care about this kind of stuff."

They don't care!? So pro-science theologians who look for ways in how faith and science mix don't care about the relationship between science and religion? This makes absolutely no sense, they may not say earth was created in six days but they definitely care about the relationship between science and religion, its anti-science theologians who think science and religion are incompatible and one has to be suppressed who don't care.
Eric Hovind: "Yeah they really compromise the whole situation of--science and
God--they assume that if they practice science and when they practice their
faith--their religion, they kind of have to take of their science hat and put on
their God hat"

True there are many people who do think that science and religion occupy separate zones in the brain and that one somehow suppresses the other. This is not the view of pro-science theologians but more commonly the view of theologians opposed to science because of their off the wall interpretation of the bible. Most theologians he is talking about see science and theology as equivalent and complementary ways of discovering truth.

They go on to say that many Christians feel that if we simply sacrifice a literal interpretation of the bible evolution and Christianity are compatible, while this is true there are many Christians (progressive creationists including) who do not see their acceptance of modern science as contradictory to a literal interpretation of the bible; Just a young earth one. I am Christian and I do not see any problem with accepting evolution. Then he goes onto mention Hugh Ross as if he were a Christian who didn't take the bible literally and believed in evolution. This is ridiculous Hugh Ross does take the bible literally, however he uses an alternate literal interpretation (the day-age interpretation) that does not lead you to the conclusion that the days of genesis were ordinary days, he is still a staunch anti-evolutionist, he is hardly a poster boy for liberal theology. Eric Hovind Continues;

"Dude that is a question that comes up isn't it! 'why can't you just compromise and give into the Big Bang thing?' 'Why are you so dogmatic on this?'"

That is the question isn't it? To my fellow Christians: Frankly I don't care what position you take on Genesis whether your a young earth creationist or progressive creationist or theistic evolutionist like myself. I'm not going to try to deconvert you. And I will give you a chance to defend your position both scientifically and theologically, and I Will tell you only criticize your beliefs if you bring the subject of creation-vs evolution up and you want to debate. And I will tell you why I think your wrong, and if you are spreading misinformation I know it is my Christian duty to stop you. The purpose of this blog is to defend evolution both from a theological and scientific perspective not to attack yours. Also I'm not hard to convince show me that evolution is wrong and that the Big Bang and the extreme age of the earth are a joke and I will wholeheartedly accept creationism. Until then I will remain with my position. As for young earth creationists they will never be convinced that their beliefs are wrong because their interpretation of the bible will not allow it. Leaving a young earth interpretation for a better one would be compromise to them as Jonathan is about to confirm:

"It doesn't make it right, that's like saying, Eric your married, why won't you cheat on your wife as so many husbands have? Your not supposed too! [that's why]"

Jonathan Samson has made it clear that he is not going to change his interpretation of the bible because he sees it as compromising the authority of the bible. He see's it in the same light as cheating on ones wife. He will never change his mind from a scientific perspective and will continue to spread Hovind-style misinformation. What both pro-science Christians and non-Christians need to realize is that the creation-evolution controversy is theological in nature and should be addressed as such. As for anti-creationists who are also anti-religious it must be remembered that creationists are motivated to oppose evolution because the leading anti-religious crusaders have made evolution an argument against the existence of God. If we disassociated evolution from atheism and theism the debate would be over.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Back online

I have not been posting for the past couple of days because my internet connection was shaky, I'll be writing a post on the "Creationguys" tommarrow, Tonight I am too tired, goodnight.

Friday, September 5, 2008

evolution, capitalism, and communism

One interesting accusation of evolution is that it leads to communism and socialism, (national socialism in particular). It is a common claim by creationists to charge evolution with the foundation of Nazism, communism, socialism, fascism, and many other ideologies which are fundamentally socialistic.

Of course knowing that many claim evolution is the foundation of socialism and communism is rather useless if you don't know what any of those are. Now since it is usually Marxist communism which is usually branded as an "evolutionist ideology" I will look at communism and Nazism.

Communism is essentially the idea of a classless egalitarian society where nothing is owned by a single individual but everything is owned by the society at large, also in communism no one is wealthier then another, everyone is part of the working class. In communism you whether you are a plumber or a rocket scientist you get the same amount in return, because of this, you cannot get ahead of anyone else in a communist society, you will either starve or be in the working class but there is no very rich, just the very poor.

Communism sounds wonderful on paper but it is fundamentally flawed in practice due to the fact that it assumes that human nature is basically good and altruistic; when it is clearly not. Socialism a less extreme form, also envisions a society where there is limited private ownership and almost everything is owned by the state. The difference being that most socialist countries were democracies while most communist nations have been ruled by dictators; plus the fact that in communism the wealthy class is overthrown and replaced by the working class while socialism simply has the government taking over every area of life.

Now Capitalism is the virtual antithesis of communism and socialism; in capitalism private ownership is very important, everyone has to work; the means of production (meaning what you need to do your job and the material you are working on) is owned by private investors, and the economy is built on a free market system. Essentially, how well you work to earn money determines which class you will be in (lower, middle, or upper). What you receive depends on how much and how well you work. Capitalism shows our basic biological and psychological need to get ahead and compete with others. All in all, capitalism is superior to communism in that it is more consistent with human nature then communism.

Now in review, which one better fits the evolutionary theory? the basic mechanism of evolution is natural selection. Those who better adapt to their environment are more likely to live to produce offspring to carry on their lineage. Its all about who is the strongest and most productive. Compared to communism, evolution is actually quite different. If evolution really was the foundation of communism. Nothing would ever go extinct, and all organisms would be get the food they need. And the ones to go extinct would be the most successful, the most productive organisms would be eradicated to make way for the more humble creatures. In actuality it is quite obvious that capitalism reflects evolution much more then communism. capitalism like evolution demands that only the best and the most productive reach the top, private owners competing with one and other, very similar to the biological theory of evolution. It is simply libel to blame evolution for communism and fascism and other beliefs, it is shameful for Christians to resort to such tactics.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bogosity episode 2; creationism

Bogosity is a show similar to mythbusters. Which looks at fraudulant claims and debunks them (but with a little more tenacity then mythbusters).

The second episode deals with creationism. Although what it deals with largely is what I call hovindian or folk creationism. Mainly the scientifically and intellectually derelict creationism or Ray Comfort, Kirk Camoren, and Kent Hovind. This video would have little affect on mainstream creationists but I think it would work with hovind fans, the problem is that he is rather brash in his dealings nonetheless.

Bogosity episode 2 part 1

part 2

part 3


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Missing Universe Museum's missing brain

I was on a creationist site called the missing universe museum yesterday, it's a typical creationist site, with ordinary strawman arguments but what really exposes the site is this quoted statement;
If you don't believe God created all living things, male and female, in 6
days.... How many millions of years was it between the first male and the

This shows that author of this site needs to retake biology 101, its called asexual reproduction, sex evolved later. I am sure that most creationists I know would laugh along with me at this statement.

A larger part of the article which sentence is found in is;
Sex is a great problem for Evolution! Per evolution, all living things had a
common ancestor. If this is true, every living thing should be sexually
compatible and able to produce fertile offspring! That's because if any new
specie did come about by mutation, it would have to mate with its parent specie.
Yet, none of the major kinds of life can be crossed to produce a fertile
The reproductive system is a faithful reproducer of its parent
kind. You never see an elephant giving birth to a horse or anything other
than an elephant. When there is an error in reproduction, it is almost
always harmful or at best neutral. Any mutation would have to be included
in the genes in order to be passed on to future generations.

This paragraph only further exposes the site as scientifically ignorant and untrustworthy. Now we see that not only is the author ignorant of asexual reproduction but a has common misunderstanding of how evolution works. An elephant with fly wings would be a problem for evolution to explain and therefore evidence against evolution. Also there are many examples of positive mutations, one example can be found here.

The entire site is pretty wacky, go ahead and look at it although it should probably come with a warning sticker.

Note to Christians: The general intellectual bankruptcy across creationism should be a warning sign to my fellow Christians, God would definitely not use charlatans to spread the message of the gospel. I urge my fellow Christians who are young earth creationists to reconsider their position. The young earth movement is not scientifically or theologically sound and should not be supported. There are many places you can go to get both theological and scientific information information which contradicts young earth claims; two places in particular are Answers In Creation, an old earth creationist organization which counters many young earth claims about geology and theology. And Talk Origins which has a wealth of information on evolution (don't forget to look at the FAQ), happy reading and God bless.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Eric Hovind's attempt to explain away the fused chromosomes

You all know the argument for evolution from the fused chromosomes, for those who don't; I wrote about it in an earlier post, I'll explain it briefly here for conveniance; apes have 48 chromosomes and humans have 46, and one thing is that if we don't find an explanation for this evolution is in trouble. What would have had to have happened is that two of the chromosomes fused into one large chromosome, and interestingly enough our chromosome number 2 is resembles to ape chromosomes which fused. What a coincidence!

This is a little difficult for creationists to explain away although they have found a way, AiG has written an article in response to the argument by Kenneth Miller. This version of the argument is from a video by Eric Hovind and Jonathan Samson, Samson gives the argument;
So it we strip away the bias and just look at the facts (as everyone should),
the facts are; yes it seems like humans have experienced fusion in the past in
human chromosome number two. But what does that mean? [Hovind cuts in to say
"That's how--there interpreting it--as evidence of evolution"] It means they're
attaching it to their own story.

So essentially he is saying that we are assuming that humans evolved from apes before we look at the evidence and have misinterpreted it as evidence of common descent. Of course is this accurate? Evolution gave a plausible explanation of the missing chromosome and it has turned out to be true. Also since it resembles two ape chromosomes and it predicted by the theory of evolution it doesn't seem too far fetched to say it is evidence of evolution.

This argument is not filled with the usual crass scientific ignorance that usually accompanies Hovind arguments, but it still does not succeed. I think creationists have a point with worldviews affecting how we approach science but they take it to the far flung extant to try to force-fit scientific data into their narrow, flawed interpretation of the bible (which they somewhat arrogantly equate with the biblical position). Christian or non-Christian, one can not accept such an extrapolation.

theistic evolution vs evolutionary creation

As you know I have myself a theistic evolutionist, its a nice term but it doesn't seem adequate. First of all most Christians who come to my blog do not like the term "evolutionist," and that word is part of theistic evolutionist. Also theistic evolution has the theistic part as an afterthought and the main point being evolution which many Christians would not like because its not putting God first, so I am thinking of using the older term evolutionary creation(ism) to describe my position.

-- Other Christians would like the term better being that it is not saying you are an evolutionist but a creationist

--It does not have the semi-negative connotations that theistic evolution has

--It sounds more like a legitimate interpretation of Genesis, put along side "progressive creation" or "young earth creation" then a vague theological concept which could apply to any religion.

Another term might be scientific creationism but that term has already been hijacked by young earthers.

P.S. I currently have a case of writers block on more serious matters, I'll see what interesting things I can come up with tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

An update

You've probably noticed my dropping ff the face of the planet, its because i've been on a very long vacation preceded by a four day sumer camp. I'll be posting another article around thursday, until then farewell and God (science if your username is evolved ratonalist) bless.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Marshal Hall, the Big Bang and the Kabbala

Modern Geocentrists (whom I staunchly disagree with) believe that the bible teaches that not only is earth 6,00 years old and created in six days but that it is also the center of the universe and that Heliocentrism has it horribly wrong. Marshal Hall one of the leading Geocentrists has a website in which he promotes his geocentric views. He has also written a book called The earth is not moving, which is of about the same intellectual caliber as the site. AiG fellow Dr. Danny Faulkner gave it a rather nasty review.

One of his more curious beliefs is that the Big Bang is based off the kabbala and that not only the Big Bang but heliocentrism and even "Darwinism" are connected to Kabbalistic thinking. Here is one of his more hysterical quotes on the subject;

So, the long and the short of it is this: The whole ball of wax--from the Big
Bang thru Einsteinian Relativity and NASA's Virtual Reality-based, Bible-bashing
evolutionism--stems not from one single scientific fact, but rather, HAS ITS

Of course why would he think that the Big Bang is based on Kabbalism? And why would that be a bad thing if it were true? Being that the validity of the Jewish religion is intimately connected to the validity of the Christian religion, it would probably prove the existence of the biblical God. Now for those wondering the Kabbala is;

is a discipline and school of thought discussing the mystical aspect of
Judaism. It is a set of esoteric teachings meant to define the inner meaning of both the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible)[emphasis mine] and traditional Rabbinic
literature, as well as to explain the significance of Jewish religious
observances, (taken from wikipedia).

His rabid dislike of the Kabbala seems to be somewhat misplaced. I'm not fan of the Kabbala but I'd hardly call it what he seems to think it is. Of course his silliness runs deeper then that.

Mathematics--utterly abstruse and esoteric--now became the primary instrument
in the hands of Copernicans. The secular science establishment used this new
priesthood of "mathematicians" to soften up the universities first, and then the
churches. Thus was the way prepared for the acceptance of some real
Bible-bashing by the coming "scientific" substitute for the six-day Creation of
man and all else, viz., Darwinism.

Yes, Marshal Hall is declaring war on math, now creationists may think science is subjective but at least they know math is immutable. However Hall takes it to an entirely new level. This is probably because mathematics is rather problematic to geocentrism. another precious quote
a clear and remarkably early connection of heliocentrism and evolutionism in the
mind of this "giant" of the Copernican movement, we can see further along that
he was the secret and unheralded father of the fatuous excesses of gravitation
theory 50 years before the credit went to Newton (another "giant" who mutilated
Scripture and invented special "mathematics" to achieve his ends). More, it is
well established that Kepler believed there were evolved life forms on the
moon.4 How is it then that this precocious EVOLUTIONIST is acclaimed by
Creationists today as a great man of God?!

This quote is too funny for words, the leading supporters of helicoentrism were dedicated Christians and hardcore creationists. Kepler believed there was life on the moon and on many other planets in the solar system but he believed that they had been divinely created by God, it is blaring obvious that Kepler had a vibrant Christian religious faith, an unless he had a time machine he was no evolutionist. Newton by no means mutilated scripture, in fact he was a lot like Hall being a staunch biblical literalist.

The entire site is full of spacious gaps in logic and understanding, modern geocentrists if they become as popular as creationists will be stereotyped even more then creationists as backwards, anti-science hillbillies who can't think for themselves. It would be best if Christianity stayed far away from these types of of people. I will have to make a more thorough examination the the site in a later article for now I will stop here and let the reader speculate at the intellectual level of Modern Geocentrists.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Re-applying the creationist pressuppositionalist argument.

You all know what Creationist say about presuppositions. That we interpret evidence through our presuppositions and its not about the right evidence but the right presupposition.

Well although I disagree with their version of it I do think they make a point. The point being that religion give you a logical framework from which to base your ideas, including your idea in science. I am not saying that we ought to develop our scientific theories from the bible (Although there are Christians who do that), what I am saying is that a Christian looks at everything in the light of Christian Monotheism. Essentially that there is a God that is rational, non capricious, and uncompromising. He act like this in the social world with moral law so it is not too much of an extrapolation to say he acts the same with natural law; God makes uniform laws for nature to run by has given us the ability to use our reason to understand these laws. According to the bible, we are capable of using our reason to understand nature (Job 12:7-8, Romans 1:20) and we are also told to test everything and not listen to everything we are told (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

So in this view Christianity is in conformity with the philosophy of science and is therefore not a worldview that rejects science but promotes science. I would also say that belief in a rational uniform universe stems from belief in a creator. The reason being that order, uniformity, and complexity emerges from an intelligent mind. Now this does not prove the existence of God but it does tell us that Christian Theistic Beliefs can lead to a worldview which allows for science to thrive. Thus Christianity is a viable framework for science.

In the same way Materialism is also a framework in which you base all your ideas. It also makes assumptions which lead to science, in the same way it could be called a logical framework from which to work science just like Christianity.

What I am saying is I believe there is some sense to this argument, although I maintain that creationists take it somewhat far.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Framework Interpretation

An interesting interpretation I have heard which is in fact quite common is the framework interpretation. In a nutshell the framework interpretation says the Genesis 1 is a literary device describing different events which took place in a nonsequential way. A major part of the interpretation is a correlation between days 1-3 and days 4-6. For example day one the creation of dark, light and space corresponds with the creation of the stars on day four, the creation of the see and the atmosphere on day two corresponds with the creation of sea creatures and birds (along with other flying things) on day 5. The beauty of this interpretation is that since it does not describe the events in sequence or tells anything about the real time frame of the creation it frees the scientist from biblical constraints to theorize the past without having to correlate scientific data and chronology with a preconceived timescale or process and fearing that data may contradict it. It is further explained here in greater depth. It is defended from theological criticism here as well.

It would be interesting to get some input on this from young earth creationists as well as atheists, lets see if they respond.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Response to AiGbusted

After writing an article about creationism which may have been taken in as in favor of creationism. AiGbusted responded to it. He stated in his article;
Not sure if any of you know, but Created and Rational wrote up a blog post that
seemed to express strong disagreement with a
post I made about Creationists not being able to trust their own thoughts

I assure you I did disagree but my disagreement was not strong, I apologize if it came across as a acrimonious disagreement. I was simply stating what creationist actually believed about logic. And it was not addressed directly at AiGbusted but at the argument that it meant a creationist could not trust his own thoughts.

I do not disagree that the young earth creationist approach to science has many flaws. And it is true that the pressupostionalist position is a way to conveniently ignore any evidence. I was simply clarifying that they were not anti-knowledge or anti-thinking. I hope I was able to clear that up.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

An analysis of the site "Disprove Darwin in under five minutes"

Well, Yesterday I got an email from my aunt, we'll call her Dr. Beverly Crusher of the US.S. Enterprise to to protect her anonymity. Anyway she sent a site called Disprove Darwin and on that site there was a particular letter on the site concerning the Age of the Earth. Here is the letter in its entirety;

Dear Wallace , I discovered something you might enjoy…It’s from an article by
Stephen Robbins, Ph.D. He was working on an excavation site in Montana with a
crew from the Discovery Channel. They were uncovering the remains of a giant T
Rex, the largest and most fearsome of all the dinosaurs. But the leg bone was so
heavy; they had to cut it in two so the helicopter could pick it up and carry it
out. That’s when they made a remarkable discovery. Inside the leg bone were
traces of organic tissue! One of the scientists noted that the proteins in the
bone could only stay around for a maximum of 100,000 years.

Very interesting…
How could tissue be in the bone of this T Rex if dinosaurs disappeared over 65
million years ago? It makes you wonder. Dr. Robbins came up with some very good
questions in response to the problem no one is talking about: The issue of
scientific dating and just how old the earth really is.Just in the last 75
years, the age of the earth has been changed several times. Back in 1934 they
were “certain” the world was 1.6 billion years old. Then in 1947 they were
“certain” the earth was 3.4 billion years old. Today the scientists say, “we’re
absolutely positive the earth is 4.6 billion years old.” You’re certain? Are you
really… How can you be certain when your estimates are constantly changing and
your techniques have flaws?While scientists rely on carbon and radiometric
dating, they never question the accuracy of their methods. But they should.
Sometimes mistakes are made. Unfortunately, they’re often ignored or dismissed.
Dr. Robbins points out that mistakes in radiometric dating are common. Here are
just a few:· A Hawaiian lava
flow from 1801 was dated as being 1.2 million years
old.· Volcanic rock from an
eruption of Mt. Etna in 1971 was dated as being 150,000 years
old.· The new lava dome formed
after Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980 was dated as being 350, 000 years
old.Amazing. How could these dates be so wrong? Dr. Robbins says radiometric
dating is based on assumptions that can sometimes turn out to be inaccurate. The
method involves looking at naturally occurring radioactive isotopes and how they
decay. But when the atoms around the nucleus are excited – like during a natural
cataclysm – decay is much faster, which makes things look much older when
they’re not. Dr. Robbins points out that these natural disasters are quite
common and can interfere with the accuracy of radiometric dating.

So did
dinosaurs really live millions and millions of years ago? Or did man walk
together with these great beasts side by side? Is the earth really 4.6 billion
years old? Or does the Bible have a better idea?

I’ll reveal more about this
fascinating – and often ignored – topic in future letters.

Stay tuned…

Yours in Faith,

Jeffrey Howard

Well, you can see it gives a lot of the same arguments for young earth that a lot of young earthers give. Let us now examine their "evidences;"
That’s when they made a remarkable discovery. Inside the leg bone were traces of
organic tissue! One of the scientists noted that the proteins in the bone could
only stay around for a maximum of 100,000 years. Very interesting… How could tissue be in the bone of this T Rex if dinosaurs disappeared over 65 million years ago? It makes you wonder

As many of you are aware this argument has been refuted by I would not advise any creationist to use this argument As far as things being preserved it actually is possible for something extremely well preserved to last for a very long time. One thing you should realize however is that no DNA was found which would indicate a young age since DNA can't survive the ravages of time over 10,000 years. When creationists find DNA preserved in a dinosaur bone I will switch over to young earth creationism on the spot.
Just in the last 75 years, the age of the earth has been changed several times.
Back in 1934 they were “certain” the world was 1.6 billion years old. Then in
1947 they were “certain” the earth was 3.4 billion years old. Today the
scientists say, “we’re absolutely positive the earth is 4.6 billion years old.”

That is exactly how science works, if we invent a more accurate dating method and get a completely different date, younger or older, then we will change the age as well. There is nothing wrong with this. I'd suggest AiG add this to its list of arguments not to use.
You’re certain? Are you really… How can you be certain when your estimates are
constantly changing and your techniques have flaws?

I'd hardly call it constantly changing consensus on the age of the earth has been largely the same since the 1950s and the invention of the modern dating methods. True there are some problems with the dating methods but it is accurate enough.
While scientists rely on carbon and radiometric dating, they never question the
accuracy of their methods. But they should. Sometimes mistakes are made.
Unfortunately, they’re often ignored or dismissed.

It would seem awfully strange that a discipline built on self-doubt and questioning would commit such an uncritical act as not checking their more important dating measures. They do realize that radiocarbon dating has limits, and is only used to date objects 50,000 years old or younger because it is inaccurate beyond 50,000 years. Radiocarbon dating was used to verify that the Dead Sea Scrolls were made before Jesus' life time and therefore could be used to show that Christians didn't alter the Old Testament to make it agree with the New Testament. So I don't know why you're trying to disprove the accuracy of radiocarbon dating.
Dr. Robbins points out that mistakes in radiometric dating are common. Here
are just a few:
· A Hawaiian lava flow from 1801 was dated as being 1.2 million
years old.
· Volcanic rock from an eruption of Mt. Etna in 1971 was dated
as being 150,000 years old.
· The new lava dome formed after Mount St. Helens erupted in
1980 was dated as being 350, 000 years old.

Look up xenoliths, those mis-datings in particular involved the new formed lava being temporarily aged by fragments of older rock. This is not anomalous.
Amazing. How could these dates be so wrong? Dr. Robbins says radiometric dating
is based on assumptions that can sometimes turn out to be inaccurate.

That's often because its used to date objects which shouldn't really be dated with radiocarbon. Geologists accept there are limits to radiometric dating but that doesn't mean it can't be used.
The method involves looking at naturally occurring radioactive isotopes
and how they decay. But when the atoms around the nucleus are excited – like
during a natural cataclysm – decay is much faster, which makes things look much
older when they’re not.

Maybe, but you still need evidence, and your ability in that area leaves a lot to be desired, these arguments you have given have all been defeated one way or another, you need to find current up to date evidence and publish it in a peer-reviewed journal for all the world to see, not a dark corner of the Internet where you can preach to your fellow young earth creationists.

Stay tuned…
Yours in Faith,
Jeffrey Howard
In kind regards to Christ
Created Rationalist

P.S. the Creationist I was talking to was not my aunt but the creationist who wrote this article,

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

See my new blog!

I swill still be using this blog but I've decided to separate my life as a Christian Apologist and Science Apologist by making a new bog largely devoted to Christian apologetics, Apologia Physis the Greek word apologia means to defend and the Greek word physis basically means nature. I will still be defending Christianity in the light of modern science so the word nature should still be in the title. I will still be posting on this blog although it will be largely on defending and promoting science. Apologia Physis will mainly deal with the theological stuff. I'd like to know what you all think of it so, check it out and get back to me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rethinking Creationism: Is it possible our presuppostions do affect how we interpret the evidence?

Do not be alarmed by this question. This is NOT and argument for creationism, I am simply correcting a my mishandling of the AiG position that evolution is based on the philosophy of naturalism. I feel I have misunderstood their position and I have caused confusion among others such as AiGbusted And being that no creationist will defend himself I have put it on myself to respond to the criticism since I understand their true position, it still is somewhat flawed but it is not as nutty as they make it appear.

AiG creationist thinkers at least have adopted almost a form of Critical Realism in regards to the past. Nothing can be absolutely proven in relation to the distant past before human presence in the region. Therefore whatever theory you make about the past is not independent of your presuppositions. This is how I have basically explained it, and earlier I criticized it on the grounds that it was an attempt on the part of the creationists to avoid the obvious evidence for evolution. Either way their position appears to have been mishandled by several people such as AiGbusted. It has been interpreted as saying we cannot trust our own thoughts because thoughts. The misunderstanding probably stems from this quote form the AiG article, "Is nature the 67th book of the bible?":
"Many who trust in humans as the highest authority reject the Curse as true history and thus deny its effect on our observations. Some point to the effects of the Curse as proof of “bad design.” For Christians, however, it is foolish to ignore the Curse when considering what nature can “reveal” to us. After all, this would be like someone trusting a funhouse mirror to show them how they really looked. They look into the mirror and see a distorted view but assume that this mirror must be “right.”"
Now at first glance this does seem to say that we cannot trust our senses and this does seem to contradict what creationist have claimed about evolution being anti-science and anti-knowledge since it means our brain is just an assortment of chemicals which evolved over billions of years and can't be trusted. Is this a contradiction made by the author? No, creationists such as Ken Ham say that there is a distinction between what they call "operational" science and "historical" science. Operational science is everyday repeatable science which has been used to build technology and send humans to the moon. Historical Science on the other hand has to do with the distant past and origins which are affected by our presuppositions and is therefore not science in the same sense that operational science is. Furthermore in regards of repeatable, testable, and operational science the senses are very reliable and they believe that science requires "biblical presuppositions". loved and hated Creationist astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle explains:
"he biblical creationist expects there to be order in the universe because God made all things (John 1:3) and has imposed order on the universe. Since the Bible teaches that God upholds all things by His power (Hebrews 1:3), the creationist expects that the universe would function in a logical, orderly, law-like fashion. Furthermore, God is consistent and omnipresent. Thus, the creationist expects that all regions of the universe will obey the same laws, even in regions where the physical conditions are quite different. The entire field of astronomy requires this important biblical principle."
However they say science in relation to the distant past before the existence of humans or at least before written records and such cannot be proven and if any theory is not based of biblical presuppositions it is flawed because it does not take the bible (what they believe to be the foundation of science) into account. Also the fall is used to explain things like mutations, disease, and some instances of bad design so if you follow their logic nature gives a distorted portrayal of God and thus while it is useful (they believe that historical science can work if interpreted through biblical assumptions) it should not be put at the same level as the bible. That is all they are saying, they are not saying thoughts are unreliable.

If one is to respond to creationist claims he must do it with an accurate portrayal of creationist beliefs not a distorted view and that is the purpose of this article, it is not to endorse young earth creationism in any way. It is to correct flawed arguments in the same way AiGers have done already.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Key to ending the creation/evolution controversy

The creation-evolution controversy has raged for over a century and a half now. And there seems no end in site, it only appears to be getting more ferocious as the years pass, Why is this?

Well one thing might be confusion about why creationists oppose evolution. It is not because of science or any reason related to that. the leading creationists are not morons who can't think straight either, their thinking is crystal clear, and they do have a very important reason to oppose evolution. Well actually two reasons, which both go together, they can be stated simply; doctrine and morality.

It has been stated all over the AiG website what the debate is really about. It is about a theological dispute within the Christian faith. Essentially how do we approach evolution? There are a great many Christians; both scientists, theologians, and laypeople who believe in both God and evolution. Many do not see evolution and religion in conflict. However the problem is that both sides of the extreme (bible-thumping fundamentalists and bible-burning atheists respectively) do see it as in conflict. The main problem for many is death and suffering. Young Earth Creationists at least hold to the belief that there was no death before Adam's sin, and being that the fossil record shows death and suffering long before sin they see this as an obvious problem for Christianity. Atheists such as Albert Einstein and probably Richard Dawkins who agree with the creationists' interpretation of the bible concur with this point.
This problem is a nagging problem for creationists and theistic evolutionists trying to convince creationists to accept modern science.
Is this true, is evolution truly the death knell of Christianity? Well luckily it is not Creationists have not given any proof that there was no animal death before the fall. In fact Psalm 104 seems to indicate there was death in animals before the fall.

Another biblical problem they have with evolution is the existence of Adam. Evolution teaches that humans share common ancestry with great apes so ultimately humans go back to apes not Adam. Creationists believe this is the death knell of Christianity, atheists agree (this particular quote comes from John Stear host of the site No Answers In Genesis):
“If evolution is fundamentally correct, then there was no Adam; no Adam, no fall; no fall, no atonement; no atonement, no reason for Christ to have died on the cross. If Christ died for no reason then he was not divine and Christianity has no basis in fact. Is there really any need for scientific proof in order to debunk Christianity?”
If Adam doesn't exist then yes we do have a problem, I do believe in a literal Adam who is the genetic common ancestor of all people alive today (although some theistic evolutionists don't think he was the genetic common ancestor). Its possible he may have been Mitochondrial Eve's husband. Genetics has traced every human alive to day to a human common ancestor like the bible says. So their fear seems somewhat unfounded. There are many other scientific, theological, and biblical issues which must addressed though.

The second real reason for their rejection of evolution is morality, on their website in the Q&A Morality and Ethics section they quote G.K. Chesterson a 19th century Christian apologist on morality and evolution:

Darwinism can be used to back up two mad moralities, but it cannot be used to back up a single sane one. The kinship and competition of all living creatures can be used as a reason for being insanely cruel or insanely sentimental; but not for a healthy love of animals … That you and a tiger are one may be a reason for being tender to a tiger. Or it may be a reason for being cruel as the tiger. It is one way to train the tiger to imitate you, it is a shorter way to imitate the tiger. But in neither case does evolution tell you how to treat a tiger reasonably, that is, to admire his stripes while avoiding his claws.

If you want to treat a tiger reasonably, you must go back to the garden of Eden. For the obstinate reminder continues to recur: only the supernaturalist has taken a sane view of Nature.’

Basically what they are trying to get at is evolution leaves no basis for morality. Once you remove Creation you can do what ever you want. As shown in this illustration they see evolution as the excuse to throw the bible away and commit all sorts of sins which are at the center of social concerns today:

As you can see here Answers In Genesis state that evolution allows for humans to decide moral truth which is a cardinal belief in humanism and therefore gives way to behaviors which they see as immoral.

Is this true, well their problem is that Creationist are confusing evolution with moral relativism, evolution being a natural process doesn't say anything in regards to morality or ethics or God or atheism for that matter any more then the theory of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. Scientific theories are amoral. What creationists don't understand is that evolution is what you make of it; if you say evolution is God's method of creation and that we should obey the God of the bible that's what evolution is, a creation process. If you decide that evolution is a godless mindless process that has no plan or purpose then that's what is, if you add evolution to biblical Christianity you will get Christian morality, if you combine it with atheism you will get relativistic morality and make whatever you want of evolution. Carl Sagan thought evolution was a benevolent process and he had an adequate moral standard. And there have been atheists who have used evolution the opposite way to do evil as seen from the Christian worldview. Creationists cant seem to tell the difference between Atheism, Humanism, and evolution. which is much cause of their moral view towards evolution.

As stated before, Creationists are not stupid ad they are thinking very clearly. However science is not gong to convince them, there is plenty of science to address their complaint but what needs to be done is that Christians who accept evolution need to stand up to creationists and atheists and address the theological issues between Christianity and evolution. If we can show that Creationist theology is flawed then the creation/evolution controversy will end soon afterwords. Once the religious element of creationism is gone the pseudoscience will die soon afterwords.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Can anyone tell me next time there is a major change in science?

Ok, imagine this; I go onto AiGbusted's blog, looked at a post he wrote sometime ago and I find a pugnacious response to what I said in the article. This was it;

created rationalist, just why do you claim that there was "some sort of
primordial monotheism" practiced by the first homonids? What evidence do you
have, other than your guess? Exactly what determines if something has a "soul"?
If Homo Erectus had a soul, what about Homo Neanderthalis? Didn't God love them
as much so that's why they died out? I do love just how willfully ignorant
theists can be when it comes to even their attempts to co-opt science into their
beliefs. Look here at an actual modern representation of the human "family
", not the expected old and superseded information that theists always use.
Why do you find the idea of a magic man resurrecting himself from death to be
any more easy to believe than oh, a global flood or God creating the earth a few
thousand years ago? None of these has any evidence to support it but you seem to
be sure you can tell the difference better than your creationist fellow
believers. You seem to be quite able to compartmentalize your superstitious

Well the important part about this rambling is the part I put in bold. I wondered what he thought was so dangerous to my assertion that Homo Erectus was Adam's race and why he thought I was being willfully ignorant. Well I looked up the human family tree (look at the above picture to see what it looks like).

I was shocked to find that I had been spreading misinformation about the relationship between homo sapiens sapiens and homo erectus. Sorry I will readjust what I've said to fix that error. At any rate this seems to show one thing about the current opinion on theists. It seems there is a tendency around the science blogs to stereotype theists as ignorant, incompetent idiots, this stereotype is a tragedy and one which must be broken.

Monday, July 14, 2008

a theory of theistic evolution?

It may seem awkward to start this discussion a immediately after not being present at this blog for several days. However this is a subject worth discussing. It is the origin of man, as many of the readers know there is a debate over whether or not humans share common ancestry with great apes or whether they were created in their present form. Just so you know I favor the former rather then the latter. Today the middle-ground view (theistic evolution) is scorned and disliked by both sides. One atheist (Evolved Rationalist in particular) has even gone as far as to say atheists who tolerate theistic evolution are simply appeasers who are too afraid to confront theistic individuals and criticize their beliefs. On the other end of the spectrum young earth creationists have condemned it as compromise, Philip Johnson a leading ID advocate has gone as far as to call it "theistic naturalism."

I think that some of the criticism is valid, and some of the reasons theistic evolution is looked down on by both sides is probably;
--for one thing Christian theistic evolution at least doesn't appear to have any robust coherent model about the origin of Man which is distinguishable from secular models
--Most theistic evolutionists dismiss genesis 1-11 as a work of poetry and largely disconnect the bible from the real world, this is one reason that it is criticized in evangelical circles. Answers In Genesis is given a lot of criticism of theistic evolution mainly centering on this point.
--What seems to irritate atheists about theistic evolution is that it does not say anything distinct about the natural world which can be tested and falsified or verified. This seems to be a major weakness.
--Many theistic evolutionists today tend to put God on the sidelines essentially surrendering to philosophical naturalism. I am not say we should begin opposing naturalistic explanations like creationist what I mean is that many theistic evolutionists don't use God or the bible for any explanatory power. We (I believe correctly) say God is active in the world and in the evolution of life but theistic evolutionists tend to reject the bible when addressing issues which the bible is relevant, such as the beginning, the origin of Man etc.

Now I am not saying we should begin using the bible in science the same way that creationist do. neither am I saying we should declare a theocracy over science, my point is that we have not done a remarkable good job at connecting the bible to the real world. So I suggest a predictable and falsifiable theistic evolutionary model of how everything is supposed to happen. For example: One thing which theistic evolutionists disagree on is the origin of "spiritually aware" humans. The bible give precious little information about the first humans but one thing which can be said is that its possible that God created an entirely different hominid species physiologically, morphologically, and genetically identical to the former hominid but different in intellectual and moral strengths. I believe the best candidate for Adam would be Homo Erectus the reason for believing so is their use of the Achuelian tool kit which shows understanding of advanced abstract concepts, geometry and symmetry. Now if they truly are the first spiritually aware humans then how does Adam fit in? Well Adam and Eve's children would have spread across the globe and have replaced the previous homo erectus. This probably would have happened early in their history. So we should find a gradual replacement of more primitive tools with more sophisticated tools reminiscent of advanced near-human intellect. Of course this isn't necessarily drastically different from the non-theistic evolutionist view s what would be evidence of this viewpoint. Well obviously discovery of true artwork among Homo erectus as such as drawings and cave paintings, also evidence of a language. These would be the most obvious predictions for future research into the field of paleoanthropology made by theistic evolution. Also there should be a few others, the bible states that at least for a short time before the flood they had the ability to make tents, domestication, and using base metals (Genesis 4:20-22) [although Tubal-cain may have simply been a genius inventing wildly advanced technology in the same way that a 19th century inventor might build a matter/antimatter engine], they also built settlements (Genesis 4:17). So I predict the discovery of comparatively advanced technology in Homo Erectus. However one thing is certain, we can prove that this was only possible before the flood and that after the flood this technology was lost. So it would not be very widespread, so the best we can hope to find is evidence of artwork and religious practice in species Homo Erectus. This is only one example of how we could build a model which makes predictions about human evolution remarkably distinct from those of non-theistic anthropologists. This is only one (slightly unlikely) model but it might work.

I believe that if we approached scientific topics relevant to the bible and the Christian faith in that manner we would get more respect from both creationists and atheists.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

After a week I am back

Now it does seem strange that I said I would blog more right before a 9 day freeze in blogging. I am blogging from my uncle's computer in Bayfield Colorado. Its been a while since I've been the blog but I haven't forgotten about it. Soon I'll be blogging up a storm mostly to do with science, politics, and theology as usual.

Onward scientifically-minded Christian soldiers!

P.S. Wow! I used the word blogging 3 times in a 9 line post!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Is Nature's record unreliable because we live in a fallen world?

The young earth creationist ministry Answers In Genesis has a track record of deriding modern science and the theology which concures with modern science. Now there are many Christians who say that I am overly harsh with AiGers and other creationists, of course that only goes to show that they do not know what "harsh" means; you think I'm harsh? Check out this (theistic evolutionist) guy I rest my case.

Anyway one of their most recent articles Are we missing something? in which they attempt to say nature's record is unreliable since Man is fallen.
When people look to nature to reveal truth, they are falling into the same
speculation trap as in describing the house in the field. No matter how
imaginative or intelligent they are, they can never know exactly what happened
in history without trustworthy eyewitness accounts.
Those who promote nature
as a missing aspect of God’s revelation (the so-called “67th book of the Bible”)
need to understand two crucial fallacies with this idea: first, nature is
cursed; second, our observations of nature are not independent from our
presuppositions. When we examine these problems, we see that nature should never
be put on the same level as the Bible.

Essentially this is one of the most major misconceptions floating around the young earth community that we can not know the past. I have already pointed out the problems with this view. Now to the proposition that our trust in nature's account are fallacious; first of all the bible does not say nature is cursed, the only creature positively under the influence of the curse is Man himself. Secondly the scientific method works around this problem, I'll get to this in a moment.
Many who trust in humans as the highest authority reject the Curse as true
history and thus deny its effect on our observations. Some point to the effects
of the
as proof of “bad design.” For Christians, however, it is foolish to
ignore the Curse when considering what nature can “reveal” to us. After all,
this would be like someone trusting a funhouse mirror to show them how they
really looked. They look into the mirror and see a distorted view but assume
that this mirror must be “right.”
Likewise, while nature does reflect some of
God’s qualities (Romans 1:20), if we trusted the nature we see now to show who
God is, we would see the death, violence, and plant and animal defense and
predatory structures and imagine God as reveling in death and destruction.

I for one do not deny the curse, however I take it as being less universal then AiGers take it to be. I did affect Man's reasoning powers and there is no doubt we humans live in a fallen world and that there definitely is something wrong with creation.,however this does not mean that nature is therefore unreliable. Science can evade the difficulties of the fallen human intellect because;

1. Science is not determined by human opinion but by the facts

2. science is self-correcting and any error will be eventually mended because of the scientific process.

3. Being that God wrote the record of nature it can never truly contradict God's word therefore nature should be reliable since it is inspired by God and God is incapable of lying.
This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t study nature. After all, “nature” is
everything around us, and God gave it to humanity so that we could look into the
universe around us and see His glory. However, nature is only as impartial as
the viewer. Although nature itself does not lead to false conclusions about the
past, people who look at nature can be misled by their own mistaken
presuppositions. Those who look to nature as an objective source of God’s
revelation (or an objective source of scientific truth) are ultimately looking,
instead, at their own preconceptions—even if they don’t realize they have them.

This is how science works and another reason why we as Christians have nothing to fear from science; if the current take on the physical record contradicts the bible it will eventually shift back because truth cannot contradict truth.
For the last part I will give comments on in a slightly more choppy fashion.
Ultimately, God’s Word reveals the reason that we should never consider nature
as our sole source of knowledge or as an extra book of the Bible:
The grass
withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:24–25)

True, but he also says "Speak to the rocks and they shall teach you" (Job 12:7-8). The aforementioned passage is most likely referring to God's eternality, not necessarily nature's record.

When the Bible mentions nature and the Word together, we find that only one
of them is permanent and foundational for knowing and fulfilling His will.
Nature—this universe—will pass away and be rolled up like a scroll (Isaiah 34:4), but God’s Word will endure.

Of course I agree, it is the bible (special revelation) which give us what is important in an eternal sense, everything else only matters in a finite and limited scope.

If we depend on nature to reveal the truth, and especially if we reinterpret
God’s Words based on our stories and interpretations of nature, we will be
building our house on a foundation of sand. By contrasting the transience of
nature with the constancy of His Word, God shows us that His Word alone is
sufficient revelation—and in fact, the only
logical framework
—from which we can understand and appreciate the universe
around us.

I agree the bible is a logical framework for science but there is no reason to restrict ourselves to an outdated interpretation of the bible. In science the facts speak for themselves, and the facts say; earth is 4.55 billion years old, man shares common ancestry with great apes, and that the universe is 13.7 billion years old. And biblical theology says; there is no reason for the curse to be extended beyond Mankind or for the days of creation to be interpreted as ordinary days.
Young Earth Creationism is unnecessary from both a scientific and theological perspective so why are we still supporting it in the year 2008?

Now if you object to this I am not closed to discussion, if it turns out that I am horribly wrong then I will gladly change my position on Genesis but for now I remain unconvinced.

By the way I must apologize for my lull in the number of posts I make. I have been really busy and I have been putting of updating this blog for a while, I'll try to be more persistant next time, sorry.