A few nights ago I was driving home with my eight year old son. As I drove along all of the sudden the entire city went dark. It was a power outage. Fortunately, the power was restored a few seconds later and the city became bright again. My son loves to ask lots of questions, so naturally he wanted to know why the outage occurred. I told him the possibilities and then the following exchange happened.
My son: “Daddy, when the power went off, why didn’t the lights in our car go off too?”
Me: “That’s a great question. Our lights stayed on because our car is not attached to the power grid. Our car produces its own power. It sort of has its own power plant under the hood.”
My son: “Tell me how it works, Daddy.”
I explained to my son that the flammable gas in the gas tank interacts with a spark plug which causes the engine to fire up. I told him how the parts in the engine begin to spin which in turn causes a belt and pulley system to circulate. I taught him that the belt turns the alternator and the energy created by the alternator keeps the battery charged and the power in the battery causes the lights in our car to function.
My son’s next statement is what caused my to smile. He said, “Yeah Daddy, and if one of those parts are missing, our car will not work.”
I was stunned to realize that my eight year old son understood what scientists refer to as Irreducible Complexity. This is something that was introduced by the Lehigh University biochemist, Michael Behe. In his book Darwin’s Black Box, Behe argues that certain systems are irreducibly complex. The example he uses is the bacteria flagellum.
To put it simply, he contends that there are necessary parts that interact with other necessary parts and if just one of the parts are missing, the organism could not live or survive. Just as my son pointed out, the functionality of a car is an easy to understand example. There are certain necessary parts (spark plugs, ignitor, coolant, etc.) in which all of them must be present in order for the car to function. If one part is missing, the car will not operate.
What are the implications as it relates to a balanced, logical worldview? Irreducible Complexity creates a world of problems for Darwinian Evolutionary Theory. All living things are irreducibly complex, even at the cellular level. This means that living organisms likely cannot evolve from less complex organisms through slight, successive changes over a long period of time. Take the human body for example. The human body must, in all cases, have a heart, a liver, kidneys, and other essential organs in order to function. Under Darwinian macro-evolution, human bodies apparently evolved these parts at different times over eons of time. This is just nonsense in my opinion. We have absolutely no evidence to show this and we certainly cannot repeat it.
All of this apparent design and dependent functionality points toward some kind of intelligent design. Just as John Lennox points out, a car does not exist based solely on the existence of natural laws. Clearly there is design at play when one looks at a car. There are parts that must function together for the machine to work. Based on our experience and repeatable trials, we know these parts and their corresponding functionality did not arise from natural forces. So the car’s existence and functionality not only depends on natural laws (internal combustion, etc.) but clearly there is some kind of intelligent design involved. Frank Turek summarizes it nicely. He says, “No matter how much you learn about [natural laws], the need for a designing engineer will never change. In other words, learning more about how [a car] works should never cause you to conclude there was no designing engineer.”
We can learn all we want about natural laws and we should never cease to do that. But we also should not toss out the other obvious elephant in the room. Irreducible Complexity is a strong argument for the existence of some kind of intelligent designer.
As we drove along, I told my son that he had a clear understanding of Irreducible Complexity. His eyes got big and he said, “Daddy, that’s a big word. I don’t even know what that means.” I told him that he just explained to me what it means and to not be intimidated by big words. Then we reviewed it and now he is very clear about what it means. Because of his age, I did not relate it apologetically, but you can be sure that I will be building on this foundation as he grows.
I’ve been doing some reading about Daniel (from the Bible) in a book by the great Oxford University mathematician, philosopher of science, and Christian apologist, John Lennox entitled, “Against the Flow, The Inspiration of Daniel in an Age of Relativism.” While studying the history, it is pointed out that in order to draw parallels with the Babylonian society of Daniel with today’s Western society, we must first understand the worldview of the ancient Babylonians.
Ancient Babylon was an ultra-modern, polytheistic, yet secular society. The people found meaning and salvation through science and technology, much like many people do today. After all, the Bible says there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc 1:9). At this time of great prosperity and ultra-modern secularism, Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. He ordered many of the young men of Jerusalem back to Babylon to be stripped of their old way of life and be socially engineered into being a Babylonian and serving the king in various capacities. Daniel and three of his friends were just a few of the young men who were ripped from their families and taken to a foreign land to learn a new language, new literature, and all new customs.
Daniel found out real quick that these people did not believe in Yahweh, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Daniel believed that Yahweh was the one true God, creator of heaven and earth. But after studying in Babylon (think about being away at college) he obviously had to study their gods. While they had many gods, the very beginning of the long line of gods began with a goddess named Nammu. She was the goddess who gave birth to all other goddesses.
I have three points I have learned about the time period, Nammu, and the view the ancient Babylonians had about her. I’ll share them and parallel it all with today’s world.
Nammu was dubbed the “Primordial Sea Goddess.” This name for her gives us some great clues related to how the ancient people viewed their gods. In all of ancient Sumerian and Greek mythology, the gods all seem to be dependent on a pre-existing form of matter. These gods seem to originate inside an already existing cosmos (in this case, the sea). This is hugely important in drawing the distinction between these phony gods and the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible clearly exists outside of the cosmos. He created the cosmos and therefore He transcends it altogether, just as the Bible teaches. This leads me into my next point.
The most vocal and militant evangelist of the New Atheism movement, Richard Dawkins, has been quoted many times saying this line: “We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.” The problem with this is that Judeo-Christian monotheism is not some streamlined version of pagan polytheism. Christians believe in a God that cannot be compared to the gods Dawkins speaks about. They are two totally different categories and I’ll show why this is the case.
John Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of the UK puts it nicely when he says, “We make a great mistake if we think of monotheism as a linear development from polytheism, as if people first worshiped many gods and then reduced them to one. Monotheism is something else entirely. The meaning of a system lies outside the system. Therefore the meaning of the universe lies outside the universe. Monotheism, by discovering the transcendental God, the God who stands outside the universe and creates it, made it possible for the first time to believe that life has a meaning, not just a mythic or scientific explanation.”
So this argument that atheists simply believe in one god less than a Christian sounds very clever but fails miserably to make its point. While all the other gods that humanity has ever believed in which Dawkins speaks about are products of heaven and earth, our Christian God actually created heaven and earth and exists wholly apart from them.
The third point I want to make draws a connection between the mythical goddess Nammu and the idea of macro-evolution. Remember from above that Nammu was called the “Primordial Sea Goddess.” Anyone with a basic familiarity with macro-evolution probably has ears that perk up when they hear the word “primordial.” Today’s evolutionists will use this word to form the term “primordial soup.” According to Webster, primordial soup is a mixture of organic molecules in evolutionary theory from which life on earth originated. Today’s evolutionary theorists, despite all the advances in science, et al, are still thinking the same way the ancients of Babylon thought thousands of years ago! Like today’s evolutionary theorists, the Babylonians thought life itself emerged from a primordial sea as evidenced by the primordial sea god, Nammu. Their old philosophy was much like that of today’s evolutionists in that they deified the basic forces of nature without ever knowing how to explain how the basic forces of nature could possibly originate on their own. While they derived all life from somehow pre-existing matter, the Christian God created the matter, it did not create Him!
Lennox notes in his book that “this idea that mass-energy is primitive, and all else derives from it, is the essence of the materialistic reductionism that tries to dominate Western society. On this view, mass-energy is subject to the laws of nature…and must have latent capacity to produce all we see around us…”
Isn’t it amazing that there truly is nothing new under the sun?
“History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.” –Ecclesiastes 1:9.
Sometimes in defending the existence of God the question arises, “who made God?” The short answer is no one did. That question assumes he was created in the manner Zues or Thor were created. Not true. He is the uncaused first cause. He is necessary because all things as we know them arise from the law of cause and effect. Without getting too deep here, it’s important to know that it’s impossible to have an infinite regression of causes. In the words of President Harry Truman, at some point someone must say, “the buck stops here.”
Some people have difficulty understanding how God can just “be” there without a beginning. First of all, the only way for anything to “begin” is for it to operate within time itself. The words “begin” and “end” are dependent on time. But since God is not bound by time he must then transcend it altogether.
We know from Big Bang cosmology that time, space, energy, motion, etc., had a beginning at the instant the Big Bang occurred. Since time had a beginning it had to be created. Moreover, it had to be created by something that is separate from it. Time can’t create time. Nature cannot create nature. Those notions are examples of illogical circular reasoning.
To illustrate how time and God are separate think of a farmer building a pond for the benefit of his cattle. The farmer creates the pond but he is separate from it. He transcends it. In our world of time, sometimes God enters time through miracles, providential acts, incarnation of himself through Jesus, etc. The same can be illustrated with the farmer and his pond. The farmer created the pond, but he can also enter the pond to swim if he chooses, and he can remove himself from the pond at his will and pleasure. Furthermore, the farmer is not contingent on the pond for his existence, but the pond is contingent on the farmer for its own existence.
Moreover, the farmer has good reason to maintain the pond but sometimes mere men can let things get in the way. My wife has an elderly aunt who is the caretaker of their family farm. There is a farm pond on the property where we would go fishing as youngsters. Because of her age and health (among other things) the pond has fallen into near disrepair. Because it was not maintained, the dam is nearly completely washed away and now all that remains is a very large mud hole with a creek running through it. Eventually, my father-in-law hopes to repair the dam. The point here is that the Bible tells us God upholds his creation. He maintains it always (Col. 1:17). We can count on him even though we fail.
Since the beginning of time God has upheld time and the universe and He never fails. He is maintaining things and keeping order for us. How awesome! So remember, God doesn’t need a “beginning” because he is not bound by time. He transcends time altogether.
I hope this brings some insight to you and gives you some thinking points when it comes to defending our awesome God.
The last four days has produced some moderate internet traffic to a YouTube video created by Bill Nye. In the video, Mr. Nye uses emoji’s found on iPhones to supposedly illustrate how macro-evolutionary processes work. Some people are finding this approach so fashionable that they’re describing it as “probably the best explanation of evolution ever.” Really?
I’ve watched the video a few times and could not resist posting about it. Let’s break it down, but first, watch the two minute video:
WOW! There are so many things that are wrong within just the first twenty five seconds but before I get to that let me say something about this little production. When one watches the video the first time they are probably listening to some of what he has to say. But the thing that really grabs one’s attention is the emoji figures. I suggest watching the video several times and then play it with your eyes shut. That’s funny, but it seems the emoji figures are there to disguise some serious misleading statements. Let’s look at them.
The first statement that should raise high the eyebrows of any person with a brain is when he says, “molecules just happen.” Is that so? Amazing! Let’s not be silly Mr. Nye. That premise right there does not provide sufficient evidence for me to base any kind theory or idea. Based on these first words by Mr. Nye, thinking people should immediately be skeptical. This notion of things “just happening” is simply an insufficient foundation for any kind of true science.
He goes on to say that, “somehow, probably with energy from the sun, these molecules hooked together and accidentally found ways to reproduce themselves.” Whoa!! There are three key words here that raise red flags when attempting to pass off facts: somehow, probably, and accidentally. To assert that something “somehow” did something implies an insufficient explanation to anything that follows. “Probably” implies uncertainty. “Accidentally” implies chance. To be sure, these words need not negatively apply to any and all ideas. The problem with using these words in this context is that Mr. Nye is attempting to pass off macro-evolution as a proven fact and using these kinds of words hardly helps his case.
Toward the conclusion of the video, Mr. Nye presents the most holy tenant of his religion: time. Theists are often accused of the “God of the Gaps” theory which says that we simply plug in God for things we cannot answer. That is not true. Theists, at least those of the Christian bend, base their belief in God on some very good evidence. On the other hand, Darwinism must use time in place of God as it’s own “God of the Gaps.” You see it often; if it can’t be explained away rationally let’s just throw in a few billion more years. All this does is beg the question. Time has never been shown to create anything. Sure Mr. Nye, lots of things can happen in 4.5 billion years. Maybe over the next 4.5 billion years it will be shown how ridiculous macro-evolution really is.
The underlying problem here for the Darwinist is the problem of abiogenesis, that is to say the idea of life arising from non-life. There is absolutely no evidence for naturalistic abiogenesis and saying that it “just happens” is absurd. This is the first tenant of faith for the worldview of Darwinism, which is unfortunate since Darwinism itself shouldn’t necessarily deal with abiogenesis, but the Naturalists insist. Empirical science tells us that nothing “accidentally” reproduces. We have always known reproduction to be a means to a specified end.
Moreover, while abiogenesis precedes supposed macro-evolution, the Anthropic Principle necessarily precedes abiogenesis. The Anthropic Principle is the term used to define the fine tuning of the universe in order for the possibility of life to occur. There are dozens and dozens of these cosmic characteristics that are required for life and more and more are being discovered all the time. For example, the tilt of Earth, the distance of Earth from our sun, the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, etc. These constants are so finely tuned that if they were altered by minuscule amounts, life as we know it would not exist.
Let’s be clear here. Bill Nye is talking about macro-evolution and NOT micro-evolution. The macro form says that fish can eventually develop wings and fly. The micro form says that changes can indeed occur within species such as the wide variety of dogs we see.
Theism and good science are not at odds. Let me repeat, theism and good science are not at odds. The problem is bad science. And when words and phrases like those used by Bill Nye are used to pass off supposed fact, we see bad science rearing its ugly head. By the way, the sexy argument I’m hearing these days against those who oppose macro-evolution are that those opposed “just don’t understand it.” This is an ad hominem attack. An ad hominem attack is when a person attacks his opposition rather than his opposition’s arguments. This type of argumentation should not be dignified with a response.
I know I’ve rambled a bit but these things need to be pointed out. In conclusion, I think theism offers a far more plausible foundation for abiogenesis and the propagation of life. There are many evidences such as the Cosmological and Teleological arguments, just to name two. Look into these things and maybe I’ll write about them soon. Thanks for reading.
Pastors Steve Holder and Daniel Weeks recently hosted a debate at their church, Bethel Church, in Goldsboro, NC. I attended the debate after receiving notice from a friend that his uncle was one of the debaters. His uncle, Mike Manuel, is a noted Evangelist and Apologist traveling the United States preaching Jesus Christ. The topic of the debate, “Is Creation a Viable Model of Origins in the 21st Century?” peaked my interest. My friend and I desired to attend and lend support to his uncle. Mr. Manuel was to argue in the affirmative. His opponent, Dr. Richard White, a science instructor at Wayne Early Middle College High School in Goldsboro, was to argue in the negative.
The following account of the debate is not meant to be a point-by-point account of every word that was uttered. I’m attempting to provide the highlights while also striving to give the reader a comprehensive view of the positions staked out by both debaters. My reporting will be offered in a “note-taking” format so as to make this account pointed and concise. Because of this, do not be alarmed to see points not placed into proper sentence format. Think of it as reading off my personal note sheets because that is essentially what it is.
This account will concentrate solely on the testimony given during the debate. In light of this, I intend to remain objective and unbiased. I will simply record things as they occurred to the best of my ability. I desire to editorialize the event in order to offer my personal thoughts and critiques. Because this is a long post, I will offer an editorialized review of the debate in a follow up post.
The debate lasted approximately 2 hours and the text below summarizes its content. The text can be read much faster than it would take to listen to the two hour debate, but after reading the text, I encourage you to listen to the debate which can be found here.
Background information of the debaters:
Mike Manuel: Mr. Manuel is a noted Christian Evangelist and Apologist based in West Virginia who travels extensively throughout the United States preaching that “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Before Mike became a Christian he turned to a life of drugs & alcohol and became agnostic while attending Marshall University. His road to salvation began when he reexamined the things he had been taught, which he found to be fallacious. In 1975 he had an encounter with Jesus Christ and the Lord began to prepare him for a life of ministry. Mike pastored for 2 ½ years before transitioning to full time evangelism. He is an ordained minister through New Life Church, Huntington, WV of which Dr. Darrell Huffman serves as the pastor. He is the Vice President of Victory Ministries Incorporated, a ministry fellowship founded and chaired by Dr. Darrell Huffman. He is the National Director for Evangelism for the Full Gospel Fellowship of Churches and Ministers International, based in Dallas, TX. Mike also serves as an international Board Member of the Full Gospel Fellowship. Additionally, Mike is the founder of Revelation Power Ministries, a ministry centered on spreading the Word of God. Mike has seen many people saved, filled, healed, and delivered through the anointed preaching of the Word of God.
Richard White: Mr. White does not have a website but he provided some of his background information during the debate. As noted above, Dr. Richard White is a science instructor in Goldsboro, NC. Mr. White was diagnosed and treated for Hodgkin’s disease while he was attending Purdue University. He was treated with chemotherapy which utilized a drug found naturally in a flower grown locally in the area. One side effect of his treatment is that it damaged his heart. Mr. White is waiting on a new technology that he hopes will repair and heal his heart. Because of his medical experiences related to the use of the drug found in the flower, he became interested in medicinal botany which serves as his primary area of research. He is interested in science for other’s benefit and to educate curious young people.
“Is Creation a Viable Model of Origins in the 21st Century?”
The format of the debate was that a question was posed to a debater so that he could offer a 5 minute response. His opponent would offer a 5 minute rebuttal and then the original person to which the question was posed could offer an additional 5 minute response. The questions to be asked were submitted in advance my Mr. White and Mr. Manuel. The final questions were chosen by the moderator, Pastor Weeks.
The first question (directed to Mr. White) read, “How do you interpret the phrase, ‘viable means of origin?” Mr. White thinks a particular model of origins is relative to a person’s worldview (Christian or scientific). He bases science on empirical data, lab testing, and hypothesizing, and relies on fossil evidence for things we cannot experience. Claims science has no business dealing with “why” questions but should only deal with “how” questions. We can only use what we observe. Abruptly proceeds into age-of-the-earth issues and describes how the Green River shale formation in the western US provides evidence for an old earth. Nevertheless, Mr. White contends that there should be two non-competing ways to view life. Example: if your car breaks down you may call a mechanic or you may pray. The two solutions should not compete, they’re simply two different approaches.
Mr. Manuel responds to the question by saying he believes science and the Bible are simpatico. We need the scientific approach and need to approach things in light of reality. Contends a designed universe had a beginning and a builder much like buildings have a beginning and a builder. Claims some scientists protest the term “Big Bang” because it resembles terminology used in Genesis. Says scientists claim that the universe is expanding, if you track the expansion backward, we arrive at single speck. Scientists get agitated when asked the origin of the speck. Cites the 2nd law of thermodynamics and that the universe is losing energy and cannot be infinite. Design evidence is everywhere. Uses example that a criminal leaves traces of himself at a crime scene. No one ever says the crime scene just appeared out of nowhere. Someone was behind it. Describes how the first two verses of the Bible describe the five terms of science: time, energy, space, matter, and motion. Leans toward an old earth and pre-adamite society. Says creation is plausible, rational, reasonable, compelling, and persuasive.
Mr. White discusses that scientists cannot investigate whether God created in a certain number of days, the notion is not in the scientific realm, we are left with what we can observe. Admits “something” started blowing things apart. Uses example that scientists have no interest in why the Ebola virus is here, but only interested in how it works so they can stop it. Science cannot use origins to make scientific models.
The second question (directed to Mr. Manuel) read, “Since whatever begins to exist has a cause, and no effect occurs without a cause, wouldn’t there have to be an uncaused first cause?” Mr. Manuel says logic and reasoning leads to that conclusion. Says Christians need to be able to articulate this (1 Peter 3:15). Example: if you have an empty steel chamber and leave it for 100 years and check it again, it remains empty. There are laws of causation. Mr. Manuel then discusses the anthropic principle and how the universe is fine tuned. If any of the constants in the universe were changed slightly, we would not exist. Asserts that scientists use objective laws to make claims about anything. Tells how the human genome was decoded in 2000 and that our DNA provides the info that will determine our features in advance. Shows how the Bible already talked about this long before in Psalm 139:15, 16. Says explosions (Big Bang) do not create order, they always create chaos. There must be a master designer.
Mr. White says he is not equipped to answer the question, can only infer. Theologians can say God began things but scientists cannot test that in a laboratory. Agrees with Mr. Manuel on the complexity of life. Offers a naturalistic explanation by saying some viruses are considered intelligent because sometimes they will not kill their host because that would prohibit further propagation. Claims complexity was built over time. Admits complexity cannot be duplicated in a lab. Is quoted as saying it is possible God could have started all of this but it’s not a scientific answer, it’s theological. One approach is not better than the other, they are just different.
Mr. Manuel responds by saying the reason science can make predictions is because of present order and design. Moves on to say Cambrian period complex life forms appeared with no predecessors and no links to other life forms. Says Richard Dawkins sees order and complexity in the fossil record but there’s no history of its evolution. Speaks about Darwin’s doubt and fear of no transitional species in the fossil record. We see variety and adaptation but not special crossover. Debunks punctuated equilibrium and panspermia. Talks about in Greek mythology, they thought men held the Earth on their backs. Says Bible told us years before science that the Earth hangs on nothing (Job 26:7). Science didn’t figure it out until 1650.
The third question (directed to Mr. White) read, “Even the most basic biological mechanisms that we know are irreducibly complex. Nothing can be removed without disabling the mechanism. The individual parts are useless without the whole. The bacteria flagellum is an example. It has a whip-like part that allows it to move-much like an outboard motor-except this motor is water cooled. It features a universal joint, has gears for forward and reverse. It can reach speeds of 100,000 rpm’s, and can do self-assembly and repair. It has precision and economy of construction. Do you feel examples like the bacteria flagellum suggest intelligence? If not, how did it happen?” Mr. White claims there are many transitional forms and that we see them from fishes to amphibians, amphibians to reptiles, reptiles to mammals. He claims they are all through the fossil record. Says humans share genes with bacteria. Says gradualism is simply a model. Says punctuated equilibrium is a warranted claim. Admits he doesn’t know how things became more complex. Cites the now famous Penn U. RNA experiment.
Mr. Manuel responds by saying the bacteria flagellum suggests intelligence. Why do we not have animals that are ¾ man and ¼ ape? Says punctuated equilibrium came about because transitional fossils were never found. Says mutations never create new features or appendages but only modified what was there. Cites example of a scientist cutting the tales off mice for repeated generations but the descendants continued to grow tales. Discusses fish growing wings and flopping on the seashore…they won’t last long. Refers to the Penn U. RNA experiment and how the experiment was bunk because of the oxidation process and Dr. Miller admitted it. Says men and apes are 98% related but men and earthworms are over 90% related, this shows commonality in the material but not the arrangement. You can have 1000000 or .1000000. The material is the same but the arrangement has huge implications. Darwin’s finches simply adapted.
Mr. White claims evolution is not linear. Cites examples of transitional features in facial features of apes and humans. Says he’s not challenging that intelligent beings started the process. He is only interested in how it works.
The fourth question (directed to Mr. Manuel) read, “Are scientific and religious views really that different and do you fell we must choose one view or the other?” Says they’re not incompatible. Says claims against Bible are often faulty and cites archaeological facts. Provides facts about how scientists have repeatedly and falsely attempted to construct “men” from the fossils of animals. Warns to take scientific reconstruction with a grain of salt because of their faulty track record. Talks about whimsical climate predictions…in the 1970’s there was an imminent ice age approaching, now in 2014 we are told we are going to burn up. Says science once thought the stars could be numbered but cites how the Bible has always said they’re innumerable. Says overall, despite energy bursts from the sun, the earth is losing energy. Shows how the Bible teaches this in Psalm 102:25, 26. Says there is no incompatibility with the Bible and genuine science. The evidence points to an intelligent designer.
Mr. White partially agrees and says there’s no need for conflict. Says science underpins technology. Says some scientists can get nasty. He looks at life through a window of science. God’s window should be in Sunday school. People should decide for themselves which window to look through. Mutually exclusive. Desires to teach children how to look through the science window. His education statement is, “I don’t care what you believe, I care what you understand.”
Mr. Manuel says naturalists and evolutionists have monopolized the educational system. Only one view is taught even though many advanced scientists believe in creation. Don’t compromise beliefs. Admits that his side has some ogres. Says scientists feel like they know more than others. There is monolithic group think in the halls of academia. Many teachers want students to believe what they believe. Says creationists are afraid to speak out. Moves on to talk about all laws have a law giver. Order doesn’t come from chaos, life always comes from preexisting life. Yet are told an amoeba came about on its own and divided itself. He asks how male and female developed.
The fifth question (directed to Mr. White) read, “How can we build bridges between people of differing views in terms of how the world was created? More specifically, the Bible teaches us that God created the world. If this is not true then what the Bible says about Jesus is also possibly not true, therefore the topic of creation is of profound importance. Is it possible for us all to adhere to what we believe and yet come to some type of manageable disagreement on the topic of creation?” Mr. White says the topic is important. Says he doesn’t want to punish students for their beliefs, but doesn’t teach about beliefs, teaches understanding. Says religion extends itself beyond things we can touch and measure. Pursue curiosity.
Mr. Manuel says we are to love people we disagree with. He says scientific hypothesizing extends beyond what we can see…that is beyond empiricism. Cites Arthur Keith’s forward to the 100th edition of Origin of the Species and how he said evolution is unproved and unprovable, we believe because the only other alternative is unbelievable, and that’s creation. Christians should reach out and pray for unbelievers. Build bridges but still retain our faith. Says we need God and creation in the public domain. Cites 3 different textbooks saying earth is 5 billion, 7 billion, and 12 billion years old. Scientists often just say things. Carbon 14 dating dated oysters to be 27,000 years old but they were still alive. They assume carbon breaks down at the same rate as now. Hopes this debate is building bridges and says Mr. White is a nice man.
Mr. White says scientists live with uncertainty and second-guessing. Claims creationists are not in mainstream science. He says publish or perish.
I’m not going to post each audience question but rather give a summary of the answers that each debater offered.
Mr. White’s answers to the audience: Believes the earth is old, cites Pangea. Read the Bible when he was young. Raised Presbyterian/Methodist. Wife is Catholic. Likes to explore in the woods. Says Bible has good standards for living. Beliefs do not disqualify or qualify his friends. Lived a “free” college life. His mother arranged an exorcism to be performed on him when he was younger. Admits not knowing how to reach God at a Campus Crusade retreat, and can’t explain why he can’t reach God. Will not teach ID because he says it’s not based on reputable research.
Mr. Manuel’s answers to the audience: Leans toward an old earth view. Says evolution needs lots of time and the chance of evolution happening are so high and the evidence for evolution does not add up. Believes in absolute moral values. Kept pet insects as a child and was very inquisitive. Says most of the world’s greatest scientists believed in God. Says many don’t want to believe in God because of rocky relationships with fathers, especially children of preachers. Naturalists often speculate, “could have” or “should have.” Says Christians should hold on to true science.
Stay tuned for my personal critique of the debate…
Lately, I have devoted an enormous amount of time to study and a small portion to football, which has kept me from writing out my thoughts. So, here is what I’ve been studying and thinking about for the last month or so.
Simply put, The Principle of Uniformity says that causes in the past were like causes we observe today. With this in mind, consider the specified complexity (it has a specific message) of DNA. It is chalk full of information. All life forms contain DNA, including the one celled amoeba. According to the supreme prophet of the New Atheism, the evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, the one celled amoeba contains more information than 1000 complete sets of Encyclopedia Brittanica. (This can be found in his book, “The Blind Watchmaker”).
As we know from the Principle of Uniformity, information always comes from an intelligent source and life always comes from existing life. Always. To claim that life can come from non-life and that information can develop itself is an extreme faith claim. The information contained in the DNA and life of the amoeba points us toward an intelligent cause. If information can come only from a mind and life can come only from existing life, good science would tell us that an intelligent cause is behind such specified complexity.
Why then do non-theistic scientists not accept such a claim? The answer can be found in a very candid comment made by atheist Harvard professor, Richard Lewontin. He admitted that Darwinists accept science that goes against common sense not based on empirical evidence, but rather a prior commitment to materialism so as to “not allow a divine foot in the door.”
Theism (and indeed Christianity) is not at odds with science itself. Theism and science blended together create a beautiful atmosphere to discover the amazing operation of God’s awesome creation. Rather, theism is at odds with bad science. Atheist scientists cannot consider supernatural creation when they legislate in advance the impossibility of such a claim and that’s quite unfortunate.
In the final part of a three part series describing how we cannot trust the words of some leading scientists, I want to focus in on Lawrence Krauss and specifically his book, “A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing.” All book references refer to the latest known paperback edition of Mr. Krauss’s book. This post could get somewhat deep and for that I apologize. I want to keep it as clear and simple as possible.
On page XXIII Mr. Krauss admits that we do not know whether the universe is infinite but he suggests that it could be. The mere suggestion is ridiculous as a true infinite can not be crossed. In other words, if the past is infinitely long, then we would never arrive at today. To illustrate it, let’s say you line up some dominoes on a table. Now choose a domino somewhere in the middle and allow that domino to represent the present moment. Now assume that your line of dominoes goes on to infinity in both directions. Let’s allow the right side of the line of dominoes to represent the future and the left side will represent the past. If we tip the “present moment” domino to the right (the future) and assume there are infinitely many dominoes actually to it’s right, then we can safely assume they will fall for infinity (proof of a possible eternity). Now imagine if the dominoes to the left (the past) continued into the past for infinity. If that were the case, we would never arrive at the “present moment.” As J.P. Moreland puts it, it would be like trying to jump out of an infinitely deep bottomless pit. So this shows that the universe cannot be eternal, it had to have a beginning. To even entertain the notion of an infinite universe is just strange.
Also on page XXIII, Krauss discusses why there is something rather than nothing. He says this question is usually discussed in the religious or philosophical areas. But he claims this question can be resolved scientifically. But in order for him to attempt this he MUST presuppose things that are impossible to explain using the scientific method such as laws of math, laws of logic, metaphysical truths, ethical judgments, aesthetic judgments, and indeed science itself. All of these things are a slave to philosophy. You cannot run an experiment to determine these things. They are explained by philosophical presuppositions. So the point is, science cannot be the only method to discover objective truth. Why? Because the claim itself is not a scientific claim, but a philosophical one! The funny thing about this is at least he admits on page 149 that he assumes the laws of physics. This admission is so huge, that it undermines his entire book!!
Krauss then proclaims that the scientific answers we have obtained “ALL suggest getting something from nothing is not a problem. Indeed something from nothing may have been required for the universe to come into being.” Wow, what a quote. My first observation is to note his admission that the universe came into being. Earlier, he posited that the universe could be infinite. Hmmmm. Secondly, getting something from nothing is just bizarre. On page XXIV, he attempts to define nothing and accuses theologians of constantly changing it definition. Theologians and apologists usually define it as “no thing” or “non-being” or “the absence of anything.” He then says theologians are intellectually bankrupt and outrageously states that “surely ‘nothing’ is every bit as physical as something.” Are you kidding me? This is akin to what atheists accuse theists of doing, and that is using the “God of the Gaps” silliness.
Another important observation is that Krauss always places the word nothing inside quote marks such as, “nothing.” What this means is that he really doesn’t mean “no thing” at all. He claims nothing is defined as “empty space.” But any third grade student knows that space is indeed something! Time is also something which seems to be assumed by Krauss. The following gets a little difficult to process but it’s important: Whatever caused the first event could not have been inside of time. It had to be timeless or transcend time. Suppose an event happens such as a tree blowing and it falls. If this occurs then we know time already exists. Both the cause and effect are in time. Whatever caused the first event had to first create time. Krauss wants to presuppose that time is already there.
On page XXV he calls theists intellectually lazy. That’s just a ridiculous rant such that a twelve year old would do.
On page 143 he admits that science is only interested in the “how” questions and not the “why” questions. THAT my friends is intellectually lazy! Moreover, to dismiss the “why” questions right off the top is to say, “you know what, I’m going to dismiss the possibility of an intelligent designer before anything else.” Absurd and lazy!
On page 161, after determining that nothing=empty space, he just suggests that we should “allow for the merging of quantum mechanics and general relativity….” So all of the sudden out of nowhere these two things just come into existence? He admits later down the page that allowing the rules of quantum mechanics is a “tricky” possibility. Tricky indeed. It seems to this reader that Krauss is trying to trick his audience.
All of these things Mr. Krauss brings up are very interesting to explore and we should never stop exploring them. But it is my belief that based on the best possible evidence and the use of sound logic, the study of these matters will ultimately lead us to God, the uncaused cause. He is uncaused because he has never operated by the limits of time and space. It’s possible he may have entered time, but he is not bound by it. In other words, if a man creates a lake he may enter it to swim but he is not bound to stay in it. The relationship of God and time are similar.
There are strong cases to be made for God being the first cause as opposed to “nothing” being the first cause. Very briefly, design is evidence for a personal cause to the universe. When my wife prepares the supper table, I can see that she has the ability to set it in a precise way. It doesn’t just become that way out of nothing. It took intelligence. It took ability and intention to set the table. Also, there is order and fine-tuning all over the universe. Science has a major problem in this area because science ALWAYS presupposes order before it can explain anything at all. The only way science can explain order is to cite other examples of order. It’s circular. This is very important to understand. Furthermore, information in DNA is great evidence for a creator. DNA isn’t just randomness which would exude no structure. DNA provides information. Information is orderly and provides instruction such as the words in this blog. DNA contains VAST amounts of information similar to the way humans express information as instruction. This is great evidence for a creator.
There are many more ways to think about this subject, but it’s important to see why we simply cannot always take the words of scientists at face value. As we have seen in the three articles, there is usually some hidden “gotcha” presupposition or oftentimes just outright lies. We need to learn to detect these things so that we can become better thinkers.
I hope you enjoyed the three part series. As time moves forward, I want to shift our stance from a defensive one to an offensive one and describe the vast amount of evidence for why someone should believe in God. I will still give defenses anytime the need arises. If there is anything you’d like for me to write about as it relates to Christian apologetics, please let me know! I’m enrolled in Biola University’s Apologetics Program and I have learned a great deal that has been added to my near decade of personal study on these matters.