Can Atheists Be Moral?

The question is in the title, “Can Atheists Be Moral?”  The answer to that question is rather is easy to determine.  We have no reason to suspect that atheists cannot be moral individuals.  I personally know atheists who seem to act morally in their daily lives, despite their cursing at something they think does not exist.  So the short answer would be YES!  But, I’m interested in questions that goes deeper than that.

  1. Is morality relative?
  2. On what basis do humans place morality?

I am going to make the case for objective morality and that objective morality is based on God.  The most common objection that comes up in this argument is a misunderstanding of terms.  So first allow me to define the term objective morality.  To define the term, it must be broken down into its two parts.  To say that something is objective is to say that it is independent of what people think or perceive.  By contrast, to say that something is subjective is just to say that it is not objective; that is to say, it is dependent on what human persons think or perceive.[1]  To say that there is objective morality is to say that something is good or evil independently of whether any human being believes them to be so.[2]  An example of objective morality would be that torturing little babies for fun is wrong no matter what anyone believes about it.  Raping and beating women for sport is always wrong no matter what anyone believes about it.

To discover a basis of objective morality I want to show that this entire subject matter is completely outside the realm of science.  Science deals with only the physical world.  Science cannot tell us what ought to happen, it can only tell us what will probably happen under certain circumstances.  Objective morality on the other hand tells us how we ought to act.  To attempt to explain morality on a scientific, evolutionary basis is a fatal category error.  Morality is not physical.  You cannot weigh it or see what color it is.  If morality has its basis in Darwinian evolution, then morality cannot be objective.  If there is no God and we evolved from slime, then we have no higher moral status than slime because there is nothing beyond us to instill us with a sense of objective morality or dignity.[3]  If morality had its basis in the Darwinian evolutionary process, then raping women to propagate the DNA of men should be considered right.  Murder of the weak, invalid, and elderly should be the norm.  This is just nonsense that does not deserve any further treatment here.

Something further needs to be addressed before moving forward.  What I am not claiming is that belief in God is required to know and recognize objective morality.  Rather, I am making the claim that God’s existence is necessary for objective morality itself to exist.

Let’s answer some objections to objective morality before we make our case for God.

Moral relativism says that societies or individuals decide for themselves what is right and wrong.  There are three types of moral relativism: cultural relativism, conventionalism, and individual subjectivism.  Since this is a blog and not a book, I will not break these down.  Instead, I will try to cover them wholly with two examples.  First, for one to say, “all truth (including moral truth) is relative” is a self-refuting statement.  You should reply, “is that truth relative?”  You can see it is self-refuting.  Furthermore, if he is claiming all truth is relative, then why is he pushing his supposed “truth” on me?  I’m amazed there are people who believe this way but I see it nearly every single day.

A second way to dispel moral relativism is to use the Nazis as an example.  When they went to trial, their defense was that they were following the rule of law in their country.  They said they were simply following orders based on the views of their country’s government.  As we know, justice was served by appealing to a higher, objective moral standard.  This is important to remember when you hear an atheist make the claim that each society dictates the moral standard.  So which society is correct?  Hitler’s or Mother Teresa’s?  If it’s all based on the opinion of that particular society then it should have been right for the Nazis to murder millions of innocent people and wrong for the rest of the world to condemn them.  After all, it’s all based on subjective opinion.

So let’s cut to the chase.  If there is no God and no Heaven or Hell, then no ultimate justice will ever be served.  The baby torturer and the serial rapist will simply become worm food when they die.  The most well-known atheistic evangelist, Richard Dawkins, says, “Too bad.  Just because we wish there was ultimate justice doesn’t mean there is.”  Well, I don’t doubt that.  I don’t do much “wishful” thinking either.  But the point is this:  if there is no justice, then it follows that there is no injustice.  Something cannot be deemed wrong if there is no ultimate right.  C.S. Lewis said, “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”[4]  We strive to perfect our society, to reach for some unattainable utopia while presupposing that we somehow know we still need to progress.  How do we know this?  How do we know we still have room to improve ourselves?  Louis Markos put it nicely when he wrote that a supposed materialistic society can strive to be progressive, but without any fixed, transcendent standard of good and evil, right and wrong, how can we know that we have progressed?[5]

Speaking of Richard Dawkins, he made a remarkable admission about objective morality during an interview with Justin Brierley after he maintained that our sense of morality is an outcome of evolution.  The audio can be found here.  You may fast forward to the 5:29 mark.  Ill reproduce part of the statement here.

Brierley:  When you make a value judgment, don’t you immediately step yourself outside  of this evolutionary process and say that the reason this is good is that it’s good?  And you don’t have any way to stand on that statement.
DawkinsMy value judgment itself could come from my evolutionary past.
BrierleySo therefore it’s just as random in a sense as any product of evolution.
Dawkins:  You could say that….nothing about it makes it more probable than there is anything supernatural.
BrierleyUltimately, your belief that rape is wrong is as arbitrary as the fact that we’ve evolved five fingers rather than six.
DawkinsYou could say that, yeah.[6]

Wow!  So according to the atheistic evangelist, Dawkins believes that rape is simply socially unfashionable.  At least he is being a consistent atheist.  After all, without God, there are no objective moral standards.  Dawkins thinks all of our thoughts and behaviors are simply the blind results of molecules bouncing around in our brains.  In River out of Eden, Dawkins says,

“In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt,
and other people are going to get lucky; and you won’t find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice.  The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good.  Nothing but blind pitiless indifference….DNA neither knows nor cares.  DNA just is, and we dance to its music.[7]

So it’s very clear, the new atheists can not only determine a basis for objective morality, many of them deny its very existence!  In order for atheists to live with themselves in a purposeless universe they must steal from God.  That is to say, they borrow things from a theistic worldview such as peace, justice, ethics, etc. because they have no basis for these things on a purely physical, materialistic worldview.[8]

Another atheistic evangelist, Sam Harris, says he actually believes in objective morality.  He bases his position of morality on learning about the well-being of conscious creatures.  The problem with this position is that it merely shows us what method to use to discover what is moral, not what actually makes something moral.  If you didn’t get that last sentence, please re-read it.  It is very important to understand that I am not arguing an epistemological position about morality but rather an ontological position.  In other words, we aren’t talking about how we know morality.  We are talking about why it objectively exists.  Toddlers can know morality by how it makes them feel.  If a child steals a toy from another child then feelings are hurt.  What I am getting at is the deeper question:  why does having something stolen from us bring about a sense of injustice?  You can know morality exists while denying God.  I can know a book exists and at the same time deny its author.  But there would be no book unless an author existed.  Atheists pull this same nonsense with God and objective morality.  Many of them claim to know objective morality while denying God exists, but there would be no objective morality unless God exists.[9]

Another common objection to objective morality is the Euthyphro dilemma.  Euthyphro (a character of Plato) asks, “Does God do something because it is good or is it good because God does it?  The problem here is that Plato offers only two options when there is a third option that he left out.  The whole question assumes good exists wholly apart from God.  This is a solid misunderstanding of God (at least the Christian God).  For God does not look to a standard beyond himself.  If he were required to look to a standard beyond himself then he wouldn’t be God.  God is also not arbitrary.  So the third option left out is God’s very nature is the standard of an unchanging moral nature.  This so called “dilemma” was answered hundreds of years ago but for some reason the new atheists bring it up from time to time.

Let’s make the case for an objective moral law giver.

Again, this is a blog, not a book, so I cannot spell out every single piece of evidence.  There are so many subjects (such as altruism) I just don’t have time to touch at least at this moment.  But along with answering the objections above, I think I can give a quick summary to show that God is the most reasonable basis for objective morality.

Objective morality contains a sense of obligation and oughtness that is universal, authoritative, and outweighs considerations of culture, time, and place.  Objective morality is always discovered and not invented. Objective morals are prescriptive to how we should act, not descriptive of the world.  But where did these objective morals originate?  Because morals cannot be scientifically tested, because they deal with purpose and will, because they are universal and transcend societies and time, their origination cannot be rooted in anything physical.  Because they universally and transcendently prescribe how we ought to act then we can conclude that something prescribed must have a prescriber.  This prescriber must also transcend societies, cultures, people, and time itself.  We can employ two simple syllogisms to help us think about God as the grounds for objective morals.  One of them goes like this:

  1. If a personal God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist.
  2. Objective moral values do exist.
  3. Therefore, a personal God exists.

Most of this article has been devoted to proving the first two premises correct.  I have briefly shown that objective morals do exist, and I’ve shown that it would be more reasonable to ground them in a transcendent being (God) as opposed to grounding them in materialistic objects or processes.  Therefore, the conclusion follows.  Here is a simpler syllogism:

  1. Every law has a lawgiver.
  2. There is an objective moral law.
  3. Therefore, there is an objective moral law giver.

Let me summarize what we have briefly covered in this article:

  1. There exists objective morality.
  2. Objective morality holds that something is good or evil independently of human beliefs about it.
  3. Science is not the proper category for discussing morality.
  4. Belief in God is not required to know and recognize objective morals.
  5. Moral relativism is false.
  6. In a world based on materialism, we cannot justify good and evil, right and wrong, justice or injustice.
  7. Richard Dawkins thinks morality is arbitrary.
  8. God is a reasonable explanation for objective morality.

[1] William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith 3rd Edition (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2008) p. 173.

[2] Craig, p. 173.

[3] Norman Geisler & Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2004) p. 189.

[4] C.S. Lewis, The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics (New York: HarperCollins, 2007) p. 41.

[5] Louis Markos, Apologetics for the 21st Century (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2010) p. 76

[6] This interview was pointed out to me in the book by Frank Turek, Stealing from God, Why Atheists Need God To Make Their Case (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2014) p. 90.

[7] Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden (New York: Basic Books, 1996) p. 133.

[8] I owe this idea to Frank Turek’s book, Stealing from God.

[9] Turek, p. 100.

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Faith Is Belief Without Evidence, Says Richard Dawkins

In an article published in The Humanist, Richard Dawkins (the world’s top evangelist for atheism) said, “Faith, being belief that isn’t based on evidence, is the principle vice of any religion.”  The only vice I see in this statement is the vice of ignorance of orthodox Christianity on the part of Mr. Dawkins.

I just finished reading a great book by Frank Turek entitled Stealing From God.  The book details how atheist’s beliefs are usually presupposed on things that cannot be determined by materialism.  Materialism is the belief of atheists that says everything has a physical, material cause.  But in order to come to that conclusion, one must use their immaterial mind, reason, and logic so the entire notion is self-defeating.  I will not go into detail here about the main points of the book but I will be posting a review to Amazon.com soon if you are interested.  

Toward the end of the book Turek has a short explanation of Biblical faith that counters Dawkins’ claims.  I can’t really say it any better myself so I’m going to type a portion of it verbatim.  The following excerpts can be found on pages 216-218.

“One reason people are not persuaded by Christianity is because they think it’s based on blind faith.  Richard Dawkins says, ‘Faith, being belief that isn’t based on evidence, is the principle vice of any religion.’  Unfortunatley for Dawkins, this kind of faith is the principle vice of atheism–the worldview that believes, despite massive counterevidence, that only material things exist.  Atheists don’t offer any evidence that doesn’t defeat itself……

“Another problem for Dawkins and company is “belief without evidence” is not what “faith” means in the Bible.”  (Turek gives a great explantion of Hebrews 11:1 in the endnotes and how that verse does not require blind faith.  He says, “the context of this passage reveals that “faith” is not belief without evidence; faith is trusting God for an unseen future based on the evidence of what is already known about God.”  There is so much more about this verse in the book and we can discuss it further in the comments below if you wish).

Turek continues, “When you see the word faith in the Bible, you should think of the word trust.  That’s what the word in Greek actually means in most contexts.  And this is not blind trust.  The Bible actually commands us to use reason and evidence.  Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to ‘love the Lord your God…with all your mind.’  God speaks through the prophet Isaiah saying, ‘Come now, let us reason together.’  Peter urges us to ‘always be prepared to give an answer.’  Paul commands us to ‘destroy arguments’ that are opposed to the truth of Christianity, and he declares that Christianity is false unless the resurrection of Christ is an historical fact.  So Christians don’t get brownie points for being stupid or relying on blind faith.  They are suppose to know what the believe and why they believe it….

“But merely knowing that Jesus is the savior isn’t enough to save you from judgement.  You have to go from belief that Jesus is the Savior to belief in Jesus as your Savior.  Those are the two kinds of biblical faith:  Belief that is based on reason and evidence.  Belief in is how you respond to reason and evidence.  Belief that is more a matter of the head or mind, and belief in is more a matter of the heart or will….

“Believing that Jesus is the Savior is only the first step.  It doesn’t go far enough.  God is not interested in mere intellectual assent any more than a girlfriend is interested in merely being told she’d make a great wife.  God seeks a love relationship from us and won’t force Himself on us.  If we intellectually know that He exists but never trust in Him, we’ll never receive the benefits of being His….

“Belief that (head knowledge) doesn’t save, but it can help people get to the point where they choose to believe in.  That’s the purpose of evidence…..

“In other words biblical faith is trusting in what you have good reason to believe is true.”

Man, I just love these excerpts from the book. Having faith in God is not the same as being a bucket head. Again, the book mostly deals with how to respond to atheistic assertions but I really liked this part about biblical faith because of my personal background in having a great faith relationship in God.

You should really get the book Stealing From God, Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case.  You can find it here on Amazon.  It is often sold out though!  If so, you can get the book at Impact Apologetics.  If you want to learn more about Frank Turek, his website is CrossExamined.org.

An Account of a Debate I Recently Attended

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.

Mike Manuel (seated) and Richard White

 

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.

Audience questions  

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…  

A Quick Word About the Principle of Uniformity

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.

A Brief Hiatus From the Three Part Series to Comment on Incest.

I was recently questioned by an atheist about Adam and Eve and their children committing incest.  We know that their children must have had relations with each other in order to multiply.  There are reasons why we believe this form of relations between close kin in early humanity would have not had devastating genetic effects.  As we all know and agree upon, it’s the copying of two bad genes (to state it simply) into children of incestual relationships that causes defects.  It’s possible that in the early years of humanity, shortly after the act of God creating a perfect universe, that the sinful effects upon genetics that were brought upon humanity as the result of sin had not been expounded enough to cause genetic mistakes, defects, and such.  While this notion is not provable beyond all doubt, it is believable beyond reasonable doubt.  Even anti-Christian science has tended to presume that genetic mistakes were less numerous in the early years of humanity.  Biblically speaking, incest wasn’t prohibited until the time of Moses.  This would seem to support the fact that it took several thousand years for harmful genetic mistakes to develop.  As such, God instituted rules against sexual activity with close kin.

But those things aren’t what concerns me.  Atheists create a great problem when they use the incest accusation to refute God’s creation of man.  Think about this from the atheist’s point of view.  There had to be a specific point in time where the first human “evolved” into being the first human.  There weren’t thousands or millions of humans that evolved at exactly the same time and traveled to differing regions so as to avoid incest.  No.  Even from an evolutionists point of view, incest had to have occurred among the earliest few humans.  There is no way to avoid this except flat out denial or false fabrications with ridiculous faith-based guesses.  So their fetish with invoking incest places them in a trap of their own making.

Moreover, while the Atheist will use the incest issue to refute the Genesis account, he will also say incest is simply taboo, and in reality there is nothing wrong with it.  Freud even taught that humans have an overwhelming natural desire to commit incest with their mothers and siblings.  That’s oddly contradictory.  Many of Richard Dawkins’ followers believe there should be no limits to one’s desire to commit incest. In fact, one of them posted this on Mr. Dawkins’ website.  Furthermore, Charles Darwin himself married his first cousin.  I believe three of their children passed early in life.

Pardon me for interrupting the next installment in which I am writing about Krauss.  It will be posted soon.  I felt the need to put this out there for my fellow believers in case someone attempts this silliness upon you.