This discussion is being moved from a Facebook page. I have included a few of the older posts for people to read to catch up but the NEW responses to Chris will be marked by asterisks…
Chris: There’s an awesome George Carlin piece about Noah’s ark, but I’m lazy and it’s not immediately available to my google searches. That said, my favorite point he brought up was along the lines of this: So he has 2 of every animal, but what did the animals eat? A lot of animals… eat OTHER ANIMALS!
TM: Chris, funny isn’t it how we think that something is implausible or impossible for the God who created all things? Just because we don’t see HOW something is done; does this mean it WASN’T done? Most of us don’t have the FIRST concept of how our computers are designed or put together and yet they still exist, yes? God, existing outside of the laws of our Universe MADE these laws AND the Universe. The Bible doesn’t purport to explain the minute details of all things. HOW on Earth could it? NO man could possibly understand how Gods power works. I don’t see any problem with discussion on Religion, Politics or what have you so long as all parties can stay civil to each other. I sure don’t mean to cause you any problems; but God has blessed me SO much and forgiven me of so much that I can do no less than to speak up for him at every opportunity. I find it sad that SO many people put THEIR human understanding and doubts on an all powerful God. Do we really imagine as many Atheists do that (math equation) Nothing + enough time = EVERYHTHING?
Chris: Robert, it doesn’t make sense to compare parables, miracles, and acts of God to computers. I can read a collection of books and learn every single detail about exactly how computers work and even have a working knowledge base with which to further design new computers and the like. Just thought I’d point that out. I’m just trying to help you understand what types of comparisons work when you’re talking to people that don’t respect religion. *shrug*
Oh, also, You’re putting your own human doubts on science the same way aetheists put their doubts on God. Everyone is doing the same thing to everyone with the same basic core beliefs about the creation and destruction of the universe. Creationism can not explain the existence of God any better than science can explain their creation theory.
**********TM: @Chris, PLEASE go back and re-read what I wrote. I wasn’t comparing the work of God to computers. I was making the point that just because we don’t “understand” or see how something could be so that doesn’t mean that it isn’t so. In point of fact a better analogy would be this, YES; you can learn how a computer works. Could an ANT? We could take EVERY book, and resource available, we could spend YEARS trying to teach the Ant to read and grasp computer science and he NEVER would. Placing OUR limits, doubts and understanding on the God who created all things is similarly futile. Your implication that I was comparing understanding computers to understanding CREATION was not intellectually honest. Reading further on I said “God, existing outside of the laws of our Universe MADE these laws AND the Universe. The Bible doesn’t purport to explain the minute details of all things. HOW on Earth could it? NO man could possibly understand how Gods power works.” I mean just looking at the Noah’s Ark idea. The Ark was roughly the size of two football fields and three stories or floors high. It says in Genesis 6:21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. It is clear that Noah had the space to carry enough food as they were only on the Ark for slightly over a year according to scripture. More than this the Bible shows that God can miraculously bless people with food that rely on him (Exodus) if he chooses or make small amounts of food multiply to feed many thousands (Matthew, Mark, John etc)
*****I am very glad that you admit you don’t respect religion. It is VERY informative to see what people’s worldview and axioms are. Chris, you twisted my clear intent earlier to try to make me guilty of non analogous arguments for comparison. Yet, that is EXACTLY what you go on to do…I am not putting my doubts on Science. Honestly, that is one of the oldest and LAMEST tricks in the book; “Fundamentalists are ANTI-Science, reason and thought”. All these things are untrue. The vast majority of the first great thinkers in Science were all CHRISTIAN’S who saw the pursuit of knowledge and the study of Science as a way to learn more about the Creator through his creation. As to your assertion “Creationism can not explain the existence of God any better than science can explain their creation theory.” I disagree and find that in point of fact part of the answer is in the question if you will. A car exists because an entire team of intelligent agents worked to produce it. CREATION is so named because it used to be considered completely reasonable that ALL things need a start, a push, organization etc. Information ONLY ever comes from INTELLIGENCE. There is more information encoded in a single strand of DNA than in the entire 52 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica! Yet, the vast majority of current Naturalists (I don’t recognize people with an a priori commitment to Naturalism as Scientists, Science doesn’t have to be antagonistic to the idea or possibility of God) actively ignore or deny even the IDEA of God. They desperately cling to outmoded, disproven theories like Darwinism or contort themselves trying to come up with new math and theories like String Theory or the Theory of Everything to explain away all the problems with current and old “Scientific” explanations for the origin of the universe. See? Actively trying to craft NEW theories to support your presupposed notions is NOT scientific, it’s not even Science. In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes novel is this quote “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” Science should be about following the evidence to wherever it goes instead of trying to make it fit what we want to be true.
*****Let’s take a brief look at some of the HIGHLY implausible if not impossible things that have occurred to allow life here on Earth… The “Big Bang”: Once there was NOTHING and then bang there was an explosion, and from this explosion there shot into existence, time, matter, space etc. All of this new “stuff” started expanding from the point of the explosion and then began to order itself, certain particles started sticking together, planets, moons and stars were formed. Looking at our Solar System alone, we see that MANY hundreds of variables had to be “JUST SO” to allow living on this Earth to be possible. Our sun couldn’t be too close or too far away or there could be no seasons or crops or even life as it might cook or cool too much. The Moon had to be positioned JUST so or there might have been virtually NO dry land due to tidal destruction. Let’s not even get into the FACT that “Science” has NO viable working theories at all for how our moon might have been formed, Read Moon wiki page Formation for info. Even if we suspend our disbelief or otherwise allow that ALL of this could come to pass with NO external cause or intelligence (which I can’t accept) we are then faced with even bigger problems like the proper atmospheric composition, the formation of the first amino acids and other building blocks, gravity etc. Then, when the first single celled creature was formed there had to be something there for it to eat, it had to have some way to reproduce, (asexually or through division since it was likely the ONLY one) it had to live long enough to reproduce and all of this is assuming A LOT. How many flawed or failed single celled life forms died before this lucky one? Then the single celled things kept somehow improving and changing until all the variety of life on Earth was formed. Okay, let’s pretend we all believe that. NOW, we get to modern man. IF we assume that he is merely the most evolved form of animal life how do we explain sentience? How do we explain the ability to think and reason and contemplate our place on Earth? No, other creature has such awareness.
*****I could go on a LOT more but the point I am making is this…It makes VASTLY more sense to believe and accept that everything we see is so because of the will of a vastly powerful intelligent agent than it does to believe it all came to be by chance.
****** UPDATE with response to post from Chris dated 06/12/2012 *****
Chris, I will endeavor to address all of your questions and doubts honestly and fairly. I point out first though that when discussing certain matters (Religion, Politics, UFO’s or say, Obama’s Birth Certificate LOL) that for some no evidence is needed and for others NO amount of evidence will ever be sufficient.
I appreciate your admitting that when we look at the general scientific consensus that everything had to exist somewhere/somehow and that it then intruded into the Universe we now know is impossible. Ideas like alternate universes, Panspermia (alien life might have seeded life here or elsewhere etc) and the like are pretty ridiculous because they don’t answer ANY of the basic, foundational questions on the origins of our Universe; they only move the question to another local and pretend that by introducing a new or different mechanism for a POSSIBLE origin that they have resolved the question of origin. It is an intellectual shell game.
I decided there must have been a Prime Mover at about 12 there were just TOO many questions without answers and not just pertaining to the origins of the universe or the foundation of our solar system (though there are hundreds) but more specifically to the concept of being. Things like self awareness, sentience, complex emotions, and intellect with the ability for reflection and conscious CHOICE. No other “animal” in nature has the ability to contemplate its place in the Universe or to make informed choices rather than act purely on instinct. All of my personal questions and doubts about the HOW led me inexorably to the personal conviction there had to be an actual intelligence at the heart of all things. I had no idea at the time if man had any real idea who or what this was or if any “Religion” had anything to tell us about it. Further research into THAT question prompted a systematic campaign of comparative religious studies. The end result was that I became convinced that there was a God and that he existed in the person or form of Jesus Christ. I don’t wish to belabor that point as it is my belief the Holy Spirit is the only one who can convict the hearts of men as to this truth.
I will confine myself to challenging people FIRST, to HONESTLY evaluate if they think random chance a suitable explanatory force for all we see or if it is far more likely there is intelligence at work. I know that you will probably think quoting Scripture to a non-believer is almost pointless but I threw out LOTS of religions based on OBVIOUS errors or falsities of various sorts. As just three examples I found SO many errors, falsities and untruths in the Faiths of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormon’s and Catholic’s that I couldn’t take seriously these (and other) religious traditions. I fully recognize and respect that people of good conscience may be members of these faiths and I do not mock or vilify them as individual, only their respective “churches”. Back to the point…MANY religions teach that the Earth is on the back of a great turtle and other things. While fully understanding that even the Bible DOES rely at times on parables and prophetic language often times there are amazingly accurate statements made in the Bible.
As examples the Bible says that God hung the earth on nothing (Job 26:7), that the stars are innumerable (Genesis 15:5, Jeremiah 33:22 and Hebrews 11:12), That the Earth is round and that it is possible to have day and night at the SAME time based on various locations on Earth (Isaiah 40:22 7 Luke 17:34-36) there are MANY more references I could use but there are LOADS of good books that touch on these subjects.
As to the nature of God and whether it would be impossible for him to exist before all we know. The Bible has something to say about that as well…Romans 1:18-22 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
EVEN his eternal power and Godhead! It stands to reason that any being who created the entire Universe and the laws by which it operates; would not be bound to those same laws. It is not unreasonable to make that assumption but it DOES seem unreasonable to presume to decide as finite human creations what would be possible or impossible for such a being. Highly implausible or hard for you to imagine or accept is NOT the same thing as impossible.
If you decide that you don’t wish to pursue this discussion I will understand but if we are both willing to be HONEST and open, I don’t see it as a waste of time. I hope fervently that these discussions will help (you or others) to evaluate what they believe. I hope even more than this that more people will come to Christ through people actively trying to address their doubts and questions.
I must question your commitment to honesty in this discussion however. You have for a second time attempted to twist the meaning of my words. Did you know that the Bible says: “There is no God.”? Capital letter and period. Well, it does if you take Psalm 14:1 out of context of its surroundings. What it actually says in Psalm 14:1 is “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” I point this out because you have done this to me TWICE. I will now quote EXACTLY what I said…
“Chris, funny isn’t it how we think that something is implausible or impossible for the God who created all things? Just because we don’t see HOW something is done; does this mean it WASN’T done? Most of us don’t have the FIRST concept of how our computers are designed or put together and yet they still exist, yes? God, existing outside of the laws of our Universe MADE these laws AND the Universe. The Bible doesn’t purport to explain the minute details of all things. HOW on Earth could it? NO man could possibly understand how Gods power works.
Chris, you seem to be entirely too bright to have trouble comprehending my meaning here. I NEVER said that us understanding God or his creation was like understanding computers! I FULLY understand that a person, given enough time can gain a familiarity with ANY subject of human endeavor. I imply NO corollary relationship to understanding Gods creation and computers. You can only pretend that is what I meant by taking THAT sentence Alone and out of context but you know full well it NEVER existed that way. I Didn’t change the analogy I crafted a new one to address your unfair and frankly dishonest misrepresentation of my first one. I do appreciate your admitting the second one was appropriate.
I have a good basic understanding of String Theory/Theory of Everything etc, at least for a Minister (LOL) but I respectfully disagree that these scientific theories are not pursued out of bias against God…The primary impetus for the pursuit of thee and other theories M Theory etc was because Naturalist scientists were frustrated by the ADMITTED lack of causality in a discussion of origins. They had NO idea or even semi-plausible idea for how the Big bang occurred. They still don’t have any objectively verifiable evidence of their theories but that is irrelevant. They have MORE than enough faith that these things can all be so because…Well, because…There is no God so it had to be that way. The Bible has a description for such people 2 timothy 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Finally, you once again take my statements out of context to imply I hold a position I don’t. It is usually the Creationist who is accused of not understanding Evolution or comprehending that there are differences between Darwinism & Neo Darwinism or Macro or Micro evolution. I don’t think you have difficulty discerning between them either, I think you took an intellectually lazy shortcut to try to score a point. Let me clarify, I do not claim or mean that ALL Evolution is false or has been disproven. However, scientific theories make testable and falsifiable hypotheses. MANY of the assertions and hypotheses of Charles Darwin (and Ne0 Darwinian theory too) have been disproven. Evolution is FACT on an observable and demonstrable scale MICROSCOPICALLY…It just doesn’t work on the macro scale. Charles Darwin said “The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, (must) be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory” MUCH Later Evolutionary Biologist Michael Denton said “It is still, as it was in Darwin’s day, overwhelmingly true that the first representatives of all the major classes of organisms known to biology are already highly characteristic of their class when they make their initial appearance in the fossil record. This phenomenon is particularly obvious in the case of the invertebrate fossil record. At its first appearance in the ancient paleozoic seas, invertebrate life was already divided into practically all the major groups with which we are familiar today”
Long story short, I think that it behooves a person to look at all the evidence. When we see fraud, deceit, bald faced lies and failed, flawed or otherwise disproven “evidence” being routinely held up as proof of Evolution (Haeckel’s Embryos, Piltdown Man, Nebraska man, Neanderthal Man, Archaeoraptor, Peppered Moths etc) we really need to question what this says about the people who are doing this. Is this science or is it an a priori commitment; a faith in something, anything that allows one to ignore or otherwise deny the possibility of a God? Quotes by Dawkins and others to the effect of “Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Charles Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist” make it clear that many people are all too willing to make a FAITH based commitment to naturalism even despite VALID, truthful challenges to their belief. This is a form of religious adherence too!
I welcome you to read The Case For A Creator by Lee Strobel, Evolution: A theory In Crisis by Michael Denton, The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions by David Berlinski, Darwin On Trial or Defeating Darwinism By Opening Minds by Phillip E. Johnson
The man who knows everything can learn nothing. If we assume we already have all the answers and won’t entertain arguments that oppose us we are stuck right where we are.
UPDATE 06/23/2012 NEW response to Chris****************************
Many “Scientists” and pretty much ALL schools are practicing a form of faith based religious indoctrination. Philosopher of Science Michael Ruse said ‘Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint—and Mr [sic] Gish is but one of many to make it—the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.
‘… Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity.’
Chris, worldview informs our every decision. Our actions and what we are willing to believe and sometimes even consider. IF a person is unwilling to contemplate the possibility of a God, then any discussion of anything OTHER than Origins and Historical accuracy of the Bible or other religious works is pointless. There have actually been many studies done on the efficacy of Faith and prayer. The whole idea of a discussion on origins is very practical. Before many people will be willing to consider ANY religion they need to be convinced of a need for it. By going back to a question of origins we can, if we are open and honest, prove to ourselves there is a need for a prime mover or “God” at the start of all things. I find the “If all things need a creator then where did God come from” argument to be one of the weakest arguments that are routinely trotted out. I DID actually answer this too; I just think you didn’t like the answer. All things need a creator, or something only EVER comes from something and not nothing are scientifically verifiable truths according to the LAWS of our Universe. IF there really was NOTHING then at that moment there were no laws of the Universe. IF something (God) actually existed before the Big Bang, we are talking about something that existed OUTSIDE the laws of our Universe and created them.
I am not sure how persuasive this argument will be but it just came to me. WE (man) once acknowledged that we were products of Gods’ creation (for the most part). Many people wanted to be free from this concept so they created various religions, philosophies, “Scientific” theories and other vehicles to eliminate the need for or the contemplation OF a God. Now, imagine a robot with artificial intelligence becomes sentient. (I don’t think this is even a remote possibility but for the sake of argument… ) When this happens he looks at man and doesn’t like what he sees. Because of this he REFUSES to believe that man is his creator. He begins to study Earth religion, philosophy and Science. He could then choose to believe that he, like man (according to some Theories) is a random act of Evolution. OR, he could say that he was actually, just like man, created by GOD. No matter what he chooses to believe the FACT remains that he was created by men. His feelings on the subject and what he chooses to believe don’t have any bearing on what is or isn’t actually true.
I COMPLETELY agree that the Theist and the Atheistic Scientist have the SAME problem..On the surface. I’ve already given you some evidence to consider as to Gods existence outside of time and at the heart or beginning of all things. You really MUST admit this makes more sense logically. We can’t prove it anymore than the Naturalist can prove that matter, time and space existed somewhere before the big bang. I fully admit that many people for various reasons may SAY they find the latter possibility far more likely. IMHO, the majority of these people are not being intellectually honest. There is also the ever present possibility of confirmation bias. As a general rule, we all seem to favor information that comports with our beliefs and views. The danger is when this information is taken as Gospel uncritically and without evaluating the information the other side holds.
Oh Chris, NOW we are getting somewhere! I wish that you would read “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist” by Dr’s Norman Geisler and Frank Turek. They actually have a numbered plan that starts with TRUTH and a discussion on what it is and how we can know it. You seem to be a garden variety Agnostic and not an Atheist. This is good to know. I also like how you said you don’t BELIEVE there is a God who wants a personal relationship with you. I agree with you when you say existence is large and we are small. I agree with you that mankind is deeply flawed and mediocre. I also agree with you that probably 95% of the people who have ever lived will go to Hell. I find it interesting that you mention Hell though when you discount the possibility of a God. I am sure you mean that ideologically we all deserve Hell. This is true and what’s more even as a practical reality we deserve Hell. What I find interesting is that the same people who claim to not believe in God or any concepts of Judeo-Christian morality are the first to hold to it. Those who say there is no such thing as right and wrong are the first to scream “that’s not fair” when someone wrongs them. You yourself talk about self betterment and the helping of others. You rail against the selfishness and indifference of man, yourself included. IF we are products of Evolution and survival of the fittest it totally makes sense that we should be selfish. OUR wants and needs, OUR passing on our seed etc is all that matters. If we hold to ANY concept of positive morality we have to see this must come from somewhere. IF you dedicate your life to helping others and give away all your wealth, what good comes of it from a bottom line, for US standpoint? The world IS a messed up place and do you know WHO for the most part gives of their time and money to help others? Conservative Christians! Conservatives and Republicans (often the same) give more of their ACTUAL time and wealth to helping people than any other group of people. This is because, as flawed as we are, Christians live for something outside themselves. Christians actually go to third world countries to perform surgeries for free, to feed, educate etc. the GOOD that you would like to see in the world will ONLY come when more people make choices to actually live lives of service to God and others. We give more in financial support to Africa than ANY other nation. Oftentimes the money and food that is given gets taken by warlords and corrupt officials and people STILL starve. The world is what it is because Adam & Eve broke communion with God by listening to Satan. We STILL do this today. People refuse to do the good they know they should and live selfish lives that serve themselves. I can only tell you this; the VAST majority of the good in the world has been done and is being done by Christians. Funny isn’t it that we are so mocked for a belief in God? Our belief informs our worldview which helps us live beyond ourselves. EVEN, if this was ALL there was to Christianity by any HONEST evaluation Christianity would be a social good. Atheism has been party to some of the VILEST evils this world has ever known. If we are all animals, some are MORE evolved than others. This belief has made possible things like slavery, Nazism etc.
I LOVED the line! (What’s funny is that I hadn’t seen that when I wrote my last sentence about slavery and Nazism!) On the one hand I loved it because the VAST majority of people who stood against the Third Reich were Christians. On the other, I LOVE it because it reconfirms what I was trying to tell you earlier. You are already adhering to a standard of Judeo-Christian values and holding them out to be true. I wholeheartedly encourage you to read I don’t have Enough Faith to Be an Athiest! You need to establish whether you believe in God or not. The salvation comes AFTER this and NONE of us deserve it! Our positive works come AFTER this to show the world who we serve and our salvation is NOT dependent upon them. Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. The whole idea of a conscience is another argument for God! The idea of right and wrong doesn’t fit with an Evolutionary Atheist worldview. I sincerely think you should keep up this line of reasoning because I see a great hope for your accepting Christ in the future.