Thursday, November 29, 2012

Answering the Skeptics

In response to my latest blog post refuting the claims of the "good without God" internet campaign, one blog user raised several objections and challenges to what I had written in my post, and also to many of the common beliefs of young-earth creationists. Listed below are the challenges made by the user, and Foundations Creation Club's response to each of them:

Challenge: Once you start to prove your claims, I'll take you seriously.

Response: If my views and claims are just random secretions and chemical mixtures in my brain (which in itself is a product of random chance processes), and your responses are made from chemical mixtures in your brain (like the evolutionary worldview would claim), then how can we "prove" any of them? If our views and beliefs are a random process of nature, then how can you change my beliefs, and how can I change yours? What is the use in having this discussion? If we are just animals, then why should you take what I say seriously, and why should I take what you say seriously? And if "the cosmos is all there is, was, and ever will be," as Carl Sagan once said, then how can we even have views, beliefs, emotions, or feelings? It's not like I can reach out and grab your beliefs or views, since they are not natural objects! So you see, your belief in evolution doesn't even allow us to have this conversation, since the views we both represent cannot be accounted for in your naturalistic perspective. 

Challenge: Look up Kohlberg's stages of moral development, and get back to me. Who determines good or bad? We do.

Response: In your first comment, you asked for proof of my claim that humanist/atheism cannot have concrete morals, and low and behold, you have proved my claim by your second statement. If there is no Creator and no Lawgiver, then it is us as human beings who determines what is right and wrong. But how does the Kohlberg's stages of moral development establish concrete morals? The Kohlberg stages are entirely based off of a belief in molecules-to-man evolution, so let me ask you this. If we are just animals as your view would seem to declare, then what is wrong with murder, adultery, and theft? After all, animals have to kill for food to survive, most animals have many sexual partners throughout their lifespan, and animals often have to take things from others in order to live (bears and raccoons for example), so why is it that only in this phase of evolution we have a moral code by which we are all supposed to live by? I mean, we don't enforce the Kohlberg stages principle on our supposedly closest ancestors, apes, so why should we enforce it upon ourselves? You see, as a humanist/atheist, you have to borrow Christian morals and laws from us in order to establish a peaceful and just society, because in your own worldview, there are no concrete morals! 

Challenge: Evolution doesn't have squat to say about moral decisions. Evolution is simply the change in biological populations over time. You wanna talk about where morals come from, talk to a philosopher or an evolutionary psychologist. 

Response: Okay, so if evolution has nothing to say about moral decisions, then tell me why I should talk to an evolutionary psychologist about morals? You see, evolution isn't only a scientific idea for how all life came about, but it is an entire belief system by which you interpret all that you see in the observable universe. Let me drop an example. The issue of abortion is one of the greatest moral controversies of the 20th and 21st centuries, but what most people don’t realize about it is that it will never come to a negotiable end, because we have non-negotiable starting points. Think about it! If all human life is created in the image of God, and God “knits” us together specially in the womb (Psalm 139), then all human life is considered precious and something worth fighting to preserve. On the other hand, if you believe that humans are just another species of the millions which have lived and gone extinct before us, then what are unwanted children anyway? After all, the Haeckel embryo drawings show that we aren’t fully human in the womb, so embryos aren’t really human at all! You get rid of spare cats, you can get rid of spare kids, what’s the difference?!! So you see, there is a huge difference in conclusions, because we started with two very different starting points. Needless to say, evolution is more than just a theory about our origins but is an entire belief system which shapes the way most people view the world around us, even in areas such as morality.

Challenge: But if you wanna talk about what science... 

Response: You apparently have the word “evolution” confused with the word “science.” If you look up the word ‘science’ in the dictionary, you will find that science is, “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” Simply put, science is the study of the physical world through observation and experimentation. Unfortunately, evolution is neither observable, nor can it be experimented on. Scientists often disagree with this claim and respond by showing examples of variation within kinds of animals, and then label it as evolution. Take Darwin’s finches for an example. During seasons of differing food supply on the Galapagos Islands, different species of finches developed different size beaks depending on what kind or quantity of food was in season. Unfortunately, Darwin was only on the Galapagos for a few weeks, so he didn’t get to see what was really happening. Modern biologists now understand that this variety in beak sizes actually works in a circle based on the food supply, and do not continue in an upward evolutionary process. Worse yet for Darwin’s theory, the variety doesn’t depend on mutations and habitat changes, but is already programmed in the genes of the finches! So, what Darwin was interpreting as evolution was really only variety within created kinds, but unfortunately, this long disproven “example” of evolution is still used to promote the theory of evolution is school and college textbooks today. Every other known “example” of evolution has met the same fate as a result of in-depth study (fruit flies, peppered moths, anti-biotic resistant bacteria, etc), and thus, evolution is still yet to be observed. As Dr. Richard Dawkins so boldly declared, “Evolution has been observed. It’s just that it has not been observed while it’s happening.” Since evolution has never been observed while it is happening, it doesn’t fall into the category of observable science, but into the category of historical science, which is an attempt to explain the events in the past based on evidence we have in the present (fossils, rock layers, etc.). Even then, all our conclusions in the field of historical science are interpreted through our “worldview,” the set of beliefs through which we view the world.     

Challenge: ...has to say about morality...

Response: Since you were obviously talking about evolution when you were using the word “science,” I will go back to my previous point on morality. If I am an animal like you say I am, then why should I be put under someone else’s set of laws and morals, since animals don’t have a moral code? Why should I get arrested for walking downtown with no clothes on? I can walk my dog downtown, and he doesn’t need to wear clothes! As you can quickly see, your belief that evolution can somehow account for a moral code has no foundation in your own worldview or in the real world. If we were created by God, and we live in His house, then we have to follow by His rules and His order. 

Challenge: ...and not a 2,000 year old book...

Response: In 1947, a Bedouin shepherd was looking for his lost sheep in the hills of Qumran, overlooking the Dead Sea. While searching, he threw a rock in a hillside cave, and he heard what sounded like the crashing of pottery. He went to investigate, and what he found would become one of the greatest archeological discoveries of all time. The Dead Sea Scrolls is a collection of 972 ancient Hebrew biblical and extra-biblical manuscripts, dating at anywhere from the 4th-century BC to the 1st-century AD. What is so significant about this discovery is that when these scrolls were translated and compared with modern Christian and Hebrew Bibles, they were exactly the same. The only differences were in spellings and grammar errors, but none of the differences effected the meaning of the words! Now, think of how many persecutions, Bible burnings, and efforts to destroy the Scripture have taken place over the last 2,000 years, and yet the Bible hasn’t changed it’s clear message of salvation once. Then consider the fact that even most secular scholars and archaeologists admit that the Bible accurately records historical events and places, even when they were previously thought to be purely mythological. Also consider that the Bible states scientific facts that were once thought to be false, and have now been proven true! What about all the prophecies described in the Old Testament which have already happened (Fall of Babylon, Fall of Nineveh, Fall of Jerusalem, Coming of Christ, etc)? Compare that with the tract-record of other “holy” books such as the Koran, New World Bible, or the Book of Mormon, and you quickly see how the Christian Bible stands out among the many. Now tell me, if I can trust the Bible in all that it claims that teaches regarding archeology, history, science, and prophecy, why can’t I trust what it says when it talks about morals? It is because of man’s ignorance and desire to sin (2 Peter 3). 

Challenge: ...check these out.

"We cannot allow a Divine foot in the door"
Response: Evolution is a theory which is built on a belief in naturalism, that there are no supernatural forces, and that there is nothing beyond what we can see and observe in the physical universe. With that in mind, how can our feelings or emotions drive what we view or hold as “good” or “moral”? Our feelings and emotions are not part of the physical universe, and thus, cannot be accounted for by naturalism. You might say that our feelings are driven by our brain or “senses,” but if our brain and neurological systems are products of random chance, and our thoughts and feelings are simple secretions or chemical reactions, then how can we even trust what they are telling us? We can’t! What if we are created in the image of an infinite, all-knowing Creator God, and He is the one who gave us our brain for the purpose of comprehending His Creation, then can we trust that our thoughts are rational and comprehendible? Yes! So you see, evolution is a worldview that is built around the belief that there is no God, and thus, it will often go to the extremes of denying obvious facts in order to exclude the Supernatural. As humanist and outspoken evolutionist, Richard Lewontin once said, “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”  

Challenge: And finally, in response to your first statement-arguments from incredulity are not arguments.

Response: This is an ad hominem fallacy. How is it incredulity to take God at His Word and search for answers to questions in regards to science? I already have a faith, and I am not willing to change it or compromise with man’s fallible theories which are constantly being changed and refined with every new fossil we find. My faith offers hope, grace, knowledge of God’s wisdom and love, and a worldview which matches what we see in observable science. After all, Johannes Kepler, one of the greatest mathematicians and scientists of all time, once said, “Science is thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” In fact, nearly all the founders of modern science (Newton, Bacon, Galileo, Faraday, Boyle, Pasteur, Davy, and Linnaeus to name a few) saw the Christian faith as the basis of scientific thought and discovery, and there are hundreds of modern scientists who still believe in the Genesis account of Creation! Not only does my worldview account for observable science, but it also explains many of the problems which have plagued historical scientists (geologists, paleontologists, and Ice Age scientists) for hundreds of years, as I will show you when we get to your question about the Flood and the Ark. Now, why should I have to give up my faith for a worldview that doesn’t match the real world (evolution renders our mind untrustworthy and has no basis for morality), violates some of the most basic rules of science (Law of Conservation, 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, Law of Biogenesis, etc), and offers nothing for me but extinction or survival of the fittest?                          

Challenge: Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean you can just wave your magic wand and say "god did it". 

DNA discoverers, Crick and Watson promote the idea
of panspermia, which says that life was designed and
planted on earth by extraterrestrials, despite the
complete lack of evidence for the existence of aliens.  
Response: Isn’t this the what evolutionists have to do when they face unexplainable challenges in science? Take DNA for an example. When Francis Crick and James Watson first discovered the genetic code they were amazed at the apparent design in the blueprints of every living thing, yet they didn’t give God the glory for His creativity and design, but praised evolution and claimed that this apparent “design” was a result of the random chance processes! Later, as scientists have discovered more and more about DNA, and the fact that information, genetic or otherwise, always comes from an intelligent source, Crick and Watson began to promote the idea of panspermia. Panspermia is the theory which holds that aliens from outer-space designed DNA and planted the first living cell on earth, but does this answer the question of where life originated from? No, it just pushes the question farther out in the universe to where it can’t be answered, and yet there is no evidence for extra-terrestrial life anywhere! They are believing this theory by blind faith, which itself is built on a belief in no God (“we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door”), even when their conclusions violate obvious scientific laws, such as biogenesis! As Romans 1:21-23 says, “Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.” Believing in an infinite Creator God is not a “magic wand” for explaining things as you say it is, because the scientific laws themselves are only possible because there is an logical and orderly Law-Giver behind them! Scientific laws don’t make any sense in a worldview which says that everything came into existence with no intelligent design! Also, the fact that every living thing has a “blueprint” for life stored in the genetic code of the organism is only possible because there is an Intelligence behind it. This wouldn’t make any sense if all the information in the world came about by random chance accidents in nature. As the father of modern chemistry, Robert Boyle, once said, “God would not have made the universe as it is unless He intended us to understand it.” 

Challenge: If you wanna know the actual math behind the probabilities and how they function, then read this article...

I am assuming that you are talking about the “monkeys on keyboards” type of probabilities when it comes to the origin of the first living cell. Really, creationists only use this argument to illustrate how small the chance is that life could arise by spontaneous generation. When it comes to proving that life could not have come about by chance, it is better to go to observable science. No scientist has ever created life in the laboratory, and no one has ever observed life coming from anything
 other than pre-existing life. Louise Pasteur (who was a creationist) well established this fact in his experiments on biogenesis (the law that life only comes from life, and the first life comes from a Life-Giver), and no one has ever disproven it. You may find examples of experiments which supposedly refute this scientific law, but what is the nature of their results? For example, the Stanley-Miller experiment did indeed produce amino-acids (the building-blocks of proteins), but they were both left-handed and right-handed! Left handed amino-acids are the only ones which can make proteins, which make up cells. Just one right-handed amino-acid in the chain is enough to kill the entire organism! So what did this experiment really show? It showed that life can only come from life! And if you think about it, would fully-trained Ph.D. scientists creating life in a test-tube really prove that it didn’t take any intelligence in the first place?
Challenge: Finally, while we're at it, please explain the following:

Surface area of Earth=approximately 200 million square miles

Height of Mt Everest is approximately 5.5 miles

Amount of water that needed to be supplied (and disposed of) in the Great Flood=1.1 billion cubic miles. 

Marine fossils on Mt. Everest prove that
it was once covered by the sea.
Response: This is a straw-man argument. You will find no mention of Mt. Everest in any creationist journal or article on this topic, and I will tell you why. We find the fossils of marine shellfish buried in the rocks of Mt. Everest, which would indicate that this area was once covered by the sea, so technically, both creationists and evolutionists have the same problem when it comes to this issue, but we have two different explanations for it, which are based off of our worldviews. According to the worldview of evolution, fossils were created as a result of slow and gradual burial in slowly accumulating layers of sand and mud-sediment. That is why most dinosaur books show dinosaurs dying near shallow bodies of water, and then slowly becoming fossils. Then, millions of years later, the mountains were lifted out of the sea, where we view and study them today. There some major problems with these ideas, however. If fossils really took long periods of time to form, then the carcasses and skeletons would have rotted away or been scavenged long before they could be slowly buried in sediment. The second problem is that at the current rate of continent erosion, our continents would have eroded away completely after only a couple million years, which is much younger than the supposed ages for these Mt. Everest marine fossils. There is another explanation which better matches the facts, though. What if the rock layers and fossils which are found on Mt. Everest were laid down rapidly by ongoing flood waters only a couple thousand years ago? This would explain the fossils on the mountain, and would also close out the possibility of the continents eroding away! Then, after this catastrophic event, the mountains formed as a result of tectonic uplift. This matches the facts, but also matches what it says in the Bible about the Flood and the events following the Flood. According to the the genealogies found throughout Scripture, the world is only around 6,000 years old, which is young enough to account for the size and shape of the continents today. 

The geologic column is easily explained by the rising waters of the Flood from the “fountains of the great deep” all the way up to the mountains, burying each of the animal populations in each area of the earth, which is why we find different animals in different geologic strata, and why we never find all the layers in the order of evolution! Psalm 104:7-9 tells the method which God used to raise up the land and lower the waters after the Flood, “At Your rebuke they fled; At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away. They went up over the mountains; They went down into the valleys, To the place which You founded for them. You have set a boundary that they may not pass over, That they may not return to cover the earth.”  How else could the water go over the mountains if the mountains were not being lifted up? In other words, the mountains which now exist in our present world did not form until after the Flood, which is confirmed by the fact that the mountains are made up of uplifted sediment which we believe was laid down during the Flood, so there wouldn’t need to be nearly as much water as you claim there would have been in order to cover the mountains by 15 cubits (30 ft). 

Challenge:The atmosphere today=only capable of holding the equivalent of one inch of precipitation.

The amount of rain per second that would be falling to generate 1.1 billion cubic miles of water over 40 days=289 cubic miles per second.

Response: As I stated before, the amount of water is not nearly as much as you make it out to be, however, you have presented an interesting point here. The atmosphere today doesn’t have the capactity to store all the water needed for the Flood, but our atmosphere today is very different than it was at the time of the Flood! Genesis 1:31 tells us that God pronounced His creation “very good” at the end of Creation Week, which indicates that there would have been no harmful UV rays penetrating the earth’s atmosphere,and there would have been no harmful pollution getting into the atmosphere either. The world was a paradise in the Garden of Eden, but because of man’s sin and the result (God’s curse on Creation), death and suffering would corrupt the “very good” earth which God made for us to live on. However, this corruption was brought to it’s fullest in the event of the Flood, which was God’s judgment on the the rebellious human race. The Bible says that when the Flood started, the “windows of heaven” were opened and the “fountains of the great deep” (underwater volcanic ocean ridges) burst forth, thus providing the water needed for the Flood. Such a massive amount of water pouring from the heavens and volcanic material coming from the “fountains” would be enough to damage the earth’s atmosphere for the rest of history, and not to mention, shorten the lifespan of human beings, which is seen in the genealogies in Scripture. Nowadays, the atmosphere is not able to hold nearly as much precipitation as it did back in the days of Noah, because of the massive devastation of the Flood and the events soon following (volcanic activity, the Ice Age, etc). 

Challenge: Should you go with the hydroplate theory that most of the water was stored underground like most creationists do, then please show me basaltic erosional deposits are... 

Response: Once again, I emphasize the fact that this incredible amount of water wasn’t necessary in order to cover the entire earth during the Flood, because the mountains we see today didn’t exist until after the Flood (Psalm 104:7-9). With that in mind, the idea that the water for the Flood came from the “fountains of the great deep” (underwater oceanic ridges) isn’t ridiculous or unscientific at all. In fact, most of what was observed coming out of Mt. Saint Helens when it erupted was actually water and mud. Also consider the fact that fossils require mostly volcanic minerals in order to form, and how most dinosaur fossils are buried in water-laid sediment layers, mixed with volcanic ash! This is excellent evidence that what God had Moses write down in the Book of Genesis by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit, was really true and can be used to explain some of the greatest mysteries in the areas of geology and paleontology!

Challenge: well as explain how the water didn't immediately boil and kill Noah. I mean even at 2 miles deep, water is ~200 degrees F at that depth due to heat from the earth's core. 

The evaporation and volcanic ash in the air
after the Flood would create a atmospheric
shield which would block out the suns heat
and lower the temperature, resulting in the
Ice Age, which was previously an unexplained
mystery of science.
Response: If you were to combine the water from the cold oceans with the boiling water from the volcanic ridges, as well as the colder precipitation, Noah would be floating on a warmer, tropical-temperature ocean. As creation meteorologist Mike Oard, once said, “the oceans were so warm, you could take a swim in the Arctic Ocean after the Flood.” These warm oceans and volcanic vents would have increased the amount of evaporation after the Flood and the amount of ash and soot in the sky, thus resulting in the formation of an atmospheric shield which would block out the sun’s heat in years following the Flood. This buildup of precipitation and drastic drop in temperature is the key which creation scientists such as Mike Oard use to explain the before-mysterious mechanism used to bring about the Ice Age. Once again we see how using the Bible as our starting point can unlock many of the greatest mysteries in science!

Challenge: When you're done, let's have a little chat about structural engineering and the beam equations needed for the ark to work.

Response: In 1993, Dr. Seon Won Hong, a Ph.D. scientist from South Korea, directed a scientific study in which he tested the seaworthiness of Noah’s Ark using the dimensions found in Scripture, and here is what he found out about the real Noah’s Ark: “Dr. Hong’s team compared twelve hulls of different proportions to discover which design was most practical. No hull shape was found to significantly outperform the 4,300-year-old biblical design. In fact, the Ark’s careful balance is easily lost if the proportions are modified, rendering the vessel either unstable, prone to fracture, or dangerously uncomfortable. The research team found that the proportions of Noah’s Ark carefully balanced the conflicting demands of stability (resistance to capsizing), comfort (“seakeeping”), and strength. In fact, the Ark has the same proportions as a modern cargo ship.The study also confirmed that the Ark could handle waves as high as 100 ft (30 m). Dr. Hong is now director general of the facility and claims “life came from the sea,” obviously not the words of a creationist on a mission to promote the worldwide Flood. Endorsing the seaworthiness of Noah’s Ark obviously did not damage Dr. Hong’s credibility.” - from “Thinking Outside the Box” by Tim Lovett in Answers Magazine Volume 2, No. 2, April-June 2007. What more would you expect to find when you follow the design plans given by the Master Designer of the Universe?

Conclusion: 2 Peter 3: 3-7 says, "knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." This passage clearly states that in the last days, there will be skeptics (scoffers) who who will do whatever they want and make up their own morals (walking according to their own lusts) and scoff at the second coming of Christ, because they willfully ignore the evidence for a worldwide Flood and the fact that God created the world. In verse 7, it says that God will judge the earth again, because of its sin and ignorance, just as He did in the days of Noah. Fortunately, verses 8-9 provide a solution and a hope for people who have been caught in the trap of "knowledge falsely so-called" (1 Timothy 6:20). 2 Peter 3:8-9 declares, "But beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." This is why it is so important for Christians in this day and age to learn how to defend their faith and effectively preach the gospel to the lost, because God is not willing that anyone should fall under His great wrath, but that all should come to have the knowledge of His Son, Jesus Christ! This is why the Apostle Peter wrote this in verse 3:15 of his first epistle to all believers, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear."  


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