Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Atheism Feedback Response 1-6-10

The following response is from a reader from Ottawa Canada named Gerry who responded to my article titled, "Creationist Kooks Offer Debate Challenge", though his response was to the article as it was hosted on my church blog site. Gerry believes that creationists have it all wrong and men like Richard Dawkins have it right since creationism is a faith claim and having faith is contrary to "science". I'll post my response to Gerry as it may prove helpful to some. My comments will be interspersed in black font between his blue.

Hi Gerry,

You said,

I’m sorry folks, but Richard Dawkins and his companions are right. Science is, very simply, based on measurable, verifiable evidence. Religious beliefs are not.

As Christian creationists, we agree that observational science is based upon "measurable, verifiable evidence"; that is one reason why we have rejected neo-Darwinian evolution as a legitimate scientific model for the origin of life. For instance, the Bible, our fundamental source of authority about the history of the universe tells us that God created each individual organism with the ability to reproduce after its kind. That is exactly what we see today and the technical name we give it is "biological variation through natural selection". It goes without saying that selection pressure combined with point mutations in any organism, whether in nature or in the lab, can cause them to exhibit great variation. Creationists expect this much, as it is both Scriptural and scientific. However, the Bible does not teach that we should expect primordial soup to turn into Aunt Polly nor has observational science ever clearly shown one organism turning into a fundamentally different kind of organism, either in nature, the lab, or in the fossil record. As a matter of fact, non-Christian Hubert Yockey made the following telling comment about the "faith" of an evolutionist,
The origin of life by chance in a primeval soup is impossible in probability in the same way that a perpetual machine is in probability. The extremely small probabilities calculated in this chapter are not discouraging to true believers … [however] A practical person must conclude that life didn’t happen by chance. [Hubert Yockey, Information Theory and Molecular Biology, Cambridge University Press, 1992, p. 257. Bolded emphasis mine - DSS]
There is no evidence whatsoever that bacteria turned into baseball players over eons of time. Creationists believe that speciation of organisms occurs through natural selection and point mutations working on the genetic information that is already present in the DNA of an organism and that this gives rise to the great diversity among the kinds of organisms. Creationists expect this much and good scientific investigation always proves this to be the case. Dogs remain dogs and will never turn into non-dogs no matter what selection pressure is placed upon them. This is because the genetic information needed to make them into a "non-dog" isn't in their DNA and never will be because natural selection combined with point mutations never creates the new genetic information necessary for Neo-Darwinian theory to occur in the first place. Dr. Lee Spetner, a highly qualified scientist who taught information theory at Johns Hopkins University said this about point mutations and natural selection adding new genetic information to organisms,
. . . But in all the reading I've done in the life-sciences literature, I've never found a mutation that added information. [Lee Spetner, Not By Chance, (The Judaica Press, Brooklyn, New York, 1997), 131-132.]

All point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not to increase it. [Ibid, 138]

The NDT [neo-Darwinian theory] is supposed to explain how information of life has been built up by evolution. The essential biological difference between a human and a bacterium is in the information they contain. All other biological differences follow from that. The human genome has much more information than does the bacterial genome. Information cannot be built up by mutations that lose it. A business can't make money by losing it a little at a time. [Ibid, p. 143, Bolded emphasis mine - DSS]
Information scientist Dr. Werner Gitt in answering the question "Can new information originate through mutations?" said this,
. . . this idea is central in representations of evolution, but mutations can only cause changes in existing information. There can be no increase in information, and in general the results are injurious. New blueprints for new functions or new organs cannot arise; mutations cannot be the source of new (creative) information. [Werner Gitt, In the Beginning Was Information, (Bielefeld, Germany: CLV, 1997), 127.]
He goes on to say,
A code system is always the result of a mental process (it requires an intelligent origin or inventor) . . . . It should be emphasized that matter as such is unable to generate any code. All experiences indicate that a thinking being voluntarily exercising his own free will, cognition, and creativity, is required. [Ibid., 64-67.]

There is no known natural law through which matter can give rise to information, neither is any physical process or material phenomenon known that can do this. [Ibid., 79.]

. . . there is no known law of nature, no known process and no known sequence of events which can cause information to originate by itself in matter. [Ibid., 107.]
Thus, bacteria still remain bacteria and humans still remain humans. Great variety is possible in the same kind of organism, but to argue that genetic variation proves that all organisms came from goo via a rock and that rock came from a big bang which came from nothing is simply a fairy tale of the highest degree. This is why we believe that it takes great faith to believe in the "faith" of naturalism. However, as said earlier, the Bible tells us that living organisms will bring forth after their kinds and that is exactly what we see in nature. See these articles for specific details:

Is evolution 'scientific'?

Refuting Evolution 1

Refuting Evolution 2

You said,

Religious beliefs are based on faith and faith is whatever individuals wish it to be.

This is the classic "faith vs. reason" fallacy. We do not reason to have faith, we have faith first in order to correctly reason. Everybody does this (see more on this below). It appears that you are assuming that the only way people can know things are through "measurable, verifiable evidence". When you arbitrarily assume that people can only know things through the five senses in order to conclude that this is the basis for all knowledge, then you are committing the logical fallacy of circular reasoning. Your argument goes something like this:

P1 - If we can only know things through empirical means, then creationists are wrong.

P2 - We can only know things through empirical means.

C - Therefore, creationists are wrong.

The problem with you argument is that it is not only subtly circular, but premise two is patently false. As hinted at earlier, everyone begins with a set of beliefs about the world that cannot be empirically "proved" or shown to be true through scientific investigation (i.e., laws of logic, concepts, etc.). Thus everyone, including the atheist, begins with some type of "faith" claim if "faith" is defined by you as an idea that is not based on "measurable, verifiable evidence" gained through the procedural methods of science.

For example, do you know that the proposition "empiricism is the only way we can have knowledge" itself be known through empirical investigation? Can you "measure" and "verify" the existence of the concept of empiricism in a test tube or a petri dish? How about the laws of logic? Can you measure the law of non-contradiction or burn the logical law known as Modus Tollens? Have you ever served up the Law of Identity to your friends in a wine glass? You cannot do any of these things because things like the laws of logic and concepts are abstract, immaterial concepts and laws that are not subject to investigation through the five senses. Christian creation scientists agree that some knowledge can be gained through empirical investigation, but not all knowledge. They agree with God, the immaterial, invisible Creator of all things, that all that exists is not made up of matter; there are material and immaterial things that exist. But if you are an ardent naturalistic materialist, then you have no category for immaterial things like logic or concepts. Here's an example of how the worldview of naturalistic materialism refutes itself by using the very things it denies that exists:

Syllogism One:

1. Concepts are immaterial.
2. But some versions of materialism (like yours) hold that anything that exists is material.
3. Our concepts are not material things.
4. Therefore, concepts do not exist.
5. Our concepts of "logic" are immaterial.
6. Therefore, in some versions of materialism (like yours), "logic" does not exist.

Syllogism Two:

1. Material things are extended in space.

2. Our concepts of "logic" are not extended in space.

3. Therefore, our concepts of "logic" are non-material.

4. Some versions of materialism (like yours) posit that no non-material entities exist.

5. Therefore, assuming some versions of materialism (like yours), concepts of "logic" do not exist.

Gerry, if you are a naturalistic materialist, you have no basis for using logical law because your worldview doesn't provide the category needed to have immaterial things like logic, concepts, etc. When you assume the constancy and utility of logic to argue against the Bible your own worldview undermines the very logic you use to attack the Bible. Worse yet, the very laws of logic you are using to argue against creationism are themselves only explainable within the Christian worldview held to by the creationist!

This is why we believe that it takes great faith to believe the religion of naturalism.

The question really should be, "What does the Bible say about this?" and "which 'faith' makes the most sense out of reality as a whole?" It certainly cannot be atheistic, naturalistic materialism; for such a worldview refutes itself as demonstrated above.

All ideas begin with hypotheses and they remain hypothetical until hard, verifiable evidence is presented to prove or disprove them.

This idea itself (empiricism) is not subject to "hard, verifiable evidence"; thus your assertion refutes itself.

Until proven, all ideas, including religious beliefs, remain nothing more than hopes, dreams, and wishful thinking.

If this is applied to your empiricism, then they too can be considered a pipe dream on your own standards since the immaterial, abstract concept of "empiricism" cannot itself by empirically proven. The Christian faith is not based upon wishful thinking or "believing what you know ain't true", but instead is based on the historical testimony of God working in history as recorded in the Bible. Christians do have "faith in faith", but faith in God's self-attesting, infallible testimony as contained in the 66 books of the Bible.

If the Bible was not true, you could not prove anything whatsoever. Thus, the truth of the Bible provides the necessary preconditions for proving anything. This is why intellectually self-conscious Christians accept the Bible as their ultimate presuppositional starting point. Without God's truth, you are left in a spiritual and intellectual quagmire of self-contradictory folly and unbelief. It's no wonder the Apostle Paul said,
So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; (Ephesians 4:17-18)
Religious believers fervently want the universe and its contents to have been created and guided by a god and, come what may, it must be so.

This proves nothing and is a mere assertion. This could easily be reversed to say, "Religious unbelievers fervently want the universe and its contents to not have been created and guided by a god and, come what may, it must be so." This certainly sounds like Dawkins to me!

I would correct your assertion to say this, "Christian creationists know that the universe was created because God has testified of His creative power through His creation (Romans 1:19-25), and His written word, the Bible. Since His written word is the highest authority to which mankind can turn to in order to determine man's origin, purpose, and meaning in life and for the meaning to the universe, any rejection of God's word will lead to spiritual and intellectual futility, confusion, and the undermining of science itself because the truth of God's being and God's word provides the necessary preconditions for the intelligibility of reality."

Professor Dawkins’ refusal to debate creationists is based on your inability to offer measurable scientific evidence to buttress your arguments.

But this misses the point of my original article. My point was that Dawkins was contradicting himself by refusing to debate PhD level creation scientists. In his own book he heartily affirmed that we need to be "open to debate" religious concepts to show the folly of them. He never said that we shouldn't debate religious concepts because they don't have any evidential value. Again, he affirmed the exact opposite here, "
Yet when you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn't be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn't be." [Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, 20-21. Bold mine for emphasis - DSS]

When your evidence is examined scientifically – as it was in the Dover Area School District trial - it turns out to be nothing more than pseudo-science supported by faith, a property that, itself, can be neither examined nor measured.

Yet when you reject creation for naturalistic materialism you reject the basis for evaluating any evidence whatsoever. We will leave it to our readers to determine whether naturalistic materialism has indeed provided the philosophical "cash value" needed to prove anything in the first place. For more about the Dover Area School District situation, see here.

Gentlemen, merely believing something is true does not make it so.

We agree. That's why it is necessary to hold the claims of Neo-Darwinian theory to scientific scrutiny, especially when it contradicts the plain teaching of the Creator who was there, knows all things, and tells us how He did it and it has no evidence to support it.

Faith, no matter how powerful the conviction or how intense the sensation, is not evidence of truth.

The problem is that when you say things like this, you undermine your own "faith" position. As said above, everybody begins with some type of "faith" (i.e., beliefs that cannot be proven through empirical investigation), the question is, "Which 'faith' comports with reality without contradicting itself or the Bible?"

Evidence is evidence of truth.

Ignoring the fact that this is a tautology, the facts do not speak for themselves. Creation scientists and evolutionary scientists are working with the same evidence. Their conclusions differ greatly because they come to the evidence with different presuppositions that make up their antithetical worldviews. They interpret that evidence through their already presupposed worldview. Thus, evidence must be interpreted and the interpretation of the evidence will be dependent upon the worldview of the interpreter. Again, the questions are, "What does the Bible say about this?" and "Which 'faith' makes the most sense out of reality as a whole without contradicting itself or undermining the basis for 'proof' and 'rationality" to begin with?"

Religious beliefs vary from age to age, from culture to culture, from town to town, and from church to church.

It is irrelevant whether religious beliefs vary under different conditions. What is relevant is whether those views are true or not.

Science remains constant in all places and at all times.

If by "science" you mean that scientific theory never changes then tell that to Copernicus, Louis Pasteur, or Gregor Mendel, all of whom were Christians and creationists. They had the audacity to come up with new scientific theories based upon clear evidence that contradicted the prevailing theories of their time. See also Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

If by "science" you are referring to the laws of nature occurring in a uniform way if conditions remain the same, then I agree. However, I reject the philosophical principle of uniformitarianism for reasons mentioned in this article. See also "The Biblical Roots of Modern Science".

The truth of the word of god depends entirely on where and when you were born.

Not according to the life of Abram, Moses, and thousands of others that were reared in pagan environments (i.e., Genesis 11:31-12:3; Exo. 3:1ff; Eph. 2:1ff). The truth of the word of God getting to me or anybody else depends entirely upon His sovereign, monergistic work of regeneration (cf. John 3).

The constants that define the universe remain the same no matter where in the universe you happen to be.

Again, I agree that the laws of nature remain constant throughout the universe insofar as conditions remain the same, I just want to know why you believe that if there is no God sustaining it (cf. Gen. 8:22)?

What could possibly be more god-like than that?

Only God, the One Who made all things and by Whom all things exist (Romans 11:36; Colossians 1:15-17). We are not pantheists, we do not give worship and adoration to the creation, for such would be idolatry. This is a fundamental spiritual error that all naturalistic materialists commit. Either you will worship the Creator God or you will worship His creation. He told you so:

For they [the unbeliever] exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:25)

Guys, the gods you believe in really are a delusion.

Gerry, worshiping the universe and rejecting the gospel of Jesus Christ will land you in Hell on the day of judgment. Please repent of your atheism, idolatry, and intellectual autonomy and submit yourself to the Creator and Savior Jesus Christ. It is only in Him that you can avoid committing spiritual and intellectual suicide (Colossians 2:3). Anything other than this is truly a strong delusion (2 Thessalonians 2:11).

Gerry Ottawa, Canada

Dusman Greensboro, NC


  1. I am writing with a certain degree of trepidation being that this subject is outside of my area of expertise; having said that I see a basic flaw with the concept of reality espoused with those who reject creationism based on their commitment to the scientific method. The concept that nothing can exist that cannot be measured is in itself a supposition unproven by empirical observation. Further I see two unrecognizable dilemmas with this use of the scientific method:

    First the supposition that a creator outside of creation cannot exist because that creator cannot be measured generally means to those committed to the scientific method that this creator cannot exist because we cannot measure him. The extent of creation is thus limited by our finite ability to observe. We can now measure things in ways that were not only impossible but unimagined 500 years ego, does that mean that things known to exist today did not exist then because it was inconceivable to observe them?

    Second, lower orders of existence, such as a rock, cannot possibly measure us, a rock never had nor never will have that ability – therefor do we not exist?, or is it that we just don't exist in the rocks world?, or is it that rocks don't count? Those who use the scientific method to argue that a creator does not exist do so based on first the tacit assumption that man is the apex of all that exists and that all that can exist is in fact limited to our ability to know it. Thus the concept that a creator exists and that he can only be known to the extent that he reveals himself to us is utterly offensive to them because it would invalidate the basis of their world view.

  2. Dusman: "Gerry, worshiping the universe and rejecting the gospel of Jesus Christ will land you in Hell on the day of judgment. Please repent of your atheism, idolatry, and intellectual autonomy and submit yourself to the Creator and Savior Jesus Christ. It is only in Him that you can avoid committing spiritual and intellectual suicide (Colossians 2:3). Anything other than this is truly a strong delusion (2 Thessalonians 2:11)."

    I personally have no problem with Dusman's approach to evangelism with Gerry.



    I like your comments.