Sunday, December 10, 2006

Chritianity Explains the Origin of the Universe


As I promised in the most recent of my replies in the comment dialogue of the previous post I am going to put up a short series of posts explaining the Biblical explanation of the origin of the Universe. Hopefully they will be of some help. If you missed it you can catch up here.

The Laws of Physics

Biblical creation is fundamentally in agreement with science. Science repeatedly affirms design. The fictional Star Trek character Scottie is famous for declaring in his lovable brogue, “Ye canna’ change the laws of physics!”

Astronomy, biology and archeology’s claims and recantations are in constant flux and theories leap from one extreme to another on a regular basis, but there are two scientific principles which have never been contradicted through centuries of experimentation and theorization.

1) The Conservation of Energy Principle

Sometimes expressed as the First Law of Thermodynamics, when speaking of energy:

The conservation of energy principle is one of the foundation principles of all science disciplines…. Energy can be defined as the capacity for doing work. It may exist in a variety of forms and may be transformed from one type of energy to another. However, these energy transformations are constrained by a fundamental principle, the Conservation of Energy principle. One way to state this principle is "Energy can neither be created nor destroyed". Another approach is to say that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant1.

We understand this as fundamental to Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, that energy and matter are in principle one (E=MC2).

Both the Steady State Theory, once popular (events occurring outside of space), and the ruling Big Bang Theory (events occurring outside of time), are in clear contradiction of this Law of Science. The Bible on the other hand says that God, after instituting Time, Matter and Space (Gen 1:1), “ended His work” (Gen. 2:1) and now conserves the system (Col. 1:17) in perfect harmony with the Laws its author Superintends.

2) The Law of Entropy

Sometimes expressed as the Second law of Thermodynamics, again when referring to energy:

A measure of the disorder of a system…Since entropy gives information about the evolution of an isolated system with time, it is said to give us the direction of "time's arrow" . If snapshots of a system at two different times shows one state which is more disordered, then it could be implied that this state came later in time. For an isolated system, the natural course of events takes the system to a more disordered (higher entropy) state2.

The evolution of any system is always downward. In harmony with the First Law, the second maintains all the Energy of any given system, but teaches that it always moves to disorder from order, without outside stimulus. The Universe as a whole is dying and has been since its origin. If it was eternal, it would now be dead. This proves the temporal origin of the Universe and the need for a source that is infinite in energy, infinite in information and a “sufficient” not just possible cause for the Universe.

The Bible of course affirms all of this, “In the beginning God” (Gen. 1:1). The God of the Bible is infinite, personal, creative and sufficient to be the cause of the Universe we experience. Additionally the Bible tells us “The heavens will vanish away like smoke and the earth will grow old like a garment” (Is. 51:6). Time’s arrow is indeed pointing down. Some outworkings of this principle of entropy are good and natural, (ie friction, digestion etc.) and some the result of sin: “The creation was subjected to futility… by Him who subjected it in hope” (Rom. 8:20). That is as a result of sin, this principle is fatal, so that even death is a part of its cycle, “to dust you shall return” (Ge. 3:19).

The Bible and Modern Scientific Observations in Harmony

As Creationists and interpreters of the Bible affirm the laws and observations of Science, there is much data in common with naturalistic and theistic evolutionary thinkers. 1) The apparent disteleology and yet ultimate order of the Universe, 2) the survival of the fittest preservation and mutation mechanism, 3) nature red in tooth and claw as the natural state, 4) similarities between all life, structural, DNA, etc., 5) geographical strata, 6) fossils, 7) Astronomical observations “redshift” etc.

The only difference is in interpreting the history of these observations. Does disteleology and order show that the universe, contra the Law of Entropy, is moving upward? Does the survival of the fittest through mutation, imply the entry of new development to higher and higher forms, or the sorting of existing information? Is the violence of nature, the way it has always been, or is this the result of a curse on a perfect creation? Do similarities point to a common ancestor, or a common designer/artist? Does the geological record point to billions of years or a global catastrophe? Do fossils indicate upward progression, or rapid burial of related species? And so on and so on. How can these types of questions be addressed? Not through observational science. We have a rock, or a bone, not a time stamped document.

The Ethical Lens of Perception and Interpretive Revelation

“All men” by nature “Suppress the knowledge of God”. They “exchange the truth of God for the lie”, and “profession to be wise,” or enlightened, “they become fools”. And as they reject God, so He rejects them, and “gave them over to a depraved mind” (Romans One).

All men are by nature covenant keepers, or covenant breakers. In Scripture God has given a clear testimony of Creation, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day” (Ex. 20:11). The Evangelical church has always confessed something like this:

The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience (2 Timothy 3:15-17, Isaiah 8:20, Luke 16:29,31, Ephesians 2:20).
The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, depends not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God (2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 John 5:9). --1689 LBC
In light of the authority of the source, namely God: the Bible is thought of as authoritative on everything of which it speaks. And frankly, it speaks of everything. Not of course that it speaks of hockey games, of atoms, etc., directly, but it speaks of everything either directly or indirectly.
It tells us not only of the Christ and his work, but it also tells us who God is and from where the universe has come. It gives us a philosophy of history as well as history. Moreover, the information on these subjects is woven inextricably into the whole. It is only if you reject the Bible as the Word of God, that you can separate its so-called religious and moral instruction from what it says, for example, about the physical universe.

This is where the question lays, both in the lab and in the Church. How do I live in obedience to God in everything? To say Scripture is unclear, or ambiguous in these matters is farcical as it speaks with the utmost clearness. As a consequence, it is an ethical decision, to believe in Biblical creation, not a mere debate about facts.

The Interrelatedness of Doctrine

Furthermore it must be understood that this Biblical doctrine of creation, as Romans One illustrates, that God is the author and sustainer of the universe, as well as the source of all good things, is the very foundation of all religious belief. It is this that is assaulted most fiercely by the kingdom of Satan, “which worship and serves the creature, rather than the Creator”.
The Bible is not a collection of loose doctrines for one to pick and choose from as one likes. The Account of Genesis one to eleven is no separated matter, cut off from the rest of Scripture. Rather every Christian doctrine, either explicitly, or implicitly finds its source in these chapters. If we take any view but that of a literal, plain rendering, then we risk many things:

1) Any other view denies the perspicuity and accuracy of Scripture, the sure foundation of our faith.
2) Any other views necessitate the denial of the doctrine of original sin, without which the entire doctrine of atonement, which the NT directly links to Genesis 3 is abolished (Cf. Rom. 6 and I Co. 15).
3) They necessitate the denial of the flood, which Peter calls a sign of apostasy, and specifically the denial of the doctrine of divine judgment “for this they willfully deny” (2 Pet. 3:5).
4) They necessitate the denial of the curse, as the present configuration is seen as the result of God’s intentional plan and not the corruption of the same into bondage (Rom. 8:20).
5) This in turn results in a denial of God’s attribute of goodness, because he is the God that designed cancer for little children, and bloodshed as the path to perfection “all very good” (Gen. 1:31). .
6) It denies a literal Adam and Eve, necessitating a denial of the foundation for the roles of men and women in marriage and the church and implies the denial of the second Adam and directly denies the resurrection (I Co. 15: 44-49).
7) It denies the testimony of Christ is true, as he testifies that mankind far from being the pinnacle of evolution, “Have you not read, that He who made them at the beginning, made them male and female” (Mt. 19:4). If Jesus was wrong here, what else was he wring on?

In essence, by embracing even theistic evolution, we have lost, the basic confession of even the Apostle’s creed. We have lost the knowablility of truth, sin, final judgment and thus morality, the atonement, redemption, the resurrection, the institution of marriage, the goodness of God and the truth of the words of Christ for starters. These doctrines cannot be held, without a literal Genesis 1-11. But that is not to say that those who deny the Genesis account do not personally hold to these. It merely means they have no valid foundation for them any more. By virtue of ignorance, or by blind faith, they cling to these unsupportable assumptions despite their view of origins.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Only going to comment on your actual physics comments. The scripture stuff, to me, is irrelevant until one a) concludes there is a god, and b) christianity's god is that god.

The statement that the universe can't be eternal because the laws of thermodynamics prevents it is silly. Firstly, the leading theories as to the origin of the universe points to an age of about 15 or so billion years. This is estimated because the furthest things we can see in the universe are 15 billion light years away. As well, everything is moving away from eachother (actually the universe itself is expanding...its not that things are flying out into empty space) which implies a common originating point that is roughly in agreement with the light year measurements of the age of the universe. So...god, in being a tricky god, would have had to create the universe (6000 years ago) and populated space with light in transit from these distance places. Why? To trick us? Or to gives us something pretty to see....with the sideeffect that it would trick us.

The use of thermodynamics to prove evolution isn't possible is also sad and tired. The earth isn't a closed system. There is a massive energy influx from the sun.

You write "Astronomy, biology and archeology’s claims and recantations are in constant flux and theories leap from one extreme to another on a regular basis". Give some examples of this. However, I agree, scientific theories do change...they change in the light of new evidence. There in lies the beauty of science that religion just can't have.

Science happily admits mistakes and takes in new evidence and adjusts its theories to compensate. Thats how it works. Religion is inflexible, and doesn't change.

Example...how does religion reconcile the fossil record, the light in transit (i explained above) radioactive dating, and a myrid of other pieces of evidence that contradict young earth theories?

How does your religion explain how all the species of the world could fit on a tiny ass boat? It doesn't. It can't. Its inflexibily and inability to change requires that its practitioners either deny evidence, or side step around it. The problem with religion is it claims a monopoly on truth...where as science is the quest for truth. So science is happy to be proven wrong, as it gets us closer to the truth....religion is not happy to be proven wrong...because its #1 rule is that it is 100% correct.

wagboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wagboy said...

“The statement that the universe can't be eternal because the laws of thermodynamics prevents it is silly. Firstly, the leading theories as to the origin of the universe points to an age of about 15 or so billion years. This is estimated because the furthest things we can see in the universe are 15 billion light years away. As well, everything is moving away from eachother (actually the universe itself is expanding...its not that things are flying out into empty space) which implies a common originating point that is roughly in agreement with the light year measurements of the age of the universe. So...god, in being a tricky god, would have had to create the universe (6000 years ago) and populated space with light in transit from these distance places. Why? To trick us? Or to gives us something pretty to see....with the sideeffect that it would trick us.”

From what I see C.W.Graham is trying to say that the 2nd law of thermodynamics which basically states that entropy is increasing to the highest threshold so the amount of the energy is in totality decreasing. If there is a finite amount of total energy and that energy is decreasing it seems that the universe is not eternal or else it would have died by now energy would have at one point stopped being a force in the universe. It must have started at some point and it must have started from a large amount of usable energy.

As far as why we can see 15 billion light years away, well that is simple the way I see it. God created it that way to show his Glory Psalm 19:1 says: The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.


“The use of thermodynamics to prove evolution isn't possible is also sad and tired. The earth isn't a closed system. There is a massive energy influx from the sun.”

I don’t understand this, is not the universe a huge closed system, since it is the totality of everything there is no energy being transmitted from an outside source to it. I think we can conclude from this that the Earth our solar system and everything else is in fact a closed system. Though even if it were considered an open system it doesn’t seem to really matter anyways, Dr John Ross from Harvard University States: “here are no known violations of the second law of thermodynamics. Ordinarily the second law is stated for isolated systems, but the second law applies equally well to open systems. … There is somehow associated with the field of far-from-equilibrium thermodynamics the notion that the second law of thermodynamics fails for such systems. It is important to make sure that this error does not perpetuate itself.” This seems pretty self explanatory ill leave it at that.









“Example...how does religion reconcile the fossil record, the light in transit (i explained above) radioactive dating, and a myrid of other pieces of evidence that contradict young earth theories?”

Well how reliable are these methods of dating, what about two common methods radiocarbon and potassium-argon? I did a little research on my own, and even in a quick Google search I have found many secular sites’ show records that these methods have not been proven reliable in any way. For instance I’ve read of creation scientists dating fossils at 4,500 years and secular scientists dating the same fossil from 50,000 years to 50 million years (search for yourself I encourage you). The point I am trying to get across is there is no proven reliable method of dating. Although if you use the Genesis account of a word wide flood, it would make sense that everything would be either covered in water and with firmament rapidly. This would lead to plants and animals fossilizing quickly. So in my opinion it would make sense in a young world (6-8000 years). I will admit that I’m not an authority on fossil dating or even creation science but with the little that I do know I think I make a good point.

“How does your religion explain how all the species of the world could fit on a tiny ass boat? It doesn't. It can't. Its inflexibily and inability to change requires that its practitioners either deny evidence, or side step around it. The problem with religion is it claims a monopoly on truth...where as science is the quest for truth. So science is happy to be proven wrong, as it gets us closer to the truth....religion is not happy to be proven wrong...because its #1 rule is that it is 100% correct.”



Well for one, like C.W.Graham mentioned in earlier posts creationists believe that different breeds of animals cross bread into different breeds hence we have poodles and wolves that probably started off as some mix between the two. There could have been a dozen different types of canines that bread together with different body types to produce different breeds. So their probably wasn’t a 1000 different breeds of animals. Also when in genesis it says “take two of every kind” it does not specify age they were probably younger animals.

As for as the size of the ark and if it had enough room for all these animals, Genesis 6:15 says the ark measured 300x50x30 cubits which would be about 459x75x44 feet so its volume would be 43,500 m(cubed). I have read before that it would equal something along the lines of 522 railroad stock cars. It would seem there would be plenty of room on the ark.

This is as best as I can answer the questions you have, I am sure when C.W.Graham comes back online he can give you better answers.

Anonymous said...

Wagboy,

You wrote:

“From what I see C.W.Graham is trying to say that the 2nd law of thermodynamics which basically states that entropy is increasing to the highest threshold so the amount of the energy is in totality decreasing. If there is a finite amount of total energy and that energy is decreasing it seems that the universe is not eternal or else it would have died by now energy would have at one point stopped being a force in the universe. It must have started at some point and it must have started from a large amount of usable energy.”

The first law of thermodynamics makes what you’re saying here impossible. The first law is the conservation of energy. In any system, there is ZERO net gain/loss of energy. The universe is presumably a closed system. So in the universe, the total amount of energy is not decreasing. However, the 2nd law states that that system, the universe, is gradually increasing in entropy. Which is in practicality, is the gradual conversion of energy into an un-usable heat form.

Finally, the particulars of this point you make has no bearing on weather the universe is ‘eternal’ (please define what is even meant by that). The universe is generally considered NOT eternal…it has an approximate age of 15billion years or so…..That’s when everything began, time, the laws of physics, space expansion, etc…Or so the leading theory’s suggest…those being the ones with the most testable and observable evidence.

You wrote:
“As far as why we can see 15 billion light years away, well that is simple the way I see it. God created it that way to show his Glory Psalm 19:1 says: The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.”

A convenient excuse…and one that is ultimately un contestable. God did it that way. Well, by doing so, he is confusing logical thinkers my friend. Score one point against god.

Re accuracy of radiometric dating techniques. I believe the fine points of accuracy of carbon dating is irrelevant to the discussion. IE. Weather it can date to 5000, 10000, 20000, 21000,22000,22321 years ago…etc… What is the most compelling argument against a young earth with carbon dating is this. Carbon 14 is created in the atmosphere with cosmic rays bombarding the atmosphere converting Nitrogen into the isotope. Its continually replenished in this fairly predictable way. As long as we’ve had nitrogen in the air, we’ll have had carbon 14 being created in the atmosphere. Living things get this carbon 14 into them in a predictable %. When a living thing dies, it stops taking in new carbon-14 from the air. So the carbon-14 in it, not being replenished, will begin to disappear over time as carbon-14 has a predictable half-life. So, in about 5700 years, a dead thing, that was once alive, will have about HALF the carbon-14 in it that you’d expect to find if the thing were still alive and replenishing its carbon-14. In about 10000 years, it will have one quarter the carbon 14 you would expect to find if it were still alive… That said, if we find something that was once alive, and measure its carbon 14 content, and find none….then its pretty much assured that the thing was alive 60000+ years ago (which I believe is the upper limit to accurate carbon dating).

How can a young earth scenario account for dead things found with no carbon-14 in them at all? One could postulate theories as to why…..but those theory’s would require evidence to support them.

Check out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dating
for more info.

As for Noah’s ark myth….How many people did he bring on board? I think that there is a high chance of retardation when siblings have children together…inbreeding. Its quite bad. I’m sure this is worked around via ‘Noah et al were perfect…before there were diseases and such’. A weak position.

As for all the animals fitting on the boat…Did they not bring them all? They left the dinosaurs to be fossilized and stripped of their carbon 14? What about insects? They were all brought aboard as well? How did noah get animals that are native to certain regions, FAR away from his neck of the woods onto the boat, to be preserved, THEN, when the water magically disappeared (where did it go? And where did it come from?), he was able to get them back to their native habitats to restore normality…. IE, there’s no grizzly bears in the middle east…no polar bears…no penguins…The bible doesn’t account for that, because the writers didn’t know about any of this stuff…so they couldn’t make up a clause to deal with it. What’s your explanation? Remember, it is your religion making these claims, and needs to supply evidence. However, in the case of noah’s ark, it is so implausible that it almost disproves itself on that basis…not to mention it can’t answer the questions possed above.

Keep in mind, if your size measurements are correct, he didn’t build a bloody rectangular ship. If he did, the must have been a god for the thing to float. I’m no nautical engineer, but lets do some rough calculations to see if this thing is plausible.

The titanic was 882ft long…Noah’s ride comes in at a little more than half that according to your cubit->foot measurement. The titanics passenger capacity was 2223 people…however, that is counting crew,1st,2nd,3rd classes. Crew is listed as 899…and they probably lived like crap. So lets assume, generasly, that the titanic was converted to all crew class quarters (and assumethey each had their own little space…and didn’t SHARE beds in shifts which they might have) then the titanics capacity would probably grow to 899 * 4 = 3600 people? That’s assuming you can fit crew class quarters into the 3rd class space, 2nd class space and 3rd class space proportionately. Now, lets say you could fit 1 animal per person…however, many animals were bigger than people…though, you’d have him storing embryo’s to make your scheme work… That clocks us in at say 3600 animals / 2 == 1800 species of animals. Now, you could probably fit more, but the logistics of keeping the chickens from the wolf/poodly ancestor animal you speak of, keeping the chickens away from the insects…storing food + water for the animals, etc… we won’t fit any more on. So 1800 species…At last count the world had millions…however, many of those are insects. Also, let us not forget trees,plants and other things that would die if sumerged in water for an extended period of time…

Finally, Ithough he brought aboard SEVEN pairs of each animal…that would drop our TITANIC bound estimate from 1800 species, down to 3600/14 = 258 species…. Not very many. Since it was a little more than half the size of the titanic, we’d have to drop it even further. It just isn’t possible.

C.W. Graham said...

Annonymous,

You wrote: "So science is happy to be proven wrong, as it gets us closer to the truth....religion is not happy to be proven wrong...because its #1 rule is that it is 100% correct."

It is here amongst all the other things that you pulled up that demonstrates the true difference in our positions.

You see, you argue that we are intractable and that you are tollerant and open, wheras that is actually false. But you don't see it.

ULTIMATE LOYALTIES

At the outset of the discussion, you assume that my position is wrong. You do that by assuming that anything is possible. That is your ultimate position (Whether invertes monkey-turtles, or evolution etc).

You refuse to change that, believing it is 100% accurate, your number one rule.

Additionally, you are assuming that Science is neutral and open in its investigations, and that is never true. The scientist is a creature of his upbringing and beliefs.

Two certified, degree carying PhD scientists, can look at the same piece of evidence and explain it in a different way, one because of his ultimate belief in chance, and one becasue his ultimate belief in God.

The two are in conflict certainly.NOTE BENE: We are not talking about operations science here. That is, the kind of science that is testable in a laboratory, we are talking about origins science, which is the realm of philosophical speculation on the basis of evidence that exists in the present.

For example you claim "the furthest things we can see in the universe are 15 billion light years away." Is it?

Are you seeing fifteen billion light years away, or are you seeing light mediated by the perhaps the hubble telescope), and postulating (with good reason) that there is a light source approximately 15 billion light years away?

But then you must ask, what about Red Shift? What about gravitronic interference? What about imperfections in the hubble lens?

APEARENT AGE

Grant the propostion that God created the earth, as the Biblical account states it. He created a mature Adam and Eve, they appear as adults (did they have an umbilical cord?.

It therefore holds that if you believe one, it is no leap to believe the latter, God could easily create the light source and the light pathway, giving in a sense an appearence of age.

WHAT TRICK

Where is the deceit in that, since he told the first people how he did it, and had it written in the Revelation of himself to humanity. God has never his this origin.

SIN'S CONSEQUENCE

Again, if the biblical account is affirmed, there are immediate questions to your other answers. The creation no longer looks as it did when it was created, the universal flood of Genesis, speaks of great changes to the earth that would include plate tectonics, the rise of mountains, the carving of great canyons, the ice fields of glaciers and many other of the evidences presented before us in the present.

PIECEMAIL ARGUMENT

Remember to keep an open mind and consider, for the sake of argument, the pieces of the puzzle preented to you.

Obviously, the ark of noah makes no sense in an evolutionary framework.

But, if the creation account is accurate, there is no reason to reject it from within the system of truth presented in Christianity.

If the world was created perfect, and humanity at its apex, there is no danger of retardation in inter-clan marriages. But over the course of time and the loss of genetic information, it has become dangerous, as the results of sin, the "creation being subject to futility".

The number of animals would not need to include trees and insects as they would survive fine through the watery deluge, the seeds of past plants regrowing and the insects living in floating masses etc. The fish and other aquatic animals would not be aboard.

Nor would those brought on board need to represent the entire specrum of every species. If the conditions of the earth were as the Bible presents them, more idelic before the flood, then their is no reason to assume that the animals would have needed to adapt nearly as much as they have now.

The basic specied or "Baramin" (The biblical word for the groups of the animal and plant kingdom ie. dog-wolf, protohorse etc), would have been sufficiently smaller in number, as well as size, taking young animals over mature, to have easily fit in the ark.


THE WHOLE CHRISTIAN SYSTEM

When taken as a whole the christian system is logically consistent and holds up to scrutiny. When taken bit by bit, and an unprovable hypothises is applied against it, it obviously will never make sense. That is why systems must be studied in their fuller forms.

For example, look at any part of a 747 and defend the fact that it flies. You will fail, but take the whole machine and explain its science, and suddenly you have a compelling argument.


IRRATIONALLY RATIONAL

To hold as you do to the ultimacy of chance "anything is possible", is in direct contradiction to your position of reason, "prove it by reason". There is no basis for reason in a universe of chance.

You wrote in our erlier chain that you know your own senses can decieve you. By what means do you judge when you are being decieved?

You are irrationally rational. YOu continually demand 'proof', but what logically demonstrable arguments are presented to you, you are unprepared to to consider them on their merits, because of your 100% commitment to possibility.



CAN YOU PROVE ANYTHING

Give one compeling proof for the non-esistence of God.

Give one compelling proof for the existence of logic

Give one compelling proof for the knowablity of the phenominal world

Give one compelling proof for the origin of the Universe.


WAGBOY'S POST

He was probably missunderstood in a few places, but his post is in general sound.

I wait to see how he answers the problems you posed.

Anonymous said...

“At the outset of the discussion, you assume that my position is wrong. You do that by assuming that anything is possible. That is your ultimate position (Whether invertes monkey-turtles, or evolution etc).”

This makes no sense whatsoever. You say I assume anything is possible, and I assume you are wrong. That is inconsistent. What is an ‘invertes’ monkey-turtle? Specifically, what does the invertes mean?

Listen, I have to be honest, this discussion is going no where. You don’t answer my questions…which was specifically for evidence of god’s existence… You say god exists because it’s the only viable explanation to the origins of the universe. That is simply an impossible position to argue against. Not because its rock solid and true…but because it is not the way you demonstrate something to be true. You need evidence beyond a word game argument to back your position.

“Additionally, you are assuming that Science is neutral and open in its investigations, and that is never true. The scientist is a creature of his upbringing and beliefs.”

Science is neutral and objective, and open to change. Just because any one scientist acts contrary to that doesn’t change that reality. Likewise religion doesn’t promote pedophilia, does it? However, if scientists make science bad, then ministers who do bad things in the name of religion make religion bad. I don’t actually feel this way though, but it sounds like you do? Though, I suspect you are biased on way…bad scientists make science BAD, but bad ministers don’t make religion bad.

“Two certified, degree carying PhD scientists, can look at the same piece of evidence and explain it in a different way, one because of his ultimate belief in chance, and one becasue his ultimate belief in God.”

Five non-religious scientists can look at the same piece of evidence and use it to support 5 different theories….however, all ‘real’ scientists will agree that their theory must ACTUALLY be supported by this evidence. Further more, each ‘real’ scientist will agree that if any predictions made by their theory, if not confirmed, will invalidate their theory….(which means either discard the theory, or adjust it). The religious scientist is unfortunately bound to fit his evidence to the bible, or whatever religion they need to serve. So you look at a distant galaxy that is 15billion years old, and conclude that the light was put in transit…however, while that is possible, it’s a claim that has no supporting evidence….As well, it unfortunately can’t be tested.

Your biggest mistake and one where its clearly apparent you don’t understand where I’m coming from is made here:

“That is, the kind of science that is testable in a laboratory, we are talking about origins science, which is the realm of philosophical speculation on the basis of evidence that exists in the present.”

Origins science IS testable. Any science is testable. This is how a theory works: You take evidence (or maybe not…this is not really required yet). You make a hypothesis about something. You then test that hypothesis. In the case of origins science, where everything has already happened, your theory will make predictions about what you can expect to find. IE we expect to see transitional fossils between species…and we find them. The big bang theory predicted the cosmic background radiation which is the left over heat + radiation from the big bang…when everything was very small and compressed and hot… This was predicted by the theory years before the technology existed to measure it. They sent up satellites to measure for this background radiation….and it was there. Doesn’t PROVE the theory…but it was a prediction made by the theory, and later confirmed. A check mark next to the theory…its closer to being correct. Later, the theory could make a prediction that is shown to be untrue….if that’s the case, the theory needs adjusting.

A Young earth theory needs to be defined, and predictions made that can be tested. Unfortunately, in order to fit existing evidence to such a theory, many crazy things need to be assumed…a lot of them resting on the totally untestable and undefendable ‘god did it that way’ trick. IE god mysteriously seeded the world with fossils that had no carbon 14 in them …OR there was no carbon 14 in some animals…but in others…and those ones miraculously sorted themselves in order during their insta-fossilization during the mythical flood. The list is huge for contradictory evidence to the young earth theory…that CAN be explained, but only with untestable miraculous intervention.

What exactly is your position on the distant objects in the sky? First you say god put the light in transit….now you’re questioning them being 15billion light years away at all… Which is it? Are you saying that they’re actually all within 6000 light years of us? I think the milkway is thought to be 100000 light years across. You think it might be only 6000 lightyears at most?

“It therefore holds that if you believe one, it is no leap to believe the latter, God could easily create the light source and the light pathway, giving in a sense an appearence of age.”

Yes, I agree. “IF” god existed, and he possessed immense powers…he could quite easily have done this. He could have created an earth, that dates to 4 billion years old. He could have seeded the earth with animals that never existed…and left evidence to suggest they lived millions of years ago. That is a totally viable explanation for the theory of god…as well as a young earth theory. However, it isn’t evidence. Science shows us that light travels at a fixed rate…so physically it had to take X years to get here from a distant source. Science concludes the universe is at least X years old. While its possible a god interfered and made it only look that way…theres no reason and no evidence to think that. There is one, and that is to make your theory, god exists and what not, viable. That’s not science.

“Where is the deceit in that, since he told the first people how he did it, and had it written in the Revelation of himself to humanity. God has never his this origin.” Fair enough … however, if I’m hellbound because I don’t believe in god, then god wanted me to be hellbound…because he made me so I’d want solid evidence to believe in far out their claims…and theres strong evidence against this young earth, biblical account of everything. Which leads me to dismiss everything else about it.

“Remember to keep an open mind and consider, for the sake of argument, the pieces of the puzzle preented to you.”
Despite your claim to the contrary…I do have an open mind. That’s why I posted and asked for some proof/evidence of god.

“To hold as you do to the ultimacy of chance "anything is possible", is in direct contradiction to your position of reason, "prove it by reason". There is no basis for reason in a universe of chance.” - This statement makes no sense at all.

“You wrote in our erlier chain that you know your own senses can decieve you. By what means do you judge when you are being decieved?” – I generally don’t know when my senses are being deceived...by definition. However, in some cases I am aware I’m being deceived…such as when I watch a magician levitate a person…or any magic trick for that matter.

“You are irrationally rational. YOu continually demand 'proof', but what logically demonstrable arguments are presented to you, you are unprepared to to consider them on their merits, because of your 100% commitment to possibility.” – I don’t understand your reasoning here. Firstly, you have offered no logical arguments. Secondly, what is ‘100% commitment to possibility’?

In conclusion:

Your argument is not conclusive. I agree only partially. Yes, god is a viable explanation for the universe. However, it is not the only one. There is no unique evidence that would point to a god as a creator. However, there is unique evidence that points at the big bang theory and rules out other creation ideas. However, science can never rule out the god theory, until the god theory offers up some testable ideas. Then, if those ideas break the big bang theory, science will accept it and adapt.

The biblical account of creation is very difficult to fit all the existing evidence to and requires numerous invocations of ‘god did it’ when observable physical processes indicate otherwise. This is not IMPOSSIBLE, since ‘god did it’ works within the theory (god is all powerful in this theory). But, it isn’t even a real theory, since it isn’t falsifiable. Because of its ultimate escape hatch, ‘god did it’ presto chango explanation, nothing can falsify it. This is what you need to understand. When I at first asked for proof/evidence from you, you should have led out with that. That your theory has no evidence/proof…many of the tenents contradict natural processes and observations…but that’s because god did it that way.

Finally your closing questions:

“Give one compeling proof for the non-esistence of God.” – Impossible. You can’t prove a negative. However, if you made specific claims about this god, we could look and see if they hold up. Have any claims that we can test about god?

“Give one compelling proof for the existence of logic” – This ones funny. It depends on what you define as logic, but in possibly all cases you don’t need to prove it exists, as it’s a human construct and abstract …be it a system of reasoning, or general identifier for rational, thought through actions or decisions…”She made a logical decision buying the cheaper car”

“Give one compelling proof for the knowablity of the phenominal world” – this too is funny…mainly for the words you’ve chosen. Are you asking: Can the phenomenal (you spelled it wrong…I think?) world be known? Or…is it fine to ask, ‘can the world be known’? I’d say yes, it can be known…to the best of our abilities and using the tools available to us. You want proof for that? Why?

“Give one compelling proof for the origin of the Universe.” Do you mean theory? Or do you mean piece of evidence for a particular theory? Wikipedia: big bang.

I don’t really know where we can go from here.

C.W. Graham said...

Thank you for your reply. You wrote: "I don’t really know where we can go from here."

THE KEY TO OUR DISCUSSION

Fundamentally, we are arguing at cross purposes. You answered my series of questions at the end of the last post by statements such as, "Thats a funny question..." But never gave answers or scientific proofs (except your assertion of the big bang on the last question... although i was in fact refering to the idea did the universe have a beginning).

UNCOUNTERED EVIDENCE

You asked for proof of the existence of God. I gave a sequence of proofs, including causality, revelation, the impossibility of the contrary, and the logical consistency of God with the facts we see present around us.

You didn't like these, but that fits and demonstrates my theory, that you and I are coorupted by sin, and morally unable to accept God, until we are renewed as the Bible calls being saved, or rescued from sin and delivered to truth.

REGARDING YOUR OWN PRESUPPOSITIONS

Regarding logic you said: "in possibly all cases you don’t need to prove it exists, as it’s a human construct and abstract …be it a system of reasoning, or general identifier for rational, thought through actions or decisions…”She made a logical decision buying the cheaper car”

According to your critique of me this is a dodge. Why do you speak of an abstract as if it exists, what is your proof?

Although I agree that there are things we can presuppose, such as Logic, I have a reason to hold to this position. I believe that all things are what they are in relation to how they fit in the plan of God.

God being orderly and rational, we can therefore reason logically and see order in the universe.

Your position holds to chance as ultimate. That is what i mean by 100% possibility. In a universe where anything is possible, how can you reason logically?

To say, "because we observe that it has been possible" does not garuntee it will be tomorrow. How do you safeguard your ability to reason?


GOD AS A POSSIBILITY

I appreciated your honesty in asserting: "Your argument is not conclusive. I agree only partially. Yes, god is a viable explanation for the universe. However, it is not the only one."

I assumed this at the outset of course, because you believe in ultimate possibility, why not God.

I do not believe all things are possible (the inverted turtle monkey was my reference to the god you supposed in a previous post as a reductio ad absurdum creator). I believe only one thing is possible.

God has revealed things that are scientific, as well as a theory of science, which alows me to proceed with operational science, like creationists, Sir Isaac Newton, and Micheal Faraday.

Although he believed many things different then me, even einstien said, "science is thinking God's thoughts after him".

WITHOUT GOD...

Without God, I am afraid we will harm true science. Science needs a rational basis to grow. Greek science grew out of the assertions of Socrates, Aristotle and Plato, tha there was one creator God, Christianity provided a corrected definition of that God, and science in Christian countries exploded.

In countries without a Judeo-Christian foundation, even today, science flounders.

A MAJOR MISSUNDERSTANDING

You wrote: "Despite your claim to the contrary…I do have an open mind."
I understand why you believe this, but honestly your posts from the first one you wrote have not been very open minded. You have exercised ad hominum attacks and refused my invitation to, "for the sake of argument" allow my foundation and examine the evidence I put forward.

Instead of giving a fair hearing, you clung to your own pressuppositions and possition and criticized my system, while refusing to offer any evidence that your system has a right to judge mine.

1) If all things are possible, god, evolution, something unthought of as yet... how can we know anything?

2) You are happy to quote the prevailing faith of scientific philosophy in the big bang, but what is the 'evidence' for this hypothesis. Yes it can explain some of the phenomenon we see today (snd good correction of my poor spelling on 'phenomenal'), but what if we had other facts? Such as the testimony of an eyewitness? That is of course what the bible claims for itself.

3) Go back to the foundation of the big bang. For the sake of argument, I will grant that it could explain the origin of the universe, but now I will test it for logical consistency...

Can an explosion create time? Or is time eternal?

Can nothing explode? Or is matter eternal?

Can and explosion be caused by nothing? Or is there a casue of the big bang?

Can an explotion create order? Or is there a coorelative organizing force?

These questions show that although the big bang is only on the survace capable of explaining the orogin of the universe. It cannot be an origin. It is neither sufficient, nor necessary.

Matter, Time, Order and Energy are necessary conditions for the big bang. So if we grant the big bang occured, where did these four principles come from.

BLIND FAITH

While you are right to claim there is some logical inferences we can make from facts today to provide evidence for a big bang theory, we are still stuck with the question that came before we proposed it. How did the Universe originate, since the big bang can't explain the necessary and sufficient causes for the universe?

GOD IS A SUFFICIENT AND NECESSARY CAUSE

We need an organizing force, capable of creating matter, time and energy, who exists outside or prior to those things. This force must be eternal. But by logic it is an "unknown god".

THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE

Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ “Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17: 23-31)

The Armchair Theologian said...

If this is really a debate about the existence of God and NOT, I repeat NOT, a debate on the practicality/uselessness of any number of specific RELIGIONS, then I have 2 questions for Anonymous.

1. Why are you so adamant to argue against something that you apparently don't believe exists?

Unless you're campaigning with equal vigor for animal rights for unicorns, I accuse you of being a walking self-contradiction. Why argue against the existence of a God that is NOT THERE?

Again, I'm not even remotely touching RELIGION...no sir. Just the existence of God alone. ONLY that.

It just seems that there's a whole lot of atheists who are wasting a LOT of time peeing their pants over a nonexistent God. Who gives a care what Christians think? Why are you so determined to waste hours of your life attacking a non-existent being? Why not just let these fools go their merry way and ignore them, you know, seeing that you're correct? Why spend your life fighting a shadow?

2. Where's your spine? I don't know about you, but I find the internet gives a lot of power to sissies who hide behind anonymity and say things they neither have the guts nor brains to back up in a real, open, serious debate. If you're anonymous, you're neither accountable for your words nor can you be called to back up what you say. You just pop on, sling mud, and run off into the shadows laughing like you just did something noble and wonderful.

On my blog, anonymous bloggers get mocked or ignored/deleted. Why not be a man, take off your huggies and use your name/handle when you want to start dropping bombs?

The Armchair Theologian said...

Any the starlight question? Come on. Russell Humphries answered the crap out of that one like what, 10 years ago? Light in transit? Uh, how about white whole cosmology with a finite, bounded, expanding universe and relative time
dialation on a universal scale?

Since when is time a constant in this universe?

And if the Bible was true, why then would one expect changes in biblical interpretation? The young earth creationist position has been pretty standard fair across 2,000 years of church history. The Bible is a closed body of facts that doesn't change. Interpretations do, but there is a clear and tracable line of biblical thinkers across history that have been on the same page on this issue, more or less.

And Noah's Ark? I recommend John Woodmorappe's "Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study". He hammers the living tar out of every "technical" problem in that book. Fanfreakingtastic. He answered questions that I didn't even think to ask!

And your Titanic argument against Noah's ark? Dude, honestly. 1800 species? Why are you assuming that there are species on the ark? Why not pulling it back to Genus, or even the phylum? Grade 10 biology taught me that many animals can breed and produce fertile offspring at the genus, and even phylum levels. And why adult animals? If you had babies of every animal, wouldn't that be a lot easier to:

a. Feed
b. Take care of (babies sleep lots)
c. Clean up after. (babies don't have such huge poops)

The attack on Noah's ark isn't the monolothic beast you're making it out to be. Not eve close dude.

And Carbon 14? Well, that collection of PhD geophysicists, engineers and various earth science people at the Institute for Creation Research have recently finished their huge, decade long research project on that. They've produced a VERY technical book called "Thousands, not Billions" with their findings and you can read some parts of their stuff here:

http://www.icr.org/article/3131/

There's like 40 other articles from them with various components of their research findings, but them dudes provide the first positive argument for explaining c-14 dating problems I've ever read. Pretty interesting.

And the flood? Where did the water come from? Where did it go? Yeah. I used to struggle with that. Dr. John Baumgartner (who works on staff with the geophysics department at Los Alamos National Labratory) has written several books regarding the worldwide flood. His main theory is the "catastrophic place techtonics" theory and there are another 40+ articles at www.answersingenesis.org about it.

Anonymous, you could have a majority of your questions provided with reasonable answers in around 2 hours if you got off you butt and actually looked for answers. In fact, I've provided you with hints and links to what has come from years of study. I'm interested in how you'll toss out all the technical arguments of people with PhD's, writing in their fields of specialization. You may not like the answers, but they're definitely out there.

Though I AM sad that you've seemingly been only exposed to the "Kent Hovind" like apologeticists and creation scientists. There is a decent sized group (several hundred that I'm aware of...) of PhD, currently published and active research scienctists, who are working in their various fields and hold to a biblical worldview that have long since overcome basically all of the questions you've brought up. People don't take them seriously because they operate in a biblical worldview, but people also don't challenge their science.

People challenge their interpretation of their data.

Something else interesting. I go to the University of Southern California every Thursday for a Bible study where I meet with around 40 students and study the Bible together. What's interesting is how many graduate and doctoral students attend (many of whom are studying physical sciences), and I've asked several of them many of the technical "carbon-14" kinds of questions. Every last one of them admits to a time when that was a problem, but they all seem to have worked through those questions at a way higher technical level than I can understand.

One thing I've learned?

Science is a cut-throat industry where money and fame drive results, not a search for truth. Scientists, like everyone else, are fallen and foolish people who make bad decisions and lie to their spouses. The sheer idea of "objective science" makes everyone I know laugh. I've heard so many stories of people who stole someone else's findings, faked experiments or even downright lied about experiments in order to get either grades or funding. Everyone wants to be the next Stephen Hawking/Michael Behe/whatever and I'm often surprised at how I hear stories of people who will sell their mother to get there.

So I have a faith in science itself, but I don't have much faith in scientists. They're just as biased, foolish and operating on "faith" as I am. The thing is, they're their own foudation of their own faith. My faith rests in an omniscient, omnipotent God who's revealed part of ultimate truth about ultimate reality to me.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Time for bed.

Oh. I also have one final question for Mr. Anonymous.

I'm wondering if you can prove to me, to the extent of my doubt, (and I'm fairly committed to my doubt, let me tell you!) that you exist?

You're just so frenzied about proving that God doesn't exist, I'm wondering if you can prove to me that you do. Assuming you're not a postmodern and believe that such a task is even possible.

(I hope that's enough for you CW)

Hairless Chimp said...

Mr Armchair Theologian…..what a nice name. Is that your maiden name? Or taken name? Be you guy or girl I do not know; Armchair is a somewhat androgynous first name. Yes, yes I’m a sissy, hiding behind anonymity. However, I don’t want this for myself anymore, so I’ve taken a lesson from you and added a name. Thank you Armchair. Your courage to use a real name online is a beacon of hope for all us sissies hiding behind keyboards around the world. Let your argumentum ad hominem and hypocrisy be a lesson to all aspiring scholars and debaters. Good job.

Regarding all your points…it’s probably worthless to get into them all. I’m not an expert in radioactive decay. I’m not an expert in cosmology, or physics, or theology, or Christianity, or biology or any other things we’re talking about.

What’s most relevant was my original question…everything else is irrelevant if we can’t get past the first step, is there a god? Discussing those points is interesting…but its similar to determining how to spend the billions of dollars I’m going to make as soon as I invent a way to make gold from lead.

You have opted not to engage that particular part of the debate, instead focusing your efforts on a few of the superfluous side debates we got ourselves into. Care to take a crack at the big question?

“I'm wondering if you can prove to me, to the extent of my doubt, (and I'm fairly committed to my doubt, let me tell you!) that you exist?”

Ah…very good, twist my words and make me prove I exist. Tough one. However, I have a quick question before I can answer…what do you think would constitute a successful test of my existence for you? That should probably have been the correct answer to the original main question of ‘is there evidence for god’s existence”. We need to design an experiment that would show I am infact real. At the same time, we can propose a theory that I do in fact exist based on the results of this experimental evidence. This theory must be falsifiable as well. For example…lets agree that if I reply to your next post, then I probably exist. To test this theory, you reply to this post, then I’ll reply uniquely to your next post. This is a good first start. If I don’t reply, we’ve got a problem….Though, we have historical evidence of my existence (the past posts…this post), it simply means someone typed it in. If I do reply, then its evidence pointing at my existence, however this won’t PROVE I exist. I can propose several alternative theories that explain this experimental evidence…HairlessChimp is infact multiple people…so as an individual he doesn’t exist. HairlessChimp is ghraham playing a joke. Etc… So we need to tighten the theory, and design new experiments to eliminate these other theories, or prove them to be true.

Turned around, can you prove to me you exist? I’m not an idiot…I don’t need proof of your existence. Someone is typing these posts. Whoever that is, is defined to me as ‘armchair’. I’m pretty certain beyond any reasonable doubt that it is a person on the other end…So you exist. If we agreed to meet up somewhere, so I could see you, touch you, etc…I’d be further re-inforced in my view that you exist.

So what’s your point?

And for the last time…its not about proving god doesn’t exist. That’s impossible. Its about the evidence for your claim that god does exist. Do you see the difference?

The Armchair Theologian said...

Yes. And for the record, I don't blog anonymously. My name is Lyndon Unger and my profile clearly shows that. Thank you for making fun of me. That was most enjoyable. I struggle to find people online who have infinite sass to back up their infinite wisdom...I enjoy a little give and take!

As for the large question, you said:

"Turned around, can you prove to me you exist? I’m not an idiot…I don’t need proof of your existence. Someone is typing these posts. Whoever that is, is defined to me as ‘armchair’. I’m pretty certain beyond any reasonable doubt that it is a person on the other end…So you exist."

Why do you NOT need proof of my existence? Isn't that the epistemological clincher here? All you know of me is text, and that's all the proof of me you have. You don't REALLY know if I'm a real person, or at least NOT CW...there is a measure of 'faith' in your response. You have REASON behind that 'faith', but's it's still an extension of logical proposition into a realm of uncertainty. Seeing that you don't have absolute certainty as to whether I exist, you function as though I do with a measure of 'faith', albeit a fairly small one. You've decided to believe that I exist and therefore act accordingly. I also do the same with you.

That's granted.

But it's interesting how you make the point that a universal negative is an un-provable statement (God does not exist), then expect me to provide proof for a universal positive (God does exist). The argument from silence can be tossed at either one of us.

In all reality, God can neither be proved nor disproved, for God is an epistemological and metaphysical foundational point for encountering any fact that exists.

What I mean is that we can sling "raw data" at each other until we're blue in the face. You can talk about any "fact" from any school of thought. Carbon 14 dating, fossil records, language theory, history, etc.

You can propose a model in which those "facts" are interpreted in a seemingly cohesive system that makes sense according to your foundational committment to the fact that God does not exist.

I fully and openly admit that you can make things "make sense to you". No person believes something AGAINST reason; that's not possible. (Even the crazy man believes he's doing the crazy things he does for SOME reason, although his reason may be twisted/incorrect.)

The thing is that I can fully do the same, using my foundational comittment to the fact that God does exist. All facts, regardless of their nature or discipline, make sense in a world where God exists.

So then where do we go?

Both our models provide comprehensive explanatory power to us. We're both convinced of our own understandings and both are equally convinced that the other is functioning illogically. What do we do?

HairlessChimp said...

Ok, Lyndon, congrats on giving up a name. Is it real?

“Why do you NOT need proof of my existence? Isn't that the epistemological clincher here? All you know of me is text, and that's all the proof of me you have. You don't REALLY know if I'm a real person,”… Are you real? If you aren’t, what are you? Its doesn’t really sound like you read my reply to you. The #1 theory as to who is writing this, is that its infact a real person. There isn’t any other viable explanation. There might be crazy ones that require impossible technology or mystical things that just aren’t known to be real. So…are you trying to say you’re not real.

Bringing this point into context…your existence is certainly FAR more likely than a gods. There’s an interaction with you…none with a god. If we wanted to take it further, we could agree to meet up to establish you are who you say you are…can’t do it with god. Finally, the claim that the person typing these messages I’m reading is a real person is not fantastic. It’s easy to believe. The process is well known. Alternatives aren’t heard of. The claim of god is fantastic. Evidence is required to believe it.

“…Seeing that you don't have absolute certainty as to whether I exist, you function as though I do with a measure of 'faith', albeit a fairly small one….” Now who’s taking a post modernistic view of things. If we can’t be absolutely certain of anything, then we can agree there are levels of certainty. My level of certainty that you are real is high. My belief in a god, is low…very low.

“But it's interesting how you make the point that a universal negative is an un-provable statement (God does not exist), then expect me to provide proof for a universal positive (God does exist). The argument from silence can be tossed at either one of us.” You claim education, but you hold to this point. Its simply a fact that you can’t prove a negative. You can disprove assertions by showing that the things it relies on are false. Thus, I’d ask you, what would you consider as PROOF of god’s non existence? I can tell you some things that would constitute proof of god’s existence: He show up for myself to see it. Maybe answer a prayer (if that’s a property of god), in a repeatable manner, and acting on a system where statistically it becomes impossible to be explained by chance. IE “if you exist, make my bicycle levitate…or, if you exist let me hit the # 15 on the roulette wheel 15 times in a row….don’t worry, we’ll use the money ot help orphans or something).

But its important you understand that when you make a claim, its up to you to prove it…or supply evidence as a means of proof. If there is no evidence, then the claim is effectively worthless. If I claim a green elephant lives in my closet, but its invisible and you can’t touch/smell/hear it, then how can you prove to me it doesn’t exist? What does it matter if it does exist…I can’t supply any evidence of its existence. Does it exist? The reality is that it could exist…but for all practical purposes, since we can’t test for its existence because theres no observable evidence of its existence, it doesn’t exist. Tell me if you understand this.

In all reality, God can neither be proved nor disproved, for God is an epistemological and metaphysical foundational point for encountering any fact that exists. From my last paragraph, if you agree you can’t prove god exists (maybe not 100% certainty as discussed, but to a reasonable degree) for all practical purposes, there is no god. Like the green invisible elephant in my closet.

”You can propose a model in which those "facts" are interpreted in a seemingly cohesive system that makes sense according to your foundational commitment [sic] to the fact that God does not exist.” I object to your last statement. I have no foundational commitment to god’s non existence. I have a foundational commitment to evidence based belief. If compelling evidence is presented for the existence of a god, I’d be convinced. Your position, however, is not to accept evidence that falsifies your Christian theory of god…instead, its to be biased with a REAL foundation that god does exist, and adapt the evidence, or ignore it if necessary, so your foundation remains un-moved. That’s the big difference between you and I.

“So then where do we go?” – No where. We’re done. You’re inability to understand the simple fact that “the one who makes the ‘positive’ claim, must provide the evidence” impairs our ability to move forward. Further to that, you admit you can’t prove god exists. Your argument is tattered with numerous flaws. On one hand you attempt to discredit the science behind evolution/the age of the earth and the universe. On the other, you attempt to say maybe god just made it that way in the first place (Adam had a belly button, but was never born…so to the earth is young, but was made to look old). Those two arguments wreak of desperation, rather than a concise, secure and well thought out position. The problem is your position is in tatters…its awash with new science continually pushing back the myths of a young earth, god created world.

I’ll grant that the science could be totally wrong. And when its corrected, I’ll be the first to praise it. That’s the greatness of science…its not afraid to be wrong. It strives to further hone and correct itself. Your position is not sure fortunate. New evidence, could vindicate your position…but should it not, your stuck being unable to reconcile the dogma with observable fact. Your only hope then is the claim of god did it that way for &lgt;insert reason&rgt;. Possible…but, seems more complicated that it needs to be.

Good luck going forward…

Darwin Bless You.

The Armchair Theologian said...

HA HA! Funny questions here. On what standard do YOU decide what is evidence for the existence of God?

On what standard do YOU decide what is acceptable proof for the establishmend of God?

The thing is, I can give you plenty of "evidence", but you somehow think you can decide what evidence you'll accept and what you'll reject.

You can say "I want to see God". You decide that an empirical encounter with God would be evidence. The thing is that God says that could not happen, for if you'd actually encounter God, you'd be killed instantly. In Exodus 33:20, God says clearly "no one may see me and live".

God says, in the first chapter of Romans, that his existence is clearly seen from creation...yet you look at creation and have a founational committment to ignore every shred of evidence there.

And again, I seem to "not get" your argument, and you're understandably unable to grasp mine. I'll try to make it simple:

You clearly believe in a God. You just think that such "god" is in fact yourself because you're your own standard of factual reality.

You operate as if you decide what is "evidence" for God, as if your own reason was the ultimate measure of reality (and evidence for the divine). Every other atheist also does the same thing as you, with different requirments too. So who decides? Nobody agrees on what constitutes "evidence". How does God please everyone? By catering to all the various demands or by establishing things on his own, universal standard?

So just out of curiosity sake, what do you think God's standards of evidence would be?

HairlessChimp said...

“On what standard do YOU decide what is evidence for the existence of God?
On what standard do YOU decide what is acceptable proof for the establishmend of God?”

Evidence for the existence of god is anything that supports the case for god. However, it is devalued if its explained ‘better’ by other theories. ‘Better’ here meaning any number of things, such as simpler, or where by the theory can actually make testable claims. That last item, testable claims, is something that theories of a god don’t make. And that’s what relegates them to religion, and not science.

Proof of god would be a body of evidence that has no explanation outside the theory that god exists. The theory would need to be falsifiable. That is to say, it would need to make predictions that can be tested, and if fail, prove the theory wrong.

“…that his existence is clearly seen from creation…” - So what? That’s in a book that isn’t of any real value as evidence. That book itself MAKES the claims that need evidence. Its certainly not CLEAR evidence. It has many explanations. Resorting to ‘god did it’ is the easiest explanation when you have no other means to explore and examine the world.

****
“And again, I seem to "not get" your argument, and you're understandably unable to grasp mine. I'll try to make it simple:” I understand yours. However, yours is simply wrong. You need to look up what science is. Look up what a theory is. Then explain your theory of god. And then defend that theory with evidence and predictions that can be tested. If you can’t do that, then you have to admit that god is not science, and cannot be examined by it.
****

“You can say "I want to see God". You decide that an empirical encounter with God would be evidence. The thing is that God says that could not happen, for if you'd actually encounter God, you'd be killed instantly. In Exodus 33:20, God says clearly "no one may see me and live".” So in your ‘theory of god’, one cannot SEE him, or they will die. Can we test this? Only if we could summon god to have a look at a test subject…but alas, we can’t right?

“You clearly believe in a God. You just think that such "god" is in fact yourself because you're your own standard of factual reality. “ - I bet this sort of crap gets applause and what not in your evangelical cult meetings. However, let me correct you. By my definition of what a god is, I don’t consider myself a god. By YOUR definition of a god, I don’t consider myself a god. So why do you think I think I’m (a) god? What’s your definition of a god…does it have the characteristics of the god portrayed in the bible? In that case, yes, I have omnipotent powers and infact I created the universe. Lol. Seriously…what are you driving at here?

“So just out of curiosity sake, what do you think God's standards of evidence would be?”

Honestly…that’s like asking me what the tooth fairy’s opinion is on the war in iraq.

I suggest you go back and focus your energy on the paragraph I outlined with **** above. That’s really the crux here. That’s what I was originally driving at in my first post here.

The Armchair Theologian said...

Well, let's make this more obscure, seeing that attempts at reduction an clarity don't work. I'll say things in a confusing way now:

Every fact is evidence for God. Every piece of data ever collected in every scientific discipline is evidence for the God of the scriptures. God is the only way that any theory about theories or theory makes sense in the first place.

Theism isn't an empirical theory. It's a metaphysical presupposition about reality, like the a-priori naivete regarding sense perception. The fact that you keep asking for empirical evidence for the existence of God betrays your claims of understanding my argument regarding ultimate theistic presuppositionalism.

When I suggest that you're operating with a presupposition of self deification, I'm stating that you're own insistance on being an authority on ultimate epistemic and metaphysical matters is akin to functioning as deity.

So, to recap:

1. All facts are evidence for God.
2. God isn't an empirically verifiable being for mankind, in his natural state, has an a-priori rejection of point #1 and therefore cannot ultimately understand any fact.
3. Your self deification confirms points 1 and 2.

Is that confusing enough?

Also, what's with all the name calling, slander and general insulting? If you cannot be gracious, at least you could make an effort to be cordial and have some decorum.

HairlessChimp said...

Name calling + slander? Was it the cult comment?

View:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cult
Entry 1 in particular, though others apply.

Don't take it the wrong way. Its not black + white...certainly some cults are worse than others.

Your 1,2,3 recap is of no value. The only thing of use in your entire thing, though obscured through rhetoric, is the fact you finally admit god is non-empirical in nature.

IE: We can't measure his existence.
IE: There is no REAL evidence for his existence.


As such, I'd hazard to say god is as real as the tooth fairy at this point. The only difference is that our mom+dads told us (well, me at least) that the tooth fairy was a joke made up by them. The people who made up god are long since dead.

A suggestion for your bright future of theological discussion: Don't bother with the evidence. It doesn't support your claims. We've demonstrated that in this little exchance. You don't really agree, i know, but your final retreat into the position of 'god is non-empirical' demonstrates it clearly to anyone observing.

I'd suggest just sticking with its a matter of faith...which is belief in absence of evidence.

Good luck,

The Armchair Theologian said...

I'm sorry Mr. Chimp,

You can reject my arguments outright, or misunderstand whatever suits your fancy, but you cannot redefine my terminology for me.

Faith is a logical extension of historical or empirical fact into the non-historical (i.e. future) or non-empirical (i.e. not physical...or "spiritual" realm).

That's why in the Old Testament, God always defined himself by what he did. (As well as in the New)

In Genesis 15:7 God defines himself to Abraham as "I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it."

Then, on the basis of that historical occurrence Abraham asks how he will have assurance of God's promise that he will take possession of the land. (verse 8)

Then, in verses 12 to 19, God makes a covenant with Abraham in order to solidify Abraham's trust in God's promise.

God made an actual covenant with Abraham, in history, and did it so that Abraham would have something concrete to look back to and place his belief upon.

Same thing goes for Moses, the Kings, the Prophets, and ultimately Christ. God is a promise making and covenant making God, and on the basis of those real historical promises and covenants to I trust him.

Faith is trusting God's word, not believing whatever one wants to believe regardless of evidence. That's as biblical a definition of faith as I know how to deliver.

Also, why is it a shocker that I would say that God is non-empirical in nature? If that's what you're looking for, then I could have said that a long time ago.

John 4:24 says "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

Creation IS empirical, and the entire universe exists in order to give empirical testimony to God's non-empirical self. Why would you think that God himself was somehow empirical in nature? Have I or CW ever suggested such?

And once again, all data is evidence for God's existence...

So pick any fact from any discipline and you can show me, in your worldview, how it's evidence that there is no God.

Then I will show you, from a biblical worldview, how it is evidence for God's existence.

All facts become evidence upon interpretation, and what's really in question here is who's system of interpretation holds up to scrutiny, especially on the question of it's ability to verify, or not verity (as the case may be), the existence of a non-empirical being.

The thing is Chimp, the problem isn't with the Bible, or the evidence, or science. The problem is with the heart of man which has rebelled against God's moral law and MUST supress the truth of the data, seeing it as evidence as anything other than God.

A good example of this is in 2 Peter 3:1-14, where Peter talks about the flood of Noah's time and says:

"Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him."

Paul makes a simple argument:

1. People will (all throughout history) come and mock the idea of a global flood on the basis of uniformitarian predictions regarding the past (verse 4)

2. They forget the flood "deliberately"; on purpose. (verse 5-6)

3. Because if God never judge the sin of the earth BEFORE, he'll never do it AGAIN (verse 7)

4. But God's slowness shows patience because he's giving people ample time to turn from sin (verse 8-9)

5. And judgment is CERTAINLY coming (verse 10)

6. And because of the certainty of the coming judgment, based on the historical occurrence of a global flood where God judged sin, we should live upright and righteous lives (verse 11-13) and "make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him" (verse 14)

*****So what?******

Well, if the bible is true when it talks about the flood actually occurring as a real event in history, then what it says about the purpose of that flood (Genesis 6:5-13 - God wiped out the entire earth due to their excessive wickedness) may also be true.

If the flood really happened, it's not JUST a geographic oddity. It also means that there is a holy and righteous God who judges sin.

And Peter makes the connection that if God judged the sin of the world ONCE, killing everyone because they actually deserved death (for Romans 6:23 declares that those who sin actually earn the reward of death), then God could and may do it again.

So if the flood is a historical occurrence, it reveals something about God and it also gives historical precedent for another coming day of judgment.

The historic reality of a worldwide flood in Noah's day may be a little bit unsettling for a person who has disobeyed God's moral law.

If the flood didn't occur and the Bible is a load of crap, then do whatever you want and who cares.

BUT, if the flood DID occur and the Bible is true, then it has serious ramifications for every aspect of life.

So, in a biblical worldview, a person who desires to reject God's moral law MUST also reject God's self revelation in creation. They can NOT see evidence for God, anywhere, simply due to the moral implications of God's existence at all.

AND what's more is that the Bible clearly says that everyone in the world (myself included) desires to reject God's moral law (Romans 3:10-18, 3:23) AND that everyone in the world actively rejects the truth of creation's data and suppresses it, twisting it to suit with their own hearts that reject him (Romans 1:18-23).

And, if the Bible isn't true about the flood, or the creation account, or the existence of the Patriarchs or whatever else, then there's no historical precedent to believe what it reveals about Jesus Christ...and he's really what's important.

If the claims of the Old Testament are not true, then Christ's claims to be the Messiah are in question.

- Who knows if he really is "the way and the truth and the life" or that he's the only path to get to God (John 14:6)

- Who knows if "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God"? (2 Corinthians 5:21)

- Who knows if "that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (Old Testament)" or if "he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (Old Testament)" (1 Corinthians 15:4)

- And ultimately "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost." (1 Corinthians 15:13-18)

The crux of the matter is Christ, and Christ is inseparable from the historicity of every single letter of the Old Testament.

And:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed." (John 3:16-20)

The Bible is true because Christ is truth, and the Bible is truth because Christ is true.

HairlessChimp said...

Dictionary.com's definition of faith:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/faith

It appears you don't know what faith is. However, its possible that your church/religion (your particular flavor) has taught you this new definition. IF that is the case, then it is a trait very similar to cults - Creation of new definitions for existing words, whereby doing so helps to isolate the individule from the outside world...

Faith is the context of relgion, is belief in the absence of proof.

You say every fact is evidence of God or a god. Thats a childish remark that really has no bearing in a serious discussion because its simple false. How is the fact that I have a $30/mo phone plan, RATHER than a $50/mo plan evidence for a god?

You seem to go on a preaching rant here, rather than actually address anything i actually said.

The idea that the reason i don't believe in a god, or God of the christain bible, is because i don't want to live by his moral code is simply insulting and ridiculous. If anything, I live b y a higher moral code than that advocated by *some* aspects of the bible. Of course, thats impossible for someone who thinks homosexuals should be killed and salvery is ok. Much like yourself? The bible being the literal truth of God's law, makes you pretty much have to believe that sort of thing...yet....you don't. RIght? How do you reconcile that contraction? A day = 24hours...you're hard locked to that, as post after post has indicated. Why the flexibility when it comes to slavery and other rubbish - yes, anything advocating hatred is rubbish - in the bible?

What exactly is this moral code of god? In particular, address slavery, homosexuality and eye for an eye justice. I actually reject these things...Is that the rejection you harped on about for a couple pages?

Its funny you bring up noah's ark again, with the hoopla in the states about the grand canyon. The grand canyon was not caused by noah's flood. To believe so is to ignore not only scientific evidence, but common sense. But theres lots of ignoring and little common sense in relgion.

Finally, you talk of Christ coming back...but the bible said he'd come back BEFORE various characters in the bible would die...yet, he didn't. The beauty of prophecy is interpreted after the fact, can always be right...but I'm curious for your excuse for that blunder.\

2 final points
1) "...to give empirical testimony to God's non-empirical self.."
This statement is folly. If you don't see why, then we can't speak logically together.

2) "The Bible is true because Christ is truth, and the Bible is truth because Christ is true." This doesn't make any sense. Its bordering on circular logic, but i can't really make any sense out of it.

Do you think Christ is returning in 2007? According to some poll I heard about in the state 30% or more of you americans think he is...What ya think?

I'm a gambler...I'll lay you odds of 100-1 against him coming back in 2007.

The Armchair Theologian said...

1. Why can you take one meaning from a pool of meanings and apply it as the ONLY meaning you'll allow?

The entry on the page you posted said:

–noun
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2. belief that is not stop being nice. based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.
7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.
8. Christian Theology. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.
—Idiom
9. (idiom) in faith, in truth; indeed: In faith, he is a fine lad.

- You select the 2nd meaning and apply it to my use of the word, which is actually the 8th meaning. You cannot select a meaning, of multiple various meanings, and apply it wherever you desire.

Words mean different things depending on their "context", which is how they're used in a phrase, clause or sentence.

For example, the word "green" can man several different things, depending on the context. "Green" can mean "the colour green", or "rookie", or "sick", or "skilled at gardening", or slang for "money".

If I said "I went out for lunch today and had to pay because nobody had the GREEN to pay except me", the context is pretty clear. Of all the above meanings, the slang meaning "money" best fits the context and that's ACTUALLY what "green" means in that context.

So the statement "Faith in the context of religion, is belief in the absence of proof" is categorically incorrect, even by your own provided definition.

The third definition, or more appropriately the eighth definition, is the one that applies:

"8. Christian Theology. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved."

Seeing that I AM talking about Christian Theology, then perhaps the definition for "Christian Theology" might be the definition to use?

And, seeing that the promises made through Christ are found ONLY in the Scriptures, and by the definition of "faith" that you provided in the linked page, you must agree with me when I previously said:

"Faith is trusting God's word, not believing whatever one wants to believe regardless of evidence."

So thanks for agreeing with me. Now we're getting somewhere!

2. You asked:

"How is the fact that I have a $30/mo phone plan, RATHER than a $50/mo plan evidence for a god?"

Well, in a nutshell the fact that you constructed that sentence with language is an argument for an ultimate linguist, in whose infinite mind language and logic reside and find their root and existence.

Beyond that, God's general providence in your existence and ability to rationally think and consider those options gives evidence to your created nature and modeling after an ultimate free will and an ultimate reason.

You will reject general evidences from general revelation, but your rejection of them is simply that: rejection.

A phone bill won't lead you to Jesus Christ, but the fact that you're hear to ponder such things should point you to God. It doesn't, but that doesn't necessitate that there's a fault with God.

3. And, uh, yeah. The Bible DOES NOT instruct me to kill homosexuals, it also doesn't instruct me to buy slaves and it doesn't command me to take "eye for an eye". Nowhere in the Bible am I instructed to do those things.

And I never mentioned the Grand Canyon or Noah's ark; I quote a portion of scripture regarding the people at the time of the flood. I was talking about the selective interpretation of data based on presupposed rejection of a specific interpretation. What the heck?

And you said:

"Finally, you talk of Christ coming back...but the bible said he'd come back BEFORE various characters in the bible would die...yet, he didn't. The beauty of prophecy is interpreted after the fact, can always be right...but I'm curious for your excuse for that blunder."

Here's my response:

The Bible NOWHERE, NOT ONCE, ever says that Jesus will come back before various characters in the Bible would die. What passage are your reading? Where does it say that? (Are you thinking of Matthew 16:28 or some other passage?) Give me a chapter and a verse please. I'm curious to see how you find all these things in the Bible that I'm missing...

I'm beginning to think your hermeneutics are in need of an overhaul...or maybe you need to develop some hermeneutics in the first place ("the science and art of biblical interpretation").

To be honest, I'm growing weary of your arrogant tirades like you're some multiple PhD Bible scholar. You may be educated, but you're skill with biblical exegesis is in serious question. Just because you cannot figure out some portions of the bible doesn't mean it doesn't make sense...

...maybe it means that you're simply unfathomably incompetent at interpreting scripture? How many semester of Biblical Hebrew, Koine Greek, Biblical Hermeneutics, Biblical Exegesis, Theology, Ancient Near Eastern History, Greco/Roman History, Semitic Studies and Ancient Near Eastern Literature have you had? I'm coming on 21. Have you ever studied the Bible in an academic setting at all? It seems to me that you're doing what many people do:

You seem to be reading a 2000+ year old Ancient Near Eastern document as if it's a 21st century Western document.

Just because you cannot figure out the easy questions (Like whether or not I, a New Testament Gentile Christian who is NOT an Old Testament Jew, should follow Old Testament Jewish law...like the stoning of homosexuals...) doesn't mean that they are these huge problems with blazing contradictions. It can just as easily mean that you simply don't know what the world you're talking about.

So if you want to ask a serious question, ask a serious question and I'll give a serious answer.

If you want to start slinging mud and mocking, I'll start treating you with as much respect as I receive.

The Armchair Theologian said...

Somehow, the post that I copied and pasted from the dictionary definition got screwed up. Here it is again:

"noun

1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.
7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.
8. Christian Theology. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.

—Idiom

9. in faith, in truth; indeed: In faith, he is a fine lad."

Sorry for any confusion

Anonymous said...

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