Friday, 18 July 2014

Persons moderates rational discussion

Glenn Peoples insists he has found a logical fallacy in Dr Jonathan Sarfati's work, but then cannot handle a little correction.

Evolutionists can't handle fundamentalists. :)


Thursday, 2 May 2013

Creation and Evolution - WLC podcast review.


William Lane Craig usually enters debate and does well by holding opponents accountable to strong rational arguments. But he fails to hold himself accountable in the same way when it comes to analysing what he calls the literal view of creation. What he calls the literal view, I call the plain-reading view. Nobody reads anything in an exclusively literal way. Words have meaning in context and can be used to create a picture where the meaning is obvious regardless of the range of possible meanings for individual words within the text.

I've listened to the show and made notes along the way so listening to the podcast (Part 2 of Creation and Evolution) while reading this post should work pretty well.

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The major error WLC makes is to imply that because an idea can be seen as symbolic it cannot also be historical. "Adam" means "man" and "Eve" means "The mother of all living", no argument. These facts are no reason to believe that those were not two real people. "This isn't just a scientific report", agreed. It's much more than that. But that does not mean it is not an accurate historical account.

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WLC's analysis that God's interactions in the garden are anthropomorphic are mere assertions. Why could God have not been in the garden in human form? We were made in His image, why could not have that image been a real, physical image?

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WLC engages in the fallacy of answering a challenge as if that is reason against the opposition's idea. If I challenge an evolutionist to respect the words of the bible saying that "One day" always means a 24 hour period and the evolutionist can find an example that does not refer to one day, he has only defended his position. He has not built any case against my position - that the plain reading is justified. And WLC claims at the end of this podcast to only be making the case for why the literal view of creation is not compelling.


But even when we look at the passage used to answer the challenge it seems the use of "echad" might well be for a 24-hour day.

Zechariah 14
5 Thus the Lord my God will come,
And all the saints with You.
6 It shall come to pass in that day
That there will be no light;
The lights will diminish.
7 It shall be one day
Which is known to the Lord—
Neither day nor night.
But at evening time it shall happen
That it will be light.
8 And in that day it shall be
That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem,
Half of them toward the eastern sea
And half of them toward the western sea;
In both summer and winter it shall occur.

Seems to be talking about one particular day and a period of time following that day. There are multiple uses of the word day in this passage. The Lord will come one day. That day will be a normal 24-hour day. This "one day" is known to God. That will be a normal 24-hour day. "Neither day nor night" seems to be talking about the day-time or night-time of one normal 24-hour day. "And in that day living waters will flow" seems to be talking about the period of time following the return of the Lord.

So the answer to the challenge is rather weak. And even if the answer was strong it would add nothing to the case being presented.

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Exodus 20:9-11 is not "clearly" talking only about the pattern. It's true, we have a seven day week because of the story presented in Genesis 1. But the assertion that the pattern is the only relevant item and the denial that six days is one day short of a week is to simply assert the truth of the case that's meant to be under examination. The strength of the plain reading is that the text can be read and understood for what it plainly says. Asserting that the text cannot be read for what it plainly says is not presenting a counter-argument.

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Argument from silence. The seventh day does not "clearly" have no end. Day 7 has no "evening and morning" mentioned, but to say this is good reason that the first six evenings and mornings are to be ignored is terrible. It is being nice to simply point out that the reverse argument invalidates any impact from this. The first six days have evenings and mornings. Thus when a seventh day is introduced, we can assume it too has an evening and morning.

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Again the fallacy of seeming to defend a challenge is not argument against the veracity of the opponent's idea. This time the challenge to the evolutionist is that ordinals with days always refer to normal 24-hour days. Showing an example of an ordinal with a day not referring to a 24-hour day does not make any rational case against the plain reading of Genesis.

Hosea 6
A Call to Repentance
1 Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
2 After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.

"Clearly" should be well reserved for another observation. This passage is clearly a foreshadowing of Jesus' time in the tomb and subsequent emergence. Yes, there is a message to the people in this and that message would not have meant 24-hour days. But with the passage so obviously being a prophecy of Christ's resurrection, one cannot deny the (at the time) hidden truth about the facts of our salvation. And that would include the almost irrelevant fact that it was within three normal 24-hour days that Jesus was buried.

An example of how one passage can be read with two non-contradictory, relevant and intended meanings. Arguing against a plain reading cannot be done by asserting that only the stylised meaning is intended.

A 24-hour day can be used as a metaphor. But that it can be used that way that does not mean that it is being used that way.

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Straw man presented. YEC's do not uniformly vacillate on the facts of creation. I believe the Sun was created from nothing on day 4. WLC needs to actually engage in debate on these issues rather than teaching from and defeating an imagined opponent's views.

Dismissal of the plain reading of Genesis 1 on the arguments made in this podcast is not made necessary. One cannot use the bible interpreted according to genre and interpreted according to original audience in order to deny that the bible says and means "Six days". It remains incumbent upon the rational evolutionist to reject as true the plain meaning of the bible because it teaches creation in six days.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Krishna's Butterball


How did this rock wind up in this position and how long do you think it has been sitting there like that?

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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

An Analogy to describe how to Redo a Global Flood

Here's an analogy to describe how to redo a global flood.

Gravity affects the Earth's sphericity somewhat like gravity affects a weighted seesaw. Place the weight in the middle of the seesaw and it will be balanced. Make the Earth completely spherical and it's water will cover every point to a similar depth.

Move the weight on the seesaw and the beam will tip in that direction.

The analogous action to the Earth is a little difficult to understand, but it is essentially the same thing. Move some weight from one side of the Earth and it will not tip - rather the Earth's gravity will work to reform the Earth into a sphere. Spherical Earth = balanced seesaw.

The two situations are not the same, but the 2 dimensional seesaw example is a helpful tool to understand how the Earth could be flooded.

Back to the seesaw - imagine a waterline drawn a short distance above the beam. When the weight is in the middle, all the beam is below the waterline. But with the weight a little offset, the end of the beam opposite the weight will poke above the waterline. Move the weight further and more of the opposite end will rise above the waterline.

Now if we suddenly move the weight, the seesaw will rock back and forth a few times before reaching equilibrium. This will put each end alternatively above and below the waterline.

If we look at today's Earth, it is like a seesaw tilted so that 2/3 of one side is above the waterline. The way to regenerate a global flood is to move the weight on the beam to the same position on the opposite side. In reality, that would mean removing a great deal of rock from somewhere. Maybe if we teleported Australia to deep space. Gravity would force the Earth into a more spherical shape and, during that process the "beam" would spend time entirely below the waterline.

Its not a magical process, just very difficult to achieve. A meteor strike of extreme size might achieve it. A vast chain of volcanoes, perhaps. But the actual flood (rather than trying to replicate it today) had a very different mechanism for removing mass from the Earth.


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Friday, 13 January 2012

The Palaeobabbler: Geological Evidence Against the Flood - Part 1

The Palaeobabbler: Geological Evidence Against the Flood - Part 1: I've decided, now that all coursework is handed in and I only have to focus on exams, that I will start a series of blog posts on geological...

I'm taking this guy on over undersea landslides. :)

Monday, 20 June 2011

Rebuttal to Jonathan Dudley.

Jonathan Dudley claims that Christian Faith Requires Accepting Evolution. This is a rebuttal to that notion. I will define what I mean when I speak of "Christian faith" and analyze the claims made in this article. I will then give an overview of the history of the evolution debate and show how it is nothing new in character.

Let me start with the text of the article. It is reproduced here in entirety in quoted text. My responses to the text are below each section.

Christian Faith Requires Accepting Evolution - Jonathan Dudley.
In the evangelical community, the year 2011 has brought a resurgence of debate over evolution.

Perhaps to the author there seems a resurgence, but he is almost certainly speaking from how it appears to him. I think it is important to recognise the evolution debate as a debate over the validity of Christian doctrine. Christian doctrine is framed by the words written in the bible. Thus to suggest that this is a "resurgent" or changing debate is to mischaracterize it.

The current issue of Christianity Today asks if genetic discoveries preclude an historical Adam. While BioLogos, the brainchild of NIH director Francis Collins, is seeking to promote theistic evolution among evangelicals, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary recently argued that true Christians should believe the Earth is only a few thousand years old.
As someone raised evangelical, I realize anti-evolutionists believe they are defending the Christian tradition. But as a seminary graduate now training to be a medical scientist, I can say that, in reality, they've abandoned it.

This is a very bold claim and I do not believe it is in any way supported by the rest of the article.

In theory, if not always in practice, past Christian theologians valued science out of the belief that God created the world scientists study. Augustine castigated those who made the Bible teach bad science, John Calvin argued that Genesis reflects a commoner's view of the physical world, and the Belgic confession likened scripture and nature to two books written by the same author.

Two very pervasive issues that are raised are the above and one more. Science and the bible share a relationship and the  nature of that relationship has been turned into a couple of sound bytes. The first is what is indicated here - the bible must align with science. The second is that the bible is not a science book - as if we can ignore what the bible says when talking about science.

The greatest problem with these two statements is they are not constrained or defined. They can mean pretty much whatever the reader wishes them to mean. When people say, "The bible is not a science book", he might be on either side of the debate. Similarly when they say, "The bible must align with science", they might be on either side of the debate. Thus we need to carefully define exactly the relationship between science and the bible.

The first thing to do is demand that science does not equate to any scientific theory. Evolution is not science. It is a scientific theory. Intelligent design is not science. It is a scientific theory. Relativity is not sciecnce. It is a scientific theory. To misunderstand a theory and define it as "science" is to promote it well above its station.

Of course it is common to, in general speech, talk about evolution or intelligent design or relativity as science. But that should be recognised as simply a common expression, not as a definition.

The second thing to do is to characterize the literary nature of the bible. Clearly it is not a science textbook. There is history, poetry, prophecy, song and parable. But to accurately describe the bible as "not a science book" says nothing about the accuracy or applicability of its content. The bible is not a science book, but the bible does say things about the world that we can test using science.

When we talk about the relationship between science and the bible we must be very careful to understand what science is and what the bible is. Comparing or contrasting the two in a sound byte sentence is no reason to believe any one side's argument.

These beliefs encouraged past Christians to accept the best science of their day, and these beliefs persisted even into the evangelical tradition. As Princeton Seminary's Charles Hodge, widely considered the father of modern evangelical theology, put it in 1859:
"Nature is as truly a revelation of God as the Bible; and we only interpret the Word of God by the Word of God when we interpret the Bible by science." In this analysis, Christians must accept sound science, not because they don't believe God created the world, but precisely because they do.

This paragraph seems very problematic. The "best science of the day" includes many examples of very bad science. Christians should accept sound science, but they should accept it because they have investigated and thought it through for themselves. And part of that investigation might very well include some historical investigation using the bible.

Of course, anti-evolutionists claim their rejection of evolution is not a rejection of science. Phillip Johnson, widely considered the leader of the Intelligent Design movement, states that all he's rejecting is the atheistic lens through which evolutionary scientists view the world. Evolution, he argues, is "based not upon any incontrovertible empirical evidence, but upon a highly philosophical presupposition."
And to a certain extent, this line of argument makes sense. Science is not a neutral enterprise. Prior beliefs undoubtedly influence interpretation. If one believes God created vertebrates with a similar design plan, one can acknowledge their structural similarities without believing in common descent. No amount of radiocarbon dating evidence will convince someone the Earth is 4.5 billion years old if that person believes God created the world to look old, with the appearance of age.But beyond a certain point, this reasoning breaks down. Because no amount of talk about "worldviews" and "presuppositions" can change a simple fact: creationism has failed to provide an alternative explanation for the vast majority of evidence explained by evolution.

If work has not been done is no evidence against an explanation...

It has failed to explain why birds still carry genes to make teeth, whales to make legs, and humans to make tails. It has failed to explain why the fossil record proposed by modern scientists can be used to make precise and accurate predictions about the location of transition fossils. It has failed to explain why the fossil record demonstrates a precise order, with simple organisms in the deepest rocks and more complex ones toward the surface. It has failed to explain why today's animals live in the same geographical area as fossils of similar species. It has failed to explain why, if carnivorous dinosaurs lived at the same time as modern animals, we don't find the fossils of modern animals in the stomachs of fossilized dinosaurs. It has failed to explain the broken genes that litter the DNA of humans and apes but are functional in lower vertebrates. It has failed to explain how the genetic diversity we observe among humans could have arisen in a few thousand years from two biological ancestors.

...and it is very much the case that this work has and is being done.

Those who believe God created the world scientists study, even while ignoring most of the data compiled by those who study it, might as well rip dozens of pages out of their Bibles. Because if "nature is as truly a revelation of God as the Bible," it's basically the same thing.

Or they can form their own ideas from the facts presented. We need not rely upon the word of scientists in order to inform our beliefs.

Many think the widespread rejection of evolution doesn't really matter. Evolution is about what happened in the past, the argument goes, so rejecting it doesn't have an impact on policies we make today. And aside from school curricula, they may be right. But the belief that scientists can discover truth, and that, once sufficiently debated, challenged and modified, it should be accepted even if it creates tensions for familiar belief systems, has an obvious impact on decisions that are made everyday. And it is that belief Christians reject when they reject evolution. In doing so, they've not only led America astray on questions ranging from the value of stem cell research to the etiology of homosexuality to the causes of global warming. They've also abandoned a central commitment of orthodox Christianity.

Let's examine Christianity. There are two major events recorded in the bible that preclude evolution. The first is the account of the creation of the world. The second is the global flood. In order to accommodate evolution, those two events must be dramatically altered or removed from the fashion in which they are recorded. For creation we have the original account in Genesis 1 and 2 where six days are spent by God making the cosmos, the Earth and all its living things. The aspects of this creation are then referenced throughout the rest of the bible.

For the flood there are hundreds of allusory references to destruction in water throughout the bible. Looking at references to Noah only, we find three major examples that confirm the events recorded in Genesis from Jesus, Hebrews and Peter.

This article has done nothing to address the source of Christian doctrine, the bible. Rather it has insisted that Christians must heed whatever modern day scientist tell us. Thus there is no case presented for why Christians should accept evolution. And most certainly there is no rejection of the bible in rejecting evolution.

One of the first claims in Dudley's piece was the notion that the evolution debate is "resurgent". And certainly one would expect that evolution can only be tracked back a hundred years or so to Darwin. What this misses, though, is the nature of the assault on people who accept as historically accurate the stories in the bible. The assault on that position has likely existed from soon after the events in question happened. The bible is filled with people rejecting the power of God and promoting their own agenda. We can start with the people destroyed in the flood who rejected their creator, the tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Pharoahs in the times after Joseph, Nebuchadnezzar and of course the entire nation of Israel of which the bible is a long litany of how they swung toward and away from God throughout history despite His great deeds.

This aspect of the bible is summed up perfectly in 2 Peter 3 where the author tells us how people reject the historicity of God creating the world and the flood. The warnings could not be more clear. Far from losing one's Christianity by rejecting evolution, the Christian is utterly justified in practicing science and sticking to the teaching of the bible.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Noah's Flood.

Before he did the earthquake series, Pastor Kevin Lea presented Dr. Walt Brown's Hydroplate Theory. This examines the Genesis account of the flood and answers the questions:

  • Where did the water come from?
  • Where did it go?

...and many other important questions.


This is a Youtube playlist which means there are a number of clips that will play one after the other automatically.




Well worth the time. TOL discussion thread here. Jump in and ask a question. :)