Everyone should have one (The Watchmaker Analogy)


I tend to be hard on watches. The bands break, the crystals crack, they get scratched up – something usually befalls them. So I tend to ask for watches as gifts – especially around Christmas time. This past year was no different. My family gave me an extraordinary gift – two watches – one digital, one mechanical. What’s extraordinary is not that I received two watches (though that was very nice), it’s the type of watch I received.

The one watch – a mechanical one featured above – is an amazing sight to behold. It has a see through design, so you can see the inner mechanisms from both the front and the back. I’m not a watch maker, so bear with me as I try to describe just a few of the marvelous mechanisms in this mechanical wonder with terms borrowed from Wikipedia. Continue Reading

What is Religion? Does evolution qualify? Atheism?

 

A Torah scroll containing the first five books of the Bible Text highlighted: The first words of Deuteronomy 6.5 Atheists and evolutionists claim they have no religion. But is that true?
A Torah scroll containing the first five books of the Bible
 Text highlighted: The first words of Deuteronomy 6.5

Atheists are fond of saying that they have no religion, because atheism is not a religion. Here’s an example from Twitter.

Likewise, evolutionists claim that evolution is science, a  fact, and certainly not religion. Here, for example, is a video of Richard Dawkins at big think claiming evolution is a fact. But are atheists and evolutionists correct in asserting that their respective beliefs are not religions? That of course depends on the definitions.

Evolutionists are notorious for redefining evolution to suit their needs for the occasion. In other words to keep evolution from being exposed as the total fraud it is, they keep changing the meaning of the word “evolution”; so they wind up claiming you’re not speaking about the same thing; though you’re speaking of the same evolution the discussion started with.  For instance, you may start out with a statement like “molecules to man evolution has never been observed.” They’ll return something like, “Do you know what evolution is? It’s a change in the allele frequency of a gene pool.” These are two different things; two different discussions, and thus  you can never convince them of anything.   Steven Meyer and Mike Keas have documented 6 of the common uses of the term “evolution” that evolutionists switch between.1  There’s a term for that tactic.  It’s the logical fallacy known as equivocation.

Religion is the basic belief system of the person
Atheism likewise comes in various flavors. The strong position, those who categorically state there is no God, (or as they would say gods); the weaker position, those who simply do not believe God exists; and finally those who try to be a little less arrogant and more rational (knowing that  proving a universal negative like “there is no God” is impossible.

Therefore to say there is no God is arrogant), and thus they simply say “I don’t know if God exists” – the agnostic position.

And with Bill O’Reilly out there confusing people with his repeated claims that Christianity is a “philosophy” not a religion,2 Christianity is not without those who are muddying the waters. So can we claim any of these are religions?  Yes, these are all religions and that can be clearly seen once we understand the difference between how a religion is recognized, and how it is expressed by adherents.

Religion and the Establishment Clause

The courts have been a favored weapon of atheists and to a lesser degree evolutionists in the battle to silence Christians while simultaneously getting their Godless theories to be accepted and promoted in government sponsored venues like schools. The typical approach is to use the first amendment’s “establishment clause” against anything that even sounds Christian.

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

The clause reads as follows: Continue Reading

The Problem of Evil – proof that God exists

The Fall of Lucifer - Antonio María Esquivel y Suárez de Urbina, 1840
The Fall of Lucifer
Antonio María Esquivel y Suárez de Urbina, 1840
Paradoxically, the problem of evil is proof that God exists.

On Friday, December 14th, 2012 a gunman who shall remain unnamed so as to deny him any further fame, entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton Connecticut, and shot and killed 20 students and 6 adults. Before driving to the school for the rampage he had killed his mother, and when finally confronted, he killed himself bringing the death toll to 28. In a news conference that same day, Gov. Dannel Malloy summed it up succinctly: “Evil visited this community today”. 

This article is being written, as it turns out, on the 20th anniversary1 of the Oklahoma City Bombing on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building which killed 168 people and caused 680 nonfatal injuries. Additionally it caused an estimated $652 million in damages.

These are but a couple of drops in a sea of evil that in one way or another touches the lives of every single human being that lives and has ever lived. This curse upon humanity is paradoxically an affirmation of the truth of God for Christians, while for those unwilling to believe,  it becomes a reason (in their mind) why they shouldn’t believe God exists. Why is it that people can look at the same evidence and come to diametrically opposed conclusions? How can consideration of a single issue – in this case the existence of evil – result in such radically different reactions and beliefs from people? One might ask the same questions of a phenomenon at the other extreme of the moral continuum – miracles.

When you get right down to it, atheists do not believe the core tenets of atheisms and evolution... Why do miracles cause some to believe, while others only see in them only something to either scoff at or be angry at; or to make accusations that people are being “misled”?  In both cases (reactions to the problem of evil and the reaction to miracles) the root cause is the same: an unwillingness to acknowledge God as Lord who will bring all created things under his control and under his judgment.

The mere  thought of God as Lord manifests itself for many as statements of unbelief.  As particles in the atmosphere are the core around which moisture coalesces to form rain drops or snow, likewise miracles and the problem of evil  are items around which unbelief can coalesce and be visibly expressed.

For those living in disobedience the prospect of a God who will judge all is a scary one. And their unwillingness to face this truth is not because of their ignorance of God – no God has made his existence plain to all (Rom 1.19).  No, it’s not ignorance of God that’s the problem, it’s an unwillingness to be subject to God that causes them to express views inconsistent with their worldview, and thus speak as a hypocrite or express irrational view (or both) as we’ll see. Continue Reading

Denying the Obvious

Boeing 747 Intercontinental

Boeing 747 Intercontinental

Those who can’t see the design behind clearly designed things such as a 747 or a human cell are denying the obvious.

In his critique of Stephen Hawking’s “Grand Design”, John Lennox writes:

“…after disparaging philosophy, he then proceeds to engage in it. For, insofar as he is interpreting and applying science to ultimate questions  like the existence of God, Hawking is doing metaphysics. Now, let us be clear, I do not fault him for doing that; I shall be engaging in metaphysics  all through this book. My concern is that he does not seem to recognize this.”1

Stephen Hawking is not the only atheist who doesn’t realize he’s engaging in metaphysics by dealing with questions of God. And  that is not the only truth atheists fail to recognize. As I demonstrate below, many have a problem acknowledging that they are working not from scientific  fact, but from deeply held belief. Lennox is not the first to point out obvious errors to someone who refuses to acknowledge it.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Mat 7:3 NIV)    

With these words Jesus advises careful and close self examination to avoid not only the charge of  hypocrisy, but this current  issue of self denial. After all one can hardly miss a “plank” or “beam” in the eye unless one is  intentionally refusing to acknowledge it. That’s denial. And while some may find it questionable to poke the bear by  appealing to a historical figure that some atheists deny, what is undeniable is the logic and wisdom of the advice.  I mention it because one of the  reasons for this blog is to point out errors, blind spots and logical inconsistencies that atheists tend to be either unaware of, or attempt to avoid by refusing to address. As a creationist attempting to point out such errors and inconsistencies,  I find I keep running into the same kinds of  invalid (and often irrational) arguments from atheists, such as:

  • – Intentionally missing the point, or avoidance of the point being made
  • – Factual errors in their arguments which they refuse to acknowledge or address
  • – Engaging in illicit arguments – based on their beliefs

Often, when you point out these errors, they are not addressed, not because the objection is not understood, but because there  simply is no  reasonable answer to the objection. So instead of acknowledging a problem with their world view, typically the response from atheists or agnostics will be show their inability to address the issue by to changing the subject and/or  launching ad hominem attacks. But in refusing to address a glaring problem in their argument or logic by attempting to side step it, it leads one to an inescapable conclusion:

Many who hold to an atheistic world view and belief system are in denial about the fact that what they consider a “scientific” rational for supporting a “scientific theory” is  actually nothing more than a deeply held, but irrational belief.

By irrational I mean untrue, or in the case of an argument, invalid for any of a number of reasons. By refusing to acknowledge or address such blatant errors what they are actually communicating is – Continue Reading

Can you be A Christian and Believe in Evolution?


Is Evolutions a Fact?
What atheists have noticed that many Happy Thinking Christians have not

Christian Evangelist and defender of the Gospel Ravi Zacharias talks about how to reach the “Happy  Thinking Pagan.” He describes their thought process this way:

“I don’t believe anything but I’m very happy. What does it matter?” And of course, it was also along the time of slogans such as “If it feels good, do it” and “Don’t worry, be happy.”[1]

I mention it because it is becoming increasing clear to me that when it comes to the creation /  evolution debate, there is a large number of Christians who are walking in the thought process of the happy thinking pagan – namely
“What does it matter?” and “Aren’t they compatible, so why worry about it? Be happy.”  It seems that many Christians are as ignorant of the harm to the faith caused by evolutionary thought as happy thinking pagans are to the reality of God.

Interestingly enough, thoughtful atheists have noticed the incompatibility between evolution and the Christian faith.  Evolutionary evangelist Richard Dawkins has commented:

“I think the evangelical Christians have really sort of got it right in a way, in seeing  evolution as the enemy. Whereas the more, what shall we say, sophisticated theologians are quite happy to live with evolution, I  think they are deluded. I think the evangelicals have got it right, in that there is a deep incompatibility between evolution
and Christianity…”[2]

In fact, so many atheists have begun proclaiming the incompatibility between Christianity and  Evolution that one blogger Continue Reading

Reclaiming the Intellectual and Moral high ground

Don’t fall prey to logical traps, old arguments, or the emotional baiting of evolutionists.

Obi-wan to Anakin:

“It’s over Anakin, I have the high ground.”

 In my previous post I referenced an article titled “The Top 10 Signs that You Don’t Understand Evolution at All” which is really a  restatement of objections that evolutionists believe they have adequately answered, while at the same time lightly(?) mocking creationists – as evolutionists are wont to do. (Whether lightly or not I’ll leave to you.) As is typical in a list like this, the more important questions (for which they have no answer) are  not even mentioned much less given adequate answers to.  But since I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving you hanging without the answers having myself referenced the article, here are responses to show none of these issues are problems for rational thinking Christians. A word of warning before we begin: Since he couches many of these statements in broad universals (“never,” “always,”  etc. –  which is a dead give away that the statement is almost certainly untrue and a good candidate for the  “all or nothing” logical fallacy);  it follows that the position he’s trying to ridicule may be technically untrue, but the point beneath the ridicule that he’s trying to make  has been thoroughly refuted as I note below. Below in bold is Tyler Francke’s  list of “The top 10 signs that you don’t understand evolution at all”  with my explanations following immediately;  and so there is no mistake on who’s saying what, my comments are indicated by my initials.

 


1. You Think “it hasn’t been observed” is a good argument against it.”

DC>He makes a number of questionable statements here, I’ll just point out a couple. First he notes:

“Interestingly, evolution is observable “

DC>Evolution of the type we’re talking about – molecules to man is not observable. Like many evolutionists he is committing the logical error of equivocation – using the term evolution in more than one sense (which is commonly done to win arguments, though it’s logically fallacious). Natural selection (which is not evolution) is observable; molecules to man evolution is not. 

Second, he goes on to talk about an inference to the best explanation (which I drew upon in my last article) but intelligent design theorists and creationists alike, (not to mention scientists who dissent from evolutionary theory) would say given the evidence, such as the fossil evidence below, he has not drawn an inference to the best explanation by believing it points to evolution. He states:

Making viable conclusions based on inferences from the available evidence is not at all unscientific, and it is this reasoning that has compelled us toward the theory of evolution.

DC>I would challenge him that it is not the evidence that points him to evolution, it’s his a priori beliefs (science is authoritative over scripture) that lead him to the conclusion that evolution is true because judging by evidence alone, (such as the evidence from DNA, the young solar system, etc.)  the correct conclusion is that there was an intelligent designer.

2. You think we’ve never found a transitional fossil.

DC>This is frankly very misleading. A more precise statement would be Continue Reading

What is Rational Faith? Part 1

The Scopes monkey trial, popularized by the decidedly pro-evolution 1960 movie “Inherit the Wind” has been described  by one historian as:

“Lasting just 11 days, the trial became a showdown between faith and reason…”1

The charge to be adjudicated: that a teacher by the name of John Scopes had taught Darwin’s theory of Evolution in the classroom, an act  which, at the time, was illegal. (My how things have changed.) The goal here is not rehash the trial, or discuss perceived winners and  losers. The reason for bringing it up is to point out how it is commonly described: “a showdown between faith and reason.”  This “showdown” has been raging at least since that trial, which began July 21, 1925. Some would locate the origin with Galileo’s 17th century dispute with the church over whether the earth went around the sun; or the sun went around the earth.

Plato

Some would take it all the way back to  the early Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle who lived a few hundred years before Christ. The point in bringing up the “showdown”: there is a strong, vocal faction aptly represented by the likes of atheist cheerleader Richard Dawkins, who believes that faith and reason are at odds and are irreconcilable.

In a documentary  called “Enemies of Reason”, Dawkins states: “There are two ways of looking at the world through faith and superstition, or through the rigors of logic, observation and evidence;  through reason. Yet today, reason has a battle on its hands. I want to confront the epidemic of irrational superstitious thinking.”2

Dawkins wants to confront “the epidemic of irrational superstitious thinking.” A noble goal insofar  as he correctly identifies that which is superstitious. Problem is he doesn’t. He has a tendency to group that which is true with that which  is myth. And so one of my goals is to confront the epidemic of irrational atheistic thinking that winds up getting labeled as “scientific”.

Richard Dawkins

If you think such atheists (and scientists for that matter) are always the objective, logical,  followers-of-the-evidence-wherever-it-leads type of people that they like to portray themselves as, you’re in for a rude awaking – as will  be evident in posts to come. Some of the other reasons for this site:

  • To show that the Christian Faith is rational – using the tools  Dawkins specified – logic, observation and evidence.
  • And to point out that those claiming that the Christian faith is not rational –  are often themselves basing it on incorrect a priori assumptions from their own faith – typically atheism – and not what they claim – logic,  observation and evidence.

For those atheists and others who don’t realize that they too are following a faith (that’s a whole other discussion), “rational faith” is a  contradiction in terms. As you would expect from someone who is the author of a site titled  “Rational Faith” I obviously disagree. But in order to demonstrate that the Christian faith is rational, I’ll need to define exactly what is meant by rational faith.   Which I will do, but with this first3 post let me start by defining what rational faith is not. As a point of reference, consider the following definition of  “Faith and Rationality”  as it appears in Wikipedia as of this writing:

“Faith and rationality are two ideologies that exist in varying degrees of conflict or compatibility.

Rationality is based on reason or evidence.
Faith is belief in inspiration, revelation, or authority. The word faith generally refers to a belief that is held with lack of, in spite of or against reason or evidence. Although the words faith and belief are sometimes erroneously conflated and used as synonyms, faith properly refers to a particular type (or subset) of belief, as defined above.

Broadly speaking, there are two categories of views regarding the relationship between faith and rationality:

  1. Rationalism holds that truth should be determined by reason and factual analysis, rather than faith, dogma, tradition or religious teaching.
  2. Fideism holds that faith is necessary, and that beliefs may be held without evidence or reason, or even in conflict with evidence and reason”

Clearly this perceived tension between faith and reason is a common and widespread misunderstanding. Many it seems, believe that “faith” and “reasoned, rational thought” are mutually exclusive. That one must “believe”  in spite of what reason or evidence tells you. Or as some suggest, when going to church, check your brains at the door. By extension, many believe that  faith and science are also at odds – that you can not be a good scientist if you have faith in God; and that true believers in the Christian faith  are necessarily antagonistic toward properly applied science.   All of these are incorrect and to understand why, we must go back to goal, the point of faith and reason. What is goal of reason? And of Faith?  The goal of reason is to identify truth. D. Q. McInerny, author of Being Logical states:

“The whole purpose of reasoning, of logic, is to arrive at the truth of things.”4

What is the goal of faith, speaking  specifically of the Christian faith? The Christian faith is all about knowledge of the truth. Jesus says he came to testify about the truth (John  18.37), that he in fact is truth (John 14.6); that the truth will set you free (John 8.32); and that knowledge of the true God, and Jesus (who is  truth) leads to eternal life (John 17.3).  So in other words, the point of the Christian faith is to identify and know the truth – ultimate truth; and according to Jesus once you properly identify and  properly respond to that truth (by believing), God is pleased to grant you eternal life.  But don’t be distracted by the promise of eternal life. The point  I’m making is that the goal of reason and faith are the same: to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. (And in passing, the goal of science is also to  arrive at truth5 – but that’s a discussion for another time.)

If the goal is the same, why is it then, that so many think that faith and reason are at odds? If  reason and faith are both striving for the  same goal – truth – those following either discipline should arrive at the same destination – at least in the areas to which both disciplines  address themselves – such as ultimate truth.  And that is precisely my point and my firm belief, and one of the motivating factors behind this blog  – to show that both faith and reason, properly understood, guide you to the same place – the true God, creator of the universe, the God of the souls of all mankind.

Thus my main problem with the statement above from Wikipedia and all others who see varying degrees of conflict or incompatibility between faith and reason is that such an  understanding mistakenly casts the two as opposites in an either / or proposition.  In that light, you either have reason OR you have faith –  not both. Atheists like Richard Dawkins try to drive that point home. This blog is to demonstrate that those who think rationally not only have good reason to trust in  rational thought, but also have good reason to trust in the Christian Faith – because it is a faith based on evidences and confirmed by reason, and so it is a wholly rational faith (no pun intended).

This leaves us with a lot of questions such as: If Science and Faith have the same goal – truth – why do many see them as being at odds? Are there different types of truth? Do science and faith lead to the same kind of “truth”? If the Christian faith is so rational, why are so many scientists atheists? If Christianity is “rational” and “reasonable”, why does so much of what Christians believe seem to be in conflict with what scientists and the world at large believes? All good questions but too much for one blog post. So we’ll have to return to these  issues in the days to come. For now, let me answer the initial question of what rational faith is not with this summary:

  1. Rational Faith (or faith properly understood) is  not in conflict with reason; faith and reason are not contradictory – they are complementary
  2. Faith and reason are not mutually exclusive
  3. Faith and reason are not an either / or proposition; they are a both / and proposition; they work together; not against each other
  4. Faith is not reliant solely on “authority” or “revelation”; it is strongly based in evidences of various types

Now we’ve seen what rational faith is not. Next we’ll see what rational faith is.


Duane Caldwell posted 3-2-2014 | print format  | Part 2


Notes

1 10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America Episode 7: Scopes: The Battle Over America’s Soul TV series Documentary, 2006
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2 Dawkins, Richard Enemies of Reason Documentary, 2007
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3 First written at any rate, though I wound up electing to post select pieces of evidences ahead of this post so they would be available for my atheists acquaintances on their first visit
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4 McInerny, D.Q.  Being Logical, A Guide to Good Thinking  New York: Random House 2005, p. 19
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5 That science is ultimately concerned with truth is a point rarely discussed, but is acknowledged when necessary, as in this response from a writer for Scientific America who states:

“Let’s understand one thing loud and clear; science is concerned with the truth. It really is.”

Ashutosh Jogalekar  “Creationists  are wrong. Science is actually concerned with the truth” 7/19/13 “The Curious Wavefunction” blog on Scientific American

The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) takes it a step further stating the point of science is to measure theories against absolute truth; implying the goal is to discover elements of truth that are not known.ICR “The Foundation of Science Is Absolute Truth” accessed 1/28/14

Red Pandas, Trees and Orchards

Red Panda Problems for Darwin’s Tree of Life:
The Red Panda doesn’t fit; nor do a host of other creatures, vindicating the biblical account of creation by kinds.

In the recent Ken Ham vs Bill Nye debate on origins (which one tweeter aptly named the Ham on Nye debate) based on some comments I’ve heard,  it seems to me that a number of people missed one of the main points Ham was making. And since one the reasons for this blog is to defend the  Biblical account of origins let me revisit that point here.

Ham pointed out that the Bible makes specific claims about origins – the origins of the solar system, of people, of all creatures. In contrast the theory that allows Richard Dawkins to be an “intellectually fulfilled atheist” – Darwinian evolution – also makes claims – quite different claims. So the question is which explanation better fits the evidence? On the one hand, in a doctrine known as “common descent” Darwinian evolution claims that all creatures are descendents of a single ancestor. That means that all creatures are related and are part of what’s known as the evolutionary tree of life.

On the other hand the Bible claims that creatures were created by God, “according to their kind” (Gen 1.21, 24, 25, etc.). Continue Reading