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Neil's Approach To Science Apologetics

Page history last edited by indychristian 4 years, 8 months ago

Neil's Approach To Science Apologetics...

 

This is an attempt to build my personal, hopefully cogent, approach to 'Science vs. The Bible'... or Creation v. Evolution... etc. 

 

While this document is primarily intended for my personal reference and not at all for a debate here, I do welcome your (Bible-believing) inputs here, in the form of adding your comments at the very bottom, or by mentioning @IndyChristian in your tweet.  To do so may sharpen my understanding or ability to concisely enunciate a biblically-reasonable approach to this important field of apologetics (IMHO).  So thanks in advance. *smile*

 

"There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.   I believe in the latter."   Albert Einstein

 

"Belief in miracles mean, first, the freedom of the soul, and, secondly, its control over the tyranny of circumstance." G. K. Chesterton

 

*****************

 

Humility, in light of a vast -- no, unlimited -- universe of knowledge... If we might be humble enough to be honest here, we would all readily admit that even COLLECTIVELY we ‘know’ only a fraction of the total information in the universe TODAY, would we not? Much less, the universe of all ages.  [Exception, suppositionally...  What if an all-knowing Creator somehow specially communicated some particular knowledge to us?]

 

Evidence From The Bible... "Wouldn't That Involve Circular Reasoning?"  Some people may challenge you... "Why accept biblical evidence at all, anyway?  The only reason you think it's true is because it declares itself to be true. That's circular reasoning, isn't it?"   Let me say first of all, that there are other proofs for the Bible as well... which I find to be very compelling... such as tons of prophesies come true (read Isaiah 53 for instance)... the martyrdom of authors rather than recant their writings... and my personal experience with the teachings therein, for more than 50 years now.  But back to the 'circular reasoning' charge:  Let me quickly point out that the alternative we're examining today... atheism/evolution... foundationally rely on circular reasoning as well.  That is, where did you get your sense of 'logic' anyway?  If you say it's a derivative of millions/billions of years of BigBang & evolutionary happenstance... then I would ask you, "How do you know that's true?"  And you would of course tell me that you have applied critical thinking skills to logically reason things out (based on whatever 'facts' you have available).  So it's logic-derived-from-BigBang, and the BigBang-verified-via-applied-logic.  For more about Circular reasoning, 'Problem of Induction' (from which the irreligious David Hume concluded that 'desire rather than reason governs human behavior'); and which CD Broad calls 'the glory of science, the scandal of philosophy'), ancient Pyrrhonism ("Nothing can be known, not even this" - to which Ravi Zacharias might counter:  "Even in India, they jump out of the way of buses, don't they?", paraphrased), and the requirement for an assumed 'Law of Uniformity of Nature', start with this Wikipedia article re Circular Reasoning.

 

Conjecturing backwards in time has all sorts of potential problems... Thus we would, at the very least, want to be very careful in conjecturing backwards from observations today… about things back to the very beginning.  [Ironically, one foundational element of evolution is a reliance on 'mutation' (unpredictable abnormality).] Uniformitarianism is a dangerous over-extended assumption which cannot adequately be tested empirically -- it's an assumption taken only 'on faith'.  In fact, II Peter 3 tells us straightforwardly that it's an error made by 'scoffers'.  Moreover, 'science' cannot endure the miraculous; it cannot predict an 'ex nihilo creation; it must observe antecedents and therefrom predict a precedent in time & space.  This to say, if 'science' is confined to only a system of human, naturalistic cause/effect observations (not to mention, a required set of assumptions) leading to human conclusions, then by its very nature, 'science' is flawed.  Fallen.  Thus logically we must conclude that its ability to measure itself breaks down at some point.  Conversely, only an omniscient being could have that complete perspective.

 

Survival of the Fittest... by its own set of terms implies existence and non-existence.  Moreover 'fittest' implies some kind of 'higher ordering' system.  To truly hold staunchly to this evolutionary line of reasoning is to also hold staunchly to some defined sense of higher and lower, less-fit and more-fit, less correct and more correct.  Right and wrong, if you will.  But where did this sense come from?  Why is our 'reasoning' that man excels the apes a more fitting solution to our own questions?  What if apes' reasoning is equally valid?  What if my reasoning is equally valid to yours?  Why then would any of us try to persuade anyone of anything?  Why is jumping out of the way of a bus important?  My point:  There are absolutes; there are rights & wrongs; and even human reasoning tells us that.  [Even Richard Dawkins.]  Now consider: Why would I try to save you from stepping in front of a bus?  That flies in the face of an evolutionist's theory that we only act in self-preserving ways.

 

A fatally flawed objective:  There is no plausible (naturalistic) theory re the original spark... from nothing into something.  Scientists who only accept what they can empirically measure, by definition are pursuing a fatally flawed endeavor regarding 'the Big Bang' or any other explanation of creation... since empiricism is based on cause/effect... yet philosophically they're seeking to explain a first effect without a cause.  If you have no hope of describing the first 'instant' of time and space, how can empiricists be so adamant about what they think they can ‘know’ about the 2nd instant, not to mention the rest of an ageless history past?

 

'Nature' is not eternal.  But something must be.  Empiricism is based on observations of cause/effect.  Thus by definition empiricism sees something... eg. the universe... and knows it has a cause... and also knows by definition that it cannot measure its own cause with its own 'rules' of nature.  The universe's cause by definition must be by something outside itself.  Something (or Someone) that has the power of eternal self-existence... ie, something defying our rules... something that created our rules, even.  Something that understands us while we cannot fully understand 'it' (or Him).

 

Naturalists have no 'standing', to bring a 'logical' case for Big Bang/ Evolution.   Within a court of law, before any other evidence can be offered to proceed with a case, the party pursuing the action must have legal 'standing'.  In this case though, those who would seek to present a naturalistic case would have to admit to a judge at the outset that they themselves are only a somewhat-matured stage of a non-intelligent first effect -- a product of 'randomness' and thus without a credible ability to 'reason'.  Thus they lack legitimate 'standing'.  Eg., no animal -- much less an inanimate rock -- can bring a case into a court of evidence because it lacks the ability to reason to a legitimate conclusion.  Moreover, without 'meaning' in the universe, why would such a person even want to try to convince anyone of anything?

 

So tell me again why I should believe (most) ’scientists’ somehow know truth?  Surely we must limit our discussion to only include 'scientists' who assert that there IS meaning in the universe, and that they have somehow been 'specially' endowed with capacity to reason meaningful conclusions... ie, those who have been specially endowed with 'intelligence' from an 'intelligent source'... and not 'scientists' randomly grown in a cosmic petri-dish.

 

You can’t have it both ways — either we’re all unintelligent by definition… ie, we're simply products of 'randomness'... or there IS an omniscient intelligence who created us… with a sense of meaning... and who, alone, knows everything including history past. And who may, or may not, specially share that truth with us. And if so, btw, would it be 'intelligent' people who accepted His communication to us, or would it be 'unintelligent' people?  Point is, if you believe everything is 'random' then surely you'd have no basis to consider you're somehow more (or less) 'intelligent' than someone else.

 

The boundaries of the universe... have Scientists discovered its edges?  Or only the tip of God's iceberg?  Like miniature characters in a snow-globe, can we measure the known and simply extrapolate the unknown?  Measure the stars we see, and somehow know the origin of the ones we cannot even see?  Can we say we know the full extent of the universe, and calculate its beginning and foreseeable end?  How arrogant (and frankly, unscientific) to assert our 'knowledge', if we don't even know the scope of the matter at hand?

 

'Written evidence left at the scene'… is something that any forensic scientist would take into consideration. Scripture asserts how the universe came into existence. And if we're willing to accept it plainly, it tells us how old it really is. Moreover, the Bible is self-validating by foretelling the future. [And it foretells your & my future.]

 

No such thing as 'random' even.  Read... "Take a chance.  Help me understand 'random'.

 

Theistic Evolution -- An Oxymoron.  My theistic evolutionist friends... if you believe in miracles, you cannot have your cake and eat it too.  By definition, miracles break the principle of uniformitarianism (upon which evolution's time measuring assumptions are all based).  Moreover, if you believe Jesus performed miracles, why cringe at the thought that God 'spoke' the world into existence?  Or that He caused a worldwide, cataclysmic flood?  You can’t have it both ways… either God can work miracles you can't explain... or He can't.  Theistic evolution can at best only be poor theism or poor evolution, or both.  "Scientific interpretations of the past have changed over time; if you marry your theology to today's science, you will be widowed tomorrow. **"

 

Ex nihilo creation MUST result in created objects which appear to be older than they truly were.  If trees were 'poofed' into being, how many rings did they have?  How old did the rocks appear to be?  How old did Adam appear to be, scientifically-measured?  Therefore, a professing Christian who agrees God created something from nothing MUST conclude that everything He created is truly 'younger' than it appears to be.

 

Maturity vs. Age?  We need not go down that rabbit-trail.  ALL ex nihilo effects (whether created 'mature' or 'with apparent age') naturalistically/logically MUST SEEM to have precedent causes; (thus by definition) requiring time-lapse (age).. but (miraculously) have none.  Therefore logically we must even EXPECT to find 'evidence' (effects) that seem to require greater time-lapse(age)... than really occurred.  So whether you say God tricked us by creating starlight without first creating the emitting stars... or by creating stars without first creating their precedents... eventually Bible-believers need to take God at His Word, irrespective of seemingly-required naturalistic chain-of-cause-effect assumptions.  [And remember, after all, naturalists have no answer for their paradox; ie, the beginning.].  Btw, I wouldn't get hung up in the language of stars & starlight(s).  Moreover, the Bible is clear, He created light before he created stars.

 

So did God 'trick us'? That's a foolish question, given that He told us outright.  Fact is, He told us point-blank that he poofed the trees into existence.  And mankind (yeah ok, 'from dust'... kind of like Jesus poofed wine into existence, yeah ok 'from water').  He enumerated the series of begats.  Jesus himself validated that Adam & Eve were 'at the beginning' (thus not having evolved closer historically to Jesus' time than the beginning).  So did He trick us?  Of course not.  Scripture asserts the miraculous cover-to-cover throughout its pages.  Of course He's operating outside 'natural laws' (our understanding) and outside of our logical conclusions.  His ways are much higher than our ways, and his thoughts much higher than our thoughts.  To say otherwise is to reject His Divine Kingship and fly in His face.  According to the Bible, this is exactly the sort of behavior of those who will face eternal wrath following His righteous judgment someday.

 

That being said, I totally believe in a young earth, based on scripture.  Scripture not only is filled with chapters upon chapters of wildly miraculous accounts, scripture itself claims (and I believe it) to be miraculously created, and offers self-validation via prophesies fulfilled, martyrdom and personal testimonies in lives today.  This special revelation from the Almighty is the best 'evidence' we have for history past, present day understandings, and promises about the future -- notably our continued future with the Almighty, eternally.

 

For a believer to try to read evolution into the Bible (eg. days=eons) is to introduce a whole new set of logical issues.  For instance, what will you do with the sequence of creation?  Remember, scripture says that light was created before light-emitting objects; earth before the stars, plants before the sun & other terrestrial objects.  Point is, what shall we think of God's very careful delineation of sequenced days?  And how shall we understand God 'resting' from creation, if creation is gradual and ongoing?  How about sin?  If the world was truly billions and billions of years old before man came onto the scene, then sin is virtually a brand new concept in the overall timeline, yes?  And apparently the 'Deist' position is accurate, at least for the billions of years that God took His 'hands-off' His created universe, before introducing 'choice' into man's world and then intervening in it.  Moreover, death -- according to Jesus -- came via one man (Adam); without death there would have been vast amounts of life present in Adam's day... Yet the Bible says that Adam was lonely in the garden.  And how does one reconcile no-death with a survival-of-the-fittest evolutionary mindset?  Where are all the logically-vast amounts of transitional forms?  How to explain inanimate becoming animate?  Unisex to male/female reproduction?  Moreover, what shall we think of Jesus explicitly telling us Adam & Eve were made male and female 'at the beginning' ?  [Not to mention, now the question of Jesus 'tricking us'... is asked of you.  Was He tricking His listeners, or indeed did He/God create Adam & Eve as scripture tells us?]  Further, if we read Jesus as an historical person... and go backward through the historical 'begats' from Christ back to King David... and continue backwards reading literally, which 'begat' in Genesis shall we then start reading only as 'allegory'?  Doing so opens Pandora's theological box -- any of us can change anything to mean anything -- and plain reading can't be trusted.  I assert the opposite -- God's seemingly-plain writing is all-sufficient

 

Hermeneutics... If we lay aside any motivations to make scripture say what WE want it to say, it reads very easily in terms we all understand (if we want to)… evening, morning, day, year, etc. Plain hermaneutics yield a pretty compact conclusion that the earth is less than 10,000 years old.   

 

Genesis is not the only wildly-miraculous portion of the Bible — it’s only the beginning. I also believe Exodus, taken at face-value. Also Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, etc… all the way through a New Testament filled with wildly-miraculous events.

 

The wildest miracle of all... In the final analysis, despite all the weight of evidence logically opposed to it, I believe what scripture says about loving me enough to die to pay the liability for my sins. Go figure.

 

Non-miraculous = Non-theistic... To limit our understanding of reality to ONLY empirical evidences is to limit ourselves to a non-theistic existence.  And trust me, you wouldn't want that -- it's the stuff that hell is made of.

 

Lack of viable alternatives... No one has posited a reasonable theory about sparking nothing into the first something. Nor have they ably explained away Isaiah (and so many others) foretelling of a merciful suffering Messiah… 700 years in advance. Nor why eye-witnesses of Christ (& his miracles & resurrection) would suffer martyrdom rather than recant their stories.  Seems to me the ‘intelligent’ thing to do would have been to roll-over and come clean. Unless of course, they feared God rather than man.

 

And finally... Re the ‘trickster’… Perhaps there is something that needs to be said here that’s not yet been said out loud.

 

[I realize that those of you who haven’t actually read the Bible are at a disadvantage. Otherwise, you’d know there are many more avenues you could pursue, like the following. But I’ll help you for a moment…]

 

Perhaps like a kindly ‘magician’ who’s not REALLY trying to get you to go home and saw your little brother in half; instead, he’s challenging you to perceive truth from him. Similarly people in Jesus’ day asked why He so often spoke in parables instead of just telling them plainly. Here’s his answer from Matthew 13…

He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables:

 

“Though seeing, they do not see;

though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

” ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;

you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.

For this people’s heart has become calloused;

they hardly hear with their ears,

and they have closed their eyes.

Otherwise they might see with their eyes,

hear with their ears,

understand with their hearts

and turn, and I would heal them.

*******

Be a little humble for a moment, for your own sake, and ask yourself… which group are you in? Which group would you like to be in? What’s keeping you out, really? And who are you arguing with, anyway?

 

 

 

If you're still reading this far down the page, perhaps this quick video
overview of the Bible would be helpful to you.  You decide... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Footnotes:

  • Note:  The above has been long overdue -- I've thought of doing it a million times, but didn't hit the NEW PAGE button until today, after finding myself commenting yet again at other sites -- in this case, at the lengthy discussion on World Mag Blog re Young Earth Creationism.  [Neil]
  • All scientific theory is based on an hypothesis.  An hypothesis as defined by the lead scientist on the Manhattan Project and noble winning physicist, Richard Feynman, is nothing more than "a guess".  Any assertion made by a scientist setting out to establish a body of evidence leading to the formation of a  theory begins with an hypothesis, a guess.  That guess can be wrong.  [M. Reed]
  • The imprecise use of language can alter our perception of scientific discovery and theory, creating its own bias, eliminating scientific impartiality. G. K. Chesterton notes an example of this modern (leading to postmodern) verbal and written transposition by demonstrating the use of the word spiritual for the word good: "The greatest disaster of the 19th century was this: that men began to use the word "spiritual" for the word "good".  They thought that, to grow in refinement and uncorporeality, was to grow in virtue.  When scientific evolution was announced, some feared that it would encourage mere animality.  It did worse: it encouraged mere spirituality.  It taught men to think that, so long as they were passing from the ape, they were going to the angel.  But you can pass from the ape and go to the devil."  What Chesterton means in connection with people favoring the argument for evolution is that this favoritism often is based  on how society has conveyed its approval for evolution over creation through the mis-connotation of words, rather than a decision to accept evolution over creation based on critical thinking.  [M. Reed] 
  • Humorous anecdote from Ken Ham... "A man came to me after a seminar and said, ‘Actually, I’m an atheist. Because I don’t believe in God, I don’t believe in absolutes, so I recognize that I can’t even be sure of reality.’ I responded, ‘Then how do you know you’re really here making this statement?’ ‘Good point,’ he replied. ‘What point?’ I asked. The man looked at me, smiled, and said, ‘Maybe I should go home.’ I stated, ‘Maybe it won’t be there.’ ‘Good point,’ the man said. ‘What point?’ I replied.   This man certainly got the message. If there is no God, ultimately, philosophically, how can one talk about reality? How can one even rationally believe that there is such a thing as truth, let alone decide what it is?"
  • Ken Ham's approach to debates... "We have the same facts -- we just interpret them differently."
  • Ken Ham's "New Answers Book"... an online book (as well as 'in print').  Article:  "How Old Is The Earth?"
  • Just for fun... "A One-Bit Theory of the Universe" (by who else?  LOL) 
  • What would I have to believe, in order to accept these few alternatives:
    • Naturalistic, Macro-Evolution, Classic Darwinism, Big-Bang, etc?  I'd have to believe... 
      • ...that it's ok to simply shrug off the question of real/ultimate origins (of the BigBang spark or whatever).
      • ...that it's ok to simply accept their circumstantial evidences, with dotted-lines creating the 'tree of life', without direct solid-lines evidence.
      • ...that the Uniformitarianism assumption is valid back to the very very original something (undefined).  That is, from the original moment, various laws of nature, such as radioactive carbon-dating rates are locked in stone.  Always uniform.  But mutations and 'randomness' caused all the change we see around us.  Ironic? 
      • ...that it's ok to not see a vast amount of 'missing links'. 
      • ...that there's not a better alternative explanation (from the Big Bang onward).
    • Theistic Evolution...
      • Most of the above.
      • That the Genesis 1 account is entirely poetic.  We may disregard the order.  And we may disregard the 7th day 'rest'.  (That is, evolution is ongoing -- no rest.)
      • And by extension, presumably I'd have to believe in all sorts of explanations of the other miracles in scripture.  After all, miracles are an abrogation of the natural order. 
      • Btw, here's a link to an extensive article by William Lane Craig.  Not advocating - just thought-provoking.  Esp. notice 'random'. 
    • Creation, but Old Earth... (eg, Hugh Ross)
      • Genesis1 days = eons... despite no other such usage of (yom) when used with modifiers like 'First Day', 'Second Day', 'Third Day'.  And poetic use of the allusion to 'mornings & evenings'... although we have no idea what those poetic devices allude to.
      • Genesis1 order = either is inconsequential or poetic (until you get to Adam)... or believe eg plants existed for eons of time without sun, moon & stars.
      • That pretty much everything 'evolved', except man and the BigBang spark/matter.  Adam is historic... created ex nihilo.  And obviously Adam & matter were created with the appearance of age; that's ok in this case.  But not mountains or anything else -- we need to accept their 'age' as scientifically-proven.
      • That the uniformitarian assumption is accurate for all laws of nature forever.  Eg measuring radioactive decay rates uniformly backwards all the way back to the BigBang... using the rate of deterioration in the 20th Century's atmosphere.
      • That admittedly sin entered into the world (by one man, Adam) WAY LATE... ie, closer to Jesus' time than to The Beginning.  (Recall Jesus alluded to Adam/Eve as 'from the beginning'.)
      • And 'death' did not allude to animal (or plant) 'death'.  Only human death.  And when scripture says the whole creation groans, it's too obscure to apply it to plants/animals suffering the effects of the fall.  Oh wait, weeds, mosquitos and evil cats were part of the fall; but that's all. 
      • That ex nihilo creation happened, causing the BigBang spark, but not 'speaking all the other things into being'. 
      • And bottom line:  I'd have to believe that OT & NT are incapable of understanding at face-value.  That it takes a rocket-scientist to get it even close to right.  And that 6,000 years passed without anyone getting it right.
      • (And even then, an OldEarth scientist/theologian still would have to admit that no matter how it all appears... THERE STILL IS A CONCEPTUAL POSSIBILITY THAT GOD SIMPLY SPOKE EVERYTHING INTO EXISTENCE, APPEARING AS HUGH ROSS FINDS IT TO BE.  That is, he cannot disprove the Creation account as it appears at face-value.)

 

From Jim ______ "Many people do not believe in God because they cannot be sure and do not see direct evidence of His existence but want others to accept evolution without direct/conclusive evidence."

 

 'EVOLUTION' tags.

 

 

 

 

 

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