Monday, May 04, 2009

The EvilBible.com Project, Part 2 - Top Ten Signs

(My previous posts on evilbible.com)
(Vox Veritatis' previous posts on evilbible.com)
(Atheism Is Dead's previous posts on evilbible.com)
(Blue3's post on evilbible.com)

Next up in exposing the foolishness of evilbible.com is the article "Top Ten Signs You're a Fundamentalist Christian".
True to form, no definition of "fundamentalist" is given. Does EB.com mean the historic definition of fundamentalist, or do they mean "someone who believes the Bible and is therefore worthy of pejorative appellation"? Yeah, my pesos are on the latter, too.
Now that I think about it, the whole problem with this page is that EB.com both is sloppy with its own definitions, to the point that it just doesn't provide any, and does not allow the other side to define itself, instead reserving that right for itself, without permission to do so.

So, let's take these one by one.

10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

-Well, first of all, I'm not "outraged" about such things.
-This crashes face-first on the breaker of presuppositional apologetics. That's precisely what we do - we investigate rival truth claims to discover whether they are internally consistent and consistent with reality. Problem is, we never find one that is, except for Christianity.

9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

-Again, I don't "feel insulted". I suppose EB.com is aiming at your typical uneducated, unthinking evanjellyfish who has never even heard of a-whatever-ism.
-Rather, I reject this idea that people evolved from other life forms, first and foremost, b/c God was there (and you weren't) and He said it went down differently.
-It is indeed dehumanising to think that humans are just another animal. On an evolutionary naturalist worldview, why treat humans differently from paramecia? B/c you feel like it and have empathy? Why is that a reason? So what?
-There is a great deal of evidence against common ancestry and very little in favor.
-While it's true that Adam (not "we") was created from dirt, EB.com would place the emphasis on "created from dirt", while the biblical acct emphasises it differently: "created from dirt", namely by the very hand of God, created in God's very image. EB.com, no surprise, leaves out the really important part.


8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

EB.com apparently is clueless as to the definition of the Trinity. Ali Baba is shadowboxing. What part of "one God" do you not understand?


7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

-I note again the emotive terminology.
-Allah, the god of Islam, does not exist. Rather, he is an imaginary person and/or a deceitful system perpetuated by demonic forces that is foisted on deceived people. Imaginary people and deceitful systems do not have the moral authority to justifiably execute such actions as killing people.
-On the other hand, if you're just weighing the options without regard to which god actually exists, I can see EB.com's point here. The God of the Bible directly commanded OT Israel to carry out certain military and genocidal actions against certain other people groups. Similarly, Allah of the Qur'an has directly commanded Muslims unto perpetuity (or further abrogatory revelation, whichever comes first) to carry out certain military and genocidal actions against certain other people groups - infidels.
-I am, however, unaware of the Qur'an's ascribing any redemptive typology to such endeavors, especially since redemption is a specious idea within Islam. On biblical theology, such annihilations (so total that they extend, yes, to trees and livestock) are the judgment for rebellious and unrepentant sin and a signal to all who hear and read of it to repent, b/c it is a type of God's ultimate (and very unpleasant) destruction of all who remain in their sin. Yet, there is always a way out, as Rahab discovered in the Jericho acct, and that is typological as well - a sinner, even an inhabitant of a land doomed for God's judgment, who has faith and repents and is thus joined to God's people, is saved from the wrathful judgment to come.


6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

-What specific problem does EB.com have with the idea that God the Holy Spirit entered into His own creation and implanted baby Jesus in Mary's womb? No argument is given.
-More correctly, it should be said that Mary gave birth to The God-Man, not "a man-god."
-Other than that, yeah, EB.com is right. (Twice in a row!) And so what? We have good reason to believe that those events actually happened, and little reason to believe the Hindu/Greek events did. Further, the Hindu/Greek stories emerge from an incoherent and irrational polytheistic system, as opposed to the monotheistic system that is actually the case.


5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

-There are quite a few good reasons to doubt the currently-accepted modes of discovering the ages of stuff. The typical dating-by-element counterarguments apply; one of my favorites is the oft-repeated acct wherein this or that part of a LIVING animal returns a several-thousand year old date, and another part a different several-thousand year old date.
-Such dating schemes beg the question by arbitrarily assuming how much of the element was already present back then.
-They also beg the question by assuming the uniformity of today's natural processes and retrojecting them back to pre-observed times (times for which we have observation extend, we must understand, ~less than 100 years).
-Deep Time is Deep Time, and without a time machine much more difficult to penetrate than your typical Internet antitheist understands.
-We don't rely on "Bronze Age tribesmen", but rather on the word of the living God, Who just so happened to be present and accounted-for at the time of creation and after.


4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

-Does EB.com have evidence against this?
-Same question as always - What is EB.com's moral problem with this?
-And as usual, sin and how horrible it is goes unmentioned. No mention made of God's eternal redemptive plan that involves setting apart a people for His own possession. No mention of the fact that those in Hell are getting precisely what they want and what they deserve - being far away from God, all remnants of His influence (ie, common grace) removed, their own free will totally in charge, free to run amok and claw and scrap at everyone else in Hell.
-I don't consider my religion the most tolerant, no. Unitarianism would probably win that one. Yet what do I care about the modern definitions (and perversions) of "tolerance"?
-It is, however, the most loving, b/c it is the truth. You are a sinner, you need a Savior. No false assurances, no false comfort - the cold, hard truth along with the beautiful, awesome truth that Jesus died to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.


3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

Apparently EB.com is not aiming this objection at most anyone who is concerned about truth, but it would be perhaps a valid critique of many charismatic evanjellyfish in the West today. I should think this one belongs at #10 though, if they are in order of strength.


2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

-Again we encounter problems of definition. 100% is the success rate for prayers; God answers every single one. And a lot of the time the answer is No, or Wait. What is EB.com's argument for why we should accept their own implicit definition rather than the Christian one?
-And of course, this mistakes the purpose of prayer. Prayer is not the activation of man's will in Heaven, but rather of God's will in man's heart and on Earth. It is my communication with God that makes ME holier and more like Christ.
-Why would we think that an omniscient and good God would answer every prayer with a "Heck yeah" whenever we ask? Didn't Ali Baba see "Bruce Almighty", wherein Bruce/God answers all 4.5 million prayers with a Yes To All? And the chaos that ensues? Yes, it was Hollywood, but on that one they got it exactly right.
-EB.com would perhaps want to define "answered prayer" as a miraculous intervention of God. But aren't miracles by conventional definition rare occurrences? Further, a lot of "failures" are actually "Wait/Not yet"-type answers, misunderstood by the pray-er, who just KNEW that it would all fall apart if he doesn't get deliverance RIGHT NOW b/c he doesn't see the big picture or the big plan like God does.


1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.

-I would assume EB.com excludes themselves from those atheists and agnostics who know anythg about the Bible, Christianity, and church history, b/c their grasp of it, if their website is any indication, is woeful.
-And let's be frank - by the grace of God, I do know more about at least the Bible and Christianity than virtually all skeptics I've ever encountered, and more about ch hist than most.
-As if a wide and deep grasp of the Bible, Xtianity, and ch hist is necessary to be a Christian. The simplest farmhand can understand the Gospel and his sin and thus be saved, by the grace of God.
-Once again it appears that EB.com is aiming at the typical evanjellyfish. As far as this critique goes, I say "Amen!" Let those who name the name of Christ and know next to nothing about His Word and the history of His dealings in the world be ashamed of themselves.

Finally, let's ask ourselves - do any of these points have anything to do with whether Christianity is true? No, not really. One can spare oneself the horrible emotional trauma and skip this site, to be sure.

28 comments:

Seth said...

Makes me wonder which Christians EB has been hanging out with. Most likely, its just a faceless, accusatory rant. I've never met anyone (even counting some legitimate ignorami) who believe all or most of those things.

justfinethanks said...

Oh, look, it's trying to understand science again. Adorable.

one of my favorites is the oft-repeated acct wherein this or that part of a LIVING animal returns a several-thousand year old date, and another part a different several-thousand year old date. Citation? From a respectable source, preferably. Usually, these examples are either outright lies of datings that never actually happened or a complete misrepresentation of the events. Tell me what what you are referring to here and I'll let you know in which way you are misinformed (or lied to, as is usually the case with creationist websites.)

Besides, I fail to understand how an example of an inaccurate dating speaks to the unreliability of EVERY SINGLE dating technique. One time I tried to use a ruler to measure a pipe at four inches and wound up marking it at 3.8 (whoops). Do you think it's high time to throw out all measuring sticks? If no, you're not being consistent with your treatment of measuring tools.

Such dating schemes beg the question by arbitrarily assuming how much of the element was already present back then. Oh, dear, you're right. If only there some way to confirm the assumptions that go into radiometric dating. Like say, having dozens of dating techniques that all rely upon a different element or method and being able to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that they all agree with each other.

They also beg the question by assuming the uniformity of today's natural processes and retrojecting them back to pre-observed times For someone who claims that they possess they only worldview that can "account" for the uniformity of nature, you sure do deny the uniformity of nature an awful lot. You are either ignoring the point or you're just a bit slow to learn: when you DENY the uniformity of nature, all of a sudden YOU are the one who can't "account" for lots of things. Like why your computer is working right now, or why the atoms that compose your head don't break apart spontaneously. Denying the uniformity of nature, besides being completely irrational, is the last ditch effort of a bankrupt worldview.

Deep Time is Deep Time, and without a time machine much more difficult to penetrate than your typical Internet antitheist understands. Wait, maybe resorting to radical skepticism is actually the last ditch effort of a bankrupt worldview. Because that is basically what you are engaging in when you deny that we are capable of learning anything about the natural world by observing it and making reasonable inferences.

We don't rely on "Bronze Age tribesmen", but rather on the word of the living God, Who just so happened to be present and accounted-for at the time of creation and after. Considering that we now know the truth of how the Earth formed, and there is zero positive evidence for either a global flood or a six to ten thousand year Earth, either:

1) Genesis is an allegorical, not literal account of creation.
2) God is a big fat liar by making the world look old.
3) The authors of Genesis had no more access the actual origins of the universe than the authors of the Apache creation myth."Things went down exactly as Genesis says it did" isn't on the table.

Rhology said...

Hi jft,

carbon datingGoing for the low-hanging fruit, I see. I decline to get into this. If you want to fight about it, I can help you find Answers in Genesis' or someone's email address. This is a minor point on my schema of argumentation.


I fail to understand how an example of an inaccurate dating speaks to the unreliability of EVERY SINGLE dating technique.Let's say my example happened. It wasn't just wrong, it was spectacularly, amazingly, mind-blowingly wrong. I see plenty of reasons all around me to think that people who have a dog in the fight aren't necessarily all that interested in entertaining counterarguments or dissenting evidence.


Like say, having dozens of dating techniques that all rely upon a different element or method and being able to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that they all agree with each other. And which all share the exact same base assumption.



you sure do deny the uniformity of nature an awful lot. Do you remember what I keep saying about internal and external critiques?



Denying the uniformity of nature, besides being completely irrational, is the last ditch effort of a bankrupt worldview.Prove it, then.
And I'm not talking about just nature on Earth, unless you want to make that qualification and argue for why anyone else should accept it. I'm talking about ALL of nature. For ALL of time.

Hint - you can't prove it. It's an assumption, nothing more.


maybe resorting to radical skepticism is actually the last ditch effort of a bankrupt worldview.I'd argue that atheism IS radical skepticism.
Or perhaps you'd like to contact Bart Ehrman and tell him that. I'm sure he'd be very interested and oh, so absorbed.
You're a big name-caller. Got an argument?



1) Genesis is an allegorical, not literal account of creation.Prove it. How do you know?


2) God is a big fat liar by making the world look old.God created Adam and all the animals full-grown. I suppose He's a liar for that reason too?
So even though Adam was ~20-something yrs old in dvlpment, he was actually 1 second old. And it doesn't matter that one can easily just ASK God how old everythg is, and He'll happily let you know?
See, in the Adam case, you'd guess that he was ~20 or whatever, but that would be merely b/c of your limited powers of observation and measurement. You weren't there to observe it, but someone else was. Just ask the guy who was there.
You could do that in this case, but no, you much prefer your unbelieving and absurd worldview to make you feel more comfortable.


3) The authors of Genesis had no more access the actual origins of the universe Wow, more naked assertion. Thanks for your emoting.
God is the author, and yeah, He was there.

justfinethanks said...

Going for the low-hanging fruit, I see.
You're accusing ME of going after the low hanging fruit? And what exactly are you doing in this blog post? Critiquing Quintin Smith's most recent attack on theism in Philo ? No, you're critiquing evilbible.com.

What do you have lined up for your next intellectual feat? Arguing with a twelve year old who brings up the "heavy rock" paradox?

I decline to get into this.
No more science talk for you, then. You always get it... what was the phrase?


spectacularly, amazingly, mind-blowingly wrong.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Of course we are still assuming such an example of a poorly dated living animal even exists. Until you post a link talking about this "mind blowingly" wrong date, it's pointless to even discuss this as any kind of counterargument.

And which all share the exact same base assumption.

No, the DON'T rely on the same base assumption because they rely on completely different elements, which have different decay rates. If for example our Potassium Argon dates were wrong, it would be really easy to tell by using a separate dating technique that doesn't use these elements, like Rubidium Strontium dating.

It's like this: pretend that you wanted to learn the distance from San Diego to LA by driving a car and checking an odometer, and let's further assume that each car make uses a different kind of odometer. If you just drove a Ford up there, it's entirely possible the distrust the reading, because there would be no way to be certain that the odometer was calibrated or if it was accurate. But if you tried it again with a Volvo, a Honda, a Pontiac, over and over and over again with forty different makes and they all got the identical result, there would be no reasonable way to deny that the Ford reading was accurate in the first place.

This is the situation we are left with: we have dozens of techniques and they all match.

Do you remember what I keep saying about internal and external critiques?

This doesn't really make sense. Are you saying that if naturalism is true, then we have no reason to believe in the uniformity of nature, because only Christianity can account for it, and we therefore have no reason to trust radiometric clocks? If so, this argument doesn't advance your position in regard to the age of the Earth and how literal Genesis is, because no matter who can "account" for the uniformity of nature, the data still exists even if I were to grant Christianity. Even if Christianity is true, a literal Genesis is false, so your presupper nonsense doesn't work here.


Hint - you can't prove it. It's an assumption, nothing more.

Uh, it's an assumption that it is incoherent to deny and also one that YOU believe in. Are you seriously going to tell me that you DON'T believe that nature is uniform?

Either:
1) You accept that nature is uniform and we have no disagreement.
2) You deny that nature is uniform and YOU have some SERIOUS problems.

No third choice. Pick.


You're a big name-caller. Got an argument?

Let me try and break it down for you. If you declare that it is impossible to know something, even through observation and reasonable inferences, that's really nothing more than radical skepticism. Your something, in this case is the distant past. I would like to know your argument to that affect. It can't be because we can't observe the distant past directly, because that is the radical empiricism that you so despise. Plus, we can't observe subatomic particles or lots of extrasolar planets directly, but I have little doubt that you don't have a problem with those. So, take that question, and turn it around: What's your argument that it's impossible to learn anything about the origins of the Earth and the Universe scientifically?

And what the hell is with the Bart Ehrman swipe? Is it his denial of the resurrection or what?

How do you know?

I don't know. In fact, I don't think that at all. I think Genesis is a silly handful of "just so" stories and one amongst countless of creation myths made by people in pre scientific times. It was just one of three options available to rational people.

And it doesn't matter that one can easily just ASK God how old everythg is, and He'll happily let you know?

Well, there are lots of competing creation myths. I'm not just going to believe one or the other because some people say it's how "God" said it happened. I suppose it would be smart to test the natural world to see which one had it right. (Answer: None of them.)

limited powers of observation
Wow, what a hilariously self defeating argument. You are actually trying to say that if any observation that is made with "limited" powers (perception, knowledge, information, etc.), it is not to be trusted. Well, then I TOTALLY can't trust Genesis, then because when I look at my Bible, and I have to rely upon my mortal, limited state to process and understand it, I have no reason to trust that my limited understanding of the Bible is in any way accurate. In fact, you are limited too, Rho, so you have no reason to believe that Christianity is true. Or even if it is true, your limited understanding of soteriology may be so off that you are damned and not even know it.

So, really, you should either accept that it is possible to know things even if your powers of observation or knowledge are limited, or start to brace for that inevitable day when Satan casts you into the lake of fire.


You could do that in this case, but no, you much prefer your unbelieving and absurd worldview to make you feel more comfortable.

When you claim that I believe that the Earth is old only because that makes me "feel comfortable," what you are really doing is psychoanalyzing me using Bible based psychology, specifically Romans 1 (which I think counts an External critique of my psyche). Similarly, when I claim that the only reason that you believe that I secretly believe in God is because you have been brainwashed using the "sacred science" technique, I am employing scientifically based psychology, specifically the work of Robert Jay Lifton.

Since you don't believe that external critiques are productive and I don't really like putting people on the couch when I debate them, maybe it would just be best if we both took our psychology based arguments off the table and proceeded with the assumption that we are both sincere in our beliefs.

That is, if presuppers are even allowed to do that.



Wow, more naked assertion.

I wasn't even "asserting" this, I was simply saying that it was one amongst three rational positions to take. Given the limited options, it happens to be the view I subscribe to, but I wasn't even specifically arguing for this point in my post.

But if you do read other creation stories, it becomes fast apparent that Genesis authors were just as clued into the real origins of the Earth as every other culture with a creation myth.

God is the author, and yeah, He was there.

Assuming that, He is either a moron, a liar, or likes to communicate complex things using allegory. There is a zero percent chance that He wrote down what ACTUALLY happened.

Rhology said...

Just FYI, I signed onto the evilbible.com project b/c several Internet antitheists were engaging Mariano of AtheismIsDead on national-level debater and speaker Dan Barker, and they pointed to evilbible.com as a useful site with powerful arguments. I might agree that it's low-hanging fruit, given how it's so far turned out in quality of argumentation, but there are those who don't regard it as such.



Are you saying that if naturalism is true, then we have no reason to believe in the uniformity of nature, because only Christianity can account for it, and we therefore have no reason to trust radiometric clocks?Correct. Or ANYthing, for that matter, including your cognitive faculties.
First you need to provide an account for why your cognitive faculties are trustworthy, given the obvious reasons to doubt them on naturalism.


If so, this argument doesn't advance your position in regard to the age of the Earth and how literal Genesis is, because no matter who can "account" for the uniformity of nature, the data still exists even if I were to grant Christianity.But data do not speak for themselves. They require interpretation thru a worldview lens, whatever that worldview may be. On Christianity, the data point to Jesus, and Jesus' testimony is a much higher standard of evidence than what rocks and imperfect radiometric "clocks" might tell us. Limited human reason must be submitted to the higher standard of God.


Even if Christianity is true, a literal Genesis is false,Why?


Are you seriously going to tell me that you DON'T believe that nature is uniform?Correct.
And on naturalism, I identify this as an ASSUMPTION, not a proven argument. So, do you concede that it's an assumption on your part?


If you declare that it is impossible to know something, even through observation and reasonable inferences, that's really nothing more than radical skepticismCorrect. On naturalism, that is precisely my contention.



And what the hell is with the Bart Ehrman swipe? Is it his denial of the resurrection or what?It's his radical skepticism regarding ANY ancient document. You're calling his historical worldview "bankrupt" and I'm just wondering how well he'd take that.



You are actually trying to say that if any observation that is made with "limited" powers (perception, knowledge, information, etc.), it is not to be trustedNot when there is far superior evidence on the table, no.



Well, then I TOTALLY can't trust Genesis, As if reading a text and trying to perform forensic examination on data that are 100s of millions of yrs old are equivalent.
Though you're right in a sense - your human, sinful reading of the text will be flawed b/c you are trying to use autonomous human reason when neither your worldview nor mine thinks that's possible.


When you claim that I believe that the Earth is old only because that makes me "feel comfortable," what you are really doing is psychoanalyzing me using Bible based psychology, specifically Romans 1 (which I think counts an External critique of my psyche).Correct. It'd be hard to perform an internal critique on this issue, since on naturalism there's little reason to think your thought processes count any more than that of a head of cabbage, or the secretions of your liver.


He is either a moron, a liar, or likes to communicate complex things using allegory. There is a zero percent chance that He wrote down what ACTUALLY happened.He doesn't mind allegory, but Gen 1-2 isn't allegory.
What is your argument that the chances it happened that way are literally 0%? How do you prove a negative like that?

Dr Funkenstein said...

First you need to provide an account for why your cognitive faculties are trustworthy, given the obvious reasons to doubt them on naturalism.I quite like the EAAN as an argument, but I have to say Christian theism is an appalling choice as the alternative to naturalism, given that it openly admits the existence of various supernatural demons and entities actively trying to trick our senses and distort our perceptions of reality or the physical and psychologically corrupting effects of sin. In fact, as you've said many a time,on Christianity you expect that most people will be irrational - hardly a great advert for promoting Christianity as the alternative to naturalism with EAAN. I'd also add as a presupper, appealing to such arguments is an irrelevance since presuppositionalism by fiat implies that naturalism must be wrong as its initial starting assumption - no logical or empirical argument can be allowed to trump that if one accepts Pressup Apologetics (not that there is any real reason for a person to do so, I should add)

Ignoring the fact there are boatloads of theses, philosophy papers and books responding to Plantinga's points (have you read any of these or simply assumed Plantinga must be correct in his reasoning?), the poster could also simply appeal to other potent arguments against theism such as the problem of evil.

justfinethanks said...

I might agree that it's low-hanging fruit, given how it's so far turned out in quality of argumentation, but there are those who don't regard it as such.
That's unfortunate. It looks like the work of a bunch of "WELL WHO CREATED GOD THEN" teenage atheists.

Plus their understanding of evolution and science is atrocious:

Micro evolution is a fact, where as macro evolution remains a theory due to debates on the exact steps of the evolutionary process. EVOLUTION DID HAPPEN we simply can’t trace the exact evolutionary steps of the of the 3 trillion plus species on earth. Considering there is no way that we can even prove if we have located all the species on earth, this may always remain a theory.
This person obviously has no idea what a scientific theory means nor why we know how evolution is true. In fact, if I was on the fence, this mangling might push me towards creationism. I'll grant you this much, Rho: some people do indeed accept evolution on faith.


First you need to provide an account for why your cognitive faculties are trustworthy, given the obvious reasons to doubt them on naturalism.

If were debating theism vs. naturalism, I indeed might have to deal with things like the Argument from Reason or the EAAN. But since we are trying to establish how old the Earth actually is, I could cheerfully grant you God, the Trinity, and the Resurrection for the sake of argument, and it won't harm my position (4.5 billion year old Earth) nor help your position (6 to 10 thousand year old Earth) in the slightest. Because the data stands no matter who holds what worldview.


On Christianity, the data point to Jesus, and Jesus' testimony is a much higher standard of evidence than what rocks and imperfect radiometric "clocks" might tell us.
Ok, I think you trying to say that if I were to grant you Christianity, then the word of God would override any empirical evidence. I would say that even if I were to grant that both Christianity is true AND that God's word overrides empirical evidence, you still suffer from serious problems. Because now you have a few doctrines that are in conflict:

1) Genesis is literal.
2) God's word is absolute.
3) God ensures us that our senses are reliable and reason and logic can lead to truth.

These can't all be true, in light of the evidence for an older than six thousand year Earth. If Earth IS older than six thousand years, then either 1 or 2 is false. If Earth is actually 6-10 thousand years, then three can't be true, in light of the overwhelming evidence.

And I'm not just talking about radiometric dating. If we were to take all radiometric dating methods off of the table, I could still prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Earth is older than what Genesis 1 and 2 would suggest using dendrochronology , ice core dating , geomagnetic reversals, rock varnish, objects in the universe that are millions of light years away , continental drift, the existence of multiple impact craters from mass extension causing asteroids , and geological erosion.

There's more, but I'll spare you. In short, if you are saying that ALL of these methods which allow anyone with functioning senses and the ability to reason to conclude that the Earth is much older than six to ten thousand years are false, then we have no good reason to believe that either our senses or our ability to reason are valid. Which is, I'm sure you know, a big problem.


Correct.
And on naturalism, I identify this as an ASSUMPTION, not a proven argument.


Fine, but no more "theism can account for induction" from you then.

So, do you concede that it's an assumption on your part?

I never denied it was an assumption, but like I said, it is an assumption that it is incoherent to deny. Saying "I don't believe in the uniformity of nature" is like saying "I don't believe I can speak English."

But I would argue that the uniformity of nature can be inferred (but not proven, obviously) deductively. Namely, given that our existence is dependant upon the consistency of countless physical laws, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that nature is indeed uniform.

It's his radical skepticism regarding ANY ancient document. You're calling his historical worldview "bankrupt" and I'm just wondering how well he'd take that.

My familiarity with Bart Ehrman begins and ends with "Misquoting Jesus," so I'm not really qualified to comment on his methodology. But in that book he certainly seemed to accept the validity of a range of manuscripts. And given his contempt for Jesus Mythicists, I don't think he is quite as skeptical as you make him out to be.

As if reading a text and trying to perform forensic examination on data that are 100s of millions of yrs old are equivalent.

Right, so you think that humans are just "limited" enough to help your agenda but not so limited that it hurts your agenda. This is pure special pleading. Your "We should be skeptical of conclusions acquired with limited understanding" argument is self refuting, which should be made obvious by this ad hoc attempt to rescue it.

It'd be hard to perform an internal critique on this issue, since on naturalism there's little reason to think your thought processes count any more than that of a head of cabbage, or the secretions of your liver.

This is a lousy argument too.

P1) Brains secrete chemicals.
P2) Livers secrete chemicals.
C) The function of the brain is equivalent to the function of the liver.

Lets try this with something else.

P1) Kazoos are made of plastic
P2) Cell phones are made of plastic.
C) The function of a kazoo is equivalent to the function of a cell phone.

This false equivalence doesn't quite work (as world class dimwit Douglas Wilson doesn't quite grasp).

The brain is a fascinating, beautiful, complex machine, with a 100 billion neurons connected by a 100 trillion synapses, and the fact that it is made of matter (as the emerging field of neuroscience continues to confirm every year) doesn't comment at all on its function or the validity of the brain's output.

He doesn't mind allegory, but Gen 1-2 isn't allegory.

Then Christianity can't be true. That's what it comes down to, really: either accept that Genesis doesn't have to be literal or accept that Christianity is false. If you go the Omphalos route, you run into a lot more epistemic problems than you could ever accuse naturalism of.


What is your argument that the chances it happened that way are literally 0%? How do you prove a negative like that?

What odds would you put on the statement "Cairo is thirty feet from Los Angeles?" If I was in some sort of cosmic betting parlor, I would feel comfortable betting all my worldly possessions on that statement being false, just because there is just so much evidence to its falsehood. The same just goes for "The Earth is less than ten thousand years old." The evidence against it so overwhelming, its not even worth considering seriously.

Rhology said...

Hi Dr Funk,


on Christianity you expect that most people will be irrationalYou're right, and it's a good question.
Thing is, if the argument is correct, then there's no reason to trust one's cognitive faculties on naturalism. None vs some - I'll take some.
The EAAN is a good argument, I think. I add it to the potpourri of arguments along these lines. I think the on naturalism, cognition reduces to brain gas, excretions of an organ inside one's head, as opposed to excretions of a shaken-up Coke can or the bile of the liver argument and the on naturalism, there's no evidence against and no reason to think you're not a brain in a vat arguments are also effective here.

And no, unfortunately I haven't seen a lot of refutations to Plantinga. Wish I had the time!
But what I have seen seems to try to be responding to EAAN on one particular grounds, yet I recently responded to that very thing.

I'd also add as a presupper, appealing to such arguments is an irrelevance since presuppositionalism by fiat implies that naturalism must be wrong as its initial starting assumptionWell, yeah, but not when you engage in the internal critique of naturalism. In the internal critique, you start off with "Naturalism is true" and see what happens then. If you find "If X is true, then X is false", then the internal critique has CONCLUDED that the worldview is irrational. In this case, evidence does matter b/c the naturalist typically appeals to empiricism as his standard, and if it can't sustain or justify itself, it fails.




jft,

At least we can agree on one thing - evilbible.com sucks! :-D


Because the data stands no matter who holds what worldview.But not the interpretation of that data. It is very naïve to think that data "speak for themselves" on sthg like this, especially when you can't observe or repeat the issue in question.



3) God ensures us that our senses are reliable and reason and logic can lead to truth.God ensures us that our senses are reliable and reason and logic can lead to truth, when properly used and submitted to God. It's an important qualification.


but no more "theism can account for induction" from you then.Why not? There's plenty of reason to do so. Miracles and supernatural events are extremely rare.


Namely, given that our existence is dependant upon the consistency of countless physical laws, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that nature is indeed uniform.But you believe that homo sapiens is less than 100K yrs old, and the Earth is more than 4 billion. What about before?


P1) Brains secrete chemicals.
P2) Livers secrete chemicals.
C) The function of the brain is equivalent to the function of the liver.
I don't think it's quite accurate to say it like that.
Livers secrete bile and are part of the body.
Brains secrete thoughts and are part of the body.
What specifically makes me think that my brain's secretions are different in quality and kind from the secretions of other body parts?


Your "We should be skeptical of conclusions acquired with limited understanding" argument is self refuting, which should be made obvious by this ad hoc attempt to rescue it.Well, I was responding to an external critique from you. If I'm looking at Xtianity's internal consistency in this question, the limited understanding is certainly true on humans' part, but we don't rely only on our reason.
That's why I've been asking you whether you have a time machine. You don't OBSERVE the passing of Deep Time, and as I pointed out in the original post, records go back less than 100 yrs in most cases. You don't know that nature has been uniform. You violate your own "We must observe what we believe to be true" principles in this question. You don't take into acct the fact that these things to which you're appealing aren't clocks.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"several Internet antitheists were engaging Mariano of AtheismIsDead on national-level debater and speaker Dan Barker, and they pointed to evilbible.com as a useful site with powerful arguments."

Dan Barker??

He was exposed by James White. See here.

Dr Funkenstein said...

But not the interpretation of that data. It is very naïve to think that data "speak for themselves" on sthg like this, especially when you can't observe or repeat the issue in question.You don't OBSERVE the passing of Deep Time, and as I pointed out in the original post, records go back less than 100 yrs in most cases. You violate your own "We must observe what we believe to be true" principles in this question.*sigh* not this yet again...you're a. hardly using the definitions of 'observation' or 'repeatedly' how they'd be used in a scientific environment and b. not being consistent given that the overwhelming majority of science (most of which you presumably are happy to accept) relies on inferences from indirect observation:

The Earth's core:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_Superdeep_Borehole
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structure_of_the_Earth

the Kola superdeep borehole - deepest ever drilling experiment (12.26 km deep)
the earth's core (5000-6000+km deep - ie noone has ever observed it)

yet, there are scientific theories regarding its makeup:

"Scientific understanding of Earth's internal structure is based on extrapolations of physical evidence which has come from the first few kilometres of Earth's surface, samples brought to the surface from deeper depths by volcanic activity and analysis of seismic waves that pass through it." (emphases mine)



Exoplanets:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exoplanets

"An extrasolar planet, or exoplanet, is a planet beyond our Solar System, orbiting a star other than our Sun. As of April 2009, 347 exoplanets are listed in the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia.[1] The vast majority have been detected through radial velocity observations and other indirect methods rather than actual imaging"

So are the above genuine scientific ideas or not - ie do you think someone has no good reason to declare that an unobserved exoplanet exists, or make a statement about what reactions may be occurring in the Earth's core?


Moving on - to use the chromosomal fusion example I wrote about ages ago:

Things that have been observed in the here and now by numerous independent observers:

1. The sequence of human and chimp chromosome 2s
2. The sequence that centromeres and telomeres have in chimps and humans
3. The fact that many populations that share ancestry differ in chromosome count for numerous different species (eg mice/sheep/horses)
4. The fact that some of the above populations can still interbreed (sometimes forming offspring with a 3rd distinct karyotype)
5. The fact that the sequences in 1. are virtually identical in a single pair of human chromsomes vs that in 2 pairs of chimp chromosomes
6. The fact that the sequences in 2. are found not just on the ends of the human chromosome but also in the middle and that there are not 1 but 2 centromere sequences
7. As per 4., we see observable examples of this happening in populations that you (presumably) agree are linked by common ancestry. Why this does not extend to the rather obvious conclusion that supports the idea of chimp/human shared ancestry in your view is beyond me

So by my count, that's at least 4 or 5 direct observations that support the conclusion, all of which were/are repeatable and reproducible.


On the other hand you are asking us to accept your alternative, which appears based on the following:

1. we have to ignore a large number of physical facts, as well as well studied phenomena that are verifiable first hand and reproducible by numerous independent researchers in favour of the words of an unknown author(s) with zero investigative equipment whose method of acquiring knowledge regarding biology appears to extend no further than claiming to have been told it by an invisible magical man - not to sound facetious, but that's ultimately what divine revelation boils down to.
2. following on from 1., this (God of the gaps) is an approach that has been used inummerable times through history, in every instance it has been applied it has eventually resulted in a resounding failure and inevitaby replaced by a naturalistic alternative. However, said explanations are indistinguishable from the approach the author(s) of Genesis have taken: don't know something? Must have been God/angels/demons*

*delete as applicable

3. You are unable to provide any real world examples that come anywhere close to the scientific merit of the 7 points I raise above that would support examples of instantaneous supernatural creation, replete with beings possessing what appears to be a chromosomal fusion but actually isn't. On the other hand, I can provide several examples to support my position


Finally, you curiously undercut your own position by denying we can know things that happened in the past - given that this includes purported historical events, such as the life and times of Jesus, the creation of man what good reason would this approach give anyone to accept Christianity? After all, I can't observe God imparting revelation to whoever the author of Genesis was, or observe the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus can I? and neither are repeatable, so again why (based on your proposed methodological limitations) should we believe they happened?

You don't take into acct the fact that these things to which you're appealing aren't clocks.protons and magnetic fields aren't cameras, yet they work fine to enable us to produce MRI scans. radioactive decay doesn't care if you want to power a city, but it works fine for that - would you have a problem with people exploiting these secondary purposes?

You don't know that nature has been uniform.Right - but what we do ask is how theism explains the things that were all apparently different all these years ago:

For example, Prof Joe Meert calculated the temp of the Earth based on assumptions favourable to creationists and still found values several times hotter than the sun - if the Earth is 6000 years old, where did all this heat go to? when the continental plates were zooming about during the flood, where did the heat generated by the kinetic energy go?

Noone seems to be able to alter the speed of light or radioactive decay rates by any significant amount - yet creationists tell us this is possible. We want them to show us how.

We can show real examples (above) of populations linked by ancestry that vary in chromosome count (sheep, mice etc), and show examples of fusions. We want to know why we should ignore similar examples that creationists for some reason don't agree to for no obvious reason.

Why during the flood was this rather long list of things so markedly different?

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html

in fact, my list could go on for some time - in every instance the naturalist can show real world examples of the phenomena he/she accepts, most of which YECs also have no trouble in agreeing to. However, this agreement breaks down when we reach a set of circumstances that the theist wishes to arbitrarily privilege, despite providing no real reason to do so other than special pleading - why exactly should we be expected to accept this?

justfinethanks said...

It is very naïve to think that data "speak for themselves" on sthg like this I don't think it's naive at all. In fact, the stunning amount of evidence across several fields is exactly why "Old Earth" creationists exist. When you deny evolution, then you only have to deny mainstream understandings of biology and genetics. When you deny an old Earth, that puts you in direct contention with physics, geology, chemistry, and astronomy. In short, there is hardly an area of science that YEC doesn't come in direct contention with, even if we were to disallow radio-dating as evidence.

But even radiometric dating is remarkably reliable. In fact, I fully contend that if you were take the most technical most thorough, most advanced critique of radiometric dating that YEC has to offer and pit it against the mainstream understanding of radiometric dating, mainstream science would win in the first round with a knockout.

especially when you can't observe or repeat the issue in question. Except we can do repeated testing. We can test different elements in different labratories. Or like I said, we could abandon radiometrics and test different dating methods in different ways.

God ensures us that our senses are reliable and reason and logic can lead to truth, when properly used and submitted to God. Do you think that Francis Collins (America's most prominent geneticist) senses are not "properly submitted to God?" He wrote an entire book laying out the scientific evidence for the existence of God, yet he still accepts all mainstream scientific explanations of the origin of the universe and the diversity and complexity of life. The story of his conversion, which happened during a hike after reading Mere Christianity at 26, is fairly famous in the scientific community:

On a beautiful fall day, as I was hiking in the Cascade Mountains … the majesty and beauty of God's creation overwhelmed my resistance. As I rounded a corner and saw a beautiful and unexpected frozen waterfall, hundreds of feet high, I knew the search was over. The next morning, I knelt in the dewy grass as the sun rose and surrendered to Jesus Christ. Sounds sincere enough to me.

I fail to understand how exactly converting to Christianity suddenly changes the appearance of radioisotopes, tree rings, ice layers, etc. It certainly didn't for Collins.

But you believe that homo sapiens is less than 100K yrs old, and the Earth is more than 4 billion. What about before? Well, even before, if there was some sort of massive change in the gravitaitonal force or the strong nuclear force, for example, the rapid change would be so dramatic it would probably rip the universe apart. Even if the change was gradual, it probably wouldn't allow for the consistent formation of stars. It's obviously not enough to the prove the uniformity of nature, but it is enough to reasonably infer that it is at least very uniform.

What specifically makes me think that my brain's secretions are different in quality and kind from the secretions of other body parts? It's the what those secretions produce. In one case it's bile, in another case its a mind. Why trust my bile over my mind for making decisions or holding to beliefs, then? For the same reason I trust a golf club over a thumbtack for hitting golf balls. These things have different functions.

It's like saying "Well, your liver secretes chemicals and your thyroid gland secretes chemicals. So what is to say that your stomach is any better or worse at producing insulin than your thyroid gland?" Obviously, my stomach's function isn't producing insilin, just as my liver's function isn't to think: my brain does that.

That's why I've been asking you whether you have a time machine. You don't OBSERVE the passing of Deep Time, and as I pointed out in the original post, records go back less than 100 yrs in most cases. When did I ever say I was some sort of radical empiricist? As you have pointed out, such a position is self refuting. If I see a house with light coming from it, I think it's reasonable to infer that there is a turned on light bulb inside the house, even though I can't see the light bulb directly. Similarly, when detrital zircons yield an isotope ratio that indicates that there exists matter on Earth that is 4.4 Billion years old , it's fairly reasonable to infer that as well (especially when such findings are published in a highly respectable peer reviewed papers so other scientists can perform the same tests and call people on it if they are BSing.

I don't have to observe something directly in order to know that it's true. That precisely the reason why I can confidently believe that the Earth is a few billion years old.

Dr Funkenstein said...

EB.com apparently is clueless as to the definition of the Trinity. Ali Baba is shadowboxing. What part of "one God" do you not understand?Somewhat unfair to criticise on that front, since John Frame states:

"Somehow they are three, and somehow they are one. The Nicene Creed says that they are one “being” but three “substances,” or, differently translated, one “substance” and three “persons.” I prefer simply to say “one God, three persons.”

The technical terms should not be understood in any precise, descriptive sense.The fact is that we do not know precisely how the three are one and the one is three."

(emphases mine)

It's all very well to claim monotheism, but if even the guys who dabble in apologetics for a living admit they can't actually explain what it is they believe, and furthermore acknowledge they have to ask that we ignore the standard definitions of familiar descriptive terms to bolster their ideas, it doesn't say much for the apologetic enterprise.

There's no particular reason anyone should have accept ideas or claims that the person promoting admits they cannot explain (or allow that they should be free to employ extremely vague descriptive terms to bolster their position), so the EB.com complaint you quoted is quite reasonable.

Rhology said...

Dr Funk,

-indirect observation-

This is not the way that ppl generally speak of how ToE and such are "proved".
And if I challenge the WAY you go about interpreting these indirect observations, then cite all the wiki articles you want; it won't matter w/o a rebuttal to that very issue.


-the overwhelming majority of science (most of which you presumably are happy to accept)-

That's such a red herring. Maybe I haven't examined it, or maybe I did and it was convincing. What matters is THIS issue we're talking about HERE AND NOW.



-do you think someone has no good reason to declare that an unobserved exoplanet exists, or make a statement about what reactions may be occurring in the Earth's core?-

As long as they make the qualification that such has not been observed.
And if there's not a good reason to doubt it. The latter, at least, is not the case for the age of the Earth.



-chromosomes-

And the evidence that it wasn't made like that by God?
Better said, you posit an irrational and evidence-less blind process to acct for this fact of the existence of these chromosomes. I posit the God of the Bible. Just b/c I cited God doesn't mean that a mocking "Goddidit!" actual rebuts my position.



-we have to ignore a large number of physical facts,-

No, we have to ignore YOUR FAULTY INTERPRETATION OF a large number of physical facts, which interp occurs b/c you accept faulty presupps.


-an invisible magical man-

A fine strawman. You're apparently just trying to be insulting.
-He's not invisible. Heard of Jesus? Christophanies?
-"Magic" is not part of a biblical worldview. Try again.


-God of the gaps-

Why do you think I've been making a God of the gaps argument? What in particular?
Rather, I make 'God of EVERYTHING' arguments. All facts are God's facts.
God of the gaps implies that there is some sort of data that rule out God's existence, but how could any empirical data do so?


-I can't observe God imparting revelation to whoever the author of Genesis was, or observe the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus can I?-

No, but that's not my basis for knowledge. Making fun of how you can't observe this or that is an internal critique of empiricism, not Christianity.


-protons and magnetic fields aren't cameras, yet they work fine to enable us to produce MRI scans. -

Great. Why would I have a problem with these 2ndary causes? They WORK, it's evident, it's observable, it's repeatable. Not so for the age of the Earth.



-still found values several times hotter than the sun - if the Earth is 6000 years old, where did all this heat go to?-

As an idle curiosity, I wonder whether he did any calculations along the lines of whether the Earth had been flooded with water.


-radioactive decay rates -

The tests aren't super-reliable, apparently.
But is it not true that one has to assume a certain original amount of decay already present? Why assume that level? Why not another?



-It's all very well to claim monotheism, but if even the guys who dabble in apologetics for a living admit they can't actually explain what it is they believe-

Hmm. Can you explain the origin of the laws of logic, then?
Can you explain how the Big Bang occurred? There's plenty of mystery to go around.
You'd need to prove a contradiction. Like if I believed in, say, one god and three gods simultaneously. Or that God were one person and three persons. Neither of which I believe. So if I say I believe in monotheism, it's your job to deal with it, or to prove that "hypostasis" means "God". I'll be interested to see your attempt.
If EB.com doesn't understand the Trinity, that's fine. I'd be happy to explain it. So would Google. But the problem is that they're making solid assertions - they KNOW that the Trinity = polytheism. That's why they're lame, and like jft said, like high-schoolers.




jft,

-In fact, the stunning amount of evidence across several fields is exactly why "Old Earth" creationists exist.-

OECs, imho, interp uncritically the data according to naturalistic presupps a lot of the time and then try to wrestle the Bible into their scheme. It's far from impressive.


-When you deny evolution, then you only have to deny mainstream understandings of biology and genetics-

Why genetics? Appealing to ToE and common ancestry (CA) begs the question about what happenED in the past. Far better, I should think, to study genetics for what they ARE RIGHT NOW and how they relate, but not to extrapolate to history as far as some kind of CA, since there's very little evidence for CA.



-But even radiometric dating is remarkably reliable-

Except when it finds that living tissue is thousands of yrs old, apparently. I guess you mean besides that.



- Do you think that Francis Collins (America's most prominent geneticist) senses are not "properly submitted to God?" -

Of course. Why do atheists so often think that just b/c someone is a self-professed Christian they are alluvasudden some super-authority?



-Sounds sincere enough to me. -

What's missing is "I then continued on to realise that ALL of the universe and my mind must be submitted to the claims of authority on them by Jesus Christ, Whom I claim as my Savior. He demands that He be my Lord. I accept that as well."



-I fail to understand how exactly converting to Christianity suddenly changes the appearance of radioisotopes, tree rings, ice layers, etc.-

how many times have I said "presuppositions" in this thread? How many more times will I have to say it?
Your presuppositions are faulty in the extreme. YOu have no consistent reason to trust your cognitive faculties. Why should I trust what you have to say about the age of the Earth over the God who observed it all happen and indeed made it all happen?



-These things have different functions.-

You *think* they do, but if your brain has no diff quality in terms of apprehension of truth, you could just as easily be mistaken about THAT.



-Obviously, my stomach's function isn't producing insilin, just as my liver's function isn't to think: my brain does that.-

How do you know?


-When did I ever say I was some sort of radical empiricist? -

You've appealed to nothing but what you claim you can observe.
So, if not an empiricist, what are you? What is your theory of knowledge? The big-shot, uppity words aren't necessary; I'd have to look a lot of them up myself.

justfinethanks said...

Why genetics?

Because genetics is probably the most irrefutable evidence of common descent. Unfortunately, it's also one of more technical and complicated lines of evidence, so you wind up with people who think that "same genes, same designer" is a witty retort.

Appealing to ToE and common ancestry (CA) begs the question about what happenED in the past.
I don't understand exactly why you think it's impossible to use present evidence to infer past events. You do it all the time probably.

My car window is smashed and my stereo is gone= I was robbed

The bathroom floor is wet and a towel has been removed= my wife just took a shower

Apes and humans share ERVs = we share a common ancestor that possessed these ERVs

I should think, to study genetics for what they ARE RIGHT NOW and how they relate Really? Then you would be totally cool if we were to say, take the genome of a neanderthal, sequence it, and discover that the neanderthal genome is pretty far outside of the genetic range of humans?

Well OK, but that would definitively prove that neanderthals are a completely different hominoid, which is a bit of a problem for anyone who believes that homo sapiens are the only existing hominoids in all of creation.

since there's very little evidence for CA.

There's plenty of evidence, and all your objections to them fall into two weak categories.

1) PROVE fossil X is related to fossil Y. (Firstly, proof is for math, inferences are for science. Secondly, this doesn't address the fact that clear transitional fossils like the Tiktaalik fly in the face of biblical kinds nor does it address biostartigraphy)

and for all non-fossil related evidence:

2) God did it. Prove me wrong! (Which of course impotent because its totally unfalsifiable)

Oh yeah, smart guy! Falsifiability is unfalsifiable, so there.

Good thing that falsifiability applies only to hypotheses and explanations and not principles, otherwise this rejoinder might make sense.


Except when it finds that living tissue is thousands of yrs old, apparently. I guess you mean besides that.

Uh, yes, besides that. It's a tool, and like all tools, it has limitations. Carbon dating shouldn't be used for dating shellfish (usually), for example, because they skew the carbon levels in the shell making process. Scientists recognize these limitations and act accordingly. And they can help verify dating accuracy by cross checking it with other methods.

Do you think that calculators are useless because they don't work underwater? Do you think that a thermometers are useless because recorded temperatures can be skewed by "wind chill"?

If you seriously think we should stop using any tool that has limitations, then maybe we should stop using language due to the existence of ineffable concepts.

What's missing is "I then continued on to realise that ALL of the universe and my mind must be submitted to the claims of authority on them by Jesus Christ, Whom I claim as my Savior. He demands that He be my Lord. I accept that as well."

If I believed in God, I would thank Him that this never happened. Because if he became a YEC on the day of his conversion, then he would be forced to reject the mainstream understanding of genetics, and he would have never lead the team that cracked the human genome in 2003. His work makes it possible for people to get a genetic test to see if they are predisposed for cancer (and which kind of cancer to boot.)His work has also proven invaluable to Alzheimer's researchers.

And before you claim that he could have done all that while denying evolution, that's not really true. Modern genetics is basically understood in light of descent with modification, and its incoherent without that framework.

how many times have I said "presuppositions" in this thread? How many more times will I have to say it?

I'm not sure, but I feel it will be equal the number of times that I will have to explain to you that your presupper nonsense won't save you here, because I could grant you what you think are the necessary presuppositions for understanding the world (namely, Christian theism), and there is STILL overwhelming evidence for an old earth in virtually every single field of science.

Is this why you like presuppositionalism? Because you think its some sort of catch all argument that can address every threat to your version of Christianity? I'm sorry, it doesn't.

If you want to refute scientific concepts, you are going to have to learn science. But I keep getting the distinct impression that you find these topics a bit dull.


Why should I trust what you have to say about the age of the Earth over the God who observed it all happen and indeed made it all happen?

Hey, when did I ever say "Look, the Earth is old, just trust me." I AM asking you to trust God. Specifically, I asking you to trust that God gave you reliable senses and the ability to reason. And able to reason enough to know that if tree rings say the Earth is at least 12,000 years old and Ice Cores say the Earth is at least 150,000, maybe it's true. And if there are objects in space that we can observe that are billions of light years away, maybe its because the universe is billions of years old. That's what a person who believes that reason is valid (and that God isn't deceitful) would think.


You've appealed to nothing but what you claim you can observe.

Well, just because sense can't be the sole means obtaining knowledge doesn't mean that it isn't A valid means of obtaining knowledge. Besides it is reasonable to appeal to our sense of the natural world when discussing what we know about the natural world.

So, if not an empiricist, what are you? What is your theory of knowledge?

I admit my knowledge of epistemology is rather shoddy, but I suppose I would be a classical foundationalist. And you are free to attack foundationalism all you like, but just a reminder: even if foundationalism is wrong, the Earth is still very, very old.

Oh, and hope you have a pleasant Mother's day.

NAL said...

Rho:
Except when it finds that living tissue is thousands of yrs old, apparently. I guess you mean besides that.

Radiometric dating doesn't claim to be able to date living tissue, therefore this is a strawman argument.

Anonymous said...

Rho,

Regarding various scientific dating tecniques, what is your opinion of this :

http://www.asa3.org/ASA/RESOURCES/WIENS.html

Rhology said...

-Because genetics is probably the most irrefutable evidence of common descent. -

If you're into repeatedly and mercilessly begging the question.
Take any case of genetics = evidence of common descent. Explain how ToE via CD is a better explanation of it than God creating it.


-I don't understand exactly why you think it's impossible to use present evidence to infer past events. -

Not impossible, no, b/c we live in God's universe, in reality. But on naturalism, I want your argument as to why, since the problem of induction exists for you (but not for me).


-Apes and humans share ERVs = we share a common ancestor that possessed these ERVs-

Apes and humans share ERVs = said ERVs were introduced at some point into both humans and apes, though they DON'T have a common ancestor.
So, why is my explanation inferior?


-Then you would be totally cool if we were to say, take the genome of a neanderthal, sequence it, and discover that the neanderthal genome is pretty far outside of the genetic range of humans? -

Could you elucidate why you think that'd be a problem for my position?


-Well OK, but that would definitively prove that neanderthals are a completely different hominoid, which is a bit of a problem for anyone who believes that homo sapiens are the only existing hominoids in all of creation.-

Meh, I don't think that's a big deal.


-Well OK, but that would definitively prove that neanderthals are a completely different hominoid, which is a bit of a problem for anyone who believes that homo sapiens are the only existing hominoids in all of creation.-


"Clear" transitional fossils, eh? How could you prove that it is a descendant of ANY other fossil we have? or an ancestor of ANY other fossil we have?


-2) God did it. Prove me wrong! (Which of course impotent because its totally unfalsifiable)...Good thing that falsifiability applies only to hypotheses and explanations and not principles, otherwise this rejoinder might make sense.-

Oh, by your fiat, huh? Why do you say that?
But I'm not asking you to prove me wrong really. I'm asking you to explain why God did it does not account for the evidence equally well. It's an internal critique, showing you that not even if I grant naturalism is your position established.


-Do you think that calculators are useless because they don't work underwater?-

No, but that's not particularly relevant, b/c the limitation is inherent to what you're trying to measure. You try to show that this or that test confirms that Item X is this many yrs old. Yet that's the crux of the limitation. It'd be as if you WERE trying to use a calculator to provide a measurement of ocean depth.


-he would have never lead the team that cracked the human genome in 2003.-

I don't see why this is the case at all. Genetics has to do with how stuff is related on the genetic level, not how stuff definitely happenED. Like I've said, how would genetics help us with that?


-Modern genetics is basically understood in light of descent with modification, and its incoherent without that framework.-

Says you. I don't see why history has anything to do with it. Denying ToE from CD doesn't mean that one has to deny that this species and that species are similar or have X% of genetic similarities.


-there is STILL overwhelming evidence for an old earth in virtually every single field of science.-

To say this shows you don't understand what a presupposition is.


-And if there are objects in space that we can observe that are billions of light years away, maybe its because the universe is billions of years old.-

Or maybe it's b/c God created them AND their light beams stretching from Earth to the celestial body. Look, this is a pretty elementary objection, apparently you haven't encountered a lot of this stuff before. I'm not trying to be critical, but I'd suggest you adjust your approach when alot of this is evidently new to you.

And thank you, I did have a good Mother's Day (though I'm not a mother). ;-)

justfinethanks said...

If you're into repeatedly and mercilessly begging the question.

Yeah, I know declaring it doesn't make it so. But it's still true. Like Abbie said when she debated Jackson: if Darwin wasn't born, Common Descent would have smacked us in the forehead as soon as we learned how to sequence DNA.


Not impossible, no, b/c we live in God's universe, in reality.
Great, then we don't have any argument in regards to evidence for the age of the Earth.

But on naturalism, I want your argument as to why, since the problem of induction exists for you (but not for me).
We still don't have the problem, because I've granted you Christianity for the sake of argument.

You keep trying to drag the discussion into epistemology because that's what presuppers are trained to do: learn how to argue about theories of knowledge, then try to turn every single argument into an argument about theories of knowledge (or morality, occasionally.) Your stuck in that little box, and don’t know to argue properly on any topic that’s outside of it.

Apes and humans share ERVs = said ERVs were introduced at some point into both humans and apes, though they DON'T have a common ancestor.
So, why is my explanation inferior?


Because it is less statistically likley by a factor of over a trillion trillion trillion trillion.


Could you elucidate why you think that'd be a problem for my position?

Well, Genesis says that God made Adam and Eve: one distinct species of hominoids. He didn't also make Org and Kruk, a completely other genetically distinct group of hominoids.

Oh, by your fiat, huh? Why do you say that?
Because it's true. Let's take a look at this relationship in other field, like say textual criticism. Lectio difficilior potior Lectio difficilior potior is a guiding principle in determining what the reading of the original was, and it's completely unfalsifiable. Fortunately, that's no problem, because it's just a principle, and it by itself doesn't attempt to explain anything. Now, if I were to say: "Luke was originally a story about a dancing donkey that fell in love with a jar of dates, but scribes used the gospels to give it a lot more Jesus flavor in between its original writing and P75. Prove me wrong!" Well, that's a totally unfalsifiable theory in practice, and that IS a problem, because it IS an explanation or hypothesis.


You try to show that this or that test confirms that Item X is this many yrs old. Yet that's the crux of the limitation.

Still, the fact that a measuring tool has limitations doesn't mean that it is unreliable within those known limitations. A ruler is completely useless for accurately measuring something that is approximately 13 inches long, yet its entire purpose is to measure for length. There is just a big difference between a limited measuring tool and a flawed measuring tool.


Genetics has to do with how stuff is related on the genetic level, not how stuff definitely happenED.
You start getting some serious problems when you study the genome and deny common descent. Lots of big mysteries pop up. Like, why exactly do you and I have the DNA in us to create fully functioning tails? Why can you cut big chunks of non coding DNA out of mice and it has no affect whatsoever on their health and development? What the hell is up with these pseudogenes? (That last video I just linked to I highly reccomend that you actually watch. It has in part Collins giving a presentation on pseudogenes.)



But if you postulate a common ancestor, all these questions are neatly answered.

Or maybe it's b/c God created them AND their light beams stretching from Earth to the celestial body.

This answer is highly problematic for you, mostly because it makes God deceitful. For example, you are faced with the problem of supernovas. SN 1604 is a supernova that is about 20,000 light years away. But if YEC is true, that isn't a supernova at all, it's a bunch of gasses and radiation that God arranged in precisely a way to make give the exact appearance of the remnants of an exploded star. In truth, there was no star.

This answer is also problematic because we have corraborating evidence from Supernova 1987A that shows that the speed of light has been constant for at least 170,000 years. This site explains it well:


If the speed of light has changed, then

1. the rates of radioactive decay will also have changed.

2. the energy of radiation emitted by an atom will change.


In 1987 a star in the Large Magellanic Cloud exploded. Or rather, the light from the explosion reached earth. Nine months later astronomers discovered a ring of gas with a diameter of 1.37 light years around the former star. They also discovered the characteristic gamma ray emission of Co-57 and Co-56. These gamma rays had the same energy that we observe in an earth laboratory. This means that the speed of light was the same as it is today when the star exploded. Theoretical models of a supernova said that the decay of radioactive Co-56 and Co-57 would power the light given off by the supernova gases. The light curve has decayed at precisely the half-life as we measure in our labs for Co-56 and Co-57. This further confirms that the speed of light was the same as today when the star exploded. The time it took the light to travel from the supernova to the ring allows us to measure the size of the gas ring shown above. Knowing this and the angular size of the ring as seen in a telescope gives us a distance of 170,000 light years to the star. Thus, since the distance to the supernova can be trigonometrically determined, the speed of light has been constant for the past 170,000 years.



Look, this is a pretty elementary objection

I agree, it's extremely " elementary," but probably not in the same sense you intend.

apparently you haven't encountered a lot of this stuff before.

I haven't encountered the Omphalos hypothesis before? Please. Phillp Henry Gosse tried to bring this up in 1857 once the geological evidence for an old earth became too overwhelming to deny. The "It all seems old, but that's because God made it look that way" theory was mocked by Christians because it made God deceitful and suffered scorn from scientists because it made science an impossible endeavor. I've encountered all your material before. But, I must say, going the Omphalos route is very rare. In fact, most YECs try to solve the starlight problem by either arguing for nonsense like "C decay" or "White hole cosmology," not the long discredited Omphalos hypothesis.

Believe me, I've seen all this stuff before, and as long as science education remains in its current state, I know I will encounter it again. But if you were to pick up even a basic geology, astronomy, or even chemistry book, you would learn that the conclusion cannot be escaped: the Earth is a very, very old place. This became clear as day fifty years before radiocarbon dating even became feasible. I think that we can actually have empirical evidence for how we get here is wonderful, because we don't have to rely upon myths or legends anymore. We are one of a handful of generations in the history of humankind that can actually know. What’s more sad than anything else, is that even though we have truthfully and accurately answered the “How did we get here?” question, people reject it because they prefer the myths.

Pyscicist Richard Feymann probably said it best:

(The truth about the universe) is a much more exciting story to many people than the tales that other people used to make up about the universe – that we were living on the back of a turtle or something like that. They were wonderful stories, but the truth is so much more remarkable.

NAL said...

If the claim that God gave the universe an "appearance" of oldness is true, then this "appearance" would be perfect in every respect. There is no way for science to detect anything other than oldness. To then turn around and claim that science is in error measuring God's perfect "appearance", indicates a lack of true belief in the original claim.

Rhology said...

Anonymous,

I hope to post sthg on your radiometric dating question in a bit. thanks for the question.



jft,

-if Darwin wasn't born, Common Descent would have smacked us in the forehead as soon as we learned how to sequence DNA.-

If you're into begging the question, like I said.
Genes are similar. Wow!! THEREFORE, evolution happened. Couldn't possibly be that God made 'em that way.


-because I've granted you Christianity for the sake of argument. -

You need to rethink that, b/c you haven't made any appeal to the highest standard of evidence - God's infallible testimony.
So, given your confusion, I'll stop here and let you clarify what you mean. If you've granted Christianity in this dispute, then you need to take into account the fact that God's infallible testimony about what went down at creation-time is far, far better than our pitiful scratchings around in the dust of what is supposed to have occurred in Deep Time.
This has to do with Omphalos as well. God created the animals and Adam and Eve as fully-developed creatures, not as embryos. No reason not to think that God might well have created the Earth with an appearance of age as well. I care not what other creationists say - the simplest solution is that God created the stars AND the beams of light between stars and Earth. Not that difficult.
This is not subject to last-Tuesday-ism b/c we've presupposed Christianity, both of us. It's not last Tuesday, it's ~10K years ago. God doesn't lie.
If you want to presuppose last-Tuesday-ism, you have a long road of setting up an epistemological framework ahead of you. Good luck.




NAL said:
-If the claim that God gave the universe an "appearance" of oldness is true, then this "appearance" would be perfect in every respect.-

Why?
And how does this claim interact with the obvious fact that humans are perfectly capable of misinterpreting data, and that the fault for that misinterp usually lies with the human, not the data?

NAL said...

Rho:

And how does this claim interact with the obvious fact that humans are perfectly capable of misinterpreting data, ...

But, according to you, they're not misinterpreting the data. They are interpreting the data in exact accordance with the God created "appearance".

On the one hand you claim that God created the "appearance" of an old earth. On the other hand you condemn scientists who confirm His creation.

Rhology said...

True, but what you're forgetting is that they thus fail to submit their reason to what God has already revealed - that the Earth is not in fact billions of yrs old - adjusted their methodology, interpretations, tools, etc to fit that. They have further failed to realise just how limited their methodologies, minds, instrumentation, and access to the past really are. It's an exercise in humanistic hubris, like all of human sin.

NAL said...

So, according to Rho, God's creation is not in accordance with His revelation. I mean your interpretation of His revelation. Putting your interpretation over His creation. Ballzy.

justfinethanks said...

Genes are similar. Wow!! THEREFORE, evolution happened.
I don't know why creationists keep saying that, because I have never appealed to the mere "similiarity" of genes in order to show evidence of evolution. (Though, I should point out that if God was interested in making sure no one ever believed in evolution, making each species genetically unique would have done it quite nicely) I've always appealed to the nature of the similarity and the nature of the differences. Like the repeated pattern of psuedogenes in a variety of mammal species (which would be totally unnecessary if YEC is true) or the fact that humans have the DNA to create tails and marine mammals have the DNA to create hind legs, though they are typically not expressed. These things are perfectly compatible with common descent and completely ad hoc if you try to fit them into special creation.

If you've granted Christianity in this dispute, then you need to take into account the fact that God's infallible testimony about what went down at creation-time is far, far better than our pitiful scratchings around in the dust of what is supposed to have occurred in Deep Time.

Then consider it an internal critique of YEC style Christianity. Say for a moment that that Jesus appeared before you and said "There is a real life, flesh and blood visible monkey ten feet in front of you. This monkey, which can easily be seen by the naked eye, will be by your side for the rest of your life," but you didn't see any monkey. In fact, for the rest of your days, though you looked very hard, you never saw any sign of such a simian. If this happens, you are faced with only two options.

1) God was mistaken or lying
2) Your senses are not reliable.

And either one is highly troubling to Christianity. You couldn't simply declare "How could you possibly trust your fallible eyes against the witness of God?" because if there is indeed a monkey that follows you, then that means your senses aren't reliable, and if your senses aren't reliable, then you don't have a reason to trust ANYTHING you experience (including the "word" of God).

This is the same situation we are faced with in your particular brand of YEC. If the world is in fact six to ten thousand years old, then I have no reason to trust either my senses or my ability to reason, because evidence from every area of science, which relies on sense and reason, points to an extremely old Earth (or at bare minimum, older than ten thousand years.) And if I can't trust my ability to sense or reason, then I have no reason to believe that such a thing as a "Bible" exists in reality, let alone that I am correctly reading the "words" when I crack one of these things open.

So it comes down to this: believing that the Earth is ten thousand years old is a defeater for believing that the Bible is true. (Hat tip to Plantiga)

Call it my Young Earth Creationism Argument Against the Bible, or YECAAB.

The only way to address this fact is by assessing the plentiful evidence for an Old Earth and making sound, reasonable arguments why that evidence is invalid. Or, better yet, showing how our senses and reason actually lead us to a six to ten thousand year old Earth. And none of these arguments can appeal to the fallibility of human reason or human senses, otherwise we don't have a reason to trust anything, including the Bible.

I care not what other creationists say - the simplest solution is that God created the stars AND the beams of light between stars and Earth. Not that difficult.

It's actually extremely difficult. Let's go back to one of the Supernovas that I referenced: SN 1987a. Scientists were fortunate enough to witness this supernova as it was happening when the event occoured on February 23rd, 1987. But there is a major problem if YEC is true: that supernova is 160,000 light years away. If an Old Earth is true, this simply means that the event occoured 160,000 years ago. But if YEC is true, then this supernova actually NEVER HAPPENED (since the Earth is only 6000 years old, and anything that looks like it happened before that point is just part of God's illusion of age). All we are seeing are the deceptive light beams put in place by God to give the appearence of a supernova. It's all just a farce of a completely fictional stellar event. Scientists think that they can learn a lot from this supernova, but actually they can't, because it's just an illusion of God-placed light particles.


This is what I mean by how Omphalos makes God deceitful: it means that God is showing us things that aren't actually there. And that's a big problem for anyone who believes that...


God doesn't lie.

Spirit Slain said...

http://debunkedevil.blogspot.com/2009/09/top-10-signs-youre-fundamentalist.html

This is my blogs version of this. Take a look maybe?

Marcus McElhaney said...

This a well thought-out response. Valid. I did my own here at http://mmcelhaney.blogspot.com/2009/09/top-ten-signs-you-are-christian-fundy.html

Anonymous said...

Evilbible.com has it's points, but yes; like the majority of what you'll read out there including this article, it is biased. The problem with most people is they are too ignorant to either open their minds or to develop an opinion for themselves. Don't blindly accept anything anybody tells you! research it for yourself

Rhology said...

Well, EB.com may have its points but I haven't really seen very many.

And yes, bias is inevitable, but one can reason fairly and unfairly. EB.com has, as seen here, reasoned unfairly.