The following letters were exchanged between two members of the Center For Inquiry Indiana (CFI Indiana), and two Creationists who attended one of our monthly meetings.
The monthly presentation was An Investigation of Religion led by Sean O’Brien. Our meetings are open to the general public so we were pleased to see five new faces in attendance.
Throughout Sean’s presentation, our visitors made themselves evident by numerous interruptions, which mostly were in the form of statements about their faith and contradictions of what Sean had presented. Several heated debates occurred throughout the evening and continued on after Sean’s presentation was over. All the exchanges were polite and our visitors finally left apparently in good spirits after having successfully done their witnessing for Christ.
Members of CFI had a different take on the exchanges. We felt our visitors were disruptive of Sean’s presentation. He was interrupted dozens of times. We determined that in the future we would restrict all questions to the end of a presentation. In the future any visiting Creationists would have to sit quietly through a presentation and hopefully absorb what was being said. Our visitors were informed of that in follow-up Emails. So far, they have not returned. They did however pass out questionnaires that evening. Sean and I responded to the questionnaires with the following Emails. The questionnaires are not available but references to them in Gosling’s first Email will give you and idea of their contents.
What follows are the Email letter exchanges between Sean and I and two of the Creationists, we shall call Jacob for short. The letters were always respectful and informative. Eventually, after eleven Emails were sent, the exchanges were ended by them. We believe CFI members will be fascinated by the fundamentalist statements made by the Creationists and hopefully be interested in our responses.
Sequence of Emails:
(Jacob’s first letter is unavailable)
1) To Jacob from Sean
2) To Sean from Jacob
3) To Jacob from Craig
4) To Craig from Jacob
5) To Jacob from Craig
6) To Jacob from Craig
7) To Craig from Jacob
8) To Jacob from Craig
9) To Jacob from Craig
10) To Jacob from Craig
1) Sean’s reply to Jacob’s first letter, which is unavailable.
With regard to your background and my statement that you are a product of the culture you were born into, I did not mean, and did not say, your family. That is one of the reasons I also asked what group or person(s) influenced you into a Creationist worldview. I understand though that the way I phrased I might be misleading in your case.
You said God placed the truth that inspires your worldview inside you. Would you elaborate on that? I assume you think that God wants you to be a Creationist. If that’s true, then why do so many Christians accept the idea that Genesis is metaphorical and that the world could not have been created in six days? Why would God single you out?
For that matter, why would God single me out? I also grew up in a nominally religious home and went to a combination of public and private schools. In my case, though, the school was operated by the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church. I really took off for Jesus in that environment. I was saved since I was 10, but in High School I was baptized in the Holy Ghost with the evidence that I spoke in tongues. I witnessed to friends, family and strangers. I wanted God in the middle of my life guiding my through his Word.
After I got out of High School, I wanted to go to Bible College. My brother and I both decided that we would take about a year and a half off school to work so my mother could get her teaching certificate for vocational education. After that, finances did not permit me to go to seminary or Bible college, but I had started studying theology and Fundamentalist apologetics while I was in High School and I continued this on my own with some informal guidance from a couple of Bible College professors and my pastor. I also believed that the Bible was the literal Word of God. One of my High School teachers stated in class that he preferred the idea of theistic evolution instead of a literal Creation. I thought that was a wishy-washy position to take since I had read Christian theologians who used similar arguments to suggest that too much of the Bible was metaphorical for my taste.
I ended up studying computer science at a public college. During that time, I was given a copy of Henry Morris’s book “The Genesis Flood,” which was one of the early “Creation science” attempts to suggest plausible explanations for the creation accounts in Genesis. The person who gave me the book was my pastor, the same pastor of the Church where I went to school and a man I really respected and looked up to. He thought I would really enjoy it. The irony is that the book had been around for some years, but it wasn’t something taught in our Christian school. Because my High School was small and very conservative, we only had one semester of science in the three years I attended. The subjects we covered were on Botany and cell structure (but nothing more on evolution except that it was not true). I really liked science prior to High School and helped organize a model rocket club while in the Church school. Here is where I hit a speed bump with Creationism once I got to college.
I was living on the High Desert in Southern California and the night sky is (was) very clear. I took an astronomy class taught by a post-graduate student who was biding her time until she could land a professional position. I wanted to learn the night sky, but I learned a lot more. The course was heavy on cosmology and included a lot of material on scientific methodology – not just facts and numbers, but how real science works. For example, nothing can be called a theory unless there is a well-established body of data and observation that supports it. The observations can be both direct and indirect. A theory has to take all of this into consideration and provide the best possible explanation based on the evidence. Also scientific knowledge is tentative. We learned about famous theories of the past (light propagation and the notion of the ether, for example) and how the work of Michelson and Morley destroyed this idea by providing evidence that there is no ether. So even though brilliant scientists such as James Watt had accepted the idea that light was propagated in ether, Michelson-Morley earned their fame not by discovering something new, but by showing an existing idea was wrong. One more thing we learned is that science doesn’t start with an answer and work backward. It has instead the purpose to build a body of knowledge that explains how things work based on the best evidence available.
Which brings me back to H. Morris and his book. First, it was obvious that Morris started from the premise that a literal reading of Genesis was the way the world began and he worked backward from there. Real scientists don’t do that remember. I started sketching notes where he made assertions for which he had no evidence and other problems I had with his absurdly complicated explanations. Not only was a miracle necessary for the beginning of the world, but several miracles were required on every page of the book! Way too many to suggest God had thought things through from the beginning. I also found quotes from real scientists that were quoted out of context. Quote mining is a standard practice that we see frequently in Creationism (including ID) and pseudo-science. I was able to cross check a lot of his assertions against standard science text books in the small college library. Morris was dishonest, tendentious and willfully ignorant. What I thought would be a plausible explanation for the Genesis story turned out to be a fools errand.
Like many Christians I might have continued to believe even though I know Genesis is a myth or a metaphor. Morris was by no means the reason I came to understand that Christianity has no foundation for belief except in belief, but that’s another story.
Back to the present. I have no idea what you mean by real science according to your definition. If you mean that only something that is directly observable counts, then you are attempting to rewrite the rules to make it impossible to provide evidence for an event that happened in the past just because it disturbs you. If you only call something a fact if we can observe it in the here and now, then that easily undermines a 10,000 year old universe as easily as it does a 14 billion year old one. For all we know in that case, the universe came to exist in its present form with the appearance of its current age 15 minutes ago. Your Tonka truck analogy is absurd and misrepresents the way time and complex processes actually work. If you were to take your Tonka truck and put it before the altar of your church, anoint it with oil and start saying a prayer, would a real one materialize outside in the parking lot? No, it would be absurd to think that. I can well imagine abiogenesis occurring on a million planets in this galaxy alone before that happens. Get real! If you were sincere about learning both the methods used by scientists who are doing research into abiogensis and the limitations they freely admit with trying to unravel a puzzle that’s nearly 4 billion years old, you might try reading the book I suggested by Robert Hazen. By the way, if you think that genomics not depending on evolution is conjecture, then you are making an argument from ignorance and incredulity.
I am familiar with the assertion that everything which has a beginning has a cause since it is the first premise in ontological arguments for the existence of God that have come down from variously from Aquinas to William Lane Craig’s version of Kalam. Even if we accept this premise, then God also has to have a cause or the premise does not entail. If you quote refinements to the premise that God is an uncaused cause, then that’s just ad-hoc weaseling. Even if we accept that a God can be an uncaused cause, then something much less complicated such as the universe could have an uncaused cause as well. Physicists such as Stephen Hawking, Victor Stenger, Paul Davies and science philosopher Adolf Grunbaum disagree both with your interpretation of the science and your philosophy. See http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/graham_oppy/davies.html. Here is a link to Stenger’s summary of how uncaused causes at the quantum level could have brought about our universe, see: http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/Cosmo/inflat.html Sorry Matt, but intellectual curiosity instead of just saying “God did it” for everything is not suicide.
If you want to argue based on science, you need to learn to understand and respect the subject. While you might go on for days with your objections to evolution and the rest of science and your assertions that you have proof against modern science, what you really have is nothing more than snake oil cobbled together by con men, liars and kooks. Your arguments so far have amounted to a standard on par with someone who asserts that the moon landings were a hoax.
OK, now let’s talk about hell. First you assert that a child below he age of accountability would save be saved from eternal torture. You now have the following tasks before you: 1) prove that there is a god, 2) prove that this god is the one you believe in and not the one that Muslims or Hindus believe in since each god has different requirements for their believers, 3) prove that all of the other gods are false and that believing in the wrong one or none of them at all will cause your god such displeasure that everyone holding wrong beliefs should be tortured forever, 4) prove that there is an eternal torture chamber where your god will send all those who don’t believe correctly (including everyone who had the misfortune to be born at a time and in a culture where they believe in some other god or gods), 5) prove that there is an escape clause for children under a certain age that will exempt them from eternal torture, 6) prove to me that any god that uses the threat of infinite torture for misdeeds committed during a finite lifetime is worthy of respect, much less worship. In order to do this, you must present material evidence for the existence of God, Hell and the correctness of your beliefs. You may not rely on quoting scripture or appealing to theological sophistry. The reason why is that I can quote scriptures from the Bible, Qu’ran, Rig Vedas, Book of Mormon, etc that all say different things about God and what believers have to do to please him. They might be right and you could be wrong. Or you could all be wrong. While you are at it, do your own research about whether other Christians even accept your assertion that there is an age of accountability. Among those sects that do, they disagree about what the cut-off point is. Others just assert that until you are saved, you have a one-way ticket to hell no matter your age. It is all totally arbitrary and every disputant relies on their own Bible verses to back up their claim.
In closing, I need for you to know that I am not moved by threats that an angry God is patiently withholding judgment on me. That is an empty threat. I was never afraid that there was a monster under my bed as many children imagine, so maybe that means I was destined to be a skeptic early on. I outgrew my imaginary friends in childhood and I’ve outgrown childish supernatural beliefs too.
If God is real, all-knowing and all-powerful, then he knows what it required to convince rational adults if he really has an interest in human affairs and really wants to be worshiped and he is fully capable of implementing a plan that would convince me and other open minded skeptics. God would know better than to compose scriptures based on third hand tales of illiterate prophets in dead languages with obscure and ambiguous meanings that people can misuse, misquote and misinterpret that are full of myths and magical nonsense. If the Bible, Qu’ran, or any other scripture was authentically holy and supernatural, then how unreasonable is it that it should be unambiguously understandable by anyone who reads it, no matter the language they speak or whether or not they can even read. It would not be asking too much either if it was indestructible and incorruptible so that no one could accidentally or deliberately alter it or destroy it. I would also expect that a good god would not allow people to commit evil acts in his/her/its name. A good god would not put the intentions of a murderer, rapist or pedophile ahead of their victims. A good god who is really interested in human affairs would not be hidden and hide the evidence of his existence. A good god would not create a world where there is no much needless suffering nor would it corrupt a good world and cause suffering as in the Genesis story. An all-knowing and all-powerful god would come up with a better plan. None of this is what we see. Not only is there no evidence for any gods, but there is abundant evidence that they don’t exist given what we would reasonably expect if they (or one) really did.
Jacob, it’s possible to live a happy and fulfilling life without superstition, fear and dogma. I was once in your shoes and I live and happy and fulfilling life free of religion. Take off your Jesus blinders and see reality for what the evidence shows it is. I realize that there is comfort in organized religion. Not only that, it has the resources and means to do good, but history has shown it often does not. Please be mindful of your actions and think critically about how your beliefs might harm yourself or others. Be well and be happy.
2) Jacob’s second letter in response to Sean’s first letter. Jacob’s first letter is unavailable.
This is Jacob. I’d like to first answer your questions about my background. I grew up in Illinois, went to a mixture of public and private schools. Private Catholic High school…..for sports, not for the “religious” education…. You could hardly call it religious education because there was no instruction in the Bible. My young earth creationism has developed on my own from looking through the research. I believe it not because I am told to believe it but because it is where the facts lead me (we will get into this in later….I’ll stick to background now) I grew up in a home that occasionally attended church but was not serious about their “faith”. Since I have been born again, my family has been my biggest opposition. So when someone says “Do you realize that all you have are the beliefs of the culture you were born into?” I always have to laugh because this is just not true. Myself and countless people I know are examples to the contrary. The key inspiration in forming my world view is just the longing for truth that God has placed inside of me. I want the truth and want to live by it 100%.
By the way…I don’t think I received Craig’s e-mail….either that or I accidentally deleted it with my junk mail. About the quote from George Wald, I apologize if this was “quote-mined”, I must’ve made a mistake and didn’t check for its primary source. I’ll make sure it’s corrected from now on. But I would however like to point you to the article you sent me that gives the real quote from Wald ( http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part4-2.html ) It quotes Wald as saying:
“One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are — as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation. It will help to digress for a moment to ask what one means by “impossible.”……. When we consider the spontaneous origin of a living organism, this is not an event that need happen again and again. It is perhaps enough for it to happen once. The probability with which we: are concerned is of a special kind; it is the probability that an event occur at least once. To this type of probability a fundamentally important thing happens as one increases the number of trials. However improbable the event in a single trial, it becomes increasingly probable as the trials are multiplied. Eventually the event becomes virtually inevitable.”
This is not real science. Science must be observable, repeatable and verifiable. George Wald’s assumption is none of those things. His assumption is based on faith in blind chance and time to do what he earlier admits observation (real science) shows to be impossible. He goes on to say that “Given so much time, the “impossible” becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles.” But this my friend is blind faith that stands in opposition to observable science. Observable science says that spontaneous generation is impossible, that nonliving matter does not produce living things (as Wald admits when he says “In this colloquial, practical sense I concede the spontaneous origin of life to be “impossible.” It is impossible as we judge events in the scale of human experience (emphasis added)”). In other words “we don’t observe it now, but it must have happened if given enough time”. This is ridiculous. Time does not override scientific truth. I can’t say…. I want a new truck so I’m going to take my Tonka truck from when I was four, put it in a pond with some chemicals and say “well given enough time it’s bound to happen, it may not happen in this generation, but I’ll make sure the my family knows in future generations to keep checking. Given enough time the impossible becomes inevitable.” If I told you that and seriously meant it I would either be crazy or insulting your intelligence by trying to pull one over on you. If it is not scientific today, then it would not be scientific billions of years ago either. It doesn’t matter how long you, my Tonka truck isn’t going to turn into a real truck and in the same way it doesn’t matter how long you give nonliving matter, it’s not going to produce something living. It’s a law of science that this does not happen. Here is an interesting quote concerning this topic, due to the length I will just give you the link. The point I would like you to see is “Before life began, there was no biology, only chemistry – and chemistry is the same for all time. What works (or not) today, worked (or not) back in the beginning. So, our ideas about what happened on Earth prior to the emergence of life are eminently testable in the lab.” (http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/scientists/2008/09/edward_peltzer_university_of_c.php ) The idea “Just add time” is not at all scientific.
Sean you said “Antibiotics research is dependent at it’s core on evolution. Even if Chain really held those views, there has been over 60 years of research that further supports evolution, including genomics that would have been unavailable to Chain at the time.” This is just conjecture. Most evolutionists I have talked to make a lot of statements like these and give no scientific proof for why they make such statements. “You need to critically evaluate your own work. That is part of real science and something [evolution] proponents constantly fail to do.” When talking to evolutionists I hear a lot of unsubstantiated claims and very little actual science. And if you look at your e-mail to me, there are several claims put forward and all of them are unsubstantiated.
Another thing you said was: “One example is “Scientific Fact observed: everything which has a beginning has a cause…” This is not a scientific fact, it is an ontological argument from theology.” By observation we know that everything that has a beginning has a cause. Whether you want to call it science, philosophy, theology etc. it still holds true that everything that has a beginning has a cause and to deny the law of cause and effect would be to commit intellectual suicide. Imagine if you and I were walking down into the CFI office and you asked me “hey Matt, where did that duck come from? And I said to you, “Well Sean, it didn’t come from anywhere it just happened, there wasn’t a cause for that duck”. There would be only two possibilities….either it always existed and had no beginning or I would be crazy because I would be saying that it had a beginning, but no cause for it’s beginning! We know that to be extremely illogical by what we observe, by observational science. Now we go to the beginning. Logically we know there must be something that had no beginning or no cause, an ultimate cause. Here’s the question: what was that ultimate cause? A supernatural being, or matter itself. To say there is no God you must say matter is eternal, matter had no cause. But because of entropy this cannot be. We know that over time the amount of energy available for work is running out or entropy is increasing to a maximum. If matter was eternal then there would have already been an infinite amount of time for entropy to increase to a maximum leaving the universe void of usable energy. Matter cannot be eternal. So to deny God’s existence you must say “Well it had no cause, but it is not eternal” which means that you are saying that everything came from nothing which is intellectual suicide.
Now I could go on for days with scientific proof against evolution, but I would like to spend the rest of this e-mail on discussing Christianity. I could go on showing how there’s never been a mutation that has caused a gain in genetic material, talking about the lack transitional fossils, talking about how it is impossible with population growth for man to have lived on earth for millions of years, and much much more, but I feel I have addressed the scientific thoughts you brought up and now I would like to talk Christianity.
You said “If someone were to establish real evidence for God (not by rhetoric or apologetic nonsense), a god that would send a child, or anybody for that matter, to eternal torment for being born in the wrong culture or brought up in the wrong faith tradition, I would believe, but I would not worship such an evil monster. My ethical standards are higher than that.”
First of all, children are not sent to hell before the age of accountability. 2 Samuel 12:23 is pretty clear about this. Second of all you must understand that we all deserve hell. Not because we are brought up in the wrong culture or tradition, but because we all have rebelled against God and become tyrants. We have brought all this hideous mess in the world through our sin. If God would have sent us no Savior and condemned the whole world He would still be just, loving, merciful, good and compassionate. Justice calls for the punishment of those who break the law. If someone committed a serious crime against one of your family members, let’s say they murdered someone close to you and they went into court and told the judge: “Judge, I am guilty of the crime. I did murder that person. But I was hoping you wouldn’t send me to prison because that is just such an unimaginable punishment!” And the judge looked at them and said “Hmm I think your right, yeah, you can go free….. prison is really harsh!”. How would you feel? You would be outraged, and rightly so, that judge is a corrupt judge! A just, loving, merciful, compassionate judge must uphold justice and punish those who break the law or else he is just as corrupt as those who break the law!
In the American church today there is a very inaccurate view of God being put forth. A God who looks more like Santa Claus than the God of the Bible and unfortunately because of this the non-believing world doesn’t understand the justice of God. We forget this, that we have committed treason against God by breaking His laws and rebelling against Him and justly deserve hell. God doesn’t send you to hell for not believing but because it is the just punishment for breaking the law!
God is being merciful to you right now though, even while you are still rebelling against Him. The fact that you are not in hell right now is evidence of that. As 2 Peter 3:9 says “He is being patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance”.
Out of His love, He sent His Son Jesus to die on the Cross , the righteous for the unrighteous so that he might bring us to God! (1 Peter 3:18) The Bible says that God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us! (Romans 5:8) Now that is mercy! So that those who repent (turn to God fleeing from their sins) and trust in Jesus as their Savior (as the one who took the justice they deserve, not looking to themselves for righteousness, but to Him) their sins are washed away and they are now seen as just in the eyes of God. “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Why believe the Bible though? Well there is tons of evidence for why one should believe the Bible. Far too much to address in this e-mail but I will just cover a few reasons.
This is portrayed in a prophecy written over 700 years before Jesus was even born. It is found in Isaiah 53 and there is not a prophecy like it in the world:
“Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”
This predicts that Jesus would be wounded for our transgressions or sins, be silent before His accusers, be buried in a rich man’s tomb, make many to be accounted righteous through being a sin offering, and rise from the dead. All predicted 700 years before Jesus was born.
Psalm 22 is another amazing prophecy that says:
“But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” I am poured out like water, and my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet–I can count all my bones– they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” (Psalm 22:6-8, 14-18)
This prophecy predicts crucifixion at least 600 years before crucifixion was even invented. It predicts Jesus’ hands and feet would be pierced, his bones would be out of joint (exactly what happens in Crucifixion) around 1,000 years before He lived. It also predicts that His heart would melt like wax within His breast which literally happened. The eyewitness accounts tell us that when they pierced Jesus’ side to be sure he was dead, both water and blood flowed from His side. We know medically today that if someone dies from heart failure, that the pericardium (fluid filled sac around the heart) swells with fluid to protect the heart in such a weakened state. With such little oxygen being inhaled because Jesus was on the cross, the pericardium would burst along with his heart. That is why observers saw “blood and water” come flowing out of his side when the guards thrust the spear into his side. The prophecy describes his heart “melting like wax”…well, we know that is what happened from a medical standpoint. This was all predicted in Psalm 22 about 1,000 years before it happened!
Most likely you are thinking something like well prophecy proves nothing, there are plenty of people out there that claim they prophesied the future. My response is, there is not any other religious book out there that has the kind of prophecy that the Bible does. For example in the Quran, Muhammed predicts “I will go back to Mecca” and then when he goes back to Mecca, the Muslims today point to that as prophecy. Clearly not even close. The other big one people try to point to is Naustrodamus. But let me give you one of Naustrodaumus’ “prophecies”. “Pau Nay Oloron will be more of fire than blood” This is the great prophecy that is claimed to have predicted Napoleon. First to make this about Napoleon we have to ignore the fact that Pau, Nay, and Oloron were three French cities at the time of Naustrodomus’ life. And then we have to reassemble the three words and take out certain letters to make it be Napoleon. Fulfilled prophecy? Hardly. But you see in the Bible time and time again that God predicts the future to pinpoint accuracy!
For another example, the Bible actually predicts the uniformitarian/evolutionary naturalistic mindset a little less than 2000 years before it came about in 2 Peter 3:3-9 where It says:
“ Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, they willfully forget that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
The Bible predicts that scoffers will say “Oh the world wasn’t created by the Word of God; we think we can explain everything through natural causes. All continues as it was from the beginning, there is nothing supernatural. There was no flood, that’s just a fairy tale.” Then the next verses talk about God’s judgment. God is going to judge the world in righteousness. But Sean, the good news is that He is being patient with you and all of us, not wanting anyone to perish, but all to come to repentance. You have broken God’s law and rebelled against Him and the punishment for this is eternity in hell. This may sound unreasonable to you, but think about it this way. If you steal, you might get restitution and some minor jail time. You rape you get some serious jail time. You murder someone, you get life in prison. You commit treason against the government you get the death penalty. The punishment goes up with the severity of the crime. What do you think a just punishment would be for committing treason against the Holy, Eternal, and Infinite God of the Universe? That would be the most severe crime of all and would deserve the most severe punishment. And since it is against an Eternal Being like God the punishment is eternal. And it is completely just and loving for God to do this because a loving and just judge must punish law breakers.
But here is the good news Sean. God in His love and patience is holding back justice for a time. Not wanting you to perish but to repent. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to live a perfect life and die on the Cross in your place. You did the crime, but Jesus paid your fine. Jesus satisfied justice on your behalf and the wrath of God that you deserve was poured out on Him. So that if you repent (realize that you have rebelled against God and are His enemy, turn back to Him forsaking your sins saying, “God I’m sorry I’ve rebelled against you, I’m tired of being your enemy and I want to be reconciled to you) and believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior He will save you. Your sins will be credited to Jesus…He died to save you from your sins. Also, his righteous life will be credited to your account and you will be seen as righteous in the eyes of God.
3) Craig’s first letter to Jacob
The following is a brief reply to the questionnaire you handed out at the CFI meeting and invited us to respond to. I realize you will be skeptical of most of what you read here. Generally, skepticism is good but “selective skepticism” is troublesome. It allows one to choose what he/she already believes with the exclusion of new evidence. I encourage you to be skeptical in all your beliefs, scientific and religious. Even if you do not believe anything herein, I hope this letter will help you understand my point of view as a freethinker and secular humanist. Although I enjoy science I am a long way from being an expert myself. I cannot refer to an error free reference book as you claim to do. I will do my best to reply to your questions and point out your misconceptions.
In your questionnaire you referred to Operational Science and Original Science. These are terms used by the Creation Science and Intelligent Design promoters for the purpose of discrediting physical sciences, such as paleontology and archaeology, that support evolution. Creationists admit traditional scientific methodology (Operational Science) is valid science as long as it does not contradict your specific Christian theology. This exception is unacceptable to logical thinkers.
You claim the study of one-time events in nature (Original Science) is unreliable science and cannot be believed because the event (such as speciation) can’t be repeated and substantiated under controlled laboratory conditions. Furthermore, you claim divine intervention is required in order to make any conclusions derived from Original Science valid. I, of course, disagree. Supernatural events have no place in scientific methodology.
By studying natural events of the past, scientists can formulate theories that accurately explain and predict future events in spite of your disclaimer. The study of events such as earthquakes, eruptions, tsunamis, and meteor strikes tell us divine intervention (supernatural cause) plays no role. In fact, aspects of these (original science) events can often be accurately duplicated and studied with computer programs. By studying and understanding the causes of past events such as earthquakes, continental drift, and evolution, we can better understand aspects and trends of future events.
I must remind you that many Intelligent Designers believe God directs evolution. The world famous geneticist and evangelical Christian, Francis Collins, considers evolution to be “The Language of God” (title of his book that you should read). He has much to say about speciation, miracles, and he is pointedly critical of Creationism, and Intelligent Design. Why? Read his book.
You have some incorrect conceptions about sedimentary rock. It is not formed through wind and water erosion or a worldwide flood as you claim. I think you meant to write: fossils in sedimentary strata are often exposed (not caused) by floods, winds, and earthquakes. Sedimentary rock itself is formed from sediment in bodies of water or laid down as volcanic ash. As you mentioned, standing fossil trees, have been found in more than one sedimentary strata of rock. The following explanation may help you understand how geologists think this happened: 1) A forest is flooded and buried in sediment. 2) In time the sediment becomes rock and the forest becomes fossilized. 3) Millions of years later, weathering and/or earthquakes expose the upper parts of the fossilized trees by removing the softer sedimentary rock in which they were encased. 4) Another flood buries the top of the fossilized trees with sediment again. 5) The sediment turns to rock and entombs the trees once more. (Imagine this happening multiple times) 6) A million years later, paleontologists discover the fossil trees still standing in two or more different sedimentary strata, millions of years different in age as verified by radiometric dating. Amazing but true! This process fits well with evolution science and the “old age” of the earth.
You claimed that the best explanation for the finding of fossilized sea creatures at high elevations is because the great biblical deluge left them there. Wrong again. The discovery of marine fossils in high elevation is due to the upraising of mountain ranges from ocean depths. Darwin discovered seashells in the Andes Mountains and puzzled over them until he witnessed an earthquake in Chile that raised the seabed above sea level. The huge pressures created by continental tectonics and the slow but powerful collisions of landmasses are responsible for the rising of most mountain ranges. Fossils that once were below sea level may well end up on top of a mountain, a common occurrence that fits well with the old age of the earth and evolutionary theory.
You claimed The moon is drifting away from the earth at a rate that would have placed it on top of the earth when it began its drift if the old age of the earth is correct. First of all, the moon was created when a meteor or planet struck the earth and gouged out debris that eventually consolidated as our moon about 3.8 to 4.5 billion years ago. Since then the moon has been struck multiple times by meteorites as its surface shows. The young earth theory is not possible if the moon was created billions of years ago and has been struck thousands of times by meteors as you can plainly see. Creationists have assumed that the rate of moon drift is constant. It is not. Moon drift is so slow that we don’t have to worry about it. A similar incorrect assumption is that the sun burns and diminishes in size and energy at a constant rate therefore disproving the old age of the earth because the estimated size of the sun would have placed it close the earth, and burned the earth to a crisp long ago. Cosmologists and physicists have determined that the sun does not burn at a constant rate and neither do other stars.
You had questions about the nature of Neptune and seem to imply our ignorance of Neptune is indicative of other claims of the solar system including the old age of earth. You further imply that if the universe was billions of years old Neptune could not still be as hot as it is. Neptune is a curious gas planet. Although its exterior is one of the coldest in the solar system, its interior is very hot as you noted. You apparently got this information from the very scientists you now impugn. Astronomers theorize that Neptune’s huge volume and its seething gas interior is responsible for its interior heat. Astronomers expect that Neptune will eventually cool down as it loses energy. Its hot interior temperature does not disprove evolution but, in fact, supports the old age of the earth and universe.
You ask-If the earth is so old, why is it not overrun with piles of human bones? Answer – Bones and other body parts are usually eaten by scavengers or decay naturally (eaten by microbes). Few fossilized human remains have been found because there have been a relatively small number of humans that have existed on earth compared to other animals. Fortunately many new human fossils have been found in the last twenty years. Unfortunately, there are few paleontologists hunting for fossils. Other animals and plants also decay and their molecules are recycled like ours if they are not fossilized. Fossil coal and oil are the remains of dead organisms formed over millions of years. Limestone is nothing but fossilized shells. Geologists understand and confirm fossil theory. Radiometric dating has proven to be 98% accurate by comparing results of dating laboratories all over the world.
You claim that Birds give birth to the same species of birds and not to other species of birds. In my youth, a popular mind-bender was, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” The answer is, of course, the egg, which is easily explained by evolutionary theory. It should be noted that when a pre-chicken bird laid a mutated egg with different DNA, the bird that hatched from that egg was still a pre-chicken. In fact, it takes numerous mutations and many generations before a new hatchling has accumulated enough changes (beneficial mutations) to become a new species. During fertilization, the DNA of sperm and egg pair up, duplicate and exchange genes. Mutations occur when extra genes are duplicated or when some are omitted or altered. Mutations are usually harmful to their host plants and animals, and do not survive long enough to pass the mutation on to future generations. Sometime the mutations are neutral and hitch a ride in the chromosomes without being noticed until a future time when they suddenly appear and create a noticeable change in the organism (animal or plant). Advantageous mutations help the organism adapt to a changing environment and survive long enough to pass its genes to a future generation.
Basic evolution is apparently difficult for you to understand so I am reluctant to try to explain a relatively new concept of evolution. It is sometime called epigenetics. It turns out that evolutionary changes can occur without mutations in the genes themselves. The manner in which the genes are expressed (activated), the timing of the expression, and the strength of the expression can all effect evolutionary change without actually needing a mutated gene. For example, pregnant female rats put on a starvation diet will become food hoarders and pass this trait onto their offspring for several generations without a mutation occurring.
Another example: humans carry the gene(s) for an ancestral trait, a tail. Normally this gene(s) is recessive and not expressed: humans usually do not have tails. However, every so often a baby is born with a tail. The explanation is: genes that normally control the growth of the human coccyx bones (tail bones) may be altered by epigenetic factors and resort back to ancestral growth patterns thereby growing a tail on a baby, occasionally longer than six inches with skeletal, ligamental, neural, and muscular elements. These tails are surgically removed in newborns so few people know about them.
So, now we now know that genes can spontaneously turn on and off and they can be expressed differently due to several factors including the mother’s general health, stress, nutrition, and exposure to other environmental factors. Much of the human genome is identical to the genome of other animals but the genes are not activated in the same way. Thus the differences. The concept of epigenetics actually fits in well with the traditional concept of evolution and explains many evolutionary puzzles. One does not contradict the other. They build upon each other.
You claim that there has never been a mutation that has ever produced an increase or addition of genetic information. Felines change into different kinds of felines, canines into different kinds of canines, but never felines into canines or any transition between kinds.
Our response – Canines and felines are cousins in the evolutionary sense and therefore cannot evolve into one another any more than a chimp can evolve into a human. New genetic information is being created continually through mutation. Mutations are mistakes in the replication and recombination of genetic material. Old genetic information may altered into new, additional copies may be made, old copies may be deactivated possibly for later use, original copies may be lost forever, new combinations of old genetic material may be formulated. As mutations occur and are preserved the organism changes almost imperceptibly. Over time these minute changes accumulate until a new species is recognized. It takes many generations, hundreds or thousands for enough changes to accumulate to form a new species. It never occurs within one generation or even several generations.
Transitional Fossils are plentiful in spite of your claim that they do not exist. Due to the fact that all organisms are evolving from one form to another, any and all organisms may be considered transitional (intermediate), in the process of changing, or intermediate between an ancestor and future descendant. There are transitional fossils between species, genus, family, order, and class. Many transitional fossils have been found in the evolution of the horse, camel, humans, elephants, dinosaurs, invertebrates, etc. There are even intermediate examples between plant and animal Kingdoms. Fascinating single celled organisms such as the euglena have both plant and animal characteristics. Modern birds, for example, still have scales left over from their reptilian past; fossil of dinosaurs show they had feathers which they probably used for sexual attraction and/or insulation. Later, feathers continued to evolve and became useful for gliding and eventually flight. There are transitional fossils between fish and amphibians, amphibians and reptiles, reptiles and birds, reptiles and mammals. I won’t bother you with their names. Fossil specimens are available for your examination in museums and universities all over the world. The Indianapolis Childrens’ Museum has an excellent dinosaur/evolution exhibit. The Indiana State Museum has an exhibit summarizing the origin and life cycle of what is now the state of Indiana, from it’s beginning many millions of years ago to the present time. No museum exhibits, except Creationist museums, display fossils of human footprints alongside those of dinosaur footprints as Creationists claim exist. In fact, if anyone were to make such a discovery or even find a mammal fossil in Precambrian strata, they would be famous, and I personally would have to reconsider my disbelief in God.
You claim Horse evolution has been debunked. In fact, horse evolution displays numerous transitional fossils and it is one of the best-documented animal lines. Keep in mind that a transitional fossil may be a direct ancestor (lineal) or an indirect ancestor
A constant stream of new fossil finds enable paleontologists to fine-tune and more accurately document horse evolution than had been possible in the past. There have been and will be numerous changes and corrections in evolutionary lines as new information is uncovered. It is the nature of natural science to modify or reject the most cherished and long held beliefs in the light of new convincing information. Nothing in science is too sacred to be modified or rejected if need be. If that were not so, natural science and medicine would still be in the dark ages. I am sure you would not want to live in a world where science was static.
Thus far you and I have used the word “species.” Before proceeding we should define the term. Species – An animal or plant that is sufficiently different from an ancestor so it cannot breed successfully with that ancestor and/or produce a fertile and viable offspring. Common sense tells us that although a Pekinese dog cannot breed with a Great Dane they are still of the same species. The word species does not appear in the gospels, but the word “kind” does and is thought to be equivalent in meaning.
Speaking of transitional fossils, the best-documented transitional fossil records are those of invertebrates. University libraries, and museums all over the world are filled with documentation, fossils and photo records. There are thousands of fossils documenting transitional evolutionary changes within species and between species. The Creationist belief that an animal is either a fish or an amphibian, a reptile or a mammal, and nothing in between, is a matter of definition convenience and erroneous classification. It is like saying something is either black or white and therefore, there are no grays. Silly? Most reputable evolutionists believe that an animal with some but not all physical characteristics of both fish and amphibians are transitional and/or intermediate. Keep in mind that animals with both characteristics may not be direct ancestors to surviving lines of animals, but if they have some characteristics of both, they are considered to be transitional. Transitional animals usually occur in small break-away populations, therefore it is unlikely numerous remains will ever be discovered. This is what confused horse evolution. Many of the fossils were collateral and did not represent the surviving line of today’s horses. Nevertheless they probably looked very similar and were accurate stand-ins for the actual lineal fossils. I have to remind you: the rules, classifications, definitions, modifications and decisions made about evolution are made by evolutionist scientists, paleontologists, geneticists, etc., not Christian pundits. It is understandable that you may not like this process but those are the ways of scientific organizations, and their members. If Creationists can make up their own laws of nature based upon preconceived bible “truths” where would we be? Totally confused.
I need to clarify something you said about “macro-evolution” and “micro-evolution.”These are terms made up by Creationists and Intelligent Designers. Actually, there is only one kind of evolution. Evolution can take place very slowly in the case of crustaceans, crocodiles, and sharks, etc., or it can take place more rapidly as in Gould’s punctuated evolution. Gould was a strong believer in natural selection evolution, but he also believed evolution can happen faster under certain conditions with neutral or recessive genes and epigenetics. He definitely did not believe your young earth theory. Add up a million years of so-called “micro-evolution,” add in a little punctuated evolution and you have so-called “macro-evolution.” Another thing: All organisms are evolving even if they do not seem to change. Mutations continue to occur and natural selection continues to select the most fit organisms for survival. If the environment of organisms, like sharks, changes little or not at all, then natural selection will select for little change or no change. In any case, the mechanism is still evolution. It is like jogging in place compared to moving forward.
You claim Everything that had a beginning had a cause. I don’t know if this is true or not, nor does anyone know, but I’ll try to respond. There are several logical possibilities concerning the beginning of the universe.
1) The universe always existed and needs no original cause. It seems the most logical answer to me, but I don’t know for sure. (It is similar to your reasoning that god always existed and needs no cause.)
2) The universe came from another quantum location outside our universe and had no cause, or was created by aliens, or god(s), or by unknown causes.
3) The universe was created by a god(s), goddess(es) other than the Christian god.
4) The universe was created by the Christian god.
In my humble opinion the question is currently unanswerable with the limited information we have. The ancient ones who wrote the bible borrowed their origin stories from other cultures. This explains the close similarity you must surely have noticed.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics – Creationist argument: The second law says that disorder (entropy) increases in a closed system. As far as anyone knows this is true. Evolution teaches that life forms have become more organized, not less. Evolution, therefore, contradicts the Second Law and cannot be true, so say Creationists. The explanation to this claim is simple. Within our universe local regions, (the earth), may receive an energy input from other regions, (our sun), and therefore are considered “open systems” not closed systems. Planet earth enjoys energy from the sun and is able to sustain evolution. There are still millions or billions of years of energy left in the sun so evolution will continue into the foreseeable future.
Creationists claim the universe could not possible have existed as long as cosmologists claim because it to would have exhausted its energy supply long ago. The problem with that concern is: 1) No one knows how much energy is in the universe and how long it will last. 2) New energy may be entering our universe from another quantum universe. 3) New energy may have other sources we don’t know about (recycled from old or dark energy and matter) Confusing isn’t it? To complicate the matter even more, physicists and astronomers talk about the strong possibility of parallel disc shaped universes almost identical to ours. Average human minds may not have the innate ability to understand such things any better than a pet goldfish understands its situation in time and space and whence comes its food. Certainly a book written by ancients who believed the earth was flat and was the center of the universe cannot be a valid source of good information.
You are confused about Spontaneous generation. It has several definitions, which are too often used interchangeably and cause great confusion, especially for Creationists.
1) The original definition referred to the unexplained appearance life forms such as the appearance small creatures and mold on uncovered culture plates and milk. How did they get there? Pasteur and others covered the plates, so microbes and spores on dust particles and flies could not contaminate them. The plates did not exhibit any life forms when covered. This proved his theory and was the birth of microbiology.
2) The second definition pertains to laboratory attempts to create life in a “test tube” by the combination of the optimal temperature, basic elements, energy, and organic bits and pieces of which all life is made. Great progress has been made to this end and it is probable that life will be created in the laboratory in our lifetime. Start thinking now how you will assimilate this event into your theology.
3) The third definition pertains to the first life that appeared on earth. Scientists believe that life may have been created though a recipe of natural elements and energy, (a primal soup), not just once, but many times on the young earth or in its seas. This same creation process, it is believed, may have occurred elsewhere in our solar system and most definitely elsewhere in the universe. It is thought that new life forms are being created daily in ocean depths but are unable to survive because available niches are already taken and survival is too competitive.
In short, Pasteur’s discoveries: 1) do not disprove the possibility that researchers can and will soon create life in the laboratory and 2) do not address the possibility that new life continues to be created naturally when the circumstances are suitable. 3) do not disprove that life exists all over the universe long before it appeared on earth. 4) do not disprove that life can come into existence without Devine help.
New scientific claims must pass numerous tests before they are accepted as tentative fact. Finding truth is a painstaking process approached from many directions, crosschecked by many specialties, tested repeatedly, reviewed repeatedly, and always open to revision in the light of new evidence. When independent researchers from all over the world find independent agreement, there is a strong likelihood that facts or theories are true. New evidence may alter or invalidate what was thought to be true. Science does not claim absolute certainty; it should not and must not. Scientific methodology has proven its worth and scientific understanding tends to evolve as new evidence is added to the mix.
As it stands now, there are no scientific proofs for god. I wait patiently but am highly skeptical such proofs will be found. Please let me know when you find some good proof, like a documented case of an amputee regrowing a lost arm as a result of prayer. I would think that such an act would be easy for an all-powerful god. If god performs so many other miracles every day at healing services, on TV, and in the bible, I wonder why he can’t or won’t help hundreds of thousands of prayerful and waiting Christian amputees? I never have heard a good answer to that question. Have you? Please send me one if you have it.
You accuse me of being a sinner and accuse me of being a liar. Yes, I have lied, and I have made mistakes. So, am I a sinner? No! Lies are not intrinsically harmful. It is rather how lies are used, for what purpose, for good or bad reason. Deception is part of being human, in fact it is a part of being a live organism, vital to survival. Lies may be justified and be done for good reason, so as not to hurt someone with the truth. Mistakes may be due to ignorance, lack of education, and because someone was not as skeptical as he/she should have been. Nevertheless, I accept responsibility for my lies, my mistakes and my successes. I am regretful of some things I’ve done. I endeavor to learn from mistakes and not to repeat them. I constantly try to improve my life, to love my fellow humans, to have empathy, do charity, show kindness, work for peace and conciliation. I do these things without a promise of heaven or a threat of hell. I do “good” for its own sake, because I instinctively know it to be the right path for me to follow for the well being of our precious earth and its inhabitants. I will sacrifice as needed and will forgive my enemies when prudent. I will continue to respect and protect the rights of those who hold beliefs contrary to mine. I have no fear of death itself, but I do fear a long painful dying process, that a loving god(s) if he/she/they exist, should not allow and condone. In fact, the widespread suffering of innocent animals including God’s own innocent children is a strong argument against the existence of the Christian God.
You spoke of Original sin. Original sin is a major belief of Christianity, but in my opinion it is perhaps the most unreasonable and cruel belief ever conceived. We humans are responsible for our own shortcomings, not for the illegal and immoral acts of our ancestors. Original sin was invented to control the masses and make all believers reliant upon the forgiveness dolled out by their religious leaders. Original sin was one of the first things about Christianity that I rejected as a child. It was obviously unfair and cruel even to a child. Thank goodness our legal system does not follow such an unfair and ridiculous concept.
As to the claim that Christ suffered and died for our sins I can only claim ignorance. I don’t know if Christ existed or not and I do not accept the bible as an accurate history book. Millions of innocent humans have suffered and died for causes they believed in. Many, no doubt, suffered more extremely and longer than Christ supposedly did. It is a cruel world and if an intelligent designer designed it, he did a terrible job and I want nothing to do with him.
Life has been extraordinarily good for me. I often wonder: if God(s) exists why has he/she/they blessed me, an infidel and atheist, while faithful Christians often suffer and die. I cannot see any advantages for me and other secular humanists to become born again. Our lives are good, challenging, rewarding, stimulating, difficult at times and ultimately in accord with natural law.
Concerning religious faith. No doubt, religion often plays a beneficial role and helps some people deal with earthy problems. On the other hand, it has also done much harm, as history documents. It is obvious that a belief in God seems to be important, even vital to you and yours. That is truly wonderful and I stand with you to protect your right to believe. However, a strong dogmatic religious belief system, such as yours, is annoying when forced upon nonbelievers or upon those of another faith. Religion is a major destructive element when it mixes with politics and the lust for wealth and power. Theocracies and religion-supported governments are a threat to other religions and secular governments. We at CFI stand strongly for the separation of church and state, as I hope you do. We must keep prayer and Creationism out of our public schools and government for the sake of all religions, governments, and individuals of no faith.
This brings me to my final point. Why did you attend our meeting? Although you were polite, intelligent, well meaning, and interesting, most of your questions were off topic. Your group was disruptive to our meeting that was scheduled as a book review. In the future, we at CFI will try harder to keep our discussions on the topic as advertised in our monthly schedule. I expect that you attended our meeting because you were curious about CFI, but mainly you wanted to testify about your beliefs as your religion instructs good you to do. In short, it was inappropriate and you were disruptive. In the future we will hold all questions until the end of our presentations. If you are interested we could schedule an “Exchange of Views” meeting where both sides can ask questions and give answers.
Ending thoughts for you:
Evolution is a fascinating subject that is accepted by many Christians who do not see a contradiction believing in both a God and evolution. These good God believing Christians don’t believe the bible must be historically and scientifically correct. They believe the bible to be a metaphorical morality lesson. As I have heard many times, “God works in mysterious ways.” If god wanted to use evolution as a creation tool, he certainly could have. Who are you to put limits on God’s power? Think about it. Why can’t you believe in both God and evolution like so many other Christians do? Your interpretation of what the bible means is in conflict with the understanding of most other Christians, Hebrews, and Muslims. Why should I believe your interpretation of the bible and not theirs?
“It is sometimes said that science has nothing to do with morality. This is wrong. Science is the search for truth and the effort to understand the world: it involves the rejection of bias, of dogma, of revelation, but not the rejection of morality.” So said Linus Pauling, founding father of molecular biology and winner of two Nobel Prizes, one for chemistry, one for peace.
Sincerely yours, Craig Gosling
4) Jacob’s first letter to Craig
Thanks for your response. I really appreciate you taking the time to write to my questions. Let me get right to it.
“Imagine this: 1) A forest is flooded and buried in sediment….”
Craig, we are talking about evidenced based science…not interpretations as to what might have happened. The fact remains that there are trees going through multiple rock layers that many scientists have already “affirmed” are millions of years apart in age. So, someone is wrong. And since I am skeptic, I want facts, not just imagination.
“The moon is drifting away from the earth and should have been long gone by now if the old age of the earth was correct. You have assumed that the rate of moon drift is constant. It is not. A similar incorrect assumption is that the sun burns and diminishes in size and energy at a constant rate therefore disproving the old age of the earth because the size of the sun would have been equal in size of the earth, and burned the earth to a crisp long ago.”
So you are saying my assumptions might be wrong? Is this assumption not exactly what radio-metric dating does? This dating method assumes everything to be constant (i.e. rate of Nuclear decay) and if it does not fit into the parameters of the already established “geologic column” then the results are thrown out. This seems like pseudoscience. It seems that scientists assume uniform naturalism when it fits their bias but when it does not they look for other explanations despite lack of evidence.
“Within our universe local regions, (the earth), may receive an energy input from other regions, (our sun), and therefore are considered “open systems” not closed systems. Planet earth enjoys energy from the sun and is able to sustain evolution. There are still millions of years of energy left in the sun so evolution will continue into the foreseeable future.”
As for saying the second law of thermodynamics doesn’t apply here because earth is an open system. You only take the problem back one step to the fact that if the universe (matter) is eternal then the sun would have had an infinite amount of time to reach full entropy as well. The fact still remains that if the universe is eternal, without an outside cause then there would be an infinite amount of time for the usable energy in the universe to reach maximum entropy, leaving the universe without any usable energy. Logically speaking there are only three possibilities…. (A) Either an eternal God created the universe (The universe had a cause), or (B)Matter is eternal and the universe had no beginning or (C) Matter is not eternal, but had no cause (In other words, nothing created everything….which is just silly.)
Option B is impossible due to the 2nd law of thermodynamics, Option C is absurd because we know that everything that has a beginning has a cause (Law of Cause and effect) Leaving the only logical conclusion as Option A….But option A is what evolutionists take great pains to avoid, no matter where the science leads. You can call this an ontological argument or philosophical debate but it is really just common sense.
“New energy may be entering our universe from another quantum universe. 3) New energy may have other sources we don’t know about. Confusing isn’t it? To complicate the matter even more, physicists and astronomers talk about the strong possibility of parallel disc shaped universes almost identical to ours. Average human minds may not have the innate ability to understand such things any better than a pet goldfish understands its situation in time and space and whence comes its food.”
Yes string theory is confusing to our human minds. Even in “dimensions” that we may not know everything about scientists are discovering that something still holds atoms and materials together. These scientists are saying that some force still makes everything stay together even when it seemingly should not. It is hard for our finite minds to grasp the infinite. But rest assured, the Bible already told us that God is outside of time. Jesus Christ made all things and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:17) The heavens were made to declare the Glory of God. (Psalm 19:1) He is also well beyond our understanding. String theory is showing human minds how little we know about the magnificently created universe by the Almighty creator. (Isaiah 55:9) What a Great and Mighty God He is! We are certainly like a goldfish that is dependent upon God for everything. Without Him, we would not be able to take our next breath or eat our next meal. Praise Him for revealing Himself to us through Jesus Christ! He is worthy!
“ Silly? Most reputable scientists believe that an animal with some physical characteristics of both fish and amphibians are transitional and/or intermediate. Keep in mind that animals with both characteristics may not be direct ancestors to living lines of animals. They can be transitional between a primitive animal and an extinct animal. Complicated family lines can be confusing to paleontologists so don’t feel badly if you don’t understand.”
Craig, I am not confused. Those who are confused are those who can’t make the evidence fit into their world view of evolution. Secular paleontologists are often confused because the facts do not support what they WANT to believe. So typically, what they say is, “Our information is incomplete.” However, the Bible has already told us that kinds reproduce after their own kind. (Genesis 1:24, I Cor. 15:39) Why does that seem silly to you? That is what we see every single day and that is only what anyone has ever seen. Besides, I want proof, not what scientists believe. By the way, what makes them reputable? Everyone keeps telling me that reputable scientists are just the ones that agree with evolution. This doesn’t sound like science is being skeptical of itself, rather they are just promoting their already established beliefs.
“I need to clarify something you said about “macro-evolution” and “micro-evolution.” These are terms made up by Creationists and Intelligent Designers. Actually, there is only one kind of evolution.”
Craig, this statement is flat out false. Creationists have to make this distinction because so many people are being tricked into believing that the observable changes in kinds can be the absolute truthful explanation of the origins of everything. Micro-evolution can be verified and is evidenced-based science. The idea of macro-evolution is all assumption-based and should not even be allowed into CFI (due to lack of evidence and pseudoscience). How can skeptics not be skeptic about it? There is no science behind it; it is all presuppositions that people try to make work for their rejection of God. It is dishonest to call it science and teach it as fact. There are huge problems with Darwinian evolution…
http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/ – Are these reputable scientists?
“…The third definition pertains to the first life that appeared on earth. Scientists believe that life may have been created though a recipe…
…life will be created in the laboratory in our lifetime.
In short, Pasteur’s discoveries 1) do not disprove the possibility that researchers can and will soon create life in the laboratory and 2) do not address the possibility that new life continues to be naturally created when the circumstances are suitable…”
First, Pasteur’s experiments were much more than putting a cloth over some liquid. Please go back and understand Pasteur’s law. Second, please read the above quotes from you. There have been millions of experiments trying to imitate life forming from non-life. It has not happened. Even if it were to happen, all anybody has proven is that some of the most determined and intellectual scientists have CREATED pseudo-life in a laboratory. It did not evolve, it was created that is if it were to ever happen. There sure is a lot of talk about believing it will happen. I realize many people look to Miller’s experiments in 1953, but his “building blocks” of life were nothing short of toxic to life itself. Modern science knows that abiogenesis theory is hopeless and many evolutionists distance themselves from it. However, without it, Darwinism is doomed so it is still taught as a possibility. I am very skeptical about this.
“The explanation is: genes that normally control the growth of the human coccyx bones (tail bones) may be altered by epigenetic factors and resort back to ancestral growth patterns thereby growing a tail on a baby, sometime as long as six inches. These tails are surgically removed in newborns so few people know about them.”
These so called tails are not really tails at all and instead are a type of fatty tumor. There are no bones or muscles in them at all, and thus, it cannot truly be considered a vestigial organ. Again, in all due respect, please understand what these really are. For some clarity go to: D.J. Donovan and R.C. Pedersen, “Human Tail with Noncontiguous Intraspinal Lipoma and Spinal Cord Tethering: Case Report and Embryologic Discussion,” Pediatric Neurosurgery 41 no. 1:35–40
“Modern birds, for example, still have scales left over from s their reptile past and certain dinosaurs had feathers that they probably used for sexual attraction and/or insulation. Later, feathers continued to evolve and became useful for gliding and flight. There are transitional fossils between fish and amphibians, amphibians and reptiles, reptiles and birds, reptiles and mammals. I won’t bother you with their names.”
According to www.talkorigins.org, “a reptile-like ancestor, and that transitional species must have existed which were morphologically intermediate between reptiles and mammals—even though none are found living today.” I have done my homework and I know just as well as you do that the transitions you report of are all interpretation. Furthermore, they are usually based on something like a jaw bone. That is amazing that these “scientists” can tell so much from a jaw bone and some drawings. I am really skeptical about this. This site (which our speaker Sean and hostess Reba sent us to as evidence for evolution) also says this, “These fossil intermediates illustrate why Gish’s statement is a gross mischaracterization of how a transitional form should look.” Apparently this scientist named Gish was being criticized because he said there are no transitions between reptiles and mammals. This site says he was wrong because he did not imagine correctly how they should look. No evidence…just imagination. I think the skeptics need to look into this.
“Theocracies and religion-supported governments are a threat to both religion and government. We at CFI stand strongly for the separation of church and state, as I hope you do. We must keep prayer and Creationism out of our public schools.”
This really has nothing to do with what we were there to talk about with all of you but I will address it. I support America and certainly our freedoms. However, we have already let a religion into our schools. It is called evolution. Its religious leaders are Charles Darwin, Thomas Huxley, Richard Dawkins, Eugenie Scott, and Michael Dowd to name a few. Its God is random selection. Its sacred texts are evolution (“Science”) journals. Its churches are places like CFI where “believers” fellowship and exhort one another in false doctrine. Its mission field is the public schools and universities. Its offering is to humanitarian projects. However, as we have seen through much of what you have said, it is not fact. Evolution is interpretations, ideas, presuppositions, guesses, and simply another world view. God has designed you as a being that desires to worship. The real question is what are you worshipping; creation or the Creator?
“Yes, I have lied, and I have made mistakes. It is part of being human…
Original sin is a major belief of Christianity, but in my opinion it is perhaps the most unreasonable belief ever conceived. We humans are responsible for our own shortcomings, not for the illegal and immoral acts of our ancestors. Original sin was invented to control the masses and make all believers reliant upon the forgiveness dolled out by their religious leaders.”
Do you have children Craig? Have you ever worked with children? You understand that young children do not need to be taught how to lie, steal, hate, and be selfish. Original sin is not an idea that you need to learn from any church, it is apparent. Let me explain what the Bible teaches. When Adam sinned he rebelled against God. Adam brought the curse of sin and rebellion onto the entire creation. Because of Adam sin entered into the world and ruined God’s perfect creation. His offspring (humans) since the fall have always and will always be born into sin. (Psalm 51:5) You have admitted to original sin Craig. You told me that you have lied, “it is part of being human”. You are correct. However, we are all still held responsible for our own actions. (James 2:10, Job 10:14-15)
I asked you a question last time we were at CFI together. I asked you if there was ever a time while you were a “Christian” that you repented. You adamantly stated that you had not. You told me you did not need to because you did not believe in original sin. Craig, unless you repent you will perish. (Luke 13:3) Ask yourself about God’s law…Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever hated someone or called someone a fool? Have you ever committed adultery or lusted after another woman? Have you always put God first in your life? What about your thought life; is it pleasing to God? In Romans, it says that God will even judge the secrets of our hearts. (Romans 2:16) Breaking just one of God’s Holy commands will sentence us to eternal Hell. God is just and He will by no means acquit the wicked. (Nahum 1:3)
Craig, I tell you this with as much love and concern for your soul as I can have. No one who denies Jesus Christ or denies the existence of Almighty God has ever been a believer. Maybe you have read the Bible at times or went to a church, or spoke in tongues but this does not make anyone a true Christian. A true believer is someone who repents and believes the Gospel. The Bible teaches that if any man is in Christ he is a new creation. (2 Cor. 5:17) A born-again believer will live for Christ, not look back, and certainly not fall away from the faith. (Luke 9:62) Craig, if you never repented and put your faith in Jesus Christ, you were not born-again. Unless someone is born again, he will not see the Kingdom of God. (John 3:3)
We came to CFI to preach Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6) We care about where each person will spend eternity. The bad news Craig is that you, me, Matt, and everyone else deserves the full fury of God’s wrath because we are liars, thieves, adulterers in our hearts, murderers in our hearts, and blasphemers. God is Holy and Just. If we leave this earth unrepentant, we will stand in front of God and He will justly condemn us to Hell. We know that justice demands that all law-breakers be punished for their transgressions. It is appointed for man to die once and then face judgment. (Heb. 9:27) We also know that this is not God’s will. God is patient with all of us hoping that we will repent and turn to Him. (2 Pet. 3:9) He has given you a great life Craig; He is showing you grace every day. He is keeping you alive so that you may reach the point in your life where you repent and put your faith and trust in Him.
Craig, you have so many objections to Christianity that are founded only on the here and now. Things like Christians suffering, or how you (an atheist) have been blessed with a good life, Christian amputees, or that you are ok with dying. Jesus Christ did not come to give good or happy lives to His followers. He came to save people from their sins! (Matt. 1:21)
I am glad you have lived a fulfilling life but please understand what the Bible teaches:
“…we ourselves boast of you (believers) among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,” (1 Thes. 1:4-9)
I am not trying to scare you or curse you. I am warning you of God’s wrath against those who do not repent and believe. A born-again Christian is not living for this life. We are living for eternity. What are 80 or 90 years in the light of eternity? Are you willing to stake all of eternity on interpretations of scientific facts? Again, this life is but a vapor, but eternity never ends. Do not suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18), rather listen to your conscience and understand that you stand condemned outside of Jesus Christ. (John 3:18)
Craig, here is the good news…God sent His Son to bare our sins on the cross. Because God is just there must be punishment for breaking His law. His righteous wrath was poured out onto His only begotten Son. Jesus became sin and was crucified in our place. When we repent and trust in Him, God can accept us through Jesus’ sacrifice. Nothing else will save us from our sins. (Acts 4:12) No priest or person needs to do anything for us, Jesus paid it all. We were once enemies of God, but Jesus will reconcile us to God. (Colossians 1:21-22) Craig, I want to see you Heaven. Thanks for reading this.
5) Craig’s second letter to Jacob.
I read your letter carefully several times and reject almost everything you wrote, as you probably expected. Your understanding of scientific methodology is unfortunately distorted by your religious beliefs. I’m sorry. I will direct this letter to other things.
You are absolutely convinced of your beliefs there is no doubt. As long as your beliefs do not interfere with my rights, I support your right to believe whatever you wish (There are some exceptions such as human sacrifice, genocide, slavery and other atrocities as found in Old Testament and condoned by your God). I hope you support my right to believe or not to believe as I wish. Or, would you impose your religion on me if you had a chance? If you had the power, would you do away with organizations like CFI?
If you need a heavenly reward and a hellfire threat in order to live a good life so be it. I do not. I don’t worry about a Christian hell or desire a Christian heaven simply because they do not exist. To me Christianity is just another religion that indoctrinates children born into it, or hooks stressed, uneducated, and gullible adults with emotional healing and placebo bait. I am not concerned about receiving a reward for living a good humanist life anymore than you are concerned about the afterlife claims of other religions (71 virgins for martyrs). You reject them as I reject yours. No problem.
I am impressed with several things about you. 1) You are a sincere person who would not intentionally interfere with the rights of others to worship as they please, or not worship at all. Am I correct? I hope so. 2) You are inquisitive, looking for ways to reconcile science with your particular brand of Christianity. I ask myself why. Certainly you do not need science to justify or support your religious beliefs. Faith should be enough. Or is your faith on shaky grounds and does it require scientific support? I wonder. I know many religious folk who do not need science to prove their religious beliefs. 3) You truly want to help your fellow humans. And, I readily admit you may have already done so in your young life. There are those who need religion as you apparently do. Religion is a comfort in times of stress, a crutch for the lame, a running shoe for the athlete, and a handy answer to most questions. The first humans who invented religion did so for valid reasons; it helped them survive in hard times. Religion still helps some people in need, but unfortunately, religion also does much harm as history documents. You can’t deny the harm religion has done in the past and is currently doing. Please note that I am not singling out Christianity. Christianity is just one of many young religions, split into thousands of sects, with a myriad of superstitious beliefs. You are one of many so-called “true-believers.”
Circumstances have changed since primitive man invented the Gods he thought he needed for survival. Fortunately, radical religion is on the decline in the industrial nations, even in the USA. Today, secular humanism continues to grow as science and reason advances worldwide. I believe humanism is far superior to old-fashioned religion in spreading morality, charity, kindness, tolerance, and reason around the world. Secular humanism is the hope of humankind and the best way to save our fragile planet from natural and human caused destruction. Although I hope science and reason will eventually persuade fewer people to rely on religion in the future, I also believe there is still a place, dwindling as it may be, for religion in world societies. I have no doubt that it will endure, but I hope in a moderate manner rather than a violent and controlling one. I’m glad that growing numbers of people say they have no religion and I believe that many so-called believers really take that label for convenience purposes such as for social, family, occupational acceptance.
I should clarify my use of the word religion. It means many things. One difference between you and I is that I believe in only one less religion and God than you do. You are an atheist concerning all other religions and Gods other than your own particular concept. Fine, I have no problem with your concept and the many others that exist along side yours. I do however fear radical religions and the fanatics who lead them. Religious radicals are those who would force their beliefs and way of life on others including you and me. Religious radicals too often influence and/or lead their followers and countries into conflict. I don’t believe you or your religion falls into that category, at least I hope not. But, there have been and are radical elements in most religions. These radicals are the cause of and are involved in most of the world’s problems. Both moderate Christians and non-believers are very concerned with “radical true-believers.” They have serious concerns that radical Christianity is infiltrating the US government and attempting to tear down the wall between State and church. Are you concerned about that? In my opinion, religions should not be in position to govern. Our government must remain secular for the protection of all religions, including your specific minority religion. Unfortunately, theocracies have a record of abuse of power and failure. I wonder what your feelings are concerning this subject. Do you believe religions should control the governments of the world? Do you believe that origin (creation) stories from all religions should be taught as equals in the public school science classroom? Do you believe that tax dollars should be used to support religious activities? Do you believe governments should favor one religion over another? I hope not.
In your last letter you claimed to be a skeptic. I love skepticism, but your skepticism is of anything that disagrees with your personal beliefs. True skepticism must question everything, especially one’s personal beliefs. You can’t give them a free pass. I plan to continue using reason, science, and free inquiry in all aspects of my life. And, I’m still waiting for good evidence that I’m wrong about the non-existence of God(s). Be sure to let me know when your God decides to add amputation healing to his “long list” of claimed miracles. What possibly can he have against amputees? Are you not skeptical as to why your God does not heal the hundreds of thousand amputees praying for healing? Why do you avoid answering that question every time I ask it? If my question does not raise doubts in you mind, you may be so blinded by your faith that reason and scientific inquiry will never be able to help you.
The reasons we at CFI do not believe in your God or any other God(s) is because we have no proof. Give us proof and we will believe as will, I suspect, every scientist in the world. We have been waiting and will continue to wait with open minds, willing to reject our most cherished and long held secular beliefs in the light of new convincing scientific evidence.
You wrote that truth is all that matters to you. You are fooling yourselves. Your concept of truth is different from mine. Truth is not selective as you believe. In science, the closest we can come to truth is a good theory that has been validated numerous times by testing. Any theory may be altered, improved upon, or in extreme cases abandoned. You must be able to put what you believe to the test, like a scientist in order to have some confidence in its accuracy. One must be ready to reject what cannot be proven by thorough testing. Strong belief is not enough to ensure something is true. Strong belief can actually obscure truth and blind free inquiry. This is your problem. Most importantly, you cannot start with a foregone faith based conclusion and then find quotations from a “holy” book to prove its validity. On second thought, that is exactly what Creationists have been doing for centuries, but it is not science and it is certainly not truth.
Your letters are chuck full of Scripture quotations as if they are the ultimate truth. They are not , of course. The scriptures are the remnants of ancient writings that were edited, copied full of mistakes, burned, lost, rejected and voted upon by church officials anxious for their favored interpretations to be the final word. It was a power struggle. There were different schools of thought concerning a man called Jesus. As you know numerous ancient scrolls have been discovered since then with contradictions to your accepted scrolls. A good historian would have to accept all Scriptures, old and new with the same value and degree of authenticity. A historian, or any fair-minded person, should consider all the evidence, and not just the ones that ended up in your bible. The scriptural remnants you now worship are so full of atrocities, contradictions, and impossible events that any fair-minded person would not be able to accept them as “gospel truth.” Just because your Scriptures claim to be the word of God does not mean they are and the assumption that God exists is valid. All your Scripture quoting is meaningless to non-believers, so I wonder why you continue to do it.
Creationists claim faith is all they need to believe yet they keep trying to use science to convince themselves and others that what they believe is true. Have you ever seen or heard of a scientific theory that confirms creationism beyond a reasonable doubt? The answer is “No” of course. Your “scientific proofs” are simply a collection of pseudoscience rambles. You believe because it makes you feel good, but that is not a good enough reason for me to believe something.
Two final questions for you: Is there anything that would persuade you to give up your fundamentalist beliefs? What kind of evidence would you require? If you believe no evidence can possibly exist to make you question your beliefs, you should consider giving up the pseudo-scientific evidence you claim substantiates your religious beliefs. One cannot logically use science to support one’s beliefs without admitting that it can possibly refute one’s beliefs as well. Do you think that your beliefs can be falsified? If they can’t be proven wrong with fact and reason, then they can’t be proven true with fact and reason. Think about it. Be honest with yourself when you are alone and with no other creationists looking over your shoulder. You have the ability to stand with science and reason if you want to. Call Sean or me if you have further questions.
Best wishes, Craig
6) Craig’s third letter to Jacob.
As I had not received a reply to my last letter I wrote again to Jacob.
I seldom have an opportunity to ask “born again Christians” about their beliefs, so I am pleased with our agreement to exchange letters. Of course, I will be glad to answer any of your questions about secular humanism in return.
Most, of my Christian friends and family are not fundamentalists and do not take the bible literally as I know you do. They don’t, for example, believe the story about the sun standing still in the sky, or the young age of the earth, or Noah’s ark, or Jonah surviving in the belly of a great fish. Down deep in your intellect you must know these events are, at best, metaphors. If you literally believe in such myths (impossible stories), it makes it difficult for me to believe in anything you claim about God’s message?
To most liberal Christians, such miraculous bible events are superfluous to Christ’s message to humanity. They do, however, claim to believe in a select few bible miracles such as a vague concept heaven and hell, original sin, the resurrection, and the trinity concept. I suspect they believe such things because they were indoctrinated as children or misled as emotional or stressed adults. They are now trapped into the traditional Christian doctrine. It is easier for them to keep quiet and not rock their family/social/church boat.
Evolution to liberal Christians is not a problem or threat; it is simply God’s method of creation. You must admit, an all-powerful deity should be able to invent and enact evolution if he wanted to. I still do not understand why you think evolution is such a threat to you. Whoever told you it is a threat has misled you. You can be a Christian and still believe in evolution as many of my family and friends attest.
The human brain is the closest thing to a miracle I have ever seen. It is able to compartmentalize conflicting information in separate file systems and create new files at will. Liberal Christians draw upon these different files as needed. They can wear the scientist’s hat at work and the Believer’s hat in church without problem. They seem happy and content to enjoy the personal and social comforts of religion as needed.
Paleontology, archeology and other earth sciences, are easily accepted by my Christian friends and do not threaten their religious beliefs. They believe natural science, including evolution, reflects the beauty and wisdom of their God. I, as a secular humanist, am puzzled that you are at odds with these good Christian people. Is it your belief that you will go to heaven and they will not because they don’t literally believe in the same bible miracles as do you? Does your God condemn these sincere Christians to everlasting suffering in hell because they believe in fewer miracles than you? Don’t all good Christians go to heaven by accepting Christ as their savior? Or, are they turned back from the Pearly Gates because they believed in a different bible interpretation and a few less bible miracles than you?
When we last met, one of your group asked how I came to lose my belief in Christ and my religion after being brought up as a Christian. In reply: There were many reasons, and the change was gradual. But, one book started me on the road to disbelief more than any other. The book was Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason (he also authored Common Sense which became a best seller and the foundation of the American revolution). I read it several times, underlined it, and debated Paine’s points with my Catholic, Protestant and Jewish friends in college. Read it if you dare.
As many of us at CFI have already experienced, “deconversion” runs the risk of being rejected by family, friends, and being discriminated against by the Christian community. Dan Barker’s book (you may have heard of him) Godless, tells of his journey from preacher, healer, speaker in tongues to atheist and co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). His progression was gradual like mine. Science, reason, and free inquiry are powerful determinates of belief. Dan Barker finally sent a letter to family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, everyone he could think of, to tell them of his deconversion and why he did it. You would be moved by his letter because Barker started with the same literalist, creationist beliefs you now have. If he could throw off supernatural beliefs so might you. It would be a breath of fresh air to you.
Part One of The Age of reason was written when Paine was imprisoned in France during the revolution and in danger of losing his head. Part Two was written after he was released and had access to a bible for reference purposes. Paine was a Deist of sorts who rejected the concept of the Christian God. The Age of Reason basically lists his reasons for not being a Christian. Among other things he writes about contradictions found in the bible. He asks, how can bible readers know what to believe and what not to believe when there are so many contradictions in the New Testament and Old Testament? He lists them. How can a reader believe what is written in Mathew, or Mark, or Luke, or John when they all have different versions of the same events? Which ones are true? Which ones are false? If you do not believe one then how can you believe in any of them? And, what gives the bible reader the right to select one as true and the others as not true? How do you handle these dilemmas?
I’ll list a few examples concerning the events following the crucifixion of Christ. Answer if you can.
1) Was Jesus’ tomb open or closed when the women arrived?
2) Who was in the tomb and where were they situated?
3) What was said to the women (actual quotations)?
4) Did the women tell what they saw?
5) When Mary returned from the tomb did she know Jesus had been resurrected?
6) When did Mary first see Jesus?
7) Could Jesus be touched after the resurrection?
8) After the women, whom did Jesus first appear to?
9) Where did Jesus first appear to the disciples?
10) What happened at that appearance?
11) Did Jesus stay on earth for more than one day?
12) Where did the ascension take place?
Can you, a student of the bible and a literal believer, write a single accurate narrative about these events without contradictions, using all the information found in Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John?
So far, I have never met anyone who could do it. On the other hand, my liberal Christian friends do not have a problem with these inconsistencies because they do not believe a literal translation of the bible is necessary to be a good Christian.
Other biblical contradictions are numerous, as you must be aware. I can quote chapter and verse for conflicting answers to all these questions.
1) Should we kill?
2) Should we tell lies?
3) Should we steal?
4) Shall we keep the Sabbath?
5) Shall we make graven images?
6) Are we saved through works?
7) Should good works be seen?
8) Should we own slaves?
9) Does God change his mind?
10) Does God know the future?
11) Are we punished for our parents’ sins?
12) Is God good or evil?
13) Whose fault was it that Moses could not enter the Promised Land?
14) Does God tempt people?
15) Is God peaceable?
(This is a short list. I have a long list.)
Concerning the genealogy of Christ, there are two versions (Mathew and Luke) as you must be aware. They both cannot be correct. If one is correct, the other must be incorrect. My Christian friends don’t bother themselves with these contradictions because they believe such details are not pertinent to Christ’s message.
If you believe in the virgin birth then Jesus cannot be in the descent line of David through Joseph anyway. My liberal Christian friends believe that human hands wrote the bible so errors are likely. But, I wonder if such contradictions bother you. How can you be sure that what you read is true? There is no good evidence.
Other concerns I had as a youth, which helped me reject religion, pertained to the atrocities found in the Old Testament. The early Hebrew tribes, if we are to believe the scriptures, slaughtered, or enslaved every other tribe (but saved the virgins for their sexual use) and destroyed every city they encountered, with God’s approval and urging. That alone made me shudder with disgust. How could I believe in such a villainous God? I came to the conclusion that if the God of the bible actually exists, He is a terrible God and not one I could believe in.
At first, I gradually rejected parts of the bible such as miraculous, (impossible) events and claims. Then I rejected unlikely events and claims. I still clung to a belief in Jesus as the Son of God, and a belief in an after life but not in hell. Eventually I rejected Jesus as a supernatural person and God as supernatural power. I was left with the deist or pantheist god of nature and a man called Jesus, who was a great teacher and philosopher. The essence of many of his teachings made sense to me, but it was obvious that he and his followers were ignorant of science, and they assigned supernatural attributes to him. They edited the writings about Jesus, burned some of them, and voted on what they should keep as the “true” word of God. Christian communities continue to have disagreements among themselves and in the past have fought wars over them.
Early Jews and Christians thought the world was flat and the earth was the center of the universe. They had no idea of the earth’s age. They borrowed most of their religion from other older religions, which they had come in contact with. Stories of creation, virgin births, resurrections and worldwide floods, etc., abound in many religions older than Judaism and Christianity. Surely you must know all of this if you have studied the early Hebrews and Christians, and the religions that influenced them.
From my point of view, my liberal Christian friends are more reasonable than you are. They are good people, somewhat gullible but not as much as you. They know the cruel, vengeful God of the Old Testament was the creation of ignorant bronze-age cultures. The contradictions and atrocities found in the bible are not to be taken at face value. They are simply ancient legends and myths compiled and distorted over many thousands of years. My Christian friends believe careful interpretation and study are required to sort out the myth from the real story of Jesus. They don’t believe that science can prove or disprove the validity of their religion. They believe by faith alone.
Jacob, whether or not a God or Gods exist I do not know for sure. I see no evidence. But faith alone is not enough for me. I tried it. I still await good evidence with an open mind, as do most nonbelievers.
If I were you I would cry out to my God. “God, where are you? We ignorant humans are waiting. We have skeptical friends and they need an indisputable sign like the healing of amputees. That should be so easy for the one who created the universe to do. Tell us you are not the vengeful and silly God of the Old Testament who requires constant praise from his sheep. Show us your power and help us confront our earthly problems of suffering, starvation, disease, and war. Repudiate the concept of eternal damnation of those who don’t know about Jesus, through no fault of their own, and of those who honestly doubt your existence. Repudiate the ill-conceived concept of original sin where the son is guilty for the sins of the father. Reason tells us this is not fair and not worthy of a just God. Society on earth would self-destruct under such unfair laws. Grant your love and forgiveness to all; do not limit it to a small fraction of the earth’s population and deny it to the rest because they do not praise you. Do not condemn the innocents of the world to everlasting hell because your creation (Adam and Eve) disobeyed you in their simple and innocent search for knowledge. You made them inquisitive, why blame them? Tell us clearly that miraculous biblical stories are metaphorical, as were Jesus’ parables, so our limited human minds could better understand them.”
So, now you may have a little more insight into why I do not believe as you do. CFI members discuss, debate, research, and learn from one another continuously. We are not told what to believe by anyone; we do not have an outdated dogma; we are not threatened with hell nor bribed with heaven in order to win our allegiance. Our beliefs are subject to change as new information becomes available. We are skeptical of everything, even our most cherished and long held beliefs. We believe that we are good people with human weaknesses to be confronted and controlled. We try to be moral, kind, just, generous, forgiving, empathetic and understanding. We try not to be arrogant, self-righteous, cruel, selfish, and unfair. Belief in a God(s) is not necessary for us to live good lives and help the less fortunate. We defend our rights under the constitution as required even if it means criticizing your efforts to save us.
Do members of your church ever accept new information and change their minds about what they believe? Is it possible that they have misunderstood God’s word? How do they feel about other evangelical, born again, and traditional protestant and catholic Christians who disagree with their theology? Your reply to my questions will be of great interest to us and will be thoroughly discussed at future CFI meetings.
As I wrote in a previous letter: Your replies to my letters and my replies to yours are like ships passing in the night; we are so far apart that it is like talking another language to each other. I expected as much, but still hope these letter exchanges will help us better understand why we believe as we do. Unfortunately, many religions have done great harm to humankind in God’s name. Hopefully, the future will bring moderation and enlightenment.
Thank you for taking the time to share your religious beliefs with us.
Sincerely yours, Craig
7) Jacob’s second letter to Craig
I am not shocked that you reject what I wrote! I feel the same that you do about how your religion has unfortunately distorted your view of science! I know it is time consuming to write back to the things I posed. You certainly do not have to…I just hope that you really did take a skeptical view of Darwinian evolution and all the problems associated with it. If you ever do get a chance to respond completely to my thoughts please send them. If not, I will not be upset.
You are right that I would not interfere with your rights to choose what to believe in and worship. This does not mean that I will not devote my life to sharing with you and everyone else what the truth of God’s word says to us. My intentions have no political or governmental overtones in the slightest. Craig, I would sit down and have lunch or dinner with you and talk about these things. I would never force my beliefs on anyone. I cannot change anyone’s mind. Christ has saved me and has therefore called me to speak the truth in love. What a person chooses to do with Jesus Christ is their decision and their responsibility before God. On the day you leave this earth Craig you will give an account for the decisions that you made. I am simply not concerned with religion being involved with the government or about what you do at CFI. I am concerned that you will leave this earth and face the wrath of God because you have never repented and believed the Gospel.
I do not need science to justify my faith but at the same time, the Bible tells me to Love the Lord with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength.’ This is the first commandment. (Mark 12:30) So as I endeavor to know all that I can about the Creator of the world, I start to see how science shows the work of God all throughout creation. Science and the Bible are NOT opposed; Evolution and the Bible are certainly opposed. As I am sure you know the majority of the scientific “fathers” were creationists that wanted to better understand the world that God had created. Many founders of scientific disciplines, such as Bacon, Newton, Kepler, Galileo, Pascal, Boyle, Dalton, Linnaeus, Mendel, Maxwell, and Kelvin were Bible-believing Christians. I do not reject sound science, I reject interpretations that people call science because they have a presupposition they must adhere to. Even if the data points to an intelligent designer, “scientists” reject it because it is not naturalistic. Please read the following article I think it will help you understand exactly what I mean:
Why Christianity? Why do I reject other religious beliefs? I can believe all I want whether or not there is a Hell or Heaven. I can believe all I want there are virgins waiting for me in Heaven. I can believe all I want that there is no God. My beliefs have no bearing on what is true. I can truly believe that I can jump off a building and defy gravity. The problem is, when I jump, I am going to splat down. The truth of gravity was not affected by what I wanted to believe in. I can truly believe that there is no God and that there is no Heaven or Hell. But on the day that I leave this earth, I had better be absolutely certain that what I chose to believe in was the truth. The truth is all that matters!
Craig, I have questioned my beliefs. You talk as if I have been brainwashed and that I don’t think for myself! I was a person who accepted evolution for a long time! I was leaning towards evolution because I loved the sin I was living in. I didn’t want to admit there was a God. I knew that I was a liar, thief, murderer in my heart, adulterer, blasphemer, idolater, and rebellious. I knew that God said all liars, idolaters, sexually immoral, and other heinous sinners would be condemned to the Lake that burns with fire and sulfur. (Revelation 21:8) I knew that Christ came to this world not to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned but whoever does not believe is condemned already. (John 3:17-18) Craig, I will tell you this with much fear and love. I sense an attitude of self-righteousness from you. You don’t believe in original sin, you said you don’t need to repent, you kept telling us that you are such a moral and good person.
Craig, blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall inherit the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 5:3) How will you ever be forgiven of your sins when you keep denying that you don’t have any sins? “You shall call His name Jesus for He shall save the people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) It is a flat out lie to say that we are good. We are not good when we view ourselves from God’s perfect standard. There are none who are good. No one is righteous and no one does good. (Romans 3:10-12) Even your best efforts are seen as filthy rags in the sight of God because He sees the motive behind each deed. (Isaiah 64:6) We are self-seeking, prideful, and filled with deceit. (Jeremiah 17:9) Yet we think the path we are on is the noble choice. There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 16:25) People reject God because they suppress the truth in unrighteousness. (Romans 1:18) They would rather live for their sin than fear God. This path will lead to death and utter destruction. Craig, listen to your conscience on this!
It is appointed for man to die once and after this the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27) Because God is perfectly just He will by no means acquit the wicked. There must be punishment for our transgressions of His law. Craig the great truth in the world is summed up in a single verse from the Bible. He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21) If you were to stand in front of a just judge with serious crimes against you and say, “I’m really sorry for what I did. I am a pretty good person usually and I won’t do it anymore! Will you let me go?” Of course a just judge would not let you go. A just judge will punish everyone who breaks the law. God is perfectly just and He will by no means acquit the wicked. No matter what we choose to believe or think we will stand condemned for breaking His law. But the great news is that Jesus Christ, who being God, willfully took our sins and paid the punishment that we can’t. Christ was despised by men, he was smitten, he was bruised for our iniquities, and by His stripes our wounds are healed. It pleased God to crush Him. (Isaiah 53) Through Christ, we can be forgiven of our sins. Christ instructs us to repent and believe the Gospel. Unless you repent, you will likewise perish. (Luke 13:3)
Take care Craig…I will never force anything on you. I will however plead with you to be reconciled to God through Christ Jesus today. For what is your life? It is but a vapor. (James 2:14)
8) Craig’s fourth letter to Jacob.
Thanks for your reply and for the webpage address about evolution. I am familiar with creationist beliefs (non-beliefs) about evolution. When you visited with us last month, somebody asked if we believed humans evolved from monkeys. I find it hard to believe Creationists are asking the same old question asked of Darwin and answered by Darwin. It continues to be asked by creationists who don’t listen to answers and apparently don’t understand how evolution works. It is similar to asking if we are descended from our cousins. For the last time, monkeys are our cousins not our ancestors. Why can’t you understand this simple point? We are related and if we traced our family tree back far enough we would find a common ancestor to both monkeys and humans. It is obvious you do not understand how evolution works. We are like two ships passing in the night; we speak the same language but have different definitions of words. Your understanding of science is meager and selective. Creationists have used the same old debunked arguments for 150 years. There are hundreds of scientific books that rebut all your arguments and explain what evolution is all about. Read a few if you dare. Stop by and check out our freethought library. If you only refer to Creationist information you will learn nothing except the same old arguments long ago debunked.
I do not expect to change your mind about anything. Hopefully, some time in the future you will be in a different frame of mind and have different needs. Hopefully you will see the light and remember our conversations and letters. Right now you are happy and secure in your beliefs. Now, at least, we both better understand the views of each another.
I am pleased to read that you do not believe that a Theocracy is a workable type of government. Theocracies have been disastrous throughout history. If this is really your belief, please stop trying to teach Creationism in Public schools and pushing your personal religious beliefs into our government. Most Creationists consider a Christian America to be their goal. They believe the U.S. government is a Christian government and Christianity should play a greater role in our public schools and in government halls. These well meaning Christian activists are doing everything they can to gain influence in education and government. This is our (CFI’s) great concern. As I said, we support your right to believe and worship as you wish, but we resist any and all attempts to degrade secular government. Our founding fathers had it right. True, some of them were Christian, but all of them were not of your brand of Christian fundamentalism. Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Adams, Franklin were not Christian at all, and recognized the inherent dangers of mixing religion with government. I have a collection of their anti-Christian, anti-religion quotations that I will be glad to share with you, or you can easily look up on google.
Thanks for your genuine concern about me in the “end days.” I have no worry that I will face the wrath of any God. I have no fear of death, but I have some concerns about the manner of which I die. Like most honest folk, I wish there was another life as good as the one I have lived. I’m still looking for evidence for it but don’t expect to find any. The Christian heaven of praising God all day is the least attractive one to me.
It is true, as you have noted, that there are a few Christians who have made contributions to science. I suspect few of them subscribed to your brand of Christian fundamentalism. I expect that most of them today, given the current facts about evolution, would have no choice but to modify their religious beliefs and accept evolution as Francis Collins does in his Book “The Language of God.” Sadly, there still are a few scientists who are non evolutionary experts, who don’t wish to understand evolution and many who intentionally distort facts in order to preserve their supernatural beliefs.
I wonder why current Creation Science believers do not present good scientific evidence of their own proving their young earth claims instead of just attacking evolution with worn out arguments. Evidence for evolution is overwhelming. Evidence for creation science is non-existent. Have you read the court proceeding from the Dover, PA case concerning the teaching of creation science and Intelligent Design? As you must know, every judgment since the Scopes Monkey Trial, supports teaching evolution and rejects teaching Creation science. Creation Science is not science in any sense of the word. It is an oxymoron; there is no such creature. Where were your anti-evolution scientists during the trials? Why did they not take the opportunity to make their case for Creationism and ID when they had their chance? Why did they deceptively change the name, Creation Science to Intelligent Design, and then deny they did? The judge said they lied time and time again in efforts to save their superstitious beliefs. Isn’t lying a sin? Please read the Judge’s ruling in the Dover trial and ask yourself again about the validity of Creationism and the honesty of those who support it.
You wrote, “My beliefs have no bearing on what is true.” You speak the truth. Neither do my personal beliefs have any bearing on the truth. I follow science wherever it leads and reject or modify my beliefs as science dictates. You must not modify science to fit your religious beliefs. Christians often say, “All things are possible if you believe.” Apparently, you do not believe that, otherwise you would be able to jump off a building and not go splat (that, by the way, would be a great proof for the existence of God). If you believe God heals, you would not have the need for vaccinations or for antibiotics; or ever need to see a doctor again. God, if he is everything you believe, could easily defy gravity, cure the sick, grow amputated limbs, and generally make His presence known. Why does He not do these things? Many scientific studies have been conducted on the efficacy of prayer and none of the studies show that prayer has any effect on healing.
I disagree with you when you say the truth is all that matters (your truth). In fact, I do not believe you really believe that. There is more to our personal lives and to human societies than just truth. Truth tempered with empathy, charity, and forgiveness is he best recipe.
I disagree with what you said about yourself. You claim to be a “liar, thief, and murderer in your heart, an adulterer, sexually immoral, blasphemer, and idolater.” Far from it Jacob. You were born as an innocent baby with no sins but great potential to become almost anything good or bad. Your genes, environmental circumstances, family, nationality, religion, and personal choices all influenced how you lived your life. It is your choice what you make of yourself, although I must admit luck has much to do with anyone’s success and failure. Original sin is a fabrication. I asked you before: why would you believe that you are guilty of sin because a fictitious Adam and Eve were curious about the tree of knowledge? God supposedly made them exactly what they were. He made them with curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. Surely He knew what they would do before they did it. And, why would a just and merciful God punish all future generations of mankind just because two people did what He programmed them to do. Should you be punished because your great grandfather broke a law? Of course not. Adam, this concept is ridiculous and you must know it deep down in your heart (brain). You need to reject this weird concept of original sin. It makes no sense except to the ancient religious leaders who wished to control the lives of gullible folk with the fear of God.
The word “sin” is a religious term. So, of course, I am not sinful. But, I am well aware of my weaknesses. I do make my share of mistakes. I am not the most educated person nor am I the wisest person, nor am I the most intelligent person. I try to learn from my mistakes. I have instincts that I try to understand. Instincts are natural behaviors passed down to us by our ancestors (evolution). They often lead us astray, and wreak havoc with our lives because we don’t recognize them. They are things such as sexual attraction, emotions, hate, greed, lust for power, etc. They seem to correspond fairly well with your concept of sin. On the other hand, instincts can be the spice of life and no doubt were important for our survival when they were expressed as love, empathy, forgiveness, charity, etc. I suspect that religious folk confuse the concept of sin with certain unrestrained instincts. Even the negative instincts that cause trouble for us in the present were once useful for the survival of our ancestors in the past. Aggressiveness and male dominance, for example, served a useful survival purpose in our ancient history. Unfortunately they are now hangovers from the past and do more harm than good.
In closing, let’s keep in touch. I will share your comments with other interested CFI members. I’m sure we agree that having a better understanding of our fellow humans is useful and makes for a better society. Thank you for the effort to explain your beliefs. I will continue to support your right to believe as you wish. If or when you have a question or a change of heart, give us a call.
Sincerely yours, Craig
9) Craig’s fifth letter to Jacob.
As I had not received a return letter from Jacob I wrote again.
I have not heard from you for a while. I hope all is well with you and you have not made too many conversions. Every so often Sean and I recall your visit and our discussions. We have made your letters available to other CFI members. Our discussions and exchange of letters served a useful purpose by making us more aware of your conversion tactics and by helping us to be better prepared to answer those classical arguments. For that we thank you.
You both are intelligent and seem well educated except in real science. The important thing is that you both seem to be happy and excited about your mission helping people. I’m sure there are many lost souls out there who find themselves in hard times, possibly sick or depressed with little hope for the future. Your brand of religion may well offer them some hope and improve their chances of recovery and future happiness. Religion can still serve a useful purpose today as it did in the past, as long as it does not meddle with our secular government and public education.
I have thought long and hard about the creationist belief and still find it hard to believe that educated and intelligent people believe in bible miracles as if they had no more than an Iron Age understanding of science. When I was five years old I knew that dead people could not possibly come out of their graves and walk around like the bible claimed happened during the resurrection. It sounded as strange to me as black magic zombies that could not die. What ever happened to all those dead people that came out of their graves and returned to their homes? How come all the gospels did not mention this noteworthy event?
I loved animals as a child, especially whales. The Walt Disney film of Pinocchio and Geppeto being swallowed by a whale stuck with me. At five years old I knew this was impossible and just an exciting story. Yet, here was a bible story that claimed that very thing. I could not believe it.
During Sunday school, which I attended from age three to seventeen years old, I remembering asking how Jesus could walk on water. Our teachers were Divinity students from the prestigious New York City Union Theological Seminary. I remember discussing the possibility with hem that Jesus might have walked along a sand bar or in shallow low tide water, so in the mist he appeared to be actually walking on water. Feeding the multitudes during the Sermon on the Mount was explained very logically. In those days there were few restaurants so people carried provisions with them. Jesus got them in the spirit and every one shared their food. The body of Jesus missing from the tomb? The simplest and most likely answer was that someone removed it. Jesus healing the sick sounds like the daily faith healings that charlatans perform on TV. There were plenty of healers in those days. No big deal. Virgin birth? Come on now, how many other religions claim the same thing, and how many other religions claim a godly/human pregnancy?
Too many. It is a common theme in many religions older than Christianity. Many of the Old testament stories are word for word copies of the myths of other religions. If you have you studied other religions you would know this to be true.
As a child, one of the biggest fables to me was Noah’s Ark, cribbed almost word for word from “The Epic of Gilgamesh.” Whoever copied it was dishonest. There was no way two, or was it seven, of each animal was collected from all over the world. Zoos have a hard time collecting and caring for their animals today so Noah and family could not have done it. The ark was not big enough. And why, I wondered, did Noah save all the nasty infectious bugs and parasites? If they and the unclean animals were wiped out by the flood, were they recreated after the flood because we still have them. We have many animals and plants today that did not exist in bible days. Where did they come from? All those silly stories did not make sense to me as a child. I wondered, “How on earth could adults believe those impossible stories? And, why would they pass those false stories on to the children as if they were true?” It is pretty close to child abuse.
I am afraid that creationists are just gullible people with personal problems looking for relief. If that kind of belief system makes you happy and fulfills your life, so be it. I’m happy for you and wholeheartedly support your right to believe what ever you want. However, I feel badly for children who are brainwashed at early ages to believe these fairy tales.
Jacob, someday I hope that you will feel confident enough to reject the superstition in your life. You don’t really need it. You don’t have to believe preposterous stories left over from primitive sheep and camel herder tribes who new little of science or reality. It will be a huge relief to you if you chuck the superstition and terrifying threats of hell. Follow science wherever it takes you, live a good life, help your fellow humans and the good earth like we do. Make the most of your short life, live for the present not for a make believe future. What more could any one wish for?
Keep in touch,
10) Craig’s last letter to Jacob
It has been a while since we last corresponded. I hope you have been well and not made too many more converts. I do acknowledge there are “lost souls” out there that will benefit from a secure religious belief that provides comfort to their needs and answers to their questions. Go get ‘em.
You names came up the other day during an evening discussion at CFI Indiana. Sean and I related how sincere you and your visiting group seemed to be that evening and in our exchange of letters. We reread some of the exchanged letters and discussed several points made by both sides. We agreed that we definitely learned a lot about your faith and reasoning. One point that impressed us as much as any other was your denial that you had any interest in having a Christian government in the USA. Cheers! That point continues to be worrisome to us because it so often comes up on the nightly news by evangelical pastors, and politicians vying for the religious vote.
I am currently reading a fantastic book that I know you will never read, Evolution – What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters by Donald R. Prothero. This book answers all the questions you posed and addresses all the points you brought up, much better than Sean and I ever could. Many think this book is the best on the subject ever written.
Here are a few quotations from the book we thought you would like.
“Saint Ignatius Loyola of the Jesuits wrote, ‘To be right in everything, we ought always hold that the white which we see is black, if the church so decides it.’”
Kurt Wise, one of the few young earth creationists with a legitimate background in paleontology, a Ph.D. from Harvard, wrote, “I am a young earth creationist because that is my understanding of the scriptures. As I shared with my professors many years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turned against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the word of God seems to indicate.” “Creation isn’t a theory. The fact that God created the Universe is not a theory – it’s true. However, some of the details are not specifically nailed down in the Scriptures. Some issues, such as a creation, a global flood, and a young age for the earth are determined by Scripture, so they are not theories. My understanding of the Scripture is the Universe is in the order of 6,000 years old. Once that is determined by Scripture, it is a starting point that we build theories upon.”
The above view is commonly held by young earth Creationists. How about you? Did you believe in Young Earth Creationism before you were born again or after? Is belief in Young Earth Creationism required for access to Heaven? If not why believe it?
St. Augustine recommended that the faithful not debate scientists for fear that the literal interpretation of Genesis would discredit the faith. He wrote that it was no longer plausible to claim that Joshua caused the sun to stand still in the heavens, that the earth was flat and was the center of the universe as described in the bible. He was afraid the world would laugh at those who argued for such anti-science beliefs.
Duane Gish, Creationism’s main debater and spokesperson wrote, “We cannot discover by scientific investigations anything about the creative processes used by the Creator.” And “ creation (science) is, of course, unproven and unprovable by the methods of experimental science. Neither can it qualify as scientific theory.”
Creationist spokesperson Dembski wrote, “Any view of science that leaves Christ out of the picture must be seen as fundamentally deficient. The conceptual soundness of a scientific theory cannot be maintained apart from Christ.” Does this mean that all secular scientists and their research are wrong?
Henry Morris, Creationist spokesperson, author of The Genesis Flood wrote, “Creation science is a scientific theory which does not fit all the facts of true science as well as God’s revelation in the Holy Scriptures.” Also, “The main reason for insisting on the universal flood as a fact of history and as the primary vehicle for geological interpretation is that God’s word plainly teaches it! No geological difficulties, real or imagined, can be allowed to take precedence over the clear statements and inferences of Scriptures.” Also, when asked about his discredited positions after a debate with Christian evolutionary biologist Henry Miller, he replied to Miller, “You don’t realize what is at stake. In a question of such importance, scientific data aren’t the ultimate authority. Scripture tells us what the right conclusion is. And if science, momentarily, doesn’t agree with it, then we will have to keep working until we get the right answer. But I have no doubts what hat answer will be.”
It is true, there are some Creationists who are scientists, (but few are experts in the evolution sciences) and boast of their degrees. They have started their studies with a “God premise” and try to arrange scientific evidence to support their preconceived beliefs. A good scientist, on the other hand, must consider all evidence and follow it wherever it leads no matter how upsetting or destructive it may be.
Jacob, In spite of your past letters, we still don’t understand how can you claim there is scientific evidence of Creationism? If all your beliefs start from and depend upon bible Scriptures, (God said it’s true so it must be), then you have abandoned science and reason. It should be enough for you to believe by faith alone and admit there is no evidence outside the Scriptures for the young earth concept. At the same time, there is no good evidence that disproves the well-established sciences of geology, paleontology, archeology, evolutionary science, and other physical sciences that support biological evolution as the best explanation we have for the wonders of life on earth.
We think we understand your point of view although we don’t agree with it. In case you still don’t understand our point of view, let us review it one last time. We feel Creationists “cherry pick” out of context bits and pieces of information to back up their religious beliefs. That is not science to us. One needs to start an inquiry into evolutionary science with an open mind, observe natural events, formulate questions, establish a hypothesis, try one’s best to disprove it, publish it so other experts in the field can try to falsify it, and if they can’t, then provisionally accept it until new information forces changes or rejection. If a hypothesis survives peer review and becomes generally accepted by additional facts and other expert researchers, only then does it becomes a theory, like the theory of gravitation. We have much more to learn about gravitation but for the time being we accept it and work with it. Einstein improved upon Newton’s theory. Scientists cannot accept unfounded religious beliefs concerning creation without going through the scientific process. As you know, scientists don’t consider the Scriptures as scientific evidence so they can’t be used to prove anything.
Evolutionary science does not have all the answers, it never will. Doubters will continue to pick at it and point out its weaknesses. This is good and is part of the scientific process. Evolutionists will continue to research and attempt to answer unknowns. They will never succeed completely; they will never be able to answer all the questions. Nevertheless, They have made pretty good progress since the Bronze Age.
Another subject we thought would be of interest to you is an upcoming Catholic Symposium on Fundamentalism. In spite of Pope Paul’s acceptance of evolution and the old age of the earth, there apparently are still plenty of fundamentalist Catholics who believe in geo-centrism, the flat earth and the young earth concepts, etc. We were surprised when we read the announcement and immediately thought of you. You might want to check it out.
We have learned much from your letters. They forced us to review the science of this good earth and its life force.
Stay well. Craig and Sean
So, fellow Freethinkers, there you have it. We hope members of CFI Indiana and other freethinkers will read about the night we were invaded by followers of and how we survived the invasion and counter attacked; and finally, at least by our estimation, won the battle between science and superstition. Thank you for reading about our mini war with Creationism and the results. We hope you learned a little about fundamental Christianity and evolutionary science.