Category Archives: Science

A Question for John W. Loftus

Positively shocking. Loftus cough out a dumb argument? Unheard of.

Referring to this article, where scientists have discovered a gene that predisposes people to promiscuity, Loftus says:

While it isn’t a forgone conclusion that people with this gene will cheat on their mates, the presence of that gene makes such a temptation harder to overcome. Imagine that, some people (half of us) have a harder time overcoming such a temptation and yet God supposedly judges us all equally. That doesn’t seem fair now does it? I wonder if the incarnate Jesus gave himself that gene since he was “tempted in every way, just as we are.” (Hebrews 4:15) 😉 (source)

This argument (if you can call it that) is absurd.

This actually helps my position on homosexuality. I’ve argued that it is probably inborn, but by virtue of being inborn doesn’t automatically make it desirable. Nor should anything become socially acceptable based entirely on the fact that it is inborn.

Infidelity is a negative trait. So are addictive patterns of behavior, like alcoholoism. As is rage. So are many genetic illnesses like Alzheimer’s, certain cancers, emphysema, and heart disease. All of these things are hardwired into genetics, and no one is trying to argue for society to unconditionally accept people subject to those things on the basis of a genetic predisposition.

Things that are inborn, however, are undeniably part of the self. And what does Jesus call us to do when we become his followers? Deny ourselves (Lk 9:23).

And, turning to Paul’s writings, we see that sin itself is inborn: it is nature as well as action. Otherwise, the whole concept of the Christian becoming a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) is meaningless drivel.

Loftus cranks out lots of posts, and most of them are mindless soundbite arguments. This is the dude who complained at Victor Reppert’s blog (in the comments here) that soundbites were all that comments allowed. Yet, when faced with the unlimited canvas of a blog post, he again argues by soundbite.

Perhaps that’s all he has?

It would seem since one of the arguments that he keeps harping on is that we can’t trust our brains to make sense of the world, since we approach everything with bias and defend that which we prefer to be true.

Which leaves us with a big question for Mr. Loftus:

Why should anyone believe that you offer the truth? You also approach with bias and defend that which you prefer to be true–being that you’re a human and accuse all humans of doing this. You admit it: “I have never claimed that atheists are more rational than believers” (source).

Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask

Through Dave Armstrong, I’ve found an ex-Christian atheist who goes by DaGoodS (I’ll call him DGS). He runs a blog discussing (naive) critiques of his former faith (don’t all ex-Christian atheists?) called Thoughts from a Sandwich.

Scanning his blog, I discovered this entry from November of last year. He has picked up a book called The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask. His description is apt:

The author referred to a survey where 10,000 Christians were asked, “What Questions do you find difficult to answer?” and compiled a list of the top ten; the author kindly provides Christian responses.

DGS doesn’t think that the questions in the book are very good, and I’m also guessing that he finds the answers lacking as well.

Since I’m a sucker for questions that Christians allegedly can’t answer, I thought I’d take a shot at DGS’s list. Starting today, I’ll take a poke at two questions per day, posting one first thing in the morning and one in the late afternoon.

I’m hoping we can learn something from each other. Read the rest of this entry

Kathy Ireland Talks About Pro-Life on the Huckabee Show

I admit that I positively cringed at some of the weak argumentation, but I think that she might have the start of a good argument for pro-life from science if she would develop it a bit more.

A few points need to be articulated much better so that this argument appeals to people who don’t share a Christian worldview. The chief one is the whole part of how the baby resides in the mother, but isn’t a part of the mother. I agree that is a good argument, but her logic fails. Paraphrased, she states:

The baby has a 50% chance of being male, and thus has a penis; the mother is a woman who doesn’t have a penis. Therefore, the baby isn’t the mother, but resides in the mother.

That needs to be totally re-worked. Because there’s a 50% chance that the baby could be a female, and therefore, employing this same logic, would be part of the mother.

Perhaps a better way to state this is to define what comprises a human being. If we can find a way to agree that a single cell, capable of acting out all of the major processes of life, meets the definition of life and would be easily distinguished from non-life, then she has a good argument.

I also think she did all right in stating that when we watch a zygote develop to a embryo, then develop to a fetus, that what we see is a human being appearing exactly as a human in that stage of life would look. Similar to how a baby doesn’t look like a teenager, nor does a teenager look like a senior citizen. The fertilized egg is a human being, though it may not look fully-formed.

She touches on the “number of cells” argument as well. I’m skinny. Does that make me less of a human being than an obese person? The obese person has more cells. If someone killed me because of something I posted on my blog, should they spend less time in prison than a person who killed an obese Christian apologist because of something on the obese dude’s blog?

Of course not. You’d be laughed at if you were the attorney forwarding that argument.

Yet, for some unknown reason, many people accept and widely circulate the argument that abortion is only killing a clump of a few hundred cells. That’s not enough cells to constitute a human being, say the proponents of this argument, therefore you’re not killing a human when you perform or undergo an abortion.

Again, you’d be laughed at in court for trying to say an obese person was more “human” for having more cells than a skinny person, and therefore the killer of an obese person should spend longer in prison than the killer of a skinny person. That’s ludicrous.

Nail on the Head

Guest blogging for J.P. Holding, apologist Nick Peters hit the nail on the head with a recent review of Valerie Tarico’s book Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light (Oracle Institute Press LLC, 2010). Peters tells us:

Towards the end, she [Tarico] seems to say that she does not believe in any deity, but the terminology is ambiguous. I see Tarico as simply wanting to have the beliefs that come naturally with a theistic worldview, such as objective morality and reliability of reason, without having that extra annoying baggage (to her) that comes with it, such as God. (source)

I happen to think that this sums up what most atheists think of theistic worldviews. There is no reason to think that free will exists, objective morality, or that our brains are even validly processing information unless you ground all of that in something. Yet, the atheist just kind of shrugs, affirms that it all works without ever giving a reason, and goes on. “It just does” is good enough for them, I guess.

They want to make the same assumptions that a God-centered worldview can make, but without the annoyance of actually submitting to God. Doesn’t work that way, guys. Sorry.

Two Great Posts from TurretinFan

Image via Wikipedia

When I read blogs, I have the tendency to skim my RSS readers rather quickly and read things based on titles. You’d think that that would mean I spend time and effort on each of my post titles, but the sad truth is that I don’t. That is really a topic for a different time. Two titles on TurretinFan’s excellent blog did catch my eye, and they were very much worth the time to read and consider, as they show some interesting holes in evolutionary theory.

I don’t believe I classify as either an evolutionist or a creationist, though I suspect that many would consider me a creationist. I think that evolution is certainly possible given that it is supported well as a scientific conclusion, but the necessity of God makes evolution a moot point. It is not necessary given God, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. Neither does evolution, if true, falsify God.

Even though I must admit strong scientific evidence in favor of evolution, there are certain philosophical problems with it. TurretinFan calls attention to one such problem in this post. TF cites three scientific studies that create a problem for modern evolutionists. In the first, sea sponges are found to be 70% genetically similar to humans. This, combined with the other two studies that argue against familial ties (however distant) from chimpanzees, creates some reasonable doubt among the prevailing theory of evolution.

TF says that this information will be waved away by evolutionists. I think it is more likely that evolutionists will try to discredit either the research or the researchers, in that way they can safely ignore the conclusions altogether or at least minimize the impact of the study on their beloved theory.

In the follow up to the first post, TF recounts a comment from Peter Pike that creates serious philosophical problems with the theory of evolution. Genetics are used to trace the evolution of living species, but morphology is used for extinct species. The problem? Genetics is a poor way to predict morphology. What this means for evolutionists is that they are using one method on living species, and an incompatible method on extinct ones.

One method is going to be accurate, the other method is going to be inaccurate. As there is no way to reproduce evolution in the lab (there is a way to monitor it from this point forward), we don’t know which method is more accurate. Therefore, whole evolutionary trees are going to be dead wrong and we don’t know how.

Evolutionists, please don’t argue that my last point doesn’t matter one way or the other. With a little bit of Googling, I can find quotes from other evolutionists who argue that evolution is literally the pinnacle of modern science, and all other scientific advancements, theories, and discoveries rely on the truth of evolution. The point is that it does matter. If science literally depends on how accurately we are able to trace ancestry, then science itself is falsified on this philosophical point alone.

I Love Irony

I recently began following a new blog, Atheist Camel. I generally find it pretty inflammatory and I was going to unsubscribe, until I stumbled on this post. That made me decide to keep following, at least for the time being. The reason why is the irony that said post brings to the forefront. Read the rest of this entry

Didn’t I Just Talk About This?

This video from Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland Church (FL), highlights the exact point I was trying to make in my previous post regarding Rabbi Barry Block’s comments on Exodus. Dr. Hunter says that it is very dangerous to attach a literal meaning to Genesis 1 since it might drive away potential converts (especially if they might be scientists).

Dr. Hunter calls us to contemplate the fuller mystery of God.

However, he does rightly recognize that if we mythologize parts of the Bible, then how are we to understand other parts of the Bible? Are they also allegory? If the creation story found in Genesis 1 is only a myth constructed by Bronze Age herdsmen who don’t have a lick of scientific sense in their bodies, then can’t the same argument also be applied to the Resurrection?

We’re pandering to culture here. And as Christians, we should be better than that! How can we be salt and light to the world if, by our beliefs and actions, we are just like the world?

Who Designed the Designer?

This video, from YouTube user AntitheistAtheist, has the critical praise of numerous atheists in the comments found below the video. Examples:

  • I like your style kid, keep on thinking. Think bigger and further.
  • we [sic] dont [sic] surely know how the universe gets here, nobody does and it has to be accepted. the [sic] mistake that theists do is to explain everything that cant be explained with god of somesort [sic]
  • Maybe that’s it God created us who was created by a larger God and so on and so on in an ever expanding universe.
  • [S]cience has answered all of the greatest questions up to date, coming up with the only reasonable answers. Religion has answered nor prooved [sic] anything. It is absolutely reliant on “faith”, that is an integral part of the deal “Just believe!”. It may never be answered, but if it ever is, zou [sic] can bet science will find the answer and not faith.

The last commenter, in typical atheist style, presents an alternate definition of faith that is not what faith really means. I’ve advocated the death penalty for this before, and I think the law is on my side.

Anyway, why is Who designed the designer? still so popular among atheists? There’s an easy answer to the question. Here it is, from philosopher William Lane Craig:

Notice that Craig laughs about the objection. Like me, he finds it absurd.

Jumping to Unwarranted Conclusions

The Big Bang

I’ve read enough atheistic material to make the (I hope) accurate generalization that atheists are impressed by evidence and that they refuse to leap to any unwarranted conclusions.

For example, Hemnant Mehta (the Friendly Atheist) asked, “If a miracle came, would it convince you [that God exists]?” In the comments section, the virtually unanimous answer was an emphatic NO. A commenter named Drew even said this:

So, as much as I feel like a humbug, it would take quite a bit. And, if something like this rearrangement of stars happened, without some personal contact with God, I’d be wary that it is an illusion– after all, how many people have said the same prayer as I and not been answered? God would have to show me why he preferred to answer my prayer to millions of others.

MorseCode, who comments on this blog as well, said this:

Moving stars is certainly impressive. Unfortunately, it only serves as evidence for something that can move stars.

So, for all practical purposes, most agree with this fellow:

At this point in my life, I honestly can’t think of anything that would make me believe in God, expecially the God of a particular religion. I don’t think I’m closed minded, but after 47 years of searching and exploring these issues, I think it’s fair to have come to a pretty solid conclusion.

So, based on this information, it is fair to say that atheists do not leap to unwarranted conclusions, nor would they be convinced by material that does.

Unless the unwarranted conclusions are in their favor. Read the rest of this entry

Scientists are BAFFLED!

Dan Phillips had a blog post about some recent news and events that have completely baffled scientists. I haven’t read the articles (yet). Dan’s comments are worth a look, however.

But you say, they proceed empirically, by experimentation. Correct — experiments resting on mountains of unproven and unprovable assumptions. The whole notion of “experimentation” assumes a continuity to the universe that they have no right to assume, on their premises. Do a test, and X occurs. What have you proven? That X occurred once. Repeat the test 300 times, and X occurs each time. What have you proven? That X occurred 300 times. Nothing more, nothing less.

Further, you don’t really know what caused X to occur. The whole notion of causation is itself an assumption, unproven and unprovable.

Scientists can only ever have confidence that something will happen a certain way, but they can never really know for certain.

I think that the difference between the scientist and the Christian is that we at least accept that it is not our place to know everything.