Arbitrariness and Inconsistency – the Opposites of Rationality

We live in a world where many people simply do not reason rationally. They are not able to make a good, cogent argument for their position. This is sometimes seen in political or religious arguments. Such debates often have more heat than light. People have very strong opinions, and voice them with fervor. But often their arguments are simply not rational! The conclusions do not follow from the premises. Why is this? And what can we do about it?

Most schools no longer teach logic. Perhaps that is part of the reason why people are often so illogical; they have never learned. But I suggest that the root cause is even deeper. To be logical is to think in a way that is consistent with the nature of God. Logic is a reflection of the way God thinks, and the way He expects us to think. That is why laws of logic are universal and unchanging; they reflect that aspect of God. As our culture has increasingly rejected biblical authority, it stands to reason that people will increasingly reject logic. A rejection of logical reasoning shows up in two ways: arbitrariness and inconsistency.

Arbitrariness

To be arbitrary means “to not have a reason.” When you decide to wear a red shirt rather than a blue one, and you really don’t have a reason, such a decision is arbitrary. Or when you decide to drink grape juice instead of orange juice, if you have no specific reason in mind, then your choice is arbitrary. We make countless arbitrary and often unconscious choices every day. Did you start walking with your left foot or your right? It really doesn’t matter too much one way or the other.

There is nothing wrong with such a whimsical attitude when it comes to the subjective preferences. However, when consequences matter, we had better have a good reason for our choice. The decision of whether or not to wear a parachute when jumping from a plane will have a profound effect on the outcome. And so this is not a decision that we would want to leave to the flip of a coin. A jumper has a very good reason to wear the parachute: it will save his life. His decision is not arbitrary.

Likewise, when it comes to logic, we are not permitted to be arbitrary. This is the whole point of rational debate. The goal is to show that we have a good reason for our position, and that it is not arbitrary. In a debate, to be arbitrary is to concede defeat. It is to say, “I don’t really have a good reason for my position.”

Whenever a person says something like this, “I believe X and you should too”, there will be a natural question on the part of the hearer: “Why? Why do you believe X and why should I?” Now if the person is not able to give a reason for his belief in X, then there is no reason why the hearer shouldn’t believe the exact opposite.

Beliefs should always have a reason. The more important the belief, the more crucial it is to have a good reason, because the consequences are more devastating if you are wrong. Little children don’t often recognize this. They tend to be very arbitrary. They firmly believe there is a monster in the closet, and they act on their belief by pulling the bed sheets over their head. Do they have a good reason for their belief? Of course not. Children are irrational, and we expect this from them. As people grow up, we are supposed to become rational. We are supposed to learn to have good reasons for our beliefs. And we are supposed to discard beliefs that don’t have good reasons. This is the mark of rationality.

You may think that this is all perfectly obvious. And most of the time, it is. But in debates on origins, politics, and religion, you will find that people are often very arbitrary. And you will actually have to explain to them that this is not rational. They are supposed to be giving a good reason for their beliefs, not just stating them and getting upset when you don’t agree. The whole point of a debate is to see which side has the best reason for their respective position.

Inconsistency

The other mark of rationality is consistency. Truth is always self-consistent. Therefore, if a person makes two claims that are inconsistent with each other, we can be certain that at least one of them is false. And it is irrational to believe something that must be false. A rational person’s beliefs and claims therefore will be self-consistent.

The most obvious types of inconsistency are those which are outright contradictions. Clearly, if a person says, “Aliens do exist and it is not the case that aliens exist,” then he is in error. His thinking is inconsistent and thus irrational. Of course, not all apparent contradictions are actually contradictions. The hypothetical individual above might clarify that he is using the term “alien” in two different senses. Perhaps he believes that extra-terrestrial aliens to not exist, but illegal aliens do. There would be no inconsistency there. A contradiction is “A” and “not-A” at the same time and in the same sense.

Outright contradictions are rarely stated as explicitly as above. Nor are they often stated back-to-back as above. If they were, they would be immediately obvious, and the debate would be over. Instead contradictions tend to be separated by time, or obscured in terminology. This can make them difficult to spot. Most forms of inconsistency are not outright contradictions. “I voted for the war before I voted against it” is not an outright contradiction, but it certainly seems inconsistent.

Another form of inconsistency is the behavioral inconsistency. This occurs when a person’s actions do not match his or her words. I often notice this in evolutionists who teach that people are just the accidental result of chemistry working over long periods of time, and really no different than an animal. But then they expect people to act morally, and to be treated respectfully, as if people had fundamental value, and are not just chemical accidents.

Perhaps you have heard someone say, “morality is relative. So you cannot go around telling other people what they can and cannot do.” But simply by making the statement, this person is “telling other people what they can and cannot do.” The statement is self-refuting.

Christians can be very inconsistent as well. If asked how they know that Christ was raised from the dead when it is not known scientifically how that could be possible, many Christians would rightly respond, “God can do as He wishes. He is not bound by laws of nature. And we know Christ was raised from the dead because it is recorded in the pages of Scripture. The text is clear.” But then again, when asked about the age of the Earth, many of those same Christians would respond, “well, the scientists say it’s billions of years old. So, maybe the days in Genesis weren’t really ‘days.’” This is very inconsistent reasoning.

Logical fallacies are marks of inconsistency. Fallacies are arguments that may sound logical on the surface, but in fact are not. Fallacies tend to be persuasive. That is why they are so common. As one example, many evolutionists try to argue their position (that all life is descended from a common ancestor) by showing examples of adaptation or variation within a kind. These are two different concepts. But since the term “evolution” can be applied to either one, evolutionists sometimes think that they have proved the former definition by giving an example of the latter. This is called the fallacy of equivocation, or the “bait-and-switch” fallacy. The meaning of the term (“evolution” in this case) was used in an inconsistent way.

Conclusion

A logical person is rigorously consistent, and always has a good reason for what he or she believes. If a person’s thinking is inconsistent, then we know the person cannot be (completely) right since truth will always be self-consistent. Contradictions and other less severe types of inconsistency are marks of irrationality. These indicate that the person has not been a careful thinker. Internal inconsistency within a claim necessarily means that the position is unreliable at best.

Arbitrariness is at least as bad as inconsistency. The inconsistent person is using bad reasoning. The arbitrary person is not using reasoning at all. To be arbitrary is to not have a reason. It is to have an immature, childlike way of believing in something for no good reason at all. Christians have a moral obligation to be rational: to think and behave in a way that is consistent with the character of God. And we need to challenge unbelievers to be rational as well.

About Dr. Lisle

Dr. Jason Lisle is a Christian astrophysicist who writes and speaks on various topics relating to science and the defense of the Christian faith. He graduated summa cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University where he double-majored in physics and astronomy and minored in mathematics. He then earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in astrophysics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Dr. Lisle specialized in solar astrophysics and has made a number of scientific discoveries regarding the solar photosphere, including the detection of giant cell boundaries using the SOHO spacecraft. He also does theoretical research and has contributed to the field of general relativity. Since completion of his research at the University of Colorado, Dr. Lisle began working in full-time apologetics ministry, specializing in the defense of Genesis. He has written a number of articles and books on the topic. His most well-known book, The Ultimate Proof of Creation, demonstrates that biblical creation is the only logical possibility for origins. Dr. Lisle wrote and directed the popular planetarium shows at the Creation Museum, including “The Created Cosmos.” He now works as director of research at the Institute for Creation Research.
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242 Responses to Arbitrariness and Inconsistency – the Opposites of Rationality

  1. Preston Guynn says:

    My wife and I had a conversation with someone who straightforwardly told us that they held two contradictory views and had no problem with it. When they told us their belief that included two inconsistent positions, and we pointed out the inconsistency, they told us that may be a problem for us, but they’re okay with it. That put an end to the conversation. We really couldn’t think of any way to continue reasoning with someone who wasn’t rational.

    One example that we see is people who don’t believe that God created in six days and they don’t believe that there really was a world wide flood, but they hold to the idea that Mary conceived without having sexual relations, and that Jesus was raised from the dead. When we point out that both sets of beliefs are required by a straightforward reading of the bible, and that both sets of beliefs are rejected by humanists, and that arbitrarily choosing which things to believe is illogical, they have not changed their position.

    It appears that the root of the issue is spiritual. People want to be accepted by the world, and they want to be accepted by God. They will not accept that you can’t have both, because they view the price as too high to choose. So God gives them over to their delusions and they no longer think rationally. Sometimes it seems we just have to wait and pray for them that God will open their eyes and cause them to repent.

    Since Jesus said that he is the way, the truth, and the life, we must seek him and we must love truth to enter into life.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Preston,

      > We really couldn’t think of any way to continue reasoning with someone who wasn’t rational.

      Try this. When a person says he thinks that it’s okay to be inconsistent, to believe two contradictory claims at the same time, answer like this: “Oh, so you don’t believe it’s okay to be inconsistent.”

      He might try to clarify, “No, you misunderstood me. I said that I do believe it’s okay to be inconsistent and to contradict yourself.”

      Then you respond, “I heard you. You do believe it’s okay to be inconsistent. Therefore, you don’t believe that it’s okay to be inconsistent. You just proved my point.”

      Now how can the person respond? He really can’t criticize you for contradicting yourself if he believes that contradictions are acceptable! If he does criticize, then it shows that he really believes that contradictions are not acceptable. And you can point that out. If he says nothing, then your point stands unrefuted.

      When a person claims that it’s okay to be arbitrary or inconsistent, a great way to refute him is to be arbitrary or inconsistent. There’s really no way to lose such a debate.

      Of course, the person may not repent, or even realize that he’s lost the debate. (Take a look at the dialogs I’ve exchanged with Neil on the previous posts). But it is up to the Holy Spirit to bring persuasion. It’s our job to make a defense, and then pray that the Holy Spirit will grant repentance.

  2. Kenny says:

    Dr. Lisle,
    Does your instant light theory only work for light coming to the earth from outside or can it be tested with lasers on earth? If only from outside earth, can the sun’s light be used to test it?

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Kenny,

      The convention can’t be tested at all precisely because it is a convention. It’s like asking whether the meter or the foot is the correct unit of length. Remarkably, there is no experiment on earth or in space that can (even in principle) measure the one-way speed of light, or distinguish between the ASC and the ESC conventions.

      On the other hand, the ASC model, which proposes that the creation takes place in 6-days by ASC synchronization, is in principle testable, and predicts that the universe should exhibit evidence of youth at all cosmic distances from us. These would include strong planetary magnetic fields, blue stars, and loosely wound spiral galaxies. We already know that the solar neighborhood exhibits such signs of youth. So the only thing that will confirm or refute the ASC model will be observations in the distant universe (which so far are consistent with the ASC model.)

      • Kenny says:

        Dr. Lisle, thank you for replying. I still have some questions.

        Does the speed of light (in the ASC model) work the same on earth (lasers) as in the universe (star light), instant in one direction and 1/2 light speed in the other? And are these the only two speeds at which light travels (in the ASC model)?

        At what speed does light move from the sun to the moon?

        How fast does the sun’s light move when reflected off of the moon towards the earth?

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          Hi Kenny,

          Yes, ASC works exactly the same on Earth as in space. So lasers aimed toward an observer are instantaneous, and those pointed away are ½ c, by ASC measurement.

          > And are these the only two speeds at which light travels (in the ASC model)?

          No. Light will have an intermediate speed when not aimed directly toward or directly away from the observer. For example, light at a right angle to the observer travels at c under the ASC convention. In general, the speed for non-direct angles will be c/(1-cos(A)) where A is the angle of the light beam with A=0 indicating the direction directly toward the observer.

          > At what speed does light move from the sun to the moon?

          Under ASC, the speed always depends on the source-observer angle. So the sun-to-observer speed is infinite. However, the moon is at an angle relative to the observer and the sun, and this angle changes depending on the moon phase. In general, it will be faster than c, but not infinite.

          > How fast does the sun’s light move when reflected off of the moon towards the earth?

          Once the light reflects off the moon and heads toward earth, it is now traveling toward the observers (since we all live on earth), so the speed will be infinite. Unless of course an astronaut is on the moon. From the astronaut’s perspective, the speed of the beam leaving the moon and heading toward earth will be ½ c since it is moving away from him. So it always depends on the angle relative to the observer.

          • Kenny says:

            Dr. Lisle,
            Thank you again for responding. I would like to put forward some possible challenges to your theory.

            Falsifying Observations
            1) Stellar Aberration
            “Stellar aberration arises from the finiteness of the speed of light and there would be no stellar aberration if the speed of light were infinite and the light from the star formed an image without delay.”
            http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1105/1105.2305.pdf
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberration_of_light

            2) Missing gravitational field
            http://www.reasons.org/articles/an-infinite-speed-of-light

            Two Possible Experiments
            Test 1
            This test would use sound to test the speed of light. A sound wave and a beam of light would be transmitted simultaneously from “point A.” A timer/sensor and reflectors would be located at “point B.” When the light beam reaches “point B” the timer would be triggered to start. When the sound wave reaches “point B” this timer would stop.

            After reaching the timer at “point B” the light would then be reflected back to a sensor/timer at “point A.” This sensor would register the round trip times for both the light and sound. This can be used as the control. If the speed of light is constant in both directions, we will see it reflected in the delay time from start to the timer at “point B.” This is because the clock is only registering the delay between the arrival of the light beam and the sound wave. There are no synchronized clocks to worry about.

            Example:
            A beam of light and a sound wave are sent out at the same time. The light beam travels 50 meters and turns on timer (B) in 0.00000017 seconds. The sound wave then reaches timer (B) and turns it off in 0.14577259 seconds. This gives a delay of 0.14577242 seconds.

            Light then reflects back to timer (A) in another 0.00000017 seconds. The total roundtrip time for light is 0.00000033 seconds. Sound also reflects back to timer (A) for a roundtrip time of 0.29154518 seconds. This gives a roundtrip delay of 0.29154485 seconds. In Dr. Lisle’s theory, light’s roundtrip will always average out to the standard accepted time and speed, so only the delay from start to timer (B) will be compared. Your theory would work one of two ways:

            1) Light travels to timer (B) instantaneously making the delay the sound’s total travel time of 0.14577259 seconds.

            2) Light travels at 1/2C towards timer (B), in 0.00000033. This would cause a delay in sound of only 0.14577226 seconds.

            0.14577242 sec. Sound delay based on the accepted speed of light
            0.14577259 sec. Sound delay if light’s speed, from source to timer (B), is instantaneous
            0.14577226 sec. Sound delay if light’s speed, from source to timer (B), is 1/2C

            Test 2
            If I understood what you told me correctly, then we can test your theory using a shutter/timer (A) and two mirrors (B&C) set up as an equilateral triangle. Each side can be about 50 meters. A laser light is allowed in by the shutter and the timer begins (A). It is then bounced off of mirror B towards mirror C and then back to the timer (A), where it shuts off the timer. The light travels from A to B, B to C and C to A. If the speed of light is constant (299,792,458 m/s) then the total trip, of 150 meters, should take 0.00000050 seconds.

            Testing Dr. Lisle’s model
            C/(1-cos(A))
            299,792,458/(1-cos(60)) = a light speed of 153,549,715.7 m/s for a 60° angle

            1) If A to B is .5 C, then bounces off a mirror (60°) going from B to C at .51C and then bounces off another 60° mirror, for the final leg, C to A, at infinite (instantaneous) speed, then the total time would be 0.00000066 seconds. Too slow. 0.00000065919154

            I chose to use infinite speed off of the second 60° mirror, because the light would then be traveling towards a possible observer. If there were no observer and we went with the .51C, the time would be even slower. Both yield times slower than the accepted speed of light.

            • Dr. Lisle says:

              Hi Kenny,

              > I would like to put forward some possible challenges to your theory.

              Okay. To be clear, you are trying to refute the conventionality thesis. This isn’t actually my theory. My ASC model is based on it, and makes use of it. The conventionality thesis states that the one-way speed of light cannot be measured without first arbitrarily assuming it or an equivalent synchrony convention.

              > 1) Stellar Aberration

              Stellar Aberration does establish that the round-trip speed of light is finite. But it does not allow us to measure the one-way speed. When people think they have a true one-way test, there is always a hidden assumption where they have tacitly assumed the one-way speed (by for example assuming a synchrony convention). In this case, the flaw lies in measuring the angle of the telescope. Let me explain:

              Suppose a star is directly overhead, and the telescope must be pointed exactly vertically for the star to appear in the eyepiece. Now we move the telescope along the ground at some high speed. Since the light (allegedly) takes some time to go from the top of the telescope to the bottom, we must now tilt the telescope slightly for the star to remain centered in the eyepiece. The angle at which the telescope is tilted (and knowing its horizontal velocity) allows you to compute the one-way speed of light – or so it would seem.

              Here’s the problem: how do you know what the angle of the telescope is? The telescope is at an angle when its top and bottom do not have the same horizontal coordinate at the same time. But in order to measure the position of the top and bottom of the telescope at the same time, you must have a method of determining what “the same time” means. In other words, you must choose a synchrony convention. If you choose the Einstein synchrony convention (which assumes the speed of light is the same in all directions), then you will find that the telescope is tilted at a slight angle. However, if you choose the ASC convention, you will find that the telescope angle is still zero, and thus incoming light has infinite speed.

              So stellar aberration is perfectly consistent with ASC.

              > 2) Missing gravitational field

              I had already planned to deal with this in detail in a future blog entry. But the short answer is: no, ASC does not require a gravitational field. It is simply a coordinate transformation from the ESC. And coordinate transformations do not introduce any real forces.

              > Two Possible Experiments
              > Test 1
              > This test would use sound to test the speed of light.

              And that is the flaw. The speed of sound is actually dependent on the speed of light. Here is why: sound is the result of collisions of molecules. But why do molecules collide and not simply pass through each other? The answer is this: molecules are made of charged particles – electrons on their exterior which repel each other by their electromagnetic field. Electromagnetic fields travel at the speed of light. In fact, light basically is a moving electromagnetic field. So if the speed of light is different in different directions, then the speed of the collisions of molecules will also be different, and thus the speed of sound will be ever-so-slightly faster in one direction than another.

              So when you assumed that the sound pulse would take exactly the same time to travel from point A to point B as it does from point B to point A, you had already tacitly assumed that the speed of light is the same in all directions. However, if you redo your calculation assuming the ASC convention, and take into consideration the slight difference in the speed of sound in the two directions, you will find that the speed of light is instantaneous in the direction of the observer.

              > Test 2

              For this test, the setup is fine, but your math is off. The angle (A) in the formula is the angle of the light direction relative to the observer. So if the observer is at point A, and the light is travelling from A to B, the angle is 180°, and so the light travels at 0.5C and takes .00000033 seconds to make the trip. From B to C, the angle of the light relative to the observer actually changes, but the average angle is 90° (consider the light at the halfway point between B and C; its direction is perpendicular to the observer). So plugging this into the formula, the average speed of light will be c, and the trip will take 0.00000017 seconds. On the final leg, the light travels from C to A, directly toward the observer. So the speed is infinite, and the travel time is zero. Therefore, the light takes no time at all to complete the last leg of the trip. The total time under the ASC convention is: 0.00000033s + 0.00000017s + 0s = 0.0000005 seconds. That is the same answer as under ESC. This is always the outcome of any experiment; you will always get the same result under ASC as you do under ESC, if you do the math right and are consistent.

              These kinds of tests have been tried before. Take a look at the references I listed in my original paper posted at:
              http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v3/n1/anisotropic-synchrony-convention

              God bless.

              • Kenny says:

                Dr. Lisle,

                Thank you again for explaining, to me, your position. I hold the Day-Age view, but I am glad to see that you are willing to respond.
                By the way, are you refering to “Blue Stragglers” when you speak of blue stars?

                • Dr. Lisle says:

                  Thanks. Not just blue stragglers. Any blue star cannot last hundreds of millions of years. The problem is even worse for blue stragglers because they exist in an environment that is thought (by secularists) to be billions of years old. There is no ambient gas, and thus no way to form these stars. But there they are.

              • Atticus Sheffield says:

                Dr. Lisle,

                I’ve been wondering if it would be at all possible to test the one-way speed of light. I thought maybe two people could perfectly synchronize two atomic clocks and move a certain distance from each other (say one hundredth of a light-second [1,862.824 miles]); one of them (source) would have a laser and the other (observer) would have a sensor; and they agree that the laser would fire at a specific time (say 09:00:00:000).
                If light traveled instantaneously toward the observer, the laser beam’s time of arrival should be recorded as 09:00:00:000, correct? But if light travels the same speed in any direction, the laser’s time of arrival should be recorded as 09:00:00:010?
                Some possible problems with this test are: a) if it was performed on earth, the light would not be traveling through a vacuum, and would thus be slowed down; b) even the most precise atomic clocks are still subject to synchronization error when it comes to measuring the speed of light; c) I don’t know exactly how light sensors work, they could assume light travels at a constant speed for all I know.

                >“So if the speed of light is different in different directions, then the speed of the collisions of molecules will also be different, and thus the speed of sound will be ever-so-slightly faster in one direction than another.”

                Sound travels much slower than light, so would my one-way clock-synchronization test be easier with sound? One person has a sound-making device, another has a microphone; they move away from each other by one sound-second (0.2114464 miles), and the sound emission happens at 09:00:00:000.
                If the speed of sound is constant, the pulse should arrive at the microphone at 09:00:01:000; but if sound has a slightly faster one-way speed, it would arrive at something like 09:00:00:992. Is that right?
                I think the first two problems I mentioned would apply to sound as well as light, but the success of this particular test may hinge on the answer to one question “Is the speed of sound calculated by the averages of several similar tests, or is it mathematically derived from the speed of light?”

                Atticus Sheffield

                • Dr. Lisle says:

                  The problem with these is that the act of moving the clocks causes them to become desynchronized. Motion affects the passage of time in relativity. And the rate at which motion affects time is dependent on the one-way speed of light. So in order to keep the clocks synchronized at a distance, you would have to already know the one-way speed of light.

                  Take another look at the articles I wrote on this topic. They do mention the problem with these kinds of experiments. Also, the papers referenced in my technical article discuss why these types of experiments cannot actually work.

      • Preston Guynn says:

        Hi Dr. Lisle,

        I’ve read articles you’ve written on ASC, and read some of Dr. Humphries’ and Dr. Hartnett’s theories describing the universe from a biblical perspective, but when I try to think of why a hypothetical aged universe and the actual young universe would look different, I don’t quite have a grasp of it.

        The secularists have seemingly developed their (many) models to explain what God’s creation looks like, without acknowledging God, so despite enormous chasms between their make believe self created universe and the actual universe, many of their model’s characteristics should match.

        As I’m sure you’ve pointed out in the past, the secularists will always come up with a rescuing device. Universe look like everything is expanding out from a center near the Milky Way? Just massage the boundary conditions and voila’ that’s what anyone anywhere would see. Universe has a cosmic microwave background temperature that would be impossible with a limited speed of light and the universe of a presumed size? Just invent inflation. There apparently is nothing they can’t explain with the most absurd, nonphysical, and never before seen physics.

        But I’ve somewhat wandered off topic. I’m curious why a wound up galaxy or an open spiral would be a sign of age? May not God may have created either form? Also, I wonder why God would have created planets with or without magnetic fields? Dr. Humpries recently wrote in The Journal of Creation that he thinks that each planet’s magnetic field is a signature of God, which may be the case, but I don’t see that as necessarily the case. And regarding blue stars, once again I don’t know of a reason why God wouldn’t have created any stage or size star he chose.

        One article I read seemed to say that galaxies are neither closed nor open, but have that appearance depending on whether dim blue stars or bright stars populate the regions “between” the galaxy arms. But its not clear to me how that would prove or disprove ASC?

        Maybe this isn’t the best example, but in the beginning of creation might the Lord have created trees that would appear “young” and “old”? Large and small? I would not expect tree rings, and some have said that such rings would give a “false” appearance. But on the other hand, if the Lord chose for trees to have rings due to growth cycles, perhaps it’s a beautiful enough trait to be worth creating from the beginning. So either way, would a closed or open galaxy, or blue or red stars be a sign of age? What if ASC AND a model like Dr. Humphries were both in effect? And with the results of the RATE project factored in, where there was a period of accelerated radioactive decay at sometime in the past, it seems like almost anything could be expected in the heavens.

        Is a star ready to go super nova any more good or bad than a planet of frozen methane or one with a core of iron? Doesn’t seem like it to me. I don’t know that physics or chemistry of a particular type carry a moral value, as opposed to biology. Creatures actions either in obedience or disobedience to God do carry a judgement value, but radioactivity or asteroids or “colliding” galaxies don’t seem at all the same. But then I know almost nothing of astrophysics or even astronomy, so there may be theological implications that I’ unaware of.

        Your profession is on the leading edge of the battle to uphold the bible. What an exciting time to be an astrophysicist!

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          Hi Preston,

          > …but when I try to think of why a hypothetical aged universe and the actual young universe would look different, I don’t quite have a grasp of it.

          A supernaturally created universe <6000 years old can look like virtually anything that God wishes. However, a 13.7 billion year old universe cannot have young objects in it unless those objects can form spontaneously. Blue stars, for example, should not exist if the universe were billions of years old since they can’t last long, and apparently cannot form. But they exist.

          > There apparently is nothing they can’t explain with the most absurd, nonphysical, and never before seen physics.

          Yes, there is always a rescuing device.

          > I’m curious why a wound up galaxy or an open spiral would be a sign of age? May not God may [sic] have created either form?

          Yes. God can create either. But an open spiral cannot last more than 1 billion years, because differential rotation of the galaxies would wrap the arms into a homogenous disk with only trace of spiral structure. But we don’t find that type of galaxy. All the spiral galaxies we find must be less than 100 million years old based on their spiral structure.

          > Also, I wonder why God would have created planets with or without magnetic fields?

          Those kinds of questions are virtually impossible to answer with any confidence. God does what He does. Only in some cases does He tell us why. The Earth’s magnetic field helps protect life from cosmic radiation. But why God created magnetic fields on other planets is known only to Him.

          > And regarding blue stars, once again I don’t know of a reason why God wouldn’t have created any stage or size star he chose.

          He can and He did. God created a range of different types of stars. But only the blue ones are a good argument for a young universe because they shouldn’t exist in a 13 billion year old universe. Red dwarf stars are compatible either with a young universe or an old universe.

          > But its [sic] not clear to me how that would prove or disprove ASC?

          If the spiral structure of spiral galaxies became increasingly wound with distance then that would argue against the ASC model and in favor of a time dilation model. The reason is that ASC expects evidence of youth at all distances, whereas time dilation models (depending on the parameters) might expect evidence of increased age with distance.

          > …but in the beginning of creation might the Lord have created trees that would appear “young” and “old”? Large and small?

          Nothing literally appears young or old, because age is not an observable property. But I take your point. Yes, I would expect large and small trees at creation. But if (hypothetically) trees could not reproduce, and we found lots of small and large trees all over the planet, would that not be compelling evidence that the earth had been created very recently? If the earth were old, and trees (hypothetically) could not reproduce, then we’d expect to find no small trees anywhere. Likewise, blue stars should not exist in an old universe.

          > What if ASC AND a model like Dr. Humphries were both in effect?

          Although the two models are not incompatible, the truth of one makes the other unnecessary, at least in terms of solving the starlight issue. But yes, it is possible in principle that the basics of both are true.

          > Creatures actions either in obedience or disobedience to God do carry a judgement [sic] value, but radioactivity or asteroids or “colliding” galaxies don’t seem at all the same.

          Yes, I agree.

          Hope this helps.

  3. @Preston Guynn – Amen, sir!

    It is all of grace, my friend. Pray that you will be a means thereof!

    1 Corinthians 2:13-14 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

  4. Sara says:

    Dr. Lisle,
    I got into my first face-to-face debate with an evolutionist on origins last week. At one point during the debate, he used a fallacious argument (I believe it was a form of chronological snobbery) which I politely pointed out to him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone get so defensive and back down so quickly from what he said! A little later he made the comment to another relative that he did not think I should have been taught logic. I was surprised that he did not mention any scientific evidences for evolution or ask me for scientific evidence for creation, though I tried to get in a word or two about DNA. Our debate remained theological (he was a theistic evolutionist with some very interesting ideas about sin and death) and philosophical only in nature for well over an hour. No wonder they don’t teach logic in the public school system much anymore; kids might use it!

  5. Jacob Howard says:

    Hi,

    Sorry to be off-topic but when is that meteor shower supposed to occur? Is it the Perseid meteor shower? Would one start seeing these meteors this early (as of today)?

    Thanks,

    In Christ Jesus alone,

    Jacob Howard

    http://www.alreadyanswered.org

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Saturday evening – August 11th should be the best date this year for the Perseid meteor shower. After 11:00 is best, and after midnight is even better. Yes, you might see a handful of early Perseids if you start watching tonight, particularly after midnight. But the rate will increase dramatically around Saturday/Sunday.

      • Jacob Howard says:

        Hi Dr. Lisle,

        Well, last night I saw a meteor. The first part was blue and green and it was breaking apart. Red. Blue. Green. Purple. It was magnificent. I saw it and 10:30 or so.

        Well, that was just amazing!

        On another note: is it possible to see a meteor during the day? My family and I were out playing when my dad suddenly told us to look in the sky. A meteor was streaking across the sky. It was breaking apart as well. About 5 or 6 minutes later we heard the sound of it flying. That was quite amazing as well.

        Thanks.

        In Christ Jesus alone,

        Jacob Howard

        http://www.alreadanswered.org

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          Very nice! We should get an even better show on Saturday evening.

          Yes, meteors can sometimes be seen during the day, but it is very rare, because only the brightest ones are visible. You are very blessed to have seen one. (I’ve never seen a meteor during the day.)

      • Jacob Howard says:

        Oh, one more note. Did you get that article I sent to you? I don’t know if my request would work for you but I just want to make sure it got to you.

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          I did – thanks. I’ve only skimmed the article. “Canis Majoris” needs a prefix to indicate which star you are addressing.

          • Jacob Howard says:

            A prefix indicating it is part of the Big dog? That would be fitting, thanks.

            Did you enjoy it?

            • Dr. Lisle says:

              Alpha Canis Majoris is one star in Canis Major. Beta Canis Majoris is another star in Canis Major, and so on. You need a Greek letter as a prefix to indicate which star. Canis Major is a constellation, not a star.

              Yes, I like the concept. I haven’t checked the details.

              • Jacob Howard says:

                Thanks, that clears some things up.

              • Jacob Howard says:

                So Canis Majoris is is Alpha Canis Majoris aka Sirius?

                • Jacob Howard says:

                  One complaint I had with this article (from my brother) was that it was almost cumbersome in my comparisons. If you find that please tell me.
                  I hope Answers will accept this article (they are working on that now). If they keep being delayed I am going to send a relatively smaller and more to-the-point article for Creation. I love writing articles. If I can receive any constructive criticism that would be great.

  6. Patrick Gernert says:

    Speaking of being rational, check out this persons irrational attack on Jason Lisle. You can definitely tell you are making an impact sir when you get your own wikipedia page attacking your views.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Jason_Lisle

    Oh and just because you write rational before wiki doesn’t mean what you write really is rational.

    • Steve says:

      I have read that before… in fact, I edited it because I agree that the author was biased and irrational. I’m surprised they didn’t take out my line I added. Note the end of the article in parentheses where I mention the book was written in 1982. :)
      Sure, there is more to say/edit, but I wanted to see if this stuck. It’s been several months so I guess they are going to let it slide.

  7. John P. says:

    Dr. Lisle,

    Regarding ASC I’ve been wondering how light that travels instantaneously in one direction could be refracted by materials. Seems there would need to always be a finite speed to account for bending through a lens, atmosphere, gravity field, etc. Your comments in this regard are appreciated.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      It’s only in vacuum that the speed (toward the observer) is infinite. Light slows down in a substance, both under ASC or ESC. So refraction, or bending by gravity will be the same angle under ASC as it is under ESC.

  8. Jeff says:

    Hi Dr. Lisle,

    Thank you for all your work in apologetics and arguing against the evolutionary worldview! I have greatly benefited from what you have had to say. I was wondering though, since it is in a sense related to this blog post, if you could help me understand some statements made in an internet discussion with an atheist physicist and a fellow Christian. This being your field of expertise, I imagine you might be able to shed some light on what was said. Ultimately it comes down to a denial of the law of non contradiction because of supposed instances in quantum physics where it does not apply.

    Christian: Would you agree with me that, for example, the law of non-contradiction is true? That something cannot be both true and false at the same time in the same sense?
    Atheist: Well Matt here’s where I need to ask about quantum mechanics.
    Christian: Don’t ask me about quantum mechanics. I’m not the expert.
    Atheist: Because we can have a state of physical reality where an electron has spin “up” and spin “down” simultaneously.
    Christian: However, I do know about logic and I am asking you a question. Would you agree with me that, for example, the law of non-contradiction is true? That something cannot be both true and false at the same time in the same sense?
    Atheist: It is equivalent to having a person being alive and dead, simultaneously. Presumably you would claim that a person cannot be both alive and dead simultaneously. But quantum mechanics proves otherwise *with the following caveat*…
    Christian: Excuse me, but I’m not here to discuss quantum mechanics.
    Atheist: That caveat is: Macroscopic states, due to something called “decoherence”, generally assume classical behaviors.
    Christian: Excuse me, can we stick to the topic? Can you please stop trying to bury me in esoteric terminology?
    Atheist: Well then I’m sorry but I cannot accept the “law of noncontradiction” because I know of instances where it does not apply.
    Christian: So then the law of non-contradiction is not true, correct?
    Atheist: As applied to quantum systems, it is problematic. A more nuanced form would be required.

    If you have the time to respond, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks and God bless!

    Jeff

    • Jeff says:

      An added note: The conversation quoted can be found at just in case you or anyone else would like to read it directly.

      http://carm.org/atheist-who-denies-logic-absolute

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Jeff,

      The atheist in this conversion is trying to “pull a fast one” on the theist. I’ve heard this argument before, and it is fallacious and actually self-refuting. His statement, “we can have a state of physical reality where an electron has spin “up” and spin “down” simultaneously” is not actually true, though this sort of thing is commonly touted among quantum physicists. It’s a misapplication of the Schrodinger’s cat principle. In reality, we never observe an electron that has simultaneously an up and down spin state. All observed electrons have either an up spin state or a down spin state. They never violate the law of non-contradiction.

      Some physicists might try to argue that when we are not observing the electrons, they have both an up and down spin state simultaneously. But then of course I’m going to ask, “How do you know this, since you are not observing them?” Instead, it is best to think of the unobserved electron as something else entirely: as a wave whose properties determine the probability that we will detect an up or down spin state upon observation. Quantum physics is very counter-intuitive, but it does not violate any laws of logic. Reality never does.

      If the atheist insists that there are some exceptions to the law of non-contradiction, then you can use the first response I gave to Preston to rebut the argument.

  9. Preston says:

    Hi Dr. Lisle,

    You referenced your original ASC paper in your reply to Kenny. After reading it again, I have a couple of questions. But first, in an earlier post I mentioned thinking that colliding galaxies were not a proof of old age. After reading your paper again, it is obvious that I learned that from you, and was repeating it back without realizing it. Thank you for teaching us so convincingly that we remember the examples even when we don’t remember the source.

    You went to great effort in the paper to stress the conventionality thesis, and that ASC is not a scientific model that is provable. An analogy you drew was to relativity and that time and space measurements are frame of reference dependent, and thus they are not absolutes. If I understood it correctly, your ASM is testable and provable only because we know when the stars were created.

    Based on the foregoing, I suppose that the problem that Dr. Einstein had with apparent faster than light communications in quantum entanglement would not be solved by ASC. But it is not clear to me why that should be. The apparent faster than light communications between two sets of particles that have been quantum entangled was referred to by Dr. Einstein as “spooky action at a distance”. Since the conventionality thesis allows instantaneous effects, why doesn’t ASC resolve the concern he had?

    Also, you described “relativity of simultaneity” that apparently applies to any synchrony convention except the one wherein light travels instantaneously in one direction. In an example related to creation week, you observed that applying the Einstein snychrony would result in galaxies that had existed for millions of years, and some that would not exist for millions of years. Why does this relativity of simultaneity not cause problems for big bang believers? How is there such confidence in astronomical observations and the resultant Hubble constant if the relativity of simultaneity in the Einstein synchrony can result in such discordant ideas of past and future time?

    You show that ASC is the Biblical convention, but mention that perhaps arbitrarily the center of mass of the universe could hypothetically be chosen as a reference. If the universe if finite and bounded and has a center of mass, would there be any testable consequences of that which wouldn’t be a direct consequence of the ASM alone?

    I hope your work at ICR is going well. Thank you!

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Preston,

      > If I understood it correctly, your ASM is testable and provable only because we know when the stars were created.

      Partly, yes. ASM is making a claim: that the Bible uses the ASC, and thus that stars are made on day 4 by the ASC standard. This claim leads to different predictions than the contrary claim (that the Bible uses ESC). For example under ESC, it is possible that light from the most distant stars in the universe still has not reached earth, but might reach us within our lifetime. So, we might see very distant stars “blink on” – essentially witnessing their creation. But under ASC, we’re already seeing all the stars we’re ever going to see.

      > Based on the foregoing, I suppose that the problem that Dr. Einstein had with apparent faster than light communications in quantum entanglement would not be solved by ASC. But it is not clear to me why that should be….Since the conventionality thesis allows instantaneous effects, why doesn’t ASC resolve the concern he had?

      Well, one reason is that ASC only allows instantaneous travel of light in one direction at a time. You could always pick the direction going away from the observer, and quantum entanglement will still give its strange results. Quantum entanglement is a very odd phenomenon. But it doesn’t violate any laws of logic, or laws of nature as we understand them. It allows two particles (A and B) separated by a distance to interact in a spacelike way – spacelike meaning that a particle launched from event A cannot reach event B without travelling faster than light. Yet somehow, A and B are able to affect each other.

      > Also, you described “relativity of simultaneity” that apparently applies to any synchrony convention except the one wherein light travels instantaneously in one direction.

      Actually, relativity of simultaneity also applies to ASC. It just eliminates the velocity component. Observers under ASC will agree on the timing of events if the observers have the same position, regardless of velocity. But they will not agree (in general) if they have different positions. ESC is the opposite; it eliminates the position component. Under ESC, observers agree on the time of events if they have the same velocity, regardless of position. But they will not agree if they have different velocities. Relativity of simultaneity means that there is no synchrony convention that is independent of both velocity AND position.

      > Why does this relativity of simultaneity not cause problems for big bang believers?

      Hmm. Relativity of simultaneity does exist in their view. But they probably don’t see it as a problem. Would high-speed particles moving in opposite directions observe different times for different events in the universe? Yes – definitely. I think the reason they don’t see that as an issue is because they don’t need to have galaxies created at a specific time (e.g. as on day 4). So it’s no problem if one galaxy forms millions of years before another in one reference frame, while the reverse happens in another.

      > How is there such confidence in astronomical observations and the resultant Hubble constant if the relativity of simultaneity in the Einstein synchrony can result in such discordant ideas of past and future time?

      They pick a reference frame – the reference frame of the CMB (which is assumed to represent the average velocity of all material in the universe) and stick with it. All their computations are done in that reference frame. However, any competent physicist would have to agree that the universe is much younger than 13.7 billion years in the reference frame of a high-speed particle.

      > You show that ASC is the Biblical convention, but mention that perhaps arbitrarily the center of mass of the universe could hypothetically be chosen as a reference.

      It’s hard for me to imagine that the Bible would select anything other than Earth as the frame of reference. But there is nothing preventing us today from selecting another frame.

      > If the universe if finite and bounded and has a center of mass, would there be any testable consequences of that which wouldn’t be a direct consequence of the ASM alone?

      I’m not sure I understand the question. If the galaxies “end” at some point, such that there are no more beyond a certain distance, then the universe will have a center of mass. In principle, this might have observable consequences. It would create a slight blueshift as a function of distance (inverse Hubble law). But such an effect would be convolved with universal expansion which generates the Hubble law, and would be difficult or impossible to detect. A finite universe also makes a cosmic rotation axis possible, which would not be possible for an infinite one. There have been suggestions that this has been detected, though I haven’t followed the research carefully.

  10. Patrick Gernert says:

    http://www.facebook.com/anja.helmon/posts/10151075660467432 I know you have been dealing mostly with Evolution vs. Creation topics on here but I was wondering if you had the time and could look into this discussion I am having with my Aunt on Facebook.

  11. Pingback: Arbitrariness and Inconsistency – the Opposites of Rationality | Time For Discernment

  12. Deanna says:

    Thank you Dr. Lisle. When I took the GRE years ago to enter grad school in music, I scored 100% on the analytical portion – the part of the test that employs logic as you know. It’s just how God wired my brain. In fact, logic is what drew me to true Christianity in the first place. I was raised in a “Christian” faith that does not teach that the Bible is the final authority for living. I was taught to look at it with skepticism. But when I got into the Word for myself, it was the most logical thinking I had ever encountered! I really thank God for giving me the ability to accept His Word, and therefore accept Jesus as my Savior. It just makes so much sense! And I also thank God for you and all the other thinkers at ICR. You are all brilliant and courageous. Keep up the good work and keep the Faith!

  13. Isaac Roland says:

    Dr. Lisle,

    I thank God for faithful men like you. May God continue to reveal Himself to you through His Son, word, Spirit, and universe. Were you home-schooled? Did you have a logic class? What book did you use?

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Isaac,

      No, I was not home-schooled. Dr. Bahnsen taught a class on logic, and I have all the lectures and texts and have gone through those carefully. But my main studies in logic have been just reading through textbooks on the topic. I particularly like Copi & Cohen’s “Introduction to Logic” – which is one of the books Dr. Bahnsen used for his logic class. (I have a more recent edition though.)

      • Nick L. says:

        Isaac, I was homeschooled, but I took an excellent college class in logic at Regent University. A good introductory text is Cowan and Spiegel’s 2009 book ‘The Love of Wisdom.’ It covers philosophy and encompasses logic, but some excellent books on logic and rationality specifically are ‘Come, Let Us Reason’ by Geisler and Brooks, ‘”Intellectuals Don’t Need God” and Other Modern Myths” by Alistar McGrath, and “That’s Just Your Interpretation” by Copan. Please note that McGrath’s book does NOT argue that intellectuals don’t need God. That is one of the ‘modern myths’ he debunks in his book. A word of warning about the last of these. Copan’s book is written from an old-earth perspective, and he attempts to support this perspective his 16th and 17th chapters. His views on Genesis are contrary to the Young-Earth position, but the rest of his book provides excellent arguments against things such as moral relativism, irrationality, etc.

        Dr. Lisle, thanks for mentioning the “Introduction to Logic” book. I’ll be sure to add it to my Amazon.com wish list. :-)

  14. Isaac Roland says:

    Dr. Lisle,

    Have you responded to a critique of your AIG article at
    http://quantumnonlinearity.blogspot.com/2010/10/answers-in-genesis-screw-up-again.html
    ?

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      I’ve seen this criticism but I haven’t responded yet. It is very easy to refute. I plan on doing a series on this blog on the topic of ASC, in which I will refute this and other criticisms made by those who have not studied the topic.

      • Nick L. says:

        I’m looking forward to that series of entries.

        • …and so am I! My blog admin alerted me to this link! Now Jason, I think I have an inkling of what you are going to say: In fact there is probably only about one or two things you can say, and it is that I’ve been preparing for! Now, if I was to follow your example then at this point I might engage in a bit of posturing myself and claim that “You haven’t studied this topic”! Your move Jason!

          Sorry that no big scientific names have moved in and really taken your proposal seriously. I must apologise that I’m not an interlocutor with a societal high status myself but can only offer to test your proposal from the perspective of an enthusiastic amateur (although with the appropriate background) within the mainstream Christian tradition; so that means I am a creationist in the general sense.

          It’s long ago now (well, not long ago if you are using Jason’s notification based co-ordinate transformation! Haha!), but I went through a period of Christian fundamentalism myself and read “The Genesis Flood” from cover to cover ultimately finding it unconvincing. However, on emerging from Christian fundamentalism I’ve kept tabs on YEC developments.

          BTW: As far as I’m aware geocentrist Gerardus Bouw does define a stationary reference frame which he anchors in what I think he calls “the plenum”- although I have to admit that I haven’t studied his one-man rewrite of physics that closely (and don’t intend to.)

          • Nick L. says:

            I’m not gathering a lot of information from your post, Timothy, outside of the fact that you’re an Old-earth Creationist. I assume then that you have a number of rescuing devices ready to explain the many scientific evidences that contradict your view; thus, there is probably no point in venturing into a discussion of the lunar recession rate, the erosion rate of the continents, the shrinkage rate of the Sun, the existence of short period comets, or any of the other scientific evidences I find supportive of a young earth.

            Since that’s the case, can you share how you support your Old-earth view Biblically? I find absolutely no evidence in the Genesis narrative supportive of Old-earth creationism. On the contrary, all I find are clear reasons to reject OEC in favor of YEC.

            The most powerful reason for embracing YEC, in my opinion, is the problem of death before sin in an Old-earth view. How do you reconcile the Bible’s clear teaching against death before sin and the necessity of such events in an Old-earth view?

            Incidentally, I can’t help mentioning that you’re entirely incorrect when you state that no ‘big-name’ scientists have embraced the Young-earth view. Organizations like the Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Research Society boast memberships by dozens of PhD scientists. The ranks of Creationism are getting progressively stronger, while the supporters of traditional evolution are becoming fewer and more fractured. Well-known figures like Richard Dawkins are now abandoning traditional evolutionary models of the origin of life in favor of even more radical ideas like panspermia. As Jason states in one of his blog entries, evolution is truly becoming an endangered species.

            • Thanks for the reply Nick.

              Yes, there is little point in discussing those items because I don’t want to embark on an in depth analysis deep inside the entrails of this blog; I take that sort of thing back to my own blog. To this end, however, perhaps you are the very man to help me out on some questions.

              Regarding lunar recession rate, Sun shrinkage, sedimentation etc, etc Some of these (such as Sun Shrinkage, if it exists) are all but useless in returning duration information because the (possibly chaotic) mechanisms that drive them are the subject of speculation. However, using a (very) crude model I used the moon recession rate to return an Earth duration limit of not greater than half a million years, a figure well in access of 6000 years. What I would like to know (because I have yet to come across it in my study of YEC culture) is this: Are there any YEC models out there that return durations that limit Earth age to not greater than 10,000 years? I’m interested in getting a listing of YEC models that return duration information in this “not greater than” format so that I can see how these are distributed on the time axis.

              I actually regard the treatment of Biblical evidence by YEC as one of its weakest links because YEC is not using the right historical model to interpret scripture: Especially when ancient narratives reach back to pre-human times (such as we see in Genesis 1) we must factor in the vagaries and polemical purposes of the mythological/metaphorical imagination (though managed and inspired by The Sovereign Will)

              But regarding early Genesis I have another question: How do YEC’s literal interpretations juxtapose Satan’s fall and Man’s fall in cosmic history? Which comes first? And who is the serpent?

              I think you need to read again what I said regarding “big-name” scientists; I thought I was simply remarking on a fact that is not contentious: Viz: Jason’s specific proposal (to my knowledge) has not been given the kudos of serious critical attention by any (non-YEC) “big noises”; if it had it is unlikely that Rational Wiki would have had to resort to linking to my article! However, you seem to have read into the word “proposal” the whole YEC Weltanschauung and this has inadvertently connected with the YEC self-worth complex, triggering off in you the need for a marginalized subculture to find reasons to believe in itself. I’ve touched a nerve here! Boasts? You’ve got it in one!

              I understand that you won’t be aware that I have no emotional commitment to currently accepted theories of the mechanism of evolutionary change (not to be confused with natural history) and even Big Bang. But one thing I say with confidence is this: Cosmic durations are a lot greater than 6000 years. i.e.YEC is false.

              • Nick L. says:

                Timothy,
                Thanks for the response.
                First, yes, there are several models that limit the age of the earth to various numbers far closer to 6,000 years than the lunar recession rate. The first example that comes to mind is the work by Dr. Thomas G. Barnes. I will quote from A Scientific Analysis of Genesis by Edward F. Blick, PhD: “Physicist Dr. Thomas Barnes in a remarkable study has noted that the Earth’s magnetic field has been decaying exponentially since it was first measured in 1835. His analysis shows that its half-life is about fourteen hundred years. Based upon a half-life of fourteen hundred years, the Earth’s magnetic field would have been equal to that of a magnetic star just ten thousand years ago. Dr. Barnes indicates that the only reasonable source for the Earth’s magnetic field must be free circulating electrical currents in the Earth’s iron core. He concluded that the heat generated by these currents flowing against an electrical resistance would have been too large for life to have existed on Earth more than ten thousand years ago; hence, life has been on Earth less than ten thousand years” (84). A few more models that fulfill your requirements: the influx of radiocarbon into the Earth system limits the age of the Earth to somewhere between 5000 and 10,000 years. The development of the human population of the Earth comes out to roughly 4000 years, which, as I’m sure you’re aware, is entirely consistent with the YEC model of the Noachian Flood roughly 4000 years ago. The decay of short period comets limits the age to less than 10,000 yrs. The accumulation of peat in peat bogs limits the age to less than 8,000 years. And the formation of river deltas limits the age to less than 5,000 years, again consistent with a Noachian flood 4000 years ago.

                While those should be enough to keep you busy researching for a little bit, the point really isn’t how close to 6,000 years we can limit Earth’s age to. The real point at hand is that there are a plethora of models out there that disprove the vast ages REQUIRED for evolution. Regardless of whether or not you accept or deny any particular model mentioned (or any of the others you’re familiar with), if even ONE of them escapes the criticism of evolutionists unscathed (as the majority of them have), evolutionary theory is undone.

                I’m not sure where you find Scriptural support of the idea of incorporating “mythological/metaphysical” factors into our interpretation of Scripture. I think it’s fairly clear what the writer of Genesis was trying to convey, and that is that the heavens and the earth and all that is in them were created in six literal, 24 hour days. Again, I must ask what Scriptural proof you have that shows otherwise.

                As for the fall of Satan, the Bible implies it took place after the creation of man and before the fall. God concluded that His entire creation was “very good” at the end of Genesis 1, and this judgment seems hard to understand if Satan and one-third of the angelic host was already in rebellion. There are also passages that refer to Satan in the Garden of Eden prior to his fall. Obviously, however, he fell before he took on the form of a serpent and beguiled Eve.

                • Thanks for that info Nick; very helpful.

                  I think Barnes’s ideas have come in for a lot of criticism: As per Sun shrinkage the models used are in a state of speculative flux: I’ve heard of models of the Earth’s interior that flip the poles with a period of about 1 million years. It’s all very reminiscent of the “moon dust” debacle. Likewise I’m not impressed with the population argument which neglects chaotic population fluctuations in small stressed hunting communities.

                  However, I haven’t looked into the influx of radiocarbon, comets, peat bogs and river delta’s so I’ll take those away with me. But as always one finds attempts by either side of the debate to make absolute statements is scuppered by many adjustable variables and a general open endedness of the phenomena concerned.

                  But in any case there seems to be a paradox in YEC: On the one hand one finds YECs using age calculations and the rational assumptions on which they are necessarily based positively and yet in other contexts YECs are negative about age calculations: Unless of course the YEC strategy is a negative one of simply subverting science by dwelling on inconsistency…. which may be what you are trying to get at in your second paragraph. BTW: Just in case you are thinking about it: I don’t accept the philosophy that attempts to make a clear demarcation between “historical science” and “operational science”; they in fact form a seamless whole.

                  Of course you won’t find “meta-information” about the mythological/metaphorical in the Bible any more than you will find information about the fundamentals of language and grammar, common sense physics and philosophy, the wider historical context of the Middle East, basic ideas about human beings etc etc – all of which are part of a huge open ended meta-database that we bring to the Bible’s black and white pixel information in order to appropriate meaning.

                  Thanks for the information on the fall of Satan and his angels. That essentially confirms what I was given to understand in my fundamentalist days. In fact it’s still my understanding. Trouble is it leaves us with a wild card: The history of Satan’s fall and its consequences.

                  Another question for you Nick. I did a quick search for Jason’s views on colliding galaxies. Jason’s ASC model, as we shall see, is very strictly limited in what it can do as it is a transformation consistent with Einstein. This means that average light speed is a “conserved” quantity of c. Consequently there’s a hemisphere of solid angle where light speed is either c or less. So how does he deal with colliding galaxies? I only found some second hand references where it was said that Jason claimed that colliding galaxies were created in collision. Are you able to point me at any quotes from Jason himself?

                  Looks to me as if the formatting here is eventually going to restrict us to one word per line.

      • Hi Jason: Still waiting for that serious of blogs you mention above. However, there’s no rush as I realise that that sort of thing, if it is to be done properly, takes as long a it takes; so I’m sure you’re taking your time. However, you’ll be glad to know that I’m looking forward to you coming out to play.

        • Wayne says:

          You really are proud, aren’t you? It is a wonder that you really think Dr. Lisle would deign to respond to you, as there really is no point. You have formed your own opinions in concrete, and you are not going to change them unless God changes you. So what then would be the point of your statement of Dr. Lisle coming out to play? Do you suppose yourself to be the bully on the playground who is pushing down a child? Dr. Lisle is a well respected Astrophysicist, and has contributed a great deal to science as a whole.
          Perhaps you should work on being humble, I am not making a proud statement such as I am more humble than you, however I would not condescend so obviously to someone so obviously my senior.

          • Well respected astrophysicist? You be can’t serious! Can you show me where in the professional (tax payer funded) literature Jason Lisle’s mature creation cosmology has had so much as a serious mention?

            Deigned to respond to me? Really? I count it a mixed blessing when for reasons beyond my control I come to the notice of fundamentalist gurus and their following, as I have on more than one occasion. But in spite of this not necessarily welcome attention, as a private researcher of Christian sectarianism (No tax payer money needed!) such contact can sometimes have the consolation of yielding useful data as has been the case here: Thank you, and thank you very much “Preston” for the fine work you have carried out.

            Clearly Jason isn’t being taken seriously as an astrophysicist in any professional capacity, but you will be pleased to know that as a free-lancer who works outside the social nexus of the established science community this won’t bias my considerations or make me think any worse of Jason. But by the same token, as I’m not in the sphere of influence covered by the social hierarchy status markers of the Biblical-literalist community your reference to pride issues are in my case totally without meaning.

            And a word of advice for you Wyane: If the social status of your guru-equivalent awes you, you have that much less chance of thinking independently.

  15. Brian Forbes says:

    I just finished your book – even the appendices. You can put this on your site or not, as you prefer, but I would like an answer if you have one. I don’t like being wrong, and I’m open to the fact that I am.

    You have given the example of the kid under the sheet being protected from a monster in the closet many times. I think you are blaming the wrong thing here. It’s irrational, not because he’s a kid, but because he lacks two things. He lacks knowledge and he lacks faith in something worthy of his faith. None of us is ever given perfect knowledge (at least to my knowledge), so we are no better than this kid. What we need to battle the monster that isn’t there is faith and knowledge. Even knowledge comes through faith in knowledge, so what we need is faith… faith in the proper things.

    Let me give you another example.
    Let’s postulate a war where there is a relatively neutral person that has to pick a side. He will do his best to look at the evidence rationally, to pick the side that he thinks is good. Eventually, the bullets start flying, and he has to take cover in one camp or the other. Standing around without an answer is far more dangerous and painful than picking a side. So, he chooses one, and for the rest of the day, he can question himself, or he can work himself emotionally into the idea that he didn’t choose foolishly. I believe that this is true to life. I know people who take a little time in the neutral zone. I know people who dive in without figuring anything. I know people who betray the side they’ve chosen. I know others who go back and forth between the camps, still others who shoot their comrades down. Nobody in this situation is going to be completely and 100% rational. They’re going to pick a position and then confirm their bias. It’s just the way it happens.

    In your book, you wrote this, but you didn’t support it to my satisfaction.
    “So when people say that they believe that a sufficient amount of scientific evidence is the way to prove creation or evolution, this shows that they really do not understand what is going on.”

    You make a major assumption in your book, and I’m sure you can find a fallacy associated with it. You assume that people want to be rational. In most things, for myself, I want to be rational. Some things, however, I am happy to be irrational. I have chosen to believe that my wife loves me. I have chosen to believe in God. I believe that both examples are also rational, but I don’t rest my belief on rationality alone. It is true that faith can be challenged with evidence, however, (listen to “You Don’t Love Me Anymore” by Weird Al), and it’s also possible to counter that challenge with a stronger faith. So I see it as a scale, which for some is heavier on the faith and for others, it’s heavier for evidence.

    I contend that the statement, “All truth is God’s truth,” is true. I believe you blame the wrong thing when you say that you can’t start with truth outside of the Bible. Even starting with the Bible, people will infer falsehoods, so the blame should be placed with the errors in assumptions (knowledge) or logic and not against God’s truth. This, too, leaves us with the absolute necessity of having faith to supplement our reason. It’s not possible to know enough to reason through every possibility. We just don’t have that kind of revelation – not of God, not of overall truth, not of anything. We don’t have the time to think it all through. Granted, we have enough to show that YEC is probable, but not that there can never be any objection. In every case I can think of, we have to take a leap of faith to link the gaps in our logic. At the same time, I can’t think of every possibility, so even that statement and my position both take some faith.

    As to the Bible’s God being the only source of nature’s laws, I don’t agree. People can make up anything, including a God that makes natures laws and is not perfectly consistent with the Bible. For example, say I decided by faith that hell does not exist for eternity, because I prefer a God that only loves and does not punish – one that uses only positive enforcement to get his kids to obey. What if I believed everything in scripture except the places where it says that hell is eternal or that we should fear God? To me, that would be a different God than the one of scripture, yet under that God, the laws of logic would still work.

    No matter if I’m right or wrong about this stuff, faith is the key, not logic. I know this takes away your entire toolbox of fallacies, but there is hope. Most people start with a simple presuppositional faith in logic. Logic works to change minds because we all have a common faith in it. I’m not going to say your book is wrong, because I, too, believe in logic. However, I don’t think that is our ultimate foundation. Truth is true, regardless of where we place our faith, but, for most, our beliefs are based more in faith than in logic. If you’re looking to present proof to illogical people, it’s good to keep this in mind. It will certainly work on those who claim to be completely rational. I make no such claim, because I think that anyone who does is being irrational.

    That’s my rational rebuttal to having an ultimate need to be rational.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Brian,

      > You have given the example of the kid under the sheet being protected from a monster in the closet many times. I think you are blaming the wrong thing here. It’s irrational, not because he’s a kid, but because he lacks two things. He lacks knowledge and he lacks faith in something worthy of his faith.

      The kid is irrational because he is being arbitrary. He doesn’t have a reason for his belief. He certainly does have faith. And he acts on that faith by staying away from the closet. But his faith is without a good reason. It’s true that he lacks knowledge – but this is because knowledge requires a reason. And to be arbitrary is to be without a reason.

      > None of us is ever given perfect knowledge (at least to my knowledge),

      Do you know this? Do you know it perfectly? ;-)

      > so we are no better than this kid.

      We should be! Adults are supposed to have good reasons for what we believe. God wants us to pattern our thinking after His (Isaiah 55:7-8) – to be rational. Children are arbitrary, and the point of education is to help them to become rational. So when a child believes that Santa comes down the chimney every Christmas, we sort of expect such childish thinking. But if an adult believes this, we would be right to question his or her mental health.

      > What we need to battle the monster that isn’t there is faith and knowledge. Even knowledge comes through faith in knowledge, so what we need is faith… faith in the proper things.

      The kid has faith. What he lacks is rational justification for his faith. Everyone has faith. But only faith in the Living God can lead to genuine knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). This is the main theme of my book.

      > Let me give you another example. Let’s postulate a war where there is a relatively neutral person that has to pick a side. He will do his best to look at the evidence rationally, to pick the side that he thinks is good. Eventually, the bullets start flying, and he has to take cover in one camp or the other. Standing around without an answer is far more dangerous and painful than picking a side. So, he chooses one, and for the rest of the day, he can question himself, or he can work himself emotionally into the idea that he didn’t choose foolishly. I believe that this is true to life.

      There may be some circumstances where we must choose quickly, without having time for necessary sufficient research and contemplation. But if when thinking about it later we find that we were wrong, we should have the moral integrity to admit this and try to make amends for our hasty, faulty decision. In any case, Christianity (and thus creation) is NOT like the example you gave for two reasons:

      First of all, there is no neutral position. The Bible indicates that evidence of the biblical God is abundantly obvious, and that God has revealed Himself to everyone (Romans 1:19). People don’t reject Christianity because “they just haven’t realized it’s true.” They do it out of willful rebellion; they suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). They know the Bible is the correct “camp” – and precisely for that reason they run the other way. Second, God doesn’t demand an instant decision. He is extremely patient, and most people have a lifetime to consider the obvious evidence of God’s existence and to repent and to call on Him. Therefore, when people reject God, they have absolutely no excuse (Romans 1:20).

      > I know people who take a little time in the neutral zone.

      There is no such thing as the neutral zone when it comes to God. People are either for Christ or against Him; they either gather or scatter (Matthew 12:30).

      > I know people who dive in without figuring anything.

      People do make hasty decisions. They act before thinking. But we’re not supposed to be that way. God wants us to reason (Isaiah 1:18).

      > I know people who betray the side they’ve chosen. I know others who go back and forth between the camps, still others who shoot their comrades down. Nobody in this situation is going to be completely and 100% rational. They’re going to pick a position and then confirm their bias. It’s just the way it happens.

      The naturalistic fallacy is to argue what should be the case by pointing to what is the case. It’s true that people do not always act rationally. But that does not make it right. God has called us to think and to act like Him – to be rational (Isaiah 55:7-8). This doesn’t mean that we can think in an eternal way like God does. Rather, it means we are to think and act in a way that is consistent with His character. We are to understand the world in light of God’s revelation (Psalm 36:9).

      > In your book, you wrote this, but you didn’t support it to my satisfaction.
      “So when people say that they believe that a sufficient amount of scientific evidence is the way to prove creation or evolution, this shows that they really do not understand what is going on.”

      Evidence does not consistently convince people who have a wrong worldview. Want proof? Matthew 28:17. In the physical presence of the resurrected Savior, some doubted. Jesus Himself affirmed that even the spectacular evidence of resurrection of the dead will not convince those who reject the biblical worldview (e.g. “Moses and the Prophets”) in Luke 16:27-31.

      > You make a major assumption in your book, and I’m sure you can find a fallacy associated with it. You assume that people want to be rational.

      That’s not an assumption. It’s an observation. Most people believe that they are rational, and they want to be rational. Very few people would admit that their thinking is silly and absurd.

      > In most things, for myself, I want to be rational. Some things, however, I am happy to be irrational.

      You’re happy to be irrational? You shouldn’t be. You are supposed to pattern your thinking after God and have good reasons for what you believe – and to be able to articulate those reasons to others (1 Peter 3:15). It is a sin to be irrational (Isaiah 55:7-8).

      > I have chosen to believe that my wife loves me. I have chosen to believe in God.

      That’s not irrational. You have good reasons to believe both of these things. The second point can be proved – as shown in my book.

      > I believe that both examples are also rational, but I don’t rest my belief on rationality alone.

      Rationality basically means having good logical reasons for what you believe. So when you say that you don’t rest your belief on rationality alone, you are implying that some of your beliefs are without good reasons. That’s not good. Children believe without good reasons. However, biblically, you should abandon beliefs that are without good reasons (1 Corinthians 13:11).

      > It is true that faith can be challenged with evidence, however, (listen to “You Don’t Love Me Anymore” by Weird Al), and it’s also possible to counter that challenge with a stronger faith. So I see it as a scale, which for some is heavier on the faith and for others, it’s heavier for evidence.

      “Faith” basically means “belief.” Faith is not contrary or in competition with evidence. Biblical faith is always rational.

      > I contend that the statement, “All truth is God’s truth,” is true.

      It’s a very misleading sentence because not all that is thought to be “truth” really is. People use this to re-interpret the Bible to fit with secular/pagan opinions. Truth is that which corresponds to the mind of God.

      > I believe you blame the wrong thing when you say that you can’t start with truth outside of the Bible.

      God says in His Word that knowledge (i.e. truth) begins with Him (Proverbs 1:7). The biblical worldview is the necessary foundation for all truth. In other words, if you reject the Scriptures, you can’t have genuine knowledge about anything. Paul makes this clear in Colossians 2:3-8. The only reason that unbelievers are able to know anything at all is because they (inconsistently) rely upon the truth of the Christian worldview.

      > Even starting with the Bible, people will infer falsehoods, so the blame should be placed with the errors in assumptions (knowledge) or logic and not against God’s truth.

      People are wicked sinners. As such, they often take the perfect truth of God’s Word, and distort it to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16).

      >This, too, leaves us with the absolute necessity of having faith to supplement our reason.

      No, faith is NOT a supplement to reason. Biblical faith is the precondition for reason. “By faith we understand…” (Hebrews 11:3).

      > It’s not possible to know enough to reason through every possibility.

      There are really only two possibilities: the Bible is completely true, or it isn’t. If we consider the option that it isn’t, we will find that knowledge is impossible. Thus, if knowledge is possible, then the Bible is true. Any alternative to Christianity will lead to absurdity.

      > We just don’t have that kind of revelation – not of God, not of overall truth, not of anything.

      God gives us sufficient revelation to have genuine knowledge (Psalm 36:9).

      > We don’t have the time to think it all through. Granted, we have enough to show that YEC is probable, but not that there can never be any objection.

      It’s not just probable that the Bible is completely true, it is absolutely certain (and therefore so is a “young” earth). Take a look at just a few of the Scriptures that indicate that we can have full confidence in what God says: Proverbs 22:21, Luke 1:4, Acts 2:36. God IS truth. Therefore, we can have full confidence in what He has written in His Word. It is impossible (not just “improbable”) that the Bible could be wrong about anything.

      > In every case I can think of, we have to take a leap of faith to link the gaps in our logic.

      This is called a “God of the gaps” approach. It is NOT scriptural. It confuses the nature of what faith is. Faith is NOT belief without evidence. Biblical faith is always justified. In fact, biblical faith is the necessary precondition for rationality. Therefore, we have a very good reason for the biblical faith: it makes reasoning possible.

      > At the same time, I can’t think of every possibility, so even that statement and my position both take some faith.

      The question is: what type of faith? Faith in God is rational. Any alternative is irrational.

      > As to the Bible’s God being the only source of nature’s laws, I don’t agree.

      Well, the Bible teaches this. God upholds all things (not just “some things”) by the expression of His power (Hebrews 1:3). God does this in a very consistent and mathematical way, which we refer to as “laws of nature.” Laws of nature are not independent “things” but rather are descriptions of the consistent way in which God upholds the universe.

      > People can make up anything, including a God that makes natures laws and is not perfectly consistent with the Bible.

      This position is self-refuting. A “made-up” god cannot be the foundation for anything because he/she/it is fictional. In order for God to uphold the universe by His power, He must actually exist, and not be the product of human imagination. People might argue that there really is a god that is not the biblical God that they think upholds the universe (Allah or whatever). But none of God’s “competitors” are able to make sense of laws of nature in a consistent way.

      > For example, say I decided by faith that hell does not exist for eternity, because I prefer a God that only loves and does not punish – one that uses only positive enforcement to get his kids to obey. What if I believed everything in scripture except the places where it says that hell is eternal or that we should fear God? To me, that would be a different God than the one of scripture, yet under that God, the laws of logic would still work.

      It won’t work. Here’s why. If the Bible is wrong in the places where it touches on hell, then there is no reason to believe it can’t be wrong in other places. There would be no reason to trust it when it tells us that God upholds the universe in a consistent way. A Bible that is wrong is either (A) not completely God’s Word, or (B) the Word of a God who lies. In either case, we have no assurance that God will uphold the future as the past (as promised in places such as Genesis 8:22), because such passages might be the sections that are not God’s Word, or they might be the places where God is lying.

      > No matter if I’m right or wrong about this stuff, faith is the key, not logic.

      Faith that is not logical is not from God. Biblical faith is always logical because God is always logical. It always leads to genuine understanding (Hebrews 11:3). Biblical faith is always associated with evidence and conviction (Hebrews 11:1). “Blind” faith is not scriptural.

      > I know this takes away your entire toolbox of fallacies, but there is hope. Most people start with a simple presuppositional faith in logic. Logic works to change minds because we all have a common faith in it. I’m not going to say your book is wrong, because I, too, believe in logic. However, I don’t think that is our ultimate foundation.

      The Bible is our ultimate foundation. That’s the claim of my book. Without the Bible, there would be no logical foundation for logic itself. This is expounded in chapter 3. So when people act on logic, they are revealing their suppressed knowledge of the biblical God.

      > Truth is true, regardless of where we place our faith, but, for most, our beliefs are based more in faith than in logic.

      Faith is belief. So to say that beliefs are based on faith is to say that beliefs are based on belief – which makes no sense. Beliefs should be logical. You should have a good reason for what you believe, and be able to articulate it to others (1 Peter 3:15).

      > If you’re looking to present proof to illogical people, it’s good to keep this in mind. It will certainly work on those who claim to be completely rational.

      No. Even people who claim to be completely rational often are not. They will reject a perfectly good argument for emotional reasons (e.g. because they don’t want to accept its conclusion).

      > I make no such claim, because I think that anyone who does is being irrational.

      I agree that you’re not being completely rational. ;-) But I would argue that you should be. We have a moral obligation to follow God in both our actions and our thinking (2 Corinthians 10:5). To be logical is to think in a way that is consistent with the character of God. This is something all Christians should strive to obtain.

      > That’s my rational rebuttal to having an ultimate need to be rational.

      That’s self-refuting. The fact that you feel the need to make a rational case for your position shows that you do indeed understand the importance of always being rational.

      Thanks for posting. And thanks for reading my book.

      • Brian Forbes says:

        If I expanded on your comments item by item, we’d be here forever. For giving me that much time, thank you! Of course, it’s going to take a lot of text to get either one of us to change our minds. You wrote a book about it. You’ve thought a lot about it. I’ve written a couple papers and gave a speech about it. I’ve thought about it too. Hopefully you value my input as much as I do yours. Suffice it to say some of your answers weren’t directly answering my point, but I agreed with what you said. Others were wrong (in my opinion). In others, you made me think that maybe I’m wrong. But instead of doing this item by item, I would rather hit hard on the major theme.

        I believe you are arguing that everyone, in the course of their life, which is directed by God’s hand, eventually has sufficient knowledge to come to rational conclusions, and, therefore, it’s possible to be perfectly logical. Indeed, you think it’s sinful not to be logical. I, on the other hand, drawing from my own experience, have learned that I rarely have enough information to make perfectly logical decisions. In other words, I guess. My guesses are right far more often then they are wrong (which is a guess, and I hope I’m right), and my rational mind only plays a role to correct my assumptions some of the time. In fact, guesses are built into the scientific method, and can even creep into the conclusions of science. Trusting scientists instead of doing the experiments yourself is not logical – it’s faith-full. But who has the time and money to verify everything they’ve ever been told?!

        I wrote this before I went to lunch. I thought about it during lunch. Every time I heard people make comments to others, I was thinking, “How do they know that?” Over and over, the answer was clear – they don’t. They believe it. I suggest you try this exercise too.

        Let me take a moment to clarify what I meant when I said irrational. If you have a better word, supply it. I didn’t mean contrary to logic or breaking the rules of logic; I meant not using it as the sole basis for my choices. Of course, I already admitted that I love logic. I admitted (in my last comment, which I knew was illogical) that we can convince people with logic. My point was not that you can’t use logic, or even that the point of your book is wrong (“I’m not going to say your book is wrong, because I, too, believe in logic.”); it’s impractical sometimes. Often people change for emotional reasons. I believe God is perfectly emotional.

        I didn’t mean to say that there is a neutral position with God. I understand why you would have taken my words that way. I did say “relatively neutral”. We will always have an active belief that we will live out, which was the point of the analogy. We can’t hold off on making a decision forever. With the question of whether the God of the Bible exists, we clearly have enough evidence eventually, but that’s not the only choice we ever make. It’s not the first one either. On general life questions, we don’t always have sufficient evidence, and we have to make a choice, whereupon we develop the habit of making irrational choices. Your answer works in the textbook. My answer is truer to life. You’re expressing what we should be. I’m expressing what it is possible for us to do in our fallen, illogical, and ignorant state. Even if it is possible (Mt. 5:48), it isn’t likely that everyone is going to wait for evidence on every issue before they dive in. Sometimes it takes years and years to collect the evidence, and in the meantime, we have to live our lives. How do we live? We make an irrational (not necessarily anti-rational) choice by faith. How should we live? I say that even if it’s not perfectly rational, until the evidence comes in for you, you should live your life according to the scriptures. It’s not always wrong when the rational answer follows the faith.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credo_ut_intelligam

        Even if you say it’s evil for me to decide to believe that my wife loves me, I’m going to decide it. I don’t have perfect knowledge of her heart, and even before I had sufficient knowledge, I chose to believe she loved me. I don’t regret my irrationality. I don’t think it’s evil. I’m just blessed that my belief aligns with truth.

        My personal anecdote (which doesn’t prove anything, but it is the irrational basis for my life):
        I almost believed in evolution. I almost believed it because a friend who is smarter than me believed it. I know this isn’t rational, and I knew it at the time. Such is the power of peer pressure, which isn’t logical, but it does produce results in real life. I looked at evidence, because I wanted to believe in God, and I was logical enough to see that if evolution were true, God was not. Long story short, one day, I was filled with the Holy Spirit and I called out to God, “I choose to believe in you! Evolution has nothing for me.” It was a decision that changed my life! It wasn’t rational, at least it wasn’t a decision that was made rationally, but it didn’t matter. It still doesn’t. I’m perfectly content to be irrational, and the scriptures you used didn’t incline me to change my mind… not in the slightest. You could say that I was being irrational, but I could truthfully say the same about you.

        Now, I don’t know you enough to see where you are irrational, but you are. Everyone is irrational in some things. If we have perfect knowledge combined with perfect logic, we no longer need faith. In fact, I don’t think faith is possible with perfect knowledge and logic.

        Do I want to be perfect in logic? Yes! I believe God is perfectly logical, and I want to be like God – not in the Satan v. Eve sense, but I want to be a child of my Father in Heaven. You are absolutely right. Your book is right. Your arguments against me are right (for the most part). I’m just calling attention to the fact that we just don’t know everything, so even the most logical people have to take things on faith and correct themselves on new knowledge. Sometimes they accept things as knowledge when they shouldn’t, and they have to correct themselves again. May we live like you suggest, but may we also be wise enough to see that people can’t help but live as I suggest.

        That was my major point. Now, I will answer a couple minor points for clarification.
        “So when a child believes that Santa comes down the chimney every Christmas, we sort of expect such childish thinking. But if an adult believes this, we would be right to question his or her mental health.”
        But what changed between the kid and the adult? My wife “believes” in Santa. I think Santa is a horrible lie to tell kids. My kids got both sides. Setting aside whether parents are rational in telling kids this stuff, the thing that is lacking for the kid is still knowledge. My kids have always known that daddy doesn’t believe in Santa. But they had evidence – they saw him in real life. But they also saw that I saw him and still didn’t believe. They don’t believe in Santa because of their faith in me, not because of rational arguments. Grown men believe in aliens. What’s lacking? Again, knowledge is lacking.

        “The kid has faith. What he lacks is rational justification for his faith.”
        I think the more appropriate qualification is that he lacks faith in the proper things. Even if you have an faith in God that is contrary to sound reason, it’s still in God. How we think about a thing doesn’t change the thing itself. I may pick the winning lottery numbers by a method that I think works, but whether it works or not, what counts is the winning lottery numbers.

        “It’s a very misleading sentence [all truth is God’s truth] because not all that is thought to be ‘truth’ really is.”
        That doesn’t negate the statement. It just clarifies it.

        I believe all truth starts with God, but I don’t believe all truth starts with the scriptures. God =/= the Scriptures. God > the Scriptures. If all truth begins with the Scriptures (and assuming the Canon is closed), there would be a contradiction in that some of the prophesies of scripture have not yet been fulfilled. There is a truth or two that hasn’t yet been added to the Bible.

        “Biblical faith is the precondition for reason. ‘By faith we understand…’ (Hebrews 11:3).”
        Do you find that this support is lacking?

        “But none of God’s ‘competitors’ are able to make sense of laws of nature in a consistent way.”
        You have to understand that I believe everything that the Bible says about God. Even things that I haven’t read or thought about, I believe those too! My point was that if you want to use logic perfectly, and you don’t start with perfect knowledge, you can still come to believe in the possibility of a God that satisfies all the requirements for rationality and still be wrong. The thing that is lacking in those cases is faith and knowledge. Nobody has perfect knowledge, and nobody is perfect in their ability to place their faith. We’re just wrong sometimes, and when we are, it makes it impossible to always make sense.

        “Faith is belief. So to say that beliefs are based on faith is to say that beliefs are based on belief – which makes no sense.”
        I think this has been the source of our contention through this entire discussion. Abstract and perfect “faith” (your point) cannot be based in faith. Practical and real “faith” (my point) is based in faith. If a man keeps asking how he knows something, if he takes it back far enough, eventually, he will come to what it was that he accepted without proof.

        Something else I’ve learned through the years is that you can only present the argument so many times before you’re wasting your time. There is often a measure of seeing they could not see and hearing they could not hear. That’s for both of us. I know you have a lot of really good work to do, and I know I have other things to do as well, so if you still disagree with me, as I (partially) still disagree with you, I’m content to let you have the final word. This is your blog, after all. If you say something outrageous, though, I may need to come back to it.

        Man, you’re a cool dude. If you lived in OC, I’d invite you to lunch. I look forward to meeting you in person, when we have more time (an eternity) to get to know each other better.

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          Hi Brian,

          > If I expanded on your comments item by item, we’d be here forever. For giving me that much time, thank you!

          You are very welcome. I enjoy answering questions. I wish I could answer all the letters I get, but sadly I just don’t have the time. Nonetheless, I hope this has been helpful to you and to other readers as well.

          > I believe you are arguing that everyone, in the course of their life, which is directed by God’s hand, eventually has sufficient knowledge to come to rational conclusions, and, therefore, it’s possible to be perfectly logical. Indeed, you think it’s sinful not to be logical.

          Laws of logic are a reflection of how God thinks. God commands us to put away thinking that is not consistent with His character. We are to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1). All our thoughts should be “taken captive” into obedience to Christ (2 Cor 10:5). Now if God tells us to think in a way that is consistent with His character, and we fail to do so, that is sin. Sin is the breaking of God’s law. Isaiah 55:7-8 teaches that the problem with the wicked, unrighteous man is that his thoughts and actions (his “ways”) do not line up with God’s. God therefore commands the wicked to turn from his ways and from his thoughts to the Lord. God would not ask us to do something that is impossible.

          > I, on the other hand, drawing from my own experience, have learned that I rarely have enough information to make perfectly logical decisions. In other words, I guess.

          Brian, I think you are confusing rationality with epistemological certainty. ‘Rationality’ simply means that we have a good reason for what we believe, and that our thinking is self-consistent. It doesn’t mean that you know something with absolute certainty. Remember, you can be logical, and still wrong. There is nothing wrong with taking the incomplete evidence that’s available and making your best guess. That’s perfectly rational. I think if you recognize that being rational just means ‘having a good self-consistent reason’ and does not necessarily imply certainty, that will clear up most of the disagreement you seem to be having with the train of thought laid out in my book.

          > My guesses are right far more often then they are wrong…

          That is probably an indication that you are being fairly rational about most things. If your thinking was irrational, it would rarely turn out to be right.

          > In fact, guesses are built into the scientific method, and can even creep into the conclusions of science.

          The scientific method is designed to rationally test hypotheses (guesses). There is nothing illogical about making a hypothesis and then testing it to find out if it is so. On the contrary, to make a hypothesis, and NOT test it but act on it as if you had a reason when you really don’t – that would be irrational.

          > Trusting scientists instead of doing the experiments yourself is not logical – it’s faith-full. But who has the time and money to verify everything they’ve ever been told?!

          Again, faith is not contrary to rationality if you have a good reason for your faith. I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong or irrational to trust scientists about some matters for the very reason you indicated: no one has the time or money to verify everything personally. It seems to me that this is a very good, rational reason to learn to trust people (with discernment of course).

          > I wrote this before I went to lunch. I thought about it during lunch. Every time I heard people make comments to others, I was thinking, “How do they know that?” Over and over, the answer was clear – they don’t. They believe it.

          That’s a very good exercise to do, and I commend you for it. Most people do not give much conscious reflection to how they know what they know. But they really should. It is important to have good reasons for what we believe. But just because people haven’t consciously reflected upon their reasons for believing something doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have any. In everyday life, people usually do have good reasons for what they believe to be true. For example, when people expect the toothpaste to come out of the tube when they squeeze it, they do have a good reason to believe this even if they can’t express it. (It is because God upholds the universe in a consistent way). So people do have knowledge.

          > Let me take a moment to clarify what I meant when I said irrational. If you have a better word, supply it. I didn’t mean contrary to logic or breaking the rules of logic;

          But that is (part of) what being irrational means. As described in the above article, to be irrational is to be arbitrary (to not have a reason) or to be inconsistent. One type of inconsistency is to violate the laws of logic.

          > I meant not using it as the sole basis for my choices.

          So you mean some choices should be irrational? Should we act contrary to good reasons, or act in an inconsistent way? God tells us not to. We are to have all our thoughts and actions line up with His character (2 Corinthians 10:5, Isaiah 55:7-8).

          > Of course, I already admitted that I love logic. I admitted (in my last comment, which I knew was illogical) that we can convince people with logic.

          People sometimes are not convinced by logic. Sometimes people are convinced by fallacies – errors in reasoning! That’s one reason why it is important to learn to think properly – so we are not deceived by bad reasoning.

          > My point was not that you can’t use logic, or even that the point of your book is wrong (“I’m not going to say your book is wrong, because I, too, believe in logic.”); it’s impractical sometimes.

          I can’t think of any situation where it is more practical to be irrational than rational. It is always best to have a good self-consistent reason for a belief, even if the reason isn’t absolute certainty.

          > Often people change for emotional reasons.

          That’s not necessarily irrational if the emotions are morally justified. When I see the statistics about abortion, it makes me (rightly) angry. This motivates me to educate people on the topic. There is nothing irrational about that.

          > I believe God is perfectly emotional.

          God’s emotions are never irrational. God is never irrational. To be rational is to think in a way that is consistent with God’s nature. God is perfectly consistent with His own nature.

          > I didn’t mean to say that there is a neutral position with God. I understand why you would have taken my words that way. I did say “relatively neutral”. We will always have an active belief that we will live out, which was the point of the analogy. We can’t hold off on making a decision forever.

          The unbeliever has already decided that he can live apart from God’s standard. It’s not that he hasn’t yet made the decision; he’s already decided to make the wrong choice. He needs to repent and turn to God.

          > On general life questions, we don’t always have sufficient evidence, and we have to make a choice, whereupon we develop the habit of making irrational choices.

          So, again, it’s not irrational (necessarily) to make a decision with limited evidence. To be irrational is to have no reason at all, or to have inconsistent reasons. Remember: arbitrariness and inconsistency are the opposites of rationality. We don’t have certainty about all matters – I know that. But we should have a good reason (even if it’s not conclusive) for what we believe.

          > Your answer works in the textbook. My answer is truer to life. You’re expressing what we should be. I’m expressing what it is possible for us to do in our fallen, illogical, and ignorant state.

          God tells us to think and act in a way that is consistent with His nature – to be logical (and moral). God would not ask us to do something that is impossible. Therefore it is possible to be logical in our all choices. Jesus was in His earthly ministry. His thinking was never inconsistent with that of His Father.

          > Even if it is possible (Mt. 5:48), it isn’t likely that everyone is going to wait for evidence on every issue before they dive in. Sometimes it takes years and years to collect the evidence, and in the meantime, we have to live our lives. How do we live?

          So this goes back to what I think is the main issue. Rationality is not the same as certainty. It’s perfectly rational to make your best guess given limited evidence. And it is rational to reconsider your beliefs as new evidence is discovered.

          > We make an irrational (not necessarily anti-rational) choice by faith.

          Irrational = anti-rational. Our faith (whether it is our ultimate Faith in God, or lesser faith in other things) should never be without good reasons, even if those reasons are not absolutely conclusive.

          > How should we live? I say that even if it’s not perfectly rational, until the evidence comes in for you, you should live your life according to the scriptures.

          The Scriptures tell us to be rational. We are to think in a way that is consistent with the nature of God.

          > Even if you say it’s evil for me to decide to believe that my wife loves me, I’m going to decide it.

          I said that you DO have good reasons to believe that your wife loves you. For one, she married you. I think that’s pretty good evidence! So a belief in love is justified, and therefore rational.

          > I don’t have perfect knowledge of her heart,

          You don’t have to. Not all of our beliefs are known conclusively. But we should always have some reason.

          > and even before I had sufficient knowledge, I chose to believe she loved me.

          Sometimes the reason for a belief will come after the belief. But if you never have any good reason for a belief at all, then you should abandon it, because it is very likely not true.

          > I don’t regret my irrationality. I don’t think it’s evil. I’m just blessed that my belief aligns with truth.

          You weren’t necessarily being irrational. But if you were, then that was wrong. God tells us to have reasons for our beliefs (1 Peter 3:15), and that our beliefs should be self-consistent (Psalm 119:113, James 1:8). If your beliefs are inconsistent, then at least one of them is false! And if you don’t have a good reason for what you believe, then it is very likely to be false. So in order for your beliefs to consistently “align with truth” as you say, then they must be rational.

          > Long story short, one day, I was filled with the Holy Spirit and I called out to God, “I choose to believe in you! Evolution has nothing for me.” It was a decision that changed my life! It wasn’t rational, at least it wasn’t a decision that was made rationally, but it didn’t matter. It still doesn’t.

          It matters very, very much. God tells you that you must have a good reason for the hope that is within you (salvation), and that you must be always ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you for that reason. If you are not prepared to give a good rational reason for God to an unbeliever, then you are flatly sinning against God, in violating His command in 1 Peter 3:15. People often are drawn to God through less-than-rational means. But now that we are in Christ, let us start thinking and acting in a way that is pleasing to God. One aspect of that is to learn to have good reasons for our beliefs.

          > I’m perfectly content to be irrational, and the scriptures you used didn’t incline me to change my mind… not in the slightest.

          It’s a shame that you won’t let God’s Word change your thinking. Some people’s hearts are softened by God’s Word, and they are drawn closer to God as a result. Other people are not teachable; they harden their hearts to God’s Word in rebellion and are driven further away. Ironically, this is exactly what the Bible is teaching in the verses I cited (Isaiah 55:7-8). The unrighteous man’s thinking is contrary to God, and he will not change his mind. That’s the problem. But to be clear, it’s not my job to change your mind, nor do I have that ability anyway. It’s my job to show you what the Scriptures say. How you respond to the Bible is entirely between you and God.

          > You could say that I was being irrational,

          Actually, YOU have admitted to being irrational. Your previous sentence said, “I’m perfectly content to be irrational.” In fact your entire message is one long self-refuting argument; you are attempting to make a logical case that you don’t need to make a logical case.

          > but I could truthfully say the same about you.

          I’m open to correction if you can show me where I have made a mistake in reasoning. I don’t think I have, but I certainly don’t claim to be perfect.

          > Now, I don’t know you enough to see where you are irrational, but you are. Everyone is irrational in some things.

          I actually agree with that; people are sinners. They don’t always live up to God’s standard. But that doesn’t make it okay.

          > If we have perfect knowledge combined with perfect logic, we no longer need faith.

          This comes from a misunderstanding of what faith is. Faith is having confidence in something you have not perceived with your senses (e.g. Hebrews 11:1). In general, faith may be justified or unjustified. That is, it may be logical or illogical. Faith in God is perfectly logical. Brian, in our culture, sometimes people use the word “faith” when they really mean “credulity.” But biblical faith is just the opposite. Biblical faith is rational because it is justified. Faith cannot be set against reason. Biblical faith and reason go hand in hand.

          Faith is not contrary to knowledge. Faith is confidence in something you have not perceived with your senses. Knowledge is true, justified, belief. The consistent Christian has both faith in God and knowledge of God. The Bible teaches this. We must have faith in God (Hebrews 11:6, Mark 11:22), and we have knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 2:14, 4:6, 10:5, Ephesians 1:17, 1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 1:2). Moreover, our knowledge of God is absolutely certain (Acts 2:36). If it weren’t, then there would be some reason to doubt God, and the unbeliever would have an excuse on judgment day. But the Bible teaches that there is no excuse for denying God (Romans 1:18-20). Our knowledge of God is certain, and yet is still faith because our confidence is in something we cannot perceive with our senses.

          > In fact, I don’t think faith is possible with perfect knowledge and logic.

          The Bible teaches that we are to have faith and knowledge (2 Corinthians 8:7, Titus 1:1), and that we are to be logical (Isaiah 1:18). So, yes, it’s possible. Jesus accomplished this in His earthly ministry.

          > Do I want to be perfect in logic? Yes! I believe God is perfectly logical, and I want to be like God – not in the Satan v. Eve sense, but I want to be a child of my Father in Heaven. You are absolutely right. Your book is right. Your arguments against me are right (for the most part).

          Great! I’m glad.

          > I’m just calling attention to the fact that we just don’t know everything, so even the most logical people have to take things on faith and correct themselves on new knowledge.

          That’s totally true. And it’s perfectly rational.

          > Sometimes they accept things as knowledge when they shouldn’t, and they have to correct themselves again. May we live like you suggest, but may we also be wise enough to see that people can’t help but live as I suggest.

          People can (with the help of the Holy Spirit) live lives that are moral and logical. So, yes, people can live right. We often choose not to, and when that happens we need to repent. Being rational doesn’t mean that you’re right about everything. It just means that you have a good self-consistent reason for what you believe. Sometimes we uncover new evidence that overturns a previous belief.

          > Setting aside whether parents are rational in telling kids this stuff, the thing that is lacking for the kid is still knowledge.

          Knowledge is true, justified belief. Rationality concerns the justification. So it is possible to have rationality without knowledge, but not knowledge without rationality. When children believe in the monster in the closet for no good reason – they are being arbitrary (irrational), and as a result they lack knowledge.

          > They don’t believe in Santa because of their faith in me, not because of rational arguments.

          “Daddy knows a lot about the world and tends to be right about things as we have constantly seen. Daddy doesn’t believe in Santa. So it is reasonable to think that Santa doesn’t exist.” Sounds pretty rational to me. (It’s not conclusive of course – but that’s not a requirement. It just has to be a good reason). Faith is perfectly rational if its justified.

          > Grown men believe in aliens. What’s lacking? Again, knowledge is lacking.

          It is true that that they lack knowledge. But that is because they are not being rational. They are being arbitrary – believing in something without good reasons. There is no justification. Since knowledge is true, justified, belief, there is no knowledge without justification.

          >> “The kid has faith. What he lacks is rational justification for his faith.”
          > I think the more appropriate qualification is that he lacks faith in the proper things.

          How do we know what things are “proper” in which to place our faith? The answer is: we have a reason. Faith that is well-placed is justified.

          > Even if you have an [sic] faith in God that is contrary to sound reason, it’s still in God.

          Biblical faith is NOT contrary to sound reason. Perhaps you mean that a person believes in God for very bad reasons, or for no reason at all. That’s certainly possible. But that person is not being obedient to God since God tells us to be ready to give an answer to those who ask a reason of the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15).

          > How we think about a thing doesn’t change the thing itself. I may pick the winning lottery numbers by a method that I think works, but whether it works or not, what counts is the winning lottery numbers.

          The ends don’t justify the means. You might (on rare occasions) end up with a correct conclusion even though the train of thinking was irrational. But that doesn’t make it morally right. Moreover, statistically, you’re going to be wrong most of the time.

          > I believe all truth starts with God, but I don’t believe all truth starts with the scriptures. God =/= the Scriptures. God > the Scriptures.

          We cannot have a saving knowledge of God apart from the Scriptures (Romans 10:17). It is the Scriptures that give us objective information about God; the two cannot be separated. God is true to His Word. In fact, “the Word” is what Jesus is called in John 1, and Jesus is God. Imagine that you told me some interesting news, and I responded, “I don’t believe that. But I believe you.” Wouldn’t that be rather strange? To believe someone is to believe what he or she says. To believe in God is to believe in His Word. To obey God is to obey His commands in Scripture. God’s Word is His revelation to us. Remember, Jesus told us to “build our house” on the rock that is His Word (Matthew 7:24-27). Any alternative will not stand up to rational scrutiny.

          > If all truth begins with the Scriptures (and assuming the Canon is closed), there would be a contradiction in that some of the prophesies of scripture have not yet been fulfilled. There is a truth or two that hasn’t yet been added to the Bible.

          Not at all. The Bible predicts that there will be an eternal state in which believers enjoy God’s presence in a New Heavens and New Earth. That is 100% true. The claim (that there will be such a state) is true now. Some propositions are time-stamped, and we should evaluate them in light of the time that they address.

          >> “Biblical faith is the precondition for reason. ‘By faith we understand…’ (Hebrews 11:3).”
          > Do you find that this support is lacking?

          I’m not sure what you mean. The Bible indicates in a number of places that Faith in God as revealed in the Scriptures is the necessary precondition for reasoning. I provided just one verse, but there are others (e.g. Colossians 2:3, Proverbs 1:7). And I have seen the truth of this biblical principle in my conversations with skeptics. They cannot make sense of their own worldview without stealing principles from mine.

          > Abstract and perfect “faith” (your point) cannot be based in faith. Practical and real “faith” (my point) is based in faith.

          It doesn’t make sense to say that faith is based on faith. It rests on itself? If you don’t have a reason for your faith, just be honest about it; say, “I don’t have reason.” It doesn’t make sense to say “my reason for my belief is my belief.” That’s not a reason.

          > If a man keeps asking how he knows something, if he takes it back far enough, eventually, he will come to what it was that he accepted without proof.

          Ah! Now here is an interesting topic! And I must suppress my urge to write volumes on this. You’ve brought up the topic of how to prove an ultimate standard. Many people would say – as you have – that you can’t; it’s just assumed. But if that were true, then we can’t know anything (since all other beliefs are contingent upon the ultimate standard). But the Bible says we can know things (e.g. Joshua 23:13, Proverbs 22:21, Ephesians 5:5). Therefore, an ultimate standard is indeed provable. How? By using a transcendental argument. My book addresses this topic in a summary way in chapter 9.

          > Something else I’ve learned through the years is that you can only present the argument so many times before you’re wasting your time.

          That’s sometimes true. Though it really shouldn’t be that way, at least for Christians. We have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We ought to be able to reason together (Isaiah 1:18) and come to agreement on matters of fact.

          > Man, you’re a cool dude. If you lived in OC, I’d invite you to lunch. I look forward to meeting you in person, when we have more time (an eternity) to get to know each other better.

          Thanks! :-) I’ve enjoyed our exchange. I hope this has been helpful.

          • Brian Forbes says:

            I said that I wouldn’t reply unless you said something outrageous. You said a couple things I couldn’t handle. I’m using all the logic I can muster, but I don’t think there’s a conclusive reason to write back. I’m making the arbitrary decision to respond.

            I think you found the main problem. You define irrational differently than I do. We’ve been talking past each other. It may be that we still disagree, but I don’t think we’ve communicated the problem properly. Hopefully it will only take this one try.
            I defined irrational not as being contrary to logic or breaking it, but just not having a perfectly logical support – a guess.
            You defined irrational in your response as being contrary to logic or breaking it. (It appears you didn’t accept my definition.)
            My point, using my irrational (BI), was that we just don’t know enough to make good decisions about everything. It’s not possible to live without being arbitrary sometimes. Therefore, we’re wrong sometimes, we battle the wrong side in the war, etc. Recount all my arguments till now. You said it was possible not to be arbitrary, but that it’s ok to logically deduce to the best of your ability. I think the reason we still disagree is that I see that as being arbitrary. You see it as being as logical as possible. Let me reiterate, I see that as being arbitrary, thus BI (or without a sound logical foundation).

            I think the major problem here is that we’re both being logical, but we’re building on different axioms. Namely BI vs. JI. We both allow for being arbitrary, although I bet we should use BA and JA here, as your arbitrary is probably slightly different than mine… and, of course, yours is right, and I need to be instructed. Regardless of which definition we use, all people make decisions that are arbitrary. From whether I shift in my chair to whether I move my family to Idaho, there may be some logical reasons, but the decision itself is arbitrary, thus without logic (BI – not JI).

            I looked up irrational in several dictionaries, and in those I still have open, BI = irrational on definitions 1 and 2, whereas JI is definition 3.

            Since we see this so differently, and it’s clear that others see it as I do, maybe it’s best to let me promote Christ in my BI way. When I take a JI definition, we’re not so different after all. Then you can keep using your definition and your train of thought. Those who think like you will be won over by you, and those like me by me. We both have the same goal, I think.

            “It’s a shame that you won’t let God’s Word change your thinking.”
            I think this is a major problem in both of the discussions between us, and it’s mostly why I cut off the other one. It’s not that I believe you proved me wrong, but that it didn’t seem possible to get thinking on the same train of thought. It would have taken too much energy to do, and you’re a busy man. You equate your interpretation of God’s words as God’s words. That may be perfectly consistent in your head, but from here, it’s illogical. I’m doing my best to penetrate, but I think you’ve been answering hostile messages a little too long. I’m not against what you’re saying in the least, and now that I understand that our definitions for rational and irrational are slightly different, I can see better what you’re saying, but I’m not sure you’ve actually considered anything I’ve actually said yet. I’m not sure you’ve fully understood all of what I’ve said.

            “Actually, YOU have admitted to being irrational. Your previous sentence said, “I’m perfectly content to be irrational.” In fact your entire message is one long self-refuting argument; you are attempting to make a logical case that you don’t need to make a logical case.”
            No, that’s not what I said, and the distinction is ever so slight. Let’s see if you can get it this time. I’m not saying that we don’t have to be rational. I’m saying that we aren’t. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be, but that even if we tried, there’s just not enough information to be perfectly rational. Nevermind your distinction about being rational and wrong. I don’t want to be rational and wrong. I want to be perfect in consistency when it’s possible. When it’s not, I lean on faith. It’s not always possible, was my point. I can be perfectly consistent and not be aware of the very item of evidence that makes me wrong. People can be blind to the truth.

            “‘If we have perfect knowledge combined with perfect logic, we no longer need faith.'”
            “This comes from a misunderstanding of what faith is. Faith is having confidence in something you have not perceived with your senses (e.g. Hebrews 11:1).”
            You missed the inconsistency. If you have perfect knowledge, you can see everything, hear everything, know everything. Hope you can see it now. I would expect by now that you would see that I know what faith is. But then, we don’t always perfectly understand what we see.

            Scientific method:
            BI vs. JI again. Sometimes the experiment only shows one thing where the calculation requires input on many, some of which are assumed. They have to be assumed, because we know so little about some things. Until we have the evidence, we have to be arbitrary!

            “Even if you have an [sic] faith in God” – Ahh! You got me!! :)
            “I don’t have [sic] reason.” – Got you back!

            Again, you can have the final word, unless you say something outrageous.

            • Dr. Lisle says:

              Hi Brian,

              You had mentioned, “I think you found the main problem. You define irrational differently than I do. We’ve been talking past each other.”

              Okay.

              You mentioned, “It may be that we still disagree, but I don’t think we’ve communicated the problem properly. Hopefully it will only take this one try. I defined irrational not as being contrary to logic or breaking it, but just not having a perfectly logical support – a guess.”

              Okay, this being the case, I won’t do a point-by-point response. But there is one issue that still needs to be addressed before I can continue with your other thread. The reason is that rational dialog really isn’t going to go very far if we cannot agree on what is rational. I’m going to give some background information that would be found in a standard textbook on logic (such as Copi and Cohen), or what would be covered in a class in logic.

              You had mentioned above your definition of rational not as being contrary to logic or breaking it, but just not having a perfectly logical support – a guess. The problem with that is that it’s not a correct definition of “rational.” Some might ask, “but aren’t we free to stipulate our own definition of a word?” The answer is, no, if the word already has an established meaning. I’ll explain below. There are several types of definitions and these are some of the ones that you would find if you take a class on logic. (This list is not exhaustive.)

              A “lexiconal definition” means that which is found in a dictionary. This is what we normally think of as the meaning of a word. A dictionary almost always lists multiple meanings, and you will usually find them numbered in the dictionary roughly in order of decreasing usage. So words can have more than one meaning. But when found within a sentence, the word normally has only one meaning – it will fit (or at least best fit) only one of the lexiconal definitions.

              There are “precising definitions”; this is where we select only one of the lexiconal definitions for the purpose of discussion, and exclude all others. This definition is used to clarify exactly what we are talking about. It is very important to use precising definitions in debates, whether formal or merely friendly exchanges. For example, “By ‘evolution’, I mean the notion that all life is descended from a common ancestor.” Since the word “evolution” can also just mean “change” in a general sense, clarification is needed so that we understand which definition of the word is the topic at issue. Using a precising definition helps prevent equivocation fallacies.

              There are “stipulative definitions.” This is where you make up your own word, and you then get to define what it means. You can specify any meaning you like (as long as it is clear) since it’s your word and has no pre-established import.

              So, why can’t you stipulate a new definition for a word that already exists? The reason is this: it would make communication impossible. Meaningful communication of any kind is only possible when both the sender and the recipient of information have a common understanding of the meaning of the words. If I arbitrarily decide that “hello” means “stand on your head,” this could lead to some strange results. Imagine someone says “hello” – which I interpret as “stand on your head” and respond, “No, I’d rather not.” Have we properly communicated? Meaningful communication is only possible when people agree to use established definitions for words; and these definitions are determined by common usage. A dictionary records the common usage of words, and is a great place to go to clarify what a word means.

              If we try to stipulate a new definition for an existing word, this is called a “rhetorical definition” (also called a “persuasive definition”). A rhetorical definition is considered inappropriate for the above reasons. It makes effective communication impossible, and is a fallacy. If someone defines an existing word in a non-lexiconal way, then their definition is simply wrong.

              And so to say that ‘irrational’ is “not having a perfectly logical support – a guess”, that just isn’t a correct definition because you won’t find that in any dictionary. It’s not entirely clear to me what you mean by “perfectly” logical. But from the “guess” part, I take it to mean “not absolutely certain” or “not conclusive” or “not provable.” It seems that you want to define irrational as “not having conclusive proof.” But this just isn’t true to the definition. There is nothing in the concept of rationality that entails certainty. And there is nothing that disallows making a guess as long as it is agreeable to reason.

              It might interest you to learn that logic is often divided into deductive and inductive reasoning, and a standard textbook on logic will have substantial sections devoted to each. Inductive reasoning involves conclusions that have some support, but not perfect support; they are not conclusively proved. Inductive reasoning is basically how to make rational guesses. That wouldn’t be possible by the definition you proposed. It is perfectly rational to make a guess so long as that guess is “agreeable to reason.”

              You had mentioned my comment, “You defined irrational in your response as being contrary to logic or breaking it.”

              The dictionary defines it this way – yes. This is the first definition in the World English Dictionary: “irrational: (1) inconsistent with reason or logic; illogical; absurd.”

              By contrast, the word ‘rational’ is defined by the online dictionary as “1. Agreeable to reason; reasonable; sensible, 2. Having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense, 3. Being in or characterized by full possession of one’s reason; sane; lucid.”

              None of these imply certainty or lack of (reasonable) guesses. But the one thing they all do have in common: “reason.” To be rational, you must have a reason; and for it to be “agreeable” or “sensible” it must be self-consistent (non-contradictory). My article was really just elaborating on the dictionary definition.

              So the description that you had provided of “irrational” as involving a guess is actually a rhetorical definition. It’s not lexiconal or precising, and hence is not suitable for use in discussion on rationality. But if you like, you may stipulate your own term, and give it any definition you like. You might define “ibrianiable” as “any unproved or uncertain claim – a guess.” That would be perfectly fine. But ‘irrational’ already has a definition, and it isn’t that.

              You had mentioned that “we’re wrong sometimes, we battle the wrong side in the war, etc.”

              I just wanted to clarify that being wrong is the not the same as being irrational. Rational is about the “chain of reasoning”, not necessarily absolute truth. People can have a true belief by accident (without being rational), and people can make a perfectly rational decision based on limited data that turns out to be wrong. So I suspect that you may be confusing truth with rationality. They are different.

              You had said, “Recount all my arguments till now. You said it was possible not to be arbitrary, but that it’s ok to logically deduce to the best of your ability.”

              Yes – though it is called “induction” rather than “deduction” if the conclusion is likely but not certain. It is perfectly rational to make a good guess based on the data available or on probability. Inductive reasoning is rational; it’s agreeable to reason. A good textbook on logic will give many examples.

              And then you followed up with, “I think the reason we still disagree is that I see that as being arbitrary.”

              To avoid any further confusion, let’s do some research to find out the definition of “arbitrary.” We will want to use the precising definition that corresponds to our conversation on logical reasoning. The definition of “arbitrary” as you would find it in a standard logic textbook would be something along the lines of this: “without an objective reason.” A standard dictionary gives a similar result – arbitrary: “capricious; unreasonable; unsupported.” If your guess has support (even though it’s not conclusive) then it is not arbitrary according to the dictionary.

              On a separate matter, you mentioned this: “You equate your interpretation of God’s words as God’s words. That may be perfectly consistent in your head, but from here, it’s illogical.”

              The Bible is self-interpreting. It has only one meaning, and it teaches us how to arrive at that meaning by giving examples of proper hermeneutics. For the main doctrines, it really isn’t that hard. If your interpretation of the Scripture does not match the Bible’s meaning, then your interpretation is wrong. If my interpretation of God’s Word does not match the meaning, then it should be very easy to show me that by pointing out an error in my reasoning. Christians should help each other in that way – like iron sharpening iron.

              To prevent any further misunderstandings, I will continue to use the standard dictionary definition of “rational” when I use the word in this context – “agreeable to reason.” To be rational, there must be a reason (not arbitrary), and it must be agreeable (self-consistent, not violating logic, etc.). Likewise, for “arbitrary” I will use the standard definition – either the dictionary one of “capricious; unreasonable; unsupported” or the equivalent precising definition “without an object reason” i.e. unsupported. Hopefully this will clear things up. Yes?

              I hope this helps. God bless.

              • Brian Forbes says:

                Thanks again for taking the time. I read some of your other responses from earlier today, and I feel impressed to express a fondness for you. I love your work and your personality.

                Your definitions sound good to me. I wager this discussion will help some people (including myself) to come to a dictionary definition type knowledge of rational and arbitrary. I think you have already guessed that I’ve never taken a class on logic, though I have heard many educated people discuss it. I found my definition of rational in several dictionaries, too, but it wouldn’t serve either of us to prove that; I’m content to use yours.

                I’ve never met Mr. T, so it’s rational for me to say he’s a nice guy. It’s my best guess. In our freshly organized vocabulary, though, I might say that my position is insufficiently supported. In this case, would you agree that it’s rational to think Mr. T is a nice guy? My trust in my wife is insufficiently supported as well. There’s always a measure of doubt that you can inject into any belief, and it seems to me there isn’t a set standard for how much faith is allowed.

                Depending on how well we’re required to know a subject before we are allowed to put our confidence into our conclusions, I think that it’s near impossible to be specific about whether any particular thing is rational.

                Because it’s impossible to know everything necessary in supporting any given truth claim to beyond a best guess, and we’re always working with assumed axioms, I have concluded that faith plays a much more important role than rational conclusions in forming most (or all) people’s world view(s). My conclusion may seem irrational as we discuss it, but I can still retain the faith that God has the answer, or that you just haven’t understood what I’m trying to say, or whatever. There really is always a rescuing device. So I’d rather Trust God on purpose than reason myself away from Him.

                Further, people are inclined to particular views. We look for answers that we want to be true with our guard down, whereas we look for answers that we don’t want to be true with our guard up. An atheist will know a lot more about how to prove that the Bible is not true than I will. It’s the focus of their study. The more they learn, the more their assumed answer becomes the rational one.

                For this and other reasons, I have chosen faith. With all my reason, I have chosen not to exclusively trust my own reason. I’d rather trust the God of scripture.

                Now, let’s get back to the other discussion. I find it far more important than this one. The answer to this question probably won’t noticeably change either of us.

                Side note:
                I wrote this in Notepad, and I only spelled one word wrongly! I’m so proud of me!! At least, I think that’s true. Maybe I should say that it’s rational and based on my axioms, provided I calculated the logic correctly. Isn’t it so much easier to say that I believe the blog software’s spell checker and my recollection of my recent past? I should probably say it’s more rational to believe all of that. What a burden – to have to say any of that!!! I suppose that’s why nobody ever does.

                • xerkon says:

                  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

                • Jacob Howard says:

                  Hi Mr. Forbes and Mr. Lisle,

                  I have been reading this exchange and I’m very happy you two had this discussion. I have learned a lot. Thank you again! And yes, I agree, Mr. Lisle’s attitude does make me “impressed to express a fondness for you [him]. I love your [his] work and your [his] personality.” Great guy!

                  In Christ Jesus alone,

                  Jacob Howard

                  http://www.theyspeak.org

  16. Kenny says:

    I believe that we can test ASC vs. ESC by simple clock synchronization. Assuming Dr. Lisle’s ASC there is no light travel time delay, so clocks can be directly synchronized. We only need two clocks and two observers. No lasers are needed, because this test only uses the synchronizing of the clocks to test ASC.

    ASC
    We place two clocks far apart, say 2 light seconds. Once the clocks and observers are in place, observer “A” looks at his clock and observer “B’s” clock. Because of no light travel delay, he is seeing both clocks in real time, so when he sets the clocks to the same time, the clocks really are synchronized. When observer “A” notifies “B” that the clocks are synchronized, “B” will see that they are synchronized as well.

    ESC
    Following the above situation, if ESC is correct, the clocks will not be synchronized from “B’s” position. Under ESC, when “A” synchronized the clocks, he actually delayed his clock by two seconds. This is because of the two second light travel time delay coming from “B.” The time changes are not seen until two seconds after they actually take place.

    Now, when “B” gets the call and looks at the clocks, he will see his clock running four seconds ahead of “A’s” clock. The reasons for this are the two second delay inherent in “A’s” attempt to synchronize the clocks and another two second delay added, because of the light to travel from “A” to “B.”

    So, under ASC both positions will see synchronized clocks, but if ESC is true they will be out of sequence.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      It doesn’t work because you have forgotten that in ASC, the speed of light is infinite only in one direction. The opposite direction is 1/2 c. So, if observer A sees two clocks as synchronized, then observer B (at a different location) will not see them as synchronized. Remember, synchronization is observer-dependent (in both ASC and ESC). Under ESC it is velocity-dependent, and under ASC it is position-dependent.

      In other words, you begged the question in assuming that two observers with different positions would agree on synchronization; this assumes ESC.

      • Kenny says:

        Dr. Lisle,
        Each observer is at one of the clocks.

        You told me earlier:
        “Once the light reflects off the moon and heads toward earth, it is now traveling toward the observers (since we all live on earth), so the speed will be infinite. Unless of course an astronaut is on the moon. From the astronaut’s perspective, the speed of the beam leaving the moon and heading toward earth will be ½ c since it is moving away from him. So it always depends on the angle relative to the observer.” So light was traveling in the same direction at two different speeds.

        We get the same strange measurements when using my triangle test. If we put an observer at each point on the triangle, when light travels from one point to another, they will each measure a different speed of light. If it moves from A to B, “A” will see it at 1/2c, “B” will see it as infinite and “C” will see it moving at c.

        Everything that I have read about ASC says that light is infinite when approaching an observer. It is only 1/2c when moving away from an observer, and only from his perspective. What I am proposing does not violate that idea in any way that I can see. Remember, we are not reflecting light, so the light, coming from each clock, is not changing directions. We just now have two observers.

        “If we select ASC, then we have declared that light is essentially infinitely fast when moving directly toward the observer, and ½c when moving directly away. Under ASC, the speed of light as a function of direction relative to the observer (θ) is given by cθ = c/(1-cos(θ)), where θ = 0 indicates the direction directly toward the observer.”

        Each clock is its own light source. We are not synchronizing the clocks and then sending out an independent light (laser). This is what causes the problem in other set ups. We could use two-faced clocks or simply turn the face of the clocks 180 towards the next observer. Either way, each observer is only reading the clocks with the light that is traveling directly towards him.

        The light coming from the clocks towards observer “A” is traveling at infinite speed (though “B” would see it moving away at 1/2c). When “B” is observing the clocks, their light is traveling towards him, so again infinite speed and “A” would see it move away at 1/2c.

        I do not see a violation of your ASC paper or your example of the moon.
        http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v3/n1/anisotropic-synchrony-convention

        Thank you and God Bless

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          Hi Kenny,

          Your mistake is here: “When observer “A” notifies “B” that the clocks are synchronized, “B” will see that they are synchronized as well.”

          That is not the case. If A sees both clocks as synchronized, then B will definitely NOT see them as both synchronized. Reason: from A’s perspective, the light travel time from B to A will be zero since it is inward directed. But from B’s perspective the light takes time to get from A to B since it is outward directed. So if observer A sees his clock’s time is the same as the light from clock B reaches him, then obviously B will conclude that clock A is behind clock B by four seconds. He will conclude that they are not synchronized.

          That’s why these kind of thought experiments can never distinguish between ESC and ASC.

          all the best.

  17. Kenny says:

    Dr. Lisle,

    Thank you again and I am not trying to be difficult.

    I have followed your reasoning as it pertained to my other ideas, but this one seems to contradict the astronaut/moon example. In it light travels inward towards the earth’s observers instantly, even though the astronaut sees it as 1/2c, because it is outward directed from him. What you have now suggested would mean that the earth bound observers should see the light at 1/2c, because it is outbound from the moon or that the astronaut should also see it as instantly moving away, because it is inward directed towards the earth. That is not what you said earlier. You suggested that even though the light is traveling in the same direction, the two observers are seeing it travel at two different speeds.

    Nevertheless, I think I understand what you are saying here. It sounds like you are saying that the light from the clocks is directed at “A,” so “A” will see light inward directed towards him at infinite speed and “B” will see the light outward directed from him at infinite speed.

    Let’s go with that. If we use clocks which have only one face and they are facing inward towards “A,” the light will travel to him instantly, but the light is leaving “B” instantly. So now when “B” looks at the clocks the light is only 1/2c. “A” can synchronize the clocks, but not “B.” I believe we can both agree with this.

    Here is where one of my suggestions fixes things.

    The two clocks can then be rotated 180 degrees, so that they now face inwardly towards “B.” Now the light will travel inwards towards him instantly and outward from “A” instantly. We have changed the inward direction of the light without transporting the clocks over any distance. They will still be synchronized.

    Rotating the clocks makes all of the difference. Their time has not been changed by transportation and both observers have been given the opportunity to read the clocks in real time. If the clocks do not read the same to both observers (when inwardly directed), then ASC cannot be correct.

    Of course, if ESC is correct then “B” will see a four second delay in “A’s” clock.

    God Bless

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Kenny,

      Under ASC, relative to any observer, inward directed light is instantaneous, and outward directed light is ½ c. This is always the case (in vacuum) and is true for any given observer, whether on the moon, on earth, whether at A or B. So this statement, “You suggested that even though the light is traveling in the same direction, the two observers are seeing it travel at two different speeds” is correct. When light travels from A to B, observer A will see it as travelling at ½ c whereas observer B will see it as instantaneous – even though it is the same beam of light.

      So your newer interpretation, “that the light from the clocks is directed at “A,” so “A” will see light inward directed towards him at infinite speed and “B” will see the light outward directed from him at infinite speed” is not correct. Outward directed light never has infinite speed – it is always ½ c.

      If you work through the thought experiment carefully, and never violate the conditions of ASC, you will find that observers at A and B respectively cannot both agree that the two clocks are synchronized. If A sees them as synchronized, then B will see clock A as being four seconds behind clock B. From the point of view of observer at B, the light from B to A is outward directed, and thus takes four seconds to get there; so the fact that observer A thinks they are synchronized is because he sees the same time for both, and has assumed that the light travel time is zero (since the light is incoming from his point of view). Conversely, if observer B sees that clocks as synchronized, then observer A will see clock B as being four seconds behind clock A.

      The point is this: if the clocks are synchronized according to one observer, then they will not be synchronized according to another observer at a different position.

      I hope this helps. It might also be helpful to read the reference papers listed at the end of my ARJ paper.

  18. Preston says:

    Hi Dr. Lisle,
    Kenny’s idea for testing ASC versus ESC seems to be a practical real world test that would distinguish whether light speed is a convention or not rather than a test of conventions. When I say “practical real world test”, I mean as opposed to the theoretical or thought experiment type. The quantum people have postulated that Schrodinger’s cat will not be alive or dead until you open the box to find out, [which just as an aside seems to contradict the bible since God definitely knows]. But from reading your exchange with Kenny, I don’t see why the steps he described would not give the outcome he described. I was thinking of writing to you about this same type of experiment, so I would like to understand this too.

    The key point is that one person has an led clock right next to them and at some distance away another person has an led clock right next to them. This way it doesn’t depend on reflected light, just the one way speed of light. If one observer sees the other clock’s time and sets his clock to match it, then the other observer will either also see both clocks as having the same time, or a time that is different. If the time is different then there would seem to be other issues with the models of light speed/time/conventions.

    BTW, I have been reading Dr. Einstein’s manuscript on special relativity, and he wrote “Hence in accordance with Lorentz’s theory we can proclaim the following principle, which we call ‘ the principle of the constancy of the velocity of light: There exists a coordinate system with respect to which every light ray propagates in vacuum with the velocity c.”

    Dr. Einstein also wrote as he developed his thesis “Strictly speaking, however, we have only learned that the following three things are incompatible with each other:
    (a) the relativity principle
    (b) the principle of the constancy of the velocity of light (Lorentz’s theory)
    (c) the transformation equations(II) or the law of the parallelogram of velocities
    One arrives at the theory that is now called ‘the theory of relativity’ by keeping (a) and (b) but rejecting (c).” I am not yet familiar with Minkowski’s light cones and spacetime metrics, which came after Dr. Einstein’s theory, but throughout his paper on special relativity Dr. Einstein referred to the constancy of the speed of light. He also shows that “the fundamental equations of Lorentz’s [a slight refinement of Maxwell’s equations] theory fulfill the requirements of the theory of relativity.” When I see Dr. Einstein’s equations for transforming Maxwell’s equations from one frame of reference to another, and the original equations, I cannot see how v/c and v^2/c^2 in the equations can accommodate ASC. If we assume that 299792458 m/s which is the definition of c can be used in the equations, it certainly is not clear to me what physical meaning that would have if ASC is as viable as ESC.

    Dr. Einstein also wrote “The brilliant idea through which H.A. Lorentz advanced electrodynamics and optics in such an extraordinary way can be expressed as follows. Every influence of matter on the electromagnetic field and, conversely, every influence of the electromagnetic field on matter is based on the fact that matter contains movable electrical masses that interact with the electromagnetic field according to equations I.[Lorentz’s update of Maxwell’s equations]” This seems to imply that “two way light” would actually involve an interaction with charged matter that would separate paths such that all light propagation is one way. Do Minkowski’s light cones actually accurately represent tested theory and the physical world?

    Best regards,
    Preston

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Preston,

      The reason Kenny’s idea will not work is because ASC makes exactly the same predictions about the outcome of the experiment as ESC. The only difference will be what we decide to call “synchronized.” But in terms of what people actually see, it is exactly the same. If someone thinks that ASC predicts a different outcome than ESC, then he has made a mistake in his analysis; he hasn’t consistently applied the convention throughout, or has made an assumption tantamount to assuming the convention in advance.

      If I am standing at clock A and see it as having the same time as clock B, do I choose to call it synchronized? If yes, then I am using ASC. If I say, “no, they do APPEAR synchronized, but I choose to regard the one-way speed of light as c. And so it has taken two seconds for the light to get from there to here. Thus, my clock is two seconds behind B” then I am using ESC. There is no way to tell which is “right.” Under either system, the observer at B will see my clock at A as being four seconds behind. Under ASC he will say that it is actually four seconds behind, and under ESC he will say that it is only two seconds behind, but the light has taken an additional two seconds to arrive. So you see, there is absolutely no experiment that can distinguish between ASC and ESC, because they always give exactly the same prediction about what the observers will see.

      According to Einstein, there is no such thing as absolute synchronization! In other words, if person A regards two clocks as synchronized, then person B will not (in general) compute that those two clocks are synchronized. You can minimize the subjectivity by selecting an appropriate synchrony convention, and get a group of observers with a certain property in common to agree on synchronization. But you cannot eliminate the subjectivity, and observers who do not share that property will not agree on synchronization.

      For example, by selecting ESC, you can get everyone who happens to be moving at the same VELOCITY to agree on a system of synchronized clocks even if they have different POSITIONS. But it still isn’t absolute, because people with different velocities will NOT agree on clock synchronization. Conversely, by selecting ASC, you can get everyone who has the same POSITION to agree on a system of synchronized clocks even if they have very different VELOCITIES. But it still isn’t absolute, because if people have different positions, then they will NOT agree on clock synchronization.

      Perhaps the reason for your confusion (and maybe Kenny’s too) is that you are assuming that if the person at A concludes that the two clocks are synchronized, then so will the person at B. But that assumption is not legitimate under relativity, because synchronization is observer-dependent. ESC has the advantage that if A and B have exactly the same velocity, they will both agree on whether or not the clocks are synchronized. So, to arbitrarily assume that “if A thinks the clocks are synchronized, then so must B” is to assume ESC at the outset. It begs the question.

      Regarding Einstein’s statement about the speed of light – he is really referring to a round-trip speed. In other words, light in vacuum travels at the same speed in an East-West round trip as it does in a North-South round trip. Early on, Einstein adopted the ESC convention in which the one-way speed is DEFINED to be the same in all directions too. But this is a choice of man, not a property of nature; and Einstein was fully aware of that and explicitly stated it. The one-way speed of light “is in reality neither a supposition nor a hypothesis about the physical nature of light, but a stipulation which I can make of my own freewill in order to arrive at a definition of simultaneity” (Einstein “Relativity” 1961, p. 23) [emphasis is in the original].

      Many of the equations you’ll see in a standard relativity textbook have already been simplified by using the ESC convention. They will take on a slightly different form under ASC. If you want to see the general forms of the Lorentz equations without any assumptions about the 1-way speed of light, take a look at John Winnie’s papers “Special Relativity without one-way velocity assumptions: Parts I and II” 1970, Philosophy of Science 37:81-99, 223-238.

      Take a look at my paper on the topic, and read some of the references at the end (Salmon’s paper is particularly helpful).
      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v3/n1/anisotropic-synchrony-convention

      There is also a Wikipedia article on the topic which happens to be reasonably accurate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-way_speed_of_light

  19. Nick L. says:

    My thanks to all involved for the excellent conversation on ASC. Very interesting material.

    Dr. Lisle, when you and Ken Ham debated Walter Kaiser and Hugh Ross in the Great Debate, you mentioned to Dr. Ross the argument for a young earth involving the rate at which the moon and earth are falling away from each other. If I remember correctly, that argument limits the age of the earth to 1.4 billion years, a clear contradiction to the age of 4.5662 billion years that Dr. Ross holds to. He attempted to say the formula was inaccurate, but you said that you’d run the formula backwards yourself.

    I have two questions: first, I was wondering if you could share the exact formula and calculations with me since I’ve had people challenge the argument when I’ve presented it in the past. I think I remember it involved one over ‘r’ cubed, but I’d very much appreciate a verification from you on it. Second, Dr. Ross asked you if you would be willing to defend the argument in front of a board of astronomers, and he said he would set up the opportunity once you told him you were willing to do so. Did he ever set up such a conference, and if so, where can we find information on what transpired?

    Thanks and God bless,

    Nick L.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Nick,

      Yes – the calculation for moon recession is given in my book “Taking Back Astronomy” and has also been posted online here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tba/age-of-the-universe-2. Go to the “Creation In-Depth” section a little more than half-way down. All the wonderful details are there. When Ross wasn’t able to answer the argument, he tried to defer to his colleagues. Apparently he wasn’t aware that this has already been published and defended pretty thoroughly in the literature.

      Anyway, I’m always happy to debate Hugh. And he did try to set up something, but the terms he proposed were unreasonable. He wanted people he selected, closed-doors, etc. I wanted it open to the public, each of us to have equal time, and a rebuttal time (as per normal debate rules) and that each of us would be allowed to video tape and distribute the debate. He wouldn’t agree to that.

      However, we did do an informal radio debate on the Frank Pastore show on the topic of the age of the universe. You might be able to find it streamed online.

      • Kenny says:

        Nick,
        Dr. Ross wanted the presentations and Q&A to be in front of professional Christian astronomers, because they would understand the issues and be able to ask meaningful questions. The objective was to test the scientific positions, not the Biblical ones (although that was included). Here is a link to the panel’s findings. http://www.reasons.org/articles/special-edition-tnrtb-astronomers-assess-the-age-of-the-universe

        This was done, but it was with Hugh Ross and Danny Faulkner. They agreed upon the panel of Christian astronomers who would review the presentations and put out an opinion. Three of them came to the John Ankerberg show to have face-to-face exchanges with the two presenters.

        The videos “How Old is the Universe,” are available from Reasons to Believe and the John Ankerberg show. If you get them from somewhere else, make sure that they were not edited. Each side had their chance during taping. Adding to the videos to redo answers is not fair, unless both sides get to do it on the same DVD.

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