It’s not “Human Reason vs. God’s Word”!

Perhaps you have heard the origins debate as being about “human reason” on the one hand, and “the Bible” on the other. Many evolutionists like to frame the debate this way. It creates a “heads I win: tails you lose” type of situation. By contrasting the Bible with “reason”, they are implying that the Bible is unreasonable. They may use some other terminology. Whether framed as “Rationality vs. faith” or “science vs. religion,” the implication of framing the debate this way is that the Bible is anti-reason, anti-science, anti-rational.

But nothing could be further from the truth! The Bible is very pro-reason, pro-science, pro-rational. In fact, the biblical God is the basis for these things (see The Ultimate Proof of Creation). God made our minds and He wants us to use them. We are supposed to think in a way that is consistent with the character of God – that’s what rationality is.

And so it is really a shame that many Christians also frame the debate this way. Yes, I have seen “reason” contrasted with “God’s Word” coming from Christian literature. Perhaps by “reason” they mean “secular philosophy.” (If so, then that is what they should say!) But secular philosophy is not biblical, whereas human reason is. The Bible tells us to reason (Isaiah 1:18) and gives us examples of it (Acts 17:2, 18:4). Perhaps by “human reason,” they mean “secular reasoning.” But this is very misleading. Not all humans are secularists! Are not Christians also human? Even Jesus is human (and God as well), so there is nothing wrong with that. By allowing the debate to be framed in such a way, such Christians have inadvertently accepted the standards of the secularist. And what happens when we allow the critics to determine the parameters of the debate in such a way? The answer is: we lose the debate.

A debate is supposed to show that one position is more rational than another. So if you allow your opponent to define his position as the “rational” position in contrast to yours, then you have pretty well lost at the outset. The Bible tells us that we are not supposed to engage in a debate using the critic’s foolish standard (Proverbs 26:4). Do not allow the secularist to define his position as “human reason” and yours as “faith” or some equivalent term. The fact of the matter is both creationists and evolutionists have a type of faith, and both use some degree of reasoning.

What then is the difference? The difference is our starting point – the standard upon which we build our reasoning. The Christian should take the Word of God has his or her ultimate standard. We are supposed to reason from the truths given to us in the Scriptures. God’s Word is like a solid rock; and reasoning that rests upon that rock will stand. What is the alternative structure on which non-Christians attempt to build their thinking? There is none. God’s Word is the only ultimate standard by which can truly know anything about anything. Yes, we can learn new truths about things outside the Bible, mathematical truths, facts about ducks, or quasars. But the only reason we can know these things is because our mind and our senses have been designed by God to interface with the universe in a way that is truthful. If our mind and senses were just the result of chance mutations that conveyed survival value, there would be no reason to think we could ever know the truth about anything!

So when people reason from an ultimate standard that is not God’s Word, they are really simply basing their thinking on an arbitrary opinion. But there is no reason to trust an arbitrary opinion. The Bible refers to such people as being like a “fool” who builds his house on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). Since the house does not have a true and proper foundation, it is destroyed by the first storm that comes along. Likewise, those who reason from a secular opinion rather than God’s Word will find their philosophy is easily destroyed by rational analysis.

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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1,194 Responses to It’s not “Human Reason vs. God’s Word”!

  1. Brian Forbes says:

    Two things.
    1. You mentioned quasars, and it made me want to ask about this article. I’ve been spreading it around, and I wanted to be sure it was still unexplained.
    http://creation.com/galaxy-quasar-connection-defies-explanation

    2. I’m not sure that Mt. 7:24-27 precludes an arbitrary trust in Jesus’ teachings.

  2. Wayne says:

    Dr. Lisle, I need your help on something. I know you are busy, but I have been debating with a friend of mine about Evolution vs. Creation, and I hope you don’t mind but I used some direct quotes from two sections of your book “Ultimate Proof” to illustrate my point. He gave me a long response, and I have no idea where to start in answering him. Even a little bit of direction would be helpful in this as I believe you must be very busy.

    Me:
    There is no process by which an animal may become another. You are begging the question by assuming that there have been billions of years for this change to occur, and that is one of the very things in question. The other problem that it poses for you is that we do not see anything of the sort happening today. Adaptation and Darwinian Theory are two different things.
    Let me explain it to you in a different manner. I would like to define the term ‘information’.
    “Information can be defined scientifically as an encoded message with an intended purpose. Under this definition, this paragraph and our exchange counts as information. They are encoded – they represent ideas. The expected action is that the reader will read and act upon the words, and the intended purpose is that the reader will become informed about the definition of information.
    Under this definition, DNA qualifies as information: it contains an encoded message (the base pair triplets represent amino acids) and an intended purpose (the formation of proteins) and an expected action (life). Whenever we find any sort of information, certain rules or “theorems” apply. Here are two such theorems:
    1. There is no known law of nature, no known process, and no known sequence of events that can cause information to originate by itself in matter
    2. When its progress along the chain of transmission events is traced backward, every piece of information leads to a mental source, the mind of the sender.
    The first tells us that matter does not spontaneously generate information. The second tells us that only a mental source (a mind) can generate new creative information. In one sense, these theorems are hardly profound; we take for granted that when we read a book it has an author. No one reading this would conclude that it was generated by a sequence of typos that gradually accumulated over time. Now certainly these paragraphs might be a copy of a copy of a copy, but you take it for granted that a mind is ultimately responsible for the information therein (regardless of whether you agree with the information!) The theorems of information science confirms this.
    Likewise, these theorems tell us that life cannot have come about as the evolutionists claim. The information in DNA cannot have come about by mutations and natural selection because the laws of information science tell us that all information comes from a mind. But the information in DNA makes perfect sense in light of biblical creation. It was by the mind of God that the initial information was placed in the DNA of the original organisms on earth. That information has been copied many times, and some of it has been lost. But the information in our DNA ultimately comes from God, not by a random chance process. The laws of information science confirm creation.
    Sometimes evolutionists will object to this and will point out that mutations occasionally have survival value; they “improve” the organism under certain circumstances. This is true, but not relevant to the argument. Mutations have never been observed to add brand new information, and thus they cannot be the driving mechanism of Darwinian Evolution. Sometimes mutations will cause a section of DNA to get duplicated, but does this really increase the information? Not at all. By analogy, a copying error in a book may cause a paragraph to get duplicated. But surely it adds no new information. After all, could you learn anything from the duplicated paragraph that you could not learn from the original?
    By analogy, a copying error in a book may cause a paragraph to get duplicated. But surely it adds no new information. After all, could you learn anything from the duplicated paragraph that you could not learn from the original?
    Creative information cannot spontaneously increase by chance. It is always the result of intelligence. The theorems of information science tell us this, and our experiences confirm it.
    Secondly, irreducible complexity.
    Every living cell of every living organism contains a host of complex biochemical machines, each cooperating with the others to enable the survival of the entire cell. The parts of the cell are interdependent; if any one of them malfunctions, it can lead to the death of the entire cell. In multi-cellular organisms, the cells themselves are specialized, each performing a different task to contribute to the survival of the whole organism. Hearts, kidneys, and lungs all work together—without one, the others could not survive. Interdependent parts challenge the idea of particles-to-people evolution. Evolution is supposed to happen in a gradual, stepwise fashion. One by one, mutations are supposed to gradually change one kind of organism into another. So we must ask the question which evolved first—hearts, kidneys, or lungs? Each is useless without the other two. A stepwise evolutionary process for any interdependent system would seem to be impossible at the outset.
    Even within a single living cell, how could the various parts have come about in a gradual fashion? Each part cannot survive without the others. Such a system is said to be “irreducibly complex” because its complexity cannot be reduced without destroying the functionality. Any irreducibly complex system cannot have come about by an evolutionary process, since every piece requires all the other pieces at the same time.
    Many machines made by human beings are irreducibly complex. A car does not work unless all of its essential parts are functioning. Since many of the parts of a car are irreducibly complex, it would be logical to conclude that a car is not made by evolutionary process. It is skillfully planned and made by people who have designed every part to function with all the others. Likewise, living beings have been designed a Mast Planner who has skillfully prepared every part to function together with all the other parts.”

    J:
    You’re right, to an extent. Information can be a code. It can be an idea. Specifically, when you refer to DNA, you treat it like a concept. This is a logical fallacy as “concepts” and “DNA” are different. You are also incorrect in assuming that no “known sequence of events … can cause information to originate by itself in matter”. DNA is a collection of molecules like Carbon, or Oxygen, etc. These particles interact with each other randomly based off of electrical currents between atoms. They can be affected by a multitude of processes. DNA can become altered by radiation; a naturally occurring substance. The sun gives off radiation, for instance. It can also be deteriorated. The way DNA works, is by changing the physical shape (and thus function) of other molecules by introducing different bonds. That is extremely simplified. Essentially, changes are introduced, not by a creator, but by random. DNA isn’t an idea. It’s a physical particle that interacts with other particles. There is not “creator” required. What caused these individual particles to become a living organism? A very specific combination of environmental characteristics. Energy levels, heat, etc. but at random. If you believe that a metaphysical being is responsible for putting all these environmental characteristics together perfectly, then I agree; it could be just that. Radioactive isotopes in the earth decay at very specific rates. We can predict these rates and conclude how old the earth is by how far they have deteriorated. It’s very old. Billions of years old, according to the isotopes and by how fast the galaxy is expanding in comparison with how much we believe the galaxy to be made of. Of course, like before, God could have simply created the Universe almost exactly how it is now and made it behave according to the multiple theories we have now. Assuming he is omnipotent and omniscient, he could have made life like that but, based off how it’s behaving now and the lack of evidence supporting God means that we logically must base our decision after what we KNOW we have observed. Evolution is occurring right now. Bacteria are becoming immune to certain anti-bacterials. That’s a phenotype being expressed that wasn’t there before. Will bacteria become an entirely separate category? Who knows? It could. It would still spring from the same tree trunk as every other bacteria though. The branches would just get longer.
    For your example, cars are carefully designed by a creator. This is true. Cars are not, however, living organisms struggling for survival. Setting this aside, cars do have certain traits that are more and less desirable. Maybe, in a few generations, we all own electric cars. The engine of an electric car is much different then the engine of a chemically-operated vehicle. They both originate from the same Model T though. Common ancestor. A few generations from that, these electric cars are given wings. They are now much different then both the Model T and the regular electric car. The difference being that we can see the evolution of cars in a few generations because we are artificially enhancing the timeline by engineering. One reason I don’t believe in an omnipotent/omniscient creator is that if there was someone designing us, we’d see evolutionary characteristics express themselves within a few generations. Because evolution is so slow, it is much less likely that there is a God. Not even taking into consideration that there could be multiple gods, etc. Cars don’t have to have sex to create more cars.
    DNA would be the blueprint of a car. If you erase part of it, on accident, they become something else. This could improve aerodynamics of the car or it could completely ruin it. That’s evolution.
    Essentially, a lizard and a bird are very similar organisms. You’re applying societal definitions to a scientific concept. One species of bird is named “Coldius Birdieus” and one species of ‘lizard’ is called “Coldius Lizardius”. They are named like that to show that there is a common ancestor. A Hercules beetle is a “bug”. So are bees. And ladybugs. Etc. The point is that, if believe them to be related, you trace the family trees back and you stumble upon a “bug” that has the horn of the Hercules beetle and the pattern of a ladybug; however, this common ancestor is not either of the two.
    Somehow life formed. I don’t know if a god or The God did it but we have a pretty good idea how it happened. A “fish”, would have received a genotype that expresses itself as primitive lungs. This fish is still a fish, but a fish with primitive lungs. This allows this fish to eat food that is located in shallow water or muddy beaches. This fish’s fins then develop into primitive feet, in order to facilitate eating on these muddy beaches. This fish is now a fish with primitive lungs and feet. The fish then survives on land and in water. It is now an amphibian. Because this amphibian can survive in much more diverse environs, half of these amphibians move North and half stay on the equator. The Northern amphibian then goes on to grow fur because of temperature differences between the land and water but his more Southernly brothers grow scales because it is considerably more warm where they are. The same thing happens over hundreds of generations and the Northern amphibian eventually gives up living in the water entirely and has fully functional lungs. It also develops the ability to self-regulate it’s temperature (warm-blooded). It becomes a “rat”. The Southernly amphibian, being scaly and cold-blooded, never fully abandons the water. It becomes a “lizard”. As they both adapt to their climate better, both the “rat” and the “lizard” expand the areas in which they can successfully live. All this time, different traits are being left behind and developed. Some of the lizards grow feathers. Some of the rats grow canines and eat other rats. The feathered lizards become “birds” and the rats with teeth become “cats/dogs”. A lion is a cat. A wolf is a dog so these definitions have great variety. The amphibians that grew scales ended up growing sharp teeth and eating other organisms but some of them loose their legs and grow venomous sacks. The ones with legs become “alligators/crocodiles”. The ones without legs become “snakes”. Evolution never said that a lizard would evolve into a chicken in a couple hundred years. It says that over billions of years, it is possible that specific organisms change and, if they change enough, they are no longer the same organism as before. Do that enough times, over hundreds of billions of years, and you get a phylogenic tree that may have originated from a much more basic set of common ancestors.
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/Phylogenetic_Tree_of_Life.png
    What fossils do, is allow us to see what traits died out and what traits were passed on. This is important because then we can say “Ok, we have proof that these amphibians got these traits and that got passed on.” This allows us to track what species became what.
    For example, 5 does not equal 1. 5 and 1 are different species of number. Fossils show us that 1 + 1 = 2. 2 does not equal 5. This fossil shows us that 2 + 1 = 3 but 3 does not equal 5 still. 3 then branches into 3 + 1 = 4 and 3 + 2 = 5. 5 does not equal 4 but they both came from 3.

    • Brian Forbes says:

      Answers like his make me wonder why Creationists don’t use more historical evidence. There are non-Biblical genealogies from Noah to the kings of Europe, for cryin’ out loud. (After the Flood, Bill Cooper – free online.) All you need to do is read through Josephus’ history one time and you’ll wonder how the ToE even got off the ground.

      They can argue descent with modification all day long, and it’s a fairy tale no matter how long you look at it. It’s as plausible as the resolution to a Sherlock Holmes novel. If he finds himself in an impossible fix, he’ll just make something else up – some supernatural intervention of the mind. And since it’s history, you can’t always prove him wrong. So go to history! Get the story from the guys who saw it all unfold.

      Well, I know this question was directed at Dr. Lisle, so you can take my answer or leave it. See if he comes up with something better. At least my answer came quickly. :)

      • Flip says:

        This J. person seems to me doesn’t actually know what he is talking about. He makes assertion after assertion, he commits logical fallacies (for example he says: “One species of bird is named “Coldius Birdieus” and one species of ‘lizard’ is called “Coldius Lizardius”. They are named like that to show that there is a common ancestor.” I’m not sure what the technical name is but it is something like he [or the scientist that gave them their name.] is assuming what he is trying to prove. Just because they have similar names doesn’t mean they had a common ancestor. Someone gave them their names because that person believed they had evolved.), and he makes statements which I don’t believe evolutionist like Richard Dawkins would make. For example he says: “A “fish”, would have received a genotype that expresses itself as primitive lungs. This fish is still a fish, but a fish with primitive lungs. This allows this fish to eat food that is located in shallow water or muddy beaches.” He is apparently unaware that fish with gills can swim in shallow or muddy waters.
        In my opinion he doesn’t understand what he is talking about.

        • Steve says:

          Pity which people? Why?

        • Brian Forbes says:

          Thanks for the concern, Karl. I pity you too!

        • Brian Forbes says:

          Karl, I want you to know that I read about a dozen of the arguments on your site, and I found them to be thoroughly unconvincing. I particularly liked proof 19. It was something I might say to my friends and neighbors. Reading your page is like a blind man trying to convince another man that he can’t see. But describing to you what I can see is almost pointless. Without the God of the eye touching the eye to see, describing what sight is like to a skeptical blind man is a waste of time and energy. Plus, this isn’t my forum. If you want to bring the debate to my Facebook page, I welcome you to try to make me blind too. My pity has led me to action. Let’s see if yours has too.

        • Brian Forbes says:

          I should hasten to say that if Dr. Lisle wants the debate to happen here, you should do it here. It is his page, after all.

    • Micah says:

      He made quite a few fallacies in his answer, but i really dont have the time to go through and answer them all. He named off anti-biotic resistant bacteria as proof of evolution in action, but alas, he has not done his homework on the issue it seems. The reason the bacteria becomes resistant is either because of a horizontal gene transfer or because of a mutation. Neither of these are because of an increase in genetic information. Dr. Georgia Purdom explains it well in this article: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v2/n3/antibiotic-resistance-of-bacteria

      Also, information is what is conceptual. DNA contains information, i dont think anyone was saying that DNA is a concept, it physically exists but the information in it is conceptual. Here is a good article on information: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/itbwi/information-fundamental-entity

      So until he can provide an example of an organism gaining brand new genetic information then there is no reason to believe in molecules to man evolution. Organisms change, but only to a certain extent. There are many different breed’s of dogs, but they are all still dogs.

      • Dan Courtney says:

        Micah – I suspect that you are following the often misused interpretation of “information” as having intent. We infer intent in language, for example, because we have experience with people as intentional agents. But let me give you an example of increased information where intent cannot be rationally inferred… snowflakes. When water molecules freeze into snowflakes there is a localized decrease in entropy (increase in information). I think you would be hard pressed to argue that every H2O molecule in every snowflake that every formed was intentionally designed. We have to admit then, that increased information is, in principle, possible without intent.

        • John W says:

          Scientifically, we can define information as a coded message containing an expected action and an intended purpose. Under this definition, the words of this comment qualify as information. They are encoded, the words represent ideas. The expected action is that the reader will read and act upon the words, and the intended purpose is that the reader will better understand the concept of information. DNA also qualifies under the definition of information: it contains an encoded message (the base pair triplets represent amino acids) and has an expected action (the formation of proteins) and an intended purpose (life). The snowflake, however, does not qualify as information because there is no encoded message, no expected action, and no intended purpose found within the snowflake. The error was introduced by asserting that entropy and information are inverely proportional, that as entropy decreases information increases, and that is clearly not the case.

    • Flip says:

      Hi.
      I know I am not Dr. Jason Lisle but if you will let me I will try to throw my 2 cents in. This will take a wile.

      “J:
      You’re right, to an extent. Information can be a code. It can be an idea. Specifically, when you refer to DNA, you treat it like a concept. This is a logical fallacy as “concepts” and “DNA” are different.”
      He is right to say “DNA” and “concepts” are different but concept are used to describe what we observe. So this statement is somewhat irrelevant.

      “You are also incorrect in assuming that no “known sequence of events … can cause information to originate by itself in matter”.”
      Unless J. can provide an example of information arising by itself in matter, which he can’t, then he is wrong.

      “DNA is a collection of molecules like Carbon, or Oxygen, etc. These particles interact with each other randomly based off of electrical currents between atoms. They can be affected by a multitude of processes. DNA can become altered by radiation; a naturally occurring substance. The sun gives off radiation, for instance. It can also be deteriorated. The way DNA works, is by changing the physical shape (and thus function) of other molecules by introducing different bonds. That is extremely simplified.”
      While I would agree with this it doesn’t explain how DNA or the information contained within it originated. Also this process would cause a loss of information not a gain.

      “Essentially, changes are introduced, not by a creator, but by random. DNA isn’t an idea. It’s a physical particle that interacts with other particles.”
      But ideas and concepts are used to describe what we observe.

      “There is not “creator” required.”
      I beg to differ. This is merely an assertion. J. has not shown that this is true.

      “What caused these individual particles to become a living organism? A very specific combination of environmental characteristics. Energy levels, heat, etc. but at random.”
      Again J. is making an assertion. He has not shown this to be true and he is assuming what he is trying to prove.

      “If you believe that a metaphysical being is responsible for putting all these environmental characteristics together perfectly, then I agree; it could be just that.”
      But he doesn’t believe that a “metaphysical being” could create DNA?

      “Radioactive isotopes in the earth decay at very specific rates.”
      We don’t know this for sure. It is assumed.

      “We can predict these rates and conclude how old the earth is by how far they have deteriorated. It’s very old. Billions of years old, according to the isotopes and by how fast the galaxy is expanding in comparison with how much we believe the galaxy to be made of.”
      Radiometric dating, to which he is referring to, is full of assumptions. For instance, it is assumed that we know the starting amounts of certain elements in a sample. Considering the samples are supposed to be millions of years old, we cannot know their starting conditions. And it is assumed that no elements left or entered (contaminated) the samples. As for the galaxy, Dr. Lisle can answer that better than I can.

      “Of course, like before, God could have simply created the Universe almost exactly how it is now and made it behave according to the multiple theories we have now.”
      Which He did.

      “Assuming he is omnipotent and omniscient, he could have made life like that but, based off how it’s behaving now and the lack of evidence supporting God means that we logically must base our decision after what we KNOW we have observed. ”
      And what we know we have observed does not support molecules-to-man evolution.

      “Evolution is occurring right now.”
      Again I would beg to differ. We don’t see it occurring.

      “Bacteria are becoming immune to certain anti-bacterials.”
      But this is because of a loss of genetic information not a gain. By the way, the immune bacteria is still bacteria.

      “That’s a phenotype being expressed that wasn’t there before.”
      Generally this is true. However scientist have discovered ancient bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. And the bacteria have been dated to long before the advent of antibiotics.

      “Will bacteria become an entirely separate category? Who knows? It could.”
      No it could not. The amount of mutations required for microbes-to-microbiologist evolution to occur would kill the bacteria.

      “It would still spring from the same tree trunk as every other bacteria though. The branches would just get longer.”
      And it would still be bacteria.

      “For your example, cars are carefully designed by a creator. This is true. Cars are not, however, living organisms struggling for survival. Setting this aside, cars do have certain traits that are more and less desirable. Maybe, in a few generations, we all own electric cars. The engine of an electric car is much different then the engine of a chemically-operated vehicle. They both originate from the same Model T though. Common ancestor. A few generations from that, these electric cars are given wings. They are now much different then both the Model T and the regular electric car. The difference being that we can see the evolution of cars in a few generations because we are artificially enhancing the timeline by engineering.”
      But without the intelligence behind the changes the cars would not “evolve” at all. He also misses the point altogether. Cars are complex machines and would not come about by random chance. Life is far more complex than cars are.

      “One reason I don’t believe in an omnipotent/omniscient creator is that if there was someone designing us, we’d see evolutionary characteristics express themselves within a few generations.”
      This is not necessarily true. An omnipotent/omniscient creator might take millions of years to change things if he chose to. More importantly, the God of the Bible would not, and did not, use a process of death, which the Bible calls “the last enemy”, to create.

      “Because evolution is so slow, it is much less likely that there is a God. ”
      This is a non sequitur, Latin for does not follow. Wile I don’t believe in evolution, or that God used it, just because something takes a long time does not mean there is no intelligence behind it. Also this smacks of a fallacy called “your theory doesn’t work under my theory therefore your theory is wrong.”

      “Not even taking into consideration that there could be multiple gods, etc. Cars don’t have to have sex to create more cars.”
      And with technology, neither do humans. Either way, the ability to have sex is irrelevant to evolution, after all bacteria reproduce asexually, and they are said to have evolved.

      “DNA would be the blueprint of a car. If you erase part of it, on accident, they become something else. This could improve aerodynamics of the car or it could completely ruin it. That’s evolution.”
      It is not evolution. If the aerodynamics of the car improved it was do to a loss of information not a gain. It is still a car and not something else, like a plane. And if you keep on erasing parts off the blueprint, the car will be gone.

      “Essentially, a lizard and a bird are very similar organisms. You’re applying societal definitions to a scientific concept.”
      This is to help us understand those concepts. And just because lizards and birds are similar does not mean they had a common ancestor, or that they evolved from each other. A platypus is similar to all sorts of different animals.

      “One species of bird is named “Coldius Birdieus” and one species of ‘lizard’ is called “Coldius Lizardius”. They are named like that to show that there is a common ancestor.”
      Here J. is assuming what he is trying to prove. The names have been arbitrarily given to the creatures because they are assumed to have a common ancestor. No evidence of that ancestor is given.

      “A Hercules beetle is a “bug”. So are bees. And ladybugs. Etc.
      The reason they are called bugs, or insects, is because they share similar traits. And this has nothing to do with evolution.

      “The point is that, if believe them to be related, you trace the family trees back and you stumble upon a “bug” that has the horn of the Hercules beetle and the pattern of a ladybug; however, this common ancestor is not either of the two.”
      If the hercules beetle and the lady bug are of the same kind then this is true. (I am not an entomologist so I don’t know if they are the same kind of bug.) However that common ancestor would be a bug and not some other kind.

      “Somehow life formed. I don’t know if a god or The God did it but we have a pretty good idea how it happened.”
      J. is now being inconsistent. First he says that God didn’t create life, and that he doesn’t believe in God, now he says that he doesn’t know if God created life. But of course we know how life got started. God told us how in Genesis.

      “A “fish”, would have received a genotype that expresses itself as primitive lungs.”
      Two things. First, he asserts, without evidence, that a fish would develop lungs. A fish with gills could not develop lungs. How would the fish breathe while its gills turned into lungs? It couldn’t. Second, notice hes says “would have”. Meaning he doesn’t actually know but hypothesizes that it might have occurred this way.

      “This fish is still a fish, but a fish with primitive lungs. This allows this fish to eat food that is located in shallow water or muddy beaches.”
      This is a statement that I don’t think a harden evolutionist, like Richard Dawkins, would make. J. seems to imply that fish need to develop lungs to swim in shallow water or muddy beaches. This is simply not true. I have seen fish with gills swimming in shallow parts of lakes and rivers and even at the beach. And there is a fish, I forget what it is called, that lives in muddy areas outside of water, and it breathes from shallow mud pools and can even crawl (or “walk”) from mud pool to mud pool, however, it is not developing lungs or feet. Of course I could have completely misunderstood what he is saying.

      “This fish’s fins then develop into primitive feet, in order to facilitate eating on these muddy beaches. This fish is now a fish with primitive lungs and feet. The fish then survives on land and in water. It is now an amphibian. Because this amphibian can survive in much more diverse environs, half of these amphibians move North and half stay on the equator. The Northern amphibian then goes on to grow fur because of temperature differences between the land and water but his more Southernly brothers grow scales because it is considerably more warm where they are. The same thing happens over hundreds of generations and the Northern amphibian eventually gives up living in the water entirely and has fully functional lungs. It also develops the ability to self-regulate it’s temperature (warm-blooded). It becomes a “rat”. The Southernly amphibian, being scaly and cold-blooded, never fully abandons the water. It becomes a “lizard”. As they both adapt to their climate better, both the “rat” and the “lizard” expand the areas in which they can successfully live. All this time, different traits are being left behind and developed. Some of the lizards grow feathers. Some of the rats grow canines and eat other rats. The feathered lizards become “birds” and the rats with teeth become “cats/dogs”. A lion is a cat. A wolf is a dog so these definitions have great variety. The amphibians that grew scales ended up growing sharp teeth and eating other organisms but some of them loose their legs and grow venomous sacks. The ones with legs become “alligators/crocodiles”. The ones without legs become “snakes”.”
      All this is one assertion after another. He provides no evidence for any of this.

      “Evolution never said that a lizard would evolve into a chicken in a couple hundred years. It says that over billions of years, it is possible that specific organisms change and, if they change enough, they are no longer the same organism as before. Do that enough times, over hundreds of billions of years, and you get a phylogenic tree that may have originated from a much more basic set of common ancestors. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/Phylogenetic_Tree_of_Life.png
      But this is not what is observed. And as for the tree of life. The top is part is correct, but the connections have not been observed.

      “What fossils do, is allow us to see what traits died out and what traits were passed on. This is important because then we can say “Ok, we have proof that these amphibians got these traits and that got passed on.” This allows us to track what species became what.”
      Just because two creatures have similar traits does not mean that one creature passed it on to another creature, especially if they are not of the same kind.

      “For example, 5 does not equal 1. 5 and 1 are different species of number. Fossils show us that 1 + 1 = 2. 2 does not equal 5. This fossil shows us that 2 + 1 = 3 but 3 does not equal 5 still. 3 then branches into 3 + 1 = 4 and 3 + 2 = 5. 5 does not equal 4 but they both came from 3.”
      I’m not sure what this has to do with evolution, and I don’t understand what he is saying. Besides 5 and 4 do not come from 3. 3+1 can =4 and 3+2 can =5 but that does not mean 4 and 5 come from 3 any more than they can come from 2 or 1.

      In conclusion, J. merely asserts what he believes as true and provides no evidence for what he says. He hasn’t rebutted or proven anything.

      That is just my two cents. Thank you.

      • Wayne says:

        Thanks for your help. I am doing this in a semi-public (if not public) forum, and I am getting slightly flustered by all of his blustering and his repeated attempts to interject and talk over me.
        At the same time, we have people interrupting and it is making it very hard to think in straight lines. I am new to this whole thing, and while I am growing in my passion for philosophy, I am still very new. (I have not taken any classes and am semi-teaching myself.

        • Wayne says:

          Do you have any suggestions, Dr. Lisle? About how I should respond to his arguments, or where to proceed from here?

          • Dr. Lisle says:

            Hi Wayne,

            We’ve already had some good responses from others (which is much appreciated and saves me time). So I’ll add just a few comments.

            Keep in mind that the first chapter in my book is about arguments that are not ultimately conclusive. In other words, you won’t win the debate that way. It’s fine to introduce such lines of evidence as a starting point. But eventually the Christian must challenge the worldview of the unbeliever at its foundation, pointing out that the unbeliever’s professed beliefs would render knowledge and science impossible.

            Information is a concept; it’s more precise to say that DNA possesses or contains information. The arrangement of the nucleotide base pairs is organized in such a way as to provide the blueprints for the organism. J asserts that the laws of information theory are wrong, but he provides no evidence. Or, perhaps he was trying to provide evidence by appealing to DNA as a counterexample, as in: “Information does not require an intelligent source because DNA has information and it was not produced by intelligence.” But this is the fallacy of begging the question. We affirm that DNA does require an original intelligent source. There are no scientifically observable examples of brand new creative information coming from anything but a mind.

            One phrase I just can’t let J get away with is “the lack of evidence supporting God.” The Bible teaches that the existence of God (and even His characteristics) are so blatantly obvious that there is absolutely no excuse for denying God’s existence (Romans 1:20). Therefore, anyone who denies the existence of God is lying to himself and others – sinfully suppressing what he knows to be true (Romans 1:18-19). The fact that knowledge, science, and morality are possible and meaningful is proof positive that God exists.

            J commits the fallacy of equivocation on the word “evolution” in thinking that examples of adaptation (bacterial resistance) somehow prove molecules-to-man evolution. Since the former involves the loss and rearrangement of existing genetic information, and the latter involves the creation of brand new information, they are in opposite directions. Proof of one cannot be logically used as proof of the other, in the same way that a ball’s ability to roll downhill without help does not prove that it can roll uphill without help.

            J says, “Essentially, a lizard and a bird are very similar organisms.” But they really aren’t. All organisms will have some similarities because they all have the same Creator, and God is not the author of confusion. But the lungs of birds are essentially opposite the lungs of reptiles. In bird lungs the direction of airflow is opposite the direction of blood flow, to maximize oxygen transfer. But in reptiles, this is not the case. How could one type of lung gradually evolve into its opposite? Flying birds have large, strong wings and small legs, but in reptiles the hind limbs are usually as big or even bigger than the forelimbs. Birds have feathers, which are highly specialized structures stemming from a quill. Reptiles have nothing like this at all. Bird feathers molt in pairs. Reptiles molt their scales all at once. Etc. etc.

            As Flip pointed out, it is fallacious to argue for evolution based on terminology. Sometimes various taxa of organisms are named based on the assumption of evolution. So it begs the question to use this as evidence for evolution.

            As others have pointed out, most of the rest of J’s comments are just story-telling without any supporting evidence. This is arbitrary and may be dismissed.

            His bit with the math at the end didn’t make any sense to me. Perhaps J could benefit by reading my article on evolutionary math: http://www.youroriginsmatter.com/conversations/view/evolutionary-math/95

            Can we actually “see fossils evolving” as J suggests? No. Every fossil I’ve ever seen looks exactly the same every time I see it. Perhaps J meant that the trend in the order of fossils is consistent with evolution. But if so, then he really hasn’t done his homework on the issue. The fossils that we find are all variations of discrete kinds of organisms – consistent with burial during the global flood. We do not find a continuum of transitions from “simple” to complex.

            J’s claim that 99.99% of scientists believe in evolution is not only fallacious – the appeal to majority, but is factually wrong. It’s just not that high. I acknowledge that a majority of scientists believe in evolution (which is logically irrelevant to the truthfulness of the model). But if J’s claim were true then only 1 scientist in ten thousand would be a creationist – and that is totally unrealistic. My experience has been that there are many scientists who question or deny particles-to-people evolution.

            I hope this helps.

  3. Eric Rivera says:

    Dr. Lisle I wanted to first thank you again for all your hard in the ministry field. I have just finished reading “Why Genesis Matters.” I thought the book was going to be a short introduction to the debate but it actually had some of the main key terms that surround the issue with “A Matter Of Days.” I am beginning to see the true need for apologetics in ministry because of our Greek- like culture. Ever since your visit to Canton, Tx I have been even more vigorous about this issue thanks to our talk on “Your Origins Matter.”
    Now I know the Lord is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him and I have been observing my own evangelism efforts increased since apologetics have been more sternly enforced. I now have one request, I hold to per-suppositional apologetics as supreme, so I understand how to properly defend the faith on that level. However I have been hard pressed by the efforts of Lawrence Kruass. I may not be qualified to publicly debate the man, but I am preparing for spiritual combat with such a person, and it is not easy… He seems to have an upper hand in area of evidential apologetics and I was wondering if you had an effective to or piece of information that will lift my spirits and help the brethren combat such men as these. (Lawrence Kruass, Christopher Hitchens- deceased, Stephen Hawkings.) I dare not add Richard Dawkins ; his weak reasoning defeats itself.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Eric,

      I’m glad the resources have been helpful to you.

      Don’t be intimidated by pseudo-scientific claims by “experts.” If you really understand presuppositional apologetics, you can easily defend the faith against any such claim. You can respond as follows:

      “Sir, that sounds very scientific. But if evolution and the big bang were really true, then how could we have any confidence in the science? What I mean is, if the universe is just a conglomeration of accidents caused by an accident, why should we expect it to obey laws? Why would we expect that such laws would apply everywhere, and not change with time? And how could the human mind, as a result of chance mutations, be expected to think rationally? You say the universe was not created, but you study it as if it were created and upheld by the mind of God. How do you rationalize this?”

      This will defeat any possible claim that big bang supporters like Krauss could make. Nonetheless, it is helpful to know a bit about the specific scientific evidence. I have a book called “Taking Back Astronomy” which covers such details. I think it would encourage you by showing astronomical facts that just don’t fit with the big bang, but make sense in light of creation. Some of my favorites are those that show that the universe is much younger than secularists teach – like blue stars, spiral galaxies, planetary magnetic fields, and so on. It’s good to know these for your own personal edification, and for defense. But if you want to win the debate, you must show the inconsistencies in the secular worldview, as in the preceding paragraph.

      God bless.

      • Melanie says:

        Eric, along with Dr. LisIe’s invaluable input, perhaps you’d also like to check out John Lennox’s video, God and Steven Hawkins, in which he shows how the premise of The Grand Design, Steven Hawking’s co-authored book, has a triple self-contradiction: “Because there is a law of gravity, the universe can and will create itself out of nothing.”

  4. Wayne says:

    This is my latest exchange with J. I tried to do a line by line breakdown. Can anybody give me pointers as to what I could do better, how I could explain myself more clearly? Any fallacies would be helpful as well.

    “I just want you to come at me with bullets instead of trying to say that my gun isn’t loaded.”
    Thus far, your gun has not been loaded. You have used assertion after assertion, non sequiters, begging the question, circular reasoning, (and by accusing me of Ad Hominem when I did not make one, strawman) without any proof to back up your claims. An assertion is not proof, it is rhetoric (or empty words)

    “If I say that evolution is real because we can see fossils evolving, then tell me I’m wrong because during the Cambrian Explosion,”
    Why should I use just that for an example? Yes, it is among the many examples of things that do not fit well with the Evolutionary time scale. The fact that the Tappeats Sandstone layers in the Grand Canyon have no Quartzite, and the Mauve Limestone layers have no Marble are two other excellent examples. Further, to continue with Geography we have proof that Mount St. Helens created a similar canyon in response to its eruption in the 80’s that took only 3 days to form. It was complete with the same layers and formations found in the Grand Canyon. Layering that (anywhere else, and if it had not been observed) would have been said to have formed over millions of years. Another example is Carbon-14 in diamonds and in Coal samples that were tested by the RATE project. Another example is the fact that over millions of years, we should see the fossil record bearing transitional organisms, but we don’t. A heart is useless without kidneys and lungs, and the other two are just as useless without the other. Irreducible complexity. A car is made by initial intelligence, and making it more streamlined is a loss of information. Also, such a change is again caused by a mind, not chance. Etc.

    “we see all sorts of new creatures come into the world much too quickly for evolution to be possible.”
    Isn’t that contrary to your worldview? Then why don’t you believe in creation?

    “If I say gravity doesn’t exist, say that all objects accelerate to the center of mass at the same rate.”
    (I am not a physicist, so I will pass this along to someone who is an astrophysicist and is also a creationist who will be able to answer you.)

    “I told you that 99.99% of scientists believe in evolution, not as proof, but to show you that there is evidence that convinced the world’s most brilliant people out there that it is true.”
    The problem is that your evidence (again, you have not provided any) is interpreted in light of a pre-existing worldview. Thus, of COURSE the evidence convinced them. Our worldviews are such that they taint everything and it is impossible to remove those glasses. Thus, it makes logical sense that they would believe that it supports their claims in light of their pre-existing worldviews. Everyone on this planet has one, and the fact that most scientists are also atheist. (Dawkins “If I were to take the stand in a courtroom and be asked if science made me an atheist, I would have to say ‘yes it did.’”) Further, two competing worldviews cannot both be right. The fact that there are two competing worldviews suggests that Neither Creation nor Evolution can both be correct. They are both competing and contradictory claims about Origins. The Laws of Logic dictate that two contradictory claims cannot be true.

    “If 99% were creationalists, there would probably be a reason for that.”
    But that would be appeal to majority, and regardless of who is in the majority or minority, truth simply is not determined that way. If that were the case you could not punish the rapist for raping a woman, because he might believe that it is morally true and acceptable to rape someone. How can one man judge another man’s truth based on his own? You can’t. Therefore there must be an absolute standard for Truth, otherwise intelligent debate and discussion becomes impossible.

    “I have, in no way directed an Ad hominem attack against you.”
    I never said you did. I was directing that at (person X). I said you used a Strawman (or at least Tu QuoQue) because you accused me of making a fallacy (Ad Hominem) that I did not make.

    “If I called you stupid, that’s Ad hominem.”

    Yes, that is a perfect example. Why then did you accuse me of making one when I did not? That is being contradictory, as if you knew the definition you were either forgetful, or attempting to purposely mislead by suggesting that I had committed a character attack on you. Also, Ad Hominem is not just a character attack, it is ANY attempt to persuade with emotion instead of rational argument.

    “If I said that it exists because 99% of the world believes in it, that’s logical fallacy.”
    If you are using that to support your claim, then yes it is. Logicians will tell you that Appeal to Majority and Authority are not factual arguments in a debate. It is not admissible as evidence. Those are not my definitions, those are the philosophical communities.

    “I said that 99% of the people who know what they’re talking about in this specific subject believe in it”
    That is (again) appeal to majority and authority. It is not evidence, it is an assertion. A true one, but it is irrelevant because worldviews are what is used to interpret evidence, (because evidence cannot speak for itself.) and since everyone has one, appeal to majority and authority are not admissible.

    “… and that the implied underlying cause is that there was an abundance of support.”
    I beg to differ. You are begging the question and assuming what you are trying to prove. People can be illogical, people can be irrational. People can interpret things with an incorrect worldview, those are the permanent glasses that we all wear. And it is those glasses that help us to determine how to interpret evidence in light of our pre-existing beliefs.

    If .1% supported evolution, there would probably not be enough evidence to support my case, but you haven’t ever directly refuted my points or addressed the points of yours that I have rebutted.

    Again, you are appealing to authority and minority. I am not trying to pick on you, but I am trying to get you to think critically. You are throwing out assertions and not really making a case for yourself. You speak about more evidence or less evidence. The problem is that the evidence is the same, and it is not a fight about evidence, it is a fight about two contradictory worldviews. One worldview is in the minority, and the other in the majority. But truth (as I have shown) cannot be determined that way, as it leads to a relativistic universe in which it is impossible to punish someone for their actions. (Because you cannot judge one man’s truth with your own.)

    “I sincerely hope your week goes well but I would consider researching the flaws with the Theory of Evolution AND proof of creationalism.”

    I have done my research. It seems like you have not done yours.

    God bless!

  5. J says:

    First time poster here. I’ve been speaking with outspoken skeptic and introduced to him Dr. Lisle’s work last night. He’s fixated on the Distant Starlight scenario and postulates that “c” is a universal unchanging constant that completely undermines any Young-Earth argument. He’s convinced that Dr. Lisle’s argument about the possible instantaneous arrival of light is “hogwash” and that light cannot travel at an infinite speed. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Robert says:

      Ask him for his proof that refutes the argument, rather than just his opinion that it cannot be that way.

      • J says:

        Here is the link to the article he read at least a portion of:
        http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v3/n1/anisotropic-synchrony-convention

        Dr. Lisle: We here explore a way in which light from distant galaxies can reach earth within the biblical timescale. Though the universe is created mature,

        Skeptic: His contention is that the universe was created mature. That means that God created a universe that by every scientific metric or observation is 13.6 Billion years old. But it isn’t because it was created in an instant.

        Dr. Lisle: we will find that this by itself appears to be insufficient to explain our ability to see distant events, prompting the need for a solution to the “distant starlight problem.” The concept of synchrony conventions in physics is examined. The fact that relativistic physics precludes an absolute, invariant synchrony space is reviewed. We then explore the consequences and motivation for the use of the standard Einstein synchrony convention, followed by an investigation of alternative synchrony conventions.
        In particular, we find that an observer-centric anisotropic synchrony convention eliminates the distant starlight problem by reducing radially inward-directed light travel-time in the reference frame of the observer to zero.

        Skeptic: So, in order for Genesis to work, we have to assume that the Speed of Light is Infinite, In a normal, consistent world, this would be the proof by contradiction as follows:
        Hypothesis: God Created the Universe in Six Days
        Implication: The Speed of Light coming from distant stars is Infinite
        Contradiction: The Speed of Light is a physical constant throughout the universe.
        Therefore: God did not create the Universe in six days.

        Dr. Lisle: Mature Creation

        It has been suggested that God supernaturally created the beams of light themselves. That is, the light beam from every star to earth is created “in transit” at the same time the stars are created. This light en-route model is often presented in the context of mature creation: the idea that God created the universe fully functional from the start, and that the universe required no time or process to become what God wanted it to be.
        Mature creation is sometimes inappropriately referred to as “appearance of age”; however the latter term fallaciously implies that age can be seen or otherwise empirically measured. But since age is not a physical property or substance, it cannot be directly observed. Of course there is a sense in which we say that something appears old or young—a person who looks “young” for his age, or a car that looks quite “old.” In these cases, we are speaking idiomatically, comparing observable characteristics and then making an inference based on comparisons with other samples whose age is known. This of course is not possible with the universe, since there is only one known member of its class (Chaffey and Lisle 2008).
        Strictly speaking, something cannot appear old or young, because age is not an observational property. Age is a concept indicative of history, which cannot be observed in the present. When someone says he believes the universe “looks old,” this simply reveals something about the initial conditions he has assumed—not about the universe. Thus, the universe was not created with “appearance of age,” but it was created mature—in the sense that it functioned immediately upon God’s creating it. Just as Adam was created mature, needing no time or process to reach adulthood, so was the universe.

        Skeptic: Dr. Quackenstein here is denying any scientific discipline that studies how things change over time. No more Astronomy, Archeology, Anthropology, Biology, Genetics, Physics, Electronics, etc.

        Dr. Lisle: Many arguments against a young universe are indeed easily refuted by pointing out that the universe was made mature,

        Skeptic: So, there you go, J. Any argument that a geologic or biological or astronomical process took a long time is refuted by saying the universe was made mature. That means that no one can ask How, Why, or When pertaining to how things came about. Is that the kind of world that you want [your son] to grow up in?

        Dr. Lisle: and hence the advocate of an “old earth” has assumed the incorrect initial conditions. Today, for example, trees need a certain amount of time to reach a certain size.
        But the first trees were created supernaturally, and needed less than a day to reach their size.

        Skeptic: So, there it is. You no longer have to refer to science in any way whatsoever. It’s Magic!! Seriously, J, this is the kind of science that you want your son to believe?

        Dr. Lisle: If someone were to assume that the first trees came about by today’s natural processes (growing from a seed at today’s rate), he or she would vastly overestimate the age.

        Skeptic: So, there is evolution. There were the early natural processes in which time is accelerated and that allowed the universe to be created in Six Days and they have evolved into the scientific natural processes that follow a timescale implied by the Natural Laws upon which science is based.

        Dr. Lisle: The overwhelming majority of old-earth, or old-universe arguments are fallacious because they are based on faulty, unbiblical initial conditions.

        Skeptic: Unbiblical: Dr. Quackenstein has found a new word. This is the root of all of your objections to radiometric dating. They aren’t scientific errors. They are unbiblical errors.

        Dr. Lisle: For example, by assuming that the universe began with no size, or that the solar system formed from a nebula, and then extrapolating how long it would take to reach its present state, of course one is bound to reach a faulty age estimate that is inflated by a factor of millions. Old-universe supporters frequently make such mistakes. They have arbitrarily assumed unbiblical initial conditions, and then use the resulting inflated age estimate to argue that the Bible is wrong. But, of course, this simply begs the question.

        Skeptic: Unbiblical Initial Conditions: My guess is that he says that any scientific conclusion that is reached independently of Genesis is invalid. That pretty much means everything scientific. That puts a 100% separation between anything based on science and anything based on the bible. That separates into two distinct and inconsolable world views. You cannot compromise, you cannot reason, you cannot predict based on science. The entire community of secular science assumes Unbiblical Initial Conditions.

        Dr. Lisle: The Light-in-Transit Model
        Mature creation is a biblical concept,

        Skeptic: Not a scientific concept

        Dr. Lisle: and easily shows the majority of old-earth claims to be fallacious

        Skeptic: Wait, a majority?!?!?!? Is Dr. Q saying that one or more old-earth claims are valid? Does he tell us which one allows the universe to be as old as it looks to real scientists?

        Dr. Lisle: But does distant starlight fall in this category? One of the assumptions involved when light travel times are computed is that the light did indeed originate at the star. If God created the beams of light en-route, then they did not originate at the stars. This would indeed eliminate the distant starlight problem. However, this proposal introduces biblical and philosophical difficulties of its own.

        Skeptic: Our educated friend, Dr. Quackenstein is about to throw the most important physical constant out the window because the old magic had “difficulties” Would that difficulty be total unbelievability?

        Dr. Lisle: I suggest that it is reasonable (and in fact necessary) to suppose that distant starlight did in fact originate from the star, and was not created in transit. There are several reasons to reject the light-in-transit view.
        First, there is a serious biblical difficulty with this view. Genesis 1:14–15 indicates that God made the lights in the sky to mark the passage of time and to give light upon the earth. Verse 16 tells us specifically what these lights are: God created the sun, the moon, and the stars also. Verse 17 reiterates that one of the purposes of these light-bearers is to give light upon the earth. The phrase at the end of verse 15 “and it was so” indicates that these light-bearers immediately began to fulfill their God-given purpose—to give light upon the earth.
        But this is the problem: if God created the light in-transit, then the light does not really come from the stars. In fact, it could not rightly be called “starlight” at all but rather “Godlight.” If the light en-route model were true, then all stars beyond about 6,000 light years are not yet fulfilling their God-ordained purpose to give light upon the earth, but Genesis 1:14–15 suggests that the stars fulfilled their purpose right from the day of their creation

        Skeptic: Do you see the problem here? He says that all stars less than 6,000 LY followed the rules but anything more distant needed a supernatural explanation. The implication of that statement was that 4300 years ago at the time of the flood that number was 1700 LY. Do you get the fallacy of trying to make things fit one day in such a way that they don’t work on another day?

        Dr. Lisle: There is a serious philosophical difficulty as well concerning the preconditions of intelligibility. These are the things necessary to make knowledge of the universe possible. For example, the basic reliability of our senses is a precondition of intelligibility. Clearly, if our eyes, ears, and other senses did not accurately inform our mind about the outside world, we would have no hope of understanding anything about the universe. We all presume that our senses are basically reliable, that we are not just a brain in a jar being fed electrical impulses about a fictional “Matrix” world

        Skeptic: I think what Dr. Q is talking about here is the basic smell test. If you create a PseudoScientific Construct that allows the universe to be 6,000 years old, it has to have some relationship to the reality that even the least intelligent in the audience can buy into. If you say that Magic created the universe in Six Days, it has to be Magic that the audience can actually see, feel and smell.

        Dr. Lisle: The preconditions of intelligibility must be true, because without them we could not know anything at all. Therefore, anything that undermines a precondition of intelligibility must be false. But the light-in-transit model undermines the basic reliability of our senses. Consider: the light-in-transit model would mean that all events (supernovae for example—fig. 1) beyond about 6,000 light years have never happened. They would merely be a sequence of images in a beam of light created by God. These images would not correspond to any real event.

        Skeptic: Our eminent Dr. Quackenbush just gave away the store. He is saying to the intelligent members of his audience that when we make up a pseudoscientific explanation for Six Days, it needs to look real enough to pass the smell test. It needs to be believable enough that a person like you can buy it as long as you are not curious or skeptical. That means that you cannot look it up on Wikipedia or in your high school science text book and find obvious contradictions with the reality that you know to be true independent of Genesis.

        Dr. Lisle: But if God is willing to make movies of fictional events at distances beyond 6,000 light years, then why would we arbitrarily assume that He would not also make fictional movies nearby? (Is the tree outside my window real, or is it merely a picture embedded in light beams created by God?) The light-en-route model requires that events we observe beyond about 6,000 light years (which covers the overwhelming majority of the universe) are fictional, and thus our senses are not reliable for those distances. If we cannot believe our eyes for 99.9999% of the universe, then why should we trust them for the other 0.0001% that is nearby? So, light-en-route models lead to the inescapable conclusion that our senses are not generally reliable, in which case it doesn’t make sense to even attempt to understand the universe. Yes, God made the universe mature. But, no, this does not by itself alleviate the distant starlight problem.
        Scripture Implies a Synchrony Convention

        Skeptic: Dr. Quackenstein admits that he is getting ready to promote a lie. He says that scripture is the science behind Synchrony Convention not Science science.

        Dr. Lisle: Genesis itself may suggest a simple answer to distant starlight. In Genesis 1:14–18 God tells us that the stars were created on the fourth day to give light upon the earth. This text also seems to strongly suggest that the stars fulfilled their purpose immediately (“and it was so”). Therefore, it would seem that the light emitted by the stars reached earth instantaneously, or nearly so. This suggests a synchrony convention: a procedure for synchronizing clocks separated by a distance.2

        Skeptic: Ok, J, I am not going into the pseudoscience that this guy promotes because his conclusion is so obviously false in the real world that we live in. Jump down to where he makes his key statement about the speed of light.

        Dr. Lisle: Two events are said to be “simultaneous” if they both happen at the same time. When two events are separated by some distance and we wish to know whether they are simultaneous, we must first establish a

        [cut for length.]
        [editor's note: Copyrighted material can be copied and re-posted for the purposes of commenting on or critiquing the work. This falls under "fair use." However, long sections should not be pasted without comment.]

        Skeptic: Here is where he violates the smell test:

        Dr. Lisle: However, the speed of light in any one direction is not necessarily constant.

        Skeptic: The speed of light in vacuum, commonly denoted c, is a universal physical constant important in many areas of physics. Its value is 299,792,458 metres per second, a figure that is exact because the length of the metre is defined from this constant and the international standard for time.[1] In imperial units this speed is approximately 186,282 miles per second. According to special relativity, c is the maximum speed at which all energy, matter, and information in the universe can travel. It is the speed at which all massless particles and associated fields (including electromagnetic radiation such as light) travel in vacuum. It is also the speed of gravity (i.e. of gravitational waves) predicted by current theories. Such particles and waves travel at c regardless of the motion of the source or the inertial frame of reference of the observer. In the theory of relativity, c interrelates space and time, and also appears in the famous equation of mass–energy equivalence E = mc2.[2]
        Reference: ^ Uzan, J-P; Leclercq, B (2008). The Natural Laws of the Universe: Understanding Fundamental Constants. Springer. pp. 43–4. ISBN 0-387-73454-6.

        J, you need to believe in something akin to reality. The constant speed of light is the most important law in science. We depend on it for nearly everything that springs from technology to work. The above statement by Dr. Quackenstein totally violates my “precondition of intelligibility”. It doesn’t pass my smell test. Either the Speed of Light is a universal physical constant or nothing can be true about the known universe.

        This needs to violate your smell test. You need to ask the big question right here. You need to answer it for yourself and more importantly, for [your son]. Because if you don’t, he will ask it. Holly is smart and you are smart. That means that your kid has a fair chance of being smarter than both of you. There will come a day when he asks himself, “Is the world the way it really looks or is it the way my dad says it is?” When that happens, you don’t want to let [your son] down or he will wonder if anything you have ever said makes any sense.

        You need to give yourself an out. Take a look at Intelligent Design. I know that it is as much hooey as what our Dr. Q promotes but it allows Biblical Christians the ability to accept the world pretty much as it really is and still believe that God tweaked it a little bit somewhere along the way.

        You need to allow your son to have the curiosity and fascination with the world and most importantly an open mind. That is probably the reason that I cannot press the I Believe button but it is my most important characteristic. You need to allow him to be whatever he wants to be and not close doors to opportunities that are based on Unbiblical Initial Conditions. Some day, I might have the opportunity to have a long conversation with [your son] and it will probably be about something scientific because I believe all kids are geeks at heart. Are you going to let me have that conversation?

        Thanks for listening. You are still young and there is still time to open your eyes and take a new look at the world unconstrained by the fear of Unbiblical Initial Conditions. The world is a fascinating, interesting and beautiful place. And you have a smart little kid to share it with. The way it really is, that is.

        Good Luck,
        R

        Dr. Lisle: As counter-intuitive as it may seem, the one-way speed of light is not a constant of nature, but is a matter of convention. It is something we may choose, providing that our choice preserves causality, is self-consistent, and providing the round trip speed of light is still exactly c.
        The act of choosing a synchrony convention is synonymous with defining the one-way speed of light. If we select Einstein synchronization, then we have declared that the speed of light is the same in all directions. 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.
        It seems counter-intuitive that we may simply stipulate the one-way speed of light. It seems that the one-way speed of light should be unambiguous and measurable, in which case we would not have the freedom to choose an alternate synchrony convention. However, this is not so. We should remember that people once thought that durations in time and lengths in space were objective and unambiguous, irrespective of the observer’s velocity. But Einstein’s discoveries rule out such possibilities. In the next two sections, I will show that the one-way speed of light is conventional. It is something that is stipulated by us, and is not an independent measurable property of the universe. This will be only a brief review of what is often called the “conventionality thesis.” More thorough treatments are available in the technical literature (Salmon 1977; Winnie 1970a, b).

        [cut for length]

        • Robert says:

          J,
          it appears your friend missed the point of the article and was ad hominine happy. The point of the article was to introduce ASC and show that it is a convention similar to meters and feet and produces the same results. The round trip speed of light is known and is averaged out (ESC) to get to the values your friend stated (Roundtrip = C/2*2 = C <==ESC, Roundtrip = zero+c = C <== ASC; same result). Both are conventions that cannot be tested for 1 way speed of light because determining the time it takes for light to reach the target is dependant on the one way speed of light.

          Dr. Lisle never stated that the roundtrip speed of light is not a constant (straw man) only that the 1 way speed was indeterminate (This ties in with the skeptic’s claim of "contradiction" at the beginning).

          In the conversation referenced below, Dr. Lisle walked someone through these issues of trying to calculate the 1 way speed and how it works out the same. He even stated that the same equations could be used with slight modifications for differing units (very similar to equations for feet and meters). It appears that your friend tuned out at the important portion of the article.

          On a different topic, if the skeptic doesn't believe in God, why does he not think that contradictions are acceptable / valid, since at that point there is no universal standard only personal preferences. And what pseudoscience / faith based basis does he have for asteroids still in existence after billions of years?

          As for C-14 there are several articles on this (still found in diamonds, etc) and also the RATE project that indicate differing decay rates.

          It also appears that he has a double standard: if data does not line up with his evolution preconditions, that data is rejected out of hand or a rescuing device is created, but if a creationists sees how that same data fits in his worldview it is pseudoscience.

          There are many things that could be said about his response but I believe this hits the main points.

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          Hi J,

          I’m tempted to respond point-by-point to the skeptic’s entire claim, because he makes not even one legitimate argument. But I’ll hit only a few highlights. Robert has already given a great response to the main points.

          > Skeptic: That means that God created a universe that by every scientific metric or observation is 13.6 Billion years old. But it isn’t because it was created in an instant.

          There are no scientific metrics or observations of a 13.6 (or 13.8) billion year old universe. Age is not a substance that can be measured by the tools of science.

          > Skeptic: So, in order for Genesis to work, we have to assume that the Speed of Light is Infinite, In a normal, consistent world, this would be the proof by contradiction as follows:

          This is obviously a straw-man argument since the paper affirms that the round-trip speed of light (c) remains finite. This skeptic needs to work on his reading comprehension skills.

          > Skeptic: Dr. Quackenstein

          This is the abusive ad hominem fallacy. Name-calling is the last resort of those who cannot support their case rationally.

          > …here is denying any scientific discipline that studies how things change over time.

          The procedures of science are only equipped to deal with changes in the present world. Operational science cannot directly test matters of origins.

          > Skeptic: No more Astronomy, Archeology, Anthropology, Biology, Genetics, Physics, Electronics, etc.

          This is the fallacy of “elephant hurling.”

          > Skeptic: So, there you go, J. Any argument that a geologic or biological or astronomical process took a long time is refuted by saying the universe was made mature. That means that no one can ask How, Why, or When pertaining to how things came about.

          First, this begs the question. The skeptic has arbitrarily assumed that there are “geologic or biological or astronomical [processes that take] a long time.” But he presents no evidence for such.

          Second, this is another straw-man argument. We can indeed ask such questions, and have definitive answers. Such answers will come from history books, not from science. Science is not equipped to study the past.

          > Is that the kind of world that you want [your son] to grow up in?

          This is the appeal to emotion fallacy. I.e. “think of the children!” This fails because it is arbitrary. I could equally well claim, “Do you want your children to grow up thinking that they are chemical accidents, and believing in lies like the big bang?”

          > Skeptic: Do you see the problem here? He says that all stars less than 6,000 LY followed the rules but anything more distant needed a supernatural explanation.

          Another straw-man fallacy. The skeptic is either unable or unwilling to read carefully and honestly. The paper the skeptic is reading affirms that all the universe obeys the same rules.

          > Skeptic: I think what Dr. Q is talking about here is the basic smell test.

          Straw-man fallacy.

          > If you create a PseudoScientific Construct that allows the universe to be 6,000 years old,

          Question-begging epithet fallacy. There is nothing pseudoscientific about recent creation.

          > If you say that Magic created the universe in Six Days, it has to be Magic that the audience can actually see, feel and smell.

          Straw-man fallacy, and question-begging epithet fallacy.

          > Skeptic: Dr. Quackenstein admits that he is getting ready to promote a lie.

          Straw-man fallacy, and abusive ad hominem fallacy.

          > Skeptic: Ok, J, I am not going into the pseudoscience that this guy promotes

          Question-begging epithet fallacy.

          > because his conclusion is so obviously false in the real world that we live in.

          Begging the question fallacy.

          > Skeptic: Here is where he violates the smell test:

          There is no such test in science. Essentially, the skeptic appeals to his intuition to distinguish truth from error. But intuition can often be misleading in science. Quantum mechanics is not intuitive.

          >> Dr. Lisle: However, the speed of light in any one direction is not necessarily constant.
          > Skeptic: The speed of light in vacuum, commonly denoted c, is a universal physical constant important in many areas of physics.

          Straw-man fallacy, and fallacy of irrelevant thesis. The claim is that the speed of light in any one direction (one-way) is not necessarily constant. The skeptic then refers to the fact that the round-trip, two-way speed of light is constant. But no one denies this. His point is irrelevant to the claim at issue, demonstrating that he has not understood what he read.

          > Skeptic: The constant speed of light is the most important law in science. We depend on it for nearly everything that springs from technology to work.

          If the skeptic had bothered to actually read any of the references provided, he would have learned that science and technology only require the round-trip speed of light to be constant.

          > Skeptic: You need to answer it for yourself and more importantly, for [your son]. Because if you don’t, he will ask it.

          Another obvious appeal to emotion fallacy.

          > Skeptic: There will come a day when he asks himself, “Is the world the way it really looks or is it the way my dad says it is?”

          Appeal to emotion fallacy, and reversible claim: “Is the world really the way it looks (created by God about 6000 years ago) or is it the way my dad says it is (chance accident, billions of years old)?”

          The skeptic’s other comments were similarly fallacious. I hope this helps.

    • Robert says:

      See the comments in the article “Arbitrariness and Inconsistency – the Opposites of Rationality” on this blog. There is a discussion there about this starting at the 3rd comment.

  6. Mike says:

    Dear Dr. Lisle,

    Have you ever considered debating with Richard Dawkins? He claims that he wants to kill god, if you will. I have seen your debates with Hugh Ross, and Eugene Scott they were both extremely well debated :)

  7. Chris says:

    Dr. Lisle,

    You said that we can know our senses are ‘generally’ reliable. How does ‘generally’ reliable put us in a better position than the one the unbeliever is in? How does ‘generally’ reliable give us certainty? How can we know when our senses are working as opposed to ‘most likely’ working, or not working at all? How would you explain how ‘generally’ reliable senses helps us at all? Would you say our senses are reliable ‘enough’ to know for certain that they are working in some instances? If that’s the case then how is it that people have been wrong who were confident their senses were working properly? Or would you say our senses are reliable ‘enough’ to be able to use third party perspective to validate whether or not ours’ our working properly? I’ll give you an example; can I know my pen is blue with absolute certainty given that my senses are only ‘generally’ reliable? I look forward to your answer. Thanks and God bless.

    -Chris

    • Jacob Howard says:

      Hi Chris,

      Might I ask you how you know you exist? How do you know you are even reading this? How do you know you exist right now or anytime?

      In Christ Jesus alone,

      Jacob Howard

      http://www.theyspeak.org

      • Chris says:

        I think you are misunderstanding my question. I know that our senses are ‘generally’ reliable (and that they are not ‘perfectly’ reliable because of the curse). I’m just wondering how we explain what that means in terms of certainty. ‘Generally’ reliable implies that there are times when our senses are not reliable (because of the curse). So how do we know when they are and when they aren’t? I think I have answered part of my question in the OP. I’m just wondering how we can categorize things that can be known for certain using our senses, and things that have the possibility for error. I don’t think my existence has the possibility of error, because I can justify it scripturally.

        • Chris says:

          I guess to put it in simpler terms, maybe this will help. How can we know what the curse has affected (in terms of reliability of senses) and what it has not affected?

    • Micah says:

      Chris,

      You can know your pen is blue with absolute certainty because God created us to be able to understand the world we live in.

      In a random chance universe we shouldn’t expect that our senses are reliable or that they should make sense. Thats Dr. Lisle’s point i think.

      • Chris says:

        I’m just wondering what he means by ‘generally’ reliable. I understand that they are not perfectly reliable because of the fall. But I’m just wondering how we can know for certain when they are reliable and when they are not.

        • Micah says:

          Hmmm,

          Well, i suppose a case where your senses arent working probably would be in instances like hallucinations or mirages?
          I take generally reliable to mean that i can generally trust what my senses are telling me. Obviously we must use reason to determine when and when not to trust our senses. For example, if i am out in the desert in the scorching heat and i see some water off in the distance…well, this would not be a good time to trust my senses because i know that mirages trick the senses. If on the other hand i get up one day and see that it is raining outside, i can be fairly certain that it actually is raining because my senses are generally reliable. I can see the rain, i have no reason to think my senses have been impaired, so i come to the conclusion that it is actually raining.

          Thats what i get out of ‘generally reliable’ anyways. Knowing when our senses are reliable just requires, well, common sense!

          I would be interested in Jasons opinion as well on this actually.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Chris,

      Since God is the ultimate source of truth, and since such truth is conveyed to us by His Word (both the written Word and the Word made flesh – John 14:6, 17:17), our senses are certain when they line up with the Word of God. There are many situations that God’s Word does not directly address though. So there are other considerations. But the most important criterion is God’s Word.

      Fortunately, our senses are generally reliable, meaning they truthfully probe the universe most of the time, for most people. They can be “tricked” – but it is not common. And in virtually all cases, God has given us the ability to figure out when our senses are not being reliable. For one, God has given us other senses. They can be used to check each other for consistency, and that is a biblical principle (Deuteronomy 19:15). I have seen optical illusions that fool my eyes – but not my fingers. It is nearly impossible to “fool” more than one or two of our senses simultaneously.

      In those rare situations where one sense is not reliable, I would argue that God (since He is not the author of confusion) has made it possible for us to realize this by the use of our other senses and our reason based on biblical presuppositions. A blind person has sufficient evidence that she cannot rely on her eyes at all. But she can still know the certainty of the Gospel. In any case, our senses are reliable enough that when we read the Bible (by sight, by braille, by hearing it spoken) the Holy Spirit confirms to us that it is indeed certain truth (John 10:27; 14:17; 1 John 4:6).

  8. Chris says:

    Dr. Lisle, I have no idea where to go with this. The guy obviously is better educated than I am, and I have no idea how to form p1. p.2 or the other things he is doing.

    I know he has taken me out of context a few times, but I feel like I am unable to explain or answer some of his questions, I do not know where to start.

    the “>” denotes sections where I am speaking and he is quoting me. (sometimes out of context…)

    >Alright, let us start there. We can address the Christian conception of God at a later point. So then, with regard to all known religions (which would include Secular Humanism) where do you fall in relation to a belief in a “higher power”?

    I don’t. if you have a specific deity claim you’d like me to examine, I’ll do that. But for every other claim, my position is “I do not take a position.”

    >By “it is an assumption that everyone makes together,” are you therefore suggesting that truth is determined by a collective?

    No. what I mean is that any human who takes reality to be objective is assuming it to be so. I treat the universe as if it were an objective thing. Is it? I don’t know.

    >does that mean(I take it) that you believe in an objectively ordered and constructed universal nature of reality?

    It depends on what you mean by ordered and constructed nature.

    >This is very true, however two competing and contradicting claims cannot both be true at the same time in the same place. Therefore it is possible for one person to witness the evidence and interpret it in a fashion that is contradictory to another. Thus, by the nature of the Laws of Logic, one person must be right and the other wrong in their interpretation of the evidence.

    So then, it follows from what you’ve said here that if I take any two people who both have differing opinions on some aspect of the universe, exactly one of them will always be right and exactly one of them will always be wrong. That’s the conclusion you just offered. Do you agree?

    >Information can be defined scientifically as an encoded message with an expected action and an intended purpose. […]DNA also contains information. […]DNA qualifies under the scientific definition of information.

    Do you disagree with this summary of your position regarding DNA and information?

    >There is no known law of nature, no known process, and no known sequence of events that can cause information to originate by itself in matter.

    this is argument from ignorance. I suppose you want me to demonstrate how this is a logical fallacy. Well, I’ll restate your argument.

    P1: Information exists
    P2: We do not possess knowledge of a method by which information can arise without some outside influence
    P3: Where there is information, there is an outside influence
    C: There is an outside influence on all information that exists in matter
    [edited because i missed a premise]

    Do you disagree with my restatement of your Theorem 28?

    >When its progress along the chain of transmission events is traced backward, every piece of information leads to a mental source, the mind of the sender.

    I can’t figure out how to form this into a logical proposition, with premises and conclusion. Do you have a suggestion for me?

    >The laws of information science confirm creation.

    Remind me what the laws of information science are. I mean, what exactly do these laws state?

    >Mutations have never been observed to add brand-new information, and thus they cannot be considered the driving mechanism of evolution.

    Ok, what is the difference between “brand new” information and beneficial mutations? By all means, be specific. We’re discussing science here.

    >Interdependent parts challenge the idea of particles-to-people evolution.

    This is where your paragraph falls apart. It’s also where you demonstrate that you don’t understand how evolution works.

    What, pray tell, is “particles-to-people evolution”?

    >So we must ask the question: which evolved first—hearts, kidneys, or lungs? Each is useless without the other two. A stepwise evolutionary process for any interdependent system would seem to be impossible at the outset.

    Here again, argument from ignorance.

    P1: Evolution requires independent parts to form simultaneously, prior to performing their proper, necessary functions.
    P2: No known mechanism exists to allow for such a change.
    C: Evolution cannot account for interdependent parts.

    Do you disagree?

    >Even within a single living cell, how could the various parts have come about in a gradual fashion?

    Again we have argument from ignorance.

    P1: Living cells contain interdependent parts.
    P2: No known mechanism exists to allow for the evolution of interdependent parts.
    C: Evolution cannot account for the interdependent parts found in living cells.

    Disagree?

    >Then please define your usage of the term.

    Evolution has been referred to by Dawkins as the Blind Designer.

    >I am not suggesting that 2+2=5, however in a naturalistic worldview that would be entirely possible, as why should we expect the same laws we are accustomed to here on earth be the same elsewhere?

    We have observed the universe some 14 billion light-years away, and in those locations, gravity operates in the same predictable manner it does within our own solar system. So does chemistry. Do you have an observation that suggests that the laws of nature change or have changed?
    Let me be clear; it is possible that the laws of nature we consider to be constant are not constant. So in that sense, I agree with your statement. Nonetheless, until we have observed nature’s laws changing, we won’t be expecting them to change.

    In any case, you didn’t answer my question. Can you choose to believe that 2+2=5? How about; can you choose to believe the moon is made of cheese?

    >I take it then that you do not disagree with the definition of Information or the theorems of information science since you neither addressed them or challenged them.

    In reality, this particular conversation is going to go nowhere because at some point down the line I am going to ask you to answer those questions I already asked, and you’re going to find yourself unable to answer adequately.

    For example, here:

    >>Intended purpose, DNA is the essential building block of all organic life on earth. It is what determines everything that is hardwired into us. (hardwired indicating our physical characteristics) thus, the intended purpose is life.

    I’ll restate your sentences once again.

    P1: DNA is the essential building block of all organic life on earth. It determines everything that is hard-wired into us.
    P2: [Is missing]
    C: DNA’s intended purpose is life.

    I’d love for you to take a swing at this statement and see if you can make a valid premise + conclusion combination out of your assertion here so far.
    about an hour ago · Edited · Like

    >Fallacy of begging the question, you are assuming what you are trying to prove, and thus have not proven anything with your statement.

    I’ll restate my argument in a logical form, and we’ll see about that begging the question. I’ll give you a hint, though: the fallacy I used was not begging the question, it was the same fallacy I have been telling you that you’ve been using, and I used it in satire as a response to what you’ve written so far.

    P1: The mechanism God used to create the universe has never been observed.
    P2: There is no known mechanism by which God could have created the universe.
    C: God did not create the universe.

    In parody of:

    P1: The mechanism by which mutations add “brand-new” information to a creature’s genetic code has never been observed.
    P2: There is no known mechanism by which mutations could add “brand-new” information to a creature’s genetic code.
    C: Mutations cannot add “brand new” information to a creature’s genetic code.

    If you agree that your argument against mutations is valid and sound, you agree that my argument against god’s creation of the universe is valid and sound. They are the same argument.
    They are both also fallacious. Mine, intentionally so.

    >You have neither provided evidence that I am wrong, nor made a claim of your own.

    Not providing evidence that you are wrong or making a claim of my own does not invalidate my position or validate yours. If you’d like to explain how it might, please feel free.

    >Thirdly, in your smug response you have actually agreed with me on the fact that evidence of evolution has not been observed, and thus your worldview crumbles.

    If you say so, then I guess it must be true. lol.

    >Then please define your definition of Evolution. As I have said, my definition of Evolution (or particles-to-people evolution) is that all life descends from a common ancestor. Thus, we humans are descended from inorganic particles.

    Evolution is a process. It has many facets. It is not simple. It takes more than a high school level education on biology in order to fully understand it. I do not claim to fully understand evolution.

    Evolution is most easily summarized as genetic change over time. There, it’s defined.

    >Instead of accusing me of non-sequitur, I would ask that you instead show how I it does not follow.

    P1: Mutations imply a stepwise evolutionary process.
    P2: The heart, lungs, and kidney are useless unless they all exist.
    C: A stepwise evolutionary process is impossible.

    Disagree?

    >Therefore in context it does follow, and it is an accurate representation of Darwinian Evolutionary Theory.

    Why do you YECs all insist on referring to it as “Darwinian Evolutionary Theory”? It’s as if you think the theory of evolution is some unchanging dogma that originated 150 years ago and has been upheld in its entirety ever since. Well, maybe you should read a book instead of AnswersinGenesis.

    >(or particles-to-people evolution. Ie. Common Descent.)

    I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.

    Nathanael:

    >Your statement is arbitrary and fallacious,

    I don’t…sigh. A statement can’t be fallacious. Fallacies are for logical arguments. Statements are not logical arguments.

    You can call it arbitrary if you want, but calling it arbitrary leaves it exposed to the same criticism.

    >as you have neither shown how it is from ignorance, nor have you presented any sort of evidence to back up your claim.

    Not providing argument or evidence is not a fallacy, nor does it make it arbitrary. Are you sure you understand these words you’re using?

    >You are accusing me of the fallacy of straw-man by misrepresenting the opposing side and attacking the misrepresentation.

    Do you know what a strawman argument is? While you have absolutely erected strawmen against evolution here in these posts, I have not accused you of doing it. (Just now I did.)

    >Then show me how at any stage it would be possible for a multicellular organism to live without an interdependent part instead of trying to shield yourself by suggesting somewhere in the past it was possible for it to be otherwise.

    A function can be duplicated. Once a function is redundant, one of its duplicates is free to mutate without any detrimental effect on the function it used to have.

    >Therefore you have not challenged directly the idea of Irreducible Complexity, and have not provided any evidence to support your claim.

    I don’t know if you can tell that I’m not trying very hard to be persuasive. But I’m not.

    >This is the appeal to authority fallacy

    How?

    >and the elephant throwing fallacy

    lol what’s that?

    >Secondly, Behe actually agrees with the concept of Irreducible Complexity,(he actually was one of the first to acknowledge certain characteristics that cannot have come about by evolutionary processes) and therefore your fallacy of appeal to authority actually supports my argument and not yours.

    [Insert the sound of what I said whooshing over your head.]

    >I define faith as “believing in something with especially strong conviction”.

    Well, by that definition, anything anyone believes is faith. If that’s the definition we’re using, then of course I have faith. This is, of course, not the definition provided by the bible, which you’d think you’d use as your source over some book written by man (the dictionary).

    >Therefore all things that we believe or know are based upon faith (this is the Merriam Webster’s definition of faith)

    It’s one definition.

    >Secondly, your assertion that it may surprise me falls flat because my grandmother was the head over an entire radiology division at a hospital until five years ago, my mother is an MA, and my Aunt is a Nurse studying for her doctorate.

    Sorry, is this the argument from authority you accused me of a few moments ago? Heh.
    about an hour ago · Like

    Nathanael Rylan Isola >However, truth is not determined by the majority or the minority, or by consensus. It is absolute and objective, and therefore appeal to majority fallacies (like the one you just made inadvertently) hold no value.

    Guess that makes all this discussion pointless, doesn’t it?

    Also, I don’t really think you understand fallacies. Maybe you should read a primer.

    >Secondly, a literal and straightforward reading of Genesis 1-7 is entirely incompatible with Darwinian Theory and Common Descent. Thus, your statement has served to provide no evidence (once again) for your claim.

    WHAT IS DARWINIAN THEORY? LOL

    Please provide me the biblical support that tells you that genesis is to be read literally.

    >However, (according to naturalism) it is entirely possible for such things to occur.

    Oh, absolutely. ABSOLUTELY. I entirely, wholeheartedly, fully agree that it’s logically possible that laws might misbehave.

    Suddenly your claim that I borrow from your worldview isn’t quite so strong, is it.

    >it is necessary because you seem to avoid dancing around questions to avoid defining anything and nailing yourself down on anything. Thus, it could be stated that you have no idea what you believe

    Non sequitur. Should I write out the logical argument again?

    >Secondly, you just committed to Atheism (which is a system based in faith) and a religious institution (Secular Humanism) therefore, you went from one religion into another.

    Put me down for Jedi, actually. If I’m gonna be religious I might as well get the cool powers.

    >However, you have not shown in any way that my worldview could be flawed.

    Sure.

    >A worldview that is inconsistent or flawed cannot be expected to point to the correct worldview.

    Wut.

    >nature of truth

    What is truth?

    >how it is determined to be true

    NO YOU TELL ME. Since clearly you’re more informed and much more wise and intelligent than I am. Tell me, kind sir, how do I determine something is true? What’s the process? What’s the methodology? By what means can we falsify or verify a claim? I’m looking forward to this.

    >and how you perceive the universe around you.

    My brain interprets the sensory input it receives into coherent information my consciousness can access and process.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Chris,

      If I had the time, I could go through and do a point-by-point refutation of the critic’s claims. But I really don’t have the time (perhaps others will). He has made a lot of mistakes in logic, as well as errors of fact. I’d suggest you pick up a textbook on logic such as Copi and Cohen’s Introduction to Logic, or for a briefer summary, my books Discerning Truth, and The Ultimate Proof of Creation (chapters 7 and 8). I think they would be very helpful to you in responding to this critic or others. I’ll try to answer the highlights here:

      When this critic claims that you’re claiming that “if I take any two people who both have differing opinions on some aspect of the universe, exactly one of them will always be right and exactly one of them will always be wrong” he has committed the bifurcation fallacy. He’s confusing contraries with contradictories. Two contrary claims cannot both be true, but they can both be false. For example:

      Person A: The light is red
      Person B: No, the light is green.

      They could both be wrong, as the light could be yellow. But when two people offer contradictory claims, it is always the case that one of them is right and one of them is wrong. The contradiction of “A” is created by adding “It is not the case that” to the claim. For example:

      Person A: The light is red
      Person B: It is not the case that the light is red.

      One of those two must be right and the other wrong by the law of the excluded middle.

      This critic has misrepresented the argument from information theory, and falsely characterized it as an argument from ignorance. In fact there are thousands of cases where information has been observed to come from a mind, and none where it has been created without a mind. This is evidence, not ignorance. His “restatement” of your argument is not true to the original, so it is a straw-man fallacy. A proper argument in standard form would be:

      1. Information always originates from a mind, never by an unthinking process.
      2. DNA contains information.
      3. Therefore, the information in DNA must have originated from a mind, not an unthinking process.

      The critic would have to deny either (1) or (2) to deny the conclusion. Yet he can provide no counterexamples to refute (1), and it is doubtful that anyone could deny (2).

      He says, “Ok, what is the difference between ‘brand new’ information and beneficial mutations? By all means, be specific. We’re discussing science here.” But that really shows that he hasn’t bothered to study this topic at all, because creationists have written profusely on it. A “beneficial” mutation is one that leads to an increased likelihood of survival in a particular environment. There are beneficial mutations. But they always involve a loss of genetic information or are neutral. Bacteria can lose the ability to limit their production of penicillinase, which leads to increased resistance to penicillin. This is beneficial to the bacteria in environments with high concentrations of penicillin, but it is due to a loss of genetic information. Therefore, it is the opposite of evolution.

      You rightly say, “Interdependent parts challenge the idea of particles-to-people evolution.” And then the critic responds, “This is where your paragraph falls apart. It’s also where you demonstrate that you don’t understand how evolution works.” (Though, later he states, “I do not claim to fully understand evolution.” So his objection seems disingenuous). But he provides absolutely no evidence to back up his claim. His response is arbitrary and irrational. In fact, Charles Darwin himself argued that if any organ is comprised of genuinely interdependent parts – parts that depend critically on each other such that the removal of one causes the system to fail – it would falsify his claims about evolution. He writes in chapter 6 of On the Origin of Species, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” By the critic’s reasoning, Darwin just doesn’t understand evolution!

      The critic then says, “What, pray tell, is ‘particles-to-people evolution’?” This question occurs after he has just criticized you for not understanding it. He then goes on to mischaracterize the argument from irreducible complexity as an argument from ignorance. In reality, the argument from irreducible complexity is based on knowledge – knowledge of the fact that all the parts must be in place and functioning simultaneously for the organ or organism to survive. This eliminates an evolutionary origin. Notice that the critic did not answer the question put to him. So which evolved first, the heart, the kidneys, or the respiratory system?

      One section that I personally would focus on is the notion that the laws of physics/mathematics/logic are the same everywhere and at all times. The critic has no reason to believe this on his own worldview, yet all of them do believe it – which exposes their suppressed knowledge of God. This is a powerful point. The critic here tried to answer this objection by saying, “We have observed the universe some 14 billion light-years away, and in those locations, gravity operates in the same predictable manner it does within our own solar system.” But he has committed the fallacy of begging the question. After all, how do we know that our observations of the distant universe are accurate? Astronomers assume that the light has travelled in a straight line and acts in the same way as it does nearby. In other words, astronomers have assumed that the laws of physics are the same for the distant universe as they are for here. So how can the critic then argue that this proves they are the same there as they are here. Without realizing it, the critic has assumed uniformity in order to argue for uniformity. His reasoning is circular and fallacious.

      He says, “Do you have an observation that suggests that the laws of nature change or have changed?” But this too begs the question. Our brains work using the current laws of physics and chemistry. So in order for our past observations to be reliable, the laws of nature would have to be the same as today. If they’ve changed, then there is no reason to trust our memories of past events. So the critic has assumed what he is trying to prove when he argues that we’ve never seen laws of nature change.

      The critic expects that the laws of nature will continue to be in the future as they have been in the past. I know this because otherwise he wouldn’t bother typing a reply, since pressing keys on a computer might have a totally different outcome next time in a chance universe. But he has no reason to expect such consistency on his own professed worldview. He argues that the laws have never changed before (which is fallacious because it presupposes that his memory is reliable, which would only be the case if the laws were constant in the past). But even if we grant that laws of nature have been the same in the past, this is logically irrelevant to the way they will be in the future, unless we have some other reason to think that the future will be like the past. This is a difficult point for people who are new to such issues. But it is very powerful. The unbeliever has no basis whatsoever on his own worldview for expecting the laws of nature to be consistent over time and space.

      The comparison between God creating and nature creating is fallacious. God – by definition – is transcendent (beyond) the universe. Therefore His method of creation need not be limited to natural laws. Nature – by definition – is not beyond the universe. Therefore, natural processes will logically be limited to natural processes.

      The critic commits the equivocation fallacy when he says, “Evolution is most easily summarized as genetic change over time. There, it’s defined.” The problem is that this definition isn’t the one being used in the debate. We all believe in genetic change over time. The question before us is not evolution in a generic sense of “change” as all creationists believe. Rather, the question is whether or not all life is descended from a single-celled ancestor that diversified through mutations and natural selection. Change in general does not prove a specific type of change.

      Again, he creates a straw-man argument: “P1 mutations imply…” An accurate form would be:

      1. Evolution requires the addition of copious amounts of genetic information (since the “higher” life forms have more information than their supposed single-celled ancestor).
      2. Mutations and natural selection can only remove information, or are neutral. They never add any brand new information.
      3. Therefore, evolution cannot occur by mutations and natural selection.

      Toward the end the critic says, “What is truth?” This reminded me of Pilate’s words to Jesus in John 18:38. This is the question that skeptics cannot cogently answer. But Jesus answers in John 14:6. We know truth by revelation from God.

      At the end the critic says, “My brain interprets the sensory input it receives into coherent information my consciousness can access and process.” My question would be, “How do you know that to be true? In your worldview, how do you know that your senses are reliable, or that your consciousness is rational or truthful? If the brain and sensory organs are merely the result of mindless mutations that were not eliminated because they improved survival value, how does this lead to the conclusion that the brain is truthful?”

      Stick to the main points. Avoid rabbit trials. Answer always with gentleness and respect – even if he doesn’t. Don’t get discouraged if he doesn’t change – he probably won’t. It’s ultimately up to God to change a person’s heart.

      • Chris says:

        Thank you, Dr. Lisle. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. I will definitely take a look at both of those books (I am borrowing them from two of my coworkers, but I have not had time to delve too deeply into them.)

  9. Mike says:

    how do you defend against this kind of an argument Dr. Jason Lisle?

    “I think you might be confused as to where the burden of proof lies, because it lies with you, the one claiming that your god exists. Atheism is a rejection of the claims of the various religions. They say “this is true” and many of us don’t accept what they provide as “evidence”. It’s not my job to go around ‘disproving’ every religion in the world. That would take many lifetimes and isn’t worth my time.

    I didn’t say you were fools. I said believing things on faith is foolish. An otherwise intelligent person can be foolish in one area. For example, someone can be a brilliant scientist who makes poor dietary choices and gets fat. Or you can be a talented musician who is terrible with relationships ant treats people badly. Or you can be a successful businessman who believes the ancient mythical stories dreamt up by our iron age ancestors, just to give a few examples. People aren’t normally “fools” in every area of their life.

    If you want to present the ‘truth’ of christianity, I’m willing to listen. If you want to support the claims of christianity, there are several claims made by christianity which would all need to be supported. You can start with these:

    1. Christianity claims that a supernatural ‘realm’ exists.
    2. Supernatural beings such as demons and angels exist in this realm.
    3. At least one god exists.
    4. The god known to exist is the christian god.
    5. No other gods exist. (This claim is huge since you’d need absolute knowledge of everything to support this)
    6. Sin exists, and is present in the blood of humans which:
    7. Was caused by the “fall” of Adam & Eve. Proper understanding of evolution would mean there was no A&E, thus no ‘fall’, and no curse to be cleansed by Jesus.
    8. Jesus existed.
    9. He was the son of god
    10. He was also god
    11. He was born of a virgin
    12. He was resurrected
    13. His resurrection atones for our ‘sins’.
    14. He flew away to heaven after resurrecting
    15. Heaven exists
    16. Hell exists
    17. The holy spirit exists
    18. Demon possession is real
    .. And many others… If you believe in the inerrancy (the perfection) of the Bible, then every single sentence of the Bible is a factual claim. Of course the Bible contradicts itself, so it can’t be perfectly factual, but this is mostly ignored.
    17. Believing claims 1-18 is required for entry into heaven, or perhaps belief in an inerrant Bible, and adherence to the doctrines within. Maybe not all the doctrines. Some old testament doctrines can be ignored. Maybe you could point me to the area in scripture where we’re told which parts of scripture we’re supposed to follow and which we’re supposed to ignore.

    Each of these need to be evidenced without using the Bible, since you can’t use the Bible to prove the Bible. That would be like using the Koran to show the Koran is true. If a muslim said to you “here in the Koran it says X, Y, and Z, so X, Y, and Z are true”, you would not be convinced. So please don’t try that with me because it’s useless with me or any other non-christian.”

    • Mike says:

      How would you go about tackling this?

    • Chris says:

      The Koran also says (as Dr. Lisle points out during a conversation with Neil Yoder) that Allah is the prince of liars, thus we can trust nothing that Allah says. However, God claims that He cannot lie, and if God cannot lie, then He must always tell the truth, as He cannot change His nature. (Just wanted to give that one a whack because I have heard other religions use that argument before.)

      But they (the Jews) were deceptive, and Allah was deceptive, for Allah is the best of deceivers (Wamakaroo wamakara Allahu waAllahu khayru al-makireena)! S. 3:54; cf. 8:30

      • Tony says:

        yes well actually the Qur’an says that Allah is only deceptive to “infidels” so iam not sure how this will change your argument

        • Chris H says:

          That really does not change my argument at all, Tony. Because regardless of if Allah is only deceiving the infidels, Allah cannot be the ultimate standard of Truth, as he is claiming to be the author of lies and untruth. Thus we could actually more correctly state that Allah is the antithesis of Truth. Remember, God’s glory is proclaimed in all the world, to the believer and the “infidel”. However, this appears not to be the case with Allah, as he purposely chooses to mislead and to deceive people. This indicates that he is capricious, and is also not truly “all loving” either.

          • Tony says:

            1 Kings 22:23
            Now, therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

            2 Chronicles 18:22
            Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets.

            Jeremiah 4:10
            Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people.

            Jeremiah 20:7
            O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived.

            Ezekiel 14:9
            And if a prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet.

            2 Thessalonians 2:11
            For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.

            • Brian Forbes says:

              That was an amazing list. It was a fun lesson.

              To me, most of those were things implied and things inferred with no direct lying at all. Or God used a spirit to lie, just like he could use a lie told by us according to our nature. I especially liked Ez. 14, where the next verse was:
              10 False prophets and hypocrites — evil people who claim to want my advice — will all be punished for their sins.

              Those who are used for lying will also be punished for it! That’s wonderful.

    • Chris says:

      As for arguing from the perspective of the Mosaic law, here is what the New Testament Apostle’s have to say about the Mosaic Law.

      “He states that according to the writers of the New Testament the law is:

      Annulled, taken away, voided, abolished, useless, extinguished, destroyed, weak, desecrated, obsolete, cast out, wiped out, invalid, repealed, obliterated, eliminated, removed, replaced, nullified, abrogated, unreal, sundered, and ended. And they [the writers of the New Testament] state equally unequivocally, and correlatively, with reference to the believer that he is: dead to, not bound by, free from, redeemed from, liberated by death from, removed from, not ruled by, not keeping, not under, and apart from [the law of Moses].[1]

      1Günther H. Juncker, “’To Abolish the Law’: The Antinomian Vocabulary of the New Testament and Its Implications” (paper presented at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Atlanta, GA, November 18, 2010), 2-3. Juncker continues on page 3 of this paper, “with only the slightest amount of hyperbole it would seem that every conceivable and available Koine term, legal or otherwise, that could be used to speak of the abolition and annulment of the law of Moses was used. Had the word “kibosh” existed in the first century I have no doubt that the NT (probably Paul or Hebrews) would have used it to “put the kibosh” on the law of Moses.”

      • Dr. Lisle says:

        Hi Chris,

        The Old Testament laws are not annulled. Rather, some of them have been set aside in the New Testament because they were only a symbolic shadow of Christ who accomplished in practice what they only taught in principle (Hebrews 7:18, 10:1-4, Galatians 3:24-25). In the New Testament, we are not obligated to outwardly follow the Old Testament ceremonial laws if we have received Christ – the substance to which all those shadows pointed. We inwardly keep the Old Testament ceremonial laws by receiving Christ as Lord (e.g. Romans 2:28-29).

        However, the rest of the Old Testament laws have not been set aside in the New Testament. Therefore, we have a moral obligation to keep them (1 John 5:2-3; 2:3-4; 3:22-24; John 14:15,21; 15:10; 1 Corinthians 7:19; Revelation 14:12). This is not in an attempt to earn salvation, which cannot be earned. Rather it is out of gratitude for the salvation God has graciously given us, out of love for God, and the recognition that it is morally right to obey the King of kings.

        Jesus emphatically stated that He did not come to abolish the law of God. In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Now some people teach that “fulfill” is a synonym for “abolish” – but that cannot be the case because then Jesus would be contradicting Himself. “Fulfill” is from the Greek “pleroo” which means to establish, re-establish, or “confirm in full measure.” Jesus came not to abolish the law but to confirm it in full measure.

        I have a series of articles on this blog on this very topic under the “God’s Law” series that you might find helpful. The first one is here: http://www.jasonlisle.com/2012/01/23/gods-law-introduction/

        • Brian Forbes says:

          I read John 3 during lunch about an hour ago. The end of that sermon is even more powerful to me than the 3:16 verse. If you are evil, you’ll walk in darkness. If you are good, you will walk in the light so that your good deeds will be seen. (v. 19-20)

        • Chris H says:

          Thank you, Dr. Lisle. I heard it explained to me by a professor that the Law is a reflection of God’s morality and values, and as such it is something that we can look to in order to better understand the character of God. What is your take on this definition?

          • Dr. Lisle says:

            Yes, the moral laws in Scripture are a reflection of God’s character. This is why moral principles are absolute and do not change – God is sovereign and beyond time. By studying God’s laws we can indeed better understand His character. By obeying God’s laws we experience and express God’s love.

            • Chris H says:

              I have a question for you. (But before I do, I want to clarify that I am not advocating so called “Christian Liberty” as some might call it. While I agree with the term “liberty” I do not agree that we can do anything we want. I’ll explain why, if it would help.)

              In Romans 6:14-23

              “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

              15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,[c] you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

              20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

              Romans 7:1-6
              “Or do you not know, brothers[a]—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.[b] 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

              4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.[c]”

              (I understand that it is not saying that the Law is evil, as the proceeding verses in the chapter indicate. That isn’t the point I am heading towards.)

              Romans 8:1-11

              “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

              9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus[d] from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

              Romans 10:5

              “For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.”

              These passages seem to indicate that we not any longer under ANY portion of the law. Because as Paul writes in Romans 10:5, anyone who does the commandments shall live by them. (He does not make a qualification about which commandments we are to keep, and which we are not.)

              Galatians 3:10
              “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

              Galatians 3:12-13

              “But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—”

              Romans 4:14

              “For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.”

              Galatians 3:19-29

              “Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

              21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

              23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[g] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

              Galatians 4:1-6

              “I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave,[a] though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles[b] of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”

              Again, I do NOT believe that we are free to run around and do anything that we want, that is not the definition of liberty that I find myself believing in. What I believe is that because the Law is STILL an accurate description of God’s moral perfection (And is a reflection of His values), we are to seek obey it because it is something that pleases God. Faith without works is dead faith James 2:14.

              However, I do not see anywhere in the Epistles where Paul specifically says that there are certain portions of the law that you are free from, and certain portions that we are not. Indeed, he seems to be saying that anyone who wants to obey any part of the law will be held accountable before the entire law.

              Yes, the Galatians were observing the feasts, the months, the seasons and the years, but I believe that Paul’s writings to the Romans indicate that the Galatians observing the feasts was a greater expression of them placing themselves under the law, in addition to dogmatically stating that you must keep the commandments in order to be saved (yes, that includes but does not limit itself to circumcision.)

              1 Corinthians 10:23

              “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.”

              (On things that are clearly against God’s sense of morality, I will uphold that they are wrong, because God’s objective standard of morality is to be adhered to (not out of an obligation, but out of a sincere love and desire to please the One who did for us that which we could not.) Where things are not strictly against God’s standard of morality, I will fall where Paul stands here, “All things are lawful” But not all things are helpful. If we cannot say that we are doing what we are doing for the glory of Christ and the Name of the Father, I would suggest that it is sin and we should cease to do it, because if we are not trying to give glory to God (ultimately) then in some way we are trying to bring glory to ourselves. (which is sin.)

              James 2:9-11

              9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.”

              Here, James is not talking about the covenant laws, rather he is talking about the moral code of God. (At least that is what it appears to be.)

              (Yes, I did use the ESV and an online resource [Bible Gateway] to find these verses. That is not because I wanted to cherry pick, because I have read these verses all at one point or another, and the verses from the Pauline Epistles have been chapters that I have been reading extensively reading for a course I am taking. However, I hadn’t committed many of them to memory, and as such I knew which books to look in, but not the passages themselves. [in other words I had the content of the books, but I did not have the verbatim statements of the passages])

              If I am mistaken, I am open to learn why and how. I know that it is a precarious balance between legalism and liberty, but I am trying to find the middle ground and walk there. Instead of being reactive to the world, I want to be active, and instead of following the world into its extremes I want to follow the word of God.

              Grace and Peace, Dr. Lisle. If you take the time to reply, I will be most appreciative.

              PS. I hope that my tone has not been felt to be one of disrespect. The university which I am attending has made Galatians the book study for all of its chapel messages, and so this is a very common theme which we were about in some form every week. It is something that I am by no means entirely familiar with, but it is something that I very much want to learn more about.

              • Dr. Lisle says:

                Hi Chris,

                “The law” is used to mean several different (though related) things in Scripture, and we must use context to determine what meaning is in play in any particular passage.

                > These passages seem to indicate that we not any longer under ANY portion of the law.

                To be “under the law” means to be under its curse (Galatians 3:10). It does not mean that we are no longer morally obligated to obey God as Paul explains in Romans 6:14-15. Rather, it means that those who are in Christ will not have to suffer the eternal punishment for sin (Galatians 4:5). We are not under the law in the sense that we are not under the curse of the law. We are still supposed to obey all standing laws of God

                > Because as Paul writes in Romans 10:5, anyone who does the commandments shall live by them. (He does not make a qualification about which commandments we are to keep, and which we are not.)

                That is because Paul is speaking in general terms, not giving specific instructions on specific commandments. The context of Romans 10:5 is Paul’s desire that his fellow Jews would be saved. They were trying to be justified by the law – but that has never been a way of salvation.

                Compare this with the similar verse in Galatians 3:12. The context here (see the previous verse 11) is that no one can be saved by obedience to the law, because no one fully obeys the law. If you are trusting in obedience to the law to be saved, then you must obey every law (Galatians 5:3), because breaking one of them is like breaking all of them (James 2:10). But, aside from Christ, no one fully obeys the law (Romans 3:23). Therefore, no one is saved by obedience to the law.

                Paul doesn’t state which commands to keep in every verse in which he writes about the law, because we are supposed to keep all the standing commands of God. But the Bible does indeed indicate that some Old Testament laws have been set aside in the New Testament. Namely, the laws that acted as a tutor to teach Old Testament believers about Christ (Galatians 3:24-25). Now that the object of our faith has come, we are no longer under that tutor.

                > Again, I do NOT believe that we are free to run around and do anything that we want, that is not the definition of liberty that I find myself believing in. What I believe is that because the Law is STILL an accurate description of God’s moral perfection (And is a reflection of His values), we are to seek obey it because it is something that pleases God. Faith without works is dead faith James 2:14.

                Yes. I agree completely. We are free to obey God, something that we could not do before salvation.

                > However, I do not see anywhere in the Epistles where Paul specifically says that there are certain portions of the law that you are free from, and certain portions that we are not.

                Paul explains in Galatians 3:23-25 that before the object of our faith (Jesus) came, we were kept in custody under the law which acted as a tutor to teach us about the coming Messiah. Paul here is referring to the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament, such as animal sacrifices, because these gave the Jews a physical picture of the coming Messiah; they were a tutor to lead to Christ, but moral laws only condemn. Paul explains that now that the object of our faith has arrived, we are no longer under that tutor. He further explains that these ceremonial laws were like a guardian that children have to obey while they are children (Galatians 4:3). But we are no longer under that guardian because we are no longer children, now that Christ has come (Galatians 4:4-5). Therefore, we are no longer like slaves that had to obey the Old Testament ceremonial laws (Galatians 4:6-7). Before Christ came in the flesh, God’s people were “enslaved” to the ceremonial laws, which Paul calls “weak and worthless” because they do not accomplish salvation (Galatians 4:9). The author of Hebrews also refers to the ceremonial laws in this way (Hebrews 7:18-19). Paul uses observance of the Old Testament ceremonial calendar as a specific example of something that he is disappointed that the people he is writing to continue to keep, as if they did not understand that this pointed to Christ (Galatians 4:10-11).

                > Indeed, he seems to be saying that anyone who wants to obey any part of the law will be held accountable before the entire law.

                It’s not obedience to the law that Paul is criticizing. Rather it is trusting in our obedience to the law for salvation. The ceremonial laws pointed toward the Redeemer, but they do not accomplish redemption. This is what Paul is explaining in Galatians 5, and the author of Hebrews discusses this profusely, particularly in chapter 10. Paul uses circumcision as a specific example of something that is set aside in the New Testament in Galatians 5.

                > Yes, the Galatians were observing the feasts, the months, the seasons and the years, but I believe that Paul’s writings to the Romans indicate that the Galatians observing the feasts was a greater expression of them placing themselves under the law, in addition to dogmatically stating that you must keep the commandments in order to be saved (yes, that includes but does not limit itself to circumcision.)

                The Galatians were making two mistakes, and Paul addresses both of them. Some of the Galatians were trusting in obedience to the law as a way of salvation, which it has never been. And, they continued to act as if they were held under the guardian of the ceremonial laws, which we in the New Testament are not. Paul is very clear that circumcision is set aside in the New Testament. He specifically wrote that believers who are not circumcised should not receive circumcision (1 Corinthians 7:18). Apparently, he was being persecuted for teaching that New Testament believers don’t need to be circumcised (Galatians 5:11). But he defends his position, and points out that if such ceremonial laws were still in effect, then the stumbling block of the cross would have been abolished.

                > 1 Corinthians 10:23

                In context, Paul here is addressing the Old Testament prohibition on eating certain types of foods. Those prohibitions are set aside in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 10:25). The distinction between clean and unclean foods was part of the Old Testament administration, a symbolic way of showing the separation of Jews from Gentiles (Leviticus 20:23-26). But the distinction between Jews and Gentiles has been set aside with the coming of Christ (Romans 10:12, Colossians 3:11).

                > (On things that are clearly against God’s sense of morality, I will uphold that they are wrong, because God’s objective standard of morality is to be adhered to (not out of an obligation, but out of a sincere love and desire to please the One who did for us that which we could not.)

                I agree with the sentiment, though I would phrase it slightly different. We are obligated to obey God in the sense that He is our rightful King, and it is morally right for us to obey God and morally wrong for us not to obey God. However, we are not saved by obedience. And God extends His grace and mercy to us when we do sin. Yes, we should also obey God out of love and a desire to please Him.

                > Where things are not strictly against God’s standard of morality, I will fall where Paul stands here, “All things are lawful” But not all things are helpful. If we cannot say that we are doing what we are doing for the glory of Christ and the Name of the Father, I would suggest that it is sin and we should cease to do it, because if we are not trying to give glory to God (ultimately) then in some way we are trying to bring glory to ourselves. (which is sin.)

                Yes.

                > Here, James is not talking about the covenant laws, rather he is talking about the moral code of God. (At least that is what it appears to be.)

                Yes. He is addressing the entire standing law of God. The Old Testament ceremonial laws are not standing today, but are set aside (Hebrews 7:18-19).

                > PS. I hope that my tone has not been felt to be one of disrespect.

                Oh, not at all. I hope my comments have been helpful. Dr. Bahnsen has a superb teaching series on both Galatians and Hebrews that might also be helpful to you, available here:
                http://www.cmfnow.com/galatiansmp3oncd.aspx
                and
                http://www.cmfnow.com/thebookofhebrewsmp3oncd.aspx

                God bless.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Mike,

      Your skeptical friend begins with a fallacy called “shifting the burden.” This is essentially saying, “I don’t have to prove my position, but you have to prove yours. And if you can’t, then my position is automatically true.” But this just doesn’t follow. Both atheism and Christian theism are positive worldviews that make truth claims. Therefore, both have the burden of proof. He says, “atheism is a rejection of the claims of various religions”, but atheism is itself a religion – by definition – since it is “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe.” We could equally well play his game and say, “Christianity is a rejection of atheism and all other pagan religions.”

      He says, “It’s not my job to go around ‘disproving’ every religion in the world. That would take many lifetimes and isn’t worth my time.” But that isn’t true. Since all other religions are contrary in one way or another to Christianity, all I have to do is prove Christianity true to prove all other religious systems to be false. And I can show Christianity to be true by showing that it alone makes knowledge possible – as in the Ultimate Proof of Creation.

      I appreciate what this person has said about being fools or foolish. I would say the same about evolutionists. Some of them are highly intelligent people, and they can reason quite cogently except when it comes to origins. They study the universe as if it were designed and upheld by the logical mind of God, and as a result they make tremendous strides in science. But then they profess that the universe is just chance. Such inconsistent thinking is indeed foolish.

      The skeptic then claims that he’s willing to listen to Christian claims, though he puts the ‘truth’ of Christianity in quotes suggesting that he’s already made up his mind. Then he gives a list of things that he thinks need to be proved in order for him to find Christianity to be plausible. Essentially, he is saying, “I’m willing to listen, but you must prove these things first on my terms – my standards of truth.” The Bible, however, claims that God is the only ultimate standard of truth (e.g. John 14:6). The Bible claims that other standards are foolish (Proverbs 1:7, Matthew 7:24-27).

      So by asking us to prove the Bible by a standard that the Bible itself rejects, the critic is asking us to start the debate by assuming that the Bible is wrong – which isn’t rational. Effectively, he’s saying, “The Bible is wrong about the standards of truth. I’m willing to listen to your argument that the Bible is true, but you must start from the premise that it is wrong.” This of course is an unreasonable requirement. The critic is begging the question when he assumes that his standards are correct, because the Bible indicates that his standards are wrong. The critic has already arbitrarily assumed that the Bible is wrong in his attempt to prove that the Bible is wrong. He is reasoning in circles.

      Unless the critic can make a good argument against the Christian God (which he can’t), then in fairness he ought to at least allow for that possibility. The Bible teaches that everyone already knows that the Christian God exists anyway, and they even understand some of His divine attributes (Romans 1:20). People manifest their suppressed knowledge of God by trusting in God’s laws of logic, God’s uniform upholding of nature, God’s absolute moral standards, and so on. None of these would make sense apart from the Christian God. The existence of God is proved from the impossibility of the contrary. So, given that the Christian God does exist, virtually all the skeptic’s other points are answered:

      1. Given that the Christian God exists, a supernatural realm must exist. This follows logically.
      2. Given that God exists, there is no reason to arbitrarily deny the possibility of other spiritual beings.
      3. Given that the Christian God exists, at least one god exists. QED.
      4. The Christian God is necessarily the Christian God.
      5. The fact that no other god’s exist indeed follows logically. This is because the Christian God is absolutely sovereign – he is in control of everything else (Isaiah 46:10-11). It is logically impossible to have two (or more) absolutely sovereign beings because each cannot be higher than the other. The skeptic here seems to think that this is a difficult point to prove; he says, “This claim is huge since you’d need absolute knowledge of everything to support this.” But of course, the Christian God does have absolute knowledge of everything, and He has told us that there are no other gods like Him (Isaiah 45:5-6, 18).
      8. Even educated critics admit that Jesus existed.
      9. The Christian God is triune. So God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
      10. The Christian God is all powerful, so He can take on human nature if He pleases. It’s not a problem.
      11. The Christian God is all powerful, so he can make a virgin conceive. He made the first man from dirt.
      12. An all-powerful God has no problem raising the dead.
      13. The perfectly righteous Christian God is worthy to atone for our sins.
      14. God can go anywhere He wants – He is sovereign.
      15. Heaven – being the realm of God – necessarily exists since God exists.
      16. Hell necessarily exists because sin exists and the Christian God is just.
      17. The Holy Spirit is God, and God exists, therefore the Holy Spirit exists.
      18. There is no logical reason to deny spiritual beings like demons or their abilities given that an all-powerful spiritual being – God – exists.

      Point 6 is a straw man fallacy, and also a reification fallacy. Sin is conceptual – the concept of rebelling against God. It is definitely real, but does not exist physically, and therefore cannot be literally located in blood or any other physical thing.
      Point 7: There is no reason to reject biblical creation given that the all-powerful Christian God exists. God could certainly create in six days. The critic has rightly realized that Christian theology does not mesh with evolution. But he has drawn the wrong conclusion. Given that Christian theology is true, evolution isn’t.

      The critic claims, “Of course the Bible contradicts itself, so it can’t be perfectly factual, but this is mostly ignored” but he fails to provide any support for this claim. More importantly, apart from the biblical worldview, the critic has no logical justification for believing that contradictions are always wrong. The law of non-contradiction follows from the character of the Christian God in whom are deposited all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). And God does not deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). Therefore true knowledge will never contradict itself – if the Bible is true. But when the critic denies the truth of the Bible, he has given up any logical right to use the law of non-contradiction (or any law of logic for that matter).

      This critic says, “Believing claims 1-18 is required for entry into heaven, or perhaps belief in an inerrant Bible, and adherence to the doctrines within” indicating that he knows nothing about Christianity. The clear teaching of Scripture is that salvation (including “entry into heaven”) is accomplished solely by God’s grace as received through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is never accomplished by “adherence to doctrines within” since no one other than Jesus perfectly adheres to biblical doctrine (Romans 3:23).

      He then says, “Maybe not all the doctrines. Some old testament [sic] doctrines can be ignored. Maybe you could point me to the area in scripture where we’re told which parts of scripture we’re supposed to follow and which we’re supposed to ignore.” This again is a huge misunderstanding of Christian theology. We’re not supposed to ignore any doctrine in Scripture. There are some Old Testament laws that gave Old Testament Jews a physical picture of the salvation to come in Jesus, and these ceremonial laws are set aside in the New Testament now that Christ has come (Hebrews 7:18, Galatians 3:24-25). But we’re not supposed to ignore any part of Scripture. All Scripture is useful for doctrine, etc. (2 Timothy 3:16).

      His closing paragraph shows that this critic has not reflected adequately on the nature of worldviews and how competing worldviews might be evaluated. He says, “Each of these need to be evidenced without using the Bible, since you can’t use the Bible to prove the Bible.” But that is irrational. My response would be, “If I claimed that laws of logic don’t exist, would it be wrong for you to use logic to try and convince me otherwise? If I claimed that words don’t exist, would you stop using words to persuade me of the error of my thinking? If I said I don’t believe in air, would you have to hold your breath? Some things are so foundational that they must be used in their own proof – like laws of logic or words. This is always the case with foundational issues. In any case, my argument is not that the Bible is true just because it says it is – that would indeed be fallacious. My argument is that the Bible is true because any alternative cannot justify the existence and properties of those things necessary for reason – like laws of logic or uniformity in nature. The Bible itself teaches this, and yet no critic has ever been able to provide a rational basis for logic or science or objective morality apart from Scripture.”

      I hope this helps.

      • Tony says:

        “My argument is that the Bible is true because any alternative cannot justify the existence and properties of those things necessary for reason – like laws of logic or uniformity in nature. The Bible itself teaches this, and yet no critic has ever been able to provide a rational basis for logic or science or objective morality apart from Scripture.”

        yeah just keep telling your self that….. its clear that you just ignore arguments made against you and pretend they dont exist

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          Tony says, “yeah just keep telling your self [sic] that….. its [sic] clear that you just ignore arguments made against you and pretend they don’t [sic] exist”

          How Ironic! Does Tony actually deal with the argument presented? Does he show how a non-biblical worldview can account for the existence and properties of those things necessary for reason? No. Instead, Tony merely offers a question-begging epithet. Instead of actually dealing with the argument against his position, he merely “ignores it and pretends it doesn’t exist.”

      • Tony says:

        “More importantly, apart from the biblical worldview, the critic has no logical justification for believing that contradictions are always wrong. The law of non-contradiction follows from the character of the Christian God in whom are deposited all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). And God does not deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). Therefore true knowledge will never contradict itself – if the Bible is true. But when the critic denies the truth of the Bible, he has given up any logical right to use the law of non-contradiction (or any law of logic for that matter).”
        so are you basically saying here that you practice fidelism? (blind faith)

        • Chris H says:

          Where are you getting that idea from, Tony? I’d simply love to know!

          Secondly. Tony, your first comment you actually made no logical case for yourself. If you are going to criticize, step up and provide evidence for your claim that Dr. Lisle is ignoring other claims, instead of responding to them logically (albeit with a conclusion you disagree with.)

          • Tony says:

            I would love to but Dr.Lisle might just ban my IP if i try and did…..

            • Chris H says:

              Actually, that is a cop out on your part because Dr. Lisle has not (to my knowledge) banned anyone for voicing their opinion. You can look back on many posts on his blogs that indicate he more than happily lets people voice themselves. So you really can’t use that excuse, can you?

              • Tony says:

                yes i can ive seen this happen plenty of times before,the transcendal arguement is extremely flawed its is just a confusion between a phonetic and a semantic

                • Dr. Lisle says:

                  Again, instead of even attempting to support his case, Tony merely offers an unsubstantiated opinion. If the transcendental argument really were “extremely flawed” as he claims, then it should have been extremely easy for Tony to demonstrate this. Alas, he cannot.

                  • Tony says:

                    for Tony to demonstrate this. Alas, he cannot.”
                    first of all you would proably just dismiss it,with some cheap excuse thats why second of all
                    a typical theist argument (From Matt Slick of CARM) goes as follows:1.Logical absolutes are transcendent; they are not dependent on time or space
                    2.Logical absolutes are conceptual; they have no physical properties.
                    3.Concepts are the product of a mind.
                    4.Logical absolutes can’t be the product of human minds, which are variable and limited.
                    5.Therefore, logical absolutes are the product of God’s mind.

                    but he conflates the fact that logical absolutes exist with our ability to recognize that they exist. It’s a bit like confusing the word “cat” with the animal “cat.” The word “cat” may not exist without a mind observing it, but the animal “cat” certainly can. By the same token, the application of logic may require a mind, but logical absolutes are independent of any mind. A cat is still a cat when no one is around.

                    The same can be said for any abstract idea. Jupiter was still larger than Neptune before anyone understood the concept of size comparison.

                    There’s no need for an external mind to bring those concepts into being.

                  • Tony says:

                    and i even told you at the beginning its a confusion between a phoentic(sound) and semantic (meaning)

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          Tony says, “so are you basically saying here that you practice fidelism? [sic – he means fideism] (blind faith)”

          Quite the opposite. The biblical worldview is the only way to avoid fideism. No other worldview can justify (give a good reason) for the preconditions of reason – laws of logic, laws of nature, and their properties. It is Tony who practices fideism, since he has no good reason to believe in the preconditions of reason from his own worldview.

        • Micah says:

          >>>first of all you would proably just dismiss it,with some cheap excuse thats why second of all
          a typical theist argument (From Matt Slick of CARM) goes as follows:
          1.Logical absolutes are transcendent; they are not dependent on time or space
          2.Logical absolutes are conceptual; they have no physical properties.
          3.Concepts are the product of a mind.
          4.Logical absolutes can’t be the product of human minds, which are variable and limited.
          5.Therefore, logical absolutes are the product of God’s mind.
          >>Tony:but he conflates the fact that logical absolutes exist with our ability to recognize that they exist.
          It’s a bit like confusing the word “cat” with the animal “cat.”

          This is not a fair comparison. We are not talking about the words ‘laws of logic’, but the actual Laws of Logic themselves. Laws of logic are conceptual. A cat is physical.
          Since concepts can only come from a mind, then laws of logic must come from a mind. The question then is, who’s mind? It cannot be humans because humans are too limited and they are all different. If laws of logic were the product of humans then that means laws of logic could change, since people change. This means that people could set different standards for reasoning and debating would become pointless.
          Laws of logic govern how the universe behaves, not the other way around. This means that laws of logic must predate the universe…predate time….it means they must be eternal.
          Since laws of logic are conceptual and eternal, this means that laws of logic require an eternal Mind in order to have existed.

          A mind that is outside of time, and therefore, never changes is the requirement for laws of logic because laws of logic themselves are eternal and unchanging.

          >>The word “cat” may not exist without a mind observing it, but the animal “cat” certainly can.

          The cat is not conceptual, so of course it can exist without a mind. But laws of logic ARE conceptual, minds are the only thing that can produce concepts.

          >>By the same token, the application of logic may require a mind, but logical absolutes are independent of any mind.

          How do you know this? Concepts must originate from a mind, laws of logic are conceptual, therefore…..
          If you would like to refute the claim that ‘concepts must originate from a mind’ then you need to explain how they can originate from somewhere else and give us examples.
          Laws of logic are independent of any HUMAN mind, thats true. If there were no humans on the earth, laws of logic would still be here. But this does not mean they are not the product of a Mind.

          >>A cat is still a cat when no one is around.

          And laws of logic are still laws of logic even when no one is around. But this is irrelevant, cats are not conceptual…they are physical.

          >>The same can be said for any abstract idea. Jupiter was still larger than Neptune before anyone understood the concept of size comparison.

          The concept of size comparison is born of a physical reality(some objects are bigger than others). So yes, if no one understood the concept of size comparison that would not change the fact that Jupiter is bigger than Neptune. But laws of logic are different, they are a concept that does not come from a human mind like the concept of size comparison. Law of logic are not based off the physical, the physical is based off the laws of logic.

          >>There’s no need for an external mind to bring those concepts into being.

          The argument is not that all concepts come from God. But rather, all concepts come from a mind, laws of logic are a concept and cannot have come from a human mind, therefore they must come from Gods mind.

          • Tony says:

            The number 4 is “transcendent” by the TAG definition. It isn’t a ‘thing’ that ‘exists’. It cannot be photographed, frozen, weighed, or measured. It is always the number 4. It always remains the same. It always remains true.

            However, if there were no minds that exist what so ever to conceive of the number 4, the shape we currently call a square would still have the same number of sides it has now. It would not physically gain or lose any sides. The abstraction of the number 4 is conceptual, but the concept isn’t dependent on a transcendent mind for the real world underpinning of the concept to remain true.

            • Dr. Lisle says:

              Hi Tony,

              I appreciate that you did attempt to support your point this time by providing an argument. Unfortunately, it was a straw-man fallacy. You still haven’t addressed my argument, the one that you claimed was wrong.

              > first of all you would proably [sic] just dismiss it,with some cheap excuse thats [sic] why

              If you are going to make the claim that I’m wrong, it seems only reasonable that you offer some support. Is that so hard to do? How would you like it if I responded as you did? Suppose I said, “You are absolutely wrong. But I’m not going to tell you why because you would probably just dismiss it with some cheap excuse!” That would hardly be a rational way to dialog.

              > second of all a typical theist argument (From Matt Slick of CARM) goes as follows:

              First, that’s not my argument. Second, it’s not the transcendental argument. Third, you haven’t really refuted even this argument, as Micah pointed out. And fourth, you have not explained how the existence and properties of laws of logic would make sense in your worldview, and how we could know that they have such properties.

              > The number 4 is “transcendent” by the TAG definition.

              No, you are confusing “transcendent” with “transcendental.” “Transcendent” means something that goes beyond human experience. A “transcendental” is a precondition of intelligibility. Laws of logic are transcendental. But apart from the biblical worldview, there is no reason to believe in laws of logic or their properties. You either need to find some reason to have confidence in the laws of logic, or relinquish using them.

              > It isn’t a ‘thing’ that ‘exists’.

              The number 4 is indeed a thing that exists. Perhaps what you mean is that it does not have physical existence. But there is no reason to assume that all things that exist are physical. If the number 4 didn’t exist then we couldn’t use it (because you cannot use something that does not exist.)

              > The abstraction of the number 4 is conceptual

              No, the number itself is conceptual. Perhaps what you meant is that quantities exist apart from the concept of them (numbers), and that numbers (concepts) didn’t exist before people. If so, I think you will find that position very difficult to defend. Did the commutative law of addition exist before people existed?

              • tony says:

                if there were no minds in all of existance what so ever to conceive of the number 4, the shape we currently call a square would still have the same number of sides it has now, sort of like how if there are no minds what so ever in existance what so ever the logic would still be there, and you have confidence in them because they WORK, again a confusion between a semantic and a phonetic.

              • tony says:

                Also that one from Matt Slick IS the transcendental arguement

                • Dr. Lisle says:

                  Tony, the laws of logic (and the laws of mathematics) are not phonetic. They can be expressed by words of course, but 2+2 would continue to equal 4 even if no one ever spoke it. The truth of laws of mathematics has absolutely nothing to do with sound. You didn’t answer my question. Did the commutative law of addition exist before people existed?

                  The argument you listed and tried to refute is not the transcendental argument. The transcendental argument demonstrates that the Christian worldview must be true because it alone makes knowledge possible. This includes not only laws of logic, but uniformity in nature by which we can learn through science, and objective morality by which we can have knowledge of ethics. If you’d like to learn about transcendental arguments, Dr. Greg Bahnsen and Michael Butler have a nice teaching series on them available here: http://www.cmfnow.com/transcendentalarguments-1.aspx.

                  • tony says:

                    is it IS the trandecental arguement, Slick is trying to say that since logic is not “physical” than they must be upheld by God.
                    Like I have told you in my previous response-i no mind ever existe not even god i would still be there, just like if noone is there to imagine the number 4,not even god, than a square still has 4 corners

                  • tony says:

                    also I have shown ou logic does not need god to exist, incase you havent figured it out yet

              • 我の國 says:

                “More importantly, apart from the biblical worldview, the critic has no logical justification for believing that contradictions are always wrong. The law of non-contradiction follows from the character of the Christian God in whom are deposited all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). And God does not deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). Therefore true knowledge will never contradict itself – if the Bible is true. But when the critic denies the truth of the Bible, he has given up any logical right to use the law of non-contradiction (or any law of logic for that matter).”
                Oh every well than Doc Lisle, for the sake of the argument I will admit your god is real- and that I will being judging the evidence by the standard you (or your god) produced .So than if Christianity cannot live up to its own standards than its not true agreed?

                • Dr. Lisle says:

                  > Oh every [sic] well than [sic] Doc Lisle, for the sake of the argument I will admit your god [sic] is real- and that I will being [sic] judging the evidence by the standard you (or your god [sic] ) produced .So than [sic] if Christianity cannot live up to its own standards than [sic] its [sic] not true agreed?

                  There is a difference between the truth value of a philosophical system and a person’s ability to live up to that system. The Christian worldview is indeed true, but Christians don’t always behave in a way that matches the standards of Christianity. When Christians act immorally they are acting contrary to their espoused worldview, just as when atheists attempt to behave morally, they are acting contrary to theirs. It is the Christian worldview, however, that explains why people behave so inconsistently.

                  The Christian worldview is self-consistent, making knowledge possible. Even the necessity to be logically consistent stems from the Christian worldview because God is truth (John 14:6) and He does not deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). Apart from Christianity, there is no reason to think that truth must always be self-consistent.

                  • 我の國 says:

                    If the Bible were not the Word of God, we would have no foundation for all the things we take for granted, such as laws of logic, uniformity of nature, and morality.

                    1) Logic: If the biblical god is real, he is then both omniscient and omnipotent. If he is omniscient, then he knows exactly what is going to happen at any given moment. Whatever it is that he knows is going to happen, it must happen. For anything else to happen would mean that God didn’t foresee it, and thus, is not omniscient. If an event must happen for God to be omniscient, then it means he cannot change the event, either (or else, he would be wrong). If God cannot change an event he knows is going to happen, then he must not be omnipotent.

                    2) Uniformity of nature: Nothing in the bible is uniform. Some parts describe God as having a body, while others say he is complete spirit. Some phrases imply multiple gods, while others insist on only one. God himself has been known to change his mind at least once (when he caused the Flood, it was because he repented of creating Mankind).

                    3) Morality: There is no moral absolute in the bible. There are times when it’s wrong to kill, and times when it’s okay. Prostitution is considered a sin, yet one of the prophets is commanded to marry a prostitute! Lying is condoned by Joseph towards the Pharaoh. Speaking of Pharaoh, even though he wanted to let the Israelites leave Egypt, God messed with his mind to prevent him from letting them go-just so God could punish him for not letting them go!

                    The law of non-contradiction, for example, is based on the self-consistent nature of the biblical God

                    And yet, the biblical God is not self consistent. At one point, only animal sacrifices could appease him. At another, only a human sacrifice. In one part of the Bible, each individual is responsible for his/her own sin, in another, two people are responsible for the sin of the entire planet, and each living person today must be punished for it!

                    The Bible itself tells us that all knowledge depends upon God

  10. ashley haworth-roberts says:

    “We are supposed to think in a way that is consistent with the character of God – that’s what rationality is.”
    In other words you are saying that science – if it simply interprets evidence for what it is without introducing biblical theology into the equation – is irrational.
    That is an anti-science position (and the Bible is pre-scientific, not obviously anti-scientific in the way that young Earth creationists today feel that have to be and clearly are).

    “So when people reason from an ultimate standard that is not God’s Word, they are really simply basing their thinking on an arbitrary opinion.” I suggest that that is YOUR opinion. And a dishonest portrayal of the scientific method as being based on whims and impulses.

    • Chris says:

      Ashley, I would like to know where you get the idea that creationists are “anti-science”.

      You see, there are many scientists that are creationists. And if you had taken the time to read the post above you, you’d have seen on the bottom of the post a paragraph explaining who Doctor Lisle is, and his credentials, which includes a PhD. in Astrophysics. Clearly, it is not about being anti-science in the way you are claiming. Creationists do not deny science, we deny certain interpretations of evidence, because they cannot be supported logically.

      Evidence does not speak for itself, and so in order for us to understand anything, we must first interpret that evidence. Interpretation occurs based on the observers worldview, which is the filter through which we process all information and evidence.

      I’d like you to explain how you mean that Creationists deny science. Are you referring to the fact that we deny the theory of common descent and the fact that we deny the assumption based calculations of radiometric dating which lead to results of millions of years in time?

      • ashley haworth-roberts says:

        Chris and Jason

        I DID read the article and I quoted from it – where Jason referred to scientific reasoning as being merely ‘an arbitrary opinion’. Yet – because of the scientific evidence – NO serious scientist who is not a fundamentalist Christian remotely imagines that Earth is only 6,000 years old.

        I am aware that Jason normally accuses people of various ‘fallacies’ when they criticise his words – I don’t claim to be an expert on such but I find the language involved a little pretentious and Jason’s comments about my words appear to be nit-picking as I was not suggesting that science is a ‘living’ and ‘thinking’ entity.
        The fact that evolution, if true, cannot explain mathematics is a ridiculous point to make. I don’t think the Bible discusses mathematics.
        It is clear from the online writings of young Earth creationists that in their case science, when not done properly, always confirms the Bible. Because, regardless of the evidence, you rule out all sensible explanations that don’t fit with your pre-determined (Biblical or Bible-inspired) conclusions.
        Your suggestion that when the scientific community does not base its thinking on the Bible it is merely relying on an ‘arbitrary opinion’ is plainly untrue so therefore you were stating an opinion not a fact. Scientific laws, such as those describing thermodynamics, are not remotely ‘arbitrary opinion’ they are discoveries in physics. I did not spell this out because I assumed the point was obvious.
        “Ironically, Ashley here demonstrated the very point I was making.” No, I haven’t.
        What you claim to ‘love’ is not open-ended, purely evidence-based science. It is claimed biblical revelation and any observable material evidence which you happen to think may confirm the book of Genesis as history (but the non-random fossil record in geologic layers cannot be explained by ‘Noah’s Flood or any other single event in history).

        However, I appreciate the opportunity to comment and your responses.

        • Micah says:

          Hi,

          >>Yet – because of the scientific evidence – NO serious scientist who is not a fundamentalist Christian remotely imagines that Earth is only 6,000 years old.

          This is just a No True Scottsman fallacy. Also your sentence might as well just say: ‘No scientists that believe in evolution even remotely imagine that the earth is only 6000 years old.’ Well, yes. I agree. People who believe in evolution tend to not believe in recent creation. Its not because of the scientific evidence though. Its because they are willfully ignorant.
          Evidence is interpreted by scientists. And all scientists have a bias, whether they admit it or not. An evolutionists will look at fossils in rock layers all around the earth(the evidence) and come to the conclusion that it happened over millions of years of evolution. The creationist will look at the same fossils in rock layers all around the earth(the evidence) and come to the conclusion that most of it was laid down during the Genesis flood. The same evidence, different interpretations, all because of different presuppositions.

          Again, the evolutionist will see short termed comets in the solar system(the evidence). He comes to the conclusion that there must be an undetectable Oort cloud somewhere that is constantly making more short term comets(because of how long ago evolution claims our solar system was created, there should be no more short term comets). The creationist sees the same evidence and comes to the conclusion that it must mean the solar system isnt as old as the evolutionist think it is.

          >>I am aware that Jason normally accuses people of various ‘fallacies’ when they criticise his words

          As far as i can tell, Jason has not falsely accused anyone of a fallacy that they did not commit. The reason he ‘normally’ does it is because people normally commit them, frequently.

          >> I don’t claim to be an expert on such but I find the language involved a little pretentious

          So it’s a little ‘pretentious’ to want people to reason properly? We are engaging in logical debate here, not school kid name calling. It’s important to call people out when they make logical fallacies.

          >>and Jason’s comments about my words appear to be nit-picking as I was not suggesting that science is a ‘living’ and ‘thinking’ entity.

          And yet…your words suggested otherwise, “In other words you are saying that science – if it simply interprets evidence
          If you were not suggesting that science is a living, thinking being, then you shouldn’t give it living, thinking qualities(i.e. the ability to interpret evidence), when you give human qualities to a concept like science, thats a reification fallacy, and Jason rightly called you out on that.

          >>The fact that evolution, if true, cannot explain mathematics is a ridiculous point to make. I don’t think the Bible discusses mathematics.
          It’s a very good point to make actually. The Bible is the foundation for mathematics. Whether the Bible discusses math or not is irrelevant. What the Bible says must be true for mathematics to make sense. Mathematics is abstract, unchanging. It reflects the way God thinks, God himself is unchanging. But in a random chance universe, why should we believe mathematics is unchanging? 1+1 could equal 2 today and 5000 tomorrow. People accept that mathematics doesn’t change, but only the Bible can provide the basis for why the shouldn’t.

          >>It is clear from the online writings of young Earth creationists that in their case science, when not done properly, always confirms the Bible. Because, regardless of the evidence,

          All evidence supports the Bible.

          >> you rule out all sensible explanations that don’t fit with your pre-determined (Biblical or Bible-inspired) conclusions.

          All evidence confirms/supports the Bible. Why accept an irrational position(evolution), when all the evidence fits nicely with the Bible?
          Since you brought this up, lets go back to how evolutionists deal with the problem of short term comets.
          The evolutionists are at a loss to explain how short term comets can still be in our solar system, based on the time frame evolution tells us, no short term comets should exist. Yet, they do. Instead of going with the ‘sensible’ conclusion that the solar system must not be as old as they think it is, they instead proclaim that there is an undetectable and unobservable cloud, the Oort cloud, that is producing these comets. Talk about not being sensible!

          >>Your suggestion that when the scientific community does not base its thinking on the Bible it is merely relying on an ‘arbitrary opinion’ is plainly untrue so therefore you were stating an opinion not a fact.

          Its not untrue. If they aren’t relying on God, then they are relying on themselves, their own arbitrary opinion, or someone else’s. Most evolutionary scientist dont rely solely on themselves though, they ‘take’ from the Bible things like laws of logic and the basic reliability of our senses. Of course, they must do this. If they did not then they wouldn’t be able to do science at all. In other words they use the Bible to try and prove that its false.

          >>Scientific laws, such as those describing thermodynamics, are not remotely ‘arbitrary opinion’ they are discoveries in physics.

          They are completely arbitrary if they aren’t based on God.
          There is no reason, apart from God, to think that those laws should be constant. There is no reason to think that your eyes are giving you correct information about any experiment you do, these things we take for granted are only justified in a Biblical worldview.

          >“Ironically, Ashley here demonstrated the very point I was making.”
          >>No, I haven’t. What you claim to ‘love’ is not open-ended, purely evidence-based science.

          This is an arbitrary claim. No support or evidence has been given.

          >>It is claimed biblical revelation and any observable material evidence which you happen to think may confirm the book of Genesis as history (but the non-random fossil record in geologic layers cannot be explained by ‘Noah’s Flood or any other single event in history).

          A non random fossil record in no way negates Noahs flood. I would link to a few good articles, but i’m afraid my comment would end up awaiting moderation. So i guess you’ll just have to find them yourself.

          >>However, I appreciate the opportunity to comment and your responses.

          Likewise.

          • Josef says:

            Very nice reply, Micah!

          • Dr. Lisle says:

            Great response. I had already written one before I saw this, or I could have saved some time.

            FYI, currently I have it set up to allow anyone to include one hyperlink per post without moderation.

            • Micah says:

              Okay, i was wondering about that because sometimes it seems like i could post with hyper links and then other times it would await moderation.

              Thanks for letting me know.

            • Robert says:

              Dr. Lisle,
              is it possible to list more (say 10 or so) “recent comments” on the right hand side of the page and possibly the time posted. I know this would help me keep track of what has been added (especially if i don’t look at the site for a day or 2.)
              Thank you for all your responses and all that you do. To God be the glory.

              • Dr. Lisle says:

                I don’t know how to add the time stamp. But I’ve increased the number to 10. It’s a good idea – thanks.

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          > I DID read the article and I quoted from it – where Jason referred to scientific reasoning as being merely ‘an arbitrary opinion’.

          Ashley just can’t help but misrepresent creationists (a straw-man argument). I have never referred to scientific reasoning as being merely ‘an arbitrary opinion.’ Rather, if evolution were true, then scientific reasoning would be arbitrary. There would be no reason to believe in uniformity in nature, upon which science is predicated. But evolution is not true; creation is. Science makes sense and is not arbitrary given that the universe is structured and upheld by the mind of God.

          > Yet – because of the scientific evidence – NO serious scientist who is not a fundamentalist Christian remotely imagines that Earth is only 6,000 years old.

          Actually, there is not, nor has there ever been a scientist, nor any human being ever, that has believed in an “old earth” because of scientific evidence. None. People who believe in deep time do so for philosophical reasons, not scientific reasons. All old-earthers embrace the philosophies of uniformitarianism to varying degrees, and naturalism to varying degrees. All old-earth arguments are predicated on these secular assumptions. These are the roots of old-earth thinking – not science.

          > I am aware that Jason normally accuses people of various ‘fallacies’ when they criticise his words – I don’t claim to be an expert on such but I find the language involved a little pretentious and Jason’s comments about my words appear to be nit-picking as I was not suggesting that science is a ‘living’ and ‘thinking’ entity.

          If Ashley wants me to stop pointing out his fallacies, then he should stop committing them. And yes, he did indeed suggest that science is a thinking entity when he claimed that it “interprets evidence.” Interpreting evidence requires thought.

          > The fact that evolution, if true, cannot explain mathematics is a ridiculous point to make.

          Actually, it is critically important that a person’s worldview account for mathematics, because we rely on mathematics. If the evolutionary worldview cannot provide rational justification for mathematics, then evolutionists would be irrational to rely upon mathematics, since there would be no reason to trust it. Mathematics simply does not make sense in an evolutionary universe, as I have shown here: http://www.youroriginsmatter.com/conversations/view/evolutionary-math/95

          > I don’t think the Bible discusses mathematics.

          Sure it does. Genesis 5:3-5: “When Adam had lived 130 years he became the father of… Seth. Then the days after…were 800 years…. So all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.” So 130+800 = 930. But that isn’t really the point. The point is that the existence and properties of the laws of mathematics make sense in a creation worldview, but not in an evolutionary one.

          > It is clear from the online writings of young Earth creationists that in their case science, when not done properly, always confirms the Bible.

          Again, Ashley misrepresents creationists – in writing that they claim the opposite of what they actually claim. Science, when it IS done properly, confirms the Bible.

          > Because, regardless of the evidence, you rule out all sensible explanations that don’t fit with your pre-determined (Biblical or Bible-inspired) conclusions.

          Oh the irony. It is the evolutionists who rule out all sensible explanations that don’t fit with their predetermined conclusions of naturalism and uniformitarianism. I’d be more than happy to entertain other explanations, providing their worldview is not self-contradictory (simultaneously embracing science while denying the preconditions necessary for science).

          > Your suggestion that when the scientific community does not base its thinking on the Bible it is merely relying on an ‘arbitrary opinion’ is plainly untrue so therefore you were stating an opinion not a fact.

          If it is so plainly untrue, then it should have been very easy for Ashley to refute. So why didn’t he? All I’m asking is for a reason for why the universe has laws of nature that are often mathematical, and how we can have any confidence that such laws are the same everywhere and at all times. If there is no reason to believe such things, then there is no basis for science, and it would indeed be nothing but an arbitrary opinion. The Bible can make sense of science. Evolution cannot.

          > Scientific laws, such as those describing thermodynamics, are not remotely ‘arbitrary opinion’ they are discoveries in physics.

          That’s precisely the point! The argument is a simple modus tollens:
          1. If evolution were true, scientific laws would be nothing more than an arbitrary opinion.
          2. Scientific laws are not an arbitrary opinion.
          3. Therefore, evolution is not true.

          >>Evolutionists are often very arbitrary; they just can’t provide good reasons for what they believe. Ironically, Ashley here demonstrated the very point I was making.
          > No, I haven’t.

          Ashley demonstrated my point again – he didn’t offer any reason for his claim. He just arbitrarily asserts that he didn’t demonstrate my point, but he gives no reason – thereby demonstrating my point again.

          > What you claim to ‘love’ is not open-ended, purely evidence-based science.

          Science is predicated on presuppositions that only make sense in a creation-based worldview. If our senses were unreliable, if our minds were irrational, if the universe were chance and not upheld by a mind, there would be no science.

          > It is claimed biblical revelation and any observable material evidence which you happen to think may confirm the book of Genesis as history

          This is another straw-man. There is a difference between biblical revelation and science, though they go well together. The former gives us the only reason to trust in the latter.

          > (but the non-random fossil record in geologic layers cannot be explained by ‘Noah’s Flood or any other single event in history).

          Ashley just hasn’t done his homework on this issue. There are many scholarly works showing how the global flood does make sense of the order of fossils – how organisms that live in lower ecological zones tend to be found in lower layers, etc. Creationists have been studying and writing on this topic since the 1960s. Ashley is a half-century behind the times.

          • ashley haworth-roberts says:

            I did NOT misrepresent you, Jason.

            [editor’s note: To make these posts easier to read, I’ll interject my comments here, rather than copy and repost Ashley’s entire message and then add comments as I normally do. See also Micah’s excellent response below.]

            These are YOUR words:
            “Whether framed as “Rationality vs. faith” or “science vs. religion,” the implication of framing the debate this way is that the Bible is anti-reason, anti-science, anti-rational”;
            “So when people reason from an ultimate standard that is not God’s Word, they are really simply basing their thinking on an arbitrary opinion”.
            These were MY words:
            “Jason referred to scientific reasoning as being merely ‘an arbitrary opinion’”.

            [Ashley’s words do not match my words, as anyone can see. I have never referred to scientific reasoning as an arbitrary opinion. Since science is based on biblical creation principles (God upholding the universe in a uniform and mathematical way, God creating the human mind and senses to be able to probe that universe, etc.) it is not arbitrary. We have a good reason to trust in the methods of science since the Bible is true. Of course, if the Bible were not true, then we wouldn’t have any reason to trust in the methods of science. Ashley continues to misrepresent my position.]

            “Actually, there is not, nor has there ever been a scientist, nor any human being ever, that has believed in an “old earth” because of scientific evidence.” Untrue.

            [“Untrue.” Wow! What a powerful counter-argument! Sarcasm aside, Ashley seems to think that he can just state claims without any evidence or justification and that settles the matter. Okay, if we’re going to play by those rules, then “Creation is true.” Period.]

            Your claim about so-called fallacies is bogus – I was referring to science as a discipline not as a ‘thinking entity’. The thinking is done by humans – though they may base their ideas partly on results from computer simulations. Complaints about ‘fallacies’ look suspiciously like an attempt to avoid engaging with real scientific evidence and conclusions from them.

            [I would say that the reason Ashley continues to commit logical fallacies is because he is unwilling to engage with actual evidence and rational argumentation.]

            I have NOT misrepresented you, Jason. It is correct that young Earth creationists do NOT do science properly. That is why they do not normally submit their ideas to reputable peer-reviewed scientific journals.

            [Several mistakes here. I’ll focus only on the last sentence though. It’s false. Creationist publish in reputable peer-reviewed scientific journals all the time. Perhaps Ashley would like to define “reputable journals” as those that have evolutionist editors. But then, that would be the “No True Scotsman fallacy.” I could equally well define “reputable journals” as those with creationist editors, and then point out that evolutionists never publish in reputable journals!]

            I wrote “You rule out all sensible explanations that don’t fit with your pre-determined (Biblical or Bible-inspired) conclusions”. I note that you have not denied this. Which underlines why you (collectively) cannot get published in reputable peer-reviewed journals.

            [I’m published in several journals. Some of them are even secular journals with evolutionist editors. So even letting Ashley’s “No True Scotsman fallacy” slide by, he is still wrong.]

            “If it is so plainly untrue, then it should have been very easy for Ashley to refute.” I did. I wrote: “Yet – because of the scientific evidence – NO serious scientist who is not a fundamentalist Christian remotely imagines that Earth is only 6,000 years old”. The collective scientific community interpreting real evidence scientifically is not an ‘arbitrary’ process.

            [Ashley doesn’t seem to realize that the appeal to majority/authority is a fallacy, not a sound argument. There was a time when the collective scientific community believed that our galaxy was the only one. Did that make it true? Opinions are not evidence. Ashley says that the collective scientific community interpreting real evidence scientifically is not arbitrary. But in his worldview, the collective scientific community is simply a bunch of chemicals that evolved by accident, that use a process assuming uniformity in nature for no rational reason. How could that be anything but arbitrary?]

            All I’m asking is for a reason for why the universe has laws of nature that are often mathematical…”. It would be impossible for a universe to exist where two plus two did not equal four, so mathematics is totally irrelevant to the question of whether or not God exists. Also, the claim that a ‘godless universe’ would be utterly chaotic and without ‘laws of nature’ is without scientific foundation.

            [See Micah’s answer to this below. Ashley again makes claims with no support.]

            Some Bible believing Christians do REAL science. But young Earth creationism is religious apologetics and not real science.

            [One arbitrary claim deserves another: “Only Bible believing Christians do REAL science. And evolutionism is simply a religious belief held to for emotional reasons, not real science.”]

            “If evolution were true, scientific laws would be nothing more than an arbitrary opinion.” No they would not.

            [Wow! Another brilliant counterargument! Sarcasm aside, I could (hypothetically) respond with equal arbitrariness. “Oh yes they would!” To which Ashley would no doubt reply: “No they wouldn’t!!!” Then I could say “Yes they would! – times infinity!!!” and then Ashley could say, “No they wouldn’t! – times infinity plus one!!” But that would be intellectually childish. Rational people give reasons for their claims. You’ll notice that we creationists have good reasons for our position. Evolutionists don’t. And that’s the point. Ashley continues to demonstrate this.]

            “Science is predicated on presuppositions that only make sense in a creation-based worldview.” Science (the kind of science that young Earth creationists object to eg interpreting past events) is predicated based on no such thing. Naturalism makes no sense in YOUR worldview but plenty if you believe in real science – rather than YEC apologetics used as a replacement ‘science’.

            [Again, Ashley commits the No True Scotsman fallacy – “real science.” Even historical science requires the biblical presupposition of uniformity. If God did not uphold the universe in a consistent and orderly way, there would be no way to interpret any past event, since literally anything could have happened. Naturalism is incompatible with science, because science requires uniformity, and naturalism cannot justify uniformity.]

            “If our senses were unreliable, if our minds were irrational, if the universe were chance and not upheld by a mind, there would be no science.” That is a purely hypothetical scenario. The real scenario is that the universe exists, mathematics exists, there are natural laws, and humans have intelligent minds. Thus humans have scientific knowledge. God may or may exist too, but he is invisible if he does.

            [The scenario that Ashley would like to believe is “purely hypothetical” is in fact that scenario that his worldview demands. He then makes another list of arbitrary claims that he cannot support within his worldview: mathematics exists (How can he justify conceptual truths like laws of mathematics in a chance universe?) There are natural laws (Why? How can you have such laws without a Law-giver, and why would they be universal and invariant – in a chance universe?) Humans have intelligent minds (Not all of them apparently. And why in the world would an evolutionist assume that a brain, which in his view is nothing more than the product of unintelligent chance mutations, should be capable of rational thought? If people are just chemical accidents, why trust that their minds would be any more reliable than a magic 8-ball?)]

            [Ashley then says, “God may or may [not] [sic] exist too…” (I’m sure that the Lord is relieved that He now has Ashley’s permission to exist!) “but he is invisible if he does.” Yes, the biblical God is a spirit, not a ball of wax or a tractor or something made up of atoms. And yet God has manifested Himself inescapably to man such that the invisible aspects of God are clearly seen by what has been made, to the point that there is literally no excuse for disbelief (Romans 1:18-20). Ashley demonstrates his suppressed knowledge of God by relying on conditions that only make sense if the biblical God is who He claims to be: conditions such as uniformity in nature, invariant and universal laws of logic and laws of mathematics, things that are necessary for science.]

            “Ashley just hasn’t done his homework on this issue. There are many scholarly works showing how the global flood does make sense of the order of fossils – how organisms that live in lower ecological zones tend to be found in lower layers, etc. Creationists have been studying and writing on this topic since the 1960s. Ashley is a half-century behind the times.” Drivel. I have indeed read what eg Answers in Genesis say about this. It is nonsense, as I have pointed out to them in detail. And IF you wish I will post here a lengthy rebuttal I made to another YEC under his Amazon.com review of ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ where Dawkins highlighted the ridiculous nature of YEC ‘head for the hills’ during Noah’s Flood notions explaining the fossil record (the YEC ignored the rebuttal).

            [More arbitrary claims. Ashley is welcome to post scientific claims, but since science only makes sense in a Christian worldview, it will only prove my point.]

            Some comments to Micah which I will try to keep brief.

            “Its not because of the scientific evidence though. Its because they are willfully ignorant.” No – the scientific evidence is REAL.

            [Micah never claimed that the scientific evidence isn’t real. Rather, he correctly explained why the evolutionists refuse to believe in creation despite the overwhelming evidence for it.]

            “If you were not suggesting that science is a living, thinking being, then you shouldn’t give it living, thinking qualities…”. I did not seek to do so (as I have explained above) and you and Jason have misconstrued my words.

            [Ashley reified ‘science’ – which is fallacious, plain and simple.]

            Evolution is a biological theory, so it does not ‘explain’ the reality of mathematics, nor does it need to. That does not invalidate the theory.

            [Theories must be compatible with reality if they are to be taken seriously. Evolution is not compatible with the notion of universal invariant laws of mathematics. Therefore, to be consistent, Ashley must either give up his belief in evolution, or his belief in laws of mathematics.]

            “All evidence supports the Bible.” If THAT were true, young Earth creationists would agree with the international scientific community regarding origins (but say God did it, as do theistic evolutionists) and in addition they would not condemn ‘historical science’.

            [Ashley again commits the fallacy of appeal to majority/authority. He could greatly benefit from a course in the history of science; there are many historical examples where the international scientific community was simply dead wrong. Sometimes such wrong thinking persists in the scientific majority even in the face of obvious evidence to the contrary, and the revolution in thought only transpires when the existing generation dies off.]

            In what way is the Oort cloud not ‘sensible’? You have not told us.

            [The Oort cloud is an arbitrary rescuing device, invoked to protect a belief in deep time from obvious evidence to the contrary.]

            “There is no reason, apart from God, to think that those laws should be constant…”. Yes there IS. You forget about observation and experiment. (Which is why I consider YECs anti-scientific.)

            [This is the fallacy of begging the question (and a pretty obvious example of it too) as Micah explains below. Observation and experimentation can only give us insights into the universe is there is already some degree of uniformity.]

            “A non random fossil record in no way negates Noahs flood.” Real science EXPLAINS the fossil record in ways that Noah’s Flood (and how modern YECs interpret what Genesis says) doesn’t. Again, if Jason or you continue to dispute me, I’m happy to post my rebuttal. It can actually be read on page 12 (when starting with the earliest comments) of the discussions under Joe Boudreault’s review of the Dawkins book.

            [Again, we see the “No True Scotsman fallacy” committed when Ashley says that “Real science explains….”]

            This response is also being reproduced at the BCSE community forum, together with the link to this blog post.

            [That’s okay with me. I’d like as many people as possible to be informed of the ridiculous types of arbitrary claims that evolutionists use to try and persuade people using rhetoric rather than logic. It’s one reason why I am very happy to allow evolutionists to post here. I’m just giving them the rope.]

            • ashley haworth-roberts says:

              In fact I’ve decided to post my rebuttal of 25.3.12 (in a separate post):

              [Editor’s note: I will interject my comments in square brackets.]

              “At one point, Dawkins stumbles into the geological column models when he quotes from a creationist article (I’ve abbreviated it even more here):
              “INVERTEBRATES…would perish first … followed by silt…
              AMPHIBIA … would perish next as the waters rose…
              REPTILES … would be next to die…
              MAMMALS … after that … from rising water etc…
              MAN … would exercise most ingenuity – would be last …
              This sequence is a perfectly satisfactory explanation of the order in which the various fossils are found in the strata. It is NOT the order in which they evolved but the order in which they were inundated at the time of Noah’s flood.”

              This order makes perfect sense, according to massive flood geology. But Dawkins goes on to say something like this: “Quite apart from all the other reasons to object to this remarkable explanation, there could only ever be a statistical tendency for mammals, for example, to be on average better at escaping the rising waters than reptiles. Instead, as we should expect on the evolution theory, there literally are no mammals in the lower strata of the geological record. The `head for the hills’ theory would be on more solid ground if there were a statistical tailing off of mammals as you move down through the rocks…” Did you catch that? He objects to the creation model here merely because it conflicts with evolutionary geology, regardless of the fact that flood geology would indeed produce the above scenario. Dawkins, like all evolutionists, can’t abide the idea of another geological event with sensible support for it.”

              What tripe.

              [Again, we see Ashley’s keen mind at work, giving us a powerful, logical rebuttal to the evidence presented. ;-)]

              If, as young earth creationists insist, much of the geologic column is a timeline of the year of the global Flood and records the order in which plants and animals were buried, HOW would that lead to the vast numbers of differing fossils (marine and terrestrial) found well inland at one location along the Grand Canyon: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v5/n1/order-fossil-record Was magic involved?

              [Ashley apparently didn’t read the article he hyperlinked, because it shows that the fossil record is consistent with the expectations of creationists and is contrary to evolutionary expectations. The problem is therefore for evolutionists to explain. For example, reptile footprints are systematically found in lower geologic layers than their fossilized bodies. The same is true of trilobite tracks. It makes sense if they were struggling to escape from rising flood waters. But how could the evidence make sense if the layers were gradually deposited over millions of years? Did the animals make their tracks and then travel forward in time millions of years to die? Was magic involved?]

              Note that Jonathan Sarfati did not respond to what Dawkins wrote about the geologic column in his “The Greatest Hoax on Earth? Refuting Dawkins on Evolution’. I think I know why. I’ve read BOTH books by the way (I reviewed the latter).

              If there was just one major flood in Earth’s history (in most places at least), around 4,300 years’ ago, how could species regarded as much older by science…

              [Again, Ashley commits the fallacy of reification by suggesting that “science” has an opinion on the age of things. He could have avoided this fallacy by writing “scientists” instead of “science,” but then that would lead us to ask “which scientists?” After all, not all scientists believe that fossils buried in lower rock layers are “much older” than those buried in higher layers. Only those scientists that reject a global flood would believe that. The circular nature of Ashley’s reasoning is easily exposed.]

              be buried in one (lower) layer whilst species regarded as younger be buried in a different higher layer in the same general locality?

              [This is an obvious fallacy of begging the question. Essentially, Ashley is asking, “Why is it that the organisms that evolutionists believe to be older tend to be found in lower layers?” The answer is, because if they weren’t then evolutionists wouldn’t consider them to be older! ]

              (Or do all known fossil bearing sites only have fossils in ONE layer?)

              [This is another straw-man argument. Creationists would not expect rabbits, for example, to be found in the lowest geologic layers for this obvious reason: rabbits don’t live on the ocean floor.]

              The YECs also claim that more agile or intelligent species fled the floodwaters for a time further inland or to higher ground (not that only those creatures were carried along by the floodwaters prior to burial). Do we find modern species eg ape-like creatures – and also birds for that matter – only fossilised at higher altitude, as the YEC ‘head for the hills’ hypothesis would imply?

              [Answer: yes. Apes (note: not “ape-like creatures”, but rather “apes”) and birds are found only in the higher positions in the geologic column. They are not found in the Cambrian, for example. 95% of fossils are marine invertebrates.]

              Or is it that we only find them fossilised in higher rock layers in a given place? Answers in Genesis claimed in their ‘News to Note’ (item 5) on 24 March 2012: “Those things in habitats first to be overwhelmed would generally occupy lower positions in the geologic column”. That makes little sense.

              [Hardly. Lower areas are generally flooded before higher areas. It’s pretty hard to argue against that.]

              Surely what would matter more would be altitude (the same then as now)

              [Ashley again misrepresents what Creationists teach. Creationists do not teach that the altitude (in the sense of elevation from sea level) of rocks has always been the same. On the contrary, we believe that modern mountains, for example, were formed from the tectonics associated with the flood, implied in Psalm 104:8.]

              – not depth within Earth’s upper crust (regardless of the altitude)? Creatures buried first would have lived at lower altitude, and closer to the coast. But they would still have been buried near the surface (but science dates such creatures as very old).

              [Again, we have a reification fallacy with “science” dating things. Scientists often make estimations of the date of something based on physical evidence. But their beliefs about earth’s history always influence those estimates. For example, we find c-14 in virtually all fossils that have sufficient carbon in them. Yet c-14 has a half-life of 5730 years, so it cannot last millions of years. The natural conclusion would be that all fossils are a few thousand years old at most. But this evidence is contrary to evolutionists’ beliefs about the past. Rather than adjust their beliefs, they choose to either ignore the evidence, or try to explain it away by invoking a story without supporting evidence.]

              The rodent-like creatures mentioned by AiG are known to have outlived the dinosaurs as they have been found in Tertiary layers as well as Cretaceous ones.

              [Actually, that just means that they are buried higher. The rest is evolutionary assumption.]

              Even if these creatures lived at similar altitude and in similar habitats to dinosaurs (places allegedly buried at the same time by the flood) the creatures also survived for millions of years after the dinosaurs had perished.

              [I don’t think Ashley realizes that he is begging the question. He is trying to argue against the global flood by assuming that the layers represent millions of years – but that would only be the case if there was no global flood.]

              And for the YEC scenario to be correct, would that not mean that ‘younger’ rock layers (those bearing recent fossils)…

              [“younger” as determined how? “Recent” as determined how? If Ashley uses evolutionist assumptions to estimate the age, and then tries to use that as an argument for evolution/deep time, then he has begged the question.]

              should occur near the surface at higher altitude and the ‘older’ rock layers (bearing older fossils) near the surface at lower altitude? Yet many fossils are found very deep down. And continental interiors often contain very old rocks (though some of the highest mountain ranges, including ones well inland, are comparatively young).”

              [Actually, the fossils we find in these rock layers often have carbon in them and are not completely mineralized. Whenever we carbon-date them, we get thousands of years, suggesting that all rock layers are thousands of years old. 95% of fossils are marine invertebrates. Yes, marine invertebrates, yet they are found on the continents, not on the ocean floor. Think about that.]

              [Note that Ashley continues to expose his suppressed knowledge of God by having confidence in science, which only makes sense in a Christian worldview.]

              • Brian Forbes says:

                Do you mind if I ask you a question? What’s your motivation here? Are you trying to convert Jason? Are you trying to get answers for your nagging questions? Do you get a sense of euphoria when you win a debate?

                I used to think these kinds of back and forth were actually productive to some degree. I’ve come to realize, though, that the Ken Ham (and thus Jason Lisle) notion of “Biblical glasses” really is the key to this debate.

                I heard an eye witness account at lunch today of someone being healed of breast cancer through prayer. The shock – enough shock to overcome the reluctance of a son to poke his aged mother’s breasts turned to shear joy. If you had an experience like this, and you gave it about a month to sink in, wouldn’t that affect your view of Dawkin’s evidence more than a debate like this would? I pray that God show you a miracle. May you not see it an harden your heart as Pharaoh and the Pharisees did. May your shock turn to praise.

                • ashley haworth-roberts says:

                  Brian

                  I am most certainly not trying to convert anyone away from Christianity.

                  Having studied its claims, …

                  [editor: Ashley seems to be unaware of most creationist research, based on his previous posts. He apparently wasn’t aware that creationist publish in reputable peer-reviewed science journals, he seems to think that creationists are against real science, and he even claimed that I was claiming that science is arbitrary. Given his distortions of creation, I’m inclined to think that Ashley really doesn’t want to believe in creation for emotional reasons rather than legitimate logical reasons.]

                  I am very strongly of the opinion that young Earth creationism is not science and that it makes misleading claims about genuine science.

                  [That’s exactly what we’d say about evolutionism. The difference is, science makes sense in a universe upheld by the mind of God. But science makes no sense at all in a chance universe. Why would we have laws of nature?]

                  I was an evangelical Christian for more than 20 years. Now I am – because of experiences and because of things learnt during that time and since – broadly agnostic about God and Christianity.

                  [Not for logical reasons. Note that Ashley has yet to provide us with a logical reason to reject creation. He simply states evolutionary claims as fact, as if that were a sound argument. No one has ever rejected the claims of Christianity for logical reasons. I predict that Ashley will continue to demonstrate this.]

                  I only became aware of YEC-ism since ceasing to attend church here in the UK. Likewise I only studied science properly after leaving church.

                  [I’m not convinced that Ashley has studied science properly at all, given his previous claims. In fact, he seems to confuse evolution with science. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, (http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v3/n1/evolution-anti-science) evolution is really anti-science.]

                  Ashley

            • Chris H says:

              “I have NOT misrepresented you, Jason. It is correct that young Earth creationists do NOT do science properly. That is why they do not normally submit their ideas to reputable peer-reviewed scientific journals.”

              Ashley, the Answers Research Journal and the Creation Journal both are high profile magazines and publish peer reviewed articles all the time.

              http://creation.com/journal-of-creation-formerly-technical-journal-tj

              • ashley haworth-roberts says:

                They are not reputable scientific journals.

                • Tim Gilleand says:

                  Hi Ashley, good to see you here old friend!

                  “They are not reputable scientific journals.”

                  Do you see the irony here? Evolutionists present their information to their peers and they publish it. Creationists submit their information to their peers and the publish it. Both are technically peer-reviewed, correct? You simply don’t agree with that subset of peers because they are not your peers. :)

                • Brian Forbes says:

                  See, I told you, Dr. Lisle. It doesn’t matter if people should be logical, because so many (most) are just arbitrary. There’s no objective standard for “reputable”.

                  • ashley haworth-roberts says:

                    Reputable means peer-reviewed by scientists from the international scientific community.

                    [Ashley seems not to realize that creation journals such as the ARJ and the CRSQ are peer-reviewed by scientists from the international scientific community. They are therefore “reputable” by Ashley’s definition.]

                    Whereas the journals mentioned here earlier today are peer-reviewed by ‘creation scientists’ who all assent to a particular religious position.

                    [A religious position such as naturalism? All scientists have a philosophical (‘religious’) worldview in which they evaluate the scientific evidence.]

                    That is the difference.

                    [The difference is that creation makes sense of science, whereas evolution would render science meaningless.]

                • Chris H says:

                  That is the no true Scotsman fallacy, Ashley.

                  • Dr. Lisle says:

                    Exactly right. And if we’re going to play those games, then I should point out that “Evolutionists never publish in reputable (i.e. creationist) journals. That’s because evolutionists aren’t doing real science.”

                    • ashley haworth-roberts says:

                      It doesn’t work in reverse because evolutionists look at scientific evidence alone.

                      [That is not true; all scientists interpret evidence in light of a philosophical system or ‘worldview.’ They assume that their senses are basically reliable, that there are laws of logic, and that there is an underlying orderliness to nature. These must be presupposed before any investigation of evidence. Evolutionists further assume naturalism and uniformitarianism.]

                    • Brian Forbes says:

                      “It doesn’t work in reverse because evolutionists look at scientific evidence alone.”

                      Rational people can do math with irrational numbers.

          • Micah says:

            Hi Ashley,

            >I did NOT misrepresent you, Jason. These are YOUR words:
            >>“Whether framed as “Rationality vs. faith” or “science vs. religion,” the implication of framing the debate this way is that the Bible is anti-reason, anti-science, anti-rational”;
            “So when people reason from an ultimate standard that is not God’s Word, they are really simply basing their thinking on an arbitrary opinion”.

            >>>These were MY words:
            “Jason referred to scientific reasoning as being merely ‘an arbitrary opinion’”.

            It’s hard to believe you actually believe what you wrote here. You proved Jason’s point. Scientific reasoning is not arbitrary. Notice he said that when ‘ people reason from an ultimate standard that is not God’s Word…’ then they are basing their thinking on an arbitrary opinion. If someone doesn’t reason with God as the ultimate standard, then they are by default left with themselves as the ultimate standard. By why should that person be the ultimate standard? There are many people in this world, maybe one of them should be it instead? Thus, reasoning, with yourself as the ultimate standard is arbitrary because someone else could just as easily reason with themselves as the ultimate standard. You must have a standard greater than yourself if you want your reasoning to not be arbitrary.

            >“Actually, there is not, nor has there ever been a scientist, nor any human being ever, that has believed in an “old earth” because of scientific evidence.”
            >>Untrue.

            This almost isn’t even worth pointing out because it is so obviously arbitrary.

            >Your claim about so-called fallacies is bogus – I was referring to science as a discipline not as a ‘thinking entity’.

            You must be more careful from now on, many people like to reify the word science because it makes it sound more objective. When i say ‘Science tells us that evolution is true.’, it makes it sound more objective than if i had said ‘Scientist’s tell us that evolution is true.’ You see the difference? The latter shows that their could be bias involved, when defending an argument, many people dont like to sound biased so they reify words (like science) to make it sound objective.
            Try and be more careful from now on and dont reify in debates.

            >The thinking is done by humans – though they may base their ideas partly on results from computer simulations. Complaints about ‘fallacies’ look suspiciously like an attempt to avoid engaging with real scientific evidence and conclusions from them.

            It’s important not to be fallacious in debates, isn’t it? Debating is all about using logic, if you aren’t using it properly then the other party has every right to call you out on it. The only reason i can think of that someone would dislike someone else exposing fallacies is if that person themselves frequently commits them and doesn’t want to stop.

            >I have NOT misrepresented you, Jason. It is correct that young Earth creationists do NOT do science properly.

            And yet, you have failed to prove this to be true.

            >That is why they do not normally submit their ideas to reputable peer-reviewed scientific journals.

            By ‘reputable’ you mean what exactly? Evolutionist-ic, Anti-God journals. I always laugh when evolutionist think creationist should publish their findings in their journals when they wouldn’t dare try and publish in the creationists peer-reviewed journals.

            >I wrote “You rule out all sensible explanations that don’t fit with your pre-determined (Biblical or Bible-inspired) conclusions”. I note that you have not denied this.
            The Bible is the basis for science, therefore if anything that we interpret in science contradicts the Bible it is necessarily false. Only the Bible provides a reason to believe in the preconditions of intelligibility, the basic reliability of our senses and laws of logic. These are all foundational to science and none of them make any sense without a Biblical framework.

            >Which underlines why you (collectively) cannot get published in reputable peer-reviewed journals.

            Yes, people who dont believe in evolution can’t be published in evolutionist-ic journals. Imagine that.

            >“If it is so plainly untrue, then it should have been very easy for Ashley to refute.”
            >> I did. I wrote: “Yet – because of the scientific evidence – NO serious scientist who is not a fundamentalist Christian remotely imagines that Earth is only 6,000 years old”. The collective scientific community interpreting real evidence scientifically is not an ‘arbitrary’ process.

            It is, though you may not think it is. They interpret the evidence based on what they believe to be true(their presuppositions), they may believe in the law of induction, and logic, and uniformity in nature. But as Jason has pointed out many times before, none of these make any sense in their professed worldview, evolution. It is completely arbitrary to believe in the law of induction if you dont have a reason to believe in it.

            >All I’m asking is for a reason for why the universe has laws of nature that are often mathematical…”.
            >> It would be impossible for a universe to exist where two plus two did not equal four,

            How do you know this? More importantly how do you know 2+2 will always equal 4 in even this universe? You have assumed that mathematics is invariant. But why? Why should math remain constant?

            >so mathematics is totally irrelevant to the question of whether or not God exists.

            It’s quite relevant actually. If you cant provide a reason for why we should believe mathematics is invariant, then that is arbitrary and that means you have no good reason for doing math. Math is easily explained in the Christian worldview but makes no sense in the evolutionary worldview.

            >Also, the claim that a ‘godless universe’ would be utterly chaotic and without ‘laws of nature’ is without scientific foundation.

            A Godless universe could not account for the laws of nature. There would be no justification for them. This is why the atheistic position is so irrational.

            >Some Bible believing Christians do REAL science. But young Earth creationism is religious apologetics and not real science.

            You’ve yet to show this to be true.

            >“If evolution were true, scientific laws would be nothing more than an arbitrary opinion.” >>No they would not.

            I find it hilarious that you made this claim(an arbitrary one) right after Jason’s line about arbitrary opinions.

            >“Science is predicated on presuppositions that only make sense in a creation-based worldview.”
            >> Science (the kind of science that young Earth creationists object to eg interpreting past events)

            Creationist do not object to historical science. They just want people to understand the difference between Historical science and Observational science, and the different presuppositions that are involved when making conclusions about the unobservable past.

            >is predicated based on no such thing.

            So you’re saying that science is not predicated on the laws of nature? Logic, or even induction? These only make sense in from a Biblical perspective, we would have no reason to believe in these things from an evolutionary/atheistic perspective.

            >Naturalism makes no sense in YOUR worldview but plenty if you believe in real science

            Naturalism contradicts our worldview. One of them must be false, however, naturalism cannot account for things like logic which are immaterial.

            >– rather than YEC apologetics used as a replacement ‘science’.

            How is the science creationist do ‘replacement’ science? You have yet to demonstrate that this is the case.

            >“If our senses were unreliable, if our minds were irrational, if the universe were chance and not upheld by a mind, there would be no science.”
            >>That is a purely hypothetical scenario.

            But its what should be the case if evolution were true. Evolution cannot account for logic or reason, therefore science would not be possible in an evolutionist-ic universe.

            >The real scenario is that the universe exists, mathematics exists, there are natural laws, and humans have intelligent minds. Thus humans have scientific knowledge.

            Exactly! Thats the whole point of the argument, none of those things should exist if evolution were true. How could they? In a chance universe, why should the law of non-contradiction always be true? Why should there be universal, invariant laws that dont change with time?

            >God may or may exist too, but he is invisible if he does.

            A belief in God is arbitrary if you dont have a reason for it. You need a God who has revealed himself to man, otherwise our belief in him would be completely arbitrary.

            >“Ashley just hasn’t done his homework on this issue. There are many scholarly works showing how the global flood does make sense of the order of fossils – how organisms that live in lower ecological zones tend to be found in lower layers, etc. Creationists have been studying and writing on this topic since the 1960s. Ashley is a half-century behind the times.”
            >Drivel. I have indeed read what eg Answers in Genesis say about this. It is nonsense, as I have pointed out to them in detail. And IF you wish I will post here a lengthy rebuttal I made to another YEC under his Amazon.com review of ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ where Dawkins highlighted the ridiculous nature of YEC ‘head for the hills’ during Noah’s Flood notions explaining the fossil record (the YEC ignored the rebuttal).
            Yes, because animals fleeing from the rising waters is a completely ridiculous notion.

            >“Its not because of the scientific evidence though. Its because they are willfully ignorant.” >>No – the scientific evidence is REAL.
            I have no doubt that the evidence is real, its the conclusions drawn from the evidence i’m worried about.

            >“If you were not suggesting that science is a living, thinking being, then you shouldn’t give it living, thinking qualities…”.
            >> I did not seek to do so (as I have explained above) and you and Jason have misconstrued my words.

            And as i have explained above, you need to be more careful. Also we did not misconstrue your words, we just took them at face value. It was your fault because you worded it improperly.

            >Evolution is a biological theory, so it does not ‘explain’ the reality of mathematics, nor does it need to. That does not invalidate the theory.
            Evolution is not just biological, there is astronomical evolution as well as geological evolution. If evolution cant explain mathematics then there is no reason to believe that they have the properties they do. It would be arbitrary to do that.

            >“All evidence supports the Bible.”
            >> If THAT were true, young Earth creationists would agree with the international scientific community regarding origins

            No, because its the interpretation of the evidence that creationist disagree with.

            >(but say God did it, as do theistic evolutionists) and in addition they would not condemn ‘historical science’.

            Creationist do not condem historical science as i have already pointed out.

            >In what way is the Oort cloud not ‘sensible’? You have not told us.

            Well actually, i did explain it. Perhaps you missed it? It goes like this: There are comets in our solar system that should not be here given the supposed age of the solar system in big bang cosmology. Instead of going with the sensible conclusion that, maybe the solar system is not as old as they think it is. Evolutionist instead say that there is this undetectable Oort cloud that is constantly resupplying our solar system with new comets. Of course there is not one shred of observable evidence for this Oort cloud, but…it must be there because if it were not, big bang cosmology would be utterly destroyed.

            >“There is no reason, apart from God, to think that those laws should be constant…”.
            >> Yes there IS. You forget about observation and experiment. (Which is why I consider YECs anti-scientific.)

            Doing observations and experiments is already assuming what your trying to prove, because those laws must exist for you to be able to do those observations and experiments. So no, you may not assume what you are trying to prove sorry.

            >“A non random fossil record in no way negates Noahs flood.”
            >> Real science EXPLAINS the fossil record in ways that Noah’s Flood (and how modern YECs interpret what Genesis says) doesn’t. Again, if Jason or you continue to dispute me, I’m happy to post my rebuttal. It can actually be read on page 12 (when starting with the earliest comments) of the discussions under Joe Boudreault’s review of the Dawkins book.

            Thanks, but i’ll leave that one to Jason if he has the time. I’ve already spent too much time writing this thing.

            Best of luck,
            Micah

            • ashley haworth-roberts says:

              Micah

              “It’s hard to believe you actually believe what you wrote here. You proved Jason’s point.” Why are you lying? I clearly showed that I did NOT misrepresent Jason’s position.

              [editor: People visiting this blog might think that Ashley is a fictional person that I made up to make the evolutionists look bad – by pretending to be an evolutionist and posting absurd arguments full of logical fallacies and demonstrably false claims, making it look like evolutionists have a problem with basic reading comprehension. I assure you this is not the case. These are actual posts by an evolutionist.]

              Real science is not ‘arbitrary’

              [Then Ashley, what is it based on? In the Christian worldview, God upholds the universe in a logically consistent way that doesn’t arbitrarily change with time, and He does so for our benefit. We have every reason to expect the universe to behave in an orderly, logical, mathematical fashion, which is what makes science possible. But Ashley, what is your reason for making such assumptions? It will do no good to say “observation and experimentation” because these are only meaningful if there is already an underlying orderliness. So what is the foundation for science in an evolutionary universe?]

              But what you are talking about now is ‘creation science’, is it not?

              [All science is creation science. Without the principles of biblical creation, science would be unjustified.]

              If God exists the universe which real scientists study…

              [“real scientists”: That’s a “no true Scotsman fallacy.”]

              …(the scientists YECs complain about) is GOD’S creation. Thus all this talk of reasoning with ‘yourself as the ultimate standard’ is complete hogwash.

              [Then what is your ultimate standard Ashley?]

              Scientists study real evidence for what it IS (not because they assume in advance that it must be made to ‘confirm’ the book of Genesis and NOTHING else).

              [Do they assume in advance that their senses are basically reliable, when they go to study the evidence? Do they assume that there is an underlying orderliness to nature, such that if they pick up a rock, it will continue to be a rock? What is the basis for such assumptions, in a chance and changing universe?]

              [When evolutionists come across contrary evidence (C-14 in diamonds, comets, information content in DNA), are they willing to take the evidence at face value – as evidence for biblical creation? Or do they assume in advance that such evidence must be made to ‘conform’ to evolution?]

              “This almost isn’t even worth pointing out because it is so obviously arbitrary.” It’s a FACT.

              [Ashley just proved Micah’s point, though Ashley seems not to have realized it. An arbitrary claim is one that is made without any supporting evidence. For example, if someone asked me how I know creation is true, suppose I said, “It’s a FACT.” That would arbitrary, because I didn’t give any objective reason for my position. Rational people have reasons for what they believe, but evolutionists are often very arbitrary.]

              I apologise for reifying, whatever that is. I have already explained what I meant, though my words were scarcely ambiguous.

              [Forgiven. Reification is the act of attributing a concrete or personal characteristic to an abstraction. For example, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” Reification is fine in poetry. But when used as part of a logical argument, it is fallacious, particularly when used to obscure a relevant point (such as the fact that scientists disagree on certain issues).]

              “And yet, you have failed to prove this to be true.” Doing so-called science where you are required always to make evidence ‘confirm’ the book of Genesis and nothing else is NOT doing science properly, because there is no guarantee you will get a true and correct answer or conclusion.

              [The irony is this: if evolution were true, then there would be no reason to think that scientific procedures would EVER give a true and correct answer or conclusion. In a chance universe, literally anything can happen. Science is predicated upon the order imposed on nature by God and maintained by God.]

              “…when they wouldn’t dare try and publish in the creationists peer-reviewed journals”. Why would anyone want to try to publish a science paper in a religious journal that is only peer-reviewed by fundamentalist Christians?

              [Because Christians have the only worldview that makes science possible. Why would anyone want to try to publish a science paper in a religious journal that is only peer-reviewed by evolutionists? Since evolution would render science foundationless, it makes no sense.]

              “The Bible is the basis for science, therefore if anything that we interpret in science contradicts the Bible it is necessarily false.” Who is being arbitrary now?

              [Ashley doesn’t seem to understand what ‘arbitrary’ means. It means ‘not having an objective reason.’ We have a very good reason to interpret evidence in light of God’s Word; for one, God’s Word is what makes science possible. To believe in the methods of science without accepting their foundation in Scripture – now THAT’S arbitrary.]

              “It is, though you may not think it is.” It is not – because eg the Laws of Thermodynamics are REAL and not something made up by ‘arbitrary’ scientists. They have been DISCOVERED.

              [How can you have laws without a Law-giver? If God did not uphold the universe in a consistent and rational way, how could there be any underlying laws to discover?]

              “How do you know this? More importantly how do you know 2+2 will always equal 4 in even this universe?” I fear that you are being serious.

              [I fear that Ashley cannot answer this simple question. How does he know – on his worldview – that laws of mathematics are universal and unchanging? Can he answer that without begging the question (without assuming what he is trying to prove?)]

              “If you can’t provide a reason for why we should believe mathematics is invariant, then that is arbitrary.” NO. The onus is on YOU to prove that maths CAN vary.

              [This is the fallacy of shifting the burden. Many things change in this universe. The creationist has a good reason to believe that laws of mathematics do NOT change – since they are rooted in the unchanging nature of God. But can Ashley give us any good reason why laws of mathematics do not change – according to his professed worldview? Apparently not.]

              “A Godless universe could not account for the laws of nature. There would be no justification for them.” That is your OPINION.

              [Actually Ashley has demonstrated Micah’s claim. Ashley cannot find any reason whatsoever for laws of nature in his worldview. He has no justification for them.]

              You’ve yet to show this to be true.” You may wish to read my lengthy review of Jonathan Sarfati’s ‘The Greatest Hoax on Earth? Refuting Dawkins on Evolution’ at Amazon.com.

              [Can we presume that Ashley uses the same types of argument there? (i.e. logical fallacies, arbitrary unwarranted claims, misrepresentation of his opponent’s position?) If so, then it’s pretty much a time-waster.]

              “Creationists do not object to historical science”. Jason – do you agree with that?

              [Yes. Micah is right. Creationists do historical science as well, such as Oard’s ice age model, or Baumgardner’s plate tectonic model. Ashley – you need to actually read some creationist literature, to find out what it is you’re against.]

              If so, then why do YECs insist that you can ONLY draw valid conclusions about the distant, unobserved, past if you have an ‘eye-witness’ (and the eye-witness is the author of Genesis).

              [Another straw-man fallacy. Creationists do believe that it is possible to make reasonable inferences about the past in some cases, even if there is no eye-witness. However, when it comes to answering questions about the past a reliable eye-witness account is far better than circumstantial forensic evidence. We would also note that it is seldom possible to answer historical questions with the methods of science, because science requires repeatability, and the past can never be repeated.]

              In other words, the evidence cannot tell scientists anything on its own – that is NOT a scientific position but a faith position.

              [The reason evidence cannot tell scientists anything on its own is because evidence cannot talk. Rocks don’t say, “Hello there. Do you know how old I am? Well, I’ll tell you.” Ashley has committed another fallacy of reification. Scientists create propositional statements based on their understanding of physical evidence as interpreted according to their worldview. The idea that evidence means something apart from an interpretive worldview is a blind faith position.]

              How is the science creationist do ‘replacement’ science? You have yet to demonstrate that this is the case.” Sorry, what is your question? I don’t understand your words.

              “Why should there be universal, invariant laws that dont change with time?” Why shouldn’t there (if the Bible is not literal historical truth, or if Christianity is false, or if God doesn’t exist)? Maths, matter and energy definitely exist. God does not ‘definitely’ exist though.

              [Ashley again demonstrates the arbitrariness of evolutionism. Rational people have a good reason for what they believe. Ashley doesn’t. His response shows this. If I said, “young lady, why do believe that there is a monster in the closet?” and she answered, “why shouldn’t there be a monster in the closet?” would that be rational? Ashley apparently believes universal, invariant laws – but he has absolutely no reason to believe them on his professed worldview. Arbitrary.]

              “Yes, because animals fleeing from the rising waters is a completely ridiculous notion.” I fear that the ‘scholarly works’ referred to by Jason (he used to work for Answers in Genesis) advocate exactly that!

              [Ashley seems to have missed the verbal irony.]

              “I have no doubt that the evidence is real, its the conclusions drawn from the evidence i’m worried about.” Of course you are, because they do not bolster your faith and because YECs have been unable to show scientifically that these conclusions are incorrect.

              [The truth of the matter is that science confirms the Christian worldview starting with Genesis. But evolutionists suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18-20).]

              “Also we did not misconstrue your words, we just took them at face value. It was your fault because you worded it improperly.” Utter garbage. If I thought my phrase was unclear as it stood, I would have spelt out in my detail what I meant (as I have since done).

              “No, because its the interpretation of the evidence that creationist disagree with.” My point stands.

              [It stands refuted. The evidence itself is always compatible with creation.]

              Are you suggesting science is a conspiracy to deliberately interpret evidence that ‘supports’ the Bible in ways which either DON’T support the Bible or YECs like yourself THINK don’t support it (yes of course you ARE)?

              [No, ‘science’ is our ally. But evolutionist do interpret evidence that really confirms Scripture in a fallacious way, either deliberately or from culpable ignorance (Romans 1:18-20).]

              And how do supernovae ‘support the Bible’? Or electricity?

              [Both of these are processes guided by the consistent clockwork operation of the universe, made possible by the fact that God upholds the universe in a consistent way, and promises to continue to do so (e.g. Genesis 8:22). Apart from the Christian worldview, neither of these things would make sense.]

              You STILL have not answered my question about the Oort Cloud ‘not’ being sensible. ALL you have done is imply that a young solar system is ‘more’ sensible – despite a world of real evidence showing it to be absurd.

              [And what evidence would that be? I’ve been studying astronomy for many years, and have yet to find any compelling evidence for an ‘old’ (billions of years) solar system. But there are many physical processes in the solar system that cannot last anywhere close to billions of years. Comets are merely one example.]

              “Doing observations and experiments is already assuming what your trying to prove…”. That is nonsense. Experiments are designed to test provisional theories – which may be confirmed or disproven.

              [Ashley has missed this crucial point. Experiments can only be used to test provisional theories IF there is underlying order in the universe. But evolutionists have no bases for assuming such an underlying order. Therefore, they have no reason to think that experiments should be useful in testing provisional theories. Ashley has again begged the question.]

              YECs are seemingly obsessed with the idea that real science is as blinkered as ‘creation science’ – that is the kind where you normally decide what must be true BEFOREHAND.

              [Ashley, the only way ‘real science’ (as you put it) would be possible is if the Christian worldview is true, all the way back to Genesis. We’ve demonstrated this many times in many ways. Regarding deciding what must be true in advance, no one comes to evidence with a totally blank slate – for even the assumption that our senses are reliable is something that scientists assume in advance. Since we all come to the evidence with presuppositions, the question is this: which presuppositions are compatible with the science we are using? The answer is creationist presuppositions. Evolutionary presuppositions would render science without a foundation.]

              Thanks for taking the time to try and deal with my arguments.

              I’m sure you are totally sincere and probably a pleasant individual. However – like the North Korean population – I fear you are a victim of indoctrination (I mean by YEC dogma not the Christian gospel).

              [Irony. Since Ashley hasn’t provided a single non-fallacious argument for his position, it seems that he is simply repeating the claims that he has heard. It appears that he is indeed quite indoctrinated with evolutionism/naturalism.]

              Ashley

            • Micah says:

              Hi Ashley,

              >“It’s hard to believe you actually believe what you wrote here. You proved Jason’s point.”
              >> Why are you lying? I clearly showed that I did NOT misrepresent Jason’s position.

              Jason’s claim was that people’s reasoning was arbitrary when not based on Gods Word. Your claim stated that Jason said scientific reasoning was arbitrary. Thats not the claim he made. Also, scientific reasoning? What is it you mean exactly by this? Not that it really matters, any reasoning at all that is not based on Gods Word is arbitrary, which technically, means its not reasoning at all.

              >Real science is not ‘arbitrary’
              What do you mean by real? You keep saying it and i have no idea what you mean by it. What is real science and what is fake science? Also science does not have the capacity to be arbitrary. Its a concept. People who practice science are very capable of being arbitrary though.

              >But what you are talking about now is ‘creation science’, is it not?

              Creation science? I’m just talking about science.

              >If God exists the universe which real scientists study(the scientists YECs complain about)

              No true scottsman fallacy.

              >is GOD’S creation. Thus all this talk of reasoning with ‘yourself as the ultimate standard’ is complete hogwash. Scientists study real evidence for what it IS

              You really like that word real dont you? Im beginning to think its just an appeal to emotion now. How can some evidence be real and other evidence not? Evidence is real, of course. But there is no reason to say it is, everyone knows this to be true.

              >(not because they assume in advance that it must be made to ‘confirm’ the book of Genesis and NOTHING else).
              This is just a straw-man fallacy. Creationist dont make anything confirm the Bible.

              >Evolutionists are often very arbitrary; they just can’t provide good reasons for what they believe. Ironically, Ashley here demonstrated the very point I was making.
              >> No, I haven’t.
              >>>“Actually, there is not, nor has there ever been a scientist, nor any human being ever, that has believed in an “old earth” because of scientific evidence.”
              >>>>Untrue.
              >>>>>“This almost isn’t even worth pointing out because it is so obviously arbitrary.”
              >>>>>> It’s a FACT.<<<<<<

              >“And yet, you have failed to prove this to be true.”
              >> Doing so-called science where you are required always to make evidence ‘confirm’ the book of Genesis and nothing else is NOT doing science properly,

              Another straw-man.

              >because there is no guarantee you will get a true and correct answer or conclusion.

              Science will always confirm the Bible. Not because creationist make it that way, because the Bible is the foundation for science. Science presupposes uniformity, logic and induction. And none of these make sense except in light of the Bible. You still have not explained how uniformity, logic or induction would be possible in an evolutionary universe.

              >“…when they wouldn’t dare try and publish in the creationists peer-reviewed journals”.
              >>Why would anyone want to try to publish a science paper in a religious journal that is only peer-reviewed by fundamentalist Christians?

              And yet, you mock creationists for not publishing in journals that are only peer-reviewed by anti-creationist evolutionists.
              That is a double standard.

              >“The Bible is the basis for science, therefore if anything that we interpret in science contradicts the Bible it is necessarily false.”
              >> Who is being arbitrary now?

              You took me out of context. I explained my reasoning for stating that in the next sentences. Also, im assuming since you found this blog and started debating, you actually understand what it is creationists believe. Dr. Lisle has written extensively on the this subject, if you going to debate you should at least know what it is your debating.

              >“It is, though you may not think it is.”
              > It is not – because eg the Laws of Thermodynamics are REAL and not something made up by ‘arbitrary’ scientists. They have been DISCOVERED.
              Another straw-man, that was not the argument. Of course the laws are real, and of course they are not made up. The argument is, in an evolutionary worldview there is no reason to believe in these laws. Its arbitrary, because evolution cannot provide a rational justification for why these laws should be laws. Please, provide it if it exists.

              >“How do you know this? More importantly how do you know 2+2 will always equal 4 in even this universe?” >I fear that you are being serious.

              I’m quite serious, you assume the laws of mathematics are invariant and unchanging but you have no basis to believe this is true in an evolutionary worldview.

              >“If you can’t provide a reason for why we should believe mathematics is invariant, then that is arbitrary.”
              >> NO. The onus is on YOU to prove that maths CAN vary.

              I did not make the claim that the laws of mathematics can vary. I do not believe that they can vary, math is a reflection of the way God thinks. God himself is unchanging, so its reasonable to think that aspects of the univers will be unchanging as well. The evolutionist cannot account for this like I can. Thus his belief in invariant laws like mathematics is arbitrary.

              >“A Godless universe could not account for the laws of nature. There would be no justification for them.”
              >> That is your OPINION.

              It is my opinion, that doesn’t make it false. If its untrue then it should be easy for you to provide a reason for why it is and refute my claim instead of just pointing out the obvious.

              >You’ve yet to show this to be true.”
              >>You may wish to read my lengthy review of Jonathan Sarfati’s ‘The Greatest Hoax on Earth? Refuting Dawkins on Evolution’ at Amazon.com.

              I may get around to it, im no scholar though, and i do have a life outside of this blog so we will see.

              >“Creationists do not object to historical science”.
              >>Jason – do you agree with that? If so, then why do YECs insist that you can ONLY draw valid conclusions about the distant, unobserved, past if you have an ‘eye-witness’

              Because no one was around to witness the distant past, any evidence we have in the present is going to be contaminated by a persons presuppositions. If a person has the wrong premise he will get a wrong conclusion. You need a reliable eyewitness to be sure of past events. Lucky for us there is no one more reliable than God, and he has given us a written eyewitness to events in the distant past.

              >(and the eye-witness is the author of Genesis). In other words, the evidence cannot tell scientists anything on its own – that is NOT a scientific position but a faith position.

              Of course the evidence cant tell the scientist anything on its own. Evidence just exists, it must be interpreted by the scientist. Also, everyone puts their faith in something. Whether it be humanism, Christianity or some other religion.

              >How is the science creationist do ‘replacement’ science? You have yet to demonstrate that this is the case.”
              >> Sorry, what is your question? I don’t understand your words.

              I was assuming you meant the science creationist do, not apologetics like you stated. Apologetics is meant for training people to defend the faith. It’s not a replacement for science.

              >“Why should there be universal, invariant laws that dont change with time?”
              >>Why shouldn’t there (if the Bible is not literal historical truth, or if Christianity is false, or if God doesn’t exist)? Maths, matter and energy definitely exist. God does not ‘definitely’ exist though.

              You merely dodged the question here. You need to provide a reason, based on your worldview, for why invariant laws should exists and why the material universe feels compelled to obey these imaterial laws. If you cant provide a reason then that means you dont have one, that means your belief in them is arbitrary. Asking me ‘why shouldn’t they’ is irrelevant. Those laws are perfectly justified in my worldview. God made the universe, and he made the laws so naturally i would expect the universe to obey said laws. How does the evolutionary framework explain these laws?

              >“Yes, because animals fleeing from the rising waters is a completely ridiculous notion.”
              >> I fear that the ‘scholarly works’ referred to by Jason (he used to work for Answers in Genesis) advocate exactly that!

              Perhaps i should have been a little more obvious in my sarcasm?

              >“I have no doubt that the evidence is real, its the conclusions drawn from the evidence i’m worried about.”
              >> Of course you are, because they do not bolster your faith and because YECs have been unable to show scientifically that these conclusions are incorrect.

              False, they worry me because they are based on arbitrary opinion, rather than Gods Word.

              >“Also we did not misconstrue your words, we just took them at face value. It was your fault because you worded it improperly.”
              >> Utter garbage. If I thought my phrase was unclear as it stood, I would have spelt out in my detail what I meant (as I have since done).

              What you thought is irrelevant. What you actually stated is what matters. Its find to reify words in poetry, but reification has no place in logical debate.

              >“No, because its the interpretation of the evidence that creationist disagree with.”
              >> My point stands. Are you suggesting science is a conspiracy to deliberately interpret evidence that ‘supports’ the Bible in ways which either DON’T support the Bible or YECs like yourself THINK don’t support it

              No, i think scientists interpret the evidence in light of their presuppositions. If their presuppositions are flawed, then so will their conclusions about the world and thus, the evidence in the world.

              >(yes of course you ARE)? And how do supernovae ‘support the Bible’? Or electricity?

              Supernovae and electricity both follow the laws of nature, the laws of nature are only possible in a Biblical worldview, thus supernovae and electricity supports the validity of the Bible. Just like any other evidence.

              >You STILL have not answered my question about the Oort Cloud ‘not’ being sensible. ALL you have done is imply that a young solar system is ‘more’ sensible

              Hey if you want to go on thinking undetectable clouds we cant see are producing comets. Then go for it. Its a completely arbitrary belief though, the only reason the Oort cloud hypothesis exists is to save big bang cosmology.

              >– despite a world of real evidence showing it to be absurd.

              Such as? At least support your claim a little.

              >“Doing observations and experiments is already assuming what your trying to prove…”.
              >> That is nonsense. Experiments are designed to test provisional theories – which may be confirmed or disproven.

              It is assuming what your trying to prove. The laws of logic, mathematics, etc. Are what make experimentation possible, using experimentation to say that they exists is already assuming what your trying to prove.
              It goes like this: Observations and experiments assume mathematics ,uniformity and logic. That is without them we could not do experiments. Using experiments to then prove them would already be assuming they existed, because your using something that already assumes them.

              >YECs are seemingly obsessed with the idea that real science is as blinkered as ‘creation science’ – that is the kind where you normally decide what must be true BEFOREHAND.

              This is just not true, creationists dont decide what must be true before hand. They just understand that all science will confirm the Bible, that is why it is important to separate someones interpretation of the evidence from the actual evidence itself.

              >Thanks for taking the time to try and deal with my arguments.

              Its been a good experience. Thanks

              >>I’m sure you are totally sincere and probably a pleasant individual. However – like the North Korean population – I fear you are a victim of indoctrination (I mean by YEC dogma not the Christian gospel).

              I believe in a young earth because thats what the Bible teaches. Not because of anyones indoctrination.

              • ashley haworth-roberts says:

                Micah

                You appear to be playing with words, and I see little point in repeating what I have already said.

                [Dr. Lisle: We know the feeling.]

                “How can some evidence be real and other evidence not?” I never suggested that. All evidence studied by scientists is real ‘natural’ evidence. However, the Bible is not scientific evidence (it could have been had it turned out to have been scientifically correct).

                “Science will always confirm the Bible. Not because creationist make it that way, because the Bible is the foundation for science.” But it DOESN’T confirm Genesis. That is why YECs complain, invent ‘creation science’, and publish their own journals disagreeing with mainstream science.

                [Actually, the very existence of science confirms Genesis. Genesis tells us that there are and will continue to be cycles in nature, such as the seasons and day and night (Genesis 8:22). Science confirms this, and in fact is based on this crucial presupposition. Genesis teaches that organisms reproduce according to their kind (e.g. Genesis 6:19-20), and this is exactly what science has confirmed. Note that science does not confirm evolution; we have never observed an organism coming from non-life, or one kind of organism change into a fundamentally different kind.]

                Real scientific laws are NOT arbitrary.

                [That’s the point. If evolution were true, then there would be no basis for believing in laws of nature; any belief in them would be arbitrary. But there are laws of nature, and belief in them is not arbitrary. Therefore… ]

                “I’m quite serious, you assume the laws of mathematics are invariant and unchanging but you have no basis to believe this is true in an evolutionary worldview.” “I did not make the claim that the laws of mathematics can vary.” You contradict yourself.

                [Ashley seems to have some trouble with reading comprehension. Micah pointed out that Ashley believes “the laws of mathematics are invariant and unchanging” and yet Ashley has no basis for such a belief in his own worldview; so he is being arbitrary.]

                And the way you keep repeating slogans does suggest indoctrination.

                [Irony. Ashley’s entire position seems to be nothing but the repeated catchphrases that evolutionists like to use instead of evidence, like “creation isn’t real science” etc. Notice that Ashley has not made a single cogent argument in all of his comments thus far. He simply assumes that he is right, and then demeans creationists. This does suggest indoctrination.]

                “Any evidence we have in the present is going to be contaminated by a persons presuppositions.” Like I said YECs object to ‘historical science’.

                [That’s another straw-man argument. We do historical science at times. But we recognize that historical science does not have the falsifiability that makes operational science so powerful. And we further realize that a person’s philosophy and view of history will strongly influence his or her interpretation of the evidence, particularly in matters of historical science.]

                “You need to provide a reason, based on your worldview, for why invariant laws should exists and why the material universe feels compelled to obey these immaterial laws.” I do not know whether God exists or not, but even if he does not that is the way things are. The existence of unvarying scientific laws (YECs say they DO vary by the way) are NO proof of God.

                [Ashley makes a very obvious blunder here. He cannot answer Micah’s objection. So he simply says, “that is the way things are.” Now imagine if I used that sort of poor reasoning in a debate. Suppose Ashley asked me how I know creation is true, and I said, “that’s just the way things are.” Would that be a reasonable response? Evolutionists often demand rational answers from others, when they refuse to reason rationally about their own worldview. Unless Ashley can find another sensible explanation for the existence and properties of laws of nature, we must rationally conclude that the Christian God does indeed exist.]

                [Ashley believes lots of things – invariant laws of mathematics, laws of nature, etc. But he cannot give us a reason for them on his worldview. This is arbitrary. To be arbitrary in a debate is really the same thing as conceding defeat. Debates are about who has the best reasons for their position. To be arbitrary, to not have a reason at all, is therefore to lose the debate. Thanks for playing Ashley.]

                As I said experiments are designed to test provisional theories – which may be confirmed or disproven.

                [Experiments are only useful in testing provisional theories if there is already known to be an underlying orderliness to nature. But since evolutionists cannot account for the latter on their own worldview, they have no reason to believe in the former. That’s the point. Ashley continues to miss it.]

                Your reply is just playing with words.

                [The opposite is true. Micah has made a devastating argument that Ashley simply cannot answer. That’s why Ashley is forced to give the intellectually bankrupt answer, “that’s the way things are.”]

                “This is just not true, creationists don’t decide what must be true before hand. They just understand that all science will confirm the Bible.” So you decide that anything contradicting the Bible is ‘false’. That is not science, it is an abuse of science.

                [So do evolutionists decide that anything contradicting naturalism is false? If there is c-14 in dinosaur fossils, or diamonds, would an evolutionist automatically dismiss such evidence for a young earth and assume contamination for no other reason than that it contradicts evolution? You bet. Is Ashley bothered by this? Apparently not.]

                Ashley

                • Robert says:

                  Ashley,
                  at the end, are you saying that if you run an experiment on a dinosaur bone and come up with a age of 20,000 years every time you run the tests but this is the same type of dinosaur “known” to be 2 million years old, that you would accept the results? Or, if you tested how long comets would last and it comes up with a 6000 years max that you would accept that data? You would not try to fit these results into what you believe is true beforehand, correct?

                  • ashley haworth-roberts says:

                    No, I’m not saying any of those things.

                    I am not a scientist and such an event hasn’t happened in mainstream science – though I understand that some Roman Catholic young Earth creationists claim to have found carbon 14 in dinosaur fossils – it is thought by others to be contamination.

                    • Robert says:

                      Ashley,
                      To clarify your position, were you saying that the evidence should not be adapted to fit a world view, it should be taken at face value regardless of how it would look to a persons beliefs?
                      So say if a dinosaur bone was found with soft tissue in it that should not last millions of years, it should be taken as being young in age?
                      Or if a comet would melt in a few thousand years, that it should be taken at face value to only be thousands of years old?
                      Your first response didn’t really answer the question about how the data should be viewed. Here is another mainstream finds that are similar to these. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0065128113000020 (soft tissue in triceratops)

                    • ashley haworth-roberts says:

                      Reply to Robert (below):

                      Speaking personally, in such a hypothetical situation I would probably try to square the results into what is already known to be true via scientific investigations carried out by others ie that dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years’ ago and the universe is over 13 bn years’ old. It’s not a question of ‘worldview’, merely of what science has already ruled out.

                    • Robert says:

                      That sounds strikingly similar to what you were calling an abuse of science.

                    • ashley haworth-roberts says:

                      Robert

                      “That sounds strikingly similar to what you were calling an abuse of science.” Utter garbage. And confi
                      rmation that you don’t think science can learn anything about the past and thus are anti-science.

                    • Robert says:

                      Actually, if you follow though with your logic, we would never have gotten past the majority thinking that the earth was flat, since everything would have had to be adapted to that view.

                    • ashley haworth-roberts says:

                      No, Robert. Sometimes previous assumptions have been overturned by the scientific method.

                    • Robert says:

                      Maybe you could point me to the areas in science that I should “square the results with what is already known to be true via scientific investigations carried out by others” that we’re supposed to follow and which we’re supposed to ignore. If all those scientists in the past were wrong about something that big, why should I believe they are right now? How do we determine scientifically at what point is the tipping point of the truth assumption being wrong and who makes that decision?

                    • Dr. Lisle says:

                      Wow! Robert wins by knockout blow. Very nice.

                    • ashley haworth-roberts says:

                      “Wow! Robert wins by knockout blow. Very nice.” (New comment by Jason.)
                      After quoting the exchanges with Robert, my post at the BCSE community forum included my thoughts on Robert’s question that I ignored (I’ve mentioned in other posts here that some of my postings have been reproduced at the BCSE community forum (in case of censorship). And indeed I have just discovered, days after I posted them, that Jason has part-censored some of my postings and has inserted [abusive ad hominem fallacy cut]).
                      [Editor: unwarranted character attacks are unethical, unscholarly, and not permitted on this site. Most sites would remove the post entirely and ban the commenter. I have been very gracious with Ashley, leaving all his non-libelous comments untouched.]

                      This is the specific BCSE thread: http://forums.bcseweb.org.uk/viewt
                      opic.php?f=1&t=3195&p=45291&hilit=lisle#p45291
                      Please see in particular my post made at the BCSE website timed at 5.21 am BST on 13 April.

                      As far as I recall, when answering a post by another participant here, I referred to the post by Robert which I ignored as containing an ‘idiot question’. Thus not answering an idiot question is not conceding victory – and Robert has not suggested that it was.

                      [translation: "I can't answer that question. It's too hard. So I'm going to call it an 'idiot question' and hope that no one notices."]

                      I will now check exactly what Jason censored.

                      [only the unethical character assassinations were cut. However, if Ashley continues to act like a child, he will have to post elsewhere.]

                    • Robert says:

                      Actually, I think your silence and “idiot question”, “utter garbage”, “yawn”, etc. comments speak for themselves as to the arbitrary standards you have set for your reasoning. The question I asked would still be valid for (pre-science as you claim), science, post-science, etc. time periods too, if you’d rather answer it that way.
                      If your aim is purely for proselytizing your personal faith views, your comments might be better located on this blog section http://www.jasonlisle.com/2012/11/09/deep-time-the-god-of-our-age/ where Jason has already laid out many of the faith claims you are trying to push.
                      I am intrigued though, if I were to convert to evolution/ survival of the fittest as you want us to, wouldn’t I automatically have to be wary of anything you say because your goal would just to be the fittest around and let me die off? Seems like a very paranoid way of life.
                      I’ll keep praying that you can know the true peace of God, not the paranoia of this world.

              • Micah says:

                Hi Ashley,

                >“How can some evidence be real and other evidence not?”
                >>I never suggested that.

                When you make the claim real evidence, that means you believe in unreal evidence. So yes, you did suggest that some evidence is real and some is not.

                >All evidence studied by scientists is real ‘natural’ evidence. However, the Bible is not scientific evidence (it could have been had it turned out to have been scientifically correct).

                The Bible is correct on any areas it touches upon science. You’ve yet to demonstrate how this is untrue.

                >“Science will always confirm the Bible. Not because creationist make it that way, because the Bible is the foundation for science.”
                >> But it DOESN’T confirm Genesis.

                You’ve yet to prove this.

                >That is why YECs complain, invent ‘creation science’, and publish their own journals disagreeing with mainstream science.

                The reason they publish those scientific papers is because science does confirm Genesis.

                >Real scientific laws are NOT arbitrary.

                I never said scientific laws were arbitrary.

                >“I’m quite serious, you assume the laws of mathematics are invariant and unchanging but you have no basis to believe this is true in an evolutionary worldview.”
                >>“I did not make the claim that the laws of mathematics can vary.”

                >>> You contradict yourself.

                There is no contradiction. I said you have no basis to believe in mathematical laws or their properties in your worldview. I never said that mathematical laws dont exist or that they change. Its as plain as day when you read what i wrote.

                >And the way you keep repeating slogans does suggest indoctrination.

                I am not repeating any slogans. You just dont seem to grasp the argument so i have to keep explaining it over and over again.

                >“Any evidence we have in the present is going to be contaminated by a persons presuppositions.”
                >>Like I said YECs object to ‘historical science’.

                This is not an objection. It stating a fact, no person goes to the evidence without presuppositions. Therefore they dont go to the evidence without bias. Historical science is a great tool when used under the correct worldview.

                >“You need to provide a reason, based on your worldview, for why invariant laws should exists and why the material universe feels compelled to obey these immaterial laws.”
                >> I do not know whether God exists or not, but even if he does not that is the way things are.

                Well, of course things are the way things are. But you must still justify why things are the way they are if you wish to be un-arbitrary. This is what we have been trying to get you to do, because laws of logic, mathematics, etc. just dont make any sense in an evolutionary worldview, unless you can justify them. Which so far, you havent even tried to do.

                >The existence of unvarying scientific laws (YECs say they DO vary by the way)

                Where? Substantiate your claims.

                >are NO proof of God.

                But they are, because only in a God created universe would we expect invariant laws that dont change with time(because God himself is invariant and unchanging).

                >As I said experiments are designed to test provisional theories – which may be confirmed or disproven. Your reply is just playing with words.

                You say my reply was just playing with words but you didn’t show how. Doing scientific experiments is only possible because those laws are invariant and dont change. You cant use that method to prove them.

                >“This is just not true, creationists don’t decide what must be true before hand. They just understand that all science will confirm the Bible.”
                >>So you decide that anything contradicting the Bible is ‘false’.
                I didn’t decide that, its just necessarily true. The Bible comes from God and is therefore perfect on matters of science. No one has proven this to be false, you sure haven’t.

                >That is not science, it is an abuse of science.

                Well, its not science at all actually. Its just reality, and the reality is that science(when done under the proper worldview) will always confirm the Bible.

                • ashley haworth-roberts says:

                  Micah

                  “When you make the claim real evidence, that means you believe in unreal evidence. So yes, you did suggest that some evidence is real and some is not.”

                  [abusive ad hominem fallacy cut]

                  [Editor’s note: libelous comments and unwarranted ad hominem attacks are not permitted on this blog, and may result in the person being banned. I am very happy to allow critics to post on my blog, but I expect them to behave themselves.]

                  Science only deals with real evidence.

                  “You’ve yet to prove this.” You’ve yet to prove the opposite.

                  “The reason they publish those scientific papers is because science does confirm Genesis.” No, it does not.

                  The world we live in is one where evolution appears to be true. And you did write: “The argument is, in an evolutionary worldview there is no reason to believe in these laws. Its arbitrary, because evolution cannot provide a rational justification for why these laws should be laws”. Thus you imply that scientific laws – discovered not made up by humans – are arbitrary. They are no such thing.

                  “Historical science is a great tool when used under the correct worldview.” No, it’s a great tool when you study and interpret the available evidence.

                  [abusive ad hominem fallacy cut]

                  [Editor’s note: libelous comments and unwarranted ad hominem attacks are not permitted on this blog, and may result in the person being banned. I am very happy to allow critics to post on my blog, but I expect them to behave themselves.]

                  “Where? Substantiate your claims.” HERE: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/04/04/feedback-key-to-the-past

                  “But they are, because only in a God created universe would we expect invariant laws that don’t change with time(because God himself is invariant and unchanging).” That is not a scientific argument. Merely an assumption.

                  “The Bible comes from God and is therefore perfect on matters of science. No one has proven this to be false…”.

                  [abusive ad hominem fallacy cut]

                  Even many Christians AGREE that the Bible is NOT ‘perfect on matters of science’.

                  “science(when done under the proper worldview) will always confirm the Bible”.
                  Your favourite slogan.

                  Which really means that you oppose real science done under the so-called ‘worldview’ that the ONLY thing which matters is physical evidence – because such science does not REMOTELY confirm Genesis.

                  • Aaron says:

                    Firstly, although your claims at Micah’s lying and bigotry are false, why would lying and bigotry be morally wrong in an evolutionary worldview? Also, nowhere does Micah imply that natural laws are arbitrary or nonexistant. He states that evolution cannot account for natural laws. Justifying things to be non-arbitrary is not an opinion. If you’re arbitrary, you don’t have any reason for your beliefs. Therefore, you must justify them in order to not be arbitrary. Next, did you read the article you posted? Because it clearly says in the first response paragraph that natural laws are constant, but processes may change, and so uniformitarianism can often be wrong. Your claim that many Christians agree that the Bible is not perfect on matters of science means nothing. I know many Christians that believe evolution and the Big Bang, curse, support nonbiblical concepts, etc. That doesn’t mean they are right. Lastly, if in your scientific study, the only thing that matters is physical evidence, then could you please tell of an instance when only physical evidence, without assumptions or interpretation based on prior knowledge, pointed to evolution? BTW, sorry I couldn’t do this as well or professionally as Dr. Lisle or Micah or some other posters on this blog. I’m not as practiced or tech-savvy.

                    • ashley haworth-roberts says:

                      Aaron

                      “why would lying and bigotry be morally wrong in an evolutionary worldview…”. Yawn.

                      In the article I flagged, Jason Lisle wrote: “Uniformity is distinct from uniformitarianism. The former asserts a consistency in the way the universe operates (if conditions are the same, one can expect the same outcome). In other words, the laws of nature are constant, but conditions and specific processes may be quite different in time or space. Conversely, uniformitarianism asserts that there is a consistency of conditions and processes”. That is sheer drivel – Lisle demands that radioactive decay rates increased a million fold during Noah’s Flood to ‘account’ for Earth being determined as extremely old from the evidence.Thus he wishes for scientific laws/processes to vary – arbitrarily. Utter nonsense. Non-YECs do not require such Ad hoc ‘explanations’ such as those championed by Mr Lisle. There is no scientific evidence AT ALL that in the case of radioactive decay rates over time uniformitarianism will lead to inaccurate results.

                      “if in your scientific study, the only thing that matters is physical evidence, then could you please tell of an instance when only physical evidence, without assumptions or interpretation based on prior knowledge, pointed to evolution?” NO. Because I have never suggested that interpretation of the evidence is unnecessary. However, scien tific interpretations should be based upon evidence (in the light of what is already known from other evidence as applicable) ONLY. But that is NOT how ‘creation science’ operates. Interpretations contrary to scripture are FORBIDDEN in creation science, regardless of physical/measurable evidence.
                      Like other YECs I have encountered online, you play with words trying to trip people up with arguments from logic. I am treading carefully :)

                      Ashley

                    • Aaron says:

                      I hardly think “Yawn” is an answer. Also, laws and processes are two different things. “‘A’ and ‘Not A’ cannot both be true at the same time in the same sense”- LAW. “It takes 2 minutes to heat my Spaghetti-O’s in an 1100 watt microwave, and 3 minutes in a 1000 watt microwave”- Processes. There is much evidence that uniformitarianism leads to incorrect dating. Have you studied the impact of the Earth’s magnetic field on radiometric dating? Have you studied the RATE findings? Both evolutionists and creationists use prior knowledge and evidence to interpret evidence. An evolutionist looks at the fossil record and sees millions of years and evolution. Creationists look at how neatly layered (not skewed between layers by erosion) the fossil record is and how this suggests quick burial and how a flood could provide such burial and account for the levels of certain creatures in the fossil record and conclude that the evidence supports a global flood, just as the Bible says. I don’t see the problem with making arguments from logic is wrong. If your logic is faulty, your argument is faulty, which is not to say the irrationality of one argument debunks a whole worldview, just that the person making the argument made a mistake. However, if the worldview as a whole cannot stand logically, it is false.
                      We need to move this comment chain somewhere else. This format is getting too narrow.

                    • ashley haworth-roberts says:

                      Robert

                      Yes, it’s difficult to read so I will be brief.

                      “There is much evidence that uniformitarianism leads to incorrect dating.” If that is true, how come only YECs say this and have failed to convince anyone else?

                    • ashley haworth-roberts says:

                      Sorry, my reply below was to Aaron NOT Robert.

                  • ashley haworth-roberts says:

                    I will shortly post at the BCSE community forum thread ‘the limits of observational science’ my brief thoughts on Jason’s part censorship of the above post (note that the FULL post is already at the BCSE thread in question – as I have found that YECs are very keen on censorship and editing posts so kept a record of what I wrote in my longer replies here).
                    [Actually, nothing was censored other than Ashley's name-calling, which is not permitted on this site. And frankly, name-calling makes Ashley look bad anyway. Name-calling is a rhetorical attempt to persuade by emotion rather than logic. I welcome ethical evolutionists to post their comments here.]

                    • Chris H says:

                      Dr. Lisle, I do not think that Ashley sees it that way. Perhaps he thinks that libelous claims are a form of logical argumentation?

                      [Yes, you may be right. In an evolutionary universe, there is no essential difference between rational thinking and emotional reactions; they are both merely chemistry in the brain.]

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Ashley says, “In other words you are saying that science – if it simply interprets evidence for what it is without introducing biblical theology into the equation – is irrational.

      This is a reification fallacy. Science is a concept and doesn’t “interpret evidence.” Rather, scientists interpret evidence. They do this in light of their worldview. If they willfully ignore recorded history (the Bible) and choose to interpret the evidence in light of a fairy tale that they have made up (billions of years, evolution, uniformitarianism, etc.), then they will tend to end up with the wrong answer. It is irrational to ignore the facts given to us in Scripture when we do science, because science has no rational justification apart from Scripture.

      > That is an anti-science position.

      Hardly. Evolution is anti-science though, because evolution cannot provide any rational foundation for the things necessary for science: the mind’s ability to be rational, the consistent mathematical laws of nature and their properties, or laws of logic and their properties.

      > and the Bible is pre-scientific,

      That’s actually accurate, but not in the way that Ashley has intimated. God, as described in the pages of Scripture, is the necessary precondition for science to be possible. We must embrace biblical presuppositions before we can make sense of science. The Bible is therefore the foundation for science, and is “pre” scientific in the sense that it is logically antecedent. This is one reason why science, when done properly, always confirms the Bible.

      > not obviously anti-scientific in the way that young Earth creationists today feel that [sic] have to be and clearly are).

      I’m not sure what creationists Ashley refers to… But most of the ones I know have a Ph.D. in a field of science. So it’s hard to take seriously any claim that creationists are against science.

      > I suggest that that is YOUR opinion.

      Of course, if it weren’t my opinion I would not have stated it. Perhaps what Ashley meant to say is that it is merely my opinion but is not factual. But if he had said that, then he might actually have to offer evidence to support his claim – which he cannot do, apparently. Evolutionists are often very arbitrary; they just can’t provide good reasons for what they believe. Ironically, Ashley here demonstrated the very point I was making.

      > And a dishonest portrayal of the scientific method as being based on whims and impulses.

      We creationists are very concerned with honesty since the Bible teaches this. But from an evolutionary perspective, why not lie if it benefits my survival? We creationists love science because it shows that God created and upholds the universe just as He has said in Scripture. But from an evolutionary perspective, why would science be possible? The ironic thing about the “whims and impulses” claim is that this is the evolutionist’s view; the evolutionist claims that our brain is merely the result of chance mutations that conveyed some small survival value. From an evolutionary perspective, there is no reason to expect order or logic in the universe, nor any reason to think that our thoughts about science are anything but “whims and impulses.”

  11. Todd says:

    Dr. Lisle,
    Thank you for any help and for the work you do. I have two questions, if you can direct me to a source, I’ll save you the typing :) 1st. I have just been reading Taking Back Astronomy and was surprised by your statement, “In the 1920s, astronomers discovered that virtually all clusters of galaxies appear to be moving away from all other clusters.” It has been my understanding that Hubble etc. discovered that galaxies were moving away from OUR viewpoint on earth. Numerous secular astronomers admit this (i.e. Hawking & Hubble) – basically that the Copernican principle is an assumption to avoid the plain conclusion that the Earth (or at least our galaxy) is the center of not only the focus of God’s creation but also the actual universe. So my question is, what is the evidence that the balloon example is correct vs.an earth centric view similar to Dr. Humphreys model. I’ll post second question separately. Thanks!

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Todd,

      I’ve heard this question before but I don’t think I’ve seen a good answer in the literature. So here we go: The Hubble law is the fact that the redshift of a galaxy (interpreted for our purposes as recessional speed) is (to first order) proportional to its distance from us. So the farther a galaxy is from us, the faster it is moving away from us. All the measurements of galaxy distances and galaxy redshifts were computed from Earth – because we can’t observe from anywhere else.

      And I’ve had a number of people ask me essentially what you did – doesn’t the Hubble Law imply that our position is central in the universe? Some astronomers have asked this question too. But I just can’t see how the Hubble Law would suggest any center at all. If a galaxy’s speed relative to us is proportional to its distance from us, and if we further assume that tangential “sideways” motion is small, then this will necessarily also be the case for all other galaxies. In other words, if observers in one galaxy observe a Hubble Law, then it would have to be the case that hypothetical observers in any other galaxy will also observe a Hubble Law. Since they all observe the same effect, how could any one of them argue that it is in a unique “center?” The Hubble law implies that all galaxies are moving away from each other, since their speed relative to us is proportional to their distance relative to us. Let me illustrate:

      -20 . -10 . 0 . 10 . 20 . 30 . 40 . 50
      .. A … B .. C .. D .. E … F … G .. H

      Imagine eight galaxies in a roughly straight line as indicated by the letters A through H. Our galaxy – the Milky Way – is C. The velocities of the galaxies relative to us are given just above the letter of each, with negative numbers indicating motion to the left, and positive numbers indicating motion to the right. This is a Hubble Law relation because the farther a galaxy is from the Milky Way, the faster its velocity. Notice that all galaxies are moving away from the Milky Way. But the Milky Way is not in the center. Also notice that all these galaxies are also moving away from each other. This can be demonstrated by picking another galaxy – let’s take “E” and looking at the relative velocities from E’s point of view:

      -40 . -30 . -20 . -10 . 0 . 10 . 20 . 30
      .. A …. B …. C … D .. E .. F … G .. H

      Galaxy E sees its own velocity as zero, since nothing moves relative to itself. Just as from the Milky Way’s point of view, E is moving to the right with speed 20, from E’s point of view the Milky Way is moving to the left with speed (-)20. Since motion is relative, E would also observe a Hubble Law, with all galaxies moving away from E with speed proportional to distance. The lesson is: if any one galaxy observes a Hubble Law, then necessarily all other galaxies will observe a Hubble Law too. This also works in 2 or 3 dimensions.

      So I don’t think that the Hubble Law implies that we are in a unique or central position. There may be other evidence for such a position, just not the Hubble Law.

      • Todd says:

        Dr. Lisle, thank you so much for your comments. If I may dig deeper on Hubble’s law: You stated, “I just can’t see how the Hubble Law would suggest any center at all.” I agree with you, I don’t see the implication either, but neither do I see an implication that there isn’t a center. It is neutral. I completely agree with your linear example of galaxies A – H, looking in a straight line you could not tell where, or if there was, a center. However, if you add in a second dimension, then doesn’t it show that there could be a center? For example, assume galaxy C is the center, if galaxy E looks towards or away from C, it will see the same expansion as C…but if galaxy E looked in a perpendicular direction i.e. towards EY+1, the galaxies in those directions would NOT be moving away from E anywhere near as much as from D and F (just the amount due to the radial displacement from galaxy E as they both moved away from C at a slightly different vector)

        EY+1
        .0.
        .. A …. B …. C … D .. E .. F … G .. H
        -40 . -30 . -20 . -10 . 0 . 10 . 20 . 30

        Stephen Hawking acknowledged that this could be the case, – that the evidence shows the expansion being from only Earth – “Now at first sight, all this evidence that the universe looks the same whichever direction we look in might seem to suggest there is something special about our place in the universe. In particular, it might seem that if we observe all other galaxies to be moving away from us , then we must be at the center of the universe. There is, however, an alternate explanation: the universe might look the same in every direction as seen from any other galaxy, too. We have no scientific evidence for, or against, this assumption. We believe it only on grounds of modesty: it would be most remarkable if the universe looked the same in every direction around us, but not around other points in the universe.”
        Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, pg 56 (my copy)

        As did Hubble:
        “…Such a condition would imply that we occupy a unique
        position in the universe, analogous, in a sense, to the ancient
        conception of a central Earth.…This hypothesis cannot be
        disproved, but it is unwelcome and would only be accepted as
        a last resort in order to save the phenomena. Therefore we
        disregard this possibility…the unwelcome position of a
        favored location must be avoided at all costs… such a favored
        position is intolerable…. Therefore, in order to restore
        homogeneity, and to escape the horror of a unique position…
        must be compensated by spatial curvature. There seems to be
        no other escape.”
        The Observational Approach to Cosmology, 1937

        Sorry for the long quotes, my understanding of the expansion observed is that it is interpreted as being everywhere (Copernican principle) not by evidence, but by arrogance (what Hawking calls “modesty”). Yes, we are free to theorize that the observed expansion is happening everywhere, but the actual evidence does not even imply that, much less show it. The bible certainly does not state that the earth is the center of anything but God’s focus. But since it is the center of His focus, doesn’t it make a satisfying sense that if the stars were “stretched out” after the creation of the earth, that we would be near the center of the expansion. Scripturally, doesn’t have to be, but if the only evidence stating otherwise is a position of “modesty” i.e. that we are not special, then I don’t see a reason to believe we are not the center.
        What am I missing?
        Thank you so much for your time.
        Todd

        • Todd says:

          ugh, embarrassing, surely this will work, so sorry

          …………………………..EY+1
          ……………………………0.
          .. A …. B …. C … D .. E .. F … G .. H
          -40 . -30 . -20 . -10 . 0 . 10 . 20 . 30

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          Hi Todd,

          The same effect will work in two-dimensions (or three) if you add the velocity vectors properly. That’s harder to illustrate on a blog however. If any particular galaxy observes a Hubble Law, then all others necessarily will too, so long as tangential velocities are small. If you want to prove this to yourself, do the following experiment:

          Take a sharpie and mark a bunch of dots at random positions on a piece of paper. These represent galaxies. Pick any two at random and label them “A” and “B.” Use a Xerox machine to make a copy of this onto an overhead transparency, but set the “scale” on the Xerox machine to 105%. So the dots will be a little farther apart on the overhead transparency. This represents the universe at a later time when it has expanded further. Now place the overhead on top of the original and line up galaxy A, so that its position coincides with the position on the paper. You will “see” a Hubble Law. The galaxies that are farther away from A will have their positions displaced more than nearby galaxies do – indicating faster recession. It looks like everything is receding away from A. Now shift the transparency so that galaxy B lines up with galaxy B on the paper. Now it appears that everything is receding from point B.

          When you line up any galaxy with itself, this is how observers at that galaxy would interpret the data, because we all consider our position stationary. But at every point, there is a Hubble Law.

          • Todd says:

            Dr. Lisle, again many thanks for your time.
            I will understand if you grow weary of my questions, I know your time is valuable :) I am going to be teaching a large youth group soon on these (and other areas of apologetics) and so my efforts are not just for personal knowledge :)

            As you said, it is hard to illustrate these motions on a blog. I understand your transparency example and apologize that I wasn’t clear in my question. I understand that “at every point, there is a Hubble Law”, that the expansion will look the same from any other point, BUT only if the expansion is NOT from a single, specific point. My poor illustration was assuming that there really IS a center of the expansion. That you would not see the same expansion from all other points, you would see expansion, but at lower amounts (perpendicular to a radial from the center). In this situation, you could not simply “shift the transparency” because the expansion is not uniform, it expands only from a central point. Hubble’s Law was derived from the observations seen from earth. It is my understanding there was/is nothing intrinsic in these observations that imply it would be the same at all points. It is only assumed that they do to avoid the obvious conclusion that we are in a special location. This assumption was described by Hawking and Hubble. They understood it was an assumption that Hubble’s Law applies everywhere.
            In your transparency example, if you leave the enlargement centered on A (the center) and measure the distance increases between two random points located near each other (two points aligned perpendicular to the center), the increased distance from each other will be much less than the increased distance from A.

            So my question is, isn’t it just a naturalistic assumption that the expansion is uniform and not just from one point. Isn’t this what Hawking and Hubble admit?

            Thank you so much for considering my question further.
            Todd

            • Dr. Lisle says:

              Hi Todd,

              Regarding your question: “isn’t it just a naturalistic assumption that the expansion is uniform and not just from one point.” The answer is, no. If the expansion away from one point is proportional to distance (Hubble Law), and you don’t allow “sideways” motion, it is necessarily the case that all other points will experience a Hubble Law.

              > In your transparency example, if you leave the enlargement centered on A…

              If I understand you correctly, you mean that we enlarge only a section of the map – a section that is very close to A, and do not enlarge other areas, (or alternatively, we do not enlarge them as much). Is that correct? If so, then point A will not experience a Hubble law. It will see nearby galaxies as redshifted, but distant galaxies will not be redshifted, or at least not proportional to their distance. So, yes, point A would be in a special position, experiencing a local expansion, but it would not observe a Hubble Law.

              Remember that the Hubble Law not only indicates that all galaxies are moving away from us, but also that they are moving away at a speed that is proportional to their distance from us. It is this last bit of information that forces us to believe that all other galaxies are also experiencing a Hubble Law. Putting it another way, I don’t believe it is possible to have a Hubble Law that is true for one point, without all other points also experiencing a Hubble Law.

              I think I may have a way of illustrating this in two dimensions. Consider 9 galaxies configured in a grid like this:

              A.B.C
              D.E.F
              G.H.I

              The Milky Way is G. If the Milky Way observes a Hubble Law, then the distance of a galaxy is proportional to its recessional speed. Therefore, galaxy A is moving away from G (up) at twice the speed as galaxy D, since it lies at twice the distance. Likewise, C moves (up and to the right) at twice the speed as E. And galaxy I moves to the right at twice the speed as H. So at a later time, the galaxies will look like this:

              A. . .B. . .C

              D. . .E. . .F

              G. . .H. . .I

              Galaxy G observes that galaxy A has moved twice the distance as galaxy D, because it has twice the velocity. The galaxies that were originally the farthest have moved the most, because the Hubble Law requires that distant galaxies recede faster. But notice that all the other galaxies have also experienced a Hubble Law. They would see all other galaxies moving away from them at a speed that is proportional to distance. Apparently, a Hubble Law experienced by one galaxy necessarily means that all other galaxies also experience a Hubble Law.

              Perhaps the best way to convince yourself of this is to try and disprove it. Think up a radial expansion away from G where the recession rate is proportional to distance (Hubble Law) that does not move other galaxies away from each other in the same way. I say it can’t be done.

              I hope this helps.

      • Todd says:

        So sorry, didn’t realize my spacing on my galaxy spacing wouldn’t hold here is what it should have looked like

        . EY+1
        . .0.
        .. A …. B …. C … D .. E .. F … G .. H
        -40 . -30 . -20 . -10 . 0 . 10 . 20 . 30

        Thanks again,
        and God bless you.

  12. Todd says:

    Dr. Lisle,
    Thanks for your time. I have been curious about an issue with dark matter that I have not seen mentioned anywhere. I understand the speed/distance measurements brought to light by Vera Rubin that show the speed of stars further out in a galaxy are too fast and would have flung out in space long ago. My question is, do we have data that shows they aren’t? If the universe IS young, then are these galaxies flinging apart and we just can’t see that motion due to the massive distances/time involved, or is the wavelength data precise enough to show that the outermost stars are remaining stable in the orbits at higher speeds then should be possible. Is dark matter simple made up to explain something that doesn’t need to be explained if these galaxies are only 6,000 yrs old? (not addressing the gravitational lensing arguments here). Thanks again for any assistance (to anyone honestly)

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Todd,

      That’s also a good question. The answer is: no, we currently cannot track the actual motion of the outer stars in any galaxy. So there is no way to know from velocity data alone whether virtually all galaxies are in the process of flying apart but merely haven’t had sufficient time in 6000 years, or whether there is another substance (dark matter) that provides the extra gravity to stabilize these orbits. Given that most of the things God created are highly stable, my tendency would be to assume that this is likely the case for galaxies as well, apart from any compelling evidence to the contrary. The tie-breaker seems to be gravitational lensing. The way light bends around a galaxy allows us to compute the total mass of the galaxy, and such calculations are consistent with a high amount of dark matter.

      • Todd says:

        Thank you for reply Dr. Lisle, it really is an honor. I certainly agree “that most of the things God created are highly stable” (our solar system being a prominent example) but many examples show that “Heaven and earth shall pass away…”(Matthew 24:35). Supernovas, recession of the moon, the decay of the earth’s magnetic field are a few. I have read so many articles that all say the same thing about dark matter, i.e. “We don’t have any idea.” I became convinced early on that dark matter was just another imaginary construct like inflation theory created to hold naturalistic cosmology together. I suppose it could be real, but I keep thinking three things: 1. If the galaxies have appearances that defy naturalistic explanation – that proclaims the glory of God (yes, they would anyway, but you get my point) 2. I personally believe Christ will return long before any galaxy will visibly “fly apart” so from our viewpoint, they are sufficiently stable and 3. is it possible that gravitational lensing can be explained another way? – I am out of my league in this I know. I so greatly appreciate your time.
        Todd

  13. Chris says:

    Doctor Lisle, a friend of mine recently posted this in response to my giving evidence provided by the RATE project to prove the existence of C-14 in Coal and Diamonds.

    The RATE committee argument is invalid because their test wasn’t a valid test in the first place. They failed to maintain the rule that radioactive decay rates are always the same.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisotopes_and_the_Age_of_the_Earth#Radioisotopes_and_the_Age_of_the_Earth_project

    What would you say on this topic?

    (Again, thank you so much for your help earlier.)

    • Robert says:

      So your friend basically said that the test was invalid because they did not assume the conculsion of the test before they performed it? Seems like begging the question.
      The RATE project was to determine if the decay rates that were assumed to be constant were actually constant.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Chris,

      Your friend has missed the point entirely. As Robert pointed out, the RATE research was designed to test the hypothesis that radioactive decay rates are constant. To claim that the “test was invalid because they should have just assumed the answer” is absurd. In science we are supposed to test hypotheses. Evolutionists have assumed that radioactive decay rates have always been constant in the past, and the RATE research strongly challenges this assumption.

      Regarding citing Wikipedia… While there is nothing wrong with reading Wikipedia articles, we should remember that they are not peer-reviewed. Anyone can put up anything they want, and there are few safe guards to prevent error. Wikipedia is therefore not considered to be a reliable source of information. It is not scholarly to cite non-peer reviewed literature in support of a questionable scientific claim. I notice that some of the references in the wiki article are to the talk-origins website – another non-peer-reviewed website that is notoriously unreliable.

      God bless.

      • Jason K says:

        Technically Wikipedia is peer-reviewed in the sense that the safe guards that exist are based on reviews and discussions by peers (articles are discussed publicly in regards for their accuracy).

        [Dr. Lisle: I should explain that when scientists speak of ‘peer-review’, they mean that a paper or book has been reviewed by their peers – someone with a terminal degree in the relevant field. Wikipedia is not. I’m not anti-Wikipedia. However, it is not scholarly or wise to rely on Wikipedia as a reliable source of information since anyone can post on it without peer-review.]

        The RATE project has not submitted itself to a peer-reviewed scientific journal that does not have a stated objective in proving the earth is young.

        [Dr. Lisle: The RATE project has indeed submitted itself to rigorous peer-review which even included scientists who are not young earth creationists. Unfortunately, most secular science journals have an anti-creation bias, often unstated. Their editors would reject any paper with conclusions that confirm creation, not for scientific reasons but for ideological reasons.]

        This is alarming since professionals from the field have indicated that there are serious flaws in the sampling process that occurred during the RATE project.

        [Dr. Lisle: I have seen people state that the RATE project has errors. But I haven’t seen anyone actually demonstrate this. This makes me suspect that their objections have nothing to do with science, but are emotional/ideological in nature.]

        If the journals that RATE submits to explicitly state that articles must fall inline with YEC ideology then how is a honest discussion suppose to happen?

        [Dr. Lisle: Most creationist journals (perhaps all of them) do allow people to publish papers critical of a particular creationist model or claim, so long as they back it up scientifically and reason cogently. It seems that the secularists haven’t been able to produce a cogent refutation, at least so far. Also, keep in mind that “honest discussion” is only meaningful if creation is true. In an evolutionary universe there is no fundamental basis for morality.]

  14. Chris C says:

    Just for the record, there are two Chris’s. I will from hear on out go by Chris C to avoid confusion. I was the Chris that asked about reliability of senses.

  15. Chris H says:

    Dr. Lisle, the critic that I have been debating recently said this during our argument, and I do not know how I should go about explaining it to him. I have an idea of where to start on some points, but I am not sure that I have a firm grip on some concepts in order to safely argue my point.

    Me: However, your thesis is that uniformity exists because we see uniformity.

    Critic: this rabbit trail should be over. you were given my “thesis”: we observe uniformity all over the universe. the simplest explanation is that the universe is consistent. and your counter to this thesis is that the universe behaves unpredictably in such a way that any and all observations all over the universe ***still look predictable.***

    given occam’s razor, the simplest explanation is the more likely explanation. that is the end of this discussion.

    Me: I would actually argue the same for you, because you have provided no way to argue for uniformity, or Common Descent in your naturalistic worldview. So why not abandon science and embrace your religion of Atheism for what it is? A religion. A flawed, unfounded religion, but still a religion.

    Critic: your poor understanding of atheism does not an argument make. atheism has absolutely nothing to do with evolution. or science. you can be an atheist without acknowledging evolution.

    and thanks for acknowledging that you have no grounds to use science in any discussion regarding the nature of the universe.

    Me:God upholds the universe in a predictable manner

    Critic: false. the apparent age of the universe is billions of years. the actual age of the universe is 6,000 years. the earth was covered in a global, water flood, despite the fact that not enough water exists on the earth to cover it in such a manner. armies fall before moses based on his resolution to hold up his arms. water flows from rocks when they are commanded (or struck). staffs turn to snakes. water turns to blood (and wine). serpents and donkeys can speak. the sun stands still for a whole day at joshua’s prayer. fire rains down from heaven at elijah’s plea. dead come to life. sick are brought to health. poison does not kill. people speak languages they do not know. these things happen at the whim of god. they are not uniform. they are not predictable.

    Me: Unfortunately, you are asking me to argue from the basis that my worldview is wrong.

    Critic: ok, i’m gonna do an exercise in logic with you. i am going to grant you the axiom that god exists. now demonstrate how that leads to our logic being reliable.

    Critic:>>however, evolution *is* most easily defined as genetic change over time,
    Me:Actually, you yourself defined Common Descent, and Evolution. (see your two previous comments in my Q&A that I had with you.)

    Critic: and you can ask any relevant expert what he has to say on that and he’ll agree.
    Me: But again, the same can be said of creationists.

    Critic: who are not experts in the field.

    Me: Generic change over time is not what is being debated, what is being debated is Common Descent, please stick to the topic.

    Critic: you don’t understand either, so that’s ok.

    • Flip says:

      If it is ok, I would like to put forth my 2 cents. You can take it for what it is worth.

      Critic: this rabbit trail should be over. you were given my “thesis”: we observe uniformity all over the universe. the simplest explanation is that the universe is consistent. and your counter to this thesis is that the universe behaves unpredictably in such a way that any and all observations all over the universe ***still look predictable.***

      given occam’s razor, the simplest explanation is the more likely explanation. that is the end of this discussion.

      The critic here is arguing that the reason there is uniformity in the universe is because there is uniformity in the universe. This is question begging. The critic is supposed to provide a reason, in his worldview, for why there is uniformity in the universe and he has not. His best explanation is that it just is.

      Critic: your poor understanding of atheism does not an argument make. atheism has absolutely nothing to do with evolution. or science. you can be an atheist without acknowledging evolution.

      and thanks for acknowledging that you have no grounds to use science in any discussion regarding the nature of the universe.

      Firstly, atheism may have nothing to do with evolution, but evolution leads to atheism. Evolution is a theory that attempts to explain the universe without God. If God is unnecessary then why believe He exist at all?
      Secondly, Chris H. did not say that he has no grounds to use science, bu rather he said that the critic had no grounds for science.

      Critic: false. the apparent age of the universe is billions of years. the actual age of the universe is 6,000 years. the earth was covered in a global, water flood, despite the fact that not enough water exists on the earth to cover it in such a manner. armies fall before moses based on his resolution to hold up his arms. water flows from rocks when they are commanded (or struck). staffs turn to snakes. water turns to blood (and wine). serpents and donkeys can speak. the sun stands still for a whole day at joshua’s prayer. fire rains down from heaven at elijah’s plea. dead come to life. sick are brought to health. poison does not kill. people speak languages they do not know. these things happen at the whim of god. they are not uniform. they are not predictable.

      Mischaracterizations aside,this in no way proves that there is no God. He may choose to do actions that goes against the uniformity of nature, but these are more like exceptions to the rules or even exceptions that prove the rule.

      Critic: ok, i’m gonna do an exercise in logic with you. i am going to grant you the axiom that god exists. now demonstrate how that leads to our logic being reliable.

      Ok. Logic is reliable because they stem from the nature of God. That is God is logical. Now the critic has to provide the basis for logic being reliable in his worldview. In other words: how can logic be reliable in a random chance universe?

      Critic:>>however, evolution *is* most easily defined as genetic change over time,

      The critic here is attempting to do an equivocation fallacy, or bait and switch. While we do observe genetic change over time, it is not the same genetic change that would turn microbes into microbiologist.

      Critic: and you can ask any relevant expert what he has to say on that and he’ll agree.

      Of course because he will have an evolutionary bias.

      Me: But again, the same can be said of creationists.
      Critic: who are not experts in the field.

      Except for of course Dr. Jason Lilse, Dr. John Baumgardner, and a host of others. The list would be to long to post.

      Critic: you don’t understand either, so that’s ok.

      Apparently it is the critic who doesn’t understand. He has not provided the basis for logic in his worldview and he equivocates on evolution. He has not made a good argument.

      Anyway, thats my 2 cents. I am not an expert but I hope this helps.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Chris,

      As Flip pointed out, the critic here has begged the question. He has arbitrarily assumed uniformity as the reason for uniformity. I have found that this is a difficult concept for people who haven’t thought about it much. We assume uniformity so foundationally that we don’t even realize we’re doing it; which is why this critic hasn’t realized his mistake. I’m going to provide you with a quote from a textbook on logic that might be helpful. In Introduction to Logic by Copi and Cohen, there is a substantial section on logical fallacies. And for the fallacy of begging the question, the very example the textbook provides is those who use uniformity as the basis for uniformity:

      “To beg the question is to assume the truth of what one seeks to prove, in the effort to prove it. … This is another of those mistakes that often go unrecognized by those who commit them. …

      “Powerful minds sometimes are snared by this fallacy, as illustrated by a highly controversial issue in the history of philosophy. Logicians have long sought to establish the reliability of inductive procedures by establishing the truth of what is called the ‘principle of induction.’ This is the principle that the laws of nature will operate tomorrow as they operate today, that in basic ways nature is essentially uniform, and that therefore we may rely on past experience to guide our conduct in the future. ‘That the future will be essentially like the past’ is the claim at issue, but this claim, never doubted in ordinary life, turns out to be very difficult to prove. Some thinkers have claimed that they could prove it by showing that, when we have in the past relied on the inductive principle, we have always found that this method has helped us to achieve our objectives. They ask, ‘Why conclude that the future will be like the past?’ and answer, ‘Because it always has been like the past.’

      “But as David Hume pointed out, this common argument is a petitio, it begs the question. For the point at issue is whether nature will continue to behave regularly; that it has done so in the past cannot serve as proof that it will do so in the future—unless one assumes the very principle that is here in question: that the future will be like the past. And so Hume, granting that in the past the future has been like the past, asked the telling question with which philosophers still tussle: How can we know that future futures will be like past futures? They may be so, of course, but we may not assume that they will be for the sake of proving that they will.”

      Copi & Cohen, Introduction to Logic, tenth edition, pp. 186-187

      • Chris H says:

        Dr. Lisle, could this quote, “Me: But again, the same can be said of creationists.
        Critic: who are not experts in the field.”

        Be considered a use of the No true Scotsman fallacy, as I could say (hypothetically) that “no scientist (or expert) would define evolution as genetic change over time.”

      • Wayne says:

        Quick Question for Dr. Lisle or anyone who can help.

        “P1. there exists apparent uniformity in the universe.
        P2. Occam’s razor states that in a choice between two competing theories with equal support, the simpler explanation is more likely to be accurate.
        P3: it is simplest to explain uniformity by understanding the universe to be uniform.
        C: it is likely true than the universe is uniform.

        It appears to be still a circular argument based on begging the question.

        I did notice, however, that he has made a significant change from saying that the universe “is consistent” to saying that “it is likely true than [sic] the universe is uniform.”

        His conclusion based on the Ockham’s Razor the first time
        “you were given my “thesis”: we observe uniformity all over the universe. the simplest explanation is that the universe is consistent.”

        Am I making the correct connections in my reasoning?

        • Robert says:

          “P1. there exists apparent uniformity in the universe.
          P2. Occam’s razor states that in a choice between two competing theories with equal support, the simpler explanation is more likely to be accurate.
          P3: it is simplest to explain uniformity by understanding the universe to be uniform.
          C: it is likely true that the universe is uniform.”

          it appears his issue is in P2 and P3.
          P2 Creation by God has support for uniformity but evolution creating uniformity does not. (This is what is being argued)
          P3 This is circular logic and is just a restatment of the C
          it could be rewritten: P3: “it is simplest to explain uniformity by understanding” C (notice he used the same words so it is a dead give away of a circular argument)

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          Hi Wayne,

          Yes, you’re right. He’s begging the question, particularly in his first premise. “There exists apparent uniformity in the universe.” How does he know that? He might say that his sensory experience and mental functions inform him of such. But our senses and brain depend on laws of chemistry and physics being uniform. So if there is no uniformity, then there is no reason to trust our senses or our thoughts. In supposing that his senses and brain are working properly, he has already tacitly assumed that nature is uniform.

          Moreover, even if we granted him that the universe has been uniform in the past, this has no bearing whatsoever on the future unless we already knew that the future reflects the past some other way.

          I should also point out that Occam’s razor cannot be defended apart from the biblical worldview. There is a ‘simplicity’ in Christ, who is the truth. But apart from the Christian worldview, why should truth be simple?

          • Chris H says:

            Dr. Lisle, this is what I received from the critic when I explained to him about Laws of Logic being used to prove themselves, and how worldviews are “a network of presuppositions untested by the natural sciences and in light of which all evidence is interpreted.” Worldviews cannot – by definition – be tested by science because they provide the philosophical framework and foundation for science itself. Worldviews are evaluated on the basis of internal consistency, warranted reasons, and their ability to provide the preconditions of intelligibility, including the foundation for scientific inquiry.

            Critic: lol so here you are admitting that your argument is circular all the while telling me I can’t use circular arguments. fascinating.

            Critic: evolution is not a worldview. lol. seriously. |

            I’m trying to think of a way to explain to him about how Laws of Logic are transcendent and uniformity is not, but I cannot think of a way to do it best because I am afraid that I myself do not understand it well.

            • Chris H says:

              Sorry for asking so many questions, I am sure you are busy. I am very new to all of this, and I have never had any formal training. I’ve been learning by reading the debates on your blog and by reading your book, The Ultimate Proof of Creation.

            • Chris H says:

              Wait… I am not arguing against uniformity, and my basis for uniformity is not uniformity itself, and thus while both the Laws of Logic and Uniformity are transcendent, I am not appealing to uniformity to explain why uniformity exists… I am asserting that the Critic has no logical basis to believe in uniformity, and in response the critic is trying to appeal to uniformity in order to justify uniformity.

              So my question is, how do I explain that my basis for believing in the Laws of Logic and Uniformity ultimately comes from God, and thus I am not begging the question in my use of them in the arugment, and to show that apart from that there is no explanation for the Laws of Logic and Uniformity?

              I don’t know how to go about setting up a
              P1
              P2

              style of argument, but I think I am beginning to grasp the basics of this.

              • Dr. Lisle says:

                Hi Chris,

                Chapter 9 in Ultimate Proof deals with this issue to some extent. Basically, you will have to explain to the critic that circular reasoning is actually valid (the conclusion does follow from the premises), but is normally considered fallacious because it is arbitrary. That is, it doesn’t prove anything beyond what it assumes. E.g. “The Bible is true because it’s God’s Word, and we know it is God’s Word because it says it is and what it says is true.” That is arbitrary circular reasoning and I wouldn’t expect anyone to be convinced by such an argument – even though both the premise and the conclusion are true.

                However, a person’s ultimate standard must be defended in a somewhat circular fashion, because there is no greater standard upon which to prove an ultimate standard. (If you could prove an ultimate standard from a greater standard, then it wouldn’t really be the ultimate standard.) This is true of any claimed ultimate standard, whether in the Christian worldview, or the non-Christian worldview. Is such reasoning fallacious? It is if the circle is arbitrary. But in the Christian worldview, we have a very good reason to accept biblical presuppositions: they make knowledge possible. The Christian worldview can account for uniformity of nature, laws of logic, absolute morality, the reliability of senses, and so on. Of course the Bible itself makes the claim that knowledge is only possible in the Christian worldview (e.g. Proverbs 1:7, Colossians 2:3,8). So is the argument circular? It has a degree of circularity to it. But (1) it is self-consistent, (2) it is non-arbitrary, and (3) it makes knowledge possible.

                Other claimed ultimate standards also circle back around to themselves. But they do so inconsistently (in a self-refuting fashion), they are arbitrary, and they do not make knowledge possible. So my argument for the Christian circle is that you must reason within the Christian circle or you cannot reason at all. And I think this is a pretty good reason (e.g. it is not arbitrary) to reason within the Christian worldview.

                I hope this helps.

  16. Jacob Howard says:

    Hi Dr. Lisle,

    I noticed that you had been talking to some people about logic here and it arose my interest. I had recently been talking to someone about logic and our dialogue went like this:

    Friend: In a logic set mind, it [evolution] makes sense, but to a religion mindset, its jabberwocky.

    Me: Here is where I’m trying to make one of my points. Every person’s ideas, beliefs, etc. have an ultimate standard. An ultimate standard is defined as something that stands alone as your “judge” for all your current beliefs. If you were to describe Christianity as your beliefs then your ultimate standard would (or should) be based on God’s morals and His teachings. Here is where I found your comment interesting.

    You said, “in a logic set mind, it makes sense.” However, where is logic based on? Where does that logic come from? Since we know all beliefs come from an ultimate standard we have to ask, “what is that person’s ultimate standard to say what is logic.” And, if you were to ask an evolutionist, who I believe you were referring to in this comment, about their ultimate standard they might say they believe in evolution and that is their standard of origins and beliefs. But, then you must ask, How did logic come about from evolution?

    This brings up more cases where a ultimate standard has to be proven by itself, called a transcendental argument (evolutionists cannot make this argument for their beliefs however). However, that is a talk for a different time. Anyway, my point is that, when trying to prove evolution, one cannot without stating irrational “facts” that disproves the ultimate standard. And, since that cannot be their ultimate standard, they must have a different one. Most often we find that in the belief of God, whether or not they want it to be.

    Who can say that it is wrong to lie when they don’t believe in a God who sets those moral laws? Who can say murder is wrong? Who can say anything is wrong unless they have some kind of ultimate standard of God and the moral laws He has. My main reply to your comment would be this:

    A logic set mind is based on an ultimate standard of God and since God and evolution do not mix in any form or way, we see that the logic set mind make sense with God, not evolution.

    Friend: Where does logic come from? That is the burning question. Personally, I believe that logic comes [from] science.

    Me:That is a very interesting and full question. Many people will answer it many ways but let me answer yours. If you believe logic comes from science, then science must be the ultimate standard for logic. However, if science is the ultimate standard then there can be no ultimate standard for science. So, does science exist independently from logic? Can you have science without logic? See, I twisted it around so we can better understand it. If logic comes from science, then you must believe that logic cannot prove science (the ultimate standard because ultimate standards have to be proven by themselves), which is the opposite of what happens. We find that science can not be the source of logic since it needs logic to prove itself. You must have something independent of logic for it to be the cause of logic.

    Can you think of evolution and how it can cause logic? Can logic come from evolution? One person might say you need logic to prove evolution so it can’t be the cause, but others would say there is no logic in evolution so it could kinda make it a ultimate standard about a belief about logic but it can’t prove evolution as a ultimate standard.

    However, if you look at it like this, you can see that the laws of logic can easily be explained. Picture this: God makes the earth and all the laws. The laws of nature. The Laws of logic. The Laws of physics. And so on and so forth. However, for God, since He made the universe and has to exist independently from His creation to make His creation, we can see that the laws of logic must have come from God. You can use the laws of logic to “prove” God exists but if He doesn’t really exist under our “laws” then He can still be real without the laws of logic. It is the opposite with evolution. Without logic one cannot even explain evolution and thus it falls to pieces.

    Think of it this way. I write a book where everyone has to start their sentences with the word “Yes”. So, in this book, the characters could use this “law” to describe me, the writer. They could explain me by starting everyone of the sentences with the word “yes”. However, since I created that law in the book, if I were to take it away, would I still be here? If the people in my book couldn’t describe me with their “law” would I still be real? Yes (no pun intended), because I exist under different “laws” as them.

    So, as you can see, logic can only come the ultimate standard of a belief in God. Hope this helps your burning question.

    Friend: And that, right there, is how those who believe in evolution justify their stance. No? Logic makes sense of science, and science defines logic. And hence, the circle has been completed. By using what your logic stated to refute the logic of creationism, evolutionists defend their stance.

    Me: I think you are saying that the same logic I used is the same logic they can use to prove evolution. I also think you are saying they can refute the belief in creation the same way I did for their beliefs. But, they can’t, since the ultimate standard for that belief is God, and I already used the laws of logic to prove God exists and created the world.

    You said: “Logic makes sense of science, and science defines logic. And hence, the circle has been completed.” Here you have done exactly as you said, circular reasoning, and that is a logical fallacy. Look at it this way. Can a horse have a foal? Of course it can. Now, what would you call the person who says the foal is the mother of the mother and the mother is the mother of the foal? You would call them foalish, right? Sorry, couldn’t help that joke. It is a logical fallacy that make no sense. You might want to re-read my statement I had made earlier about science and logic. This might help explain it.

    Without logic, do you have science? Without science do you have logic? Answer theses and I should be able to build on what I said earlier about this particular belief.

    Evolutionists can not prove their point or disprove the belief in creation by using logic without being a hypocrite. As I explained earlier, God is the only sensible reason for logic. Without logic, God still exists because He does not live under our rules of logic. However, without logic evolution is no more. It all depends on your ultimate standard. Logic and everything else refutes the ultimate standard of evolution. At the same time they disprove evolution, they affirm creation.

    END OF THE DISCUSSION ON LOGIC

    Now, I know that was long but the entire discussion kept me anxious for a reply. Was my argument valid and logical? Were there any flaws in my descriptions or anything? I want to know this because I am doing a series on it for my website and I want to make sure everything is perfect.

    Also, I’m reading The Ultimate Proof of Creation and it rocks! Thank you so much for your time there and here.

    In Christ Jesus alone,

    Jacob Howard

    http://www.theyspeak.org

  17. Dr. Lisle says:

    Again, Tony, you don’t seem to understand what the transcendental argument is. I’m not trying to be mean, but you really need to study a topic if you are going to argue against it. Otherwise, when you attack a straw-man argument, it makes you look dishonest, which I trust was not your intention. TAG is not the argument that non-physical things require God, simply by being non-physical. Not at all. The existence of concepts before human minds is related to TAG, but that’s not exactly the argument – at least as you’ve stated it. Get the CD series by Bahnsen and Butler. Bahnsen’s PhD research was largely focused on transcendental arguments, particularly Kant’s contribution to the field.

    You say that a square still has 4 corners if no one is there. I would agree that if no human being is around, squares still have 4 corners. But I would say that this is because God is beyond time, and therefore numbers like “4” which stem from His thinking remain always the same, even if no person is around. But I have to ask, how on your professed worldview do you know that squares still have 4 sides before anyone exists? Squares can be approximated in nature. But actual squares exist only the realm of concepts. So, how can you have concepts like squares and numbers without any minds?

    Did the commutative law of addition exist before people existed?

    > also I have shown ou [sic] logic does not need god [sic] to exist, incase [sic] you havent [sic] figured it out yet

    I guess I haven’t – sorry. I’ve seen you state over and over that logic doesn’t require God. But I haven’t seen you make any argument for it. You say that we trust laws of logic because they work. But at best, you could only say that they work in your experience, which is very, very limited compared to all events in the universe. So, how do you know that laws of logic work everywhere with no exceptions at all times? Or do you know this?

    • Tony says:

      I do understand what it is, the one i presented was Matt Slicks arguement and on his website “CARM” he said that this arguement, the transcendental argument shows that how” logic is proof of the existance of God”

    • Tony says:

      you can have concepts without minds-just because the person who thought up of the idea did not exist yet does not mean the idea its self did not exist, it just took the person to discouver the idea

      • Dr. Lisle says:

        Hi Tony,

        > you can have concepts without minds-just because the person who thought up of the idea did not exist yet does not mean the idea its self [sic] did not exist, it just took the person to discouver [sic] the idea

        How can you have concepts without a mind? A concept is a mental construct. How can you have a mental construct without the “mental” part? You are correct that concepts existed before people, and we only discover ideas. But your worldview cannot make sense of that.

        • tony says:

          first of all why not? its just the mental constructs that “discover” the idea since they are just descriptions!

          • Dr. Lisle says:

            Hi Tony,

            > first of all why not?

            It is because you cannot have a mental construct without the “mental” part (a mind). In the Christian worldview, we can have concepts before people because there was a mind before people – the mind of God. When people discover truthful concepts they are “thinking God’s thoughts after Him,” as Kepler put it.

            > its [sic] just the mental constructs that “discover” the idea since they are just descriptions!

            Are laws of logic “just descriptions?” If so, then how do you know that they are (1) exception-less, (2) universal, and (3) invariant? The Christian can easily answer this question. Can you?

            By the way, I am enjoying our correspondence. I hope you are too.

            • tony says:

              “(1) exception-less, (2) universal, and (3) invariant?”

              well actually they just (seem) like what you say, doesn’t mean they are. Like for example logic is a bit different under quantum physics i believe..

              “It is because you cannot have a mental construct without the “mental” part (a mind). ”
              not really ideas have always existed its just that it took people to give them names, and those ideas would exist if nothing existed not even God, it would just be the fact that these ideas have no name if that was the case

              • Dr. Lisle says:

                Hi Tony,

                Regarding the proof that laws of mathematics or laws of logic are exception-less, universal, and invariant, you say:

                > well actually they just (seem) like what you say, doesn’t mean they are. Like for example logic is a bit different under quantum physics i believe..

                So you don’t know that laws of logic are universal, invariant, and exception-less? If that’s so, then why are you attempting to continue to use them? After all, they might not work this afternoon. And maybe the laws of logic are different where I live than they are where you live. In that case it would do no good to try to use logic to convince me of anything. If I contradicted myself would you know for certain that I am wrong, or would you consider the possibility that maybe this is one of those exceptions where the law of non-contradiction doesn’t hold? My point is that you behave as if the laws of logic are indeed universal, invariant, and exception-less. But you now say that this may not be the case. Can you explain this apparent inconsistency?

                > not really ideas have always existed its just that it took people to give them names, and those ideas would exist if nothing existed not even God, it would just be the fact that these ideas have no name if that was the case

                How do you account for the existence and properties of “ideas” without invoking God? And why does the physical universe feel compelled to obey these immaterial ideas?

                • Tony says:

                  Like I said ideas are just descriptions of things, the human mind loves looking for patterns cause it makes our lives easier, and the thing about logic, well, it just seems logic is universal and absolute,and I am willing to accept when and if logical absolutes are wrong when they don’t work in certain cases

                  • Dr. Lisle says:

                    Hi Tony,

                    > Like I said ideas are just descriptions of things,

                    If laws of logic/mathematics are just descriptions of things, then why are they (apparently) universal and unchanging? The universe is not unchanging, and it is very different in different places. Besides, as I’ve pointed out before, laws of mathematics and logic do not deal with physical things, rather, they deal with the relationship between concepts. How can you have concepts before people, and who or what determines what the relationships between concepts should be?

                    > the human mind loves looking for patterns cause it makes our lives easier, and the thing about logic,

                    My question was, “why should there be patterns for the mind to discover, in a chance universe?” Patterns presuppose an underlying uniformity. Why would you assume an underlying uniformity in a chance universe? Are the patterns real, or merely imposed on a chance universe by the mind?

                    > well, it just seems logic is universal and absolute,…

                    On what basis does it seem that way on your worldview? You don’t have universal knowledge, right? In fact, of all the truth claims in existence, what fraction of them would you estimate that you know? 10%? 1%? On what basis could you say that laws of logic apply even to truth claims that you have not experienced (which is the vast majority of them)? If you say “laws of logic always work in my limited experience, therefore, they probably work outside my experience too”, doesn’t that presuppose an underlying unity between your experiences and the rest of the universe? Isn’t that tantamount to simply assuming that laws of logic are (probably) universal?

                    By analogy, suppose I lived in a blue house with an entirely blue interior, and had never been outside or seen other houses. Suppose I draw the conclusion: all houses are blue. When someone asks me how I know that, suppose I said, “well, it just seems that all houses are blue.” Would that be rational?

                    > and I am willing to accept when and if logical absolutes are wrong when they don’t work in certain cases

                    I mildly curious how you would evaluate whether logical absolutes “don’t work in certain cases.” Would you use reasoning (logic) to make that determination? Wouldn’t that beg the question? If you don’t use logic to make that determination, then what else?

                    More importantly, you rely on logical absolutes all the time as if you did believe that they don’t change and apply everywhere at all times. If I said, “My car is in the parking lot, and it’s not the case that my car is in the parking lot,” would you consider the possibility that the sentence might be true? Might this be one of those cases where logic doesn’t work? If not, what is your justification for assuming that it does continue to apply in future or untested situations?

                    • Tony says:

                      “said, “well, it just seems that all houses are blue.” Would that be rational?”
                      well since all the houses you saw where blue, i guess it might be okay for u to assume so otherwise, until proven wrong
                      “If not, what is your justification for assuming that it does continue to apply in future or untested situations?” simple by keep testing it
                      “would you consider the possibility that the sentence might be true?” well if your car had the power to be in several locations at once then yes!

                      [I'll respond below for space constraints]

    • Tony says:

      oh yes and i will be very busy for the next week or so so i might not hav time to read or respond to any of yer rebuttals,until awhile later so just heads up in advance!
      also the really the only reason i challenge any of yer ideas is because that you tout this transcendal arguement as the “ultimate proof” that is unanwserable, and invincable, now i dont care if you use such arguements,i guess you can call it the “best” arguement but the arrogance that you spout on this being the “ultimate” proof of creation just well for a lack of a good word sickens me.One last thing unless you are a 5 point calvinist, it is very inconsistant for you to use the transcentdal arguement,like for example (borrowed from a calvinism)-
      The Arminian say “Here is the Gospel, now be a god unto yourself and judge whether God is worthy” making salvation, just like truth above, dependant upon man. The Arminian, by consequence of his theology, must allow for man to be purely autonomous, thus his apologetic, to be consistent with his theology, must be one of pure rationalism.

      • Dr. Lisle says:

        Hi Tony,

        > also the really the only reason i [sic] challenge any of yer [sic] ideas is because that you tout this transcendal [sic] arguement [sic] as the “ultimate proof” that is unanwserable, and invincable, [sic]

        That’s only because it is. No one has been able to give a rational response to the transcendental argument by coming up with any worldview besides Christianity that can account for the preconditions of intelligibility.

        > now i dont [sic] care if you use such arguments [sic], i guess you can call it the “best” arguement [sic] but the arrogance that you spout on this being the “ultimate” proof of creation just well for a lack of a good word sickens me.

        May I suggest that the real reason that you are “sickened” is because you cannot defeat the argument? Can you give me any possible worldview besides Christianity that can make sense of laws of logic, uniformity in nature, moral standards, and the properties of these things?

        > One last thing unless you are a 5 point calvinist, it is very inconsistant [sic] for you to use the transcentdal [sic] argument [sic] ,like for example (borrowed from a calvinism)-

        This appears to be a form of the genetic fallacy. The cogency of an argument is not dependent on its source. Regardless of who uses the transcendental argument, it is still an irrefutable argument.

        • tony says:

          “Regardless of who uses the transcendental argument, it is still an irrefutable argument.”

          ITS NOT i already told you why, its just that you refuse to accept the arguement/ignore it! also go ask any 5 point calvinists about non calvinists using this type of arguement

          • Dr. Lisle says:

            Hi Tony,

            >> “Regardless of who uses the transcendental argument, it is still an irrefutable argument.”
            > ITS [sic] NOT i already told you why, its [sic] just that you refuse to accept the arguement [sic] /ignore it

            You’ve stated that concepts don’t require a mind, but you haven’t been able to demonstrate that, nor have you been able to account for the universal invariant nature of laws of logic, laws of nature, or moral laws, apart from the Christian worldview. That’s what it would take to defeat the transcendental argument. But you haven’t been able to do that yet.

            Did the commutative law of addition exist before people existed?

            > also go ask any 5 point calvinists about non calvinists using this type of argument

            That’s the faulty appeal to authority. Again, the cogency of an argument is independent of the person who makes it. To argue otherwise would be to commit the genetic fallacy. It’s a bit like saying you can’t use the Pythagorean theorem unless you also agree with Pythagoras on X,Y,Z, etc. I personally don’t see how the transcendental argument for God is strongly linked with whether atonement is universal or limited. And even putting all the fallacies aside, how do you know I’m not a Calvinist?

            • tony says:

              The thing is Dr.Lisle, you claim that atheists are always inconsistent with their worldview ,but by using the transcendental argument, you are being inconsistent with your world view! (if you are not a Calvinist)I am just pointing that out, here is a reference http://www.choosinghats.com/2013/02/point-of-contact-5/

              • tony says:

                also i know you are probably not a Calvinist because
                1.you went to a Wesleyan University, Wesley is like the opposite of Calvin
                2.I read your articles on AIG and it doesn’t sound like you are a Calvinist with the language you use

            • Josef says:

              Tony: “also go ask any 5 point calvinists about non calvinists using this type of arguement”

              Dr Lisle’s response: “It’s a bit like saying you can’t use the Pythagorean theorem unless you also agree with Pythagoras on X,Y,Z, etc. I personally don’t see how the transcendental argument for God is strongly linked with whether atonement is universal or limited.”

              Dr. Lisle is right, the transcendental argument is an argument that really doesn’t have any bearing on whether one is a Calvinist or not. And as a 5-point Calvinist, I would fall into the category of “any 5-point Calvinist”, and I agree with Dr. Lisle.

              Also, just because Dr. Lisle attended a Wesleyan University that doesn’t mean he isn’t a Calvinist. That would be like saying because someone attended a secular university, that must mean he is an evolutionist. Also, that was many years ago, so even if Dr. Lisle wasn’t a Calvinist then, that doesn’t mean he isn’t now.

              As for his writing at AiG, that could also be explained in that AiG is a non-denominational ministry that takes no official stance on Calvinism. So it is possible that Dr. Lisle writes in a way that all Christians can agree.

              So you haven’t shown how the transcendental argument must be made by a Calvinist, nor have you proven that Dr. Lisle isn’t a Calvinist. And to top it off, even if Dr. Lisle was (unintentionally, after all, he is human) inconsistent about something, that doesn’t disprove the transcendental argument.

              • Tony says:

                did you read my link? or go and ask the calvinists on that website about trandescental arguements and arminianism

                • Chris H says:

                  You do not have to be a 5 point Calvinist to be a Calvinist you know, there are such things as 4 point Calvinists.

                • Josef says:

                  Are you unable to state why apparently you must be a Calvinist to use the TA? Why do I need to go ask someone else for the reason when you’re the one making the argument?

                  • Tony says:

                    They can explain it better than I, van til said himself that those who are calvinist naturally will prefer to using trancedental arguements

        • tony says:

          “That’s only because it is. No one has been able to give a rational response to the transcendental argument by coming up with any worldview besides Christianity that can account for the preconditions of intelligibility.”
          BLANTANT LIE- you just ignore and pretend these those don’t exist, you are like many who use this argument you are arrogant as you are ignorant,because if this arguement is refuted you have no other ones to fall back on to this is why you just pretend like its “ultamite”have you seen the matt slick vs matt dilhahunty debate?

          • Dr. Lisle says:

            Hi Tony,

            >>“That’s only because it is. No one has been able to give a rational response to the transcendental argument by coming up with any worldview besides Christianity that can account for the preconditions of intelligibility.”

            > BLANTANT LIE-

            If I were lying, then it should have been easy for you to site an example of a worldview besides Christianity that can account for the preconditions of intelligibility. Why didn’t you? If you are going to accuse me of lying, you should at least have the courtesy to demonstrate it, rather than just arbitrarily asserting it.

            > you just ignore and pretend these those don’t exist,

            Speaking of which, I’ve asked several times now “Did the commutative law of addition exist before people?” I think that question will be hard to answer rationally apart from the Christian worldview, and you seem to ignore that and pretend it doesn’t exist. In any case, I sincerely am unaware of any rational rebuttal to the transcendental argument. I am aware that a few people have attempted to rebut it. For example, Dr. Michael Martin provided a cleaver counter-argument. However, his counter-argument was demonstrated to be flawed by Dr. John Frame and independently by Michael Butler.

            In any case, if I’m wrong, and there really is another worldview besides Christianity that can make sense of the preconditions of intelligibility, then please tell me what it is, and why you think it can justify the preconditions of intelligibility.

            > you are like many who use this argument you are arrogant as you are ignorant,because if this arguement [sic] is refuted you have no other ones to fall back on to this is why you just pretend like its “ultamite” [sic]

            Again, the reason I call it “ultimate” is because it is deductively conclusive, and no one has been able to refute it. I have confidence in the argument (not only because no one has ever come close to refuting it but) because it is based on what God has revealed in His Word. God is the one who tells us that all knowledge is deposited in Himself (Colossians 2:3), and therefore knowledge begins with submission to Him (Proverbs 1:7). The rejection of the biblical God therefore leads inescapably to the rejection of knowledge (Romans 1:21-22). The transcendental argument is based on the claims of Scripture. So if it is wrong, then the Bible is wrong, in which case we shouldn’t believe in the Christian worldview. But so far, no one has come close to refuting the transcendental argument.

            • tony says:

              “Did the commutative law of addition exist before people?”
              yes all ideas exist,and can exist without life it just took a mind to give them names
              “But so far, no one has come close to refuting the transcendental argument.”
              Try matt dilahunty vs matt slick, where Matt Slick claimed that the transcendental arguement was his best one,but he didnt seem to do very good in the debate, and if you feel that Matt Dilahunty did terrible, or if you can present a better arguement than Matt Slick than you are more than welcome to call in to his show, or challenge and debate Dilahunty and show him your “ultimate argument”

              • Dr. Lisle says:

                Hi Tony,

                >> “Did the commutative law of addition exist before people?”
                > yes all ideas exist,and can exist without life it just took a mind to give them names

                I agree with your answer. The commutative law of addition (and all other laws of mathematics) did exist before people, and indeed people gave such laws names. But what I don’t understand is how you can make sense of that in your worldview. Let me explain. Laws of mathematics deal with the relationships between numbers, which are conceptual. Laws of mathematics are abstract (not physical), universal (they apply everywhere), exception-less, and invariant (they do not change with time). Our mind is somehow aware of at least some of these laws, and is able to learn more of them. Even more impressively, the physical universe apparently obeys mathematical laws, even though the former is physical and the latter is abstract.

                Now all these things make sense in my worldview. I can have conceptual entities like numbers before people, because the mind of God exists before people. I can have laws because there is a law-giver. Laws of mathematics are descriptions of how God thinks about numbers; they are non-physical because thoughts are non-physical. If we are going to be right (truthful) about numbers, we must think in a way consistent with God’s thoughts since God is truth according to the Christian worldview (John 14:6). And we are able to think in a limited way after God’s nature because we are made in His image (Genesis 1:27). Laws of mathematics would necessarily be universal and exception-less because God is sovereign over the entire universe (Genesis 14:22), and there is no truth to be found outside of His knowledge (Colossians 2:3). Laws of mathematics do not change with time, because God is beyond time (2 Peter 3:8) and so His thinking does not change with time (Numbers 23:19, Malachi 3:6). The physical universe obeys mathematical laws because it is upheld by the mind of God, whose thoughts are reflected in the laws of mathematics. And we can know all these things because God has revealed Himself to everyone (Romans 1:18-20).

                But how can any non-Christian worldview make sense of such things? Let’s focus on the universality and invariance of the laws of mathematics. How do you account for that? How do you really know it’s that way? You correctly stated that the commutative law of addition existed before people. But how do you know that? How do you know they will continue to apply next Thursday?

                >> “But so far, no one has come close to refuting the transcendental argument.”
                > Try matt dilahunty vs matt slick, where Matt Slick claimed that the transcendental arguement [sic] was his best one,but he didnt [sic] seem to do very good in the debate, and if you feel that Matt Dilahunty did terrible, or if you can present a better arguement [sic] than Matt Slick than you are more than welcome to call in to his show, or challenge and debate Dilahunty and show him your “ultimate argument”

                Well, assuming your summary of Matt’s argument is accurate, it’s not exactly the transcendental argument. In any case, it’s not my argument. The transcendental argument was the one that Bahnsen used in the famous Bahnsen-Stein debate, and again in the Bahnsen-Tabash debate.

                However, I would like to see the debate you mentioned. If you have a link handy, please post it, and I’ll try to have a look at it as time permits. Thank you.

                All the best.

                • Tony says:

                  first of all here is the first part of the debate, the rest are very closely linked by http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rb1mfKJU6bo
                  and ive told you those “laws” are merely descriptions of how the universe operates through the minds of humans, because due to are advanced congitive processes are good at recongizing patterns, those laws you speak of well like i said earlier if there were no minds in existence to conceive of the number 4, the shape we currently call a square would still have the same number of sides it has now. It would not physically gain or lose any sides. The abstraction of the number 4 is conceptual, but the concept isn’t dependent on a transcendent mind for the real world underpinning of the concept to remain true.

                  • Tony says:

                    and you might hate this website but it has a rebuttal to your claims http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath/2009/10/19/sorry-denise-but-god-didnt-m/

                  • Dr. Lisle says:

                    Hi Tony,

                    Thanks for the link to the debate.

                    > ive [sic] told you those “laws” are merely descriptions of how the universe operates through the minds of humans,

                    What you are discussing would be more along the lines of laws of nature, not laws of mathematics. Granted, many laws of nature are mathematical, but that is another problem for the secular worldview. Mathematicians often deal in situations that do not and cannot apply to the physical universe. As one example, I can use calculus to compute the hyper-volume of a 4-sphere (the 4-dimensional equivalent of a sphere). The math is perfectly meaningful even though our universe has (apparently) only three dimensions of space. Mathematicians can work in any number of dimensions. There is even a “Hilbert space” in mathematics, which has an infinite number of dimensions. But the physical universe does not. My point is that mathematics goes beyond the physical universe, and therefore it cannot be merely conceptual descriptions of how the universe operates. Make sense?

                    I notice that you didn’t answer my main questions: how do you know that laws of mathematics do not change with time or space? If you don’t believe they are universal and invariant, then how can you know that the commutative law of addition existed before people?

                    > …good at recongizing [sic] patterns, those laws you speak…

                    Why would there be patterns to discover in a chance universe? Patterns presuppose an underlying uniformity. This makes sense in the Christian worldview.

                    > …the shape we currently call a square would still have the same number of sides it has now. It would not physically gain or lose any sides.

                    Squares are also abstract conceptions. They can be approximated in the physical universe, but true squares only exist as concepts in the mind. So, again, I want to know how you can have immaterial concepts in a mindless universe, how we can know about them, and how we could know they’ve always been as they are now.

                    In the Christian worldview these questions are easy to answer. We can have immaterial things because God is immaterial, and we can have concepts (mental constructs) before people because God’s mind existed before people. Mathematical rules do not change with time or space because they reflect God’s thinking, which is beyond time. But I don’t see how a non-Christian worldview can make sense of any of these things.

                    • Tony says:

                      “So, again, I want to know how you can have immaterial concepts in a mindless universe”
                      those “immterial concepts” are just discriptions of things

                      [Dr. Lisle: Even if I granted that, how can you have descriptions of things before minds? Do you mean descriptions of physical things? What physical thing is the law of non-contradiction describing?]

                    • tony says:

                      “sigh” you just dont get the arguement do you dr.lisle, shapes like squares dont need transcedental minds to make them into existance if no minds existed a square would still have 4 corners, so these concepts dont need anything to make them into existance!

                      [Dr. Lisle: How can you have a square at all without a mind? Can you show me true square? I’m not talking about physical things that are approximate squares but are not really squares once you zoom in to the level of atoms. I mean an actual square – four perfect line segments that meet at right angles in a plane. I can picture one in my mind. But how can such a thing exist apart from a mind?]

                  • Dr. Lisle says:

                    Hi Tony,

                    I did have a chance to listen to the Slick-Dillahunty debate. Thanks again for the link. The argument that Slick used is not the standard transcendental argument even though he calls it that. That’s not to say that I disagree with Slick. I agree with many of his points, but I don’t believe that he defended the Christian position as well as he could have if he had used the standard transcendental argument. And there were some points where I simply disagree. For example, I disagree that something must either be a concept or physical. In any case, if you’d like to see the transcendental argument properly used, check out the Bahnsen-Stein debate. http://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2006/12/05/greg-bahnsen-vs-gordon-stein-the-great-debate/

                • Tony says:

                  one last thing, i read an article by you on AIG about reasoning in circles, and you claimed that some forms of circular thought is valid, like when you said: 1.Without laws of logic, we could not make an argument.
                  2.We can make an argument.
                  3.Therefore, there must be laws of logic.
                  but the problem here is that you are confusing semantics with phonetics!You see testing a machine to see if it works is not circular reasoning and so is “proving” logic, its just showing that this mechinaism works,(you are performing an action to show it works) while with trandcental arguments you are not

                  • Dr. Lisle says:

                    Hi Tony,

                    It’s a good question. Actually all circular reasoning is technically valid as long as it is consistent. Valid means that the conclusion follows from the premises – which in circular arguments it always does. Circular reasoning is normally considered fallacious because it is arbitrary – it doesn’t prove anything beyond what it assumes as a premise.

                    “Phonetics” is a branch of linguistics that studies sound – particularly the sounds associated with human speech. It’s not clear to me why you think this has anything to do with laws of logic. We’ve been using written words to communicate, and I used written words in my book. So absolutely no phonetics was involved (unless you listen to my book on tape).

                    In arguing for the existence of laws of logic, you must indeed use laws of logic. There is no escaping this. Modus ponens, for example, cannot be proved without simultaneously using it, no matter how you construct the argument. Let’s suppose that there are certain conditions (p) that if met would demonstrate that modus ponens is true (q). And then you show that indeed such conditions are met (p). Would this prove modus ponens? No – unless you use modus ponens.

                    (1) If p then q.
                    (2) p.
                    (3) therefore q.

                    This is modus ponens. So, laws of logic cannot be proved without simultaneously assuming them. I hope this helps.

                    • tony says:

                      The accounting goes as follows: The logical absolutes — the law of identity, the law of non-contradiction, the law of excluded middle — are a set of descriptive statements which describe “the uniformity of nature”, a fundamental property of the nature of the reality we observe. These logical absolutes then provide the foundation for the laws of formal logic, a set of prescriptive laws about what logic can or can not do. (ie. the logical fallacies).

                      Please note, the laws of logic and the logical absolutes are not the same thing, they are related but separate. The majority of presuppositional claims stem from equivocations. When the apologist claims “using logic to prove logic is viciously circular” he is intentionally using terrible sounding grammar to try to trick the atheist into equivocating the “logical absolutes” with “the laws of formal logic”.

                      [Dr. Lisle: I will answer below.]

                • Chris C says:

                  I’ve seen the debate a few times. I would be interested in your opinion on how you think went; the mistakes Dillahunty made, as well any mistakes you think Slick may have made.

                  • Chris C says:

                    *to Dr. Lisle. (accidentally replied to Tony)

                  • Dr. Lisle says:

                    I thought both of them had some valid points, and some fallacies. I agree with some of Dillahunty’s criticisms of Slick’s argument – as Slick made it. The question Slick should have been asking is how Dillahunty could possibly know that logical absolutes are invariant, universal, and non-contingent upon either the universe or humanity. Slick let him get away with assuming such, and yet these properties only make sense in the Christian worldview.

  18. Tony says:

    “But at best, you could only say that they work in your experience, which is very, very limited compared to all events in the universe. So, how do you know that laws of logic work everywhere with no exceptions at all times? Or do you know this?”
    because they have shown themsleves to be like that (so far)

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Tony,

      >> “But at best, you could only say that they work in your experience, which is very, very limited compared to all events in the universe. So, how do you know that laws of logic work everywhere with no exceptions at all times? Or do you know this?”
      > because they have shown themsleves [sic] to be like that (so far)

      The argument is incomplete and proves nothing unless you add “and therefore they always will be.” But if you add that conclusion, then you have committed the fallacy of begging the question. Your limited experiences of the past universe would be utterly irrelevant to the future or unexperienced universe unless you already knew that laws of logic were universal and invariant. But the universal and invariant nature of laws of logic is the very claim I am asking you to justify. You may not assume it for the sake of proving it.

      • tony says:

        thats the problem you believe logic governs the universe its not, its the universe that governs logic, logic is the obersvation of how the univserse works not the opposite way around

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          Hi Tony,

          >thats [sic] the problem you believe logic governs the universe its [sic] not, its [sic] the universe that governs logic, logic is the obersvation [sic] of how the univserse [sic] works not the opposite way around

          That’s an interesting belief. I think you will find it very hard to defend though. If you insist that logic is contingent upon the universe, then you will have no reason to think that logic is the same everywhere and at all times. After all, the universe is very different in different places, and changes with time. So if laws of logic reflect the way the universe is, then how can you account for their universality and invariance, and how could you ever really know?

          Second, logic really isn’t based on observations of how the universe works – you may be confusing laws of logic with laws of nature. Laws of nature deal with the behavior of the universe. Laws of logic deal with the relationships between concepts. Laws of logic deal with truth claims – conceptual entities, not physical things. How could the universe, which is physical, be responsible for laws governing truth claims – which are conceptual? How would these tie together apart from the Christian worldview?

          Thank you for posting.

  19. Aaron says:

    For Ashley,
    “If that is true, how come only YECs say this and have failed to convince anyone else?”
    Stephen Jay Gould, definitely not YEC, would object to your question. He said that substantive uniformitarianism (that applicable to radiometric dating as I understand) is “an incorrect theory” that “should be abandoned.”
    http://courses.washington.edu/ess408/Gould1965.pdf

    • ashley haworth-roberts says:

      It appears he was referring (back in 1965) to rates of geologic change. It is of course correct that geologists do not always apply or assume rigid uniformitarianism throughout the past – rapid events such as supervolcano eruptions (or ice age glaciations carving out valleys) are not currently taking place.

      Radioactive decay rates are part of chemistry, not geology.

      [Dr. Lisle: Actually, radioactive decay is part of physics. But it is applied to geology when scientists attempt to estimate the age of rocks based on their current ratios of radioactive elements.]

      • Aaron says:

        The nuclear activity of humans and the decay of the Earth’s magnetic field affect radioactive decay rates. I haven’t studied much on the human activity aspect, but the magnetic field blocks cosmic rays which bombard isotopes in the atmosphere. One resulting isotope of this bombardment is C-14. If the Earth’s magnetic field was stronger in the past, which is was, then more cosmic rays were blocked and less C-14 was produced in the atmosphere. This means some of the absence of C-14 in things we date is due to the fact that is was not there to begin with, not that it decayed.
        The flaws of uniformitarianism apply equally to chemistry as they do to geology. What I’ve gathered from teachers in school is that scientists are well aware of these problems, but do not have a better method for radiometric dating, so they continue to promote long ages.

        • ashley haworth-roberts says:

          Aaron

          Nuclear activity in the 1940s-1960s changed the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere, as far as I know that is ALL.

          [Dr. Lisle: In addition, there are many other factors that can affect the ratio of c14/c12 in the atmosphere. Even secularists acknowledge this. One such factor is the strength of Earth’s magnetic field. A stronger magnetic field results in lower production of c-14. Since Earth’s magnetic field was stronger in the past, atmospheric c-14 levels would have been lower.]

          The declining magnetic field argument (there has been some decline in recent centuries, but in the distance past activity has been higher and also the magnetic poles have ‘flipped’) as used by YECs is FALSE (though you are probably using it good faith).

          [Dr. Lisle: Ashley likes to state things without evidence. In reality, the current data support the notion of a simple exponential decay of the energy in Earth’s magnetic field, which is what we would expect from basic physics. During the worldwide flood, tectonic activity would have disrupted electrical currents in the Earth, resulting in temporary and rapid magnetic field reversals. There is good evidence of this based on the magnetic field of rocks in the ocean. Such reversals merely accelerate the decay of magnetic field energy. They do not help the evolutionary timescale. And it’s not just Earth. Many other planets of our solar system have magnetic fields far too strong to make sense if they were really billions of years old.]

          “The flaws of uniformitarianism apply equally to chemistry as they do to geology.” News to me. And almost certainly false.

          [Dr. Lisle: If it is “news” to Ashley, then how can he know that it is “almost certainly false?” Again we see that many evolutionists dismiss any contrary evidence before consideration.]

          There are also other dating methods which don’t relate to radioactivity eg varves, ice cores and tree rings (for more recent centuries).

          [Dr. Lisle: Ashley is apparently unaware that these other methods are “calibrated” to each other. And they all make the same mistaken assumption of uniformitarianism. Also note that tree rings never give millions or billions of years. They confirm biblical creation.]

          And the universe has been dated by other means too. It’s all strong science.
          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21866464

          [Dr. Lisle: The only age estimates of the universe which come anywhere close to billions of years are all based on naturalism and uniformitarianism. But this begs the question since biblical creationist deny these assumptions. Once again we see that evolutionists arbitrarily assume what they are trying to prove. Their reasoning is circular.]

          • Aaron says:

            You’ll have to forgive me for not studying varves or ice cores, but one tree ring does not necessarily mean one year. Varying conditions can cause trees to grow an extra ring or no ring. This especially occurs in temperate or tropical regions. It’s 6:30 in the morning and I have to go leave for a trip today, so I don’t have time to study and respond to the Planck findings. However, coincidentally, ICR just recently released an article about the Planck data if that would help. http://www.icr.org/article/7389/

  20. Micah says:

    Hi Ashley,

    >“When you make the claim real evidence, that means you believe in unreal evidence. So yes, you did suggest that some evidence is real and some is not.”
    >> LIAR. Science only deals with real evidence.

    Of course science only deals with real evidence, because there is no such thing as un-real evidence. Evidence is just evidence, thats why i dont understand why you keep saying real evidence.

    >“Science will always confirm the Bible. Not because creationist make it that way, because the Bible is the foundation for science.”
    >> But it DOESN’T confirm Genesis.
    >>>You’ve yet to prove this.
    >>>> You’ve yet to prove the opposite.

    No, offense. But the burden of proof is on you. Creationists have demonstrated many times how all the supposed evidence fits within a biblical framework. I’m not going to do your work for you. If you have a specific problem with how they argue for it then you need to state it, you came to this blog and started debating. The burden of proof is on you.

    >“The reason they publish those scientific papers is because science does confirm Genesis.”
    >>No, it does not.

    Why would they publish papers if they didn’t think the science confirmed Genesis? You may be skeptical that their findings are true, of course. But it is on you to prove how they are wrong.

    >The world we live in is one where evolution appears to be true.

    I’ve yet to see how this is true. I do agree that there is a lot of change in the world, and in organisms. But that hardly proves molecules to man evolution.

    >And you did write:
    >>“The argument is, in an evolutionary worldview there is no reason to believe in these laws. Its arbitrary, because evolution cannot provide a rational justification for why these laws should be laws”.
    >>> Thus you imply that scientific laws – discovered not made up by humans – are arbitrary. They are no such thing.

    You need to re-read that, i’m getting tired of repeating myself. I did not imply that scientific laws are arbitrary. I said that a belief in unchanging scientific laws is arbitrary in an evolutionary worldview, because there is no justification for why they should be invariant or unchanging in that worldview. I never said the scientific laws themselves are arbitrary. Just evolutionists that believe in said laws.

    >“Historical science is a great tool when used under the correct worldview.”
    >>No, it’s a great tool when you study and interpret the available evidence.

    Your claim doesn’t negate my point. Of course you have to interpret the available evidence to do historical science, but your worldview must be the correct one or you will come to the wrong conclusions about the past.

    >“But you must still justify why things are the way they are if you wish to be un-arbitrary.”
    >>In YOUR opinion. But you are a bigot.

    So i’m a bigot for wanting you to provide a reason? Thats the whole point of rational debate, giving reasons for the things you believe. Your comment is just an ad hominem attack on me and you provide no justification for it whatsoever.

    >The existence of unvarying scientific laws (YECs say they DO vary by the way)
    >>Where? Substantiate your claims.

    >>>HERE: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/04/04/feedback-key-to-the-past

    Did you even read the article? Like Arron stated, Jason address your claim in the first sentence. Creationist dont deny uniformity in nature. They deny uniformitarianism. The first address the natural laws(the ones we’ve been discussing so far), the latter addresses conditions and processes. Laws do not change, conditions and processes do.

    Also:
    >Non-YECs do not require such Ad hoc ‘explanations’ such as those championed by Mr Lisle.

    The Oort cloud is a perfect example of and Ad hoc explanation proposed by evolutionists.

    >There is no scientific evidence AT ALL that in the case of radioactive decay rates over time uniformitarianism will lead to inaccurate results.

    The RATE group has provided very detailed analysis of how radioactive decay rates are not constant so no, your claim is false.

    >“But they are, because only in a God created universe would we expect invariant laws that don’t change with time(because God himself is invariant and unchanging).”
    >>That is not a scientific argument. Merely an assumption.

    If it was merely and assumption it would have been easily refuted by you. God has revealed himself in His Word, and because of that we can know that he is indeed invariant and unchanging. If you can justify unchanging and invariant laws in an evolutionary worldview i would love to hear it.

    >“The Bible comes from God and is therefore perfect on matters of science. No one has proven this to be false…”.
    >> LIAR.

    I’ve noticed you’ve falsely accused me of this a few times now. But in an evolutionary worldview, why would it be wrong to lie? If we are all just chemical accidents then why should you be mad how one chemical reacts with another? You dont get mad at baking soda when it reacts with vinegar do you? The evolutionary worldview is morally bankrupt, there is no justification for any morals. Being kind, murdering children. They’re both the same from an evolutionary perspective, simply chemicals reacting with other chemicals.

    >Even many Christians AGREE that the Bible is NOT ‘perfect on matters of science’.

    Christians can be wrong too, they’re not perfect. I think i will take Gods Word over theirs.

    >“science(when done under the proper worldview) will always confirm the Bible”.
    >>Your favourite slogan.

    If you think my statement is wrong then all you need to do is prove it. Show how some evidence does not fit with the Bible.

    >Which really means that you oppose real science done under the so-called ‘worldview’ that the ONLY thing which matters is physical evidence – because such science does not REMOTELY confirm Genesis.

    Everyone comes to the evidence with bias. No one is impartial. If someone believes the world is billions of years old, and that God does not exist. He will look at soft tissue in dinosaur bones and come to the conclusion that something must have happened to preserve it all this time, because it does not fit with his worldview, evolution.

    Best regards,
    Micah

    • ashley haworth-roberts says:

      To Micah

      “But the burden of proof is on you.” Bullying for God? Your so-called science is unfalsifiable in your eyes I believe.

      [Fallacy of irrelevant thesis.]

      “Creationists have demonstrated many times how all the supposed evidence fits within a biblical framework.” Not by science they haven’t. Only by make-believe.

      [This is merely a question-begging epithet. Again, Ashley makes a claim but offers no supporting evidence.]

      “Why would they publish papers if they didn’t think the science confirmed Genesis?” If they really think that they are deluded.

      [Ashley’s wording here is somewhat ambiguous, but I believe he means that “creationists are deluded if they think science confirms Genesis.” If this is what Ashley means then he really hasn’t studied the topic. Genetics, geology, astronomy, and so on all confirm Genesis. Just as one example, we find c-14 in virtually everything that has carbon in it, no matter how deep in the geologic column. But c-14 cannot last even 1 million years. So it is compelling evidence for a ‘young’ earth, as described in Genesis.]

      “i’m getting tired of repeating myself”. Me too because you are (collectively) anti-science and pay no attention and just keep repeating slogans …

      [Slogans like “but that’s not science”, “real science says…”, or “you’re anti-science”? It’s hard to defend such statements when evolutionist cannot even make sense of the existence of science considering it is based on creation principles.]

      (or in Robert’s case ask idiot questions (see here: http://forums.bcseweb.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3195&start=15).

      [“idiot questions”? In other words, questions that Ashley cannot answer because they have no answer from an evolutionary perspective. Even very simple questions like “why is it wrong to lie?” simply cannot be answered in any meaningful way from an evolutionary standpoint.]

      You are clearly indoctrinated against science. You have to be because it is no friend to young Earth creationists. That’s just the way things are.

      [The ironic thing is, science would not be possible if Ashley’s worldview were true. So if anything, it is Ashley who is against science. We creationists love science. I even obtained a Ph.D. in science because I enjoy it so much. Science confirms creation, and is no friend to old-earthers and evolutionists. That’s just the way things are.]

      “because there is no justification for why they should be invariant or unchanging in that worldview”. That is just assertion and dogma.

      [Then what is the justification for these things in Ashley’s worldview? He can’t say. Ashley believes in the invariant, unchanging nature of these laws, but has no logical reason to believe that on his own worldview. He believes in evolution for no rational reason. Ironically, Ashley has demonstrated conclusively that his believe in evolution is just “assertion and dogma.”]

      “your worldview must be the correct one or you will come to the wrong conclusions about the past.” GARBAGE.

      [Wow! What a well-thought-out rebuttal! Sarcasm aside, evolutionists cannot deal with difficult ideas. They tend to be very shallow thinkers, and simply spout rhetoric like “garbage” when they cannot answer the tough questions.]

      [Editor’s note: Ashley had made an unwarranted character attack on Micah (an abusive ad hominem fallacy) which was repeated here. This was cut because such unethical and unscholarly behavior is not permitted on this site. I do allow guests to comment on my blog, but they must behave themselves and not act like a 2-year-old throwing a temper tantrum.]

      “Creationist don’t deny uniformity in nature. They deny uniformitarianism. The first address the natural laws(the ones we’ve been discussing so far), the latter addresses conditions and processes. Laws do not change, conditions and processes do.” Lisle gobbledygook.

      [Hardly. Micah has made a crucial distinction that would be recognized as such by any rational individual. There is a difference between conditions and laws of nature. For example, the conditions in the core of the sun are very different than on the surface of the ocean. But the same laws of physics apply equally well in both locations. Ashley doesn’t seem to recognize this obvious difference.]

      He is saying that scientific constants for want of a better term can vary (vastly) over time, yet we know that the constants in question do NOT vary.

      [Here Ashley reveals his ignorance of physics. In fact, scientists have proved that decay rates can be changed by a factor of a billion or more under certain circumstances, such as bound state beta decay. Moreover, we have compelling evidence that this has in fact been the case in the past. Ashley would have known this if he bothered to study what it is he argues against.]

      You are just quibbling about whether he was referring to laws/processes/constants or something else.

      [There is a crucial difference between laws of nature, processes of nature, and constants of nature. Ashley apparently doesn’t know the difference. But the difference is crucial to science.]

      The point is that
      Lisle engages in highly far-fetched special pleading to force evidence to confirm to his understanding of Genesis. That is NOT science. It is fantasy.

      [Just the opposite. It is the evolutionists that must appeal to far-fetched special pleading (undetectable Oort clouds, undetectable contamination, etc.) to force the evidence to confirm to their belief in evolution. Why does Ashley not see this?]

      “The Oort cloud is a perfect example of and Ad hoc explanation proposed by evolutionists. Rubbish. Do all comets approach the Sun from close to the ecliptic (the orbital plane of Earth, which is similar to that for the other seven planets) which might be the case of they all came from the Kuiper Belt/Scattered Disk? No, they certainly do not.

      [Ashley presents another bifurcation fallacy: either (long period) comets come from a Kuiper Belt or an Oort cloud. And they don’t come from the Kuiper Belt… So… But he doesn’t even consider the possibility that long period comets orbit just as they have been, and that the reason we cannot detect any evidence of an Oort cloud is because it isn’t there. Why is that possibility rejected out-of-hand? Answer: because it doesn’t fit Ashley’s beliefs in evolution.]

      But YECs normally hate details like this and love uttering slogans and attacking real scientists. For Jesus presumably. It won’t wash. If I am wrong God is a big liar in his creation.

      [Ironically, Ashley hasn’t presented any detailed argument that actually supports evolution. He just keeps stating the evolutionary slogans over and over: “That’s not science! Science says…, Rubbish, real scientists say…, etc.” Ironically, Ashley has been ignoring the details of what makes science possible, and has been attacking real scientists (creation scientists like me) for many posts now. And finally, if evolution were true, then God would be a liar for telling us in His Word that He created in six-days.]

      “The RATE group has provided very detailed analysis of how radioactive decay rates are not constant so no, your claim is false.” The RATE group’s research is FRAUDULENT. Trust me. Or read what non-YECs say about it.

      [And what evidence does Ashley present to back up his claim? The same evidence that he always provides: absolutely nothing. I like the “Trust me” part. Considering all the false claims and logical fallacies that Ashley has posted on this very site, I think we have some very good reasons not to take his word for it. He ends this section with another faulty appeal to authority.]

      “If it was merely an assumption it would have been easily refuted by you.” No. It is an assumption not a fact because you cannot prove it to be true. You just assert it to be true, dogmatically.

      [Irony. Does Ashley really not see the irony in his statement?]

      “God has revealed himself in His Word.” That’s what the Muslims say too.

      [The Christian worldview as revealed in Scripture makes senses of the preconditions of intelligibility. It makes science and knowledge possible. The Muslim worldview as revealed in the Koran does not. Now, there are Muslims who believe in the methods of science. But they cannot account for such methods. So Muslims are in the same intellectually embarrassing position as Ashley.]

      “But in an evolutionary worldview, why would it be wrong to lie?” Yawn. I was – sorry to say this – speaking the truth.

      [Unsurprisingly, Ashley was not able to answer this simple question. This just goes to show how intellectually bankrupt evolutionism really is.]

      “Show how some evidence does not fit with the Bible.” The existence of supernovae.

      [That would be very good evidence if the Bible stated, “stars do not explode.” But the Bible doesn’t say that. So we are left to wonder why Ashley thought this didn’t fit with Scripture.]

      “No one is impartial.” YECs are probably the least impartial people on the planet when it comes to science.

      [That’s a tu quoque fallacy. And it’s not true. Scientists are able to make great strides in research once the shackles of naturalism/uniformitarianism are removed. Our own research here at ICR demonstrates this.]

      • ashley haworth-roberts says:

        I feel I should clarify. I do not find the tone adopted by anyone towards me here uncivil or objectionable. And I admit that some of my later responses have been curt. I was a bit taken aback by the style of debate. As I commented at the BCSE community forum a couple of hours ago at 10.22 am BST, “If I sound angry, it’s because these YECs attempt to mug critics with bad logic and expect a higher standard of proof from their opponents than they think they have to offer themselves”.

        [Ashley, with all respect, take a look at all the logical fallacies (bad logic) that you have committed on this very blog. You have made straw-man arguments, bifurcation fallacies, question-begging epithets, begging the question, reification, fallacies of irrelevant thesis, faulty appeals to authority/majority, and so on. And you often make claims without any supporting evidence whatsoever, saying “it just is” or something like that. But then you hold creationists to a much higher standard of proof, expecting us to give good (non-fallacious) reasons for our position, something that you are apparently unable to do for your own position.]

        I was alluding in part to the repeated insistence that ‘in an evolutionary world/worldview’ any reasoning not based on the Bible, even reasoning based on rational and scientific interpretations of material evidence, is ‘arbitrary’.

        [How could it not be arbitrary in a chance universe? Let me explain with an analogy. You know those old “magic 8 ball” toys? They contained an icosahedron suspended in liquid, and when you would shake the ball, one of the sides of the icosahedron would surface in the window, and it had printing on it like “yes” or “very doubtful”, or “ask again later.” You were supposed to ask the ball a question, shake it, and it would tell you the answer. Of course, the answer it gave was completely random, dependent in a non-computable way only upon the details of how the ball was shaken. So would you have a good reason to trust the “reasoning” of a magic 8-ball? Of course not. Its answers are simply the result of random interactions of molecules.]

        [Now, if evolution were true, then the same could be said of our brains. They would be merely the result of random interactions of molecules, ones that perhaps conveyed some sort of survival value. So why would you arbitrarily assume that the brain has the ability to be rational? How can the brain – a bunch of chemicals – evaluate the various options and then choose the rational one? After all, chemicals have no choice. So you see, if evolution were true, then really you should not trust that your brain or your senses are reliable. Nor could you rely upon the consensus of scientists – like would be like trusting in the average of a bunch of magic 8 balls. ]

        [Not only would there be no reason to trust the brain, but there would be no reason to expect the universe to behave in a consistent and predictable way. But the methods of science are predicated upon the notion that the universe behaves in a logical and consistent way – otherwise observation and experimentation would be completely pointless. To trust in the methods of science is perfectly appropriate – if science itself is justified. But I cannot see how science could ever be justified in an evolutionary universe. ]

        [Keep in mind, I don’t dispute that the methods of science are useful, and that our brains have the ability to be rational, because these things make sense in a Christian, creation-based worldview. My question is: if evolution were true, what reason would you have to trust in the methods of science? If you have no answer to that, then it is arbitrary – by definition.]

        Scientific interpretations are limited and constrained by what has and has not been uncovered as natural ‘evidence’.

        [(1) Is science the limit of knowledge? In other words, is it possible for something to be true, and known to be true apart from the scientific method? Or is the scientific method the only way to learn truth? (2) Does science allow for the existence of things that cannot be measured by the tools of science?]

        I cannot accept a stipulation that reasoning is purely ‘arbitrary’ when it comes to collective reasoning that starts with the evidence and natural processes, rather than with scriptures.

        [By this statement, it would be non-arbitrary to use a large collection of magic 8 balls to determine what is true. It’s a purely natural process and is collective reasoning.]

        This seems, well, unfair. And starting with scriptures is circular reasoning ie you must somehow reach a conclusion that confirms scripture though you are often looking at things like fossils which are never mentioned in the Bible.

        [Assuming that your mind is rational for the sake of proving that your mind is rational is circular. My argument for Scripture is not that it’s true because it says it is – that would be fallacious. Rather my argument is that the Bible alone makes sense of those things that you take for granted arbitrarily, like the usefulness of science. Without Christianity science would be arbitrary (as we have seen) – but science is not arbitrary. Therefore, Christianity is true.]

        [Again, the fact that the Bible doesn’t mention everything that exists is not a good reason to reject it. Ashley, you have not mentioned everything that exists in your posts. Should I therefore reject them as untrue? The Bible alone provides a worldview that can make sense of the methods of science, the human mind’s ability to be rational, and yes even specific lines of evidence such as fossils.]

        • Aaron says:

          Ashley,
          I’m glad you don’t find any of our tones objectionable. Sometimes tone can be misunderstood in text, but luckily not in this case. First, may I say that circular reasoning is not always fallacious, especially with an ultimate standard, Also, it doesn’t matter if the Bible doesn’t speak of fossils; it speaks of a devastating global flood that would definitely be capable of quickly forming fossils in levels (lower and higher in the ground) consistent with the fossil record. What you may not understand is that biblical creationism is not, “Evidence says this, but the Bible says this, so we have to reinterpret the evidence.” It is more, “Evolutionists look at the evidence and come to conclusions contrary to biblical ideas, but really the evidence can fit perfectly with the Bible.” For example, I was asked how we got new species if evolution was not true. I replied that the Bible speaks of “kinds” and that variation and new species can develop within kinds, which is what we have observed. The difference between the evolutionists’ conclusions based on evidence and creationists’ conclusions based on evidence is that evolutionists cannot account for the preconditions necessary to even certainly know the existence of the evidence, which is one of the ideas that has been talked about in these discussions. To clarify, if the Bible is true, our senses are basically reliable and we can interpret evidence, which supports the Bible. Conversely, if evolution were true, then the brain and senses are results of random changes that somehow had survival value, and are not necessarily reliable. The way you perceive the evidence itself could be totally wrong. BTW, before you bring it up, let me say that reliable senses do not necessarily equate to survival. Many organisms do not even have sight, smell, hearing, taste, touch, etc. and survive fine. I suppose the question I would really like to ask you at this point is, “Why does creation bother you so much?” I don’t suppose you participate in debates with Shinto scientists or post on forums “campaigning against the influence of Hindu reincarnational studies in the UK classroom.” Why should you care what a bunch of “anti-science” “religious nuts” say if everything evolved and creationism is just another cultural movement in history?
          Hoping the best for you,
          Aaron

        • Robert says:

          Thank you for explaining out the magic 8 ball analogy.

      • Micah says:

        Hi Ashley,

        >But the burden of proof is on you.”
        >>Bullying for God? Your so-called science is unfalsifiable in your eyes I believe.

        Okay, first: I’m unsure as to why you keep saying things like your science and real science. Science just is, there is no my science and your science. Both creationists and evolutionists do science, evolutionists just come to the wrong conclusion in regards to origins because they dont have the proper worldview.
        Second: Of course science is falsify-able. What ever gave you the idea i thought science was not falsify-able? I just want you to provide reasons for what you believe.

        >“Creationists have demonstrated many times how all the supposed evidence fits within a biblical framework.”
        >>Not by science they haven’t. Only by make-believe.

        Like i said before, if you have a problem with how creationists interpret the evidence then show it. So far you just keep stating your opinion over and over.

        >“Why would they publish papers if they didn’t think the science confirmed Genesis?”
        >>If they really think that they are deluded.

        A deluded person never thinks that they are deluded, so this doesn’t make any sense. They publish papers because they think they are deluded? Its the opposite of that.

        >“i’m getting tired of repeating myself”.
        >>Me too because you are (collectively) anti-science and pay no attention and just keep repeating slogans (or in Robert’s case ask idiot questions).

        I’m sorry, but that just isn’t the case. You hardly ever answer any of my questions and just keep stating your opinion. You keep saying that i repeat slogans but have never showed how this is true. You say i am anti-science, but have also failed to demonstrate how that is true also. I’m paying very close attention, which is why i am not letting you get away with not answering the questions.

        >You are clearly indoctrinated against science.

        I love science, i’m not against it. You keep saying this, but keep failing to provide any reason for it.

        >You have to be because it is no friend to young Earth creationists. That’s just the way things are.

        How is it no friend to young earth creationists?

        >“because there is no justification for why they should be invariant or unchanging in that worldview”.
        >That is just assertion and dogma.

        If thats all it was then it would be very easy for you to refute by explaining what the justification for it is in that worldview.

        >“your worldview must be the correct one or you will come to the wrong conclusions about the past.”
        >> GARBAGE.

        This is merely emotive language, no reasons or argument has been given.

        >“So i’m a bigot for wanting you to provide a reason?”
        >>In this particular context, yes.

        In what context is it okay to not have a reason for what you believe? I cant think of any.

        >“Creationist don’t deny uniformity in nature. They deny uniformitarianism. The first address the natural laws(the ones we’ve been discussing so far), the latter addresses conditions and processes. Laws do not change, conditions and processes do.” >Lisle gobbledygook. He is saying that scientific constants for want of a better term can vary (vastly) over time,

        Again, your just wrong here. He is saying conditions and processes change, not scientific laws. Lets say i mix chemical A with chemical B and get result C. If i then mix chemical A with chemical D i wont get result C(assuming of course chemical D and B aren’t the same.) Thats because the conditions have changed. Likewise, if i pour chemical A into chemical B until the bottle is empty i will get a different result than if i just put 2 drops of chemical A into chemical B. The results are different because the process has changed.
        I hope this explains it to you.

        >yet we know that the constants in question do NOT vary.
        How do you know this?

        >The point is that Lisle engages in highly far-fetched special pleading to force evidence to confirm to his understanding of Genesis.

        How so? Its a fact that conditions and processes change, if you want to argue for a specific process/condtion (i.e. radioisotope decay) thats fine, but at least be clear about it.

        >“The Oort cloud is a perfect example of and Ad hoc explanation proposed by evolutionists.
        >>Rubbish. Do all comets approach the Sun from close to the ecliptic (the orbital plane of Earth, which is similar to that for the other seven planets) which might be the case of they all came from the Kuiper Belt/Scattered Disk? No, they certainly do not.
        There is a maximum distant that a comet can orbit around the sun(if a comet orbits too far out it will be taken in by the gravity of other stars). Once we have that we can determine the maximum orbital period a comet can have. Then, with that, we calculate how many trips around the sun a comet can make before it is no more. The resulting age is not the same as the age of the solar system. No known thing creates comets, so this poses a problem for big bang cosmology. Thats why the Oort cloud exists, to explain away this apparent problem. There would be no need for it otherwise. I’m no astrophysicist though, so you can ask Jason for more info on this if you want.

        >“The RATE group has provided very detailed analysis of how radioactive decay rates are not constant so no, your claim is false.”
        >The RATE group’s research is FRAUDULENT. Trust me. Or read what non-YECs say about it.

        Oh i have no doubt that people say its fraudulent. I’ve yet to see any proof though.

        >“If it was merely an assumption it would have been easily refuted by you.”
        >No. It is an assumption not a fact because you cannot prove it to be true. You just assert it to be true, dogmatically.

        But i did provide my reason for stating what i did. In a God created universe we would expect invariant laws that dont change, because God doesn’t change. Thats a reason, something you still havent provided for the evolutionary worldview.

        >“God has revealed himself in His Word.”
        >>That’s what the Muslims say too.

        The Muslims cannot account for unchanging laws like the laws of non-contradiction, because Allah is contradictory. For example, one verse says that Jesus will be in paradise with God, another states that he will be in Hell because christians worshipped Him.

        >“But in an evolutionary worldview, why would it be wrong to lie?”
        >>Yawn. I was – sorry to say this – speaking the truth.

        You ignored the question. Whether you were telling the truth or not is irrelevant. In an evolutionary worldview, why is it wrong to lie?

        >“Show how some evidence does not fit with the Bible.”
        >>The existence of supernovae.

        How does supernovae not fit with the Bible? Seems perfectly fine to me.

        >“No one is impartial.”
        >>YECs are probably the least impartial people on the planet when it comes to science.

        Yet another arbitrary claim.

        >I cannot accept a stipulation that reasoning is purely ‘arbitrary’ when it comes to collective reasoning that starts with the evidence and natural processes, rather than with scriptures. This seems, well, unfair.

        That is not why we called you arbitrary. Being arbitrary means you dont have a reason. So when i ask you a question like, “How can evolution justify unchanging laws”, and you dont give a reason, thats being arbitrary. So your claim here is a bit of a straw-man.

        >And starting with scriptures is circular reasoning ie you must somehow reach a conclusion that confirms scripture though you are often looking at things like fossils which are never mentioned in the Bible.

        The Bible doesnt need to mention something for the evidence to fit within a Biblical framework. The Bible doesnt mention every animal that is in existence today in the Bible, but all the animals still fit within that framework because we know from Scripture that God created all animals.

        Hope that clears a few things up,
        Micah

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