Research Update

It has been a while since I’ve written a new post, I know. But I have tried to keep up with comments as much as possible. And many of these exchanges are well worth reading! A number of the posted comments are from evolutionists or other critics who attempt to refute my articles. I often respond to these, pointing out logical fallacies and factual errors in their message. A number of other creationists have chimed in as well – and I very much appreciate the help. I think Christians will be encouraged, and secularists will be challenged, in reading these exchanges. These comments really do show the utter bankruptcy of evolution and naturalism, and are excellent real-world training for Christians who want to better defend the faith. So have a look.

I have been very busy with research projects and with writing, and an update is long overdue. On the research side of things, I have been analyzing data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. There have been claims that such data show that our galaxy is in a preferred position in the universe – contrary to the expectations of big bang cosmology. If confirmed, this would be devastating to the secular model, but would be compatible with creation and might even lead to new creation cosmologies. ). I have been collaborating with Dr. Jake Hebert and others as well.

In order to confirm or refute this hypothesis, we must deal with “selection effects.” These are biases in data analysis resulting from the way the data were collected. For example, imagine that you wanted to know if our galaxy has more blue stars than red stars. If you went outside on a clear night and counted every bright star you could see, you would count a lot more blue stars than red stars. Assuming that the ratio is representative of the galaxy, you might conclude the blue stars far outnumber red ones. And you would be wrong.

The reason is that most red stars are very small and faint. Red stars actually far outnumber blue stars in our galaxy. But since they are hard to see, you won’t count as many. The analysis will be biased toward the bright stars, which tend to be blue. In order to get an accurate assessment of the ratio of blue stars to red stars, you must somehow deal with this selection effect. And there are several different ways to do this. The SDSS is similarly biased toward bright galaxies, particularly at extreme distance. This is known as the Malmquist bias, and is a very significant selection effect in astronomy. Note that the selection is not caused by intelligence. On the contrary, it takes intelligence to deal with the effect.

We have already succeeded in compensating for the Malmquist bias using several traditional methods, and I have invented a new method as well that appears to be more accurate than existing methods. The research is complicated because we must include general relativistic effects due to the expansion of the universe, the non-uniform sensitivity of the SDSS filters and CCD, the K-correction which compensates for galactic redshifts, and so on. In any case, the project has been very enjoyable and we hope to have final results in the next few months.

On the writing side, I have just finished a new book that deals with hermeneutics – how to interpret the Bible – from a presuppositional perspective. The book focuses mainly on correctly understanding Genesis, and proves by sound argument that the natural reading of Genesis is necessarily the correct interpretation. It is similar to “The Ultimate Proof of Creation”, except the new book offers a devastating refutation of compromised interpretations of Genesis (old earth, day age, gap theory, etc.), whereas the “Ultimate Proof” dealt mainly with refuting evolution. The book is currently being peer-reviewed. If all goes well, it will be available in spring 2015.

193 Responses to Research Update

  1. Wayne says:

    Cool stuff. I’m a student at the school you taught at in January, and I sat under you in your Foundations of Science class. I really appreciated your lectures and you taking the time to answer questions. (And for, through your class, helping my girlfriend understand and begin to interact with he more formal discussions of logic)

    Looking forward to hearing more about your research in the future!

    PS. Is there any way I could get that Fractal program from you that you were talking about? I got the other one from you that you have to enter coordinates manually, but you said you had one that did the calculations for you. Is there anywhere I can find that?

  2. Melanie says:

    Dr. Lisle,
    thank you so much for being such an outspoken supporter for the truth of the word. One won’t know until reaching Eternity, the impact men like you are having on us struggling followers of Christ. Faith in the Bible has made my battle much less onerous. What a comfort to know I can trust my God in both the earthly and the heavenly things!
    In this cold arrogant world so lacking in love and hope, your courageous (and even humorous at times) manner is so refreshing and welcome. Since I’ve been following Scientists like you who believe in creation, everything makes sense to me now.
    Keep up the great work! God bless, Melanie

  3. Zach says:

    Interesting section on red and blue stars, I’ve always been interested in astronomy, however i always looked at it from an evolutionary perspective. Good thing i looked this stuff up.

    • waldteufel says:

      Uh, stars have absolutely nothing to do with the diversity of life, and therefore nothing to do with evolution.

      • Dr. Lisle says:

        In the secular view, stars are supposed to have generated the heavy elements that comprise life. In any case, secularists are committed to a worldview that goes beyond mere biological evolution.

        • Bobby Moran says:

          Dr. Lisle, I watched a recent video of yours where you said ‘there is always going to be a rescue device’

          I would like for you to explain how creationism can be factually possible with the existence of the Vredefort Crater Basin. This is a 200 mile wide impact crater where a 7 mile wide asteroid struck the Earth at over 100k miles an hour and vaporized 1000 cubic km of bedrock and flung into the atmosphere.

          [Dr. Lisle: One of the most important concepts in reasoning correctly from scientific data is to distinguish between evidence and interpretation. The evidence in this case is a large, quasi-circular geographic feature – a crater. The story on how it allegedly formed (and when) is, of course, interpretation. Regardless of how reasonable that interpretation may be, it is not something that can be observed in the present by scientific methods, and it might turn out to be wrong. For example, the size and speed of the impactor, that 1000 km^3 of bedrock was allegedly flung into the atmosphere – that cannot be confirmed empirically. It may be a reasonable conjecture. But it is a conjecture. There’s no need to account for someones conjecture, since it may be wrong. But does biblical creation account for the evidence? Of course.]

          The resulting maelstrom and extinction level event would have killed everything on the planet except for possibly small insects, reptiles mammals and bacteria.

          [Dr. Lisle: No. The Vredefort crater is found deep in precambrian rock layers, which are pre-flood (because they show no substantial fossils) and are therefore early creation week layers. This is before the creation of plants on day 3, and therefore before the creation of animals on days 5 and 6. So, in the creation worldview, there was no animal life or plants on earth when the Vredefort crater occurred.]

          Thankfully this happened 2.3 billion years ago.

          [Dr. Lisle: Does that claim fall under the “evidence bin” or the “interpretation bin?” Hint: it’s not the evidence bin. After all, we don’t have evidence that that such rocks are really so old, and we do have evidence that strongly challenges such a view. Diamonds that are radiometrically dated to the same assumed age as the Vredefort crater have been found to have c-14 in them. C-14 cannot last even 1 million years, and so this puts the age at a few thousand years at most. In fact, the decay of Earth’s magnetic field shows that the entire planet must be less than 50,000 years old; and since the Vredefort crater is on Earth, it too must be less than 50,000 years old. Now, evolutionists have their rescuing devices of course. But the evidence is perfectly consistent with creation.]

          But the impact being so close to the Middle East, a mere 3000 miles away, I would love to hear how this event can be added to a creationist timeline such that it ‘rescues’ a literal interpretation.

          [Dr. Lisle: I’m not sure what you think needs “rescuing.” Creationists have long argued that God used powerful geological process to bring the land from the water on day 3. Some material may have impacted. So why should a crater surprise you?]

          Why is this event not mentioned in any ancient text, not one. Seems odd that an event that would have rained down fire from the sky around the globe, a blast wave of over 15 psi overpressure, and scale of 15 earthquakes is not recorded in one book of the Bible.

          [Dr. Lisle: Considering that God didn’t make any people until day 6, is it really surprising that no one saw a (possible) impact that happened on day 3?]

          You cannot ignore it, the scar is there for all to see on Google Earth and FYI this was a baby to the 30 mile asteroid impact they discovered about a year ago.

          [Dr. Lisle: Again, it just isn’t clear why you think this is a problem for creation. Evidence of geologically powerful events during the creation week when God made the continents and separated them from the water – that’s rather what we would expect. A lack of human eye-witness reports for an event that happened before humans existed – again, why would that be a problem for us? In fact, craters are a serious problem for the evolution view. Have a read about “ghost craters” on the moon, and consider what rescuing devices the evolutionists have proposed to get around the evidence.]

          I have ask this question to every creationist out there. Ian Juby, Eric Hovind, Ken Ham…etc…not one has replied. Ill await your reply here.

          [Dr. Lisle: The larger problem for the evolutionary/old earth view is that it cannot justify the methods of science. Science is predicated upon biblical history, as documented in my book The Ultimate Proof of Creation. And so the success of science is itself proof of the creation worldview. Science requires that God upholds the universe in a basically-uniform way that the human mind can probe discover. Evidence, interpretation, and even rescuing devices would all be meaningless apart from the biblical framework.]

        • Anthony Fusco says:

          I was wondering if we have ever been able to see in visible light a nova or supernova? I was thinking if we had the ability to watch or record a nova/supernova then if the light from the star continue to be observable or if the light ceased to be observable would give us an indication of the true one way speed of light. If the light was no longer visible wouldn’t that demonstrate that the one way speed of light was instantaneous? Thank you brother for all your work and sharing your knowledge from our Lord.

          • Dr. Lisle says:

            Hi Anthony. We have indeed seen visible light from both novae and supernovae. For example, in 1987, we saw a star explode in the Large Magellanic Cloud – a nearby dwarf galaxy. But this doesn’t help us determine the one-way speed of light because we only know that that light reached us in 1987 – we don’t know when the light started its journey. It might have started the journey in 1987, and arrived instantly. Or it might have started its journey 163000 years ago, and finally reached us in 1987. There is no way to tell from just the images. According to Einstein, we can never tell because the question isn’t even meaningful – the one-way speed of light is something we get to choose, and then that choice defines when distant events have happened.

      • Josef says:

        >”Uh, stars have absolutely nothing to do with the diversity of life, and therefore nothing to do with evolution.”

        Sigh… limiting evolution to only biological evolution is a tactic internet evolutionists have been trying to use for quite some time. But “evolution” isn’t just limited to biological life, as is shown here:

        In fact, regarding “stellar evolution” it says, “In recent years, astronomers have gained a reasonably good understanding of how stars proceed through their various evolutionary paces, from birth to maturity to death. In contrast to our lack of knowledge of galaxy evolution, we know quite a lot about stellar evolution, including the creation of the elements of which we are made.

        So there you have it.

        For internet evolutionists: stop the nonsensical argument that evolution is limited to biological life; and if you want to maintain it is, then you can’t fault creationists for claiming otherwise, as respected secular sources claim otherwise.

        For creationists: use this link as a resource for the next time someone tries to tell you that things like the big bang, the formation of stars, abiogenesis (chemical evolution) etc has nothing to do with evolution.

        • Rolf Aalberg says:

          Josef said:

          ”Uh, stars have absolutely nothing to do with the diversity of life, and therefore nothing to do with evolution.”

          Sigh… limiting evolution to only biological evolution is a tactic internet evolutionists have been trying to use for quite some time.

          Is it possible that someone is overlooking some distinction here? IMHO, the stars and very many other aspects of the universe have little if anything with the theory of biological evolution of life on earth

          Form my point of view, the premises of the theory of evolution on our planet are:

          1. There is life on Earth.
          2. Geology, Paleontology and many other scientific disciplines converge on one fact:
          The planet is old, evidence of life is found in the oldest strata of the planet’s crust-
          3. The findings, and the theory of evolution of biological life on the Earth do not constitute evidence of how biological activity on the planet got started? Was it divnine intervention, i.e. creationism, or could it have been the result of natural processes?

          It so happens that according to the facts and evidence avialable to science, science has not been and are not yet able to say with certainty whether the first life on Earth was created by divine intervention, was seeded by visitors from outer space – or just natural forces at work.

          In acccord with all that, and the knowledge and understanding gained by the study of life, we now have the theory of how, please note the “how”, evolution may have proceeded from the very first “primitive” life forms found. “Primitive” only means they were the first, and not as complex as the diversity of multicellular life we find later in the history of the planet. A development that really took of during the Cambrian period. What made that possible was the “evolution” of the planet itself, that laid the groundwork necessary for the emergence of complex, oxygen-breathing lif forms.

          It takes lots of books and a lot of reading, lots and lots of reading and study even to begin to grasp the depth of knowledge, insight and understanding it takes to begin to appreciate the full impact of the theory of biological evolution on planet Earth, Tellus.

          In short: Without a dedication to learn, one never will understand the theory of biological evolution on Earth.

          I have to add the obvious: No matter how well-intentioned sites like AiG or CMI might be, their purpose is to undermine all science that goes against a literal reading of religious scriptures.

          Google is always there to sort out misunderstanding:
          From Merriam Webster:

          Examples of EVOLUTION

          changes brought about by evolution
          an important step in the evolution of computers

          Origin of EVOLUTION
          Latin evolution-, evolutio unrolling, from evolvere
          First Known Use: 1622

          Readers may note that even if I am not a scientist and only spent 7 years in school, Iv’e been able to learn a few things during my 84 years on the planet. And I have spent the time wisely, doing my best to learn and understand nature.

          • Tom Moerke says:

            I imagine that no one has responded to Rolf as of yet since he simply seems to be repeating the same tired old evolutionary tactics that Josef had warned about and that have been clearly refuted by creationists on every forum imaginable. Nevertheless, the logical fallacy of conflating the definition of “evolution” with both “biological evolution” and “science” has always been a pet peeve of mine and so I’m inclined to respond.

            Rolf said: “Is it possible that someone is overlooking some distinction here? IMHO, the stars and very many other aspects of the universe have little if anything with the theory of biological evolution of life on earth.”

            He is correct in that the stars have little to do with the “biological evolution” of life on earth when one assumes abiogenesis is divorced from biological evolution (another misleading tactic used by evolutionists for which there is not space to respond). However, Zach’s original post never suggested there was any connection between astronomy and “biological” evolution. He stated that the connection was with “evolution” which is not the same as “biological evolution”. Rolf is the one that has failed to make this distinction.

            Encyclopedia Britannica “is always there to sort out misunderstanding”. A portion from the 2004 edition:

            “The word evolution may refer to various types of change. For example, scientists generally describe the formation of the universe as having occurred through evolution. Many astronomers think that the stars and planets evolved from a huge cloud of hot gases. Anthropologists study the evolution of human culture from hunting and gathering societies to complex, industrialized societies. Most commonly, however, evolution refers to the formation and development of life on earth. “

            This information can be found in almost any reference book and clearly states that “evolution” can refer to a whole set of evolutionary theories which describe the origins of the universe and everything in it including cosmic evolution (big bang), stellar evolution (stars), abiogenesis (“formation” of life from non-life which it does include as part of biological evolution), biological evolution and social evolution (among others).

            Rolf said: “No matter how well-intentioned sites like AiG or CMI might be, their purpose is to undermine all science that goes against a literal reading of religious scriptures.”

            Again, Rolf is failing to make another distinction between “operational” science and “historical” science. I would challenge Rolf to provide a single example of where AiG or CMI have attempted to “undermine” operational science (the science that studies repeatable and testable events in the present and which has produced new technology and medical breakthroughs). In fact, creationist organizations support science in all its forms. What they oppose is false “interpretations” of evidence based on religious materialistic assumptions from the fallible imaginations of men in the guise of science (evolutionism) rather than sound rational interpretations based on actual historical eye-witness accounts (creation theory).

            I would suggest in love that if Rolf spent all the time of his life “wisely” then he should (and still can) spend it in the study of God’s Word which represents the actual reality of our existence, the purpose of our lives and the possibility of everlasting salvation with Him after this life has passed away. It takes a lot of reading and study to begin to grasp the depth and wisdom of God, but it only takes one book – the Bible.

            • Josef says:

              Great reply, Tom. I actually had written a response, but it must have not gone through or something. And frankly, I just didn’t feel like taking the time to re-write another response 🙂

              But it doesn’t matter, because yours is a great response. Like I said earlier, some evolutionists may wish to limit evolution to only biological evolution (and I don’t blame them, because abiogensis [aka chemical evolution] kills their theory from the start–if they can’t even get the process started, then they can forget about the rest!), but then they should take up their arguments with the secular sources that say otherwise, such as the link I provided from Harvard University. Can’t blame creationists for claiming evolution encompasses more than just biological evolution when their own secular institutions say and teach otherwise!

  4. Casey says:

    Dr. Lisle

    1st – love your book Ultimate Proof!! It was so helpful to me and a great blessing, as has been AiG since about 1995 when Ken Ham held a seminar in Saginaw, MI that turned my life around!!

    2nd – I was drifting through your post for the first time and noticed an old posting from a little over a year ago. Someone was arguing that God needing a cause was equivalent to the universe needing a cause in an evolutionary mindset. I didn’t see this mentioned (although in the, likely, thousands of times that you hear this argument you might have said this elsewhere), but I thought the best argument is that cause/effect is a law that is demanded in our universe. But God, as attested in the Bible, is outside of our universe and therefore not subject to our laws (In the beginning God). Therefore, rightfully, he does not need a cause because we have no basis for belief that cause/effect exists outside of the realm of our mass/space/time. This also is another unique aspect of the Bible never describing God as being bound by our universal laws unlike most every other religious belief system.

    Keep it up!!! Can’t wait for the Ark!!

  5. Mike Felker says:

    Hi Jason-

    I’m curious as to what approach your new book will cover that hasn’t already been covered in books that biblically refute OEC? Perhaps i’ll just have to wait and find out. But there are quite a number of books out there like this, so it would be interesting to know why I should pick this one over others 🙂

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Thanks for asking. This book will present hermeneutics from a presuppositional perspective. It will establish the rules of hermeneutics by the transcendental argument – showing that any alternative leads to absurdity. And then it will apply these necessary rules to Genesis. So it is actually a proof of the biblical way to interpret Genesis. As far as I know, nothing like that has been done before.

      • Josiah Windler says:

        Dr. Lisle,

        I am curios… will this book have a similar topic to
        “The Ultimate Proof of Creation” (logic and the Bible)
        or will it focus on a new topic?

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          It’s very similar to Ultimate Proof, except the new book refutes compromised “Christian” positions (deep time, theistic evolution, etc.) instead of atheistic evolution.

  6. Stephen Kennedy, MD says:

    If the deficiencies in the way data is collected in the SDSS are an obstacle to proving your hypothesis, why do you not pool your resources with AIG and build your own observatory with a 3 meter telescope and obtain your own data?

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      SDSS data are the best available for maps of the universe. But all data are subject to selection effects and these must be understood if proper conclusions are to be drawn. Science is more complex than many people assume.

  7. Tim says:

    Hi Dr. Lisle…First, I stand by yours and Ken Ham’s Genesis account (God’s account). However, Have you heard of the book “In the Beginning . . . We Misunderstood,” authors Johnny V. Miller and John M. Soden? It’s been out there a while, but I just listened to Dr. Soden being interviewed by Greg Koukl (podcast-Stand to Reason show). I was especially disheartened to learn through my research that Greg believes in an old earth pov. This saddens me because I respect him immensely.

    Switching gears…Dr. Soden mentioned that there had to be death to animals, fish, etc. because if there had not been any sin, then overcrowding would have been an issue at the rate they multiply. I want to be able to respond to this question if I am asked.



    • Josef says:

      Switching gears…Dr. Soden mentioned that there had to be death to animals, fish, etc. because if there had not been any sin, then overcrowding would have been an issue at the rate they multiply. I want to be able to respond to this question if I am asked.

      Regardless of anything else, our ultimate authority has to be the Bible. And according to the Bible, death entered the world after man’s sin (Romans 5:12). And while some (such as Hugh Ross) may try to limit Romans 5:12 to mean only human death, I think this is refuted by Genesis 3:17-18 and Romans 8:20-22. Both passages clearly indicate that sin affected a lot more than just the human race.

      With that point made, we also have to remember that the Christian God is all-knowing and knew that Adam would fall into sin and would introduce death into the world. Therefore, it would be reasonable to conclude that God was already prepared to handle this situation. In other words, perhaps the reason God didn’t create the world with unlimited space is because He already knew it would be unnecessary due to Adam’s sin.

      But even barring that explanation, we don’t know everything about the original created state of the earth and animals. It could be that the original kinds didn’t reproduce as rapidly (when you think about it, part of the reason for rapid reproduction is for competitive purposes; but if animals aren’t competing, there wouldn’t be as much urgency). Also, it could be that with animals not competing to kill each other or avoid each other, animals would be less territorial and would therefore not have any problems living in close proximity to other animals or even people.

      Then, keeping in mind that because sin did affect the entire creation (Romans 8:20-22), the pre-fall earth may have been different than it is today. It could be that the original earth was more inhabitable. There is a lot of “wasted space” on this earth. Just take a look at places like Alaska, Antarctica, much of Canada, Greenland, etc. Perhaps the pre-fall earth had more usable “real estate”.

      But regardless, I think for any Bible believing Christian who wishes to be consistent with what the Bible teaches, must concede that death couldn’t have happened until after Adam’s sin. And, I personally have no problem with the concept that since God is all-knowing, He already knew before He ever started to create that Adam would fall from His grace. Therefore, I have no problem with the idea that God had prepared for this in advance. Also, this would also fit for why God created the original kinds with the ability to be able to adapt to their conditions after the fall.

      • Micah says:

        I realize I am way way late to this discussion. But thought I would add on an adittional point to what Josef has already said in case anyone is browsing these comments section in the future.

        Remember that the original purpose of reproduction was to fill the earth. With that in mind I don’t think its a stretch to say that reproduction wasn’t meant to be something that lasted forever. Just until the earth was filled.

    • Josef says:


      I was in a bit of a rush earlier. But I also wanted to point out that the 6-day creation account is the Bible’s account; though Ken Ham and Jason Lisle, (among others) accept this teaching, it’s not original with them. It’s original with God, because that’s how He created and He revealed that to us.

      One simply cannot get millions/billions of years into the Bible without reading it into the Bible. And even to read it into the text requires a huge twisting of the text.

      • Tim says:

        Thank you Josef, and I concur.

      • Jeff Scanga says:

        [b]One simply cannot get millions/billions of years into the Bible without reading it into the Bible. And even to read it into the text requires a huge twisting of the text.[/b]

        Completely agree. It disturbed me bit to hear Hugh Ross in a panel discussion debate state that when he first read Genesis (presumably as a teenager) he immediately saw millions of years implicit in the text.

        I’m thinking that the only way he could have possibly seen Genesis to apply to long ages would be for him to first, ignore a literal hermeneutic and second, to have already formed a evolutionary, old-earth worldview.

  8. Micah says:

    Lookin forward to the new book Jason!

    • Josef says:

      Glad to see you posting again, Micah.

      • Micah says:

        Hey Josef, always good to see a familiar face here. Since Dr. Lisles new rules things have gotten relatively quite here, even Dr. Lisles number 1 fan (Tony) seems to be gone. 🙂

        • Josef says:

          Dr Lisle’s #1 fan… lol. It was fun when it was busy… but I do think it is better. Some of those evolutionists just couldn’t help but troll. This used to be a nice forum where we could have relatively cordial debates, and I feel that I really learned a lot from them. But unfortunately, as with most forums on the internet, it appears that evolutionists just can’t help but ruin a good thing.

          • Josh says:

            While reading through the blog, I have learned much from Dr. Lisle’s responses. It has benefited me to read your responses, Josef, and Micah’s as well.

            • Josef says:

              Thank you Josh, I really appreciate that.

              I agree that Dr. Lisle’s input is invaluable. In my honest opinion, he currently seems to have the best grasp of the TA since Greg Bahnsen.

            • Micah says:

              Thanks Josh, glad our comments could be of at least some benefit to you!


  9. Wonderful to hear from you again, Dr. Lisle. Your ministry is such a blessing to me, and since joining a local creation science and apologetics ministry I reference you and your work all the time. Your ability to explain complex ideas in simple, straightforward terms is an incredible gift, and I thank God for it daily.
    And I am so excited to hear that you have a new book on the way! Keep up the good work.

  10. RH says:

    I’m looking forward to this new ICR book. Your teaching has been extremely helpful. I’ve been able to share your resources with other seeking Christians. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. Yet-to have such resources truly is a great help.

    I was reminded of how much I’ve learned from Creation Ministries when listening to sermons by J. Vernon McGee. I’m sure it’s old hat to you–but he was refuting evolution but in his sermon condoning still a residue of Old Earth. Thankfully, through your work and others–I was able to detect this inconsistency.


  11. Frank Walton says:

    Dr. Lisle, it would be good if you could give some analysis of Dr. Lawrence Krauss’ assertions from the book THE UNIVERSE FROM NOTHING.

  12. David MacMillan says:

    I know this is only tenuously relevant to ongoing research, but I hope it’s close enough to prove useful. I’ve been discussing your anisotropic synchrony model at length for some time now, and I had a question about your understanding of it.

    As far as I’ve been able to tell, the model of 4th-day creation using the anisotropic synchrony convention, if mathematically transformed back into a more traditional isotropic synchrony convention a la Einstein, implies the progressive creation of galaxies from the edge of the observable universe toward us over a period of many billions of years in the isotropic convention, such that all light reached Earth near-simultaneously on the 4th day.

    Is that an accurate understanding of the overall model you propose?

  13. Mr. Noah says:

    Dear Dr. J.
    First of all I’d like to Thank Our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ for you and your work through him. May the Lord richly bless you and keep you fighting the “good fight” that you may earnestly continue to contend for the faith, enduring to the end!

    ‘As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another,’ and with that scripture in mind I would like to say I am somewhat offended by your disconcerted statements of referring to unsaved people who reject the glorious truth and their;
    flawed, incorrect, untrue, false, wrong and mistaken viewpoints/way of thinking, as they use weak validations or EXCUSES to justify a LIE. — This I expect of them.

    4] For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

    10] But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know NATURALLY, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.
    13] Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; WANDERING STARS to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
    St. Jude 1:4, 10,13.

    But how is it that YOU and your reference to this anti/no Christ attitude refer to this falsehood and position that they cling to as a — RESCUING DEVICE —
    Brother J. you know as well as I do, that there will be no rescuing to anyone who rejects the truth and blatantly disregards the love of God provided through Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins.

    I beseech you Brother J. in the name of God and the Truth — to be therefore hot/zealous and stop referring to this CONDEMNED WORLDVIEW as being RESCUED.

    22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
    St. Jude 1:22,23
    I love you brother J. as in the LORD and am writing all this to keep you in rememberance of things you already know. As to the question of how long — [in mans’ earthly years] it took The Almighty to create the HEAVENS AND THE EARTH — the answer to that question is found in — 2 Peter 3:10

    Thank you for your work and testimony in Christ. Bless.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      A “rescuing device” is a conjecture that is designed to “save” an idea – not a person – from evidence that is apparently contrary to it. So it has nothing to do with salvation in the redemptive or spiritual sense.

      2 Peter 3:8 does not refer to the days of creation in Genesis, and so it would be pulling the text out of context to apply it that way. However, Exodus 20:11 does refer to the creation week, and affirms that God indeed created in 6 days and rested for one day as an example/pattern that we should follow. See Exodus 20:8-11. This is why we have a seven day week; this is how long God took to create the universe and rest.

      • Mr. Noah says:

        Thank you Dr. Lisle for your reply; of all of the comments that are submitted to you and I’m sure there are many, I’m honored that you would take the time to respond to me.

        [Dr. Lisle: You are very welcome. Thanks for posting.]

        Now, as to your response concerning Exodus 20:8-11 or as it is more fittingly articulated in Exodus 20 verse 11;
        11] For in SIX DAYS the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
        The Lord in this passage is referring to man and HIS SIX DAY/24 HOUR TIME TABLE.

        [Dr. Lisle: That’s the point. In verses 8-10 God explains that we are to work for six days and rest for one – because that’s how long He took to create the universe and rest. Verse 11 is the explanation; we are to work for six days and rest for one because God did. God intentionally created in six days and rested in one day, thus so should we. The same Hebrew word for “days” (yamim) is used for both God’s act of creation and our work week; hence, they are the same. So, hypothetically, if God had actually created in 6000 years and then rested for 1000 years, then our work week would be 7000 years long, not 7 days. Exodus 20:8-11 is very explicit about this.]

        Nonetheless Dr. Lisle, again the scriptures says; ‘But, beloved, 8] BE NOT IGNORANT of this one thing, — THAT ONE DAY IS WITH THE LORD AS A THOUSAND YEARS, AND A THOUSAND YEARS AS ONE DAY.

        The God of the Bible who created time and is certainly not bound by it,

        [Dr. Lisle: Yes. Therefore, when God uses time-language, it is always for our benefit (not His), and is therefore to be understood on our terms. God knows how long a day is. He made them.]

        — is telling us in this passage that if you [man] were to be [next to, alongside, together with, flanking the Almighty ] with him for one day,,, — it would be unto YOU as one thousand years.

        [Dr. Lisle: No, it cannot mean that because (1) it doesn’t say to “you” what it would be like, and (2) that interpretation would contradict the last part of the verse – “AND a thousand years as one day.” The only way both parts of the verse can be true is if God is beyond time. Peter here is alluding to Psalm 90:4 as the explanation for why God is so patient – namely God is beyond time. And thus it is no problem for God to wait a thousand years any more than it would be a problem for Him to wait one day, if it accomplishes His will. Again, the verse is not referring to the days of creation in Genesis, and is not giving people license to change “day” to “a thousand years” whenever they see it in Scripture. So it would be out of context to say, for example, “Jesus was really in the tomb for three thousand years, because it says God raised Him up on the third day, and a day to God is a thousand years.” That would be out of context. Likewise, it would be out of context to reason the same way with the days of creation.]

        THIS Passage not only pertains to Genesis but all other chapter verses as well, and we know that 2 Peter 3:8 is talking Genesis because the verses before it explicitly tells us that — in 2 Peter 3:5,6 saying;

        [Dr. Lisle: The passage is not explaining how long God took to create. Genesis 1, and Exodus 20:11 do that. Rather, 2 Peter 3 deals with God’s judgment, and explains why He is so patient. It isn’t dealing with the days of creation in the least, and so it would be out of context to take it that way.]

        5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
        6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: — Genesis, Genesis, Genesis.

        [Dr. Lisle: This is a reference to the Genesis Flood, not the days of creation. Genesis teaches that the flood lasted about 370 days (that’s how long Noah and his family were on the Ark – Genesis 7:11, 17, 24; 8:4-6, 10, 12, 14). Therefore, if 2 Peter 3:8 were teaching that these days were actually 1000 years each, then it would mean that Noah and his family were actually on board the ark for 370,000 years!]

        Please be careful my brother, that ‘YOU’ don’t take scriptures out of context; verse 4 in 2 Peter 3 specifically makes reference to the conjecture of unbelievers,
        4] Thus saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

        [Dr. Lisle: Nowhere does 2 Peter 3 mention, or even hint at the days of creation, and thus it would be horribly out of context to take verse 8 as a reference to the days of creation. It isn’t. Rather, it is an explanation of God’s patience in delaying His judgment so that people can be saved – this is shown in verse 9.]

        Beloved, this false, deceptive, and misleading conjecture or IDEA of the unsaved will never be rescued.
        Even with the idea of conjecture, it’s either the truth or a lie, and if I believe, in my spiritual blindness that my false, deceptive, misleading lie is being RESCUED as you so aptly put it, — “IS IT?”

        [Dr. Lisle: Again, a “rescuing device” is simply the common name for an auxiliary hypothesis. That’s the term, regardless of whether or not it is successful. A “life-preserver” is still called a “life-preserver” even if it was unsuccessful in preserving a person’s life, and has nothing to do with eternal life. No one is suggesting that the auxiliary hypotheses of unbelievers are true or have anything whatsoever to do with salvation. The meaning of a word is dependent upon its context. “Rescue” doesn’t always refer to eternal salvation, nor does a rescuing device have to be successful or true in order to be labeled a rescuing device.]

        Remember the words of the Apostle Paul to brother Timothy which says;
        20] O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding vain babbling, AND OPPOSITIONS OF SCIENCE FALSELY SO CALLED:
        21] Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. A-men.
        1 Timothy 6:20,21.

        [Dr. Lisle: I hope this helps.]

        • Mr. Noah says:

          Thank you again Dr. Lisle for your time and response. I have the utmost respect for you and am praying that the Lord continue to use and bless you richly.

          With regard to the subject at hand, we will just have to agree/disagree on this one. To continue going back and forth on this topic, and believe me Dr. Lisle I could further reply on this subject regarding your comments and all according to the Word of the Lord as revealed to me.
          But then is this what God wants, — two brothers in their endless argument concerning how long in EARTHLY YEARS He completed His task of creation.

          Is that knowledge and information pertinent to MY SALVATION? I think not and besides, if you or I are off point concerning the truth of His Word — the Lord is more than able to straighten us out and correct us, if it be His will.

          But if anyone wants to argue about this, I simply say that this is what the Lord has revealed to me concerning His Word.

          Grace and mercy be unto you in the name of our Lord and Savior. — Faith.

  14. Josiah Windler says:

    Hello Dr. Lisle.

    I was wonder about the best way to contact you.

    Also I was wondering if you had any good articles on the false reasoning of relative truth.
    For example what’s true for me may not be true for you.
    How do you refute that line of reasoning?

    Thank you for you time, Josiah.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      A great way to respond to someone who claims that truth is relative is to ask him or her if it is absolutely true that truth is relative. If the person says, “no” then the point is refuted. If the person says “yes” then the point is refuted.

      I have a section on this in my new book that will come out in spring.

      • Stefan Frello says:

        You just have to remember that on most thing in nature, we don’t know the truth. We only have observations and theories trying to explain the observations. For more than 200 years Newton’s description of gravity was considered accurate – along came Einstein!

        • Josef says:

          Stefan said, “You just have to remember that on most thing in nature, we don’t know the truth.

          Is it absolutely true that on most things in nature we don’t know the truth?

  15. Dave Lovell says:

    Your answer above raises an interesting possibility. As this sphere of creation converges on Earth, baryonic mass must appear at its boundary. The effects of this mass must have already been propagating back out to the rest of the universe in a way that is still observable to us now. The rate of propagation could be either instant or at the speed of light (I’m not an expert, but I’m not sure the Physics of this is yet certain) but must begin before the baryons were created. Is it possible that Dark Matter is a left-over from non-baryonic that already existed inside this creation sphere to balance the books in this regard?

    • David MacMillan says:

      Gravity propagates at the speed of light as well, so within an Einsteinian synchrony we would expect a spherical gravitational potential “rebound” to be propagating away from our solar system with a present diameter of approximately 12,034 lightyears, or around 3700 parsecs. We could visually see the effects of this ripple propagating back out at a distance of about 3000 lightyears away. I’m sure Dr. Lisle would be able to do the necessary math to determine what sort of visual effects can be predicted.

      • Dr. Lisle says:

        I would not expect any discontinuity at 6000 light years because gravity isn’t so much a force as a curvature of spacetime. And presumably God created the universe with the proper and fully functioning curvature at the start, which is today maintained via mass. Changes to distribution of mass do cause changes to the curvature in spacetime, and these changes do propagate at the speed of light.

        • Havok says:

          And presumably God created the universe with the proper and fully functioning curvature at the start, which is today maintained via mass.
          So God supernaturally maintained the curvature of space until the requisite mass was in place, leading to no observable discontinuity?

        • Havok says:

          And presumably God created the universe with the proper and fully functioning curvature at the start, which is today maintained via mass.

          Why would you presume that?

          [Dr. Lisle: Since God always creates things fully functioning from the start (trees already sprouting fruit, Adam as an adult, etc.) in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, shouldn’t this be the default position? All God’s work is perfect/complete (Deuteronomy 32:4)]

          Isn’t such a presumption merely ad-hoc?

          [Dr. Lisle: No. It’s what we would expect on the basis of Scripture.]

          I mean, what purpose could/would your God have in completely masking his creation so that it appears like it’s billions of years old, and how could/would you ever know whether you were on the right track?

          [Dr. Lisle: The universe does not look billions of years old. We find blue stars throughout, some of which can’t even last 10 million years. We see comets which can’t last more than 100,000 years, and planetary magnetic fields that cannot endure for more than about 10,000 years. So really, the question is this: “If God really created over billions of years, then why did He make the universe ‘look’ so young?”]

          • Havok says:

            No. It’s what we would expect on the basis of Scripture.

            Please explain what part of of your bible supports your contention that God created space-time curved in the absence of matter to do the curving, and then reduced his “supernatural” curving as he filled in the matter over time.

            [Dr. Lisle: I have already explained, but I guess it’s not connecting for you. The Bible teaches that God made Adam as an adult. Adam didn’t need any time to grow from a baby because he was never a baby. The first trees were made already bearing fruit; the first animals were adults. Likewise, the universe was made mature, which means it didn’t need any time for gravitational curvature to emanate from mass.]

            If, as you say, God created everything fully functioning from the start, then it would seem far more reasonable to think God would have either created the matter there at the beginning to induce the curvature, or would have not curved space-time supernaturally.

            [Dr. Lisle: That’s a possibility as well (that God created the mass on day 1). But we know the mass was not organized into luminous stars until day 4.]

            Your claims that God presumably created space-time curved and relaxed this supernatural curvature while he filled in the matter seems rather ad-hoc.

            [Dr. Lisle: Who said anything about “relaxing” the curvature? The curvature is still about the same today as it was at creation. God still causes spacetime to be curved. Today he does it via the mass distribution. In the secular worldview, why should mass curve spacetime? Why should nature obey any laws whatsoever?]

            • Havok says:

              Likewise, the universe was made mature, which means it didn’t need any time for gravitational curvature to emanate from mass.

              Yet it was your earlier contention that God supernaturally curved space time while he was filling in the details of the universe.

              [Dr. Lisle: The former is one way of expressing the latter.]

              That’s a possibility as well (that God created the mass on day 1). But we know the mass was not organized into luminous stars until day 4.

              So is it your contention that the universe could not have functioned without the supernaturally maintained curvature prior to all of the mass details being “created” or “filled out” by God (with the gradual creation from outside in as required by your ASC)?

              [Dr. Lisle: No, not necessarily.]

              Today he does it via the mass distribution.

              What reason do you have to think God ever did it any other way?

              [Dr. Lisle: The universe wasn’t always as it is today.]

              In the secular worldview, why should mass curve spacetime?

              I don’t think we’ve got the answer to that yet, but research continues.

              [Dr. Lisle: I appreciate the honest answer. That being the case, then the secularist has no basis whatsoever for claiming that God couldn’t have done it a different way during creation.]

              In a Christian worldview, why should mass curve space-time?

              [Dr. Lisle: God upholds the universe by His power (Hebrews 1:3). So we expect there to be orderliness and laws between mass, force, energy, etc. And we discover the specifics by relying upon the fact that God has promised to uphold nature in a consistent way for our benefit (Genesis 8:22). Buy apart from Christianity, what reason would anyone have to expect any laws of nature at all, or that the methods of science would be useful in discovering them?]

              Why should nature obey any laws whatsoever?

              [Dr. Lisle: I notice you never answered that one. All science is predicated upon this notion, yet it is totally unjustified apart from Christianity. I’ll ask again: Why should nature obey any laws whatsoever?]

              Why not idealism, or a different set of physical laws, or something completely different, if Christianity were true?

              [Dr. Lisle: I think you are confusing a priori knowledge and a posteriori knowledge. Given the Christian worldview, we have rational justification for believing in laws of nature, and the methods of science, and therefore the discoveries of science. Apart from the Christian worldview, what would be the justification for believing in laws of nature, or the methods of science?]

  16. Danzil says:

    Dr. Lisle, I want to thank you for your dedication to God’s word and you ability to keep science in the Biblical perspective. I really admire you and your character in public discussions. I was blessed to meet you for the first time at an Church science event in NY but I forgot to ask you about our move to ICR from AiG. Why the move?
    Also,during your debate with Hue Ross on the John Ankerburge show, he challenged you to a meeting with scientists and you accepted, he has repeating several times that you have not fulfilled your agreement to meet with them. Have you done yet and if not why. I thought you would follow through knowing how quick they are to exploit any such failing on your part. I am sure you have a good reason if you did not but I would like to hear it so I can answer those who bring this issue up to me. Thanks.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hugh Ross was unwilling to set any reasonable and fair terms for our debate on the moon-recession argument. He wanted a closed-door session with scientists that he himself would select, and he did not want the session recorded. I wanted an open-door session, open to all, with Q&A, and recorded. Hugh would not agree. However, I’m always happy to debate Hugh Ross, and did so last fall. I included the moon-recession argument, and noticed that Ross is still unable to give a cogent answer to that problem, even though he has had years to research it.

      • Josef says:

        I don’t mean to sound harsh towards Hugh Ross, but I recently watched a debate that included him and he really rubbed me the wrong way. Regarding the flood, Hugh said he believed in a “world-wide flood”. Now to virtually any Christian, that would make it sound as though Hugh believes in a global flood. It certainly doesn’t sound local.

        But as it turns out, Hugh believes it was “world-wide” only in the sense that it affected all of humanity, which he believes was localized based on Gen 11. So basically Hugh calls it a “world-wide flood” when he actually means a local flood. This tactic is very cult-like as many cults use Christian sounding terminology but with vastly different meaning.

        Besides, no matter what, if the flood was localized (regardless of whether or not humanity was localized), the why tell Noah to build and ocean liner sized ship, fill it with animals to preserve them, and stay on it for a year? It’d be much easier to tell Noah to move! I’d like to see Hugh give a cogent response for this. The only response I’ve ever heard him give is something like, “God had Noah build the ark to give him a pulpit”. Yeah, right. A pulpit for who? Everyone else was dead.

        Also, Hugh has a massive double-standard in his beliefs. He will criticize biblical creationists for not accepting the “scientific” consensus regarding the age of the universe/earth, but if he were to apply that to himself, then he should accept evolution as the best explanation for our origins.

        • Kenny says:

          Josef, I hope this makes it to the page. Dr. Ross gets the ark as a pulpit idea from the scriptures. Read Hebrews 11:7 and 2 Peter 2:5. For Noah to have preached righteousness to the world prior to God judging it, the people had to be relatively near by. Dr. Ross does not accept everything that other scientists think. It must have strong evidence and not contradict Scripture, though it may contradict someone’s interpretation of Scripture.

          • Josef says:

            Kenny says, “Dr. Ross gets the ark as a pulpit idea from the scriptures.

            Where? Certainly not in the verses you provided:

            Heb 11:7 (ESV): “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of righteousness that comes by faith.”

            This says nothing about Noah building the ark to be a pulpit. This verse tells us explicitly what the ark was for, “the saving of his household.” No where in this verse does it support this, “It was a pulpit” idea. And the context of this verse is that Noah believed God by faith, even when he didn’t yet see the signs of the coming judgment. That Noah condemned the world by warning them about the coming judgment does not mean that the ark itself was a pulpit. After all, Noah would have started to warn people long before the ark was ever complete.

            2 Pet 2:5 (ESV): “if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;”

            This again says nothing about the ark being a pulpit. It is simply just pointing out that fact that Noah was the only one righteous in the ancient world, and he is an example of how the righteous are spared and the unrighteous will suffer judgment. Noah didn’t need the ark at all to still be a herald of righteousness. After all, no other representative had to have a pulpit nearly the size of the Titanic!

            Kenny says “For Noah to have preached righteousness to the world prior to God judging it, the people had to be relatively near by.

            Even if it were true that the people were “close by” or “localized” during this time, it misses the point I already made in my previous post:

            I said: “Besides, no matter what, if the flood was localized (regardless of whether or not humanity was localized), the why tell Noah to build and ocean liner sized ship, fill it with animals to preserve them, and stay on it for a year? It’d be much easier to tell Noah to move!

            Do you want to know why I wouldn’t worry about gathering up all of the squirrels in my area if a local flood were coming my way? Because squirrels are all over, not just my local region! It wouldn’t make any sense at all to gather up all the animals for the purpose of preserving them if this is just a local flood.

            It also wouldn’t make any sense for Noah to be warned of the coming judgment, possibly up to 120 years before the event (though I know most creationists estimate that it was more around 70 years), to build a boat just for a local flood.

            Kenny says, “Dr. Ross does not accept everything that other scientists think. It must have strong evidence and not contradict Scripture, though it may contradict someone’s interpretation of Scripture.”

            Such as when God says He created in six-days, or sent a global flood?? Seriously, I really don’t know how the Bible could make it any more plain. Clearly Ross is motivated by the belief that the universe is billions of years old and he is reading that into the text of Scripture.

            Otherwise, God has made it so plain that He created in six ordinary days, that it is a little ridiculous to attempt to interpret it any other way. If the fact that each day in Genesis 1 is qualified by evening and morning weren’t enough, God says plainly He created in six days in Exodus 20:11. And if that weren’t enough, Jesus says that Adam and Eve were created at the beginning of creation (on the secular/Ross’s scale, it would be at the end of creation). And if this all weren’t enough, the geneologies in the Bible still add up to an approx. 6,000 year time frame. How much more clear can it be, Kenny?

          • Havok says:

            It must have strong evidence and not contradict Scripture, though it may contradict someone’s interpretation of Scripture.

            If all anyone has is interpretations of scripture, how does anyone decide whether the interpretation of scripture or the scientific hypothesis is more right?

            After all, there’s a large contingent of Christians who manage to accept evolutionary biology as well as the contents of the bible.

  17. Josiah Windler says:

    Dr. Lisle, I have read your book “The Ultimate Proof of Creation,”
    and found it to be very helpful. 🙂

    I find it very hard to debate in a live chat enviroment, because
    of the rapid volly of questions, and it is so hard to think of a
    logical counter fast enough. How would you resolve this isue?

    Thanks again, Josiah.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Practice. 🙂

      Start with non-live exchanges where you have time to think about things. Or go with one-on-one conversations. And when you can’t think of a response, just say, “Let me think about that and I’ll get back with you.” Research and return. People tend to ask the same types of questions, and have the same types of objections. So eventually you’ll know how to respond to just about all of them.

      • Josiah Windler says:

        Thank you, Dr. Lisle.

        Haha, I could have guessed that I need more
        practice. I think the research and return advice
        will help me the most (aside from the practice).

        P.S. I listened to the Bahnsen and Stien debate
        very good use of logic and the Bible. Thank
        you for recommending it in your book. 🙂

  18. Jasen Ericksen says:

    I really enjoyed reading your articles. I liked seeing your videos to on youtube. I think that people are scared to speak up because they are attacked by atheist and nonbelievers all the time. Im thankful that they may attack the theist, but they do not realize that our strength is not in our humanistic abilities. If it were then we would be logically just as fallible as every atheist pretending to invent and create numbers and reasoning away why they don’t believe their lack of belief. I pray that God opens their hearts to hearing and seeing the evidence in front of them. I also thank God that I am not just a human trying to believe in a reason why gods of atheist do not exist. They have reasoning and logic but then again everyone does. They have ideas and choices. But everyone does. Its better to stand for something like God, then fall for anything like a empty life of a nonbeliever does.

  19. Tom Oboczky says:

    This is a bit off the subject but, since you mentioned it I feel I must respond. The “big bang” theory! This subject amazes me to no limits because here we have a topic to where “educated” people believe in such non-sense.

    This theory suggests that the universe was formed from an almost minute piece of matter. If people want to believe this fine, that’s OK. I would like to ask a question though; where did this piece of matter come from?

    The theory about this piece of matter is that extremely small dust particles from all over the universe came together to join itself into one mass of matter. Well if people want to believe this OK. Another question though. Where did the dust particles come from?

    We are talking about physical matter here. To say that matter has always existed in the form of dust or, in the form of a minute ball of matter which started the universe is absolute absurdity!

    So I’ll just ask a question here, where did physical matter come from?

    • Stefan Frello says:

      You should brush up your knowledge of the Big Bang.
      There were no dust particles coming together. No minute piece of matter. There was Nothing. Not even space and time. You might feel that that is even worse, but at least it has the advantage of being the Big Bang theory. See e.g Lawrence Krauss ‘A Universe from Noting’ on YouTube (, or read his book by same name.
      But pay attention! E.g. you will learn that the total energy in the universe is zero!

  20. Stefan Frello says:

    It seems that the ASC-model is not mentioned anywhere on this blog. I therefor cannot find an appropriate place to post this comment. I do it here.

    [Dr. Lisle: The ASC model is mentioned in a number of posted comments. But I don’t have a blog article on the topic.]

    I find your paper: ‘Anisotropic Synchrony Convention …’ in ARJ 3: 181-207 little convincing.

    [Dr. Lisle: Okay. However, what people find “convincing” isn’t necessarily relevant to what is true.]

    “Many arguments against a young universe are indeed easily refuted by pointing out that the universe was made mature” That is reference to a miracle.

    [Dr. Lisle: Not really. It is a reference to initial conditions.]

    To refute something by reference to a miracle is OK, if you already believe in miracles.

    [Dr. Lisle: Your personal beliefs are irrelevant – the universe is not affected by your opinions. It is reality that matters. So, what you should have written is this: “To refute something by reference to a miracle is OK, if miracles are possible.” And then you could attempt to argue that miracles are impossible.]

    That miracles occur is an assumption.

    [Dr. Lisle: No. Miracles are historically recorded facts. You can deny history if you like. But that won’t make it cease to be true.]

    So if a miracle is all there is to an argument, it can as easily be refuted simple be denying its existence.

    [Dr. Lisle: No, simply denying the existence of something is not a refutation. I can prove that E=mc^2. But if someone denies this, that wouldn’t make my proof any less a proof.]

    The ‘fallacious’ assumptions of Science is, basically, that natural laws are constant, at all times, in all places, in all directions. That must be the default position.

    [Dr. Lisle: First, a miracle (in the biblical sense of the word) is not necessarily a violation of any law of nature. Second, the biblical position is that God has promised to uphold the universe in a consistent and orderly way (e.g. Genesis 8:22), what we would call the “uniformity of nature.” This is the position that the laws of nature do not arbitrarily change with time or space. God has not said that there can never be a temporary exception; but this would be an exception and not the rule. Third, science will work perfectly well as long as nature is uniform most of the time. Absolute uniformity is not required. Fourth, and most importantly, only biblical creation can account for this uniformity in nature. In the secular worldview, there would be no reason to expect any sort of organization in the universe whatsoever.]

    Apparently, you do not accept the Principle of Parsimony or ‘Occam’s Razor’, which is a guiding principle in natural sciences.

    [Dr. Lisle: Apparently you haven’t read much of what I’ve written. I do accept Occam’s Razor when considering competing scientific models. It’s a biblical principle (e.g. 2 Corinthians 11:3). Apart from biblical creation, on what logical basis should the universe prefer simplicity? In a chance universe, why expect any organization at all?]

    Does it never occur to creationists that the moon is not a ‘light’?

    [Dr. Lisle: Did it ever occur to you that the Hebrew word for “light” or “luminary” (“maor”) might include reflected light?]

    In the paragraph ‘Attempts to Measure the One-Way Speed of Light’ you do not consider the very first measure of the speed of light: Ole Rømer in 1675. He used the light from the moons of Jupiter. That is one-way in the direction of the observer, which according to the ASC-model should be of infinite speed. Rømer found that the speed of light was limited. Why do you not comment on this historically significant event?

    [Dr. Lisle: Answered here: ]

    Light travelling instantaneous would eliminate the redshift that has been used to measure the speed of Galaxies (that is: speed relative to the speed of light)? Redshift is a fact. So how do you deal with that in you ASC-model?

    [Dr. Lisle: Time dilation depends on the one-way speed of light, and so the formula is expressed differently under ASC than it is under ESC. Under ASC, an expanding universe will exhibit time dilation increasing with distance, and that causes redshift. It’s similar to the relativistic transverse doppler shift.]

    • Havok says:

      Jason Lisle: In the secular worldview, there would be no reason to expect any sort of organization in the universe whatsoever.

      What reason do you have to think that?
      After all, a long enough sequence of random numbers is going to contain ordered subsequences.

      • Dr. Lisle says:

        Then it wouldn’t really be random, would it? Minds impose order. But in a universe not upheld by a mind, why expect any order at all?

        • Havok says:

          Then it wouldn’t really be random, would it?

          Actually, it would be random. If it wasn’t random, then we couldn’t say that it would contain any subsequence you might be interested in.

          [Dr. Lisle: If you refer to ‘random’ in the mathematical sense, then it requires intelligence to make sure that no discernible pattern can be detected, and yet still approach a target average in the limit of infinity. In other words, in a random sequence, you cannot predict the next number based on the current number, and yet the average number is set. One of the goals in computer science is to write a good, efficient random number generator. It takes intelligence to do this. How would mathematics even be possible in a chance universe? Why would there be laws governing the relationships between numbers? Why would these laws be universal and unchanging?]

          Minds impose order.

          Pure assertion, Jason.

          [Dr. Lisle: Hardly. When people use intelligence to construct anything, they are imposing order. Isn’t that obvious?]

          But in a universe not upheld by a mind, why expect any order at all?

          Since randomness will still display islands of order, as things like the “Infinite Monkey Theorem” demonstrate, why not expect order?

          [Dr. Lisle: The universe is not governed by chance with small islands of order. Rather, it is governed by order – universal laws that are perfectly ordered. Order is the rule, not the rare exception. Why would that be the case if the universe were not upheld by a mind?]

          • Havok says:

            The universe is not governed by chance with small islands of order.

            You’re referring to our visible universe here, but we have good reason to think that is not all that there is. It’s entirely possible (probable on an inflationary cosmology) that our visible universe is indeed an island of non-inflationary order in a sea of inflationary chaos.

            [Dr. Lisle: That’s a form of the gambler’s fallacy. By analogy, imagine someone asked why a car seems to be so well designed, with all its parts working together for a common purpose. Could it be the product of intelligent planning? The skeptic answers, “Of course not. It’s just a chance product of nature, one of the rare cases where things worked out right. There must be trillions of other cars that didn’t work out right – we just can’t observe them.”]

            Why would that be the case if the universe were not upheld by a mind?

            I’ve already provided you a reference to the infinite monkey theorem, which demonstrates that we can expect order from randomness.

            [Dr. Lisle: I guess you didn’t understand my rebuttal. (1) You don’t have infinite monkeys – the visible universe is finite and anything else would be arbitrary conjecture. (2) Mathematical randomness presupposes the inductive principle (in order to make predictions about future averages), which cannot be accounted for apart from Christianity.]

            you’ve not provided a reason to think otherwise, nor why we would expect this sort of order, and not another (and not a changing, or often broken order) if the universe were upheld by a mind.

            [Dr. Lisle: That’s a red herring fallacy because the debate is not about different types of order but rather the atheist’s inability to account for any order whatsoever. In particular, why should there be an underlying uniformity to nature, such that future predictions can be based on past events? The Christian can rationally justify the inductive principle. The atheist can’t. Hence, you can either be rational, or an atheist, but not both.]

            • the_ignored says:

              Jason said:
              In particular, why should there be an underlying uniformity to nature, such that future predictions can be based on past events?
              If anything, that’s the theists problem, not ours:

              [Dr. Lisle: Nothing could be further from the truth. We have a promise from God who never lies and knows everything that there will be an underlying uniformity in nature as long as the Earth remains (Genesis 8:22). But the non-Christian has absolutely no basis for uniformity whatsoever. I understand that you believe in uniformity as a matter of practice. Everyone does. My point is that you have no foundational reason for it on your own worldview. None.]

              You people are the ones with a deity who does “miracles” which temporarily suspend the laws of nature, not us.

              [Dr. Lisle: There would be no logical reason to believe in laws of nature at all apart from the Christian worldview. Why would matter be obliged to obey any laws whatsoever? In the Christian worldview, we have an answer. We expect order and consistency in the universe because nature is upheld by the mind of God. But apart from God, why expect any consistency at all?]

              In fact, you people seem to rely on miracles in order to get around the otherwise obvious problems that the observations of the world around us bring:

              [Dr. Lisle: In the Christian worldview, we believe that miracles are by definition rare, though of course Almighty God can do them. Thus, we do not rely on miracles to explain the normal operation of the universe today. It is the secularist, ironically, that must invoke a “miracle” of sorts to explain away the problems in his or her observations of the world – namely, those observations inconsistent with billions of years and evolution, as we’ve pointed out at]

              As a part of God’s formative work, light from the astronomical bodies was miraculously made to “shoot” its way to the earth at an abnormally accelerated rate in order to fulfill their function of serving to indicate signs, seasons, days, and years. I emphasize that my proposal differs from cdk in that no physical mechanism is invoked, it is likely space itself that has rapidly moved, and that the speed of light since Creation Week has been what is today.

              [Dr. Lisle: I don’t agree with Faulkner’s reasoning. However, there is nothing miraculous about us being able to see distant stars. ]


              [Dr. Lisle: Link removed as it is violation of posting rule #6.]

              So: Instead of just taking the observations of nature (like the distances of different galaxies and the speed of light in a vacuum) at face value,

              [Dr. Lisle: Actually, we do take them at face value. As one example, we know that c-14 has a half-life of 5730 years. So, when we find it in fossils, or diamonds, we take at face value that these things are not millions of years old. Why don’t you take the evidence at face value?]

              [In addition, the methods of science presuppose the uniformity of nature, which is unjustified apart from Christianity. Also, you would have no reason to trust your sensory observations if they are merely the result of chance, nor your own reasoning for that matter. The unbeliever is intellectually bankrupt.]

              you people have to use your god, which you claim (without any actual justification) as the only reason to believe that we have stable laws of nature in the first place,

              [Dr. Lisle: Would you clarify your concern please? We have certainly shown that if the Christian worldview is true, then there will be a certain degree of uniformity in nature. This is because the universe is sovereignly controlled by an all-powerful God, who is logical, beyond time, who knows all things, never lies, and has promised stability in nature (Genesis 8:22). So obviously, given that worldview, it is logically inescapable that there will be uniformity in nature. So presumably you are asking how I know that all other worldviews cannot justify uniformity in nature. Is that what you are asking? If so, I think the easiest way to show this is to point out that none of the main contenders have ever been able to do so. The secular philosopher David Hume studied this issue at length, and found no answer. Do you have one?]

              to THEN go and play around with the laws of nature in order to get the conclusion that you, (according to the “statements of faith” that ICR, AiG, CMI, etc) have already made up your minds upon.

              [Dr. Lisle: That’s a straw-man fallacy. The laws of nature are the evidence for my position. They are a problem for yours because you cannot account for them or their properties.]

              No. You can’t have it both ways.

              [Dr. Lisle: If you mean that we cannot have laws of nature, and an occasional miracle, then you have committed the bifurcation fallacy. In the secular worldview, you cannot account for laws of nature at all. Yet you continue to act as if you do believe in laws of nature. Which is it? You cannot have it both ways.]

              This creationist tendency directly contradicts the scientific method and is a non-starter for being able to learn anything new.

              [Dr. Lisle: Ironically, the scientific method presupposes the Christian worldview. In the Christian worldview, we have a promise from God that He will uphold the universe with a certain degree of consistency, and we have a reason for the basic reliability of senses with which we observe the universe. We have a basis for the rationality of the human mind by which we draw scientific inferences. On the other hand, apart from Christianity, there would be no rational justification for any of these things! Yet you seem to believe in them. Stop stealing from my worldview. You either need to come up with your own secular justification for uniformity in nature, or relinquish believing in it.]

              How can you learn anything if you decide to disregard as invalid anything which goes against what you have already decided to believe?

              [Dr. Lisle: Exactly! It doesn’t seem to matter that science, morality, sensory experience, logic, mathematics, and so on would all be meaningless apart from God, because you have already decided not to believe in Him regardless of the evidence.]

              Besides: What forces do you think would be out there Jason, that, without your god, would always be changing and altering the laws of nature? Can you explain what those would be?

              [Dr. Lisle: That’s a bit like asking, “If human beings never existed, what forces do you think would be out there changing the speed-limit laws on our nation’s roads?” But of course, if there were no humans, there would be no speed limit laws at all! Apart from God, why would you expect there to be such a thing as laws of nature? Why would they not change with time, when so many things in the universe do change with time? Why would laws of nature be universal, when conditions are so very different in different regions? A rational person is expected to have a reason for what he or she believes. I submit that the non-Christian has no reason to believe in any underlying uniformity in nature at all (on his or her own worldview) and is therefore irrational if he or she continues to believe in uniformity for no reason.]

              BTW: I believe that I have another post of yours to comment on that also deals with those who disregard evidence that goes against what they’ve already decided to believe. Maybe later this weekend.

              [Dr. Lisle: Yes, we call them “atheists.” Thanks for posting.]

              • Havok says:

                Why would they not change with time, when so many things in the universe do change with time?

                They very well might change over time.

                [Dr. Lisle: Correct. In the secular worldview you have no basis for assuming that laws of nature do not change with time. And yet, you show by your actions that you do assume that they do not change with time. When you post these comments, you are assuming that the laws of nature will be the same, such that when you press a key the corresponding letter appears on the screen. My point is that you are relying upon something (uniformity of natural law) that is only justified in the Christian worldview.]

                Why would laws of nature be universal, when conditions are so very different in different regions?

                They very well could be different in different regions.

                [Dr. Lisle: Correct. In the secular worldview you have no basis for assuming that laws of nature even exist, let alone that they should be the same everywhere. And yet you assume the universality of laws of nature. When you walk into a room that you’ve never been in before, do you brace yourself just in case gravity should push you up toward the ceiling? Or do you presuppose that the laws of nature will be the same in that region of the universe even though you have not yet experienced it? Again, you are relying upon a truth that is only justified in the Christian worldview – universality of nature law.]

                [Dr. Lisle: This is one reason why the Bible says that there is no excuse for those who deny God (Romans 1:20). God has made His existence and His nature abundantly obvious to all people (Romans 1:18-19). But people don’t want God, and they suppress what they know to be true. But that suppressed knowledge of God is evident when people intuitively expect laws of nature to be uniform – something that makes absolutely no sense in a chance universe.]

                These things have been considered. Scientists have gone out and tested whether the laws hold or not in distant regions, in the distant past, and so on, by actually studying reality. The unchanging laws of nature and their uniformity aren’t simply assumed, as far as I’m aware, but are actually tested against reality.

                [Dr. Lisle: No, it is not actually possible to test uniformity scientifically because science presupposes uniformity. That is, the methods of science assume that laws of nature exist and are the same throughout space and time, such that if I do an experiment repeatedly under sufficiently similar circumstances, I will get the same result. It’s not possible to test the past scientifically because we cannot observe or experiment on the past. And it’s not possible to test the future scientifically because we have no access to it. It’s not possible to test distant regions of the universe for uniformity because we cannot go there. We can observe distant regions through telescopes of course, but in order to draw any rational conclusion whatsoever, we must presuppose that light travels in relatively straight lines and behaves the same way there as here. In other words, astronomy is built upon the presupposition of uniformity in nature. It cannot test for uniformity since it assumes uniformity.]

                [Dr. Lisle: But apart from the Christian worldview, what is the rational basis for believing in any uniformity of nature whatsoever?]

              • Havok says:

                We have certainly shown that if the Christian worldview is true, then there will be a certain degree of uniformity in nature.

                But you’ve not shown why we should expect the sorts of uniformity we do find, and not something else.

                [Dr. Lisle: You are confusing prediction with justification. A rational person has a good reason for his or her beliefs. I have a good reason to believe in uniformity in nature, and even the very sorts of uniformity that we do find. You don’t – at least not on your professed worldview. That means, right now, you are irrational. You can become rational either by becoming a Christian, or by coming up with a non-Christian justification for the existence of laws of nature and their uniformity.]

                If so, I think the easiest way to show this is to point out that none of the main contenders have ever been able to do so.

                That’s an argument from ignorance Jason.

                [Dr. Lisle: No, an argument from ignorance would be based on what we don’t know. My argument is based on what we do know: all alternatives to Christianity have the same basic defects. They cannot account for the preconditions of intelligibility – things such as the uniformity in laws of nature. Rational people have a good reason for their beliefs. They don’t merely rely on wishful thinking, hoping that someday, someone might find justification for their beliefs.

                And given that no logically consistent definition of your omni-everything god seems to have been put forward,

                [Dr. Lisle: Where did you get that idea? The Bible consistently defines God and His essential attributes.]

                and that there are apparent contradictions which arise from combining the attributes your god supposedly posses,

                [Dr. Lisle: Before I ask you to justify your claim, I will ask what basis you have (on your professed worldview) for believing in the law of non-contradiction. In the Christian worldview, two contradictory claims cannot both be true. The reason is because all truth is in God (Colossians 2:3) and God cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). But on what rational basis can the unbeliever make the universal claim that truth never contradicts itself? And if there is no reason for believing that two contradictory claims cannot both be true, then why would you argue against God for allegedly having contradictory characteristics? Again it seems as though you are stealing from the Christian worldview in order to argue against it.]

                it seems a little rich to criticise other worldviews for lacking complete explanations for everything.

                [Dr. Lisle: You are confusing explanation with justification. I’m not asking other worldviews to explain everything, merely to justify their beliefs. To be rational is to have a good reason for your beliefs. Yet, those who reject Christianity don’t seem to have any good reasons on their professed worldview to believe in uniformity of nature, or laws of logic, or morality.]

                • Havok says:

                  Jason, I’ve given reasons to justify my worldview.

                  [Dr. Lisle: Where? Not on this site. I’ve asked what reason you have to believe in laws of nature, or uniformity in nature, or the methods of science and I haven’t seen any coherent response from you.]

                  I’ve also given reasons to think that God is il-defined and possibly logically incoherent

                  [Dr. Lisle: Where? Not on this site. You haven’t given any cogent reason whatsoever to think that God is not well defined in Scripture, nor have you given any characteristics that are logically incoherent. More importantly, you have claimed that laws of logic are not universal. So, hypothetically, if the description of God were self-contradictory, how do you know that’s not one of those situations where the law of non-contradiction doesn’t apply?]

                  – theres a large body of work comprised of attempts to explain just how the divine attributes can be combined without resulting in logical incoherence, and the work such work continues.

                  [Dr. Lisle: Then maybe you ought to read some of it. In any case, if you don’t give any evidence whatsoever of your claim (that characteristics of God are logically incoherent – assuming you believe in the universality of the law of non-contradiction) then we have no reason to take it seriously.]

          • Jeff Scanga says:

            I find it ironic that you would call Dr. Lisle, “Jason” as if you were on a first name basis with him.

            I wonder if you had an opportunity for public conversation with Richard Dawkins, if you would call him “Rich”. The very thought amuses me.

            • Havok says:

              Jeff, I wouldn’t call him “Rich” because to my knowledge he goes by “Richard”.
              As far as I’m aware, Jason goes by the name “Jason” (as evidenced by the hostname he chose for this site), and not some other diminutive like “Jay” or “Jas”. If your username were “Jeffrey” I’d have referred to you by that name.

              • Bill Charlton says:

                Then would you address other professionals (Dawkins & Hawking, for instance) as Richard or Steven? I sincerely doubt it.
                It frankly appears that you are simply employing a childishly immature element to disrespect someone whom you find intellectually superior in order to express your irrational and hostile bias against God (whom he represents).
                Any self-respect should compel you to apologize. Any failure to would simply confirm the expectation that your worldview offers no philosophical expectation for civility.

        • Havok says:

          But in a universe not upheld by a mind, why expect any order at all?

          In a universe upheld by a mind such as your claimed God, why expect the sort of order we find, rather than some other sort from a selection of probably infinite alternatives?

          • Dr. Lisle says:

            In a universe upheld by the mind of God, we would necessarily expect to find the kind of order that God imposes. But apart from God, why would you expect to find any order whatsoever?

            • Havok says:

              In a universe upheld by the mind of God, we would necessarily expect to find the kind of order that God imposes.

              Why the particles and fields we find and not others?

              [Dr. Lisle: Particles and fields that obey mathematical laws and can be classified according to similarities and differences are what we would expect from the biblical Triune God. No other worldview can account for the fact that particles and fields have both similarities and differences, and obey mathematical laws.]

              But apart from God, why would you expect to find any order whatsoever?

              Why not?

              [Dr. Lisle: That’s the fallacy of appeal to ignorance. Rational people have a logical reason for any given belief.]

              • Havok says:

                Particles and fields that obey mathematical laws and can be classified according to similarities and differences are what we would expect from the biblical Triune God.

                You missed the step where you actually shows why we would expect this,

                [Dr. Lisle: Actually, you seem to have missed the step where you have read what I have already written on this topic. I have written a book on these types of issues – “The Ultimate Proof of Creation.” You will need to read up on this topic if you are going to be able to intelligently engage in rational dialog. God is one in one sense, and more than one in another sense – the Trinity. And God created the universe by His power. Thus, we expect to find one and more-than-one – both unity and distinctions – in the universe. But this is a precondition that cannot be accounted for in the secular worldview. If you would like to read up on this issue, it is called the “problem of the one and the many.”]

                and why these exact relationships between particles and not others. Since your God if it existed could make basically any universe with any sort of order, including idealism, or vastly different physical constants, or continuous rather than discrete matter, able to support life, you would need to explain why we find reality as we do, rather than asserting that it is what we should expect.

                [Dr. Lisle: That’s incorrect for a number of reasons. First, God does have freedom to make the universe in the way He wishes, but the universe must still be rational because God does not deny Himself. God always acts in a way that is consistent with His nature, and thus He could not make a universe that is self-contradictory, where laws of logic do not apply, as one example.]

                [Dr. Lisle: Second, in the Christian worldview, not all knowledge is a priori. But all knowledge must be logically justified. We have good reasons to believe that particles and fields have the properties they do because of various lines of evidence obtained by relying upon the inductive principle, laws of mathematics, and sensory observation. And so our beliefs are justified if and only if the inductive principle, laws of mathematics, and sensory observation are justified. And in the Christian worldview, they are, as I show in “The Ultimate Proof of Creation.” But in the secular worldview, they are not.]

                No other worldview can account for the fact that particles and fields have both similarities and differences, and obey mathematical laws.

                You missed the part where you showed this to actually be the case rather than a mere assertion.

                [Dr. Lisle: I have demonstrated this in “the Ultimate Proof of Creation” and other places. Even on this very blog, I have explained the basic idea:
                You will need to do your homework on this topic if you are going to intelligibly comment on these issues.]

                And, in fact, I’d think that any reality which has relationships between it’s parts could be described mathematically, regardless of whether it were upheld by a mind or not.

                [Dr. Lisle: One problem with that is that mathematics makes no sense apart from the mind of God. Mathematical truths are universal, invariant, abstract entities, just as would necessarily follow from a Being who is omnipresent and sovereign, unchanging and timeless, and non-material. But in the secular worldview, there would be no rational basis for assuming laws of mathematics at all, let alone why they should have such properties.]

                [Dr. Lisle: Another problem is this: even if I grant that laws of mathematics describe the universe at the present moment, apart from the Christian worldview, there would be no rational basis at all for assuming that they will continue to do so even one second from now. This is of course the inductive principle, which apart from the Christian worldview, has no rational foundation.]

                That’s the fallacy of appeal to ignorance. Rational people have a logical reason for any given belief.

                Jason, I’ve already pointed you towards reasons why we might expect order without need for a mind, so I have reasons to think so.

                [Dr. Lisle: I showed that your reasons only make sense in the Christian worldview. Namely, mathematical randomness presupposes laws of probability, which presuppose the inductive principle. And the inductive principle cannot be rationally justified apart from the Christian worldview. Did you not understand this? I am happy to clarify if needed.]

                You’ve not given reasons to expect what we do find if your God existed, but have rather merely asserted the triumph of your beliefs.

                [Dr. Lisle: Actually, I have already done so many times – even on this very blog. You just haven’t bothered to read them. I’m not going to repeat what I have written before just because you are too intellectually lazy to look it up. If you want to contribute something intelligent to this dialog, then read what I have written, and give rational reasons why you believe that I am mistaken. Don’t just assert that I haven’t provided a case when you haven’t bothered to check.]

              • Havok says:

                Particles and fields that obey mathematical laws

                Regularities which can be modelled as particles and fields using mathematics.

                [Dr. Lisle: Why, in your worldview, should there be any regularities at all? In a chance universe, why expect to find regularities that particles and fields obey very consistently? Furthermore, why should such regularities be mathematical in nature? And why should they be simple enough to be discoverable? The Christian expects all these things, but how can your worldview account for them?]

                and can be classified according to similarities and differences are what we would expect from the biblical Triune God.

                I see no reason to expect this from your God as opposed to some other alternative (all of which are available to your God).

                [Dr. Lisle: What alternative do you propose that can justify why it should be possible to classify things according to similarities and differences in a chance universe? Why should it be possible to classify things at all into logical categories?]

        • the_ignored says:

          “Minds impose order”? Oh? Why do you say that? Where did that original “mind” come from then, anyway? Chaos?

          Don’t you think that you might be wrong?

          • Dr. Lisle says:

            The type of order under discussion is uniformity in nature – the fact on the most fundamental level nature is basically uniform such that under a given set of conditions a given outcome will occur. The Bible tells us that God sovereignly controls the universe in a consistent way, and that He is beyond time and is omnipresent. So naturally, we expect the uniformity of nature in the Christian worldview. But apart from Christianity, how can a person possibly justify the inductive principle?

            Where did God come from? God is eternal; He has always existed and therefore requires no antecedent cause.

            • Havok says:

              God may not need some antecedant cause, but certainly needs some sort of logical cause or explanation.

              The usual route here is simply to define God as not requiring one (God’s aseity).

              • Dr. Lisle says:

                No, anything that is eternal cannot have a cause of any sort. God is eternal. To think that God requires a cause is to misunderstand the nature of God.

                • Havok says:

                  No, anything that is eternal cannot have a cause of any sort.

                  I see you’re taking the usual route I referred to. Note that I referred to cause OR explanation.

                  [Dr. Lisle: You are confusing causation and explanation with justification.]

                  Also, since something that is eternal doesn’t need a cause of any sort (nor an explanation, it seems), I deem the universe (not just our comoving patch which can be traced back to the big bang event) as eternal – no further explanation required, right? 😉

                  [Dr. Lisle: You still need to justify the claim. Rational people have a reason for what they believe. You don’t.]

                  God is eternal. To think that God requires a cause is to misunderstand the nature of God.

                  And you know the nature of God how?

                  [Dr. Lisle: His revelation: The Bible]

                  Perhaps you don’t understand the nature of God, or what “eternal” really might mean in this context (since I’m pretty confident you won’t like my claim that the universe needs no further explanation).

                  [Dr. Lisle: If the universe were eternal, then it would not need a cause. But it still needs justification. This is where a class or textbook on logic might be very helpful to you. I can recommend some if you’re interested.]

            • Havok says:

              The Bible tells us that God sovereignly controls the universe in a consistent way, and that He is beyond time and is omnipresent.

              And so you reason from that to the following:

              So naturally, we expect the uniformity of nature in the Christian worldview.

              Which seems to me like it might just be relying upon induction.

              [Dr. Lisle: No, it’s deduction, not induction. In the Christian worldview, God has promised to uphold nature in a basically uniform way. Logically, you can consider three possibilities for God’s statement. 1. God is lying – He has no intention of upholding nature in a consistent way. 2. God is mistaken – He thinks He will uphold nature in a consistent way, but this turns out to be wrong. 3. God is right – He will indeed uphold nature in a consistent way. Option 1 cannot be right because God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Option 2 cannot be right because God is omniscient and beyond time, so He knows everything about what will happen. So we are forced to conclude option 3, as there is no alternative within the Christian worldview. We conclude deductively that nature will be basically uniform, and thus we can draw general inferences from larges samples of specific events – induction. But the non-Christian has never been able to justify induction/uniformity in nature.]

              But apart from Christianity, how can a person possibly justify the inductive principle?

              If I’m on the right track above, you could strike out the part before the comma, as you lack the sort of justification for induction that you’re asking others to provide.

              [Dr. Lisle: Your response here is very revealing. Originally, you had chided me for claiming that only Christianity can justify things like induction; you had said that there were other ways. But you now seem to be realizing that indeed there are no other ways, and so you’ve resorted to essentially claiming, “okay, I can’t justify induction, but neither can you” – a tu quoque fallacy. But, as shown above, induction is indeed justified in the Christian worldview. In fact, it is logically inescapable given the biblical claims. So you have helped me illustrate the “Ultimate Proof of Creation” by showing that no one can produce any alternative worldview that can justify laws of logic, uniformity of nature, or moral obligation, which is what I have been saying all along.]

        • Havok says:

          Jason, it seems it’s heads you win, tails I lose.

          [Dr. Lisle: Yes. It’s God’s universe, and apart from Him you couldn’t make any predictions about anything, or know anything.]

          You appear to be saying that order requires a mind, and randomness requires a mind.

          [Dr. Lisle: That’s true! Part of the reason that you are confused is that you are equivocating on the word “random.” In some cases, you take the layman understanding of the word, simply a lack of order or conscious oversight, so that you can then contrast it with order: “either ordered or random.” But in other cases, you take the mathematical definition of the word – elements with a definite probability of occurrence. The latter contains a definite order because the elements must average to a particular value in the limit of infinity. Random – in the mathematical sense – is not contrary to order. To avoid a bifurcation and equivocation fallacies you should phrase the debate as ordered vs. not-ordered.]

          That makes it seems as if you’re stacking the deck in your favour. It also seems as if your view of God is unfalsifiable, and therefore useless as an explanation.

          [Dr. Lisle: In principle, you could falsify the Christian worldview by showing some other system that can account for induction, morality, and the universal, invariant, abstract nature of laws of mathematics and laws of logic. But so far, no one has been able to do that. I have a book on this topic if you’d like to study up on this issue: “The Ultimate Proof of Creation.”]

          • Havok says:

            In principle, you could falsify the Christian worldview by showing some other system that can account for induction, morality, and the universal, invariant, abstract nature of laws of mathematics and laws of logic.

            Or we could falsify it empirically,

            [Dr. Lisle: Empirical knowledge presupposes the truth of the Christian worldview. That is, if the Bible were not true, then there would be no logical reason to suppose that our senses are basically reliable such that they accurately sense reality.]

            and show that the Christian worldview is very probably false given reality

            [Dr. Lisle: That’s not possible because probability relies on the inductive principle; and the inductive principle is only rationally justified within the Christian worldview. And there would be no way to know reality apart from the Christian worldview.]

            – incidently, this has been done to your YEC beliefs, and yet you still cling to them, devising ever more ad-hoc ancillary hypothesis in order to try to explain a reality whcih stubbornly doesn’t conform to your beliefs.

            [Dr. Lisle: Actually, that’s what evolutionists do (as I have shown previously.) What could be more of an ad-hoc ancillary hypothesis than an “Oort cloud” to explain away the youth of comets, or “unknown contamination” to explain away c-14 evidence, or “unknown preserving factors” to explain away preserved soft-tissue, or “spiral density waves” to explain away the youthful appearance of galaxies, or undetected “magnetic dynamos” to explain the youth of planetary magnetic fields, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.?]

            • Havok says:

              Empirical knowledge presupposes the truth of the Christian worldview.

              Absolute presuppositionlist rubbish.

              [Dr. Lisle: You have committed a spectacular example of the question-beggining epithet fallacy. When people have no rational response, they often resort to that sort of rhetoric, e.g. “rubbish.” If you have some other worldview that can rationally justify empirical knowledge, please provide it and explain why. So far, no one has been able to do so.]

              That is, if the Bible were not true, then there would be no logical reason to suppose that our senses are basically reliable such that they accurately sense reality.

              Experience gives us reason to believe that our senses are basically reliable.

              [Dr. Lisle: That’s the fallacy of begging the question. Our “experience” is the sum of our sensory observations. So if our senses are unreliable, then so are our experiences. So in appealing to “experience” as the reason for trusting your senses, you have tacitly and arbitrarily assumed that your senses are basically reliable. In a chance universe, there is no reason to believe that sensory experience is even remotely reliable.]

              Evolutionary biology gives us an explanation for why this is so, and can also provide insight into how and why our senses break down.

              [Dr. Lisle: No, it cannot because there is no mind behind evolution. Sometimes people assume that natural selection ought to produce reliable sensory organs, but this is fallacious for the following reason. Natural selection is the observation that organisms with traits less suitable to survival in a given environment are less likely to survive and reproduce. Hence, less suitable traits tend to be eliminated. But survivability is not the same as truthful sensory experience. Grass, for example, is surviving very well despite having any sensory organs at all – let alone reliable ones.]

              [Someone might respond, “Ah, but we are not grass. We do have sensory organs…” But how do you know that? It would beg the question to argue that you must have reliable sensory observations because you observe that with your senses. For all you know, you might be a blade of grass, and all your memories of sensory observations are merely a by-product of photosynthesis. Apart from the biblical worldview, I don’t see how could you possibly know that you are not a blade of grass, or a mud puddle for that matter.]

              The Christian Worldview seems to me to be an empty explanation, in that it could explain our senses if they were perfectly accurate, or horrible inaccurate. It seems to me to lack empirical content.

              [Dr. Lisle: This suggests that you have a misconception of the Christian worldview. God designed our senses (Proverbs 20:12; Psalm 94:9) and makes no mistakes (Deuteronomy 32:4), so of course sensory experience will be reliable in the Christian worldview. The situation has been complicated because of our rebellion against God (Genesis 3) because God now allows death and disease as a partial punishment for our treason. And so people can go blind, or deaf, etc. But God gave us five senses (not including internal feedback systems, etc.) and a mind so that if one or two sensory organs fail, we can still discern what is true of our environment to some extent. God has promised that all human beings have some true knowledge, at least of Him (Romans 1:18-20). So it is not possible in the Christian worldview for all our senses to be “horribly inaccurate.” Since Christianity alone can justify the basic reliability of sensory experience, empirical content is only meaningful in the biblical worldview.]

              That’s not possible because probability relies on the inductive principle; and the inductive principle is only rationally justified within the Christian worldview. And there would be no way to know reality apart from the Christian worldview.

              Probability depends on math, and can be used to explain induction, not the other way around.

              [Dr. Lisle: No, no. Probability and mathematics depend on the inductive principle – the idea of an underlying uniformity across all instances. Without induction you couldn’t learn anything about math. Suppose someone proves a particular theorem on Thursday at 3:15 p.m. Apart from induction all you could say is that the theorem was true at that moment, in that room. The idea that mathematical truths on Thursday still apply on Friday, whether on Earth, Mars, or Andromeda, is the inductive principle.]

              It’s not my problem that reality doesn’t respect your beliefs, or bend to your desire to have them be true.

              [Dr. Lisle: Ironically, I was just thinking that about you and your beliefs.]

              What could be more of an ad-hoc ancillary hypothesis than an “Oort cloud” to explain away the youth of comets

              Ad-hoc how? We have evidence of similar groups of objects closer to the sun, and some direct evidence of such icy bodies in the expected orbit.

              [Dr. Lisle: No, we don’t. You really ought to read up on this.]

              or “unknown contamination” to explain away c-14 evidence,

              Given the large amount of supporting evidence FOR C-14 dating within a range of ages and types of material, as well as concordance with other dating techniques, the “contamination” explanation is far more probable,

              [Dr. Lisle: You are very, very confused on this issue. I will try to educate you a bit: Carbon dating is one of the more reliable methods, and does tend to give age estimates that agree with historical records. That’s why it is so embarrassing to evolutionists that carbon dating also consistently yields “young” ages (thousands of years) on fossils that they believe to be millions of years old. Did you know that dinosaur fossils consistently carbon-date to thousands of years? Did you know that diamonds that evolutionists believe to be 1-2 billion years old have been carbon dated at thousands of years? (By the way, how could a diamond – the hardest substance – possibly become “contaminated?”) Did you know that basically everything we’ve tested that has carbon in it also has c-14 in it, despite that fact that c-14 cannot last even 1 million years? You cannot find a chunk of coal on Earth that lacks c-14; yet evolutionists believe that coal is supposed to be hundreds of millions of years old. It never ceases to amaze me how much blind faith evolutionists have. They are very practiced at ignoring the evidence.]

              [Regarding concordance with other (radiometric) methods. No, it doesn’t. We have found wood embedded in rock where the carbon-date for the wood is thousands of years, but the rock is age-dated at millions of years. In fact, radiometric dating methods (aside from carbon-dating) generally do not give correct age-estimates on rocks of known age, nor do they often agree with each other within their own error bars. See Woodmorappe’s book “The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods” or even better, the RATE books.]

              and far less ad-hoc than arguing for some unknown acceleration of decay rates which would leave different empirical evidence than we do in fact find.

              [Dr. Lisle: It seems you are unaware that we can observe accelerated decay of radioactivity in the laboratory. As one example, we’ve been able to speed up the Rhenium-Osmium decay by a factor of a billion! How can that be “unknown” when we can directly observe it? By the way, accelerated decay does indeed leave empirical evidence of exactly the type that we do find: the helium by-product detected in zircons matches exactly the predictions of accelerated decay.]

              But don’t let reality and a reasonable assessment of the evidence get in the way of your closely held sectarian beliefs.

              [Dr. Lisle: Irony. I couldn’t describe your view any better than that.]

              • the_ignored says:

                Lisle said:
                God designed our senses (Proverbs 20:12; Psalm 94:9) and makes no mistakes (Deuteronomy 32:4), so of course sensory experience will be reliable in the Christian worldview.
                Uh, no.


                [Dr. Lisle: It is really quite unethical to take my quote out of context and then construct a straw-man argument as you have done, intimating that I believe that sensory experience is 100% reliable in today’s world. Here is the rest of my quote in context:

                …so of course sensory experience will be reliable in the Christian worldview. The situation has been complicated because of our rebellion against God (Genesis 3) because God now allows death and disease as a partial punishment for our treason. And so people can go blind, or deaf, etc. But God gave us five senses (not including internal feedback systems, etc.) and a mind so that if one or two sensory organs fail, we can still discern what is true of our environment to some extent. God has promised that all human beings have some true knowledge, at least of Him (Romans 1:18-20).]

                [Dr. Lisle: But in your worldview, how do you know that your sensory observations are nothing more than the byproduct of photosynthesis? How do you know that you are not a blade of grass, and that all your memories and experiences are just chemical reactions in a plant?]

                • Havok says:

                  How do you know that you are not a blade of grass, and that all your memories and experiences are just chemical reactions in a plant?

                  It seems far simpler and more probable that I am not just a plant, but am rather a biped with a complicated neuronal structure allowing me to post things on the internet.
                  So while it might be logically possible, it’s horrendously improbable.

                  • Dr. Lisle says:

                    A human being is far more complicated than a blade of grass. So how can it be “simpler” to assume a human than a blade of grass? How do you know that all your experiences and your sensations of posting things on the internet are not merely a by-product of photosynthesis?

                    • Havok says:

                      Because there is no reason to think that photosynthesis results in sensations, whereas there is good reason to think that the process of brains results in sensations.

                    • Dr. Lisle says:

                      On the Christian worldview, yes. But on your worldview, how do you know that photosynthesis doesn’t result in sensation / consciousness? How do you know that other people do have genuine consciousness as opposed to philosophical zombies?

              • Havok says:

                See Woodmorappe’s book “The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods”

                Why accept a fringe view rather than the far better supported, more mainstream view?
                Especially a fringe view which has been consistently shot down?

                [Dr. Lisle: Woodmorappe’s book documents age estimates that were published in the mainstream literature and shows their lack of agreement. So what he is presenting is the “mainstream view.” This is why it so important for you to actually read the book before criticizing. It will save you from this kind of embarrassment. I should also point out that your response here shows that you have already made up your mind regardless of any evidence that might be presented.]

                or even better, the RATE books.

                This would be the same RATE project whose participants admitted that if they were right the amount of energy released from the rapid radioactive decay required by the YEC scenario would render the earths crust molten?
                Last time I checked, the ground underfoot wasn’t uncomfortably hot to the touch.

                [Dr. Lisle: Again, it will save you embarrassment to read the texts before criticizing. The RATE books discuss the amount of heat generated, and show ways to dissipate it to space (there is more than one way to do it). They do not predict that Earth’s entire crust will be molten.]

                • Havok says:

                  The RATE books predict an enormous amount of heat generated, with no realistic way of radiating it in the time alloted due to their YEC assumptions.
                  This amount of heat would have resulted in the earths crust remaining molten – that it is not is good reason to dismiss the RATE findings.

                  • Dr. Lisle says:

                    Do you know quantitatively (1) how much heat would be produced, (2) how quickly it can be dissipated to space, (3) what the resulting temperature of Earth’s crust would be? Have you done these calculations, or are you merely repeating a claim with no rational support at all?

            • Havok says:

              So, if we use the tools available to us “from the Christian worldview”, and we find that the Christian worldview does not stand up to rational scrutiny (as your particular brand of sectarian beliefs don’t), then what are we to do?

              [Dr. Lisle: There is a question-begging epithet fallacy in your comment; you’ve asserted arbitrarily that my understanding of the Christian worldview doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, but you have given no evidence of this. And of course, even if you did, I’d have to ask you to get your own justification of laws of logic and stop stealing from the Christian worldview.]

              [Hypothetically, if the Christian worldview didn’t stand up to its own standard, then we would lose all epistemological justification for anything. Rationality would not be possible, and I’d be in the same boat that you are in: believing things but not being able to justify any of them.]

              Should we reject our analysis, or perhaps look at our starting assumptions?
              It seems you want to exclusively do the former because you believe, for no good reason, that the later are above reproach.

              [Dr. Lisle: No. On the contrary, I encourage you to examine your own starting assumptions. That’s what I’ve been pushing for this whole time. The Christian worldview makes sense of the things that you take for granted, such as universal invariant laws of logic, basic uniformity in nature, moral obligation, rationality of the mind, etc. The secular worldview does not. So I highly encourage you to think through your starting assumptions. Why don’t you genuinely consider the Christian worldview? Would that be so bad?]

    • Stefan Frello says:

      We have no way of knowing reality.

      [Dr. Lisle: Do you know that? If you do know that, then you do know something about reality, in which case your statement is false. And if you don’t know that, then we have no reason to believe your statement.]

      All we can do is trying to make our theories fit our observations.

      [Dr. Lisle: Your theories don’t fit observations. That’s the point.]

      On miracles: Until you present a naturalistic theory of a Universe made mature, I will call it a miracle.

      [Dr. Lisle: All experiments start with certain initial conditions that are not generated by the experiment itself. Namely, a scientist artificially sets up a certain set of conditions, and then observes what happens naturally afterwards. The initial conditions that the scientist sets up may not ever happen spontaneously in nature, but that doesn’t make those initial conditions miraculous.]

      My point is: If you assume miracles happen it is OK to build a model on miracles. Science assume miracles do not happen, and therefor build its models without them.

      [Dr. Lisle: No. Science doesn’t assume anything – that’s a reification fallacy. Scientists may assume things. Some might assume that miracles are impossible, but that is a philosophical assumption, not a scientific conclusion. There’s nothing in the procedures of science that disallows miracles, so long as they are uncommon (which they would have be – by definition.)]

      What kind of miracle do not break natural law?

      [Dr. Lisle: The parting of the Red Sea is one example. God used wind to push back the water (Exodus 14:21). As far as I can tell, no laws of nature were broken. Sufficient wind will indeed drive back water – that’s perfectly consistent with the laws of physics.]

      [Stefan, in Christianity, a miracle is defined to be an extraordinary and unusual act of God designed to accomplish a specific purpose. That definition allows for, but does not require, a violation of laws of nature. Some miracles simply involve unusual timing, or a seemingly improbable event, without violating any laws of nature. God can certainly suspend natural laws if He so desires. But He usually works within natural laws. Indeed natural laws are an example of God’s power – the normal way He accomplishes His will. Technically, we can never know for certain if a miracle involves the suspension of a law of nature; this is because we don’t know what all the laws of nature are. Even the ones we know could be limiting cases of a larger, undiscovered principle.]

      The ‘Fine tuning’ argument states that if any natural constant change, life becomes impossible. Do you disagree with this argument?

      [Dr. Lisle: I can’t agree with your understanding of fine-tuning arguments, at least as you’ve stated. Fine tuning arguments use the fact that there are far more conceivable conditions in the universe, or possible values for constants of nature that disallow life, than allow for it. It’s a probabilistic argument. But there are some natural constants that could be changed and life would still be possible. The RATE research project explored some of these. But I do agree that substantial changes in some constants would make life impossible.]

      Elsewhere you wrote, “if the laws of nature arbitrarily change tomorrow … consequently science stops working”

      [Dr. Lisle: Science requires a universe upheld by a mind so that there is an underlying uniformity in space and in time. That uniformity need not be absolute, so long as any exceptions are rare and temporary. In a chance universe, there would be no reason to expect any underlying uniformity whatsoever, and hence no rational justification for the methods of science.]

      8. “Apparently …” Touché. Don’t you think including miracles (those that brake laws of nature) is equal to including additional assumptions, thereby violating the principle of parsimony?

      [Dr. Lisle: To arbitrarily assume that miracles cannot occur is an additional assumption, and violates parsimony unless it can be substantiated. Actually, to assume any sort of underlying orderliness in a chance universe seems unfounded.]

      Fascinating that you read Occam’s razor into 2 Corinthians 11:3. (Just to be sure. You mean the verse about the corrupted mind!)

      [Dr. Lisle: To be clear, I’m reading Occam’s razor out of 2 Corinthians 11:3. This passage teaches that there is a simplicity in Christ (who is truth – John 14:6). Thus, in the Christian worldview, truth has a simplicity to it. The Christian therefore has a rational basis for choosing the simpler model when both make equally successful predictions. But how could Occam’s razor possibly be justified apart from the biblical worldview? In a chance universe, why should truth be simple?]

      9. “Did it ever …” How mighty is that ‘might’? Just kidding! If you can substantiate that interpretation with citations elsewhere in the Bible or another ancient Hebrew text, I might accept your argument. Otherwise, the ‘might’ is not very mighty.

      [Dr. Lisle: First, from a logical and ethical perspective, if you are going to criticize a claim as being inaccurate, it is incumbent upon you to read the claim in the best possible light, otherwise your criticism may simply be a straw-man fallacy. Suppose I said, “I don’t like dark shirts, I only wear light shirts.” It would be ridiculous for you to arbitrarily assume that “light” must mean “a light emitter” and then claim that I’m mistaken on that basis. Likewise, if you are going to claim that the Bible is wrong in calling the moon a light on the basis that the Hebrew word can only refer to light-emitters, then it is incumbent upon you to demonstrate that, and not arbitrarily assume it.]

      [Second, a simple word search would have shown other biblical examples of the Hebrew word for light (ma’or) being used to describe things that are bright by reflected light, not emitted light, such as eyes (Proverbs 15:30). The word is derived from the Hebrew (‘or) which simply means “bright” which of course the moon is.]

      10. “Link” When you work out the details of this – as you promise in the link – please explain how the ASC time dilation is different from the fact that, under ESC, time ‘experienced’ by the light beam, is zero. Just to make sure that the two are not confused by non-physicists like me.

      [Dr. Lisle: The details of time-dilation under various synchrony conventions have already been worked out by physicists, such as Dr. Winnie’s paper that I referenced in my technical article on the ARJ. But I do intend to cover some of these details in a future blog entry.]

      11. “Time dilation …” Do you have the details anywhere? If the ASC-redshift is not related to speed, but only to expansion, then there is a number of observations you have to explain: The variation in redshift of galaxy spiral arms. Variation in redshift (and/or blueshift) of individual stars in the Milky Way, showing the existence of planets. Redshift (and/or blueshift) used to characterize a binary star. The blueshift of the Andromeda Galaxy.

      [Dr. Lisle: The redshift due to expansion of the universe is not related to speed, in the sense of velocity through space. That’s true both in ASC and ESC. But velocity still causes redshifts and blueshifts – the Doppler effect exists in both ASC and ESC. This is why differential redshifts exist across the arms of spiral galaxies, and why binary star velocities can be measured. The formula for the Doppler effect is somewhat different between ASC and ESC, because time is measured differently. The relativistic Doppler effect must include the effects of time-dilation, which are different between ASC and ESC as shown in Winnie’s paper – equation 4-9.]

      Please do not take this last comment as an offence: September 12. you were ridiculed on Panda’s Thumb for not answering to a two years old critique of the ACS-model, in spite of promising to do so. Is the answer coming any time soon?

      [Dr. Lisle: Yes. We scientists don’t take non-peer-reviewed internet claims all that seriously, and you shouldn’t either because anyone can post anything on the internet. But scientists publish models and critisms of models in the peer-reviewed technical literature so that such models can be carefully scrutinized by people who are educated in the field. You’ll notice that actual qualified physicists have not attempted any rebuttals of ASC in the peer-reviewed technical literature. So far, any criticisms I’ve seen have merely been internet claims/rumors by people who don’t really know the subject. Nonetheless, I plan to take some of the more widely circulated claims I’ve seen, and expose them here, because I think it will be helpful for people to see.]

      • Stefan Frello says:

        I think I posted this a few days ago, but it is gone. If you think I violate any of your rules, please point out which and where.

        ”We have …” Playing with words.

        [Dr. Lisle: Hardly. Rather, it’s a devastating rebuttal of your position, though you seem not to have realized why. When you wrote, “We have no way of knowing reality” you were making a claim about reality. That is, you claimed to know something about reality. And what you claimed to know about reality is that we have no way of knowing reality. That is a self-refuting claim.]

        “All we can …” What theories does not fit which observations?

        [Dr. Lisle: Secular theories do not fit with observations. This is often true of specific models, but on a more foundational level it is true of all secular theories. Scientific theories rely on the inductive principle (that there is an underlying orderliness to nature such that future events resemble past events under sufficiently similar conditions, and similarly with space); yet, there is no basis for the inductive principle in any secular or non-Christian worldview. Science at its most foundational level is incompatible with secularism.]

        “On miracles …” Which doesn’t answer the challenge.

        [Dr. Lisle: What “challenge?”]

        “My point …” Let me rephrase: ‘Scientists do not include miracles in their attempts to explain nature.’

        [Dr. Lisle: I appreciate the rephrase, but your statement is false. I’m a scientist, and I do include miracles in my attempts to explain (at least certain events in) nature. Namely, I believe the resurrection of Christ was miraculous. In the Christian worldview, miracles are (by definition) rare. But there is no rational reason to disallow them completely. And science does not require an absence of miracles in order to function.]

        It’s not so much a question of assuming no miracles. That is up to the individual person.

        [Dr. Lisle: People can indeed choose to believe or not believe in miracles. But a rational person has a good reason(s) for his or her beliefs. And no one has provided a sufficient reason to disallow miracles. In fact, since only the Christian worldview provides the preconditions necessary for rationality, and since the Christian worldview does include miracles, a rational person must accept that miracles can and have happened.]

        It’s just a general agreement that scientific explanations do not include miracles.

        [Dr. Lisle: I’m actually okay with that so long as you understand that not all explanations are rationally required to be ‘scientific’ ones – in the sense of demonstrable in the present under laboratory conditions. An historical claim cannot be proved by observational science, nor can laws of mathematics or laws of logic. All rational claims require justification, but only some are answered by empirical/scientific methods.]

        “What kind …” Strange wind, which could blow back the water, but hardly affected the people!

        [Dr. Lisle: How so? All wind affects water to some extent. And a persistent wind will indeed drive back water; the effect is particularly noticeable in a shallow basin such as the Gulf of Suez. What about this did you think violated laws of nature? On the contrary, it would be astonishing if the water were not affected by the wind, since that would violate the laws of physics as we understand them.]

        Has anyone calculated the speed of a wind that could separate the waters of the Gulf of Sinai?

        [Dr. Lisle: Yes. Look up “wind setdown.” The effect is well-known, and well-studied.]

        “… we don’t know what all the laws of nature are” is exactly what I meant by my first remark!

        [Dr. Lisle: No, your first remark was that “we have no way of knowing reality” – and that is a different (and self-refuting) claim. We can know some things about reality without knowing all the laws of nature.]

        “Fine tuning … Elsewhere …” We couldn’t be here if there were no (almost universal) laws of nature.

        [Dr. Lisle: No, that just doesn’t follow. I will grant that our bodies and minds require certain laws of nature in order to work properly. But (1) how do you know that our bodies and minds work properly? (2) How could you possibly know that such laws are “almost” universal? You don’t have universal experience. (3) How could you know that such laws are invariant? (4) You still haven’t answered the question of where such laws come from, why they exist, and how we know about them, and how any of that would make sense in a chance universe that is not upheld by God.]

        The fact that we are here tells us that we should expect the universe to have such laws, but not where they come from.

        [Dr. Lisle: No, that is a hasty generalization fallacy. Even if I grant that laws of nature apply to our immediate vicinity and allow us to exist (I’m granting this because non-Christian worldviews really cannot account for even this) there is no basis (apart from Christianity) for assuming that this must be true of the entire rest of the universe! It would be like saying, “my office has lots of carpet; therefore, the entire universe must be carpeted.”]

        “Apparently …” Same comment as above.

        [Dr. Lisle: Same refutation as above.]

        “Fascinating …” Still fascinating. The razor seems actually to be older than Corinthians!

        [Dr. Lisle: No. William of Ockham, after whom we name Occam’s razor, lived from A.D. 1287-1347. Second Corinthians was written around A.D. 55 or 56.]

        More or less the same argument as with miracles: It’s not so much a question of assuming simplicity. It’s more of convenience and general agreement: Why include more assumptions than necessary?

        [Dr. Lisle: I suppose that’s the best one can say apart from the Christian worldview, but it doesn’t answer the question. “Convenience and general agreement” have nothing whatsoever to do with what is true. When people generally agreed that the world was flat, that didn’t make it so. And so on what basis (apart from Christianity) could you possibly argue that the simpler model is more likely to correspond to reality? I don’t see an answer coming from the secular camp or any non-Christian position, and so I must conclude that Occam’s Razor is epistemologically unjustified apart from Christianity.]

        If you allow that, it never ends. You can include as many assumptions as you wish. One for every observation.

        [Dr. Lisle: Yes, and that type of reasoning is not acceptable in the Christian worldview. But why should it be unacceptable in the secular worldview? Are you beginning to see how all the preconditions for scientific inquiry are found only in Christianity?]

        “Did it ever…” I have contacted the Danish Jewish society for an explanation.

        [Dr. Lisle: The mistake you had committed is called the “unwarranted restriction of an expanded semantic field.” This occurs when a person artificially selects a sub-meaning of a word when the text does not require it. Words like “light” can have more than one meaning – even in our modern culture. It can refer to electromagnetic radiation (e.g. photons) in the visible wavelength range, the source of such photons, or an efficient reflector of such photons as in “a light shirt is better than a dark one on a hot day.” The Hebrew word (‘or) simply refers to anything that is bright or illuminates, either literally or figuratively, either by emission or reflection.]

        [The Word of God is even called a light (‘or) in Psalm 119:105 because it figuratively illuminates our path (Psalm 119:105). Moonlight can literally do that, and so the moon is quite literally a light. It would be just ridiculous to say, “No your shirt isn’t light at all, because it doesn’t actually emit photons in the visible range!” And so it would be to claim that the moon isn’t a light in the biblical sense of the word. When people make those sorts of claims, it indicates that they are not seriously interested in rational dialog, and are just trolling.]

        “Link … Time dilation …” I look forward to that. Until then, I am trying to get in contact to physics whom I hope can explain this.

        [Dr. Lisle: Any introductory textbook on relativity will cover time-dilation, at least under the standard synchrony convention. Then I suggest you read John Winnie’s papers on the topic. They are excellent. So is Wesley Salmon’s paper.]

        “Please …” Why then did you promise to answer?

        [Dr. Lisle: As an example to show why people shouldn’t accept non-reviewed internet claims, I will publicly expose and refute some of the funnier ones. Also, a few of them are based on common misunderstandings of relativity. As an educator, I enjoy teaching on this topic.]

        Has the ASC-model been mentioned in any non-creationist peer reviewed journal?

        [Dr. Lisle: I don’t know why they would. The physics of the model is well-established, so there is no point in attempting a refutation. And endorsing the model wouldn’t help their cause of pursuing and teaching secularism. So my expectation is that they will largely ignore it.]

        Have you attempted to publish your work in a non-creationist journal?

        [Dr. Lisle: No, it’s a creation-based cosmology. The ARJ is open access, so all scientists can read it there without restriction.]

        You could easily argue your case without reference to scripture. Simply as an alternative to ESC.

        [Dr. Lisle: That was done decades ago. John Winnie’s paper shows alternatives to ESC (1970). Sarker & Stachel’s 1999 paper shows the workability and advantages of the ASC convention. I didn’t discover non-ESC conventions. I just applied one of them to biblical creation to build a working creation-based model of cosmology that makes testable predictions. But the physics is well-established, and most physicists know that. That’s why you won’t see a peer-reviewed response. It’s the trolls who shout loudest against ASC, not the scientists. And I think that’s worth exposing.]

        • Stefan Frello says:

          Sometimes computers are not my best area of expertise. By accident I postet this twice in a wrong position, please erase it. It is an comment to the above, so it belongs here.

          In order not to violate rule #2 (No novels) I will try to make this short.
          Occam’s razor, miracles and the foundation of science.
          Aristotle: “We may assume the superiority, all things being equal, of the demonstration which derives from fewer postulates or hypotheses.”

          [Dr. Lisle: Apart from the Christian worldview, how can that assertion be rationally defended?]

          Science is not about absolute truth. I do not argue that ”… the simpler model is more likely to correspond to reality.” Occam’s razor is just an approach to how to do science.

          [Dr. Lisle: That just isn’t a rational answer for a number of reasons. To say that Occam’s razor is “just an approach” to science doesn’t answer my question as to how you can rationally justify using that approach as opposed to some other. Furthermore, if science is not about producing models that are more likely to correspond to reality, then that would empty science of its purpose and you would not be able to say anything whatsoever about reality that has been acquired by scientific procedures. You couldn’t rationally say that it is true that Saturn has rings or that O stars are hotter than M stars, because these claims were derived from a procedure that is “just an approach” unrelated to truth or reality.]

          And no – I do not see how all of science are founded in Christianity. Here is why:
          We have to live at a place in the Universe with at least local natural laws. Otherwise, life would be impossible.

          [Dr. Lisle: That’s called the fallacy of irrelevant thesis because what you have written is true but is irrelevant to the issue at hand. No one denies laws of nature or that life would be impossible apart from the laws of nature. The question is how you can possibly justify laws of nature and their properties in a chance universe. In other words, how would it make sense to have universal, unchanging, mathematical laws that govern all matter and energy in the universe – if the universe is merely an accident? And how could we possibly know about them? I haven’t seen an answer from the secular camp, and I don’t expect one anytime soon.]

          To assume that the laws of nature are universal is a minor assumption, compared to the assumption that laws are different elsewhere in the Universe.

          [Dr. Lisle: What is your rational basis for making any assumption whatsoever about the extent of natural laws? Rational people have reasons for their beliefs. How can you possibly justify a universal claim based on your extremely limited experience? Since you have experienced less than 1 percent of 1 percent of 1 percent of the universe, how can you possibly rationalize making the leap from your extremely limited experiences to a claim about the entire universe? On your worldview, how can that be anything less than an egregious example of a hasty generalization fallacy?]

          To assume that miracles do not occur is a minor assumption, compared to the assumption that miracles do occur.

          [Dr. Lisle: On what basis? Since you have no rational basis on your professed worldview for assuming any regularity in nature whatsoever, it follows that your assumption that nature is rigidly uniform is about the most extremely unwarranted assumption you could possibly make. In other words, given that your worldview has no foundation for uniformity, “miracles” (in sense of inexplicable or unusual phenomena) shouldn’t surprise you at all – it’s a chance universe in your view. What should astonish and perplex you (if you were rationally consistent) is that most of the time the universe is regular and explicable!]

          Not having a theory about how the Universe began is not an argument for the existence of a creator. That would be a ‘God in the gabs’ argument.

          [Dr. Lisle: I agree, but that’s not my argument. I’m pointing out that the non-Christian presupposes things that only make sense in the Christian worldview; and such reasoning is wildly inconsistent and irrational. The non-Christian has no rational basis for assuming any sort of uniformity, by which we reason from past experience to what is likely to happen in the future. All science is predicated on the inductive principle; and the inductive principle is only rationally justified in the Christian worldview.]

          Besides that, I do not see the need for miracles anywhere.

          [Dr. Lisle: I don’t need anchovies. But my lack of need for anchovies doesn’t cause them to cease to exist. If the biblical God exists, and we have already seen that this is rationally necessary for science and morality, then God can do miracles. And so your disbelief in miracles is not an argument for atheism, but merely a manifestation of your unjustified belief.]

          I know that I love my wife and children. That is not a scientific fact, but that doesn’t mean that it requires a miracle!

          [Dr. Lisle: In your worldview, aren’t your wife and children merely non-designed chemical accidents, like motor oil? Isn’t love just a chemical reaction in your brain, no different in principle than hate? If someone else decided to hate his wife and children and brutally torture them, do you think that would be morally wrong? And if so, how can you justify your belief?]

          Wind: You do not address the question. How could the wind not affect the people?

          [Dr. Lisle: Does the text say that the wind did not affect the people? I would presume they felt it.]

          The word ‘Light’: The answer from the Jewish society leaves no doubt. The use of the word ‘Light’ in Genesis 1:16 cannot be ‘a reflector of light’.

          [Dr. Lisle: Wrong. That’s a semantic anachronism fallacy – forcing a modern technical distinction about electromagnetic emission and reflection into an ancient text that doesn’t call for it. Even in our modern culture we use “light” for things that illuminate without thermally induced emission of electromagnetic radiation. And I already disproved your claim by showing other examples in Scripture of the Hebrew usage of “light” (‘or, and ma’or) in a way that does not emit electromagnetic radiation. So there just isn’t any excuse for your continued mistake. Did you not read my comments?]

          • Stefan Frello says:

            Aristotle reached the same conclusion as Occam, but he did so without Christianity. Perhaps ‘Aristotle’s razor’ is a more appropriate name.

            [Dr. Lisle: Apart from Christianity, how can Occam’s razor (or Aristotle’s) possibly be justified? On what rational basis should we hold to this principle?]

            Without Occam’s razor, things would be even worse: We could deny the existence of Saturn Rings by postulating a light-bending quality of empty space that coursed our telescopes to show a ring system that actually do not exist.

            [Dr. Lisle: Yes, and why shouldn’t we propose just that? In the Christian worldview, there is a simplicity in the truth and so I have a rational reason to prefer the simplest hypothesis that makes correct predictions. But in the secular worldview, how can such a belief be justified?]

            I do not argue about the extent of natural laws. I just point out that one assumption is minor to another.

            [Dr. Lisle: You have tacitly presupposed the universality of natural laws, which is a major assumption. When you go into a room that you’ve never been in before, do you hold your breath just in case all the air should move to one corner? Or do you presuppose that the air will fill the room as it does in your other experiences? If the latter, then on what basis do you assume that laws of nature will apply in unexperienced regions of the universe exactly as they do in experienced regions? Rational people have a reason for their beliefs. Do you?]

            You keep stating that I have no reason to expect regularity. Perhaps not, but to state that as proof of God’s existence is a ‘God in the gabs’ argument. Just because we do not know how to justify laws, does not mean that there can never be such a justification.

            [Dr. Lisle: Several important issues here. First, I really appreciate your honesty in stating that perhaps you don’t have a reason to expect regularity on your professed worldview. That’s progress, because my main point is that only Christianity justifies such an expectation, all science depends on that expectation, and thus only Christianity makes science (or any knowledge) rationally possible. To be rational means to have a good reason for your belief. Of course, you do believe in regularity in nature, and so do I. But only the Christian has a good reason on his or her worldview to expect such regularity. Thus, it is irrational for you to believe in uniformity in nature while you simultaneously reject the Christian worldview that alone justifies such uniformity.]

            [Second, you seem to be confusing explanation with justification. “God of the gaps” is a fallacious way of arguing for God’s existence based on lack of explanation. Namely, you don’t understand the details of how something works and so you insert “God” to fill the gap. But I’m not asking about explanation, and therefore “God of the gaps” is not relevant here. I’m asking about justification – which means having a good reason for your belief – regardless of explanation. Perhaps an example will clarify:]

            [Suppose doctors discovered that a particular herb can cure certain types of cancer. In a controlled double-blind study, they found that when people ate this herb, those people experienced remission; and those that did not eat the herb continued to get worse. Without knowing anything about how the herb works we do not have an explanation – we cannot explain how the herb cures cancer. But would we have justification for believing that the herb cures cancer? Yes – because we observe that there is a strong correlation between eating it and being cured. So I am not asking for an explanation of the details of regularity in nature; I simply ask if you have justification for believing in regularity apart from Christianity and without begging the question. That is, what reason do you provide that doesn’t arbitrarily assume or depend on regularity?]

            [Third, what about your idea that just because you don’t have justification for regularity in nature doesn’t mean that there isn’t any? That’s true of course, but not rationally relevant. Rational people have a good reason for their beliefs – they don’t merely have wishful hopes that in the future someone will discover justification so that then (in the future) they will have a good reason for their beliefs. Little children are usually not very rational; they believe that there is a monster in the closet but they have no justification for that belief. Would it be rational for the child to say the following? “It is true that – at present – I don’t have a good reason to believe in monsters in the closet. But it is entirely possibly that someday in the future, someone will discover such a reason. Therefore, I am well justified in believing in monsters in the closet.” Yes, hypothetically, in the future you might discover secular justification for regularity in nature, at which point your belief in regularity will become rational. But until then, your belief is irrational.]

            You ‘haven’t seen an answer from the secular camp’: My guess is that 99% of ‘the secular camp’ (read: ‘scientists’) doesn’t care about refuting creationism.

            [Dr. Lisle: First, most secularists are not scientists. Second, whether they care or not is irrelevant. If they do not have a reason for believing in uniformity on their own worldview, then they are irrational. Period.]

            ‘Love’: Please do not pretend that you do not know the evolutionary explanation to why people love their children.

            [Dr. Lisle: In the secular worldview, why should a person love his neighbor (one chemical accident) more than a can of motor oil (another chemical accident)? In a secular worldview, would it be morally commendable for a person to sacrifice his own life to save his grandmother – and if so, why?]

            ‘Light’: I share my ‘mistake’ with my Hebrew expert in the Jewish Society.

            • Skyknight says:

              In the secular worldview, why should a person love his neighbor (one chemical accident) more than a can of motor oil (another chemical accident)?

              Well, there’s the little matter of sentience and sapience…Good luck finding THOSE in the oil (which is a crafted substance to begin with; you’re probably thinking of crude oil, which certainly isn’t created in the usual sense, what with being necrotic plant goo in the end).

              [Dr. Lisle: Several unproved assumptions exist in your line of thinking. First, is the assumption that things with sentience/sapience ought to be loved more so than things that do not have sentience. That makes some sense in the Christian worldview, but how could you defend that apart from Christianity? Second, how do you really know that other people are actually sentient, as opposed to philosophical zombies? And conversely, how do you know that motor oil isn’t sentient, yet with no ability to react?]

              But more broadly, you seem to be tacitly assuming that accidental things don’t have inherent value.

              [Dr. Lisle: No. Rather, I’m asking how can anything have inherent value in a chance universe? The value of something is what a person is willing to exchange for it. It’s externally imbued by a person. Some things are valuable to some people and not to others. But in a chance universe, how can anything have inherent or objective value?]

              That for a thing to have value, the value must be there from the onset, imbued by an outside source (I imagine that in your view, it’s at least almost always God), and probably also needs to have been planned in advance. So…do we have a syllogism about how value requires pre-creation purpose, whether mortal or divine?

              [Dr. Lisle: Not my position. Value must be valued by a person though – that comes from the definition of ‘value.’ Value is what something is worth – what a person would be willing to exchange for it. Different people will pay a different price for different things. And so these things have a different value to different people. That kind of value is subjective and not intrinsic. How can you have intrinsic/objective value of anything in a chance universe?]

              Because I’d at least like to see moral precepts NOT depend on Divine Command Theory.

              [Dr. Lisle: I’d like to see that too, because no one has been able to come up with such a system that has any rational justification. Obviously, if the Christian worldview is true, then God’s command defines morality, and moral principles will necessarily be objective and apply to all people. But apart from Christianity, I have yet to see any rational way to derive moral obligation.]

              Suffice to say that with the Euthyphro Dilemma, I take the side that the heavens decree and forbid things because they are objectively good or evil (i.e. not dependent on even divine opinion, let alone mortal opinion), not that things are good or evil because they are divinely decreed or forbidden

              [Dr. Lisle: One problem is reification. The heavens are not a person, and therefore cannot decree or forbid anything whatsoever. You may think that’s a nit-pick, but it’s actually a fundamental problem for the non-Christian worldview. How can space/time/matter decree what is good or evil? What do those words (“good” and “evil”) even mean in a secular worldview?]

              (I’m a little wary of the idea that from a divine perspective, objective good and evil don’t exist, only divine-subjective good and evil. It sounds like turning God into, for lack of a better way of putting it, a creature of whim. Not something worthy of taking philosophy lessons from, let alone worshiping.).

              [Dr. Lisle: The biblical God is sovereign over the entire universe, and is not whimsical. He holds all people accountable to His commandments, and thus morality is necessarily objective – the same for all people – in the Christian worldview. But apart from the Christian worldview, how can you have any objective moral standards? Who decides what they are, and how do you know?]

              Essentially, all this about purpose presupposing God doesn’t really solve the quandary; it just foists it onto God. If value can only be imbued by a creator, where does that leave creator-less God?

              [Dr. Lisle: God values God. (John 17:23) That’s easy.]

              I’m not exactly a fan of double standards, divine-vs.-mortal included. Either God is incapable of value (which I’m pretty sure is categorically invalid with you), or he evoked his own value ex nihilo. But if that is acceptable, why is it unacceptable, or at least foolish (quick note: irrational doesn’t auto-translate to chimeric or incorrect), for mortals to do the same?

              [Dr. Lisle: It’s not unacceptable or foolish. Mortal people can choose to value things or not. And we value things differently from one person to the next. There’s nothing wrong with that. But the value that a mortal person places on a thing, a favorite toy for example, is necessarily subjective because another person puts a different value on it. And when the people who value the toy die, the toy no longer has any value because no one will exchange anything for it. But God is sovereign over all reality. And so when He values something, it has value regardless of what mortal people think of it.]

              For all that presuppositionalism started off in Calvinist circles, I don’t yet see reason to believe you believe God micromanages every last electron orbit and/or human thought. (Really, the less said about Vincent Cheung’s belief that there are no natural laws, only God’s tendencies in action, the better.)

              [Dr. Lisle: That’s a bifurcation fallacy because natural laws are the way that God normally maintains what He has created. (Hebrews 1:3, Colossians 1:17)]

              • Skyknight says:

                {sigh} With regard to the Euthyphro dilemma section, I was using “heavens” as a shorthand for what various peoples regard as the divine. That is, without being picky as to whether we’re talking about Yhwh, Zeus and the rest of the theoi, Ahura Mazda, Krishna, or any other divinity. I wasn’t trying to reify the space-time fabric there. So in your case, just replace “the heavens” with “Yhwh” as appropriate.

                [Dr. Lisle: I understand. But how can we or God have moral obligation to a non-person?]

                I suppose another way to put the foisted quandary is, how can God be certain, in your understanding, that what he does is objectively good, without just declaring “good” and “pious” to be perfect synonyms?

                [Dr. Lisle: In the Christian worldview, God is the ultimate foundational standard for epistemological, ethical, and metaphysical claims. How can God be certain about ____? Because He is God by nature. His mind determines truth, whereas our minds only discover truth. How can we know that what God does is good? Because what God does defines “good.” Now I understand that you wouldn’t agree with those definitions, or with Christian epistemology or Christian ethics. But I simply point out that within the Christian worldview your questions are easily answered in a consistent way. But apart from the Christian worldview, ethical claims don’t make any sense because morality cannot even be meaningfully defined in a self-consistent way.]

                Again, it’s the problem of using different standards for what’s right for mortals and right for the divine. God’s definition of his own goodness effectively becomes tautological–he assumes his own Goodness without external evidence/corroboration.

                [Dr. Lisle: That’s true of all definitions. How do I know that a bachelor is unmarried without any external evidence/corroboration? Because a bachelor is defined to be unmarried – that’s what the word means. Something is good (whether for mortals or God) if it evokes God’s approval – by definition. How do I know that this is the correct definition? Any alternative definition fails to account for the objective nature of morality in a self-consistent way. Any alternative would reduce morality to mere subjective preferences.]

                What I anticipate, basically, is a definition of morality that’s independent of all opinion–God’s included.

                [Dr. Lisle: Like it or not, morality is determined by the mind of God. That’s why no one has been able to come up with a meaningful self-consistent definition of morality, apart from Christianity, that makes possible any objective ethical judgments.]

                If it’s dependent on God’s opinion/viewpoint/etc., can it said to be unalloyed objective? Again, to be objective not just for humanity, but for God?

                [Dr. Lisle: Yes. Something is objective if it has reality beyond mere concept, and is therefore the same for all observers. The existence of Saturn’s rings is objective because it doesn’t matter what Tim or Bill or Frank believes about the topic – Saturn has rings regardless of their beliefs, and these rings exist the same way for all people. Personal opinions of mortals are not objective – my favorite color, or my preference of pizza topics, has no external reality, because my mind doesn’t determine reality. There is no reason why Bill or Frank shouldn’t have a different preference; my mind has no authority over them or any part of the universe external to me. But God is sovereign over all reality; His thoughts determine reality and are therefore necessarily objective. Saturn has rings precisely because God’s mind affirms this. God’s thoughts are objective because they form the reality in which all people must exist. This necessarily includes moral claims.]

                [If this bothers you, it might be because you have a misconception of the nature of God. Many people tend to think of God as a super, immortal version of a human. We project our limitations on Him, as if God existed within spacetime and were contingent upon it, and answered to moral principles higher than Himself just as we answer to moral principles higher than ourselves. But the biblical God isn’t that way. He is totally self-sufficient and requires nothing beyond Himself. There is nothing “higher” than God, and thus can be no moral principles (or any principles at all) that are superior to God. He is that ultimate standard of morality that binds all the creatures who live in His universe.]

                (For the record, I don’t think there needs to be a yet higher being that God answers to for morality or philosophical precepts to be binding on him. The thing that worries me, basically, is that you manage to imply that there is nothing binding on God, precisely because he’s omnipotent…although I wouldn’t be surprised if I were projecting Cheung onto you a bit. How are we supposed to trust such an entity on more than possibly baseless faith?)

                [Dr. Lisle: I understand your question, and it’s a very good one. First, I would say that there is nothing externally binding on God because He is not contingent upon anything else. He doesn’t require a universe in which to live as we do. He doesn’t acquire knowledge like we do because His mind determines knowledge. But God is bound by His own character. God has a nature that He does not and cannot violate. His nature is that of truth and consistency, which is why He cannot lie, nor deny Himself (Titus 1:2; 2 Timothy 2:13). So, one reason why we should trust God is because of His nature. God is fundamentally and necessarily truthful, and thus we can trust Him.]

                [Dr. Lisle: A second reason, somewhat pessimistic perhaps but nonetheless logical, is that we have no rational alternative. We are fundamentally dependent upon God for our our existence, for every breath we take, for all food we eat, and so on. If God did not provide a universe conducive to our survival, we would die without hope. If God were dishonest, we would have no way of knowing anything at all, since there would be no reason to trust our senses or our own mind since God created them. If God were malevolent, there is really nothing we could do about it. Fortunately for us, God is benevolent. His laws are not to unnecessarily restrict our freedom, but to maximize our eternal joy.]

                [Dr. Lisle: A third reason is that God has demonstrated Himself to be faithful. This is by His own standard of faithfulness to be sure, but it is a standard that God has revealed to us and that we know and accept. We know that you should keep your promises, and tell the truth, etc. And God always has. In summary, we have every reason to trust God, and absolutely no reason to distrust Him.]

                I suppose another point to bring from the atheist/apatheist viewpoint is this–morality ought to be able to function without the reward/punishment rubric. Basically, can you say that if you could be certain that you wouldn’t suffer divine punishment at all, would you engage in any kind of baleful act willingly and wittingly? (Make sure to look into your heart of hearts for this one; don’t just parrot the preacher dogma.) There’s an old medieval prayer, whose authorship I unfortunately do not know, that encapsulates my point: “O Lord, if I serve you to avoid Hell, send me there; If I serve you to attain Heaven, bar me from there.” (It’s approximate, and for the purpose of this, replace “serve you” with “do good”, and pay attention to the changed nuance. That’s how morality is supposed to stand, without reward and punishment being a factor, instead being its own purpose.)

                [Dr. Lisle: In the Christian worldview, morality can be defined apart from punishment and reward. What is morally good is that of which God approves. There is nothing in that definition by itself that necessitates punishment or reward. However, God is also fundamentally just/fair. And for that reason, God will punish evil and reward good. And it is morally right for Him to do so. (And there is nothing wrong with God warning people about eternal punishment or eternal blessings in order to help induce appropriate behavior in our sinful state.) God is also fundamentally merciful, and quick to forgive those who repent. The dilemma of combining perfect justice and mercy is resolved in the person of Jesus Christ at the moment of His crucifixion. God allows the penalty of sin to be transferred to Himself so that justice is accomplished and yet His people are saved.]

                [Dr. Lisle: Interestingly, your hypothetical question is the reality that Christians live every day: “If you could be certain that you wouldn’t suffer divine punishment at all, would you engage in any kind of baleful act willingly and wittingly?” I am certain that I will not face divine punishment for my sins because Christ has paid for them all, yet I don’t live licentiously. Why? I am grateful to God for my salvation, I love Him, and I wish to serve Him because I owe Him everything.]

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