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. I’ve noticed a very disconcerting habit of the author of this blog censoring dissenting comments to his articles. Is this really the behavior of a professional?

    • Josef says:

      Well it’s hisblog. He can moderate it however he wishes. But for what it’s worth, it wasn’t too long ago that people could post freely. But thanks to constant trolling by evolutionists (yes actual trolling, not just disagreeable posts), he had no choice but set it up the way it is now to maintain some type of order.

      But, if you don’t like it, feel free to create your own blog. Then you can moderate it in any way you wish.

    • Robert says:

      I have seen lots of posts come up with dissenting comments as long as they adhere to the rules of the blog. You may want to check on that as well.

      Are you including more than 1 link to an external source? That typically prevents the post from posting. Beyond that it may take patience as Dr. Lisle has now been reviewing posts to check for adherence to the rules.

  2. Scott Weckerly says:

    Hi Jason: Seems to me that evolutionism violates the known laws of science every step of the way: cause and effect, something out of nothing, 2nd law of thermodynamics, order from disorder, etc. (see Paul Davies, “the Edge of Infinity”, 1995: “[the big bang] represents the instantaneous suspension of physical laws, . . . “)
    yet I have not seen you or anyone else go down this road. Is it because this is a weak or poor argument to make? BTW, thank you for your ability to make the complex understandable to those of us who do not have PHDs in Astrophysics. . . at least as much as possible. . . even though even you can’t make a 50lb weight weigh 5lbs because “some things are just hard!” 🙂

    • Josef says:

      Scott,

      On some occasions I have used evidential arguments, and I’ve seen others do this as well. But the reason they are a rarity compared to the presuppositional arguments is because evidential arguments ultimately depend on one’s presuppositions (worldview).

      Everyone interprets evidence within their worldview. However, the problem is that creationists and evolutionists have different worldviews in which they interpret evidence with. And if we grant that each worldview is correct, then the interpretation of the evidence can often appear to make sense. So, ultimately to figure out the truth, we can’t look at evidential arguments, but instead we must performed a “worldview check” to determine which worldview can make sense of the evidence. This is because if a worldview is false, then the way evidence is interpreted to fit that worldview must necessarily be false also.

      Well, it turns out that only the Christian worldview can make sense of the preconditions of intelligibility, such as the existence of absolute truth, laws of logic, uniformity of nature, absolute morality and scientific laws. Basically only the Christian worldview can provide rational justification for why we can study the universe and make sense of evidence.

      So it’s not that evidential arguments aren’t good to use. They are. But they are more like a compliment to the presuppositional approach, rather than being able to stand on their own.

  3. Zach says:

    How do i trust your scientific claims if there are so many other scientists who believe in a secular worldview?

    • Robert says:

      You would have to look at the different sides and see if there are errors in logic. You can’t just go with who has the most people thinking something is correct (appeal to majority), because after all, the majority thought the earth was flat at one point.

      Dr Lisle appears to be presenting logical arguments and a strong case since no one has been able to answer his challenge to find an alternative.

      • Havok says:

        You would have to look at the different sides and see if there are errors in logic.

        Errors in logic or fact or reasoning, and so on.

        You can’t just go with who has the most people thinking something is correct (appeal to majority), because after all, the majority thought the earth was flat at one point.

        You can’t just go with the majority, true, but often times it’s sufficient to go with the majority of experts when they have reached what we might call a justified consensus.
        After all, no one has time to learn everything about everything, we trust the experts al of the time.

        Dr Lisle appears to be presenting logical arguments and a strong case since no one has been able to answer his challenge to find an alternative.

        Appearances can be deceiving. You ought to take your own advice and lok at the alternatives presented in the primary literature.
        Also, it’s not enough to declare victory due to a perceived lack of alternatives – you need to actually prove your own case. This is something that Dr Lisle doesn’t seem willing to do in a rigorous fashion.

    • Josef says:

      As Robert has always mentioned, just because the majority believe something that doesn’t make it true. There are boat loads of examples of when majority belief turned out false.

      Also, it would be very beneficial for you to read, The Ultimate Proof of Creation because the entire basis for that book is the very answer to your question.

      Basically, if the Christian worldview were not correct, then it would be impossible to make sense of evidence. And, since the way we interpret evidence is based upon our worldview, if our worldview is false, then the interpretation of the evidence in accordance with the worldview must also be false. Only the Christian worldview can justify the preconditions of intelligibility, therefore, only the Christian worldview makes it possible to correctly interpret evidence.

      • Havok says:

        Only the Christian worldview can justify the preconditions of intelligibility, therefore, only the Christian worldview makes it possible to correctly interpret evidence.

        It seems that Jason’s book you’re referring to, and this claim that your making is based on some presupposional epistemology.
        Strangely, that view does not seem to be widely held withing philosophers who specialise in epistemology, or philosophers in general. While that doesn’t mean Jason and your epistemological claims are necesarily false, it should certainly make us a little suspicious of them.

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          Do you have a logical counter-argument, or are you simply going to appeal to authority/majority?

          • Havok says:

            I haven’t read the actual argument you make in your book because, from the snippets I have read, and from your own characterization of the argument, it appears it would be a waste of money.

            [Dr. Lisle: You won’t know until you read it. My point is that it is generally true of critics of Christianity that they have already made up their mind in advance of the evidence.]

            As I noted, I’m not appealing to the majority as proof that your position is false, but rather as an indication of just how fringe your beliefs are.

            [Dr. Lisle: Again, the popularity of a claim is just not relevant to its truth value. It’s always better to think through an argument carefully than to simply dismiss it (or accept it) because the majority of people do so.]

          • Havok says:

            Ok, I managed to track down your book on “Google Books” and am reading through chapter 3, where I believe you justify your claim that if Christianity were not true we couldn’t know anything.

            What a mess!

            Firstly, you discuss morality. You casually dismiss an entire field of Philosophy with seemingly uninformed arguments.

            [Dr. Lisle: Hardly, but you have casually dismissed my chapter with this arbitrary assertion. Please back up your claims.]

            Contrary to what you claim, without the Christian god, or a god at all, moral systems can be worked out just fine.

            [Dr. Lisle: For example? …. {{crickets}} ]

            There’s a large variety of options available, though none is “obviously correct”. In the same view, you don’t interact with the many critiques of theistic morals such as those you seem to be a proponent of. While I’m sure youre treatment of morality is convincing to one of the flock, the lack of engagement with the field would surely mean it would fail in an entry level philosophy course.

            [Dr. Lisle: You stated that there is “a large variety of options available” for morality that can justify it apart from God… But you didn’t mention even one. So I’ll ask, apart from God, how can you rationally justify that human beings have an ethical obligation to behave in a certain way, and who decides what that way is? I’m well aware that people have come of with lots of arbitrary philosophies of morality, but none that answer my question. Can you? I was hoping you would actually offer a counter-argument, rather than just point out lots of people have lots of opinions on the subject. I know that. But how can objective morality be rationally justified apart from the Christian worldview? None of the non-Christian alternatives are able to do so.]

            Then you move on to the laws of logic, and you do little better than you did with morality. You seem to be assuming that classical logic is “THE” logic, and ignore all of the other forms of logic which exist, some of which do not contain the “Law of non-contradiction”, which you use as an example. You don’t seem to be engaged in the Philosophy of logics at all, in the same way you don’t engage with the Philosophy of ethics/morality.

            [Dr. Lisle: So are all “logics” equally acceptable in your view? Do you agree with systems of logic that do not include the law of non-contradiction? Do you reject the law of non-contradiction? If you accept the law of non-contradiction, then on what basis do believe it is true (how do you justify it), and its properties (is it true everywhere at all times in all situations)? You don’t seem to be engaging with what I’ve written at all. Just stating that other people have different opinions is irrelevant to the truth of the matter.]

            You then move on to the uniformity of nature. Here you assume that to investigate reality we must assume this uniformity. This, however, is not my understanding at all. We can see this uniformity as an hypothesis, one which can be tested and validated of falsified by investigation, and this testing has been done, and as far as we can tell, reality is uniform in that the interactions we find at work here on earth also happen elsewhere in the universe.

            [Dr. Lisle: The idea that we can establish that something is likely to be true by repeatedly testing a principle at different times and in different locations presupposes the uniformity of nature. The whole point of science is to discover the underlying uniformity in nature by repeatedly tested of a particulars while varying insomuch as is possible just one parameter. But all science rests on the assumption that if circumstances are sufficiently similar, you will get a similar result. The assumes the uniformity of nature – which is unjustified in your view. The notion of using past experience as a basis for what is likely to happen in the future presupposes uniformity, the very principle I am asking you to justify.]

            We’ve discussed this elsewhere on your blog, and I’ve given you solid reasons why we might expect some amount of order even from a chaotic/random/chance universe.

            [Dr. Lisle: I showed that those do not work because they tacitly presuppose uniformity – which begs the question. Remember? You were equivocating on the word “random” which in the mathematical sense is not the same as “chance.”]

            Do you engage with relevant fields in some other part(s) of your book, or is this as good as it gets?

            [Dr. Lisle: Well, you really haven’t engaged with any of the actual points I’ve made. You’ve simply dodged them by appealing to the fact that others historically have had different views. That’s not a cogent response. If I made a good case for the spherical nature of earth, it would be absurd for you to respond as follows: “You casually dismiss an entire field of astronomy with seemingly uninformed arguments. Contrary to what you claim, on a flat earth, astronomy and navigation can be worked out just fine. There’s a large variety of options available, though none is ‘obviously correct.’ In the same view, you don’t interact with the many critiques of a spherical earth. While I’m sure your treatment of the spherical nature of Earth is convincing to one of the flock, the lack of engagement with the field would surely mean it would fail in an entry level astronomy course.” That response would be no more cogent than the one you gave.]

            [Dr. Lisle: So I have to ask, do you have an answer in your worldview? Can you justify objective moral obligation, or the existence and properties of laws of logic, or uniformity in nature? (You may pick just one for time’s sake). Or is your above rhetoric as good as it gets?]

            • Havok says:

              Hardly, but you have casually dismissed my chapter with this arbitrary assertion. Please back up your claims.

              On page 49 you claim ‘Without the biblical God, right and wrong are reduced to mere personal preferences. in an evolutionary uiverse, the statement “murder is wrong” is nothing more than a personal opinion on the same level as “blue is my favourite color”‘

              [Dr. Lisle: Correct. Do you have any actual evidence at all to the contrary? That is, can you show me how it is possible to have objective moral obligation apart from the Christian worldview?]

              This shows a total disregard for the field of Ethics. rather than supporting this position, the preceeding paragraphs paint the same picture of non-Christian moral systems.

              [Dr. Lisle: To my knowledge, all non-Christian moral systems have the same defect: they cannot justify moral obligation. Do you have a single counter-example?]

              Consider my claim backed up.

              [Dr. Lisle: Why? You haven’t provided any support for your conjecture at all. Simply repeating your claim (that moral obligation is possible/justified apart from Christianity) is not the same as backing up that claim. I wanted to know if you could explain how it is possible to have genuine moral obligation (not merely personal preferences) apart from the Christian worldview. You keep claiming it is possible, but you have provided no evidence whatsoever. If you had such evidence, surely you would have provided it by now. So, consider your claim refuted.]

              • Havok says:

                Much the same applies to your treatment of ‘Laws of logic’ and ‘Uniformity of Nature’. Rather than attempt to give a reasonable view of alternatives, you present a strawman version.

                [Dr. Lisle: There is no reasonable alternative – that’s the point. Do you have any evidence whatsoever to back up your claim?]

                Your book appears to be aimed at bolstering the faith of believers rather than presenting a convincing case for Christian creationism.

                [Dr. Lisle: It may do either, but it was designed to give an objective proof regardless of whether or not people are persuaded. Many people are irrational and will not be persuaded by a conclusive argument. But the argument is still conclusive. Do you have any actual evidence to the contrary? Not merely a conjecture or claim – but actual evidence?]

                • Havok says:

                  There is no reasonable alternative – that’s the point.

                  So you claim, repeatedly. However, if your book and your comments here are anything to go by, you don’t even give treatment to other alternatives, and don’t show understanding of them.

                  [Dr. Lisle: The book showed in a general way why Christianity alone can justify the preconditions of intelligibility, and showed specifically why the most common alternative (secular/evolutionism) cannot. Chapter 3 in particular gave some of the most common attempts from evolution supporters, and showed why they do not stand up to scrutiny. So it did indeed give treatment to the alternative, and showed why it won’t work. If there was a part of the proof you didn’t understand, you are welcome to ask about it.]

                  Do you have any evidence whatsoever to back up your claim?

                  That the experts don’t agree with you is evidence that your claims shouldn’t be accepted on the face of it.

                  [Dr. Lisle: That is the fallacy of the faulty appeal to authority, a pretty obvious mistake in reasoning. When Galileo had observational evidence that the moon was not a perfect sphere but cratered, and that Jupiter had moons, these both went against what the experts of the day accepted. By your reasoning, Galileo was wrong since the experts disagreed with him, even though he had compelling evidence for his view.]

                  It may do either, but it was designed to give an objective proof regardless of whether or not people are persuaded.

                  So why do you present such a simplistic alternative to your position, rather than attempting to present the best case(s) possible?

                  [Dr. Lisle: Maybe you haven’t read the book carefully. But I did present the best, most commonly cited attempts from evolutionists to justify objective morality, laws of logic, and uniformity. It’s just that those don’t rationally work. If you think you have a new, better alternative, feel free to post.]

                  But the argument is still conclusive.

                  Talk about being irrational – you don’t even attempt to show how any and all possible alternatives must fail, nor do you even show that a realistic alternative must fail. You use strawmen of your own creation.
                  And you think your argument is conclusive?

                  [Dr. Lisle: If it were not conclusive, then it should have been very easy for you to give a counter-example – to show how an alternative to Christianity can justify uniformity in nature for example. Why haven’t you? Or show how some alternative can justify objective morality, or the universal and invariant nature of laws of logic. But you haven’t been able to do so; in fact, you’ve suggested that morality may not be objective, and that laws of logic may not be universal or invariant, which further corroborates my argument.]

                  Do you have any actual evidence to the contrary? Not merely a conjecture or claim – but actual evidence?

                  There’s plenty, and I’ve sketched some of it. I’ve provided a non-Christian grounding for the laws of logic,

                  [Dr. Lisle: No, you were justifying linguistic systems – not the actual laws of logic or their properties. So you have committed the fallacy of irrelevant thesis. Laws of logic remain unjustified in your worldview.]

                  and indicated that the bulk of experts in the field of ethics don’t accept your position, which you claim to be the only viable position.

                  [Dr. Lisle: And that is the fallacy of the appeal to authority. So your two responses have been fallacies, not evidence.]

                  To actually make a conclusive claim, you need to interact with the actual positions of those you disagree with, or actually demonstrate that your position is the only possibility.

                  [Dr. Lisle: As I have done. I’m waiting for you to actually interact with my actual position. Simply show some alternative to Christianity that can justify objective morality, the universal and invariant nature of laws of logic (not “systems of logic”), and the inductive principle.]

          • Havok says:

            On pages 18 & 19 of your book you state the following:
            “1. There is no known law of nature, no known process, and no known sequence of events that can cause information to originate by itself in matter.
            2. When it’s progress alon the chain of transmission events is traced backwards, every piece of information leads to a mental source, the mind of the sender.”

            Each with a reference. unfortunately I can’t access the parts of the book where these references are detailed.
            It’s my understanding that those claims are either trivial and don’t apply to DNA, which is under discussion, or they’re false (depending on how one defines information). Given the definition you provide a little earlier, the claims become trivial. Your definition also assumes intelligence is behind DNA, when that is the question being addressed. I would argue that your definition doesn’t apply to DNA (or, at the least, you have not shown that it does).

            • Havok says:

              Could someone who has access to the book provide the actual references for the points above, on pages 18 & 19 (where the references have indices 3 & 4)?
              I’d be curious to see where Jason is getting his ideas on “information science” from.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Actually, in terms of the scientific claims, we all largely agree. We agree that comets exist, that diamonds have c-14 in them, that the Earth has a magnetic field that is currently decaying, that the hottest blue stars are the most luminous, etc. Where we differ is in what we believe about the past, how the universe came to be, and what it means. We have different worldviews. And do you’ll have to think through which of these competing worldviews actually makes sense, and allows for scientific inquiry, provides a basis for rationality and morality, etc.

      • the_ignored says:

        Well, Lisle….you had to have known that this was coming…

        http://unbelieversradio.com/2014/10/muslim-presuppositionalim-hits-the-interwebs/

        Yeah….soon people like you and Sye will have to deal with people who think and “rationalize” just like you, only for a different god.

        Have fun.

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          It won’t work because all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are deposited in Christ (Colossians 2:3), not Allah nor some generic description of deity. The Muslims cannot ultimately justify laws of logic, uniformity in nature, or morality any more than the secularists.

          By the way, please keep in mind the rules for posting comments.

          • Havok says:

            Jason, your response looks like it assumes the truth of Christianity, which is a problem.

            • Dr. Lisle says:

              Ironically, it is your responses that assume the truth of Christianity. Whenever you post a comment, you are assuming that the letters will appear on the screen as you type them as they have in the past; you are assuming regularity in nature which presupposes the Christian worldview. In a chance universe, quite literally anything could happen when you press “Enter.” The computer might turn into a mushroom, or you might be transported to one of Jupiter’s moons; it’s a chance universe after all. But in the Christian worldview God upholds nature in a basically consistent fashion such that things will work in the future as they have in the past if circumstances are sufficiently similar.

              So you and I both presume things that are only meaningful within Christianity. I do so while affirming Christianity. Whereas you rely upon Christianity while simultaneously denying it, which is a problem.

              • the_ignored says:

                Sorry, Lisle. That’s nonsense. You assert that things like logic, morality, etc are only meaningful within your religion.

                [Dr. Lisle: Actually, I’ve demonstrated this in the book “Ultimate Proof” and more succinctly on this very blog. If I’m wrong, then it should be very easy to show some other worldview that can account for logic, morality, etc. So why haven’t you?]

                What is to stop a Muslim from saying to you the exact same thing that you said in your response to me, only just switching xianity with islam?

                [Dr. Lisle: The properties of Allah are not consistent with laws of logic or morality. Take morality for instance: There is no ultimate moral justice in Islam because, while Allah forgives some sins, the penalty for such sins is never paid.]

                You, for some reason, assume that only christianity can account for “regularity of nature”.

                [Dr. Lisle: Again, I have demonstrated this repeatedly. God is beyond time (2 Peter 3:8), knows everything (1 John 3:20), never lies (Titus 1:2), and has promised us a certain degree of regularity in nature (Genesis 8:22). Why is this so hard for you to grasp? What part do you not understand?]

                Never mind that you have a deity which can play around with the laws of nature when it suits him (or more accurately, when it suits you people to have an escape hatch to salvage your young earth beliefs).

                [Dr. Lisle: This sort of straw-man fallacy is really unethical. Natural laws are the name we give to the systematic way that God upholds the universe most of the time. God has the power to act otherwise, temporarily and for an important reason. But that would necessarily be rare, and not so much as to disrupt the basic cycles of nature. If you continue to dishonestly misrepresent my position, I will have to block you from posting.]

                Why do you assume that any god, much less, only your god, is the only reason for the laws of nature being consistent?

                [Dr. Lisle: Again, only the biblical God has the characteristics necessary for us to rationally justify our belief in regularity in nature. Namely, the biblical God is beyond time and space, omniscient, sovereign, honest, has revealed Himself to mankind, and has promised uniformity in nature.]

              • Havok says:

                Ironically, it is your responses that assume the truth of Christianity. Whenever you post a comment, you are assuming that the letters will appear on the screen as you type them as they have in the past; you are assuming regularity in nature which presupposes the Christian worldview.

                It wont surprise you to find out that I don’t accept your presuppositional account of knowledge to be particularly compelling. And it seems the majority of experts don’t either.

                [Dr. Lisle: That confirms what the Bible teaches. Namely, unbelievers rely upon Christian principles such as induction, logic, etc., yet suppress their knowledge of God upon which these principles depend (Romans 1:18-20). So it doesn’t surprise me that you verbally reject Christian epistemology while you are unable to provide a rational alternative. The unbeliever would rather be irrational (believing things that only make sense in the Christian worldview and simultaneously rejecting Christianity) than submit to God.]

                In a chance universe, quite literally anything could happen when you press “Enter.” The computer might turn into a mushroom, or you might be transported to one of Jupiter’s moons; it’s a chance universe after all.

                I accept that, but also accept that the chance of those outlandish things happening is vanishingly small.

                [Dr. Lisle: When you say the “chance” (probability) of such things is small, you rely upon the Christian principle of induction. Probability only works if there is an underlying uniformity in nature, which only Christianity can rationally justify. On your professed worldview, you cannot make any assessment whatsoever of the likelihood of anything happening at all.]

                But in the Christian worldview God upholds nature in a basically consistent fashion such that things will work in the future as they have in the past if circumstances are sufficiently similar.

                A basically consistent fashion that is completely unpredictable given that it is subject to the whims of an omnipotent being and other super-powered, supernatural entities (eg. Satan).

                [Dr. Lisle: That’s a straw-man fallacy, and a rather obvious one at that. The biblical God is not whimsical, but perfectly self-consistent and unchanging (Malachi 3:6). He does not lie or change His essential nature, and thus we can trust His promise to uphold nature in a uniform fashion. (Satan does not control the universe, is finite, and is not a supernatural entity. Satan cannot violate, suspend, or alter laws of nature.)]

                So you and I both presume things that are only meaningful within Christianity. I do so while affirming Christianity. Whereas you rely upon Christianity while simultaneously denying it, which is a problem.

                It would be a problem if your characterization of our positions were accurate – it’s not.

                [Dr. Lisle: Would you kindly provide some evidence of your assertion? I maintain that you accept the principles of induction/uniformity in nature, and that only Christianity can account for such principles. If you disagree, then please provide some other worldview that can rationally account for induction. If you cannot do this, then it means you’re just trolling and are not serious.]

                What IS a problem is that your world view, regardless of how coherent or internally consistent you may think it is, is not consistent with external reality, and therefore requires you to make absurd rationalisations and ad-hoc ancillary hypothesis all lacking any rational reason other than rescuing your cherished beliefs from falsification.

                [Dr. Lisle: First, that is more reflective of your worldview. You claim to believe in a chance universe, but that simply isn’t consistent with reality (an extremely self-consistent, well-ordered universe), forcing you to make absurd rationalizations and ad hoc ancillary hypotheses all lacking any rational reason. E.g. why the universe merely appears to be exquisitely designed but isn’t really, why the order we see in the universe is actually chance, etc.]

                [Second, on your professed worldview, you have no way of knowing what reality is. And therefore, you have no rational basis for claiming that another worldview does or does not line up with reality. All you know directly is your own thinking, your perceptions, processed by your mind, received from your sensory organs. But if your sensory organs and your mind are not designed, but merely the outworking of chance, then on what basis would you trust that they are reliable? Again, you are relying upon things (basic reliability of senses, rationality of mind) that only make sense in a Christian worldview.]

              • the_ignored says:

                So, Lisle: …you know that “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are deposited in Christ (Colossians 2:3)” by, uh, reading the bible.

                [Dr. Lisle: Uh, yes. How else could we know except God tells us this?]

                Well, doesn’t that already presuppose reliable induction, and reliable sense-perception even before you make the conclusion that the bible is the world of your god in the first place?

                [Dr. Lisle: It would seem you are not familiar with the nature of presuppositions. Presuppositions must be assumed before they are proved – that is what makes them presuppositions. But if a presupposition is not eventually justified, then a rational person relinquishes it. We trust in sense-perception before we are able to read of its justification in Scripture. But apart from Scripture, how could sense-perception ever be justified?]

                How do you know that your bible is the word of the true god anyhow?

                [Dr. Lisle: It demonstrates that it is the Word of God in a number of ways, not the least of which is that it makes knowledge possible. That is, if we presuppose Scripture, then we find we can make sense of rationality, sensory perception, laws of logic, laws of nature, uniformity in nature, morality, and so on – all the things we need for knowledge of reality. On the other hand, if we reject Scripture and replace it with anything else, we find we cannot ultimately justify anything. Knowledge would be impossible. We could have beliefs perhaps, but would have no way of knowing if any of them are true.]

                If you just post more bible verses, all that does is show that you are using circular reasoning, doesn’t it? Using the bible to prove the bible?

                [Dr. Lisle: What if I asked you to prove logic? Could you prove logic without using logic? Logic must be presupposed in order to even logically argue that logic is right. Ironically, any attempt to argue against logic would also have to presuppose that logic is true, thereby refuting itself. Logic therefore is a transcendental necessity. Logic must be presupposed in order to argue for it, or to argue against it. But to argue against logic using logic is self-defeating. Thus, logic is proved by the impossibility of the contrary.]

                [The Bible is similarly proved. Though we all must rely upon biblical principles such as induction, reliability of sense, and so on in order to make the argument, we would also have to rely on these biblical principles in order to argue against the Bible. The latter position is self-refuting, therefore the Bible is proved by the impossibility of the contrary.]

                What about failed prophecies and biblical errancy? I’d post links, but you don’t seem to like those.

                [Dr. Lisle: There aren’t failed prophecies, though some are yet future. On the contrary, the Bible is unparalleled in its ability to predict the future. No other book comes close. There were prophecies predicting the captivity of the Israelites in Babylon, many prophecies concerning the Messiah (including the exact way in which He would die), in Daniel 2 we read of the next several empires that would come about, etc. etc. This attests to its divine inspiration.]

                Good thing that I have taken screenshots of all the posts where I do post links. Even if you delete any of them here, it’s still out there on the web.

                [Dr. Lisle: If you are ethical and don’t violate posting rules, you won’t have to worry about any getting deleted. And if you are unethical, then I’m glad it’s out there on the web for all to see. 🙂 ]

            • Havok says:

              Jason, your response to the issue of presuppositional Islam assumes the truth of your own position, which is generally regarded as a no-no when it comes to logical arguments.

              • Dr. Lisle says:

                How so? Can you back up that assertion?

                • Havok says:

                  Actually I can back it up.

                  You said:
                  “It won’t work because all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are deposited in Christ (Colossians 2:3), not Allah nor some generic description of deity.”

                  This assumes the truth of Colossians 2:3, which a Muslim is not required to accept. I’m sure a Muslim could point to passages of the Koran which make similar claims for Allah/God, and which would not be acceptable to you (such as passages stating that God is one, not many, directly contradicting the trinitarian nature of God in Christianity).

                  • Dr. Lisle says:

                    First, you are confusing the claim with the proof of the claim. I have claimed that the Christian worldview alone makes it possible to justify the preconditions of intelligibility. This follows from Scriptures like Colossians 2:3, but that is not my only reason for believing it. The Christian God alone has characteristics necessary for knowledge to be possible for human beings. Allah doesn’t. I have written on this previously, including in the book “the Ultimate Proof of Creation” so I’m not going to repeat what I have already written. But if you think that Allah can indeed provide the preconditions of intelligibility, you are welcome to make a case for this.

                    Second, you have misrepresented the Trinity. The Trinity affirms that indeed God is one. There is one God, one being, who is three in persons that are eternally distinct. The Christian therefore expects to find unity in nature but also diversity since God Himself is Triune. And so Christians can answer the “problem of the one and the many.” But since Allah is not triune, the problem remains in Islam.

  4. David Ethell says:

    Dr. Lisle,

    I greatly appreciate your work in biblical apologetics and specifically in astrophysics. I was a Physics major from a Christian college, yet the college taught theistic evolution and I spent much of my time there defending a young earth view. Naturally, one of the consistent hammers used by my professors was the problem of starlight and time.

    I read one of your comments recently about the SDSS survey and a study from a colleague of yours about the evidence from super nova remnants for a young age of distant objects. I’ve been in regular discussions with atheist or agnostic physicists about the age issue and am myself trying to get my head around using General Relativity to explain long ages for the distant objects. It sounds from your recent statements, however, that you are not relying on time dilation to account for these distances and ages if you are noting that the super novae remnants, for example, point to <10,000 year ages of these objects.

    Do you have a recent update on your hypothesis or understanding of the ages of these "distant" objects? If these novae are truly the same age as our local system then how do we explain the red shifts?

    I have been trying to use a model similar to Humphries white-hole cosmology but find it falling apart in my discussions due to the shear forces that would be present on the Earth in such a gravity dense situation. I can't see the Earth surviving its exit from such a system. So while in theory that system "protects" the earth from aging while the rest of the universe goes about the billions of years of expansion, it seems to fall apart when we look at the shear forces that would tear the Earth apart in that environment.

    Thanks for your time in responding to all these comments and for your work for Jesus Christ in the exciting realm of science.

    David Ethell

  5. Michael Korn says:

    Shalom!

    I am a Jewish believer in Jesus and also a YEC.

    I just read about your colleague Jason Lisle who studied at CU Boulder.

    I know a man who was a Prof. of organic chemistry there and became a believer and creationist too.

    He wonders what years Jason was in graduate school at CU Boulder?

    Thanks for your gracious assistance.

  6. Dr. Lisle,

    We have met at ICC conferences and I am working on an experiment related to one-way speed of light and Fresnel drag that is deducible from applying the Lorentz transformation to the Maxwell-Sellmeier diffusion equation. My suspicion is that this experiment might be of interest to you. I have training in General Relativity and Cosmology.

    This Fresnel drag can be detected Michelson-Morely gas loaded interferometers and even simpler setups such as those by Professor Reginald Cahill (Flinders University) involving inexpensive Rubidium clocks.

    I’m only seeking to duplicate Cahill’s anisotropy experiments at Flinders which indicated results very favorable to your ASC hypothesis. If I fail to do so, then the failure will go into obscurity, but if it succeeds it might be something the creationist community might want to advertise and have many duplicated experiments in all sorts of latitudes in the USA and world.

    If you are already working on the experiment, I would appreciate help in duplicating Cahill’s setup. I don’t think there is much to lose by trying.

    I left my university e-mail when I registered to comment. Feel free to contact me.

    God bless you,
    Sal

    • Stefan Frello says:

      If the experiment you talk about can distinguish between ASC and ESC (the speed of light being the same in all directions), I hope you will publish it in a ‘secular’ journal. Otherwise, it will be lost for the rest of the scientific world.
      Do you have a reference to the work of Reginald Cahill you are talking about?

  7. Josef says:

    Dr. Lisle,

    I am really looking forward to your new book. Do you think you’ll ever write a book on theological topics that aren’t directly related to biblical creation? With your grasp on logic and your knowledge of the Scriptures, it’d be really interesting to get your insight on certain things.

  8. Christian says:

    Dr. Lisle I’m so thankful for the work you do and how you strive to be biblically consistent. I am also trying to be biblically consistent in how I address issues. I recently encountered a hostile atheist and he posted the following challenge is response to one of my comments:

    1) If ‘evil’ is a ‘thing’ then it was created by the God who created everything – God is responsible for everything.

    2) If evil exists but was not created by God then God did not create everything.

    3) If evil is uncreated then evil is like God

    4) If God is ubiquitous, Omni-present, then where could there possibly be ‘an absence of God’? If God is everywhere and evil is where God is not then there seems to be nowhere for evil to be.

    5) If God did not create evil and evil does not exist then on what basis can you judge what is not good? Everything created by God is good, God created everything so therefore, everything is good.

    This was in response to my comment here:

    Judging by context it seems like [the atheist] is pointing to moral evil. The Christian standard holds that evil is sin and sin is the de-godding of God or a violation of his holiness. Such sin is the absence of God, sinners who are without God will reject God (unfortunately of their own volition). Is Phillip defining evil this way, if he isn’t than his statement is dismissed as a misrepresentation? Does Phillip even know what evil is if he doesn’t why is he making this statement?

    The bible no where says that God created moral evil so Phillip’s syllogism is partly right, the bible says that God causes calamity, but this is in regards to natural disaster which is not moral evil. But how does evil [exist]? We can say that evil exists but in the way that cold exists. Cold is the absence of heat just like evil is the absence of God. Does darkness exist? We would say yes, we could then ask our friend to give us a measurement for darkness, I don’t think he could as we don’t measure darkness, we measure light. But people will tell you when it’s dark outside. If evil is the absence of God we could say that it exists, but not any measurable way as it is the absence of God or at least in no measurable way that we know as the bible doesn’t give us specific details about it’s measurements. The Bible does show us that terms like good and evil are contingent upon God’s character and thus any critique of my position must include this. It doesn’t seem like Phillip understands it this way. As mentioned earlier if he is bringing in external standards and trying to define God by that standard he is not critiquing Christianity, he is critiquing a generic copy and we can dismiss [h]is statement.

    If Phillip is submitting the problem of evil as a rejection of the Christian worldview it’s actually a greater problem for his worldview. If he insists that evil exists in his worldview there is no ultimate purpose behind…

    Thank you for all you do!

    Christian

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      That’s a good answer. Thanks for sharing.

      • Christian says:

        Feeling silly now. I meant to ask what would your answer be to the challenge? Or how would you navigate such a challenge?

        Just looked at my response now and saw that I failed to put that question in there. The atheist was actually posing the challenge based on my response which I listed afterwards for the sake of context (not as a response). I’m aware that it looks like that I gave an answer. Sorry about that.

        No worries. I did get some help on a acceptable answer though. At least he didn’t counter it. But if have time and would like to submit your thoughts I’d be glad to read them as I’m trying to be more consistent in how I understand the issue of evil and explaining to those who ask in a cogent way.

        Thanks again.

        Christian

  9. Josef says:

    Dr. Lisle,

    An old-earth counter-argument to, “If you only had the Bible and knew nothing about the modern controversy over origins, then there’d be no way to get millions of years into the Bible,” that I’ve been hearing a lot lately is, “If you didn’t take into account modern science, then you’d come to the conclusion that the sun revolves around the earth”.

    If you haven’t already, I think this would be worth considering addressing in your upcoming book, as you said that book is about addressing Bible interpretation and refuting compromise. (Btw, I do understand that the Bible is written for man, and from man’s point of view, and from man’s perspective, the sun does revolve around the earth).

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      A person doing hermeneutics correctly would not conclude anything from Scripture about Newtonian reference frames (e.g. whether the earth moves or the sun moves and relative to what) because the Bible doesn’t discuss Newtonian reference frames. To import modern technical definitions of motion, such as Newtonian acceleration, into the text of Scripture is the semantic anachronism fallacy. Yes, this is discussed in my upcoming book.

  10. Daryl Kreider says:

    I just saw your chat on Fractals on Youtube and I can’t help but wonder if there is an additional axis to plot imaginary numbers, is there another axis on a 3 dimensional plane that plots another set of numbers that would allow for 3D fractal shapes??
    If it does exist what’s it called and how can it be explored?
    Thanks -Daryl

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      A great question Daryl. The complex number plane is “algebraically closed.” What that means is that any algebraic operation on a complex number, or between several complex numbers, will result in a complex number. By contrast, the “real” number line is not closed. For example, by taking the square root of a negative real number, you get a number that is not on the number line. By the rules of algebra, all numbers are inherently two-dimensional, having a real part and an imaginary part. But there is no third part, and therefore no third axis that occurs naturally.

      However, in the mid 1800s some mathematicians found it convenient to “invent” a non-algebraic operator that allows numbers to exist in two additional dimensions. In this system, called “quaternions,” every number has four components: a real component and three non-real ones labeled i, j, and k respectively. So a complex number is written like “3+5i” whereas a quaternion is written like “3+5i+2j-7k” and exists in a four-dimensional space. Quaternions are defined such that i^2=j^2=k^2=ijk=-1. They obey the standard rules of algebra except the commutative property of multiplication: that is, A*B does not necessarily equal B*A if A and B are quaternions. Though they are somewhat “artificial,” since quaternions are inherently four-dimensional they can be used to plot numbers in 3D by simply disregarding one axis.

      Using quaternions, it is indeed possible to make a 3D version of a fractal. The 3D version of the Mandelbrot set in particular is called a “Mandelbulb.” Try a Google search for “Mandelbulb” for some nice images.

  11. Stefan Frello says:

    To avoid the very thin columns, I will start over. This is a continuation of the discussion started Sept. 24. 2014.
    Occam’s razor: Oxford Dictionary: (www.oxforddictionaries.com) “The principle […] that in explaining a thing no more assumptions should be made than are necessary…”
    Mark ‘Principle’ and ‘Assumption’. The razor does not say that anything about what to expect. It is an advice on how to do science. You do not have to expect simplicity, you simply get rid of unnecessary assumptions. Period. Quantum mechanics is the result of this method. Is it simple?
    It can be rationally defended simply by referring to the alternative: a chaos of assumptions. That chaos might be closer to the truth, we do not know, but it is impossible to work with. It does not make predictions and it cannot be falsified. In this light, you cannot read the razor out of 2. Corinthians 11:3, you read it into it. You interpret the verse as being about simplicity in truth, (I would not argue about that) and that is utterly irrelevant. (See also my post on ‘Arbitrariness and inconsistency …’ Oct. 12. or soon thereafter)
    Love: This again comes down to whether you can know that your feeling of ‘Morality’ is not just ‘Behavior’. In a post in ‘Arbitrariness and inconsistency …’ started Sept. 17. 2014 this is more thoroughly discussed.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Thank you for posting. Your attempted defense of Occam’s Razor suffers, I believer, from a bifurcation fallacy. You asked me to consider the alternative (a chaos of assumptions) as if that were the only alternative. Another alternative might be one or two extra assumptions. That would certainly be workable. On what basis therefore can you reject it? Model A and Model B make exactly the same correct, specific predictions. Model B has three extra assumptions. Do you argue that we ought to favor A over B? Do you argue that A is more likely to be correct than B? If so, why?

  12. Havok says:

    Popping this out as the conversation was getting to narrow.
    This is a repsonse to this comment from Jason

    On the Christian worldview, yes.

    Actually, no, since on the Christian worldview, minds which experience sensations are (incorrectly) thought to be immaterial,

    [Dr. Lisle: You think minds are material? Are thoughts material? How does a material mind think immaterial thoughts?]

    so a blade of grass could indeed experience sensations in your worldview.

    [Dr. Lisle: No, not in the Christian worldview because plants have no immaterial component. But in your worldview, consciousness is apparently a material process. Plants have material processes, so how do you know they don’t have consciousness?]

    But on your worldview, how do you know that photosynthesis doesn’t result in sensation / consciousness?

    Through study of the process of photosynthesis.

    [Dr. Lisle: How do you know that photosynthesis is not conscious? Isn’t consciousness just a chemical reaction in your view? And photosynthesis is a chemical reaction. So how do you know a priori that it is not of the conscious variety?]

    How do you know that other people do have genuine consciousness as opposed to philosophical zombies?

    Because I don’t see that philosophical zombies are a real possibility in reality (rather than being a useful plot device in philosophy).

    [Dr. Lisle: That’s not a reason. I’m asking you why you don’t see philosophical zombies as “a real possibility in reality.” How do you know that other people have genuine consciousness?]

    • Havok says:

      You think minds are material?

      Yes.

      Are thoughts material?

      Basically, yes.

      [Dr. Lisle: Actually, thoughts are concepts held by the mind. And concepts are – by definition – conceptual, abstract and not material. Material things are extended in space; they have properties such as composition, velocity, mass, volume, density, etc. Concepts do not have such characteristics. They can be propositional in nature. But how could a proposition be material? Consider the proposition “Justice is morally commendable.” What atoms is this proposition made of, and what is its mass? Where in space is it located and how big is it?]

      How does a material mind think immaterial thoughts?

      Thoughts are what brains do. They’re a result of the firing patterns of neurons, the release of neurotransmitters, and so on.
      They’re material.

      [Dr. Lisle: Thoughts may be associated with physical activity, but thoughts are not physical. You are confusing correlation with equality. Thinking involves the ability to make choices – this is necessary for rationality which entails evaluating the options and choosing the best. If thinking were merely chemistry in the brain, then rationality would be impossible, because chemistry has no choice at all and does not evaluate anything.]

      No, not in the Christian worldview because plants have no immaterial component.

      You know this how?

      [Dr. Lisle: The Bible.]

      But in your worldview, consciousness is apparently a material process.

      A specific type of material process, like digestion or photosynthesis.

      [Dr. Lisle: If that were so, then why do you presume that consciousness can be rational? That is, why do you presume that one allegedly chemical process can distinguish true from false, while denying that another process can? Why not rely upon your indigestion to decide what to believe? In your view, they’re all just non-designed chemical reactions, yes?]

      Plants have material processes, so how do you know they don’t have consciousness?

      “Humans have material processes, so how do you know that don’t have photosynthesis?”

      [Dr. Lisle: Now you have to answer two questions! I don’t think you can answer the second one either.]

      Plants don’t have consciousness to the best of my knowledge, because they lack the sorts of material processes from which consciousness appears to arise.

      [Dr. Lisle: This begs the question in many ways. First, how do you know what kinds of material processes appear to give rise to consciousness? On your worldview, you can’t actually know that anyone other than you is conscious (and technically you couldn’t even know that), because you cannot sense another person’s thoughts. Nor can you know that anyone or anything isn’t conscious. Even if you took external reactions as indicative of consciousness (which isn’t really justified in your worldview), how do you know that plants or other things merely lack the ability to respond?]

      In the same way humans don’t have photosynthesis to the best of my knowledge, because they lack the sorts of material processes from which photosynthesis appears to arise.

      [Dr. Lisle: This is also the fallacy of begging the question. You have presupposed that you correctly understand photosynthesis, which presupposes that your mind is able to learn things that are true. But that makes no sense if your mind is simply non-designed chemical reactions. Second, you have presupposed that your senses are basically reliable, which makes no sense if they too are merely the non-designed results of chemistry acting over time. On your worldview, you have no reason to trust that your sensations have anything whatsoever to do with reality. And thus all of your experiences and memories could be nothing more than a side effect of photosynthesis. How could you know otherwise, given your worldview.]

      How do you know that photosynthesis is not conscious? Isn’t consciousness just a chemical reaction in your view? And photosynthesis is a chemical reaction. So how do you know a priori that it is not of the conscious variety?

      I don’t know a priori that it’s not the sort of material process from which consciousness arises. It’s logically possible that plants DO have consciousness, though the process of photosynthesis doesn’t possess the attributes which appear to be necessary.

      [Dr. Lisle: That’s correct until the last phrase, which begs the question. How do you know that photosynthesis doesn’t possess the attributes which appear to be necessary? You could only know this if you were able to identify consciousness in others, which on your own worldview you cannot do, because you cannot read minds. Presumably, you are assuming that certain actions are the result of consciousness; but how can you really know this on your worldview? How would you assess the consciousness of someone who is completely paralyzed – someone who cannot react to anything? I dare say that would be a challenge. As plants are much like that, and cannot react, you cannot assess their consciousness and therefore have no basis for drawing any conclusions whatsoever on your worldview about what the conditions necessary for consciousness are.]

      So I conclude that plants do not have consciousness, but am willing to revise this conclusion if the weight of evidence leans that way.

      [Dr. Lisle: So that conclusion is unjustified in your worldview. How do you know that you are not a plant, and that all your memories and experiences are simply results of photosynthesis?]

      That’s not a reason. I’m asking you why you don’t see philosophical zombies as “a real possibility in reality.” How do you know that other people have genuine consciousness?

      Any process which is able to externally mimic the appearance of consciousness is going to need to model various things about the world, including it’s own procesess. Any processes which does this is therefore going to have an “internal life”, and so will have “genuine consciousness”.

      [Dr. Lisle: No. My smart phone externally mimics the appearance of consciousness in many ways, yet it has no “genuine consciousness.” I was impressed with the ability of the “Watson” computer to beat the best human players on Jeopardy; it mimics conscious reflection, yet it has no genuine consciousness. Nice try though.]

      I simply don’t think philosophical zombies are possible in the real world.

      [Dr. Lisle: But you don’t have a good reason for this belief. That’s what I am challenging you to produce. Rational people have good reasons for their beliefs.]

      • Stefan Frello says:

        Lisle, you constantly overlook Havok’s “to the best of my knowledge” which is at the center of the scientific process. Scientific theories are always prone to revision. It might be that we have completely misunderstood photosynthesis, but ‘to the best of our knowledge’ it is well understood.

        [Dr. Lisle: The problem is not with the provisional nature of scientific knowledge, but with the lack of any justification whatsoever for knowledge apart from the Christian worldview. Namely, the non-Christian has no reason to believe that his senses are basically reliable, or that his mind is rational, or that laws of logic are the correct way to reason or that nature has any uniformity, without begging the question. Thus, knowledge – even provisional knowledge – would not be possible.]

        It might be that consciousness have nothing to do with brain-activity, but ‘to the best of our knowledge’ it has, and therefor plants probably are not conscious.

        [Dr. Lisle: There is no rational basis for even that provisional claim in the evolutionary worldview, because there is no basis for believing that your senses or mind have anything whatsoever to do with reality.]

        Other people’s consciousness is ‘to the best of my knowledge’ the most obvious reason for their behavior.

        [Dr. Lisle: The problem is that you have no rational basis for that belief (on your worldview). When a child believes that there is a monster under the bed, he has no rational basis for this belief. When you point that out to him, suppose he responds, “Well, to the best of my knowledge, there is a monster under the bed.” Would that be rational? Would you then say, “Ah, all right then – your belief is well justified?”]

        You also refuse to take evolution into account. You say that on the secular worldview we cannot explain how ‘your mind is able to learn things that are true’ or why ’your sensations [should] have anything whatsoever to do with reality. On the contrary. An animal with a mind that ‘is able to learn things that are true’ and with senses that reflects reality is far better off than one with mind and senses that do not.

        [Dr. Lisle: Even if I accept for the sake of hypothesis that life is the result of evolution, it does not follow that sensations and perceptions are in any way correlated with reality. Many organisms have no sensory organs at all, and yet survive perfectly well. How do you know that you are not such an organism? You might be a plant. How do you know that your perceptions and beliefs are nothing more than the byproduct of photosynthesis? It does no good to say, “but I can see with my eyes that I’m not” because this assumes that your senses are reliable, thereby begging the question.]

  13. kenny says:

    Dr. Lisle,
    It has been well over a year since you stated that you would write a blog about why a missing gravitational field (due to an infinite speed of light) around earth is not a strike against ASC. Dr. Ross even brought this up in a debate with you, but all you said was that it did not effect your model. I have seen the “missing gravitational field” argument against ASC on the web since about 2010. Are you going to actually write a response soon?

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      It’s coming. I plan to do a series on these actually. Since the “gravitational field” objection is one of the sillier ones, I will probably hit it first alongside a few others that are easy to refute. Then on to the more serious challenges.

  14. Stefan Frello says:

    Shortly: I argue that we should favor A over B. I do NOT argue that A is more likely to be correct than B.
    Actually, I think history tells us that most our theories about the natural world are probably incorrect to some extent (this one might be a rare exception!).
    Lengthier: The ’chaos of assumptions’ I refer to is NOT a large number of assumptions in a specific chosen theory. If we have A (minimum assumptions) and additional assumptions a, b and c, you can form 6 new theories B through G each with 1 – 3 of these assumptions. Which one to choose? And on what basis? I do NOT argue that A is more likely to be closer to the truth than any of the others. I just argue that to avoid a chaos of theories and assumptions, we should follow Occam (and Aristotle) and choose A. Again, I want to stress that Occam’s razor is a working method, not a theory of natural laws being simple. Most physicists probably hope they are, but that is irrelevant.

    [Dr. Lisle: One problem with this answer is that it completely disconnects science from reality. Scientific models are chosen on the basis of Occam’s Razor. But if Occam’s Razor is merely a matter of convenience, and not related to the truth of the issue, then the science that rests atop it would also necessarily be merely a matter of convenience, unrelated to truth/reality. So, you have lost all epistemological value of science. You can’t rationally say that anything learned by scientific methods has any degree of truth to it whatsoever! And so this confirms what I have written previously: apart from the Christian worldview the methods of science as a method for answering certain types of truth claims can never be rationally justified.]

    That said, science is far from simple. Being aware of which assumptions are necessary can be hard enough. Choosing among necessary assumptions is difficult. Being aware of unconscious assumptions is, by definition, impossible. And what if any set of two of a, b, and c is necessary to make a theory work, then what to choose?

    [Dr. Lisle: On the Christian worldview, when two competing hypothesis make equally correct specific predictions, we have a reason to believe that the simpler one is more likely to correspond to reality. It’s not just a matter of convenience. Rather, the Christian has a cogent reason to believe that scientific procedures are useful in answering truth claims regarding the normal operation of the present universe.]

    (You might argue that ASC and ESC is an example of this. I would argue that ESC is simpler than ASC) In such cases, you will have to work out differences in the predictions of the alternatives (have you done that?), and then do the hard work.

    [Dr. Lisle: Not correct. ASC and ESC are coordinate systems / measurement conventions. Either one can be used and can be converted to the other. They are not competing models any more than polar coordinates compete with rectangular coordinates. And which is simpler depends on the situation.]

    Conclusion: Choosing among alternative theories can be difficult enough. Opening for an arbitrary number of unnecessary assumptions just make things worse.

    [Dr. Lisle: That’s a subjective preference, not an objective reason. This amounts to “I like the scientific method – it’s convenient, and I like that.” But that doesn’t justify the scientific method. That kind of reasoning doesn’t give any basis for thinking that science might be a reliable method in the search for truth.]

  15. Chris C says:

    Dr. Lisle,

    I have a question. I was wondering if you would consider being a guest on a show. You might have heard of it, it is called the Bible Thumping Wingnut Show. Sye has been on there, Matt Slick is on there once a week to answer questions and talk to atheists. I’ve ask Tim, the host of the show, if he’s ever thought of inviting you on the show. It turns out, he and several others are very interested in having you on the show. It’s just a matter of trying to get in touch with you. If you are interested, let me know and I will give you my contact info and pass the word. Otherwise, you can contact Tim or Len at the link provided below. Would be great to see you make an appearance, and very edifying to see you converse with other Christians as well as atheists on there. Please think about. Thanks and God bless!

    http://www.biblethumpingwingnut.com/

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      I can probably do that. We’ll just have to work out the day/time.

      • Chris C says:

        Dr. Lisle, I’ve been checking in on your blog regularly. But somehow I am just now seeing this. How would you like to go about figuring out a day/time? Would you like me to contact them and get back to you on here with some available dates/times? Or would you rather we discuss it through email exchange?

        • Dr. Lisle says:

          Sure. Then you can e-mail me through the contact page at ICR.

          • Rebecca E. says:

            I’m dying to see a sequel to the Ken Ham/Bill Nye debate- Jason Lisle/Neil DeGrasse Tyson! (He trolled Christian sites on Christmas, promoting Newton Day, which I found ironic.) The Ham/Nye debate really brought this issue to the forefront and got people to start thinking, whether or not they changed their mind. It seems like no one wants to think anymore in this postmodern world. God bless you, Dr. Lisle! Your books have been most helpful to me. Thank you for all your hard work and determination! This requires a lot of patience – you are a true ambassador of Christ!

  16. Havok says:

    Jason, in your ASC model, does the speed of non-photons also depend upon their direction relative to the reference frame?

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Yes. The difference between ESC and ASC is small at low speeds, and becomes large in radial directions as speeds approach the speed of light. That’s true of all particles.

  17. Stefan Frello says:

    ASC/ESC: If metallicity of distant galaxies (distance judged by apparent size and luminosity) could be shown to be significantly lower than that of nearby galaxies, that would be consistent with the standard BigBang model of the universe and ESC. Would it also be consistent with a young universe and ASC?

    [Dr. Lisle: Sure. The ASC model doesn’t make any predictions one way or the other about metalicity as a function of distance.]

    I (and I hope most other people with a science degree) like to think about scientific theories as preliminary. Science is not about postulating that theories are true, only that certain theories explain observations more accurately than other known theories. That is what science is all about. It is not about claiming to know absolute truth.

    [Dr. Lisle: This is not the way that most scientists would think of it. When we do science, we think we are learning something true about the universe. We recognize that our conclusions are generally probabilistic in nature, and may be overturned by further evidence. But we don’t think of science as merely “convenient explanations” that have nothing to do with truth. When someone asks me if Saturn has rings, I say “yes, it does.” I’m making a truth claim. I don’t say, “No one knows… We find it is a more convenient explanation of the observations than the alternative. But none of us really know the truth of the situation.”]

    I am not sure what you mean about ‘convenient’. The scientific method has proven to result in great control over nature. ESA just put a lander on a comet. Genetic engineering at least sometimes give the wanted result. Cancer at least sometimes are cured. If that is ‘convenient’ then so be it.

    [Dr. Lisle: The Christian worldview can account for the success of science. God controls the universe in a consistent way that we can partially discover through our senses and mind that God gave us. But in the secular worldview, the success of science is an utter mystery, since there is no reason to believe that scientific procedures including Occam’s razor have anything whatsoever to do with reality.]

    I hope (perhaps sometimes in vain) that when scientist e.g. say that evolution (common decent, adaptation by natural selection) is a fact, what they mean is that all observations are consistent with the theory of evolution, no observation contradicts it, and so far, no other theory has explained the same evidence.

    [Dr. Lisle: They would be wrong if they said that. There are observations that contradict it (the observation that organisms always reproduce within their kind, and never acquire brand new genetic information), and biblical creation does explain the same evidence.]

    I would love to discuss evolution, but I feel this is not the right place.

    [Dr. Lisle: You are welcome to do so if you wish. Do you believe in the evolution of articles?]

    • Stefan Frello says:

      I am afraid to violate the ‘no novels’ rule. Please inform me if I do, and I will break this into smaller pieces.
      Because this is a discussion in a creationist forum, I have to start stressing that I think we should use the word ‘Evolution’ solely in the biological sense: In Darwin’s words: ‘Descent with modification’. Random genetic variation and natural selection being the most important factors. Genetic drift being another important factor, mostly in understanding the variation that is not controlled by selection.

      [Dr. Lisle: All these things happen and are observed in the present. And they are all perfectly consistent with biblical creation. God created organisms with the capacity to reproduce with variation based on the information in their DNA, and mutations can delete or scramble that information, which can produce additional variation. However, none of these processes result in brand new information being added to the genome (which is required for microbes-to-people evolution) and none result in a new distinct kind of organism (dogs remain dogs, birds remain birds). I recognize that evolutionist can always invoke a rescuing device to explain the lack of observed evolution – “well, that’s because it takes millions of years, so of course we cannot observe it in the present.” But my point is that what we actually scientifically observe is equally consistent with biblical creation – and in the case of information in the DNA it is more consistent with creation.]

      Also that all of life has descended from a common ancestor (with the possibility that the first replicating molecules formed a population rather than being descendants of a single molecule).

      [Dr. Lisle: This is where you’ve left science, and have begun speculating about the past. And there are many problems with the particular speculation you mentioned. Not the least of these is that evolution (in the sense of common descent) requires copious amounts of new information to be added to DNA – a process that has no theoretical justification and has never been observed. (Mutations reduce information or are perhaps neutral, though they may increase variation.)]

      Do I believe in evolution of articles? What kind of question is that?

      [Dr. Lisle: Did you fail to read the link I provided?]

      Evolution is a characteristic of replicating entities under selection. Articles does not replicate themselves, therefor they do not evolve.

      [Dr. Lisle: Articles are replicated (though it does take an outside source to do it), and they are selected. (Viruses also cannot replicate by themselves. Do you believe they evolved?) There can be no doubt that there are variations in articles – I’ve seen them. And copying mistakes occur sometimes in the process of replication. And articles share certain words and patterns. So why do you deny that they evolved from a common ancestor?]

      Why do you ask such a question?

      [Dr. Lisle: It shows your inconsistency. The very type of reasoning you use to conclude common ancestry in the biological world can be applied with equal legitimacy to the literary world. Yet you arbitrarily embrace this reasoning in one instance, while rejecting it in another.]

      “Organisms always reproduce within their kind” That is exactly what you would expect under evolution! The process of evolving a new ’kind’ (in the creationist sense of the word, it has no specific use in science) will take so long time that you would not expect to see it in the timescale available to us (a few thousand years at the most). This is not a protecting theory added to, and independent of, the theory of evolution. It is embedded in it.

      [Dr. Lisle: So, you are claiming that the creationist view that there are discrete kinds of organisms that reproduce within their kind is “exactly what you would expect under evolution?” Why would there be discrete kinds at all in the evolutionary view? And at some point, one kind must eventually become another kind if you believe that all kinds are biologically descended from a common ancestor – correct? How could there even be discrete kinds in the evolution view?]

      Try to be a little more specific about what do you mean by ‘brand new genetic information’? According to evolution, all genetic changes has to be modifications of existing genetic information, so I have a feeling that the answer is more or less the same as above: Time.

      [Dr. Lisle: The problem is that mutations do not add brand new genetic information – new instructions that increase the specified complexity of the resulting proteins. By the way, time is not on your side, as I will show below.]

      My personal favorite argument (among many) in favor of evolution is the mitochondrial genome (Mt-g).

      [Dr. Lisle: That’s kind of ironic, because mtDNA is one of the more powerful confirmations of biblical creation as we’ll see below!]

      1: It’s very existence. Why is there an Mt-g? Mitochondria are descendants from bacteria that once were free living.

      [Dr. Lisle: I’ve heard that story too. But a story isn’t evidence. And there isn’t evidence for that story, but there are reasons to think it did not happen, as I show below. I can tell stories too: “Engines were once independent from cars. They functioned perfectly well on their own, and cars functioned well without engines. But at some point, an engine got stuck in a car, and the two found that they worked very well together. Over time, they became interdependent and now its hard to imagine how either one could have survived without the other. Thus, the very existence of an engine in lots of different cars is proof that cars are biologically descended from a common ancestor.”]

      That also accounts for the fact that it has its own genetic code (see 4).

      [Dr. Lisle: Actually, it has only some of its own genetic code. Did you know that most of the DNA necessary to make functional mitochondria is actually in the cell nucleus? In other words, a mitochondrion does not contain the majority of the genetic code necessary to make the proteins it uses. That kind of throws a wrench in the evolutionary view doesn’t it?]

      2: Relationship with bacteria: Some bacteria has genes that are more homologous to mitochondrial genes than to the corresponding genes from other bacteria. Exactly what you would expect, if Mt evolved from bacteria.

      [Dr. Lisle: It’s also exactly what we would expect if all organisms have a common Creator. I write computer code, and sometimes I use very similar code to accomplish similar (or sometimes different) functions in different programs. This of course proves that I didn’t write these programs, but that they are descended from a common ancestor program – right?]

      3: Homology of Mt-g mirrors homology of anatomy. In Answers Research Journal 6 (2013):467–501, Nathanial Jeanson show (what all biologists would expect, or already knew) that DNA-sequences of Mt-g fall in small groups with great homology, within larger and larger groups with lesser and lesser homology. He concludes that this must be due to function. Good luck working out what function accounts for Mt-g from a horse being more homologous to that of a rhinoceros or a tapir than to that of a cow (or chimpanzee Mt-g more homologous to that of humans than to that of Orangutans). According to evolution, this is strait forward: More recent common ancestry of smaller groups, less recent of larger groups.

      [Dr. Lisle: Did you actually read the paper? Dr. Jeanson’s findings were consistent with creation predictions, not evolutionary ones. Contrary to evolutionary expectations, Dr. Jeanson indeed found evidence of such functionality by finding for example high similarity in functionally similar organisms that span taxonomic categories. Moreover, the predicted mutation rate of mtDNA matched perfectly the predictions of the biblical creation timescale, but were wildly inconsistent with the evolutionary one (off by a factor of 100 for fruit flies, and 1000 for nematodes). ]

      4: The genetic code. This is the code translating DNA (or rather RNA) into protein. It is almost universal to all life.

      [Dr. Lisle: Likewise, the letters, the words, and even the punctuation used in articles is nearly universal for all articles. This of course proves that all articles share a common biological ancestor, having diversified through typos and selection over millions of years. Is that correct?]

      One exception is the genetic code of Mt-g. Plants and animals (and some phyla of animals) have slightly different Mt-g-genetic codes. Only very few Mt-g-genes are translated into protein, therefor if you are looking for differences in the genetic code the Mt-g is the place to look. With only few genes, the possibility for an organism to survive a mutation in the genetic code is much better (though still very small) than if such a mutation took place in the nuclear genome with its thousands of genes.
      Under creation, I find it difficult to see why such differences should exist.

      [Dr. Lisle: Actually, mutations take place in both the nuclear DNA and the mitochondrial DNA quite frequently. The mutation rate in mtDNA has been measured for four different organisms. And the number of variations in the mtDNA has also been measured for these organisms. Dividing the standard number of mutations that exist in these organisms by the mutation rate (mutations per year) yields the time that these creatures have existed on the planet. This number should be roughly 6000 years if creation is true, and millions to hundreds of millions of years if evolution is true. Would you care to make a guess at what the measured data reveal?]

  18. Stefan Frello says:

    I should have been a little more precise. In order for a theory to be scientific, it should follow Occam’s razor. You should be able to make predictions from the theory, and it should be falsifiable (because it is convenient, If not for other reasons).

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      The problem with this answer is that it disconnects science from reality. That is, your view of science is that it is a way of answering questions that is “convenient” but not necessarily true or having anything whatsoever to do with reality. In the Christian worldview, science is a tool we use to answer certain questions about the actual universe. And it works because God upholds the universe in a consistent way with patterns that we can discover with increasing probability (though not necessarily certainty) using our mind and senses that God designed. But on your worldview, there is no reason to think that the procedures of science, including Occam’s Razor, have anything whatsoever to do with reality. Thus, your worldview cannot justify science as a method of obtaining empirical knowledge. And that’s been my point all along. Only Christianity can do this.

  19. Art Bullard says:

    Hello Dr. Lisle,
    I like your work. Exciting.
    Have you heard about the Jurupa oak? Claimed to be about 13,000 years old. When I first heard it, I thought that Noah’s flood inundated everything. But it struck me that the dove returned with an olive leaf in its mouth, indicating that some plants survived the flood. Not being a scientist, I still think the determination of the oak’s age was accomplished by tested methods. Curiously enough, there is a hermeneutical study of the chronology of the Bible that finds the age of the earth to be 13,000 years old. It is titled “Adam When?” by Harold Camping, who has a civil engineering degree from UC Berkeley, followed by a successful business. His formula for establishing the earth’s age was derived from the time that Jacob spent with his uncle Laban, in relation to Israel’s time spent in Egypt, and then applied to Genesis ch 5&11. I thought it a fascinating study. He pointed out something about Jacob’s stay with Laban that I have never heard from anyone else over the thirty something years of my studying the Bible, and yet it can only be right. It begins on page 45 of the book, though the preceding pages are relevant/foundational. I don’t think it would be a waste of time for you to check it out. Here is the website for the Jurupa oak:
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0008346#article1.back1.ack1.p1

    Thank you,
    Art

  20. Art Bullard says:

    I forgot to add that you can just google “Adam When?” to read it on line.

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