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Creation/Evolution, science

What is a scientific theory?

Often times creationists have been guilty of saying things like “evolution is just a theory”.  Although that is true, most do not realize that the word ‘theory’ when used in a scientific setting means the best explanation of the data at this point.

Now, in a debate with an atheist I was pointed to a posting at LiveScience because he thought I needed to be educated on what a theory is.  Well, I found quite a revealing quote on the page.  Check it out:

theory

This is where a lot of evolutionists miss it.  The theory of evolution is the interpretation of the facts – not the facts themselves.  The fact is that things change over time.  The theory is the lengths to which those changes add up.  This is where the debate comes in.  Creationists have their own interpretations of the facts.

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About Tim

http://www.gracewithsalt.com

Discussion

49 thoughts on “What is a scientific theory?

  1. Having read the article I feel like you’re missing the point a bit. Whilst a theory may be interpretation, it is still “an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena.” It’s still being rigorously tested and has a huge weight of evidence behind it, even if it is not an absolute fact.

    It’s a common tactic I see for someone to try and argue that evolution is only a theory/interpretation etc., thus their alternate interpretation is just as valid! Even Answers in Genesis has cartoons arguing this point. But as the above quote says, a theory is more than just an interpretation. It requires hypothesis testing, investigation etc. Whilst evolutionary science does a lot of hypothesis testing, creationists almost never do. Most of the “evidence” for creationism are post-dictions made after the fact, not the predictions science relies upon. As such it should not be considered on the same level as evolution.

    There are some researchers trying to rectify this and make creationism more scientific. Todd Wood leaps to mind, who recently tried to use genetic data to pinpoint whether Neanderthals lived before or after the flood. But still, these are the exceptions rather than the rule.

    Posted by Adam Benton | December 5, 2013, 11:04 pm
    • I would agree with the following statement: “the theory of evolution is the best naturalistic model for human origins”.

      Posted by Tim | December 5, 2013, 11:07 pm
      • Some naturalistic objections to your statement. (1) Not all evolutionists agree as to the details of the theory of evolution: (2) Your statement excludes the possibility of better models, and (3) Genetic science will sooner or later provide a paradigm shift that will make evolution obsolete. Please check out my posts on Biology 2.0 at http://waltsamp.wordpress.com.

        Posted by waltsamp | December 6, 2013, 3:28 pm
        • 1. Disagreement over the details of evolution does not detract from the fact that things evolved.
          2. Good point. In 150 years evolutionary theory has changed significantly. Whilst the main points remains the same (and will likely continue to do so), it is also likely that new ideas and discoveries will continue to improve it.
          3. Your post just repeats old tropes about DNA as a language and “golly gosh, isn’t everything so complex.” Hardly compelling evidence of an upcoming paradigm shift.

          Posted by Adam Benton | December 8, 2013, 4:55 pm
          • As to your first point: In 2002, Stephen Jay Gould who was a devout, if heretical, evolutionist published a 1,400 page book titled The Structure of Evolutionary Theory that was basically a critique of evolutionary theory. You seem to say that since life has a history, this justifies the present and future theory of evolution. The second point seems to make the argument that whatever is found our about the history and working of life, these new ideas will still fit into the theory of evolution. I remain skeptical that will be so. Third: You seem defensive about a paradigm shift in biology. What would you lose if there came into existence a new, naturalistic, theory of life?

            Posted by waltsamp | December 9, 2013, 4:16 pm
            • 1. Gould’s book argues that evolutionary theory has undergone substantial revision since 1859; and that many underestimate the extent of this revision which can be a source of error. Nevertheless, he accepts evolution as a key force in shaping life and that, despite its revisions, the theory has “retained [a] Darwinian core.” So like I said; disagreement over the details of evolution does not detract from the fact that things evolved.

              2. Despite over 150 years of tests, debate, discovery and disagreement the “Darwinian core” remains. As a result of this extensive testing a large amount of evidence has been built up in favour of evolution, which means it is unlikely to be disproven (although of course it remains a possibility, however slight). So its most likely new discoveries will fit within this framework.

              3. I wouldn’t loose anything unless I was accepting that paradigm for bad reasons.

              Posted by Adam Benton | December 9, 2013, 9:48 pm
      • Walt raises a good point in that the possibility of change can’t be ruled out. Since Darwin first wrote about evolution we’ve discovered genetics, epigenetics and countless other additional factors. Whilst the main premise that inheritable variation leads to change over time hasn’t changed (and given the amount of evidence behind it, is unlikely to change) future tweaks and discoveries are also likely. Evolution will continue to evolve, even it remains in the same “kind” 😉

        But other than that caveat, your making a perfectly reasonable claim.

        However, I do feel that “naturalistic” has become something of a dirty word recently. In reality science isn’t naturalistic because of any philosophical assumptions but simply because we don’t have any means to test and investigate the supernatural. It is methodologically naturalistic, rather than philosophically naturalistic. If we came up with a crystal ball that could be used to look into and investigate the supernatural then science could start testing it.

        Alternatively, if the supernatural influenced the natural world then that could be detectable and testable, again allowing science to document and study it. However, in all the time we’ve been rigorously documenting the natural world no evidence of such an influence has been detected. Of course, the possibility remains that there are undetectable influences out there.

        Which leads to the question, what’s the difference between an undetectable supernatural thing with no discernible impact on the natural world; and something which doesn’t exist?

        Posted by Adam Benton | December 8, 2013, 4:40 pm
        • Thank you for your thoughtful comment. However, I think you are a supernatural thing with a discernible impact on the natural world. A crystal ball, or, as some people in the past suggested, a computer is not the proper tool for discovering the supernatural. The only way to an admittedly imperfect understanding of the supernatural is to use your mind and spirit to seek it. If you are able to come to a faith that God exists then you will know that you and everything else in the universe are supernatural things. Otherwise you can only do the best you can with a naturalistic understanding. By the way, yours seems very good.

          Posted by waltsamp | December 9, 2013, 3:51 pm
          • I don’t mean to be dismissive, but I don’t buy it. Mostly because there’s a certain circularity to your argument. I presume that when you talk about the spirit your talking about something supernatural. Which means that you want us to use the supernatural to prove and investigate the existence of the supernatural. Even putting that aside, you still want me to assume your conclusion. If I assume (i.e. have faith) there is a God I will come to accept that there are supernatural things.

            Posted by Adam Benton | December 9, 2013, 9:53 pm
            • You understood what I was saying, namely that just as natural things are understood by investigating nature, supernatural things should be sought by using the abilities that humans have to do so. This does not mean a person will get a right understanding of the supernatural by assuming there is a God. But it is certain that the person who does not think there is a God will ever find one. You have presumably looked at nature and not found a reason to seek God in doing that. Another possible avenue to God for you is personality. You and I and all the other 7 billion people presently on the planet have one. It is the Christian belief that we have them because we were made in the image of God. God is a spirit with a personality (and also purpose and will and other attributes) but is without a body. If you only see your humanity as a product of nature you will be short changing yourself. You are potentially able to know and enjoy a far higher reality.

              Posted by waltsamp | December 11, 2013, 8:27 pm
              • Whatever using the spirit to investigate God can reveal; the circular nature of this argument means that it can’t be used to establish the supernatural in the first place. So lets take a step back. How can we determine there is a spirit; and it is the supernatural entity you describe.

                Posted by Adam Benton | December 16, 2013, 6:16 pm
                • To go back probably more than step, I will start with a discussion of experiences. Experiences are immaterial, non-quantifiable entities that have provided us all we know and also guide what we think. The range of experiences we have had is so broad I will not even try to do a list. One thing that came to my mind while I was thinking how to reply to you was this statement: Poets don’t write descriptions of love in SI units. What I am trying to convey is that most of what makes us uniquely human is the abstractions we have acquired from our experiences. Moving up a step, religion is one of the experiences that shapes human thinking and behavior. Some people argue that religion is bad for humans, however, this opens the argument that perhaps the right kind of religion can enhance our human condition. Finding the right knowledge of God means looking in the proper way. Nobody looks for bacteria with a telescope. The way to an experience of God is to find people who have had that experience. I think that wherever you live you will be able to find such people and you will find their lives have been enriched immeasurably. May your search be rewarded.

                  Posted by waltsamp | December 17, 2013, 4:04 pm
                  • I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here. Because experiences are difficult to describe they are somehow mystical? That because humans like to think a certain way we have a non-material component? Because religion may have a benefit it is valid? I suspect I might be missing something, because neither of those arguments hold much water. As the famous quote goes, “the fact that the religious person might be happier (or in this case, have had their lives enriched) is no more to the point than the fact that a drunk person is happier than a sober one”.

                    Posted by Adam Benton | January 21, 2014, 2:20 pm
                    • What I think you are saying is that whatever I write does not matter to your opinion because your thinking cannot be falsified. In positivism this means you are making a faith statement. I also am making faith statements. The difference is in the consequences of our beliefs. If my faith is false then I will end up a dead fool. If your beliefs are true you will end up just as nonexistent. I won’t bother to point out my possible benefits in the present and the hereafter–benefits of which you apparently have no current need. Although you do seem to have a strong need to affirm that your suppositions are correct.

                      Posted by waltsamp | January 23, 2014, 3:42 pm
                    • I’m just asking for specifics about which aspects of humanity you believe to be supernatural and why. I’m not saying my view cannot be falsified, figuring this out would be the first step towards doing so. But if you can’t provide such clarification without resorting to faith-claims then I’m sorry but I don’t think what you’re saying has much merit. Vague assertions are not a particularly good reason to believe something.

                      And if you are wrong you won’t just be a dead fool, but one whose wasted precious time and resources during their only shot at life on a false cause.

                      Posted by Adam Benton | January 26, 2014, 3:34 pm
                    • Thanks for your concern about my wasting my life. Actually, I have had a long and interesting life and during it I have found that for me it is far better to live as a Christian than as a non-Christian. As far as proving the existence of the supernatural using scientific methods, that is a logical inconsistency so you are safe from having to change your mind as long as you decide the terms of the discussion. To change the subject, recently I watched the Breakthrough Awards 2014 show on the Science Channel. It was amazing all the knowledge-expanding discoveries being made in the life sciences, medical biology and microbiology. There were no awards in macrobiology (evolution). That may have been because the supporters of the awards included the founders of Facebook and Google. I suspect they are not believers in gradualism. I would recommend watching the show if you have the opportunity.

                      Posted by waltsamp | January 30, 2014, 3:43 pm
                    • Do you have a link to the categories/winners list at all? Would love to do a post on this. This seems to be Bill Nye’s main argument: that without evolution education, scientific advancement will fail – yet this seems to contradict that. Thanks!

                      Posted by Tim | January 30, 2014, 4:52 pm
                    • The link to the Breakthrough Awards 2014 site is https://breakthroughprizeinlifesciences.org/. P.S. Thanks for letting me use your blog for discussions with various people. It has helped me think through some things.

                      Posted by waltsamp | January 31, 2014, 3:44 pm
                    • Waltsamp
                      Tim now has a new blog post, on which I have commented.

                      Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | January 31, 2014, 5:20 pm
                    • Before deciding what can and cannot be used to investigate a claim I think it’s a good first step to actually figure out what the claim is. You made some vague references to experiences and poetry; and whenever I’ve asked for clarification and specifics you’ve dodged the question, talking about faith or the limitations of science instead. So please, can you please provide some more specific details on what it is about humans you believe to be supernatural. And ideally, why.

                      Posted by Adam Benton | February 2, 2014, 8:22 pm
                    • The reason that I think there is something supernatural about humans is that there does not appear to be any adequate naturalistic explanation for us. Note the word “adequate.” There are, of course, naturalistic explanations and they have become more sophisticated as science has learned more about biology. However, the ability to create fiction may be evidence of our spiritual component. Christians believe that God has the ability to imagine outcomes and then will them into existence. We have the same ability, albeit on a far smaller scale. It is hard for me to write persuasively about morality, judgment, abstract thinking, mathematics and religion as evidences of our being more than natural because the evolutionary sophists have found ways of proposing naturalistic explanations. As to the why we are physical and metaphysical, it is that without the supernatural there is no purpose to us. The existentialist philosophers who tried to live with only nature tended to kill themselves once they had looked hard at life with no supernatural component. It is not surprising that there are few existentialists around these days. It is a difficult thing to endure to be able to conceive of immortality and then have no way to obtain it. It seems reasonable to me that there is a good argument for looking for a greater possibility in life than simply gene transmission.

                      Posted by waltsamp | February 4, 2014, 4:13 pm
                    • So you find humans to be supernatural because of their capacities for fiction, maths, morality etc. What is about these attributes you think makes them supernatural, and what aspects of the evolutionary explanations do you believe to be inadequate?

                      Also, I think your comment raises another interesting question: do you care if your beliefs are true? Both of your justifications are ultimately based on fallacy. The notion that because the naturalistic explanations are inadequate we are supernatural is an argument from ignorance. Just because we haven’t found the answer does not justify inventing one. Meanwhile the argument about the lack of purpose about the supernatural is an argument against the consequences. Just because you don’t like the implications of a particular conclusion doesn’t say anything about whether it is true.

                      So would you rather accept a belief because you like it, or because it is true?

                      Posted by Adam Benton | February 6, 2014, 11:35 am
                    • The reply I had started got erased when Yahoo decided I needed to sign in to my e-mail account. Nothing mystical there, probably. You say I have no arguments for the immaterial but how can you be sure. If what appears to be a natural event causes me to rethink my communication, and make it nicer, the only argument you have is your presupposition that such things don’t happen.

                      Posted by waltsamp | February 10, 2014, 4:16 pm
                    • Ok sure, you might have some secret knock-down argument you have yet to present. But what you’ve presented so far is rooted in fallacies. In particular, fallacies that are rather appealing on an emotional level, which raises the question: do you care about your beliefs being true, or is their emotional appeal of greater importance?

                      Posted by Adam Benton | February 27, 2014, 3:10 pm
                    • I don’t think truth and emotional appeal are mutually exclusive. In fact, in a perfect world only truth (broadly defined) would move us emotionally. Now to another argument, one time my parents were talking about how they came to marry. My mother mentioned a man who had wanted to marry her and a cold chill went through me. I realized that I could very well never have existed. You too did not chose how you came to exist. Perhaps you are content being a contingency of nature. Most people, though, look for meaning in their lives and the highest meaning we could have is to be the creations of a loving God. You think that is an illusion. Nevertheless I think there is much to be gained and nothing to lose by my adhering to what you think is a fantasy. You would be pleasantly surprised if you chose to accept my fantasy as a higher reality and found all the richness of union with something superior to yourself.

                      Posted by waltsamp | February 28, 2014, 4:36 pm
                    • Something can have an emotional appeal and be truthful, but this is not necessarily the case. Informal logical fallacies are a suite of arguments which are logically vacuous yet often have a nice emotional ring to them; hence why many people still use them. As such emotional appeal alone can’t justify a truth claim.

                      As I mentioned, your previous two arguments have revolved around these fallacies. One around the argument from ignorance, also known as the “god of the gaps.” Not knowing things can be disconcerting, at it requires a humble attitude to admit you don’t know stuff. This makes an attempt to fill in the gaps of our knowledge appealing, but fallacious. The second being the appeal to consequences, that something is true/false because you the consequences are good/bad. It’s obvious why that can be appealing to people, but hopefully also obvious why it is a flawed line of reasoning.

                      Your new argument is also based around that argument from consequences. A god would give life meaning, an implication you like. But that doesn’t make it true. If there was a huge diamond buried in my back garden then all my student debts would be sorted. I like that idea, but that doesn’t mean I believe there to be a diamond in my garden.

                      Posted by Adam Benton | February 28, 2014, 4:52 pm
                    • There does not seem to be any reason to continue to communicate with someone whose whole purpose appears to be to tell me how wrong my thinking is. It has been interesting but now it is time to say good-bye.

                      Posted by waltsamp | March 1, 2014, 3:30 pm
                    • You’re right, critically examining and vetting ideas serves no function [/sarcasm]

                      Posted by Adam Benton | March 3, 2014, 1:45 pm
  2. Young Earth creationists do not have a coherent theory that meets normal definitions of the word ‘science’. Rather they have objections to certain science theories that related in part to events in the distant past.

    (If this post is censored by being put in a pre-moderation queue and then not being moderated I will re-post it at Adam’s blog.)

    Posted by Ashley haworth-roberts | December 6, 2013, 12:54 am
    • Your comment is fine. But I don’t quite understand why if it didn’t show up on here you would post it on Adam’s blog? Did he post a similar topic? It seems that you just need to be heard one way or the other. I’m sorry if that confuses me.

      Posted by Tim | December 6, 2013, 12:59 am
    • Never mind this guy. He hates God, Christians, and especially biblical creationists. He has been called out numerous times around the Web (and in replies to his notorious spam e-mails) about his lack of logic and numerous fallacies. As for meeting “normal definitions of the word ‘science'”, well, science is a philosophy and has numerous definitions. Unfortunately for science itself, misotheists make definitions of science exclusively materialistic and presuming that evolution is true. Such attitudes have hindered scientific (especially medical) development.

      Posted by Question Evol Proj (@PiltdownSupermn) | December 8, 2013, 12:16 pm
  3. Tim
    Well I admit he made a more thorough comment than I did (I read his after writing mine) so adding my bit to his blog would not have been particularly illuminating to him. I only made the comment because I thought I might be being censored as happened here the other week.
    Ashley

    Posted by Ashley haworth-roberts | December 6, 2013, 1:26 am
    • People cry about being “censored”, as if somehow they have a RIGHT to say whatever they want, any time, any place. Sorry, Bubbles, but all of society practices “censorship”. Two things: First, learn what the word actually means so you can use it properly (because it doesn’t mean what you think it does or want it to). Second, deal with it.

      Posted by Question Evol Proj (@PiltdownSupermn) | December 8, 2013, 12:17 pm
  4. I do NOT hate Christians. Cowboy Bob thinks he is entitled to make up his own facts. There is a four-letter word for people who do that. It begins with ‘l’. He has also previously accused me of lying on his blogs – where there is NO right of reply. There is a six-letter word for people who do that too. It begins with ‘c’.

    As for science, one thing it ISN’T is a ‘philosophy’.

    Please will Bob tell me and Tim what my “lack of logic” and “numerous fallacies” are.

    Put Up or Shut Up.

    Trouble is Bob will do NEITHER.

    He will either not read this or – more likely – pretend not to.

    Posted by Ashley haworth-roberts | December 16, 2013, 1:58 am
  5. For clarity, if it is needed. I’m not anti-Christian or hateful towards Christians. I oppose the claims (and associated behaviour) of SOME Christians – specifically young Earth creationists. See my post 281 at THIS discussion.

    http://www.lineoffireradio.com/2013/10/02/dr-brown-interviews-young-earth-creation-scholar-dr-jonathan-sarfati/#comments

    Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | December 16, 2013, 3:21 am
    • Hi, Ashley. I am happy to see that you might be open to a discussion of what you dislike about Christians. I have already left two comments in this string on Adam Benton’s comments so you can look at them and see if I might be a person with whom you could discuss Christianity. At the minimum, I might be able to explain why the Christians you have encountered are the way they are.

      Posted by waltsamp | December 16, 2013, 3:17 pm
  6. Waltsamp
    Even though some of them are a week or two old, I have only just caught up with your comments above.
    It’s young Earth creationism I dislike, not Christianity or Christians per se. That said, I feel – having been let down badly him whilst an evangelical Christian (who also was open to the findings of science about the past and never encountered creationism which is a minority position in the UK) – that God is either cruel, unjust and heartless or else simply fiction and an ancient human invention. (If he is real he may save some but if he rejected me after I accepted him – which I do NOT wish to discuss as most fundamentalists at least tend to claim “you were never a real Christian” – then that is little consolation.)
    So I’m not sure, though I don’t know precisely where you are coming from, that a specific discussion would achieve that much. (I did glance at this: http://waltsamp.wordpress.com/creation/)
    If you wish to comment further it may be best to do so under Tim’s NEW blog post as I might forget to come back here again (I only did so to see whether Bob Sorensen/Piltdown Superman had ‘popped up’ again; please note that I do NOT trust him to present an accurate picture of ANYBODY who is not a young Earth creationist fundamentalist and I suspect that Tim, who allows disagreement under his blogs, may actually find him a little embarrassing). Because I have sometimes emailed Sorensen criticising his blogs (he allows NO comments under them) he calls me names like ‘troll’ or ‘poindexter’ etc rather than debating any of the issues raised; in fact he never speaks TO me he only speaks ABOUT me!
    Ashley (male incidentally)

    Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | December 20, 2013, 5:45 am
    • Ashley, I believe you are angry at God because He didn’t intervene in your life the way you thought he should. You prefer a God of your own design, and thus why you fight so strongly against anyone who hold a strictly YEC view.

      I think you need to ask yourself one very big question: if God were real, would he work the way you expect. You are right, He did not intervene in your life the way you think is fair. But I would say THANK GOD He doesn’t treat us fairly. If he did, we would all be doomed. He cares for our eternal souls. Our physical and mental lives are so temporary and fleeting, they are of little consequence to him unless they serve a purpose for him. I still wish you luck in your exploration of this.

      Posted by Tim | December 20, 2013, 4:24 pm
      • Hi, Ashley. First, only if God is real could he have rejected you, so I think we can eliminate thoughts of his non-existence. Second, Christianity teaches that a person can come into a right relationship with God up until the time he or she draws their last breath. You are alive and probably have a long time to live, so there is a good chance you will have time yet to come to know Jesus and his love for you. Think about all the kind actions Jesus did and all the helpful words he spoke as are told in the Gospels. Third, I am a Christian and I really do not think I would be typing this comment if God did not have an interest in your salvation (to use the Christian jargon). I do not know the circumstances of your experiences, however, I think I would recommend you ask God to lead you to people who can help you with your difficulties. Please do not be surprised if they are not who you might expect. May you be given the eternal blessings that come to those who love God. This is a gift from God, so please ask God for the grace to receive it.

        Posted by waltsamp | December 21, 2013, 4:46 pm
  7. In early 1979 I embraced Christianity thinking that it MIGHT be true. 35 years later – after various setbacks, disappointments and lack of help when tempted – I think it MIGHT NOT be true.

    Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | December 21, 2013, 7:47 pm
  8. PS I MEANT to write that I also think it might not be true because of science (something I was ignorant of in 1979 apart from the fact that we know more now than we did then).

    Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | December 21, 2013, 8:09 pm
    • I wonder about your expectations back in 1979 when you embraced Christianity. It seems possible you were not told that the faith of a Christian has to withstand continuous attack from the world, your own nature, and the devil. Your MIGHT BE TRUE apparently was not sufficient to withstand all the assaults. For some reason you think this constituted a rejection by God rather than from any lack on your part. You might have been expecting all the blessings of Christ, including those of his grace in hard circumstances, without being fully committed to him. God has his purposes and for you it might mean bringing you to the point will you will embrace Jesus and not Christianity. As for science, what is true in it is of God and scientists and what is incomplete or false is of scientists. It is better to stick with the true part because nature cares not a whit for your existence. It will kill you the first chance it gets and leave your body to be eaten by worms. It is far better to embrace the spiritual hope available through faith in Christ.

      Posted by waltsamp | December 23, 2013, 4:52 pm
      • So God is rather nasty (if he exists). Tell me something I did not already know in spades!

        Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | December 23, 2013, 5:16 pm
        • Please forgive me. I tried to push you in a direction you do not want to go. When I left home to go to college I left the Christianity I had been raised in. After 18 years doing things my way, not successfully, I returned to Christ through his arrangement of circumstances. He forgave my many sins and has taken care of me ever since. It was on the basis of my own experience that I hoped that I could persuade you to return to Christ. Apparently you are not ready or able to do so. So all I can do for now is wish you the best in the life you have chosen.

          Posted by waltsamp | December 25, 2013, 6:44 pm
          • Waltsamp
            I did not take offence at your comments and did not feel slighted by them. However I feel that I am not able (in sincerity) to do again something that I feel I should not have to do again ie either God was nasty the first time – if he truly exists which is questionable – or he did not equip me to cope with the trials of life (which of course other people experience even if that does not include any undiagnosed mental health issues that affect their ability to form relationships).
            It is also interesting how committed Christians online, who of course have not met me, vary much amongst themselves in how they react to my comments about my gradual loss of faith and commitment.
            Ashley
            Hope you are having/have had a good Christmas.

            Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | December 26, 2013, 1:57 am
            • Thanks for your good wishes for my Christmas. We did have a good Christmas, and then took a nice, short after-Christmas trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Quite some time ago I fell into a deep depression. It was so bad my wife took me to the emergency room at the hospital in the middle of the night. I really, really wanted God to remove my depression right then but He had other plans. He worked through mental health professionals, medications, and a book of cognitive therapy to help me learn how to think better, and also to have empathy with people who have mental health issues. I still have episodes of depression but where they once lasted for three days now I can generally get over them in about three hours. I am not healed but neither do I expect ever to be healed of some of my physical problems. However, I think God, loves me, looks after me, and has my best interests in mind.

              Posted by waltsamp | December 31, 2013, 4:22 pm
  9. Finally got around to perusing this (which came up in another discussion thread). It’s certainly wide-ranging.
    http://creation.com/why-death-suffering

    From personal experiences and from what I see happening in the world, I feel like there is blind pitiless indifference and a lack of fairness and justice (look at how many peoples’ Christmas has been ruined by the weather in north America and in western Europe, never mind all the recent terrorism and tribal fighting in eg Syria, Iraq, and parts of Africa) but I cannot rule out that there is a ‘God’ – the one I previously had faith in – permitting this all to occur because of ‘original sin’.

    Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | December 27, 2013, 1:04 am
  10. God invented thermodynamics but He did not decree that every day would be warm and sunny. He gave nature the ability to exercise its characteristics, and He made us able to think and behave as we chose. The conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, and elsewhere, are the results of freely made human choices. The reason you and I are free to make both good and bad choices is that God had to give people the choice as to whether or not to believe in Him. With God, as in law, a coerced, bribed, unfree or mentally incompetent choice is no choice at all. Original sin is influential but not deterministic, so it is not right to blame it, or God, for all the bad choices people make or what happens in nature.

    Posted by waltsamp | December 31, 2013, 4:42 pm

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