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Creation/Evolution

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11 reasons why evolution is so widely accepted

The following is borrowed from a comment redditor JoeCoder made to a question posed in the subreddit Creation when asked why evolution is so widely accepted…

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According to the NCSE (an evolution advocacy group) 55% of scientists are atheists, 40% believe God guided evolution, and 5% are young earth creationists. The survey had no category for old earth creationists and they don’t break it down by field, so the results aren’t perfect.

I don’t like to profile large groups of people I’ve never met and I think the reasons for evolutionary theory’s widespred acceptance are complex and multifaceted. But I’d guess it involves some of the following:

  1. Many immediately reject creation or ID from the many embarrassingly bad “why are there still monkeys” arguments used by laymen. They assume there’s nothing beyond that and never dig deeper to encounter the good arguments.
  2. It’s what they were taught in school and they never questioned it. “I didn’t give it much thought; It wasn’t my area of concern”, Michael Behe reflected of his postdoc research days. “college students have not been shown the weakness of Darwinian evolution” as Joseph Kuhn published in 2012.
  3. Many don’t know about issues outside their narrow field. Paleontologist and ID critic Don Prothero wrote that “Nearly all metazoans [meaning animals] show stasis, with almost no good examples of gradual evolution… the prevalence of stasis is a puzzle that has no simple answer” but lamented, “by and large the neontological [non-paleontologist] community still ‘doesn’t get it’… The journal Evolution continues to publish almost no contributions by paleontologists”. Ironically I’ve also seen geneticists cite the fossil record as evidence for evolution when genes don’t form trees.
  4. Others don’t talk about the problems. Renowned chemist James Tour describes, “Let me tell you what goes on in the back rooms of science – with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. I have sat with them, and when I get them alone… I say, “Do you understand all of this, where all of this came from, and how this happens?” Every time that I have sat with people who are synthetic chemists, who understand this, they go ‘Uh-uh. Nope.’ These people are just so far off, on how to believe this stuff came together. I’ve sat with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. Sometimes I will say, ‘Do you understand this?’ And if they’re afraid to say ‘Yes,’ they say nothing. They just stare at me, because they can’t sincerely do it.”
  5. Many see anything but materialistic naturalism as a violation of scientific professionalism. One reporter described of a conference in China, “Chinese scientists encouraged the investigation of a variety of new hypotheses to explain the Cambrian explosion: hydrothermal eruptions, sudden seafloor changes, even intelligent design. This last was too much for one American paleontologist who stood up and shouted, ‘This is not a scientific conference!'”. Likewise, asLynn Margulis said, “The critics, including the creationist critics, are right about their criticism. It’s just that they’ve got nothing to offer but intelligent design or ‘God did it.'”
  6. Many biologists don’t understand engineering. Many of the patterns claimed to only arise by common descent are the same I see in my own code.
  7. Some recognize insufficiencies but hope new theories will arise to resolve them. Depew & Weber published in 2012: “Darwinism in its current scientific incarnation has pretty much reached the end of its rope… however, we are confident that a new and more general theory of evolution is evolving”
  8. A bias toward sensationalism in the media–which is true everywhere and not just with evolutionary biology.
  9. Those who disagree are rarely given a voice, and are often forced to move on to careers outside biology. Creation evolutionary biologist Todd Wood’s response to critic Phil Senter was “declinedwithout review by 4 different journals”. Without review means they didn’t read them. Probably due to some of the reasons above, Yet being unable publish reinforces the cycle.
  10. The more vocal opponents successfully prevent journals from publishing papers questioning evolutionary theory by threatening boycott. Even when the papers have already passed peer review. Thankfully the papers were peer reviewed again by another journal and still published.
  11. A small number of rather popular evolution “evangelists” shame anyone who dissents from the party line. For example see Jerry Coyne’s response to Lynn Margulis claiming evolution doesn’t work (cited above). Coyne says she’s “dogmatic, willfully ignorant, and intellectually dishonest”, “wrong in the worst way a scientist can be wrong”, and “embarrasses both herself and the field”. He and others write those accusations against anyone mentioning problems.

Evidence-based approach to origins leads to creation

The following is adopted from Come and Reason Ministries

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Can any scientist demonstrate something coming from nothing? I can show you a world filled with evidence of new things coming from something that already exists.

Can any scientist demonstrate life coming from non-living matter? I can show you a world teeming with life coming from living matter.

Can any scientist demonstrate complexity coming from chaos by random forces without any intelligent input? I can demonstrate a world filled with complex machines, computers, and technology, all of which is a result of intelligent design and input.

Can any scientist demonstrate random genetic mutation that has added genetic fitness? I can show you millions of genetic mutations that destroy fitness.

Can any scientist demonstrate selection that removes enough genetic damage to cause a species to become more genetically fit than the preceding generations? I can show you that despite selection the accumulation of genetic damage increases with each subsequent generation thereby degrading the species.

Further, which theory is in harmony with known laws of physics? The first law of thermodynamics, energy is conserved, rules out the first premise of evolution origins. Something cannot come from nothing if energy is conserved.

The second law of thermodynamics, things tend toward disorder unless energy is put into a system, simply states that left to its own things decay over time. This law rules out the premise that complexity comes from chaos without intelligent input. It also rules out the idea that genetic mutation results in increased fitness.

Both of these scientific laws of thermodynamics support the premises of creation origins but fail to support evolution origins.

So, which theory is actually built upon testable, reproducible evidence, in harmony with known laws, and which theory is demonstrated, by the evidence, to be inconsistent with testable evidence and laws? Then which theory is more scientific?

I find it fascinating that Creationism is actually founded upon scientific premises and beliefs, and supported by testable laws, whereas evolutionism origins is founded upon “blind faith,” premises that are disproved by objective testable science. Yet, scientists refuse to follow the evidence and instead persist in proclaiming evolutionary origins are actually scientific.

 

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How can all those scientists be wrong?

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Is the photo above a man standing sideways (profile), or is the man standing forwards with half the picture cut off?  Two different people will come to two different conclusions.  Let’s keep that in mind…

 

The vast majority of scientists agree that the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old, and evolution via natural selection and common ancestry is the means by which humanity came into being.  Obviously, as a young-earth creationist, I do not agree with either of those staples of science.  But what about all the evidence, Tim??  Let me explain my position…

I believe that the scientific method requires that all evidence must be interpreted before a conclusion is drawn.  My issue is not with the evidence itself, it is with the interpretation stage.  I believe that scientists interpret the evidence through a worldview filter.  Their worldview filter includes their personal beliefs about how the world does or does not operate.  For example, if I believe there is no supernatural influence in the world and everything continues on the way and the rate at which it always has, then I am going to interpret something like radiometric decay or geology much differently than someone who believes God has intervened in this world at various points in our early history.

 

Let’s look at a couple examples…

If God really created Adam on the literal sixth day of creation – how old do you think he might look on day 7?  Was he a full grown man?  30… maybe 40?  But the truth is he is only one day old.  He was created fully mature and able to sustain himself.  Now apply that concept to the rest of creation.  If God really created the world in six days fully mature and self-sustaining – how might that affect the apparent age of the earth?  And how might that affect our research if we left out that concept?  Might we come to a much different conclusion?  I think so.  The point is evidence like radiometric dating the age of the earth doesn’t rule out a special creation because things still might appear older than they truly are and yet that would still be in line Biblicaly.

But isn’t that a deceptive God??  I hear this all the time.  No, it’s not.  Perhaps God never intended us to study the age of the earth while ignoring his revelation about how He did it!  Not God’s deception, human ignorance.

As for geology, we have to look at what might have happened had Noah’s flood actually covered and destroyed the whole world as the Bible seems to imply.  Take the layers at the Grand Canyon.  Two schools of thought: either a little bit of water (the Colorado River) over a long period of time (millions of years) OR a lot of water (the flood) over a little period of time.  The same evidence, different conclusions based on different interpretations that are dependent on our worldview assumptions.

But doesn’t science work to weed out the assumptions?  Yes, but it gets harder and harder when science steps outside of direct observation and repeatability.  Of course we can’t observe or repeat creation or the flood or anything from that time period.  We only have left over evidence that requires human interpretation.

But what about multiple lines of evidence all agreeing on the same conclusion??  Isn’t that correlation the nail in the coffin?  No, not if each one of those line of evidence were all interpreted under the same starting worldview assumption of uniformitarianism – the idea that present processes are the way things have always worked.  If Genesis is true and the world was created rapidly, altered following original sin, and destroyed during the flood – uniformitarainism fails, and so does all conclusions that follow from that assumption.

Keep in mind that I am NOT saying that the laws of nature change all the time and thus science is impossible.  I am being specific and citing three main events from Genesis in which things would have worked differently than the way we see them working today.  Science that puts computers on our desks and phones in our pockets are based on modern, observations that are repeatable and verifiable.  Science such as evolution and the age of the earth are much different and require much more debatable assumptions.

The conclusions of an old earth and evolution rely on the worldview assumptions of naturalism and specifically uniformitarianism being absolutly true and unchangeable.  As a Christian, I believe God does and has intervened in our world.  I also believe the Bible is a historical, reliable account of the creation of the world.  And since that is true, it contains information that makes me seriously doubt uniformitarianism.  I replace it with the assumption of catastrophism of history – that several high impace, rapid events occurred shaping our planet’s apparent history very quickly rather than gradually.

Yes, we both use starting assumptions to interpret the evidence.  It’s not evolutionists have more evidence than creationists, it’s that we interpret the same evidence differently based on a different set of starting assumptions.  So, the real question is – whose starting assumptions are more reliable?  The majority of scientists believe their assumptions are correct because the constant rates have never been observed to be different.  That actually is a pretty logical conclusion.  But that doesn’t disqualify the creationist worldview.  We believe we have additional information in the revealed word of God – therefore we see our starting assumptions as more reliable than fallible human intellect because it comes straight from God who was there, observed it, and doesn’t lie.  And thus, the debate rages on!

 

 

 

Twitter debate with Biologos

This week I had the pleasure of interacting with Mario Anthony Russo of Biologos.  Russo is a God-loving Christian who used to be an outspoken young-earth creation apologist and is now with Biologos, the largest theistic evolution promoting organization.  We had a debate in 140 characters or less on Twitter.

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It was in response to his new article titled “Tales of a recovering Answer Addict: From young-earth apologist to Evolutionary Creationist” (http://biologos.org/blogs/brad-kramer-the-evolving-evangelical/tales-of-a-recovering-answer-addict-from-young-earth-apologist-to-evolutionary-creationist).  Here is some more background info on Russo:

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The following are screenshots of our Twitter debate.  Since it is kinda confusing to go into Twitter and see everything, I tried to reassemble it in chronological order below.  Of course Twitter is not the most preferred format for a debate (and hard to screen cap – you will see a couple duplicates, etc), it certainly gets to the point quickly.

I hope you will be able to see how I believe he dodged several direct questions and was not willing to admit that he interprets the Bible through his beliefs about science…

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This entire debate can be summed up in this image:

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Quotes for contemplation…

Recently I have come across a couple of quotes that really got me thinking.  The first is from famed atheist, scientist, and philosopher Carl Sagan.  It  was posted recently from one of my super-liberal friends.  I found it quite ironic!  Read it first, and I’ll explain…

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If you read up on both side of the creation/evolution debate you will quickly see how this quote could apply equally to both sides – yet I’m sure Sagan didn’t see it that way.  In other words, the quote is very powerful but will do pretty much nothing to move along the conversation.

From our perspective, evolutionists will not acknowledge the evidence of creation because they already have a pre-defined conclusion and our evidence doesn’t fit into that.  The irony is that is exactly what they accuse of us of doing… and they are right.  But we will admit it, and they won’t.

The next quote has very much impacted me!  In the creation/evolution debate things can get very detailed about evidence and what is / what is not possible.  It can be very helpful to reminded of this simple but profound concept I think we too quickly forget…

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Kent Hovind has certainly had his fill of controversy in the creation/evolution community – but he is also well loved by many.  He has a very unique approach that is no holds barred.  Many disagree with his methods and some of his arguments, but Kent certainly has a special way of saying plainly what for many of us would be tripping over our words.

I will never forget this quote of his!  It puts the whole debate into perspective very quickly.

 

Atheists admit they don’t know where laws of nature come from

The Helix Nebula is 700 light-years away from Earth, but screened before audience's eyes in reconstructed 3D in Hidden Universe, released in IMAX® theatres and giant-screen cinemas around the globe and produced by the Australian production company December Media in association with Film Victoria, Swinburne University of Technology, MacGillivray Freeman Films and ESO. The original image was taken by ESO's VISTA Telescope.

Imagine you wake up, check your bank account – and there’s $1 million in there that you have no idea where it came from!  What do you do?  I think the reasonable person goes to the bank and finds out what happened.  According to atheist logic, you just go about spending it.  Let me explain…

The universe is governed by unchanging laws of nature.  In an atheistic worldview there is no explanation where these laws came from or how they originated.  They just are.  The problem is the entirety of science is built on those laws and constants.  When we do an experiment we expect it to return the same results each time we do it because constants and laws are the same.  I was curious as to how atheists reconcile this seemingly big leap of logic.  They love science, but their science depends on these laws/constants that they have no idea where it came from or why its there.  They say there’s no evidence for God, and I say they have to be deliberately ignoring it as it stares them in the face everyday.  In my metaphor above, it seems like they would rather spend the money and go about their life then realize that the existence of the money suggests someone put it there.  It’s like they have constructed a house built on an invisible foundation – and they’re okay with that.

I asked the reddit community “DebateAnAtheist”, and got some rather interesting responses with the overwhelming consensus being “I don’t know”.  Here’s what I asked…

“Where do constants such as laws of nature come from? I would think that the atheist answer would have to include some sort of gradual, unintelligent, evolutionary process – but how can a constant or a law evolve? If it did, wouldn’t that suggest that it is theoretically still changing and thus not really a constant? If it didn’t evolve, then where did it come from? There doesn’t seem to be any good explanation from an atheistic perspective – but laws and constants are proven science. I posit that it is more logical to hold to a position that laws and constants were designed to serve a purpose put in place by a creator to govern the universe. You may say the burden of proof is on me to demonstrate the positive claim, but irregardless your entire worldview relies on these laws/constants that you cannot account for. Do you find that problematic?”

Here’s a fun collection of responses I received with my responses bolded…..
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“If I say “I don’t know” then does “God did it” automatically win? What evidence is available to support the creationist claim?”

That doesn’t solve YOUR problem. You will never be able to convince me of a naturalistic worldview if you can’t even account for the laws/constants you need to make that worldview work. 

 

my world view rests on the facts I do have, not the facts I don’t have. What you seem to be ignoring is that you don’t have that foundation either, you’re just pretending you do.”

So you admit that we both use faith to justify our worldviews, right?

 

Faith is pretending to know things that you don’t know. Show me where I have professed “faith” in something.”

You have faith that naturalistic atheism will one day be able to answer this question that your entire worldview relies on.

 

I’m able to accept that there are things I don’t know without having to make up answers to make me feel better.”

The little thing you don’t know affects your entire worldview and the entirety of science.

 

“Laws of nature” are descriptive, not prescriptive. There is no indication that they were “put in place” by anyone/anything or that they are “serving a purpose”. The universe is. It is in state A. We study this state and describe it. That is all there is to it.”

Your entire answer can be summed up with where you said “the universe is”. Well, that’s not really an answer. I asked where did the laws come from… you answered – they just are. Not going to convince me that way.

 

The “laws” did not come from anywhere. They are a property of this universe. It is like asking “Where does red come from?”. It does not come from anywhere, it is a property of the visible spectrum that we defined as “red”.”

I’m not asking where red came from. I’m asking where the visible spectrum came from. I understand red. I understand constants. Where did they come from? Why do we have them? If you can’t answer that, I’m not buying naturalistic atheism. I would hope no one would!

 

And your entire argument is just “God is.”

Are you admitting that your logic is no better than the theists you argue against? Are you admitting that we both use faith?

 

I’m saying that I believe the only intellectually honest answer is “I don’t know,” not a baseless assertion – no matter what side of the fence you are on.”

That’s a HUGE I don’t know. You have faith that one day naturalistic science will be able to answer it. I don’t have that much faith.

 

actually you have even more faith than that.  Because instead of accepting “i dont know”, you have accepted a cosmic jewish zombie as the answer to everything.”

At least I have an answer that can be debated that I’ve built my worldview on. You have no answer and yet you’ve built a worldview on it. I’d say that takes more faith.

 

If there weren’t constants, the universe would be dramatically different and not support life, or not exist at all. Why shouldn’t there be natural constants?”

That’s a non-answer. You are basically saying they exist because they’re necessary. Well, we’re just back to square one. I agree they’re necessary – but that doesn’t answer the question.

 

The only intellectually honest answer to the question of where all these natural laws and constants came from is: We don’t know.  The Whys and Hows of Natural Law and Universal Constants are indeed difficult questions to answer, and at this time, rather beyond our ability to explain except through unsupported speculation. However, “Goddidit” doesn’t even warrant status as a Stupid Answer – it’s no answer at all. It just moves the question up a level.

This is a non-answer. It’s basically saying “they just are”. Yet you rely on them, but you can’t account for them. Your entire worldview is predicated on their existence yet you have no clue where they came from. I understand that it just switches the burden of proof back to me which I can’t fully provide… but doesn’t that demonstrate how we are both in the same boat. Our entire worldviews hinge on assumptions we can’t prove. We both require the same amount of faith. Therefore atheism is no more logically correct than theism.

 

The “laws of nature” come from US. It’s just humanity describing what they see.”

That’s not really an answer. Yes, we came up with the language to describe what we are seeing but we can’t explain where what we are seeing came from. That’s what I’m asking.

 

“What atheists will tell you is instead of assuming that the answer is God, let’s just keep working on figuring it out. The answer could end up being God, or it could be some other ultra complex process that we can’t even comprehend. But most atheists feel like they have yet to see any evidence to support God being the answer.”

I find it ironic that “most atheists feel like they have yet to see any evidence to support God” when I am right here right now saying that the existence of these laws/constants IS the evidence.

 

I’d prefer to just be honest when asked this question and say “No I don’t know where they came from, do you?” and hope one day someone has the right answer to tell me.”

I appreciate your faith.

 

The constants are what they are, because if they weren’t we would not be there to observe the values of these constants.”

This is not an answer. This is a circular argument.

 

 I can account for laws/constants. They have to be some number or another, and the values that we measure for them are simply the values that they happen to be.”

And do you believe that number magically set itself up that way so that it works fine tuned with all the other magically/randomly set up the same way? Sounds like each law/constant had intelligence about the others. Whew!!

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The bottom line is that the entire atheistic worldview is built on the existence of laws and constants that atheists themselves admit they can’t explain where they came from… and then they don’t see why that’s a problem!?  In a Christian worldview, God created the laws of nature to set the universe in order to serve a purpose to sustain life.  Any worldview relies on faith, some worldviews are just more complete than others.  The point of this whole exercise is to encourage Christians to not feel intimidated by the modern atheist movement to shove their devotion to science down our throats.  Don’t fret – they can’t even give an account where the fundamentals necessary to do science comes from.  Their entire argument is circular.

To read all the over 300 responses you can read the thread yourself here:
https://www.reddit.com/r/DebateAnAtheist/comments/3sguyy/where_do_constants_such_as_laws_of_nature_come/

Be sure to hit the + buttons to unfold all the conversations to read all my replies as they are always downvoted to oblivion.