In 2006, a group of sailors traversing the south Pacific ocean came across an anomaly. What appeared to be a sand barge in the middle of the ocean.
They decided to investigate. They maneuvered their boat through the ‘sand barge’ leaving a trail in their wake.
As they moved away they noticed something strange – a plume of smoke rising out of the area.
It turned out they had just sailed over an active volcano! Within minutes, the witnessed a brand new island being formed rapidly before their eyes!
This amazing event gives evidence to a rarely talked about phenomenon: how geologic events can and do occur very rapidly! We get used to interpreting most geologic processes as gradual and uniform, taking millions of years to form and change. This is not always true.
We creationists believe that the flood of Noah’s time initiated plate tectonics (“the fountains of the great deep burst forth” Gen 7:11). We believe that was the onset of of most geologic activity such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, etc. In fact, we believe that ongoing geologic events are technically aftershocks from the flood. We believe the flood rearranged the continents, raised the mountain ranges, lowered valleys, and much more.
This amazing rapid island formation is evidence that although we observe most geologic events such as erosion happening very slowly over a long time, extreme catastrophic events can shape the face of the planet very rapidly. When we see this island formation happen, it makes it more understandable how a worldwide catastrophe such as the flood could quickly reshape our planet – and that judging that past by today’s normal slow processes would lead to incorrect conclusions (old-earth/evolution).
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.
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:
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…
This entire debate can be summed up in this image:
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…..
“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!!
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:
Be sure to hit the + buttons to unfold all the conversations to read all my replies as they are always downvoted to oblivion.
There are obvious differences between this generation and generations of the past. Progressives will call these changes good for the advancement of our society. Conservatives call these changes a decline of traditional / biblical morality. Why has this happened?? I do not find it coincidental that these major changes occurred around the same time that not only was God, the Bible, and prayer removed from school, but the teaching of evolution was increased exponentially. This all occurred in the 1960’s. We have now had a chance to see the results of these changes… and it is unsettling. Compare a pre-1960’s world to today’s society in an honest fashion and you will see stark, disturbing results. Teen pregnancy and abortion, open and celebrated homosexuality, acceptable drug use and addiction epidemics, school shootings every week, poverty expanding, debt overwhelming, prisons full, widespread divorce and remarriage cycles, prevalent access to pornography, taboo topics become commonplace, mental and physical health huge expansions, and on and on.
For each of these topics arguments could easily be made that they were a tenth of what they are today just fifty years ago! That is a major cultural shift in just fifty years. Do kids these days even know anything of a world where doors were left unlocked and keys in cars because people simply didn’t steal because it was wrong?? So, why are things different today? Why is stealing increased exponentially in the last fifty years? Well, I think to answer that you have to look at why they didn’t steal back then. It was wrong. In today’s politically correct culture you can’t say that something is “wrong”, because that is passing judgment. We are now reaping the benefits from a generation of godless education mixed with truth being relative to each person. We call it tolerance. We call it progress. While we live in fear and depression.
Biblical truths were never meant to be subtracted from our education. The argument is that it is more culturally inclusive and tolerant to make our public school system religion-neutral. But it is a ruse. Public school is not religion-neutral because it teaches our kids that God is not relevant to what they need to know about our world. We lose the next generation because our homes and churches don’t do a good enough job countering the seven hours a day they are quietly taught this. Ask your average student if he sees God as being relevant to social studies, to history, to science, to P.E., to health, to government, etc. I have seen those subjects come alive to kids who never cared about them because they’ve learned how God is involved in it all. It makes it real and applicable. It strengthens their faith.
But unfortunately more of what happens is kids going to church on Sunday and hearing pretty little Bible stories with a moral at the end of the story (like Disney movies) but not seeing how that applies to real life or the “real” education they are supposedly getting at school. If God is real, and wants to be involved in every area of your life then supporting a system that rejects God as unimportant to your learning is 100% unbiblical. I realize that homeschool is not an option for all, but that just means that your parental duties will be exponentially increased as you will have to help your child filter everything they learn back through a biblical worldview. Also make sure you have a church that challenges your child’s world because they are receiving hours of unbiblical influence in a rapidly changing world. Does your church address how to talk about transgender concerns? Does you church talk about how to correct someone lovingly? Unfortunately, most do not. It is no wonder that most kids leave church behind when they leave the house. They have not learned its importance in the ‘real world’.
Proverbs 22:6 says to “train up a child in the way he should go”. Biblicly, the education of their children is the parent’s responsibility. For some that means homeschool, for others private schools, for others public school works as long as it is countered in the home and church… but for most a “religion-neutral’ public education has affected this generation’s worldview and thus the behavior we see around us.
In February of 2014 Bill Nye debated Ken Ham at the Creation Museum. Millions of people watched online. Although many good points were made on both ends, many were left wondering more in the wake of it.
In March of 2014 PureFlix released their most ambitious Christian movie project to date called “God’s Not Dead”. The story about a college student challenged on his faith by an atheist philosophy professor resonated with Christians across the country. Skeptics saw the movie as barraging worn out stereotypes and that no serious atheist would be affected by the message.
In September of the same year another debate-style Christian movie was released called “A Matter of Faith”. This one focused in on the creation/evolution controversy. I anticipated this movie since I felt that topic was severely missing from the former movie. The fact that Answers in Genesis fully backed this one got me excited as well. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that good! See my review for more on why that movie let me down.
Even before ‘God’s Not Dead’, I had a vision of writing a movie around the creation/evolution controversy. After the let down of ‘A Matter of Faith’, I decided to finally take things into my own hand and pen the script of the debate movie I wanted to see on the screen. That script is finished! It is called “Answer the Question”.
The age-old question that affects everyone is addressed! Tom, a well-known and well respected leader of a Christian apologetics organization, challenges a nationally known science champion to a public debate on creation vs. evolution. A local news reporter is drafted to moderate which causes tension with his staff. The debate is held at a local public library which causes controversy within the library staff. Three student friends with differing worldviews attend the debate and question their beliefs. Leaving the final conclusions up to the audience, all angles are presented in-depth. How will you answer the question?
I attempted to write it as partial as I could. I even got assistance from an atheist in helping point out when I was being too sterotypical in my characterizations. One very unique thing about this project over the previous is that this one actually includes theistic evolution alongside young-earth and atheistic evolution. All three main positions are presented. The movie tries very hard not to necessarily promote one position over another. It leaves that decision up to the viewer. It will end with an invitation to the viewer to log on to the movie’s website and vote for which argument was the most convincing so they can actually answer the question!
To promote the concept to film companies I would like to produce an audio version of the script, like a read-through complete with music and sound effects. I have already had volunteers submit recordings for four of the nine characters. If anyone would like to volunteer to record lines for the remaining five characters email firstname.lastname@example.org. I have outlined the characters below…
TOM GARING: Leader of a Christian organization DONE
WILLIAM NIEDBALSKI: famous atheist speaker DONE
BRIAN JENKINS: News reporter as moderator (atheistic evolutionist) DONE
KERI NIELSEN: News assistant (creationist) DONE
BOB TRAMMEL: Library official (theistic evolutionist)
PEGGY HUFF: library boss (atheistic evolutionist) DONE
GREG MULLINS: creationist teen friend
AMBER FURLER: atheist teen friend
MARCUS McKEEHAN: theistic evolutionist friend
Here is a general outline of how the movies goes. It is very debate centric as I felt those were the scenes in the previous movies that people were really going to see. I’ve also attached some approximate timings of each scene so you can get an idea of the pacing.
ACT 1 (49 min.)
ACT 2 (60 min.)
ACT 3 (20 min.)
TOTAL TIME = 2 hrs. 5 min.
And now, for the world premiere of an excerpt of the script. You are going to get to read Scene 8 from Act 1. This is where Tom, from the creationist group, is contacting Brian Jenkins, the local news anchor, to see if he will moderate the upcoming debate. Notice in the following how I have infused apologetics into each scene of this script. Yes, Act 2 is the actual debate – but each scene includes some form of intellectual exchanges like the following scene. I would appreciate your feedback and if you’d be willing to volunteer to record some lines for the audio version please contact me! Thanks.
Tom contacts Brian to be moderator. Brian runs it by assistant Kerri, they discuss the topic. Brian contacts Peggy at the Library to push for it to which she agrees. (10 min.)
(phone call between Tom & Brian)
WTMG, Brian Jenkins speaking.
Brian, Tom Garing, Grace With Salt. We are an apologetics organization.
We are putting on a formal debate with Dr. William Niedbalski next week and were hoping you might moderate the event.
Oh wow, Niedbalski, eh?
Yeah, big deal, right?
Might just be.
So, what do you say?
Well we try and stray away from too many controversial subjects here at the station, but this one might just be worth it. Where’s it gonna be?
Were shooting for the public library, but I haven’t heard back yet.
Yes, good idea. I’m good friends with Peggy over there – I’ll put in a good word. Shouldn’t be a problem.
Hey, that’d be great.
So.. I’m on your website here. And… I’m guessing this is like a creation-evolution thing then?
And.. you are defending creationism?
Yep. But we don’t try to phrase it as “creationism”?
Well right off the bat you’ve biased the terms.
If it’s evolution vs. creationism… one of them has an “ism” on the end. That is automatically the weak point before the debate even begins.
Ah, I see. Well, I’d love to do it. I think it’s going to be a trainwreck for you… but if you’re willing, so am I.
Well… thanks I think.
No prob, I’m gonna call Peggy right now and I’ll get back with you about the format.
Sounds great. Thanks Brian.
Brian hangs up phone, and is approached by his assistant Kerri.
What in the world was that all about?
Oh.. actually kinda interesting.
Was a guy from this Christian group who has challenged William Niedbalski to a public debate.
Yeah, the guy’s outta his mind if you ask me…
Nah, I find that pretty bold. I wish more Christians were willing to take a stand.
Uhuh. Sorry, forgot you’re all in that camp.
Let me ask you this Kerri, do you really think this world is less than 10,000 years old?
Actually, I do.
Really?? Cmon, there are dinosaur bones way, way older than that. Heck, the station here sits on rocks that are billions of years old. Do you just ignore that?
No, we just interpret the evidence different.
What do you mean? Sorry – my investigative journalist side is kicking in.
All right, I’m no expert but the way I understand it is that we have the exact same evidence. Same rocks, same bones, same trees, same earth. But we interpret what they mean based on the history recorded in the Bible.
What a lot of evolutionists do –
Hold up… evolutionist?
Yeah, someone who believes in evolution.
One doesn’t just believe in evolution, we understand the science.
What do you want me to call them?
Wow… ok. You do realize there are people with PhDs working in creation science right?? You don’t even have a PhD Brian.
Yeah, ok… well continue… interpretation?
Evolutionists… interpret the data through the assumption of uniformitarianism. Basically meaning that the present is the key to the past. How we observe things work today is the way they’ve always worked throughout all of history.
It actually does, until you realize that if the Bible is true – then it describes a very different start to our world. We interpret the evidence through an assumption of catastrophism. A few short, but drastic events shaped the world rapidly rather than gradually.
Sounds like a lot of assuming. That’s not science.
Ok… but both sides are assuming.
But if we’re assuming it is based on observations, you’re assuming based on some ancient text.
Brian, how do you know George Washington was the first president of the United States?
Did you read it in a book?
I’m gonna call Peggy and set this up, make sure you’re available too. Gonna be a heck of a night!
Kerri smiles and walks off, Brian picks up phone to call Peggy.
Peggy, it’s Brian Jenkins.
Hi Brian! What can I help you with?
Tom Garing called me just now. Wants me to moderate this debate thing.
Oh wow, you huh? You gonna do it?
Well, it is certainly going to be a spectacle isn’t it?
Yes it will be.
So, we’re a go?
I feel sorry for the Christians, they are going to be humiliated… but I can’t discriminate so I’ll give them their chance to shine.
Great… I’ll see you there.
click the above infographic if too small to read.