Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Quote of the Day: Nothing But Blind, Pitiless Indifference

Charles Darwin (19th cc. Naturalist)

"The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at the bottom, no design, no purpose, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference."

This bleak assessment of the wonderful universe in which we live was made by the 19th cc. naturalist Charles Darwin, publisher of the landmark book, On the Origin of Species.

Darwin attended a Church of England school, and at one point studied Anglican theology to become a clergyman. He believed in God as the first-cause of creation and as the ultimate lawgiver. However, the death of his daughter Annie in 1851 led to an abandonment of belief in God and he died, by his own admission, a skeptic.

Thus, we see interwoven into Charles Darwin's tragedy-filled life issues and arguments that are still with us today; the meaning (or non-meaning) of life; the teleological argument for the existence of God (the argument from design); the cosmological argument (God as first-cause); and theodicy (justifying God's ways), in particular as seen in the problem of evil.

In contrast to Charles Darwin's bleak assessment of the human condition, we have Jesus Christ, who claimed to know God and to enjoy a uniquely intimate relationship with him. By way of contrast, the reality that Jesus Christ experienced was one of design, purpose, illumination, and caring compassion. He reflected this caring compassion of the Creator-God by going about doing good, and healing those who were sick or oppressed.

Furthermore, Jesus said, "ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and the door shall be open unto you." It is this invitation, along with the belief that a universe created by God operated according to regular laws, that perhaps motivated scientists in Christian lands to seek to understand the material universe and develop the scientific method which has resulted in incalculable blessings to mankind.

In a sense, materialistic scientists continue to do this to this day, asking probing questions about the origins and development of the cosmos and of life, seeking new insights, new paradigms, etc. In doing this, they are in a sense fulfilling what Jesus Christ says man is supposed to do -- that we are created by design for a purpose, to be askers and seekers and knockers. How different this is to Charles Darwin's bleak assessment of a universe of blind, pitiless indifference, where whether man seeks or not is of utter indifference and inconsequence.

The apostle Paul put it this way --

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth.... From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us." (Acts 17)

On life's most vital question, Charles Darwin missed the mark. Jesus Christ nailed it (even as we nailed him).

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Quote of the Day: A Plausible Inference

Arthur Eddington (Astrophysicist)

“The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory.” (h/t y-origins.com)

Arthur Eddington was an early 20th cc. English astrophysicist, the son of Quaker parents. The Eddington Limit, the natural limit to the luminosity of stars, or the radiation generated by accretion onto a compact object, is named in his honour.

He is noted for his work regarding the Theory of Relativity. Eddington was particularly well known for his ability to explain the concepts in lay as well as scientific terms. He published the Mathematical Theory of Relativity in 1923. Albert Einstein suggested it was "the finest presentation of the subject in any language." source: Wikipedia.

Simon Pearce: The Best Cheddar Soup in the World

I took a detour down to the Simon Pearce Mill/Glass Factory/Restaurant in Quechee, Vermont. Ordered a bowl of their cheddar cheese soup. Seven dollars. Irishman Simon Pearce bought the old mill, turned it into a glass factory, and added a first-class restaurant.

It's worth a 100 mile detour. It's that good.

And that's the way the cheddar Ball bounces.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Quote of the Day: Meet The CIA In The Sky

George Greenstein (Astronomer)

“As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency—or, rather, Agency—must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?” (h/t y-origins.com)

Dr. Greenstein is the co-author of "The Quantum Challenge: Modern Research On The Foundations Of Quantum Mechanics". The quote is taken from his book, The Symbiotic Universe, page 27.

* * *

Dr. Greenstein sounds like a Christian enthusiast. Apparently not. The web describes him alternately as an atheist or a pantheist.

* * *

Check out Dr. Greenstein's engaging website at http://www.amherst.edu/~gsgreenstein/

In addition to some wonderful pictures of the cosmos, he's got software models that simulate various astronomical phenomena:

* Cosmology: illustrating the cosmological principle, solutions to the Friedmann equations and the statistics of galaxy counts

* Orbits, the Doppler effect, and the Rotation Curves of Galaxies

* Simulation of a Pulsar Beacon

* Simulation of the Orbits of Pluto and Charon

* For the climax, there's the Big Bang, and, behind the explosion you can see the face of God. Bwahaaaahaaaa!!!! (just kidding).

* * *

Dr. Greenstein does not seem to be on the Wik., which leads to the question: does he really exist? As in, "I'm on Wik., therefore, I am".

* * *

There's another George Greenstein on the web who's written Secrets of a Jewish baker. Has anyone seen these two George Greensteins in the same room? Who knows? Perhaps doing quantum physics and baking bread are really one and the same thing in some kind of crazy quantum way.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Quote of the Day: Cherish Is The Word I Use

John A. O’Keefe - NASA Scientist and "The Godfather of Astrogeology"

“We are, by astronomical standards, a pampered, cosseted, cherished group of creatures. If the universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in.” (h/t y-origins.com)

John O’Keefe was an astronomer with NASA.

* * *

O’Keefe’s best-known scientific achievement was the 1959 discovery of the third harmonic of the Earth’s gravitational field, leading to the depiction of the Earth as "pear shaped". He was the first to propose the idea of a scanning microscope in 1956 and he is the co-discoverer of the YORP effect (short for Yarkovsky-O’Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddock effect), an effect resulting from sunlight which causes a small celestial body such as an asteroid or meteor to spin up or down. Source: Wikipedia and others.

Eugene Shoemaker called John O'Keefe “the godfather of astrogeology”.

Quote of the Day: Something Instead Of Nothing

Allan Sandage - Astronomer

“I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.” (h/t y-origins.com)

* * *

Allan Sandage took it as his life's work to find out how old and how large the universe is. His work led him to conclude the universe is 15 billion to 20 billion years old. Sandage is credited with the discovery of quasars, small blue cosmic objects that may be places where stars are born. (source: www.answers.com)

* * *

A brief article by Dr. Sandage: A Scientist Reflects on Religious Belief http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth15.html

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jet Survives Hole In Fuselage

We interrupt this ongoing dialog on atheism and science to bring you this late-breaking news bulletin. A plane has landed with a big hole in the fuselage.

“One hour into the flight there was a big bang, then the plane started going down,” passenger Marina Scaffidi, 39, from Melbourne, told The Associated Press by phone from the airport."

Investigators, scientists among them, will demand an answer to the question, what caused the "big bang"?

Because big bangs are always caused by something.

Quote of the Day: First Impressions

Paul Davies (British astrophysicist)

“There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all. It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe. The impression of design is overwhelming.” h/t www.y-origins.com

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Quote of the Day: Maybe I'm Amazed

George Ellis (South African astrophysicist)

“Amazing fine tuning occurs in the laws that make this [complexity] possible. Realization of the complexity of what is accomplished makes it very difficult not to use the word ‘miraculous’ without taking a stand as to the ontological status of the word.” (h/t www.y-origins.com)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Quote of the Day: Monkeying-Around

Fred Hoyle (British astrophysicist)

“A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.” (h/t y-origins.com)

* * *

Hoyle, an atheist at the time, reached this conclusion while studying the nuclear reaction required to make carbon, one which required a very specific energy to work.

The discovery reportedly left him "greatly shaken."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Quote of the Day: Swimming in materialistic waters

"In my experience most scientists are not even as aware as Rothman of how underlying philosophical assumptions shape their conclusions and limit their choices: Materialism is the water they swim in, the tenet whose falsity is literally unimaginable."

-- Michael Behe

The full article is well-worth reading:


Friday, July 18, 2008

Are You Better Than A Cheezie?

Hawkins Cheezies are the best cheezies on the planet. Hawkins is the only company that can actually call their cheezies cheezies. Other brands, like Frito Lay, have to call their you-wish, wanna-be products cheese twists, or some other lame name.

Hawkins are the crunchiest, cheddar-cheesiest, saltiest, cheezies on the planet.

I'm a fan.

I visited their factory in Belleville, Ontario. Unlike Jelly Bellies in California who have turned their factory into a carnival of color and celebration, the Hawkins Cheezies factory in Belleville is just a factory. Very Canadian. Still, if you're lucky, you can step inside the factory door and breathe in the cheezie fumes.

So, I'm enjoying the huge bag of Cheezies I got at Costco, and trying to ignore the fat content label.

But after all the exchanges I've had recently with atheist blogger-friends, I'm a bit bummed out. Cheezies are the product of design; they were intelligently conceived, they were wanted, they were nursed into being. Me on the other hand, I'm just the product of mindless, impersonal forces. As the country song goes, "Someone wanted Cheezies, but No-one wanted me".

Yes, I am a gazillion times more complex than a Cheezie, and, a higher-order species than a Cheezie.

But, the Cheezie is designed and I am not. It could, in fact, be argued that the Cheezie is of intrinsic higher worth, because it is the product of mind, and I am not. It is the product of will, and I am not. It is the product of intelligence, and I am not. It is a work of love, and I am not. (Unless, of course, I am.)

Still, there is one small consolation.

It is I who get to eat the Cheezie.

And that's the way the orange-fingered Ball bounces.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

William Lane Craig's Five Evidences for the Existence of God

Ever wonder how a Christian apologist might argue for the existence of God?

I've watched and listened now to two presentations of Christian Apologist William Lane Craig's arguments for the existence of God, both found at his website www.reasonablefaith.org. He used the same five foundational arguments in both debates.

Here, in sketch form, they are:

1. The argument from existence. The universe is here. The universe's existence is finite (due to inherent problems with infinity). This purely philosophical argument is supported by current science. The Big Bang hypothesis postulates a universe that (exploded into being from nothing. The best answer for the sufficient cause of the universe is a creative being. This creative being is God. Effects require sufficient causes. The sufficient cause is not "nothing"; it is God.

One atheist did not address this argument; the other argued "well, it just is" and also suggested multiverses as a possible alternative.

2. The argument from fine-tuning. Not only does a stable universe exist, life also exists, including us. The conditions required to support life are improbable beyond our comprehension. God is a much easier and more probable response than "chance" -- especially when built upon argument one.

One atheist did not address this argument; the other argued "well, we're just here"; "it's a brute fact, and there is no need for further explanation". O-K.

3. Objective morality. Man has a seemingly built-in moral sense; atheists acknowledge this, and many of them also agree that there is, objective right-and-wrong, good-and-evil (although some, with logical consistency, deny this). But objective morality can only exist if there is a source for moral authority outside of man.

Both atheists asserted that morality can exist without God, but did not offer foundational reasons why morality as it exists would have objective validity. One suggested that morality might simply be a product of darwinian evolution or perhaps socialization of young children.

4. The resurrection of Jesus Christ. Secular historians and NT scholars acknowledge that Jesus existed and died a death of crucifixion. They also agree about three facts concerning what occurred after his death: a) the tomb was empty, b) the disciples experienced post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, and c) the disciples came to believe in Jesus' resurrection despite no predisposition to do so, and continued to believe and proclaim Jesus' resurrection at the cost of their lives. The miracle of the resurrection points to the existence of God.

Both atheists simply discount the witness of the New Testament writers. One in particular put his own spin on the origin of the New Testament, stating authoritatively that Jesus had no messianic self-identity and the apostle Paul invented Christianity. He did this without providing any kind of "proof" or even evidence that this was the case even though he stands 2,000 years away from the events reported by men who were willing to lay down their lives for the gospel's truth.

(On a personal note, I would add that it was specifically the compelling, eternal character of the words of Jesus that convinced me that he was alive and accessible today. I did not become a Christian because of the apostle Paul; I became a Christian because of the record of the life and words of the man Jesus Christ! Nothing that I have experienced since I made my faith commitment has caused even a ripple of doubt about this; the Holy Spirit the living Lord promised, I have received; I have a rock-hard conviction that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, is Lord, and saves everyone who calls on his name. I am more certain of Jesus Christ's existence than I am of my own; I am negotiable; He is not.)

5. Personal Testimony. The statement (not formal argument) that God is personally accessible and personally knowable today.

Both atheists simply dismissed this statement out of hand.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"A Quiz For Skeptics"


This - was - fun, and a bit educational, too.

Of course, "fun" makes no sense at all in a purely darwinian molecular world -- yet another one of the contradictions of dreary atheism that stare us in the face each day.

Sorry for that gratuitous slam against atheism -- my molecules must have made me do it, because, with materialism, we all know that free will is an absurdity, like fun, at best an illusion of some kind.

Sorry for that second slam concerning atheists and free will. My molecules are acting up. But, of course, for me to say "my" is another contradiction of materialism because self in any kind of real or independent way cannot exist. My illusion of self, I should say.

OK. Sorry for that third slam against the reality of personhood and consciousness. I have no excuse. Of course, "excuse" is another conceptual thing that is an absurdity in a purely material, molecular world. So, I apologize for excusing. Wait a minute. Apologizing also doesn't make sense in a darwinian universe. So, I'm sorry for being sorry. Ooops. Sorry for the illusion of being sorry for being sorry because, surely, in a purely material, mindless universe, the sense of sorryness can't be objectively real.

Unless, of course, You-Know-Who is behind of all of this.

The more I think about it, the more consistent atheists appear to have a lot in common with Hindus -- all is an illusion. Which makes me think that atheists don't really exist -- they just have the powerful delusionary sense of existing.

I love the fact that atheists cannot "know" that God exists through their own prideful, self-sufficient intellect. God has structured the universe in such a way that, while it is probable that He exists, there is evidence that ought to make us inquire and seek Him, it is not in seeking that we find God, it is in God graciously revealing Himself to us. And this structural reality is exactly as it ought to be -- because man's chief sin and conceit is that of pride and self-sufficiency. So, God has structured into reality the fact that in coming to know him, we must ditch our prideful self-sufficiency, get down on our knees, and cry out to God for understanding.

Yeah, God. Well done!

My favorite verse in this regards is from Isaiah, "Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?"


And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Monday, July 14, 2008

"God is Not Dead Yet" *Updated*

A good summary of the current resurgence in philosophical arguments for the existence of God has been posted over at Christianity Today.

God Is Not Dead Yet
How current philosophers argue for his existence.

The article is by William Lane Craig, a leading Christian Apologist.

You can check it out at


* * * UPDATE

You can also check out William Lane Craig's website: http://www.reasonablefaith.org

If you register (no cost or obligation), you can access a full debate he conducted recently in New Zealand. The topic: Is God A Delusion. Dr. Craig offered 5 strong reasons for the existence of God vs. the dreary alternative. It's in the Audio-Visuals section.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Are You Feeling Lucky?

Somewhere between Toronto and Montreal there is a dime on the side of the road (you are not told which side and you only get to drive the course once). Your mission is to stop the car you are driving so that the right-rear tire completely covers the dime.

There's a great prize: If you win, you get to exist.

Are you feeling lucky?

There's more. In order to "win", the car you drive must be the right model, year, color and style (unknown to you) selected from the entire universe of cars and models. It must have exactly the right number of kilometers on it (to 1/10th of a km.) at the moment it covers the dime. In addition, you must cover the dime with your tire at the exact prescribed moment in time -- year, month, day, hour, minute, second (unknown to you). This moment in time covers all the moments in time of recorded history. Yes, you may not even be born yet, and the car you must drive may not have been developed yet.

If you drive off the road, it's game over. If you get hit by another car, it's game over.

One more thing. You are blind-folded.

What do you think your blind-chance chances are?

Whatever you answered, the odds of you covering the dime are much better than the universe we live in just popping into existence and then creating and sustaining life.

This brings us to the argument from fine-tuning (or, "the anthropic principle") for the existence of God.

In the past 40 years it has been discovered by scientists that several parameters in our physical universe must be "just so" for the universe to exist and to support life.

A few examples, cited by Robin Collins, are:

1. If the initial explosion of the Big Bang had differed in strength by as little as 1 part in 10-to-the-60th, the universe would have either quickly collapsed back on itself, or expanded too rapidly for stars to form. In either case, life would be impossible. (An accuracy of one part in 10-to-the-60th can be compared to firing a bullet at a one-inch target on the other side of the observable universe, twenty billion light years away, and hitting the target.)

2. Calculations indicate that if the strong nuclear force, the force that binds protons and neutrons together in an atom, had been stronger or weaker by as little as 5%, life would be impossible.

3. Calculations by Brandon Carter show that if gravity had been stronger or weaker by 1 part in 10-to-the-40th, then life-sustaining stars like the sun could not exist. This would most likely make life impossible. (Davies, 1984, p. 242.)

4. If the neutron were not about 1.001 times the mass of the proton, all protons would have decayed into neutrons or all neutrons would have decayed into protons, and thus life would not be possible. (Leslie, 1989, pp. 39-40 )

5. If the electromagnetic force were slightly stronger or weaker, life would be impossible, for a variety of different reasons. (Leslie, 1988, p. 299.)

* * *

Recently, scientists have proposed a multiverse to get around the vast improbabilities of our universe popping into place by chance. The idea here is either that reality actually consists of a multitude of coinciding universes, one-in-a-gazillion of which might support life (and we're the lucky ones), or, reality consists of an infinite succession of Big Bangs followed by Big Crunches followed by another Big Bang, and, lucky us, our Big Bang just happens to be the one, or one of the ones, that supports life, and, here we are.

But there's a problem with even this. You will hear it stated, "and thus, the highly improbable becomes highly likely, to the point where it actually becomes inevitable". Except, it doesn't. Probability theorists will tell you that the highly improbable remains highly improbable no matter how many chances you get.

Now, what evidence do scientists offer us, what "physical proof" as some would put it, that multiverses exist?

None. Nada. Zip.

The theory of multiverses was developed not because there is an iota of scientific evidence for them -- there is NONE -- it was developed out of panicked necessity to get around the obvious and more likely inference that, with odds this astronomically huge, the parameters of the universe were deliberately set the way they are by Someone or Something in order to make sustainable life possible.

The one and only reason that the multiverse theory was developed was to keep the door closed to the possibility that this universe, and we ourselves, might be the product of a Creator.

More than this, there's an additional side to the anthropic principle: humans have been given the capacity for observing the universe and discovering its secrets, like these fined-tuned characteristics. By what or by whom?

Those of us on the theist side of the aisle can praise God, while those on the the other side can praise blind chance (which didn't know how to drive, didn't know the dime was there, and wasn't trying to either drive or stop on the dime) that stopped on a dime one sunny day on the road to Montreal.

The only question which remains to be asked is: which viewpoint requires greater faith?

Robin Collins develops the argument much further. A non-technical version may be read at: http://home.messiah.edu/~rcollins/finetlay.htm

* * *

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge."

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Quantum Physics Proves the Existence of God

Just kidding.

I just wanted to see Lore spit his coffee across the room.

I'm not even sure what we would discuss here:

* Timeline was simultaneously a good/not good novel?

* Consistency is is not the hobgoblin of little minds?

I'm opening the door for comments one this one glorious aspect of this glorious universe we inhabit.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Logical Conclusion Of Atheism

According to atheists, there is no creator behind the universe. So, following Carl Sagan, the material universe consisting of molecules and atoms is all there is, all there ever was, and all there's ever going to be. Forever and ever, amen. Immaterial things, like souls, and spirits, and gods, etc. simply do not exist.

Which brings us to logic. In particular, boolean logic. You know, stuff like,

a or (a AND b) = a

a or NOT a = 1 (true)

a or 0 (false) = a

a or 1 (true) = 1 (true)

That kind of stuff.

These logical constructs seem to be true, and seem to exist, whether human brains are around to conceive of them or work the logic or not. And logic seems to be immaterial -- pure thought, one might say. So, does logic really exist? Did it exist before human beings, or is it a product of the human mind?

Let me put it this way. Did a) human brains invent boolean logic, or, b) did human brains discover boolean logic? The distinction is an important one. I want you to think about it.

If you answered b) we discovered boolean logic, then my question is, since logic is immaterial, how could it exist in a purely material, unintelligent universe -- unless there is in fact an intelligent creator behind the universe who put it there for us to discover and use? And, if it does exist, then we must conclude that the universe consists of both material and immaterial realities -- opening the door for all kinds of things that materialists and atheists want to deny.

Which means, if you are an atheist, you are now probably scrambling over to b) -- we invented it.

OK, we invented it. It's a product of our minds, or, to be more specific, our undesigned, evolved brains. If human beings didn't exist, logic wouldn't exist. Hey - logic probably evolved gradually, along with the human brain's development -- at first it was just a or 1 = 1, and logic kind of grew from there.

But if we created it, why should we trust it? We ourselves are undesigned. And, in a purely materialistic world, our thoughts can be nothing more than the undirected, purely mechanical collision of molecules inside our undesigned brains. Why, as C. S. Lewis so pointedly asked, would we put any confidence in anything coming out of an undesigned brain, boolean logic and rational thought included?

Which brings me to what I consider to be the illogic of atheism.

Atheists claim to be rational. They claim to trust in reason. It is their cause celebre. Indeed, it is why they are atheists and the rest of us are dupes.

We can only trust the logic of atheism if logic itself is trustworthy. But Logic is only trustworthy if it has a source outside of human beings, beings who sprang to life and evolved through mindless, purely mechanical, and wholly materialistic processes.

The logical conclusion of atheism is that it's conclusively illogical.

* * *

And why do atheists strive so hard to make sense of the universe which, if it is undesigned, has no sense?

Their very striving to make sense of it presupposes a Creator; maybe, deep down, they think that just maybe the universe was planned, does have a purpose, and maybe human beings really do have significance -- naaah. They actually prefer to think we are organized scum, no better than a slug. They actually prefer to think this!

said his there fool heart god The has in is no.

Maybe someday, given enough time and random mutations, these words will self-organize into a sentence. But you know what? Even if they do, by purely random means, -- there would still be intelligence behind them.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Is It Wrong To Kill?

Is it wrong to kill a human being?

Most people, darwinian atheists included, would say, "yes". Although, push come to shove, the best reason they could probably come up with is because humans' chances for survival are greater if we don't kill one another.

But let's consider this. Is it wrong for, say, a bear to kill a human being? Would we say that the bear was immoral, or committed an act of immorality, or that there was right and wrong behavior for a bear, and this was wrong? Probably not. Why? Because bears are not moral creatures, they do not have a moral sense, they act purely from instinct. And so, it would not be wrong for a bear to kill a human.

Why then is it wrong for a human to kill another human? Not because it's intrinsically wrong (as we demonstrated with the bear), but because we have a moral sense, and it would be a violation of this moral sense.

But where did this moral sense come from? Evolutionists claim "it just happened"; it's a product of mindless, uncaring evolution. If that's the case it's really just a con. If killing a human is wrong only because it violates our moral sense, and this moral sense is the product of mindless evolution, then, get over it, one person killing another human being is no more morally wrong than a bear killing a human.


Unless a moral God created us and embedded within us a moral sense and moral behaviour is an objective reality and not just the collision of mindless atoms inside our evolved brains somehow tricking us into thinking that something called morality really exists.

Consider the flip-side. If moral sense developed from mindless, uncaring evolution, and the highest goal, a la Darwin, is survival, and killing another human being is wrong only because it lessens our chances for survival, then what if it could be demonstrated that killing some people, say the old, the infirm, the defective, the sterile, non-breeders, etc. would further optimize our chances of survival? Knowing nature's plan -- reproduction and survival of the fittest -- would it not be OK to override our defective ingrained morality and, taking our cue from what we think we know about nature's highest goal, kill other humans? If not, why not?

So, let me ask the question. Is it wrong to kill?

"No ethics, No meaning, No free will"

At least this guy's consistent.

Darwinist philosopher William Provine on what I refer to as the logical conclusions of materialism and darwinism:

"There is no intelligent design in the natural world. When mammals die, they are really and truly dead. No ultimate foundations for ethics exist, no ultimate meaning in life exists, and free will is merely a human myth. These are all conclusions to which Darwin came quite clearly." (Stanford University, April 30, 1994)

I argued this point all last week with atheists who seem to want to have their cake and eat it too. I just think that few of them really understand the implications of a purely material universe in which brains can exist, but not immaterial minds or, apart from chemical reactions in the human brain, consciousness or morality or love or justice or honor or purpose or meaning -- all the things that man has associated with being human. All snuffed out by consistent atheism. If there is no divine breath behind man's life, then all of this is just a house of cards, a cruel trick of mindless evolution.

At least this guy's willing to say so.

h/t Denyse O'Leary's blog: http://post-darwinist.blogspot.com/

Anti-Abstinence At Any Cost

A recent study has shown that the proportion of Ugandans infected with HIV plunged from 21% in 1991 to 6% in 2002 in response to an Abstinence crusade. But thanks to the good efforts of well-funded western international AIDS experts bent on promoting indiscriminate sex and subverting the moral message of abstinence and faithfulness, Uganda’s HIV rates have begun to rise again.

Well done! Our western aid dollars at work!

The same people who think it's a tragedy that western missionaries came and imposed their cultural values on Africa think nothing of coming and doing the same with their godless, secular agenda -- right down to hosting lavish western-sponsored homosexual-rights conferences, to the bewilderment of Africans who are more preoccupied with finding their next meal and figuring out how to pay for their child's life-saving medicine.

The West is at war with God's moral laws.

In Canada at a recent AIDS conference in Toronto, when the word "abstinence" was uttered, the audience of supposedly scientific and rational people booed lustily.

The West is at war with God.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The One Year Bible - English Standard Version

I'm working my way through The One Year Bible, English Standard Version (ESV). It is divided into 365 daily readings. A chapter or so of the Old Testament, a bit of a Psalm, a small bit of Proverbs, and a New Testament reading each day. At first I found it jarring going from an interrupted Old Testament narrative reading to a narrative reading in the book of Matthew, but you get onto the rhythm of it all after a few days.

According to my daily reading progress, today is February 5th -- and it's quite warm for February! I've got excuses. I was in Toronto/Phoenix for January, Africa for February, and was in Toronto for a bit of March and all of June. What happened in April and May, I have no recollection of. Moses has just received some important instructions from God on the mount, and Jesus is letting the disciples know that they shall be "hated of all nations" before the end of the age. It certainly seems to be heading that way.

The English Standard Version is a new translation. How do I find it? Thanks for asking. Smooth reading, quite natural, maybe a bit plain. But smooth. (I guess Bible readers can be connoisseurs just like others are of fine wines -- "a smooth, bright translation, at times slightly rude, but never impudent!".

In Matthew, the passage about the demonized boy having fits is translated as an epileptic seizure. This is unfortunate because this translation is unsupported by the Greek and there is no evidence that epileptic seizures are based on demonic activity -- it is purely an interpretive decision that the translators made. There's a few other spots where I question what they have done, but, overall, very readable.

At the rate I'm going, it's going to be the Six Year Bible, but I hope to pick up the pace.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Upping the AGW Ante

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the waters...

The price of being environmentally kosher has just gone up.

First, you only had to change some light bulbs, drive a Prius, take the bus now and then, stop using plastic bags, and observe Earth Day, where you sit prominently in your living room window lit by candles where everyone can see you.

That, my friend was the good ol' days of global warming.

Then, the ante was upped when vegetarians pointed out all the methane gas produced by cattle used for human consumption. To be an environmentalist, you now also had to become a strict vegetarian.

Those were the grey days of global warming. We are now entering zone 3.

According to a recent article, if you continue to watch the latest episode of CSI Duluth or a Jaws DVD on that flat-panel TV screen we all know you have, you will kill us all. Seems that a greenhouse gas called nitrogen trifluoride, which is in the TVs, is 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide. That's like, for the reefer maniacs reading this, really strong weed, man. And, who knew? I've been brushing my teeth with trifluoride, or something very close to it, for years, and haven't noticed a thing.

Now, we all know that global warming gurus are not known to exaggerate or be alarmist, so when they say that the greenhouse gas impact of that TV sitting in your living room (you know who you are) is going to exceed that of the world's largest coal-fired power plants, I believe them. (I suppose the utterly worst sin you can now commit would be sitting watching a show about a coal-fired plant on your flat-screen TV.)

At any rate, to be kosher, can the car, ix-nay the meat, and deep-six the TV.

Oh yeah, and don't have any children.

In other words, cool it.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Is God Good?

Lore says:

"As for Birth Defects, your omnivirtuous God allows this to happen to devout Christian families, like he lets floods indiscriminately kill believers and non-believers alike. You may argue that God's love persists past life, but God then must think nothing of the feelings of the people left behind."

I says:

Theodicy is a theological term which refers to justifying God's ways. Is God just? Why would God, for example allow the planes to fly into the Twin Towers? Why would God either allow or send a tsunami? This is a topic which has received a vast amount of attention, thought, etc. The Bible covers it in the book of Job. The basic answer in Job might be characterized as "I am God -- and you are not!".

Beyond this, the first fact that must be emphasized is that we live in a fallen world. Mankind's rebellion against God, characterized in the account of Adam and Eve, was catastrophic. It affected not only man's nature, so that human nature is a fallen nature, but it also affected nature itself. God sets boundaries. Chaos and disorder results in violating the boundaries God has set. Whether it is a tsunami breaking past the "lawful" boundaries set for the sea, a rebellious cancer cell breaking into the good cells, or the breaking of sexual boundaries. For example, God created us as male and female. Told us to multiply. And told children to honor their parents -- mother and father. We are now in a whole world of pain because man has violated those boundaries -- with the latest preposterous headline being that "Man gives birth", and the State of California making it illegal for teachers to teach children that there are "boys" and there are "girls" -- because this is now considered a politically-charged, contentious, potentially discriminatory statement. Sin is, in this sense, violating the good boundaries that a good God has set. And we complain when it has consequences we don't like!

There is also the Devil. Atheists generally are materialists. As materialists, they must deny the reality of any immaterial thing. This includes a whole raft of things including God, angels, spirits, and devils, not to mention, as I have been arguing, the objective independent reality of immaterial things such as love, honor, boolean logic, authority, law, consciousness, will, etc.

So into this stew of a good, almighty, and wise God, a rebellious angel who took a third of the heavenly hosts with him, a fallen creation and a fallen human race, we come.

So, yes, "bad things happen to good people" and an innocent couple give birth to a child with birth defects who is dearly loved by God. This was a problem for a rabbi, Kushner, who wrote a book. He, like others, rather than sacrificing the goodness of God, said that God in fact was not all-powerful.

I come at it a different way. I believe we look at the problem anthropomorphically -- from a human's viewpoint; we need to look at the problem from God's point of view. I believe we vastly over-estimate the innocence and innate goodness of human beings and vastly underestimate our sinfulness, our fallenness, our pride, our rebellion etc. And I say this from an experiential point of view. Having delved into the holiness of God, and the demands of God for obedience, discipleship, etc. I can echo Jeremiah's estimation: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?".

According to a theistic as opposed to anthropomorphic viewpoint, man's sin (the degree to which he falls short of God's glory) before God is huge, his guilt in rejecting God and going his own way is huge, the disrespect he shows towards God by refusing to acknowledge him is huge, his over-estimation of his own goodness and self-righteousness is huge, etc. etc. I believe that is why, when it came time for Jesus to designate mankind, he refers to us as "sinners" -- in the eyes of God, this is our defining characteristic. And yet we are so blind we don't even see it!

In this light, God would be perfectly just in abandoning the project entirely, destroying the human race, and starting over, (this would please the multiverse crowd who dream of millions of universes popping into place). And, in a couple of places in Scripture he hints that that was an option. Instead, starting with Adam when he clothes Adam and Eve and promises the coming of the man (Christ) who will bruise the serpent's head (Satan), through the call of Abraham, Moses, the prophets, and then culminating in Jesus Christ, He has been at work to redeem (buy back) the human race and call it back to himself.

So, the problem re-stated is not, "why do bad things happen to good people?", it is "why do good things happen to bad people?". The real problem is, given our state of rebellion, and God's holy and just removal of his presence from us, is why things aren't much worse. And that is because he is good.

The couple with a child with birth defects. What did they do to deserve this that the couple next door with the healthy child did not? Probably nothing. Here's the point. Sin entered the world. It has infected everything. It's like contaminated air, contaminated drinking water, contaminated everything. And, sin is not fair. Sin does not work on a system of justice. It works on a principle of chaos. That is one of the reasons that sin is so sinful -- it disrupts the justice of God, it creates the chaos I talked about. The birth defects could be genetic, they could be because of environmental contamination, they could be because of spiritual conflicts, direct sin, any number of causes in this fallen-into-disorder world.

Let me also underline the point about God's withdrawal from the planet. (Not entirely, of course. He is still omnipresent, but he has largely withdrawn his felt presence which was the original intent of creation -- that there would be a material world and a spiritual world interacting and in harmony.) God gave the Earth to Adam. And he was serious when he did this. Adam effectively handed the reigns over to Satan, whom Paul characterizes as the god of this world, whose main job is to blind the hearts of men and women so that they cannot "see" God. So God has withdrawn, because he was "dis-invited". But he is working to redeem and restore. He sent prophets; we killed them. He sent His Son; we killed Him, compounding our guilt. A recent sign at a rally in favor of a particular form of sexual licentiousness said, "if Jesus comes back, kill him again". So, the rejection of God is not just an act in history, it is ongoing. With God's presence withdrawn, it's like a tire without air, a car without gas, trees without sunlight, etc. -- it is disordered.

In the light of man's stubborn rebellion, God's acts of love and mercy are huge. Not only does He reveal his grandeur in nature, which anyone can see, He sends us prophets. He performs miracles to display his power and confirm his message. He sends His Son. And, here's the kicker, not just so we may be forgiven and be restored sons of Adam. What he offers us is much, much, more. He offers to adopt us as his own children, to become, not just sons of Adam, but to become sons and daughters of the living God in union with Christ, God who became a man, so that in Him, man could inherit the divine nature and the position of sons of God. That is why I say that "the gospel is too good not to be true" -- no man could imagine or make it up: man's pride is debased, God's glory re-asserted, and yet God elevates us to a place undreamt of at great personal cost and humiliation to Himself.

It is perhaps in the light of all of this that the apostle Paul says that the present sufferings in this world are not to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed.

The Christian faith thus satisfactorily answers both the question, "why is this world so wonderful and good?" and the other side of the coin, "why is this world the pits?".

So yes, God is good.

* * *

Lore says:

"If GOD did his job well, we wouldn't have to ask why. We'd believe because it was obvious."

God has structured the present fallen world so that there is sufficient external information and sufficient inner longings, to motivate persons to seek whether of not there is a God, and if so, does He have a particular name or identity. Here's the rub: the idea that we can work it all out by ourselves with the information in front of us appeals to the man's pride of mind: "I can figure this out"; "I have the intellectual smarts to decide whether God exists or not", etc.

In fact, the Bible teaches that God is revelatory. While it does characterize those who do not believe in God as "fools", it also states "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?". Think of the birth of Christ. God did not reveal his birth to a single one of the professional religious figures living in Jerusalem, not to a single intellectual, etc. He revealed Christ's birth to outcast shepherds and to (gasp) Gentile astrologers in a foreign country. That was His choice, his right -- and He exercised it.

This puts God in charge, not man -- exactly the appropriate remedy to debase man's sinful pride.

Jesus specifically said that no man can come to Him unless the Father draws him, and no man can come to the Father except through Christ. So, the knowledge of God involves intellectual investigation, but it also involves the disposition of the heart, and (gasp again), prayer.

"You're whole argument is specious because anything you can say in support of God, I can poke a shadow of doubt in. No evidence holds up. You haven't provided anything that I haven't been able to shoot down."

Well, you tried to shoot down the fulfilled prophecy argument, but the restoration of the Jews to the land of Israel after 2,000 years of not being a nation, as prophesied in the Bible still looks pretty good to me. It's unprecedented. You can always say coincidence, but I think it holds up pretty well. And, the prophecy that the gospel would be preached to the world has some weight. If the Jesus movement had petered out, or shriveled to a minor sect somewhere, it would negate the prophecy. But the gospel has been preached in all the world and is being preached in all the world.

I think you might have suggested that Jesus Christ didn't even exist. Even secular historians don't say this anymore. And I think the evidence for the resurrection, on purely historical-critical grounds is rock solid. And I think the evidence of the anthropic principle, by itself, is compelling -- I'm going to do a fresh post on it.

I think cumulatively the evidence holds up pretty well. And remember this: most of what we believe is based on probabilities, not "proven" to a mathematical certainty.

"In the end, people should believe in whatever gives them comfort. People should not push their beliefs on others (including their children) and should not denigrate those who disbelieve."

People should believe what is true.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Round Four: God is logically impossible

This from Lore:

....God is logically impossible. Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence is impossible in our Universe.

If God has these traits, God cannot come here, nor create here, nor have any effect here, which would defeat the purpose of his existence.

Your God needs limits to exist. Which parts of the Bible are you prepared to discard to provide reasonable evidence for Gods existence?

I've asked Lore to explain what he means, and we'll go from there -- tomorrow (Friday).

Red Tory said...

I suspect you're wasting your time on this one. Teh Stupid is powerful in him"

I wrote what I wrote, because theists have a rational reason for trusting in logic and reason, and consistent atheists don't.

The vast majority of atheists are inconsistent. Atheism may work in theory, but it is unworkable in practice. Once it has served its purpose of freeing humans from accountability to a higher moral agent, it's pretty much downhill from there.

What atheist ever held a newborn child in his arms and said to him, "I have feelings of love for you, but these feelings are nothing more than chemical reactions caused by a cruel trick of unthinking, unfeeling, uncaring evolution. And, though my heart may swell with pride and I may wish big things for you, in fact, because you exist in an uncreated universe, you are entirely without ultimate worth or value or purpose or destiny. And, although I value and prize you highly, this is because of a quirk of impersonal evolutionary forces that make me feel this way. In fact, you are no more worth or consequence than a sack of potatoes or a bag of rocks, and, if someone were to bash your head in, that would be of no more consequence in this materialistic, unplanned, undesigned universe, than someone smashing a bag of potatoes or crushing bunch of rocks -- have a nice life".

As I said, it may work in theory, but it is utterly unworkable in practice. I suspect that most atheists have not thought deeply about the logical implications of their belief.

Atheism at its core has a void and a blackness to it that is matched only by their worship of the Void as the "first cause" of both the material universe and of life:

the anthropic "principle" - from a principleless void

the exquisite laws of physics - but no law-giver

logic - from nothing

rational thought - from nothing

consciousness - from unconscious nothing

love - from nothing

beauty -from nothing

life - from non-life

the material universe - from nothing

An atheist's motto might be "from the Void to the Void, with glorious, unexplainable life in between".

The Christian chooses to believe the more reasonable, more probable, and more satisfying answer.

And, in the gospel of Jesus Christ, has a hope of eternal life spent with God that is simply "too good not to be true".

But that's another post for another day. Time to get the 'burgers and 'dogs on the BBQ.

"there is no evidence that God has ever existed"

I suggested to the poster that he look up the difference between evidence and proof, but I don't think he bothered. He just repeated his unsubstantiated claims. Here, off the top of my head, and before my first cup of morning coffee, are evidences for the existence of God. (If you have additional arguments, please weigh in. If Vicki is reading this today, she may have something to add.)

1. The Creation. The exquisite design that is evidently all around us in creation and available for anyone with eyes to see (eyes themselves being a wonderful example of design). Aspects of creation that go beyond the darwinian explanation that it's all about procreation, such as beauty, enjoyment, music, the longings of the human heart for significance, meaning, etc. The probability that the universe is not the product of an intelligent designer is effectively zero. Our ability to observe Creation, in and of itself, makes man morally accountable to God.

2. The existence of the Bible. The Bible is a collection of 66 complementary writings, written over centuries by diverse writers, in which God declares Himself and reveals himself through word and deed to his chosen people. The Bible is primary evidence for a holy, just, powerful, faithful God who both judges and saves mankind.

3. The persistent moral sense within the human heart, which goes beyond pathetic evolutionary explanations. That's evidence not just for an impersonal intelligent designer, but for a personal, moral God.

4. DNA, which is encoded intelligence. Intelligence, and encoding are two separate things. Just like ink and paper are different than the thoughts expressed. If DNA encoding appeared in the form of radio waves from outer space, secularists would shout from the rooftops that this was not only evidence, this was proof of intelligent life in outer space. It is only because they don't like the implications that they refuse to acknowledge the separation from intelligence and encoding in DNA. That's evidence.

5. The fact that the universe had a beginning. Try to follow this logic:

5a) Everything that begins to exist has a cause. (The key word here is begins).
5b) The universe began to exist.
5c) Therefore, the universe has a cause.
5d) The cause is God.

What cause does the secularist scientist come up with? Multiverses? Pathetic attempt, without any scientific evidence whatsoever, at getting around the obvious inference that the universe came into existence at the hands of a being who existed outside of the universe. Since the universe includes not only space but time, this strongly suggests that the being is eternal.

This is strong evidence. Before you reject this argument, name me one other thing, other than, supposedly, the universe, that did not exist, came into existence, and yet was uncaused. It is unknown to empirical experience.

6. The resurrection of Jesus Christ. Despite your protestations to the contrary, Jesus Christ did in fact exist as an historical character rather than the "dreams of Paul". Get this, bud: even secular, non-Christian historians acknowledge that Jesus Christ existed. Evidence for Jesus and his resurrection from the dead include:

7-10. The four gospels. The gospel according to Matthew. The gospel according to Mark. The gospel according to Luke. The gospel according to John. Not one, but four complementary witnesses to the mighty works, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Each one of these books exists and therefore constitute evidence. They were written either by eye-witnesses, or friends of eye-witnesses to the events record.

11. The fact that the apostles were willing to die rather than renounce their belief in the resurrection of Christ. As someone has said, men may die for a false belief they mistakenly believe to be true, but men don't die for a belief they know to be false. This is powerful direct evidence that, at the very least, the apostles sincerely and deeply believed that they had seen Christ risen from the dead. And this is powerful indirect evidence for the historicity of the resurrection of Christ from the dead.

12. The rapid growth of the early Church. An indisputable historical fact. Again, indirect evidence for the existence of the apostles, of Christ, and of the resurrection.

13. The words of Jesus Christ. I was converted to Christ by the power and logic and demands of his words. "I am the way, the truth and the life". What kind of man says this? Who could come up with such noble, elevated words? He was either a liar, a lunatic, or he was who he proclaimed himself to be -- the Lord. I accepted Him in my heart as Lord. And do not regret doing so. That's evidence.

14. The testimony of Christians such as myself who claim to have met the Lord and claim to be in relationship with Him. The testimony of radically changed lives. The guy who was a slave-trader and then wrote Amazing Grace. The woman who was condemned to death in Texas for murder, but who showed such evident evidence of transformation of life. Those who have shown peace and bravery at the point of martyrdom for Christ. That's evidence.

15. The Holy Spirit. Non-believers, such as yourself, believe that Christian faith is all an irrational shot in the dark. It is not. God's Holy Spirit is given to those who seek to know and obey God, and knowledge of God takes on an experiential dimension. It is not a shot in the dark. I know that my Redeemer lives. The same holy Spirit who lived and came upon Jesus Christ is with me.

16. Miracles. Numerous recorded in the pages of the Bible. Numerous attested to by Christians over the centuries and in the present day. The current revival in Lakeland Florida appears to be a download of miracles from God. Miracles are evidence.

17. Fulfilled prophecies. The coming of Christ. Prophesied and fulfilled. The details of his death. Prophesied and fulfilled. His resurrection. Prophesied and fulfilled. The restoration of Jews to the land of Israel. Prophesied, and fulfilled -- in 1948. The gospel preached to all the world. Prophesied, and being fulfilled in the present day. The return of Christ. Prophesied -- want to bet against it?

18. The fact that the idea that God and Christ may exist, and may exert moral demands over you, bothers you so much. That's evidence. People are either running to God, or away from God -- which way are you running?

Throughout history, the deepest thinkers, philosophers, scientists, historians, inventors, artists, etc. have believed in both God and Christ.

This topic deserves more than shallow thinking and faulty argument. Where you spend eternity depends on it.

Have a blessed day. Coffee awaits.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Pardon me while I throw up...

It appears that Canada's mass abortionist Henry Mortgentaler is going to receive the Order of Canada. This is a sickening moment for Canada.

It is one thing for an individual to pursue a lawless and wicked course. It is quite another for the leaders and authorities of this country to publicly laud such an individual. It makes all Canadians complicit in the evil actions of one. It is as if Canada's leaders are hellbent in trying to bring this nation under God's wrath.

Meanwhile, I continue to believe and uphold the foundational promise of this country: "He (the Messiah, i.e., Jesus) shall have DOMINION from sea to sea". A glimmer of hope in the midst of bad news!

It may be getting bad and dark and grim for Christians in Canada now, but it's going to get much badder and darker and grimmer for those who would destroy this country's Christian heritage and hand it over to the devil. He (Christ) shall come in power and great glory, and the very brightness of his coming will destroy the wicked.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"