Tag Archives: evolution

Paralyzed Christianity

Dearest hijas,

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I haven’t forgotten about you and this blog, mis hijas, but, you know the story. Perhaps this review of Dr. John K. Reed’s “Rocks Aren’t Clocks: A Critique of the Geological Timescale” has been a bit overdrawn, no? Okay, perhaps, so let’s sum this all up and move on, right?

How does this boil down to the warp and woof of “your” Christian living? How does the rubber meet the road here? Why, for God’s sake, does this have anything to do with anything?

I hope you know by now, mis hijas, that for the sake of God and His character, this does have monumental ramifications. You live in the 2nd decade of the 21st century. You’ll probably be around, God willing, until the 7th or 8th decade of this century long after your Momma and I are gone. We live in a time where many of your Christian friends, pastors, and leaders are paralyzed. Paralyzed by the fear of looking foolish in the eyes of the world. Paralyzed by prognostications of the secular elite on the nature of reality. Paralyzed by secular critics that claim Christianity (especially young-earth biblical Christianity) is opposed to science.

These Christians are paralyzed because they won’t believe their own Bibles. They won’t believe that their own Scriptures speaks authoritatively about a universal and worldwide Flood in the days of Noah that explains the rock layers and washes away the millions of years (Gen. 6-9). They won’t believe that a ‘day’ is a ‘day’ just like we know them today (Gen. 1, Ex.20:8-11). They are paralyzed by current scientific announcements and purported data that says the earth is millions and billions of years old, not realizing the bias of the scientists that make these claims and the eyewitness testimony of the God who was there and wrote it down for us. They are brainwashed to believe the idea that rocks, acting as the pages of nature’s history book, are superior to the history of the Bible.

Such a state are we in, mis hijas.

But remember this, as Dr. Reed points out:

…Christian compromise has proven completely ineffective in stopping the secular juggernaut. Two hundred years of retreat is enough. Perhaps in the 1800’s, such views were more understandable. Today, they only aid and abet a secular culture by weakening principled opposition–all for the fleeting flattery of ‘intellectual respectability’. Deep time is inseparable from evolution. And both are inseparable from naturalism.

There is a web of deceit woven all through the secular worldview. Man and woman, born in rebellion to God, seek to use their own reason and the logical powers of their mind, to explain the nature of reality autonomously; apart from God and His revelation. Their whole being ‘shouts’ to them that there is a God; and not just ‘a’ god, but ‘the’ God of which the Bible speaks, and yet they fight with all their might to push this away. Paul in Romans 1 is very clear on this.

So the question becomes, “If the true nature of reality, the true history of Earth and mankind, is presented in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, especially in Genesis, why have so many Christians accepted and become paralyzed by secular history”?

Dr. Reed responds:

First, few realize they are compromising their worldview. Christianity was the default worldview of the West for so long that the possibility of a secular rival was unanticipated, especially a secular ‘scientific’ opponent rising out of Christianity’s own intellectual tradition. Second, the early secularists were smart. They claimed that there was no conflict with ‘true’ Christianity. The Bible was true as far as it went; it just didn’t talk about geologic time. Moses was ‘primitive’ and ‘unscientific,’ but he was still a nice guy. This scam worked, and the church was lulled into complacency. As time went by, young people were indoctrinated to not question prehistory and evolution.

However, the Bible, mis hijas, claims to be an accurate record and account of history, back to the beginning. It can’t find common ground with secular history that does not acknowledge God as Creator, all peoples on earth, past and present, from Adam and Eve, a worldwide and universal Flood in the days of Noah, and the incarnate Christ come to save us from our sin problem. Bank on it!

With love,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios, mis hijas

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Blindness to Worldviews

Dear hijas,

In picking back up in my review of Dr. John K. Reed’s book “Rocks Aren’t Clocks: A Critique of the Geologic Timescale”, I love these particular quotes from Chapter 6 titled ‘Unreliable Clocks’:

At its core, the geologic timescale is a weapon that secularism has used to good effect against Christianity.

Or this:

Furthermore, if the various clocks used by stratigraphers all worked as claimed, then they would all agree. It is clear that they do not. Different radiometric methods yield different ages. Dates of rocks of known ages are incorrect. Paleontologists discard radiometric dates that contradict fossil assemblages. And no one thinks that these disagreements pose serious problems, they just ‘know’ that the template is correct.

Or how about this one:

Most of the public thinks that radiometric dating is the one infallible clock. But scientists recognize that is not true and so they rely instead on combinations of fallible, malleable methods. Then they argue that the timescale is more certain because of independent overlapping lines of evidence. But do they overlap each other like shingles, forming an impenetrable seal, or like a house of cards? This need of many clocks tells us an important truth; there is not one single infallible chronometer. Would you rather have one watch that kept time or a dozen that didn’t?

Or:

…professional stratigraphers have known all along that the real ‘clock’ is biological evolution. Rocks are ordered by fossils and fossils by their evolutionary stage. This is why geologists share the panic of biologists when evolution is attacked. The credibility of the timescale is linked to that of evolution. If evolution falters, the timescale does too.

And then this classic from Chapter 4:

Christians can no longer remain blind to the worldview behind the timescale.

With love,

Dear ol’ Dad

Vaya con Dios mis hijas

C-14 Decay: Support for Evolution?

2-carbon

Dear hijas,

Take C-14 for example. C-14 or radiocarbon is a perfect example of a physical aspect of our universe that is scientifically determined and analyzed. From your chemistry classes you remember that the element carbon comes in three isotopes: C-12, C-13, and C-14. The carbon atom has 6 protons, but it is the number of neutrons that determine the isotope. C-12 then has 6 protons and 6 neutrons, C-13 has 6 protons and 7 neutrons, C-14 has 6 protons and 8 neutrons.  During life both plants and animals, including you and I, are gaining and losing C-14; plants chiefly through CO2 in the air, animals chiefly through eating the plants. When an organism dies, it no longer gains C-14, but only loses it.

The production of C-14 in the universe follows an ordered principle or law whereby cosmic rays trigger a process in the atmosphere that changes atmospheric nitrogen into C-14. This carbon in the atmosphere mostly becomes attached to oxygen formed carbon dioxide (CO2) . The CO2 includes the stable, common isotope C-12 and a very tiny amount of the unstable C-14; only about 1 in a trillion carbon atoms is a C-14 atom. Carbon dioxide is then ingested by plants and animals and is incorporated into their biological structures, and it stops at the time of death of the organism. It can be seen in the chart below:

C-14 production

Unlike C-12 and C-13, C-14 is unstable and eventually decays back into nitrogen. Once a plant or organism dies it no longer takes in new carbon, and the amount of C-14 in the tissue of the plant or animal begins to decrease. This decay rate can be measured as the ratio of the isotopes C14/C12. It is expressed in terms of a half-life, which is the amount of time for half of any given sample of C-14 to decay back into nitrogen. Thus, after one half-life, 50% of the original C-14 atoms will remain in the sample. After two half-lives, 25% of the original C-14 atoms will remain, three half-lives 12.5%, 4 half-lives 6.25%, and so on. The scientifically measured half-life today of C-14 is 5730 years.

C-14

So how does this support evolution and its millions and millions of years? It doesn’t; C-14 decay actually supports just the opposite. It supports a relatively young (thousands, not billions and millions) age for the dead organisms found in the rock layers of the earth, thus eliminating the vast long ages required for evolution to even happen. We can see this in a number of examples.

We must remember the half-life, right? C-14 half-life = 5730 years. After 18 half-lives, or a little more than 100,000 years, the percentage of C14/C12 in any given sample is undetectable by our most sensitive scientific instruments. The implications here are huge! Since each half-life is 5730 years, this means that no C-14 at all would be detectable in a specimen that is older than 18 X 5730 = 103,140 years. But what if we did find C-14 in, let’s say, a dinosaur bone, or coal, or seashells? These are formerly living organisms. Dinosaurs supposedly went extinct 65 millions years ago. Coal is thought to be hundreds of millions of years old. Some seashells supposedly date back even further. Wouldn’t detectable C-14 in these specimens tell us these things couldn’t possibly be older than 100,000 years? It certainly suggests it, doesn’t it?

But, not only that, what if we found detectable C-14 in something supposedly billions of years old? How could something supposedly billions of years old have any C-14 left? It shouldn’t, except that we do find detectable C-14 even in diamonds supposedly billions of years old. These examples throw the whole dating system upon which evolution is based into a futile exercise of whack-a-mole. The actual, detectable C-14 in specimens supposedly millions and billions of years old keeps popping up to disprove the old dates they’ve been given by the evolutionists. C-14 decay is a valuable tool in our arsenal, mis hijas, and is just one of many proofs to disembowel long evolutionary ages.

For further study I encourage you to visit: http://www.icr.org/article/117/, http://creation.com/carbon-14-dating-explained-in-everyday-terms, http://creation.com/diamonds-a-creationists-best-friend, http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/does-c14-disprove-the-bible.

Vaya con Dios mis hijas,

Dear ol’ Dad

Did God Create or Evolutiate?

Dear hijas,

Your sister has suggested I start a series on creation vs. evolution; specifically the evidences from the natural world that show scientifically how evolution is a non-starter and can’t possibly be true.

You’ll notice I coined an imaginary word in the title: evolutiate. For purposes of our discussion, I mean by this term, in contrast to create, that God used the process of evolution to bring about the universe and all of the biodiversity of life on this planet. Thus specifically, did God create ex nihilo (out of nothing) and de novo (afresh, from the beginning), or did He evolutiate stars and planets from a singularity and life from non-life over billions and millions of years? This last view is called theistic evolution.

Darwin's Tree of Life

Evolutionist D.J. Futuyma has clearly stated the issue here:

Creation and evolution, between them, exhaust the possible explanations for the origin of living things. Organisms either appeared on the earth fully developed or they did not. If they did not, they must have developed from pre-existing species by some process of modification. If they did appear in a fully developed state, they must have been created by some omnipotent intelligence. (D. J. Futuyma, ‘Science on Trial’, Pantheon Books, New York, 1983).

To move our discussion along, we must have a proper definition of evolution. Evolution as we will use it is the “descent with modification”, or “descent from a common ancestor” model. Starting with single-celled organisms, life supposedly followed a chain of development from marine invertebrates, to chordates, to fish, to early reptiles and amphibians, to various stages of mammals, and finally through various hominids to modern Homo sapiens. This enormous chain of development was brought about by time, chance, struggle, and death, without any help from a supernatural ‘god’ or an ‘intelligent designer’. Mutation and natural selection accomplished everything.

We must remember that the evolutionary system arose and was elaborated on by those wishing to replace the Christian concept of special creation. Evolution is a replacement paradigm. It sought, in its original objective, to do away with Christianity once and for all. In this it is more of a philosophical system than a scientific one; a faith-based belief system with religious dogma like any other system of thought. Dr. Michael Ruse, one of evolution’s chief spokesmen has candidly admitted the following:

Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion–a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint…the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today. (Michael Ruse, ‘Saving Darwin from the Darwinians’, National Post, May 13, 2000, as quoted in John Morris and Frank Sherwin, ‘The Fossil Record: Unearthing Nature’s History of Life’, Institute for Creation Research, Dallas, TX 2010)

With that as backdrop to our discussion, we will compare and contrast the claims of evolution with that of a special creation ex nihilo by God. We will run the gamut of cosmological, geological, and biological claims by evolution that God has nothing to do with our existence, doesn’t even exist in and of Himself, and has no claims on how we live our lives here on earth. We will touch on the compromising and accommodationist positions of those within the Church whose views distort and twist the clear meaning of Scripture on its foundational doctrine of creation. We will see how God’s revelation to man on how He did it is paramount to the gospel we preach to fallen sinners.

As always, I remain,

Dear ol’ Dad

Vaya con Dios mis hijas

The Moral Necessity: the ‘Personal’ Answer

Dear hijas,

We’ve seen that in regards to morality, the evolutionary impersonal answer of time plus chance plus the impersonal, or ‘-the force be with you-‘ type answer in a couple of the world’s major religions doesn’t satisfactorily answer the question of man’s dilemma. Starting from the impersonal gives no answer to how objective right and wrong, noble and cruel, finite yet personal, have any meaning whatsoever. It was Sartre who said that ‘no finite point has any meaning unless it has an infinite reference point.’ This is just as true in the area of morals as it is in the area of metaphysics. Finite man has no place to rest any objective or absolute meaning or standard to the words ‘noble’, ‘cruel’, ‘right’, ‘wrong’ without some kind of infinite reference point to give those words substantive, objective content. This is huge, and you should never allow someone in your apologetic endeavors to miss this point and evade the implication. There is ‘no’ answer starting with anything impersonal; it’s just ‘what is’.

If you recall, it was the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814), the French philosopher, aristocrat, politician and writer whose cruel and libertine sexuality and lifestyle the term “sadist” comes, living during the French Revolution (1789-1799) who said, “What is, is right.” Can you see that starting with the impersonal, that is what man boils it down to, “Whatever happens to be, is right?” This is the natural outflow starting with the impersonal beginning. The problem though is that the Marquis de Sade could just as easily have said, “What is, is wrong”; for he had no place to rest his definitions of right and wrong, no standard or infinite reference point in which to give those words any meaning. As Schaeffer concludes, “If you begin with the impersonal, the universe is totally silent concerning any such words.”

Yet, we do find on the ‘personal’ side of the equation, a titanic answer! Starting with the personal there ‘is’ an answer. And it is an answer to man as he is and as he aspires to be. It gives justification to man as he finds himself, to his aspirations and moral motions, to his sense of ‘ought’ and ‘ought not’.  Man finds an infinite reference point to rest a definition of objective right and objective wrong when he begins with the ‘personal’.

What we are speaking to here with the ‘personal’ answer is that man has been created by that which is personal rather than merely being part of a total, final, impersonal everything-there-is. That ‘personal’ is the infinite-personal Judeo-Christian God of the Bible. That man, made in the image of this infinite God, was created finite as opposed to God’s infiniteness, and yet with personality in the same way that God is personal. And because God’s character is the moral absolute of the universe, there truly is objective right and objective wrong. Morals do exist because they’re based on the character of God from which all evil is excluded.

As Schaeffer says, “It is not that there is a moral absolute behind God that binds man and God, because that which is farthest back is always finally God. Rather, it is God himself and his character which is the moral absolute of the universe.”

Schaeffer further concludes:

Again, as in the area of metaphysics, we must understand that this is not simply the best answer–it is the only answer in morals for man in his dilemma. The only answer in the area of morals, as true morals, including the problem of social evil, turns upon the fact of God’s being there. If God is not there (not just the word ‘God,’ but God himself being there, the God of the Judaeo-Christian Scriptures), there is no answer at all to the problem of evil and morals. Again, it is not only necessary that he be there, but that he is not silent…He has spoken, in verbalized, propositional form, and he has told us what his character is  (Francis A. Schaeffer, ‘He is There and He is not Silent’, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, IL 1984).

So we have an answer to man being finite, yet personal, and we have an answer for the existence and justification for morality, a standard for right and wrong in God’s character itself, and for man’s moral motions, his sense of ‘ought’ and ‘ought not’, but do we have an answer for man being both noble and cruel?

Yes, we do, but that will have to wait for our next post.

Vaya con Dios mis hijas,

Dear ol’ Dad

The Moral Necessity: the Evolutionary ‘Impersonal’ Answer

Dear hijas,

Dr. Steve Kumar in his book with Dr. Jonathan Sarfati Christianity for Skeptics asks these pertinent questions concerning the dilemma or problem of man and our discussion of the moral necessity:

Are our moral values merely sociological conventions similar to driving on the left rather than the right side of the road, or like the subjective utterances that we produce when we order our meals in a restaurant? If morality is merely social convention then it is neither objective or absolute. In this case the logical question would be, why follow the subjective opinions of society? Why should anyone sacrifice for another’s well-being? What if society approves cannibalism, ritual human sacrifice, or racism? After all, German ‘society’ in the 1930’s and 40’s gave rise to the Holocaust.

Turning to the philosopher Jean Paul Sartre again, we find he had this to say:

If God does not exist, we find no values or commands to turn to which legitimize our conduct. So, in the bright realm of values, we have no excuse behind us, nor justification before us. We are alone, with no excuses. (Quoted in Dr. Steve Kumar and Dr. Jonathan Sarfati ‘Christianity for Skeptics’, Creation Ministries International, Powder Springs, GA, 2012 from Sartre, J-P ‘Existentialism’, translated by Frechtman, B, in ‘Existentialism and Human Emotions’, Philosophical Library, New York, 1957).

So how does all this relate to our last post and man’s dual problem in the area of morals? We are discussing one answer: the ‘impersonal’ answer. And specifically, the evolutionary ‘impersonal’ answer. Since so many of us have been brought up being taught that we are the blind results of an evolutionary process by which time plus chance plus the impersonal produced everything there is, we must analyze from this worldview whether morals could have arisen, how they might have arisen, whether they are justified within the evolutionary system, and whether they answer the dual nature of man’s problem: 1) finite, yet personal, and 2) noble, yet cruel.

Well, when we take a look at evolution, we find that it is not only impersonal, it is amoral as well. In other words, there is no right and wrong with evolution, it’s only what “is”. Evolution postulates no morality, for how could it? Non-life to life, single-cell to multiple-cell, simple organisms to complex organisms, here now finally at man, all plodding along by chance, blindly, with no purpose, only happenstance natural selection acting on mutations and weeding out the unfit through death and disease, the survivors as ones who pass on their genes to the next generation, ad infinitum. It starts with impersonality, so how can you get right and wrong from that? Evolution conveys no meaning to the words “noble” or “cruel”, “right” or “wrong”, everything is finally just one melded “what is”. It’s just finally, and only, ‘what happens to be’.

What you end up with then, is man, with his sense of ‘ought’ and ‘ought not’, this sense of moral motions that he has, completely out of line with what evolution as a belief system has produced. In other words, man is completely out of line with what the universe has always been: impersonal. In Evolution, and anything that starts with the impersonal, morals do not really exist as morals. You can say that they are a societal construct, manufactured by man so that he can live with his brother man in some sort of harmony here on earth, you can talk about what is antisocial or not antisocial, but you cannot say that they are in any way objective, or absolute for every time and place, and you have no standard in the universe which gives final meaning to such words as right and wrong, noble and cruel. Morals become situational, and with situational ethics whatever the situation demands or society demands become the norm. In situational ethics, we have clear examples of what they can produce; the Holocaust is one of many examples.

As Schaeffer says: ‘Finally, with an impersonal beginning, we must understand that to be right is just as meaningless as to be wrong. Morals as morals disappear…’

In our next post we’ll take a look at the opposite answer–the personal answer to the moral necessity.

Vaya con Dios mis hijas,

Dear ol’ Dad

On ‘Being and Existence’: The Rational ‘Impersonal’ Answer

Dear hijas,

When it comes to the metaphysical question: ‘something is there rather than nothing being there’, we find that there is an answer that can be logically and rationally considered. It is an answer that can be communicated to oneself in one’s thought world, and communicated to others externally.

Remember, we are talking about ‘existence’, or ‘metaphysics’, the first of the three main areas of philosophical and religious thought. Any system of thought, whether it be religious or philosophical is trying to give answers in these three main areas: the metaphysical question, the moral question, and the epistemological (the study of how we know) question.

We’re dealing with the metaphysical question here first. Douglas J. Futuyama, an evolutionary biologist, and professor of ecology and evolution at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, sums up well the two options that can be rationally discussed here with this question of existence and being:

Creation and evolution, between them, exhaust the possible explanations for the origin of living things. Organisms either appeared on the earth fully developed or they did not. If they did not, they must have developed from preexisting species by some process of modification. If they did appear in a fully developed state, they must indeed have been created by some omnipotent intelligence, for no natural process could possibly form inanimate molecules into an elephant or a redwood tree in one step (Futuyama, ‘Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution’, Pantheon, New York, 1983, p.197).

1) Evolution: this is one answer. How will we define it? Evolution for our purposes is defined as: descent with modification from a common ancestor through mutation and natural selection. It holds that all of life developed from more primitive forms. Starting with single-celled organisms, life supposedly followed a chain of development from marine invertebrates, to chordates (look it up), to fish, to early reptiles and amphibians, to various stages of mammals, and finally to humans. This all happened blindly, by chance, with no help from a supernatural “god”, or “intelligent designer”.

In the above scenario, man is not just descended from apes, or an ape-like ancestor, but that man descended also from insectivores and invertebrates, from fish and starfish. We also have to remember with this answer that we’re not ‘just’ speaking of biological evolution, we’re also speaking of cosmological evolution as well. That before there were single-celled organisms on earth there was a ‘Big Bang’ of inanimate particles out ‘there’ which led to the formation of space and its expansion, stars and galaxies, planets and moons. It’s a complete system, you can’t have life on earth without the Bang that produced the stars and planets first. Yes, mis hijas, in this view, you can say that you, yes you, are star-dust! Don’t laugh, for this is a logical conclusion from the premises of this position.

Philosophically, when one uses evolution as an answer to the metaphysical question, what one is saying is that our existence and everything we see around us started with the impersonal. What evolution proposes is an impersonal beginning: time plus chance plus the impersonal. This impersonality may be mass, motion, or energy, but they are all impersonal, it matters not which one you start with. Remember, no ‘god’ or ‘gods’, no ‘intelligent designer’, no one person or being (no personality, nothing that can be ascribed to personhood).

So, why is beginning with the impersonal, a problem? If you begin with the impersonal, then you don’t find any ‘meaning’ for the particulars in life. You and I are particulars, the sun, moon, and stars are particulars. A leaf is a particular, so is the pet dog and cat; any individual factor or thing is a particular. Beginning with the impersonal gives no answer to any particular in the sense of ‘significance’ and ‘meaning’. Man has no ‘meaning’, or ‘significance’, or ‘purpose’, with this impersonal answer; you’re just left with time plus chance, blindly plodding along to produce the complexity that we see all around us.

In the end, beginning with time plus chance plus the impersonal provides no answer to the ‘personality’ of man; our aspirations, hopes, loves, art, altruism, creations of beauty and technology, and anything and everything else that makes us human, let alone the vast complexity of things outside of ourselves.

We’ll take a look at the rational ‘personal’ answer to the metaphysical question in our next post.

Vaya con Dios mis hijas,

Dear ol’ Dad

Being and Existence; the Metaphysical Question

Dear hijas,

How does one set off answering the question I brought up in the last post from Sartre: that something is there rather than nothing being there?

In philosophy, this is referred to as the area of metaphysics (meta; after, along with, beyond, behind and physics; the science that deals with matter, energy, motion and force). In particular, metaphysics is the area of ‘being and existence’. Philosophers have long known that one of the fundamental questions of life is to be able to explain why we’re here at all, how we came to be here, why anything we observe in the world around us is there, and how it came to be there. In other words one can sum it up in terms of ‘being and existence’, and the question becomes ‘Why does anything exist at all?’ Subsets of this question then become myriad, ‘Why are we here on earth?’, ‘Why are the sun and stars out there?’, ‘Why are there fish in the seas?’  They can all be summed up in the question of ‘being and existence’, or metaphysics. So to label it is to call it: the metaphysical question.

Francis Schaeffer has said that ‘Nothing that is worth calling a philosophy can sidestep the question of the fact that things do exist and that they exist in their present form and complexity.’

So, what are the options for answering the metaphysical question? I’m sure you can think of several. Evolution with its blind, uncaused and random, time plus chance beginnings of nothing into something, and here I mean ‘absolutely nothing’, or a personal-infinite Creator God who has brought into being everything that exists. In today’s world, most people would fall into one of these two categories.

Please remember in this that both philosophy and religion deal with the same basic questions. The questions are not different, although the answers are different and in different terms. Both philosophy and religion are trying to answer the metaphysical question; the question of ‘being and existence’. The second thing we must keep in mind concerns the two meanings of the word ‘philosophy’. Philosophy on the one hand is an academic discipline that one studies in university and can get degreed in, and yet on the other hand there is a second meaning that we must not miss. For philosophy also means a person’s worldview. It is in this sense of worldview that all persons are philosophers, for every one of us has a worldview. No one can live without a worldview, and so ‘philosophy’ is universal in scope and therefore no one who is not a philosopher.

In order to answer the metaphysical question correctly; to see which answer best fits the facts around us will be the topic of our next posts.

Vaya con Dios mis hijas,

Dear ol’ Dad