Tag Archives: Pre-Supposition

MUST-HEAR: Jason Lisle and Hugh Ross debate the age of the Earth

I found this radio debate from the radio station KKLA on the Apologetics 315 Twitter feed. This is my FAVORITE Twitter feed.

Speakers:

Jason Lisle

Dr. Lisle graduated summa cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University where he double-majored in physics and astronomy, and minored in mathematics. He did graduate work at the University of Colorado where he earned a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics. While there, Dr Lisle used the SOHO spacecraft to investigate motions on the surface of the sun as well as solar magnetism and subsurface weather. His thesis was entitled “Probing the Dynamics of Solar Supergranulation and its Interaction with Magnetism.” Among other things, he discovered a previously unknown polar alignment of supergranules (solar convection cells), and discovered evidence of solar giant cells. He has also authored a number of papers in both secular and creation literature.

Hugh Ross

At age seventeen he became the youngest person ever to serve as director of observations for Vancouver’s Royal Astronomical Society. With the help of a provincial scholarship and a National Research Council (NRC) of Canada fellowship, he completed his undergraduate degree in physics (University of British Columbia) and graduate degrees in astronomy (University of Toronto). The NRC also sent him to the United States for postdoctoral studies. At Caltech he researched quasi-stellar objects, or “quasars,” some of the most distant and ancient objects in the universe.

So both have impeccable scientific credentials. But just wait until you hear what one of them does at about 40 minutes into the debate. Oh my God. You will not believe the bombshell that gets dropped during this debate.

The MP3 file is here. (This is the updated version that Brian Auten fixed to remove the commercials!)

I don’t always agree with Frank Pastore, (only 95%), but he knows the topic of the debate back to front, and guides the discussion in an incredibly useful, accurate way. This is a fine debate to listen to! You will learn a lot.

The Bible and the early church fathers

Jason Lisle

  • we take Genesis literally
  • the starting point of YEC is Scripture
  • the plain meaning of Scripture is that the earth was made in 6 24-hour days
  • science has to be interpreted in a way that fits a plain reading of Genesis 1
  • the evidence for an old universe and old Earth must be rejected a priori

Hugh Ross

  • we take Genesis literally
  • the Hebrew word for day (yom) can mean 24 hours or a long period of time
  • there are multiple creation accounts in the Bible
  • interpreting yom as long periods of time harmonizes all the accounts
  • the Bible says that the seventh day is not even ended
  • we believe in a literal Adam and Eve living thousands of years ago

Jason Lisle

  • there’s only 1 account of creation in the Bible: Genesis
  • the normal view in church history is 6 24-hour days
  • there are some early church fathers who that the days are long
  • the other places where creation is discussed are not real accounts

Hugh Ross

  • the early church did not spend a lot of time talking about the age of the Earth
  • there is not unanimous agreement about the age of the Earth
  • there is no definitive statement on the age of the Earth until Isaac Newton
  • Newton strongly favored an old earth, hundreds of years before Darwin
  • there are other creation accounts, Job 38-39
  • Pslam 104 is a creation account

Jason Lisle

  • a Psalm is not written in the genre of historical narrative
  • Psalm 104 is not a creation account – it talks about ships, etc
  • it’s talking about the modern era, not a creation account

The evidence from science

Hugh Ross

  • both of us believe in an absolute beginning of time, space and matter
  • both of us believe that space is expanding now
  • stars form as matter coalesces during the expansion of the universe
  • star formation requires a universe aged on the order of billions of years

Jason Lisle

  • if you pre-suppose my interpretation of Genesis, then the universe is young

Hugh Ross

  • the speed of the expansion of the universe proves an old universe
  • the light emitted from the oldest stars also proves an old universe

Jason Lisle

  • if you pre-suppose my interpretation of Genesis, then the universe is young

Was the universe made with the appearance of age

Jason Lisle

  • any evidence for an old universe is wrong
  • stars didn’t form gradually, they were created by God instantly
  • stars have the appearance of age, but they’re actually young

Hugh Ross

  • God doesn’t lie in the Bible or in the book of nature
  • Scientists can look back in time by looking further out into the universe
  • Because light takes a long time to travel to the Earth, we can see the past
  • we can see a time when there were no stars yet
  • stars formed slowly over time, not instantaneously
  • we have photos of the universe before stars and after stars
  • we can see a history of the universe by looking closer and further away

Does nature provide us with knowledge about creation?

They discuss Psalm 19 now, so here’s Psalm 19:1-5:

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,  their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

Jason Lisle

  • nature isn’t a book
  • nature doesn’t  provide knowledge about God
  • Psalm 19 doesn’t say that nature communicates to us
  • verse 3 says “There is no speech nor language”

Hugh Ross

  • If you read all of verse 3, it says the exact opposite of what you just said it says
  • Verse 1: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands”
  • Verse 2: “Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.”
  • Verse 3: “There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
  • Verse 4: “Their voice goes out into all the earth,  their words to the ends of the world.”

Jason Lisle

  • You can’t take the Bible literally all the time

How important is the age of the Earth?

Hugh Ross

  • it’s a non-essential because it has nothing to do with salvation or inerrancy
  • both sides of the debate affirm the same views of salvation and inerrancy
  • professional scientists have multiple lines of evidence saying the universe is old
  • the only reason it matters is that young earth creationism is a barrier to faith
  • if you have to deny science to be a Christian, then it stops people from being saved
  • young earth opposition to science has been used by secularists to marginalize Christianity

Jason Lisle

  • there was no death in the Garden of Eden, animal or human, before the Fall
  • the Bible says that death was a consequence of Adam’s sin
  • so there was no death before the Fall, according to the Bible
  • old earth people believe in death before the Fall

Consider Romans 5:12:

12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—

Hugh Ross

  • Romans 5:12 says that Adam’s sin caused death to come to all men
  • old earth people believe that only animal death existed before the Fall, not human death
  • plant and animal death existed before the Fall – Adam and Eve were eating!

Jason Lisle

  • I interpret the Bible to say that plants aren’t living creatures

What about dinosaurs, the Flood, and Noah’s ark?

Jason Lisle

  • dinosaurs were created on the 6th day
  • dinosaurs lived alongside humans and were vegetarians before the Fall
  • dinosaurs were on the Ark – they’re not that big – just take baby dinosaurs
  • it’s a global flood

Hugh Ross

  • dinosaurs were created on the 5th day
  • they were extinct before before humans ever appeared
  • nobody in history ever wrote about dinosaurs until 200 years ago
  • it’s a local flood

Related posts

UPDATE: Wes Widner from Reason to Stand mentions another debate in the comments: “Here is another excellent debate given a while back between Hugh Ross/Walter Kaiser and Ken Ham/Jason Lisle”

Phillip E. Johnson lectures on science and the pre-supposition of materialism

Have you all heard of Phillip E. Johnson, the UC Berkeley professor who is the father of the intelligent design movement?

Here is a lecture by Phil in which he explains the relationship with materialist philosophy and the practice of science.

The MP3 file for lecture is here. There is some Q&A at the end.

Topics:

  • Can the diversity of life be explained by purposeless material processes?
  • What can changes over time have scientists actually observed?
  • What is the difference between micro-evolution and macro-evolution?
  • Has macro-evolution ever been observed?
  • Can observations of micro-evolution be extrapolated to prove unobserved macro-evolution?
  • What causes people to doubt that material processes can account for all of life?
  • Is evolution compatible with Judeo-Christian monotheism?
  • How do scientists respond when you ask them for evidence of macro-evolution?
  • Are observable mutations generally helpful or harmful?
  • How do scientists who pre-suppose materialism deal with dissenting scientists?
  • Why was the theory of Darwinian evolution accepted by early scientists?

Highly recommended. Phil is one of my favorite authors.

The one point you need to take away from this lecture is that if a scientist assumes a philosophy of materialism, then they will never be able to find evidence of intelligent causation in nature. They can look at all the evidence they want, or no evidence at all, and the answer will always be “no-God did it”.

So, consider the Big Bang. No-God did it. The fine-tuning? No-God did it. The origin of life? No-God did it. Molecular machines? No-God did it. Cambrian explosion. No-God did it. Origin of consciousness? No-God did it. Origin of free will? No-God did it. Origin of human rights? No-God did it. Origin of objective morality? No-God did it. Bodily resurrection? No-God did it. Galactic fine-tuning? No-God did it. Planetary fine-tuning? No-God did it. And so on. What else could have done it, once you assume matter is all there is?

The thing to do is to ask them what reasons they have for believing that this pre-supposition of materialism is absolute and undeniable. What is the evidence for it, that does not already assume it?

But many people change their pre-suppositions as evidence piles up that they are wrong. A combined approach is best. Surface their pre-suppositions and make them defend them. Then, stack up evidence against the pre-suppositions, e.g. – how can matter be all there is if science shows us that the entire physical universe came into being out of nothing in the Big Bang?

Audio clips and post-debate interviews from latest Dawkins debate

From the latest episode of the Unbelievable radio show.

The MP3 file is here.

Details:

Atheists Richard Dawkins, and AC Grayling recently squared up against Christians Richard Harries and Charles Moore for a debate on the motion “Atheism is the new fundamentalism”.

Justin Brierley reviews the debate with audio clips from the speakers and Q&A session, as well as interviews with those who attended, including AC Grayling and the Chair of the debate Anthony Seldon.

For the full debate visit http://www.intelligencesquared.com/

Justin has a lot of audio clips of the speeches and Q&A from the debate. This was a public debate. He also conducts post-debate interviews with one of the speakers, and some of the people in the audience. The people representing Christianity in the debate are totally useless. Justin also interviewed some “Christian” woman after the debate who is not even an orthodox Christian!

I think that in the UK, people are not really orthodox in their Christian beliefs. They seem poorly trained in theology and apologetics. I think that political correctness and multiculturalism has really weakened Christianity in the UK. At the end of the show Justin says that he will be focusing on the movie Expelled in the new year and so I hope they will get some good Christian scholars – not like John Lennox and Richard Swinburne!

Justin – if you’re reading this – please don’t put any more pastors on to defend Christianity. C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton types are not effective against the New Atheists. Please get Paul Copan, Keith Yandell, Craig Evans, Jonathan Wells, Stephen Meyer, Jay Richards, Guillermo Gonzalez, William Dembski, Darrell Bock, Dan Wallace, James Sinclair, and Doug Geivett instead. Or William Lane Craig, but that goes without saying.

My thoughts on why atheists are fundamentalists

I want to say a little something about atheists and the word “science”. Atheists don’t really value science, they value naturalism. Science is a method of inquiry that helps people to discover the way the world really works. Naturalism is a philosophical pre-supposition that says that every effect in the universe is the result of natural law and matter. And they cling to this pre-supposition as strongly as Muslims cling to their beliefs. There is no evidence that will shake them from their blind faith in the efficacy of naturalistic mechanisms.

Consider this quote from an atheist named Richard Lewontin:

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

When an atheist says that they like science, what they really mean is that they like naturalism (= materialism). When the progress of science demonstrates the need for a Creator of the universe, a Designer for the fine-tuning, an intelligent cause of biological information, etc., then atheists jump off the science bandwagon and begin to talk about how science is a very limited, tentative enterprise. They do this in order to save their religion of naturalism from being tested against scientific discoveries.

How Darwinian fundamentalists burn their critics at the stake

It’s the story of Galileo and the Catholic Church. Only this time, the Darwinians refuse to look through the microscope, and the penalty isn’t house arrest. Read Jerry Bergman’s story in the Toledo Blade. (H/T Access Research Network)

Who is Jerry Bergman?

Jerry Bergman is a mild-mannered, soft-spoken, and balding college professor, author, and member of Mensa – a group of people whose IQs are in the top 2 percent of the population.

And what happened to him?

“In 1979, I was let go by Bowling Green State University openly due to my increasing disillusion with Darwinism,” he said in a lecture Monday night at WLMB-TV, Channel 40, Toledo’s Christian television station.

What has he been up to since?

For the last 30 years, Mr. Bergman, 62, has interviewed hundreds of people in academia and documented cases in which he contends that careers were derailed because of doubts about evolution.

The results of his interviews and research are compiled in his latest book, Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth about Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters, published last fall by Leafcutter Press.

Well, these cases must deal with young-earth creationists, right?

The students, professors, and scientists suffered not because they were advocating the teaching of biblical Creationism or Intelligent Design, he said, but for questioning or debating aspects of Charles Darwin’s famous theory.

Well, this guy is a fringe scholar with fewer degrees and published papers than Richard Dawkins, right?

Mr. Bergman has nine academic degrees, including a doctorate in education from Wayne State University, and currently teaches at Northwest State Community College in Archbold, Ohio, and the University of Toledo’s Health Science campus. In 35 years as an educator, Mr. Bergman has taught college-level courses in biology, microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, pathology, anthropology, geology, and statistics, among other subjects, and has published more than 800 academic papers.

But surely this is an isolated case?

Publicity over the lawsuit, however, led other academics to contact him with similar stories, he said. He has since compiled a list of 3,000 cases alleging discrimination due to religious beliefs, and personally has interviewed more than 300 people in such situations.

“It’s unlikely today that an out-of-the-closet Darwin doubter will survive in academia,” he said. And there’s much at stake because a PhD requires a huge investment in time and money, averaging nine years of school and $300,000 and $500,000 in costs, he said.

Rather than risk losing everything over one’s personal beliefs, Mr. Bergman said he advises people to “stay in the closet until things change” and to seek change through legislation.

Is it possible that Darwinists could be so blinded by faith in materialism, that they would protect their monopoly in the the public square by censorship of their opponents?

BONUS:

Here is a video of Casey Luskin, whom I blogged about before, on Fox News, explaining how well leftists in academia respond to scientific evidence contrary to their own assumptions of naturalism and materialism. And click here for some examples of how well Darwinians do in debates with the top atheist scholars, like Michael Shermer.

By the way, if you haven’t seen the movie “Expelled” yet, what are you waiting for? You get to see Richard Dawkins attribute life to unobservable aliens.

This is a must-see movie that explains how freedom of inquiry is being violated by Darwinian fascists in the academy. You can tell how warranted an idea is by how willing supporters are to defend them in public. If the true believers start to resort to judicial activism, threats and intimidation, it’s a blind-faith religion!

Further study

Atheist responses to scientific arguments for theism are fun to understand. Atheists attribute the beginning of the universe to untestable theories and the fine-tuning to an unobservable multiverse. (And don’t forget their lame responses to galactic, stellar and planetary habitability arguments)

UPDATE: This post seems to be quite popular! Commenter ECM sent me this additional post from Denyse O’Leary’s Post-Darwinist blog. She has a citation from a scholar that, if expressed publicly in an academic setting, would be sure to doom the career of whoever uttered it. Click the link, read the quote.

How well do Darwinists do in debates with skeptics?

UPDATE: Welcome Post-Darwinist readers! Thanks for the link Denyse!

I thought that I would introduce a couple of my favorite critics of Darwinian fundamentalism, Stephen C. Meyer and Jonathan Wells. Here they are debating with Michael Shermer. I like Michael Shermer for two reasons – fiscal conservatism and engagement with his opponents. I’ve seen him MC sessions at Christian conferences. So let’s give him a chance to make his case.

Biographies of our debaters

Michael Shermer

Dr. Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine (www.skeptic.com), the Executive Director of the Skeptics Society, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, the host of the Skeptics Distinguished Science Lecture Series at Caltech, and Adjunct Professor of Economics at Claremont Graduate University. Dr. Shermer received his B.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University (1991).

Stephen C. Meyer

Stephen C. Meyer is director and Senior Fellow of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute, in Seattle. Meyer earned his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge University for a dissertation on the history of origin of life biology and the methodology of the historical sciences. Previously he worked as a geophysicist with the Atlantic Richfield Company after earning his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Geology.

Jonathan Wells

Jonathan Wells has received two Ph.D.s, one in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley, and one in Religious Studies from Yale University. He has worked as a postdoctoral research biologist at the University of California at Berkeley and the supervisor of a medical laboratory in Fairfield, California, and he has taught biology at California State University in Hayward.

Massimo Pigliucci

Massimo Pigliucci, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he conducts research on the ecology of plant populations and the evolution of adaptations…. He received his doctorate in genetics at the University of Ferrara in Italy, his Ph.D. in botany from the University of Connecticut, as well as a Ph.D. in philosophy of science at the University of Tennessee.

Let’s get ready to rumble!

Let’s start with a short 15-minute debate between Michael Shermer and Stephen Meyer, moderated by Lee Strobel.

Meyer starts with these points:

  • the origin of the universe implies a Creator who exists outside of time, space and matter, because he created time, space and matter
  • the physical constants and ratios of physics must be fine-tuned in order to support the minimal requirements for life
  • the cell is filled with molecular machines that are identical to machines built by humans, such as rotary engines
  • the cell contains biological information in the DNA, and the origin of this information cannot be explained by evolution

Shermer makes these points:

  • we should never infer intelligent causes, we should keep searching for a materialistic explanation and say we don’t know until we find an explanation that allows me to continue to be an intellectually-fulfilled atheist
  • who made the designer?
  • maybe the big bang will be overturned and then we can go back to the eternal universe that I want to be true in spite of the evidence
  • we can speculate (without any experimental evidence) about alternative theories of how the universe got here, unlike the standard big bang theory which is backed by multiple lines of scientific evidence

Then a dialog ensues:

Shermer: The design of life is sub-optimal – if God did it, it should be perfect, with no trade-offs between non-functional requirements, just like Wintery Knights’ software architecture designs and Java code are perfect

Meyer: There is no such thing as a perfect design. Software architects, like Wintery Knight, who have studied software design, will tell you that non-functional requirements must be traded-off against one another. (Source: Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University)

Shermer: Let me commit the ad hominem fallacy by attacking the motives of intelligent design proponents instead of dealing with their arguments and evidence.

Meyer: Two can play at that game, since evolutionists are atheists and secular humanists. But who cares? let’s stick to the arguments and evidence, ok?

Strobel: Meyer, are evolution and Christianity compatible?

Meyer: No, because evolution requires that the natural processes that create the diversity of life be random and unpredictable.

Shermer: Well, maybe the natural forces could be caused by the designer but in a totally undirected and undetectable way, so you Christians could have blind faith and we could run the public square.

Meyer: But Darwinism says and that no design is detectable in those processes, so they processes cannot be actually directed on Darwinism.

Shermer: But the designer could use natural selection and mutation.

Meyer: If so, then why did Darwin explicitly reject God having a role in these processes?

Shermer: I don’t believe in God because there isn’t enough evidence and it would require too many changes in my life. I like having autonomy from God and his moral demands. Also, we must always prefer material explanations, we can never infer that an intelligence played a role. I will only allow you to have two explanations of natural phenomena: 1) God didn’t do it, or 2) we don’t know.

Meyer: I like that you allow “we don’t know” as an explanation if we don’t know, because that is a rejection of dogmatic explanations that don’t fit the available evidence. But the arguments for design are based on what we do know, not what we don’t know – science gave us these arguments – and the progress of science has only strengthened them.

Conclusion

Well, I think it’s pretty clear who won, and who had the evidence! I like Michael Shermer, though, and I hope that he comes around to our point of view in time. At least he’s willing to debate, and he has a pretty moderate view compared to other Darwinian fundamentalists.

Other debates on Darwinism vs intelligent design

Michael Shermer debates Jonathan Wells at the pro-Darwinism Cato Institute (in 7 parts), MP3 audio is here.

Massimo Pigliucci debates Jonathan Wells for the pro-Darwinism PBS, downloadable video and audio.

John Lennox debates against Michael Shermer about the existence of God.

Further study

Here are posts on cosmological argument and the fine-tuning argument. I’ll respond to hopeful, but unwarranted, speculations about quantum mechanics and chaotic inflationary models, which I will be blogging about later. I’ll blog about molecular machines in a future post.

An essay on the origin of biological information by Meyer is here and a debate between two software engineers on it is here. I’ll also mention Meyer’s forthcoming book Signature in the Cell. Don’t forget about the upcoming debate between William Lane Craig and Francisco Ayala!

By the way, William Lane Craig has also debated Massimo Pigliucci on the topic “Does God Exist?”.

UPDATE: Did you see my post on why Darwinists don’t allow debates like this to happen in school classrooms?