Sapphire Sky

February 5, 2014

Dr. Mohler on the “Nye Reasonable Guy”

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., culture — Anthony Biller @ 10:12 am

Last night during the debate, I had the privilege of sitting next to Dr. Al Mohler, the Dean of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  I’ve long admired his writings, blog, and lecture series.  As freezing rain pelted Northern Kentucky last night during the debate, Dr. Mohler’s mind was on fire, as I suspect it always is.  As While I sat back to observe and enjoy the debate, Dr. Mohler wrote furiously throughout the evening.  Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, he posted an excellent debate analysis.  Excerpts follow and I strongly encourage you to read the entire post at Dr. Mohler’s blog:

In this light, the debate proved both sides right on one central point: If you agreed with Bill Nye you would agree with his reading of the evidence. The same was equally true for those who entered the room agreeing with Ken Ham; they would agree with his interpretation of the evidence.

That’s because the argument was never really about ice rods and sediment layers. It was about the most basic of all intellectual presuppositions: How do we know anything at all? On what basis do we grant intellectual authority? Is the universe self-contained and self-explanatory? Is there a Creator, and can we know him?

On those questions, Ham and Nye were separated by infinite intellectual space. They shared the stage, but they do not live in the same intellectual world. Nye is truly committed to a materialistic and naturalistic worldview. Ham is an evangelical Christian committed to the authority of the Bible. The clash of ultimate worldview questions was vividly displayed for all to see.
….

Ken Ham is a Young Earth Creationist (as am I), but the larger argument was over worldviews, and the debate revealed the direct collision between evolution and the recognition of any historical authority within Genesis 1-11. As if to make that clear, in making one of his closing arguments, Bill Nye actually went back to cite “this problem of the ark.”

The ark is not the real problem; autonomous human reason is. Bill Nye is a true believer in human reason and the ability of modern science to deliver us. Humanity is just “one germ away” from extinction, he said. But science provides him with the joy of discovery and understanding.

The central issue last night was really not the age of the earth or the claims of modern science. The question was not really about the ark or sediment layers or fossils. It was about the central worldview clash of our times, and of any time: the clash between the worldview of the self-declared “reasonable man” and the worldview of the sinner saved by grace.

See entire post here.

 

Re: The Debate

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., culture, entertainment — Anthony Biller @ 12:11 am

I generally agree with Rev Travis’s comments about the debate, below.  Some thoughts after having just returned from the debate in person …  I found striking the complete difference between the men – not just content, but also in character and style.  In person, I found Nye routinely condescending and arrogant to Mr. Ham, while Ken seemed continually meek and humble in response.  I wonder if this viewed the same on the live streaming.

Nye refused to concede that there was any difference between historical and observational science.  He seemed to argue that we presently observe the age of the earth, apparently through radioisotope dating, but he had no response to the wildly inconsistent age readings from such methods.  He offered no explanation regarding the problems with the assumptions upon which these methods rely.  He looked surprised when Ken showed the nearly hundred different type isotope dating methods and the fact each on produces quite different results.

From the audience, it seemed that Nye repeatedly and directly assaulted on  reliability of scripture in the second half of the debate.  In criticizing Ken’s positions, Nye criticized Ken’s reliance upon the Bible by implying the Bible is unreliable based on the “Chinese whispers” logic of passing along information over long period of time and made numerous critical remarks about relying upon “an ancient document that’s been translated into English.”  Nye scoffed at the idea that sin affected all of creation and was all but contemptuous of the global flood.

Favorite part of the debate was when Nye could not answer where the matter that led to the Big Bang came from.  In response, Ken responded “Bill, there is this book that has the answer …”  Ken then quoted Genesis 1:1 and explained the Biblical account on the origins of matter.  The next question to Nye was what was the materialist explanation for consciousness.  Again, Nye could not answer.  Again, Ken responded, “Bill, there is this book that has the answer …” and he quoted and explained Genesis 2.

Nye’s explanation of consciousness was bizarre, something about our conscious   being “the universe looking at itself.”  Weird.  In the last quarter of the debate it became increasing apparent that Nye all but worships materialism.

I wish Ken had more time to explicate the “scientific” evidence of a young Earth.  See Ten Best Evidences from Science of a Young Earth. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to respond to many of Nye’s points.  I believe Answers in Genesis is doing a follow-up streaming broadcast to go over many of these points.

As expected, I don’t think either side “won.”  Each side presented their position with clarity. For those already familiar with the arguments and issues, there was not anything new.  For those new to the debate or previously apathetic, it should have provided plenty of food for thought from both sides.  It was a general civil and engaging evening.  As stated, Ken explained the creationist perspective with humility and grace.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  I’m particularly interested to see whether or to what extent notice is given to Nye’s assault on the Bible and on basic biblical doctrines beyond creation.

UPDATE: see Debunking Bill Nye’s Arguments

February 1, 2014

What are you going to believe?

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., Ministry, theology — Anthony Biller @ 7:21 pm

Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Proverbs 26:12

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13

“What are you going to believe, science or your lying eyes?”

That fairly summarizes how I felt about evolution and naturalist explanations on the origins of the universe and life, before I became a Christian at the age of 29.  I knew I didn’t want there to be a God of morality and judgment, but I also knew what I saw all around me: incredible complexity and order from the subatomic all the way through to the galactic level.  Our bodies testify to the same – incredible and massively interdependent complexities working together to form what I take for granted as simply “myself.”  It seemed equally arrogant, naïve and foolish to think that humanity was at the pinnacle of life, that what we could measure with our little instruments captured all of reality, that our space-time continuum was “it.”

I also wanted nothing to do with Jesus Christ. I did not know and thus certainly did not understand the Gospel, but I knew that I did not want to be answerable for how I chose to live. I was wed to my pagan ways.  If I had to pick a religion, Zen Buddhism suited me just fine only because of its literal irrationality.

In my life, God has a way of quietly catching me off guard and then turning my life upside down.  Ultimately for my better.  One such instance was (more…)

September 5, 2013

They know less than you think …

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., video — Anthony Biller @ 10:03 pm

Ray Comfort interviews the man on the street, the trusting students and the revered “experts” on evolutionary dogma.  Their own words again betray the profoundly faith based nature of evolutionary theory …

 

July 24, 2013

The Spiritual State of USA — Judgment?

May 31, 2013

Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth: A Totally Good Read

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., books, culture — Tags: , , , — Anthony Biller @ 2:58 pm

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” Romans 1:16

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect 1 Peter 3:15

An Intellectual Masterpiece on the Modern Worldview

Some things in life are really good.  Like my wife’s lasagna.  A hug from your child. Sunrises and sunsets. Fresh coffee.  Good art.  The finish line of a hard race.

A good book ranks as one of the better things in life.  A good book opensPearcey the mind to new perspectives or ideas.  It takes you away, lifts you to new places and/or brings you down to places you hadn’t experienced.  Good books deliver pure mental pleasure.  In Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity, Nancy Pearcey has written such a book.  A totally good book.

Well, a nearly totally good read.  The book was a wonderful surprise, to include that I now have a favorite non-fiction book with which I have significant disagreement.  Ms. Pearcey’s book is so well written, however, that its strength compensates for and overshadows the areas of weakness with which I disagree.  More on that shortly.

Several months ago, I wrote a blog piece about truth – Truly, there is a God who will be known. In it I pondered how inconsequential and incompatible the concept of truth should be in the secular humanist worldview, yet how aggressive militant atheists argue regarding the truth of origins and destiny.  In contrast, truth is a foundation concept for Biblical Christianity, and the belief in truth is hard-wired into who and what we are, itself an apologetic for the truth of Scripture.  I didn’t think it was a controversial proposition, so I was a bit surprised when a few atheists became apoplectic at what I said.  Interestingly, while they attacked ancillary points with fervor, they never confronted the central issue presented – in a world without God, what is truth and why should we care?

The topic brought me to a book that some colleagues mentioned in passing over the years: Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth.  Once I picked it up, I did not want to put it down again until I had finished.  A real gem that in this reader’s experience starts well and gets better with every page turn.

God blessed Ms. Pearcey with a tremendous mind and wonderful writing skills.  Her insights and logic are reminiscent of her mentor Francis Schaeffer, and her style reminds me of C.S. Lewis.  Like Professor Lewis, it requires very little effort to read Ms. Pearcey and she has a wonderful efficiency with words.  Her reasoning is clear, concise and to the point, which is essential given the scope and magnitude of thought in this volume.  Total Truth is a remarkable intellectual accomplishment.

Ms. Pearcey divides her book into four parts.  In Part One, which she titles “What’s In A Worldview?”, Ms. Pearcey explains the centrality of worldview to how we live.  I’ve read and attended innumerable articles, books, lectures, and sermons on “worldview.”  Frankly, after so many iterations, I rarely find something new or interesting.  Accordingly, I tend to shy away from works presented as worldview lectures. But this book is different.  Ms. Pearcey transitions effortlessly from contemporary and personal anecdotes and experiences to explaining the historical and philosophical origins of the secular-sacred divide in Western thought, what she calls the “Modern Schism.”  One of the more prominent consequences of this schism in our beliefs is that most believers remain blissfully unaware and undisturbed that by and large we do not form and live a Christian philosophy of business, politics or culture.  While expressing personal conversion to faith in Jesus Christ, we live largely the same as our secular humanist counterparts, having compartmentalized secular versus “sacred” value systems.

This Modern Schism did not start in the 1960s.  Ms. Pearcey takes the reader from the ancient Greeks to today to explain the dichotomy of Western thinking and why “Christianity no longer functions as a lens to interpret the whole of reality[and why] it is no longer held has total truth.” Ms. Pearcey explains, “We have to insist on presenting Christianity as a comprehensive, unified worldview that addresses all of life and reality.  It is not just religious truth but total truth.”

After diagnosing the symptoms of our age and how we arrived in this condition, Ms. Pearcey draws the battle line in Part Two of her book.  She identifies the battle over origins as the key and foundational intellectual battle of our time; she titles this section of the book “Starting at the Beginning.” I could not agree more with her prescription, however, as noted below, she advocates that we should all join the battle over Intelligent Design, a tactical mandate with which I do not agree, per below.  Over several chapters, Ms. Pearcey lucidly explains how philosophical materialism permeates our thinking and culture, as a “universal acid.”  She marches straight through the meaning, purpose, frauds and faith of Darwinian dogma and sets out compelling rebuttal evidence and arguments from Intelligent Design.  She concludes Part Two with the chapter “Today Biology, Tomorrow the World” in which she sets forth the universal ambitions of Darwinian philosophy — how it seeks and is largely succeeding in its efforts to present itself as the total solution for all areas of human thought and endeavor, albeit a false solution.

In Part 3, “How We Lost Our Minds,” Ms. Pearcey traces the origins and history of evangelicalism and points out consistent trends and patterns therein, particularly those that left evangelicals so vulnerable to philosophical naturalism.  I found this section fascinating, having never studied it before.  The patterns illuminated many issues I’ve seen and experienced in churches and within ministries.  As part of her review, Ms. Pearcey takes issues with evangelical’s somewhat anti-historical and positivist view of biblical interpretation, with particular criticism for Lord Bacon’s Biblical hermeneutics.   She explains how empirical theology stems from Enlightenment thinking.  She also reiterates C.S. Lewis’ admonition to read the old books, creeds and confessions.

Ms. Pearcey then ties in the history of evangelicalism and the Modern Schism.  She quotes Richard Hofstadter’s observation that to a large extent “the churches withdrew from intellectual encounters with the secular world, gave up the idea that religion is a part of the whole life of intellectual experiences, and often abandoned the field of rational studies on the assumption that they were the natural province of science alone.”

The last chapter in Part Two, “How Women Started the Culture War,” is a distinct, insightful and quite educating analysis of changing female roles during the Industrial Revolution, the Second Great Awakening, and on through to the early 20th Century and how these changes affected families.

In Part 4 “What Next? Living It Out”, the most spiritual portion of the book, Ms. Pearcey reviews the importance of making sure our actions comport with a Biblical as opposed to a secular worldview.  She takes issue with Christians living their lives and conducting their affairs utilizing worldly methods through the flesh instead of relying upon the ways of God.  I heard distant echoes of Watchman Nee’s The Normal Christian Life in this section.  She concludes this section in a similar vein, taking issue with Christian ministries conducting themselves as secular enterprises.

In total, Total Truth ranks as one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read, and an excellent world view assessment.  It could become a classic.  There were however, three points with which I disagreed with Ms. Pearcey and which I believe are worth sharing. (more…)

April 26, 2013

Education 2020 – less academic trash?

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., culture, technology, video — Anthony Biller @ 12:11 pm
Technological solutions for removing garbage

Technological solutions for removing garbage

“College” may be transforming now as quickly as Apple transformed how we buy and listen to music last decade …

While Ivy League “students” learn how to perfect their perversions with porn stars, UNC Tar Hell students spend NC tax dollars on orgasm clinics, and Big 10 Professors feature after-class/in-class live sex shows, the “fix” may already be in the works.  Dazzled by big collegiate names, sterling sports reputations and a host of beneficial science and engineering research, too many are oblivious to or apathetic about the morally decrepit and intellectually flaccid state of most humanities departments within our universities.

We may not need to reform those departments, they may simply go away for being obsolete.  Why pay tens of thousands of dollars in (often tax subsidized) tuition and room and board for what can be obtained for free.  Or so we can hope.  Like so many problems that plagued humanity for ages, technological innovation may pave for real change — near universal accessibility for little to no cost, international exposure to content, and the power of social media/leveraging to filter and elevate quality content.  The following video explains not just how this might happen, but how it is presently turning into reality:

March 1, 2013

Pornified Minds

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., books, culture — Anthony Biller @ 6:26 pm

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. Psalm 14:1

In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Judges 17:6

Since sometime in the 1970s, it’s been too much to expect most liberal art departments at public (and most private) universities to teach let alone endorse the classic questions of the western tradition. Apparently, it appears too much to ask public universities to focus on teaching useful and productive information with our tax dollars.  Is it too much to ask them to stop teaching our kids to be perverts? Must our tax dollars fund Porn University?

“Frankly if you want to take gender studies that’s fine, go to a private school and take it. But I don’t want to subsidize that if that’s not going to get someone a job.” Governor Pat McCrory

Newly elected NC Governor McCrory recently wondered aloud whether courses in subjects such as gender studies and philosophy prepared students adequately for the job market, and thus whether public universities should offer such instruction.  Reportedly, the academics in question were taken aback and found such sentiment frightening.  Eighty-five percent of UNC system faculty disagreed with Governor McCrory’s sentiment.  Notwithstanding the self-serving demurrer of our tenured academics, the Governor was correct and perhaps too charitable in his critique.  For decades, our public universities have harbored and fostered professors devoted to intellectual nihilism and communism.  As disturbing as I find that, many in academia are dragging the worthy intellectual history of the western academy further into the depths of depravity.

Instead of continuing what had been the long-standing western dialogue regarding humanity’s relationship to God and purpose for existence, “liberal arts” studies are too rapidly devolving into intellectualizing the depraved and debauched.  Recent examples of such “studies” and of their student bodies (no pun intended):Holy Man Jam, Boulder, CO  Aug. 1970

COLLEGE HOSTS SEX, MASTURBATION TUTORIAL – INSIDE A CHURCH (Allegheny College)

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO HOSTING ORAL SEX SEMINAR, PORN SCREENING

CAMPUS SEX GROUP EARNS STUDENTS COLLEGE CREDIT (University of Michigan)

Illinois University brings porn star to teach sex week, orgasm workshop

North Carolina State’s Student Union Sex Toy Bingo

Swarthmore student group promotes masturbation on campus

University of Chicago performing abortions on campus

Yale hosts workshop teaching sensitivity to bestiality (added March 5, 2014 — you can’t make this stuff up!)

But what do you expect from a collegiate universe that denies God.  As for those deistic universities that didn’t get the message:

BAPTIST UNIVERSITY SUED BY EXPELLED TRANSGENDER STUDENT

WOMAN SUES CHRISTIAN COLLEGE: ‘I WAS FIRED FOR PRE-MARITAL SEX’ (VIDEO) (added bonus – Ms. Allred!)

Several of the above links are courtesy of The College Fix which itself is courtesy of Nathan Harden, the enterprising young man who recently published Sex and God at Yale: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad, which is a follow-up of sorts a half-century later to WFB’s  premier work God and Man at Yale.

Mr. Harden explains:

there are things happening at Yale today that Buckley could scarcely have even imagined in 1951. While the Yale of Buckley’s book marginalized or undermined religious faith in the classroom, my book tells of a classmate who was given approval to create an art object out of what she claimed was blood and tissue from self-induced abortions. And while the Yale of Buckley’s book was promoting socialist ideas in its economics department, my book chronicles Yale’s recent employment of a professor who publicly praised terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

My, how times have changed!

There is clearly a radical sexual agenda at work at Yale today. Professors and administrators who came of age during the sexual revolution are busily indoctrinating students into a culture of promiscuity. In fact, Yale pioneered the hosting of a campus “Sex Week”—a festival of sleaze, porn, and debauchery, dressed up as sex education. I encountered this tawdry tradition as an undergrad, and my book documents the events of Sex Week, including the screening in classrooms of hard-core pornography and the giving of permission to sex toy manufacturers and porn production companies to market their products to students.

Many Christians are concerned about the character and ideas of our political leaders.  We need to be particularly concerned about how our universities are forming and feeding the minds of tomorrow’s leaders.  As America doubles down on raising our next generations apart from God’s word, focusing instead on man’s opinions, and our culture rapidly declines, we must pray hard and re-commit ourselves to being witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The sun appears to be getting low on the horizon in the West.  The light of the world shines the brightest in the dark. Shine Jesus shine!

Gustave Dore, The Inferno Canto 5

February 1, 2013

Truly, there is a God who will be known.

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., theology — Anthony Biller @ 5:40 pm

Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”   John 18:38Christ Almighty Vasnetsov

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”   John 14:6

Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness   Ephesians 6:14

We believe in truth. Truth is important. Arguably, truth is popular.  Bad guys lie. Good guys tell the truth. In a just court of law, truth is supposed to win. We want to know the truth and often pay top dollar to get “the truth,” particularly if we get it before others.

Why?

I’ve long found it ironic how militant atheists claim to be so passionate about what they claim to be true about God.  Why should they care?  If they’re correct and someone believes a falsehood, there’s no ultimate consequence because there are no ultimate consequences, aside from annihilation.  In contrast, if Christians are correct, there are eternal consequences for being wrong about the truth.

We know the truth in our hearts.  Perhaps it’s part of being made in the image of God.  Our fallen natures affects our relationship with the truth, yet the truth remains.

Nearly all people will speak in terms of what is true or otherwise presume that “truth” exists.  Yet, the fact that we’re certain truth exists proves something.

“Truth” presupposes God and consistent with that, Scripture makes it clear that truth is not just a “what.”  Truth is personal; truth is a “who.” The existence of “truth” proves there is God. Further, the Bible explains that Christ is the source and foundation of all truth, and is in fact truth incarnate.

Think about it.  If there is no God, i.e. a transcendent and eternal intelligence beyond our dimensions of space and time, then the materialists are most likely correct — everything we see happened by blind chance.  Mechanical processes led to what and to whom we are and what we believe.  But that cannot be.  Truth presupposes a transcendent standard.

If I smashed ten bottles, I would have ten smash patterns and a mess.  No more.  No less.  That’s it.  If I smashed ten million bottles, I’d have a bigger mess and larger smash pattern.  If I continued that smashing for billions and billions of years I can expect lots of patterns.  But that’s it.  It would neither be true or false.  It would just be.

If our reality is simply the result of random, unguided physical processes, we would be nothing more but an extremely complex and unlikely “smash pattern” of sorts.  No more.  No less.  The pattern is neither true, nor false.  It simply is. If we were simply an evolved mechanical pattern, there would be no apparent reason for our consciousness to create standards, let alone deeply felt standards, that transcend our smash pattern.  That would be pointless. But indeed, we hunger for more than accurate observations, we hunger for truth.

Notwithstanding the best efforts of Zen Buddhists, we’re hard-wired to believe in “truth.”  We pursue truth and we presuppose its existence. It’s such a natural part of what we are and how we’re made that we hardly question its existence.  Whether you believe in objective or subjective truth, it’s still “truth.”

The universe provides compelling reasons to encourage and corroborate our belief in truth.  Instead of finding random smash patterns, we find order and precision.  Everywhere.  There are ordered laws that govern and control how matter and time relate.  From where did such ordering come if not the mind of God?  Why would thoughtless, random time and matter promulgate any laws, let alone intricate and amazing laws and order from the uniform weighting of sub-atomic particles to the movement of universes.

There is a temporal aspect to truth. Truth was, is and will be. There is also an empirical form of truth.  From the tiniest particles to the largest galaxies, we do not find randomness.  We find order.  We can know where Jupiter will be tomorrow based on those laws. We can know that the snow forming in the clouds overhead will fall to earth.

The transcendent nature of truth becomes more apparent when we leave temporal observation in favor of non-observational truths.  Put in other words, we can “see” truth more when it “shows” itself in those things we cannot see. Truth exists beyond what we can see and measure.  For example, it’s self-evident that the statement “all knowledge is empirical” immediately collapses under its own self-contradiction.  Moral truths provide a “clean” example of transcendent truth, e.g. it is wrong to kill an innocent person. We “know” that is true. We do not need to observe murders to ascertain whether it is “wrong” or to derive a definition of “wrong.”

Transcendent truth runs even deeper than morality though, to the very forces that animate our existence.  In my experience, the most important truths at work in the lives of individuals are faith, hope and love.  Yet, faith, hope and love are not really “forces.” They are not empirical.  They transcend space and time, yet the reality or truth of faith, hope and love (or lack thereof) provide the greatest forces (or devastation) in our lives.  With neither faith, hope or love, a person perishes.

Finally, truth manifests most clearly in the person of Jesus Christ, whom scripture reveals as the truth.  Scripture teaches that through Him all things were made.  As explained above, time and space corroborate truth by the way Christ ordered and structured creation.  This certainty of ordering and being able to observe and know the ordering is the foundation of science. It is also the fingerprints of Christ.  Scripture also teaches that when Christ is in us, then we will be true.  Finally, the Word teaches that if we teach the truth, we teach the Gospel of Christ.  Christ was, is and forever will be the fount and foundation of truth. Outside Him, there is no truth.

We live, move and have our being in His creation.  His truth surrounds us and testifies to Him.  The soul’s hunger for the truth is no more and no less than its hunger for our eternal Lord, creator and savior Jesus Christ, the ultimate truth.  Amen!

August 10, 2012

Is there really a Richard Dawkins?

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., humor — Steve Knaus @ 8:39 am

The Dawkins Delusion

July 9, 2012

Creative Raptors Spotted at the Smithsonian

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., humor — Anthony Biller @ 5:21 pm

If there’s one thing the atheist sophisticates know that they know, it’s  there’s simply nothing worthwhile at the Creation Museum.  Just a bunch of rednecks and rubes clinging to their Bibles, and of course, it’s the lair of their arch bogeyman – the Bible apologist par excellence Ken Ham.  Of course, according to this same crowd, the Smithsonian is everything the Creation Museum is not — worldly, sophisticated, and relevant.  While this atheistic dogma is unfounded – the Creation Museum is nothing if not sophisticated, world-class, and full of dogma-challenging formation – the atheist’s prejudice made for some humorous theater this weekend.

Apparently having missed the memo about there being nothing to see at the Creation Museum, the Smithsonian is featuring one of the Creation Museum’s dinosaurs as the centerpiece of a Smithsonian IMAX marketing campaign.  This was recently discovered by a young girl visiting the Smithsonian who pointed out to her father that the Smithsonian’s prominent marketing display of a dinosaurs was none other than one of the raptors from the Creation Museum – museum sleuth and Creation Museum raptor (and Smithsonian specimen):

Ken Ham reported on his blog this weekend:

That phenomenally sculpted dinosaur was designed and built at the Creation Museum by AiG sculptors and designers. We can understand why the Smithsonian … chose this photo of the dinosaur—the dinosaur is so well done. … [W]e would be happy to give permission to the Smithsonian to use this photo if they request it, but I’m sure once the word is out that this photo is of a dinosaur at the Creation Museum—well, I wonder what they will do?  … Now, we are prepared to offer the Smithsonian a license for free, though it would require our copyright notice near the dinosaurs. Regardless, we are not asking the Smithsonian to throw out all their brochures with our dinosaur on them.

I’m not sure what the Smithsonian thinks of this, but the militant atheists are already “sighing” and gnashing their teeth over the implicit recognition of the quality of Creation Museum displays from an institution they respect and hold dear.  I think Ken ought to offer the Smithsonian a KEN HAM signatured copy of the raptor for them to use on all Smithsonian marketing, free of charge.

June 10, 2012

Clash of Creationist Titans

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., video — Anthony Biller @ 9:35 pm

Given my involvement with and support for Answers in Genesis (“AiG”) and the Creation Museum, Christian friends occasionally ask me whether young-earth creationism is really so important.  Does it really matter?

In the ultimate sense, the eternal sense, the answer is “no.”  One’s belief on precisely how humanity came into existence is not going to open the doors of heaven or close the gates of hell for a person on the day of judgment.  Of course, ultimately, only one thing matters for us.  In the ultimate sense, the only question that really matters is whether one has accepted Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and personal savior.

Again, the creation-evolution-old earth-young earth debate is not even the most important issue directly facing the church today.  Related to the first issue, the most important issue facing the church today is reaching the current generations with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Also of great importance is teaching the current and next generation about the truth and authority of scripture – to include its culturally unpopular teachings on the depravity of man, reality of an eternal hell and judgment, and the exclusivity of Christ.  Also related directly to the authority of scripture is the importance of the church governing itself and its members according to the clear guidelines in the New Testament.  In my opinion, these are all “more important” issues than the age of the Earth.

Yet, as the temporal church literally rests on the Earth, the above issues rest entirely on the authority of scripture.  From where I sit, the church, at least in the West, is failing to reach the current generations with the truths of Jesus Christ because the church has lost confidence in the authority of scripture.  The western church lacks the courage of its convictions that scripture is the inerrant word of God because the church is losing its convictions in that regard.  And there is no more obvious and glaring example of this over the last fifty years than in what the church has been doing with the first eleven chapters of the book of Genesis, and in particular with the first two chapters of Genesis regarding creation and related creation passages.

Regarding creation, far too many in our churches and seminaries have invested countless hours and effort trying to figure out ever more clever ways to “fit” billions of years and evolutionary processes into the Bible’s revelation concerning God’s creation of the world and everything in it.  As I’ve pointed out before, this is entirely unnecessary given the threadbare nature of evolutionary theory.  See e.g. here and here.  Regardless, the ongoing compromise is fact, in fact, it’s the dominant position within the western church. Sadly, as AiG discovered through its survey evidence published in Already Compromised, our theologians much more than our Christian scientists lead the charge with this unnecessary compromise. As Ken Ham repeats and repeats and repeats, this compromise of God’s word is not just a compromise, it also undermines fundamental doctrines of our faith. Most importantly, it undermines the foundations of the gospel.  Not surprisingly and as a direct result, it undermines the faith of our children, again as researched and written about by AiG in Already Gone.

All of this is background for a recent and unplanned debate this past May 31 between Ken Ham, the face of AiG and the Creation Museum, and Dr. Hugh Ross, perhaps the most well-known old-earth creationist.

TBN invited these two men, as well as Ray Comfort, Dr. John A. Bloom, Sean McDowell, and Eric Hovind to be “interviewed” by host Matt Crouch.  TBN said it was not a debate.  Two minutes before the show started, Mr. Crouch announced to these guests that they’d all be interviewed “together” on the show.  In making this decision, the disarming and charming Mr. Crouch set the groundwork for a great debate.  In fact, that’s exactly what happened.  With this background information, the first twenty minutes or so of the “interview” is amusing as these guests try to get their bearings and figure out what’s going on.  Likely due to intelligent design and not blind chance, the guests were evenly divided between young earth (Ham, Comfort, Hovind) and old earth (Ross, Bloom, McDowell).  After about a half-hour, the guests settled in for the exchange of conflicting ideas and the debate was thereafter fairly dominated by Ham and Ross, which is a good thing for the audience as each man is firmly in command of his beliefs and able to communicate them well.  They’ve debated several times and it shows as they parry back and forth regarding what scripture reveals regarding how God created and its implications for believers.

This surprise debate has turned into a surprise hit. As of this posting, there have been over 35,000 views already on TBN’s website, and they haven’t yet released it to Youtube.  Like the “surprise” debate itself, viewing it lures you in and doesn’t let you go.  It’s the most engaging theological debate of recent memory.

Ken Ham states:

Many viewers have found that this debate has turned into a great teaching tool to help Christians understand how to defend the Christian faith, and to get them to realize that the age of the earth issue is not a side issue, but one that really is an authority issue about the Bible—a battle between the authority of the Word of God and the beliefs of fallible, sinful humans.  I have heard of professors using this debate to teach students the real foundational issue over a lack of accepting biblical authority that is so destructive to the church and culture.

Pastor Don Landis, who serves as AiG’s chairman of the board and is the founder of Jackson Hole Bible College, recently explained that while the creation debate within the church is about the authority of scripture, it is also about the character and nature of Jesus Christ.  The old-earth compromisers invariably have Christ as the author of death and disease, well before the fall of mankind.  This has substantial theological implications.

If you are a Christian who takes the word of God seriously, please take the time to watch the debate, here.  Please also listen to Pastor Landis’ important analysis here: 2012-06-08 Don Landis.  You will be blessed by these messages.

God Bless!

April 14, 2012

New advances in evolution

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., humor, video — Steve Knaus @ 11:04 am

February 3, 2012

Monitoring Christian Science

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., video — Anthony Biller @ 11:42 am

August 27, 2011

Questioning Beginnings

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc. — Anthony Biller @ 8:43 am

Ann Coulter on the media’s handling of evolution and politics: THE FLASH MOB METHOD OF SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY

Dr. Albert Mohler reviews NPR’s recent developments concerning the dispute over human origins within the church: False Start? The Controversy Over Adam and Eve Heats Up

Dr. Georgia Purdom has started an interesting series: Does “Worldview-Neutral” Science Exist? Part One

August 26, 2011

THE CHURCH-STATE PENDULUM SWINGS BOTH WAYS

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., homeschooling — deborahlawyer @ 8:45 am

Activists continue to use the worn-out phrase “separation of church and state” to eject religious expression from the public square.  But the Establishment Clause cuts both ways, prohibiting government hostility toward religion as well as the open endorsement that ruffles unbelieving feathers.

Advocates for Faith and Freedom is a fine Christian organization in Southern California that has been litigating Farnan v. Capistrano Unified School District.  (See http://www.faith-freedom.com.)  The plaintiff is Chad Farnan, a courageous Christian high school student who brought a case against his Advanced Placement European History teacher.  The teacher repeatedly ridiculed Chad’s faith: “When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can’t see the truth.”  A federal district judge issued a favorable ruling, finding an Establishment Clause violation when the teacher expressed “an unequivocal belief that creationism is ‘superstitious nonsense.'”  Unfortunately, the Ninth Circuit decided to skirt the constitutional issue.  The Court admitted that a teacher’s hostile comments about religion might cross the line, but granted immunity to the teacher because they could “not conclude that a reasonable teacher standing in [the teacher’s] shoes would have been on notice that his actions might be unconstitutional.”

Advocates for Faith and Freedom summed it up well:  “Just as public school teachers are not allowed to promote one religion in the classroom, they should not be able to use their classrooms as a platform to attack religion because the pendulum swings both ways.”  A.F.F. will seek further review in the Ninth Circuit, then petition the U.S. Supreme Court if that is unsuccessful.  Let’s pray that one of these courts gets it right.  The pendulum swings both ways—no endorsement, no hostility.

August 18, 2011

POISONING OUR YOUTH—OR PROTECTING OUR FREEDOM?

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., culture, entertainment, homeschooling — deborahlawyer @ 2:40 pm

Recently the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that violent video games enjoy First Amendment protection—even when sold to our youth.  Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, 113 S.Ct. 2729 (2011).  The Court struck down a California law that prohibited the sale or rental of these games to children under 18.  At first glance this might sound like a victory for those who want to poison our young people.

Not so fast!  Decisions like this cut both ways.  The First Amendment protects a lot of speech that we as Christians find highly offensive.  But it also protects our right to
preach the gospel—to people of all ages
.  I used to live in California, where I participated in volunteer ministry to children.  I volunteered for Child Evangelism Fellowship, an organization that directs its efforts to children at state fairs and other public places.  On Sunday mornings, I accompanied other volunteers from Pacific Youth Correctional Ministries to a county facility for children removed from their homes for neglect and abuse.  We held chapel and Sunday School for those children.  I was also part of a large chaplaincy program at Olive Crest, a private nonprofit that operates group homes for abused children.  If atheists in America had their way, there would be laws prohibiting this type of religious evangelism to minors.  Look at what the Supreme Court just said in the Brown decision:

And what is good for First Amendment rights of speech must be good for First Amendment rights of religion as well: It could be made criminal to admit a person under 18 to church, or to give a person under 18 a religious tract, without his parents’ prior consent.

Modern atheism has taken on an “evangelistic” fervor.  Atheists do not merely reject religion for themselves—they insist that religion is dangerous.  Authors like
Christopher Hitchins, Richard Dawkins, and Samuel Harris are on a rampage to stamp out religion.  In the legal arena, atheists have removed prayer and Bible reading from our public schools and filed a multitude of lawsuits to eject religious expression from the public square.  Meanwhile, anti-Christian materials corrupt school curriculum—evolution, sex education, homosexuality.  Parental complaints fall on deaf ears in the courts of “Christian America.”

Parents have the constitutional right to direct the upbringing of their children in their homes and schools.  They should be able to opt out of objectionable programs and actively participate in decisions about what the schools are teaching their children.  Government ought to support them—not cram corrupted teachings down the throats of our families.   The recent Brown decision affirms this, observing that

…the state has the power to enforce parental prohibitions — to require, for example, that the promoters of a rock concert exclude those minors whose parents have advised the promoters that their children are forbidden to attend. But it does not follow that the state has the power to prevent children from hearing or saying anything without their parents’ prior consent.

If the government starts making it illegal to present certain material to minors on the basis of content or viewpoint – the results won’t necessarily be what Christians would want, especially in today’s secular climate.  Christian parents must be vigilant.  If they don’t want their children playing violent video games, they need to supervise them—bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  It isn’t the government’s job to do that for them.

June 17, 2011

“I’m a biblical creationist.”

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., video — Anthony Biller @ 6:22 pm

What’s in a name?

Sometimes controversy.  A boy named Sue, fundamentalist, fascist, liberal (or liberals renaming themselves (again) “progressive”), etc. … Names can evoke powerful responses.  Some say controversial names generate interest.  The label or mislabel of something or someone often introduces presumptions or starting points for how people, ideas, and things are initially perceived.

Answers in Genesis recently published an interesting article on whether the name “young earth creationist” is the most accurate name for those that read the first chapter of Genesis literally regarding origins.

“I’m a young-earth creationist.”

To evolutionists, a person claiming this title is akin to saying, “I’m an anti-science mystic.” To Christians who have compromised with naturalistic presuppositions, young-earth creation implies just one more opinion on the earth’s beginning.

Many Christians have conceded to uniformitarian dogma by imposing theories on Genesis like the day-age view, gap theory, and the framework hypothesis. Christians taking on names—progressive creationist, theistic evolutionist, or even young-earth creationist—implies Genesis 1–11 does not have one clear interpretation.

By making our primary title “young-earth creationists,” we seem to agree that the debate is merely over the scientific evidence of the age of the earth. We get caught up in arguments over whether the fossil record, radiometric dating, and celestial bodies are evidence for a young or old earth. While examining the evidence is valuable, the issue is not the evidence itself. The main issue is our starting point for interpreting the evidence—either fallible human opinions or infallible Scripture (Psalm 119:1602 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, the title of those who hold to biblical authority should identify their starting point.

“I’m a biblical creationist.”

This title accurately conveys the biblical Christian’s starting point. Two starting points exist: man’s opinion or God’s Word. Creation compromise positions come about when Christians start with man’s opinion of long ages and then reinterpret Scripture to fit the uniformitarian beliefs of God-rejecting naturalists.

See the rest of this excellent article at: Don’t Call Us Young-Earth Creationists

May 13, 2011

Did “superbug” Staphylococcus sciuri “evolve”?

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc. — Anthony Biller @ 10:44 am

See Dr. Georgia Purdom’s Bacteria Keep “Outsmarting” Antibiotics

April 23, 2011

Obvious Truths of Evolution

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc. — Anthony Biller @ 5:08 pm

Popular sentiment treats “evolution” as fact and teaches that evolution provides a compelling belief system for the origin of life on this planet. (When I use the term “evolution,” unless otherwise specified, I mean “molecules to man evolution”).  There are at least two aspects to evolution: (1) presently observable phenomena, and (2) historical inferences based on a naturalistic worldview to explain the present evidence, what I’ve referred to as “evolution as origins” or “molecules to man” belief.  These two aspects of “evolution” should be distinguished from each other when evolution is discussed.  Further, I believe there is a tension between these two facets of what we call evolution.  Regardless, as explained below, the evolution as origins aspect of evolution is a threadbare belief.  Not only is it undeserving of its dogmatic following, it utterly fails to present a basis for Christians to compromise fundamentals of the faith in general and the teachings of the Genesis account in particular.

Some critics of biblical creation create straw men arguments that creationists reject science or that creationists reject evolution.  The first charge is generally utterly false—when one is dealing with “observational science” (knowledge gained through direct observation and based on the repeatable test—knowledge that builds our technology).  The second allegation is only partially true – we reject “evolution” when it means “molecules to man” belief systems.

The “problem” with Darwinism, like any “good” lie, is that there’s some undeniable truth to it.  Specifically, what is called natural selection is not disputed.  Darwin’s observation and “discovery” of changes he observed and called natural selection are accurate.  Such changes are observable, and entirely consistent with what the Bible teaches concerning kinds.There are observable changes within a kind (or “Family” as kind in most instances probably equates to the “Family” level of classification).  The second aspect of Darwinian evolution, i.e. Darwin’s extrapolation of evolution (the observable changes) as the engine for life and the myriad kinds or families over time is, however, highly incompatible with the teachings of Christianity in general and with the Genesis account in particular.  Darwin’s ideas based on naturalism (regardless of how a secularist explains it), would mean that in nature there is no design, no purpose, just blind, pitiless indifference, which is exactly how Darwin described it.  That assertion and that component of evolution is false and I reject it.

Because Jesus Christ is God, we should give Scripture a strong presumption of validity, from Genesis to Revelation.

Biblical creationists do not reject “observational science.”  The conflict is between two different accounts of “historical science.”  We therefore come to different conclusions because of our different starting points.  It’s not really an argument about evidence.  We all observe the same thing.  The debate properly presented is about interpretations based on presuppositions.

Is the evidence compelling in favor of materialistic evolution?  No.  In fact, it’s threadbare, and evolutionists have to come up with secondary and tertiary assumptions to explain why it doesn’t really fit with their evolutionary beliefs.  Here’s my “top 10″ evidentiary list concerning evolution and illustrating that observing such in the present does not confirm the belief in evolution, but in fact confirms that the correct starting point to interpret such evidence is God’s Word.

1.  You just don’t get there from a plain reading of scripture.  What the prophets and Apostles taught under inspiration from the Holy Spirit does not in any way support the evolutionary belief of origins.

2.  What is called “Natural Selection” is a demonstrable component of evolutionary belief, but does not add information or complexity to the world.  To the contrary, selecting logically necessitates a corresponding elimination.

3. The engine of change, genetic mutation, does not provide compelling evidence of increasing information and the sustainability or complexity of life. A genetic mutation for humans nearly universally means no change (neutral mutations) or detrimental change (death and disease).  Many mutations in the natural world result in a loss or impairment of important genetic information.  Even the few and far in between ‘beneficial’ mutations, such as antibiotic resistant bacteria, demonstrate offsetting losses.  Antibiotic resistant bacteria survive under constraints of the medication but are weaker in a natural, un-medicated environment.

4.  There is no mechanism that allows for an organism to change from one kind of an organism to another.  Natural selection “selects” from the available genetic information.  Genetic mutations generally degrade information or are net-neutral.  There simply has been no observed mechanism for “evolving” incredible complexities of information necessary to construct the remarkable features and complexities of life in and around us.

5. Endangered species list: the list exists.  The present evidence does not demonstrate the formation of new ‘kinds’ or families over time—even though we have observed a few new ‘species’ within certain kinds.  What we see occurring now and in the fossil record is a steady and ongoing rate of extinction.  “Natural selection” eliminates life forms; specifically, this process involves the weeding out within species of variations that are not well suited to the present environment.  It’s ironic that dinosaurs are held up as iconic for evolution.  They are instead irrefutable evidence of an entire kind being wiped out through natural processes – the exact opposite of evolution. The process of natural selection is not creating new kinds or families; it only “fine tunes” kinds and families to their environment by weeding out the unfit.  There is no such thing as a new families list.  There is a growing endangered species list—which results eventually in entire families becoming extinct.

6.  The missing link between man and ape is still missing.

7.  Any credible idea how life first started by naturalistic processes of matter is also still missing.  Despite well over a century of concentrated intelligent effort, the method for chance or accidental creation of a code system and information system as found in DNA , under conditions purportedly prevalent millions of years ago, have not been discovered.

8.  The mathematical specificity of the simplest DNA – T1 phage. See here for explanation.  See also Georgia Purdom, Water Flea Has More Genes Than Human.

9.  The fossil record does not show eons of steady, incremental evolution.  Instead, we find billions of dead things, buried in fairly proximate layers, scattered over all portions of the earth.  Evolutionists, based on their specific beliefs, interpret this evidence as an explosion of biodiversity over time.  Or, it could be (and in fact is) the record of a worldwide cataclysmic event that killed billions of living creatures in close temporal proximity—a different interpretation based on the revelation in God’s Word concerning the Flood of Noah’s Day, and its various consequences.  The slight variations in where the creatures are found in those layers are likely attributable to when they died, and if it was a worldwide flood, also if and when they sank—how they were buried in specific locales.

10.  Myths and ancient records.  Our ancient “legends” and “myths” are filled with tales of men killing giant lizards.  There are stories and pictures of dragons across continents and going back thousands of years:

  • A Sumerian story dating back to 2000 BC or earlier tells of a hero namedGilgamesh, who, when he went to fell cedars in a remote forest, encountered a huge vicious dragon that he slew, cutting off its head as a trophy.
  • When Alexander the Great (c. 330 BC) and his soldiers marched into India, theyfound that the Indians worshipped huge hissing reptiles that they kept in caves.
  • The Norsemen, or Vikings, regularly carved dragon heads into the bows of their boats.
  • China is renowned for its dragon stories, and dragons are prominent on Chinese pottery,embroidery, and carvings.
  • England and several other cultures retain the story of St. George, who slew a dragon that lived in a cave.
  • There is the story of a tenth-century Irishman who wrote of his encounter with what appears to have been a Stegosaurus.
  • In the 1500s, a European scientific book, Historia Animalium, listed several livinganimals that we would call dinosaurs. A well-known naturalist of the time, Ulysses Aldrovandus, recorded an encounter between a peasant named Baptista and a dragon whose description fits that of the small dinosaur Tanystropheus. The encounter was on May 13, 1572,
    near Bologna in Italy, and the peasant killed the dragon.
  •  Petroglyphs (drawings carved on rock) of dinosaur like creatures have also been found.  See GenesisPark Room 1: the Dinosaurs;Dinosaur Petroglyphs at Natural Bridges National Monument.
  • The book of Job, considered by many to be the oldest book in the Bible (circa 1500 BC) discusses creatures that demonstrate the glory of God.  The book clearly describes what could be a  dinosaur and also a fire-breathing sea dragon—an animal  known to the reader.  See Job 40:15-18 (something that sounds like a brachiosaur); Job 41 (some form of fierce water dragon).

See Ken Ham, What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs? ; Ishmael Abrahams, Still Good Evidence.

We do not see nature creating increasing complexities of life and biodiversity.  Instead, we observe “nature’s blind indifference” destroying life forms and slowly reducing the total amount of genetic information.  The fossil record and present observation suggests there was more biodiversity and total genetic information in the past.  That is consistent with the truth: there was a magnificent creation, followed by a fall away from the Creator and a long period of death, decline, suffering and extinction, to include a devastating Global Flood, just as Genesis teaches.

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