U of W Senior Austin Morgan Debates Dennis Prager

Dennis is joined by protester Austin Morgan, Senior at University of Wyoming, regarding the “fuss” [lies] over Dennis’ speech Thursday. Dennis has been labeled by the protesters as anti-academic, a rape advocate, and of spewing hate speech against blacks, women, Muslims, and fellow Jews. I include a call from the following hour regarding Matthew Shepard. See more at NY-POST.

Here is more via THE COLLEGE FIX:

A student government diversity leader has vowed to work “tirelessly” to shut down conservative Dennis Prager’s upcoming talk at the University of Wyoming.

So far, Hunter McFarland has amassed a group of nearly three dozen peers who say on social media they plan to help protest the talk, titled “Why Socialism Makes People Selfish.”

McFarland, director of diversity for the university’s student government, told The College Fixshe wants Prager’s talk to be canceled because he “is an anti-academic, rape advocate who spews hate speech against Muslims, Black people, Latinas, and many other groups who deserve to be protected at the University of Wyoming.”

[….]

According to the Laramie Boomerang, McFarland told Jessie Leach, president of the university’s Turning Point USA chapter, in an email that “If you continue, you will have the entire campus against you. This will be another Milo situation.”

McFarland was referring to anti-feminist provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who has had speeches canceled at multiple campuses nationwide and was prevented from speaking earlier this year at UC Berkeley because of riots.

A Facebook event page for the protest against Prager currently list about three dozen people planning to attend the demonstration.

However, Prager vowed he won’t let the protesters derail his visit to the Wyoming campus.

“This event will take place as planned,” he said in a press release.

Prager said he intends to answer every question students throw his way, arguing the attempt to silence him is the latest attack against conservatives appearing on college campuses.

“This is yet another example of the illiberal left’s attempt to shut down free speech on college campuses. Rather than simply choosing not to attend, or offering a dissenting viewpoint in an informed, respectful and courteous manner, their preferred approach is to intimidate and shut down conservative speakers,” he said….

Paul Krugman Gets Rude Awakening

(Originally posted in July of 2012, re-posted as a response to Dennis Prager asking if Paul Krugman has ever debated anyone. RARELY, but here is one of the few examples)

Just so many know, Krugman never debates, and this is one of the only times I am aware of he has. From Video Description:

Tyler Durden submitted this much longer presentation (which I shortened) over at Zero Hedge, and points out the emotional clash between the two economists that is sure to be watched by the many free-marketers out there. Tyler entitled this posting, “The Ultimate Krugman Take-Down,” …he continues:

Forget Ali – Frazier; ignore Santelli – Liesman; dismiss Yankees – Red Sox; never mind Silva – Sonnen; the new undisputed standard by which all showdowns will be judged happened in Spain over the weekend. During a debate on Europe’s crisis, Pedro Schwartz (a mild-mannered Spanish ‘Austrian’ economics professor) took on the heavyweight Paul ‘I coulda been a Fed Chair contender’ Krugman, and – in our humble opinion – wiped the floor with his Keynesian philosophy. From the medicinal use of more debt to fix too much debt, to the Japanization of world economies and the demand-side bias of every- and any-thing – interested only in the short-term economic growth; the gentlemanly Spaniard notes, with regard to the European crisis, the fact that “Keynesians got us into this mess and now we have to sacrifice our principals so that they can get us out of this mess”. Humble and generous in his praise – though definitively serious with his criticism – Schwartz opines: “Often Nobel prize winners are tempted to pontificate on matters that are outside the specialty in which they have excelled,” noting “the mantle of authority whereby what ever they say – whether sensible or not – is accepted with resignation from some and enthusiasm by others.” Krugman’s red-faced anger is evident at the conclusion as he even refused to shake Schwartz’s hand after the debate.

Forcing Morality (Updated)

Originally Posted August 2010 (Conversation was from 2001)

Susan said:

“No SeanG, unlike you, we are not forcing morality on anybody. We are for allowing a choice.  NOWHERE in the pro-choice agenda is there anything about making abortion mandatory.” (Emphasis in the original)

Answer: For women, Roe means more than having control over their bodies; it allows them to plan her life. If there’s a contraceptive failure, the law protects her, permits her to decide whether-or-not to become a parent.

Once contraception has failed, the women have ALL the rights. She can get an abortion. If she decides to have the child, she can make the father pay support, whether or not he wanted it. According to Roe, the man’s obligation begins and ends with his wallet. This is true, but money facilitates existence (one of the reasons an abortion is allowed… monetary standard of living). The quality of life is measured in dollars and cents.

Inarguably, the man is required to pay support for eighteen years and will have his standard of living diminished (severely so, if his circumstances are modest). Certain career, education, and family options will be foreclosed – for the man at least.

(Sound familiar? These are excuses for the women to get “off the hook” – e.g., abort a life – but men don’t have that choice.)

If maximizing personal freedom is the primary goal of our legal system, why should men be held to their traditional obligations (supporting the children they’ve fathered) while women are liberated from theirs?

Question:

  • “Do you believe the government should be able to force someone to become a parent?”

Well? This is precisely what is being done by the government à as I speak! You would argue that the government should stay out of your affairs when choosing whether to become a parent (i.e., to abort or not), however, you wish the government to be involved in telling the father that he has to become a parent and supply all the necessary needs for that child. Thus, you are forcing your morality on me Susan (as a defined group) and using the power of the Federal Government to boot!!! You cannot say any differently with what I just have shown above. This belief is self-refuting and shows you to-be-the hypocrite, and not me. You see… I am for equal rights under the Constitution. A “right” has no “moderation (see below). You, on the other-hand, are for special rights inferred upon groups of people.

An aside: in the Laws of Logic, the Law of Non-Contradiction is the most important and can thus be stated like this – “A” cannot both be “A” and “non-A” at the same time. This law is valid in science, law, politics, philosophy, etc. Any theory which purports something, cannot also deny that purport’ion. As in this case, the pro-choice movement is purported to be about liberating – “civil” rights – etc., however, in doing this they deny to some what they want for others… it is self-refuting, a non-logical theory that is really about special rights rather than equal protection under the law.

An Update via Gay Patriot:

Good point: If women can’t be “forced” to become mothers, why should men be “forced” to become fathers?

Expectant fathers in Sweden should have the right to ‘legally abort’ their unborn child up until the 18th week of pregnancy, the youth wing of the country’s Liberal Party has proposed.

Swedish Liberal Youth argues that men should be given an equal say in whether or not they wish to become a parent, and be granted the option to cut any lawful responsibilities.

The suggested ‘legal abortion’ would be irreversible and would see the man renounce all parental duties and rights to see the child once it has been born.

This completely at odds with the position of the American Feminist Left which is that men should be forced to provide child support even for children that are proven to be someone else’s…

(read the rest)

Via Life Training Institute:

  • Student: You made some good points in your talk, but you shouldn’t force your morality on me or anyone else who wants an abortion.  It’s our choice, isn’t it?
  • Me: Are you saying I’m wrong?
  • Student: I’m not sure.  What do you mean?
  • Me: Well, you think I’m wrong, don’t you?  If not, why are you correcting me?  And if so, then you’re forcing your morality on me, aren’t you?
  • Student: No, I just want to know why you are telling people what they can and cannot do with their lives.
  • Me: Are you saying I shouldn’t do that?  That it’s wrong?  If so, then why are you telling me what I can and cannot do?  Why are you forcing your morality on me?
  • Student (regrouping): I’m confused.  Look, the simple fact is that pro-choicers are not forcing women to have abortions, but you want to force women to be mothers.  If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.  But you shouldn’t force your beliefs on others.  All I am saying is that pro-life people should be tolerant of other views.
  • Me: Is that your view?
  • Student: Yes.
  • Me: Why are you forcing it on me?  That’s not very tolerant, is it?
  • Student: What do you mean?  I think women should have a choice and you don’t.  It’s your view that’s intolerant, wouldn’t you say?
  • Me: Okay, so you think I’m wrong.  What is it you want pro-lifers like me to do?
  • Student: You should let women decide for themselves and tolerate other views.
  • Me: Tell me, what exactly do pro-choicers believe?
  • Student: We believe everyone should decide for themselves and tolerate other views.
  • Me: So you are demanding that pro-lifers become pro-choicers?
  • Student: What? No way.
  • Me: With all due respect, here’s what I hear you saying.  Unless I agree with you, you will not tolerate my view.  Privately, you’ll let me think whatever I want, but you don’t want me to act as if my view is true.  It seems you think tolerance is a virtue if and only if people agree with you.

(More Media)

Reason and Faith (From An Old Debate-Updated)

Certain words can mean very different things to different people. For instance, if I say to an atheist, “I have faith in God,” the atheist assumes I mean that my belief in God has nothing to do with evidence. But this isn’t what I mean by faith at all. When I say that I have faith in God, I mean that I place my trust in God based on what I know about him.

(Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science, p. 38.)

Nightmyre, you said:

  • “Christianity, and many other religions, put forth the concept of Heaven and Hell. Obviously, there is no basis in REALITY for these two locations. You cannot look on a map and pinpoint the physical location of heaven and hell. However the religion gives you the TOOLS NECESSARY to reach this goal. And using these tools requires a large amount of faith, because you are NEVER certain that you will reach your goal.”

You show a very tainted view of what Christianity actually teaches.  You seem to clump many beliefs (not just Christianity) into one set or way of thinking.  This is not only disrespectful to me (although it really doesn’t bother me), it is disrespectful to others of various faiths.  I make it a goal to, at the least, when I deal with other faiths, to really delve into what they actually teach and believe.  I will post some stuff here to assist in showing you where you are off the mark in just one area of the Christian faith.

Obviously, if the God of the universe [the Judeo-Christian God] has revealed Himself truly, and if Christ is the only true way of salvation, then we would expect convincing evidence to substantiate this. Not just some evidence, or inferior evidence offering a dozen equally valid options in the choice of their religion; but superior evidence, offering the thinking man only the most logical choice. Dr. John Warwick Montgomery asks:

…I want to insist that there is not a single item in Christianity, upon which our souls’ salvation depends, that is only “probably” true. In each case, the evidence supplied is sufficient to establish conclusive proof regarding the truth of the Christian faith. This is not to say, however, that such a case is psychologically compelling, so that one could not reject the evidence. That would be an abuse of free will. I do argue, however, that one can be absolutely certain (intellectually) of such matters as the existence of God, the deity of Christ, the inspiration of the Bible, etc.

“What if a revelational truth-claim did not turn on questions of theology and religious philosophy-on any kind of esoteric, fideistic method available only to those who are already “true believers” – but on the very reasoning employed in the law to determine questions of fact?… Eastern faiths and Islam, to take familiar examples, ask the uncommitted seeker to discover their truth experientially: the faith-experience will be self-validating…. Christianity, on the other hand, declares that the truth of its absolute claims rests squarely on certain historical facts, open to ordinary investigation…. The advantage of a jurisprudential approach lies in the difficulty of jettisoning it: legal standards of evidence developed as essential means of resolving the most intractable disputes in society … Thus one cannot very well throw out legal reasoning merely because its application to Christianity results in a verdict for the Christian faith.”

Dr. John Warwick Montgomery makes the point again that “the historic Christian claim differs qualitatively from the claims of all other world religions at the epistemological point: on the issue of testability” (“The Jury Returns: A Juridical Defense of Christianity,” in Evidence for Faith: Deciding the God Question, p. 319).  A good example of someone taking the faith up on its claims were Viggo Olsen, M.D., author of Daktar: Diplomat in Bangladesh, and his wife, who were both skeptics who…

“decided to embark on a detailed study of Christianity with the intention of rejecting it on intellectual grounds.  Little by little, as they studied works that deal with data common to apologetics and evidences… they were led step by step to see the truthfulness of Christianity.  Their study was no minor investigation or causal perusal.  It was an exhaustive search…” (Frederick R. Howe, The Role of Apologetics and Evangelism).

And this claim to truth includes the possibility of self-defeating constructs within the framework of Christian philosophy, which I have shown to be in the atheists philosophy.  Mortimer J. Adler is one of the world’s leading philosophers, chairman of the board of editors for the Encyclopedia Britannica, architect of the Great Books of the Western World series and its remarkable Syntopicon, he is also the director of the prestigious Institute for Philosophical Research in Chicago.  Adler says, “I believe Christianity is the only logical, consistent faith in the world” (Christianity Today, Nov. 19, 1990).  Did you get that?  One of the greatest philosophers of our time said that unlike Christianity, every religion that claims to have an epistemology is self-defeating.

Dr. Drew Trotter, a Cambridge University graduate, argues convincingly that “logic and the evidence both point to the reality of absolute truth….”  George F. Gilder, one of our century’s “greatest minds,” and author of Wealth and Poverty and Telecosm, says “Christianity is true, and its truth will be discovered anywhere you look very far”] (David A. Noebel, Understanding the Times: The Religious Worldviews of Our Day and the Search for Truth, p. 13).  Principle at Wycliff Hall, Alister McGrath, author of Intellectual Don’t Need God and Other Myths, says the evidence for Christianity is akin to that found in doing good scientific research:

“When I was undertaking my doctoral research in molecular biology at Oxford University, I was frequently confronted with a number of theories offering to explain a given observation.  In the end, I had to make a judgment concerning which of them possessed the greatest internal consistency, the greatest degree of predictive ability.  Unless I was to abandon any possibility of advance in understanding, I was obliged to make such a judgment… I would claim the right to speak of the ‘superiority’ of Christianity in this explicative sense” (“Response to John Hick,” in More Than One Way? Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World, p. 68).

Noted Christian scholar Dr. Carl F. H. Henry wrote a three thousand page, six volume work on the topic of God, Revelation, and Authority.  After his exhaustive [to say the least] analysis, Henry declared that “Truth is Christianity’s most enduring asset…” (Ajith Fernando, The Supremacy of Christ, p. 109).

Dr. Robert A. Morey writes,

“There is more than enough evidence on every hand from every department of human experience and knowledge to demonstrate that Christianity is true… [It is the faith of the non-Christian [that] is externally and internally groundless.  They are the ones who leap in the dark.  Some, like Kierkegaard, have admitted this”

Robert Morey, Introduction to Defending the Faith (Orange, CA: Christian Scholars Press, 2002), 38.

James Sire points out in his book, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything At All?, that an argument for belief, religious or otherwise, must be secured on the best evidence, validly argued, and able to refute the strongest objections that can be mustered against it (p. 10).  Dr. Norman Geisler adds that “In the face of overwhelming apologetic evidence, unbelief becomes perverse” (Baker Encyclopedia of Apologetics, p. 529). Take note, faith is active throughout the believers life and grows and matures as the believer does. It includes some aspects that are well worth mentioning:

Although suffering as a prisoner for proclaiming the gospel, Paul was not disillusioned or in despair. Why? Because of his faith. As he testifies to his faith, its essential elements become clear. “And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day” (2 Tim. 1:11-12). Truth about God can be known. Zeal for God without knowledge (of the Redeemer) did not suffice for monotheistic and moral Jews (Rom. 10:1-2). Neither did worship of an “unknown God” atone for the cultured Athenians (Acts 17:23-31). In contrast, Abraham was “fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised” (Rom. 4:21).”

The faith that saves is directed away from human educational, cultural, and religious achievements to the Creator, whose redemptive plan has been preserved and publicized in Scripture. Faith comes by hearing the message of special revelation now affirmed by the written Word of God, the hearer being convinced that “Jesus is Lord” and trusting in him (Rom. 10:4, 8-11, 14). Faith involves knowledge (notitia), persuasion (assensus), and commitment (fiducia). These three elements of faith are operative, not only when one first believes the gospel and trusts the Savior, but also in a growing faith throughout the Christian life.

Gordon R. Lewis and Bruce A. Demerest, Integrative Theology, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 168-169.

 

But faith is not just about reason, it involves a “moral element of personal trust,” and often times people are so hurt throughout life that this “leap of faith” is a tough choice because the people they trusted have failed them and they tend to apply this knowledge to their heavenly Father. It is Freud reversed. So what is a well-balanced understanding of faith, or, personal trust? Here, Wayne Grudem deals with this on a seminary level for the student:

Personal saving faith, in the way Scripture understands it, involves more than mere knowledge. Of course it is necessary that we have some knowledge of who Christ is and what he has done, for “how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?” (Rom. 10:14). But knowledge about the facts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection for us is not enough, for people can know facts but rebel against them or dislike them. (Rom. 1:32; James 2:19)….

In addition to knowledge of the facts of the gospel and approval of those facts, in order to be saved, I must decide to depend on Jesus to save me. In doing this I move from being an interested observer of the facts of salvation and the teachings of the Bible to being someone who enters into a new relationship with Jesus Christ as a living person. We may therefore define saving faith in the following way: Saving faith is trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal lift with God.

This definition emphasizes that saving faith is not just a belief in facts but personal trust in Jesus to save me…. The unbeliever comes to Christ seeking to have sin and guilt removed and to enter into a genuine relationship with God that will last forever.

The definition emphasizes personal trust in Christ, not just belief in facts about Christ. Because saving faith in Scripture involves this personal trust, the word “trust” is a better word to use in contemporary culture than the word “faith” or “belief.” The reason is that we can “believe” something to be true with no personal commitment or dependence involved in it. I can believe that Canberra is the capital of Australia, or that 7 times 6 is 42, but have no personal commitment or dependence on anyone when I simply believe those facts. The word faith, on the other hand, is sometimes used today to refer to an almost irrational commitment to something in spite of strong evidence to the contrary, a sort of irrational decision to believe something that we are quite sure is not true! (If your favorite football team continues to lose games, someone might encourage you to “have faith” even though all the facts point the opposite direction.) In these two popular senses, the word “belief” and the word “faith” have a meaning contrary to the biblical sense.

The word trust is closer to the biblical idea, since we are familiar with trusting persons in everyday life. The more we come to know a person, and the more we see in that person a pattern of life that warrants trust, the more we find ourselves able to place trust in that person to do what he or she promises, or to act in ways that we can rely on. This fuller sense of personal trust is indicated in several passages of Scripture in which initial saving faith is spoken of in very personal terms, often using analogies drawn from personal relationships. John says, “To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12). Much as we would receive a guest into our homes, John speaks of receiving Christ.

John 3:16 tells us that “whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Here John uses a surprising phrase when he does not simply say, “whoever believes him” (that is, believes that what he says is true and able to be trusted), but rather, “whoever believes in him.” The Greek phrase pisteuo eis auton could also be translated “believe into him” with the sense of trust or confidence that goes into and rests in Jesus as a person. Leon Morris can say, “Faith, for John, is an activity which takes men right out of themselves and makes them one with Christ.” He understands the Greek phrase pisteuo eis to be a significant indication that New Testament faith is not just intellectual assent but includes a “moral element of personal trust.” Such an expression was rare or perhaps nonexistent in the secular Greek found outside the New Testament, but it was well suited to express the personal trust in Christ that is involved in saving faith.

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction To Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), 709-711.

Here is an in-depth — apologetic dealing with faith and reason by Dr. Geisler:

Faith Geisler 1

Faith Geisler 2

Faith Geisler 3

Faith Geisler 4

Faith Geisler 5


Evolution vs. Reason, Logic, Love, justice, + more


One of the most deep thinkers of the Founding Fathers, John Adams, noted that even “liberty” ~you know, one of the ideals impregnating our Founding Documents~ would be groundless if naturalism were true [among other things]:

Atheism—pure, unadulterated atheism…. The universe was matter only, and eternal Spirit was a word without a meaning. Liberty was a word without a meaning. There was no liberty in the universe; liberty was a word void of sense. Every thought, word, passion, sentiment, feeling, all motion and action was necessary [determinism]. All beings and attributes were of eternal necessity; conscience, morality, were all nothing but fate. This was their creed, and this was to perfect human nature, and convert the earth into a paradise of pleasure… Why, then, should we abhor the word “God,” and fall in love with the word “fate”? We know there exists energy and intellect enough to produce such a world as this, which is a sublime and beautiful one, and a very benevolent one, notwithstanding all our snarling; and a happy one, if it is not made otherwise by our own fault.

(See more context)

Ever hear an atheist say he’s a freethinker? Well, if atheism is true, an atheist, cannot be free nor would his thinking make any real sense. Frank Turek explains.

  • ‘If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true…and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.’ (J.B.S. Haldane)”

These are some of my favorite quotes and dealing with “naturalism” and their logical end-result, consequences, or logical conclusions. Merely a combining of MANY quotes and a “not-so-few” videos.

Why Atheism Cannot Account for Logic and Reasoning from shirley rose on Vimeo.

If you read the threads of several of the blog entries on this site, you will see both atheists and Christians charging one another with committing “logical fallacies.”  The assumption both sides are making is that there is this objective realm of reason out there that: 1) we all have access to; 2) tells us the truth about the real world; and 3) is something we ought to use correctly if we want to know the truth. I think those are good assumptions.  My question for the atheists is how do you justify these assumptions if there is no God?

If atheistic materialism is true, it seems to me that reason itself is impossible. For if mental processes are nothing but chemical reactions in the brain, then there is no reason to believe that anything is true (including the theory of materialism). Chemicals can’t evaluate whether or not a theory is true. Chemicals don’t reason, they react.

This is ironic because atheists– who often claim to be champions of truth and reason– have made truth and reason impossible by their theory of materialism. So even when atheists are right about something, their worldview gives us no reason to believe them because reason itself is impossible in a world governed only by chemical and physical forces.

Not only is reason impossible in an atheistic world, but the typical atheist assertion that we should rely on reason alone cannot be justified. Why not? Because reason actually requires faith. As J. Budziszewski points out in his book What We Can’t Not Know, “The motto ‘Reason Alone!’ is nonsense anyway. Reason itself presupposes faith. Why? Because a defense of reason by reason is circular, therefore worthless. Our only guarantee that human reason works is God who made it.“

Let’s unpack Budziszewski‘s point by considering the source of reason. Our ability to reason can come from one of only two sources: either our ability to reason arose from preexisting intelligence or it did not, in which case it arose from mindless matter. The atheists/Darwinists/materialists believe, by faith, that our minds arose from mindless matter without intelligent intervention. I say “by faith” because it contradicts all scientific observation, which demonstrates that an effect cannot be greater than its cause. You can’t give what you haven’t got, yet atheists believe that dead, unintelligent matter has produced itself into intelligent life. This is like believing that the Library of Congress resulted from an explosion in a printing shop.

I think it makes much more sense to believe that the human mind is made in the image of the Great Mind– God. In other words, our minds can apprehend truth and can reason about reality because they were built by the Architect of truth, reality, and reason itself.

So I have two questions for atheists:  1) What is the source of this immaterial reality known as reason that we are all presupposing, utilizing in our discussions, and accusing one other of violating on occasion?; and 2) If there is no God and we are nothing but chemicals, why should we trust anything we think, including the thought that there is no God?

(Cross Examined)

Let’s consider a basic question: Why does the natural world make any sense to begin with? Albert Einstein once remarked that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. Why should we be able to grasp the beauty, elegance, and complexity of our universe?

Einstein understood a basic truth about science, namely, that it relies upon certain philosophical assumptions about the natural world. These assumptions include the existence of an external world that is orderly and rational, and the trustworthiness of our minds to grasp that world. Science cannot proceed apart from these assumptions, even though they cannot be independently proven. Oxford professor John C. Lennox asks a penetrating question, “At the heart of all science lies the conviction that the universe is orderly. Without this deep conviction science would not be possible. So we are entitled to ask: Where does the conviction come from?”” Why is the world orderly? And why do our minds comprehend this order?

Toward the end of The God Delusion, Dawkins admits that since we are the product of natural selection, our senses cannot be fully trusted. After all, according to Darwinian evolution, our senses have been formed to aid survival, not necessarily to deliver true belief. Since a human being has been cobbled together through the blind process of natural selection acting on random mutation, says Dawkins, it’s unlikely that our views of the world are completely true. Outspoken philosopher of neuro-science Patricia Churchland agrees:

The principle chore of brains is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive. Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing [the world] is advantageous so long as it… enhances the organism’s chances for survival. Truth, whatever that is, takes the hindmost.

Dawkins is on the right track to suggest that naturalism should lead people to be skeptical about trusting their senses. Dawkins just doesn’t take his skepticism far enough. In Miracles, C. S. Lewis points out that knowledge depends upon the reliability of our mental faculties. If human reasoning is not trustworthy, then no scientific conclusions can be considered true or false. In fact, we couldn’t have any knowledge about the world, period. Our senses must be reliable to acquire knowledge of the world, and our reasoning faculties must be reliable to process the acquired knowledge. But this raises a particularly thorny dilemma for atheism. If the mind has developed through the blind, irrational, and material process of Darwinian evolution, then why should we trust it at all? Why should we believe that the human brain—the outcome of an accidental process—actually puts us in touch with reality? Science cannot be used as an answer to this question, because science itself relies upon these very assumptions.

Even Charles Darwin was aware of this problem: “The horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would anyone trust the conviction of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” If Darwinian evolution is true, we should distrust the cognitive faculties that make science possible.

Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow, Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2010), 37-38.

….Darwin thought that, had the circumstances for reproductive fitness been different, then the deliverances of conscience might have been radically different. “If… men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill  their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters, and no one would think of interfering” (Darwin, Descent, 82). As it happens, we weren’t “reared” after the manner of hive bees, and so we have widespread and strong beliefs about the sanctity of human life and its implications for how we should treat our siblings and our offspring.

But this strongly suggests that we would have had whatever beliefs were ultimately fitness producing given the circumstances of survival. Given the background belief of naturalism, there appears to be no plausible Darwinian reason for thinking that the fitness-producing predispositions that set the parameters for moral reflection have anything whatsoever to do with the truth of the resulting moral beliefs. One might be able to make a case for thinking that having true beliefs about, say, the predatory behaviors of tigers would, when combined with the understandable desire not to be eaten, be fitness producing. But the account would be far from straightforward in the case of moral beliefs.” And so the Darwinian explanation undercuts whatever reason the naturalist might have had for thinking that any of our moral beliefs is true. The result is moral skepticism.

If our pretheoretical moral convictions are largely the product of natural selection, as Darwin’s theory implies, then the moral theories we find plausible are an indirect result of that same evolutionary process. How, after all, do we come to settle upon a proposed moral theory and its principles as being true? What methodology is available to us?

Paul Copan and William Lane Craig, eds., Contending With Christianity’s Critics: Answering the New Atheists & Other Objections (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2009), 70.

See also my post on logical conclusions in meta-ethics and evil (like rape), HERE:

…if evolution were true, then there would be selection only for survival advantage; and there would be no reason to suppose that this would necessarily include rationality. After a talk on the Christian roots of science in Canada, 2010, one atheopathic* philosophy professor argued that natural selection really would select for logic and rationality. I responded by pointing out that under his worldview, theistic religion is another thing that ‘evolved’, and this is something he regards as irrational. So under his own worldview he believes that natural selection can select powerfully for irrationality, after all. English doctor and insightful social commentator Theodore Dalrymple (who is a non-theist himself) shows up the problem in a refutation of New Atheist Daniel Dennett:

Dennett argues that religion is explicable in evolutionary terms—for example, by our inborn human propensity, at one time valuable for our survival on the African savannahs, to attribute animate agency to threatening events.

For Dennett, to prove the biological origin of belief in God is to show its irrationality, to break its spell. But of course it is a necessary part of the argument that all possible human beliefs, including belief in evolution, must be explicable in precisely the same way; or else why single out religion for this treatment? Either we test ideas according to arguments in their favour, independent of their origins, thus making the argument from evolution irrelevant, or all possible beliefs come under the same suspicion of being only evolutionary adaptations—and thus biologically contingent rather than true or false. We find ourselves facing a version of the paradox of the Cretan liar: all beliefs, including this one, are the products of evolution, and all beliefs that are products of evolution cannot be known to be true.

Jonathan D. Sarfati, The Genesis Account: A Theological, Historical, And Scientific Commentary On Genesis 1-11 (Powder Springs, GA: Creation Book Publishers, 2015), 259-259.

* Atheopath or Atheopathy: “Leading misotheist [“hatred of God” or “hatred of the gods”] Richard Dawkins [one can insert many names here] often calls theistic religion a ‘virus of the mind’, which would make it a kind of disease or pathology, and parents who teach it to their kids are, in Dawkins’ view, supposedly practising mental child abuse. But the sorts of criteria Dawkins applies makes one wonder whether his own fanatical antitheism itself could be a mental pathology—hence, ‘atheopath’.” (Taken from the Creation.com article, “The biblical roots of modern science,” by Jonathan Sarfati [published: 19 May 2012] ~ comments in the “[ ]” are mine.)

Even Darwin had some misgivings about the reliability of human beliefs. He wrote, “With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”

Given unguided evolution, “Darwin’s Doubt” is a reasonable one. Even given unguided or blind evolution, it’s difficult to say how probable it is that creatures—even creatures like us—would ever develop true beliefs. In other words, given the blindness of evolution, and that its ultimate “goal” is merely the survival of the organism (or simply the propagation of its genetic code), a good case can be made that atheists find themselves in a situation very similar to Hume’s.

The Nobel Laureate and physicist Eugene Wigner echoed this sentiment: “Certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.” That is, atheists have a reason to doubt whether evolution would result in cognitive faculties that produce mostly true beliefs. And if so, then they have reason to withhold judgment on the reliability of their cognitive faculties. Like before, as in the case of Humean agnostics, this ignorance would, if atheists are consistent, spread to all of their other beliefs, including atheism and evolution. That is, because there’s no telling whether unguided evolution would fashion our cognitive faculties to produce mostly true beliefs, atheists who believe the standard evolutionary story must reserve judgment about whether any of their beliefs produced by these faculties are true. This includes the belief in the evolutionary story. Believing in unguided evolution comes built in with its very own reason not to believe it.

This will be an unwelcome surprise for atheists. To make things worse, this news comes after the heady intellectual satisfaction that Dawkins claims evolution provided for thoughtful unbelievers. The very story that promised to save atheists from Hume’s agnostic predicament has the same depressing ending.

It’s obviously difficult for us to imagine what the world would be like in such a case where we have the beliefs that we do and yet very few of them are true. This is, in part, because we strongly believe that our beliefs are true (presumably not all of them are, since to err is human—if we knew which of our beliefs were false, they would no longer be our beliefs).

Suppose you’re not convinced that we could survive without reliable belief-forming capabilities, without mostly true beliefs. Then, according to Plantinga, you have all the fixins for a nice argument in favor of God’s existence For perhaps you also think that—given evolution plus atheism—the probability is pretty low that we’d have faculties that produced mostly true beliefs. In other words, your view isn’t “who knows?” On the contrary, you think it’s unlikely that blind evolution has the skill set for manufacturing reliable cognitive mechanisms. And perhaps, like most of us, you think that we actually have reliable cognitive faculties and so actually have mostly true beliefs. If so, then you would be reasonable to conclude that atheism is pretty unlikely. Your argument, then, would go something like this: if atheism is true, then it’s unlikely that most of our beliefs are true; but most of our beliefs are true, therefore atheism is probably false.

Notice something else. The atheist naturally thinks that our belief in God is false. That’s just what atheists do. Nevertheless, most human beings have believed in a god of some sort, or at least in a supernatural realm. But suppose, for argument’s sake, that this widespread belief really is false, and that it merely provides survival benefits for humans, a coping mechanism of sorts. If so, then we would have additional evidence—on the atheist’s own terms—that evolution is more interested in useful beliefs than in true ones. Or, alternatively, if evolution really is concerned with true beliefs, then maybe the widespread belief in God would be a kind of “evolutionary” evidence for his existence.

You’ve got to wonder.

Mitch Stokes, A Shot of Faith (to the Head): Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012), 44-45.

  • “Relativists aren’t interested in finding truth but in preserving their own autonomy. This isn’t a logical argument against relativism, of course. I’m just trying to point out that the true(!) basis for relativism is ultimately rooted in its motivation rather than in any good reasons or persuasive arguments.” — Paul Copan

This childish rejection of God in light of the evidence provided through the Book of Nature comes way of True Free Thinker, and shows the juvenile manner in which evidence is rejected in lieu of the ego:

…Lewis Wolpert simplistic dismissal of any and all intelligent design and creationism discoveries as “There is no evidence for them at all” is no less than an intellectual embarrassment and that he insists that “They must be kept out of science lessons” shows why he is the vice-president of an Atheist activism group.

And his dismissal of God is just as unimpressive, “There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of God.”

But what scientific, evidence based, academic, scholarly reasons does Wolpert himself offer for having become an Atheist?:

I stopped believing in God when I was 15 or 16 because he didn’t give me what I asked for. [1]

Keith Ward asked Wolpert, “What sort of evidence would count for you? Would it have to be scientific evidence of some sort?” to which the reply was, “Well, no… I think I read somewhere: If he turned the pond on Hamstead Heath into good champagne, it would be quite impressive”[2]. And yet, the historical record is that Jesus turned water into wine and that is still not good enough, is it?

[My addition: no it isn’t, some people like champaigne and not wine]

Lewis Wolpert also stated, “I used to pray but I gave it up because when I asked God to help me find my cricket bat, he didn’t help.” Thus, Justin Brieley stated, “Right, and that was enough for you to prove that God did not exist” to which Wolpert replied, “Well, yes. I just gave it up completely.”[3]

[1] Lewis Wolpert, “The Hard Cell,” Third Way, March 2007 AD, p. 17

[2] Ibid., p. 16

[3] From an interview on the Unbelievable show titled, What Does Science Tell Us About God?

…read more…

(For the above audio) Well respected [in evolutionary circles] University College London Professor (Emeritus) of Cell and Developmental Biology answers this, and explains that most people want more. And indeed, the Judeo-Christian God is the only answer to this conundrum. You can see how the answer to the problem actually resonates and responds to the truth of human need.

In other words, if naturalistic evolution is true, reductionism is also in play. Then we are determined by the chemical make-up, firing of synapses, and whole of historical events leading up to us controlling our actions. So one could ask in all seriousness, “how much does love weigh?”

It is a cold world, unbelief.

What is love? Here are two possibilities:

1) chemical reactions in your brain perceived as feelings of loyalty toward a single co-parent for the purpose of rearing a child together, at least until it’s weaned
2) the ultimate good, a reflection of the image of God upon humanity

Arguments often arise by using the same words to mean different things. One worldview (Christianity) views love as the ultimate good in the material world and beyond.

Let’s look at how love is viewed by two different worldviews: Christianity and naturalism.

On Christianity, love is ultimately:

a) the state of affairs existing prior to the creation of the universe, flowing between the Father and the Son via the Holy Spirit, the vehicle of love
b) the highest good
c) the ultimate goal, an act of worship.

On naturalism, love is ultimately:

a) the evolutionary mechanism to ensure the survival of children and the propagation of our species
b) a nice concept, something to distract you from the depressing thought of a meaningless existence
c) an amusing illusion

Your worldview will shape how you understand the concept of love…

…read more…

I wish to start out with an excerpt from a chapter in my book where I use two scholarly works that use Darwinian naturalism as a guide to their ethic:

  • Dale Peterson and Richard Wrangham, Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence (New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 1997).
  • Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer, A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000).

My incorporation of these works into my book (quote):

“Lest one think this line of thinking is insane, that is: sexual acts are something from our evolutionary past and advantageous; rape is said to not be a pathology but an evolutionary adaptation – a strategy for maximizing reproductive success….. The first concept that one must understand is that these authors do not view nature alone as imposing a moral “oughtness” into the situation of survival of the fittest. They view rape, for instance, in its historical evolutionary context as neither right nor wrong ethically. Rape, is neither moral nor immoral vis-à-vis evolutionary lines of thought, even if ingrained in us from our evolutionary paths of survival. Did you catch that? Even if a rape occurs today, it is neither moral nor immoral, it is merely currently taboo. The biological, amoral, justification of rape is made often times as a survival mechanism bringing up the net “survival status” of a species, usually fraught with examples of homosexual worms, lesbian seagulls, and the like.”

(pp. 7-9 of  Roman-Epicurean-ism-Natural-Law-and-Homosexuality)

Now, hear from other atheist and evolutionary apologists themselves in regard to the matter:

Richard Dawkins

(h/t: Atheism Analyzed) – A Statement Made by an atheist at the Atheist and Agnostic Society:

Some atheists do believe in ethical absolutes, some don’t. My answer is a bit more complicated — I don’t believe that there are any axiological claims which are absolutely true, except within the context of one person’s opinion.

That is, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so are ethics. So, why is Adolf Hitler wrong? Because he murdered millions, and his only justification, even if it were valid, was based on things which he should have known were factually wrong. Why is it wrong to do that? Because I said so. Unless you actually disagree with me — unless you want to say that Adolf Hitler was right — I’m not sure I have more to say.

[side note] You may also be aware that Richard Dawkins stated,

  • “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question.”

Stated during an interview with Larry Taunton, “Richard Dawkins: The Atheist Evangelist,” by Faith Magazine, Issue Number 18, December 2007 (copyright; 2007-2008)

Lewis Wolpert

From the video description:

Atheists Trying to Have Their Cake and Eat It Too on Morality. This video shows that when an atheist denies objective morality they also affirm moral good and evil without the thought of any contradiction or inconsistency on their part.

Dan Barker

This is from the video Description for the Dan Barker video below:

The atheist’s animal-level view of “morality” is completely skewed by dint of its lack of objectivity. In fact, the atheist makes up his own personal version of “morals” as he goes along, and this video provides an eye-opening example of this bizarre phenomenon of the atheist’s crippled psyche:

During this debate, the atheist stated that he believed rape was morally acceptable, then he actually stated that he would rape a little girl and then kill himself — you have just got to hear his psychotic words with your own ears to believe it!

He then stammered and stumbled through a series of ridiculously lame excuses for his shameful lack of any type of moral compass.

To the utter amazement of his opponent and all present in the audience, the gruesomely amoral atheist even goes so far as to actually crack a sick little joke on the subject of SERIAL CHILD-RAPE!

:::shudders:::

Meanwhile, the Christian in the video gracefully and heroically realizes the clearly objective moral values that unquestionably come to humanity by God’s grace, and yet are far beyond the lower animal’s and the atheist’s tenuous mental grasp. Be sure to keep watching until the very end so that you can hear the Christian’s final word — it’s a real knuckle-duster!

Atheist dogma not only fails to provide a stable platform for objective human morality for its adherent — it precludes him even the possibility. It’s this very intellectual inability to apprehend any objective moral values that leads such believers in atheist dogma as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Dahmer to commit their horrific atheistic atrocities.

Any believer in atheist dogma, given sufficient power, would take the exact same course of action that Hitler did, without a moment’s hesitation.

Note as well that evolutionary naturalism has very dogmatic implication, IF — that is — the honest atheist/evolutionist follow the matter to their logical conclusions, via the ineffable Dr. Provine:

William Provine

Atheist and staunch evolutionist Dr. William Provine (who is often quoted by Richard Dawkins) admits what life has in stored if Darwinism is true. The quote comes from his debate here with Dr. Phillip E. Johnson at Stanford University, April 30, 1994.

“We must ask first whether the theory of evolution by natural selection is scientific or pseudoscientific …. Taking the first part of the theory, that evolution has occurred, it says that the history of life is a single process of species-splitting and progression. This process must be unique and unrepeatable, like the history of England. This part of the theory is therefore a historical theory, about unique events, and unique events are, by definition, not part of science, for they are unrepeatable and so not subject to test.”

Colin Patterson [1978] (Dr. Patterson was Senior Principal Scientific Officer of the Paleontology Department of the British Museum of Natural History in London.)

People think evolution is “science proper.” It is not, it is both a historical science and a [philosophical] presupposition in its “neo-Darwinian” form. The presupposition that removes it from “science proper and moves it into “scientism” is explained by an atheist philosopher:

If science really is permanently committed to methodological naturalism – the philosophical position that restricts all explanations in science to naturalistic explanations – it follows that the aim of science is not generating true theories. Instead, the aim of science would be something like: generating the best theories that can be formulated subject to the restriction that the theories are naturalistic. More and more evidence could come in suggesting that a supernatural being exists, but scientific theories wouldn’t be allowed to acknowledge that possibility.

Bradley Monton, author of Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design ~ Apologetics315 h/t

In other words, the guy most credited in getting us to the moon used science to get us there, but was a young earth creationist. His view on “origins” (origin science) is separate from his working science. Two categories.

Likewise one of the most celebrated pediatric surgeons in the world, whom a movie was made after, “Gifted Hands,” is a young earth creationist. And the inventor of the MRI, a machine that diagnosed my M.S., is also a young earth creationist.

Evolutionary Darwinism is first and foremost an “historical science” that has many presuppositions that precede it, making it a metaphysical belief, a philosophy, as virulent anti-creationist philosopher of science, Michael Ruse explains:

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. . . . Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.

Michael Ruse, “Saving Darwinism from the Darwinians,” National Post (May 13, 2000), p. B-3. (Via ICR)

The stronger must dominate and not mate with the weaker, which would signify the sacrifice of its own higher nature. Only the born weakling can look upon this principle as cruel, and if he does so it is merely because he is of a feebler nature and narrower mind; for if such a law [natural selection] did not direct the process of evolution then the higher development of organic life would not be conceivable at all…. If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, translator/annotator, James Murphy [New York: Hurst and Blackett, 1942], pp. 161-162. Found in: Norman L. Geisler & Peter Bocchino, Unshakable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions About the Christian Faith [Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2001], 206.

He thus acknowledged the need for any theory to allow that humans have genuine freedom to recognize the truth. He (again, correctly) saw that if all thought, belief, feeling, and choice are determined (i.e., forced on humans by outside conditions) then so is the determinists’ acceptance of the theory of determinism forced on them by those same conditions. In that case they could never claim to know their theory is true since the theory making that claim would be self-referentially incoherent. In other words, the theory requires that no belief is ever a free judgment made on the basis of experience or reason, but is always a compulsion over which the believer has no control.

Roy A. Clouser, The Myth of Religious Neutrality: An Essay on the Hidden Role of Religious Belief in Theories (Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 2005), 174.

If what he says is true, he says it merely as the result of his heredity and environment, and nothing else. He does not hold his determinist views because they are true, but because he has such-and-such stimuli; that is, not because the structure of the structure of the universe is such-and-such but only because the configuration of only part of the universe, together with the structure of the determinist’s brain, is such as to produce that result…. They [determinists – I would posit any philosophical naturalist] want to be considered as rational agents arguing with other rational agents; they want their beliefs to be construed as beliefs, and subjected to rational assessment; and they want to secure the rational assent of those they argue with, not a brainwashed repetition of acquiescent pattern. Consistent determinists should regard it as all one whether they induce conformity to their doctrines by auditory stimuli or a suitable injection of hallucinogens: but in practice they show a welcome reluctance to get out their syringes, which does equal credit to their humanity and discredit to their views. Determinism, therefore, cannot be true, because if it was, we should not take the determinists’ arguments as being really arguments, but as being only conditioned reflexes. Their statements should not be regarded as really claiming to be true, but only as seeking to cause us to respond in some way desired by them.

J. R. Lucas, The Freedom of the Will (New York: NY: Oxford University Press, 1970), 114, 115.

One of the most intriguing aspects mentioned by Ravi Zacharias of a lecture he attended entitled Determinism – Is Man a Slave or the Master of His Fate, given by Stephen Hawking, who is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, Isaac Newton’s chair, was this admission by Dr. Hawking’s, was Hawking’s admission that if “we are the random products of chance, and hence, not free, or whether God had designed these laws within which we are free.”[1] In other words, do we have the ability to make choices, or do we simply follow a chemical reaction induced by millions of mutational collisions of free atoms?[2] Michael Polyni mentions that this “reduction of the world to its atomic elements acting blindly in terms of equilibrations of forces,” a belief that has prevailed “since the birth of modern science, has made any sort of teleological view of the cosmos seem unscientific…. [to] the contemporary mind.”[3]

[1] Ravi Zacharias, The Real Face of Atheism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004), 118, 119.
[2] My own summation.
[3] Michael Polanyi and Harry Prosch, Meaning (Chicago, IL: Chicago university Press, 1977), 162.

What merit would attach to moral virtue if the acts that form such habitual tendencies and dispositions were not acts of free choice on the part of the individual who was in the process of acquiring moral virtue? Persons of vicious moral character would have their characters formed in a manner no different from the way in which the character of a morally virtuous person was formed—by acts entirely determined, and that could not have been otherwise by freedom of choice.

Mortimer J. Adler, Ten Philosophical Mistakes (New York, NY: Touchstone, 1985), 154.

If we were free persons, with faculties which we might carelessly use or wilfully misuse, the fact might be explained; but the pre-established harmony excludes this supposition. And since our faculties lead us into error, when shall we trust them? Which of the many opinions they have produced is really true? By hypothesis, they all ought to be true, but, as they contradict one another, all cannot be true. How, then, distinguish between the true and the false? By taking a vote? That cannot be, for, as determined, we have not the power to take a vote. Shall we reach the truth by reasoning? This we might do, if reasoning were a self-poised, self verifying process; but this it cannot be in a deterministic system. Reasoning implies the power to control one’s thoughts, to resist the processes of association, to suspend judgment until the transparent order of reason has been readied. It implies freedom, therefore. In a mind which is controlled by its states, instead of controlling them, there is no reasoning, but only a succession of one state upon another. There is no deduction from grounds, but only production by causes. No belief has any logical advantage over any other, for logic is no longer possible.

Borden P Bowne, Metaphysics: A Study In First Principles (originally published in 1882; London: Sampson Low, Searle & Rivington, 2005), 105.

“Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition…. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity…. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.”

Mussolini, Diuturna (1924) pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist (Ignatius Press; 1999), by Peter Kreeft, p. 18

Lee Strobel does a great job in relaying the evidence that we live in a finite cosmos and not an infinite one in his discussion with Dr. William Lane Craig [I added J. Warner Wallace as well to this presentation]:

When Albert Einstein developed his general theory of relativity in 1915 and started applying it to the universe as a whole, he was shocked to discover it didn’t allow for a static universe. According to his equations, the universe should either be exploding or imploding. In order to make the universe static, he had to fudge his equations by putting in a facto that would hold the universe steady.

In the 1920’s, the Russian mathematician Alexander Friedman and the Belgium astronomer George Lemaitre were able to develop models based on Einstein’s theory. They predicted the universe was expanding. Of course, this meant that if you went backward in time, the universe would go back to a single origin before which it didn’t exist. Astronomer Fred Hoyle derisively called this the Big Bang — and the name stuck! [Later in his career, Fred Hoyle confirmed the expansion through work on the second most plentiful element in the universe, helium.]

Starting in the 1920’s, scientists began to find empirical evidence that supported these purely mathematical models.

LET US TAKE A QUICK BREAK from this excerpt to fill in some information from another excerpt, and then we will continue:

As mathematicians explored the theoretical evidence, astronomers began to make observations confirming the expansion of the universe. Vesto Slipher, an American astronomer working at the Lowell Observatory. in Flagstaff, Arizona, spent nearly ten years perfecting his understanding of spectrograph readings. His observations revealed something remarkable. If a distant object was moving toward Earth, its observable spectrograph colors shifted toward the blue end of the spectrum. If a distant object was moving away from Earth, its colors shifted toward the red end of the spectrum.

J. Warner Wallace -- Red Light Shift Big-Bang

Slipher identified several nebulae and observed a redshift in their spectrographic colors. If these nebulae were moving away from our galaxy (and one another), as Slipher observed, they must have once been tightly clustered together. In 1914, he offered these findings at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society, proposing them as evidence the universe was expanding.

A graduate student named Edwin Hubble seas in attendance and realized the implica­tions of Slipher’s work. Hubble later began working at the Mount Wilson Observatory in Los Angeles. Using the Hooker telescope, he eventually proved Slipher’s nebulae were actually galaxies beyond the Milky Way composed of billions of stars. By 1929, Hubble published find­ings of his own, verifying Slipher’s observations and demonstrating the speed at which a star or galaxy moves away from us increases with its distance from Earth. This once again confirmed the expansion of the universe.

…CONTINUING…

For instance, in 1929, the American astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the light coming to us from distant galaxies appears redder than it should be, and this is a universal feature of galaxies in all parts of the sky. Hubble explained this red shift as being due to the fact that the galaxies are moving away from us. He concluded that the universe is literally flying apart at enormous velocities. Hubble’s astronomical observations were the first empirical confirmation of the predictions by Friedman and Lemaitre.

Then in the 1940’s, George Gamow predicted that if the Big Bang really happened, then the background temperature of the universe should be just a few degrees above absolute zero. He said this would be a relic from a very early stage of the universe. Sure enough, in 1965, two scientists accidentally discovered the universe’s background radiation — and it was only about 3.7 degrees above absolute zero. There’s no explanation for this apart from the fact that it is a vestige of a very early and a very dense state of the universe, which was predicted by the Big Bang model.

The third main piece of the evidence for the Big Bang is the origin of light elements. Heavy elements, like carbon and iron, are synthesized in the interior of stars and then exploded through supernova into space. But the very, very light elements, like deuterium and helium, cannot have been synthesized in the interior of the stars, because you would need an even more powerful furnace to create them. These elements must have been forged in the furnace of the Big Bang itself at temperatures that were billions of degrees. There’s no other explanation.

So predictions about the Big Bang have been consistently verified by the scientific data. Moreover, they have been corroborated by the failure of every attempt to falsify them by alternative models. Unquestionably, the Big Bang model has impressive scientific credentials… Up to this time, it was taken for granted that the universe as a whole was a static, eternally existing object…. At the time an agnostic, American astronomer Robert Jastrow was forced to concede that although details may differ, “the essential element in the astronomical and Biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy”…. Einstein admitted the idea of the expanding universe “irritates me” (presumably, said one prominent scientist, “because of its theological implications”)

  • Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence that Points Towards God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), 105-106, 112;
  • J. Warner Wallace, God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2015), 32-33.

This should be put in bullet points for easy memorization:

  • Albert Einstein developed his general theory of relativity in 1915;
  • Around the same time evidence of an expanding universe was being presented to the American Astronomical Society by Vesto Slipher;
  • In the 1920s using Einstein’s theory, a Russian mathematician (Alexander Friedman) and the Belgium astronomer (George Lemaitre)  predicted the universe was expanding;
  • In 1929, Hubble discovered evidence confirming earlier work on the Red-Light shift showing that galaxies are moving away from us;
  • In the 1940’s, George Gamow predicted a particular temperature to the universe if the Big Bang happened;
  • In 1965, two scientists (Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson) discovered the universe’s background radiation — and it was only about 3.7 degrees above absolute zero.

Here I will post a portion of a response to a local author on the issue that part of the above was likewise used:


(You can click top enlarge)

Here are just two (of the many examples I can provide) of an atheist and an agnostic commenting on the above evidence:

✪ “The essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy…. The Hubble Law is one of the great discoveries in science; it is one of the main supports of the scientific story of Genesis.”

~ Robert Jastrow: American astronomer and physicist. Founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, he is the director of the Mount Wilson Institute and Hale Solar Laboratory. He is also the author of Red Giants and White Dwarfs (1967) and God and the Astronomers (2nd ed., 2000).

✪ “Certainly there was something that set it all off. Certainly, if you are religious, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match with Genesis.”

~ Robert Wilson: is an American astronomer, 1978 Nobel laureate in physics, who with Arno Allan Penzias discovered in 1964 the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB)…. While working on a new type of antenna at Bell Labs in Holmdel Township, New Jersey, they found a source of noise in the atmosphere that they could not explain. After removing all potential sources of noise, including pigeon droppings on the antenna, the noise was finally identified as CMB, which served as important corroboration of the Big Bang theory.

  • Stephen Joseph Willams, What Your Atheist Professor Doesn’t Know (But Should) — CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 23, 2013)

Dr. George Smoot, Particle Physicist, Nobel Prize winner, and team leader from the Lawrence-Berkeley Laboratory, regarding the 1992 observations from COBE (the NASA satellite Cosmic Background Explorer): “It’s like looking at God.”(8)

A somewhat more “sober” assessment of the findings was given by Frederick Burnham, a science-historian. He said, “These findings, now available, make the idea that God created the universe a more respectable hypothesis today than at any time in the last 100 years.”(9)

Dr. Stephen Hawking (Theoretical Physicist) described the big bang ripples observations as “the scientific discovery of the century, if not all time.”(10)

Dr. George Greenstein (Professor of Astronomy at Amherst.): “As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency – or, rather, Agency – must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?”(11)

Sir Arthur Eddington (British Astrophysicist): “The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory.”(12)

Dr. Arno Penzias (Nobel Prize winner in physics, co-discoverer of the microwave background radiation from the Big Bang): “Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say ‘supernatural’) plan.”(13)

Sir Roger Penrose (Physicist, Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, and joint developer of the Hawking-Penrose Theorems): “I would say the universe has a purpose. It’s not there just somehow by chance.”(14)

Dr. Robert Jastrow (Founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies): “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”(15)

Dr. Frank Tipler (Professor of Math and Physics at Tulane University): “When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.”(16) Tipler since has actually converted to Christianity, resulting in his latest book, The Physics Of Christianity.

Dr. Alexander Polyakov (String Theorist, Princeton): “We know that nature is described by the best of all possible mathematics because God created it.”(17)

Dr. Edward Milne (British Astrophysicist, former Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, Oxford): “As to the cause of the Universe, in context of expansion, that is left for the reader to insert, but our picture is incomplete without Him [God].”(18)

Dr. Arthur L. Schawlow (Professor of Physics at Stanford University, 1981 Nobel Prize in physics): “It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious…. I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life.”(19)

Dr. Wernher von Braun (German-American Pioneer Rocket Scientist) “I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science.”(20)

Dr. Frank Tipler (Professor of Math and Physics at Tulane University): “From the perspective of the latest physical theories, Christianity is not a mere religion, but an experimentally testable science.”(21)


Footnotes for these quotes


8) Thomas H. Maugh, II (April 24, 1992). “Relics of Big Bang, Seen for First Time”. Los Angeles Times: pp. Al, A30.

9) The Los Angeles Times, Saturday 2nd May 1992.

10) Smoot, George, Wrinkles in Time, 2007 edition , cover.

11) Greenstein, G. 1988. The Symbiotic Universe. New York: William Morrow, p.27.

12) Heeren, F. 1995. Show Me God. Wheeling, IL, Searchlight Publications, p. 233.

13) Margenau, H and R.A. Varghese, ed. 1992. Cosmos, Bios, and Theos. La Salle, IL, Open Court, p. 83.

14) Penrose, R. 1992. A Brief History of Time (movie). Burbank, CA, Paramount Pictures, Inc.

15) Jastrow, R. 1978. God and the Astronomers. New York, W.W. Norton, p. 116.

16) Tipler, F.J. 1994. The Physics Of Immortality. New York, Doubleday, Preface.

17) Gannes, S. October 13, 1986. Fortune. p. 57

18) Heeren, F. 1995. Show Me God. Wheeling, IL, Searchlight Publications, p. 166-167.

19) Margenau, H. and R. A. Varghese, eds. Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo Sapiens (Open Court Pub. Co., La Salle, IL, 1992).

20) McIver, T. 1986. Ancient Tales and Space-Age Myths of Creationist Evangelism. The Skeptical Inquirer 10:258-276.

21) McIver, T. 1986. Ancient Tales and Space-Age Myths of Creationist Evangelism. The Skeptical Inquirer 10:258-276.

So, far from atheism being supported by science, the theistic worldview has been exemplified above all other models of interpretation (perceptions) of reality. Mind you this isn’t “proof” how the naturalist wrongly interprets the empirical method (scientific positivism), but it is a probability that exceeds others. (I suggest taking time, about an hour, and listen to this presentation by William Lane Craig on the evidences for theism over other worldviews.) Here John makes one of his signature jumps from one topic to a completely different one. I sometimes feel — shot in the dark again — he does this with the idea that he is saying something “scientific” and that everyone should credit his knowledge in on this particular topic (which is not the case), and then he brings that “trust” into a completely different topic.


I hope this helps a little bit to those searching for answers.

YEC View of the beginning (Big-Bang)

Alan Keyes (Natural Law) Debates Alan Dershowitz (Legal Positivism)

Alan Keyes defends the Natural Law position while Alan Dershowitz defends the legal positivism side of the philosophy of law. This debate is long… so you really must love the intricacies of legal philosophy and Natural Law. This is Alan Keyes at his best.

Does God Exist? William Lane Craig debates Professor Peter Millican

http://reasonablefaith.org – This debate on “Does God Exist?” took place in front of a capacity audience at the Great Hall, University of Birmingham. It was recorded on Friday 21st October 2011 as part of the UK Reasonable Faith Tour with William Lane Craig.

William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, California and a leading philosopher of religion. Peter Millican is Gilbert Ryle Professor of Philosophy at Hertford College, University of Oxford and a noted scholar in studies of Hume.

The debate was hosted by the University of Birmingham Student Philosophy Society, and the debate was moderated by Professor Carl Chinn.

For more information on the Reasonable Faith Tour see http://www.bethinking.org/craig

Reagan and History versus the Left (A Conversation Imported from the www)

This was a conversation I was invited to. I think maybe because the person doing the inviting might have thought he had a slam-dunk on my political viewpoint and a hero of the conservative movement. He could have wanted — as well — an alternative viewpoint. Mind you, the young man is a great kid and an acquaintance of my son, so thinking this was a slam-dunk isn’t that far fetched considering age and early biases accepted. During the exchange one of the people involved in the conversation started to ask honest questions and opened his previous viewpoints to scrutiny. A sign of maturity. Everyone should allow their viewpoint to be placed in the arena of ideas and to be challenged in light of history and philosophy. Which is why I blog. Dennis Prager mentions this tendency to NOT want to open one’s beliefs to scrutiny in a recent radio broadcast that is worth listening to. I will change the names to afford Anonymity in the following conversation. Enjoy.

To set up — this is from FaceBook and the picture was put up in the photo section and people started to converse about it in the comments section. I will add some info for clarity and commentary:

Antony: failed foreign policy means today’s buddies are tomorrows boogiemen.

Hunlsy: I just love the fact they’re fighting us with the weapons and training that we gave them.

Antony: Oh where oh where did Iran get those P3s and F-14 Tomcats?

Antony: it was the US – we used to be buddies with Iranians too. We played both sides of the Iran/Iraq war, which predicated Gulf I.

Hunsly: Likely from the Russians. Regardless, we’re fighting a group, not a country. This group makes all of its IEDs & buys all of their weapons with the money that we gave them.

[Here’s where I hop in on this love fest]

Papa Giorgio: A few things.

Click to Enlarge
A list of countries thar sold weapons to Iraq from 1973-to-1990

(Weapons) This is somewhat of a myth — that we sold the majority of weapons to the Taliban, to Iraq, and the like. For instance, in the following graph you can see that (in the instance of Iraq, which I was told over-and-over-again was weaponized by the U.S.) you have to combine the U.K. and the U.S. to equal 1%.

(Moral Position) Much like us supporting Stalin in defeating Hitler, we were aligned with people whom we didn’t see eye-to-eye with in order to beat the USSR during the Cold War (WWIII)… a war that was fought from 1947–1991.

(History) And thirdly, the Taliban didn’t exist when Reagan said this:

He didn’t say that about the Taliban because the Taliban didn’t exist yet. He said that of the Mujahedin, the same men who would later go on to fight the Taliban under the name “Northern Alliance”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Alliance

The mujaheddin fighters who had previously defeated the communist government and formed the Islamic State of Afghanistan (ISA) came under attack and in 1996 lost the capital to the Taliban. At this juncture the Mujahedin resorted to the creation of UIF because Rashid Dostum and other warlords who belonged to various tribes but to no specific political party did not want to recognize the ISA as a legal entity, so the defeated government devised a military strategy to utilize these forces while not offending their political sensibilities.

In October 1996 in Khinjan, Ahmed Shah Massoud and Dostum came to an agreement to form the anti-Taliban coalition that outside Afghanistan became known as the Northern Alliance.

Dein: The comment about Iran we have tried to avoid messing with their interal affers after the Revolution in 1979 when we kinda did something that the people of the country didn’t like. However the way we acted in regards to the “Green Revolution”/Neda Sultan [see linked picture below] thing we may actually end up holding favor with the people in that country.

Papa Giorgio: Dein, I may be misunderstanding your last portion about the “Green Revolution.” The people were begging America to become more involved, we didn’t… which has distanced the almost 65% 35-year old and younger (many of whom embrace Western culture). Obama dropped the ball… You may have misstated the idea you were trying to get across? But this is one of the many cases where the Obama administration has sided with the radical leaders in that country by not doing anything but delaying an upgrade to twitter for a few hours.

Dein: actually the point I was making was when the US stays out of the turmoral in Iran we end up having a better relationship with the country. although I could have misremembered the Rachel Maddow Show segemant about that.

Hunsly: Dein, don’t watch Rachel, regardless of how charming she is, its all the same as fox. Rachel is way better than any Fox show btw.

Papa Giorgio: Ahhh, Maddow. That explains a lot. Dein, we should have gotten involved in the green revolution. Even if it were a public declaration of support for the uprising — and maybe some CIA funding. the demographic is amazing over there. Like I said…… about 65% are MTV influenced, many are American educated, and want to dress how they want to dress, listen to music, and many want to be out from under the control of the Islamo-Nazi dictators that want the messiah to come out from the well because of WWIV. (This well has a super-highway built from it to the capital of Iran with waiting cars to rush this messiah to the palace… but he can only come with the destruction of Israel.) Should we have better relations with this type of government that wants nuclear war, hangs homosexuals, beat and rape women who do not conform to the stricter rules of wearing clothes? No really, I am asking you. Should we support the people who may be a bit more liberal (but maybe not democratic as we think of) over the current regime… even if by word from our Commander in Chief?

Papa Giorgio: … and Hunsly proves his premise [Rachel is way better than any Fox show btw] by ad hominem attacks against Glenn Beck and others.

Dein: and you know that if we had gotten involved their (barely stable) leader would have loved that. It would have made his case so much easier, remember he thinks everyone is out to get him. Do you want to give someone like that even more reason to fear? Although that is what I am thinking about that. The Iranian people know that their leader is crazy and the government is croupt. So give the crazy guy proof that he has ever reason to fear and we loose long term. We (the President) stay out of the way, we win.

I think that we should have gotten involved but after some meditation, I think we made right choice.

Dein: @hunsly TRMS [The Rachel Maddow Show] deals in facts, many of those on fox don’t. you should know that

Hunsly: What are you talking about Papa Giorgio? I just advocated not watching any opinion based “news” I can attack who ever I choose for being the craziest, which is at the moment is Glen Beck.

[….]

Papa Giorgio: If Maddow dealt in facts Dein, why does she not allow (typically) the other side or viewpoint on. She told us why here (News Busters Ponders Maddow’s No Republican Guests). If MSNBC hosts deal in “facts,” then why did the Times blog, Politico, NPR, US News & World Report, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun (just to name a few center-left news organizations) say FOX News was the most balanced and had the widest array of pundits [from both ends of the spectrum]? MSNBC was said to be the worst and most biased. Facts are funny things when seen through rose colored glasses.

=====added for this post=====

Papa Giorgio: Antony, quickly. You said: “failed foreign policy means today’s buddies are tomorrows boogiemen.” I wanted to use this to make my points I already made made again for clarity. This isn’t directed at you specifically, but an example for all who read here. I would reword this as:

“successful foreign policy means today’s buddies are tomorrows boogiemen.”

In other words, Stalin was America’s enemy, but we joined forces with him (we sent weapons, oil, money, etc) to beat Hitler. The Communists — who previously split up Poland with the Nazis — became our allies then they became our enemy. One of the biggest mistakes I can remember is Carter’s overthrowing the Shah. Much like Obama supports Venezuela over Columbia today. That move by Carter has been one of the most powerful radicalizing event of the Middle-East (which probably would have happened anyway?). Much thought.

Papa Giorgio: Another point [from near the beginning of the conversation], the F-14s — for example — were pre-revolution. In fact:

The Iranian air force never fully recovered from the effects of the 1979 revolution. At the beginning of the war, pilots were in short supply and flying proficiency was markedly lower than before the revolution. U.S. technicians who left Iran during the days preceding the fall of the Shah succeeded in erasing inventory records, ripping avionics packages out of F-14 aircraft, and destroying caches of repair parts at bases around Iran.

The clerics purged a large part of the conventional military structure after the 1979 revolution leaving the military broken and barely able to defend Iran from the initial Iraqi ground invasion in 1980. After Khomeini seized power on 11 February 1979, the revolutionary regime regarded the Air Force as a waste of money that rightfully belonged to the mostazafin (poor oppressed masses). One of the new government’s first acts was a purge of the armed forces, particularly the officer corps, which was (probably correctly) thought to be a hotbed of monarchist sentiment. The Air Force, where virtually the entire fighting element — the combat pilots — was composed of officers, was especially hard hit. To make matters worse, Iran’s best combat pilots had been trained in the United States and Israel, making them particularly suspect.

The senior command echelon of the IIAF had been decapitated in 1979 and early 1980 by arrests, imprisonments, executions, purges, and forced exiles. A failed coup that originated on Shahrokhi Air Base in Hamadan in June 1980 brought about another sweeping purge. Many IIAF personnel were shot or jailed for suspected or real complicity in the coup attempt, and the purge of personnel whose ultimate loyalty was suspect continued at a faster pace.

[….]

By 1987, the Air Force faced a new problem, one of an acute shortage of spare parts and replacement equipment. Perhaps 35 of the 190 Phantoms were serviceable in 1986. One F-4 had been shot down by Saudi F-15s, and two pilots had defected to Iraq with their F-4s in 1984. The number of F-5s dwindled from 166 to perhaps 45, and the F-14 Tomcats from 77 to perhaps 10. The latter were hardest hit because maintenance posed special difficulties after the United States embargo on military sales.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iran/airforce.htm

Papa Giorgio: Its alright, you guys are young. You have some growing to do in regards to history, philosophy, and where you get your news. As a great example ~~~

I own (and have watched):

Bowling for Columbine, Roger and Me, Fahrenheit 9/11, Wal-Mart: The …high Cost of Low Price, Sicko, An Inconvenient Truth, Loose Change (I have seen all three versions), Zeitgeist, Religulouse, The God Who Wasn’t There

But rarely do I meet someone of the opposite persuasion that has watches:

Celsius 41.11: The Temperature at Which the Brain Dies, FahrenHYPE 9/11, Michael & Me, Michael Moore Hates America, Bullshit! Fifth Season… Read More (where they tear apart the Wal-Mart documentary), Indoctrinate U, Mine Your Own Business, Screw Loose Change, 3-part response to Zeitgeist.

~~~ I do this with all my topics of study: philosophy, religion, science, history, and the like. I hope that this exchange [at the least] makes you youngen’s search out information that will challenge your worldview (political, religious, or non-religious). I have recommended reading that will start you out.

For you guys, I suggest Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas. (Used hard-cover copies sell for 1-penny.) After reading it, I am more than open to discussing some of the issues therein. If you do read it and want to talk over some of the topics, my email is on my bio page:

Antony: all good – but didn’t we create Bin Laden because they were fighting a war we were unwilling to?…. vis a vi the mujahadeen.

Papa Giorgio: Hunsly, you are free to say someone is crazy. Fine. You have yet — in all our talks about Beck — yet to prove it. This is called in philosophy, “to the man.” Which is known in Latin as “ad hominem.” It means someone attacks the person and… doesn’t deal with the arguments put forth by the man.

Also, all news is opinion based. BBC, NPR, ABC, CBS, etc, are all opinion in some sense of the word. For instance, between ABC, CBS, and NBC nightly news and morning news shows there were (this is an old stat, but makes my point) 157 pro-gun control stories, 77 neutral, and 10 for the 2nd Amendment (http://religiopoliticaltalk.blogspot.com/2008/08/media-bias-update.html). Another example comes from NPR. in their stories of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, they used 18,321 words in pro-Arab only segments, 4,934 words in pro-Israel segments. Bias in number of Arab-only vs Israeli-only segments: 63-percent Palestinian/pro-Arab only segments, 37-percent Israel/pro-Israel segments (What Is Fascism). Another example deals with the 2008 election cycle. MSNBC stories that were negative of McCain were 73%, and 14% negative on Obama. FoxNews was 40% negative of McCain, and 40% negative of Obama (http://religiopoliticaltalk.com/2010/11/foxnews-election-coverage-more-fair-and-watched-than-msnbc-and-cnn/).

So it isn’t who is biased, it is who is less biased.

Papa Giorgio: Antony, great question (“…but didn’t we create Bin Laden because they were fighting a war we were unwilling to?”). I have referenced this in some posts on my blog. It is well worth the read [I will merely include the summary here]:

In summary:

  • U.S. covert aid went to the Afghans, not to the “Afghan Arabs”
  • The “Afghan Arabs” were funded by Arab sources, not by the United States
  • The United States never had “any relationship whatsoever” with Osama bin Laden
  • The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Arab backing for the “Afghan Arabs,” and bin Laden’s own decisions “created” Osama bin Laden and al Qaida, not the United States.

http://www.america.gov/st/webchat-englis…h/2009/May/20090505134735atlahtnevel0.5280725.html

Antony: good stuff – I stand corrected.

=========================

Let Me Break Here For Some Commentary

=========================

What Antony just said is rare. He saw new information and put it up against what his previous sphere of knowledge included. Since his previous knowledge base didn’t include this new information, and his old thoughts on the matter didn’t stand up to the new input of information, he changed his previous thoughts on the matter to include the new information. I found out later that Antony is a Christian. This has a lot to do with it. I want to point out why Christians can sit down and have a more truth oriented conversation that those of other worldviews — secular progressives for instance:

…fundamentally, the way we know Christianity to be true is by the self-authenticating witness of God’s Holy Spirit. Now what do I mean by that? I mean that the experience of the Holy Spirit is vertical and unmistakable (though not necessarily irresistible or indubitable) for him who has it; that such a person does not need supplementary arguments or evidence in order to know and to know with confidence that he is in fact experiencing the Spirit of God; that such experience does not function in this case as a premise in any argument from religious experience to God, but rather is the immediate experiencing of God himself; that in certain contexts the experience of the Holy Spirit will imply the apprehension of certain truths of the Christian religion, such as “God exists,” “I am condemned by God,” “I am reconciled to God,” “Christ lives in me,” and so forth; that such an experience Provides one not only with a subjective assurance of Christianity’s truth, but with objective knowledge of that truth; and that arguments and evidence incompatible with that truth are overwhelmed by the experience of the Holy Spirit for him who attends fully to it. (William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, 3rd ed. [Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008], 43)

To apply it to this conversation, being a Christian and knowing truth and being set free by it, we [Christians] have a duty to truth and not to dogma outside our faith. Secular progressives replace what the conservative Jew or conservative Christian have in their faith with a religious political worldview.


Judgment is more whole in the Judeo-Christian ethic — still fallen however. A Feynman quote I like sums up mu thinking on this: “Keep an open mind – but not so open that your brain falls out”

=========================

Continuing

=========================

Antony: What of the long standing relationship between the Bush family and high Saud officials (perhaps even including the Bin Laden family)…?

Papa Giorgio: That myth is a long standing one misrepresented by Michael Moore. It is dealt with in the book “Michael Moore Is A Big Fat Stupid White Man” pretty well, but there is this article over at Sinsanity:

“Finally, Moore drops a big number – $1.4 billion – claiming “That’s how much the Saudi royals and their associates have given the Bush family, their friends and their related businesses in the past three decades,” adding that “$1.4 billion doesn’t just buy a lot of flights out of the country. It buys a lot of love.” But Isikoff and Hosenball show that nearly 90% of that total comes from contracts awarded by the Saudi government to BDM, a defense contractor owned by Carlyle. But when the contracts were awarded and BDM received the Saudi funds, Bush Sr. had no official involvement with the firm, though he made one paid speech and took an overseas trip on its behalf. He didn’t actually join Carlyle’s Asian advisory board until after the firm had sold BDM. And though George W. Bush had previously served on the board of another Carlyle company, he left it before BDM received the first Saudi contract. As usual, the connections are loose and circumstantial at best.”

http://www.spinsanity.org/columns/20040702.html

Great article, well worth reading. Spinsanity was a great site… no longer current but their old articles are still up.

Papa Giorgio: Off to work…. OH, P.S., this is one of my favorite all time “Moore’ism” is this:

According to Moore in his book Stupid White Men, “the entire nation is composed of morons”. He writes: “There are forty-four million Americans who cannot read and write above a fourth-grade level – in other words, who are functional illiterates. How did I learn this statistic? Well, I read it.”

Moore should have read better. His endnotes attribute the figure to the U.S. Deptpartment of Education’s national Adult Literacy Survey. Yes, that survey found that 40-44 million Americans performed in the lowest level of literacy. But the survey doesn’t end there. In the next paragraph, it goes on to note that 25% of the people who scored in the lowest literacy category were immigrants who have learned little or no English. And in classic Moore fashion, he also fails to disclose that nearly 19% of the group he includes in the uneducated masses are actually people who have “visual difficulties that affect their ability to read print.”

Surprise: Functional English literacy is not high among the blind, and people learning to speak English may be highly educated, but only able to read their native klanguage. This hardly makes the United States a nation that, writes Moore, “GOES OUT OF ITS WAY TO REMAIN IGNORANT AND STUPID” (capitalization in the original).

POSTSCRIPT

In an excellent response to the issue, Outside the Beltway, puts to rest this issue for thinking person:

CNN’s Peter Bergen who conducted the first television interview of bin Laden in 1997:

The story about bin Laden and the CIA — that the CIA funded bin Laden or trained bin Laden — is simply a folk myth. There’s no evidence of this. In fact, there are very few things that bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and the U.S. government agree on. They all agree that they didn’t have a relationship in the 1980s. And they wouldn’t have needed to. Bin Laden had his own money, he was anti-American and he was operating secretly and independently.

The evidence, in fact, is fairly clear that the “Afghan Arabs” like bin Laden didn’t interact with the Americans at all. The allegations, on the other hand are based on little more than circumstantial evidence and exaggerations. This idea that the CIA trained Osama bin Laden back in 1980 is simply a myth that needs to die along with bin Laden himself. Moore was wrong, and Sullivan was, it seems to me, entirely correct to call him out for it. This is a myth that has taken hold on both the far left and the far right and it’s time that people stopped lying.

UPDATE (James Joyner): I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “lying,” since people are just repeating what they’ve heard. The confusion comes from the Western conflation of the generic “mujahadeen” into a coherent Mujahadeen, much as we’ve done with the various Taliban groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But, yes, it’s completely wrong. See my March 31 post “Taliban History Lesson: Not Our Boys From the 80-s.” It cites Pat Lang:

The groups we supported were defeated by the Taliban in the civil war that followed Soviet withdrawal.  The Taliban and Usama bin Laden were supported by the separate “Sayyaf” group of Mujahideen supported by Saudi Arabia and Deobandi fanatics in Pakistan.

The confusion has been cleared up often enough that knowledgeable people should know better.

Take note another internet commentator opined well:

Many erroneously people believe the CIA trained bin laden and created Al-Qaida. They do this by conflating all the mujihadeen groups as though they were one. They were not. First there was no al-qaida during the soviet afghan war, bin laden created it AFTER the war. Bin Laden came to Afghanistan as a member(not the leader of) an Arab group whose mission was to try and promote Wahabiism and steer the jihad ideologically, which they failed at. This group came on its own money and agenda and received no US support. Further, the CIA didn’t train anyone as their involvement was restricted per the agreement with Pakistan. Pakistan’s ISI handled training and delivery of funds and weapons and controlled who received any, not the CIA. And finally US funding amounted to about 20% of the Mujhiadeen’s coffers. Another 20% was from the Saudi government and the remaining 60% came from private islamic charities. So with the facts out there, why do so many still live in ignorance?

Additional Details:

Also Pakistan’s ISI created the Taliban in mid 90’s to control Afghanistan. The Taliban was not a direct product of the Soviet Afghan War of Operation Cyclone.

Some Black Conservatives Mixing It Up With Some Sharpton Liberals-AWESOME! (Cons 2-Libs 0)

The Runaway Slave movie crews were at Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor Rally” and at Al Sharpton’s “Reclaiming the Dream March” on Aug 28th. As the two ideologies clashed in DC, our movie crews were on the scene. In this raw footage, shot near the future MLK memorial site, Black Conservatives leaving the “Restoring Honor” rally encounter Sharpton’s protestors who were holding signs claiming “Tea Party Racism.” This is just one of debates that we captured after the rally had ended.




The above is a short scene from the documentary MAAFA21

Deism Defined, Are Miracles Impossible?

From a Debate on Deism (Imported Over from RPT-Blogspot). This debate had to have taken place in early 2000’s. But, as it defines and argues a position often misunderstood, it makes it to PG’s Best. Enjoy: 

Ahhh, Countess, what an honor it is that we meet again. Your name evokes wild pictures of moonlit nights from the pages of the Scarlet Pimpernel. I will indulge a further response from you, as your last post seemed contradictory. My question was simple, it was:

  • Are miracles – from the deist standpoint – possible?

You responded in kind that:

“No, miracles would, logically, not be possible. In a straight-line explanation, God created the universe, and the laws of the universe are the boundaries of the possible. In theory, God could, as the creator of the universe, violate those laws; however, there is no evidence that he has ever done this.”

I need to clarify; I didn’t ask “if miracles were actual” (i.e., miracles have actually occurred). I simply asked if they are possible. Let me give some more ways of looking at it, since you brought up the fact of actuality, then I will return to your statement that I chose to display above.

  • The denial that miracles are possible, and the denial that they are actual;
  • The belief that miracles are possible, but the denial that they are actual;
  • Agnosticism about whether miracles are possible, but the denial that they are actual;
  • The belief that miracles are possible, but agnosticism about whether they are actual;
  • Agnosticism about whether miracles are possible, and agnosticism about whether they are actual.

I believe – reading your opening statement above – that you would fall under category B. I say this because you even admitted that God could, theoretically, “violate” these laws. This seems an anathema to deists, who view these laws of nature as not descriptive, but prescriptive. Let me quote C. S. Lewis on this matter for the sake of clarity in defining what these laws of nature do, and don’t do:

But if God comes to work miracles, He comes “like a thief in the night.” Miracle is, from the point of view of the scientist, a form of doctoring, tampering, (if you like) cheating. It introduces a new factor into the situation, namely supernatural force, which the scientist had not reckoned on. He calculates what will happen, or what must have happened on a past occasion, in the belief that the situation, at that point of space and time, is or was A. but if supernatural force has been added, then the situation really is or was AB. And no one knows better than the scientist that AB cannot yield the same result as A. The necessary truth of the laws, far from making it impossible that miracles should occur, makes it certain that if the Supernatural is operating they must occur. For if the natural situation by itself, and the natural situation plus something else, yielded only the same result, it would be then that we should be faced with a lawless and unsystematic universe. The better you know that two and two make four, the better you know that two and three don’t.

(C.S. Lewis, Miracles, pp. 92-93)

This is what I have come across in deism, is a belief that if God would “violate” (I am highlighting that word for a reason) His laws of nature that He set up, we would live in a “lawless and unsystematic universe” (to quote Lewis). However, let us continue with his remarks:

This perhaps helps to make a little clearer what the laws of Nature really are. We are in the habit of talking as if they caused events to happen; but they have never caused any event at all. The laws of motion do not set billiard balls moving: they analyze the motion after something else (say, a man with a cue, or a lurch of the liner, or, perhaps, supernatural power) has provided it. They produce no events: they state the pattern to which every event – if only it can be induced to happen – must conform, just as the rules of arithmetic state the pattern to which all transactions with money must conform – if only you can get hold of any money. Thus in one sense the laws of Nature cover the whole field of space and time; in another, what they leave out is precisely the whole real universe – the incessant torrent of actual events which makes up true history. That must come from somewhere else. To think the laws can produce it is like thinking that you can create real money by simply doing sums. For every law, in the last resort, says “if you have A, then you will get B.” But first catch you’re a: the laws won’t do it for you.

It is therefore inaccurate to define a miracle as something that breaks the laws of Nature. It doesn’t. If I knock out my pipe I alter the position of a great many atoms: in the long run, and to an infinitesimal degree, of all the atoms there are. Nature digests or assimilates this event with perfect ease and harmonizes it in a twinkling with all other events. It is more bit of raw material for the laws to apply to, and they apply. I have simply thrown one event into the general cataract of events and it finds itself at home there and conforms to all events. If God annihilates or creates of deflects a unit of matter He has created a new situation at that point. Immediately all Nature domiciles this new situation, makes it at home in her realm, adapts all other events to it. It finds itself conforming to all the laws. If God creates a miraculous spermatozoon in the body of a virgin, it does not proceed to break [violate] any laws. The laws at once take it over. Nature is ready. Pregnancy follows, according to all normal laws, and nine months later a child is born…. Miraculous wine will intoxicate…. The divine art of miracle is not an art of suspending the pattern to which events conform but of feeding new events into that pattern. It does not violate the law’s provisio, “If A, then B”: it says, “But this time instead of A, A2,” and Nature, speaking through all her laws, replies, “Then B2” and naturalizes the immigrant, as she well knows how. She is an accomplished hostess.

A miracle is emphatically not an event without cause or without results. Its cause is the activity of God: its result follows according to Natural law. In a forward direction (i.e., during the time which follows its occurrence) it is interlocked with all Nature just like any other event. Its peculiarity is that it is not in that way interlocked backwards, interlocked with the previous history of Nature. And this is just what some people find intolerable. The reason they find it intolerable is that they start by taking Nature to be the whole of reality.

(C. S. Lewis was quoted from his book Miracles, chpt. 8, “Miracles and the Laws of Nature”, pp. 94-96)

This is the case with deism. They presuppose that God created “Nature to be the whole of reality.” a miracle doesn’t “violate” any law, simply, that law will predict what should happen once a miracle event happened.

I got a wee bit ahead of myself here, but I wanted to make sure that you understood that a proper understanding of the laws of Nature in no way restrict miracles, and that any further use of violate by me (and you) should encapsulate this definition. And all I was asking at this point was if miracles were possible. As one writer wrote of Deism:

“A being who could [as deists believe] bring the universe into existence from nothing could certainly perform lesser miracles if He chose to do so. A God who created water could part it or make it possible for a person to walk on it. The immediate multiplication of loaves of bread and fish would be no problem to a God who created matter and life in the first place. A virgin birth or even a physical resurrection from the dead would be minor miracles in comparison to the miracle of creating the universe from nothing [as deists believe]. It seems self-defeating to admit a great miracle like creation and then to deny the possibility of lesser miracles.”

(Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, by Norman L. Geisler, p. 189.)

I will conclude with a mock conversation from the book Answers for Atheists, Agnostics, and Other Thoughtful Skeptics: Dialogues About Christian Faith and Life. This conclusion is only meant to elucidate in laymen’s terms (laymanize) what C. S. Lewis has already said. Enjoy:

The very next day Dave was at Jim’s door again. Now he was more eager than ever to talk.

  • “You know that book you loaned me last night?” he said. “Well, I could hardly put it down today. It’s tough going, but it’s really interesting. I never knew there was so much historical evidence for the Bible.”
  • “Glad you’re enjoying it,” Jim said. “But last night you wound up by saying you couldn’t believe in Jesus’ resurrection because you think it’s unscientific to believe in miracles, right?”
  • “Right. They’re contrary to the laws of nature.”
  • “So?”
  • “Well, the law of nature can’t be broken.”
  • “And miracles, if they happen [are possible], would break them?”
  • “That’s what I’ve always understood.”
  • “Let me suggest another way to think of the laws of nature, Dave. The laws of nature don’t tell us everything that can possibly happen. They just tell us what can happen naturally – that is, by nature working on its own. They don’t tell us anything at all about what happens if something outside of nature acts on nature.”
  • “But there isn’t anything outside of nature.”
  • “Really? I thought we’d been through that already. You remember – entropy, creation of the universe, God, all that?” (pp. 73-74)

See Countess, you — by default — believe something to be outside the universe, and that this God actually did the greatest miracle of all time… that is, “creating the universe with laws and motion with mankind as its goal.” If that isn’t a miracle, then what is?