In this episode of the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast, J. Warner offers a number of brief, rhetorically powerful responses to the objection: “Truth Cannot Be Known with Any Certainty.” Even if some claims are objectively true, how can we be sure – given our limited ability as finite humans – we can know the truth with any certainty? Isn’t it arrogant to claim you know something is true, to the exclusion of all other views and opinions? These Quick Shot responses are designed to help you remove intellectual obstacles when talking about God with your friends and family members. They are also available on the Cold-Case Christianity Phone App so you can access them as you are interacting with others.
Richard Feynman once said that the “first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.” In my lifetime I have encountered the truth of this “law” more than a few times. My deep dive into believing the conspiratorial view of history for many years and my eventual tri-fecta causing me to reevaluate the truth of what I previously held as truths.
- What happened was (1) Y2K, (2) I started listening to and being challenged by Michael Medved’s “Conspiracy Show,” which lead me to try and (3) follow AND confirm the many references to historical positions made in these books, which failed miserably. (RPT)
So I come at this with sympathy for the gullibility of our human nature. Which leads me to a recent conversation with a gentleman I respect, but, is a bit young in his “critical skills.” A classic in debunking — though many years old – is of James Randi debunking an Aura Reader. But the purpose of this post is to deal with why Kirlian photography is explained completely by natural processes and has nothing to do with metaphysics and auras.
WHAT IS KIRLIAN PHOTOGRAPHY?
STALKING LIGHT explains the process for us:
NEW AGE “CONFIRMATIONS”
The technique became popular in the 70’s, with the influx of New Age and susceptibility to wanting to believe in something beyond “us” that is still driven and centers on the “inner divinity” — as part of the rejection of the Judeo-Christian tradition that the “counter-culture” was rejecting. Drugs also played a part in the susceptibility of a generation. It is a human construct (history teaches us this) to worship ourselves in some way, and New Age religions offer this in spades:
This always the outcome of the New Age movement, self divinity. It is the oldest lie in the Book.
- When a Man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything. ~ G. K. Chesterton
The urge to believe in something and the ease we can fool ourselves at times combine to anesthetize our critical thinking.
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
And often times it is the simple practicing of simple psychological tricks and perception and planted words that help the aura reader do his “magic.” (The aura reader can slightly change the outcome of the aura as well, depending on the “vibe” he is getting from the client. More on this later.) This “reading” is similar to other New Age practices like crystal ball readings, tarot cards, and the like:
So now we get into some hints that the claims of us having an aura are actually better explained by the processes used to “capture” it. For instance, the early “leaf” experiments were later challenged and when reproduced properly, did not repeat the effects:
- Living things… are moist. When the electricity enters the living object, it produces an area of gas ionization around the photographed object, assuming moisture is present on the object. This moisture is transferred from the subject to the emulsion surface of the photographic film and causes an alternation of the electric charge pattern on the film. (SKEPDIC)
CREATIVE PHOTO CONNECT explains more the above:
Many people do not realize that the subjects taking the photograph have their hands on an electrocharged plate:
The film merely picks up the ionized air and the moisture. Slight changes in voltage, moisture, film, and gullibility of the client combined with hints picked up by the reader in demeanor, reactions to discussion, and the like — can cause someone to put their faith in a neat photographic trick — as more than just that. WIRED MAGAZINE notes the industry that cropped up around these natural forces. The cost of the AuraCam6000 at the date of the article was $10,000 new.
The New Age is not a new subject to me… (some examples)…
- A CRASH COURSE IN POPULAR NEW AGE
- REINCARNATION VS. LAWS OF LOGIC (a chapter in my book)
- CONVERSATION SERIES: CULTS FROM THE 70’S
- SWEAT LODGE ALTERED BY NEW AGE EQUALS DEATH
“WE” UNITE ALL THE ABOVE
But what unites all the above ~ the cults, the occult, world religions, and even my own faith and it’s aberrant ruminations (word faith, positive confession, televangelists, and the like — see my eulogy at my dads funeral for an example) ~ is the human need for controlling one’s circumstances and outcomes. Combined with ultimately, fooling ourselves. What helped me out of my aberrant view of history were common sense facts. So here are some quick refutations to show straight forward thinking to knock others out of their malaise.
AURAS IN EVERYTHING?
First, auras are in living things — supposedly. But Kirlian photography show them in non-living things:
Here one can see the set-up that causes what we are seeing:
BULLET POINTED REFUTATIONS
Obviously the above is easily explained… as are similar aspects of “aura photography.” Many paranormal enthusiasts still claim that the aura captured by Kirlian photography is some sort of “life force”. However, this is easily debunked (MEDIA COLLEGE):
- Kirlian photographs can be taken of anything moist or conductive, including coins, paper clips, etc.
- Kirlian photographs taken in a vacuum (where no ionized gas is present) show no aura.
- Some people claim that a living object slowly loses its aura after it dies. This is more easily explained by the fact that it loses its moisture.
But not easily debunked to people who are vested in (emotionally and financially) such constructs.
*TOP SECRET continues with another “experiment” explained well by natural (moisture and temperature) changes:
Ravi Zacharias — cultural apologist on behalf of Judeo-Christian values, founder and president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, and best selling author of “The Logic of God” — joins me to discuss faith, morality, the problem of suffering, the case for a creator, and much more.
Here are other topics found above segmented:
This is with the hat-tip to WINTERY KNIGHT, WK does an excellent job at creating a “contents.” William Lane Craig, philosopher, theologian, and best selling author of numerous books including “On Guard: Defending Your Faith With Reason And Precision,” joins Ben to discuss the hard sciences vs. philosophy, the cosmological and ontological arguments, Jesus, slavery, gay marriage, and much more. (See more recommended books HERE)
An isolated portion surrounding Christ…
David Berlinski discusses the fraudulent methods in which evolutionary theory is taught in our schools.
Another book with a more apolgetic verve is one by Jonathan Wells, “Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? Why Much of What We Teach About Evolution Is Wrong,” especially chapter five, “Haeckel’s Embryo’s.” Here is the author speaking to it:
Other Examples of SO-SO-STORIES… but first… what is a so-so-story? Here is a quote, and really, a definition of the general theory of evolution (GTE) that G.A. Kerkut defines in his older text, Implication of Evolution (second quote). Here Spetner calls it the neo-Darwinian theory (NDT), it more common name today. Here is Spetner’s relevant quote:
(LINKS IN PICTURES)
EYE EVOLUTION IN DRAWINGS:
NEBRASKA MAN (Drawn from from a single — later to be known — pigs tooth)
(There are really two “apologetics” [streams of arguments] below. The first is a refutation of Chimp/Human similarities; the second is a dealing with the underlying presuppositions and the self-defeating aspects of them [Jump To This]. And this post spawned a “SISTER POST” of sorts. Enjoy.)
Here I want to offer a somewhat short refutation [NOT] of the perpetual myth about human and chimpanzee DNA being 99% similar. One friend included it in a comment to me:
- A cat shares 85 percent of our dna Along with dogs. Plants 15-20 percent . We share 90% of the genome with a banana. Chimpanzees 99% nearly…
Here is my short response:
Even a recent 2006 TIME article continues the mantra when they say, “Scientists figured out decades ago that chimps are our nearest evolutionary cousins, roughly 98% to 99% identical to humans at the genetic level.” So while science moves on and corrects itself, our culture is stuck in what was said to be a proof, and reject what ACTUALLY an evidence against the evolutionary proposition. Similar refutations of evolutionary positions that Richard Dawkins and “Junk DNA.”
What do I mean by that? I mean that if something is said to be evidence and is used to promote [FOR] the evolutionary paradigm… and then it is shown not to be the case… wouldn’t it then logically be an evidence AGAINST this said paradigm? I think so.
MOVING ON. . . SORTA
Before zeroing in on the Chimp issue, one other quick note regarding a recent discovery that undermines this “similarity” idea. That is this study:
Okay, back to the refutation of the 99% similarity. Here, Dr. Thomas Seiler, Ph.D., Physics, Technical University of Munich refutes compelingly this outdated TIME magazine article… and my friend:
Here is a visual of the varying studies (click to enlarge in another window):
This video evaluates the claim that humans and chimps have 98% to 99% DNA similarity.
DR. JONATHAN SARFATI passed this on to me in conversation (click to enlarge):
Wow. Enough said? Or will this myth still infect the brains of people wishing something to be true that continue to lose evidences for? One other noteworthy exchange from that conversation I wish to note here.
My friend said many things, which is convenient… many skeptics of young earth creationism or Christianity for that matter have paragraphs of bumper sticker [what they think are] facts strung together… like a lullaby to prove to themselves they are right. (What they ironically they call the GISH GALLOP [“it’s far easier to raise numerous unsubstantiated points than it is to refute them properly”] in referring to us.) Which is why I like to stop, and discuss one issue at a time. Which the above is.
When you do that, rarely does the position of the skeptic hold water.
Here is what my friend said:
- I also see damage being done to children when you teach them things that are scientifically inaccurate. The earth is not 10000 years old…
While the main driver of the topic is a PSYCHOLOGY TODAY article that posits Christianity is harmful to children — just Christianity mind you…
It is a form a Christophobia – a fear of anything related to Christianity/Christ, A bias against one “particular” religious expression. A word I used in one of my first “conversation series” posts on my old blog (November of 2006): “theophobia” – a fear of “the belief in one God as the creator and ruler of the universe”.
… is telling. The point that Doc Sarfati makes is Yuuuge. That is,
- skeptics of the Faith like to use moral positions to refute the absolute morality of Christianity, or a position they attribute truth to and expect others to grasp said truth as, well, true — is not in fact the case if their worldview is reality. They pay no attention to the underlying aspect of where these laws or stated facts are reasoned from — mind or matter.
While the whole conversation is a bit drawn out, a refuting principle I used in it which is the same principle Dr. Sarfati taps into (i.e., the Laws of Logic), is this quote by J.B.S. Haldane
- “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.”
It is the same as this reflection by Stephen Hawkings noted by Ravi Zacharias:
Here is Ravi again, but this time at a Q&A at Yale being challenged by a graduate student:
To be clear, my friend has no idea that what he has said is internally self-refuting. To show this working out with yet another skeptic of the Faith, here is apologist Frank Turek dispensing in similar fashion to Jonathan Sarfati (see below), Daniel Dennet:
Or when the same naturalistic position is used to make moral statements… it should be taken as illusory. Philosopher Roger Scruton drives this point home when he says, “A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ‘merely negative,’ is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.” I agree.
Here is the promised longer quote[s] by Jonathan Sarfati:
In any discussion with a Mormon, the following redefinition of biblical/ Christian terms must be kept in mind. Although Mormons themselves may be ignorant of some of the definitions cited below, they represent true Mormon teaching as proven by an evaluation of standard Mormon theological works. (Mainly from John Ankerberg’s and John Weldon’s book, Cult Watch: What You Need To Know About Spiritual Deception)
FIRST, here is a good site where an easy online access to a glossary is found at TRUTH IN LOVE (you may have to sign up [free] to access it), via an adult study at church. Enjoy the below.
- Christianity: sectarianism; a false and damnable apostate religion.
- God: “Elohim”; one of innumerable self-progressing bodily deities; formerly a man, a finite creature. In early Mormon theology, Adam (of the Garden of Eden) was considered by many Mormons as the true earth deity.
- Jesus Christ: a self-progressing deity (“Jehovah” of the Old Testament) and the first spirit child of “Elohim” and his wife.
- Holy Ghost: a man with a spiritual body of matter.
- Trinity: tritheistic; coordinated under general Mormon polytheism; thus the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are separate deities.
- The Gospel: Mormon theology.
- Born-again: water baptism into Mormonism.
- Immortality: Mormon salvation by grace (limited to the universal resurrection of all men).
- Atonement: the provision God has supplied for an individual to earn their true salvation “by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith, 3).
- True salvationleternal life/redemption: Exaltation to Godhood in the highest part of the celestial kingdom based upon individual good works and personal merit; exaltation incorporates ruling a new world and sexual procreation in order to produce spirit children who will eventually be embodied and inhabit that world, each then having the opportunity to be exalted.
- The Fall: a spiritual step upward; a blessing permitting the production of physical bodies for preexistent spirits to inhabit and thus have the possibility of attaining their own “exaltation” or Godhood.
- Death: generally a step upward; death represents the possibility of a form of salvation (if not exaltation) for those who have never heard of Mormonism.
- Heaven: three “kingdoms of glory” comprising various spiritual gradations.
- Hell: generally purgatorial; possibly eternal for a very few (primarily apostate Mormons).
- Virgin birth: the birth of Christ through a physical sex act between God the Father (the Mormon earth god “Elohim”) and Mary (hence, not a virgin birth).
- Man: a preexistent spirit with the potential to earn Godhood by obedience to Mormon dictates.
- Creation: the reorganization of eternal matter.
- The Scriptures: the Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants; The Pearl of Great Price; and the Bible “as far as it is translated correctly” (Articles of Faith, 8).
- The Bible: an erring and often unreliable inspired record, properly interpreted only by Mormons and only in light of Mormon theology.
This is a common comparison I have used over the years:
You can see some of this “fleshed out” in my routine I typically follw with Mormon Missionaries that come to my door — as outlined somewhat in my chapter on Mormonism:
Infinitely Finite – Mormon … by on Scribd
(Originally posted February 2011)
Here is a great quote from Dr. Grudem:
SOCIALISM likewise is the taking over of private property, industry, and the capital of a man’s labor. Here is a good working definition of socialism followed by Professor Richards describing it as well:
A Muslim student at Michigan University challenges Ravi Zacharias on Christianities seemingly lack of ability in keeping the “law” like Islam and Judaism do so well. How can Christianity be true if it isn’t doing that which God demands? (I have recently enhanced, greatly, the audio in the file from my original VIMEO upload… and reconfigured slightly the visual presentation.)
PJ MEDIA update:
An aside, this is how my mind works. As I was trying to figure out the title for this post, I went with the above. But then this reminded me of a skit by the Jerky Boys which I uploaded an excerpt from a while back that I have to share:
This is really old news… but with new DNA evidence to support the issue. I will post a paper I wrote many years ago in a debate with a friend. But here are a few quotes to peak curiosity:
- “…the fossil record doesn’t show gradual change, and every paleontologist has known that since Cuvier.” (Dr Gould, “Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging?” Lecture at Hobart & William Smith Colleges; Feb 14, 1980.)
BEFORE the main article excerpt… here is how the researchers explained away the issue (GULF NEWS):
Here is TECH TIMES dealing with the issue:
So this article is an amazing confirmation in the growing body of new gene studies that have boomed in the last couple decades. It helps confirm a “creation event,” or what others would say is confirmation of a genetic bottleneck of the Great Flood, requiring new definitions and challenges to the status quo!
MY PREDICTION is you will here more about a flood caused by a meteor in an article from 2007:
This study of DNA just adds to the neo-Darwinian proposition being overturned and comes with thanks to BARBWIRE! All the emphasis is theirs:
This is a great — short — piece on the varients [invariably] brought up in conversation about the Bible. AND EXPLAINS why scholarly critics say the following:
- The position I argue for in Misquoting Jesus does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament. ~ Daniel B. Wallace, Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, 2011), 55.
…First, these are errors in the copies, not the originals. Second, they are minor errors (often in names or numbers) which do not affect any teaching. Third, these copyist errors are relatively few in number. Fourth, usually by the context, or by another Scripture, we know which is in error. For example, Ahaziah must have been 22. Finally, though there is a copyist error, the entire message comes through. For example, if you received a letter with the following statement, would you assume you could collect some money?
- #OU HAVE WON $20 MILLION.
Even though there is a mistake in the first word, the entire message comes through-you are 20 million dollars richer! And if you received another letter the next day that read like this, you would be even more sure:
- Y#U HAVE WON $20 MILLION.
The more mistakes of this kind there are (each in a different place), the more sure you are of the original message. This is why scribal mistakes in the biblical manuscripts do not affect the basic message of the Bible…
Here is the portion on “variants”
(Accuracy Montage – Above)
Here is some information from a wonderful book, Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus, in my “Evidence” paper:
This is the MEAT from a larger — must read — article via Stand to Reason: