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.
Can something be true for you and not true for me? In other words, is the truth relative or is the truth fixed? How you answer this question shapes the way you look at the world. Renowned philosophy professor Paul Copan provides an excellent road map through this tricky and vitally important issue.
Much like the “Polar Bear Scare” – Polar Bears reaching a record population since being measured, I tell my “warmist” friends that we should burn more CO2 because if we were worried about CO2 when the population was thought to be decreasing… why aren’t we lauding it as it increases?!
LIKEWISE – here is a report about the “disappearing islands due to “SEA RISE“:
Should we encourage China to build MORE coal plants? Hmmm?
An older challenge was about ANWR… and running a pipeline from Alaska to a port. Eco-fascists use to tell me that it was bad for the caribou species in the area. Then someone did a study and found the caribou population thrived as they used the pipeline to break the harsh elements. After that study came out, the challenge faded into history. But, it caused headlines that swayed public opinion… truth being hindmost in the Left’s arsenal. One last example of this statement for context:
- “The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders…. Dr. Lal’s admission will only add to the mounting furor over the melting glaciers assertion, which the IPCC was last week forced to withdraw because it has no scientific foundation.” (David Rose, The Daily Mail, January 24, 2010)
David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture (New York, NY: Sentinel Publishing, 2011), [FN] 161.
- Manhattan and Maldives Property Value Keeps Going Up
- Small Atoll Islands May Grow, Not Sink, As Sea Levels Rise
JO NOVA catches us up with the latest studies involving islans shrinking:
WATTS UP WITH THAT has the abstract and the conclusion of the study. Here is the abstract:
In his latest FIREWALL, host Bill Whittle recounts the recent CNN scandal, describes the masterful way the videos were released and shows what incredible — almost unbelievable — harm is caused by media bias.
Larry Elder discusses how many students that reside on the Left end of the political spectrum view truth claims/propositions… they are part of the white supremacy construct meant to keep down the minority population. Jesus didn’t come into the world to set people free (John 8:32). Rather, He is coming back to “put y’all back in chains” (Biden).
Here is my description of the audio:
Hugh Hewitt sets up Tom Barrack’s Sunday “Meet the Press” interview with Chuck Todd and himself. Mr. Barrack is the Chairman of the Inaugural Committee and says that his team was responsible for providing the White House with the crowd numbers.
Not included was Chris Matthews noting how reasonable and intelligent Barrack is and follows that up with saying Trump is the same way in person. Adding that Trump is a great listener as well. Matthews continues to say that the public gets a Trump that everyone who personally has met and knows him does not recognize.
You can watch the fuller interview on MEET THE PRESS.
I wanted to pass on a note I left my friends and readers on my Facebook in regards to Chuck Todd’s interview of Kellyanne Conway, and her statement about facts:
Just a quick response to a skeptic elsewhere online…
A person in a group I am a part of posted the following link as a challenge. I focus on number three in my response:
(Site linked in above graphic)
I responded thus…
Already #3 is an issue. Most of what we as a society determine to be truth, especially from ancient documents that discuss history, is not is testable, repeatable, and falsifiable in scientific terms. For instance:
An example of this is discussed many years ago by CS Lewis, when he writes:
➤ “what Napoleon did at the battle of Austerlitz by asking Mr. Bonaparte to come and fight it again in a “laboratory with the same combatants, the same terrain, the same weather, and in the same age…. You have to go to the records. We have not, in fact, proved that science excludes miracles: we have only proved that the question of miracles, like the innumerable other questions, excludes laboratory treatment” ~ C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1970), 134.
In a more modern/wry example on FB is from a group described thus:
★ “A page for freethinking, rational skepticism toward the myth of Abraham Lincoln’s existence and the stories attributed to him…. Belief in Abraham Lincoln is the most malevolent of all mind viruses.”
May I also note the lack of anything historically sound in this anti-theist site about Hitler. Their page on Hitler is really bad: “Hitler, atheist or Christian?“. I LOL’ed at the pic of Hitler and Christmas. I bet with a simple google search I can find a Satanist celebrating Christmas. At any rate, I did a final update to a post on my site discussing Hitler and these very subjects:
This site [Truth Saves] is all-in-all really disappointing as a refutation of Christianity.
The above is an example of relativism run-amock with young people in downtown Durham after the Pride Festival at Duke University Sept 28th 2013. Another interview here.
(This post is updated, as the video from the “Thrive Apologetics Conference” was deleted. New information was substituted in its place.) Posted below are three presentations. The first presentation (audio) is Dr. Beckwith’s classic presentation where high school and college kids get a 2-week crash course in the Christian worldview.
The following two presentations are by Gregory Koukle. The first is a UCLA presentation, the second is an excellent presentation ay Biola University entitled “The Intolerance of Tolerance.” Enjoy this updated post.
Here is — firstly — a classic presentation by Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason.
Below this will be another presentation that is one of Koukl’s best yet, and really is a video update to the excellent book, Relativism: Feet Planted Firmly in Mid-Air… a phrase common to Francis Schaeffer, “feet planted firmly in mid-air.”
To wit, Humanism:
Since present day Humanism vilifies Judeo-Christianity as backward, its goal to assure progress through education necessitates an effort to keep all mention of theism out of the classroom. Here we have the irony of twentieth century Humanism, a belief system recognized by the Supreme Court as a non-theistic religion, foisting upon society the unconstitutional prospect of establishment of a state-sanctioned non-theistic religion which legislates against the expression of a theistic one by arguing separation of church & state. To dwell here in more detail is beyond the scope of this article, but to close, here are some other considerations:
In the earlier spirit of cooperation with the Christian church the ethics or values of the faith were “borrowed” by the humanists. In their secular framework, however, denying the transcendent, they negated the theocentric foundation of those values, (the character of God), while attempting to retain the ethics. So it can be said that the Humanist, then, lives on “borrowed capital”. In describing this situation, Francis Schaeffer observed that: “…the Humanist has both feet firmly planted in mid-air.” His meaning here is that while the Humanist may have noble ideals, there is no rational foundation for them. An anthropocentric view says that mankind is a “cosmic accident”; he comes from nothing, he goes to nothing, but in between he’s a being of supreme dignity. What the Humanist fails to face is that with no ultimate basis, his ideals, virtues and values are mere preferences, not principles. Judging by this standard of “no ultimate standard”, who is to say whose preferences are to be “dignified”, ultimately?
See more quotes HERE
Opinions are bountiful, testing one’s opinions in today’s age? Not so much.
I will explain the issues I have with John’s latest article, and as usual, you can click it to enlarge the above. In this latest opinion slurry, John asks questions that I doubt he even has one single book by a leading philosopher/theologian/scientist from either the Intelligent Design camp or creation positions to search for how Christianity answers these questions. For instance, my favorite treatise to introduce people to ideas expressed above in a broad sense, “Unshakable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions about the Christian Faith.” Or a more in-depth treatise of the same, “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.” Or one more specific to his questions, “The Case For A Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God.” All are readable, and all answer his questions in a way that a mature seeker to these answers would do if seeking to inform one’s own opinion.
One of the queries proffered above is this one: “Of course, that interpretation invites the question, who or what created God.” I wonder if John has actually spent the time finding an answer to this position that has surely passed his lip many times in conversation. I do have a Power Point that deals with this in a very layman-like manner. Also, a more in-depth treatise of it as well HERE. But in a short conversation I had with another gentleman, I responded briefly this way — showing that this has been squarely dealt with many hundreds of years ago:
If one is confused in regards to the above: here is a response geared towards 5th grader; and one geared towards adults. John’s article[s] surely exemplify philosopher Mortimer Adler’s point about formulating good questions based on coherant starting point:
Mortimer J. Adler rightly points out that while many Christians are quick in responding to the conclusions in an argument often times the Christian is unaware that the point of departure is not in the conclusion, but in the starting premise, the foundational assumptions.
- Norman L. Geisler & Peter Bocchino, Unshakeable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions About the Christian Faith (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2001), 20-21.
This “point of departure” is answered two separate times by Christian philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig ~ in less than 2-minutes in each case. I mention the time factor because it seems Mr. Huizum hasn’t even taken 2-minutes to get an answer to his “point of departure”:
John states that searching for answers to his questions in the article is “vital” in “‘knowing’ the truth.” That is fine, and he is right, it is an important question that from the Greeks to us has been a grand Western tradition. But even 1,000’s of years ago the Greeks thought it important enough to debate “how” even to ask the question properly. All that aside however, my last point that needs to be made in one that undermines John’s presuppositions. In John’s closing statement, he says this:
If science is right, there is no need for the existence of a supernatural being, which would in turn terminate all religions on earth and consequently a lot of insane wars.
In a previous installment I respond to John also writing that “Atheism has been aided by scientific discoveries and rigorous questioning.” In the much longer response I quote two agnostics as saying this;
✪ “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.
So John seems to be making the same misguided statements, maybe based on his misunderstanding of the weight of the logical conclusions found in a “non-God” universe, where truth cannot be known. Or not spending 2-minutes to see where his starting premise may be errant, and so his conclusions even worse. In other words, questions seeking a truthful response or statement of fact are impossible considering Johns epistemology (“the branch of philosophy concerned with questions about knowledge and belief and related issues such as justification and truth”).
To which I end with a call for John to internalize if he can even ask what he has in this column and others and expect to find an answer to his “probing” [sophomoric] questions:
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.
(A more in-depth convo with the Vice-President of the Cornell University Atheist Society)
From an old post… continuing some of the ideas above:
From video description:
Prager ends the short discussion with a great example of how “diversity/affirmative action’ plays a role in warping truth/history in order to make people “feel good.” It is one of the key differences between the Left and the Right, that is, equality or liberty. You cannot have both. (Posted by: Religio-Political Talk)
For more clear thinking like this from Dennis Prager… I invite you to visit: http://www.dennisprager.com/