Carl Sagan and his philosophy of the universe…

23 05 2009

Check out this great post over at Eternity Matters. It’s not a very long post so I don’t want to quote it and give the surprise away; I’ll let you click the link and visit it yourself.
http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2009/05/22/carl-sagans-catch-phrase-bad-philosophy-not-science/

Good one Neil.





For all you Atheists out there…

2 04 2009

Happy Atheist‘s Day!

Happy Atheist‘s Day!

Happy Atheist‘s Day!

Psalm 14:1

Fools say to themselves, “There is no God.”

They sin and commit evil deeds;

none of them does what is right.






An illustration of Romans 1

30 03 2009

Sometimes you just run across something that is such a clear picture of the truth of scripture…

In the previous post in which the subject was Arminian logical fallacies, a commenter had the following to say:

Yep, this is a lovely theology. To remind my kid of it, maybe I should set our family dog on fire for peeing on the rug, despite the fact that he has a urinary infection.

That’s pretty much what God does, right? Punish people for doing EXACTLY what He created them to do.

I really liked that rug … and the dog ruined it … doesn’t matter if he could “help himself” or not, right? So maybe we should do what God does: take it out in the back, tie it to a tree and set it on fire.

Unlike the dog who only has to suffer for a minute or so – those “sinners” will suffer for eternity.

You need help. You don’t realize it yet, but dude, seriously … they have medications that will treat sociopathic and psychopathic behavior.

What immediately came to mind was:

Romans 1:18-23

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened.
Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.

And:

1Co 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

I don’t think this needs any additional comment.

Editors note: Only adding: This turned out to be more true than I realized.





You’re a “Fly on the Wall” listening as Dr. Greg Bahnsen lectures on Presuppositional Apologetics…

2 02 2009

I think that this is going to be very much worth your while to watch this video. Yes, it’s long. No, there are no dancing clowns to keep you entertained…but none the less, I believe that it’s probably the most valuable bit of video on Christian Apologetics you’ll see anytime soon. A  big thank you to Debunking Atheism for this video.

Pop the popcorn, dim the lights…here we go:





Agnostic asks whether biblical Christians commit circular reasoning

29 01 2009

The following is a letter that an Agnostic had sent to Answers in Genesis. I was thinking about it while surfing a Christian blog and noticing that many of the arguments thrown up by those opposed to the God of scripture were fallacious arguments. They also accused the Christian of “Circular reasoning” as described here.

I think it’s very interesting and pretty representative of some conversations that I’ve had myself and I thought that it might be helpful for you; as a Christian as well.

Agnostic asks whether biblical Christians commit circular reasoning: role of axioms, internal consistency and real world application

Hi,
I’d like to state first of all that I mean no offence, and ask this purely in the spirit of enquiry, as an agnostic and a philosopher.
I respect your views as far as you hold them, and that despite evidence to the contrary you have held firm to your beliefs-that is commendable, and respectable.
However, I have long been taught throughout my school-life the virtue of science, and the ‘big-bang theory’, evolution and so on.
Having read through your website, I can see that you have well thought-out arguments, backed up with evidence and study, which could easily hold up for some
time against long-held theories. On the other hand, I notice that many of your theories are backed up by nothing more than the word of the bible.
I’m not denying that the bible is an excellent book, nor that it MAY BE the word of God, but I will question one tenet: That the Bible MUST BE the word of God, BECAUSE IT SAYS SO. Now, consider me heretic, but it strikes me that this is a ridiculous line of thought to take? If I were to say that my face was made of cucumber, and I’m four hundred years old, would that make it so simply because I said so?
I’m not entirely convinced that it would.
All in all though, fair play to you, you’re doing some good work there

I always have to favour the underdog in any debate!
Be happy, and God’s love on you,
Joe Payne
UK

Answer:

Hi,
I’d like to state first of all that I mean no offence, and ask this purely in the spirit of enquiry, as an agnostic and a philosopher.

Thanks. I will try to answer in the same spirit. I will say though that many of the answers you seek are already on our website, as will be shown below.


I respect your views as far as you hold them, and that despite evidence to the contrary you have held firm to your beliefs-that is commendable, and respectable.

However, there is a worldview in what you say whether you are conscious of it or not. That is: you have accepted what is known as the fact-value distinction, although many philosophers reject it on for the cogent reason that no good demarcation criterion has been proposed.
Proponents of this distinction place Christian beliefs in the realm of ‘values’, i.e. mere personal beliefs that have no connection with reality. There are less scrupulous people than you who will say the same sort of things, that they ‘respect’ Christianity, but at a frightful cost of dismissing Christian ideas from any rational discussion.
However, Christianity is a system of Total Truth (the title of a new book on these issues by Nancy Pearcey). It makes objective claims about the world, including its history and about absolute right and wrong. See this refutation of Stephen Jay Gould and NOMA (nonoverlapping magisteria) for some examples.

Actually, many Christians have likewise accepted the fact-value distinction, including Dr Batten in his younger days as he confesses (note the diagram) which he wants people to avoid.

However, I have long been taught throughout my school-life the virtue of science, and the ‘big-bang theory’, evolution and so on.

Did they also teach you about the many cosmogonists skeptical of the big bang because of the ad hoc unobservable entities required to prop up the theory, e.g.
hypothetical inflation field, dark matter and energy, as well as adjustable parameters to bring the theory into line? See Secular scientists blast the big bang.
Or did they teach you the many chemical hurdles of chemical evolution required before nonliving chemicals can form even a simple living cell? See Q&A: Origin of Life. I also have to wonder whether their ‘evidence’ for evolution was mere change, as atheistic New Zealand journalist Bob Brockie did (see refutation).

Having read through your website, I can see that you have well thought-out arguments, backed up with evidence and study, which could easily hold up for some time against long-held theories. On the other hand, I notice that many of your theories are backed up by nothing more than the word of the bible.

Since the creation/evolution issue is about history, we do what the best historians do-go to eyewitness accounts. That is what the Bible is.
I’m not denying that the bible is an excellent book, nor that it MAY BE the word of God, but I will question one tenet: That the Bible MUST BE the word of God, BECAUSE IT SAYS SO.

Then I have to ask you, why do you think it is an excellent book? If it claims to be written by God (and it does many times), then if this claim is false, the Bible would be a fraudulent or delusional book. This is parallel to C.S. Lewis’s famous Trilemma argument: Jesus claimed to be God, so either this is true or false; if true, then worship Him! But if false, then he is either deliberately lying, or is hopelessly deluded, worse than the man who thinks that he is a baked potato. One option He just does not logically allow is ‘he was just a very great teacher’. The same is true of the Bible.
Now, consider me heretic, but it strikes me that this is a ridiculous line of thought to take? If I were to say that my face was made of cucumber, and I’m four hundred years old, would that make it so simply because I said so?
I’m not entirely convinced that it would.

No, but this is not our argument. Rather, it would be worth seeing this answer to the charge of circular reasoning. For one thing, the circle is easily broken; for another, the alleged circular reasoning is to show the self-consistency of our chosen axioms-the propositions of Scripture. All philosophical systems start with axioms (presuppositions), or unprovable propositions accepted as true, and deduce theorems from them. Therefore Christians should not be faulted for having axioms, as explained in Creation: ‘where’s the proof?’
So the question for any axiomatic system is whether it is self-consistent and is consistent with the real world. The self-consistency is explained above, and as will be seen, Christian axioms provide the basis for a coherent worldview, i.e. a thought map that can guide us throughout all aspects of life.
Non-Christian axioms fail these tests. E.g. science requires certain premises to work, and they are deductions from biblical axioms, as shown in this response, while atheism does not provide this justification from within its own framework. Also, atheism must postulate certain unprovable beliefs that go against observable science, as shown in this reply to an atheist.
Also, the Christian axioms provide a basis for objective morality. Please understand what I am saying here-not that atheists can’t be moral but that they have no objective basis for this morality from within their own system, as explained in this response. The fanatical atheistic evolutionist Dawkins admits that our ‘best impulses have no basis in nature.’ So Dawkins makes a leap of faith to say that we should be ‘anti-Darwinian when it comes to morality’, that we should ‘rebel’ against our selfish genes, etc. But his own philosophy can’t justify the ‘shoulds’.

Christian axioms also provide a basis for voluntary choice, since we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). But evolutionists believe that we are just machines and that our thoughts are really motions of atoms in our brains, which are just ‘computers made of meat’. But then they realize that we can’t function in the everyday world like this. Science is supposed to be about predictability, yet an evolutionist can far more easily predict behavior if he treats his wife as a free agent with desires and dislikes. For example, if he brings her flowers, then he will make her happy, i.e. for all practical purposes, his wife is a free agent who likes flowers.
Nothing is gained in the practical world by treating her as an automaton with certain olfactory responses programmed by genes that in turn produce certain brain chemistry. So they claim that free will is a ‘useful illusion’.
We must also wonder why atheists call themselves ‘free-thinkers’ if they believe thoughts are the results of atomic motion in the brain obeying the fixed laws of
chemistry. By their own philosophy, they can’t help what they believe!
Also, it is amusing that evolutionists believe that other people’s ideas (e.g. religion and morality) are explained by evolution, and thus can be dismissed as not based in reality. Right, so what evolutionary process explained their evolutionary ideas, and can we similarly dismiss them as explained away? Perhaps there is a gene that evolved to makes them believe that behaviors are controlled by evolved genes? See also this response to an evolutionist who was hoist by his own petard.

All in all though, fair play to you, you’re doing some good work there
I always have to favour the underdog in any debate!

Thanks. But even better to favour the truth, though. Underdogs aren’t always right, e.g. Holocaust deniers, but thank you for the kind thoughts.

Be happy, and God’s love on you.
Joe Payne
UK
You too, and I hope that you will one day ‘love God with all your mind.’
Dr. Jonathan Sarfati

Education

  • B.Sc. (Hons.) in Chemistry (with condensed matter and nuclear physics papers substituted)
  • Ph.D. in Spectroscopy (Physical Chemistry)

Honors/Awards/Associations
• 1988, F.I.D.E. Master title, The International Chess Federation





Merry UNCOMFORTABLE Christmas!

24 12 2008

Merry Christmas to all brothers and sisters in Christ out there!

Rejoice; unto us a savior is born, Christ Messiah!

For those who are not in Christ this holiday season,  I have another message for you;

Repent of your wicked ways. Turn toward the only hope you have; Jesus Christ!

All the times you’ve lusted after women or men, all of the times you’ve lied, all of the times you’ve used God’s holy name in blasphemy.

All of the times you’ve lived your life, enjoying what God has given you and not giving Him his due thanks and adoration.

All of the times you’ve broken God’s laws, knew it; your conscience bearing witness, but did it anyway in defiance of God…

REPENT!

And believe the Gospel;  believe that God came down and took on human flesh, became a man, fully God and yet fully man,

He lived a perfect sinless life, and was crucified, died, and was buried.

He took the wrath of Almighty God upon Himself, in your place. The wrath that should have come upon you; fell on Him.

God’s justice has been satisfied. You are free.

Free because He rose again, defeating death..

And now God commands you to repent and believe.

The word of God puts it this way:

John 3:18
The one who believes in him is not condemned.  The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.

So I hope these words haunt you throughout the Christmas holiday season. I hope you get no rest for the fear of what is in store for you. I pray that you realize what you’ve done all of your life, and that you have godly sorrow over it, and that you’ll repent and be saved!

So while I wish you a Merry UNCOMFORTABLE Christmas, it’s not out of hatred for you, or a sense that I’m somehow better than you…indeed…I WAS YOU. My prayer is that you repent and believe and that someday we meet in Heaven!





Theology really DOES matter.

14 07 2008

This is a video from James White in which he asks the question: How would YOU answer Atheist Christopher Hitchens’ statement about man’s history and God’s plan?

I say it often and I’ll say it again, theology matters. Solid theology. Not a theology centered on man, but a theology centered squarely on God, His attributes, His plans, His glory.

Here is the video