Testing worldviews: the canards of creationism

We’ve been looking at schooloffish’s post “DOES YOUR WORLD VIEW PASS THE TEST?,” about whether various worldviews (naturalism in this case) live up to standards of self-consistency, evidence, and “what the experts say.” In today’s excerpt, schooloffish thinks he has found some problems with evolution that all those PhD biologists have somehow failed to notice.

Since evolution postulates that things evolve from simple cell organisms into complex ones, there should never be a stage where the complexity of an organism cannot be reduced to a less complex stage (calledirreducible complexity). Has any one ever wondered how the heart could have continued to work as it mutated from two chambers to four? How could such a defect still keep the mutated creature alive? How could an animal with a half flipper and half leg survive? It seems logical to assume that a half flipper would not allow the organism to swim and the half leg wold make hunting on land impossible as well. It seems that the organism would starve to death of be a perfect meal for a non-defective creature. Lastly, how can abiogensis occur? How did a rock turn into DNA? These questions have been largely ignored because they show that the naturalistic world view should only be rejected as false.

Well, no, actually, that’s not true. Not only have these questions been extensively studied, scientists have made some significant progress towards finding reasonable answers. It’s not the questions, it’s the answers that are being ignored—by creationists.

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TIA Tuesday: How to disprove Christianity

Last time, Vox used the “play dumb” excuse for not being able to fathom what sort of evidence might convince Dawkins that God was real. This week, he plays even dumber by sharing his own suggested list of potential “evidences” against Christianity.

But if rabbit fossils found in a Pre-Cambrian strata would suffice to disprove evolution, then surely a brilliant scientist like Richard Dawkins should easily be able to come up with a few propositions that would suffice to falsify a specific religion such as Christianity. I suggest a few possibilities:

  • The elimination of the Jewish people would falsify both God’s promise to Abraham and the eschatological events prophesied in the Book of Revelation.
  • The discovery of Jesus Christ’s crucified skeleton.
  • The linguistic unification of humanity.
  • An external recording of the history of the human race provided by aliens, as proposed by science fiction authors Arthur C. Clarke and James P. Hogan.
  • The end of war and/or poverty.
  • Functional immortality technology.

Setting aside the obvious fallacy of demanding that Dawkins prove a negative, it might be fun to take a look at these “evidences” and how they actually relate to the question of whether or not Christianity is true.

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Testing worldviews: naturalism part 2

Let’s continue our look at naturalism, as discussed in schooloffish’s post, “DOES YOUR WORLD VIEW PASS THE TEST?” Today we find him taking up the argument from design:

What we see is an orderly Universe where everything is in a perfect location to allow for humanity to thrive. If the sun was just a little hotter, or colder, life could not exist. If the continents were a little bit out of alignment, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn would seize to flow and the world would be covered with ice. If our sun was just a little bit younger or older, our orbit would be such that the planet would be unable to sustain life. The fact is the Universe seems to be ordered, not in chaos as Darwin would have had us believe.

Needless to say, a scientific theory is basically a reasonably accurate description of some particularly orderly aspect of the natural world. If the universe were “chaos,” as schooloffish puts it, a theory like evolution would not even be possible. The absence of any predictable laws of cause and effect would completely invalidate science as we know it.

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Discovery Institute: Reviving and recirculating Nazi propaganda

Over at Discovery Institute’s “Evolution News and Views,” Senior Propagandist Jonathan West criticizes Dawkins for—are you sitting down?—comparing a rabbi’s speaking style to Hitler’s.

Now, after denouncing Expelled as “wicked, evil” and an “outrage” for pointing out that Darwinism was one of the intellectual influences on Nazism, Dawkins has compared a popular Rabbi who dares to criticize him to Hitler! And he did it no less on World Holocaust Remembrance Day. No, I’m not joking. As I’ve said before, it’s getting really hard to parody the Darwinists. They do it so well themselves.

Who knows what West thinks the “parody” would be here. Apparently, you can accuse “Darwinists” of promoting Nazism all day long, and everything’s just peachy, but if one of THEM dares to do the same to YOU, why, gosh, that’s just so over the top, it’s, it’s…well, I mean really. Even if that’s not actually what they really said.

We could look at the Boteach video (which starts off ranting about the British monarchy being a lie), but in fact it’s not really all that important who called whom the “H” word first. That’s just bickering; if you want more of that, watch trash talk TV. The more important issue is the link West cites above, attempting to blame evolutionary science for the Holocaust. It’s a link to a summary page on Evolution News and Views, listing a number of articles by DI fellows attempting to revive the Nazi propaganda that anti-Jewish genocide is scientifically justified.

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XFiles Friday: Tackling polytheism

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 8 )

At this point in Chapter 8, Geisler and Turek think they’ve proven that the universe must have a theistic cause, and that this deity must be infinite, omnipotent, personal, intelligent, purposeful and moral. Having ostensibly eliminated atheism (as they suppose), the next step is to rule out polytheism so that they can restrict the field to Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Unfortunately, Trinitarianism is just polytheism with incoherent definitions, so they can’t disprove polytheism without shooting down traditional Christianity as well. Geisler and Turek don’t notice this, of course, but we certainly shall.

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Testing “naturalism”

No, we’re not talking about naturalism as in the scientific study of nature. We’re back to reviewing schooloffish’s post “DOES YOUR WORLD VIEW PASS THE TEST,” and we’re ready to have a look at his critique of the naturalistic (presumably as opposed to supernaturalistic) world view. First, let’s look at the three tests he uses to evaluate a world view.

When testing a world view, you need to take into account three things. Even if you are not familiar with all the aspects of a world view, if any one of these three test proves to be false, then the entire world view must – necessarily – be false. These tests are:

1. Is the world view contradictory within it’s own view?

2. Does the world view actually align with reality?

3. What do expects and eye witness have to say about the world view?

As we mentioned before, the relativistic world view (aka postmodernism) fails the first test, so we’ll skip over that analysis and go straight to the part about naturalism.

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TIA Tuesday: Passing the buck

Over the centuries, believers have evolved a number of techniques for coping with God’s continuous and universal failure to show up in real life. One of the most common ploys is to try and deflect blame from God by blaming people instead. Here’s Vox Day, from Chapter 8 of TIA, to give us an example.

While Dawkins incessantly complains about the lack of evidence for God, he never quite gets around to explaining precisely what proof, presumably scientific, would be sufficient for him. He poses no potentially falsifiable experiment that would suffice to prove or disprove God’s existence nor does he even consider the question of whether any such experiment would conceivably be possible.

Notice the subtle shift from Dawkins’s request for evidence of God, to Vox’s insinuation that Dawkins is insisting on an arbitrary, unspecified, and unreasonably stringent proof of God. God consistently and universally fails to behave as though He believed the things men say about Him, but instead of blaming God’s behavior on God, Vox wants to claim that it is men who are behaving badly, by making impossible demands.

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Testing worldviews: defining relativism

Continuing our series on schooloffish’s post, DOES YOUR WORLD VIEW PASS THE TEST, we come now to his definition of the relativistic world view.

The last category to be discussed is a relativistic world view. This has become a very popular world view as of late. In general this world view believes that all world views are true for the individual and therefore all are right as long as it right for YOU. In a relativistic world view, the word truth, right and wrong are subjective as opposed to objective truth as the world would be used by the other two categories.

I don’t expect to have too much difficulty agreeing with schooloffish here, since the relativistic view is indeed rather silly and self-defeating. As Geisler and Turek point out, you can’t claim to have an absolute truth that there is no absolute truth. To make such claims is to exalt the human mind above the real world around us, to the point of merely deceiving yourself.

I will point out, though, that in my own personal experience, I’ve encountered far more Christians advocating a relativistic (or “postmodern”) worldview than I have secularists with similar views. Not that the secular relativists don’t exist, of course, but I personally have not met so many of them. Christians, though—lots, particularly once they realize that God actually doesn’t show up in real life, the way He ought to if the Gospel were true.

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Testing worldviews: the religious worldview defined

Continuing our look at schooloffish’s post DOES YOUR WORLD VIEW PASS THE TEST, we come now to the definition for the religious worldview.

In general a religious world view embraces that there is something greater than man. That a GOD in some form is responsible for creation, morals & an afterlife (in some form). This world views is much more broad than the naturalistic world view as there are many different religious positions.

To be nit-picky again, the religious view is certainly not the only worldview that tells us there is something greater than man. Indeed, naturalists are often criticized by religionists for failing to rank man as highly as they do. But I think it’s clear that this is not what schooloffish is thinking of here; he’s actually referring to the idea that there is something (or somethings) greater than the whole physical cosmos, namely God (or gods).

I’ve already talked at some length on the topic of the source of morality, so I want to take this post to focus on the last statement in the quote above: that the religious worldview is much more broad than the naturalistic world view. This is not a good thing for religion, as I would like to show using the parable of Mt. Sinai and the Burning Bush.

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Chuck Colson on losing rights

Chuck Colson has a column at townhall.com in which he explains why, in his opinion, the religious right is losing the right to speak out against the things they don’t believe in. It’s more honest than he intends.

David Woodward is a political science professor at Clemson University—one who has first-hand experience on how dangerous it can be to speak out in favor of traditional values: He almost lost his job over it.

In 1993, Woodward was asked to testify about the political power of homosexual groups in American life. He agreed to serve as an expert witness for the state of Colorado, which was fighting to defend the recently passed Amendment Two, which made it illegal to give protected status based on sexual orientation.

There, in a nutshell, is the heart of the problem: Christians are not just speaking their minds, they’re using their voice to try and pass legislation that goes beyond mere speech to actual, legalized oppression of those they disagree with.

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