Proof… (sorta)December 29, 2008 — Deacon Duncan
Via Answer the Skeptic comes this gem. It’s a long, rambling, and breathtakingly ignorant “proof of God” by David Pack, the intellectual heir (if not legal successor) to Herbert W. Armstrong. Armstrong, as you may know, was the founder of the Worldwide Church of God, a group regarded by many mainstream Christians as a heretical cult. After Armstrong’s death, the organization cleaned up its act quite a bit to become more orthodox, which led to a number of splinter groups, like Pack’s, splitting off to continue the Armstrong legacy. Apparently, though, either the folks at Answer the Skeptic don’t know about David Pack’s theological heritage, or else don’t care that they’re turning to cults for help in buttressing their apologetics.
Pack begins by promising everything an apologist could ask for.
This booklet presents numerous absolute, immutable proofs that God does exist. After reading it, you will never again doubt the answer to this greatest of questions! Some proofs will amaze you. Others will inspire you. Still others will surprise or even excite you. All of them will fascinate you with their simplicity. We will first examine some traditional proofs and then consider material that rests on the cutting edge of scientific understanding, before returning to established proofs. You will learn from biology, astronomy, chemistry and mathematics.
Conspicuously absent from this list is anything that would involve, you know, God actually showing up in real life. In fact, Pack’s “proofs” are so vague and superstitious that they could serve equally well as proof of Norse gods, Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Spontaneous Magical Entropy Reversal Fields (SMERFs). Pack could have greatly abridged this piece simply by stating, “I do not know squat about science—therefore GOD EXISTS.”
As you might guess, most of the article is just a rehash of standard creationist arguments, including a few rarely-spotted gems like this one. (Coffee alert: do not drink while reading the following.)
The First Law of Thermodynamics is stated as follows: Matter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed. There are no natural processes that can alter either matter or energy in this way. This means that there is no new matter or energy coming into existence and there is no new matter or energy passing out of existence…
Consider! Uranium has an atomic weight of 238.0. As it decomposes, it releases a helium atom three times. Each helium atom has a weight of 4. With the new weight of 226.0, uranium becomes radium. Radium continues to give off additional atoms until eventually the end product becomes the heavy inert element called lead. This takes a tremendous amount of time. While the process of uranium turning into radium is very long, the radium turns into lead in 1,590 years.
What are we saying? There was a point in time when the uranium could not have existed, because it always breaks down in a highly systematic, controlled way. It is not stable like lead or other elements. It breaks down. This means there was a specific moment in time when all radioactive elements came into existence. Remember, all of them—uranium, radium, thorium, radon, polonium, francium, protactinium and others—have not existed forever. This represents absolute proof that matter came into existence or, in other words, matter has not always existed!
And therefore GOD EXISTS! Um, yeah. Either that or nuclear fusion exists. I wonder where he thinks some of the heavier atomic elements come from?
The article as a whole is pretty much the same thing: grandiose prose pouring forth arguments that range from the predictable (“When applied to the universe, the second law of thermodynamics indicates that the universe is winding down—moving toward disorder or entropy—not winding up or moving toward more perfect order and structure”) to the incoherent (scientists tell time by making astronomical observations, therefore GOD EXISTS). There’s the standard creationist snipes about transitional forms, and some of the newer (but already debunked) claims of the Intelligent Design crowd, and of course lots and lots of triumphal strutting.
What’s missing, of course, is any kind of evidence linking the Christian God to any of the presumed acts Pack gives Him credit for. When OJ’s wife was found murdered (along with the unfortunate “boyfriend”), it wasn’t just a question of “Does a murderer exist?” To prove that a person is responsible for something, you have to show an actual connection of some sort. All Pack does, however, is to simply beg the question.
For many years, until 1967, Naval Observatory astronomers “observed” the motion of the earth, in relation to the heavens, to accurately measure time. All clocks in this country were set in relation to these very precise measurements. It was God who made this Master Clock of the Universe! He set the heavens in motion and mankind learned how to use its wonderful accuracy.
A “clock” exists, therefore God created it. No evidence linking God to this particular “crime,” no motive, no means and no opportunity, just an assertion that Godidit. This is not proof, it is merely superstition, giving some magical power credit for some real-world phenomenon, without being able to show any connection between the two, or even being able to describe how such a connection would work if it did exist (let alone being able to make specific predictions about what consequences would necessarily result from such a cause in action).
It’s significant that whenever believers go looking for “proof” that God exists, the best they can come up with is garbled, ignorant, and superstitious arguments about what something that might resemble some sort of vaguely-specified deity might possibly have done in the dark depths of the ancient past. The Bible isn’t about men discovering God by thinking about the radioactive decay of uranium, it’s about observations that they allegedly made in the present day, of a God who allegedly speaks and acts in the real world, and the proofs of such a God ought to be of the same type. We ought to see present-day evidence, solid, verifiable evidence, that incontrovertibly demonstrates both that God exists and that He is interested and involved in human affairs.
Pack’s argument proves that no such God exists, because if there were a God Who could be observed in real life in the present day, he wouldn’t be reduced to making ignorant and superstitious arguments about what he speculates might have happened back in the lost mists of time. (Or not so lost: we have telescopes that can see back billions of years, and so far there’s no sign of God actually doing any supernatural creating.)
So thanks to Answer the Skeptic for sharing this one and demonstrating once again how desperate and bankrupt Christian apologetics really is. You know you’re hurting for arguments when you have to borrow the failures of the cults.