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February 12, 2013

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I might simply say, "the big bang supports my Guy, not yours."

I'd take it more seriously if the average atheist using that argument could explain how we know these things other than:

1- They told me in school
2- I see it on TV, and they seem smart

How come every time (my experience, may not be universal) someone comes out as an atheist they suddenly think they are a scientific ubergenius well beyond the understanding of their former peers?

The creation story in Genesis points to an eternal being, God, no beginning and no end, this God created everything because this God has the power to create something out of nothing. This God did not use "whatever" was already there and create something else, NO, THIS God CREATED everything. The other "accounts" of creation can not answer the question, "well, where did the dust come from".

The other "accounts" of creation can not answer the question, "well, where did the dust come from"

So where did God come from?

How come every time (my experience, may not be universal) someone comes out as an atheist they suddenly think they are a scientific ubergenius well beyond the understanding of their former peers?

Maybe you should read some good science books. Here are a couple for you to consider. The first deals with cosmology, the second with human evolution (from a genetic standpoint):

1) Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe

2) Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA

Read those and you will have a solid scientific basis for cosmological and human origins. Happy reading!

Which story? There are two separate creation narratives in Genesis.

I am anxious to hear the response to this. It seems beyond dispute to me that the Genesis creation accounts are of a specific genre and have striking similarities (and differences) from other contemporary accounts.

I thought it was a pretty good chart because it reasonably accurately and succintly lays out the faith statements of the major religions, including scientism, respecting origins.

Where it falls apart is in presenting the evidence. Somehow they have the mistaken notion that only scientism is supported by evidence; which is cheeky and disingenuous at best and rude and immature at worst. Whatever it is, it isn't science. Science pays attention to all the evidence of all the hypotheses and then examines to see which works best in the real world. One could just as easily put at the bottom of the scientism column - "Because doctrinaire atheists say so". It would have as much meaning.

Good try though.

Well, I might start out by adding a few items to the Judeo-Christian evidences:

* Ocean Salinity too low
* Moon too far from Earth
* Earth's magnetic field too strong
* Bent (not broken) rock layers
* Blood vessels found in Dino bones
* Carbon-14 found in fossils

Or maybe I'd just link them to an article like this: http://bit.ly/QQRq3d

I am just going to say something about the radiometric dating portion of the evidence because i don't have time to respond to every evidence and I could give a page on each.
One of the biggest flaws with radiometric dating is the fact that we have to assume the number of parent and child elements in the sample before we even get started. Scientists have assumed all along that these samples had 100 percent parent and 0 percent child. They can then get their ages based on the difference now. If the data were remotely congruent throughout all samples I might even consider they were right in the assumptions. Of course this is not what we see. Also ICR (Institute for Creation Research) did a large study on this and found that for samples that were recently created and the age known, the dates always showed old. Not to mention what Tobias had already mentioned where they found Carbon 14 in every sample they had taken...even Diamonds. So the evidence they seem to point to for Science being the answer for the origins of the world is very shaky at best.

Then I'd help them remove some evidencess from the "Science" category which have been shown false or are better evidence for Judeo-Christian creation:

* Radiometric Dating (See Carbon-14 above)
* Microevolution / Hybridization / Heredity / Genetics / etc. (Hello? Reproduce "after it's own kind.")
* Vestigial structures
* actually, pretty much all of them.

And rename the Science category to Naturalism. After all, Creationists and Naturalists have the same scientific evidence but interpret it differently. Science is just the process of collecting evidence through observation and experimentation.

When one examines the chart as a total production, it is clear that there is a universal interest in the question of origins and an eon-long quest to determine the best explanation to how this universe came to be. When you boil this chart down to its essential point the question is reduced further: Is the universe derived from natural or supernatural sources? The evidence behind science can also be extended to divine origins. The fossil evidence speaks to a general one-time appearance of many forms of animal life (the Cambrian explosion). Tobias has already listed other pieces of evidence, William West the rationale for discounting radiometric dating.
The flow of posts speaks to the gathering of the evidence. I cannot recall the specific detective story (perhaps a poster can give me the exact title, which would be nice) but in it the detective (either Sherlock Holmes-Father Brown-C. Auguste Dupin) is discussing the large array of evidence offered in an upcoming case with his associate (Dr. Watson-Flambeau-the anonymous Poe character) and is creating and recreating possible crime scenarios and possible solutions from them, suggesting that further study and further clues would be needed. Such is the case of this chart. The suggestion that the pieces of evidence fall only on the scientific “story” is false. In Icons of Evolution, Jonathan Wells debates the consistency and accuracy of the evidence applied to the theory of evolution. Evidence could be offered to discount the theory.
In the end, if “origins” is divine act, what can science say to the matter? Fiat creation reduces scientific explanations to a finely crafted, highly annotated fairy-tale.
>> I am anxious to hear the response to this. It seems beyond dispute to me that the Genesis creation accounts are of a specific genre and have striking similarities (and differences) from other contemporary accounts.
Brgulker, the first two chapters of Genesis can be interpreted to be one account, centered on an understanding of the Hebrew word toledoth, generations, found in Gen. 2: 4. The term is used ten times in Genesis, and introduces key sections of the book. The word has the flavor of introducing an extension of the story about a character or setting that has been recently presented (thus the toledoth of Terah (Gen. 11: 27) features Abraham, the son of the recently mentioned father, Terah). The first chapter offers a chronological construction of heavens and earth, the second centers on a specific detail, the creation of man. Does that help?

Is scientific evidence in conflict with the Genesis creation story? I don't think it is. In fact, there are numerous scriptural references that accurately represent scientific truths that were not discovered until centuries after the Bible was written. Just listing numerous creation stories and claiming that their only argument is because their respective holy book says so does not address the specific case for any respective creation story. I want to know specifically what the conflicts are between science and the creation account of Genesis.

After I hear it, I'll give you my explanation of why I believe that their is no conflict between science and scripture. There are only conflicts between certain scientific interpretations and certain scriptural interpretations.

Seems like the claim that the Big Bang coincides with the 'origin' of everything comes unjustified.

Are there observations of 'nothing' 'prior' to the Big Bang?

Does the theory point to 'nothing' 'prior' to the Big Bang?

The answers, as far as I know, are NO and NO.

Does this mean there's scientific evidence for 'something' 'something' 'prior' to the Big Bang?

Does it mean the theory points to 'something' 'prior' to the Big Bang?

The answers are NO and NO.

Can anyone point me to someone who has a good reason for saying the Big Bang was creation from nothing?

There's no data and no theory about no thing.

That said, Big Bang theory does sound very different from Genesis.

So, Big Bang theory can't be said to speak about the origin of everything, but it can be said to conflict with the Bible - cutting edge apologetics notwithstanding.

Somehow they have the mistaken notion that only scientism is supported by evidence

What the heck is scientism? Is that the new derogatory Christian buzzword for science that contradicts the biblical account?

Is scientific evidence in conflict with the Genesis creation story?

As brgulker stated, the Genesis creation story is in conflict with itself. Was it animals and then man and woman (Chapter 1), or was it man then animals then woman (Chapter 2)? Did creation occur in seven 24-hour days as indicated by Exodus 20? If so, that is in opposition to all scientific evidence we have (biological, astronomical, geological, chemical, etc.) If not, then the Bible is contradicting itself once again.

There's no good way to reconcile scientific origins and the biblical creation story except to say that one is wrong. Since all the evidence is on the side of science, I have to conclude that the Genesis account is a myth just like all the other creation myths.

"What the heck is scientism? Is that the new derogatory Christian buzzword for science that contradicts the biblical account?"

Scientism is a philosophical belief that only what can be proven by science is what is real (paraphrasing). It is not science.

Darth Dutch

The title of the chart is "How was the World created?" But then the first 5 examples detail various answers to the question of "Who created the World?" And the 6th example doesn't answer the "Who Created the World?" or the "How was the World Created?" question either but rather gives an answer to the question "What is the World?"

I like the effort but it seems if you ask a question, you should make some effort to answer THAT question, not posit an answer to a different question.

Who, What and How are all different questions.

Scientism is a philosophical belief that only what can be proven by science is what is real (paraphrasing). It is not science.

From Wikipedia:

Michael Shermer ... defines scientism as a worldview that encompasses natural explanations, eschews supernatural and paranormal speculations, and embraces empiricism and reason.

Sounds like a reasonable position to me. Apparently it means that the scientific view and the employment of reason is the best method for determining that which is true. I agree.

Thinking of this from a Columbo perspective: How did you come to the conclusion there is no evidence for the biblical creation model? What makes you believe science does not support biblical creation?

That infographic makes alot of bold statements that sound impressive, but are baseless or hotly disputed among scientific. Elephant hurling can impress or intimidate the ignorant, but Columbo is the little mouse that reveals the pachyderms to be pests.

First I'd argue, using the same, or similar, process with a different name doesn't constitute more evidence (genetics, heredity, comparative sequence alignment, acquired antibiotic and pesticide resistance and microevolution e.g.) it simply means you have invested a lot of time and money into something which wasn't conclusive after the first test (or 6th for that matter). Furthermore, I fail to see where authority is explained in the Matrix; what gives science the right to say science is right? It would seem I'd want more tests on each of the origins to determine accuracy. Of the listed options, the Bible would be the only one not yet proven wrong (compared to science's awful accuracy rating over the last 2000 years--the world was flat, Newtonian Physics, Junk DNA, the atom as the smallest particle, the Hittites don't exist, Nebuchadnezzar was never a king, etc.). Even if "the Bible says so" is the only "proof", I like its odds over anything science can muster up.

Whew! Tobias brought it strong on this one! Well done and keep it up!

@AJG: the problem is that Scientism is self-refuting. There is no empirical test to prove that empirical evidence is the only way to determine truth.

There are also philosophers who argue quite convincingly that rationalism is the only reliable means to finding truth.

And then there is first-person testimony.

So, we have at least three paths to the truth:
* Empirical evidence
* Rational thought
* Authoritative testimony


AJG-

Actually, brgrulker did not say that the creation accounts of Genesis conflict. For all I know, he may believe this, but he did not say it.

On the supposed conflict.

Perhaps you are one of those people who think Dickens meant to be asserting a contradiction when he said "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" at the beginning of A Tale of Two Cities. I kind of think that's a bad interpretation.

Now, by the same token, I think the ordering given for the the creation events in Genesis 1 vs. the ordering in Genesis 2 does not point to a contradiction that the author intended to affirm. They're literally right on top of each other. To assume that the author missed a contradiction when it really couldn't be much more obvious is just bad interpretation. Instead, I think we have to take the 'conflict' as an indication that the orders involved are not temporal, but different ways of emphasizing importance. In the one case (Genesis 2) showing humanity to be the first of the creatures, and in the other (Genesis 1) showing humanity to be God's final word on creation.

I do not, btw, think that this helps to harmonize Genesis with evolution.

"Maybe you should read some good science books"

I read lots of science books (and BTW I am not a Young Earth Creationists).

Your comment has nothing to do with my meeting people who portray themselves as extremely rational people who base their view on science and reason, as opposed to all the stupid fundies, but when you talk to them have no idea why any of the things they base their views on are true.

Dividing the world into:

1- Christians == ingorant of any science
2- Atheist == completely understand science

is a good sign of shallow thinking. Sinmply being an atheist does not make you an authority on science. Unforetunately many people act that way.

There is no reason to suggest someone is stupid for pointing that out.

Well, clearly this picture is made by a materialist. I didn't even bother to read it, I just took a cursory glance at the "evidence" section and noticed that Science was about 20 times longer than everyone else.

People seem to forget that science is on the Christian's side. Science and Christianity need not be enemies. The Big Bang, the cosmological constants, the Cambrian explosion--all these things (and many more) point to a designer.

People can't seem to get around the Cosmological Argument or the Teleological Argument. If there is a Big Bang, then someone had to have banged it. As Dr. Craig points out, that someone has to be a being outside of time and space that isn't contingent on anything physical.

@brgulker...

Just FYI, there aren't two different creation accounts in Genesis. Think of chapter 2 as being a more detailed account of how humanity was created. Chapter 1, therefore, is the whole of creation in one brief account and then in chapter 2 more detail is given on how man and woman were created. Since, we are made in God's image and our fallen nature is a result of the first humans, it just makes sense that more time would be spent detailing this part of creation over all the rest.

It's kind of like telling someone about a ballgame where you say to them: "Josh Hamilton came up to bat in the 9th and won the game with a homerun!" That's the main gist of the story, but what happens when someone wants more info? You tell them about where the game was played, if there were runners on base, what the pitch count was, who the opposing team was, etc. It's the same story, just given more brevity.

"Scientism
Unlike the use of the scientific method as only one mode of reaching knowledge, scientism claims that science alone can render truth about the world and reality. Scientism's single-minded adherence to only the empirical, or testable, makes it a strictly scientifc worldview, in much the same way that a Protestant fundamentalism that rejects science can be seen as a strictly religious worldview. Scientism sees it necessary to do away with most, if not all, metaphysical, philosophical, and religious claims, as the truths they proclaim cannot be apprehended by the scientific method. In essence, scientism sees science as the absolute and only justifiable access to the truth."

-http://www.pbs.org/faithandreason/gengloss/sciism-body.html

It is not that the scientific method is the best method in scientism, but the only method.

The Christian column is a straw man, because it doesn't accurately represent the biblical answer to the question. It also doesn't accurately represent what Christians would list as evidences.

For the seemingly contradiction in Genesis, contact Tim Keller in NY. He has stated the first chapter of Genesis is actually a song of creation. The second chapter then gives the literary account of creation.

We have to stand outside Genesis to understand the creation aright, otherwise it's not really any better than any of the other creation stories.

The Judeo-Christian account shows a God who creates out of love, and to love, what he has created, 'in his own image and likeness'.

The other accounts and scriptures are all either about control by God(s) or about man's capacity to save himself (the Buddhist/Existential/Atheist).

The Judeo-Chrisitian is about an intimate relationship between the two, which is supposed to reflect the intimate life (circumincession) of the persons of the Blessed Trinity.

The life of the Blessed Trinity is the key which unlocks the true meaning of Creation.

The Jews (and Muslims) did not see this, even though the Blessed Trinity is clear in Genesis ('...let us make man in our image...'). It took Christ to show he was the fulfilment of the Divine Economy, and the Divine Logos himself. He is Second Adam, ushering in the new heaven and a new earth.

This world ain't all there is, and our God isn't a tyrant ('montheism') or a collection of powerful deities (pantheism), but a Communion which, through a free act of generous self-outpouring, created to share his own blessed life with that creation, to the point of dying on a cross.

It is the Christian worldview alone that makes science and reasoning possible. The methods and procedures used in science require a universe that is orderly and logical; a universe that obeys relatively simple mathematical relationships that human beings can understand and use.

The anti-theistic worldview claims the universe is a random, ever-changing, materialistic place, naturalistically explained as the way things happen to be by the interactions of time, chance and matter. That worldview cannot account for the laws of logic, the laws of mathematics, the laws of physics, the uniformity of nature, the ability of the mind to understand the universe, or an objective universal standard of morality.

Consider the laws of logic (or any of the laws mentioned above): They are immaterial, abstract, invariant, and universal. How does the anti-theist account for anything that is immaterial, abstract, unchanging, and universal? The anti-theist must continually ask himself what these laws are, how are they justified, and why is the the material world subject to obey these immaterial laws?

If the universe were really the result of a chance big-bang and if the human mind is nothing more than the accidental result of billions of random mutations, basically a rearrangement of pond scum, there would be no reason to think that the mind could understand the universe. Why should one accident be able to understand another accident?

If creation and the Christian worldview were not true, how would science make any sense? We do not have to look for scientific evidence to prove the Bible. Rather, the fact that science and reasoning are possible at all demonstrates that the Christian worldview is true.

To maintain consistency to his worldview, the anti-theist would not be able to reason or do science. Yet they are able to reason and do science. Thus, it follows that atheists do not consistently rely on their own worldview. The rely on Christian creationist presuppositions thus borrowing from the Christian worldview.

There is only one rational worldview in those mentioned; that is the Judeo-Christian worldview. All the others are irrational because they are arbitrary and internally inconsistent. They all sacrifice reason on the alter of chance.

Seems to me that the evidence that science claims is the same evidence for the biblical creation. The difference would be in how one explains the evidence as that would be shaped by one's beliefs at the onset.

Murray pretty much nailed this.

It's special pleading to provide an answer from authority in every case (but one), but then pretend that most people don't also believe that remaining case on the basis of authority.

Of course, in the remaining case in the example above, most believers of evolution also accept it by a naked appeal to authority. For most people, the 'evidence' for evolution might as well be "Because Dawkins told me so."

On the other hand, if you present actual reasons for belief, Christianity has one of the longest intellectual traditions in the history of human thought aimed precisely at providing evidence. You really need a lot more space for the evidence for Christianity.

Too many comments to go through them all right now, but the ones I have seen have been pretty good. My answer:

1) There is an epistemological problem that limits scientific certainty that even many professional philosophers don't seem to be aware of. One commenter mentioned asking how the person knows that science produces reliable results. This might be a good direction to start.

2) I have to observe that the same evidence is available to all. The evidence listed for science only is also evidence recognized and employed by different religious traditions. The scientific evidence is therefore interpreted by a variety of theo-philosophical presuppositions. It's enough to point out that the evidence is not only recognized by naturalistic scientists. Therefore, there is more evidence for a religious tradition than what naturalistic scientists are often willing to admit.

3) Therefore the question becomes: Which, if any, ancient literature commends itself as reliable? Archeology, in particular, has persistently demonstrated the accounts of the Judeo-Christian Bible to be accurate. The positive evidence in this area is overwhelming if yet incomplete and not a single account has been disproven by any evidence. Furthermore, the specific fulfillment of prophecy internal to the progression of revelation is astounding and unique to the Bible.

4) If such evidence is unconvincing, there is more evidence for the veracity of the Bible than for the "Big Bang". If someone accepts the Big Bang on a scientific basis, it should be easy to accept the claims of the Bible. To fail to do so indicates that evidence really isn't the issue. No one can accept the overall claims of the Bible no matter how much evidence there is without the Holy Spirit.

I'm reading evidence and religion in the same sentences, but those are actually contradictory.
As soon as you let religion fog your view, you lose. When Einstein said, he doesn't believe in the stochastic approach of Heisenberg, because "the Old Man doesn't roll dice", he ended his advancement. Others progressed.
Yes, science is the only evidence for scientists. It is also the only evidence for non-scientists. There is no other evidence than evidence which can be peer reviewed. None, repeat, none of the alleged "proofs" have withstood a peer review.
Examples:
- Contaminated or intentionally radiated diamonds have higher C14 levels. Clean ones not. According to the theory, all diamonds should be "younger", not just the one alledgedly found.
-Shellrock in the mountains alledgedly caused during miraculous 1000year deposit in a few weeks during the Flood? Why are there grown corals which need 200 years to grow amongst the deposits?
The amazing thing is that creationists keep deliberately falsifying information and re-iterating already debunked myths. I cannot, for the life of me, understand, why someone would do that. I'm not angry, I try to read and understand, I just don't.
jb

I think the point of the graphic is that the listed religions are dependent on their sacred texts to explain the universe. Without access to those texts, no one would ever be able to fill in the "how the world came to be section" for each religious view. For the scientific approach, the evidence is not based on a text. The same experiments conducted under the same conditions will produce the same results, for anyone.

JRE-

I don't think that is the point of the graphic, but that's a charitable way to read it.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but that doesn't mean that those words tell the truth. Just because you get the picture, doesn't mean you got the truth.

The graphic states of Hinduism: "Several creation stories, in which the universe is in a never-ending cycle of creation, destruction and rebirth. In the beginning,there was nothing but darkness ..."

I am not sure that Hindu's teach that the universe had a literal beginning. Otherwise why would there be a cycle of creation, destruction and rebirth.

Added to that I would like to point out that there are Hindu physicists - some pretty smart guys I might add - who tie in this cyclic stuff to theories of the universe which involve Expansion and Collapse.

My point is simply that I don't know that this graphic is based on adequate research.

In Christ,
~ Raj

Raj-

Thanks for that.

It's worth noting also, that there's quite a tradition of Hindu natural theology (all of which belongs in the evidence column for Christianity as well as Hindism). Many of the arguments Christians use for basic theological notions...the existence and core attributes of God...have their counterparts in Hindu thought.

I think that the graphic is primarily aimed at Christian-bashing, but there's actually an ample supply of insult for Hindus and others as well.

I note that they opted to parody Norse mythology. We all know about the vast hordes of Odin-worshipers walking the Earth that need to be put in their place. But they leave the fringe religion of Islam alone.

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