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Knight
June 7th, 2003, 10:33 AM
Does God Exist? - Battle Royale VII - Bob Enyart vs. Zakath

In honor of Fathers Day 2003 we thought we would find out if we have a heavenly Father. :D

Therefore...
Battle Royale VII - "Does God Exist?"

This will be a 10 round battle (10 posts for each contestant) and will be refereed by me (Knight :knight: )

This battle will officially begin June 16th, 2003 (the day after Father's Day)

RULES ACKNOWLEDGMENTHave both combatants read, understand and agree to the battle Royale Rules (http://www.theologyonline.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2629)?

I need a post from each combatant stating "YES" regarding the rules.

After I receive a "yes, I understand the rules" affirming that each combatant understands the rules I will flip a coin (on Monday June 16th) to determine who posts first, then that chosen combatant will have 48 hours to make his/her opening statement. Each combatant will then have 48 hours to make subsequent posts after the other combatant makes their post. You need NOT wait for me to officially end a round before making your next response.

Knight
June 7th, 2003, 10:38 AM
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.

Knight
June 7th, 2003, 10:43 AM
The Tale of the Tape

While we wait for this Battle to begin (June 16th) lets find out a little bit about each one of the combatants:

Bob Enyart pastors Denver Bible Church. Bob began his professional life working for McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company designing simulation software for the Army's Apache AH-64 attack helicopter, and then went to work for U S West, Microsoft Corporation, and PC Week. Bob eventually left his computing career to work fulltime in Christian ministry and to host a talk show. In 1991, Bob Enyart Live began airing on Denver's KLTT radio, and can still be heard there weeknights at 7 p.m. During the mid 90s, Bob's show moved to television and was available in eighty cities from Honolulu to Orlando. More than 50,000 copies of Bob's audio and video teaching tapes have been sold. And a few thousand people have read the overview of the Bible presented in The Plot manuscript which is Bob Enyart's life's work.

Bob launched www.KGOV.com in 1999 with the purchase of O.J. Simpson's Hall of Fame Award and football jerseys, burning those items at the largest single-event press conference in the history of the LA courthouse. And Bob has organized a mobile protest of President Bill Clinton following him from Martha's Vineyard to Auckland, New Zealand with over 1,000 protests in 147 US and foreign cities for Clinton's sexual abuse of women. Bob has worked with parents of slain Columbine students to close down memorials to murderers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and was glad to see the destruction of two crosses on Rebel Hill and two trees planted in West Bowles Community Church memorial garden. Bob has been appeared on over 100 TV and radio shows, including multiple episodes of ABC's Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher; Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor and Hannity and Colmes, CNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, and various appearances on MS-NBC, the BBC, XTRA, Michael Reagan, E Network, etc. including on scores of radio stations from LA's KABC to NY's WABC.

VS.

Zakath, a two and a half year veteran poster on TOL, is an atheist with a past. The man behind the screen name was raised in a Christian home, seminary trained, earned a doctorate in counseling psychology, pastored two churches, founded a Christian school, and a Christian counseling practice with his wife of twenty-five years. Zakath left the Christian faith almost ten years ago, eventually ending up in his present belief system, atheism. Zakath is the father of four grown children; two in active duty military service, and two in the federal consulting field. When he's not posting on TOL, he runs his consulting business, enjoys reading, organic gardening (and ponding), martial arts, and home brewing.

Knight
June 16th, 2003, 01:46 PM
Does God Exist? - Battle Royale VII - Bob Enyart vs. Zakath
Battle length: 10 rounds.
Referee: Knight

OK here is the coin toss. To make this official I had my oldest son Jordan will be doing the coin toss. I declared Bob to be "heads" and Zakath to be "tails".

Jordan will now flip the coin.

Flip.....

Tails it is!

Zakath will begin and is now on the clock. Zakath has 48 hours to make his first post and then Bob Enyart will have 48 hours to make his first post AFTER Zakath's first post has been posted. You do NOT need to take 48 hours to post your post and you do not NEED to wait for me to end a round. Simply post your posts when your ready as long as its your turn!

Remember to use the "preview this post" button to avoid editing your posts after they have been actually posted.

Let the battle begin!

ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.

Knight
June 16th, 2003, 04:21 PM
Both Zakath and Bob have given me their acknowledgment that they understand the rules so the battle is ON! :D

Zakath
June 16th, 2003, 07:39 PM
First of all I would like to thank our Goode Sir Knight :knight: for hosting this debate here on Theology OnLine. I think that he is doing a great service for his web site and his readers by providing this sort of venue for these discussions. Next I would like to thank Rev. Bob Enyart for making the time available out of, as I recall from my time as a pastor, a busy schedule. My understanding is that we have ten posts for this debate so I will proceed with this, my first post.

Our debate is an attempt to answer the question "Does God Exist?" This is a very important question for humans because if any of the gods or goddesses that humans have claimed throughout the ages actually exist, it tells us something about what is happening in the world, as well as what may yet happen here in the future. On the other hand, if none of these supernatural entities exist, it tells us that we humans are left to our own resources, that we have to make decisions wisely, and that we cannot depend upon a "Big Brother" (or "Mother" for our Wiccan readers) in the sky to solve our problems for us.

That said, the first thing we must do is clarify just what the good Reverend means by the term "God". So my first question to Rev. Enyart is How do you define God? Since there is a significant amount of variation of meaning for this term, even within the thousands sects of Christianity, your answer will set the tone for the debate since I need to understand just what it is you are trying to prove the existence of. ;)

If you answer the first question, there is a second that deals with evidence. All religions claim the existence of evidence to support their particular view of what they claim about their god(s) or goddess(es). Understanding the evidence that a believer relies upon to support the assertion that "God exists" is critical to the success of our debate. Since many Christians of my acquaintance claim there is evidence to support their belief, it would appear that the Christian religion is much like any of the others in this case.

For the second question, I would ask you the following: Upon what evidence do you base your belief in what you defined as God?

Your answers to these two questions will provide us with a foundation and boundaries within which to continue the debate without potentially wandering off into the philosophical weeds. :thumb:

I await your reply.

Knight
June 17th, 2003, 10:47 AM
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.

Bob Enyart
June 18th, 2003, 05:17 PM
Thank you Knight, for hosting this Battle. And Zakath, thank you for agreeing to debate this most important of topics for human beings. For, billions of people have directed their lives by a belief in a god of some kind. And if no God exists, then there is an incalculable opportunity cost of wasted human effort. For all the time spent chasing that lie, humanity could have been more effectively pursuing truth. While I will directly address your questions in this post, I must first ask you something that takes precedence over your questions. Therefore, my first question for you is, does truth exist? If you say that nothing can be true, then you would have admitted your belief that nothing you write is true, and you would have thereby divulged your belief that you could not win the debate with any truthful arguments. Thus, if you claim that “truth does not exist,” that nothing can be true, then if you actually believe that claim to be true (which itself shows the inanity of holding that position), you should immediately forfeit the debate. If you deny the existence of truth, I would note yet another educated person whose atheism has undermined his very ability to accept truth. I hope that you acknowledge the existence of truth.

Zakath’s Questions

Here are my brief answers to your two questions, which I will develop further:
Q1: How do you define God?
A1: I define God as the supernatural Creator of the natural universe, existing eternally, powerful, wise and knowledgeable, personal, loving, and just.
Q2: Upon what evidence do you base your belief in this God?
A2: In this post, I present evidence only related to the creative, eternal, powerful, and knowledgeable aspects of God from the origins of both the universe and biological life. In future posts, I expect to use more evidence from physics and biology, add evidence from astronomy, and then, as evidence for God being personal, loving, and just, I will present observations from psychology and history.

(Zakath, thank you for clearly delineating your questions. I have summarized my four questions for you at the end. Perhaps we could agree to give clear and concise answers to each other’s questions at the top of our subsequent posts, as I have attempted here, and then develop the answers if desired.)

Potential Cost of Atheism Priced by the Nature of God

Yes, if atheism is true, there is great waste in theism; but on the other hand, if God exists, then atheists have expended an opportunity cost, the value of which depends upon God’s nature and actions, upon what that God is like. And this brings us to further develop your first question about the definition of God. If someone proposed a god created by some other God, then they proposed wrongly, and may have been referring to an angel or demon or some other created being, but not to God. So for the sake of understanding, let us agree that the God we are debating, the one I will argue for and you against, is the first Creator, the eternally existing, uncaused, first cause. Regarding the potential opportunity cost of not believing in Him:

* If God created matter and then left everything to itself, to develop by physical laws and chance, and has no interest in the behavior of life forms that may develop, then the atheistic opportunity cost could be relatively low, largely limited to the scientific drawbacks that may come from an incorrect view of the origin of matter.

* If God designed the universe, biological and sentient life, but has no righteous standard and no aspirations for his creatures, then the atheistic opportunity cost would be higher, retarding the progress of science through a misunderstanding of the origins of inanimate and biological systems. However,

* If God created the universe and life and instilled humans with a conscience which reflects His own righteous standard, then the atheistic cost becomes increasingly significant in scientific, moral and psychological terms. And,

* If the true God also is as the Bible presents, and put eternity into our hearts, and will judge us based upon our humble trusting in Him, then you calculate the atheistic cost in terms of eternal loss of the utmost consequence.

Thus, my second question to you is, does absolute moral right and wrong exist?

For example, is it absolutely wrong to drag a living black man behind a pickup truck to tear apart his body out of white supremacist motives? If you answer no, and that there is no such thing as absolute morality, then I will despise your character, and record more evidence that atheism undermines morality. But I will continue the debate realizing that you would not believe it wrong for you to lie in an effort to win this Battle Royale. On the other hand, what if you admit that there is an absolute right and wrong, for example that it is inherently right to stop an adult from forcibly raping a child for entertainment. If you admit to right and wrong, then you will have provided evidence for the definition of the real God, and you will also have helped us calculate the opportunity cost of atheism. For, if there is an absolute Originator, then logically, an absolute moral standard would have originated with Him.

Evidence for God from Physics

For now, let’s move from the potential consequences of atheism, on to develop my answer to your second question for evidence for God, evidence that I will draw from different spheres of study, beginning with physics and biology. If the flow of the debate facilitates, I will also add evidence from astronomy, psychology, and history. So, my first evidence from physics: A rock cannot make itself from nothing; and a fire cannot burn forever. You should recognize these as alternative ways of stating the first two laws of thermodynamics: the conservation of matter and energy; and the increase in entropy.

Thus my third question is multiple choice:
a) Do you believe the natural universe has existed forever exerting work and burning as a perpetual motion machine; or,
b) Has the universe created itself, so to speak, i.e., come into existence apart from a supernatural creator; or,
c) Was it created by an external source outside of the natural universe, i.e., a supernatural Creator; or,
d) Is there some other conceivable account for its origins?

If you choose “perpetual motion machine,” or “created itself,” I will press you on the laws of physics and on your evidence for your conclusion, and I will explore whether you believe this based upon a blind faith which runs contrary to hard science. And if you choose “other,” please explain what other possible way the universe could have come into existence, as I do not believe you can logically present a fourth option. For, the natural universe was either 1) always here, or 2) popped into existence from nothing on its own apart from any Creator, or 3) was brought into existence by a supernatural Creator, that is, one outside of the natural universe.

Evidence for God from Biology

My second and for now last piece of evidence for God is from the argument from design for biological life. Atheists believe that if just the right raw materials were assembled, then it is reasonable to believe that life could arise spontaneously; however, dead animal carcasses have trillions of compounds already assembled in just the right proportions for life, and yet scientists have never observed new life arising from the fortuitously arranged ingredients in every corpse. Co-discoverer of DNA Crick, and brilliant astronomer Hoyle, both conceded that the complexity of DNA led them to conclude the mathematical implausibility that DNA could have arisen by natural causes on Earth; and so they independently proposed to the world that biological life was planted on Earth, by aliens.

A cell makes man’s technology look primitive, with hundreds of millions of its simplest components, the proteins (albeit themselves sophisticated three-dimensional machines of thousands of different types) doing a multitude of critical chemical jobs, coordinated by hundreds of millions of digital instructions, with a human possessing dozens of different types totaling about 100 trillion cells. Living cells are the laboratories that make an organism’s chemical components, yet they themselves are made of these same components. Such circularly dependent requirements pervade biology and introduce a dilemma for atheists, for no plausible starting point has ever been described for this circular dependence, so this remains an inexplicable mystery to evolutionists, which they typically ignore and have never come close to answering. By natural law, you cannot get a tree without a seed, nor an egg without a chicken, nor the system to copy DNA without the DNA itself. Evolutionists cannot explain even theoretically in gross terms how the first DNA strands appeared, and then before they deteriorated, how an error-correcting duplication system arose by chance. To manage life’s nutritional and functional needs, a typical cell needs to separate itself from its outside environment, it needs sophisticated subsystems with high-bandwidth and robust communication between them, it must be able to produce hundreds of intricate compounds, it must repair damaged components, it must selectively admit raw materials from outside and expel waste, and paramount, it must reliably reproduce itself. Evolutionists admit great complexity in obtaining a first cell by nature, but do not appreciate how many “first cells” would have disappeared before perfecting the ability to reproduce themselves: millions, billions, trillions, supposedly blindly moving toward an unknowable goal of self-reproduction, without benefit of natural selection nor any law or force driving them forward to achieve that particular goal.

Thus, apart from any evidence, atheists desperately posit some simpler form of life that led up to the cell, but that is a logical impossibility, given the function of biological life. A toddler gets away with his ignorance explaining that bread comes from the store, but I will not accept an adult’s rationalization of complexity by his introducing even more complexity. To identify only the necessary systems of a single-celled creature virtually means to identify the entire cell. And so, its subsystems cannot be removed without certain death, unless a subsystem’s function was somehow replaced by a service provided from outside the cell, but of course this would increase the complexity. Any biological life must accomplish the basic fundamentals of life, and the cell accomplishes these efficiently. To propose pre-cell symbiotic life forms which fulfill each other’s requirements adds the complexity of external communication, coordination, shared eco-system dependency, and proximity in time and space. So, I declare that the atheist who posits a simpler life form which leads up to the cell cannot even conceptually describe that simplicity, thus he posits something that he has no evidence for, and something that he cannot even imagine: that is blind faith. Zakath, perhaps you can disprove my declaration, and explain what basic functions a cell’s simpler precursors would perform, and how they might perform them reliably and more simply.

Let me remind you of a cell’s basic functions that must somehow be addressed for survival. First, please explain what comes first, the functionality, or the instructions to build the functionality; then describe what force or law led to the development of an instruction set for that functionality, and how those instructions then began to encode themselves chemically with amino acids; then explain how those encoded instructions began to get implemented by describing some primitive ribosome-like agents, and how the theoretically necessary function of messenger RNA would have been accomplished, with the development of proteins and enzymes (or their simpler predecessors) to accomplish the needed work of maintenance and reproduction. Also, you might explain, and win a Nobel Prize while you’re at it, how the wildly complex and crucial cell wall with a million sophisticated openings could develop, the wall needed for the survival of the cell, yet utterly dependent upon the cell’s functions for its own existence. Instructions for all of this are encoded into the DNA in the nucleus, the nucleus itself housing these millions of instructions and being able to produce groups of them on demand as needed to build complex chemical machines, all dependent upon the availability of a necessary supply of various amino acids. Of course, I’m not asking you for a detailed account of how this all would happen in a simpler life form.

But Zakath, for my fourth question:
a) Can you please either explain conceptually how the first cell would have developed; or,
b) Give an explanation in broad terms of how a simpler system could perform the necessary functions of a biological life form, which I believe must include processing raw materials, containing itself, encoding instructions, implementing instructions, chemical processing, and reproduction, which whole system is itself irreducibly complex.

Question Summary:

1. Does truth exist?
a) Yes
b) No
c) I don’t know

2. Does absolute moral right and wrong exist?
a) Yes
b) No
c) I don’t know

3. Regarding the origin of the natural universe:
a) The universe is a perpetual motion machine
b) It came into existence from nothing
c) It was brought into existence by a supernatural creator
d) Other
e) I don’t know
If D, please explain: ________________________________________________

4. Zakath will attempt to conceptually explain, apart from a creator:
a) how the first cell developed, or;
b) the functional simplicity of pre-cell life forms, or;
c) nothing substantive about life’s origin
If A or B, please explain: ____________________________________________

Sincerely, Bob Enyart

Knight
June 18th, 2003, 05:41 PM
DING, DING, DING.... that's it for round #1. What a start!!!

Zakath is now on the clock as round two has begun!

ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Knight
June 19th, 2003, 10:42 AM
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.

Zakath
June 20th, 2003, 02:24 PM
In his last post, Pastor Enyart provided us with answers to two questions and the definitions were very helpful, as much for what they said as for what they left out. ;)

To my opponent, "God" is
"the supernatural creator of the natural universe, existing eternally, powerful, wise and knowledgeable, personal, loving, and just."
Perhaps at some future time we can discuss whether he believes that his God created what's outside the natural universe (traditionally including heaven and hell), and whether he considers his God to be omnipotent and omniscient, as do most orthodox Christians…

His statement on evidence is interesting and strangely limited:
"I present evidence only related to the creative, eternal, powerful, and knowledgeable aspects of God from the origins of both the universe and biological life…"

He then proceeds to open his debate launching into two philosophical questions totally unrelated to his promised origins questions… :rolleyes:

Upon reading the rest of Pastor Enyart's first post, I would have to agree with some of our readers that his arguments are basically variants on a single theme. It appears that Pastor Enyart is an adherent of the venerable "God did it" Guild, what I term GDI for short. This ancient school of philosophy is known for its efforts across the span of human history pointing at what man doesn't know at a specific instant and solemnly intoning their mantra, "If man can't explain it, then God did it."

Lack of information on the part of science or philosophy is not evidence for the existence of his deity nor is his assertion that his or any deity is responsible for creating the universe or life. Claiming GDI is mere baseless attribution, not hard evidence.

The question remains: Will Pastor Enyart provide proof that his God was there and responsible at the alleged Creation?


Enyart's Q1. Does Zakath believe in truth?

The problem I am faced with when asked about truth by a religionist is that truth, especially when dealing with gods and religions, is described and defined in many, often contradictory, ways. I need to know

"What is (your definition of) truth, Pastor Enyart?"
What is true for the Muslim, that there is no deity but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet, is untrue for the Jew and Christian.
What is true for the Christian, that Jesus is divine, is untrue for the Jew and the Muslim.
What is true for the Jew, that YHWH has chosen them alone to be his special possession and their covenant to be the sole way to heaven, is untrue for the Christian and Muslim.

Since Pastor Enyart cites the Bible in his previous post, I have done so here. Within the context of this debate on the existence of Pastor Enyart's deity, I think the question I asked is the most appropriate answer I can provide him. It is the one that the biblical record tells us was given to Jesus of Nazareth when he raised the question of truth claims at his trial. His judge asked Jesus the same question that I asked of Pastor Enyart:

According to the gospel record, the questioner never received an answer. I hope, after almost twenty centuries to reflect on it, that religionists, represented here by Pastor Enyart can finally provide a useful answer. Once I know just what Pastor Enyart means by "truth". I will explain whether I think it actually exists; or, like his deity, is merely an imaginative object of his religious belief.


Enyart's Q2. Does Zakath believe in absolute moral right and absolute wrong?

I do think that the two egregious examples of murder and rape cited by Pastor Enyart are both terrible evils and are wrong. But I also think the examples he provides are poorly chosen since both appear to be conditional, not absolute. Rape "for entertainment" is conditional, as is killing someone "for white supremacist motives."

In light of this bit of confusion, before I can fully resond to this question, I'll need to ask Pastor Enyart, "What do you mean by absolute right and absolute wrong?"

My further comments will have to wait for Pastor Enyart's response.


3. How does Zakath explain the origin of the cosmos?
Honestly, I would have to answer that I do not know, for certain, how the natural universe came into being.

Argument for Atheism from Cosmology
But I can say that there is evidence and a theory (Steven Hawking's Wave Function Universe theory) that would tend to indicate that the universe could very likely (greater than 95% probability) have come into being without external agency or cause. Hawking, a physicist who provided the mathematical proofs that began the search for and location of black holes, is the founder of a scientific discipline called quantum cosmology. Hawking, Andre Vilenkin, Alex Linde, and others now believe that the ultimate questions of cosmology can be answered only by quantum theory. Hawking takes quantum cosmology to its ultimate conclusion, allowing the existence of infinite numbers of parallel universes. In a nutshell, their theory is that there is a scientific law of nature called the Wave Function of the Universe that implies that it is highly probable that a universe with our characteristics will come into existence without a cause. Hawking's theory is based on assigning numbers to all possible universes. All of the numbers cancel out except for a universe with features our universe possesses. For example, contains intelligent organisms such as humans. This remaining universe has a certain probability very high -- near to a hundred percent -- of coming into existence uncaused. How does it work?
… Hawking's theory … supposes that there is a timeless space, a four-dimensional hypersphere, near the beginning of the universe. It is smaller than the nucleus of an atom. It is smaller than 10^-33 centimeters in radius. Since it was timeless, it no more needs a cause than the timeless god of theism. This timeless hypersphere is connected to our expanding universe. Our universe begins smaller than an atom and explodes in a Big Bang and here we are today in a universe that is still expanding. Is it nonetheless possible that God could have caused this universe? No. For the wave function of the universe implies there is a 95% probability that the universe came into existence uncaused. If God created the universe, he would contradict this scientific law in two ways. First, the scientific law says that the universe would come into existence because of its natural, mathematical properties, not because of any supernatural forces. Second, the scientific law says the probability is only 95% that the universe would come into existence. But if God created the universe, the probability would be 100% that it would come into existence because God is all-powerful. If God wills the universe to come into existence, his will is guaranteed to be 100% effective. ("Two Ways to Prove Atheism" Quentin Smith 1996)

Like any theory, it must be tested over time and subjected to much rigorous mathematical evaluation. The supporting evidence includes the COBE satellite observations of the density fluctuations in the background radiation, by the observed large-scale homogeneity and isotropy of the universe, by the evidence for an early inflationary era, and by the evidence that the critical density is near to one. But if it turns out to be correct, it puts a rather significant hole in the religionsts' need for deity-created universe since it raises an interesting the question:
Why do we need to postulate a Creator when the physical laws of the universe do not require such a being's existence or intervention in the first place?

Enyart's Q4. How does Zakath explain the origin of life on the earth?

Most of us who studied the biological sciences have observed wondrously complex organisms and marveled at their structure and function. One thing we have observed in the last fifty years or so is that subcellular life does exist and may, in some cases, represent survivors of earlier, less complex life forms. There is documented evidence for the existence of these types of organisms/protobionts; we now know all biological systems need not be cellular life. Viruses (organisms without cell membranes or cell walls) and the much simpler prions (these do not even have nucleic acids) are two examples that many of the readers would find fascinating. Prions were first described in 1980's and appear to be responsible for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or Mad Cow Disease). Neither exists in cellular form yet both exhibit many of the characteristics of living organisms. Additionally, since I have not studied this field in detail for more than thirty years, I am the wrong person to ask to give detailed explanations about the biochemistry behind protolife. I can only present the following broad summary of current views along with a few references for those interested in pursuing things further.

Abiogenesis, the development of life from non-life, has been postulated as proceeding along recognized biochemical pathways. I would suggest that the study of metasystems in biology and chemistry since the late 1970's has shed a considerable amount of light on how such a process might have occurred. A very simplistic representation would be that simple chemicals develop into polymers, some of which are self replicating or autocatalytic (Lee, Severin, & Ghadri, 1997). These autocatalytic systems interact with each other forming hypercycles (Eigen & Shuster 1979). Hypercycles interact with each other to form protobionts (precursors to primitive cells) (Lazcano & Miller 1996). Selective pressure from natural selection allows some protobionts to express more and more cellular characteristics over time, producing what we would eventually recognize as cellular organisms. Interested readers might want to read Carl Woese's presentation (http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/95/12/6854)for the National Academy of Sciences in 1995, pages 6854-6859.

References:
Eigen M, and Schuster P, The hypercycle. A principle of natural self-organization. Springer-Verlag, isbn 3-540-09293, 1979

Lazcano A, and Miller SL, The origin and early evolution of life: prebiotic chemistry, the pre- RNA world, and time. Cell, 85: 793-8, 1996

Lee DH, Severin K, and Ghadri MR. Autocatalytic networks: the transition from molecular self-replication to molecular ecosystems. Curr Opinion Chem Biol, 1, 491-496, 1997

Woese C, The universal ancestor. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 95: 6854-6859.
What happened when life began is still unknown and, since it is difficult to determine exact primordial conditions of the earth, science may be limited to "best guess" until we actually have the opportunity to observe other pre-biotic environments. Greater minds than many of ours have pondered these questions yet while hints and clues have been uncovered; the ultimate answers continue to elude science. Yet this does not trouble experienced scientists since they realize that it is the ultimate role of science to help mankind answer questions about the universe around him and discovering and refining such answers may take years or even generations.

Too many lay persons are quick to assume that if they cannot understand something in a few minutes that it must mean that "God did it." Others of us are willing to nod and admit that we don't have all the answers, nor do we need them.


This brings us to the questions I would like to propose for Pastor Enyart's consideration during the next round:
1. Will you provide proof that your God was in attendance at and responsible for the alleged Creation of the universe?
2. What is (your definition of) truth?
3. If your deity is so aloof, then how do we study God to understand and learn about him?
4. How can one distinguish between a God who doesn't want to get involved, and a God who doesn't exist?
5. How do we know the "God" we're studying is the correct deity?
6. Why has God chosen to play hide-and-seek with the universe? Why not make his existence irrefutably obvious?

I await your reply. :D

Knight
June 20th, 2003, 02:49 PM
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.

Knight
June 21st, 2003, 12:51 PM
NOTE: I cannot make the countdown clock be exact. Therefore please only use the countdown timer as a "rough" guide. As long as the combatants post near or around the time of the countdown timer that will be fine. Thank you.

Bob Enyart
June 22nd, 2003, 02:51 PM
Zakath, I will try to be completely responsive, and encourage you to do so also. So that you can know I’m not trying to obfuscate, I’m going to attempt to clearly summarize the status of our respective questions at the top of each post, and give brief answers to yours, then develop those that need it below. It would be great if you could provide answers upfront so no one needs to read an entire post searching for a straightforward answer to a direct question.

Bob’s Questions to Zakath

BQ1: Does truth exist?
ZA1: Zakath didn’t answer, and didn’t clarify, but asked me to clarify the question. I will: Truth is a statement of reality…

BQ2: Does absolute moral right and wrong exist?
ZA2: Zakath didn’t answer, but asked me to clarify. So I will: An absolute wrong is a harm that cannot be justified…

BQ3: Regarding the origin of the natural universe:
ZA3: Zakath answered (e): “I don’t know” and then (b) it “came into being without… cause” and then (a) a tiny sphere of it was always here…

BQ4: Zakath choose to explain 4(b) “the functional simplicity of pre-cell life forms”
ZA4: Gave examples of “subcellular life” but without describing any functional simplicity…

Zakath’s Questions to Bob

ZQ1 – ZQ2 answered in post 1. (The next are renumbered for ease of reference.)

ZQ3. Will you provide proof that your God was in attendance at and responsible for the alleged Creation of the universe?
BA3: Yes. Developed below, highlighted by (BA3).

ZQ4. What is (your definition of) truth?
BA4: A statement of reality.

ZQ5: What do you mean by absolute right and absolute wrong?
BA5: An absolute wrong is a harm that cannot be justified. Justified by what? See below.

ZQ6: If your deity is so aloof, then how do we study God to understand and learn about him?
BA6: My definition did not imply God is aloof, and you can learn about Him through the His creation.

ZQ7: How can one distinguish between a God who doesn’t want to get involved, and a God who doesn’t exist?
BA7: By science confirming a requirement of a supernatural creator for the origin of the natural universe, with mankind finding no evidence of God’s subsequent intervention.

ZQ8: How do we know the “God” we’re studying is the correct deity?
BA8: If we prove the existence of God, then we can look for evidence of His nature. Since we are already having some difficulty responding to each other on basics, I suggest we first keep focused on the existence of an eternal creator.

ZQ9. Why has God chosen to play hide-and-seek with the universe? Why not make his existence irrefutably obvious?
BA9: He has made His existence irrefutably obvious (if not, refute the Creator by winning the debate); He does not play hide-and-seek; and further demonstrations of His existence would be counterproductive. Daily miracles could easily produce a stubborn immunity to God in yet more people, and even if dead celebrities were resurrected, most people would not believe, because when the truth is shoved into someone’s face, the human tendency is to shove back.

Now let’s dig in…

Old Business

On Truth

BQ1: Does truth exist?
ZA1 / ZQ4: “What is (your definition of) truth, Pastor Enyart?”
BA4: Truth is, you just answered my question with a question.

Truth is a statement of reality.

Zakath wrote:
• What is true for the Muslim…
• What is true for the Christian…
• What is true for the Jew…

What is true in the above is that you listed three different belief systems. If you can’t admit that is true, then how about this, what is true is that you presented three bullets. If you can admit that, even taking just that baby step, then we have a starting point, and then you will have fulfilled my request to know if you believe in, or can accept, or even just admit to, truth.

In the future if you feel a basic clarification is needed, please offer one (as I will), to save the readers an iteration, and to get us closer to the heart of the debate. But Zakath, I had already clarified my definition of truth in my original post sufficiently enough to answer your bullets when I wrote: “If no God exists, then… all the time spent chasing that lie, humanity could have been more effectively pursuing truth.” That makes it clear that I am not presupposing the existence of truth means: “I win the debate.” In my experience, many atheists are hesitant to accept truth, any truth; and the way you handled this, as I expected you would, reinforces the theists’ suspicion that atheists react almost as though they fear truth. Or perhaps you just overlooked my comment indicating, at this point in the debate, that truth could conceivably indicate that God does not exist (“If no God exists…”). But then, in a debate on this topic, in my first paragraph, how could you miss that? So again, I hope you acknowledge truth. Besides, admitting truth wins you the bonus of trying to show that theism is truly false. It’s tempting, no?

So my first question is sadly a repeat of my previous first question: I ask you again, Zakath, does truth exist?

On Right and Wrong

I’ve noticed something peculiar in the Grandstands. Those who disbelieve in right and wrong jump all over anyone trying to define an absolute wrong while describing a condition in the process. Do you realize that nothing could be conceivably right or wrong in the slightest degree, apart from conditions? I believe they protesteth too much over “conditions,” intending to obfuscate. You criticized my examples of child rape for entertainment and racist murder because they “both appear to be conditional.” What isn’t? There are conditions attending to every event, every good and every crime, and every chemical process for that matter. The anti absolute-morality crowd is itself obsessed with conditions: when asked if child rape is wrong, you all do back-flips devising bizarre conditions in which raping a child saves the human race. You multiply conditions to justify the rape! You guys remind me of the “repeat” instruction for shampoo and conditioner. One condition isn’t enough. “Rub in conditioner…, repeat.” Such epistemological hypocrisy seems to be evidence of the extent to which right and wrong is burned into their conscience. Zakath: “But I also think the examples [rape and murder that Bob] provides are poorly chosen since both appear to be conditional.” Appear? Recall my point that “atheism undermines morality.” Why not just avoid the duplicity and answer my question saying, “we atheists have no standard by which any rape is absolutely wrong.”

The day I post this, June 22, 2003, the Associate Press reports that, “Cosmetics heir and former fugitive Andrew Luster left behind a notebook in Mexico in which he apparently seeks to justify the assaults that led to his rape conviction.” This “great-grandson of Hollywood makeup legend Max Factor took three women to his seaside home… and attacked them after giving them the so-called date-rape drug GHB. Some of the encounters were videotaped.” One passage read: “Yes they [his victims] were in an extreme state of inebriation… But this - as any actively sexual person (player) knows is not outside the grounds of ethical play…” Ideas have consequences.

Instead of a substantive response, you answered my second question with another question. Zakath, didn’t your mother teach you to avoid bad habits:

BQ2: Does absolute moral right and wrong exist?
ZA2 / ZQ5: “What do you mean by absolute right and absolute wrong?”
BA5: An absolute wrong is a harm that cannot be justified.

If a doctor tries to save a woman, but she does not survive the surgery, his incision into her neck may have finally killed her, but the condition of the action shows no guilt; if he made the incision in order to kill her to steal her gold teeth, the condition shows guilt. If a man gives someone truly in need money for a meal, he does a good; but if he gives money to an addict to buy drugs in hopes of him overdosing, he does harm. When you said child rape was wrong, you meant, for you, wrong in your opinion, or in some particular groups’ opinion, meaning that yours is just one opinion among others, among valid opinions one of which that can defend all child rape. I say that if someone rapes a child, they do wrong. Period. Go ahead, “apply conditioner and repeat,” I dare you.

BQ2 is far more loaded than BQ1, because at this point in the debate, truth might theoretically show that there is no God and no authority above mankind; but as you rightly agreed with Knight in TheologyOnline Battle Royale II, absolute right and wrong would require a standard that transcends every man and every society (this I openly admitted upfront when asking my question, for I don’t need to trick you or catch you off guard). So, while we can say much more about this topic, you’ll save us all time by just answering, “No,” to BQ2. Otherwise, you will be forced into a secondary hypothesis of some non-deity authority over all mankind, and that would become messy.

Again, an absolute wrong is a harm that cannot be justified. Justified by what? By the demands of justice. One of the demands of criminal justice is equity in punishment, for example, it would be wrong to punish a woman for petty theft by executing her. Any conditioner left in that bottle?

So, my second question for you is once again: does absolute moral right and wrong exist?

Origin of the Natural Universe

I warned against atheists rationalizing complexity by introducing more complexity, yet in proposing an origin for the universe, you offer atheist Stephen Hawking’s theory “allowing the existence of infinite numbers of parallel universes.” You struggle to explain the origin of our universe without contradicting basic laws of science, and so you take on the same task for, say, 42 billion universes.

Zakath, I think you have misunderstood some of my arguments, so I am going to clarify them for you. If you find error in the clarification, I will be grateful if you can identify it. But please don’t just ignore the clarification and continue to repeat the mischaracterizations of my evidence. You have accused me of using ignorance as evidence. I agree with you that ignorance is no evidence. I can’t explain how gravity works, or why interior designers use odd-numbered groupings, or why vanilla ice cream outsells chocolate, but none of this ignorance, no ignorance, can reasonably be used as evidence for God. And if you ever find me doing such a thing, I will appreciate getting flagged. My evidence to you was not based upon what we don’t know, but upon what we do know, with the claim that your naturalistic time and chance proposals cannot work because they contradict what we do know. That’s not ignorance for evidence, that’s applying knowledge. If you can identify how I am misapplying knowledge, please do so. But don’t say that I’m arguing from ignorance. Instead, show me how I’ve incorrectly applied knowledge.

For example, I said that there were only three options for the origins of the universe, and that you cannot logically identify a fourth. Either the natural universe was always here, or it popped into existence by itself from nothing, or a supernatural creator made it. Eschewing the third, you went with a combination of, I don’t know / but “there is evidence… that the universe could very likely (greater than 95% probability) have come into being without external agency or cause.” Appearing from nothing smacks into the well-tested physical law that states that matter cannot be created (First Law) nor destroyed (but it can be transformed from or into energy). Atheists choose to contradict this most fundamental law of science because they just cannot find a fourth alternative for the origination of the universe. And you can not find a fourth alternative, not because you just haven’t found it yet, but because there is no logical possibility of a fourth alternative. It has either always been here, has popped up, or has been made. So, while you cannot even find words to describe a fourth alternative, I can find a word for something popping into existence from nothing: magic. Magic is not real. And an atheist with a pre-suppositional bias against a supernatural origin of the natural universe must contradict at least one of the first two laws, and so, Stephen does. Hawkings is wrong.

A scientist can study the properties of a cure-all, and disprove a salesman’s claim that it will heal cancer: “It is only sugar water, don’t believe the claims.” (BA3) The theist applies the most well-tested and fundamental laws of science to eliminate the possibility that the universe has always been here, and that it has come from nothing, and then logic forces us to the only remaining alternative: creation. Contrariwise, the atheist hopes against the most confirmed science that something can come from nothing: blind faith. You wrote that Hawking’s theory: “implies that it is highly probable that a universe with our characteristics will come into existence without a cause.” Sure, why not. From nothing. 42 billion times. Typically, with humanoids. (After all, how could Captain Kirk encounter so many life forms unless they were likely?)

Excuse me for indulging myself, but I just have to quote the rest of your paragraph. I won’t comment. I’ll just revel in the words: “Hawking’s theory is based on assigning numbers to all possible universes. All of the numbers cancel out except for a universe with features our universe possesses. For example, contains intelligent organisms such as humans. This remaining universe has a certain probability very high -- near to a hundred percent -- of coming into existence uncaused.”

Your next paragraph contradicts your point that “the universe could… have come into being without external agency or cause.” For then you quote Quentin Smith explaining Hawking’s theory that a pre-existing hypersphere less than “10^-33 centimeters in radius… explodes in a Big Bang…” If the cosmos preexisted, even though “smaller than the nucleus of an atom,” it still pre-existed and did not “come into being.” Thus, you are trying to have it both ways, it popped into existence from nothing, and it was always here. Were you aware that both you and Quentin have adopted this doublespeak from Hawking himself? Let me quote his “Origin of the Universe:”

“This inflation was a good thing, in that it produced a universe… expanding at just the critical rate to avoid recollapse. The inflation was also a good thing in that it produced all the contents of the universe, quite literally out of nothing. When the universe was a single point, like the North Pole, it contained nothing. Yet there are now at least 10 to the 80 particles in the part of the universe that we can observe. Where did all these particles come from? The answer is, that Relativity and quantum mechanics, allow matter to be created out of energy, in the form of particle anti particle pairs. So, where did the energy come from, to create the matter? The answer is, that it was borrowed, from the gravitational energy of the universe.”

What universe? Hawking was speaking of the event that “produced a universe.” And he draws the energy for that event “from the gravitational energy of the universe.” Sorry. Hawkings is wrong.

Besides, without a mind to make a decision as to when to do something, natural forces mindlessly move forward. And the physical forces that would bring about Hawking’s Big Bang would have expressed themselves infinitely further into the past than he needs them to. So then he’s stuck in an embarrassing perpetual motion machine (Second Law).

So, my third question this post is a true or false question: There are only three theoretical alternatives to the origin of the universe. True or False?

Origin of Life

On complexity, my full warning was: “A toddler gets away with his ignorance explaining that bread comes from the store, but I will not accept an adult’s rationalization of complexity by his introducing even more complexity.” So what did you go and do? I asked you to explain how pre-cell life forms could be simpler than cells, and you gave us the example of viruses. Viruses are less complex than cells, but they require cells for viability, and thus, a viral system is significantly more complex than a cell. Quantify the increased complexity by adding the viruses’ complexity (V, where V > 0) to the cell’s complexity (C). Thus C+V > C. Oops.

Now, I’m not using Jedi mind tricks, putting out bait, nor laying traps, but if you keep doing things like this, our audience will think someone’s throwing the battle intentionally to cover the spread.

Zakath, since the sudden appearance of something as sophisticated as a cell is implausible even to the almost infinitely credulous evolutionist, you accepted the challenge, by choosing to answer 4(b), of describing the functional simplicity of pre-cell forms. Then you went the other way. And the added complexity problem you introduced with viruses applies also to prions, prions being misfolded proteins which, when present in a cell cause other similar proteins to break, producing disease. Theists do believe in disease, you know, and broken proteins don’t explain simplified pre-cell functionality. Then you said, “I am the wrong person to ask to give detailed explanations about the biochemistry behind protolife.” Is that the absolutely wrong, or just the relatively wrong person? I’d like to know because I’m somewhat stuck in that you are the only person I get to query in this very small Room 7709. So, perhaps you can search some of the best atheist and evolutionist sites over the next 48 hours (you still have 48 hours don’t you… you haven’t wasted much time getting to this problem I hope) and find out if anyone has ever conceived of a way to simplify the functionality of biological life forms. I specifically told you I didn’t want a “detailed explanation.” I asked you to explain just conceptually how multiple, symbiotic precursor life forms could reduce the complexity, i.e., simplify, the basic requirements of life.

So, let me refine BQ4 down to two choices (since you’ve already narrowed it by selecting (b) in ZA4. Zakath will either:
a) admit that he was unable to devise or find any explanation of the theoretical reduced complexity in pre-cell life forms; or,
b) he will explain that functional simplicity, not in detail, but only broadly, covering just the utmost basic descriptions of the needs of biological life, including its need:
* its need to separate itself from its outside environment
* its need for communication between its subsystems
* its need to produce hundreds of intricate compounds
* its need to repair damaged components
* its need to selectively admit raw materials from outside
* its need to expel waste, and paramount,
* its need to reliably reproduce itself.

That’s it. Just simplify that list for us. Perhaps the precursor life did not need to process raw materials, or perhaps it never expelled its waste (maybe it just always had that bloated feeling), or maybe it couldn’t reproduce (no, that wouldn’t work). Well, maybe… you get the idea. Simplify. Reduce the complexity. Just conceptually. But you can’t. It’s the same problem with the origin of the universe. Some problems have no solutions. Science should help us identify unsolvable problems. But this is a benefit of science the atheist flees from, because he holds out eternal hope for demonstrably unachievable goals. If this is not true, feel free to provide me with any conceivable scientific evidence that would cause you to conclude that life could not spontaneously originate. I will be happy to do the converse at your request. Remember, I’m not talking about evidence from ignorance. (BA3) I’m talking about applying knowledge to see the functional limitations in systems and laws. That’s a scientific proposition, no? My 19-year-old, sometimes difficult teenager, told me last month that he is learning that oftentimes, there are many ways of doing things wrong, but only one way of doing them right.

In your paragraph on Abiogenesis, you throw out ideas, authors, systems, and terms which the average reader will be unfamiliar with. It will be splendid if you have learned from all that enough to answer the above question, preferably in English. Your paragraph explains Abiogenesis “proceeding along recognized biochemical pathways” and you “suggest… the study of metasystems,” representing “that simple chemicals develop into polymers, some of which are self replicating or autocatalytic,” which interact with each other forming hypercycles,” which in turn “form protobionts,” with “natural selection allow[ing] some protobionts to express more and more cellular characteristics over time…” and so the audience “might want to read Carl Woese…” I’m sure they would. Meanwhile, could you take the knowledge you gained from all this, and please answer question four.

Atheists typically guess that life began with much simpler proteins than we have today; a few think DNA started everything; some mix these first two (they’re closer of course); RNA has garnered much attention; there have been votes for the cell barrier first and for life beginning in clay crystals; many think perhaps it began in the primordial sea, but some have suggested under ice in “cold soup,” or in warm water near volcanic vents, or in high heat deep in the Earth’s crust; and popular, with RNA being so complex, some suppose a pre-RNA world or PNA for peptide nucleic acid, for pre-precellular life; and finally, perhaps in outer space via aliens. Of course, none of this comes within a light-year of answering the above, simply put, conceptually basic, question which we are all waiting for you to answer.

When atheists realize they will not be able to simplify the complexity of the cell, they will either join Crick, Hoyle, and the aliens; or go for the Hopeful Cell Theory (also called Punctuated Cellebrity). Of course, Crick and Hoyle never explained how to reduce the complexity for life to begin on Alderon either. So, I guess like the number of parallel universes, credulity can expand infinitely.

New Business

Since three of my original four questions were left unanswered (BQ1, BQ2, BQ4), and I’ve narrowed a couple questions under Old Business, I have decided not to expand the debate to new topics yet. And Zakath, if you will directly answer my questions, then I hope we will be able to eventually get to the nature of God. But, we must walk before we can run, and I won’t let you avoid issues with diversions by racing ahead.

Question Summary

BQ1. Does truth exist? a) Yes b) No c) I don’t know

BQ2. Does absolute moral right and wrong exist? a) Yes b) No c) I don’t know

BQ5. There are only three theoretical alternatives to the origin of the universe. a) True b) False
If B, explain and please list: _________________________________________________

BQ6. Zakath either: a) admits he is unable to produce any explanation of the theoretical reduced complexity of pre-cell life; or b) address bold points above, broadly explains such functional simplicity,
If B, please explain: __________________________________________________ _____

Sincerely, Bob Enyart

Knight
June 22nd, 2003, 06:51 PM
DING DING DING that's it for round #2!!

Fantastic battle so far! Thanks to both contestants for their efforts. Only 8 more posts to go for each combatant!

Knight
June 23rd, 2003, 04:55 PM
Does God Exist?

Well does He??? :D :box:

There is ONLY ONE place on the internet you can view a battle of such epic porportions and thats here at TheologyOnLine.com! Bob Enyart defends the Creator while Zakath the atheist argues that there is no God.

Will good win over evil? Will Zakath see the error of his ways?

I don't know! But I do know you can buy a REALLY cool Battle Royale Collector T-Shirt from the TheologyOnLine store!

Get yours TODAY! (http://www.cafeshops.com/tolstore.6157372)

Knight
June 23rd, 2003, 04:56 PM
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.

Zakath
June 24th, 2003, 08:52 AM
My opponent has posted the answers to my previous requests for clarification in his prior missive so I now have the information to answer some of his previous questions. During this round, I would also like to begin to move the debate from arguing about hypothetical science to discussing the alleged "truths" about the existence or non-existence of Pastor Enyart's God.

Truth and God
Pastor Enyart had asked whether I believe that truth exists. Over the years my experience with a number of religionists, including the good pastor, is that they have presented me with variety of conflicting assertions all of which they proclaim as being truth. That being the case, I asked him to define what he means by "truth". He responded that "truth is a statement of reality". Given that somewhat tautological definition, I will concede that I believe that truth (as defined here) exists. Experientially, I have found that truth appears frequently in human endeavors as science, engineering, mathematics, and medicine. However, in other areas, including those debated frequently here on TOL like politics and theology, what is "true" seems to get a bit murky.

I watch religionists discuss, year after year, all these "statements of reality", to use Pastor Enyart's definition. And for almost every alleged truth, there is a conflict and argument. If religious truth is simply a statement of reality, then why is there so much misunderstanding and argument? It would be difficult to find anyone to seriously argue about actual objective truth, like the freezing or boiling points of pure water, or the temperature at which paper burns, or even something as difficult for the layman to measure as the number of protons in a regular oxygen atom, or the circumference of the earth. Yet people continue to argue about the very existence of Pastor Enyart's God for twenty centuries. I can even point to major denominations where fellow Christians, including theologians and pastors, would argue against the very existence of Pastor Enyart's God.

Why is it so difficult for people to accept that the existence of a deity if it merely a statement of reality? As I mentioned in my previous post, the major world religions all make conflicting claims about the nature of deity, yet all of them claim that their view of deity is "the truth" and that the others have it wrong. Even within the Christian religion, it appears that much of the evidence for the deity's existence is either subjective or indirect. Any student of history has seen the almost twenty centuries of arguments, debates, executions of heretics, crusades, and witch burnings; all claiming to support the will of God. I've read and listened as people claim the same God justifies both human chattel slavery and abolition; both pro-life and pro-abortion; and both pro- and anti-capital punishment stands. All these antithetical positions claimed in God's name by his followers make God himself appear either schizophrenic or ineffective at communicating his existence and truth even to those who really desire to believe in him. Thus "religious truth" does not appear to be objectively demonstrable at all, but merely based on subjective impressions of human believers.

Let Pastor Enyart demonstrate the "truth" that allegedly supports the existence of his deity clearly and directly without philosophical word games and then we'll have a position to discuss…


Absolute Right and Wrong
In his second topic, the attempt to describe moral absolutes as the basis for the existence of his deity, Pastor Enyart has, thus far, failed miserably.

When asked to define absolute right and absolute wrong he replied "absolute wrong is a harm that cannot be justified." When questioned about this apparent discrepancy of having to justify the unjustifiable, he assures us in his second post that "there are conditions attending to every event, every good and every crime…". Well, according to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition, the terms "absolute" and "conditional" appear to be mutually exclusive…

Absolute means: "Not limited by restrictions or exceptions; unconditional"

Conditional means: "Imposing, depending on, or containing a condition"

Pastor Enyart has not yet demonstrated a single absolute moral statement; since by his own definition an absolute statement "cannot be justified". By his definition, an "absolute good" or "absolute evil" is required to be unconditional. Applying conditions to the statement means that the act itself is not unconditional and is not either absolutely right or absolutely wrong. Since his initial post, Pastor Enyart has only used conditional (i.e. non-absolute) statements to attempt to illustrate his concept of "absolute wrong." The conditional moral values and ethics Pastor Enyart has demonstrated so far as illustrations are merely another form of relativistic (conditional) morality. If we follow his reasoning as presented, then he has merely strengthened the position that all human morality is relative and conditional.

There is another feature of this alleged absolute right and wrong which should be considered in this discussion. To avoid relativity, absolute morality requires a standard apart from or above the society in which the morality is being evaluated. For a relativist to say that an act is absolutely right or absolutely wrong for humankind means that in all human societies, at all times, a particular act is right or wrong regardless of circumstance or condition. An absolutist would say that such an act can only exist as "absolute" if it appeals to a standard that is beyond humankind. Since he claims that absolute right and absolute wrong both exist, it is incumbent on Pastor Enyart to demonstrate this super-human (dare I say "supernatural"?) standard to us for both right and wrong.

This difficulty in demonstrating absolute right and wrong raises questions about deity. If there is a deity, then why has he not demonstrated clearly, and unambiguously, his absolute standard on such important issues as abortion? The issue can be simply phrased this way: is killing the unborn "absolutely right" or "absolutely wrong"? In the area of abortion, experience shows us that religionists frequently make "absolute" moral pronouncements which are in direct disagreement with the "absolute" moral pronouncements of other followers of the same religion. Followers of Pastor Enyart's God base their stance on the "absolute" moral pronouncement that "God is pro-life" while other Christians point to his slaughter of the unborn during Noah's flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the deity-ordered genocide detailed in the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua as evidence that such an absolute position is not supportable. Why is there so much confusion? How can two well-intentioned groups of religious believers both claim that "God" supports two contradictory positions simultaneously? I propose that it is because there is no clear, unambiguous standard of absolute right and wrong presented by those who argue Pastor Enyart's position.

Until Pastor Enyart can actually demonstrate that both "absolute right" and "absolute wrong" exist and the superhuman standard behind such absolutes, I am not inclined to believe in the existence of what is essentially a baseless assertion.

Summing up the arguments against the two points presented so far, and based upon Pastor Enyart's failure to actually demonstrate a standard of "absolute right or wrong" or even an unconditional example, I submit the following argument…

The Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism:
1. If Pastor Enyart's God exists, then he is a being who is powerful, loving, and just.

2. If Pastor Enyart's God exists, it would be in his interest (loving and just) and within his capacity (powerful) for all human beings to know his absolute standards perfectly.

3. All humans do not know God's ethics perfectly, as is demonstrated by his followers disagreeing about many moral values.

Therefore: Pastor Enyart's God does not exist.

Origin of the Natural Universe
Science differs from the form of narrow fundamentalist thinking Pastor Enyart is attempting to impose here. Science has few dogmas, but consists, in the main, of hypotheses and models that are proposed, evaluated in light of existing information and modified or even discarded as new information or data becomes available. There is no need for science to cling to any fundamental doctrines or dogmas of required belief, as do religionists. Pastor Enyart's disingenuous railing "against atheists rationalizing complexity by introducing more complexity" pales in light of his suggested solution, "God did it."

In his attempts to push for apparently infinite simplicity, he forces the discussion out of the realm of science and into metaphysics. Once out of the boundaries of science he introduces, as his solution to the Problem of Origins, an entity he calls "God". Pastor Enyart's God, by definition, is bound to be more complex than anything in the natural universe that the good pastor attributes to the entity's creative activities. In addition to introducing a vastly more complicated answer than any horde of atheists (probably even astrophysicists) could ever conceive, Pastor Enyart has not provided a single iota more evidence to explain the existence of this deity than has to been tendered to explain the existence of Santa Claus.

The Problem of God as the Creator also essentially begs the question he raises about the violations of the laws of thermodynamics at the Creation. How did Pastor Enyart's God created matter and energy from nothing? Of course, perhaps he assumes "magic" as the means to answering that question…

Let's hear the explanation for the physics behind Pastor Enyart's God as creator and perhaps this atheist will reconsider his disbelieving position…


Origin of Life
Pastor Enyart's refusal to accept complex answers to complex questions is also evident in his acerbic comments on my response to his origin of life question. Since he seems unable or unwilling to actually read the supplemental material I went to some trouble to provide for him, I will have little further to say on this question.

If he wishes to continue to debate in a specific area, then he must accept the fact that I am not going to attempt to summarize, in the brevity of this forum, the activities of the work being done in abiotic to biotic evolutionary transitions. If he desires to read it he can do so here. (http://www.gla.ac.uk/projects/originoflife/html/2001/pdf_files/Martin_&_Russell.pdf). If he does not, then that is his choice. I have provided more than enough information to answer his question. If he does not understand the answer, that is another issue…

Again, I am waiting to see a single shred of evidence presented by Pastor Enyart to demonstrate that his deity was responsible for the Origin of Life.

Neither Pastor Enyart nor I are molecular biologists, physicists, or cosmologists. I would suggest that we move the debate from defending hypothetical scientific positions to discussing the existence or non-existence of Pastor Enyart's God. Perhaps his next post will provide something in that arena that we can discuss…

Bob Enyart
June 26th, 2003, 04:16 AM
Let’s get right down to business summarizing the latest round of questions:

Bob’s Questions to Zakath

BQ1: Does truth exist?
ZA5: With caveats: “…I will concede that I believe that truth (as defined here) exists.”
Note: “as defined here” apparently refers to “Truth is a statement of reality” along with Zakath’s caveats…

BQ2: Does absolute moral right and wrong exist?
ZA6: “I am not inclined to believe in… ‘absolute right’ and ‘absolute wrong…’”

BQ5: There are only three theoretical alternatives to the origin of the universe. a) True b) False
ZA7: Zakath didn’t answer…

BQ6: Zakath either: a) admits he is unable to; or b) broadly explains pre-cell functional simplicity.
ZA8: Zakath didn’t answer…

Zakath’s Questions to Bob

ZQ1 – ZQ2 answered in post 1b.
ZQ3 – ZQ9 answered in post 2b.

ZQ2/ZQ3/ZQ10: Demonstrate the “truth” that allegedly supports the existence of your deity clearly and directly… and then we’ll have a position to discuss.
BA2/BA3/BA10: In this post I add new evidence marked by (BA10). In post 2b, as promised, I highlighted two sentences with (BA3), indicating my direct evidence for a supernatural creator, both of which Zakath failed to discuss directly.

ZQ11: Demonstrate that both "absolute right" and "absolute wrong" exist and the superhuman standard behind such absolutes.
BA11: Absolute morality can only exist if a moral authority above mankind exists; and I am happy to defend the crimes of rape and murder, for example, as unconditionally wrong, acts that would remain wrong even if every culture and person in the world approved of them, and it is absolutely right to refrain from committing such; and when you relativists apply ‘conditions’ trying to justify murder, you can unwittingly slip from talking about murder into discussing killing, confusing the two ideas; and theists sometimes add conditions (like child or racism) to basic crimes mercifully trying to embarrass atheists into acknowledging the absolute indefensibility of the most heinous of all acts; and our own conscience and the collective conscience of mankind, though damaged, still provides strong evidence of these absolutes…

ZQ12: Let’s hear the explanation for the physics behind Pastor Enyart’s God as creator and perhaps this atheist will reconsider his disbelieving position.
BA11: A natural explanation for the universe is limited to natural possibilities; a supernatural Creator is not limited by the laws of the natural universe, and so could bring matter and energy into existence from nothing…

Now let’s dig deeper.

Old Business

On Truth

Begrudgingly with caveats, Zakath said that he will “concede” that truth exists. And then, only “as defined here,” but then he criticized my definition “Truth is a statement of reality,” calling it “somewhat tautological.” The American Heritage Dictionary Third Edition defines tautology as “needless repetition” and “an empty or vacuous statement.” Thus before our eyes, Zakath may have actually admitted to believing in nothing more than somewhat needlessly repetitive, empty statements. That is not the same as saying that truth exists, and leaves Zakath too much wiggle room. While atheists rightly insist on clear definitions from others, it would be nice for them to reciprocate.

Zakath, if you disliked my definition, you should have provided a better one, for regarding that definition, I had invited you to offer a “clarification” if necessary so that the readers and I could get a straight answer from you. Yet even after I suggested to the audience that “atheists react almost as though they fear truth,” you still equivocated. So, in an effort to get a direct, unequivocal, answer out of you to understand your position:

BQ7: Present your own definition of truth, and then if you can, affirm that truth exists without equivocating.

If you need confidence in your ability to know truth, I’ll try to help you. This will get good, and it will lead to my next evidence for God…

Start with the man, worse off than you, I think, who denies that he can even know that the universe exists. Perhaps he thinks he may be dreaming, and every acquaintance is only a character in his dream. But even then at least he admits this would be his dream. The phantoms we fabricate in our dreams do not have their own dreams and he does not relegate himself to being just a character in another person’s dream. So actually, we have a starting place even with this poor soul, because at least such a person admits that he knows that he exists. I think, therefore I’m real. After all, if he didn’t exist, he couldn’t deny anything, not even his own existence. Your own consciousness is irrefragable.

OK, so consciousness is undeniable, and is therefore at least a part of reality. But how can we intellectually prove any reality outside of our own individual consciousness, beyond our own personal subjective view of the universe? Let me draw a parallel from physics.

Think of only two bodies, a moon and a spaceship neither of which can determine, according to Einstein, which one is stationary or which is approaching. However, a third frame of reference incorporating additional observed objects in its field of view may be able to make that determination. And by adding more observed objects and from varied frames of reference, perspective is added so that increasingly accurate information becomes available (e.g., Cruithne (http://www.astro.queensu.ca/~wiegert/3753/3753.html)). A spinning satellite may conclude that actually, the universe is spinning around it; however another frame of reference sees also a second spinning body, near the first but rotating counter to it, and confirms that the entire universe is not simultaneously spinning in opposite directions around these two supposed centers, but rather, it notes only that two French satellites are out of control.

Consider a similar intellectual dynamic. Either I am my only available frame of reference, or I can obtain others. Imagine that I am my only reference frame. Because everything available for my mind to consider could have originated within me, I reject the reality of the world. And then I find the following: I have filled my existence with more unfamiliar things than familiar, more uninteresting than interesting, and more mystifying than understood. Most of what I become aware of bears no interest to me, the stuff in life, like 300 cable channels I care nothing about, gift shops, Olympic curling, and junk mail. I can stack ten old books written in Chinese on my shelf being unable to read them, but then go out and get a degree in Mandarin, and then read them, perhaps even finding some information I was familiar with from English books. Thus since I am my only frame of reference, and I’ve concluded that nothing is real outside of myself, then I must have created this complex pictographic language and authored these books all without knowledge of having done so. Further, I have built or conceived all the machines I’ve ever used, written all the books I’ve ever read, composed all the music, and produced all the drama (even soap operas). In fact, the world revolves around me. I am the center of all human effort and achievement, having accomplished it all in my mind; and yet I experience these things as though they were new to me, as though I’ve never encountered them before. I didn’t even write Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago page-by-page while I was reading it, but I wrote it in its entirety before I began reading it, having drawn it to conclusion before I even know how it starts or even perhaps what it’s about; I discern this by the two copies I own, comparing them before and after I begin reading, and finding them to be identical; and I’ve created countless apparent humans familiar with the Gulag, and a thousand references to it in a hundred languages. I have done these things all without knowing it, and without being able to discern such. I am apparently omnipotent in my universe, except that I don’t even know how I made the bed I sleep on, nor can I change my own universe in most of the ways that I would like to. That is one theoretical possibility.

The other possibility is that I am not the only frame of reference available to me and that I am capable of interfacing with these other reference frames, which include people, whose perspectives I can add to my own to gain increasingly accurate information if I have eyes to see and ears to hear and a desire to know. Thus, when I purchase foreign language books (which I have done), and proceed to study that language (which I have done), and when I find that I can now read those books (which I have done albeit very slowly), then I know that I am interfacing with other frames of reference apart from my own. For, I read in Greek some things I have never heard of before, and other ideas which I have read before in English. And thus I discern two things: one, that other intellects, apart from me and with capabilities other than mine, exist; and two, that I am able to interface with these other frames of reference. As I combine observations from these sources, I find out that I can also interface with inanimate sources and reference frames, like cameras, scales, tape recorders, microscopes and telescopes. And so, I’ve learned that I can gain perspective from a multitude of counselors. Yesterday, millions of people, but not all, rose as the sun appeared, went about their business, and retired in the evening, and if I randomly interact with them, I find each capable of telling me about their lives in great detail, more detail than what I really need to conclude that they are independent reference frames. And so I learn that the world does not revolve around me.

If I had only my own frame of reference, then admittedly I would have a problem. As Jesus said, speaking as a man, “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true” (John 5:31-32). And again, “if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me” (John 18:16). For, in making weighty determinations, as in trying to establish a murderer’s guilt, “one witness is not sufficient” (Num. 35:30) for “by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established” (Deut. 19:15; see also Deut. 17:6; 1 Tim. 5:19; Heb. 10:28). Yes, this idea of multiple frames of reference can arise while discussing the plurality of persons in the Trinity, but that belongs in a debate specifically on the Nature of the Christian God. Also, in this paragraph I am not here and now making any divine claims for Jesus Christ nor for biblical authorship, but rather, I am using these words as yet another way of explaining the importance of multiple frames of reference, both in physics and the consideration of knowledge itself.

No one needs to study philosophy to benefit from interfacing with these multiple frames of reference. We are wired from birth to take advantage of this. When a child is born, even if by then he still had access to only his own frame of reference, as he grows he becomes aware of others, and tests the veracity of these independent references, reinforcing their independence many times daily. Even though the toddler can’t read, he becomes persuaded of the existence of writing as his parents read VeggieTales books to him. He eventually becomes fully convinced of the independent perspectives of many frames of reference, and lives his life accordingly.

To this, Zakath will ask his question again: then how do you explain all the “conflicting claims” among theists? If increasing numbers of reference frames produce an increasingly accurate picture, why do so many argue about God? The Hubble telescope is blemished, but software corrects for the defect. Likewise, human frames of reference can be distorted; they may be ignored; and some objects in the field of view may be intentionally or unintentionally overlooked, or selectively exaggerated or diminished. Thus, if most of the Iraqi frames of reference want Saddam removed, but the French frames want him to stay, we can look for bias. And when we find that a non-trivial percent of the French economy is based upon contracts with Saddam, and when we find that Saddam’s regime systematically murdered and raped thousands of its own citizens, and was responsible for the deaths of over one million people, then we can get an increasingly accurate picture of reality even though we interface with apparently systematic, conflicting information from these millions of frames of reference. Conversely, if we intentionally reduce the number of reference frames we consider, and ignore objects in the field of view, we become willingly ignorant, and confound our own understanding of reality.

Zakath exaggerated the unanimity of opinion regarding objective truth (like basic science) saying, “It would be difficult to find anyone to seriously argue about actual objective truth, like the freezing or boiling points of pure water, [etc.]…” Huh? Ever talk to an atheist? How about a post-modernist, a nihilist, or Richard Rorty? Trying to nail down Bertrand Russell to consent to some specific, objective truth like even “2 and 2 are 4” must have been like trying to nail a fly to a gnat. ReligiousTolerance.org states that, “Many others say that absolute truth does not exist.” For centuries now the trend in academic and popular epistemology has been going toward a denial of any objective truth. While there is basic agreement among many scientists on things like atheism and evolution, there are huge disagreements too. And there is basic agreement even among the most diverse theists that some kind of divinity exists. But regarding truth, if everyone in the world rejected it, it would still be true: our solar system is heliocentric, and it was so in the Middle Ages even if everyone had believed Aristotle that the sun orbited the earth. But then if we are using all these frames of reference, why would we have more disagreement regarding God than regarding the earth’s approximate circumference? Why? Because more frames of reference have more at stake regarding the topic of God than they do about the 24,901-mile equator. If ever two competing national economies grew or shrunk by their ability to most accurately measure the earth’s circumference, watch the conflict flare.

My own frame of reference, interfacing with many others, has convinced me that our world is full of hurt and suffering, and much of it is inflicted by people upon others, and oftentimes, even upon our own friends and family members. And if a God of justice exists, then there are quite a few frames of reference that will be held accountable for hurting others, many guilty of hurting even their own wives and children. And so, as the field of view focuses on the judgment of men’s actions, of their characters, and even of themselves as human beings, we should expect to see an increasing refusal to incorporate other frames of reference, and even a denial of objects observed in our own fields of view (such as the aggregate hurt we have inflicted upon others). Thus, the closer the topic comes to God, the more hesitancy, resistance, dishonesty and even fear, you will expect to see when compiling the frames.

Zakath, you say “that truth appears frequently in human endeavors as science, engineering, mathematics, and medicine.” And then you discredit truth “in other areas, including those debated frequently here on TOL like politics and theology.” Yet your own TOL signature claims, “a truism that almost any… religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power.” For all the contradiction that people display, even regarding issues of great importance to them, one thing that remains certain is self-awareness.

Consciousness is an absolute. Here is my third proof for the existence of a supernatural creator: consciousness. Atheists cannot even conceive, theoretically, in the most basic of terms, how self-awareness could develop from atoms and molecules. I can sense another question coming on. So far, I’ve pointed out that atheists cannot even conceive of a fourth alternative for the origin of the universe (yet they are afraid to admit it). And they cannot even conceive of a way to reduce the functional requirements of biological life. And now:

BQ8: Zakath, don’t prove, don’t provide details, but please just explain conceptually, in the most broad terms, how consciousness could have arisen from atoms and molecules.

So, consciousness, self-awareness, arising from matter – that’s a tough one. Because the molecules have to become aware of themselves. Yikes. But wait, Zakath, before you ignore this question also, let me throw in a handicap for you. You can begin with biological life. Yup. Start not just with atoms and molecules, but with proteins, DNA, RNA, ribosomes… aw, go ahead and take the enzymes and the cell wall too, yea, I’ll grant you an entire organism of living cells, in fact, a world full of them. Now, from atoms and molecules, and biological life, can you give us some idea, any hint of an idea, just conceptually, even vaguely, of how consciousness arises by natural processes?

Not only do you believe in something you can’t prove, not only do you believe in something you can’t give details about, you believe in something you can’t even imagine. You can’t even conceive of how a molecule, or a protein for that matter, or a million of them together, begin to become self-aware. That’s a kicker for you, isn’t it? Not only because you can’t even dream of how it might happen, but because you know that I know that you can’t even make a wild guess.

Atheists are loathe to admit that there are only three viable alternatives for explaining the origin of the universe, but they can’t even imagine a fourth, except perhaps to say that it doesn’t exist. And they think of every possible environment for beginning the development of simple biological life, but they can’t even conceive of such simplicity. And they must have self-awareness arise by natural processes; but they can’t even dream of a conceivable way that could happen. They don’t even know how to think about it.

Your worldview has no foundation. Faith can get no stronger, nor blinder.

Theistic Worldview: I have a worldview, described in these TheologyOnline.com posts, consistent within itself regarding origins and with the observable facts and the laws of science. There is no fourth alternative to explain the origin of the universe, and the most well-established physical laws indicate the universe could not always have been here, and could not pop into existence on its own from nothing, and so that leaves a supernatural, powerful, pre-existing Creator as the only other option. The irreducible complexity of biological life indicates that it could not have originated from simpler pre-cell life forms, and so that leaves a knowledgeable Creator as the only option. And (BA10) the consciousness of human beings could not arise by natural processes from matter, and so that leaves us with a personal Creator.

BQ9: Zakath, I am asking you to indicate true or false: (and please don’t ignore this question… true or false) Bob’s “Theistic Worldview” paragraph above contains foundational issues which his position does explain directly, but for which my position struggles to even explain conceptually.

Read again the last sentence of my worldview paragraph: The consciousness of human beings could not arise by natural processes from matter, and so that leaves us with a personal Creator. We just crossed the threshold in the debate to a personal God. Until now, I’ve only presented two arguments for God, evidence for Him being creative, eternal, powerful, and knowledgeable. Now, I am going to move into His being a personal God also. The foundation is laid.

To Be Continued…

Because I really would like to know your direct answers to these basic questions, I am going to keep this post narrowed to the above topics. In my next post, I plan to expand my summary answers to your ZQ10 –ZQ12, and discuss your Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism. Also, perhaps we'll take a short break from discussing whether or not God exists, to ponder, Does ZA7 and ZA8 exist?

Question Summary

BQ7: Zakath, please present your own definition of truth, and then if you can, affirm that truth exists without equivocating.

BQ8: Zakath, please a) explain conceptually, in the most broad terms, how consciousness could have arisen from atoms and molecules, and feel free to even start with biologic life, or b) admit that you cannot.

BQ9: Zakath, please indicate true or false: Bob’s “Theistic Worldview” paragraph above contains foundational issues which his position does explain consistently and directly, issues which my position struggles to explain even conceptually. a) True b) False c) Cannot be answered
If B or C, please explain: _________________________________________________

Sincerely, Bob Enyart

Knight
June 26th, 2003, 09:35 AM
DING DING DING.... Round #3 is IN the books!

ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.

Knight
June 27th, 2003, 09:55 PM
So.... at this point in the battle who do you think is winning Battle Royale VII?

Cast your vote here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=8030)

Zakath
June 28th, 2003, 04:07 AM
Does Truth Exist?
As I stated in my previous post, I concede that truth, as Pastor Enyart defined it, exists. As I agree with his definition, for the purposes of this discussion, I see little need to continue to belabor the point.

Absolute Right and Absolute Wrong
With his question about absolute right and absolute wrong, Pastor Enyart appeared to be working very hard at setting up the Argument from Values. Simply stated, this argument is an axiological argument claiming that certain human values have universal existence outside of the human mind. To successfully use this argument he must prove that what he defines as absolute values come outside the human race. As you might imagine, this is a very weak argument consisting primarily of yet another assertion that "God did it" without being able to provide mutually acceptable evidence for the extra-human presence of any moral value. To deal with this argument, I suggested that Pastor Enyart should provide examples of both absolute right and absolute wrong as well as describing the superhuman standard upon which these concepts are based.

Failing in his first purpose, Pastor Enyart now falls back to the more tested Moral Argument. This presents the universality of a human "moral conscience" as evidence of a moral deity. Unfortunately, Pastor Enyart only seems to know two examples of actions that he claims demonstrate absolute values: the "crimes of rape and murder". I would agree that, in the society in which we both live, both rape and murder are crimes; and are viewed that way by many societies. The weakness in his argument lies in issue that for moral statements to be absolute they must they appeal to a superhuman standard; something beyond the human race. What we are trying to get to here is why Pastor Enyart claims that any action is absolutely right or wrong.

When asked to provide the moral standard upon which he bases his absolute moral systems, he suggests the human conscience. Instead of providing a standard outside of humanity, a requirement for acts to be considered absolute, he appeals to human conscience as the source of his absolute moral standard. I would concur that human conscience, in some form or other, exists in the vast majority of the human race; the possible exception to that rule being sociopaths or psychotics. The problem with Pastor Enyart's argument is that human conscience is not absolute. Thus his alleged absolute moral standards are still based upon relativistic human standards. History has shown time and again that humans can and do justify murder, rape, and any number of horrible acts against their fellow creatures while following their conscience. Men and women followed their conscience when they enslaved black Africans in the United States for hundreds of years. Men and women follow their conscience when they make themselves into human bombs to kill their enemies today in the Middle East. Men and women following their conscience have throughout the centuries practiced genocide, and the rape and pillage of war.

I suggest that the subjective nature of human conscience, shaped and molded to a great extent by the society in which one is raised and educated, is not support for an allegedly absolute moral code.

Pastor Enyart and the God of the Gaps
Pastor Enyart's last two arguments, deal with origins. He picks current areas of gaps in scientific knowledge and then asks anyone to whom he presents this argument to provide an explanation. He tasks me with explaining precellular organic life, the origin of consciousness, and the ultimate origin of the physical universe. To all these questios, I provide an honest answer of, "Well, science really doesn't know yet and neither do I." He then trots out his tried and true religious reply, "Well then, God did it." Limiting God to the gaps in human knowledge produces an entity that is, rather tongue in cheek, referred to as the God of the Gaps.

His method follows an argument that has been posed by religious leaders from the dawn of human time. The argument might go something like this…
Religious Leader: "Can you explain why the sun moves across the sky?"
Lay Person: "Well, no."
Religious Leader: "Then it must be God, riding his sun chariot."


Lay Person: "Why did my crops sicken and die?"
Religious Leader: "Do you have any rational explanation?"
Lay Person: "Well, there's this black fuzzy growths on the grain heads…"
Religious Leader: "Well how did that black fuzzy stuff get there?"
Lay Person: "I don't know. I just sort of showed up…"
Religious Leader: "God is responsible for many of the unexplained events in our lives. Perhaps you've angered God somehow. Maybe you should come down to the temple and offer a sacrifice to appease the deity…"

… And so it goes; century after century, human culture after culture. The same arguments were used by the priests of ancient Greece to explain their gods and goddesses. Because there was not yet a rational, scientific way to explain thunder and lightning, they became tools of Zeus. The volcano became the forge of Hephaestus. The frenzy and irrationality associated with war became the province of Ares; the fecundity and fertility of the land, the work of Demeter. For hundreds of years king, clergy, and commoner alike used these and other gods and goddesses to fill the gaps in human knowledge with an answer "God did it." Yet over the following centuries, every one of these gods and goddesses withered to irrelevancy as human knowledge removed the need for them to explain what turned out to be natural events.

Today some people, like my opponent, still seek to fill the gaps in human knowledge with their deities. To them, I have one reminder – human knowledge of the natural universe grows, seemingly inexorably. The gaps of yesteryear are shrinking. Those whose God is limited to the gaps will find him eventually shrinking to irrelevance as the need for a God to explain the gaps vanishes along with them.

Knight
June 28th, 2003, 11:17 AM
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.

Bob Enyart
June 30th, 2003, 02:11 AM
Zakath, thanks for hanging in there.

Bob’s Questions to Zakath

BQ1/BQ7: Zakath, please present your own definition of truth, and then if you can, affirm that truth exists without equivocating.
ZA5/ZA7: I concede that truth, as Pastor Enyart defined it, exists. As I agree with his definition, for the purposes of this discussion, I see little need to continue to belabor the point.
BE: Apology accepted.

BQ8: Zakath, please a) explain conceptually, in the most broad terms, how consciousness could have arisen, or b) admit that you cannot.
ZA8: Total direct reply: “the origin of consciousness… To all these questions, I provide an honest answer of, ‘Well, science really doesn’t know yet and neither do I.’”
Note: Zakath admitted he didn’t know, but avoided the thrust of my question by not even discussing the inability to even give a conceptual solution in the most broad terms, by which omission I take it that the atheistic community cannot even offer a wild guess in some vague direction for how intellectual consciousness can originate from matter.

BQ9: True or false: Bob’s “Theistic Worldview” paragraph (on origins of the universe, biological life, and consciousness) contains foundational issues which his position does explain consistently and directly, issues which atheism struggles to explain even conceptually.
ZA9: Zakath didn’t answer.
Note: Zakath explained that he “doesn’t know” how these originated and said that I asked him “to provide an explanation.” No I didn’t. That’s not what I asked. I want to find out if this defender of atheism could honestly assess the leaning of evidence. I want to know, regardless of ultimate truth, if this atheist can objectively indicate the general direction in which specific evidence points. He could have quoted the paragraph and answered: "false – the evidence in that paragraph points to atheism, and theism struggles to consistently account for it." There. See how easy! But that may have been awfully difficult to write with a straight face. Or, he could have answered: "true – but let me tell you about the quirk of science which causes fundamental discoveries to strengthen the theist position." Or, he could have shown that the question was unfair, because the facts, scientific laws, principles, and challenges listed really have nothing significant to do with origins.

Zakath’s Questions to Bob

ZQ1 – ZQ2 answered in post 1b.
ZQ3 – ZQ9 answered in post 2b.
ZQ10 – ZQ12 summary answers in post 3b and ZQ11 on right and wrong elaborated upon below, and I plan to further address ZQ10 and ZQ12 in future posts.

ZQ11: Demonstrate that both “absolute right” and “absolute wrong” exist and the superhuman standard behind such absolutes.
BA11: Below I expand upon my summary answer from Round Three, and correct Zakath’s misstatement of my position…

Old Business

Right and Wrong

Zakath, you misstated my position. If I ever do that to you, please immediately inform me, because I couldn’t refute your position if I fundamentally misunderstood it. I do not base moral absolutes on the human conscience, as though our conscience was the ultimate standard. Rather, I’ve stated that our conscience is damaged. Here’s the correction: I pointed out in post 1 the common theistic belief that “a conscience… reflects [God’s] own righteous standard.” In post 2, I wrote that “absolute right and wrong would require a standard that transcends every man and every society.” In post 3: “Absolute morality can only exist if a moral authority above mankind exists. …and the collective conscience of mankind, though damaged, still provides strong evidence of these absolutes.”

Somehow, out of all that you managed that Bob “bases his absolute moral systems… [on] the human conscience.” Oops. And again, “his alleged absolute moral standards are still based upon relativistic human standards.” And then you easily ripped apart this argument that you wrongly attributed to me stating: “The problem with Pastor Enyart’s argument is that human conscience is not absolute. Thus his alleged absolute moral standards are still based upon relativistic human standards. History has shown time and again that humans can and do justify murder, rape, and any number of horrible acts…”

Horrible acts? Horrible? Aren’t they really just: different? After all, one man’s horror is another man’s comedy. Atheism undermines morality.

Your severe misstatement of my position confused conscience with God’s righteous standard. I am now reluctantly going to comment directly on you misstating my position, for in this Battle Royale I want to avoid criticizing idiosyncratic errors you might make, and stick to the substantive issues applicable to any debate on theism. But perhaps this notice will help improve the future rounds. In my experience dealing with atheists, it is extremely difficult to have a constructive dialogue because of constant obfuscations, common misstatements, and a general unresponsiveness, all of which are being documented in this public debate. For example, you have been unresponsive to my scientific arguments also, and have misstated my positions there, and have ignored the main points of my questions. (And I’m not in the least complaining that you haven’t caved in to my arguments.) You had agreed theism “is a very important question,” so please treat it according to your own valuation.

Proceeding, you listed the horrible acts of mankind against the theistic offer of evidence from conscience. If theists argue that men have a conscience which compels them to do rightly, then your list of evils would be evidence against us. But we don’t. (Remember, we’re the ones who talk about sin.) We argue that human beings are wired with the inescapable urge to weigh moral actions on the scale of justice.

Let’s back up for a moment to your Round Three argument against examples of absolute morality by identifying embedded conditions. I promised I would respond. You gave these definitions:

Absolute means: “Not limited by restrictions or exceptions; unconditional”
Conditional means: “Imposing, depending on, or containing a condition”

With these you were responding to my Post 2 wherein I wrote: “There are conditions attending to every event, every good and every crime, and every chemical process for that matter.” You argue that if theists describe a wrong with any attendant conditions, then obviously, we’re not describing an absolute wrong. I have a hard time understanding why you continue to press that objection, and why you have tendered it seriously since long before this debate began. Please consider the following clarification, and in your next post, in Round Five, I would like you to retract the “conditions” argument against the possibility that absolute morality exists. Here we go:

An absolute standard exists by which acts can be correctly judged as morally right or wrong. The absolute standard has a set of rules, including do not murder, and do not rape. Rape is a certain kind of behavior, distinguished from other behavior by conditions. The conditions that identify rape do not mean that the standard which condemns rape is conditional. Rape is wrong. Murder is a certain kind of killing, distinguished from other killing by conditions (for example, if you pull a weed, you don’t murder it). The conditions which define murder do not mean that the standard which condemns murder is conditional. Murder is wrong.

This absolute moral standard declares that no one should ever do wrong hoping that good might come of it. Thus, if the human race would die out unless you raped a woman, you should humbly allow the human race to die out. (Besides, left-wingers don’t like humans all that much anyway.)

Is your objection to “conditions” even falsifiable? Your approach would be incapable of handling the following scenario: Let’s say that God really does exist, and He transported all of us to heaven, to show us His absolute standard, and then shuttled off to hell anyone who denied this absolute standard. Then He expected each of us to make judgments based on this standard. Behaving intellectually as you have been, would you be able to judge some evil act as absolutely wrong? I think you will see that unless you abandoned your ‘conditions’ argument, your ‘logic’ would prevent you from implementing even a now agreed-upon absolute standard. For, you would point to that definition of ‘absolute,’ meaning ‘unconditional’ (which would still apply), and you would point to a condition in the crime (the murderer was angry), and so you rule the act as not absolutely wrong! Therefore… Therefore what? Therefore Zakath is on the next busload…

We can play games, or we can honestly debate different positions. Life is too short to waste such time. So in the future, when a theist describes a crime which he gives as an example of an absolute wrong, you might intellectually argue that it is not absolutely wrong, but to argue it is conditional is hiding from the issue.

So, my question to you is, Zakath, will you retract the “conditions” argument against the possibility that absolute morality exists?

Human conscience is not all the evidence we have for an absolute moral standard, but it provides strong evidence. Yet, theists commonly admit that the conscience is “damaged” by sin. But if it is damaged, then, how could it provide evidence? Proof must obliterate any doubt; evidence is used to establish proof. You only need one proof, but it may consist of two or three pieces of evidence. Like the needle in a damaged compass which still tries to point north although sometimes blocked by its crushed case, the collective damaged conscience of mankind still indicates the existence of absolutes. An unemployed meteorologist refuses to acknowledge that weather patterns cross North America from west to east, because after all, at times he has personally felt an easterly wind blowing. And we have about six billion frames of reference on conscience from which to derive trillions of data points. The atheistic bias of science hinders the use of all that raw data.

Zakath wrote, “I would concur that human conscience, in some form or other, exists in the vast majority of the human race; the possible exception to that rule being sociopaths or psychotics.” Consider the offered exception of sociopaths. Conscience speaks to justice, whether something is justifiable or not, and regards issues like murder, kidnapping, rape, stealing, cheating, injuring, lying, negligence, and hurting. Sometimes people follow their conscience and avoid hurting others, yet at other times, people even take pleasure in intentionally inflicting great pain. People who violate the demands of conscience, in an effort to appease it, attempt to justify their own actions. Whereas if they had no conscience, they would have no compelling need to justify themselves. For example, Dylan Klebold, Adolf Hitler, and Charles Manson are not satisfied just to inflict pain, they endeavor to justify their actions or deny guilt, trying to appease their conscience. Klebold murdered thirteen victims at Columbine High School. Time Magazine and a victim’s father, Brian Rohrbough, have both reported on his videos made with Eric Harris, that the pair justified their actions as a function of Darwinian natural selection, wherein the stronger organisms can destroy the weaker. (After an autopsy revealed that one of the murderers wore a shirt that said “Natural Selection,” the Denver Post declared that they had no idea what that phrase referred to.) Zakath has argued previously that it might be right to murder or rape one woman to save a city, whereas the Darwinian evolutionist Hitler’s regime argued that it was right to eliminate one race to save the world in the survival of the fittest. Of course, Zakath has admitted believing that, for example, the NAZI slaughter of millions of innocents was not absolutely wrong. I despise you for that, Zakath. But of course, your atheism leads your there. Sociopath Charles Manson tries to divert guilt by blaming Susan Atkins and his followers for taking his supposedly figurative words literally. Manson’s conscience is working all right, as was Klebold’s, and Hitler’s; each tried to appease his conscience by attempting to justify his actions. Theists do not claim that men are slaves to their conscience, or that they are compelled to honestly report its influence, but that their conscience raises the matter of justification, and then the culpable man honestly or dishonestly responds, admitting guilt or falsely justifying his actions. Even a vengeful gang member who disclaims any morality exhibits a strong functioning conscience.

Zakath, we don’t really need to talk about absolute right and absolute wrong. We can simply talk about right and wrong, because if there are no moral absolutes, than nothing is even right or wrong. For you, there is no true right or wrong, only preferences. When you describe an act as horrible, you only mean you have a strong preference against it, but someone else may have an equally strong preference for it, and there is no standard by which your dislike for rape is objectively correct, and the other’s preference for it objectively incorrect. In your second post you said that child rape and racist murder “are both terrible evils and are wrong,” but that’s just your morality-envy playing with words, trying to appease your own conscience, and trying to make yourself look good by sounding like a theist. You should be a bold atheist and say, “Rape and murder are just preferences; we might not understand the preferences of others, but they are their valid preferences none the less; I have a preference against these, and others have a preference for them. I prefer mine, and they prefer theirs. I prefer wine, and they prefer blood. They have no need to justify their support of murder and rape because there is no standard by which I can truly condemn such. Of course, I have a social and personal preference, but if they have a different preference, mine cannot be shown to be truly correct, only different.” Hey, your conscience won’t like it, but then you’ll be consistent. But after saying things like that a hundred times, your conscience will be further seared, and it will begin to feel less troublesome. Be real.

Atheism undermines morality. Saying that there are no absolutes logically becomes there is no right and wrong. I’ve had many debates with high school and college students, some taped, like on our Get Out of the Matrix video. Is there such a thing as absolute right and wrong? “No.” Is it absolutely wrong to rape a woman? “No.” To kill an unborn child? “No.” Is it wrong to steal? “No.” To kidnap? “No.” To have an affair? “No.” To drill for oil in Alaska? “Absolutely!” Huh? That’s wrong? Okay…

Atheism steals from the moral capital of theism, and for a time, may exhibit a copycat morality. But without the foundation, the bankruptcy of atheism undermines morality.

Let’s talk about your Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism. You asked in your Post 3: “If there is a deity, then why has he not demonstrated clearly, and unambiguously, his absolute standard?” For you to find out if He already has, you will have to consider the evidence from the other side of the debate. Consider this for a moment, that your conscience did not arise by chance to weigh moral actions, but that God instilled it within you, and you can hear its voice. And it tells you that the NAZI holocaust is absolutely evil, yet, you refuse to accept that, and the most you can admit is that you did not prefer the holocaust, but that it was preferred by others. (Atheism undermines morality.)

So then imagine on Judgment Day you complain to God that you had no evidence of an absolute righteous standard, and He asks you, “Didn’t you know that the holocaust was wrong?”

What do you say? “No?” “I didn’t know.” And then He says, “Your conscience told you it was wrong.” And you say: “I thought it just wasn’t preferred.” Boy, that’s gonna go over well. Then you are reminded that your conscience is just one function among many in your consciousness. And you’re reminded that you knew that you could conceive of no possible way for self-awareness to arise from matter. And you’re reminded that you had been clearly told that self-aware creatures require a self-aware Creator, because chemical reactions can generate heat and compounds, but not emotion, not intellect, not will, and not conscience. And you are then reminded that your consciousness was associated with your biological life, which is so irreducibly complex, that you couldn’t even imagine a way of simplifying the basic functions required for life so that it could even possibly arise by chance. And then you are reminded that you live on a planet in a universe for which you never could imagine an alternative method for how it got here, being stuck with either that it was always here, or it popped into existence from nothing, both of which violate the most basic laws of science, the very discipline by which you claimed to live your life.

Now I add the conscience (BA10-4) as a fourth evidence for God, and specifically for the God of Justice. For your conscience generates an inescapable urge to weigh moral actions on the scale of justice. And it gnaws at you because it says, “You must justify your faith in a natural process doing that which science implies it cannot. You must justify yourself believing that complex life can arise. You must justify yourself believing that a cause and effect chain in matter gave rise to consciousness, self-awareness, intellect, conscience, morality, emotion, and personhood.”

To Be Continued…

As promised, I have addressed ZQ11 and the Moral Argument for Atheism. In future posts, I will also expand my summary answers to your ZQ10 and ZQ12. You know what would have been great? In this round, imagine if you would have directly addressed my previous rebuttals to your the God of the Gaps argument. Since you didn’t, I’ll add that to my to-do list for a future post.

Question Summary

BQ13: Zakath, will you retract the “conditions” argument against the possibility that absolute morality exists?
If No, please explain: _________________________________________________

Sincerely, Bob Enyart

Knight
June 30th, 2003, 10:10 AM
DING DING DING thats it for round #4!

ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.

Knight
June 30th, 2003, 10:09 PM
ATTENTION: 4th of July Holiday break.

We at TheologyOnLine (namely me) have decided to take a small break in the Battle Royale VII due to the 4th of July Holiday.

With all the travel plans and typical Holiday madness we thought it would be best to take a short break to allow both combatants and staff to focus on the debate when there isn't so much chaos going on.

Both combatants have generously agreed to take this short break in the battle.

Zakath will have until Monday July 7th at 12:00 MDT.

Zakath
July 7th, 2003, 10:00 AM
We're almost half-way through the debate and thus far the theistic side of the argument has presented:
The God of the Gaps – here Pastor Enyart pointed to gaps in human scientific knowledge of the natural universe and claims that his "God" is the answer to fill these gaps. I reminded him that history bears out that such arguments have been steadily losing propositions for the theist as the gaps in human knowledge of the natural universe shrink. As the ancient Greeks and Romans found out, closing the gaps of human knowledge makes the gods of the gaps irrelevant.

Argument from Morality – here Pastor Enyart asserts that the existence of absolute right and absolute wrong are evidence for the existence of his deity. As of yet, Pastor Enyart has failed to clearly provide the absolute standard of right and wrong he claims to follow.


The atheistic side of the argument has presented:
Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism – in Posts #3 and #5 I have presented the argument that it is logically inconsistent for a just and loving God, as defined by Pastor Enyart, to deny universal access to the absolute moral standard claimed by the good pastor.

Argument From Nonbelief – in Post #5 I present the argument that non belief in Pastor Enyart's God is strong evidence for his non-existence.

Pastor Enyart spent the bulk of his previous post attempting to accomplish two ends:
1. Continuing to press his argument for the existence of absolute good and absolute evil.

2. Attempting to address and refute the Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism (MKAA).
My fifth post will address both of these two points and continue to provide support for a godless view of the universe by introducing another argument favoring atheism as a world view.

Pastor Enyart asks me to retract my argument against his attempt to define absolute morals as conditional definitions. In debate if one has a refutation for an opponent's points, one refutes them, he doesn't request that the opponent withdraw his points. If Pastor Enyart has a refutation for my argument, let him present it. If not, my point stands as an indication of the weakness of his argument. He has yet to demonstrate an example of absolute right or absolute wrong.

After asking me to drop my argument, Pastor Enyart then asserts that "an absolute standard exists by which acts can be correctly judged as morally right or wrong. This absolute standard has a set of rules…" I find it interesting that even after being asked more than once, Pastor Enyart has not shown us the standard to which he refers. He shows us only the example of the human conscience. He alludes to an absolute moral standard it in his third post with references to human conscience which I demonstrate is subjective and not absolute. His fourth posts claims again that an absolute standard exists, yet he shies away from plainly and clearly stating what the standard is and where it may be found.

In fact during his previous post, Pastor Enyart has made several claims about this alleged absolute moral standard including: it actually exists
"An absolute standard exists by which acts can be correctly judged as morally right or wrong." – Enyart Post #4
it has structure
" The absolute standard has a set of rules…" – Enyart Post #4
he has read it or heard it
" This absolute moral standard declares that no one should ever do wrong hoping that good might come of it." – Enyart Post #4

One might ask, why the hedging and equivocation? Why, Pastor Enyart will you not show us your standard?

We have come so close to the core of the argument yet cannot, after four posts, seem to break through. So I will ask Pastor Enyart to perform essentially the same task I asked of his disciple Knight, here on TOL last summer…

Pastor Enyart, show us this unconditional, super-human standard so we may openly examine its validity and test your claims of its absolute nature.

In his previous post, my opponent asked me to "immediately inform him" if he ever misstated my position. He then promptly proceeds to misstate my position in his moribund arguments about absolute right and absolute wrong when he states, "… for you, there is no right and wrong, only preferences." This is a gross misrepresentation of my position. I never wrote, or implied, such a statement. It appears that Pastor Enyart is unfamiliar with the terms he so glibly tosses into the argument, so I will provide definitions from the Online American Heritage Dictionary, 4th Edition (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=00-database-info&db=ahd4)

Right:
1. Conforming with or conformable to justice, law, or morality: do the right thing and confess.
2. In accordance with fact, reason, or truth
Wrong:
1. Not in conformity with fact or truth; incorrect or erroneous.
2. Contrary to conscience, morality, or law; immoral or wicked.
Preference:
1. The selecting of someone or something over another or others.
2. The right or chance to so choose.
3. Someone or something so chosen
There is nothing in the definitions that would state or imply that merely because an individual does not believe in the existence of absolute moral values that the individual does not believe in right or wrong. I, myself, am an example of the falsehood of Pastor Enyart's statement. I hold certain acts to be wrong (contrary to my conscience, morality, or law) and certain acts to be right (conforming to justice, law, or morality). I merely disbelieve the absolute nature of any moral pronouncement.

Let me reiterate yet again, that I do believe certain actions are right and others are wrong. My basis for such belief is not some mythical code of morality written on what Pastor Enyart refers to as the "damaged" conscience of human beings. The basis for how I define right and wrong is predicated on a number of factors including my early training by my parents, my formal education, my life experience, and the social mores of the community in which I live. This combination of factors is what provides the basis for judgment of "right" and "wrong" in a given circumstance. Drawing on a similar combination provides the basis for determining right and wrong for many mature adults. Because the degree of influence from these factors varies from individual to individual we must form a consensus to live successfully in society. Let's not mistake standards formed by societal consensus (secular or religious) for absolute standards. Societal views may change on numerous subjects over time. Shifting moral positions on such issues as slavery, abortion, and capital punishment serve as historically verifiable markers of the truly subjective nature of some societal morality.

If my opponent disagrees with this position, I challenge him, once again, to produce the standard of morality that he claims is the basis for his beliefs.

Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism (MKAA)
The second topic Pastor Enyart addressed in his fourth post was the Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism (MKAA). For ease of reading, I will restate it here:
1. If Pastor Enyart's God exists, then he is a being who is powerful, loving, and just.

2. If Pastor Enyart's God exists, it would be in his interest (loving and just) and within his capacity (powerful) for all human beings to know his absolute standards perfectly.

3. All humans do not know God's ethics perfectly, as is demonstrated by his followers disagreeing about many moral values.

Therefore: Pastor Enyart's God does not exist.

In my third post, I presented a clarity question which asked for Pastor Enyart to present a "clear, unambiguous, standard of absolute right and wrong." Unfortunately, Pastor Enyart chose, yet again, to provide only the human conscience has his sole answer. We've already demonstrated the subjectivity of the human conscience in cases where different individuals view the same moral question as either right or wrong depending on societal, psychological, or other factors. Pastor Enyart even admits that theists consider the human conscience "damaged", yet these damaged goods are the sole evidence he can muster, to date, as proof of his absolute moral standard. To this weak evidence I ask, yet again, Pastor Enyart show us the absolute moral standard that you allege exists.

Since Pastor Enyart failed to provide a significant answer to the MKAA in his last post, perhaps a further bit of explanation will help him to do so in future posts.

The first premise of MKAA is based on the definition of "God" supplied by Pastor Enyart. Unless he wishes to recant some or all of his definition of "God", the first statement is true.

Let's explore the second premise… Can we convincingly argue that it would be in God's best interest for all human beings to know his moral standards perfectly? To answer this, let's approach the question as if it was not true. If God could make his moral standard perfectly known to all human beings, what reason could there be for him not to do so? I can propose two possibilities. First, perhaps God shows favoritism, revealing his moral standard only to some individuals or he reveals it in a higher sense to some individuals but not to others. Unfortunately, this is inconsistent with Pastor Enyart's claim that his deity is just and loving since playing favorites implies that his God cares more about some humans than others. (Of course we are assuming that knowledge of Pastor Enyart's God's moral standard is a good thing, at least from God's point of view.) For Christians, like Pastor Enyart, favoritism is a non-argument since it is explicitly stated in Acts 10:24 (NIV) " Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism…" So, using the available evidence, we can safely assume that Pastor Enyart's God does not demonstrate favoritism.

On the other hand, we could imagine God spreading a limited knowledge of his absolute moral standard equally among all of humankind. This raises three issues:
1. What could possibly be gained by a self-imposed limitation of spreading something which, from God's point of view, must be considered good?

2. Humankind does not agree universally on any issue of morality or ethics.

3. If Pastor Enyart does believe that humankind agrees universally on any issue of morality or ethics, it is up to him to prove his claim.

Even if Pastor Enyart can demonstrate a universal agreement on a moral or ethical issue, he then must demonstrate that this universal agreement is derived from a supernatural source; something outside of humankind.


Argument from Nonbelief
It's now time to introduce another argument in favor of atheism, the Argument from Nonbelief (ANB)

This simple argument can be used in a variety of forms to demonstrate the illogic of belief in any deity. In this debate, since Pastor Enyart describes himself as a Christian minister, I will limit this argument to Pastor Enyart's God, the Christian deity.

Before we can get to the argument, a few definitions are helpful. First, we can define "the gospel message" very simply as the following:a) There exists a being who rules the entire universe.
b) That being has a son whom he sent to be the savior of humanity.
This high level description attempts to avoid all denominational entanglements by stating clearly only two main defining points. Another definition, the "salvation situation" is also essential to understanding this argument. In this argument, we'll call this "situation S" – this salvation situation is one in which all, or almost all, humans since the time of Jesus of Nazareth coming to believe both propositions before their physical death. Using these definitions, the ANB can be formulated as follows:1. If the God of Christianity were to exist, then he would have caused situation S to exist.

2. But situation S does not exist.

Therefore, the God of Christianity does not exist.
The power of this simple argument lies in it's reliance on the nature of the Christian deity. There are a variety of ways we could conceive in which God could have brought about the existence of situation S. He might have spoken to humans worldwide in thunderous tones or written his message clearly across the skies. He appears to have done neither. He might even have used more covert activities including sending angels disguised as humans (something that Christians assure us is possible, based on their scriptures) to preach to people so persuasively that they would believe the gospel. Additionally, he could have protected the Bible from defects possibly by guiding the writing, copying, and translating so that it would contain no unclear or ambiguous writings, or errors of any sort. It might contain very clear and precise prophecies that are amazingly fulfilled, then documented by neutral observers and widely disseminated. If that occurred, people reading the scriptures would be much more likely to infer that everything it contains is true, including the gospel message, making it more believable. Since none of these situations has occurred, this leads us to another question.

That is the question of whether Pastor Enyart's God actually wants everyone to believe in the gospel. According to I Timothy 2:4 (NIV) God, "wants all men to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth." In context, we can presume that "truth" here includes the gospel message. If this is true, then God must want situation S. Other scriptures supporting the idea that the Christian God wants situation S to exist include those commanding people to disseminate (Mt. 28:19-20, Mk 16:15-16) and believe (I Jn 3:23) the gospel. The gospels and epistle are replete with passage upon passage lending credence to the idea that God desires situation S to exist. Thus, premise 1 is true.

This brings us to premise #2. Our discussion started with Pastor Enyart asking me whether I believe in truth. Well, premise #2 is empirical truth; after almost 23 centuries passing since the introduction of the gospel the vast majority of the human race does not believe in both propositions of the Christian gospel by the time of their deaths. While Christianity may claim to be the single most widespread religion (about 32%, according to the World Almanac and U.S. Census Bureau - 2 billion Christians out of 6.3 billion humans), premise #2 is still true.

Since both premises are demonstrably true and the conclusion logically derives from the two premises; the logical conclusion is that Pastor Enyart's God does not exist.

Knight
July 7th, 2003, 11:30 AM
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.

Bob Enyart
July 8th, 2003, 10:11 PM
At the end of our debate I plan to summarize all the questions and answers. This post will address the God of the Gaps attack on theism and Zakath’s latest challenge to absolute morality. My most difficult challenge lies not in answering questions and providing evidence, but in dealing concisely with my atheist opponent’s repeated misstatements, ignoring of responses, and attempts to defocus the debate.

Regarding Zakath’s argument from Non-Belief (ANB): Atheists I debate typically claim that science is the most reliable authority on reality. Yet, in debates on a Creator’s existence, anti-Creationists often want to move the discussion away from science over to philosophy or the Bible. In this Zakath has followed Dr. Eugenie Scott, a well-known anti-Creationist and participant on a nationally-broadcast PBS debate on evolution. I debated Scott on my own talk show (we have the tape), and she repeatedly tried to divert the discussion away from science. Zakath has likewise been trying to get away from science and bait me into a discussion on the Bible. For Battle Royale VII, I will avoid specifically Scriptural arguments and for the benefit of the readers, stick to the debate topic of Does God Exist? Theists do not believe that God came into existence with the writing of the Bible. So I prefer to use arguments that would apply even to an early human being who lived before the author of Genesis. Accordingly, I think readers can recognize Zakath’s instance of the Argument from Non-Belief as an attempt to divert the debate into a wide-ranging discussion of the Bible, rather than sticking to the question of God’s existence, which has an answer that precedes the writing of any religious book. Thus, not to aid Zakath in using his ANB as a diversionary tactic, I will postpone answering it until my last post. (I will meet similar future attempts likewise.) If Zakath wants me to address it earlier, then since he said the ANB “can be used in a variety of forms to demonstrate the illogic of belief in any deity,” I invite him to give a form of his ANB that is not thinly veiled as an attempt to change the topic.

Bob’s Questions to Zakath

BQ13: Zakath, will you retract the “conditions” argument against the possibility that absolute morality exists?
ZA13: Zakath did not retract and after misstating this request also, stated, “My point stands…”

Zakath’s Questions to Bob

ZQ13: Respond to the God of the Gaps argument against theism.
BA13: I responded to Zakath’s earlier use of this argument in 2b, and Zakath ignored my reply as he continues to make the same Gaps contention, and below I more directly address the two ways that science deals with gaps.

ZQ14: Pastor Enyart, show us that the absolute moral standard that you allege exists, this unconditional, super-human standard so that we may openly examine its validity and test your claims of its absolute nature.
BA14: I have previously answered that the absolute moral standard is God’s righteous nature, which is “God’s own righteous standard,” and that therefore atheism undermines morality, and that conscience provides some evidence for that standard. To illustrate Zakath’s obfuscation and non-responsiveness, below at (BA14) I will give a list of his comments on this topic, along with my previous responses which he ignores or misrepresents.

God of the Gaps

Zakath wrote that theists prove God by their ignorant misinterpretation of “gaps in human knowledge” creating “the God of the Gaps.” Historically, science has addressed gaps in human knowledge in two ways. Science has filled gaps, and it has closed gaps. Here we go again:

Filled gaps represent previously unconnected observations which new knowledge has linked together. For example, men observed that rain fell from the sky, and that the sky never seemed to run out of rain, but people could not fill in the gap to explain the apparently eternal supply of rain. An understanding of evaporation and the water cycle filled the gap between these observations, and explained their association.

Closed gaps represent previously linked observations that science has permanently disassociated. For example, men observed that dead animals would putrefy, and that life spontaneously generated from the carcasses, but they could not fill in the gap to explain how new life (albeit maggots) could arise so regularly out of death. Louis Pasteur founded the field of microbiology with extraordinary scientific accomplishments in bacteriology, pasteurization, the development of vaccines for anthrax, rabies, diphtheria, and cholera, and by disproving spontaneous generation. His observations proved that rotting carcasses only nourished deposited eggs of Musca domestica, common houseflies, which then grew into larvae. That scientific discovery forced evolutionists to admit that the maggots did not spontaneously generate on decaying flesh. Pasteur’s work combined with discoveries in genetics from his contemporary, Gregor Mendel, finally explained the phenomenon. An understanding of microbiology and genetics closed the gap between these observations, refuting the validity of the second observation, and permanently disassociated them.

Could science ever conceivably close the gap between the observation of biological life, and that the first life must have arisen naturally? Could science ever theoretically close the gap between the observation of the universe, and that the universe must have originated naturally? Could science ever close the gap between the observation of consciousness, and that self-awareness must have arisen naturally? Will the atheist admit that these are theoretical possibilities?

We theists often say that denying God’s existence is like denying basic science. Forget for the moment the atheist questioning whether God exists. Atheists often pretend that the function of science which I call “closing the gap” does not exist. Atheists act as though science cannot close a gap. We easily find the motive for such a denial by observing that this function of science has the potential to doom atheism. If science ever openly admitted that natural processes could not produce the universe, biological life, or consciousness, then atheism is ruined. (But of course, godlessness would then get a boost, since men rebel even more fiercely against blatant truth). Thus for their own survival, atheists must deny science its voice, wherever its voice may prohibit natural origins. So we find this peculiar dichotomy among atheists regarding scientific discoveries: an approval of the possibilities of nature, and a rejection of the limitations of nature. It’s like the husband who will only look at his payroll deposits, but not the monthly bills.

In the last four rounds, Zakath has continued to make his God Did It and God of the Gaps arguments without even acknowledging my previous responses noted below. I understand why atheists have such a hard time even acknowledging the challenge to their gaps. For while they criticize theists for using gaps as evidence for God (which we should never do), they desperately need these gaps as evidence for atheism. When atheists admit that they don’t know how the universe, life, or consciousness could have arisen naturally, they fill in those gaps of ignorance with their faith in natural process. If they don’t know how it happened, then clearly, that ignorance cannot prove their assertion. On the other hand, we theists do not argue from “what we do not know, but from what we do know,” as my previous post 2b claimed, though falling on deaf ears. And when science closes a gap and permanently disassociates previously linked observations, we theists can then admit to the scientific findings. Atheists instinctively resist this type of hard science.

However, atheists typically do more than simply reject the scientific closing of gaps. A defense mechanism kicks in by which they do not even recognize what they are doing. It’s just like the superstitious religionist who ignores the evidence that threatens his favorite myth. Thus, in the fourth round, Zakath presented his God of the Gaps argument as though it were a new introduction into our debate. But he had made the same case in the last four rounds. That is fine. What is not fine, and what speaks to the common denial among atheists generally, is that he utterly ignored my response. And his atheist supporters in the grandstands greeted his round four Gaps post with cheerleading, seeming also not to have noticed that my rebuttal still stood unopposed. For atheism, the God of the Gaps contention is a leading argument. And if I present my leading argument, and it is fundamentally challenged, I am then compelled to address the challenge. Either I rebut it, admit that I cannot, or ask for more time to think it through. I don’t ignore it, especially not in a moderated, publicly held forum.

Here is what I had previously posted, way back in 2b, in response to the God Did It and God of the Gaps arguments:

In post 2b I asked rhetorically: “Applying knowledge to see the functional limitations in systems and laws a scientific proposition, no?” I also stated: “The theist applies the most well-tested and fundamental laws of science to eliminate the possibility [of natural origins].” And I almost pleaded: “Zakath, I think you have misunderstood some of my arguments, so I am going to clarify them for you. If you find error in the clarification, I will be grateful if you can identify it. But please don’t just ignore the clarification and continue to repeat the mischaracterizations of my evidence. You have accused me of using ignorance as evidence. I agree with you that ignorance is no evidence. I can’t explain how gravity works, or why interior designers use odd-numbered groupings, or why vanilla ice cream outsells chocolate, but none of this ignorance, no ignorance, can reasonably be used as evidence for God. And if you ever find me doing such a thing, I will appreciate getting flagged. My evidence to you was not based upon what we don’t know, but upon what we do know, with the claim that your naturalistic time and chance proposals cannot work because they contradict what we do know. That’s not ignorance for evidence, that’s applying knowledge. If you can identify how I am misapplying knowledge, please do so. But don’t say that I’m arguing from ignorance. Instead, show me how I’ve incorrectly applied knowledge.”

That is why I asked you if a fourth alternative can account for the origin of the universe, or if there is any conceivable way to simplify the basic requirements for biological life. These questions get to whether the gaps are waiting to be filled, or have already been closed. And even if you have never consciously pondered the dual dynamic of gaps, filled or closed, still you instinctively ignore these questions. Fear is instructive.

I gave this illustration which Zakath has ignored since 2b: “A scientist can study the properties of a cure-all, and disprove a salesman’s claim that it will heal cancer: ‘It is only sugar water, don’t believe the claims.’” So why then does Zakath post a new God of the Gaps argument without addressing my previous response? I know why, Zakath. Do you?

It is not because you are intellectually incapable of following the argument. Also, it’s not because you think the argument is unworthy of refutation. It’s because you really don’t want to think about the issues I raise in my questions, the very issues that you have been ignoring, the issues that speak directly to the possible functional limitations of matter and energy. Yes, you have answered a couple questions. Most of your few answers, though, correspond seemingly to questions other than the ones which I have asked. Meanwhile, I directly answer your questions. I designed some of my questions to get you to focus on the scientific discovery of limitations. Zakath, can science possibly discover real limitations of matter, energy, and natural processes? Here’s a psychology experiment: As an atheist, can you admit that you would rather not think about the limits of natural processes? Can you admit a bias in which you would be slower to recognize a scientific limitation of nature than would a theist?

I will give you a few more examples of the difference between science filling the gaps and closing the gaps. When science fills a knowledge gap, the two edges of the crack remain where they had been, and the space between them is no longer empty. When science closes a gap, it applies inward pressure to one or both edges, which pushes the two edges together so that the gap disappears without ever having been filled. Closing the gap means to eliminate it, not fill it. Science closes gaps especially well.

Filled gaps: Nucleic acid coding for proteins; Asexual reproduction; The cause of the tides
Closed gaps. How the sun orbits the earth; How ships avoided the edge of the earth

For proteins, reproduction and the tides, science filled gaps by connecting observations with new knowledge. For geo-centricity and the flat earth, science closed gaps by permanently disassociating observations. Men had observed proteins, and Crick helped discover DNA and its nucleic acid base, and then science filled in the gap of how DNA codes proteins. Men had observed new plants growing, and buds falling off of existing plants, and then science began filling in the gap of how asexual reproduction works. Men observed the oceans, and the rise and fall of its surface, and then Isaac Newton’s discovery of universal gravity helped fill in the gap of why the tides ebb and flow by the attraction of the moon. Aristotle observed the sun rising and setting, and claimed that the earth could not be moving because it was too heavy and because rocks fell straight downward, but then Johann Kepler discovered elliptical orbits and science closed the gap of how the sun circled the earth. Men observed that ships sailed great distances, and that they never fell off the edge of the earth, but then science discovered that the earth is a sphere with gravity, and so science closed the gap of how ships avoided falling off the earth.

Gaps yet to be filled: What segments of DNA code for left-handedness; How does gravity propagate?
Gaps to be closed: How did the caterpillar/butterfly metamorphosis evolve? How did the sun nearly stop rotating?

A multitude of questions could illustrate both these filling and closing functions of science. Now, Zakath I wish you would directly and brilliantly address my argument, because even brilliance fails in the service of the impossible. And then, more atheists may see that their strongest argument is not invincible.

As for us theists, increasingly, scientific discoveries bolster our claims. We have greater depth and breadth of scientific evidence for creation than we did in Darwin’s day, when the cell might have been just a blob. For scientific progress has simultaneously limited the possible functions of natural processes (note Pasteur and spontaneous generation) and reveals increasingly complex interdependencies (note Mendel and genetics) in nature. The atheist fills the gaps with skepticism. But these forces of scientific progress squeeze the skepticism in the middle as they apply opposing pressures to close the Atheism of the Gaps.

Regardless of how unavoidable the proof becomes, realize that not even in the next life will you ever be forced to love God, just to acknowledge Him.

Zakath wrote in 4a: “Today some people, like my opponent, still seek to fill the gaps in human knowledge with their deities. To them, I have one reminder – human knowledge of the natural universe grows, seemingly inexorably. The gaps of yesteryear are shrinking. Those whose God is limited to the gaps will find him eventually shrinking to irrelevance as the need for a God to explain the gaps vanishes along with them.” How poetic.

Zakath, I have recognized the form of your argument all along. Now, if you have finally recognized my argument, then please answer my questions, and we will see who is being squeezed. For thirty years my theist friends and I have eagerly met scientific progress with celebration! I have a hard time believing that you evolutionists rejoiced over learning about the wildly complicated requirements of biological life or the ruthlessness of thermodynamics. For the two models for origins, the theist and atheist, both make significant predictions, and so far, science has confirmed many creationist predictions while confounding the atheistic ones. (Would you like to challenge me to a duel on examples of this?) God created and then rested. So science fills textbooks with natural processes which work during His rest; but science is only silent or self-contradictory when trying to naturally explain origins. Theism predicts that science can discover much about post-creation natural processes, but nothing of the possibility of the universe, life, and consciousness arising naturally. If we theists said that natural processes do not exist but that God does everything supernaturally, then every scientific discovery could refute that claim, and the area of science would increase as God’s “area” decreased. But we theists say that God created and then ceased from creation, allowing the creation to function normally. Thus truckloads of scientific discoveries show how orderly animate and inanimate systems function, yet science cannot find a natural process to explain these origins, but rather has shown these questions to be increasingly unanswerable as our knowledge grows. Of course, atheists may never admit this, regardless of how increasingly obvious it becomes. For already, the committed atheist believes that science is on his side only if he is in denial of the trend in the evidence.

Filled gaps: previously unconnected observations which new knowledge has linked together.
Closed gaps: previously linked observations that science has permanently disassociated.

So Zakath, could science conceivably ever falsify natural origins by closing the gap for the origin of the universe and biological life, showing conclusively that natural processes themselves cannot account for such origins? Hint: science denounces theories for which there is no potential falsification.

Now what? Now the expectations have been raised. Now a balanced treatment for apparent gaps in knowledge has superceded the one-sided atheistic presentation. And this treatment identifies that some gaps are no gaps at all, thus the science that explained the spontaneous generation of maggots was no gap of science, but a fanciful wish of the evolutionists. So, where an atheist claims a gap, educated men must consider whether the gap ever existed at all, whether it is only a myth which science perhaps has already closed. Zakath, why don’t you make a commitment to yourself that thirty years from now, on your deathbed (if you have that luxury), you will look back to see if scientific progress has filled any of the origins gaps, or if they’ve been squeezed shut even more tightly. But for now Zakath, from here on out, any time you reference gaps, readers on both sides will expect you not to dodge, but to defend against, the assertion that science has closed the gap. And that’s just what you fear attempting.

Right and Wrong

In my last post I accused Zakath of misstating my positions, and tit-for-tat in 5a he accused me of the same. However, when I caught Zakath’s indefensible, sly misstatements on my science and morality positions, he wisely offered no defense. But I can defend my words since I openly indicated that I was restating his position to show it more nakedly for the amoral position that it is. At most, I could be wrong, but I can’t be guilty of misstating, for I was giving my opinion of his position. I pointed out to you Zakath, that as an atheist, you should admit that for you, right and wrong are only personal and societal preferences with which others have disagreed. You protested this too much. For you to resist this valid clarification tells me that I hit a sore spot, and that I am debating a typical uncomfortable atheist, living in denial, who fears his own fundamentally amoral atheistic worldview, who pretends toward some semblance of absolutes by masquerading as a virtual theist in order to make himself more palatable.

To illustrate Zakath’s obfuscation and non-responsiveness, I am going to give a list (BA14) of his comments, and my previous responses which he ignored or misrepresented. NINE TIMES in post 5a alone, interspersed with other distractions, Zakath brooded:

1. Pastor Enyart has not shown us the standard to which he refers.
2. …he shies away from plainly and clearly stating what the standard is and where it may be found.
3. One might ask, why the hedging and equivocation? Why, Pastor Enyart will you not show us your standard?
4. Pastor Enyart, show us this unconditional, super-human standard so we may openly examine its validity…
5. I challenge him, once again, to produce the standard of morality that he claims is the basis for his beliefs.
6. I… asked for Pastor Enyart to present a clear, unambiguous, standard of absolute right and wrong.
7. Pastor Enyart, show us the absolute moral standard that you allege exists.
8. …he shies away from plainly and clearly stating… where [the standard] may be found.
9. Pastor Enyart has failed to clearly provide the absolute standard of right and wrong he claims to follow.

I follow God, and He is the standard you ask for. Of course I had indicated this in my first post, and repeated it later, that the absolute standard is “God’s nature,” which is “His own righteous standard,” and I stated in 4b that our “conscience… reflects God’s ‘own righteous standard.’” So, if Zakath wastes another forty paragraphs asking twenty more times, “show us the absolute moral standard,” I will answer, the absolute moral standard is God’s righteous nature. Of course, Zakath could reject this by saying that God does not exist, and therefore my standard does not exist. But his pretending ad nauseam that I haven’t identified the standard is getting old. Perhaps Zakath is chanting this refrain in hopes that the audience will forget what they have already read.

Zakath in 5a: “Pastor Enyart asks me to retract my argument against his attempt [i]to define absolute morals as conditional definitions.”
I did not. In 4b I wrote: “An absolute standard exists by which acts can be correctly judged as morally right or wrong. The absolute standard has a set of rules, including do not murder, and do not rape. Rape is a certain kind of behavior, distinguished from other behavior by conditions. The conditions that identify rape do not mean that the standard which condemns rape is conditional. Rape is wrong.”

I did not “attempt to define absolute morals as conditional definitions” which is just another transparent obfuscation. I asked Zakath to “retract the ‘conditions’ argument against the possibility that absolute morality exists?” Evidence that Zakath knows his argument is just a trick is that he did not take up my challenge to show that his position is falsifiable. I will now promote that test to an official question by repeating the challenge:

4b: “Is your objection to ‘conditions’ even falsifiable? Your approach would be incapable of handling the following scenario: Let’s say that God really does exist, and He transported all of us to heaven, to show us His absolute standard, and then shuttled off to hell anyone who denied this absolute standard. Then He expected each of us to make judgments based on this standard. Behaving intellectually as you have been, would you be able to judge some evil act as absolutely wrong? I think you will see that unless you abandoned your ‘conditions’ argument, your ‘logic’ would prevent you from implementing even a now agreed-upon absolute standard. For, you would point to that definition of ‘absolute,’ meaning ‘unconditional’ (which would still apply), and you would point to a condition in the crime (the murderer was angry), and so you rule the act as not absolutely wrong!” Zakath, if you can’t falsify your own ‘conditions’ ploy, you will have admitted that you know it is bogus. So, Zakath, please show that your ‘conditions’ argument against the possibility of absolutes is potentially valid by falsifying it. (Readers: if he cannot even theoretically show evidence by which his proposition would be false, then that demonstrates that it is a nonsense proposition, such as the person who says aliens live in his head but that they are undetectable by any means, whereas we can formulate tests for real propositions such as “gravity is universal” which can potentially falsify the theory, for example, if we put masses in proximity to one another and could find no evidence of attraction.)

In Round Four Zakath challenged “that Pastor Enyart should provide examples of both absolute right and absolute wrong,” and followed that in 5a with, “He has yet to demonstrate an example of absolute right or absolute wrong.” Once again, Zakath could have explained why my offered examples fail to meet the challenge. Instead he ignores that I had given him specifics and some general rules for identifying absolute right and wrong, and I will limit my examples here to:
1. violating the demands of justice for equitable punishment, like execution for petty theft (2b)
2. unconditional rape (3b)
3. unconditional murder (3b)
4. “an absolute wrong is a harm that cannot be justified” (3b)

Number one above does not even fall into that “condition, repeat” ruse. Neither does two. Neither does three. Neither does four.

Oh yeah, and while we’re at it, when I wrote in 2b that “an absolute wrong is a harm that cannot be justified,” my atheist managed this beauty in 3a: “by his own definition an absolute statement ‘cannot be justified.’” Sure. (Dear readers, do your atheists behave this way also?) And can I throw in this from atheist Post 3a: “Pastor Enyart has not provided a single iota more evidence to explain the existence of this deity than has been tendered to explain the existence of Santa Claus.” And then in 4a Zakath seriously asks me “to provide mutually acceptable evidence,” but of course, that requires a mutual commitment to honesty.

While I have presented some arguments as proof for God, for now, I have presented conscience as just evidence, not as full-fledged proof. Then, humans weigh the evidence. Onlookers questioning whether or not God exists can look at your interpretation and my interpretation of the stated evidence, for example, that overly severe punishment absolutely violates the equity demands of justice. Thus I claim a violation of the demands of justice when the NAZIs executed minorities who married Germans, and when a judge severely beats a woman for stealing a slice of bread. You have already admitted, repeatedly, that any absolute standard of justice could only come from a source that transcends humanity, such as a God if one existed. That is why you reject such absolutes. Thus to defend atheism, you have to argue that a government that executes petty criminals is not violating an absolute human right or an absolute principle of justice. Most people don’t think through the implications of absolute morality, as you have; and thus you have aided me in teaching folks that the existence of objective morality is powerful evidence for God, who would qualify as a standard above mankind. And as human beings weigh the two interpretations above, for many, even their broken conscience tells them that justice is more than just a preference, and that it absolutely requires equity. Then the evidence builds. Take man’s “inescapable urge to weigh moral actions,” and add the scientific need for a supernatural Creator who originated the universe, life, and personal consciousness, and the evidence points to the source of this real justice. Thus we determine with certainty that such judicial cruelty, for example, goes beyond just social preference and convenient laws, to become absolute injustice, because they violate the law our Creator wrote on our hearts.

Finally, Zakath agreed “that human conscience, in some form or other, exists in the vast majority of the human race” but then gave a “possible exception to that rule being sociopaths,” an exception that I rebutted with examples like the Columbine murderers and the NAZIs. Zakath rightly left this unanswered, since the evidence indicates that all the billions of functioning human beings, even the wicked, have a conscience.

By this fifth round, I wanted to conclude other old business continuing to answer directly and forthrightly, and add to my existing argument for God a fifth line of evidence from astronomy. But unfortunately, I had to commit too much space trying to keep Zakath honest. Even this, however, instructs us by illustrating the common atheist tactic of duplicity to cover up their losing position.

Question Summary

Zakath, at any time please feel free to indicate if you refuse to, or cannot, answer any particular questions, but then please explain why.

BQ14: Zakath, can science possibly discover real limitations of matter, energy, and natural processes? a) Yes b) No
If No, please explain: _________________________________________________

BQ15: Zakath, can you admit a bias in which you would be slower to recognize a scientific limitation of nature than would a theist? a) Yes b) No

BQ16: Zakath, could science conceivably ever falsify natural origins by closing the gap for the origin of the universe and biological life, showing conclusively that natural processes themselves cannot account for such origins? a) Yes b) No
If Yes, please explain how: _________________________________________________
If No, please explain why not: _________________________________________________

BQ17: Zakath, please show that your ‘conditions’ argument against the possibility of absolutes is potentially valid by falsifying it (feel free to use my scenario or your own).

BQ5: (resubmitted) Zakath, please indicate true or false: There are only three theoretical alternatives to the origin of the universe, it was either: always here, popped into existence from nothing, or was supernaturally created. a) True b) False
If False, please list others: _________________________________________________

BQ18: Zakath, please indicate which of these laws of thermodynamics do you believe do not apply to the universe as a whole:
a) The First Law: that nature can bring neither matter nor energy into existence from nothing.
b) The Second Law: that the universe cannot work and burn forever, since it would eventually expend all available energy.
c) Neither the First nor Second laws apply to the universe as a whole.
d) Both the First and Second laws apply to the universe as a whole.
Please do your best to explain your answer, or explain why you cannot or will not answer: _________________________________________________

BQ19: Zakath, if you really want us to pursue further your Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism, then please address my prior BA9 answer, way back in 2b, on the negative consequences of shoving truth into someone’s face.

Sincerely, Bob Enyart

Knight
July 8th, 2003, 11:36 PM
DING DING DING.... That's it for round #5. Battle Royale VII is now officially halfway over! If the last five rounds are as good as the first five rounds this will most certainly be a battle of epic proportions!

Zakath
July 10th, 2003, 08:55 PM
In his fifth post alone, Pastor Enyart raises eighteen discrete questions for consideration while answering only one of mine… Which one, you ask? Well, after five posts containing more words (>16,500) than the John's Gospel in Greek (about 15,600), Pastor Enyart finally unveils (metaphorically speaking, of course) what his absolute standard of morality is. According to Pastor Enyart, the absolute standard of morality is: (drum roll please :drum: )

His God!

Pastor Enyart chided me severely for either ignoring or not understanding his answer to the questions asking him to show us his absolute standard of morality. He told us in his Post #5 that
"… I have previously answered that the absolute moral standard is God’s righteous nature, which is “God’s own righteous standard,” He kindly provides us an exact quotation of his words. So I looked back in his posts and how many times do you suppose the phrase "God's own righteous standard" appears as an answer to my question?

If it was five times, I could understand his exasperation. If it were three or four, I could see him being a bit peeved. Perhaps if it was twice, I could understand him being mildly miffed. But do you know how many times these quoted words appear in his first four posts?

If you guessed once, you'd be wrong. The answer is not at all. Pastor Enyart has manufactured the alleged quotation from thin air (or since this is the Internet, perhaps we should say "thin ether"). Why? Only Pastor Enyart knows why he would do such a thing.

So did Pastor Enyart actually refer to his deity as the source of absolute right and wrong in his first four posts? No. He implied it. Well, kind of. He mentioned it exactly once. In his first post as part of a hypothetical statement.
For, if there is an absolute Originator, then logically, an absolute moral standard would have originated with Him.

So that’s nice. Now we know where Pastor Enyart believes it came from – his God. But there is still the need for those of us who are not followers of his deity to be shown the standard that comes from the deity. So, over and over, I asked Pastor Enyart to show us the standard. Last post he finally replied:
"I follow God, and He is the standard you ask for. "

So, Pastor Enyart claims that his deity is the standard. It should be a simple matter then, to show us the standard behind his alleged absolute right and wrong by showing us his God.

At this juncture, dear reader, you might be asking yourself, "I though Pastor Enyart's God was a person?" (Admittedly a very BIG, very important, very powerful person; but a person nonetheless.) How can a person be an absolute moral standard?

So that is another question we are left with for Pastor Enyart – how can a person, even a god, be an absolute moral standard?

Unfortunately since all we have is a name (YHWH), we still need to discern what the standard is.

Will the philosophy that Pastor Enyart has argued tell us? I think not.
Will the astrophysics that Pastor Enyart has argued tell us? I think not.
Will the biology that Pastor Enyart has argued tell us? I think not.
Will the psychology that Pastor Enyart has tried to argue tell us? I know it doesn't. (I'm a psychologist :D )

So, Pastor Enyart. You've pointed to your deity as the absolute moral standard. But wait one minute here…

Wasn't the entire debate supposed to be centered on arguing the existence of deity? What you've done is presented us with a logical quandary. To simplify it, it looks like this:

Enyartian Argument of Absolute Moral Standards as a Proof of God's Existence
1. Pastor Enyart asserts that an absolute moral standard exists.
Now we must realize that Pastor Enyart has yet to prove that an absolute moral standard exists. He has provided weak evidence, in the illustration of the human conscience which both law enforcement and psychology have demonstrated is not universal either in its occurrence in the human species or in it's expression of moral standards. But in his last post he makes a the astounding assertion that becomes premise #2.

2. Pastor Enyart asserts that the absolute moral standard is his deity.
Again, Pastor Enyart asserts something is so without offering a single shred of evidence or proof either for the existence of his deity or that his deity actually is the alleged absolute standard.

3. Pastor Enyart asserts that an absolute moral standard is evidence for the existence of his deity.
Since Pastor Enyart has not proven the existence of such a standard, merely asserted it, this premise is unsubstantiated.

So what is our conclusion supposed to be "Therefore: Pastor Enyart's God exists"?

Unfortunately, the only logical conclusion I can draw is that this is merely a demonstration of the logical fallacy of circular reasoning. On the other hand it could be that Pastor Enyart is bluffing by always asserting that the truth lies behind his premises, but never quite displaying it. Either way, it doesn't work.

Let's move on to his other non-arguments…

In his last post, Pastor Enyart spends a considerable amount of energy and words (over 80% of the post) attempting to discuss science. Unfortunately for all his readers, Pastor Enyart is neither a good scientist or a good technical researcher. His long maunderings are not only tedious but erroneous, as well. For example, he tries to tie a famous Abiogenesis experiment, the flies and meat, to Louis Pasteur. If Pastor Enyart actually knew the history of microbiology and was not merely paraphrasing from an undisclosed secondary source, he would know that the experiment to which he refers is known as the Redi experiment, named for Francesco Redi who demonstrated that flies did not arise spontaneously from meat almost two hundred years before Pasteur.

Pastor Enyart continues with a torrent of questions,
Could science ever conceivably close the gap between the observation of biological life, and that the first life must have arisen naturally? Could science ever theoretically close the gap between the observation of the universe, and that the universe must have originated naturally? Could science ever close the gap between the observation of consciousness, and that self-awareness must have arisen naturally? Will the atheist admit that these are theoretical possibilities?... Zakath, can science possibly discover real limitations of matter, energy, and natural processes? Here’s a psychology experiment: As an atheist, can you admit that you would rather not think about the limits of natural processes? Can you admit a bias in which you would be slower to recognize a scientific limitation of nature than would a theist?

The reader should remember that only two hundred years ago, science could not provide a means to save a human from rabies. No scientist in the world could have told you how. Today we can and do.

One hundred years ago mankind could not fly in heavier than air craft. No serious practitioner of engineering science could build a successful heavier-than-air craft. Today, any sufficiently determined hobbyist may build such craft.

Fifty years ago mankind could only dream of human feet touching the moon, of world wide portable telephonic communication, of pace makers to stabilize ailing hearts, of cloning plants and animals, of using recombinant genetics to treat diseases. Today, all those things have happened. I would suggest that, based on the record of scientific achievement over the last three hundred years alone that it is not infeasible that scientists (or even amateurs, as we remember the Wright brothers during their 100th anniversary year of their first flight) might pierce the veil of ignorance and provide the means to move from non-life to life. But just as the people who lived twenty years before Pasteur couldn't describe how a vaccine was made, let alone how it worked, neither can I describe the mechanisms and processes yet to be uncovered by future exploration.

Pastor Enyart's science questions are all interesting questions. If this was a debate about the future of science, they would even be good questions. Ones that, presumably, will be answered someday. But in the context of this debate, they are distractions from the single question we are here to discuss – does God exist? Since they are merely distractions, not one of them will be answered here. Thus, not to aid Pastor Enyart in using his focus on the less than omniscient nature of scientific investigation as a diversionary tactic, I will postpone considering them until my last post. (I will meet similar future attempts likewise.) ;)

If Pastor Enyart desires, he can generate a hundred more questions for my consideration. But if they do not serve to solve the question of whether or not deity exists, I will not address them here. The problem is that none of this endless palaver about science is helping to assess the question we came here to answer: DOES GOD EXIST?

Later, much later, Pastor Enyart brings up this interesting question:
Zakath, could science conceivably ever falsify natural origins by closing the gap for the origin of the universe and biological life, showing conclusively that natural processes themselves cannot account for such origins? In keeping with my general promise above, since this is a science question, I'll not answer it except to make the following general comment. An important characteristic of a scientific theory or hypotheis is that it be "falsifiable". This means that there must be an experiment or possible discovery that could prove the theory untrue. For example, Einstein's theory of Relativity made predictions about the results of experiments. These experiments could have produced results that contradicted Einstein, so the theory was (and still is) falsifiable.

Unfortunately, Pastor Enyart's theory of divine origins is not falsifiable and is thus essentially unscientific. One cannot prove that his God was there or responsible for the origins of the universe. Nor can he devise an experiment to falsify his theory. Or can he… :think:

The last item I'd like to discuss in this section is Pastor Enyart's assertion that his examples of NAZI murder and the murders at a local Denver area high school somehow refute the notion that conscience is not existent or functioning in sociopathic persons. I don't understand how either example demonstrates functional conscience, which flies in the face of the good pastor's assertion that they somehow indicates "that all the billions of functioning human beings, even the wicked, have a conscience."

Argument from Non-Belief (ANB)
In my last post, I presented and explained the Argument from Non-Belief and how it supports the atheistic position. Surprisingly enough, instead of attempting to refute the argument, Pastor Enyart refuses to address it, until after I have made my final post:
, I will postpone answering it until my last post. (I will meet similar future attempts likewise.) Pastor Enyart, please correct me if I am reading this wrong, but it sounds to me as if you are saying that if I make any argument that uses your scriptures that you will refuse to address it until after I am no longer able to refute an argument you present.

Surprisingly enough, it appears that the good pastor is afraid to use the Bible
… I will avoid specifically Scriptural arguments and for the benefit of the readers, stick to the debate topic of Does God Exist? … I think readers can recognize Zakath’s instance of the Argument from Non-Belief as an attempt to divert the debate into a wide-ranging discussion of the Bible… Since I was debating someone who is allegedly a Christian, I merely used the Bible to clarify why my premises were true (at least from a Christian's point of view). If Pastor Enyart had been a Muslim, I would have used the Qu'ran. Why do you suppose that a Christian pastor would refuse to use one of the few textual sources in the world that allegedly clearly supports his arguments for the existence of his deity?

That said, I'll proceed to my next argument, without citing any specific portions of the Bible… :D

The Argument from Confusion (AC)

This argument, a little more complicated than the previous Argument from Non-Belief (ANB), consists of four premises:
1. Christians are confused in that:

A. They disagree with one another about a variety of important doctrinal issues including the nature of God, God's Law (e.g. which kinds of killing are acceptable within the law), the role of sacraments, requirements for salvation, role of Church hierarchy, the place of the Jew and the nation of Israel, the sequence of end-time events, and the status of the Bible, to name a few.

B. The Bible contradicts itself on these doctrinal matters, is exceedingly unclear in many important areas, and contains errors which make it appear to be merely manmade work.

C. Different copies of the Hebrew and Greek biblical manuscripts say conflicting things. Even the biblical canon involves disputes and appears to be arbitrary.

D. There is no objective procedure for settling any of these many disputes, especially since the original manuscripts of the Bible have been lost, there is no public declaration from God that would resolve any of them.

2. If God were to exist, then he would love all Christians and want that love reciprocated. He would also strongly desire that, here on earth, Christians become aware of, and be clear about those aspects of his nature and system of governance that have importance to their lives.

3. Hence, if god were to exist, then he would prevent Christians from becoming confused in their beliefs about his nature and system of governance in ways that have importance to their lives and that interfere with them coming to love him.

4. But Christians have not been prevented from becoming confused in those ways. The forms of disagreement mentioned in premise (1), above, are examples.

Therefore, God does not exist.

I offer this argument without specific reference to any scriptures to assist Pastor Enyart in dealing with the argument itself without having to deal with the distractions of discussing the validity of the Bible. :)

Knight
July 10th, 2003, 09:02 PM
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.

Knight
July 10th, 2003, 10:12 PM
Does God Exist?

Well does He??? :D :box:

There is ONLY ONE place on the internet you can view a battle of such epic porportions and thats here at TheologyOnLine.com! Bob Enyart defends the Creator while Zakath the atheist argues that there is no God.

Will good win over evil? Will Zakath see the error of his ways?

I don't know! But I do know you can buy a REALLY cool Battle Royale Collector T-Shirt from the TheologyOnLine store!

Get yours TODAY! (http://www.cafeshops.com/tolstore.6157372)

Bob Enyart
July 12th, 2003, 07:17 PM
Zakath, thank you for correcting me on mistaking Louis Pasteur for another theist, Francesco Redi, who first disproved the spontaneous generation of maggots. Pasteur expanded on Redi’s work by experimentally disproving the spontaneous generation of microbes, thus disappointing atheists. I do appreciate the correction which leaves my argument fully intact, and I look forward to your last post in which you implied you might answer my God of the Gaps rebuttal questions, which address your primary argument.

You wrote, “Pastor Enyart has manufactured the alleged quotation from thin air” when your search didn’t produce a previous source for my 5b quote:
“God’s own righteous standard,” whereas what I had written in 4b was:
“[God’s] own righteous standard,” from which I removed my own clarifying brackets when repeating this for the third time after previously substituting ‘God’ for ‘His’ for reader comprehension. Zakath, trying to understand why we wasted time on all this, I believe that I should have been more clear, but at first it didn’t dawn on me that as a former Christian pastor that you could have misunderstood my view that the absolute moral standard is God's own goodness, so I just assumed that you were being difficult, but below I illustrate a possible source of the confusion.

Then, I had specifically stated in 5b: “While I have presented some arguments as proof for God, for now, I have presented conscience as just evidence, not as full-fledged proof.” But you headlined half your 6a post as the “Enyartian Argument of Absolute Moral Standards as a Proof of God's Existence.” Oops. And that followed my 4b comment: “Human conscience is not all the evidence we have for an absolute moral standard, but it provides strong evidence… evidence is used to establish proof. You only need one proof, but it may consist of two or three pieces of evidence.”

Also in this post I add proof for a Creator from broad features of the solar system and I address Zakath’s vague question about the physics of a supernatural creation while responding to his continued assertion that theism results from scientific impatience and ignorance.

Bob’s Questions to Zakath

BQ14 – BQ19 all unanswered, including those about gaps, falsifying his arguments on absolutes and origins, and the ill effects of shoving truth into someone’s face.

Zakath’s Questions to Bob

ZQ15: Pastor Enyart, how can a person, even a god, be an absolute moral standard?
BA15: Atheists understand this golf quote easily enough: “Tiger Woods set the standard,” (SI, 12-02). (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/features/2002/year/essays/deford) Similarly God, being loving and just, defines the absolute standard which requires love and justice (examples: love your neighbor and the punishment should fit the harm done). Of course we can expand on this, but this much completely answers your question.

ZQ16: Regarding NAZI and Columbine murderers, how can “either example demonstrate functional conscience?”
BA16: From my post 4b: “People who violate the demands of conscience, in an effort to appease it, attempt to justify their own actions. Whereas if they had no conscience, they would have no compelling need to justify themselves. For example, Dylan Klebold, Adolf Hitler… endeavor to justify their actions... trying to appease their conscience… For your conscience generates an inescapable urge to weigh moral actions on the scale of justice. And it gnaws at you…” Without a conscience, they could have simply killed people without offering justification, but these along with a million of the worst criminals repent from, defend, or deny their actions. And even those who deny having any conscience inherently feel wronged when lied to or stolen from, and yes, “even the wicked have a conscience.” You seem to confuse the ideas of conscience and coercion, and distinguishing these will help you better understand mankind.

ZQ17: Respond to Zakath’s Argument from Confusion (AC).
BA17: Just as I offered to address your Non-Belief (ANB) problem, I will similarly try to help with your problems of confusion and moral knowledge (MKAA). In BQ19, I stated, “Zakath, if you really want us to pursue further your Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism, then please address my prior BA9 answer… on the negative consequences of shoving truth into someone’s face.” FYI, BA9 addresses ANB, AC, and MKAA, OK? For my part, I have already answered this alphabet soup in BA9 and with this from 3b: “Why would we have more disagreement regarding God than regarding the Earth’s approximate circumference? Why? Because more [people] have more at stake regarding the topic of God than they do about the 24,901-mile equator… our world is full of hurt and suffering, and much of it is inflicted by people upon others, and oftentimes, even upon our own friends and family members. And if a God of justice exists, then there are quite a few [people] that will be held accountable for hurting others, many guilty of hurting even their own wives and children. And so, as the field of view focuses on the judgment of men’s actions, of their characters, and even of themselves as human beings, we should expect to see an increasing refusal to incorporate other frames of reference, and even a denial of objects observed in our own fields of view (such as the aggregate hurt we have inflicted upon others). Thus, the closer the topic comes to [a just] God, the more hesitancy, resistance, dishonesty and even fear, you [should] expect.”

ZQ18: Pastor Enyart “cannot… devise an experiment to falsify… that his God was there or responsible for the origins of the universe.”
BA19: I can falsify my claim. The falsification test does not require simplicity, but possibility. Think of an investigation that might falsify not a physical law but an historical event, say a 1960s criminal conviction, with now available DNA evidence; such possible falsification was not easy for mankind to achieve, but it was theoretically possible. In Battle Royale VII, we are debating Does God Exist? and the existence of any God would invalidate atheism, but as the Tale of the Tape and Zakath informs people, I, Bob Enyart, am a Christian, the pastor of Denver Bible Church. Of all the religions I know of, Christians can most concretely falsify their God, for we worship Jesus Christ. Even atheists agree with the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:14 writing that Christianity is false “if Christ is not risen.” Here is my falsification test: if an archaeological or historical investigation proved from the evidence that Christ did not rise from the dead, then my God was not there at creation, for He doesn’t exist. Thus properly weighing the evidence for Christ’s resurrection can most efficiently invalidate the world’s largest religion or all the others. Notice that Christian theists for 2,000 years have been willing to show our beliefs as falsifiable, while atheists like Zakath resist this basic intellectual discipline either through fear or because they cannot even do so.

ZQ10: Continued request for evidence for God.
BA10-5: Below I add my fifth line of evidence for a supernatural Creator marked by (ZQ10-5) showing that neither a swirling cloud of gas nor any other natural process could have created our solar system.

ZQ12: Explain the physics of a supernatural creation.
BA12: My 3b summary answer is repeated and expanded right here:

Creation Physics

Recall Zakath’s post 3a question ZQ12: “Let’s hear the explanation for the physics behind Pastor Enyart’s God as creator and perhaps this atheist will reconsider his disbelieving position.”

Here’s my BA12 summary: “A natural explanation for the universe is limited to natural possibilities; a supernatural Creator is not limited by the laws of the natural universe, and so could bring matter and energy into existence from nothing.” I now add that a supernatural Creator could create from nothing without even a seeming contradiction of natural law. So Zakath, have you reconsidered your atheism since hearing that natural law has no jurisdiction over a supernatural Creator?

We know that whatever the natural law says, it says to those entities which are under the law. Natural law governs only the natural sphere and has no logical jurisdiction over a supernatural Creator. Many atheists believe that all matter could have come from nothing by itself but could not have been created out of nothing by something non-material. Go figure.

Apparent contradictions exist between natural law and natural origins. But Zakath, your question implies that you think there is some challenge in, or an obvious contradiction between, the origin of the natural universe and the existence of a supernatural Creator. I can think of none. If you can identify some conflicts, or even just one, please present such. The following will lead to a question on this:

Institutional science today has a passionate anti-supernatural bias and lacks even a willingness to debate creationism. And most scientists now surveyed respond that they reject God as the explanation for origins, and a large percent are atheist or agnostic. However, before the a priori rejection of a supernatural realm, many brilliant men of science defended creationism as the intellectual solution to the dilemma of existence. My own list of defenders of creationism are fathers of science whom I have catalogued partly from my perusing their original writings in the Encyclopedia Britannica Great Books series, partly from reading their quotes elsewhere, and a few from third-party references.

So here is my own list of fathers of the physical sciences who rejected natural origins:

Philip Paracelsus, died 1541, Chemical Medicine
Nicolas Copernicus, 1543, Scientific Revolution
Francis Bacon, 1626, Scientific Method
Johann Kepler, 1630, Physical Astronomy
Galileo Galilei, 1642, Law of falling bodies
William Harvey, 1657, Circulatory System
Blaise Pascal, 1662, Probability and Calculators
Robert Boyle, 1691, Chemistry
Isaac Newton, 1727, Gravitation
Carolus Linnaeus, 1778, Taxonomy
George Cuvier, 1832, Anatomy/Paleontology
John Dalton, 1844, Atomic Theory

For those who object that these brilliant men lived prior to the 1859 publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species, consider the following scientific giants all of whom in a time of more open debate, publicly rejected natural origins and Darwinian evolution, and indicated that the evidence supports belief in a supernatural Creator:

Michael Faraday, 1867, Electromagnetism
Gregor Mendel, 1884, Genetics
Louis Pasteur, 1885, Microbiology
James Joule, 1889, Thermodynamics
Lord Kelvin, 1907, Thermodynamics
Joseph Lister, 1912, Modern Surgery
G. W. Carver, 1943, Modern Agriculture

The many modern scientists and inventors, from the Wright Brothers (aviation) to Werhner von Braun (space exploration), from Raymond Damadian (MRI) to Los Alamos’ John Baumgardner (Terra geophysical simulator), to the 650 voting members with post-graduate scientific degrees at the Creation Research Society (http://www.creationresearch.org), and the above listed fathers of science show that great intellect also sides with the theistic explanation of origins. An atheist who mocks theism for being anti-intellectual is ignorant or worse. On an a priori bias, today’s scientific community dismisses creationism without debate and without even considering the merits of its technical arguments. Institutional science will look for aliens (SETI) and declare intelligent life in outer space if they detect a few prime numbers out there, but it refuses to debate scientists with extensive mathematical evidence for creation in the genetic code.

Medieval academics were intellectually enslaved to the geo-centrism of pagans Aristotle and Ptolemy. They had no justification to shut down debate on heliocentricity, and had only misinterpreted evidence on their side. Today’s institutional science, enslaved by its political correctness, similarly has no justification to shut down creation debate, lacking evidence for its own presupposition that the universe, biological life, or consciousness could arise naturally. If scientific academic debate on creation were permitted today, Zakath being well read might have realized that ZQ12 on creation physics was a non-challenge. Here’s another kicker: you cannot even find the context or the terms in which to frame a serious challenge regarding the physics of creation.

But don’t feel inept. The brilliant scientists listed above knew of no apparent contradiction either between natural law and a supernatural creation. And neither do today’s atheist scientists. But just to illustrate that the scientific advance of the last decades has not discovered a scientific or rational contradiction between the laws of physics and a Creator, I will officially ask you this: Zakath, can you identify any apparent contradiction between a supernatural Creator bringing the universe into existence from nothing, and the natural laws of physics?

I predict that Zakath can offer no answer for this question, which silence will belie his post 3a comment that, “The Problem of God as the Creator also essentially begs the question he raises about the violations of the laws of thermodynamics at the Creation. How did Pastor Enyart’s God create matter and energy from nothing?” To show the absurdity of atheists commonly making this non-challenge, I offer these back-to-back questions:

Do many atheists think it is possible that the universe came into existence from nothing?
Do many atheists think it is impossible that the universe came into existence from nothing by an outside Creator?

Zakath, I know you agree that we theists are not infallible, and in this long paragraph, I will address an error theists commonly make regarding the origin of the physical laws. Perhaps this will help you or some other atheist by removing this unnecessary hurdle which many Christians likely have put in front of you. God created the material universe, and the physical laws are simply the inherent properties of that universe, which properties we reduce to words in order to understand the functions of nature. The physical laws do not exist unto themselves, as though you could isolate one or see it with a microscope. Also, these laws are not arbitrary, as though they could have been any different. God could have made matter that exhibited different laws, but then He would have made a different universe. When He created the space and matter that He did, God did not then need to ‘invent’ a law of momentum. Rather, momentum is simply an inherent property of matter relating to mass and velocity, which we then reduce to a description; thus momentum describes the innate behavior of the kind of matter God created. God could have created different subatomic particles, and thus different kinds of atoms. If He had created matter without electrically charged particles, then that matter would have behaved differently. If He had done so, H20 might not exhibit the capillary action that lifts water against gravity to nourish tree tops. If He had made a different kind of water, then it might have behaved like most other compounds which contract when cooled and expand when heated, but then ice would be heavier than liquid water and so lakes would freeze from the bottom up killing all their fish. God comprehended the laws which would come into being, so to speak, attendant to Creation, and so He designed matter in order to achieve the functionality He desired, which functionality is described by those laws. Now here’s the correction of a common Christian error: God created the physical universe, not the physical laws. Some might think this a minor distinction but ignoring it presents an unnecessary stumbling stone to those non-theists like Albert Einstein who think clearly about this, as when he said “God Himself could not have arranged those connections [the physical laws] in any other way than that which factually exists” (Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory, 1992, p. 242). Theists assert wrongly when they say that God could have decreed the laws to be otherwise. God is not a magician. Making the laws arbitrary gives unbelievers like Einstein a valid objection to that part of the theist message. For he rightly rejected this sloppy theist notion that God could arbitrarily establish the physical laws. Perhaps this misconception led to Zakath’s non sequitur question about the physics of creation. Perhaps too, Zakath misunderstood my point that the absolute moral standard comes from God’s nature partly because the same misinformed Christians also say that God created the spiritual laws. He did not. They are a reflection of His nature. Thus, they could not be different than they are. Because God is righteous, the spiritual laws uphold righteousness and condemn evil. Many Christians have unwittingly undermined the holiness of God by suggesting that He can be spiritually arbitrary, because He is God. That’s wrong. God could not do evil (anything against the present description of His nature), and remain holy. He remains Holy because He acts consistent with His nature. God did not have to invent the command against kidnapping, nor the prohibition against perjury. Once He created beings made in His likeness, then the moral and spiritual commands followed automatically from His nature, and they are simply the properties of these beings, prohibiting behavior that inflicts harm and leads toward death. By the way, while spiritual and moral laws are absolutes, any symbolic ordinances that God may issue could be arbitrary, such as feast days which may symbolize spiritual truth. Thus God cannot issue righteous laws which defy His holy nature, for example, prohibiting all love and requiring envy. So, God created physical entities and spiritual beings, but He did not create the physical and spiritual laws.

Zakath, I’d like to know, have you ever heard theists state or imply that the physical and spiritual laws are as they are because God created them that way? On behalf of all Christians who agree with this, I apologize to Zakath and other unbelievers for this unnecessary stumbling stone. This illustrates to me that wrong ideas about God certainly can affect an individual’s decision making, although ultimately, people will reject the just and loving God not because of confusion, but because they oppose His goodness.

The Frenchman Voltaire fabricated a revisionist history of hostility between science and Christianity which has been discredited by most science historians writing today (see (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0891077669/qid=1057777735/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/002-1899035-5471228) Pearcey & Thaxton, Soul of Science, 1994). Heavily Christianized Europe bred men with a commitment to a rational view of the universe; whereas eastern mysticism suggested the universe was an illusion, or maya, which belief stifled scientific inquiry; and in Plato’s myth, the creator imperfectly manipulated stubborn eternal matter, leading the Greeks to expect irrationality from nature; and Aristotle’s and Ptolemy’s insistence of a geo-centric solar system led astronomy into the dark ages until Christianized men founded modern science. The church of the middle ages was intensely Aristotelian in science and philosophy, and so Voltaire blamed the earth-centered cosmology on Christianity, rather than on its well-known pagan Ptolemaic and Aristotelian roots. Further, the enormous atheistic experiments of the Soviet Union and Communist China spent countless billions on high technology, but mostly copied the scientific progress of America, the world’s most fundamentally Christian nation. I am not, here and now, arguing that Christianity is the true religion, which is not necessary in this Battle Royale VII, but only that Christian theism is not the enemy of science as often claimed by atheists. Fundamental scientific discoveries typically give rise to enormous scientific gains, as is true of the discoveries from the above list of Christian (and heavily Christianized) scientists. Thanks to Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo, we accurately navigate the Earth and the solar system. Harvey, Cuvier, and Pasteur opened the floodgates of modern medicine and microbiology. Boyle, Dalton, Faraday, and Joule introduced us to chemistry and electromagnetism, and pointed us toward nuclear energy. Linnaeus, Mendel, and Carver developed the very framework for subsequent study and management of living organisms lasting until today’s latest genetic findings. (Contrast all this with the dearth of scientific discoveries produced directly from the theory of evolution.) And Isaac Newton, considered by science historians the world’s greatest scientist, wrote much on Christian theology interspersing God and science in his work. Newton unleashed centuries of concrete scientific progress leading to technologies from fiber optics to the GPS system with his discoveries of the nature of color by wavelengths of light, differential calculus, mechanics, and universal gravity. In his 1687 work Principia Mathematica, Book Three on The System of the World, Newton wrote of God that “He is eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient, that is, his duration reaches from eternity to eternity: His presence from infinity to infinity: he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done.”

Juxtapose the names of these extraordinary scientists with quotes from Zakath’s posts inferring that atheists exhibit superior intelligence compared to the theists who trust in “Big Brother… to solve our problems for us… Too many lay persons are quick to assume that if they cannot understand something in a few minutes that it must mean that ‘God did it’ … Science differs from the form of narrow fundamentalist thinking [these creationists are] attempting to impose… [Theists have] not provided a single iota more evidence to explain the existence of this deity than has been tendered to explain the existence of Santa Claus. (http://www.theologyonline.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=665)”

Atheists often invalidate the superstitious arguments for God, like the mocking dialogues below, while mostly ignoring the reasoned evidence. That’s convenient. Atheists should think of creationists Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Faraday, and Newton before they join Zakath as he mocks:

Religious Leader: “Can you explain why the sun moves across the sky?”
Lay Person: “Well, no.”
Religious Leader: “Then it must be God, riding his sun chariot.”

And atheists should remember creationists Linnaeus, Cuvier, Mendel, Pasteur, and Carver before ridiculing:

Lay Person: “There’s this black fuzzy growths on the grain heads…”
Religious Leader: “Well how did that black fuzzy stuff get there?”
Lay Person: “I don’t know. I just sort of showed up…”
Religious Leader: “God is responsible…”

Ironically, the world’s atheists first learned why the Sun appears to rise each morning and how to identify and prevent disease in crops, livestock, and people by the work of the creationists listed above.

Solar System

Now I add features of our solar system as a fifth evidence for a supernatural Creator. Our solar system contains proof that it did not form from a condensing spinning nebula. For example, the Sun contains 99% of the solar system mass and if it formed naturally it should have 99% of the system’s spin but it only has 1% of that momentum, so that if it had formed naturally, then something has virtually stopped the Sun from turning. Also, our system has harmonies in the ratios of distances, sizes, orbits. Our star is 400 times more distant than is our moon, and it also happens to be 400 times larger, which ratios enable a perfect solar eclipse unique to the Earth. No law of physics would drive toward the behavior of two of Saturn’s moons which politely exchange places, nor Jupiter’s moons orbiting with a 1:2:4 harmony, nor Pluto and its moon Charon rotating in opposite directions while keeping their faces toward one another. Then frustrating atheist predictions Venus and many moons rotate backwards, while Venus keeps her same face toward us in the most extraordinary manner. Finally, no natural explanation can account for our own moon’s origin or for its perfect distance from Earth, far enough to avoid daily tidal waves wiping out land animals, and close enough for the oxygenating tides to keep the seas alive.

Zakath, I assume that you and other atheists agree completely with both of these bullets:

• If any natural cause, known or unknown, could originate the Sun, moons and planets, then the solar system would not be proof for a Creator and any gaps in our understanding may one day be filled.

And the converse must be true also that:

• If science has already proved limitations in matter and energy which eliminate nature as the cause of our Solar System, then a supernatural Creator is mandatory.

The Slow Sun: Everything in our solar system is spinning: thousands of heavenly bodies rotating, revolving, orbiting. And atheists currently agree that complex functioning systems cannot appear by chance in one single step (we’ll call this the honeymoon period of atheism). So today’s atheist assumes that a natural process formed the solar system from some swirling nebula, which had been spinning with a huge amount of momentum. They suppose that this swirling nebula condensed into our solar system in which the Sun holds 99.98% of our system’s mass. But then the Sun should possess 99.98% of the spin energy of the solar system. But it doesn’t. It has less than one percent. If atheists had a true commitment to natural process, every one of them would attribute great weight to this most massive feature of our solar system which goes against natural origins, but they generally ignore it. For by natural origins, the law of the Conservation of Angular Momentum would have the Sun spinning hundreds of times faster than its current rate.

Atheists can’t even stop the publication of the Bible, and now they’re trying to find a way to stop the Sun from turning. (I can’t claim they lack zeal.) That is, they must find a natural process that could stop the Sun from spinning, and yet, leave the rest of the solar system merrily on its way. If that is not physically possible, if a naturally condensing Sun’s lack of spin cannot be accounted for by any laws of physics, then that alone is another piece of evidence which itself proves that we have a Creator. The Sun’s spin is a showstopper for atheists. Welcome to the No Spin Zone of the solar system.

So, atheist desperation has launched its own spin, because in this showdown, they must somehow slow the Sun down. They look frantically for a solar brake. And unconstrained by reason or physical laws, they can always come up with something… Well, let’s not count that one. (Aliens again.) So, they keep looking. And they speculate, conjecture, imagine, and dream (all of which is valid). But the best they can do is hope that somehow the Sun reached out to the planets, grabbed onto them, and slowed itself down by speeding them up. But the Sun’s mass compares to the planets as a 499-pound ball compares to a one-pounder. If such an object were spinning in space and tried to slow itself down by magnetically grabbing onto a one-pound ball spinning with it, the most it could do is pull that ball into itself, it simply lacks the mechanisms necessary to transfer its spin into the one pound object floating along with it. For the planets themselves are falling through empty space with the Sun, and it is pulling them along! The atheist hope is tantamount to telling a paratrooper, “instead of using a parachute, just pull up on your shoes as you’re falling to slow yourself down.”

If the Sun coalesced from a spinning nebula, natural law predicts it would have almost all of the spin of our system. And since almost all the rotational force lies outside of the Sun, it therefore could not have coalesced from a spinning nebula. This is one way to show that Newton rightly criticized Descartes for proclaiming this swirling gas cloud theory. Isaac Newton in a letter to a Richard Bentley wrote, “The Cartesian [gas cloud] hypothesis… is plainly erroneous” saying of the solar system that, “I know of no reason [for the motion of the planets] but because the Author of the system thought it convenient.” And all atheists should agree, if there is no natural cause that could slow down the Sun from its original speed and leave the rest of the system spinning as it does, then only a supernatural Creator can account for the solar system.

Life by the Moon: No scientific law would drive toward a 400-to-400 ratio and tune our moon’s perfect placement to accomplish its functions necessary to sustain Earth’s ecosystem. The Earth and moon attract one another by gravity and the Earth’s pull on the moon keeps its heavier side always facing us, and the moon’s pull on the Earth causes the tides in the ocean, which in turn oxygenate the deep. If the moon were much closer it could produce continental tidal waves destroying life on land, but if a bit farther away the tides would cease and plankton and all sea life would die. Add to that perfect placement its plane of orbit, and its extraordinary ratios to the Sun, which is 400 times further away and also 400 times larger, and thus alone of all our system’s moons, it produces a perfect eclipse. Such an eclipse conveys both beauty and knowledge by revealing the Sun’s corona, and it speaks of God’s special attention to Earth and mankind. And the Sun’s size, distance, color, and temperature all match the needs of life on Earth.

Oh, and how could the moon form naturally? The many physical constraints on that possibility so burden conceivable theories that a scientific symposium concluded that the current theory of lunar origins is popular “not… because strong evidence was presented that the Moon was formed by this means, or even that it could have been,” but because the other theories fail even more obviously. At the opposite extreme of error, many of the ancient cultures worshipped the heavenly bodies. And between these two errors, the Christian theistic tradition for millennia has proclaimed “don’t worship the heavenly bodies,” for the Sun, moon, and stars are just lights, created by God.

Of the two worldviews, atheism struggles to explain these lunar observations while theism predicts them. For example, to evaluate the possibility of the Earth’s ecosystem to arise by chance, we must factor in the probability that the moon’s relationship with Earth would also occur by chance. So you take the mathematical possibility of life generating naturally, and multiply that by the probability of our lunar relationship. So let’s try that! For chance to develop one simple protein molecule (which is trillions of times less complex than the simplest living organism), if every atom in the known universe interacted a billion times per second with other atoms, the entire universe couldn’t produce that one protein molecule by chance in a trillion years. And yet, atheists think that not only did that happen, but simultaneously dozens of other kinds of proteins appeared, all right next to each other, and then all the other requirements for life happened (in the same place, and at the same time), and then, of course, all that would still fail to produce our planet’s ecosystem without the extraordinarily unlikely fine-tuned presence of our moon.

Planets and Moons: Saturn’s two moons, Janus and Epimetheus, share the exact same orbits, but they politely exchange places every time they pass each other. When Janus orbits closer in and faster, it catches up to Epimetheus, then they attract one another and switch orbits, so that Janus takes the further out, slower orbit until Epimetheus catches it and the chase starts over again. The “shepherd” moons keep Uranus’ dark and Saturn’s beautiful rings in place. Near collisions could nudge objects out of perfect initial harmonies and we find that Jupiter’s moons exhibit harmony with Ganymede circling almost exactly twice for each orbit of Europa, and Europa almost exactly twice for each orbit of Io, and Pluto orbits almost exactly twice for each of Neptune’s three orbits. Our moon always puts the same face toward Earth, but Pluto and Charon both always show their same face to the other and to do this dance they must rotate in opposite directions. And Venus spins opposite the rest of the solar system (as do Uranus, Pluto, and dozens of moons and satellites including Saturn’s Phoebe and Neptune’s Triton), which frustrates the predictions of a spinning nebula forming our system. And while Venus rotates backwards, check this out, every time she moves between the Earth and the Sun, Venus shows the same face to us, even though neither planet can exert enough gravity to produce that resonance! Such remarkable features of our solar system are obscured by atheistic science curriculums because they speak so forcefully against natural origins.

Zakath, I challenge you to say that the above scientific observations weigh more heavily toward atheism than toward creation. These broad features of the solar system read like a sign pointing to the Creator. Specifically (BA10-5), regarding the slow spin of the Sun, Earth’s ecosystem being enabled by the Sun’s properties and distance, our own moon’s relative size and distance from the Sun and the Earth, and the harmonious orbits of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, the relationship between Pluto and Charon, and their harmony with Neptune, and the backward spin of Venus while she shows her same face when between us and the Sun, do all these apparently indicate evidence for Creation, or evidence for atheism?

Zakath, please explain what evidence you have to indicate that the above solar system design elements indicate actual gaps that must be filled, rather than imaginary gaps that science already has closed.

God made it easy for the humble to believe He exists, when they look into the eyes of a newborn child. But for the honest skeptic, God has filled creation with proofs of His existence.

Question Summary

BQ20: Zakath, have you reconsidered your atheism since hearing that natural law has no jurisdiction over a supernatural Creator? a) Yes b) No

BQ21: Zakath, can you identify any apparent contradiction between a supernatural Creator bringing the universe into existence from nothing, and the natural laws of physics? a) Yes b) No
If Yes, please explain: _________________________________________________

BQ22: Zakath, do many atheists think it is possible that the entire universe came into existence from nothing? a) Yes b) No

BQ23: Zakath, do many atheists think it is impossible that the entire universe came into existence from nothing by a Creator? a) Yes b) No

BQ24: Zakath, have you ever heard theists state or imply that the physical and spiritual laws are as they are because God created them that way?

BQ25: Zakath, regarding the slow spin of the Sun, Earth’s ecosystem being enabled by the Sun’s properties and distance, our own moon’s relative size and distance from the Sun and the Earth, and the harmonious orbits of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, the relationship between Pluto and Charon, and their harmony with Neptune, and the backward spin of Venus while she shows her same face when between us and the Sun, do all these apparently indicate evidence for Creation, or evidence for atheism?

BQ26: Zakath, please explain what evidence you have to indicate that the above solar system design elements indicate actual gaps that must be filled, rather than imaginary gaps that science already has closed.

Sincerely, Bob Enyart

Knight
July 12th, 2003, 11:33 PM
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.

Zakath
July 14th, 2003, 08:07 PM
Here we are at Post number 7. After reading his last post, I'm inclined to think that Pastor Enyart is using this debate to test material for a book or some other publication. His latest (and longest?) missive can be divided into five major topics:
1. Claiming that sociopathic individuals really are sorry for their crimes otherwise they wouldn't try to justify their actions.
2. A weak rebuttal of the Argument from Confusion
3. A weak example of "falsifying Christianity"
4. A long (very long) list of apparent astronomical anomalies to be answered by, (yes you guessed it) God did it!
5. God's nature defines the absolute standard of right and wrong.
I'll address these topics in order.

1. Sociopaths and Conscience
Pastor Enyart claims that "people who violate the demands of conscience, in an effort to appease it, attempt to justify their own actions." He claims that this attempted justification of their wrongdoing invalidates the observable point that sociopaths do not exhibit functional consciences. While I would agree with him that some sociopaths can be observed attempting to justify their actions, I would propose that he consider that the do so only after they have been apprehended for wrongdoing and are merely doing so to attempt to avoid punishment for those actions. I would suggest that there is strong case law evidence and psychological treatment record evidence to support the view that psychopathic personalities, like sociopaths, do not act out of "conscience" but merely out of self-preservation in another attempt to "beat the system" that has caught them in some crime or other and has finally decided to "make them pay" for their crimes. I'd suggest that Pastor Enyart inquire from his acquaintances in the criminal justice system about how many murdering sociopaths turn themselves in because their consciences are bothering them. I think he'll see how week an argument he presents here.

2. Argument from Confusion (AC)
In response to the Moral Knowledge Argument, the Argument from Non-Belief, and the Argument from Confusion, Pastor Enyart asserts that the confusion, disbelief, and lack of certainty and universality of moral knowledge any honest observer notices in religious circles comes from human's guilt about "the aggregate hurt we have inflicted upon others" and their inability to handle topics dealing with a just God. I will suggest that this is essentially a non-answer. This does not address any of the issues I raised. The idea that the world is filled with a dizzying diversity of contradictory religious forms and deities, that those deities are seemingly unable to clearly communicate their desires, wants, and moral imperatives to humankind and that, in spite of it all no single religion in the world can claim even close to the majority (i.e., greater than 50%) of the world's population as followers after thousands of years of alleged human-deistic interactions seems to fly in the face of all reason and logic.

Pastor Enyart's implied assertion that, somehow, his deity doesn't want to "shove truth in someone's face" is laughable when one considers the past record of a deity that allegedly destroyed most of the human race in a flood, ordered genocide, slaughter of the unborn, and killing of unbelievers. If an invading army beating down your gates and killing every living human in a city isn't "shoving truth in someone's face", then we must have very different views of what that means…

Thus far, he has not refuted any of the three logical arguments presented instead dragging us through endless series of illustrations of "God in the Gaps" apologetics…

3. A weak example of "falsifying Christianity"
When asked to provide an example of how he might bolster the idea that "his god was there or responsible for the origins of the universe", by providing a falsification test he offers the claim of resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth… He states "if an archaeological or historical investigation proved from the evidence that Christ did not rise from the dead, then my God was not there at creation, for He doesn’t exist." Unfortunately, such a test is about as sure a bet as finding a photograph of YHWH at creation. First, the idea of producing a 2000 year dead body of an itinerant Jewish rabbi as support of the validity of his belief is virtually impossible. Primarily due to the issue that there is no way to tell if a particular set of remains was that of Jesus of Nazareth or not. An endless series of claims and counterclaims could be imagined with no scientific resolution possible. If the Christians can't even unanimously agree on something as simple as the location of the tomb of Jesus (there are at least two sites claiming that honor around Jerusalem and IIRC, at least one in India), how could we expect them to agree that a given set of remains was the correct one?

Second, the body of Jesus of Nazareth has nothing to do with the veracity of the religionists' claims of divine intervention at the origins of the universe. People have claimed such things long before Jesus was ever born and will likely claim it long after.

4. A long (very long) list of apparent astronomical anomalies to be answered by, (yes you guessed it) God did it!
As I stated previously, I do not have either the time or the science training to answer Pastor Enyart's listings of anomalies. If he's really curious, I'd suggest he submit his questions to a group of qualified astronomers and see what they come up with…

I did get a chuckle out of Pastor Enyart's' list of "fathers of physical sciences who rejected natural origins". Unfortunately is merely another laughable attempt at presenting an argument based on the fallacy of "appeal to authority". Basically this argument states that, "we don't have any real significant evidence to support our position, so we'll create a list of a bunch of dead religionists and assert they supported our position. Creationists draw up these lists to convince the public that evolution is somehow being rejected by scientists, that it is a "theory in crisis." Most members of the public lack sufficient contact with the scientific community to know that such a claim is totally unfounded.

Well, list making is a fun pastime; one that scientists are fond of pursuing. I recall that American journalist H L Menkin once said , a good horse laugh is worth 1000 syllogisms, so I'll present a competing list for Pastor Enyart's camp to consider. The scientists at the National Center for Science Education (according to Pastor Enyart, he has some passing familiarity with their Executive Director, Dr. Eugenie Scott) came up with their own list. To be qualified for entry onto this list, one must be a living scientist with an earned doctoral degree and voluntarily provide their signature in support the following statement:

Evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle of the biological sciences, and the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the idea that all living things share a common ancestry. Although there are legitimate debates about the patterns and processes of evolution, there is no serious scientific doubt that evolution occurred or that natural selection is a major mechanism in its occurrence. It is scientifically inappropriate and pedagogically irresponsible for creationist pseudoscience, including but not limited to "intelligent design," to be introduced into the science curricula of our nation's public schools.


As of July 7, 2003, there were 387 signatories to this list. Follow this link for the current count. (http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/3697_the_list_2_16_2003.asp) Perhaps I forgot to mention that the only other qualification to be a member is that the signatory scientist must be named "Steve" (they will also accept, Stephens, Stevens, Stephanies, and Stefans). It's estimated that people named some variant of "Steve" make up about 1 percent of all scientists, so I'll leave the readers to make their own conclusions about the level of support for evolutionary theory among living scientists.

5. God's nature defines the absolute standard of right and wrong.
With his claim that "many Christians have unwittingly undermined the holiness of God by suggesting that he can be spiritually arbitrary, because he is God…", Pastor Enyart posts an answer to an argument that I have not yet posted. (His point actually sounds like even more support for my Argument from Confusion). To be fair, I'll now post the argument, Euthyphro's Dilemma, so you can have a bit of context to understand where he's coming from.

Euthyphro's Dilemma

More than 2,000 years ago, the Greek philosopher Plato discussed the issue of how ethical standards come from deity and what the different theories mean to theists in his dialogue Euthyphro, a young man of that name meets Socrates. They have a discussion while Euthyphro is on his way to court to act as a sort of "state's attorney" to prosecute a murder case. Unfortunately for Euthyphro, the man he will be prosecuting is his own father. Since the Greeks (and their gods) valued loyalty to family highly, Socrates asks Euthyphro to explain why his prosecution of a family member is not immoral in the sight of the gods. During the ensuing discussion, Euthyphro attempts to defend a position called "divine command theory" of ethics. This theory, apparently held by Pastor Enyart and many other theists, states that we humans know what is good because a deity tells us what is good. If Pastor Enyart does not believe this, I hope he will explain just what he does believe… ;)

Plato's story proceeds to one of Socrates' famous two-point questions (called a dilemma, in Greek):
a) Is something morally good (pious) because the gods command it? or

b) Is something morally good (pious) because the gods recognize it as good?

In the ensuing twenty centuries, these two questions have become known as Euthyphro's Dilemma. A discussion of these two questions may shed some light on Pastor Enyart's views on the relationship of absolute morals and his deity. Let's begin with the first point; that something is good because God commands it. In essence we are saying that God's will defines what is good…

A. God's will defines good
In this position, the one Pastor Enyart appears to hold, we find that, quite literally, anything goes as long as it is the deity's will. What kinds of things are included in Pastor Enyart's deity's will? He has refused to discuss the Bible, but for most Christians it provides a touchstone for describing the will and nature of the Christian God. According to the Bible, genocide, murdering children, incest, killing the unborn, even stealing virgins for brides are all acceptable acts to God because he ordered them. Remember that the basis of the "divine command theory" is that if God commands it, it's good. So by definition, good and evil exist only at the whim of the deity.

As the philosopher Bertrand Russell pointed out:
"If the only basis for morality is God's decrees, it follows that they might just as well have been the opposite of what they are; no reason except caprice could have prevented the omission of all the "nots" from the Decalogue." (Russell, B. Human Society in Ethics and Politics. New York. Simon & Schuster, Inc. 1962, pg. 38)

Essentially, Russell is saying that the Ten Commandments (the Decalogue) could have been just the opposite of what they are and they would still be the will of God, since that is the definition of good, in this viewpoint.

Theists who accept this horn of Euthyphro's Dilemma must admit that they do not operate from or even have a standard of ethics. They have replaced their ethical standard with obedience – they do what their God commands. Unfortunately, they have confused the obedience of a slave with ethics.

Next, it makes little logical sense to say that "God is good" if god is the standard of goodness. After all, if God is good, in the sense that God is identical to the standard of goodness, then to say "God is good" is merely to say "God is god." Such a statement is fundamentally uninformative. In such a statement the subject and predicate nouns are the same object so the sentence loses its meaning.

Furthermore, this stand of Divine Command Theory makes it difficult, if not impossible to tell if a given being is a deity. There is no set of standards with which one could compare that being to identify it as "God." In human experience, if I want to determine whether a person is a clinical psychologist, I can develop a list of actions which I might expect a person knowledgeable in psychology to perform. This might include things like understanding how to conduct a patient interview, having a particular type of university training, knowing a variety of psychological theories, etc. In addition, I can also develop a list of actions that would indicate that the subject is not a clinical psychologist. Such a list might include failure to be properly licensed, not understanding a range of psychological theories, never having conducted a patient interview, etc. I can then measure my candidate against my concept of a clinical psychologist. If the individual measures up, I can declare him or her a clinical psychologist. In the case of God, when Pastor Enyart declares that "God is the standard", there is no list or set of criteria to identify whether such a being is the good God or something else entirely. Since God can perform or command any act because he is the standard, what kinds of acts could we put into our identification list? There is no action about which we could ever say, "An evil being might command these but a good being would not." All we would be doing is placing our preferences on an allegedly absolute standard, a process it's likely that Pastor Enyart would abhor. Thus no action could be required or ruled out with regard to God since the deity could always decide to perform or command the opposite of any given criterion. After all, GOD SETS THE STANDARDS, doesn't he? Without an independent standard of moral and immoral acts against which to measure him, god could never be identified by his moral standard. We risk falling into the trap of applying our subjective preferences to the behavior of God with which we agree (blessings, financial prosperity, healing, or otherwise meeting our needs) while selectively ignoring or rationalizing away those behaviors we may find disagreeable (genocide, child slaughter, murder, human sacrifice, human slavery).

Morally speaking, there is no objective way to distinguish between being a slave to an evil demon (a very real possibility, according to some religionists) as opposed to being a slave to a god (the belief of Christians). In both cases the one in command could order any action whatsoever and carrying out that command would be, by definition, a good, moral act. Anything from rape to murder to genocide can be considered good if commanded by the being who serves as the standard.

One objection commonly raised by theists to this argument is the proposal that God will not act against his own nature. Unfortunately, to define the nature of a being we cannot see, touch, hear, or smell, we must look at his actions in the physical universe. So, we must define God's nature based on what God does. You may see how this rapidly becomes a circular argument. In addition, we have already shown that no action can be forbidden for the being giving the commands because the being giving the commands would not have any independent standard of morality by which it could be limited to a certain set of acts. So no action performed by God can be out of his character

If such a situation exists, the only true immoral (evil) act is disobedience to God. His followers must be committed to a system of blind obedience to a being who cannot meaningfully be called "good".

For theists, this option is undesirable.

B. God recognizes another standard of good
The other horn of the dilemma is that God recognizes what is good from a source outside himself, and then wills in accord with that good.

Pastor Enyart has NOT chosen this horn of the dilemma, but for interested readers, I'll explain it briefly.

When a theist chooses this path, that God commands what he recognizes as good, the theist is admitting the standard of good and evil is independent of God and that God, in fact, is not the standard of morality. This is because this view tells us that God, in some way, observes or "sees" what is good and the n tells us what to do on the basis of that observation. Since the action observed by God is what he commands, he is not acting as a source of morality, but merely a channel. In this view God becomes an intermediary or a reporter about ethics and morality, but not the source.

This is undesirable for the theist since it admits that God is not the source of their ethics and morals. This horn of the dilemma is particularly unpopular because if God is not the source, there is no sound argument which demonstrates that atheists could not have an ethical system apart from God.

In the question of whether or not God can be the source for "absolute morals", the choice for the theist boils down to this choose between:

admitting that he has no real standard of morality, only a morality based up on the slavery of blindly following orders; or

Admitting that God is not the source of morality.

Neither position actually allows for the possibility that god is source of a system of ethics or morals. The Euthyphro Dilemma demonstrates that the Divine Command Theory of ethics and morality cannot work.

Knight
July 14th, 2003, 08:41 PM
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.

Knight
July 15th, 2003, 09:30 AM
So who is winning Battle Royale VII so far?

VOTE NOW (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=8354)

Bob Enyart
July 16th, 2003, 03:55 PM
Zakath, said that I gave a weak falsification test for Christianity, although he made little effort to explore all the ways that Christ’s resurrection could theoretically be falsified. However, falsification does not have to be easy, just theoretically possible. I am still waiting for him to show that the atheist positions against moral absolutes and natural origins (and let’s add evolution), are falsifiable.

Bob’s Questions to Zakath

BQ20 – BQ23, BQ25 – BQ26 all unanswered, including those about natural law jurisdiction, beliefs of atheists on origins from nothing versus from nothing by a Creator, on whether broad features of the Solar System indicate Creation or atheism, and on evidence that solar system design elements indicate actual gaps in knowledge to be filled rather than imaginary gaps already closed by hard science.

BQ24: Zakath, have you ever heard theists state or imply that the physical and spiritual laws are as they are [only] because God created them that way?
ZA24: Indicated yes (which answer I was expecting), but then utterly misstated my position saying that “Enyart appears to hold… that, quite literally, anything goes as long as it is the deity’s will.”

Zakath’s Questions to Bob

ZQ19: This theory, apparently held by Pastor Enyart and many other theists, states that we humans know what is good because a deity tells us what is good. If Pastor Enyart does not believe this, I hope he will explain just what he does believe…
BA19: Yes, we do know right from wrong because there is a God, and because He has revealed it to us. He revealed the moral standard to us by creating us in His likeness with a conscience, and through other means. Without an appeal to God, atheists ultimately have no valid reason to insist that a criminal refrain from hurting a victim, for without fear of error, the offender simply refuses to submit his desires to their different value system.

ZQ10: Continued request for evidence for God (implied by his claim that theists “don’t have any real significant evidence”).
BA10-6: Below I add my sixth line of evidence (ZQ10-6) for a supernatural Creator by disproving the possibility of atheistic origins by demonstrating insurmountable time constraints (even when granting evolutionary and big bang timeframes, and the existence of the universe).

Systematic Misrepresentations

If I set out to intentionally misrepresent the atheist’s positions, I don’t know if I could have done as thorough a job of it as Zakath has done to me. In his last post alone, Zakath misrepresented my position on 1) the absolute nature of laws, 2) the effect of conscience on criminals, 3) the listing of creationist scientists, and 4) God’s own accountability to an unchanging standard. Atheism of the Gaps depends upon the systematic gaps in origins which may also explain the origin of these systematic communication gaps. Further, of course I expected that the non-theists posting in the TheologyOnline.com Grandstands would disagree with my points, but I confess to being surprised at their misrepresentation of virtually every point they attack. Either my posts are the most unintelligible ever penned, or this Battle Royale VII is evidence that atheists share a common need to misrepresent theists. However, I did find Zakath’s use of Euthyphro’s Dilemma, as far as he took it, to be almost brilliant in its logical reasoning. Thus, I do not believe that he lacks the intellectual ability to follow simple arguments. Below at (4) I solve Zakath’s Dilemma by identifying the crucial factor which he omitted when he ignored the parentheses in my quote that, “God could not do evil (anything against the present description of His nature), and remain holy.”

1) Absolute Nature of Laws: Zakath wrote: “In this position, the one Pastor Enyart appears to hold, we find that, quite literally, anything goes as long as it is the deity’s will.” Zakath attributed to me the exact opposite of the position I described clearly in 6b, that: “the spiritual laws… could not be different than they are.” In one paragraph, I made the same argument for spiritual laws as for physical, writing that, “Theists assert wrongly when they say that God could have decreed the laws to be otherwise.” I condemned the notion that God “can be spiritually arbitrary, because He is God,” and stated, “That’s wrong.” The fourth misrepresentation below expands upon this.

2) Effect of Conscience: Zakath wrote that Enyart claims “that sociopathic individuals really are sorry for their crimes.” Of course I never said that, but rather in 6b and 4b, that criminals “repent, defend, or deny their actions,” and “people even take pleasure in intentionally inflicting great pain.” “Theists do not claim that men are slaves to their conscience, or that they are compelled to honestly report its influence, but that their conscience raises the matter of justification, and then the culpable man honestly or dishonestly responds, admitting guilt or falsely justifying his actions.”

On this topic, Zakath also wrote that “Pastor Enyart asserts that the confusion… in religious circles comes from human’s guilt about ‘the aggregate hurt we have inflicted upon others’ and their inability to handle topics dealing with a just God. I will suggest that this is essentially a non-answer. This does not address any of the issues I raised.” “The idea that the world is filled with a dizzying diversity of contradictory religious forms and deities…”

Zakath, how could my answer [i]not address your issues? Guilt blinds men’s eyes to the truth about their own lives and the real God who will judge them, so that they fabricate deities and philosophies to defend themselves. You act as though you can’t imagine subjectivity influencing people’s thoughts. Of course I expect you to try to poke holes. But for you to deny that my answer addressed your issues recalls the question of intellectual honesty which I raised in my first post regarding those who do not believe in right and wrong.

Then, still hoping to change the debate topic to the Bible, Zakath again sites Bible stories of God killing people, but he does so while refuting his own misunderstanding of my position: “Pastor Enyart’s implied assertion that, somehow, his deity doesn’t want to ‘shove truth in someone’s face’”

Way back in 2b I wrote that: “further demonstrations of His existence would be counterproductive. Daily miracles could easily produce a stubborn immunity to God in yet more people, and even if dead celebrities were resurrected, most people would not believe, because when the truth is shoved into someone’s face [for ex., by a miracle], the human tendency is to shove back.” I did not say that God has never shoved the truth into someone’s face, quite the contrary, but that “further” doing so “would be counterproductive” to Zakath’s expectation.

[b]3) Listing of Creationist Scientists: I would never argue, and did not, that God must exist by appealing to the opinion of some scientists. Conversely, I stated that “most scientists now surveyed respond that they reject God as the explanation for origins, and a large percent are atheist or agnostic.” (Of course popularity does not determine scientific truth.) I list those scientists for the atheists who mock theism as scientifically ignorant (remember the sun chariot and the fuzzy growth), and in an effort to get you to take a single question seriously. Zakath simply blew off my direct evidence from the solar system, and in the next paragraph made how many misrepresentations of my position? Can we count them?

Zakath: “Pastor Enyart’s list of ‘fathers of physical sciences who rejected natural origins’ unfortunately is merely another laughable attempt at presenting an argument based on the fallacy of ‘appeal to authority’. Basically this argument states that, “we don’t have any real significant evidence to support our position, so we’ll create a list of a bunch of dead religionists and assert they supported our position. Creationists draw up these lists to convince the public that evolution is somehow being rejected by scientists…”

So this atheist says that he will simply ignore the theist’s direct evidence, and then condemns us for not offering any “real significant evidence.” We would call that a slight of hand… it if weren’t so obvious. And in condemning me for an “appeal to authority” that I did not make, Zakath immediately appeals to authority suggesting that I submit my solar system evidence for Creation “to a group of qualified astronomers.” Zakath must want the readers to believe that there is some existing difficult to obtain knowledge which refutes my evidence. But of course, I selected evidence that scientific knowledge has identified as unanswerable, and which the most sophisticated atheist scientists cannot refute. But perhaps I will be mesmerized by their authority which will blind me into believing in the omnipotent Nature of the Gaps.

4) God’s Accountability to an Unchanging Standard: This section goes beyond the point in the Absolute Nature of Laws section above, where Zakath said that I hold to an “anything goes” morality and that for this morality, “by definition, good and evil exist only at the whim of the deity.” (Interestingly, atheists often do this with humans, justifying homosexuality as an inborn nature, denying the personal responsibility of drug addicts, and some even defending rapists and murderers as simply living out their natures.) Zakath then carried this one step further claiming that therefore: “…no action performed by God can be out of his character;” that is, because if God does something, then by definition it is in His nature to do it, and we theists would also declare anything He does as righteous. So Zakath misrepresented my position by implying that I had not already responded to this. He ignored an important clarification in my post:

Bob: “God could not do evil (anything against the present description of His nature), and remain holy.”

Why did I insert the word present into the above sentence? Zakath, if you read carefully, I will resolve Euthyphro’s Dilemma for Plato and Socrates, and deny you the honest use of it in the future. But Zakath, if while reading this section you allow your mind to fly through a thousand counter arguments, without discipline, you will once again fail to even understand the point. So please put your auto-pilot Bible rebuttal mode in its upright and locked position, and first comprehend this new material.

God’s nature is not sufficiently pliable that it could embrace truth and perjury, private property and theft, loyalty and disloyalty, and punishing and rewarding of the same behavior. Thus, God could conceivably violate His own nature, because once His nature is described (in what becomes a definition of righteousness), then anything God does contrary to that description would correctly be deemed as unrighteous. For example, using the biblical paradigm, if Jesus Christ gave into temptation by submitting to evil and worshipping Satan, then He would not have remained righteous.

It is not that anything God conceivably could do would therefore be moral, just because He did it. It is that we expect God to remain steadfastly good, consistent with the existing description of His nature. God does not save those who trust Him because He has no choice, but because He wills to, but if He willed to embrace evil (as described currently by His nature) then He would no longer be the righteous God. Quoting the overlooked sentence again:

“God could not do evil (anything against the present description of His nature), and remain holy.” Thus, moral inconsistency is an absolute determinant for wrong. Plato and Socrates missed this important test partly because their dialogue was replete with mentions of Greek gods who, as Socrates noted, contradicted one another as to goodness. Thus the contradictions within the mythical pantheon of Greece falsified any claim of absolute morality made by Euthyphro on behalf of his gods and goddesses. But Plato recorded this dialogue without the knowledge that you possess Zakath, that of the claim of a Christian God who has no such internal inconsistency. God does not fight within Himself about what is right and wrong; but if He ever did, then He would no longer remain the holy God. And there is nothing remotely circular about this. We look for inconsistencies in courtroom testimony because inconsistencies reveal lies and deceptions. Thus consistency is a necessary property of righteousness (and thus of being right). “A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness will utter lies [and inconsistencies]” (Proverbs 14:5). Again, moral inconsistency is a litmus test for evil. Thus a religious book like the Bible generally claims in forty passages that the steadfast love of the Lord never changes in that He is faithful, that is, He is consistent.

Humans are social beings, and our morality magnifies itself in our actions toward others. But because we are social beings, even actions committed against ourselves affect others, as for example when we hurt ourselves to manipulate others, like Gandhi did; or even the person seeking to escape his own pain by committing suicide, who hurts those around him. Thus because morality is social, a social God who interacts with multiple persons has an additional context in which to objectively demonstrate His morality. Let me illustrate the implications of this using the Christian conception of the Trinitarian God, Father, Son and Spirit, three persons in one God. If God is a Trinitarian God, then He has an eternal track record of interaction between the persons of the Godhead. And if during that eternal fellowship, if any moral inconsistency appeared, then God would be objectively evil. But an atheist may ask, “What if there was no inconsistency because this God is consistently evil?” A God with other persons to interact with has other frames of reference, that is, other perspectives from which to declare Himself. Thus if the Son willingly submits to the Father, because He implicitly trusts the Father from whom He has never experienced harm, and the Spirit brings glory to the Son, because He has never felt threatened by the Son, and the Father loves the Son and the Spirit, never having His wellbeing jeopardized by either, then “by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.” Thus even though it is the only standard He has ever known, God the Father can determine that His own standard is righteous because He has never violated it, and because the independent persons of the Son and the Spirit testify that the Father has never violated their own self-interests [Luke 16:12].

This process is greatly amplified when God creates other beings, and as He reveals Himself to them in various ways. For, He must behave toward them in their own best interest, or else He violates His own standard of love. And He must punish those who hurt others, or else He violates His own standard of justice. And if God’s intention was not for the welfare but for the harm of created eternal beings, then He would have violated His own declared standard.

Thus while moral inconsistency indicates wickedness, eternal consistency proves either continuous good or continuous evil; and multiple perspectives from independent persons provide information regarding whether God acts on behalf of, or against, their best interests. Of course, an atheist will accuse the Bible’s God, if He exists, of endless evils, but since atheists deny any system of absolute morality, for their logical argument to succeed, they would have to show that the concept of the Christian God is internally inconsistent, violating His own standard of righteousness.

In his talk, “Why I Am Not a Christian,” Bertrand Russell wrote that: (http://users.drew.edu/~jlenz/whynot.html) “if you are quite sure there is a difference between right and wrong, then you are in this situation: Is that difference due to God’s fiat [arbitrary decree] or is it not? If it is due to God’s fiat, then for God himself there is no difference between right and wrong, and it is no longer a significant statement to say that God is good. If you are going to say, as theologians do, that God is good, you must then say that right and wrong have some meaning which is independent of God’s fiat, because God’s fiats are good and not bad independently of the mere fact that he made them. If you are going to say that, you will then have to say that it is not only through God that right and wrong came into being, but that they are in their essence logically anterior to God.”

Plato, Socrates, Bertrand Russell… morons. (Actually, I’m just quoting from Princess Bride, one of our favorite movies.) Well, not morons, but fools yes, because they denied the Creator. Because of their prejudice against God, their fertile minds did not conceive of the simple possibility that a description of God’s nature is independent of His nature itself, and thus, God could hold Himself to that description of His nature, which description I admit initially existed only within Himself, but after Creation it would exist in any of the manifest ways in which God has revealed Himself. And so, right and wrong are not due to God’s arbitrary decrees, but flow from the description of His nature, a description which He could theoretically violate. Thus, the system of morality based upon God is not logically unsound as claimed by atheists.

Because Zakath uncritically accepted the popular atheist use of the Euthyphro Dilemma, he summed up its challenge this way: “In the question of whether or not God can be the source for ‘absolute morals,’ the choice for the theist boils down to this, choose between: admitting that he has no real standard of morality, only a morality based upon the slavery of blindly following orders; or admitting that God is not the source of morality.”

Zakath, do you agree that I have solved Euthyphro’s Dilemma by observing that, if God exists, a description of God’s nature can be independent of His nature itself, and thus there is no logical contradiction in the possibility that God’s nature defines an objective moral standard?

If there were no God, then absolute right could not exist. Thus, atheists reason correctly from their atheistic premise when they declare that absolute right and wrong do not exist, for if God did not exist, neither would right and wrong. Thus, for the reader questioning the existence of God, weigh the evidence: ask yourself, is it really wrong to rape a woman, lynch a black, torment a child, or are these not absolutely wrong, but simple valid preferences of others. If such crimes are not really wrong, then there is no God. If crimes are truly wrong, then a personal, loving, and just God does exist and you should ask Him for forgiveness for the hurt that you have inflicted upon others.

Also, you attempted another slight of hand with this: If “‘God is good’ [and] if god is the standard of goodness… then to say “God is good” is merely to say “God is god.”“ Oops. You are confusing the property of an entity with the entity itself. If the boss is also the janitor, you do state a pointless tautology by substituting one for the other to get the boss is the boss. But to say that the boss is the janitor speaks volumes. And to say God is love [meaning that His nature defines commitment to others], or that Michael Jordan is the standard [meaning that he has defined basketball skill], does not require us to reduce either to God is God or Michael is Michael, as though nothing real is being communicated. Otherwise, you make the bizarre claim that no aspect of a thing could ever conceivably set a standard. For example, by your faulty logic, the speed of light cannot even theoretically be an absolute, because then all Einstein said was, “the speed of light is the speed of light.”

(I can already hear the atheists in the Grandstands whining: “Wha wha wha, none of that proves that God exists!” Quick, somebody call them a whambulance! I offer the above not as proof but to rebut this argument of atheism.)

Father Time: The Atheist God

Remember the honeymoon period of atheism? It’s going on today while atheists still agree that complex functioning systems cannot appear by chance in one single step. Well, atheists deny the existence of God who can create from nothing at will, and instead, they replace Him with billions of years in which accidents created all that exists. Of accidents, randomness, explosions, and mutations, none of these appear suited to produce interdependent complex systems. But then the atheist introduces time, evolutionary time, geologic ages of time, astronomical spans of time. And of course, during all this time, there are not just a few accidents, random events, explosions, or mutations, but millions upon millions of them. So all this time represents the atheists’ creator. For what just a few such mishaps could never do, inexorably, a lot of them, one after the other, mutation, after random event, after accident, after explosion, a million times over, will increase the interdependence of complex ecosystems.

Blind faith and an aversion to the Creator could push men into such self-deception, but hard science offers no support for this trust in time and chance. To show the lie in the evolutionary hope of mutations, of over a billion moms on earth, how many would cheer the doctor’s news that their child had a mutation? (Oh, I see, one mutation is bad, but a million are good. Now I get it.) How does an explosion produce an orderly system? How can genetic information increase through random events and accidents? It is not that science has yet to fill these imaginary gaps; rather, hard science has already closed off these possibilities by demonstrating the real limitations of matter and the physical laws.

With the following observations, I will kill the atheist’s Father Time god. If Zakath follows form, he will ignore this direct evidence against his atheistic hope while complaining that I refuse to offer any evidence for a Creator. For, if no natural means can be found for a phenomenon, then that becomes evidence for the supernatural; if no natural cause exists, then that becomes proof for the supernatural. time;” and it will be even funnier to read the atheists in the Grandstands misrepresenting the previous sentence about natural causes.] So, I will show that there is:

• Not enough time in the universe to produce a single protein.
• Not enough time for DNA to evolve from apes to man.
• Too much supposed time has passed in the universe for the spiral galaxies to remain spirals.

[b]Time For Protein: To demonstrate the irrationality of atheist beliefs, consider these facts. Atheists believe that the universe is less than 20 billion years old. Yet for chance (BA10-6) to develop one simple protein molecule (which is trillions of times less complex than the simplest living organism), if every atom in the known universe interacted a billion times per second with other atoms, the entire universe couldn’t produce that one protein molecule by chance in a trillion years. Mathematics indicates that this would not happen in a trillion years, with the entire universe, every atom in every star in every galaxy, working on that single task. And natural selection is a function of reproduction and so even though considered godlike by atheists it could not help life arise initially. And yet, atheists, who fail to appreciate the magnitude of really big numbers, think that proteins arose by chance, a hundred times over on Earth in less than a billion years, along with ten-thousand other mathematical impossibilities all needed to accomplish the requirements of the simplest biological life.

Zakath, please indicate if my estimate is incorrect that mathematics predicts that it will take more than a trillion years to form a single protein molecule by chance, if we use all the atoms of the known universe in the experiment to produce it.

Zakath, please indicate how hundreds of random events that would not occur in a trillion years each, even if we used the entire known universe as a laboratory, could all occur within an extremely short time just on planet Earth?

Time For Homo Sapiens: The National Academy of Sciences reports that the difference in the DNA sequence between chimps and humans is triple what it has been popularly reported to be, closer to 5% than the old 1.5% claimed. (http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/99/21/13633?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=1&searchid=1058339235318_80&stored_search=&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&volume=99&firstpage=13633) Millions of mutations must occur to evolve humans from apes in just a few million years. Think only of the human brain:

We often measure computers in MIPS and BIPS, that is, millions or billions of instructions per second. Scientists measuring the processing power of people estimate that the human brain can perform around 2,000,000,000,000,000 instructions per second, that’s quadrillions, or 2 QIPS. That’s a trip! No wait, that’s more than 2,000 TRIPS. If evolution were true, then sufficient accidental mutations must have occurred in just the last couple million years for natural selection to choose from to develop the human mind from monkey brains. (Are you guys really serious about all this?)

Trust in time is a mathematical hope. Take an improbable randomly-generated event, and give it enough time, and it becomes not only probable, but even likely. So (BA10-6), if objective mathematical calculations show that even a single protein will take a trillion years to form by chance, then how long before the required millions of changes between apes and humans will occur by chance? Trillions times trillions times trillions of years. And if one of these proteins does appear in a single organism (say it’s inserted by aliens), then how long before that single new DNA segment will propagate throughout the entire population? Decades ago atheistic evolutionists worked out the mathematical impossibility of propagating genetic changes through a primate species to produce man in just a few million years. A few hundred generations is an aggressive estimate as to how quickly a mutation can reproduce throughout an entire primate species. Thus, in a few million years, a thousand genetic changes can reach the entire population; and if five beneficial mutations occurred at each step simultaneously (an inane, bizarre, unscientific, irrational hope), then evolution can effect perhaps 5,000 changes under only absurdly optimistic assumptions. Are those 5,000 impossible changes sufficient to change an ape to a human with our 2 QIPS? It’s mathematically impossible, and only those with a serious misunderstanding of really big numbers, or who irrationally ignore or reject mathematics, will blindly hope otherwise. Perhaps such simple calculations, along with math being the most pure science, explains why a higher percentage of mathematicians believe in God, 14.3% (http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html), as compared to other scientists (Nature, 1998, vol. 394, p. 313).

Zakath, please explain in the most broad terms how random mutations that mathematically would take trillions of years to occur, would then be propagated to an entire species, all millions of times over in just a few million years?

Our Zachary is a home-schooled five-year-old, and last semester he had trouble remembering how to read the word, “the.” My wife Cheryl said, “Zachary, if you can correctly make an en passant move on the chessboard, then you should be able to remember the word ‘the.’” Now Zakath, it’s time for you to apply yourself. Please think a little harder than usual on this next point:

Natural Selection describes small mutations selected by nature and retained in a species because they improve its chances of survival. Since the mutations come about randomly, there is no mechanism to speed up, or to incline the mutations toward the ones that will introduce new functionality. And thus, just to develop one single step of thousands required to eventually make a butterfly out of a caterpillar, quintillions of possibilities exist, for which there are not enough organisms on the entire planet to act as natural genetic laboratories, nor if we took every atom in the universe and converted them into caterpillars, could random chance produce the needed step in a trillion years. And that’s just one needed development out of thousands. And that, just for caterpillars. Oh, by the way, these caterpillars spin their cocoons, and their organs melt into a goo, and then begin to reassemble themselves into a completely different creature. So, in the 10,000 generations while this transformation was gradually developing, how did the caterpillars survive this rather unnecessary midlife crisis of turning themselves into sludge? And then, for the first time, all the right random occurrences (which were driving toward no goal), happened together so that the whole system, the proteins, enzymes, DNA and all, came together so that the first caterpillar made the transformation! Wow! It’s like, it’s like, like, Jonathan Livingston Seagull. It’s inane, unscientific, and embarrassing. The emperor has no wings. Remember that I said that you believe in things you can’t even conceive of? You can’t conceive of a fourth alternative for the universe, or a way for matter to become self-aware, or a simplification of a biological cell. Well, regarding a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly, you can’t even conceive of a way, or of a reason for, or a path to, or a foggy general direction of, or a need for, or a pludgergrumelling for that matter (anything you could make up), that would even begin to bring about such a transformation. Yet, you believe with all your heart, “Nature Did It.” And then consider that Natural Selection could not even conceivably work in any species in which the female lays hundreds or thousands of eggs, because if the positive mutation improved chances of survival by let’s say, 0.01%, but 99.9% of the fish offspring are eaten by predators while still embryonic, there is no mathematical possibility (ask a casino operator) that the occasional tiny improvement (which could take a trillion years to appear), could possibly offset the annual randomness of being eaten in infancy by a toad.

Time to Unwind: For decades astronomers have measured the speed of the inner stars of spiral galaxies finding that they travel much faster than the outside stars, such that these spirals should have unwound and lost their spiral forms billions of years ago. Thus, this broad feature of the galaxies invalidates the most fundamental atheistic assumptions about the age of the galaxies. Alternatively, if the galaxies are relatively young, then there is no problem with their current form, but then of course, they couldn’t have formed naturally (well, not while atheists are on their honeymoon anyway).

Back in 1995, NASA widely predicted that a soon-to-be-developed Hubble photograph of the tiniest point of night sky would show galaxies in their early stages of formation. At the same time, a Christian TV talk-show host, Bob Enyart, predicted on air in 80 cities that the atheistic NASA astrophysicists were wrong, and that the galaxies photographed would look just like any other group of galaxies. Zakath, who do you think was vindicated, the atheistic NASA engineers in 1995 predicting that a developing Hubble photo would show galaxies forming, or the Christian talk-show host predicting the photo would show typical, not early, galaxies? Hint, see photo below.

http://www.theologyonline.com/space.jpg

Question Summary

BQ27: Zakath, do you agree that I have solved Euthyphro’s Dilemma by observing that, if God exists, a description of God’s nature can be independent of His nature itself, and thus there is no logical contradiction in the possibility that God’s nature defines an objective moral standard? a) Yes b) No
If No, please explain: __________________________________________________

BQ28: Zakath, please indicate if my estimate is incorrect that mathematics predicts that it will take more than a trillion years to form a single protein molecule by chance, if we use all the atoms of the known universe in the experiment to produce it. a) Correct b) Incorrect
If B, please explain: __________________________________________________

BQ29: Zakath, please indicate how hundreds of random events that would not occur in a trillion years each, even if we used the entire known universe as a laboratory, could all occur within an extremely short time just on planet Earth?

BQ30: Zakath, please explain in the most broad terms how random mutations that mathematically would take trillions of years to occur, would then be propagated to an entire species, all millions of times over in just a few million years?

BQ31: Zakath, which do you think was vindicated, the 1995 prediction of atheistic NASA engineers that a developing Hubble photo would show galaxies forming, or the prediction of a Christian talk-show host that Hubble’s photo would show typical, not early, galaxies? Hint, see photo above.

Sincerely, Bob Enyart

Knight
July 16th, 2003, 08:10 PM
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.

Knight
July 17th, 2003, 11:13 AM
Have you seen God 6.0? (http://www.theologyonline.com/newgod/)

If you like that you will love the T-Shirt! (http://www.cafeshops.com/tolstore.3409535)

Knight
July 18th, 2003, 04:23 PM
Due to unforeseen career obligations Zakath has requested additional time to prepare his 8th round post. We (the TOL staff and Bob Enyart) have granted Zakath an additional 24 hours to prepare Zakaths next post.

Zakath
July 19th, 2003, 01:51 PM
In his last post, my opponent continues his Creationist "march to the sea" steamrolling along with his God of the Gaps argument. In this view, since science cannot yet answer every question in the universe, many of the unanswered questions must be relegated to the "evidence for the supernatural" category as Pastor Enyart cannot conceive of any other reasonable explanation than "God did it." The problem with this view of the universe is that it is too simple as well as misrepresenting what science is all about. Science is about inquiry, testing, and adapting theories to the reality of new evidence. Science frequently involves accepting change. Pastor Enyart is a believer in a religion which believes that certain things are immutable, among them, the creator for the universe. Change is anathema to such believers and when they look at science, they view any change with suspicion. Unfortunately for people who fear change, real science need not be so dogmatic. It is subject to change as new and better evidence turns up and better experiments are developed to gather more data. Theists view the subject of their inquiries, "God", as an unchangeable constant in a world (and universe) full of change. I'll address Pastor Enyart's most recent science questions toward the end of this post. I'll begin by addressing his other single area of evidence for the existence of God, absolute moral values.

Absolute Moral Values
Pastor Enyart tells us that, "We know right from wrong because there is a god and because he has revealed it to us." This is an interesting assertion. One might ask, is this revelation for a special few or is it for all humans in every age? If it is only for a special few, then Pastor Enyart's God is a partisan player of favorites, damning people pretty much indiscriminately and hardly fits the standard definition of the Christian deity. If the revelation is for all humankind, then we should be able to investigate the mechanism of that revelation. How does this deity allegedly communicate this knowledge of "right and wrong" to human beings? According to Pastor Enyart, he does so by, "… creating us in His likeness with a conscience, and through other means." This sentence is a bit difficult to decipher.

I would ask Pastor Enyart to clarify which of the following he intended to indicate:
a) God created us in his likeness and then gave us a conscience after creating us in his likeness, or

b) God created us in his likeness which included giving us a conscience since God has one

Regarding the rest of the statement, one might ask, "What other means, Pastor Enyart?" We know that my opponent is a professional communicator and I find it unlikely that he did not name a single one of the "other means" out of forgetfulness. Perhaps it is because those "other means" are even weaker support than his conscience argument… The problem for his argument is that we have already refuted the value of conscience as a reflection of the absolute standard since moral standards in the human conscience is: a) demonstrably not universal (some humans do not even appear to have a conscience) and b) demonstrably not uniform among all humans (differing codes of ethics and morals around the world). This would appear to leave his "other means" as the possible universal, uniform evidence of absolute morality.

Perhaps Pastor Enyart will explain to the eagerly awaiting throngs of readers just what "other means" his deity uses to demonstrate his absolute standards to the human race.

Pastor Enyart then has the temerity to insist that "atheists ultimately have no valid reason to insist that a criminal refrain from hurting a victim…" This petty attack on atheists is revealing as much for what it says as for what it does not say. First of all to discuss the actions of a "criminal", one must first be proposing that the individual in question lives in human society. That society must have laws, for to be a criminal means one must transgress one or more laws. Thus the very definition of the word "criminal" provides all the justification anyone (atheist or theist) might need to insist that a criminal refrain from injuring another. Whether the criminal agrees with the laws of the society in which he lives is immaterial. The laws exist and he can either obey them or accept the natural and societal consequences of disobedience.

"Evidence" for God?
I have requested throughout this debate that Pastor Enyart provide evidence for the existence of his deity. As stated before, the only evidence he has provided is the human conscience, which we have refuted, and a series of gaps in scientific knowledge which he claims, without any tangible support, must provide evidence for the existence of a supernatural being. The logical flaw in his argument is that any supernatural being of sufficient power will fill the bill. Some atheists are fond of using the Invisible Pink Unicorn (IPU) as an alternative to Pastor Enyart's God, claiming that she (yes, we do know the IPU is a "she", those who claim otherwise are heretics…) is just as viable an explanation as his own. There is absolutely no evidence he has presented, thus far, that could not be equally well ascribed to the auspices of the IPU. The IPU, we could argue, gave men consciences, modeled on her own. The IPU, we could assert, created the universe, with a swish of her tail and one golden hoof tied behind her back. Thus we do not need Pastor Enyart's God to be the creator of the universe or the author of moral absolutes - we can use the IPU to fill any gaps that Pastor Enyart cares to identify.

(For those wishing to find out more about the IPU (PBUH), click here (http://www.palmyra.demon.co.uk/humour/ipu.htm). If you are a "serious" IPU scholar, try this site - complete with scriptures, forums, and other unicornia – the Institute for Unicorn Research (http://www.geocities.com/ipuprophecy/ipu.html). :D )

Now, some of you might wonder why I bother to post such silliness. I use this humorous aside to demonstrate a point, using just as much evidence as Pastor Enyart has presented, to date. Every gap he claims must be filled with his deity can just as readily be filled with the IPU. Where's the evidence, you ask, for the IPU's existence? Well, just like Pastor Enyart, I need merely assert it to be truth and leave it for my opponent to refute it.

=======================================
To date, I have presented the following formal arguments:
The Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism (MKAA) – No god's morality is universally known or accepted by the entire human race (or even the greater majority)

The Argument from Confusion (AC) – All the followers of any god cannot agree on major theological "truth" about their deity and his/her will and design for humans

The Argument from Non-Belief (ANB) – No god has managed, after 6,000 years of recorded human history, to capture the belief of even a simple majority of the human race

Pastor Enyart has not effectively refuted any of the first three, instead relying on philological legerdemain to present the appearance of an argument while providing no real substantive answers.

In my previous post, I presented Euthyphro's Dilemma which essentially argues that moral absolutes must exist either because the god(s) decree them to be so or because the god(s) acknowledge another external standard.[/quote]

Pastor Enyart, in a fit of apparent hubris, claims that, after 24 centuries he has "solved Euthyphro's Dilemma by observing that, if God exists, a description of God's nature can be independent of his nature itself, and thus there is no logical contradiction in the possibility that God's nature defines an objective moral standard." I will demonstrate that he has not yet done so and that philosophy students everywhere may continue, as they have for some 24 centuries, to argue Euthyphro's Dilemma in their classrooms. ;)

In his failed effort to refute Euthyphro's Dilemma, Pastor Enyart makes use of what is referred to as "Essential Moral Attribute Response" (EMAR) to attempt to answer the first horn of the dilemma by claiming that right and wrong are part of the nature of his deity and that, to again use his own words, "God could not do evil (anything against the present description of his nature), and remain holy."

A bit of examination demonstrates the weakness of this argument. Appealing to God's character does not solve Euthyphro's dilemma, it only postpones the problem of since it merely restates the dilemma in terms of God's character. Is God's character the way it is because it is good or is God's character good simply because it is God's character?

Is there an independent standard of good or does God's character set the standard? If God's character is the way it is because it is good, then there is an independent standard of goodness by which to evaluate God's character. For example, suppose God condemns rape because of his just and merciful character. His character is just and merciful because mercy and justice are good. Since God is necessarily good, God is just and merciful. According to this independent standard of goodness, being merciful and just is precisely what a good character involves. In this case, even if God did not exist, one could say that a merciful and just character is good. Human beings could use this standard to evaluate peoples' character and actions based on this character. They could do this whether or not God exists. So, in this case, God is not necessary for the existence of a moral system.

Suppose God's character is good simply because it is God's character. Then if God's character were cruel and unjust, these attributes would be good. In such a case God might well condone rape since this would be in keeping with his character. But one might reply that God could not be cruel and unjust since by necessity God must be good? It is true that by necessity God must be good. But unless we have some independent standard of goodness (outside of God) then whatever attributes God has would by definition be good: God's character would define what good is. It would seem that if God could not be cruel and unjust, then God's character must necessarily exemplify some independent standard of goodness. Using this standard one could say that cruelty and injustice are not good whether God exists or not.

Pastor Enyart's argument also raises some other interesting problems to consider in future posts, if we have time:

Is God only capable of doing good acts? If so, then perhaps Pastor Enyart could explain how he has concocted a God that is not a free moral agent while the most menial human being possesses the power to choose good or evil. In addition to making the deity internally incoherent, such a belief also appears to be contradicted in the bible.

If all "good" is essentially dependent upon the nature of the deity; then it would follow that, if Pastor Enyart's God did not exist, then basic moral beliefs, for example that the gratuitous torture of babies is morally wrong, would be mistaken. This is absurd.

Perhaps Pastor Enyart will share with us some of the source material from which he derives his ideas of the character of his God… is his God the same deity that other Christians worship? If so then, according to a variety of Christian sources, God's character includes:
God is not immutable, he changes his mind
God murders
God kills the unborn and orders his followers to do so
God withholds help in time of disaster
God has built an imperfect world in which tragic genetic mutation causes monstrosities to be born to human parents
God punishes children for the wrongdoing of their parents
God orders fathers to kill their children
God encourages human slavery
God causes prophets to lie
God orders the ritual mutilation of children
God orders human sacrifice
God allows rape
God orders genocide

All these are part of the outward manifestation of God's character. If Pastor Enyart's contention is correct, then all these things are absolutely good and must be acceptable in human society. The observable fact that most of these actions would not be perceived of as good by many of the readers here is a further demonstration of the implausability of Pastor Enyart's argument and further support for the Argument from Confusion.

Time and Astronomy
"Time", as they say, "is on my side.Yes it is." (with a nod to Mick Jagger and the lads). Pastor Enyart brings up time as a supporting evidence for the existence of his diety. His argument is not related to time specifically but merely appears to be a warmed over reserving of the Argument from Design he presented earlier in the series. I'll address some of his specific points here.

Contrary to Pastor Enyart's assertion, random events can produce an ordered result. Anyone who has ever won at a game of poker can verify that randomly shuffled cards can produce, on occasion, ordered groupings when dealt to the players. If' you've ever held a pair, three of a kind, four of a kind, or a straight, or flush you've experienced this phenomenon.

Note also that his "not enough time" argument has obviously been refuted since his own body is composed of proteins. He exists due to a purely natural event – unless there is something he has been holding back (;) ), he was not created by a deity but by the recombination of living material from his parents and their genomes. His argument is based on a simplistic misstatement of reality. Proteins are not formed by random interactions of atoms. They arise form other less complex molecules through clearly understood mechanisms. His assertions of mathematical estimates are presented with no basis on observed experiments. There are such experiments, interested readers can learn about some of them here at "Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and Probability of Abiogenesis Calculations." (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html) In essence, Pastor Enyart's argument demonstrates a basic misunderstanding of both the process of protein synthesis and statistics.

Ian Musgrave, (Ph.D. in neurophysiology), one of the authors at www.talkorigins.org explains the probability issue very clearly using the example of a coin toss:
Here is a experiment you can do yourself: take a coin, flip it four times, write down the results, and then do it again. How many times would you think you had to repeat this procedure (trial) before you get 4 heads in a row?

Now the probability of 4 heads in a row is is (1/2)4 or 1 chance in 16: do we have to do 16 trials to get 4 heads (HHHH)? No, in successive experiments I got 11, 10, 6, 16, 1, 5, and 3 trials before HHHH turned up. The figure 1 in 16 (or 1 in a million or 1 in 1040) gives the likelihood of an event in a given trial, but doesn't say where it will occur in a series. You can flip HHHH on your very first trial (I did). Even at 1 chance in 4.29 x 1040, a self-replicator could have turned up surprisingly early. But there is more.

1 chance in 4.29 x 1040 is still orgulously, gobsmackingly unlikely; it's hard to cope with this number. Even with the argument above (you could get it on your very first trial) most people would say "surely it would still take more time than the Earth existed to make this replicator by random methods". Not really; in the above examples we were examining sequential trials, as if there was only one protein/DNA/proto-replicator being assembled per trial. In fact there would be billions of simultaneous trials as the billions of building block molecules interacted in the oceans, or on the thousands of kilometers of shorelines that could provide catalytic surfaces or templates [2,15].

Let's go back to our example with the coins. Say it takes a minute to toss the coins 4 times; to generate HHHH would take on average 8 minutes. Now get 16 friends, each with a coin, to all flip the coin simultaneously 4 times; the average time to generate HHHH is now 1 minute. Now try to flip 6 heads in a row; this has a probability of (1/2)6 or 1 in 64. This would take half an hour on average, but go out and recruit 64 people, and you can flip it in a minute. If you want to flip a sequence with a chance of 1 in a billion, just recruit the population of China to flip coins for you, you will have that sequence in no time flat.

Thus the time and complexity issues are essentially non-issues when viewed from a planetary scale.

Additionally, in his last post, Pastor Enyart appears to have shifted is argument from declaring gaps in scientific knowledge as evidence for God to declaring them as evidence for the vague term "supernatural"."…if no natural means can be found for a phenomenon, then that ecomes evidence for the supernatural; if no natural cause exists, then tha tbecomes proof for the supernatural." I will remind our readers that this tactic is merely "God of the Gaps" trotted out once again. Merely because Pastor Enyart cannot perceive that a natural mechanism existss for a give observable phenomenon does not preclude the existence of that natural mechanism. (Unless, perhaps Pastor Enyart is trying to tell us that he is omniscient… ;) ) Remember that for centuries, humans ascribed epilepsy to supernatural causes until its mechanisms were researched and understood. Now it is merely another treatable medical disorder. We've gone around again to "God of the Gaps" and I will once again remind the readers that, despite Pastor Enyart's attempts to assert otherwise, ignorance is not evidence for the existence of God. Ignorance is merely there result of a gap in knowledge. Something that history has shown can be rectified with time and diligent research.

It would also be helpful if Pastor Enyart could explain exactly to what specific genes he is referring to in his human/ape comparison. According to the people who study such things, the human genome contains roughly 3 billion base-pairs. It is only reasonable that Pastor Enyart explain to which base pairs (or even which chromosomes) he is referring since mutation rates and probability will partially depend on where a give base pair is on a particular chromosome. Once he is specific, then we have a better likelihood of evaluating his, currently unsupported, assertions about mutation rates and probability. All he has presented thus far is vague generalities, unsupported by any actual facts. Providing the source for his mathematical manipulations would also be useful in evaluating his position.

In answer to his astronomical question, I'll refer him and our readers to the helpful post supplied by TOL's favorite cetacean, Flipper. (I'll never understand how he types so well with flippers instead of fingers ;) ) Flipper points out some information that indicates that Pastor Enyart's information may be a bit out of date and incorrect… Flipper's post (http://www.theologyonline.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?postid=275602#post275602). Since I am not allowed to post images on my posts, the references and images in the links so kindly provided by Flipper will have to do.

===================================
So to sum up this eighth post, we've addressed much of last round's material and posed the following questions for Pastor Enyart to discuss in his future posts…

Absolute Morals
1. Explain what "other means" Pastor Enyart's God uses to demonstrate his absolute standards to the human race.

2. Did God create us in his likeness and then give us a conscience after creating us in his likeness, or did God create us in his likeness which included giving us a conscience since God has one?

3. Demonstrate several source materials he uses to derive the character of his god.

4. Explain how he determines which manifestations of his god's character are useful for moral absolutes and which ones are to be ignored.

5. Is God only capable of doing good? If so, then do you consider all the I listed above as good?

Euthyphro's Dilemma
1. Explain why his Essential Moral Attributes Responses to the dilemma should not be considered a mere restating of the dilemma, but actually providing an answer.

Gaps in Scientific Knowledge
1. Provide a source for the mathematical models that underlie his assertions about the impossibility of genetic mutation occurring on earth within the span of planetary history.

2. Provide specifics about the genes or base-pairs to which he refers in his argument about human/ape genetic discrepancy.

Knight
July 19th, 2003, 04:50 PM
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.

Knight
July 20th, 2003, 10:19 PM
Due to the fact we extended Zakath's 8th round post deadline it has caused a minor scheduling conflict for Bob's 8th round post. Therefore.... with the consent of Zakath we have extended Bob's deadline an extra 24 hours.

Bob Enyart
July 22nd, 2003, 01:28 PM
Misrepresentations were the theme of Zakath’s seventh round. The theme of his eighth post is to assume victory in disagreements for which he has not rebutted but simply Ignored My Argument (marked below by ). Where he does this, I think it would be more effective for him to show how my arguments are ineffective, rather than to simply assume them so, or even just to completely ignore them. For example, Zakath’s main argument is the God of the Gaps claim , which I challenged in post 2 and presented a specific, significant rebuttal to in post 5. I have agreed that “ignorance is no evidence.” And until Zakath attempts to answer my Gap rebuttal, perhaps in round 10, he has no grounds to write: “Despite Pastor Enyart's attempts to assert otherwise, ignorance is not evidence for the existence of God. Ignorance is merely there result of a gap in knowledge.” What is Zakath’s defense to my Gaps rebuttal? No one can know from reading the debate thus far, because he has simply ignored it and the suspense builds as we wonder if he has an answer. As for me, after reviewing the status of the latest questions, I will present additional evidence for God’s existence from psychology [ZQ10-7], and then do as I do, respond to all of Zakath’s points, thus making this my longest post, so I offer him an additional 24 hours to respond.

Bob’s Questions to Zakath

BQ27: Zakath, do you agree that I have solved Euthyphro’s Dilemma?
ZA27: Zakath answered no. [IMA] I answer his related ZQ29 below.

BQ28: Zakath, please indicate if my estimate is incorrect that mathematics predicts that it will take more than a trillion years to form a single protein molecule by chance.
ZA28: Zakath presented the “game of poker” as evidence that “random events” can produce an “ordered result” . Also, Zakath criticized me writing that Bob’s “‘not enough time’ argument has obviously been refuted since his own body is composed of proteins” [which is a most embarrassing example of the illogical [i]begging the question by assuming the very point that he is trying to prove.] Oops. My answers to ZQ31 and ZQ32 further expose the atheist’s inability to refute the Father Time proof for a Creator God.

BQ29: Zakath, please indicate how hundreds of random events that would not occur in a trillion years each, even if we used the entire known universe as a laboratory, could all occur within an extremely short time just on planet Earth?
ZA29: Zakath offered evidence from 52 trials of flipping four coins to show that highly improbable events actually will happen quite readily. (See [BA31] below.) And he wrote that “proteins are not formed by random interactions of atoms. They arise from other less complex molecules through clearly understood mechanisms.” [This is simply untrue in the atheist sense; the only understood mechanism for building proteins is via DNA in living cells. Zakath’s bizarre claim makes it sound like the atheistic origin of proteins has been resolved; but he would win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and his own program on PBS if he could show convincingly how the first proteins arose.]

BQ30: Zakath, please explain in the most broad terms how random mutations… would then be propagated to an entire species, all millions of times over in just a few million years?
ZA30: In ZQ32, he asks me to narrow the question, so I have in BA32, and now I await his answer to BQ30.

BQ31: Zakath, which do you think was vindicated, the 1995 prediction of atheistic NASA engineers that a developing Hubble photo would show galaxies forming, or the prediction of a Christian talk-show host that Hubble’s photo would show typical, not early, galaxies?
ZA31: Zakath didn’t answer.

Zakath’s Questions to Bob

ZQ20: Explain what "other means" Pastor Enyart's God uses to demonstrate his absolute standards to the human race.
BA20: In addition to conscience, God has provided mankind with all the general revelation that exists throughout creation, including human consciousness, relationships, and personality, and thus with all the knowledge that we can derive from the existence of not mere matter, but persons also. In addition to the general revelation of creation, any special revelation, in which God has communicated to mankind linguistically, in spoken or written language, can add to His demonstration of absolute standards.

ZQ21: Did God create us in his likeness and then give us a conscience after creating us in his likeness?
BA21: No.

ZQ22: Did God create us in his likeness which included giving us a conscience since God has one?
BA21: God could not have created beings in His likeness without instilling within them the knowledge of right and wrong, which in man we call conscience. But if your main question is: Does God have a conscience?, then I will answer that God is unavoidably aware that there is a difference between right and wrong, and that He should not do wrong. In men we refer to this as conscience, but in God we simply describe this as a part of His nature.

ZQ23: Demonstrate several source materials [Bob] uses to derive the character of his god.
BA23: 1) The personal nature of God which is logically necessary since He created [i]people; 2) His loving provision of the world and its resources for man; 3) The love I have for my wife and children which mere chemicals cannot account for; 4) The conscience that God instilled within us. I could provide more, but this answers the question.

ZQ24: Is [Bob Enyart’s] God the same deity that other Christians worship?
BA24: Yes. Of course, as human beings do on even the most objective matters, Christians have different opinions about God’s nature, but different views of Andromeda would not mean that the galaxy does not exist.

ZQ25: “We do not need Pastor Enyart's God to be the creator of the universe or the author of moral absolutes - we can use the Invisible Pink Unicorn to fill any gaps that Pastor Enyart cares to identify.”
BA25: I agree. This debate is not, “Is Jesus God?” or “Is the IPU God?” but “Does God Exist?” Atheism would be defeated regardless of whom God is. I have given evidence for the existence of God whom I defined as: “the supernatural Creator of the natural universe, existing eternally, powerful, wise and knowledgeable, personal, loving, and just.” But beyond my own evidence, I have responded to two of your challenges regarding falsification and the ability to possess knowledge of absolute morality using the persons of the Trinitarian God.

ZQ26: [Let Bob] explain how he determines which manifestations of his god's character are useful for moral absolutes and which ones are to be ignored.
BA26: Every single manifestation of God’s character is useful for understanding moral absolutes.

ZQ27: Is God only capable of doing good?
BA27: God does good not because He is unable to do otherwise, but because He wills to do good. In post 7 I stated:
• “Using the biblical paradigm, if Jesus Christ [the Christian God] gave into temptation by submitting to evil and worshipping Satan, then He would not have remained righteous.”
• “The Son willingly submits to the Father.”
• “If He willed to embrace evil (as described currently by His nature) then He would no longer be the righteous God.”
If God did evil, which He could do, then He would no longer be a righteous God, but He commits that His faithfulness will remain forever.

ZQ28: Do you consider all the [biblical inferences] I listed above as good?
BA28: As I observed earlier, Zakath is trying “to divert the debate into a wide-ranging discussion of the Bible, rather than sticking to the question of God’s existence.” Zakath, if you and our TheologyOnline.com moderator Knight concur, I will happily debate you in another Battle Royale on the question: “Is the Bible the Word of God?” (That seems to me to be your big issue anyway.) But that’s not the topic of the current debate and does not address my seven lines of evidence and proofs for God. And as I stated earlier, God either did or did not exist prior to the writing of the Bible. Your ZQ23, ZQ25, ZQ26, and ZQ27 are attempts to divert the last five posts into an open-ended Bible discussion. So for ZQ27 as before, “I will postpone answering it until my last post.”

ZQ29: “Explain why [Bob’s] Essential Moral Attributes Responses to [Euthyphro's] dilemma should not be considered a mere restating of the dilemma, but actually providing an answer.” And, “Is God's character the way it is because it is good or is God’s character good simply because it is God’s character?”
BA29: Zakath, while I maintain that I solved Euthyphro’s Dilemma in post 7b, the actual question I then posed to you did not sufficiently incorporate my solution, so below I provide BQ35 which restates BQ27. You summarized this dilemma stating that “…no action performed by God can be out of his character.” In my response I warned you that, “without discipline, you will once again fail to even understand the point. So please put your auto-pilot Bible rebuttal mode in its upright and locked position, and first comprehend this new material.” And what did you go and do? In this section you made twelve accusations against the Bible’s God, and you ignored much of my argument, which I will now cut and paste for you to consider again:
“Moral inconsistency is an absolute determinant for wrong… Thus consistency is a necessary property of righteousness (and thus of being right)… Humans are social beings, and our [i]morality magnifies itself in our actions toward others. Thus because morality is social, a social God [IMA] who interacts with multiple persons has an additional context in which to objectively demonstrate His morality. Let me illustrate the implications of this using the Christian conception of the Trinitarian God, Father, Son and Spirit, three persons in one God. If God is a Trinitarian God, then He has an eternal track record of interaction between the persons of the Godhead. And if during that eternal fellowship, if any moral inconsistency appeared, then God would be objectively evil. But an atheist may ask, ‘What if there was no inconsistency because this God is consistently evil?’ A [Trinitarian] God with other Persons to interact with has other frames of reference, that is, other perspectives from which to declare Himself. Thus if the Son willingly submits to the Father, because He implicitly trusts the Father from whom He has never experienced harm, and the Spirit brings glory to the Son, because He has never felt threatened by the Son, and the Father loves the Son and the Spirit, never having His wellbeing jeopardized by either, then ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.’ Thus even though it is the only standard He has ever known, God the Father can determine that His own standard is righteous because He has never violated it, and because the independent persons of the Son and the Spirit testify that the Father has never violated their own self-interests. This process is greatly amplified when God creates other beings, and as He reveals Himself to them in various ways. For, He must behave toward them in their own best interest, or else He violates His own standard of love. And He must punish those who hurt others, or else He violates His own standard of justice. And if God’s intention was not for the welfare but for the harm of created eternal beings, then He would have violated His own declared standard. Thus while moral inconsistency indicates wickedness, eternal consistency proves either continuous good or continuous evil; and multiple perspectives from independent persons provide information regarding whether God acts on behalf of, or against, their best interests.”

ZQ30: Pastor Enyart has not effectively refuted any of the first three [of Zakath’s formal arguments MKAA, ANB, and AC], instead relying on philological legerdemain to present the appearance of an argument while providing no real substantive answers.
BA30: Zakath used his invincible secret weapon against my rebuttals to his three arguments: he ignored them. In BA17 [IMA] (which summarizes parts of BA9 and post 3b) I claimed to rebut his arguments. Please attempt to demonstrate, rather than ask the readers to just assume, that my rebuttal is not substantive.

ZQ31: Provide a source for the mathematical models that underlie his assertions about the impossibility of genetic mutation occurring on earth within the span of planetary history.
BA31: You offered an experiment from a neurophysiologist as a rebuttal to the creationist use of probability. This scientist tossed four coins and obtained all heads seven times in 52 trials. Below [BA31], I counter that with an experiment my wife Cheryl has been conducting on her computer by which she is randomly rolling dice (alphabetic dice in software) trying to get all 26 letters of the alphabet to come up in the right sequence, which is more sophisticated and demonstrative than the four coins of your neurophysiologist. So far Cheryl, a home-school mom, has run her trial 9.8 trillion times. Yes, trillion, with a “t.” By the way, the seed for Cheryl’s random number generator is saved along with her results making her entire experiment, unlike the neurophysiologist’s, exactly repeatable and verifiable. Cheryl’s results do not bode well for the evolutionist who hopes to circumvent mathematical probabilities.

ZQ32: Provide specifics about the genes or base-pairs to which he refers in his argument about human/ape genetic discrepancy.
BA32: My arguments apply generally to the development of any new functional DNA sequence or protein, and to the speed of propagation of any genetic improvements throughout a species’ population. However, if you want to narrow the focus for some reason, then let’s use the research just reported this month in which Japanese scientists have found not a 1.5 or 5 percent, but a 15 percent difference between chimp and human DNA. (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20030712b6.htm) If you really think narrowing the discussion will not obfuscate but help you solve the challenge, then feel free to attempt a rebuttal with respect to the 36 genes that differ between human chromosome 21 (the most well researched) as compared to its counterpart chimpanzee chromosome 22, regarding both the time for their initial creation and then the number of generations needed for their propagation throughout the entire species; and then determine if enough time exists since the dawn of the universe for the genes to appear randomly via mutation, and if enough evolutionary time exists to propagate throughout some primate species all the DNA changes needed to code for humans.

ZQ10: Continued request for evidence for God (implied by his post 7a claim that theists “don’t have any real significant evidence”).
BA10-7: I now add my seventh line of evidence [ZQ10-7] for a supernatural Creator from Zakath’s own field, psychology.

Evidence from Psychology

As a believer in God, I have often stated that everywhere you look everything you ponder provides evidence for a supernatural Creator regardless of how unlikely the thing you consider. How do we test this claim? We check to see if even apparently improbable issues are explained well by theism or by atheism. So, to see if we find evidence for a supernatural Creator even in the most unlikely topics, I submit to you: [ZQ10-7] Dirty Jokes. On two occasions, I publicly sparred with The Man Show host, now with ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, calling him a crotch humorist and pointing out that TV’s old romantic comedies mostly have been replaced by genital comedies. Unlike animals, human beings have a sense of embarrassment about various bodily functions which humor can exploit. Why do people commonly laugh and feel uncomfortable in public regarding reproduction and expelling waste? If human beings were not at all spiritual but strictly made of matter, consisting only of atoms and molecules, then we would have no context from which to view our base bodily functions as funny or embarrassing. So we theists describe both human and animal behavior as an expected function of our worldview. Since animals do not have spirits, they have no context from which to be embarrassed about relieving themselves or reproduction, and readily do both in public. A male horse pulling a carriage of tourists in Denver will defecate in front of his favorite mare and the rest of the world, while a human being would die a thousand deaths emotionally before doing likewise.

Humor requires degrees of truth and the unexpected. A popular comic has noted that when we knock on restroom doors, we often hear the occupant say, “There’s somebody in here.” Somebody? As in somebody else? Since a restroom is primarily for our basest bodily functions, we tend to distance ourselves from its use and even refer to the facility as though it is for resting or bathing. We speak of heart doctors, ears, nose, and throat specialists, eye doctors and even brain surgeons, but we disguise experts in our most embarrassing function by calling them proctologists, so well veiled that we don’t even recognize the Greek root of the title. If we called him a crapologist, no one would take the job. A slight reference to the function in public can get a frown or a laugh out of billions of people. Yet a dog in heat cares nothing about witnesses; monkeys make no attempt to hide their private parts; and a statue at the center of attention will get covered in bird droppings. Mark Twain critically observed in Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World (1897, ch. (http://ibiblio.org/gutenberg/etext01/feqtr11.txt) 27) that “Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.”

Everything, even dirty jokes, provides evidence for God’s spiritual realm. And again, atheism cannot directly explain even one of all the observations ever made, while all those same observations are themselves ready and direct evidence for theism. Thus in this debate Zakath the atheist is on the defensive and tries to run away even from scientific discussions. Human beings have a spiritual dimension and thus we do not have a matter-of-fact attitude toward our lowest material functions. If you could teach a dog to laugh, you couldn’t get him to laugh at fire hydrants or reproduction, because he would have no frame of reference from which to consider such things funny or distant. But spiritual beings could look with surprise, shock, and embarrassment, the stuff of dirty jokes, upon their physical selves. Actually, to introduce this matter, I have simplified the issue somewhat, for the derivative of the word psychology does not come from the Greek word pneuma for spirit, but from the word psyche for soul. Life is more complicated than just matter and spirit, for man is body, soul, and spirit. Both scientific observation and religious writings indicate that animals are not simply made of matter, but they also have souls, which enables them to relate to one another. The souls of men and animals do not exhibit identical capacities, and even the souls of different animal species enable different degrees of social and even rudimentary emotional capacities for relating to other animals and to man. As relationships have a greater value than chemical reactions, soul is a higher function than body. And as a relationship with a spiritual (supernatural) Creator is the greatest possible relationship for a creature, spirit is a higher function than soul. Only humans exhibit evidence of having an eternal spirit which observations are also consistent with the most common religious view. Thus the species of Homo sapiens possesses the widest context from which to distance ourselves from various bodily functions, and as those functions become most base, we have the context to view them as virtually foreign from our true identities.

We conceal reproduction and the expulsion of waste (which even prostitutes and pornographers do in their private lives), and then we also cover our nakedness with clothes, and reside in private domiciles. We get married in the most public of ceremonies and then live in extremely expensive privacy. As a group, the most progressive liberals could have billions of dollars extra to use toward meeting other needs if they did away with expensive private accoutrements like clothing and bedrooms. And if atheistic evolution were true, especially indoors, the universality of clothing itself is difficult to account for and should be easily discarded. Even nudists use private restrooms and claim to conceal their sexual behavior from relatives and other onlookers. In rejecting God, an individual or societal conscience can be seared and values lowered. So tribesmen can adopt minimalist clothing and condition their women to go topless, but missionaries find that women in such cultures readily reassert their modesty. Behaviors that are characteristically human, which are unlike those in the animal kingdom from which we supposedly evolved just a short time ago, testify to a morality of human nature imposed upon us by the Creator.

Now let’s move from jokes to fears, specifically, fears of the dark, of ghosts, and of the dead. We humans differ from animals in strange quirks which theism readily explains. Evolution supposedly selects so well for survival that human brains advanced quickly to now process quadrillions of instructions per second. Yet if atheism were true, then natural selection has introduced the most backward oddities only among human animals. According to Isaac Asimov, the human brain “as far as we know, is the most complex and orderly arrangement of matter in the universe” (Asimov, In the Game of Energy and Thermodynamics You Can’t Even Break Even, Smithsonian, August 1970, p. 10). And yet people, the greatest supposed achievement of evolution, are the only animals that are afraid of the dark, afraid of spirits, and afraid of dead bodies. A little mouse moves about fearlessly at night. A fish calmly sniffs at the recently deceased corpse of its own mother. No snake is afraid of ghosts. Yet human beings have an uncanny fear of these which we overcome to varying degrees. But why do these experiences exist for humans and not animals? Why? Because human beings, being spiritual as well as physical, are inherently aware of the spiritual realm, the domain beyond death, of spirit beings, the realm that cannot be seen with the eyes. Such physical experiences remind us of that realm when we are in the dark and confronted with a reality which we cannot see, and when we think of the spirit beings who inhabit that realm, and when we come in contact with the remains of another person who has departed from this life into the next. For a dead body is the closest physical connection we have with the afterlife. Such behavioral evidence further distinguishes humans from animals and provides additional evidence for mankind’s reasonable and unshakeable belief in the afterlife. For if God put an eternal spirit into man but not into animals, we could predict that animals will not behave as humans do regarding the dead and the unseen. And even the atheist exhibits such fears, not being able to shake his own awareness of the spiritual realm. Again every single observation ever made provides direct evidence against atheism and for God.

Atheists of course will always attempt explanations. “We fear a dead body because whatever killed it may lurk nearby to kill us.” Or, “Fear disguises our sadness at losing a loved one.” But these do not explain our eerie feeling if we happen to stumble upon an old human skull. Some atheists may even deny that such fears are a common part of the human experience, but just hold a discussion with a random test group, about spirits, in the dark, at night, in an old cemetery. Yes by training or repetition people can overcome such anxiety and atheists can find one in a thousand people who will deny ever experiencing such creepy reactions. But then, let him find one in a thousand cows that show such fear. So my theistic worldview would predict and directly explains these broad differences in behavior between trillions of non-humans and their billions of human counterparts, while atheism fails to account for any of it, tripping up even over dirty jokes and universal fears, requiring secondary and tertiary assumptions, along with a boatload of completely unimaginable factors in which they nonetheless implicitly trust.

A human can experience a fear of the dark and want to quickly switch on a light even when walking through his own familiar bedroom, even when sure that nothing is amiss and without worry of any intruder. Humans have a fear of spirits, and commonly, even those who do not believe in ghosts get readily spooked in so-called “haunted houses.” (I know; I saw more than 30,000 people pass through one that I worked in run by Youth for Christ’s Campus Life high school ministry in New Jersey.) If evolution simply produced such universal fears of the dark, and of ghosts, and of the dead because they are valuable for survival, then why produce them only in humans and not in countless other species? Of course, God could have created animals with such instincts, but not doing so helps men see the uncrossable divide between us and animals, and helps deter even depraved men from modeling animal behaviors such as eating their own young. Compared to animals, humans have both noble and evil distinctions that atheism cannot account for, like our greater intellect, depth and breadth of personalities and emotions, our standing erect which gives us an upward heavenly gaze looking toward the immeasurable Creator, and even our sinful flesh. For the bigger the man, the harder his fall, and to whom much is given, much is required. And thus compared to animals, it is mankind that has the extraordinary capacity for evil. So the unknown, the unseen, the spiritual, the dead, all strike a chord that resonates uniquely throughout mankind. For if God made us with a spiritual dimension, to have an awareness of a spiritual life after death, then we should expect such behavior.

Psychology leads us also to consider beauty. Can we accurately reduce the recognition and appreciation of beauty to simply a ploy of evolution. Or is beauty independent of any human or biological observer? Atheists have claimed that evolution produced the beauty in flowers, butterflies, and peacocks; but what of the splendor in snowflakes and galaxies? The universe is filled with evidence that beauty exists independently of biological observation. The beauty of deep sea plants and distant nebulas awaited discovery by man. If beauty does not exist independent of man’s observation, then it does not exist as evidence for God, but if a mountain stream or a wheat field is objectively beautiful, then God exists. The atheist can tell his wife she is not truly beautiful, or he can mimic the Christian and tell her the truth.

I took a class in Artificial Intelligence at Arizona State University in which I wrote a software program that could play chess. Also that semester we looked at vision systems which began my own continuing consideration of beauty. The appreciation of beauty is a spiritual function not attributable to matter. Albert Einstein in his 1944 Remarks on Bertrand Russell's Theory of Knowledge wrote of “the gulf -- (http://epi.is-a-geek.net/theory-of-knowledge.html) logically unbridgeable” between ideas and matter referred to by some linguists and scientists as Einstein’s Gulf. Atheists are impotent to explain anything at all, and are especially unable to explain how the universe can begin with matter alone and develop to where knowledge is possible. They attempt to defend their atheistic worldview with knowledge, ideas, reason, science, language, and logic. But nothing inherent in matter should reliably give rise to any knowledge whatsoever, and especially not to beauty. For information science shows that knowledge does not arise nor increase by chance. And if any atheist thinks otherwise, then produce the proof discovered since Einstein which shows that knowledge can arise from matter.

Beauty is not purely subjective to biological life. The innate beauty intrinsic to the animate and inanimate world testifies to us of a Creator who appreciates that delightful quality of things which possess a harmony of form, color, texture, and perspective, things which show originality and excellence of craftsmanship, all within the right setting. For we find beauty in a sunrise but not in a rotting corpse, in a soprano’s voice but not in a man’s belch, and in the eyes of a child but not in the droppings of a pig.

Human observations provide evidence of purpose. We analyze our temperaments and so classify ourselves as introverts and extroverts, thinkers and feelers, detail-oriented and big picture types, planners and doers. Our population is filled with these fundamental characteristics in proportion. Since opposites attract (remember the Creator made both physics and romance), we have equal numbers of opposites and so as an extrovert I could marry a wonderful introvert named Cheryl. Clinical research shows that 2/3s of men are thinkers and 2/3s of women are feelers, meaning that men act more upon rules, and women act more upon relationships, giving us again a fine-tuned symbiosis. Thus men build bridges across rivers, and women build them across generations. And speaking of rules, atheistic feminists say that men made the rules of traditional morality in order to keep women down. But if it were up to the average man, society’s morals would force women to go naked, and instead of faithfulness in marriage, the Ten Commandments would insist upon promiscuity. And if men made up the rules, why is it that men are less virtuous than women? Just look at the jails, unfaithfulness, addiction, crassness, and murder. Sadly, as our society increasingly rejects belief in God, this gender gap narrows as women become less feminine, and we see the atheistic feminization of crime, infidelity, alcoholism, perversion, rush hour, and suicide.

Just as no conceivable process can account for consciousness, i.e. self-awareness, arising of itself from matter, neither could personality and emotion so originate. Logically, the effect cannot be greater than the cause. Our consciousness comes from a self-aware Creator who made us. We are persons, with personality, because He who made us is a personal God. And we have emotions because He can love and hate. Emotions do not arise from chemical reactions, as though mixing a compound in a test tube for an eternity could produce envy or hope. Of course, since emotional beings can express their conditions emotionally, then we can emote our reactions to substances like alcohol or adrenaline, but it is naïve in the Einstein sense, “which separates the world of sensory experiences from the world of concepts” (ibid), to say that such substances produce the emotions. Chemicals do not feel anxiety. To get to emotion, requires personality, and to get personality requires a Person. Thus the evidence points not only to God, but it shows us what kind of God He is. He is not just a cosmic energy source, nor an impersonal organizing force. For neither a Duracell battery nor an Oracle database could ever produce a happy or sad personality. Since we have personality, it is rationale, logical, and utterly scientific to conclude that the cause of our existence is a personal God (just as Pasteur scientifically concluded that microbial growths came from unseen microbes). Atheists reject the Creator apart from any evidence and out of an unprovable, pre-existing bias which they typically refuse to show as falsifiable, leading them to irrational, illogical, and unscientific theories which defy every single observation ever made.

[b]Zakath, help us gauge an atheist’s ability to objectively weigh evidence. Regarding [ZQ10-7] dirty jokes, and privacy in reproduction and expelling waste, and our various fundamental differences from animals like the desire for clothing and the fear of the dark and of ghosts and of the dead, and the recognition of beauty and the existence of ideas, and temperaments, emotion, and personality, please indicate whether all these broad observations appear, even if only superficially, to provide evidence for God or for atheism?

Responding to Specifics

Zakath: Theists are “people who fear change”
Bob: I love change, in science and otherwise and by the way, Christians believe that the eternal God the Son became a Man and at the crucifixion took upon Himself the punishment for sin. Those are dramatic changes.

Zakath: “I have already refuted the value of conscience as a reflection of the absolute standard since moral standards in the human conscience is: a) demonstrably not universal… and b) demonstrably not uniform…” And he responded to my examples like the Columbine murderers and NAZIs writing that “some sociopaths” attempt “to justify their actions… only after they have been apprehended… to avoid punishment… in another attempt to ‘beat the system.’”
Bob: But Harris and Klebold were justifying themselves privately in videos long before they murdered anyone and then even committed suicide to escape condemnation, and the NAZIs were not trying to beat it, they were “the system.” So Zakath should present evidence that I have not already invalidated that refutes my argument for a universal human conscience. And I add evidence of the most cruel, vicious, and unrepentant villains who even disclaim any conscience but who nonetheless judge that someone has wronged them whenever they are falsely accused, or their own rights are violated, or their own private property is stolen, etc., all showing clear evidence of an ability to weigh actions on the scales of justice.

Zakath: Pastor Enyart then has the temerity to insist that "atheists ultimately have no valid reason to insist that a criminal refrain from hurting a victim…"
Bob: I have accused you of “morality-envy” and stated that “when you describe an act as horrible, you only mean you have a strong preference against it, but someone else may have an equally strong preference for it, and there is no standard by which your dislike for rape is objectively correct, and the other’s preference for it objectively incorrect.” So temerity or not, I am asking you to respond to my specific observations. You made much of my use of the word criminal, but I could simply have used villain, or NAZIs, or any murderer like Osama bin Laden who is approved of by his society, and your appeal to cultural laws breaks down. Again, Zakath’s attempt to feign right and wrong apart from any ultimate standard shows how uncomfortable he is with atheism. Zakath, do you admit that the NAZIs who murdered millions held a merely different value system which you may not prefer but which they did prefer, which your preferred laws forbid but which their laws permitted, and that by atheism, there is no final standard that can objectively judge your moral values as superior to the NAZIs?

Zakath: He rejected my statement that, “If no natural means can be found for a phenomenon, then that becomes evidence for the supernatural; if no natural cause exists, then that becomes proof for the supernatural."
Bob: Rejecting that statement indicates intellectual cowardice. I find demonstrations of such fear common among atheists. Whereas Christians like me readily assert that if a natural cause exists for a phenomenon, then such is not proof for God.

Zakath: Pastor Enyart's information may be a bit out of date and incorrect [regarding my report of the processing power of the human brain].
Bob: In 7b I wrote that “Scientists… estimate that the human brain can perform around… 2 QIPS [quadrillions of instructions per second].” Zakath linked to an ally post in the TheologyOnline.com Grandstands which ridiculed such an ignorant estimate and quoted 100 MIPs instead. I got my estimate from an article by Ralph Merkle, president of Foresight Institute, called “nanotechnology’s leading forum for discussion” by the New York Times. Thus I took Merkle’s estimate of the brain’s potential power at as high as 10 QIPS. (http://www.merkle.com/brainLimits.html)

Father Time: The Atheist God

Zakath: Quoting his atheist neurophysiologist, “In the above examples we were examining sequential trials, as if there was only one protein/DNA/proto-replicator being assembled per trial. In fact there would be billions of simultaneous trials as the billions of building block molecules interacted in the oceans, or on the thousands of kilometers of shorelines.”
Bob: Zakath, don’t you recall that I offered [BA31] “the entire known universe as a laboratory” granting you far more than our tiny oceans; I gave you all the atoms in the universe, a laboratory capable of 1077 simultaneous experiments all occurring a billion times per second, as compared to your neurophysiologist bragging about getting a lab the size of the entire population of China (which is only 109), and with all my generosity, still you require more than a trillion years to initially generate by chance the first (and each subsequent) protein.

A close friend is the chief engineer of a company which writes some of the most efficient software in the world for major hardware manufacturers. He also wrote a program for Bob Enyart Live called Evolve.exe (http://www.kgov.com/evolve/index.htm) [BA31] which my wife has been running on her computer. The program uses the best known random-number generating software in the world. Cheryl has run Evolve for years on her own computer and has tallied 9,826,102,000,000 random tests. But, we have other computers at our home running it also. I had not planned to officially use the results of our Evolve program until we reached one quadrillion trials. But since Zakath and the atheists at talk.origins feel confident with their 52 trials of flipping four coins, I guess the 32.3 trillion attempts that we have logged so far, rolling twenty-six, 26-sided dice and the verifiable and repeatable nature of our experiment, merits at least as much boldness (and a whole lot more significance). Proteins are made from combinations of 20 different left-handed amino acids, each typically linking hundreds of amino acids in a specific order to accomplish specific chemical tasks. Thus the Evolve alphabet test is a tiny baby version of evolving just the first little teeny-weeny partial protein, and yet, one billion computers running evolve 100,000 times per second would take 1.95 quadrillion years just to get our small alphabet, and that with all the pro-evolutionary benefits built into the very concept. Of Cheryl’s nearly ten trillion attempts to get the alphabet dice in the right places (but not necessarily consecutively, we want to make evolution as likely as possible), here’s how many letters she obtained in the right places, and how many times:

If we can get one billion people to run the program in parallel (averaging 100,000 trials/second) it will only take about: 1,950,756,580,000,000 years = 1.95 quadrillion years!

Letters
Right...Times Obtained

0………3,544,172,052,265
1………3,685,934,761,644
2………1,842,966,692,568
3………589,749,506,519
4………135,642,320,651
5………23,873,091,155
6………3,342,168,932
7………382,005,814
8………36,286,036
9………2,905,794
10……..196,551
11……..11,519
12……..524
13……..28
14……..0
15……..0
16……..0
17……..0
18……..0
19……..0
20……..0
21……..0
22……..0
23……..0
24……..0
25……..0
26……..0

Cheryl’s best match so far looked like this: abcdxtyhqkylmfotqrituywwvv. Our friends have loaned us some of their PCs’ processing power and between us we’ve racked up 32,358,971,500,000 attempts and in all those trials the best we have achieved is getting 14 letters in their correct positions just once (and we’re offering a $1,500 (http://www.kgov.com/evolve/) prize for whoever runs the free program and achieves 15 correct!) Notice that out of 32 trillion attempts, we haven’t achieved a dozen 17s, three 20s, and two 24s. Of course not. The slots fill up in an extraordinarily orderly and methodical way. That’s why Pascal’s name is remembered centuries after his death, because his mathematical probabilities are among the most significant findings of science, although atheists desperately seek to get around them. We’ve run Evolve for years now, and along the way, we’ve done some analysis. For example, we compared theoretical predictions with actual results for one run after 305,010,000,000 rolls. Probability theory estimated that out of 305 billion attempts, 114.4 billion times we would get only one of all 26 letters in the correct location (114,414,375,855 to be exact), and our actual run achieved 114,414,189,957, which is remarkably within just 0.000162% of theory after 305 billion tests! For 12 letters in their correct spots, theory predicted we would get 17, and we hit 18. Zakath’s neurophysiologist said that probability “gives the likelihood of an event in a given trial, but doesn't say where it will occur in a series.” But if your theory needs a hundred events to occur at about the same time and in about the same place, each of which is unlikely to happen in a trillion years anywhere in the entire universe, then you do not have a credible scientific theory, but an unscientific, superstitious blind faith in something that hard mathematics tells you would never occur.

If you randomly generated pixels on a TV screen, do you think it plausible that you might quickly obtain a picture of Hillary Clinton, sitting on a Harley, reaching for an anti-abortion poster, falling off the George Washington Bridge, with Bill Clinton in the background at the broken guardrail holding a torch? Yes, it’s unlikely. But atheists would tell you that there’s no reason that it couldn’t pop up right away, perhaps within the first day of the experiment, after all they’ll say, that’s just as likely as it popping up a billion years later. Forgetting the atheists, you would never get that picture or anything reminiscent of it in a trillion years with a trillion universes filled with a trillion TV sets per atom, flashing a trillion images per second. What you would get is a never ending variety of meaningless static. Blaise Pascal’s probability theory is ruthlessly enforced when random processes must achieve highly improbable outcomes many times over.

Finally, atheists hope that some mechanism, something like natural selection, will help bring about the first proteins or partial proteins. But of course, natural selection [BA31] is a conservative force, not a creative force. Nature will select some functions that improve survival, but it cannot steer or direct the creation of those functions to begin with. Also, of course atheists claim that some kind of primitive proteins would have developed first, and only later would “modern” proteins arise like the tens of thousands of different proteins along with the million living species today. But BQ6 is one of those many questions which Zakath made no attempt to answer. BQ6 dealt with the possibility of the “reduced complexity of pre-cell life” and suggests that [BA31] the most primitive life still has to perform the basic functions of:
• separating itself from its outside environment
• communicating between its subsystems
• producing hundreds of intricate compounds
• repairing damaged components
• selectively admitting raw materials from outside
• expelling waste, and paramount,
• reliably reproducing itself.

The first life that arose had to accomplish these things. And a single-celled creature accomplishes these with great efficiency, and not a lot of unnecessary functionality. Thus a single cell is about as simple a living organism as can exist. For example, there are not [BA31] many orders of magnitude of unnecessary complexity in an amoeba. Thus, primitive life must be extraordinarily complex. Further, proteins are extraordinarily simple as compared to a living cell, and tens of thousands of them must be developed, each one taking over a trillion years to come about by chance. And so, atheists suggest that they will be built from smaller parts. But again, claiming it all began with partial proteins [BA31] increases the complexity required for life to arise, rather than simply generating the modern proteins directly. What? They want to break up a simple protein into five pro-proteins (each of which will take billions of years to assemble by chance, and each must occur in the same place at the same time), and their differing functionalities must be viable individually, and then they must be assembled while retaining their viability. And that is simpler? As I warned from my first post, atheists attempt to explain the origin of complexity by introducing “even more complexity.” That will not go unnoticed here.

Question Summary

BQ32: Zakath, help us gauge an atheist’s ability to objectively weigh evidence. Regarding dirty jokes, and privacy in reproduction and expelling waste, and our various fundamental differences from animals like the desire for clothing and the fear of the dark and of ghosts and of the dead, and the recognition of beauty and the existence of ideas, and temperaments, emotion, and personality, please indicate whether all these broad observations appear, even if only superficially, to provide evidence for: a) God b) atheism
If B, please explain: __________________________________________________

BQ33: Zakath, please present evidence that I have not already invalidated that refutes my argument for a universal human conscience, or show the flaw in my invalidation.

BQ34: Zakath, do you admit that the NAZIs who murdered millions held a merely different value system which you may not prefer but which they did prefer, which your preferred laws forbid but which their laws permitted, and that by atheism, there is no final standard that can objectively judge your moral values as superior to the NAZIs?

BQ35 (BQ27 restated) Zakath, is the following reasoning internally consistent, and if so, do you agree that I have solved Euthyphro’s Dilemma with these two observations: 1) if God exists, a description of God’s nature can be independent of His nature itself, and 2) a track record of eternally interacting, independent persons (of the Trinity) who have never experienced a threat to their own wellbeing can each testify of the eternal consistent goodness of the others, and by these three independent witnesses, they can declare their mutual standard as righteous.

BQ36: Zakath, do you agree that it is wrong to attempt to explain the origination of complexity by introducing even more complexity? a) Yes b) No

Sincerely, Bob Enyart

Knight
July 22nd, 2003, 01:45 PM
DING DING DING... Thats it for round 8!

Only two more rounds to go before battle Royale VII is OVER!!

ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Me (Knight), other Administrators, Bob Enyart or Zakath. You may discuss Battle Royale VII here. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710)

Abusing this will result in banishment from TheologyOnLine.

Knight
July 24th, 2003, 07:21 PM
I am getting a lot of messages regarding this so....

NOTE: Zakath has not contacted me nor responded to my PM yet but I am assuming he is taking advantage of the offer Bob posted in his 8th round post...
I will present additional evidence for God’s existence from psychology [ZQ10-7], and then do as I do, respond to all of Zakath’s points, thus making this my longest post, so I offer him an additional 24 hours to respond. - Bob EnyartWe will give him the benefit of the doubt and add 24 hours to the clock.

Knight
July 25th, 2003, 07:14 PM
PLEASE READ:

Due to the fact that Zakath keeps his identity somewhat anonymous and we have no way to contact him other than e-mail and we have grown somewhat concerned as to his well being.

THEREFORE: We are placing Battle Royale VII on cease fire for one week or until we hear from Zakath himself.

Hopefully we will hear from Zakath before a week passes and if anyone knows how to contact him please do so and let us know if Zakath is OK.

So... BR VII is on cease fire until next Friday (Aug. 1st) midnight MDT.

Knight
August 2nd, 2003, 12:31 AM
Zakath????

Knight
August 2nd, 2003, 01:17 PM
FINAL DEADLINE:

OK folks here is the deal...

Zakath no longer responds to my e-mail nor private messages therefore I can only guess as to why he has missed this past deadline extension.

However... we are going to give him ONE final chance to make a ninth round post. I am extending his deadline until Wednesday August 6th at midnight.

If, Zakath does not post by Wednesday August 6th at midnight he will indeed forfeit his 9th round post. And at that point Bob will go on the clock and make his 9th round post by Friday August 8th at midnight MDT.

Hopefully it is evident that we are giving Zakath EVERY possible opportunity to avoid throwing in the towel on this debate.

Knight
August 6th, 2003, 02:11 PM
Tonight is Zakath's last chance to post his 9th round post.

I have reason to believe "Zakath" is just fine! Yet will most likely not be finishing the Battle due to the fact he simply cannot come up with anymore material that is worth posting.

It looks like this was a TKO in the 8th round.

Knight
August 7th, 2003, 12:08 AM
OK, that is it!

Zakath has thrown in the towel. Battle Royale VII is an official TKO. Zakath has been knocked out in the 8th round.

We will now allow Bob Enyart to make his two final posts (rounds 9 and 10).

Bob's 9th round post will be due within 48 hours from now.

Knight
August 7th, 2003, 05:56 PM
ATTENTION ATHEISTS!!! (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=8894)

Round number 10 of BR VII is not lost! Here is your chance!!!!

Bob Enyart
August 8th, 2003, 09:20 PM
Below, I address Zakath's forfeit. But first, there's work to do.

Zakath’s Questions to Bob

ZQ2/ZQ3/ZQ10 (held over from posts 1a, 2a, and 3a): The request for evidence for God.
BA10-8: I now add my eighth line of evidence for a supernatural Creator from higher biological functions.

Higher Biological Functions

I will show that it is irrational to believe that irreducibly complex higher biological functions [BA10-8] like for example, vision, flight, echolocation, and even a giraffe’s neck, could arise by chance. Science makes awesome progress in describing how things work. The entire cosmos, and especially biological life, is much more complex than what mankind had previously imagined. Remember the honeymoon period of atheism? As long as atheists still agree that complex functioning systems cannot appear by chance in one single step, then the more complexity science discovers, the more difficult it becomes to fathom a chance explanation for origins.

Vision: Consider vision systems, and the supposedly primitive brains with which evolutionists think eyesight evolved. Science has taught us that vision systems are wildly more complex than unscientific men may have imagined. For example, when photons strike the rods and cones in our eyeballs, the images they illuminate are communicated to our brains using symbols that do not correspond to the image itself. Look at my picture to the left of this post (called an Avatar). Yes… that one, showing me in a suit and tie. Now, imagine that a primitive creature, say a mosquito, can use vision to increase his chances of survival, since it would help if he bites my neck rather than my shirt. Functioning vision systems provide extraordinary survival benefits to organisms. But that handsome picture of me (I’m bragging about the picture quality, not my looks), is not nearly as instructive (or as good looking) if you look at the actual data in the .GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) file that contains that picture. Most readers can right-click on the photo and then from the shortcut menu that pops up, select “Save Picture As…” and save it to your desktop as Bob.txt. Then, most readers can right-click on that file and open it with a text editor like Microsoft Notepad. By doing this, you can see what that picture data looks like to a word processing program like Notepad. That rubbish looks much more like what a bug would see when trying to decipher the information coming to his brain as a visual image. Here’s what I look like when encoded as a stream of data:

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Now, how does the supposed evolving bug brain begin to decipher such a data stream to identify in the above symbols, say, my nose? Can you spot my nose in the above image data? You couldn’t spot Jimmy Durante’s nose in those symbols. But the job for the bug is way more complicated. The above gibberish interprets the data in my photo as though it were ASCII and ANSI (computer text) characters. We could view the same information in hexadecimal characters (base 16), or in a binary series of bits (but then we’d have to look at about 4K, or 4,073 bytes, i.e., 32,584 bits of zeros and ones), but at least the above is a single, unchanging, defined set of information. For the bug, the stream of electrochemical signals is continuous, and constantly changes. Get that?

By the way, an eyelid could close to give the bug time to think about the last image he saw, but would that lid have evolved prior to the brain evolving sufficiently to interpret the data sent to it by the forming eye? And while we’re at it, a broadband optic nerve with sufficient data transfer rates must develop by pure chance. I know the atheists in the Grandstands are particularly obtuse about this, thinking that atheism does not depend upon pure chance to create such new functions. But by atheism, there is no directing force to develop sight in a blind creature. And natural selection could not preserve sight (eyes, nerves, processing, comprehending) until its component parts operated together at least as a rudimentary vision system.

So the bug needs to develop (by chance) a method of interpreting the symbolic vision data stream. But if every atom in the known universe represented a trillion ways per second of interpreting the above data, and we enlarged that universe by a trillion, trillion, trillion times, and let such an inquisitive bug live a trillion years, that poor slob of a bug couldn’t begin to touch the possibilities of chance coming up with the correct way of interpreting that data. The primitive bird brain or bug brain would have no conception that the incoming stream of electrochemical signals could indicate the look on my face. How would it even begin to analyze the data? Would the data represent heat, sound, touch, taste, or smell? If it represented an image, would the picture appear as a series of lines (vectors) or arrays of pixels? Would pixels be arranged row by row? Column by column? Columns of what length? 640 x 480? 1024 x 1024? Color or B&W? How many bits (or millivolts) per pixel? Would it store the image for processing as vector (lines & shapes) or bitmapped (dots)? And remember, the bug brain is not even trying to interpret the data. It just has to fall upon this ability by chance! Yes, natural selection will preserve the living daylights out of the first bug to come upon sight by chance. But natural selection can only preserve the functioning system once it begins to give its host a survival advantage. In churning through the possible ways of interpreting vision data (which itself is an inexplicable and functionally meaningless concept for randomness), an evolving bug brain would happen through a googolplex of complex algorithms before it randomly fell upon one that might give it some semblance of a valid interpretation. For example, while the above vision data actually encodes a photo of me in a tie, as far as the bug knew, it might represent:

• The sound of thunder
• A predator’s mouth
• The taste of mold
• Zakath’s fingers in ten splints
• The heat of a flame
• A spider’s web
• The smell of ozone
• Nothing

The atheist shows himself irrational by suggesting that a non-directive force of chance can begin to correctly interpret symbolic data. The irreducible complexity of higher biological functions like vision cannot arise by chance. For, any vision system must convert photons reflected by an object into a symbolic data stream, and the functions of processing, encoding, storing, and interpreting that data (all before the system yields any survival benefit) cannot happen by chance. This is just one of millions of ways to refute evolution as contrary to reason, math and science, and based upon blind faith. The symbolic nature of any vision system by itself damns the atheist. Regarding the object to be viewed, to avoid reducing it into a series of symbols, you would have to put the entire object inside the collector (the eye) of the organism. That is, if you want to avoid symbols in a creature’s sight, you will have to put the object itself into the creature, that is, a mosquito would have to suck an entire Tyrannosaurus Rex into its eyeball, and physically feel and touch it to identify it. But of course, that would no longer be a vision system. Thus, a vision system cannot avoid the processing of encoded symbolic information. And the nature of symbolic representation is that there is an almost infinite variety of ways to symbolize data. During WWII, the Allies worked strenuously to decode the transmissions of the Japanese and the Germans, and we knew what the goal was, we knew the data streams contained linguistic content, we knew the parameters of the meaning of that content, we presumed where the data streams started and stopped, and we systematically worked through algorithms using an enormous base of knowledge about the people doing the encoding. A bug brain could not by chance decode and identify Midway as the destination of the Japanese fleet. A bug brain, without goal-oriented direction, could not accidentally happen upon a way to decode symbolic data. No conceivable series of chances could accomplish such a feat. Not once! And yet, all the diverse species, genera, families, orders, classes and six phyla of sighted organisms have backed almost all atheists into assuming that vision evolved repeatedly, many times over! Paired eyes exist in three phyla: vertebrates, arthropods and mollusks, and ninety-five percent of all animal species have sight, and so far, eleven different eye types that have been identified, including most recently the telephoto lens of the chameleon. So, evolutionists believe that eyesight can so readily evolve, that it is not surprising that it has evolved multiple times! What foolishness. Here’s a message to decode, from science itself to the atheist: the physical laws have no symbolic logic function!

Life is as much based upon information as it is upon chemicals. Atheists are fond of imagining that an innumerable variety of completely different proteins can accomplish specific tasks. That is not true. And of googols of possible algorithms for interpreting the above vision data, only the smallest percent (close to zero) can realistically interpret such symbols. But wait! How about the initial development of vision to begin with? For, before the brain can begin to unravel the symbolic data, that data stream must be delivered to it. How does that happen? Well, the pre-sight creature could not possibly comprehend that harvesting photons could improve his chances of getting a meal, or avoiding becoming one. So, he must develop his eyes by a fluke, by a fortuitous accident. Many evolutionists have imagined that perhaps a sunburn, or a pimple, introduced light sensitivity and then vision into organisms. (Can you say: sun chariot?) But of course, if you get sunburn, your next baby won’t feel the sting. Atheists constantly forget the difference between the phenotype and the genotype, i.e., between the actual features of an organism and its genetic code, for genetics control reproduction, not experience. You can jump until the cows come home and your offspring will not inherit springy knees; a horse can stretch his neck all he wants to eat from tree branches, and his great-great horse-son will not become a giraffe. Such a gaffe is about as embarrassing a blunder as one could make in biology. Yet such ideas abound in our public-schooled society with its atheistic curriculum. And belief in evolution is the cause of the prevalence of these genetically-challenged, anti-intellectual ideas.

Since the genetic code determines the offspring, and not a creature’s need or experience, consider then what happens to the probabilities when atheists expect that random mutations will bring about improvements in interconnected, interdependent, complex systems. As an example of complex systems that interface with one another, consider banks that wire funds internationally while adjusting for real-time currency exchange rates: any changes that add new functions to that system must be carefully coordinated by the banks and clearing houses, and integrated into all related subsystems. Random changes in one system will eventually break the entire system. When highly interconnected systems enhance functionality, the complexity increases geometrically as compared to systems with fewer connections. [That’s partly why PC operating systems from Apple and Linux run more stably than those from Microsoft, because they both interface with far fewer third-party hardware and software goods.] With the non-directive forces of atheism, a single protein will not arise by chance. And the absurdity of hope in the impossible multiplies when atheists believe that systematic improvements frequently arise by chance in the multitude of families of diverse creatures in our world. The human eye has millions of rod and cone receptors which encode visual data, and the wildly complex, very high-bandwidth optic nerve transmits that data to the brain, and different centers in the brain process and decode the symbolic data, and even give executive summary reports of that information to the conscious mind. And remember, an ambitious pimple with hopes of becoming a receptor cone will not be preserved by natural selection until:

• that pimple starts improving survival;
• and such a cone wannabe can’t help sight until it is serviced by a compatible optic nerve;
• and this aspiring cone and nerve can’t help sight until the brain can decode their symbolic output.

But forget all that. Really. Let’s consider just enhancing an existing black and white system into color vision by granting the atheist the first, say, 1,000 rods, a serviceable optic nerve, and brain circuitry for seeing. The DNA that describes these functions and reproduces them into the offspring is wildly complex. And now an organism begins to develop color sight by the random chance appearance of cones (an absurdity). But wait! The appearance of those cones means nothing without a parallel improvement in capacity and compatibility of the optic nerve (an absurdity squared times a googol). And of course both these must begin in parallel by pure random chance, because until color sightedness actually begins to improve survival, natural selection will not preserve any color components. [And here we find another absolute! Atheists are in absolute denial of this basic function of their own theory.] But wait! Neither the cones nor the nerve mean anything without the integration of a new brain capacity by which it processes light wavelength symbols to yield a dimension of data previously unfathomable to it (an absurdity cubed times a googolplex). For the creature’s evolving brain has no hint that color even exists! And before natural selection can even begin to help, the color collectors, encoders, and symbolic decoders all have to occur by pure and utter random chance without the slightest inkling of any goal whatsoever. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 50:1). Thus, while the probability of a single function first arising, like a new enzyme, is less than would occur in a trillion years with the entire universe as a laboratory, the mathematical probability of non-directed improvements to interrelated complex systems is non-existent. And the more science discovers about biological life, the more we learn that everything is interrelated and wildly complex.

[Here is a personal note to any unbeliever still reading: If you are a committed atheist or agnostic, then the more clear evidence you see that proves the existence of the Creator, most likely, your heart will become increasingly hard and bitter against God. Therefore, I think you should skip the rest of this ninth round. Really. For, shoving truth into someone’s face does not tend to produce a humble admission of error. But as for me, I will continue to do my best, and let the results occur as they may. -Bob]

Flight: In school in the 1970s, I was taught that animals evolved flight when small hungry rodent-like creatures climbed trees and jumped after flying insects for food. (I wonder what preflight insects jumped after?) To succinctly describe this popular notion: some creatures jumped a lot, and eventually their descendants grew wings. Replace this with some current inanity about jumping dinosaurs, or invent any variation on the theme and it will remain utterly unscientific. Creationist Mendel fathered genetic science and first taught atheists the difference between the phenotype and the genotype, i.e., between the actual visible characteristics of an organism and its genetic code. And it is the genotype that controls reproduction, not the phenotype. A dinosaur can hop for a lifetime and his offspring will not be inclined toward growing feathers.



Initially developing the requirements for animal flight, including hollowed out bones, feathers, brain avionics, and wings would have nothing to do with need or experience. But atheists just can’t come to terms with this. One of evolution’s basic flaws is ignoring the most basic law of microbiology: genetics. Evolutionists succumb to a vestigial Lamarckian delusion. Atheists secretly hope to discover that genetic science is wrong, and that really the phenotype, not the genotype, directs reproduction. But a jumpy rat does not incline his kids’ DNA toward flight. Atheists are like the true believers of a cult whose dogma ignores our scientific knowledge of genetic reproduction, cloaking their ritual belief in phenotype reproduction in silly myths. But after a million jumps, the DNA of a rodent’s offspring will not benefit from even the slightest nudge in the direction of improved jumping skills. Such skill would have to arise by chance alone, and only then could natural selection preserve it. Rodents who jump a lot (say, after food) will not be more inclined to produce babies with tiny wings sprouting, nor with feathers, nor with the hollowed out bones needed for a lighter, flight-ready skeleton. A lazy mouse would have as much chance of having a baby with pre-feathers as does the Prebles Jumping Mouse.

Yes, natural selection could preserve the living daylights out of the first creature to take to flight (assuming its mutations were compatible with a heterosexual partner). But natural selection cannot create, preserve or refine flight functions until such flight first improves survival rates. Natural selection is a conservative, not a creative force. (I’m trying to drive this home since atheists remain in denial of this most basic concept.) Thus, the higher function of flight requires extraordinarily complex, interconnected and interdependent systems which cannot possibly arise by chance in order then to be preserved by natural selection.

[b]Echolocation: Bats use extraordinarily sophisticated echolocation to find their way out of dark caves, to maneuver around tree branches, and to find their prey. They must emit very loud ultrasounds rapidly varying the frequency, and with extremely sensitive hearing, detect and interpret returning echoes, using the differing pitch to distinguish between larger objects further away and nearer smaller objects, while filtering out competing environmental noises including ultrasonic pulses from other bats. Man’s most advanced sonar to date can distinguish echoes six millionths of a second apart, but bats effortlessly interpret data signals separated by only three millionths of a second, and such sophistication enables, for example, fishing bats to successfully hunt minnows, spotting a fin as fine as a human hair that extends only eight hundredths of an inch above the water.

In the last round, I claimed that “atheism cannot directly explain even one of all the observations ever made, while all those same observations are themselves ready and direct evidence for theism.” Let’s test that claim again. As I write this section on echolocation, I’ve taken a Starbucks break and opened the Rocky Mountain News and coincidentally read that bats can eat 600 mosquitoes per hour! At night! Tiny mosquitoes! Try to read an echo off of a mosquito! In flight! Aside from our dinosaur hunt, our family also went on an excursion to Glenwood Caverns, in which we toured at night an awesome cave that until recently was closed to the public for 80 years. Bats flew over our heads exiting the cave in search for food, mostly tiny mosquitoes. I explained to our children that the bats hearing is so delicate that the loudness of their own signals would cause them to go deaf, but a clever system muffles their ears with each burst of sound. For natural selection to even begin preserving echolocation system components, this higher function must increase the animal’s chances for survival, and that will not happen until the wildly complicated system begins to operate correctly, and even the slightest function out of sync will disable the entire system, and until the conservative forces of natural selection kick in, the only force available to the atheist is random chance mutations. And so, go ahead and attempt to quantify the probability that echolocation will evolve by chance to the point where it begins to improve survival. Remember what that psalmist wrote?

Long Necks: The atheistic, evolutionist curriculum in our public schools has led millions of young people to believe that giraffes long necks evolved because low-lying food died out, and horse-like creatures had to stretch to reach the leaves in trees. Really! Wow. (Can you say: “horse-drawn sun chariot?”) Is that inane or what? Talk about being in denial of hard science, and promoting myths. So, generations of horses began worrying that the low bushes were dying out. But Jesus said, “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” (Mat. 6:27). Remember, all the stretching in the world will not add an inch to the babies’ necks. And wouldn’t all the baby giraffes have died off in that first generation, along with all other short animals for that matter? Besides, as the giraffes’ necks supposedly grew, their hearts had to increase in size to push the blood that much higher against gravity. But when the giraffe bends over to drink, that greater blood pressure would literally blow out his brains, and so a valve at the base of the giraffe’s skull shuts off that flow when he bends over. But without fresh blood to his brain, he would faint every time he tried to drink, so a spongy reservoir in his head gently refreshes his brain with oxygenated blood while he drinks. This one creature illustrates what is true of every living creature, that interdependent systems are irreducibly complex and must first function together in order to ensure survival and only then can these entire interconnected systems be preserved by natural selection. Thus, a Creator is required to begin such complex life. What came first, the chicken or the egg? Actually, God came first, and He made the chickens, and they laid the eggs.

Countless Biological Systems: Countless biological systems prove the need for the Creator. The immune system is so wildly complex that scientific volumes have just begun to describe it. Cellular activity is so wildly complex that our greatest scientists stand in awe, even though most of them reject the Creator who made the cell. Why reject Him? Men disbelieve due to a refusal to humbly submit themselves to God’s moral judgments. What each reader already knows about digestion, breathing, lactation, hearing, and reproduction is more than enough to convince a humble and honest person that God exists. Thus, if you reject God, I am telling you directly that you have a problem with humility and honesty, both of which result from your sin and rebellion. You are a person who hurts others and you defend yourself unjustly, and you refuse the forgiveness that God offers you if only you will trust in Him. By the way, in order for mosquitoes to reproduce, the adult male abdomen must rotate 180 degrees and lock in place because he is born with his sex organs on the wrong side of his body, and only after this permanent contortion can the male mate with the female. How does the first mosquito pull that off, so that his descendants can bite you? So not only do the most unlikely observations provide direct evidence for God, but so do the most annoying. God has left evidence for His existence everywhere we look. And even the looking itself tells us that God exists!

To any atheist, is it true or false that natural selection is a conservative, not a creative, force? Evolutionists believe that natural selection will preserve changes in species that improve their chances of survival. But those changes have to first appear for natural selection to preserve them. Natural selection only selects by killing off the less robust organisms, and it passively allows “improved” individuals to survive. Natural selection has no ability to bring a beneficial genetic mutation into existence, but only to preserve ones that do appear. For example, if a bat needs some new protein with 250 amino acids in order to eventually echolocate his prey, natural selection cannot help steer mutations toward generating that protein (or a suitable alternative if one exists); but if such an improvement ever did appear by random chance, only then could it be preserved. So, probabilities are crucial to determine whether species can evolve. Thus atheists intuitively ignore math. Reading the TheologyOnline.com Grandstands, I notice that atheists get especially annoyed at creationists who use mathematical probabilities to show the impossibility of evolution. They claim we misunderstand the process. So, I challenge them to demonstrate what mathematic or scientific principle or principles creationists misapply when calculating the probabilities of a single protein originally appearing by chance, or of color vision, or of echolocation.

The black and white to color vision development is one example that illustrates the impossibility of the atheist suggestion that each small evolutionary step can be beneficial to survival. There is no beneficial step midway between black and white and color vision. And yet the gap between the two functions is insurmountable by random chance. I can hear the atheist say that color vision could arise in small steps, for example, by adding one color at a time, rather than three at once. But of course, this does nothing to answer the dilemma posed, for the conceptual problem exists whether adding one color, or all three primary colors. For some color vision must arise successfully as a new functioning capability before natural selection could have anything to do with it. Also, there is no beneficial step for natural selection to preserve midway toward flight. There is no beneficial step midway toward echolocation. There is no beneficial step midway toward a giraffe’s blood reservoir. There is no beneficial step midway toward lungs. There is no beneficial step midway toward the development of a cell wall. Etc., etc., etc., about ten thousand times over. And yet, atheism requires not just one but thousands of discrete beneficial steps toward these functions.

And since we live during the honeymoon period of atheism, we theists have been able to persuade many people with the following argument: One of the laws of nature, gravity, indicates that matter attracts matter. But if you simmer a can of Campbell’s Alphabet Soup, there is no law of nature that will cause the pasta letters to attract one another to form grammatically correct English sentences. Similarly, the laws of physics do not incline atoms toward forming amino acids and functioning proteins. Nor do the laws of physics incline acids toward forming RNA and DNA. And while proteins are three-dimensional molecules and therefore the laws of physics can eliminate some theoretical proteins, no law can eliminate any particular nonsensical sequence of nucleotides in DNA. For example, a hard drive does not care about the sequence of bits in a file. Likewise, the laws of physics have no say whatsoever in the sequence of genetic information in DNA! So in addition to the laws of physics not driving atoms to create DNA, further, they have absolutely no control over the nucleotide genetic sequence. And it’s the sequence that gives DNA its meaning! That is, the genetic sequences provide the information needed for life! (Remember Einstein’s Gulf?) Thus, the physical laws do not pull atoms to form the molecular foundations of life. If no Creator exists, then if such things are to arise without external guidance, they therefore must arise by pure random chance. Yes, if life could arise that way, then reproduction could enable natural selection to preserve traits that promote survival. But natural selection does not operate until after the trait first comes into existence. Natural selection is conservative, not creative. Thus, there is no atheistic mechanism that can conceivably drive toward creating new functions, proteins, enzymes, higher functions, genetic sequences, etc. And that is where the science of mathematical probabilities becomes so relevant. There are at least a million living species on Earth today. And there are hundreds of thousands of known proteins and perhaps many more viable proteins. And yes, once a protein exists in a functioning organism, then natural selection can help maintain it. But natural selection cannot create a protein; it can only help to preserve it after it has come into existence. Even if less complex biological forms, like partial proteins, supposedly arose first, [b]all of the information content in today’s species must still arise by random chance, and the probabilities of all that happening fortuitously show conclusively that Earth’s complex ecosystem with its numerous and varied life forms could never arise by chance.

An unbeliever in the Grandstands made a typical atheist argument, describing a beach and pointing out the absurdly unlikely probability that all those grains of sand would have lined up just as they now are, each grain in its own special place, with particular grains of sand all around it. If yesterday, someone required or predicted the current arrangement of sand for just one day later, that requirement would yield an absolute utter impossibility of not one chance in a googol of occurring. Yet, the beach exists! So atheists argue that due to a lack of mathematical insight, we creationists make an argument that is exposed as an error at every beach party. Everyday and every moment, they claim, the arrangement of sand on the beach shows that supposedly absolute utter impossibilities occur constantly: they just point to the beach, as real as could be, as real as the sand beneath your feet, and say, “See, creationists are wrong!” Atheists make this argument, bragging that they understand math and probabilities while creationists obviously do not. However, their argument ignores the fact that sand, like money, is fungible. That is, one part or quantity can be replaced by another part or quantity, without functional loss. Any ten dollar bill can pay any ten dollar debt, and any grain of sand can suffice as a part of the clump between your toes. On the contrary, life depends upon precisely arranged units of information. Randomly rearrange grains of sand and you still have a beach. Randomly rearrange DNA and you have birth defects. The atheist’s beach party refutation of probability theory is a great intellectual embarrassment, yet atheists frequently repeat it and similar arguments. And further, this argument of theirs is tantamount to an attempt to falsify the mathematics of probabilities, which is utter foolishness, as though every outcome is equally probable. I am embarrassed for them, for their ignorance; and I know that it is not intellectual deficiency that causes their confusion, but it is a willful ignorance, for they are blinded by their emotional opposition against God. No scientist can begin to explain life apart from information theory. Our very word “information” brings forth the picture of elements lined up “in formation.” Information requires an ordering of data that has nothing to do with physical laws like gravity or magnetism. Thus, in answer to Zakath’s first question, I defined God as the “knowledgeable,” “supernatural Creator of the natural universe,” just as He must be.

Atheists blindly hope that multiple complex systems together will randomly improve functionality by chance harmonious and mutually beneficial changes in each. Right. That’s mathematically and scientifically inane, and contradicts the very disciplines that atheists claim to trust in. And again, everything in biology is complex and interconnected! I began by stating that it is irrational to believe that irreducibly complex higher biological functions like vision, flight, echolocation, and even a giraffe’s neck, could arise by chance. However, as science has revealed the workings of the single-celled amoeba, the tiny C. elegans worm, and of each of the trillion cells in the human body, we have learned that there is no such thing as a simple biological system. Everything is wildly complex, interrelated, interconnected, and interdependent, with countless species and systems requiring the existence of so many other species and systems as prerequisites, showing that Earth’s basic life forms (the kinds) came into existence not gradually over time but instantly, at the spoken word of God.

Where's Zakath?

Before this debate began, I requested from and offered to Zakath a reciprocal agreement by which either party could publish this Does God Exist? Battle Royale VII, which Zakath agreed to. I want to thank Zakath for his eight rounds, and express my concern that he has decided to forfeit these last two and thus the Battle itself. Regarding my concern for Zakath, Jesus Christ reinforced the Old Testament teaching that man’s rebellion against God is the great cause of human suffering. And since the world is filled with pain that we humans inflict upon one another, then Zakath’s lack of humility before God means that he is not part of the solution but part of the problem. And the problem includes the extraordinary heartache of human suffering and ruined lives. This is why Jesus spoke so much about punishment for unbelievers. Therein lies my concern.

As a Christian, it is weird to “thank” an atheist for arguing against God’s existence. Zakath’s stand is one in which He denies the most fundamental truth of all of existence. And broken human lives that fill the world with hurt and suffering cannot mend apart from this truth. Thus, as I laid out in post 1b, because God is moral and just, the cost of atheism is incalculable. Yet there is a benefit to those who are seeking God, to see a debate between a believer and an unbeliever; to see the unbeliever obfuscate, misrepresent, ignore arguments, and refuse to answer questions; and to see that the theist is able to respond forthrightly to the atheist’s questions. Since so many unbelievers simply refuse to openly discuss God, by participating, Zakath has helped others see the brokenness of atheism.

My goal was not just to beat Zakath in the debate. According to some who are more familiar with TOL, Zakath was probably not expecting to face as much persistence and attention to detail as he has here. But my actual goal, of course, was to show convincingly that God does in fact exist. Now, after round eight and the repeated deadline extensions offered to Zakath, Knight informs us that Zakath “is just fine,” but that he will not be finishing the Battle. Knight has called the battle “an official TKO” (technical knock out), stating that “Zakath has been knocked out in the 8th round.” We offered to be even more flexible, and Zakath has chosen not to accept that offer, preferring to quit, and indicating that he will be back on the boards soon. Just like old times! So now I will complete the last two rounds unopposed by Zakath. However, Knight has offered TheologyOnline unbelievers the opportunity to contribute toward a tenth round composite post. I’ve been reading their very confident posts in the Grandstands and welcome any collective challenge they can muster. We’ll see what happens.

Bob’s 8th Round Questions to Zakath

BQ32 – BQ36 Zakath didn’t answer through forfeiture. The unanswered questions regarded observations in psychology, the ubiquitous human conscience, the inability of atheism to ultimately condemn any wickedness (i.e., Nazism, whereas theism can condemn actions of theists, i.e., the Crusades), the solution to the supposed dilemma of the existence of an absolute moral standard, and lastly, a question about the error of explaining the origination of complexity by introducing more complexity.

Complete Question Summary

By my count, Zakath asked me 32 questions. I directly answered all 32 questions (see A1, A2, and BA3 – BA32).

So far, I asked Zakath 33 questions. (But I accidentally skipped numbers BQ10 – BQ12.) Zakath answered nine of my 33 questions: BQ1, BQ2, BQ7, BQ8, BQ13, BQ24, BQ27, BQ28, and BQ29. Some of these answers were unfulfilling, like BQ28 regarding the appearance of proteins which Zakath answered with an extremely weak appeal to poker, to flipping a very few coins, and by begging the question. Zakath misstated BQ13 and answered his own version of the question, which avoided the matter. Also, Zakath answered some of these questions indirectly by equivocating or by implication, as for BQ7. He answered BQ8 as “I don’t know” and thereby admitted that he could not give even “a conceptual solution in the most broad terms” or even “offer a wild guess in some vague direction for how intellectual consciousness can originate from matter.”

Zakath did not answer 24 questions: BQ3, BQ4, BQ5, BQ6, BQ9, , BQ14, BQ15, BQ16, BQ17, BQ18, BQ19, BQ20, BQ21, BQ22, BQ23, BQ25, BQ26, BQ31, BQ33, BQ34, BQ35, and BQ36; nor did he answer BQ30 which he asked me to refine, which I did and is pending as BQ32.

I invite the TheologyOnline unbelievers to respond to any of the above unanswered questions. In my tenth round post, I will do my best to role-play an atheist and answer any remaining unanswered questions. And I offer the following additional questions:

BQ37: With Zakath AWOL, would someone in the TOL atheist community please respond: Natural selection is a conservative, not a creative, force. a) True b) False
If B, please explain: _________________________________________________

BQ38: With Zakath AWOL, would some atheist please demonstrate what mathematic or scientific principle or principles creationists misapply when calculating the probabilities of a single protein [i]originally appearing by chance, or of color vision, or of echolocation.

Sincerely, Bob Enyart

Knight
August 15th, 2003, 09:50 PM
HEAR YE HEAR YE....

OK.... Sorry for the delay but the plans have changed somewhat. Due to the fact that we didn't get much response from our atheist community in composing a 10th round post we are changing our plans ever so slightly (only Flipper and "attention" made an effort).

Bob will go ahead and make his 10th round post by Tuesday August 19th at Midnight MDT. Which will officially end Battle Royale VII "Does God Exist?".

THEN... after Bob's 10th round post has been made we will create a new thread (to be named later) where we will post Flipper's atheist compilation post and Bob will respond to it specifically.

Therefore.... if you want to add to this follow-up atheist post I suggest you contact Flipper ASAP. The last time I set a deadline and we had almost ZERO takers until the deadline was over :rolleyes:. So this time don't wait until its too late OK?

If you have questions regarding what type of input you can supply or quantity of input please PM Flipper and arrange your input.

So...

Bob is back on the clock and we are giving him until Tuesday August 19th to finish his 10th round post.

Bob Enyart
August 19th, 2003, 09:29 PM
Welcome to the finale of Battle Royale VII. O Zakath, Zakath, wherefore art thou? We'll see if we can find Zakath somewhere in this post! Meanwhile, let's get to work. Millions of students have been taught variations of seven typical atheist clichés. Zakath obscured some of these hidden within his three rather bizarre arguments for atheism. See if you can spot the ones he used. Boiled down to clear statements exposed to the light of day, each of these popular clichés can be disproved within eight seconds.

Atheist Cliché 1: There is no truth!
Theist Rebuttal: Is that true? [1 second]

Atheist Cliché 2: There are no absolutes!
Theist Rebuttal: Absolutely? [1 second]

Atheist Cliché 3: Only your five senses provide real knowledge!
Theist Rebuttal: Says which of the five? [2 seconds]

Atheist Cliché 4: Great suffering proves that a loving God cannot exist!
Theist Rebuttal: The unstated assumption is false, that suffering can have no value or purpose. [4.5 seconds]

Atheist Cliché 5: Atheism is scientific, because science does not allow for a supernatural interpretation of an event!
Theist Rebuttal: Such circular reasoning forces science to assume that which atheists claim it supports. [5 seconds]

Atheist Cliché 6: Widespread evil proves that a righteous God cannot exist!
Theist Rebuttal: The two unstated assumptions are false: that love can be forced; and that some love is not worth enduring much hate. [6.5 seconds]

Atheist Cliché 7: If theists claim that the universe could not have always been here, then God couldn’t have always been here either.
Theist Rebuttal: The natural universe is subject to the physical laws, so it would run out of useable energy; a supernatural, spiritual God is not subject to physics. [7.9 seconds]

If your worldview can be dismantled within eight seconds, then get a better one.

The atheistic worldview, like the world’s pagan religions, is self-contradictory and undermines morality, reason, and the worth of the human being. Zakath’s clumsy arguments about Confusion, Moral Knowledge, and Non-Belief parallel the errors in clichés four and six about suffering and evil, using unstated assumptions that there can be no value or purpose in the suffering that follows human disagreements and conflicts, and that love cannot be worth enduring hatred. It’s not that Zakath’s arguments ridicule these great realities of human experience, rather, they utterly ignore them. If these assumptions are so obviously true, atheists would state them in their arguments, but they omit them because they contradict vast human experience. We value love greatly. Cheryl’s love for me is so incredibly dear because I know she could withhold it from me, even despise me, and love someone else instead. And yes, I hurt for the suffering people of the world, including those in my own family, and of course I have suffered greatly myself, mostly due to my own wrongdoing. But our three toddlers ran to me as I was leaving for work this morning, the older two saying, “Daddy, kiss and a hug,” while the youngest, Dominic, said, “iss ana ug.” I would endure a lifetime of pain for the opportunity to love them. And I seek to minimize, but not to eliminate, the suffering of all our children. For we do not live a make-believe existence, but in reality. And certain behaviors are destructive. So I would rather they experience the pain and suffering that results from wrongdoing, rather than raise them in an artificial laboratory that insulates them from truth and consequences. God sees such truths and weighs them not just for a single individual, but for the entire human race, and He does so far more accurately than I can. There is no inherent contradiction, as implied by Zakath’s arguments, for God to find it worthwhile to allow men to suffer while providing the opportunity for us to love.

Who wins this Battle Royale VII on Does God Exist? Often in debates, both sides claim victory. In the Grandstands early in the debate I made a challenge to Zakath, acknowledging that we might both claim victory. I suggested that eventually we will reveal our own true opinions as the participants, as to whether we have won or not. One rule of thumb for discerning if an opponent really believes his own claim of victory is to see if he promotes the finished debate to a wider audience or not. If the one who claims victory puts a permanent link to the debate on his website or in his forum signature, or somehow attempts to publicize the contest in his own sphere of influence, then that is evidence that at least this opponent really does believe he won. On the other hand, if one side claims victory, but makes no effort to promote the completed debate, and even would rather everyone forget it ever occurred (Zakath, are you listening?), then that provides evidence that this opponent does not believe his own claim of victory. Knowing who truly believes he won or lost of course does not ultimately decide whether a certain opponent was right or wrong on the matter being debated, but if the debaters have significant experience in the subject, and one opponent believes his side lost (or showed poorly), that of course is of interest to those evaluating the debate. It appears obvious as Zakath has been posting casually on the boards recently, that he would rather we forget about the debate and just get on with life. (Zakath, I directly challenge you, put a link to BRVII in your signature!) And while the atheists in the Grandstands have proclaimed boldly all along that the atheist side was winning the debate and the theist side was offering no arguments whatsoever, I challenge you all collectively to promote this debate in your own sphere of influence. After all, if I offered nothing in evidence and Zakath so deftly refuted my arguments, then his abbreviated effort would easily outshine my lengthier one, and more so by his succinctness. So TheologyOnline.com atheists, you are challenged to link to this debate in your signatures. After all, it is probably your loyalty to Zakath that kept most of you from making a composite post for the tenth round, so why not publicize his work? Of course, I will promote the debate as I have said I would from the beginning, because I truly believe that the theist side won, while the actions of the atheists will speak louder than their words.

Below, I offer two final lines of evidence for God, the transcendental argument and evidence from history. The historical evidence is that of special revelation. That is, I will provide evidence that God has directly communicated to man in history, as recorded in the world’s most well-read history book. And in that book, God has revealed Himself in more detail than we could learn from just the general revelation of the creation. While presenting that evidence, I reply to Zakath’s accusations against the God of the Bible. And in between these last two arguments for God, as promised, I have answered all those questions that Zakath refused to answer, in a section titled, Zakath on Sodium Pentothal (truth serum). I did my best to answer these from the perspective of a response atheist. I conclude the debate with a brief summary of all the evidence.

Transcendental Proof for God

As soon as the atheist says he wants to resolve this Battle Royale in a rational way, he has lost. Here’s why:

God exists because of the impossibility of the alternative. Unbelievers require theists to provide evidence for God which is not circular, which does not beg the question, that is, they insist that we do not assume that which we should try to prove. They claim that faith puts theists at a disadvantage, because we trust in God. Contrariwise, they claim that they reject faith, and constrain themselves to the laws of logic and reason. Atheists claim that only evidence based upon logic and reason is valid. But how do atheists validate that claim? They cannot. For if atheists attempt to justify “logic and reason” by logic and reason, then they have based their entire godless worldview on circular reasoning; and we find that rational atheism is an impossibility. And if they cannot defend the foundation of their worldview by logic or reason, they leave themselves only with the illogical and irrational, which accounts for arguments actually offered by atheists. To justify logic apart from circular reasoning, you must seek the foundation of logic outside of logic itself. Thus we learn that, apart from belief in God, nothing can be truly knowable. If an honest and consistent atheist could actually exist, he would not claim that atheism is defensible by logic, since logic itself is indefensible by logic apart from circular reasoning. Therefore on the one hand, if the atheist claims to know anything at all, he unwittingly has shown that atheism (the alternative to God) is an impossibility, because apart from God, nothing is knowable, as demonstrated in this paragraph.

On the other hand, as a last ditch attempt to consistently defend atheism, the atheist may claim to be a no-nothing, that is, to know nothing at all, because by atheism, actual knowledge is impossible. Popular atheism is moving in this general direction. When this happens, we theists point out that the pinnacle achievement of atheism is ignorance. As I have said, every observation provides direct evidence for God while atheism struggles to account for anything whatsoever. The honest thinker who wants to work out a systematic atheistic worldview will find that without God, the only things that are possible are nothing and ignorance (the lack of knowledge). Apart from God, nothing can be known or justified, not microevolution nor heliocentricity, not a wit of logic nor even a half-wit. No certainty can exist without Him who is the foundation of truth, and those who love truth, love Him. (Dr. Greg Bahnsen successfully used the transcendental proof for God while debating a leading atheist, Dr. Gordon Stein, at the University of California at Irvine. (http://www.reformed.org/apologetics/index.html?mainframe=index_apol.html))

A fundamental difference between God and logic is that logic is a system of thought that attempts to rationally justify ideas, and as an idea itself, logic must somehow be justifiable, or found to be illogical. God is not a system of thought that needs to be justified. He is an actual being. And while the existence of logic apart from God is self-contradictory as just demonstrated in BA10-9, there exists no contradiction in the existence of the rational God whose very mind and thoughts provide the foundation for logic itself. And while we cannot see God, as we cannot see hope or love, the Bible defines “faith” as accepting “the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

In giving my first eight lines of evidence (except for the epistemological part of [BA10-7]) I assume that atheists often use logic and reason (imitating Christians) even though they cannot logically defend doing so in their own godless worldview. But without a foundation for logic, I also realize that their intellectual discipline allows them to treat all evidence illogically, since they have no ultimate commitment to reason, not even to logic itself, and certainly not to truth or morality. So, in an atheist’s attempt to win a debate, there is nothing inherently inconsistent or wrong with lying, cheating, or quitting in an attempt to spoil the endeavor (which I will not let Zakath do); for there is no ultimate reason for honesty, no absolute commitment to truth, and no foundation for an unwavering determination to be logical. Word games, contradictions, unresponsiveness, slight of hand, obfuscation, misstatements, and ignoring arguments all can be used as consistent with atheism in order to attempt to win the debate, and in actual practice, such deception is the strength of the atheist’s ability to persuade.

Yet surely, God either exists or does not exist. (Ahh, see, there I go again! I said “surely!” I’ve used logic here, which a theist can use with certainty, whereas the atheist cannot absolutely defend even such simple logic.) The atheist worldview is dysfunctional, and they can only operate by borrowing the certainty that is possible with God. By the way, that is an insight we can find in Christ’s statement that, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26), by which He was not claiming that square circles could be drawn, nor defending any irrationality, but that all things knowable or doable, especially evident in the matter of salvation itself, are only possible because of God. In contrast to atheism, my theistic worldview is functional, because I recognize that logic and reason do exist, that they are absolutes, and that they are possible because they flow from the mind of God. Logic exists and can only exist as a consequence of the rational thoughts in the mind of God. God is non-contradictory, truthful, logical, reasonable, and knowledgeable, and there is no other epistemological basis upon which we can absolutely defend truth, logic, reason, and knowledge.

Popular atheism has come to accept that it rejects absolute morality. As mankind corporately continues to think through these matters, given enough time, popular atheism will also come to accept that atheism also rejects absolute truth, logic, reason, math, and science. Again: the pinnacle achievement of atheism is ignorance. We find examples of this in the early rounds of this debate and in the life of Bertrand Russell. Zakath readily talks about morality, and admits that he does not believe in absolute morality (although he recoils from the ramifications), whereas he is more hesitant to talk about truth, and posts 2a to 4b show that his intuition tells him that an atheist should resist defending even the existence of truth. While Zakath consciously acknowledges that atheism disallows absolute morality, only subconsciously does he fear that atheism also disallows truth, logic, and reason. So like most atheists, Zakath has yet to embrace the intellectual, though amoral, ramifications of atheism. Apart from a righteous God, as Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason rightly observed, no such thing as absolute morality can exist; and conversely, if Zakath admitted the existence of absolute morality, he would thereby concede the existence of God. What atheists disdain most about God is absolute right and wrong (because they pridefully rebel against His moral constraints, desiring immorality with impunity). So naturally, the atheist community is most ready to admit to the moral consequence of atheism that denies the possibility of ultimate righteousness. But as the intellectual ramifications of atheism continue to work their way into mankind’s corporate thinking, eventually, atheists will lose their hesitancy and admit the same effect regarding logic. Apart from God logic cannot exist, since it is illogical to prove something via circular reasoning, that is, you should not assume (or declare by faith) that which you are claiming to prove, so atheists cannot build a consistent, godless, logical worldview. Notice that it is with foundations and origins that atheists have the greatest difficulty in even attempting to construct a defense, as regarding the origins of the universe, life, consciousness, personality, higher biological functions, and now, even of logic itself. Why is this? Because God is the foundation of all that exists, physical and spiritual, rational and logical. So atheists are stuck beginning with faith in their origins, apart from any evidence, science, logic, reason, or laws which predict or justify their faith in atheist origins, and then by faith they construct arguments for origins which, unlike the theistic origins claims, defy all evidence, science, logic, reason, and law, superficially and fundamentally. So only with a rational God can the laws of logic can truly exist, as can math and the laws of science, and they can be known only because knowledge can exist. Bertrand Russell devoted his long life to providing an atheistic foundation for logic, reason, math, and knowledge, and after many decades, he became increasingly uncertain of almost all knowledge. Again, and again: the pinnacle achievement of atheism is ignorance.

With clarity Los Alamos scientist John Baumgartner reveals an implication of Einstein’s Gulf: “If something as real as linguistic information has existence independent of matter and energy, from causal considerations it is not unreasonable to suspect an entity [like God] capable of originating linguistic information also is ultimately non-material in its essential nature. An immediate conclusion of these observations concerning linguistic information [the existence of ideas, knowledge, logic, reason, law] is that materialism, which has long been the dominant philosophical perspective in scientific circles, with its foundational presupposition that there is no non-material reality, is simply and plainly false. It is amazing that its falsification is so trivial. (http://www.icr.org/research/jb/debatehighlights.html)”

What gives intelligibility to the world? Only the thoughts in the mind of God can make the cosmos understandable. Nothing but God can demonstrably or even conceivably allow for actual knowledge. The reason Einstein could not identify any way for matter to give meaning to symbols is that there is no way, for the physical laws have no symbolic logic function, and they cannot have any such function because logic is not physical and so is outside of the jurisdiction of physical laws. No physical law can even influence symbolic logic, yet the rules of logic constrain the physical laws, showing Baumgartner’s point that the spiritual takes precedence over the physical!

So try this: go and find an unsuspecting atheist, and ask him two questions. First, Q1: Is atheism logical? Second, Q2: Are the laws of logic absolute or has society only agreed upon them by convention? He will be happier with the first question than with the second. To the first, a typical atheist today will answer, yes! A1: [i]Atheism is logical. (Why that answer? Atheists crave a foundation and so they are still substituting an indefensible, reasonless rationalism for the reasonable God whom they rebel against.) But for the second question, the atheist’s fear of the absolute will cause him to hesitate. If that phobia is strong enough, it could bring him to expose his own rejection of logic itself. A2-1: “No, the laws of logic are not absolute!” as the leading atheist Stein maintained in the above mentioned debate. And if logic is not absolute but rather a consensus of rules which some men have created, then any logical argument for atheism is really just an appeal to authority, an appeal to the authority of those men or those societies which agreed upon the current set of laws. And since atheists reject the source of all authority (God), they especially despise appeals to authority. (When pressing for an answer to Q2, expect some obfuscation, word games, or unresponsiveness.) When it dawns upon them, whether consciously or not, that denying its absolute nature turns logic into an argument from authority, some atheists then hesitate to say that logic is not absolute. But the unbeliever must step out of his own realm of atheism and become inconsistent to answer yes. A2-2: Yes, the laws of logic are absolute. He will then face the immediate follow-up question for which we will not permit him a circular justification: “What validates logic?” What justifies your faith in logic? Atheists tell the theist not to beg the question by using circular arguments. So by his own worldview, we will not allow him to assume (by faith) that which he claims he should be able to prove by logic (remember A1). This atheist finds himself with the same difficulty as his predecessors who tried to defend absolute morality apart from God: it can’t be done. And so, popular atheism has long ago yielded absolute morality to theists. (With even knowledge, logic, and reason falling victim to atheism, not surprisingly, the godless long ago discarded wisdom and righteousness.) Paralleling their loss of absolute morality, apart from God today’s atheist cannot defend the absolute laws of logic either. Regarding A2-1, as with morality, atheism will move toward a consensus against the existence of logic. For eventually, either atheism collapses, or its trust in logic collapses. They will redefine logic to mean just convention, as they have redefined right and wrong. As atheists fall into denial by increasingly rejecting the universality of logic, they will eventually yield logic to theists, just as they did with morality. Such intellectual schizophrenia demonstrates the claim of Christians that atheism is inherently self-contradictory, and more than just morality, atheism also undermines logic. For, rational atheism is easily demonstrated to be impossible [BA10-9], and the transcendental proof for God affirms His existence by the impossibility of the alternative. And so, which worldview is logical, theism or atheism? Once again I will grant that if right and wrong does not exist, and now if logic does not exist, then God does not exist. So if Zakath wanted to resolve this Battle Royale disagreement over God’s existence in a rational way, he has lost, for atheism has no rational basis.

[b]Zakath on Sodium Pentothal

I promised that I would role play Zakath the atheist and answer the 24 questions that he refused to answer. Below, I have answered these outstanding questions as best as I could from the prospective of a responsive atheist. I mark those answers below as ZOSP (Zakath On Sodium Pentothal, i.e., truth serum). Let me repeat to make this really clear. Many readers really were interested in how Zakath or any atheist would answer the kinds of questions that they typically refuse to answer. So, I’ve written the following answers for Zakath, pretending that we shot him up with truth serum.

BQ3. Regarding the origin of the natural universe:
a) The universe is a perpetual motion machine; b) It came into existence from nothing; c) It was brought into existence by a supernatural creator
d) Other e) I don’t know; If D, please explain.

ZOSP: A. Let’s see :think:. I believe that the universe, even if just as a speck, was always here. As far as this turning the universe into a perpetual motion machine, I take by faith that the second law of thermodynamics does not apply to the entire universe, so that a universe-sized perpetual motion machine can exist.

NOTE: Let’s Isaac Asimov and Stephen Hawking want in on this question, so let’s let them weigh in also:

Hawking: “This argument about whether or not the universe had a beginning, persisted into the 19th and 20th centuries. It was conducted mainly on the basis of theology and philosophy, with little consideration of observational evidence. This may have been reasonable, given the notoriously unreliable character of cosmological observations, until fairly recently. The cosmologist, Sir Arthur Eddington, once said, 'Don't worry if your theory doesn't agree with the observations, because they are probably wrong.' But if your theory disagrees with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, it is in bad trouble. In fact, the theory that the universe has existed forever is in serious difficulty with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Second Law, states that disorder always increases with time. Like the argument about human progress, it indicates that there must have been a beginning. Otherwise, the universe would be in a state of complete disorder by now, and everything would be at the same temperature.” Stephen Hawking, The Beginning of Time (http://www.hawking.org.uk/lectures/bot.html)

Asimov: “This [second] law is considered the most powerful and most fundamental generalization about the universe that scientists have ever been able to make.” Isaac Asimov, In the Game of Energy and Thermodynamics You Can’t Even Break Even (http://evolution-facts.org/3evlch25.htm), Journal of Smithsonian Institute, June 1970

BQ4. Zakath:
a) Can you please either explain conceptually how the first cell would have developed; or,
b) Give an explanation in broad terms of how a simpler system could perform the necessary functions of a biological life form, which I believe must include processing raw materials, containing itself, encoding instructions, implementing instructions, chemical processing, and reproduction, which whole system is itself irreducibly complex.
c) nothing substantive about life’s origin; If A or B, please explain.

ZOSP: C. I can’t conceive of how biological life could exist apart from the functions you list: “processing raw materials, containing itself, encoding instructions, implementing instructions, chemical processing, and reproduction,” and I admit that atheistic science has made no progress in theorizing how all those things could naturally arise together, but I have hope that some day we will understand such things.

BQ5. There are only three theoretical alternatives to the origin of the universe. a) True b) False; If B, explain and please list.

ZOSP: B. But I cannot explain my answer. When you say that the universe was either always here, popped into existence from nothing, or that a supernatural creator made it, I get annoyed that I can’t think of a fourth possibility (let alone a dozen others). While I think that the universe was probably always here, I do not want to limit my possibilities to those three, because one day, it may become overwhelmingly obvious that science shows the first two to be impossible, and so I would like to keep fallback positions open. However, I cannot conceive of any other alternatives, and by the nature of the question, it does seem that there are no other possibilities. I realize that with this question you are trying to trap me, because the most well-tested laws of science do seem to indicate the impossibility of the first two options and so science leaves only creation as not contradicting basic physics. But remember, I’ve already answered BQ3 honestly that, “I take by faith that the second law of thermodynamics does not apply to the entire universe,” and so even if the real BQ5 answer is A, since I have faith that the most fundamental laws of science fail in regards to the universe, my faith will keep my position tenable. :thumb:

BQ6. Zakath will either:
a) admit that he was unable to devise or find any explanation of the theoretical reduced complexity in pre-cell life forms; or,
b) he will explain that functional simplicity, not in detail, but only broadly, covering just the utmost basic descriptions of the needs of biological life, including its need:
* its need to separate itself from its outside environment
* its need for communication between its subsystems
* its need to produce hundreds of intricate compounds
* its need to repair damaged components
* its need to selectively admit raw materials from outside
* its need to expel waste, and paramount,
* its need to reliably reproduce itself. If B, please explain.

ZOSP: A. Of course I cannot find any details of functional simplicity of pre-cell biological life, but you specifically indicated you did not want details, but only broad concepts covering just these most basic requirements of biological life. Even still, I cannot come up with any reasonable proposal about how any of these basic functions would be unnecessary in the first life. You knew that or you wouldn’t have asked the question. So, while it seems that each of these functions would need to exist in life from the start, I hold out faith that they are not really requirements. Perhaps life could have existed without one or the other, but when I try to eliminate any of them, like imagining biological life existing without processing raw materials, or without communication between its systems, or without expelling waste, or without reproduction, it seems I am imagining fantasy and not reality. It does seem that the simplest life form would require a minimum set of complex functions, and that does present the problem of how such a set of requirements could arise simultaneously to form the first life form. But although no atheist scientist has ever presented a reasonable solution to this dilemma, I hold out faith that a first life form could have arisen by chance.

BQ9: Zakath, regarding the following “Theistic Worldview” paragraph, please indicate a) true or b) false whether it contains foundational issues which the theist position explains consistently and directly, issues which the atheist position struggles to explain even conceptually:
The Theistic Worldview: is consistent within itself regarding origins and with the observable facts and the laws of science. There is no fourth alternative to explain the origin of the universe, and the most well-established physical laws indicate the universe could not always have been here, and could not pop into existence on its own from nothing, and so that leaves a supernatural, powerful, pre-existing Creator as the only other option. The irreducible complexity of biological life indicates that it could not have originated from simpler pre-cell life forms, and so that leaves a knowledgeable Creator as the only option. And the consciousness of human beings could not arise by natural processes from matter, and so that leaves us with a personal Creator.

ZOSP: I hate myself for saying this, and I really don’t know why I am saying it (we injected Zakath with the sodium pentothal while he slept), but I cannot answer B. I want to answer false, that these most basic observations are not consistent with the theist position, but of course they obviously are. So, I am forced to answer A, but let me quickly add my caveat. There is an apparent quirk of science whereby the more we learn about physics and biology, the more difficult it becomes to explain origins naturally. But I don’t understand why this quirk is there. I would think that the more we learn about matter, energy, the physical laws, and how the systems in the cosmos function, the easier and easier it should be to see how everything could have originated naturally. But the opposite effect does occur. For example, the laws of thermodynamics and genetics naturally have emboldened the creationists and we atheists have been struggling to respond to such basic arguments. However, I do hold out faith that this trend someday will be reversed, and scientific laws and discoveries will no longer seem to so obviously support the creationist worldview.

BQ14: Zakath, I have designed some of my questions to get you to focus on the scientific discovery of limitations. So, can science possibly discover real limitations of matter, energy, and natural processes? a) Yes b) No If B, please explain.

ZOSP: Once again, I would love to answer B, no, because I want to believe that nature is omnipotent and can do anything. But honestly, I think that one of the most significant aspects of scientific investigation is identifying the limitations of the material universe, and every scientist working today deals with known limitations, otherwise, he probably could not devise a single experiment. For example, Einstein’s theory of relativity makes much of the speed limit of light, and his conversion formula of energy to matter is E=mc2. That is, and you can’t get more energy out of matter than is in there to begin with. The equivalent conversion of energy and matter is a major and pervasive limitation that science has discovered, and it seems unscientific and even irrational to assume that you can get more energy out of matter than is represented by that matter to begin with. Yes, it seems that there are limitations identified in almost every scientific discovery. The Sun cannot revolve around the earth, because the earth lacks sufficient mass. A human being cannot survive rapid bleeding unless the bleeding is slowed or his blood supply is replenished. A bullet shot upwards from a normal pistol from sea level cannot escape the earth’s atmosphere because it lacks sufficient momentum. Scientific limitations even showed Voltaire to be utterly wrong when he rejected that that dinosaur skeletons and all other fossils were created by actual animals that had been buried; for he assumed that skeleton and skull and full skeleton designs were natural rock formations, but we know that the physical laws would not repeatedly draw in stone the same detailed pictures of animals bones over and over and over, and so, fossils must be the remains of actual animals which have chemically turned into stone, which we know because the physics of rock formation does not include any law that would draw detailed anatomical designs, and the same complex designs, millions of times over. Etc., etc., etc., yes, science is all about finding limitations.

BQ15: Zakath, can you admit a bias in which you would be slower to recognize a scientific limitation of nature than would a theist? a) Yes b) No

ZOSP: Once again, I want to answer B, but that would be an obvious lie. And since I have been in an especially truthful mood, I’ll just come out and answer A: Yes, as we atheists clearly do have “a bias in which we would be slower to recognize a scientific limitation of nature than would a theist.” I don’t know why I hesitated to answer that question the first time you asked it. Oh no, wait a minute, actually yes, I do know why I didn’t answer this back in round six. I didn’t want to admit this apparent intellectual weakness on the part of atheism. (Hmphd^@$%rghstadt!:mad:, I can’t seem to keep my mouth shut!!) But now that I’m inclined to just tell you the truth, yes, while we atheists do claim to value science, we rather systematically dismiss much of what it discovers. But then, can’t I turn this question around on you and ask, “Can you Christians admit a bias in which you would be slower to recognize a scientific capability of nature than would an atheist?” But I guess that wouldn’t get me very far, because you theists frequently answer questions directly, and you’d probably just say “Yes,” and make my own hesitancy in the matter look like I’m really afraid to face up to various scientific discoveries. Yeah, you guessed correctly by implying that I would “rather not think about the limits of natural processes.” Perhaps I just hope that someday such limitations will just go away? (errrrr…ahhgrly, ghastrgn#*&$%#, I guess I know that physical limitations will not just go away someday and that they are utterly real, but I just don’t want to believe in them! There, I said it! Can we take a break now?)

BQ16: Zakath, could science conceivably ever falsify natural origins by closing the gap for the origin of the universe and biological life, showing conclusively that natural processes themselves cannot account for such origins? a) Yes b) No; If Yes, please explain how. If No, please explain why not.

ZOSP: Of course the very purpose of science is to tell us how it is that things do happen, and what physically can and cannot happen. So, of course, Yes, it is conceivable for science to falsify natural origins. I know, I know, I never ever admit that. And it’s because… it’s because… because I’m afraid to. Of course, if I do not admit that science could conceivably disprove natural origins, well, then I make atheistic science guilty of circular reasoning, assuming exactly what we claim that it proves. And yes, I know that belies my own claim, that I have a purely scientific and logical worldview. “If Yes, please explain how,” well, ok. If even just one thing ever occurred that could not occur naturally, that would be proof of the supernatural. And if reason truly limited the origin of the universe to just three possibilities, and if scientific laws correctly understood indicated that the universe could not make itself from nothing, nor could it have always been here, then we would know for a certainty that we had a supernatural origin. It’s just that these things are generally hard for me to admit publicly, and really, I usually don’t even allow myself to think about such things. Oh yes, and you asked about natural biological origins, and if science possibly falsified that, how might it do so? Well, if correctly understood scientific laws showed that even the simplest possible biological life forms were extremely complex, and that the physical laws lack the ability to organize matter as finely as required by the simplest life, then science would have shown that life cannot naturally arise from matter.

BQ17: Zakath, please show that your ‘conditions’ argument against the possibility of absolutes is potentially valid by falsifying it (feel free to use my scenario or your own).

ZOSP: When I argued against even the possibility of absolute morality, I kept repeating that you cannot include conditions in any absolute law. So, for example, my rules imply (although I was not then ready to admit it), that if you said, “Murder is absolutely wrong,” I could ask, “Does murder require the killing of a human being?” And as soon as you said, “Yes,” then I could pounce on you and say, “Aha, then it’s not unconditional, is it?” Yes, I do admit that is embarrassingly absurd. And while I do a pretty good job of trying to convince even myself of some of these word games, I was having a hard time with this one, and really didn’t appreciate you pressing me on the matter.

BQ18: Zakath, please indicate which of these laws of thermodynamics do you believe do not apply to the universe as a whole:
a) The First Law: that nature can bring neither matter nor energy into existence from nothing.
b) The Second Law: that the universe cannot work and burn forever, since it would eventually expend all available energy.
c) Neither the First nor Second laws apply to the universe as a whole.
d) Both the First and Second laws apply to the universe as a whole.
Please do your best to explain your answer, or explain why you cannot or will not answer.

ZOSP: Ok, ok, I realize you asked this again because I was very unresponsive in the Battle. Now that I am being forthright, you know from my answer to BQ3 that my answer is B. You know, this TOL forum thread ID 7709, Room 7709 as you called it (I didn’t like that), really did feel constricting. I didn’t like being stuck in there, unable to get out, and I really hated when you kept bringing up issues that I was trying to avoid. It especially annoyed me that you didn’t let me change the topic of the debate to the Bible. I definitely did not want to continue talking about science. For some reason, even though I am an atheist who claims to live by science, I’m much more comfortable talking about the Bible than about science. Weird, huh! Well (ergdfdf%#%A^$shngrmns), I guess it’s not weird after all. The Bible is such a big book, and written so long ago, that there’s plenty of opportunity for me to take things out of context, or twist things, and since most people know even less about the Bible than they do about science, well, my studying how to make the Bible look bad usually silences my opponents. But in that eighth round, when you offered to debate me on the very topic that I pride myself in attacking, on the Bible itself, I sort of freaked out. For now at least, if you insist on going over these questions I avoided, well, I guess I’ll keep talking…

BQ19: Zakath, if you really want us to pursue further your Moral Knowledge Argument for Atheism, then please address my prior BA9 answer, way back in 2b, on the negative consequences of shoving truth into someone’s face.

ZOSP: I had asked you why god has chosen “to play hide-and-seek with the universe? Why not make his existence irrefutably obvious?” and you answered that he is irrefutably obvious and that “He does not play hide-and-seek;” neither of which I found very challenging. But then you said that “further demonstrations of His existence would be counterproductive. Daily miracles could easily produce a stubborn immunity to God in yet more people, and even if dead celebrities were resurrected, most people would not believe, because when the truth is shoved into someone’s face, the human tendency is to shove back.” Yeah, I ignored that argument. It’s another one I’d rather not think about much. I guess that’s because I have so much evidence in my own life experience that agrees with the observation. For example, if someone is committed to an argument, and the most obvious contrary evidence is presented to them, the most common human response is to resist the obvious. And I guess that’s because of their pride. And while I don’t believe in god as you know (gkj$&^$#sfrgves!, khnot againnnnnnya), well, at least, I am trying to convince myself that I do not believe in god. It’s hard to admit how prideful men are, and how that pride so easily blinds us. Naturally, pride would exert itself most against some Being trying to judge me as guilty; my pride would go into high gear fighting against some god who claimed to judge me as selfish and hurtful of others. So, yeah, even on the TOL boards, when some idiot theist makes a good argument, I have a really hard time admitting it, especially if it hits anywhere close to my fundamental beliefs. So I understand what you are saying, that because of pride, human beings have the capacity to reject even truths that are blatantly obvious. And yes, I do admit, that does directly respond to and undermine my Moral Knowledge argument, which really would only hold up if humans had no pride, and exhibited no tendency to defend themselves even when they are in the wrong.

BQ20: Zakath, have you reconsidered your atheism since hearing that natural law has no jurisdiction over a supernatural Creator? a) Yes b) No

ZOSP: When I read this question, actually, I just laughed at you :crackup:. Because I knew that you knew that when I said perhaps I would reconsider, I was only being rhetorical. No, I did not make any effort to reconsider my views. Actually, throughout the entire debate, I did not put any intellectual effort into reconsidering my beliefs. Rather, I tried to insulate those beliefs from challenge by ignoring your most irritating arguments.

BQ21: Zakath, can you identify any apparent contradiction between a supernatural Creator bringing the universe into existence from nothing, and the natural laws of physics? a) Yes b) No; If Yes, please explain.

ZOSP: Well, normally, I like to suggest to naïve Christians that if the physical laws would prevent natural origins, that they would also prevent a god from creating. But yes, I know that argument is disingenuous, because the physical laws govern the physical universe. And if a supernatural creator (I am not going to italicize “super” as you always did; :noid: that bugged me), if a supernatural creator made the universe, then of course it is irrational to say that just because proteins could not form on their own, that he couldn’t build them. And likewise, just because the physical laws tell us that a rock cannot make itself from nothing, it is absurd to imply that such natural laws could even possibly prevent a spiritual, supernatural being from making a rock where no matter had previously existed. The theistic model is that the spiritual god created the physical universe and with it, brought the physical laws into existence. And so those laws did not even exist when he began to create, and obviously would have no jurisdiction over him. And also, since even we humans with our little knowledge and power, can work to overcome the laws of physics (like flight overcoming gravity), a spiritual god who created the universe could undoubtedly (if he existed) exert himself in his creation and do things that would not happen naturally, things we call miracles. So yes, I admit, that the natural laws do show us about limits to nature, but that they do not and cannot show us that a spiritual god could not bring the universe and those laws into existence, and neither do they show us that such a god could not supercede those laws if he choose to, for example, by parting the Red Sea for the Jews. Of course, I am not saying that he did these things, I am just admitting that the physical laws do not in any way preclude such a being from doing such things, and when we atheists frequently imply otherwise we are being somewhat disingenuous.

By the way, since you’re obviously not letting me off the hook until we get through these last ten questions :bang:, I’d like to combine your next two questions with a single answer…

BQ22: Zakath, do many atheists think it is possible that the entire universe came into existence from nothing? a) Yes b) No
BQ23: Zakath, do many atheists think it is impossible that the entire universe came into existence from nothing by a Creator? a) Yes b) No

ZOSP: A, and A, that is, Yes, and Yes. Ok, ok, that makes us look bad. To say that we believe the universe could possibly have made itself from nothing, but that a creator could not possibly have made it, makes us look immature. But I think the reason we say such things is because we are afraid that if we give in even just the tiniest bit, we will open up a hole in the dike, and we might have even a harder time defending our position. We mock you theists, but you do make it hard for us in these debates. Of course, if we atheists think the universe could come into existence from absolutely nothing, we should also admit the theoretic possibility of it coming into existence from something spiritual. After all, something spiritual is at least something to start with, even if it is not materialistic, rather than an entire universe coming into existence starting from absolute nothingness. This is hard to defend. But I guess we would say that scientific experiments do not show evidence of the supernatural. (I know, I know, you say that god created supernaturally and then rested, letting the universe function naturally, so natural processes today function naturally.) And so we just assume that there was no spiritual creator. But it’s really hard to admit that we are just assuming that which we claim science proves. If atheists were to commonly admit this, it would make our circular reasoning really obvious. And on a normal day (this one is a really weird day), I would never, ever admit this.

BQ25: Zakath, regarding the slow spin of the Sun, Earth’s ecosystem being enabled by the Sun’s properties and distance, our own moon’s relative size and distance from the Sun and the Earth, and the harmonious orbits of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, the relationship between Pluto and Charon, and their harmony with Neptune, and the backward spin of Venus while she shows her same face when between us and the Sun, do all these apparently indicate evidence for Creation, or evidence for atheism?

ZOSP: Well, if our solar system formed naturally, by the physical laws, then we would not expect to find any of the features you have listed. And it is somewhat frustrating to me that it is mostly atheist scientists who have made these careful scientific observations, and then you theists end up using these major features of the solar system against us. Yes, I admit that at least on the surface these broad features of the solar system appear to provide evidence for creation. But appearances can be deceiving. Just because so many features of our solar system defy the physical laws as we know them, does not mean the sun and planets did not form naturally. I have faith that we will eventually find out that the laws of physics did not apply to the solar system when it formed, or that we really have no idea what the laws of physics actually are, so that when we correct all of our grossly erroneous scientific understanding, all these major conflicts that seem to inexplicably contradict the laws of science today will be easily resolved. And yes, I do see that I have put myself in a bind here, because I normally claim that it is the great advance of science that shows that god is unnecessary, yet my real hope is that some day we find out that all this science has been really, really wrong on so many of its most basic and greatest accomplishments. So, should I trust in science or not? Well, let’s just say that if I think something in science will help me reject god, I will trust in that, and anything else science discovers, I’ll just ignore. Honest enough for ya?

BQ26: Zakath, please explain what evidence you have to indicate that the above solar system design elements indicate actual gaps that must be filled, rather than imaginary gaps that science already has closed.

ZOSP: I think I hated that filled/closed argument of yours more than anything else in this entire debate. (Well, I guess the thing I really hated most was when you offered to debate me on the Bible; since I’m being so open, I’ll admit that was even worse.) But this God of the Gaps rebuttal was so annoying. I really don’t want to thing about it, even now. I guess I understand your point. No, I’m sorry; I know I understand your point. You’re saying that science proves some ideas false, and validates others. And so now you are asking a pain-in-the-neck question regarding the so-called design elements of the solar system. Atheists say that the physical laws somehow caused the sun virtually to stop spinning and Venus to dance with the Earth even without sufficient gravitational attraction; but what evidence do atheists have to indicate that science will validate these statements, rather than invalidate them? Of course, if science invalidates these statements, that is, if by the laws of physics and the conservation of angular momentum the sun’s rotation cannot be stopped while leaving the planets merrily spinning on their way, then if that cannot happen naturally, then logic and honesty would mandate that we acknowledge a supernatural influence on the sun. Because everything that exists must exist for either natural or supernatural reasons, and if scientific investigation eliminates a natural cause for something that actually exists, then science itself has proven the existence of the supernatural. So much of your argument has pointed in this direction, and I just was not going to admit to any of this. After all, if I did, I would be breaking with the ranks of the atheist community. We figure, if we just stonewall on such arguments, and act like we don’t understand them, then people who don’t think much about all this will just assume that we are right, because we are being more scientific. So, to answer truthfully, I don’t even allow science to consider supernatural causes for events, and that is the main reason that I believe that science will one day validate natural origins. So, if you accuse me of using circular reasoning again, I’ll admit that I am. But, don’t you do the same? :idea:

BQ30/BA32: A[/u]32] Let’s use the research just reported this month in which Japanese scientists have found not a 1.5 or 5 percent, but a 15 percent difference between chimp and human DNA. If you really think that narrowing the discussion will not obfuscate but help you solve the challenge, then feel free to attempt a rebuttal with respect to the 36 genes that differ between human chromosome 21 (the most well researched) as compared to its counterpart chimpanzee chromosome 22, regarding both the time for their initial creation and then the number of generations needed for their propagation throughout the entire species; and then determine if enough time exists since the dawn of the universe for the genes to appear randomly via mutation, and if enough evolutionary time exists to propagate throughout some primate species all the DNA changes needed to code for humans.

ZOSP: The only way that enough time has passed in the universe to form even a single protein is if we atheists make assumptions that gene formation is likely, and that the laws of physics would have a tendency to form them. I realize we often state, as I did in the debate, that of course proteins are likely to form because, hocus-pocus, here they are, trillions of them in our own bodies. And yes, that’s begging the question, and assuming the very thing we are trying to debate. I guess I do that a lot. But what if we assume that they would be likely to form because they would be simpler than today’s proteins? Oh yeah, that’s right, you’ve pointed out that even if that were the case, all the information content in today’s proteins (and all the species for that matter) would still have to come about by random chance, and only then could natural selection preserve it. It is true that we atheists do not believe in a guiding force behind the cosmos. So, perhaps proteins would form because atoms are limited in how they will bond with one another? But, I guess that only eliminates some theoretical possibilities but it doesn’t eliminate the common reactions from happening infinitely over, and it also doesn’t provide direction to bringing about all the information content we find in life. I guess my answer is, I don’t know how all the mass of DNA information could have accumulated, and while I don’t have evidence that science will find a way, I’m still going to have faith that all the genetic information could have accumulated naturally. As to how many generations would take for the genetic “upgrades” to primates to propagate throughout their species and eventually produce homo sapiens, apparently atheist evolutionists have struggled with this, showing that a few million years is not nearly enough time to propagate enough changes to turn chimps into people, even when they make extremely favorable transmission assumptions. But maybe humans began evolving not just a few, but a hundred, million years ago. You know, the ages in millions of years that date the geologic column were published by evolutionists long before we developed radiometric dating. And so, perhaps all the evolutionary dating is wrong by an order of magnitude! Did you ever think of that?

BQ31: Zakath, which do you think was vindicated, the 1995 prediction of atheistic NASA engineers that a developing Hubble photo would show galaxies forming, or the prediction of a Christian talk-show host that Hubble’s photo would show typical, not early, galaxies? Hint, see the post 7b photo.

ZOSP: So, big deal. Really. Thousands of predictions are made by scientists every year. Besides, Flipper in the grandstands said that photo was published in January of [b]1996! Ha! See, you were off by a year! :bannana: Or, uhhh, well, at least by a month. Oh, wait, you said the "prediction" was in 1995. Oh. Anyway, back to the question. Really, so what? The atheists at NASA predicted that the moon would be deep in dust because it was billions of years old, and so the Lunar Lander had bowl feet to stop if from sinking. And so theists said it would only have a bit of dust, and you guys were right then. But so what? All NASA had to do was re-measure how much dust landed on the moon. But you know, astrophysicists are making discoveries to show that the galaxies did evolve gradually, and were not created instantly. I know, I know. You’re going to offer me a bet that all photos ever taken will always show fully formed galaxies, and they will never show forming galaxies. Well, perhaps there will be a good reason for that, if, that is, that turns out to be true, which I doubt. Well, er, a… a, which I hope will not happen.

BQ32: Zakath, help us gauge an atheist’s ability to objectively weigh evidence. Regarding dirty jokes, and privacy in reproduction and expelling waste, and our various fundamental differences from animals like the desire for clothing and the fear of the dark and of ghosts and of the dead, and the recognition of beauty and the existence of ideas, and temperaments, emotion, and personality, please indicate whether all these broad observations appear, even if only superficially, to provide evidence for: a) God b) atheism. If B, please explain.

ZOSP: Well, when you say that theism predicts such things, and that atheism struggles to account for them, well then superficially, I would agree with that. But things are not always as they appear on the surface. We atheists attempt to find naturalistic explanations for the great divide between humans and animals. Yes, the human distinctions do appear to be evidence for what we would call our spiritual dimension. For, we did not evolve greater vision, or speed, or hearing, or sonar, or tougher digestion or hides, etc., none of the things you might expect in a materialistic world from the most evolved species. But actually, our differences do appear to relate to some spiritual aspect, but I deny the existence of a spiritual dimension. So, I will simply continue to look for natural explanations for the relatively rapid appearance, evolutionarily speaking, of all these human characteristics.

BQ33: Zakath, please present evidence that I have not already invalidated that refutes my argument for a universal human conscience, or show the flaw in my invalidation.

ZOSP: Ok, I have pointed out that rules of morality vary, and you keep arguing that there are underlying similarities. You say that the conscience is this virtually unavoidable human tendency to weigh moral actions on the scales of justice and for example, you point out that even evil people like the Columbine murderers and the NAZIs typically attempt to justify themselves, that is, they weigh their actions on a scale of justice and attempt to show that what they are doing is “right.” And you added “evidence of the most cruel, vicious, and unrepentant villains who even disclaim any conscience but who nonetheless judge that someone has wronged them whenever they are falsely accused, or their own rights are violated, or their own private property is stolen, etc., all showing clear evidence of an ability to weigh actions on the scales of justice.” I do admit that evil people do show a definite understanding of wrongdoing when it is done to them. So what? I don’t concede any point to that. Just the observation. What further evidence do I have against a human conscience? Well, right now, all I can think of is people in a coma, and those who are severely mentally retarded. Yes, you will say that even the vast majority of the mentally ill demonstrate a clearly functioning conscience, and that the comatose have no idea what is happening to them, and that I should no more use them than a corpse. But right now I can’t come up with anything beyond what we’ve already covered against the universality of conscience.

BQ34: Zakath, do you admit that the NAZIs who murdered millions held a merely different value system which you may not prefer but which they did prefer, which your preferred laws forbid but which their laws permitted, and that by atheism, there is no final standard that can objectively judge your moral values as superior to the NAZIs?

ZOSP: Because I reject the existence of god, I therefore do not believe in absolute right and wrong. And even though I like using the terms right and wrong, good and bad, virtuous and evil, really, there are no such things in an absolute sense. They are just conventions. And while humans with more power might be able to impose their “morality” on others, their morality has no inherent absolute justification over others. For example, we might say that morality is a social consensus, but then black slavery was the social consensus. And yet, I believe that those who went against the consensus and helped slaves escape were the true heroes, yet I am then defending those who went against the consensus. Yet in the case you bring up, I admit that I oppose the NAZIs whose genocide went against Western Civilization’s consensus. So, I admit that I seem to be intuitively aware of a standard by which even I support or condemn society’s consensuses. And yes, the NAZIs did prefer to kill the Jews and without an absolute moral standard, I will admit that which is very unpopular to admit, that atheism provides no finally compelling reason why a NAZI must abandon his morality for another. But in fact, I like this position because it allows me to go with any morality I prefer. For example, if some man (and I’m not saying me) impregnates a woman other than his wife, with atheism, he can bring her to Planned Parenthood and for $500 bucks, solve his problem, no questions asked, and no moral judgments made. So I just prefer getting to make up my own morality. And if I disagree with society, say I want to steal money or cheat on my wife, then, well, as long as I don’t get caught, I can do what I want.

BQ35: Zakath, is the following reasoning internally consistent, and if so, do you agree that I have solved Euthyphro’s Dilemma with these two observations: 1) if God exists, a description of God’s nature can be independent of His nature itself, and 2) a track record of eternally interacting, independent persons (of the Trinity) who have never experienced a threat to their own wellbeing can each testify of the eternal consistent goodness of the others, and by these three independent witnesses, they can declare their mutual standard as righteous.

ZOSP: I don’t like to make a judgment such as that these two statements are “internally consistent.” But let me just say that I cannot find any inconsistency in them at the moment. As to whether they solved Euthyphro’s Dilemma, when Euthyphro wrote, he had no conception of the christian trinitarian god. So, of course he wouldn’t have considered that possibility. Also, as I have read atheists who use this argument, neither have they attempted to evaluate whether this dilemma stands in light of the specifically trinitarian claims that you make. So, you are asking me to consider and respond to something in the short timeframe of a debate which atheists have not considered for two thousand years. I know that I put a lot of concentration into presenting this argument, but I don’t want to think through your rebuttal. So, have you solved this dilemma that tries to disprove even the possibility of absolute morality? I doubt it, but :sleep: I don’t have the energy to find whatever logical flaw may exist in your argument. Besides, I really hate it when christians use the trinity to make their points.

BQ36: Zakath, do you agree that it is wrong to attempt to explain the origination of complexity by introducing even more complexity? a) Yes b) No

ZOSP: It depends what you mean. If there is a question about something complicated, like how does a cruise missile work, then of course a full answer will contain much complexity. However, if you are asking, which I guess you are (well, er, I can see clearly that you are, so let me restart…). But since you are asking about the origination of complexity, then yes, clearly, it is wrong for us atheists to posit something even more complex when we are trying to explain how complex things arose from mindless matter. So in post 3a I guess I was…, no, er, :mad: uhh, I can see that I was obfuscating when I complained that you refused “to accept complex answers to complex questions.” But as an atheist it is hard to discipline myself to think in terms of increased simplicity for pre-cellular life because we atheists can’t even conceive of how biological life could be all that much simpler than it is. And so, we talk about viral systems (which I will admit are more complex that cells, since they require cells to function), and we talk about broken proteins because that’s about all we have to work with right now. You can forgive that, no? Oh, well, I guess not. Never mind. Ok, so I see your point, that when we atheists try to explain the origin of complexity, we should never introduce more complexity, but discipline ourselves to either show the possibility of greater original simplicity, or just admit that we cannot think of any. Are we done now? Yeah. Well, good.

Evidence Summary

For those who are following closely, I still owe the evidence from history and a response to Zakath’s accusations against the God of the Bible. I will present that response and evidence together in the Special Revelation section. Here is a summary of our entire debate, which Zakath framed with his first two questions:

ZQ1: How do you define God?
BA1: I define God as the supernatural Creator of the natural universe, existing eternally, powerful, wise and knowledgeable, personal, loving, and just.

ZQ2: Upon what evidence do you base your belief in this God?
BA2: In this post, I present evidence only related to the creative, eternal, powerful, and knowledgeable aspects of God from the origins of both the universe and biological life. In future posts, I expect to use more evidence from physics and biology, add evidence from astronomy, and then, as evidence for God being personal, loving, [wise,] and just, I will present observations from psychology and history.

Here is a summary of the evidence for God I have presented, along with the tenth line which follows:
origin of universe, from physics
[BA10-2] origin of biologic life, from biology
[BA10-3] origin of consciousness, from psychology
[BA10-4] conscience and morality, from psychology
[BA10-5] solar system features, from astronomy
[BA10-6] insurmountable time constraints, from biology
[BA10-7] dirty jokes and other human characteristics, from psychology and epistemology
[BA10-8] higher biological functions, from biology
[BA10-9] the transcendental argument, from epistemology, and
[BA10-10] special revelation, from history.

[b]Special Revelation (The Bible)

The Bible is a book which comes out of the history of the world, and therefore atheists who reject it as the Word of God must still deal with it as a book of history. At the least, the Bible is an anthropological and historical curiosity of major proportions. For much of the thinking, and therefore the history, of the world has been influenced by the Bible, even to this very day, for example in conflicting biblical interpretations by the President of the United States, by politically influential Jews in Israel, and by the leaders of Islamic and Palestinian terrorist organizations, who have definite opinions of the meaning of significant historical and theological claims of the Old and New Testaments. Therefore, atheists should either consign themselves to complete ignorance regarding one of the most significant factors in human history, or they must attempt to construct a godless explanation for the writing and impact of the Bible in the annals of mankind.

I will present evidence to show that mere human beings could not have written the Bible alone. The Christian Scriptures claim that its message can impart eternal life to its adherents, and by way of confirmation, the Bible also claims that its message is unsurpassed in its ability to repair broken human lives. I believe what motivates Zakath is not atheism itself, but the defense of the brokenness in his own life, and therefore, an extreme opposition to the Bible and Christianity specifically. That would not be unusual. At a dinner party, a picnic, or in line for a Grateful Dead concert for that matter, politely bring up Buddha, Krishna, Vishnu, the Great Spirit, reincarnation, yin and yang, whatever religious concept you like other than the Bible message, and you may or may not get an interested audience, but you most likely will not get a negative visceral reaction from the group. They may think that you are weird, spiritually enlightened, or stupid, but they generally will not become noticeably annoyed or angry. Bring up Jesus Christ in a sincere way, and antagonistic reactions commonly follow. My sons and I were among the quarter million people at Denver’s People’s Fair and we tested this observation. Our plan was to go to the same booth twice in the day, and ask a question about Eastern Religion, and Christianity, and observe the responses. First we said to the workers in the booth: “We’d like to learn more about reincarnation, can you guys tell us about reincarnation?” And the group appeared to enjoy our question, and we were told that their group did not believe in reincarnation, but they directed us to another booth that would be happy to tell us about that subject. After lunch, we went back and asked, “We’d like to learn more about Jesus Christ, can you guys tell us about Jesus?” They reacted negatively, even harshly, and told us they didn’t believe in Jesus, saying his name mockingly. I’ve traveled some, from Key West Florida throughout continental America and Canada to Fairbanks Alaska, from Hawaii to New Zealand, from Israel to Italy, and I find this observation to be repeatable. I think Zakath really dislikes the Bible and Jesus Christ, and hence, his repeated attempt to divert our topic to the Bible, and his accusations against the God of the Bible for violating some kind of moral standard, which are especially peculiar coming from an atheist like Zakath who denies absolute morality.

The first eight lines of evidence primarily were from creation itself, and the Bible itself points to evidence from creation, as in Psalm 19 and Romans 1. But the Bible itself adds extraordinary evidence for God’s existence, and I will present three forms [BA10-10].

1. Scientific Knowledge unattainable in the ancient world apart for God’s specific revelation.
2. Prophecies of future events recorded over a period of many centuries so that those prophecies and their fulfillments would become a part of the history and the culture of civilization itself.
3. Non-prophecies, that is, a wide-ranging collection of extraordinarily weird stories, a few of which include Abraham going to sacrifice his own son Isaac, Jacob deceiving his father to steal Esau’s inheritance, and the bizarre details of the Passover and the Feasts of Israel, all assembled by the Jewish people in their Holy Scriptures, which stories of themselves seem to be contradictory to the message of the rest of the Bible itself, and are extremely eccentric, but which, when viewed from the perspective of the person of Jesus Christ, as symbols of his life, death, and resurrection, not only harmonize with the rest of Scripture but these peculiar stories become the pinnacle of its inherent vindication as a book that mere men could not write.

Unbelievers for the most part are unaware of the most significant scientific statements of the Bible, and when confronted with them, since they obviously cannot dispute their antiquity, they tend simply to ignore them. And regarding the messianic prophecies for example, some skeptics claim that Christ could have manipulated events in an attempt to fulfill specific messianic prophecies like His lineage, the manner of His conception, the place of His birth, the quality of His life, the miracles He would perform, the year of His death, the injustice of His sentence, the manner of His execution, the timing of His resurrection, and the predicted ensuing worldwide and permanent reactions to His sacrifice. Non-Christians have difficulty claiming that Jesus manipulated all his prophetic credentials because such matters are generally outside of the control of even the cleverest mortal. What is the likelihood that Jesus could pull off the above scam, and then at the same time give deep meaning to dozens of major non-prophesies throughout Jewish sacred history, not only resolving their apparent contradictions with biblical morality, but emblazing upon these stories the role of secretly prefiguring the coming of the Messiah. For the historian Luke reports that Jesus said that “‘all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms [that is, throughout the entire Old Testament] concerning Me.’ And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Luke 24:44-45). As with the chance appearance of color vision, for Jesus to self-fulfill the direct prophecies, and give meaning to all the non-prophecies of Scripture, rises to the level of a geometric absurdity. Rather, the overwhelming evidence is that He fulfilled true divinely-inspired prophecies because He really did come to save from their sins those who follow Him.

Scientific Knowledge: While many of the ancient peoples worshipped the Sun, moon, and stars, thinking they were gods, the Bible from the very first chapter says that they are just lights.

God said, “Let there be lights in… the heavens to divide the day from the night… and let them be for lights… to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Gen. 1:14-15

Scripture commands us that “when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars” that you do not “worship them and serve them” (Deuteronomy 4:19). This view of the cosmos, beginning in Genesis 1, provides a solid foundation for science itself. I had an opportunity once at KGOV. (http://KGOV.com)com to debate an editor with Scientific American, Michael Shermer. I asked him to admit that the Bible was correct, at least on this one point, that the Sun, moon and stars are lights, not gods. Shermer refused to admit even that, saying, “The sun is not a light! (http://KGOV.com/bel/2001/20010305-BEL023-24k.mp3)” On that day, March 5, 2001, that editor for Scientific American illustrated what we Christians have long said, that atheists are extraordinarily biased by their rebellion against God, so much so that they will entertain the most unscientific absurdities in their attempt to stay as far from God as they can. (By the way, just like evolutionist Dr. Eugenie Scott and Zakath, and so many other atheists I’ve debated, Shermer tried hard and repeatedly to switch the debate from science to religion.)

The Pleiades and Orion: The Bible begins with Genesis, since that book tells about the Creation, but the first book actually written was Job. And in the book of Job, God talks to him, and reveals Himself as God planting astronomy evidence then into ancient history which has become especially compelling today, nearly 4,000 years later. In the dialogue of this ancient book, God asked Job:

“Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion?” Job 38:31

Not until millennia later could modern astrophysicists confirm the fascinating knowledge presented by this verse, which was designed to humble Job before the Creator. For the stars of the Pleiades are gravitationally bound together, “bind the cluster,” and the stars of Orion’s belt are speeding away from each other, “loose[ning] the belt.” Before we had light spectrometers, radio-telescopes, or the orbiting Hubble, we had the Bible. And in its oldest book, back when men had no advanced technology to interpret data in starlight, the Bible quotes God somehow accurately stating that the stars of the Pleiades are bound together, as they are, gravitationally bound, and that the stars of Orion’s belt are loosed, as they are moving apart and eventually, would completely undo “the belt” from Earth’s perspective. What are the possibilities that of all the stars visible to the naked eye, of all the ancient constellations, of all the infinite number of ways to describe a picture in the sky, that Job would make an astonishingly accurate scientific statement?

Isabel Lewis of the United States Naval Observatory says that astronomers have identified 250 stars as actual members of the Pleiades, all sharing in a common motion and moving through space in the same direction. Dr. Robert J. Trumpler of the Lick Observatory has confirmed that Job 38:31 is actually a true statement. Over 25,000 individual measurements of the Pleiades stars are now available, and their study led to the important discovery that the whole cluster is moving in a southeasterly direction. “This leaves no doubt that the Pleiades are… a system in which the stars are bound together by a close kinship.” But concerning Orion’s Belt, for which God told Job He arranged an opposite scenario, the stars are rapidly moving apart from one another. The belt viewed from Earth consists of an almost perfect straight line, a row of a few second-magnitude stars about equally spaced, each star traveling in different directions at different speeds. Astronomer Garrett P. Serviss has said that “In the course of time, however, the two right-hand stars, Mintaka and Alnilam, will approach each other and form a naked-eye double; but the third, Alnitak, will drift away eastward so that the band will no longer exist.” So this verse provides evidence of the divine authorship of Scripture. But I ask the atheist, “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion?”

Giant Reptiles and Evaporation: Millennia before paleontologists systematically uncovered dinosaur fossils, God’s dialogue in Job described, “the behemoth” with a “tail like a cedar” tree and its “bones are like beams of bronze… indeed the river may rage, yet he is not disturbed,” (Job 40:15-23). And “leviathan” cannot be captured or leashed, nor his skin filled “with harpoons,” and man would “be overwhelmed at the sight of him?” (Job 41:1-9). Thousands of years before meteorologists explained the water cycle, the Solomon wrote that, “All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place from which the rivers come, there they return again” (Eccl. 1:7). Today we understand the mechanics of evaporation. Back then, Jeremiah quoted an even earlier Bible passage writing that “There is a multitude of waters in the heavens: ‘And He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth’” (Jer 10:13; 51:16, quoting Psalm 135:7). The Bible has inspired many of the greatest scientists to understand God’s creation.

Man Made of Dust: Ancient man had little understanding of the elements, atoms and molecules. What was human flesh made of? It was nothing like fire, water, or air. And it wasn’t like rock, or wood. What is man made of? The Bible records in the second chapter of Genesis:

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground… Genesis 2:7

Only with the advent of modern chemistry, a physical science fathered and enabled by men who believed in God, like Paracelsus, Robert Boyle, Francis Bacon, and John Dalton, only since modern chemistry has man been able to scientifically verify the Bible’s statement that we are made of dust, of the exact same elements we find in the soil on the ground, no different. Of course the man who despises the God of the Bible for moral or theological reasons can easily sneer at such passages. But the man who honestly looks at the evidence for God, and opens the Bible to see what ancient human beings wrote, should admit amazement and wonder at such passages.

The Earth Hung on Nothing: In Job 26:7 we read that God stretched out “the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.” Yes, this could have been a wild guess. All these scientific observations could have been wild and lucky guesses. But is that a reasonable interpretation? The pagan Greeks struggled with the question of, what did the earth rest upon? Pick up a heavy rock and it falls, a branch falls quicker than dry leaves resting on it, a mountain is heavier than a rock, the whole earth has enormous weight. Why isn’t it falling, and why aren’t lighter things like parchment and rose petals flying upward as the earth plummets downward? So, the ancients mythically imagined perhaps the earth rested on pillars, or was held up by Atlas, or maybe it sat on the back of a tortoise. And the tortoise? Well, it was probably turtle upon turtle, all the way down. But as with so many topics, scientific, economic, moral, historical, and theological, the Bible elegantly declares, that God hung “the earth on nothing.” By special revelation from God, directly or through ancient prophets, Job learned that outer space is basically a vacuum, and that God hung the earth on nothing, painting a majestic word picture which our most advanced planetariums reinforce.

He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. Job 6:7

As you can learn reading the writings of Galileo, Johann Kepler, Isaac Newton, and so many of our greatest scientists, in their opinion, the Bible is not antithetical to science. Unlike the eastern religions which relegate the universe to the realm of maya, illusion, Scripture supports science and even contains observations, some startling, of truths the Creator would know.

Prophecies: Prophecy in the Bible is unique evidence of divine authorship. For the other major religious books of the world were not written over centuries, filled with prophecies, prophecies and their fulfillments which became a part of the very fabric of human history. Islam claims to build upon “The Book,” as it calls the Bible, but fundamentally rejects central Bible stories of Abraham and Isaac, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And so, is Islam’s Koran, or Christianity’s Bible correct, or are they both wrong? Muslims cannot point to centuries of prophecies of Mohammed before his birth, for nothing of Islam existed prior to Mohammed himself. Neither Buddha nor the Hindu Veda had centuries of prophecies to confirm their authenticity. The Bible is unique in the use of prophecy, claiming that prophecy can validate the divine authorship of a message (Deut. 18:20-22). Of course, correctly predicting events, repeatedly, especially unique and peculiar events, in the near and far future, including events which the author has no control over, is something so unnatural, and so beyond human capability, that such a feature of Scripture demands the consideration of men who will honestly consider the evidence for God’s existence.

Israel Forever The Bible, for example, prophesied that Israel would endure forever, as in, “God has loved Israel, to establish them forever” (2 Chr. 9:8). A later prophet quoted God saying that Israel shall never “cease from being a nation before Me forever” (Jer. 31:36). Countless ancient tribes and peoples have disappeared into history, especially after being dislocated from their homeland. These prophecies were not written in secret, and then produced years later in such a way that their origin was in doubt. Such prophecies were recorded in the world’s best-selling, most well-read book. Yet after being exiled by the Assyrians and Babylonians, and now even after nearly 2,000 years of wandering the earth since 70 A.D. when the Romans expelled the Jews from their own land, Israel exists! She has not “cease[d] from being a nation.” Scripture even predicted that because the Jews would rebel against God (easy to predict since all nations do), that God would scatter them abroad (hard to predicet). “And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you” (Deut. 4:27). And yet, on May 14, 1948, they became a nation once again.

“Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children… Rejoice with Jerusalem…” Isaiah 66:8, 10

[i]Jerusalem Troubles the World: Against all odds, Israel remains as the Bible predicted. Even their capital city, Jerusalem stands to this day as the prophet wrote that, “Judah shall abide forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation,” (Joel 3:20). But further, the Bible predicts that Jerusalem would be the trouble spot of the world, even in the last days.

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples… And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples” Zech. 12:2-3

And to this day, to today’s headlines, millennia later, even on the very day that I make this final post in the tenth round on August 19, 2003, in fact, even as I write here about biblical prophecy (I was a few paragraphs down at the exact moment), a Palestinian terrorist bombed a Jerusalem bus murdering at least five. Jerusalem symbolizes the troubles in the Middle East between Israel and the Arabs, which struggle began in the mid-chapters of Genesis, which till today is that “very heavy stone” for the world.

[i]Old Testament Translated into Greek by 200 B.C.: When committed unbelievers look at the prophecies in the Bible, of course, they have the ability to reject that which stares them right in the face. And they will typically claim that either the prophecies failed, or that they were very general and not specific, or even that the prophecies were probably written after-the-fact, to match events that occurred later, as though someone today wrote a prophecy of the 9-11 terrorist attack on America and dated it in the year 2000. But the Septuagint helps to confirm that the majority of Bible prophecies could not have been written afterward. We learn from Josephus and Philo, prolific first century Jews who never converted to Christianity, that the king of Egypt had commissioned a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures 200 years before Christ. And that translation remains with us to this day. Thus, the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Jesus Christ could not have been written after his birth, life, death and resurrection, for they were available in two languages, on a few continents, for centuries before His birth.

Messianic Prophecy: The coming of the Messiah is a major theme of the Hebrew Scriptures (called by Christians the Old Testament). History, linguistic and cultural considerations, archaeological finds, and the Septuagint, establish that the messianic prophecies were written centuries, some more than 1,000 years, before Christ’s birth. Thus, either Christ did not fulfill them and the New Testament history has been fabricated by the apostles, or as a mere man Jesus manipulated the appearance of fulfillment, or the Father truly sent Him to die as the substitutionary punishment for those who seek God, so that they could live and not pay the eternal consequence due for their rebellion. So, what are a few of the prophecies?

Beginning in Genesis, we learn that the Messiah would oppose Satan and come from the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15), from Abraham’s descendants (Gen. 12:3; 22:18), and not by Ishmael as in the Koran but through Isaac (Gen. 21:12; 26:4), and through Jacob (Gen. 28:14), eventually, descending through the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10; Ps. 78:68), leading to King David, to whom Nathan prophesied that after his death, God says, “I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom” (2 Samuel 7:12-13). Scripture then prophesied that the Messiah, the eternal one, would be born in the tiny village of Bethlehem. “But you, Bethlehem… out of you shall come forth to Me the One… from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2-5). Daniel prophesied of the year and month when this Messiah would be killed (Daniel 9:24-27), although I admit that Daniel’s prophecy is not as clearly stated as so many others. But really, how could the world know whether or not some Jewish carpenter was born in Bethlehem, or to what tribe He belonged to, or whether He was a descendant of David? If Jesus were born in Nazareth, or Bethlehem, or Egypt for that matter, how would anyone really know? Well, Psalm 87, one of the Bible’s shortest chapters, records a prophesy of a fascinating time indicator for the Messiah’s birth, which, though written many centuries earlier, could help to answer this question of veracity:

The LORD will record, when He registers the peoples: “This one was born there.” Psalm 87:6

What does that mean, when He registers the peoples? It sounds like a census of not one, but of many nations, which marks the important birth of the Coming One, who was already prophesied to be a descendant of King David. This Psalm 87 says twice: “This one was born there,” referring to the Messiah. And referring to King David, and to His descendant, Jesus, Psalm 87 says:

"This one [King David] and that one [his descendant, the Messiah] were born in her [in David’s hometown of Bethlehem]; and the Most High Himself shall establish her." Psalm 87:5

Instead of Dec. 25th, it was more likely that we would commemorate September 23rd, because when Christ lived, the world celebrated the birth not of a carpenter but of nobility, the grandnephew of Julius Caesar, who grew up to become Caesar Augustus. He succeeded his uncle and became the undisputed leader of Rome after defeating Mark Antony and Cleopatra in a naval battle for control of the Empire. Years earlier, to weaken his political opposition, Augustus had sealed an agreement with Marc Antony and concluded the agreement with the shed blood of 200 knights and 300 Roman senators, including the famous Cicero. Caesar August, the first to take the title Imperator, gave us our word Emperor. At the height of his power, this ruthless leader of the western world became a pawn in the service of the lowly child from Bethlehem. For he performed well his role in announcing to the world the fulfillment of Psalm 87 and the conditions to certify the birth of Jesus Christ, his family lineage, and his birthplace. For in unwittingly obedience to the God of heaven:

…it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. Luke 2:1

The Roman Empire was extremely sophisticated, with economic development, roads, mail service, and communication unlike the world had ever seen. And Christ’s birthplace, time, and family lineage, were all recorded and documented as a matter of official Roman business. So God manipulated the world’s most powerful leader, the sole ruler of the Roman Empire, to command that “all the world should be registered”, that a census would be taken, so that a nearly 1,000-year-old prophecy would be fulfilled, that, “The LORD will record, when He registers the peoples: “This one was born there” (Psalm 87:6).

This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Luke 2:2-3

The world obeyed Caesar, and Caesar obeyed God, albeit unknowingly. (By the way, the ancient world used a 30-day month calendar, and the Egyptians added 5 holidays per year, but then Julius Caesar named a month after himself and gave it an extra day, so Augustus did likewise robbing a day from February, giving us today 31 days in July and August.) The events back then have shaped our world. And remember, the messianic prophesies were written in Hebrew, widely circulated, then translated for the Egyptians into Greek a couple centuries before Christ’s birth, as attested to by the history of the world. Well, pretty much everyone obeyed the commands of ruthless Augustus, and so Mary and Joseph headed off to Bethlehem, even though she was in her ninth month of pregnancy. During that census, Jesus Christ was born, recording the time and place of his birth, by the authority of the Roman Emperor himself, for all mankind to consider.

[i]Virgin Birth: The greatest opposition to the Bible’s record of Christ’s birth, of course, is the claim that He was conceived by God within a virgin’s womb. Christ needed to be sinless so that His crucifixion could pay for the sins of others, and not for His own, and the Bible indicates that the sin nature (and perhaps the soul/spirit) passes through the father and not the mother. Thus, God could become flesh, to become a Man, to best communicate His love for us, and He would be the seed of the woman, the descendant of Abraham, and even of David’s own body, yet through the virgin birth, Jesus would not inherit death from Adam. It seems that the Jews did not give much attention to Isaiah’s reference to a virgin birth prior to the Christian era, and since, they have claimed that the Hebrew word should be translated maiden, not virgin. However, the Septuagint which was translated centuries before Christ used the Greek word for virgin, not a word for young woman, thus testifying to the original meaning of the text. Also, if a maiden conceived, that is not so much a “sign” from God as an everyday occurrence. Whereas the prophet wrote:

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 (Jer. 31:22; Gen. 3:15)

Messenger: John the Baptist, beheaded by Herod the Great’s son Herod Antipas, fulfilled the prophecies of a messenger who will “prepare the way of the Lord” (Isaiah 40:3-5; Mal. 3:1; 4:5; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:27; John 1:22 23).

Crucifixion Year and Month: After the Jews were carried away captive by Nebuchadnezzar into Babylon, from there, Daniel prophesied that from the command to rebuild Jerusalem, until the Messiah would be killed, would be 483 years (Dan. 9:24-27). Governor Nehemiah, former cupbearer to Artaxerxes, records (Neh. 2:1) the date of that command, which occurred in the month of the Passover, the month of Christ’s death. The dating of events in such ancient history by historians is of course not exact, but adding 483 years to the traditional date that secular historians ascribe to that command brings us to within a decade of Christ’s crucifixion in A.D. 29 (He was born in 4 B.C., just after Herod’s death, which is dated precisely by the eclipse mentioned by Josephus). Time and time again, additional archaeological and historical finds have helped increasingly to corroborate biblical details and prophesies, and because Christians have been convinced by overwhelming evidence of the Bible’s divine inspiration, we believe it likely that further discovery will help to show the exact fulfillment of this prophecy also. (Although Sir Robert Anderson’s book The Coming Prince has a remarkable demonstration of using prophetic years of 360 days and accounting for leap years reinforces by the fulfillment of prophecy the accuracy of the traditional date.)

Manner of Execution: On the cross, Jesus cried out a quote from Psalm 22, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Mathew 27:46 quoting Ps. 22:1). To provide the ability for God to justly forgive our crimes (sins) without just ignoring them (which always makes things worse), God the Father poured out His wrath upon God the Son who had taken upon Himself the sin of the world. Centuries before crucifixion became commonplace, King David wrote prophetically in Psalm 22 of the Messiah that:

For dogs have surrounded Me… They pierced My hands and My feet [crucifixion]; I can count all My bones… [None were broken, as in Ps. 34:20; John 19:33-36] They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots. Psalm 22:16-18

And, "then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son [God’s only Son]” Zechariah 12:10; 13:6

The prophets predicted the Messiah would do miracles (Isa. 35:5-6; Ps. 107:29), so either Jesus did so, or along with countless other manipulations, He made people think that He did. Only His were not the curing of headaches, and cancers that really don’t go away as is common today among charlatans, but giving sight to those born blind, instantly healing the paraplegics, curing leprosy, and raising the dead from the grave. The Messiah would be rejected by His own (Isaiah 8:14; 53:1-8). Christ was betrayed by Judas to Caiaphas the high priest for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 26:14-16; 27:5-7). Being crucified next to two criminals, therefore “He was numbered with the transgressors” at his “death” (Isaiah 53:12). After being murdered with the wicked, the Messiah would be buried with the rich (Isa. 53:9), as Christ was placed in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb (Mat. 27:57-60) which still exists today providing many particular evidences of Christ’s crucifixion account. (Details of the tomb are available at KGOV.com in our Mount Moriah video we produced, which we have always offered for free for those who do not believe in Jesus Christ.) And finally, the fulfillment of the great theme of the Old Testament, in Christ’s resurrection, “for You will not leave my soul in Sheol [the grave], nor will You allow Your Holy One [the Messiah] to see corruption [so Jesus’ body did not decay, for He arose]” (Psalm 16:10).

Non-prophecies: Even more significant than the extraordinary prophesies of Christ, were the non-prophesies. That is, the many Jewish stories that make very little sense, stories woven into the history and Scripture of Israel, and therefore, of the world. These stories have little meaning, or appear even absurd, until viewed in the light of Jesus Christ, as prefiguring Him, His life, death, and resurrection. They are not prophecies. A prophecy is more direct. The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem, during an international census, and have His hands and feet pierced, He will be buried in a rich man’s tomb, but His body will not decay. Those are prophecies. Consider now a few of the non-prophesies of Scripture.

[i]Mount Moriah: Genesis 22 records a bizarre story in which God instructs Abraham to take His only son Isaac to the mountains of Moriah, to a special place, and three days later, after his son carries the wood needed for the offering up the mount, to kill Isaac there as a blood sacrifice. Among Zakath’s many accusations against God, in his last post, he wrote that “God orders fathers to kill their children.” Ancient peoples of Canaan, like many pagans around the world from the Sumerians, Egyptians and Moabites, to ancient American peoples, practiced human sacrifice, and since children were especially easy to kill, they slaughtered many children in their perverse rituals. The God of the Bible utterly prohibits human sacrifice (Lev. 18:21; Jer. 7:31), and God identified child sacrifice as murder worthy of the death penalty (Lev. 20:2). The Hebrew Scriptures document repeatedly that the Jews followed the example of the Gentiles around them, and murdered their own children in ritual sacrifice (2 Kings 6:3; 21:6; Ezek 16:20; 20:31). So, if God is against human and child sacrifice, why command Abraham to kill Isaac? Jews and Christians note that at the last minute God stopped Abraham and substituted a ram whose head was caught in a thicket. But that does not justify God’s request in the first place. For surely God would not ask a man to rape his daughter to prove his obedience, so why ask Abraham to kill his son?

The answer lies in Jesus Christ. The parallels are startling. God the Father brought His only Son to the exact same mountain upon which later the Temple was built (2 Chr. 3:1; 1 Chr. 21:22), to the summit. And as did Isaac, Jesus carried the wood for the offering, the crossbeam, to Golgotha. And as the substitutionary ram, Christ had His head in a crown of thorns. Only Isaac and the ram were symbols of Christ, and unlike Isaac, Jesus would not escape the sacrifice. And He was crucified in that same mountain. Our Mount Moriah video explains these and other parallels in detail. For as the angel prophesied to Abraham, “In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided” (Gen. 22:14). Thus an incomprehensible story of mental cruelty becomes a glorious story of historical confirmation of the truth of Christ’s death and resurrection. For Abraham got his son back after these three tormenting days, and so too, Christ rose from the dead on the third day, according to the Scriptures.

Ritual Sacrifice: The entire system of priests and animal blood sacrifices seems bizarre until we realize the absolute requirement of justice which demanded Christ’s death as a punishment for sin in order that some may be saved. If you raise a child, and he steals from his mother’s purse, and you do not punish him, he will get worse. And if he is not forced to pay restitution, then his mother actually must pay for the crime, because she is not only the mother of a thief, but now she has also lost the money. If you make believe that sin can go unpunished, you are a fool. Liberals hate the very concept of punishment, not because they love the drug dealer selling on the playground, but because they intuitively recoil from the concept of punishment, resenting the notion that a righteous God may punish them. So, God planned to save those who would trust in Him by paying for our sins by sacrificing the blood of His Son. Thus, the symbolism of the animals sacrificed pointed to Christ. Always, they had to be without blemish, symbolizing his sinlessness. And the blood was applied to the people, as Christ’s blood saves His followers. And even the priesthood symbolized Christ, for while they offered up lambs, He offered up Himself. Thus, the Jewish priests also had to be without blemish, and they could not serve if they had “a broken foot or broken hand” (Lev 21:19), because Christ was crucified, but none of His bones were broken.

Israel’s Feasts: The Passover was the first of the annual feasts of Israel prescribed in detail in the Bible. Every Jewish family was commanded to purchase their own Passover, a lamb without blemish, three days and three nights prior to the Passover. And then, in unison, all the families killed the lamb, applied the blood to their front doors, and cooked and ate the lamb, but could not break any of its bones! Then began the days of Unleavened Bread, when they did not use yeast, so that their bread did not rise. And then that Sunday would be the feast of First Fruits. And fifty days later came the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost). After 1,500 years of Jews keeping this bizarre schedule, the high priest Caiaphas paid 30 pieces of silver for Jesus, whom Paul refers to as the Passover Lamb. And a few days later, as the nation was preparing to kill their Passover lambs, Christ was crucified, his hands and feet pierced, but none of His bones broken. The news spread throughout Jerusalem as a million people that day slaughtered their own Passover lambs. And then, over the next few days as their homes had only bread without yeast, Jesus Christ, the “bread from heaven” was buried in a tomb, but as prophesied directly, His body did not decay. And as prefigured in the non-prophesy of the Feasts of Israel, yeast causes decomposition, and so the bread in all the homes across Israel saw no corruption, as neither did Christ. And then, as God had commanded and Moses wrote in Leviticus 23, that Sunday was the Feast of First Fruits. And on that day, Jesus Christ arose, the First Fruits of all those who would thereafter trust in Him! The apostle Paul, who had previously persecuted, arrested, and murdered Christians, converted, and he wrote that more than 500 people saw Christ alive after the resurrection. And fifty days after the resurrection, on the Feast of Pentecost, as Luke the historian reports, God poured out the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the believers and 3,000 Jewish people converted, beginning the evangelistic effort that has remained for 2,000 years and the preaching of the resurrection that will continue for as long as sinful men live on the Earth awaiting God’s judgment and Christ’s return.

Bizzare Stories: So many more bizarre Bible stories, non-prophecies, find their extraordinary meaning and fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ. As we are covered by the blood of Christ, Rachel’s blood covered her idolatry and saved her. Genesis has five weird sibling swaps, where the older takes the place of the younger, all of which revolve around Jacob, whose name God changed to Israel. For example, his father Isaac, the younger, took the inheritance of his older brother Ishmael. And Jacob’s son Judah had twins, and the nearly firstborn had a scarlet thread tied around his foot, but then his foot went back into the womb, and his brother (of Christ’s lineage), came out first. Jacob stole the birthright from Esau, and then deceived his elderly father so that He would receive the blessing of the firstborn. None of the stories like that make sense until you realize what Jesus Christ did. He took Adam’s place! He died for me. He was the substitution. He took your place on the cross. And he deceived death (so to speak), and took Adam’s inheritance of guilt and death upon Himself. And so, Jesus Christ came after Adam (in the flesh), but took his place and is now the true federal head of the human race. The non-prophecies, the stories embedded in the history and culture of the world, go on and on, prefiguring Jesus Christ, and getting their glorious meaning centuries after God inspired their inclusion in the Bible, of Joseph, and Moses, and Aaron, and Joshua, and David, and Daniel, and Jonah, and on and on, the Scriptures speak of Him!

Non-prophesies are even more powerful as corroboration than are direct prophecies. For, with direct prophecies, the author and those fulfilling the prophecy could conspire together, even if they do not know one another, to deceive others. But non-prophesies are perplexing stories, sometimes with great detail, which seem to defy interpretation. And because the Old Testament is such a huge book, and without computers and mass printing, many of these non-prophesies were not even explored in the first century by the writing of the New Testament. As Jesus indicated that the Hebrew Scriptures were about Him, we find centuries later, that as we pour through them, we find extraordinary examples of symbolism in stories which make no sense. Until! Until those stories are looked at in light of Christ. Then, they make wonderful sense, and become the most cherished of intellectual possessions of millions of believers. The non-prophecies provide extraordinary evidence for the existence of God, and more. Only in retrospect, after Christ, can we see why God inspired their record in the Bible. For they confirm the Scripture message, that God the Son became flesh, lived a sinless life, died for our sins, and was raised from the dead, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Bible Authorship: The Bible was written over a period of 1,500 years, by forty authors, on three continents, mostly in two languages, by men of greatly differing experiences. Moses was an Egyptian leader & Jewish revolutionary, David a king, Amos herdsman, Joshua general, Nehemiah cupbearer, Daniel prime minister, Solomon a philosopher, Luke a physician, Peter fisherman, Matthew a tax-collector, and Paul a rabbi. Imagine the difficulty of forty men trying to write a book on any topic, let alone religion, and their chapters agreeing with one another. As the Jews say, assemble 100 rabbis, and get 100 opinions. Yet most of the Bible authors did not even know one another, and they lived during different centuries. And these men, inspired by God, wrote of the paradise lost of Genesis becoming the paradise restored of Revelation. This Bible tells a single unfolding story: God’s redemption of fallen man.

If the Bible story was just made up, like the Koran, then it could have whitewashed its main characters and justified the sins of the prophets and the apostles. But the Bible does not do that. Rather, Scripture deals honestly with the sins of its heroes and of its own authors! The Bible’s patriarchs were cowards, its chosen people were idolaters, Moses’ lack of obedience kept him out of the promised land, King David committed adultery and murder, Peter denied Christ, Thomas doubted, and all the apostles forsook Him at His hour of need, and there was tension between Peter and Paul, and great disorder within the early church. What’s more, Jesus warned people to beware of His own followers (Matthew 24:5)!

Zakath’s Accusations Against God: When Zakath lists his accusations against the God of the Bible, he includes crimes committed by men in Scripture. But Zakath implies that God somehow specifically wanted or approved of the crimes, as when he wrote in 8a “God allows rape.” God has the power to physically put a bubble around every person to protect us from one another, but of course that would produce a completely different kind of existence, for if God artificially removed our vulnerabilities to one another, he would change human relations to such a degree that we would no longer recognize them. And for me, I recognize the potential value that comes with vulnerability. Perhaps atheists refuse to recognize that value because they simply want to savor another accusation against God. In the book of Judges, for example, we read about the work of twelve more or less godly leaders, but Judges also includes three anecdotal stories showing the wickedness of the people. Israel’s intense wickedness is a theme which runs throughout their Scripture. And while the ancient peoples of the world, think of the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Assyrians, recorded their kings labors as though they were gods on earth, the Bible, written by the Jews, presents the Jews and their leaders in painful truthfulness. So, Zakath takes the honest record of Israel’s sin, and leads people to believe that such deeds were desired or approved by God.

Zakath also accuses the God of the Bible of murder and genocide, as in the flood and in His command to kill the Canaanites. As an atheist, of course, Zakath does not believe in absolute morality, yet He implies that He has found deeds by which He can absolutely show that the God of the Bible is unrighteous. Of course, if Zakath were right, there are only disagreements over what should be acceptable, but no ultimate standard. However, Zakath is wrong. The NAZIs cannot be condemned by their evolutionary worldview of survival of the fittest, because evolution has no morality. But Christians, including prophets and apostles, can be judged by Christian morality. And even the actions of God can be looked at for consistency with absolute morals. Zakath accuses God of murder (but probably excuses Hillary for slaughtering unborn children by abortion). But God is the Creator who made creatures (us) to live life in two stages, in this life, and then the next life. If God chooses, without any question of impropriety whatsoever (let alone morality), God can bring one of his creatures from stage one to stage two. We call that process death. At the same time, God is not under any requirement to delegate to men the authority to dispatch any person they please into stage two. God made us to live our lives in an initial short stage, as on the porch of a home, and then in death, we go through the front door and enter the living room, to settle into our permanent residence. It is inane to suggest that a Creator in that scenario somehow would be evil to do that. And it is also completely unreasonable to demand that he then delegate that authority, to send people into the afterlife, to every creature (human). God could kill people directly (as with Er), or by a natural mechanism (as in the Flood), or by commanding His people to kill those He selects, or by delegating to governments authority to execute capital criminals. When we look at God not with the spite of a rebel, but with the humility of a servant, we see that He is righteous. I challenged Zakath to a debate on the Bible to deal with his accusations, but then he dropped out.

So the Bible deals harshly with the sins of its great men, because their sins deserve harsh treatment. Except for Jesus Christ! Jesus did not write a single word of the Bible Himself. Yet the prophecies and eye-witness accounts describe Him alone as sinless. As God the Son, He lived a righteous life, and so, His sacrifice could pay for our sins.

But hasn’t the Bible changed so much over 2,000 years, that today, we have no idea what it originally said? Well, when Jesus stood in the Temple and read from Isaiah, thanks to the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are 2000 years old, we know that what he read from Isaiah is exactly what we can read in Isaiah today, word for word, reliably preserved over the centuries. And the Dead Sea Scrolls contain 230 passages from the Bible’s books, some very extensive as long as the entire scroll of Isaiah, and they quote from almost every book of the Old Testament. Further, about 100 people in the Bible have been identified by secular historians and archaeologists, unlike the Book of Mormon, and unlike that book, hundreds of cities and geographic locales, every ancient coin has been found. Ancient civilizations described in Scripture that were denied by skeptics have been found and documented by archaeologists. The Bible claims to have been written as holy men of God were inspired to record real events and teachings for our benefit. Then, for both the Old and New Testaments, God led the Jews and later the Christians to accept the books that had been written by their prophets and apostles. And these writings became the sixty-six books of the Bible.

Worldwide and Permanent Influence: The Bible reveals the seven-day week of creation, and 6,000 years later the human race still keeps a seven-day week. Even the atheists who hate God, organize their lives around His schedule. Each time they write the date on their checks, and read it in their newspapers, they are dating the years since the birth of Jesus Christ, as even the U.S. Constitution in Article VII refers to Jesus Christ as “our Lord.”

If God wrote a book, you might guess it would be a bestseller. Well, in the last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to interview two New York Times #1 best-sellers, Ann Coulter, and former FBI Agent Gary Aldrich. Usually, selling a few hundred thousand books catapults an author onto the list, with the best authors selling a few million books a year. So how well does God’s book, the Bible, sell? The Bible has not sold millions of copies, but billions! In 1998 alone, the United Bible Society’s Scripture Distribution Report, documented the publication of 21 million Bibles, 20 million Testaments, plus the printing of 544 million selected books and passages of scripture! Almost 600 million printed publications, in one year! The 1996 Guiness Book of Records calls the Bible the “world’s best-selling and most widely distributed book” and in just 160 of the more than 500 years of its publication, 2.5 billion copies were sold, from 1815 to 1975! But as the first book ever printed, the world had already been producing printed Bibles since 1455, for more than 350 years! And in the thirty years since, more than a billion Bibles and New Testaments have been printed, and billions of selections.

If every Bible in the world was destroyed, we would reproduce it from millions of quotes in literature, in the classics and in countless books about the Bible, plays, movies, pamphlets, etc. We have eight ancient manuscripts of Plato, but over 20,000 of the New Testament, in part or in whole. The French infidel Voltaire predicted the death of Christianity within 100 years of his death. But fifty years later, the Geneva Bible Society purchased his home to publish Bibles. Nietzsche said God is dead. But God says that Nietzsche is dead (Heb. 9:27). Who will you believe?

The Bible has been translated into more than 2,000 languages and can be read in whole or in significant part by 90% of the people of the earth. Today, 6,000 workers with Wycliffe International are translating Scripture into 1,638 languages. Their goal is that by 2025, to have begun translation work for every language group that lacks a Bible. Lord willing, Christians will produce the first universally translated text since Babel when wildly diverse languages first appeared suddenly in man’s history. To stop the influence of the Bible, you might as well put your shoulder to the Sun to stop it motion. (Oh yeah, the atheists have tried that too !)

[b]Question Summary

BQ39: Who do you say that Jesus Christ is?

BQ40: Will you repent of your godless life, and humbly ask God to forgive your sins, and believe that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead for you?

TheologyOnline, Battle Royale VII, God Does Exist, Conclusion

Those non-Christians who have read this debate are especially accountable to God. As Jesus said, “that servant who knew… shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required… I came to send fire [of Judgment] on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:47-49).

For even belief in God alone is insufficient, if the theist rejects Jesus Christ or refuses to trust in Him. As the Apostle James wrote, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe; and tremble!” (James 2:19). The pagan gods are not the source of righteousness, and they do not insist upon the justice that will eventually vindicate the righteous, and they do not offer the forgiveness available by the blood of Christ, nor demand the humility required to trust in His sacrifice instead of our own good works. (After all, we humans are the reason for all the hurt we inflict upon ourselves and one another in the first place, so we cannot possibly justify ourselves.) Those who promote false gods are part of the problem of hurt and pain in the world, and they resist the only answer, which is Jesus Christ.

Salvation requires more than a non-Christian theism. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25). And with enough exclusivity to anger most of humanity, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. [b]No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6).

I wrote in post 5b: “Zakath, why don’t you make a commitment to yourself that thirty years from now, on your deathbed (if you have that luxury), you will look back to see if scientific progress has filled any of the origins gaps, or if they’ve been squeezed shut [closed] even more tightly.” But perhaps I shouldn’t have encouraged your false sense of security in your future. For, to the self-assured man who was prepared for the good life “for many years” to come, Jesus quoted that “God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you…’” (Luke 12:19-20). Jesus said, “Fool,” because such a man’s rebellion against God is so unnecessary. [color=red]“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).

Sincerely, Bob Enyart

Knight
August 20th, 2003, 11:25 AM
DING DING DING.... OK thats it, the Battle is officially OVER! Sadly one of the combatants threw in the towel in round 8. But we certainly thank Zakath for the effort in the rounds leading up to that.

And we especially want to thank Bob Enyart who brought the TOL Battle Royale Series to a whole new level! Absolutely AWESOME stuff - thank you!

And now for the BR VII POST GAME SHOW. (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=311830#post311830)

Knight
December 23rd, 2003, 12:11 PM
This thread is officially inducted into the TOL Hall of Fame (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=54) on this day.... 12-23-2003.