"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Knowing God: Part 2

This is part 2.  Click here to read Part One.

It was the following day that I took time after class to go to the biggest Christian book store in Tampa.  This place had been in business a long time.  A free standing building about a third of the size of your average Barnes and Nobles, maybe a little smaller.  It wasn't just some little shop in a strip mall.  I figured if any place has some books with the answers to help me with all of the doubts and questions, surely this was the place.

My assumption was totally wrong.  There was a big section that had lots of different translations of the Bible.  At that time, I didn't understand why that was necessary.  Of the most popular translations, you even had different variations: red-letter, chain reference, topical, etc.Nobody to explain why all that was necessary, but it was all there.  Then there's all the different binding, and, oh-my-goodness!,  the selection of very fancy covers or carriers to tote them around in. A whole corner of the book area was devoted to such paraphernalia. Then there was a huge section that had to do with "Spirituality." Then an area about "self-improvement." Biographies took up another section.  There was a section with Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias and other large reference works. Of course there were books about end time prophecy.  Everybody wants to know what's going to happen and when. Smaller sections covered evangelism and church organization, and of course there were lots of books about current events and culture and what was wrong with the world. There were books on single topics or areas that I don't even remember.There was a large section of the store devoted to popular or contemporary gospel music, both recorded and sheet music.  Then there's the clothing.  Tee shirts, jewelry, choir robes.  Sunday school supplies, lesson books, felt boards, posters.  Artwork, paintings, candlesticks, knick-knacks, whatever.

I think I'd spent over two hours browsing the titles and reading the jackets to find something that dealt with just the basic questions I had.  In the reference section there was some fat volume about Bible criticism.  Perhaps it was Gleason Archer's When Critics Ask or some such, but that's the kind of stuff for second and third year seminary students and dealt with internal textual minutia that didn't have anything to do with answering any of my deeply held belief in evolution.  It seemed like I was wasting my time and I was coming to the conclusion that I wasn't going to find anything because there was nothing to find.

Let me back up a bit here.  As I was being made fun of for my new faith, I was asking questions of the priest and the other people I went to church with.  A lot of those people had gone to church all their lives and seemed to have great faith, and for heaven's sake, what's the point of getting a seminary degree and becoming ordained if you aren't going to learn how to answer people's questions about why we should believe in this stuff.  But when I would ask my questions, pointing out the glaring contradictions in what we accepted as fact from science versus what the Bible said, the only responses I got were pretty much one of three kinds:  "What's important is just having faith." "The accounts in the Bible are just parables or allegories, they're not to be taken as literal history."  "Evolution is just God's way of doing things."

The problem is, all of those answers mean that you couldn't trust what the Bible said about anything.  My logical mind wouldn't let me come to any other conclusion.  Especially since the Bible itself claims over and over again that it is the truth. I was not about to buy into any solipsistic nonsense about it.  And if you are one of those idiots who believes in solipsism, you might as well stop reading and go someplace else, because I got no use for you, unless you want to be disabused of that garbage.

Some people can somehow find a way to shut down that part of their mind that demands to know; "How did we get here, and why are we here?"  I really don't understand how someone of even average intelligence can do that, but that's a whole new post.  Those fundamental questions are why we spend trillions of dollars all over the planet,  building superconducting super colliders  and engaging in quantum physics research.  It's why we keep peering farther and farther out into space and launched Voyager and have radio telescopes listening for aliens.  I have a strong suspicion that even the people who claim not to care about the basic issue of human origins really do care when faced with their own mortality or deep personal crisis.

It would also be another thing if the Bible didn't deal with the issue of our origins, but it does.  It doesn't simply tell us, "God just created everything you see, and He really doesn't want to be bothered with telling you how He did it."  Quite the contrary.  It not only tells us the order that certain things were made, but defines what a day is and how long it lasts, and the order in which things were created made no sense according to everything I'd been taught in school.  And that was just scratching the surface of all the problems I had with the stories in the Bible.  I walked out of that store feeling pretty let down.

As I went to pull out of the parking lot the radio was playing something I found very irritating at that moment and so I hit another preset, to land on a station that carried Dr. D. James Kennedy's Truths That Transform just in time to hear that the program was about a book that was full of evidence that countered evolution.  It  seemed to have basic rebuttals to some things that I'd always just accepted as fact: Carbon dating, how primitive early man was, billions of years of geological evidence, etc.

Wow, why hadn't I ever heard anything like that before?  Even so, it sounded like stuff that should be pretty easy to falsify if it was just typical Christian propaganda.  I ordered it.  The book itself was pretty simple and seemed to be written for a general audience, but with lots of references.  I no longer have it in my library, having loaned it out many years ago and never gotten it back, but its footnotes and bibliography got me started on research, and within a couple of months I was spending a lot of money buying books from other sources, and finding out some really amazing things.

Like the fact that some of the best and brightest scientists with advanced degrees, all over the world, not only believed that the Bible was true, but that the earth was very young.  I'm not talking about crackpot, or fringe scientists, but guys with Ph.D.s from major universities and who were well respected and even taught at such places or were doing cutting edge research.  Like Dr. Richard Damadian who invented the MRI., Dr. A.E. Wilder-Smith a holder of three separate doctorates in the medical field; Dr. Russell Humphreys who was once the lead scientist in high energy plasma physics.

Those are just modern scientists.  I'm sure nobody cares that Isaac Newton, or Michael Faraday, or Louis Pasteur or most of the scientists of the 18th and 19th centuries were devout believers in the Bible and believed that the pursuit of science was, as Faraday put it, "thinking God's thoughts after Him."

All of this information really shook me up.  I read volumes and volumes of material.  I read the criticisms of these men and their research and conclusions and found myself having to agree with them.  I discovered Dr. Robert Gentry's work on polonium radio halos in granite and how none of the evolutionary scientists could find a flaw in his logic of what the implications were.  It actually made me angry for weeks.  I'd been misled for a long time.  I'd been lied to.  I thought "all" scientists were in agreement that evolution was a fact and that there was no mitigating evidence to the contrary. You see, it's one thing to present both sides of an argument fairly and let the audience decide, but that's not what goes on out there.  I would get to experience it first hand for myself, long before Ben Stein would come out with his documentary, EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed.  I have been in college classrooms and in churches and parties where, once I began laying out evidence that made evolution easily falsifiable, my opponents would say I was nuts, but couldn't produce or cite a single piece of evidence to refute me.

This post, and even this entire blog is not for the purpose of laying out over 24 years of my experience and research into the debate and the evidence.  I've been a subscriber to Creation and now Answers magazine, as well as the scientific, peer reviewed journals of the Creation Research Society, and Answers In Genesis' Technical Journal.  I've listened and read, over, and over, and over to the evolutionists talk about how creationism isn't science, but then they never deal with the science.  Their argument always gets reduced to being about religious people trying to impose their beliefs on everybody else.  This has become so routine, that I have never been afraid to engage in debate with any doctor of any discipline anywhere at anytime regarding creation versus evolution. I'll try to keep to the topic of how the decay theorem proves that radiometric dating is always just a guess, or really a SWAG, and they'll just tell me it's "settled" science, without dealing with the mathematical equation.  They have nothing, and they prove it every single time.  Maybe I should share some of those encounters in other posts, but that's not the purpose of this particular post.  Here, I am just wanting to deal with the idea of knowing God. The background is important, however, because we are not talking about God as just anybody wants to understand Him.  The God that you understand on your terms is no god at all.

Once again, my logical, science loving mind was very concerned with the question of: Which God?  Is there just God and all roads lead to him?  Is the god of the Hindus and Buddhists and the Muslims and even the Mormons all the same entity?  Is religion just this big, complex salad bar that we all slide our tray along and get to pick and choose what we like, but we all end up eating in the same dining room?  All of these religions contradict each other on so many points and so many levels.  They can't all be right.  The universal language of the Universe is mathematics.  All the laws that govern this Universe are very exact and precise.  It stood to reason in my mind that a God who created all of this must have some very well defined rules.  It also made sense to me that any entity or religion that claimed to know God would not reflect any characteristics of a God that were inconsistent with nature.

Being logical, I asked myself: "What if I were God?"  Would I create a universe with very precise and logical mathematical laws, incredible beauty, mind-boggling diversity, then create sentient beings capable of tremendous abstract thought and deep emotional capability, and then leave them to their own devices and not provide a way for them to find out about me?  Maybe it's just me, but I find that line of thinking stupid beyond words.  So, now a big part of my journey was going to be about discovering whether or not I could know if I had the right God.  This would prove to be my journey on the road called epistemology.

I had already had enough experience from as far back as I can remember of experiencing the most asinine and moronic behavior in churches.  It still goes on to this day.  One need only turn on the TV and experience the clownish antics of the prosperity hucksters and simple-minded "evangelists."  Way too much of what the world encounters under the label of "Christianity" on television looks like a combination of Ringling Brothers and Saturday Night Live.  I would have to find out, apart from the "church" that God is not afraid of the toughest questions I can put to Him.  I would also have to learn that the vast majority of stuff done in His name had nothing to do with Him.

The next post on this theme is going to deal with,  "How do we find  the real God?"

You can move to the next post by clicking on Knowing God: Part 3


  1. Interesting. My experience has been quite the opposite.

    I have spent about 15 years now happily looking at evidence that was sent to me by creationists. I'm a Christian, a teacher in my church, and even a part-time missionary! I rarely find evidence sent to me that even takes looking at. On rare occasions I do, but even that has not stood up to scrutiny.

    Gentry's polonium halos is a good argument, though there are refutations of it written. The question has to do with whether there was any travel of gas through the granite. Gentry says there's no evidence; his opponents say there's clear evidence. I can't resolve a question like that, but I haven't found anything else that withstood scrutiny.

    I'd be curious where you'd start as the strongest evidence you see against evolution.

  2. Oh, and your glossary page (with links to it from technical words in your posts) was a really good idea. I'm going to borrow that idea for my blog and web site. Thanks.

  3. Strongest point? As if there aren't many. 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Dr. A.E. Wilder-Smith published one book titled, The Natural Sciences Know Nothing of Evolution, an excellent book that devastates the idea of evolution. Everything we see in the natural world says evolution is a stupid concept, because everything tends toward entropy. Evolution demands that we accept on faith that there is some mechanism that defies the laws of physics, yet never describes that mechanism. I can't muster up enough faith to believe in a fairy tale like that.
    The there is irreducible complexity in all biological systems. Michael Behe's book, "Darwin's Black Box" is devastating to evolution.
    I taught creation apologetics for about ten years where I was welcomed to do so, and I could never exhaust all the evidence that makes evolution look silly. Yet you claim you don't see any? Sounds like spiritual blindness to me.

    As for gas travelling through the granite, that's grasping at straws, because if you understand polonium and it's relationship to it's parent elements, and its half-life, it makes no sense to argue that the halos somehow came from gas. If you'd like to send me links to the articles I'll read them.

    What specifically has not stood up to scrutiny? And why would you want to be a Christian if you can't or won't trust the Bible on what it says?

    A short list of areas where evolution fails miserably:

    **Radiometric dating totally unreliable; the theorem itself proves it.
    **That Carbon 14 can be found in diamonds.
    **Circular reasoning in dating fossils and rock layers.
    **Sedimentary rock layers all over the world, and how they are formed in reality.
    **No transitionary fossils. "Cambrian Explosion"
    **DNA and information theory.
    **Not enough time or material to run enough iterations for even the simplest building blocks to have come about by chance.

    It could be that you are like some that I've debated. No amount of reasoning from the evidence will sway you because of some deep seated agenda you have. Most of the time when I have encountered folk such as yourself, how you interpret the evidence is more about you not wanting to seem stupid or uneducated to the worldly people around you. You would rather seem in sync with the popular but fallible opinions of man over the Divine revelation of Scripture. This is why I gave up on the label "Christian" many years ago. It has become meaningless.

    We can look at each point if you like. Give me whatever specifics you can and I will go over it with you.

  4. Paul,

    I tried to answer here in the comment box, but Blogger said it was too long.

    Let's just take one item and go from there.

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics. This law and evolution (not to be confused with "natural selection") cannot exist in the same universe.

    Ball is in your court.

  5. Ooops. Looks like my first comment did post.

  6. Sorry, traveling. It took a couple days to be able to check back.

    Okay, I'll try to keep this short:

    1. 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: It only applies to closed systems. Earth is an open system because it obtains energy--massive amounts--from the sun. Law of Entropy doesn't apply to such a system.

    2. Behe's "Black Box" argument has already lost on its favorite example, the flagellum of bacteria. Other bacteria use the exact same structure, minus several of the 15 proteins involved, as an injector to inject poison.

  7. On Gentry's Polonium Halos and gas:

    The reason gas is debated is because the isotopes that Gentry says caused the halos are daughter isotopes of uranium. They have very short half lives.

    However, the isotopes further up the chain, closer to uranium, have longer half lives. Gentry says they're not there. Another scientist says that Radon-222, a parent of the polonium, was there, which means that Gentry's short half-lives don't apply because the polonium came from Radon-222 with a longer half life.

    Gentry says there's no evidence of Radon contamination, the other scientist says there is.

    In my opinion, Gentry's polonium halos are currently the only strong creationist argument published in a peer-reviewed journal. His claim that his paper stands unrefuted in the journals he published in is true.

    Still, one--and only one--relatively sound argument that has some alternative explanations (the source of the granite, for example, is unknown) is not a reason to throw out 150 years of more solid evidence.

  8. Paul, I just love that excuse that entropy only applies to closed systems; er, let me see if I can find the most delicate way to put it . . . CRAP!!!

    That has never made sense, and here's why. Essentially what you are saying is that by adding any energy to a system, it is possible for the complexity to increase. Evolutionists say this out of, I don't know, sheer stupidity? I can add energy all day long to a system and call it open, but that will not do a thing to increase order or add information to the system.

    Example: I can plug my PC into the wall or even better, change the power supply to increase the voltage input. I can play with changing the power ad infinitum, but NO new information or useful work will result. Increased energy without directed intelligence results in no reversal of entropy. You get a whopping fail on that one. You don't understand the 2nd Law in it's fullness. When you can show me a natural, materialistic mechanism that creates information or useful complexity, the evolutionary world will bow down and worship at your feet, and I'll shut up. Next comment will deal with IC.

  9. On irreducible complexity, you prove you don't understand that either. First of all, to show, or think you've shown that ONE example mitigates against Behe's examples, doesn't suffice. Secondly your example doesn't suffice. Irreducible complexity means that the one organ has to have all of its own parts functioning, and that to remove one of them renders the object useless. If the flagellum is designed to carry out one function and you removed certain parts and it no longer functions properly, or it's function is reduced in efficiency it proves the point. Flagella that are designed to inject poison and are specialized for that job, but have their DNA damaged and can't produce the necessary structure to do their job, then they prove irreducible complexity. Your comparison is like saying that the teeth in a snake's mouth that don't function all like poison injecting fangs prove your point. BIG FAIL. The different teeth each carry out the specific function they were designed to do, and the fact that the two can exist inside the same mouth actually multiplies the overall system complexity. You really need to either think more about this yourself, or you need to read some intelligent creationist reasoning on this, because the evolutionists are failing you badly.

  10. Regarding geophysical evidence: Paul, the burden for evidence is on you. WHAT 150 years of "solid" evidence? I once had a professor of marine biology go apoplectic when I asked him to provide a single piece of evidence that proves an old earth. He got angry and said we wouldn't talk about it any more.
    I can point to granite. We know, *ahem*, KNOW from experimentation that if you melt granite it is no longer granite, but becomes rhyolite. That definitely proves that the evolutionary idea of planet formation just fails completely. We know that the observable erosion rates prove that none of the mountains we see today would be there if the earth was more than about 50 - 60,000 years old.
    We know from empirical evidence that the earth's magnetic field has a half-life such that it can't possibly be more than a few 10K years old.
    These things are observable and measurable. How about you provide a piece of evidence that supports the millions or billions of years of evolution.


Please don't make me disable comments because you couldn't maintain decorum and civil discourse. You can disagree all you want to, just don't get nasty.