Why science will always trump religion

I’ve had a lot of conversations and experiences lately that have led me to the conclusion that in the debate between religion and science, science will always have the upper hand.

The key here is objectivity. The religious side in any argument simply can’t be objective. From the very start they’re biased by a belief in God that taints every single piece of evidence they see. When confronted with a new piece of evidence, the objective scientist will ask, “Hmm, now how does this work?” When confronted with the same piece of evidence, the religious person will ask, “Hmm, now how can I use this to prove the existence of God and the veracity of the bible?” See the difference?

I’m an atheist. I’m an atheist because of science, whereas I think that a lot of religious people tend to think that most people are scientists because of atheism, that atheists become scientists in order to disprove God. In reality, I think that most religious people simply don’t understand why people are atheists. I’m an atheist because I see no current evidence to support the existence of a deity. That’s it. I’m not an atheist because I “hate God” or am on a mission to prove He doesn’t exist. Science objectively informs me about the universe that I live in, and I base my beliefs on that evidence.

But that also means that my beliefs are subject to change, because I have no subjective stake in them, unlike a religious person. In any debate with the religious, I have zero stake in the actual outcome. If science proved tomorrow that God unequivocally exists, then I would believe in God. If science ultimately explains the workings and goings on of the universe without God (the current paradigm), then I shall continue to not believe in God. It’s that simple. As a practical example, I believe in evolution because there’s physical, tangible evidence for it. I don’t believe in creationism because a) there’s no way to objectively measure or test it, and b) there’s zero evidence for it.

But the same cannot be said of a religious person. It’s impossible for them to be objective in their views, because they have a subjective stake in the argument. They’ve already started with this conclusion–that God created the world in six days, that woman was created from man’s rib, etc. So when they look at a piece of evidence, it’s impossible for them to be objective about it; they automatically have to try to fit it into their religious worldview. The beliefs of a religious person aren’t objective and therefore aren’t subject to change. Jesus himself could descend from a cloud in the sky tomorrow and tell an evangelical congregation that evolution is real, that God flipped the switch and the universe worked itself out, and they’d all probably claim that it was a trick by Satan.

And that’s why I don’t put any stock in “creation science.” Firstly, it’s not a science because it’s not objective. There’s a ridiculously huge bias there that influences everything. Secondly, they’ve set their own terms in the debate. Rather than objectively follow the evidence, they’ve conveniently redefined what constitutes evidence. That’s pretty handy, isn’t it? To be able to dictate arbitrarily and subjectively what is and what isn’t evidence? Who could possibly lose a debate when they get to dictate all of the terms? And if all else fails and objective fact starts to seep in, there’s the always the old, “Well, God works in mysterious ways/it’s impossible to comprehend His glorious plan,” fallback position.

And that’s why, quite frankly, creation science is often flat out wrong in it’s understanding of the world around us. It’s not looking at anything objectively; rather it’s desperately trying to redefine the evidence so that it fits in with their completely subjective worldview. Because a belief in God can only be rooted in the subjective, it’s automatically incompatible with the objective.

So of course science is winning the argument. I’m not arguing from the conclusion and working backward. I don’t have to do mental gymnastics to try to make the world fit into into a box I’ve already put it in. I’m arguing based off of a rational evaluation of evidence. I don’t care which way the evidence leads us. As of right now, it does not lead us in the direction of a God. That’s just how it goes. I have no emotional investment in that. If tomorrow that changes then it changes and that’s the new objective reality. The same, however, cannot be said of the religious side of the coin, a side that can only exist so long as only certain evidence exists. And if that evidence doesn’t exist or points to the contrary? Then it’s all a test of faith by God, obviously.

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30 thoughts on “Why science will always trump religion

  1. It’s good to hear you are open to following the truth wherever it may lead. I think you will find that many Christians are the same way. The Christian faith is extremely falsifiable. All you would ever need is to discover the physical body of Jesus. If the resurrection is false, then Christians are believing in a lie. Historically there have been very strong arguments for both the existence of God, and the truth of Christianity. I don’t think Christians are slaves to their own presuppositions. Rather, they might be embracing a reasonable faith which celebrates science as one more good thing that God created. Respectfully submitted.

    1. Respectfully considered!

      For the sake of brevity I painted Christianity with kind of a board brush. There’s definitely a spectrum. For example, I know a lot of people who consider themselves Christian but still believe in evolution. For a lot of people, I think religion represents a value system rather than a way of objectively understanding the world, thus you can have somebody who identifies as “Christian” but can still find a place for evolution in their world.

      I guess what I was ultimately getting at was the fundamental, literalist Christian. For the sake of my argument, I would consider those people to be the polar opposite of the atheist. They’re also probably the people most likely to be engaged in a debate about this.

      But I know that there are tons of moderate religious people out there and plenty of moderate secularists out there, like agnostics.

      Thank you very much for the thoughtful comment!

  2. I agree with Mr. Ladd. One thing many don’t understand is that Christianity is not a religion. It is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Religion doesn’t offer a Savior.

    1. Which is absolutely fine if that’s how you define it. I can respect that definition. I think the crux of the issue is whether or not that personal relationship has any bearing on objective reality, which is where I think science and faith clash.

  3. Ryan, I can see where you are coming from. It depends on which or what or where you place your faith. If the doctor tells a patient they are going to die in 3 months, and the patient chooses to accept that diagnosis, then there is no hope for recovery. The doctor/medical clinic does not believe in a God or the Creator of the Universe so the science of medicine has failed that patient. However, if the patient chooses to believe the Bible, plus the medicines that work there is hope for recovery and total healing. As for me, I know this works.

    Also I have a question. Why is it that atheists use the Christian tag or any that relate to it to post their blogs? If an atheist doesn’t believe in it, then posting using those tags oppose your beliefs since you don’t believe in it. If you don’t believe in it then it doesn’t exist. As a Christian or a Jesus follower, I have never posted anything on tags related to atheism/agnosticism or anything related to them.

    1. As far as the tags go, I never really considered that. I just use the tags that pertain the subject of whatever I’m writing about. I suppose that’s something to think about in the future.

      As far as the example of the terminally ill patient, I certainly wouldn’t begrudge anyone their beliefs. If you choose to augment treatment with prayer that’s totally fine to me. However, I would argue that just because I don’t believe in God or a higher power doesn’t mean I would just give up and resign myself to a terminal diagnosis. I think the will to live is pretty strong in all people regardless of their faith (or lackthereof). A doctor might diagnose me with cancer and give me a three month prognosis, but that’s just an educated guess and by no means written in stone, regardless of my belief system.

      Personally, for me, the idea of praying for recovery seems odd. As far as I’ve always been told, God has a master plan, and God’s will be done. If that’s the case, then what’s the point in praying? If God has decided it’s my time to die, at what point does prayer cease to matter?

  4. You seem like a nice guy Ryan with very good questions. As far as the tags I brought that up because some atheists use them to attack or use against others who don’t believe as they do. It makes no sense to me if a person doesn’t believe in something then it doesn’t exist to them even something as simple as a tag. Anyway it is good you question issues. I hope I can explain this so you understand it. If not let me know. I understand how difficult the Bible, God etc. can be. After all there are some bizarre and crazy stories in there! LOL!

    Actually the thought of praying when God already has a master plan would seem odd to many. Prayer is the key to changing the heart of a person to become more like Jesus. Prayer changes people, then it changes the circumstance(s) or not depending on the person’s relationship to Christ or the consequences of their sin. Does that make sense?

    Most people, even Christians see God as this hard core mean god sitting on a throne laughing at us. He is not I can promise you. In fact I can tell you he has a great sense of humor!

    Prayer has worked miracles in me and my family over the years. My father should have died 3 years ago; he is still very much alive and doing pretty good for an 87 year old man. My mother is a walking miracle.

    I sit and pray or talk to God for a few hours every day. I read the Bible and tell him everything. And yes he does speak to me in many different ways. He uses his word to confirm answers for me.

    God is incapable of doing evil; so his plan never included it. However, Satan, fell and evil happened. That didn’t change God’s plan though, but our prayers can change the evil, stop it or rearrange it. God can only work through people who trust and believe him to do this because he gave us a free will to choose. So when we pray we aren’t changing God’s plans, but the enemies’. God wants good for all people and the devil wants to steal, kill and destroy us. God gets blamed for the devil’s dastardly deeds; mostly because God cannot act when we sin. He actually moves out leaving space open which is when the enemy comes in and attacks.

    You might want to look up a few blogs if you are interested especially in a guy named J.S. Parks whose blog is called the “Atheists Pastor.” He was an atheist most of his life, addicted to pornography for 15 years and he has a 5th degree black belt! Go figure! His blogs are great; he is now a Pastor and speaks it like it is. Another one is a guy named Larry Nevenhoven who was agnostic until one day……don’t want to be a spoiler here! LOL!

    1. So would it be correct to say that the prayer isn’t so much about asking God to intercede on one’s behalf, but more about a spiritual preparation for whatever comes next? If that’s the case, then that’s very interesting.

      I know these types of discussions can become very heated very quickly, and I try to stay civil and respectful. I really mean no ill will toward religious people. Just because the way we see the world is different doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to talk about and share those ideas.

      Also, thank you very much for sharing your story about your parents! I was raised in an unusual household–my father is an atheist and my mother is a devout Catholic (as was my grandmother, who lived with us until her death). I even went to Sunday school, believe it or not lol. All of this to say that I appreciate the way that everyone’s unique background has shaped them.

  5. It sounds like you have a wonderful family too. Mine is huge! There are too many of us! LOL!

    You are on the right track about prayer. I grew up in a Christian home; we were in church whenever the doors were open. I thought is was so boring and didn’t see at all what could be so interesting about it. That was until I really got to know Jesus. I have blogged about a lot of this if you want to read some of it but the shocker was I was never taught who Jesus really was in church.

    Reaching a point of desperation in my mid 20’s is when I began to learn who he was or is. And yes, prayer, reading the Bible and being alone for so long I found out who he was.

    We use prayer to intercede which I did and thought that was it. But it isn’t even close. God just wants us around. He wants us to seek him because we love him and wish to get to know him. It is truly all about relationship. Sure, he wants us to ask for our needs, but the kicker is that when we get to know him, those needs are automatically met. There are times when consistent prayer will produce miracles and is needed, but an on-going daily “talk” with God beats anything I have ever done. Doing this changed me, my heart, got me through a horrible divorce, healed me. And that doesn’t even begin to tell the whole story. God and I have coffee together every morning.

    To be honest Ryan the church hasn’t done what God has wanted. I go to church and believe God is turning it around, but it has failed in many ways and it is the reason our country is in the mess it is now. The church is full of hypocrites, and all kinds of sinners. We are there to try to learn how not to be and learn to be more like Jesus.

    And I agree Ryan so many times we all get intertwined and argue about this stuff. Sometimes I just want to throw something at some of my Christian friends! LOL!

    1. Naphtali,

      It certainly sounds like you derive a lot of strength from your faith, but I would say that your brand of Christianity is much more of an outlier. Not only today, but really since it became a mainstream religion dating back to the Holy Roman Empire. Mainstream Christianity today does want children to believe and not question. They do want you to believe that prayer gets you what you want, and that if you didn’t get it, it’s because you didn’t pray hard enough, or that you aren’t a good person and don’t believe enough. The focus on Jesus is usually in relation to his divinity, not on his humanity. Whether he was divine or not should be inconsequential because the bible paints him as a generous and kind person who cared about the sick, the oppressed, the weak. There is much to admire about Christ, as a human, which is how I prefer to see him since all of us have to live in this world as humans.

      I would also say your view of God, is not share by all Christians. This is also part of the problem. Generally people interpret God in a way that best suits their world view. I did this myself on my journey through life. When it occurred to me that there is no perfection I started to define God also as imperfect, because it made more sense to me. He’s trying his best, but occasionally he makes mistakes. Or maybe he’s quite powerful but not omniscient. A neurological experiment asked people the question what they believed about something and what God believed about something and found that the exact same are of the brain was activated. Part of the reason why there is no way to disprove God is because there is no clear definition of the nature of God by those who believe in him.

      The benefits you describe from your faith, are however, derivable from other sources as well. For you a good talk with God helps a lot. Well studies show that expressing your feelings is always a cathartic and healing process. It’s why therapists often don’t have to do much but listen and have people tell them how they feel. We can arrive at some pretty amazing revelations and solutions to our problem just by communicating our feelings. In my troubled times I went to therapists or talk to friends. Sometimes they would just listen, but they would often respond back and pointed out things I wasn’t seeing. I found this more helpful than when I used to talk to God. And sometimes even if they just listened, I would get a hug in the end, which was also something talking to God never did for me. But expressing your feelings is extremely important and healthy. I now blog my thoughts sometimes and that helps me figure out and deal with things better. I also gain strength from knowledge. The ability to know how to research questions or problems that I have helps me to understand my situation better. There are forums on-line where you can even reach out to people going through similar problems. Regardless of where you get your strength to go on, the end solution is always of this world. You go through hard times, you have to eventually pick yourself up to get out of bed, go back to your job, confront someone you’ve been avoiding, start socializing again, etc.

      Ultimately I, nor I am sure Ryan, has any problem with people gaining personal strength through their faith. However, I can guarantee that it is not the only way to gain personal strength. In addition both Christian and Islamic sects especially use as their central tenet that non-believers must be converted. This has left a bad taste in the mouths of many a country during times of Christian and Islamic imperialism. Ultimately it is the fact that faith is rarely kept personal by those of faith. And it can be used as a social tool to oppress large groups of people. Here we even use the concept of Karma as a harmless and likeable concept from Hinduism. But in India the concept of Karma has been used to oppress poor people and support the “caste” system which treats this poor people as less than human because they obviously must have done something wrong in another life to be where they are in society.

      I do wish all Christians were more like you, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. When attempts to incorporate religious dogma into government happen, then faith gets removed from a personal relationship to a forced relationship.

      1. Extremely well put. And I would agree, I do not begrudge people their source of personal strength, be it science or religion. If religion is simply defined as a personal relationship with a God/savior, then who am I to judge?

        But, as you mentioned, this is not often the case with religion. More often than not religion is perverted into a system of edicts and moral statements that control the way people behave and think.

        As I mentioned in an earlier reply, I have friends that identify as Christian, but have no problem with theories like evolution or the big bang, because to them Christianity is more about the philosophy–about the very human aspects that you mentioned, like humility, generosity, etc. It’s not about the specifics–Noah built and ark, the bible says homosexuals are evil, etc.

  6. Hi Swarn Gill, I have never known a Professor of Atmospheric Science. You must have worked long and hard to accomplish such a career. I say that with total admiration since I flunked biology in college.

    I appreciate your comments and feedback and do understand where you are coming from. And yes, my faith has been survival for me as I should not be here. Staring death in my face woke me up and my faith was put into action when I had no idea I had any. In fact at that time I couldn’t even describe it. However, now my relationship with Jesus has come full circle and he isn’t bothered in the least as to how I got there.

    I am not about to even dare to try and convert you. The approach of Christians at different levels may have not worked as intended, but Jesus is alive today so we did a few things right. The truth we are all imperfect is a humbling factor consider we grow up thinking as babies we are born literate which is so far from the truth. We are born illiterately selfish. As we age it is up to each individual what path they choose to take. And I stand alone in many cases having lost family and long time friends over what God has done in my life. Arriving at the position no one but God can be pleased has given me a freedom I cherish. However, I would rather be in a boat alone with Jesus, than on shore with people who let us down, that is notwithstanding my heartfelt love for them as I pray they will see the truth for their own souls.

    As I wrote to Ryan, the church has gone astray; I see it in the one I attend. But, again I will reiterate the church is full of hypocrites, adulterers, gossips, etc.; we are all sinners, myself included. The point is to go and fellowship with others just like me to gain a new perspective in this angry, messed up world. The flaws in the church or as you said in people are a reflection of the devil himself which is why God sent Jesus to begin with.

    Just so you know, many years ago I questioned it all myself after growing up in a wonderful, Christian home. Getting as far away from God as I could, I found myself in a mess I couldn’t get out of. It was at that point I knew where to run for help. So I did. It may sound cliché but it was my life but that person no longer exists which sounds like another cliché. Oh well. As many have spoken before and now I will say it; God completely changed my heart and I thought my heart was working fine until it got broken over and over. That is when I discovered so many pieces worn, torn and hardened from life’s beatings I had no idea how to put my puzzle back together.

    Anyway, God literally took each part of the puzzle and gently, slowly and carefully made adjustments, did some major repairs and glued me back together. I certainly haven’t arrived, but at least I left. And I take no credit whatsoever for that; it was all Jesus. And I use to laugh at people that I have become. Now they laugh and make fun of me.. But I know who I am in Christ and many of them don’t; it is my prayer they will find the peace and contentment I have.

    1. Thank you Naphtali. Atmospheric Sciences isn’t easy, but it is always worth the struggle when you enjoy it.

      Again I don’t doubt you believe in your healing process and how you think it happened. I guess I try not to focus too much on my own personal experience and ask the question “Can broken people be put together by things other than one religion? Or can broken people be put together by things other than faith in general?” Based on those that I’ve known in life I would say that the answer is yes. There are many who would tell the exact same story, but do so through their own religion. So the better question becomes “What is it that that helps people heal?” If it doesn’t require one particular religion, or a belief in God then there must be an underlying principle or principles that lead to the type of healing that you speak of. As Ryan pointed out, humility is an important virtue. Whether you are humble before the awe inspiring nature of the universe or humble before God, the virtue of humility reminds you that you are not in control of everything. In my early 20’s I came to the conclusion that one of the most difficult things to recognize in life is to determine what we are in control of and what we are not in control of. The illusion of control is a very strong one, but the fact is that there is also randomness. Just like all the molecules of air in seal container that have random motions, given enough time they will all eventually collide with each other, there isn’t any reason, this is just the nature of things. So unlike an individual molecule we have consciousness and the ability to self-determine, but we can’t predict all the other trajectories that every other living things is on…or predict every natural disaster…so our lives are filled with things in and beyond our control. Wisdom, at least to me, is recognizing the difference between those situations. And I feel that wisdom comes when you recognize we live in a universe in which we are just one life form, on one planet, in one tiny corner, for a brief moment in time in a great vastness of time and space. Some people might find that notion depressing, but it always grounds me and helps me remember, that I simply can’t do everything. 🙂

  7. I am so glad you are not my Professor! You would think I was your worst student! LOL! A funny story here and one reason I flunked biology. Labs were terrifying to me. I will never forget the day I walked in to the smell of “formaldehyde?” Besides the smell which made me want to puke, were the poor, little dead frogs we had to dissect. I simply couldn’t do it without crying. The Professor asked me why and I replied, ” what did this little innocent creature do to deserve such horror!” The class laughed at me! Needless to say, I didn’t do so well and knew my calling was not anything to do with medicine!

    So glad there are people like you who can figure all this stuff out. And I have to admit your analogy to the healing process is very much how God works. You are so correct in the admission of control versus no control. We think we are but when it gets right down to it, there is always the question. To be honest I don’t want to be in control which is partly why I lean on Jesus. Too often he has shown up and done that which can’t be understood in not only my life, but many others I know. I will give you an example.

    One of the 4 times in my life I either should have ended up much worse off or dead was the summer after my 5th grade. As an avid swimmer, I spent most of my time in the pool or lakes or ponds or wherever I could find water. This particular day the neighborhood pool club was jam packed with kids. Extra lifeguards were posted to keep up due to regulations per numbers. One of my favorite swimming thrills was doing a back flip off the diving board. Having done this more times than I could count, that day was forever etched in my brain. I didn’t gauge the distance from the board correctly. Jumping too high the flip made me so close to the board I hit my head on it. I went blank; unconscious in 12 feet deep water. No one saw me laying on the floor of the pool. Fast forward 3 weeks. After being rushed to the emergency room that day with a 1.5 inch long gash that was 1/2 inch deep, tests were run to make sure nothing was damaged. Shaving my hair to sew my head up with major stitches, I was more upset the doctor refused to allow me to go swimming for a few weeks until it healed.

    A few weeks later the day the doctor released me mom took me to the pool. She thanked them for taking such good care of me and left. I wanted to know who it was that saved me so I could thank them. Looking around at each other, no one said a word. I was very confused.

    Finally one of the lifeguards told me no one did. There was no one in the diving area of the pool but me.

    I replied, “Well who was it then that pulled me up by my arm to the top of the water? When I became conscious half way up they were in the water with me with their hand underneath my armpit pulling me up.”

    You could have heard a pin drop. Looking back and I am sure you won’t believe this but we all figured out it had to have been an angel. And that is not the only time God’s angels have rescued me.

    So molecules in a sealed container will actually eventually collide with each other? Do they generate something that draws them to do so? If they are simply floating around why would they end up that way?

    1. Naphtali,

      What happened to you in the 5th grade sounds like a horrendous experience to go through. I am not going to dispute your perception of the events, but I have read a lot about how the brain works and there are alternate explanations of what happened to you that don’t involve supernatural intervention. I met a girl once who also was very religious because she said she had moments where she saw things in vivid colors and was convinced that it was God speaking to her. It turns out however that there are other people that this happens to which they have linked to some anomaly in the brain. So at the very least if it is God causing it, it has a physiological connection. I recommend reading the book The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer. He has a good, easy to read section, on how the brain works and how easily we can make false memories and see and feel things that aren’t there.

      But your story doesn’t actually answer my question. You have a strong faith in Jesus and God in relation to the Christian religion. My question was, can people of other faiths be healed similarly, as you describe, by the figures in their belief system? My dad grew up in India and said that he heard stories similar to yours, but instead of an angel saving the person, they saw Lord Rama or one of the other Hindu deities. I am sure stories from Muslims who say miracles happen see visions of Mohammed or one of the angels from that religion. And then my second question is, can someone be healed as you were through therapy, reason, and psychoanalysis without the need of faith in God at all. If that answer is yes as well, then if there is God it doesn’t have to be the God described in any one religion, and furthermore God does not even then require faith in him for such healing to take place. The point is that if the incident you described happened to me, a person who grew up as a Hindu, and you, all of our explanations as to what happened would be different. The Hindu would say he was saved by Vishnu or somebody, you would say an angel, I would say that I was hit on the head and am not really sure what happened. We are shaped heavily by the culture we grew up in, our education, and how we are nurtured.

      Our brain is always simply trying to make sense of things, and it guesses a lot. Many times we are not even aware that it is guessing. This is why optical illusions work on us, is because our brain is making a guess, which allows us to see something that isn’t exactly what we are seeing. I was actually just talking to a friend last night about “why we have two eyes”. It seems obvious, but for a long time people thought the eyes were a redundant system. A second eye, just in case one eye was injured. Of course we know now that it is to see things in 3-D which is a big advantage over seeing things in 2-D, which is what only one eye would allow us to do. So you might ask, “Why are one eyed people able to see things. It is because the brain already understands 3-D and is able to fill in the details that one eye is unable to resolve on it’s own.

      The reason for the analogy to a container of molecules is that I wanted to talk about something that had motion but was unpredictable. Their motion (they move because they have energy, imparted to them from some energy source like the sun) is random and thus cannot be predicted where they will be from on moment to the next. If an individual molecule had consciousness it might know where it was going, but it would not be so good at predicting the trajectory of the other molecules. It might be able to make some good guesses about the ones closest to it that I could see, but there would be a whole lot of molecules far away from it that it could make no prediction of. In this way we are very much like a molecule. We might, at best, know where we are going but we can’t predict all other motions and so random actions happen in which we have control over. All those people who died in the movie theater in Colorado, not one of them could have predicted what would happen that day, because none of them were aware of the shooters path. Someone watching only the shooter throughout his life might have guessed what he would do, nobody at the move theater knew. So they were victims of a random act. Just like the shooter himself had no idea who he was going to shoot or who was going to be there. So there are completely random actions. We like to attribute meaning to things because this is what helps us survive for the most part. So we may have purpose and direction and no what we are doing, but we can’t be aware of all the other trajectories in this world and so sometimes bad things happen completely unasked for and through no fault of our own. And somewhere someone was happy because they were going to go to that theater, but changed their mind. And somewhere someone is sad because their friend didn’t even want to go, but they dragged them to the movies and now they are dead. The person who is happy might think God must have wanted me not to go. The person who feels guilty might say God is punishing them. In reality had nothing happened they never would have thought twice about their trip or their non-trip to the theater. Hindsight is 20/20 and so we want to attributing meaning to events that have none. This is also how our brain works. It’s called a Type 1 error or a false positive error. Finding patterns where none exist. It’s evolutionary and important for our survival, but it also causes us to get things wrong too. And sometimes wrong is okay as long as we survive.

      1. Hi Swarn, I am finally back online after this laptop crashed. I have been trying to catch up on all I missed getting done while I spent so many hours with Dell on the phone.

        Thanks for your insight. You sound so smart!

        You asked me two questions that I will try to answer. First I want you to know I can certainly understand why people who know very little or nothing about the Bible find it very hard to believe.

        Also, thank you so much for being kind and nice. I have tried to speak to other atheist/agnostics who in the past have cussed me out, or performed a cyber attack before I ever wrote one word.

        Your first question: can people of other faiths be healed similarly, as you describe, by the figures in their belief system? Most people, and especially Christians today believe God stopped healing people after Christ was Resurrected which is simply not true. If that were the case, none of us would be here. God is the author of healing; or the Great Physician. Anyone, no matter their beliefs can generalize this; by that I mean a Muslim could say they saw Mohammed and then got well and give him the credit. Whatever the person believes is their source of life, they will give credit, however all healing ultimately comes from the Creator; God. The truth is the devil masquerades himself as all kinds of things to gain his purpose. He will tell the Muslim, it was Mohammed or it was medicine, surgery, etc. So in reality if a Christian doesn’t believe God heals today, their belief system is no different than those who don’t believe in God or live by a religion. But the Bible has healing scriptures through out it that work because they are inspired by the Holy Spirit. Without giving my age here LOL! when I was 6 years old, the vaccine for Polio had been discovered. Polio had all buy killed hundreds of thousands prior to that time so research was focused on a cure. After that it pretty much died off due to the vaccine. The question arises after such a cure, who did this? The medicine? The scientist who discovered it? Did God have anything to do with it? Due to the evil influences many said it was most likely a combination of all 3. God can use anything he chooses to accomplish his purposes but the devil can’t because he has very little to work with now. He is incapable of creating anything; he can only copy. No matter what people say or believe, God is the only one who heals and he uses doctors, meds, surgeries or miracles. Sometimes he does it by a process. The scientific mind you have makes it difficult to reason this or accept it in faith, but you really aren’t far off from it. I am no Theological scholar by any means, but I have faith and believe the Bible is true and I believe it. God is not going to force anything on anyone. He gave us a free will to choose so we wouldn’t be robots. His goal for us is all good and abundance, but he leaves when he is kicked out, or considered unnecessary. That is the case when sickness, natural disasters and lawlessness come in and take that space. The bottom line is believing in God, and Jesus as Savior. Every other question falls into line with it. I cannot prove any of this except to say I know it and I know God.

        Your second question: can someone be healed as you were through therapy, reason, and psychoanalysis without the need of faith in God at all.

        As I previously wrote, God uses any and everything to accomplish his goals. So the person who uses therapy, reason etc. may arrive at a healing but ultimately it all is a result of Jesus death and Resurrection. There is a fine line between reason, analogy and then just believing in something. Many have to have proof of this or that. Faith in the one true God is the act of believing without proof.

        Trying to explain our hearts become the connection between God and reason, analogy, science, etc. is not easy. I only know what I know because of years of prayer, studying God’s word, and getting to know him personally. And….I only started this so many years ago when nothing else was working in my life.

        Truth needs no defense. God is truth and Jesus is the only way to eternal life. There is no religion that has a Savior other than Christianity.

        If you can for a while separate what you have heard about Christians today from what I have written here, it may enlighten you to understand it because I really have no way of proving it except to say it is a way of life; a journey full of the unknown but the love of the Creator that trumps every thing else.

      2. I’m sorry to hear that you experienced such nasty, vitriolic feedback from other atheists/agnostics. There really is no excuse for that. It’s perfectly fine to disagree with someone, but there’s no reason for people to pepper that disagreement with hateful speech.

      3. Ryan, thank you. I agree with you. And honestly there are many Christians who do the same to other Christians. Unfortunately the evil in the world is confusing and blinding people; hence division, anger, frustration, are only a few of the negative behaviors running rampant.

  8. Hi, swarn, my laptop crashed again. This tablet isn’t easy to type on. It may be a couple days before it is repaired. So I will respond once it works. Now I can feel laptop withdrawal setting in. Lol.

  9. I really appreciate the comments of Jason and Naphtali. Very well spoken.

    Ok, as for this post, I’m not sure where to start… it sounds like the point of this post was to explain why you’re an atheist, express your criticism of religion, present a defense of “science”, and possibly a rebuttal to me. All fine so far. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to understand your point of view, but what I take issue with is the terms, definitions and conclusions presented. Bear with me as I attempt to present a defense of religion and science.

    In my humble opinion you’ve defined the terms “science”, “objectivity”, “evidence” and “facts” so subjectively that they lose their meaning. This is odd considering the time spent extolling the virtues of objectivity. No disrespect intended, but I seriously wondered if this post was meant as a parody.

    The word “science” in this post seems to apply exclusively to those whom you agree with, but not to those you disagree with. In one sense that’s understandable because most people who believe in evolution and the Big Bang routinely resort to this tactic. I get it. Secular scientists claim science for themselves and then label religion as “anti-science”. But redefining terms like this clouds any sort of objective discussion and distorts the truth. This is also odd because you criticize religious people for setting their own terms in the debate.

    Technically the debate is not religion vs. science. Science, in fact, was founded by Christian scientists like Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton and Louis Pasteur, all of whom were creationists. Bacon was the one most responsible for developing the scientific method. These early scientists believed that God was orderly, and that meant we could understand God’s creation through observation and experimentation. So to claim “science” for evolutionists is a complete reversal and misrepresentation (in my opinion). As I see it, the debate is really between science vs. science and religion vs. religion. I guess you could say that science was hijacked by atheists, and that’s mainly the issue I have.

    I also agree with Naphtali’s definition of Christianity and religion. Christianity is not a religion- it’s a personal relationship with Jesus. So that’s another reason I disagree with the “religion vs. science” claim. That description is too problematic.

    Of course most atheists deny that their atheist or secular beliefs constitute a religion, but the term applies just as easily to atheism and evolution as it does to Christianity and creationism. I know atheists don’t like that because they want to appear rational, objective and intellectual, and they want others to believe that they only follow the evidence and facts. We could analyze those claims and find that it’s just an intellectual way to legitimize their beliefs. Atheists believe a lot of things that are accepted by faith, such as: life came from non-life, the age of the universe and the earth, that all life is related to a single common ancestor, etc. All of these must be believed by faith because it’s impossible to verify the claims via the scientific method. We’ve debated the specific methods already, but it should be apparent that, at some point, whatever methods one relies upon for their conclusions, it’s ultimately based on faith. And that means the battle is one particular faith vs. another faith (ie, Christianity vs. Atheism). It’s also one brand of science against another (Christianity vs. Atheism). It’s an equal playing field, although those in the majority really don’t want to relinquish their power.

    Therefore I disagree that science will always trump religion because science and religion are completely compatible and complimentary. It can only be otherwise by redefining science into something it’s not.

    I’d also respectfully argue that people of all religions (including atheism and Christianity) can be objective or subjective. It’s not true that people who are “religious” can’t be objective. Such a suggestion is arbitrary, biased and exclusive (and not objective). I could pose opposite claims, such as “atheism’s belief that God doesn’t exist taints the atheist’s evidence”, and that would be just as valid. Yes, we all see the evidence tainted by our worldview. The important point is to be able to admit that one’s evidence is tainted by their beliefs. An atheist must deny the existence of God in order to reach their conclusions on the origin of life and the universe. But any such admission would be counterproductive to the cause.

    When you ask, “Hmm, how does this work?”, you’re leaving out the rest of the question, which is “in light of what I believe about the origin of the universe.” That second part is conveniently left out by atheists, but they conduct their work based on a belief that can’t be proven, but must be accepted by faith. I think most atheists don’t realize how their beliefs were conditioned through years of education and being fed the standard misconceptions that they begin to subconsciously believe. They’re never taught to question science, but to blindly trust it, and that leads to scientism.

    The bottom line is that I think you’re redefining your terms so that “heads I win, tails you lose”.

    I’ll also take issue with your claims that there’s no current evidence to support the existence of a deity, or that there’s no objective way to measure or test it, or that there’s zero evidence for it. I’ve provided overwhelming evidence for the existence of God and creationism (prophecies, science, archaeology, prayer, the origin of life, the fine-tuning argument, etc).

    Again, no offense intended. Just enjoying the discussion.

    1. No offense taken.

      There’s no way to test or measure a prophecy. I’d dispute all of the science that you’ve offered as either flawed or contrived. I don’t mean that in a personal way, I just think that the ideas and experiments put forth by creation scientists to be either designed to produce a certain outcome or based on a conceptual misunderstanding of scientific theories. While I enjoy hearing that conflicting view point, I would be hard pressed to consider that proof of anything aside from your personal faith in a deity.

      I think you’ve misunderstood my intent here. I’m not framing it as a heads I win, tails you lose, because as far I’m concerned its not a competition. I don’t really care what the outcome is–only what the evidence supports.

      I think it’s a rather convenient scapegoat to claim that everyone is biased. Sure, people can be personally biased, but it’s possible for someone to be professionally objective. I’ll assume good will and go so far as to say that most defense attorneys are doing the best job they can to defend their client, even if they think the client is guilty.

      You’re presuming I’m basing scientific questions on previous scientific foundations. Which is absolutely correct, because that’s the literal definition of science. You don’t reinvent the wheel every time you ask a scientific question. But more the point, what about that isn’t objective? If every investigation starts with an objective question, like how does X work, then where is the subjectivity? If every question asked stands upon the shoulders of an objective, observable, measurable phenomenon, then how is that subjective?

      I already explained that as an atheist, it’s not my mission to prove anything. I ultimately dont really give a flying fig whether or not the evidence suggests that there is or isn’t a deity. I’m not really sure how much more objective you can get than that. You’re accusing me of doing the exact thing I wrote against–namely that my atheism comes before my evaluation of evidence, when in reality it comes after the evaluation.

      It’s tempting to believe that everything I do and think is tainted by a disbelief in god. I guess you’ll just have to trust me when I say that I literally don’t care whether or not god exists at the end of the day. Like I said, if god chose to descend from heaven and address us directly, then that would be the new reality. If science managed to conclusively prove that god existed next week, that would be the new reality. Many creationists think that just because I’m an atheist it means that I secretly hope deep down that there is no god, which is implicitly untrue.

    2. As was getting ready for bed, I thought of a better way to put it, and perhaps a clearer explanation of why we see things differently.

      I would say that Christianity is the framework of everything creation scientists do. They have to look at everything through that lens first. In other words, you’re used to seeing everything from a religious context first. Would this be a correct statement?

      Where I believe we’re having a breakdown is that since this is the way you view the world, you’re automatically extending that to my lens. In other words, you’re purporting that my atheism is the foundation or the lens for everything I do and see.

      This is not the case. In this sense, you and I have done the exact polar opposite of each other. You started with your beliefs and then started looking for evidence to support the conclusions that come from those beliefs. I’ve done the opposite–I’ve looked at the evidence and then created my personal beliefs around it.

  10. I think there are ways to measure prophecy, although it would have to be measured subjectively, which is an advantage to being human. If we’re able to establish the date of a prophecy, and then the date of the alleged fulfillment, then we can determine if the prophecy has been fulfilled. The dates of prophecy recorded in Scripture are hardly in question (except by some atheists). Prophecies of the coming Messiah was well known long before Jesus Christ walked the earth. In fact one of the reasons Jesus was put to death is because the establishment considered him to be like all the other false messiahs that preceded him. Yet he fulfilled every Messianic prophesy.

    To some degree I can understand why you’d dispute creation science. I disputed it myself for most of my life. But once I understood it, everything “clicked”. It all suddenly made sense, and now I try to explain it as clearly as possible, but that’s very hard when trying to cut through the years of indoctrination we’ve been subject to. We’re taught to think in evolutionary terms, and the church rarely combats that, so it’s hard to overcome that way of thinking.

    Ok, fair enough. I accept at face value that you’re completely open minded and not trying to win a competition (I consider myself the same), and that you’re open to the evidence wherever it leads. Dr. Guliuzza felt that way as well, and it was the scientific evidence that caused him to question evolution.

    I was thinking some more about what you’ve said- how the math doesn’t lie, and that creationists shouldn’t use their belief in God to influence their interpretation of the evidence in question. We should be completely objective and just do the math and see that it inevitably leads to the evolutionary worldview. Ok, let’s examine those claims: If we follow that line of reasoning then there’s no reason to believe in the Big Bang or long ages. The Big Bang relies upon hypothetical entities like dark matter and dark energy in order to make it work. Without those fudge factors the Big Bang would have fatal flaws. Therefore, if we’re being objective, we must conclude that the Big Bang is not a real concept, but is a concept framed to support an ideology. Perhaps you don’t see it that way, but many secular scientists do. In fact an open letter to the scientific community was signed by many secular scientists that stated exactly this, so it should be clear that the Big Bang fails as a theory. We shouldn’t need to resort to such fudge factors if it’s just simple, objective math. Further, the moon recession shows that, based on the very uniformitarian principles you adhere to, even if the moon had been in contact with the earth when it began to recede, only 1.37 billion years would have passed before it arrived in its current position. In order to say otherwise would mean that we’d have to ignore the objective data and use subjective reasoning in order to save it from damaging an evolutionary worldview. Like you said, “it’s simple observation and math, unless you’d argue that math itself changes throughout history.”

    http://creation.com/secular-scientists-blast-the-big-bang

    http://creation.com/the-moons-recession-and-age

    I don’t think it’s a scapegoat to believe that everyone is biased. I think it’s fairly obvious. No one is every completely objective- except maybe Vulcans 😉 Try to find someone who has zero bias. Biases are ingrained in us in some way or another. Now that doesn’t mean we can’t identify or overcome those biases, but that’s why it’s hard for an alcoholic to admit that he’s an alcoholic. People have difficulty identifying their own bias and would rather believe they don’t have any because we all want to think we’re objective and open minded. Admitting bias suggests that we’re closed minded, and nobody wants anyone to think that about us.

    I’m glad you admitted that you have certain foundations that you base your scientific conclusions on. Those foundations are built upon secular principles and rely upon purely naturalistic explanations- completely independent of whether or not God exists. That’s not objective at all. That’s a subjective bias and statement of faith, and it reminds me of a quote by the atheist Richard Lewontin: “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.” So there are some atheists willing to admit this.

    If, however, God does exist, then that changes everything. All of a sudden, instead of interpreting everything from a naturalistic perspective, we’re interpreting everything from a God-centered perspective. The math still works; it’s just that each perspective has its own subjective biases, and if you’re not aware of them, then I can understand how anything outside the box is completely foreign and nonsensical, which is itself absurd.

    I’m glad you’re not trying to prove anything and that you’re completely objective. If I may be so bold, I’m curious as to why you wrote this particular post. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I got the impression that this was a direct response to my Tim Challies article on “Why I am a Six-Day Creationist”. You claim that you’re an atheist, and then explain why you’re an atheist, much like Challies did. Don’t get me wrong… that’s totally fine. I just thought it was intended as a rebuttal without directly stating such, and that’s why I questioned if this was a parody. My apologies if I’m mistaken. And if you’re not trying to prove anything, then why make statements like, “science will always have the upper hand”, and then go on to prove why that’s so? Or try to convince your readers that you’re objective because of your atheist principles and love for science, but those who refuse to accept secular scientific principles aren’t objective and don’t understand science? And why claim that you’re beliefs are subject to change if you’re unwilling to consider alternative explanations? Why try to convince us that only creationists resort to biased worldviews and not scientists, especially when I’ve provided examples of scientific bias? With all due respect, this article is filled with biased opinions and attempts to persuade your readers of your point of view. And that’s perfectly fine.

    You question where is the subjectivity when asking the question, “how does X work?” The answer is simple- it’s subjective to assume naturalism as your foundation. That’s not objective. That’s subjective. The statement is open to debate. It’s not like 1 + 1= 2. Nobody would argue against that because that’s an objective statement. But when you assume naturalism, that’s a statement of faith, which is not objective. You may believe that naturalism is objective, but it’s not to those who believe that God exists and created everything by supernatural means. You may sincerely believe that you’re just interpreting evidence by purely mathematical equations, but you’re ignoring the underlying foundation of naturalism.

    Your last comment stating that Christianity is the framework of everything creationists do is fairly accurate, although I’d say that God’s Word is the framework. And I do believe that naturalism and materialism are the lens that atheists see the world through. I’ve even heard atheists admit that their belief in atheism is based on faith (DVD: Evolution vs. God), so I know for certain that atheists see evidence tainted by the lens of naturalism. It’s an objective fact because I’ve observed it (unless you wish to claim the video was unethically altered). I also know it because I myself have personally experienced it, and I’ve heard former atheists express it themselves.

    If you still disagree, then please explain why you believe that life can spontaneously generate from non-life by purely naturalistic methods when this has never been observed. Nobody knows how the first life-form arose. It’s not scientific. Can you explain this objectively without resorting to faith?

    1. For the sake of argument, I won’t really go into the idea of why the scientist who came up with the big bang theory came up with it int he first place. It’s impossible for me to speak to the lens or the mindset of the people who originated the theory.

      First, I’d like to clarify something, namely what you call naturalism. From how I’m interpreting your argument, you’re still trying to cram everyone into the “all theory follows belief” box, when I’m arguing that it’s entirely possible for the reverse to be true. I would define naturalism as being based around something you can see, measure, and test. There’s nothing subjective about that. The fact that computer technology is based upon physics and chemistry is not subjective. It is in that sense that I tried to describe science as an additive or cumulative process. There’s nothing subjective about the process at all. When microcircuits were invented, they were based on math and scientific concepts that had been observed and tested decades before. In other words, there was nothing subjective about those previous discoveries and theories that somehow subjectively colored or jaded the development of the computer.

      As for the two sources you provided, the first link doesn’t work on this computer for some reason, so I’ll have to try and access it at a different console at some point. But right off the bat, I’m tempted to say that creation.com probably isn’t the most objective source of information lol. I’m tempted to assume that there is going to be a confirmation bias here, but I’ll recognize that bias and check it at the door ;). The first thing that strikes me is that the equations given in the article you cited focus on only one factor. They neglect to take other geophysical phenomena that would have changed tidal forces to various degrees, like plate tectonics and Kepler’s Law (closer distances will yield a faster orbit, which results in a lower tidal frequency, etc).

      What you refer to as “fudge factors” is really just a rhetorical label for the scientific process as a whole. To state that in order for a theory to have any sort of validity it must be 100% complete (not correct, complete) is absolutely ludicrous. Science is a fluid process because new information is always being discovered. If everyone used the sort of logic that you’re using with the BBT, then science wouldn’t exist at all and we wouldn’t be be able to have this conversation through the internet on computers. Just because there’s an unknown element in a theory doesn’t mean that the theory itself doesn’t have any validity or merit. Let’s take the logic that you’re using with the BBT and extend it to a real life scientific process–the discovery of the nature of light. Huygens theorized that light was a wave. However, this model had obvious flaws, namely because there were a lot of things about quantum mechanics that hadn’t been discovered in the 1600’s. Using the logic you’ve put forth, though, we should have completely disregarded the light-as-a-wave idea, because in order for it to work there would have to be all sorts of “fudge factors.” And that’s exactly what happened–Newton came along and proposed that light was a stream of particles that moved in a straight line. Of course, both of these theories were incomplete–but neither were they wholly wrong. In fact, we know now that they were both correct. At the time, though, neither Newton nor Huygens could possibly have factored things like the electromagnetic force, the speed of light, or the properties of the electron into their experiments because those things hadn’t been discovered yet. We now know, after a lot of additional research and experimentation, that light is both a particle AND a wave. But if we accept your “fudge factor” argument, many many many scientific theories would have been abandoned in their infancy simply because we hadn’t ascertained the entire picture and all of the variables yet–not because the theories themselves were incorrect.

      Lastly, what you call faith I would call probability, and I would posit that there is a definite difference. Faith, in it’s purest definition, is belief in something without evidence. Probability is a likelihood of something occurring based on observation and evidence. If I flip a penny, there are two possible outcomes: heads or tails. I flip a coin twice, and I get two heads. So I hypothesize that the next flip will be a tails. Do I really have “faith” in that assertion? Does such an assertion even require faith? After all, I don’t *know* what the next flip will be, I’m not psychic. Surely, then, my assertion that the next flip will be a tails requires a degree of faith. Well, I would argue that it does not. Simple math would tell me that the probability of flipping a third heads would be 1/8 or 12.5%, while the probability of flipping a tails is still 1/2 or 50%; ergo, despite the fact there’s still a degree of uncertainty involved, it is not unreasonable for me to theorize that the third flip of the coin will result in a tails. It is in this vein that I would argue that although there are assumptions made in secular science, they are not “blind” assumptions.

      1. The issue I have with your definition of naturalism is that it’s self-serving and not objective. Of course you’re going to define it in a way that supports what you already understand and believe. That’s natural. But it’s not objective. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re unwilling to go wherever the evidence leads, it’s just that you’re only thinking within the box you’re accustomed to; anything outside the box is foreign and is subject to skepticism. If naturalism really were subjective, then you would have accepted the examples I cited from the Big Bang and the moon recession. The Big Bang has to resort to hypothetical entities in order to prop up the naturalistic explanation; that’s not objective- that’s subjective and dependent upon the belief in naturalism, which is necessary to make it work. None of those hypothetical entities are needed for creationists because we don’t believe the Big Bang ever took place. We believe in a supernatural creation that is rejected outright by secular scientists, and that’s not objective- it’s a prior commitment to naturalism, as Richard Lewontin explained. Secular scientists believe the universe is many billions of years old, so the fudge factors are needed in order to make it be. Yet you’ve denied that secular science resorts to this type of behavior, even though I’ve provided evidence that it does happen.

        In the course of defining naturalism you switched from historical science to operational science, as if there’s no distinction. And when I point out the distinctions, you call this redefining science, and I strongly disagree. There’s a clear distinction between how science is practiced in the present vs. how it’s practiced in the past. If they were indistinguishable, then forensics would never result in an innocent person being convicted. The fact that innocent persons are found guilty at all should make it obvious that historical science is not objective, but subjective; the science expert can provide sound science at a murder trial, but the conclusions must be interpreted, and if an incorrect interpretation is used, then a wrong verdict could be attained. Just consider, both the defendant and the plaintiff are trying to prove the exact opposite conclusions, yet they’re using the same science. One claims that the suspect is guilty of murder because his finger prints are on the gun, but the other says that the suspect’s finger prints are on the weapon because he picked it up while trying to help the victim. The science isn’t open to interpretation- but history and the conclusions are. This is why science is not open to a majority opinion and can’t rely upon consensus. It’s also why naturalism is not objective; it’s assumed, despite the possibility that a supernatural creation by God is perfectly reasonable and is responsible for the creation of the universe and earth exactly as described in the Bible. Secular science should not outright reject that because there’s sufficient evidence, and many scientists who agree on its legitimacy. In the end, the jurors can be unanimously convinced beyond a reasonable doubt and still be sincerely wrong.

        I do agree that CMI isn’t an unbiased source, however I’m not arguing otherwise. I don’t know of any completely unbiased source that would be willing to examine their claims without resorting to the type of naturalism and selective definition of terms that you’ve been resorting to. They would have to lay aside their preconceived notions and consider the evidence untainted from their worldview, which is difficult, as you’ve demonstrated.

        You’re claiming that the “fudge factors” used in the Big Bang is just a rhetorical label, but let’s consider that. I think you’ve introduced a double-standard in the “heads I win, tails you lose” game. When it suits you, you claim that a theory doesn’t need to be 100% complete in order to be valid, and that science is a fluid process because new information is always being discovered. Does that only apply to secular theories, like the Big Bang, or does it also apply to creationist theories too? Unfortunately secular scientists don’t extend that grace to creation scientists; that’s arbitrary and subjective, not objective.

        I agree that just because there’s an unknown element in a theory doesn’t mean that the theory itself doesn’t have any validity or merit. Creationists have to explain this all the time, but we’re criticized by secular scientists when we explain that we may not have all the answers now, but we’re still working on them as new information is being discovered, but secular scientists scoff at such a notion. It sounds like you want that grace extended to evolutionists, but you’re not willing to extend it to creationists.

        Your example of Huygens and Newton in regard to the “fudge factors” is also a perfect example of the double-standard in science. If creationists use this standard, and we introduce something like accelerated decay, then you claim this is not science because we’re resisting empirical data and reinventing data to support a Biblical worldview. You accuse creationists of bias when we do this, but claim it’s science when evolutionists do it. Don’t you see how biased and subjective that is? Isn’t it possible that your worldview is tainted by naturalism?

        You claim that secular scientists are simply asking the question, “how does this work”, but in reality they’re unknowingly asking, “how does this work so that it conforms to naturalism.” The naturalism part is never considered to be bias. It’s always considered to be the “objective” voice of reason, but if God exists, then naturalism fails. There’s an unconscious assumption that only naturalistic processes are responsible for everything we see, and if that’s not true, then what you consider to be reasonable and objective crumbles to pieces.

        We can have this conversation through the internet thanks to operational science, which is what makes things work in the here and now. This type of science can be confirmed to see if it works, and as you can see, it does work very well. The Big Bang doesn’t work in the same way because it must be assumed and can never be verified in the same way that this internet conversation can be. There’s a very real difference that you’re not acknowledging. If this were not the case, then you should be able to solve every murder mystery by resorting to physics, math and naturalism.

      2. I’ll say this again because it bears repeating: there is nothing subjective about believing in what one sees. That is the very definition of being objective. If walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. You can call it whatever you’d like, but I think you missed the point of what I was getting at entirely. If one’s worldview is based upon objective data and phenomena, then how could it be subjective? It’s not self serving, as you claim, because there’s nothing I wish it to serve. If I have no stake in the outcome of where evidence leads us, then how could it possibly be self serving? I think you’d have a hard time trying to convince any rationale person that basing their beliefs on observable, measurable, and testable data is subjective. It’s like you’re saying that if I see a shooting star, I’m subjectively choosing to believe that I saw it. What you’re mistaken about naturalism or objectivism or whatever you want to call is that it doesn’t mean I have to accept bad information.Did you provide me with information from a different view point? Yes. Did I read through it with a scientific lens? Yes. But I would argue that a lot of the science presented was either flawed or based on outdated evidence–why should I accept that?

        With regard to the double standards argument, I can see why this is a tempting argument to make, and I see the logic behind it. And the logic is perfectly valid. I, however, would argue that there is no double standard, and it’s precisely because of probability. Go back to the example I gave about probability’s role in science. You’re operating (correct me if I’ve interpreted this incorrectly) on a model that says everything in science is either equally right or equally wrong; put another way, since there are only two possible answers, right or wrong, then creation science has just much a chance or being right as secular science. Except that the 50/50 model is erroneous. Since you’ve framed the issues as either/or, it’s very tempting to take it to the that logical conclusion and say, “Well then it sounds like there’s a 50 percent chance that I’m right and a 50% chance that you’re wrong.”

        But that it’s how probability actually works. Let me rephrase it in another way; just because something is possible does not inherently mean that it is probable. Atheists would say that the probability of a God existing is far less than the probability of a God not exists due to a mountain of evidence on one side and a lack of evidence on the other.

        Sure, I can say that I believe that there’s an elephant in your back pocket. There are only two outcomes, right? Either there’s an elephant in your pocket or their isn’t. Using the logic of your double standard argument, I should say that given the scenario I’ve painted, there’s a 50% chance that there’s an elephant in your back pocket.

        But do you, or any other rationale person reading this, *really* believe that there’s a 50% chance of an elephant in your back pocket? No, of course not. I’m willing to bet you’d say that there’s a 100% chance that there is NOT an elephant in your back pocket.

        In short, I would argue that you’re painting secular science with a very wide brush for the sake of legitimizing the science that creationists do. I don’t know why it’s so hard to believe, but secular scientists are driven by a sense of curiosity and wonder–not a need to prove creationists wrong or to prove that there isn’t a God. I can’t speak for every scientist, obviously. But I can’t think of a reason why you’d constantly try and frame the argument in a subjective way if not to account for or defend all of the subjectivity in creation science.

      3. It occurred to me after I posted my reply that we appear to be falling in that old trap that I spoke of on your blog: I don’t agree with your evidence, you don’t agree with mine; I think you’re being subjective, you think I’m being subjective, etc etc. So rather than continue going around in circles, I’d like to try to end this thread on a positive, productive note.

        First and foremost, please forgive any typos in the previous reply. I’m simultaneously working on an assignment for class, so my attention has been divided and my typing has suffered for it. As an English major, it really bugs me when typos creep into my work, but alas, without my full attention, my editing suffers. But, on to my main and final point.

        I don’t hope that you’re wrong.

        With all of our talk about evidence and subjectivity, I think we lose sight of intent, which is crucial in any conversation. And when I say that I don’t hope that you’re wrong, I’m really speaking about my intent with our dialogues.

        As I mentioned before, I don’t have an emotional stake in my atheism. After all, I was raised Catholic. But I didn’t leave the church and stop believing in God because of something the church did. My “conversion” if you will to atheism was not rooted in anger, resentment, or betrayal of any kind. I never felt like God or the religious community turned a blind eye to me, so I had to become an atheist out of spite or revenge. Nor did I become an atheist because of social pressures or indoctrination–as I pointed out, religion is what I was indoctrinated into in the first place. My atheism is rooted in a personal evaluation of the evidence available to me. Nothing more, nothing less. You might argue that you believe that there is a subjective nature to my evaluation of the evidence, and that is absolutely your right. But please, believe me when I say that this was done in a rather sterile way. I spent enough time in the religious world to know enough about it to contrast it to the evidence I can see. I’ve spent enough time reading and listening to the creationist side of the argument, and I can tell you that whether we’re talking about the events of the bible or creation science, I don’t *see* with my own eyes and my own faculties enough evidence to support any of it, I don’t see an argument that makes an logical or philosophical sense. That’s entirely what my atheism is based on. “Does this evidence support the views and assertions of the bible and creationists?” Check yes or check no. That’s it. I don’t feel any which way about.

        But I understand why you feel the way you do about it. I understand the lens you’re evaluating all this through, and while I don’t know your life story and I don’t agree with your framework, I can respect it and more importantly I can respect why you believe it.

        And that’s why I say that I don’t hope that you’re wrong. My intent has never been to prove anyone wrong, merely to try and objectively lay out the evidence. But please, don’t think that I wish there was no God, or that I’m coming from some place like that. How much simpler everything would be if there was a God, and I didn’t have to wonder about any of these things. But life isn’t simple, and the evidence that I see does not support the existence of the God that Christians and other religions have laid out.

        As an objective person, I can also say that I realize that just because current (keyword) evidence does not support the Christian narrative, that that means there is no God or creator of any kind. I know that I mentioned earlier that possibility does not inherently ensure probability. Even if science decreed that there was only a 0.000001% chance that any sort of God existed, it’s still a factor. It’s an extremely unlikely factor. And the beauty of science is that maybe one day since science is a cumulative process, we will have explored and learned enough to change those probabilities. I have no clue what will be discovered tomorrow, next week, or next century. Maybe one day, long after we’re both dead, science will finally come up with a grand unified theory and they’ll be able to explain all of these scientific quandaries we’ve been discussing. Maybe as physics begins to explore other dimensions we’ll find “God.” Who knows, maybe a space probe 1,000 years from now will get sucked through a wormhole and come face to face with God. I have no idea, and that’s the beauty of science. It never claims to have *all* of the answers, only the answers for *right now*. And just because there’s no evidence to support creationism in the right now, doesn’t mean that there never will be. But I don’t live in the future, I live in the now, and thus my beliefs are what they are.

        As usual, thank you for sharing your perspectives and for challenging mine.

    2. To respond to your point about whether or not this a rebuttal (which I totally forgot about last night), I guess the title of this post does seem rather adversarial. But it wasn’t my intent for it to really be a rebuttal of anything, but rather a sequel to a previous post, the “science vs. religion” one.

      I should clarify that I’m not trying to argue that religion doesn’t have it’s merits. As some of the other posts on this thread clearly indicate, religion or faith is often a source of personal strength for people. What I’m arguing about is which is best at determining objective reality. All I’m trying to accomplish with this post is to explain why science is the best tool for explaining how the universe around us works.

      But in general, I’m not trying to argue that people should lose their faith or their beliefs. Instead, I’m trying to speak to how those are applied to the scientific process. As I mentioned in that earlier post, if you want to ask a question like, “What is the meaning of life?” or “What is the right thing to do now that X?” or something of that nature, feel free to turn to religion, or science, or philosophy, or whatever you’d like. Those are subjective questions, therefore it doesn’t really matter from what lens or framework you answer them. My main concern is using that same lens or framework to look at things that *aren’t* subjective in nature.

      1. Ryan, thanks for your thoughts and perspective; they’re much appreciated. I think we both understood where this exchange would end, but nonetheless I think it’s been both enjoyable and challenging. I’ll leave this as my final reply. And thanks for describing your personal background; that gives me a better idea of where you’re coming from. It’s refreshing to have a dialogue with an atheist who isn’t overtly hostile to Christianity and religion. Most of the atheists I chat with are the new atheists, who, like Naphtali mentioned, are intentionally nasty, to say the least.

        I’d really like to challenge you to question the philosophies, assumptions and worldview behind naturalism and how you view science.

        Let me try to understand and summarize some of your claims: You claim that objectivity is the key. Math is universal, and the laws of chemistry and mathematics don’t change. All well and good.

        But you’ve made many subjective and biased claims: You claim that creationists are biased while secular scientists unbiased. You claim your beliefs are based upon simple observation, math, logic, rationale, and empirical evidence that’s testable and observable, while the opposite is true of creationist… in fact creationist beliefs are assumed and tainted by a subjective book that’s unprovable and untestable; creationists are resistant to empirical data and reinvent evidence. You claim that you look at things and ask, “how does this work”, but the creationist asks “how do I use this to prove a very specific and narrow set of untestable hypotheses.” You say you have no subjective stake in your beliefs, zero stake in the outcome and don’t give a flying fig. You claim that evolution has physical, tangible evidence, but that creationism has zero evidence and no way to measure it objectively. You claim that evolution is science, but creationism isn’t. You claim that you look at the evidence and then create your personal beliefs around it. You claim that creationists have set their own terms while evolutionists have not; creationists have redefined what constitutes evidence, but evolutionists have not. You claim that creation science is either flawed or contrived, but secular science is not. The ideas and experiments put forth by creation scientists are either designed to produce certain outcomes or are based on a conceptual misunderstanding of scientific theories, while that’s not true of evolutionists.

        I’m not sure how an objective individual can’t see how completely biased and one-sided all these claims are. It’s as if you don’t think your belief system and foundations are subject to question or criticism, or that it could possibly be biased and subjective. I think evolutionists typically use the above claims to validate and justify secular science, while discrediting the opposition. I’m sorry if I come across as critical, but you’ve painted yourself with perfect respectability, while casting your opponent as irrational. Sorry, but science isn’t subject to such one-sided claims.

        I think it’s fair to say that you’ve put complete trust in dating methods because you believe the science behind them is absolute and objective, yet you don’t see how unknown factors could taint the results. I’m not sure why you can’t see this, especially when you’re quick to accuse creationists of this violation.

        I’ve provided plenty of scientific evidence (Mt. St. Helens lava flow, moon recession, original soft tissue fossils, helium diffusion out of zircons, radiohalos, the lava flow from Mt. Ngauruhoe, carbon-14 in diamonds, etc.) refuting the Big Bang and evolution models based on the very same objective science and empirical evidence you tout. But because your foundation is naturalism and my foundation rests in the Bible, you give credit to your belief system while discrediting mine, and then justify this rationale based on circular reasoning that can’t be substantiated.

        I’d suggest the actual science itself is neutral and independent of any particular worldview. The worldview itself will guide and shape the interpretation of the evidence and the conclusion. That means you can’t claim that creation science is flawed just because it doesn’t agree with naturalism.

        You believe you’re right because your worldview is tainted by an adherence to naturalism- not because of the empirical data. If that were the case then there’d be no need to “reinvent evidence” so as to reject the obvious conclusions of Mt. St. Helens, the moon recession, and original soft tissue fossils.

        You claim that, no matter what evidence science provides, no matter how logical, testable, observable it is, creation scientists will automatically dismiss it if it doesn’t fit into a biblical framework. Yet you’re guilty of this too. You say you’re an atheist because you see no evidence to support the existence of a deity, yet you’ve dismissed every piece of evidence I’ve provided with a wave of the hand, as if it’s not even worth considering. However you want us to believe that you’re humble, objective, and respect constructive criticism. If so, then you shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss anything that contradicts your worldview. Have you ever seriously considered the implications of the fine-tuning argument?

        You state that you do not start with your beliefs, and then look for evidence to support the conclusions that come from those beliefs. But I think you do so without knowing it. Naturalism is a belief.

        You do have a stake in the game. You automatically assume the error is with your opponent, that they are the ones who redefined the terms, not you. And that their evidence is flawed, contrived, or designed to produce a certain outcome while your own beliefs are not subject to the same standards. I’d say that you absolutely have a stake in the game. If, however, you were really unbiased, perfectly objective and didn’t give a flying fig, then you’d be willing to consider the evidence presented without being judgmental, insulting, flippant or derogatory. You wouldn’t be so quick to reject evidence that’s interpreted in a way you’re not accustomed and forces you to think outside the box. Instead, if you really had no stake in the game and didn’t care about the outcome, then you’d say, “Hmm, I’ve never thought about it that way before. Let me put some serious thought into that.”

        Just for the sake of argument let’s assume that creationists really are wrong about everything, and that secular science has it right. If that were so, then wouldn’t it be in the best interest of science to take creationist claims seriously so that they could be examined from a “real” scientific perspective and be subject to scrutiny? If there’s any validity to their claims then certainly a serious endeavor to verify those claims would falsify them. If secular science is right, then they should have nothing to fear from putting aside their “objective” adherence to naturalism for the sake of serious scientific inquiry. If creationists misunderstand science and evidence, then it should be easy to falsify their claims without resorting to naturalism and ad hominim attacks (because that would be biased). Such a real scientist would be able to set aside their own beliefs and examine the evidence impartially, without any strict adherence to naturalism. In fact they’d need to express skepticism towards their own accepted models of evolution and the Big Bang in order to consider whether creationist claims have any merit. I don’t think you’ve done that. I don’t think you’ve demonstrated objectivity. You reject creationism out of hand because the Bible is its foundation… whether the conclusions are true or not is irrelevant. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Every time I’ve presented evidence to support creationist claims you simply express skepticism, invoke contamination, flawed data, a misunderstanding of science, or a lack of objectivity. Never once have you questioned your own foundation or objectivity. Instead, you automatically cast creationists as unscientific and pass judgment. Where’s the objectivity in that? You’re quick to assume good will towards defense attorneys, but offer no such assumption towards creationists. Why not extend the same grace to creationists, even if you think their science is flawed? Never once have you considered that your measurements on radioactive decay fail to take other data into consideration. You claim that unknown factors have no bearing on the outcome without having any way to confirm it.

        You assume your foundations and framework are objective, observable and measurable, but it’s impossible to validate those assumptions. The assumption itself must be assumed. That’s hardly objective. How is it possible to demonstrate that only natural processes are responsible for the existence of the universe without assuming only naturalistic processes can be evoked? Isn’t that circular reasoning? To insist upon only naturalistic explanations assumes that only naturalistic processes were involved. If, however, God supernaturally created the universe and everything that exists, then the foundation of naturalism fails.

        You define naturalism as being based around something you can see, measure and test, but that’s a biased and self-serving definition that has no merit. You’re not recognizing the belief and philosophy behind it. Naturalism is a belief about the origins of the universe, and secular scientists fit their evidence into that sphere. It also rests on the assumption that supernatural events are not responsible for our existence. That part of the equation is never considered, and that’s where the bias is. Creationists do believe in a supernatural creation, but that notion is dismissed by secular scientists without any serious consideration, so it’s insincere to suggest that there’s anything unbiased about a strict adherence to naturalism. If it’s false, then how would you know that?

        You can’t see, measure and test the age of the universe or evolution. At least you can’t do that without making certain assumptions that can’t be substantiated. Alleged historical events like the Big Bang and evolution cannot be tested, confirmed or validated because they’re beliefs. It’s impossible to prove that they happened. You must assume they happened, and assume that radioactive dating methods validate the measurements obtained. Everything revolves around assumptions that cannot be proven. Just because you can see radioactive decay in the present doesn’t mean you can observe it in the past. You must extrapolate your measurements into the past and assume that there are no flaws or misunderstandings in those assumptions.

        In the one article I posted, Giberson (an evolutionist) admits that scientists must extrapolate based on their theories, and that’s where the math and measurements get muddied. At some point you have to admit that it’s impossible to confirm those extrapolations. At some point you must trust that those extrapolations are real. But there’s no way to confirm that because we can’t follow the radioactive decay back in time to see if it worked as expected. You assume that it does because you can see radioactive decay with certain isotopes in the present, so you assume that millions and billions of years in the past will have no anomalies disrupting the process. Is that a valid assumption? It depends on ones worldview- do you trust God and the Bible or naturalism? The entire basis for assuming naturalism is based on circular reasoning that cannot be validated, except through the philosophy of naturalism, religion and materialism. Then it becomes an anchor that doesn’t budge. That’s how I see secular science; I also know that former atheists and evolutionists concur. I know them personally, so I’m speaking about something I’m familiar with. At the end of the day the claim that secular science is simply built upon objective data is flawed, mired in a subjective worldview and circular reasoning.

        When you measure a dinosaur bone, we can’t press the rewind button like we can on a VCR and watch the tape run backwards. We can’t observe a universal clock unwind to the point where the dinosaur died to see if the radioactive decay hit the expected target. Why put yourself in such a box? I think creationists are more objective than secular scientists because we understand secular science and know where it fails. Many of us even believed some of those aspects at one time or another. Whereas secular scientists are unable to see the flaws in their own science. They reject the notion that they adhere to any assumptions that could possibly alter their reality and produce incorrect interpretations of the evidence. They can’t prove that they’re right without assuming it first.

        You say that secular science is a fluid process that doesn’t have to be 100% complete to be valid, but you don’t extend that same grace to creation science. You demand that creation science be 100% complete to have any sort of validity, which is ludicrous. If secular science played by the same rules then the Big Bang would have to be rejected by every serious scientist. Just because there’s an unknown element in a theory doesn’t mean that the theory itself doesn’t have any validity or merit.

        You also made a distinction between faith and probability and stated that, although assumptions are made in secular science, they are not blind assumptions. As for probabilities, atheist Sir Fred Hoyle, who coined the Big Bang, likened the probability of abiogenesis to a tornado sweeping through a junkyard and assembling a Boeing 747. While you can be critical of it, it’s extremely improbable that life would arise from non-life, and it takes faith (not probability) to believe otherwise.

        Your probability argument considers whether it’s probable that there’s an elephant in your back pocket, but you admit that no rational person would believe this- thus this is a poor argument. There are many rational people, however, who believe that God created the universe less than 10,000 years ago, and we believe the objective data supports this. A double standard exists because evolutionists don’t want to recognize that there’s a valid competing worldview. They don’t want to admit that it’s just as objective (or subjective) as theirs, and they justify the bias based on their own philosophical assumptions.

        You ask, “If one’s worldview is based upon objective data and phenomena, then how could it be subjective?” The answer is simple. In fact you already answered it before when you were reminded of the NASA scientists who crashed the probe because they forgot to convert miles into kilometers. The math and scientific principles were sound- it was humans applying them who were in error. Likewise the assumption that your own worldview is based on objective data and phenomena could be wrong. Creationists believe the objective data and phenomena point to a young earth, so how could it be subjective? You’ve stated that my worldview (based on the Bible) taints the evidence for creationists. That would also be true of evolutionists- your worldview (adherence to naturalism) taints the evidence. That’s a double standard. So who’s right? Don’t we both think we’re right, and don’t we both think we’re being objective? We’re both observing the same evidence with the same laws of physics. You look at the radioactive decay and think you can objectively tell me exactly when that rock was formed or this dinosaur died. Creationists can observe the same process and determine that radioactive dating methods are flawed based on the evidence. Your worldview is just as subjective as mine. You can dismiss creationist data, but you can’t escape subjectivity. You’re trying to make your dates conform to naturalism, which requires billions of years, so you can’t fault creationists for “making their dates conform to a young earth”. You’re trying to play by different rules. You paint creationists as adhering to the Bible (which is true), but you don’t see how your own adherence to naturalism taints the evidence. There’s nothing objective about a belief in naturalism.

        Further, this underscores the distinction between historical science and operational science. Operational science is objective because it can be observed, measured, tested, etc. But you’re not acknowledging that what you believe happened 4.55 billion years ago cannot be confirmed except by trust, belief and assumptions. I don’t have to rely on assumptions to see if my computer works. I don’t have to believe or assume radioactive dates in order to see that airplanes fly, and that doctors and medicine can cure diseases and help people. I don’t have to trust that dinosaurs evolved into birds in order to understand gravity. Your belief in the universe being 13.7 billion years old is subjective. You can try to prove it with objective measurements, but, in the end, you’re relying on assumptions that cannot be proven. There could be a variety unknown factors causing incorrect dates. To believe that the measurements are accurate is subjective because you cannot prove that the results match reality. In other words, if God created the world less than 10,000 years ago, then your belief that the universe is 13.7 billion years old is hardly objective. It’s subject to an adherence to naturalism, and that’s subjective. To me that’s common sense. Now let me turn the question around on you- If the secular data is wrong, then how can it be objective? Are you then saying that we can’t trust reality, or at that point would you be able to admit that there could have been other factors that you weren’t aware of that caused faulty dates? Seriously, what would it take for you to admit that these dating techniques might contain flaws? It’s self serving because you want to claim objectivity for your own historical dating methods, while rejecting others who use the same objective measurements and arrive at opposite conclusions. You’re applying one set of standards to yourself, while refusing to extend those standards to others- that’s called bias.

        You’re right that I would have a hard time trying to convince any rational person that basing their beliefs on observable, measurable, and testable data is subjective. That’s because most rational people are human, which means they have egos and are biased. If any rational person was indoctrinated over the course of their lifetime to think in a particular way, then it will be very hard for them to think outside the box that they’re accustomed to, which is why it’s hard for a rational person to be convinced of something they’re opposed to. What I’m getting at is that there are rational people who’ve been convinced that what they once thought was observable and measureable was actually based on a worldview, and that it took a lot of work and effort to break through that way of thinking so that they could see that it was subjective all along. I was one of those people, so I know it can be done.

        I don’t believe in relativism, so when you see a shooting star, you actually do see a shooting star. But what you don’t see is a date and history attached to that shooting star. If you’re able to physically analyze it, you have to paint its history like you would paint a canvas. That’s subjective. 100 different scientists could come up with 100 different interpretations of the results, depending on all the various factors they’re subjected to. You can obtain objective data, but it’s impossible to know that our interpretation of the data reflects reality. It really should be obvious.

        Just imagine if nobody was there to witness the Mt. St. Helens event, and you came along and measured that lava flow at 2.6 million years… you’d believe it was that old because the evidence is objective to you. This should serve as a perfect example of how someone with a worldview based on objective data and phenomena is subjective- just like the NASA scientists. The objective data is correct, while the interpretations and conclusions are wrong. Either the interpretation of the objective data doesn’t take unknown factors into consideration, or there’s some other human error.

        You spoke of being indoctrinated in the church, but is it possible that you were also indoctrinated by science? You may think that the priests and your parents indoctrinated you into Catholicism, well-meaning, and wrong. But could it be that those who indoctrinated you in science were also well-meaning, but wrong?

      2. I was going to type a huge reply to this, but I realized that the bulk of my response would just contribute to this Mobius strip of a discussion we’ve been having. At this point, we’re basically just saying the same things in different ways over and over again.

        I’ll respectfully point you to my last reply, from October 28th at 5:41 am, where I tried to close the thread. I still think that most of the answers to the things you’ve posited just now could be found there (or in any of my other previous posts). To that end, I’d like to point out that this notion that “I don’t give creation science the same grace I give secular science about being 100% valid” is something that’s patently untrue. I’ve never said or implied as much, and in point of fact, I spent the end of my last reply to you saying the exact opposite: that there *is* room for the discovery of God in secular science.

        I’ll end this by saying, once again, that I respect your right to interpret the data however you best see fit.

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