Monday, August 10, 2009

In Response to "There is a beautiful message in understanding God"

The debate about atheism rages on the Red Deer Express. I'll quote the original poster in case it disappears again.

There is a beautiful message in understanding God


In response to the article titled, “Clearing up misconceptions about Atheistic community”, the cry in the heart of a man to relate to a personal God that loves them was so poignantly expressed by Bryan Rowsell who said, “I do wish there was a God...Life would be so much simpler if we all had someone to listen to our problems, help us through crises and carry us to a place more grand than this Earth.”

The joy is that there is such a personal God. A living being that has feelings, one who created this world. One in whose image we are created.

We long for friendships - and so does He long to be friends with us.

I think of the wonderful hymn that states, “What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bare...”

It is He who created the tree that Bryan Rowsell would get the seeds from to challenge Nancy Greenwood.

And this loving God who created all things for us to enjoy, who wouldn’t want to experience such deep love from a personal Creator?

Yes, many misrepresent Him to others, but that does not make Him non-existent or untouchable by anyone no matter what they have done or who they are.

True science is observable and repeatable. If you boil water and I boil water, our results are the same. We find the temperature to boil water to also be the same.

Since none of us was there to observe when this lovely world and everything in it started, we can only point to that “artistic works of an artist” like Greenwood mentioned as a point of understanding.

The “evidence” in the theory of evolution is not always accurate. Piltdown man was a proven hoax and came from the tooth of a pig. Fossilized teddy bears are now on sale.

Fossils can be produced in a short time with pressure and there are now fossilized hats on the market. So evolution regarding millions of years doesn’t add up any more.

Evolution says there is an adaptation of the animal to its environment over a period of time. Giraffes couldn’t have evolved at all because medically it is impossible for them to bend down and drink water without rupturing blood vessels in their brains.

Bryan Rowsell and others like him who are struggling are banking on so called evolutionary “evidence” to hold him away from a wonderful experience with Someone beyond our world.

May I invite them to meet the most wonderful friend they will ever have, who loves them, cares about their every need, and laid down His life to give them life?

This is the message that should be conveyed. It is a marvelous way to live now and in the future beyond the grave.

Padre Johnson
Red Deer

Padre Johnson correctly points out that science is observable and repeatable. He fails to remind us that it's purpose is to give us a consistent understanding of our observations in order to make correct predictions. When established scientific results, like the fossil record, make a prediction (for example "if you find a type of fossil at one layer of sediment, you can find another similar fossil in the same layer"), the prediction either helps scientists ("find fossils in a given layer") or doesn't and is rejected. It is selected for fitness to the observed world, not believed as a matter of faith.

The Padre mentions Piltdown Man ( as an example of faked scientific fossil data. However the deception was started in 1912 and revealed conclusively in 1953. This is a strength of science, not a weakness, as the find was not simply accepted with blind faith, but was examined closely and eventually refuted. To quote the above article, "In the decades prior to its exposure as a forgery in 1953, scientists increasingly regarded Piltdown as an enigmatic aberration inconsistent with the path of hominid evolution as demonstrated by fossils found elsewhere."

While we do no posses time machines to observe dinosaurs being fossilized, we can and do regularly observe and repeat experiments on the fossils themselves. Repeated experiments based on not just one technique of dating, but many different -- but ultimately agreeing -- methods. While it remains a ridiculously slim possibility that every single fossil -- out of millions unearthed an dated -- is an elaborate forgery, the far more likely conclusion is that it is just true.

The strength of the scientific evidence is not simply that fossils exist, or missing links exist, or speciation occurs, or tectonic plates shift, or carbon dating is accurate, or any other single fact you can isolate and find ways of "debunking". The strength of the scientific evidence is that the facts **all agree with each other** with such consistency, and to such an astonishing degree of accuracy, that the only possibility for fraud is one of cosmic proportions.

Either the world is as we see it, or god faked it that way in order to convince us at *every* turn, to such a degree that no *rational* man could possibly come to any other conclusion. Either we can understand our natural world through observation and rationalization, or we can only understand the world according to a single ancient book. Unfortunately for theists, the modern world, including this internet, was created by people who did the former; and the dark ages and the inquisition were created by people who did the latter.

It would be enjoyable to discuss the philosophy of science with theists if they didn't so consistently get their science so wrong. The Padre, mystifyingly, claims that "medically it is impossible for them to bend down and drink water without rupturing blood vessels in their brains", yet clearly here is video of a Giraffe doing just that... Perhaps the video has been faked -- after all it's easy to do with a computer.

If theists wish to claim that their methods help an individual reach a higher state of emotional peace, then they are welcome to make a case, but in trying to fight a force they so poorly comprehend only serves to show up their lack of scientific education.

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