The Evolutionist’ Conceptual Lock

Response to Jerry Coyne’s Blog post: Evidence for Whales

https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/evidence-for-evolution-whales/

Considering Carl Sagan’s “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” Jon Peter’s video fails Sagan’s test for whale evolution; he doesn’t realize he has not presented very much evidence. If he would only look at all of the whale as he looks at a hind limb atavism, he would realize his mistake. For example, when discussing hind limb atavisms, Peter’s observes: “Think about that. Remember, if it is a leg, think of the DNA it takes to produce a leg—bones, muscles, nerves, skin cartilage. That’s a lot of DNA.” I agree. But now consider the amount of genetic instructions and rewired DNA it takes for the transformation of an ancient land mammal into a whale. Now this is a lot of DNA! I do not know if he really has thought about the amount needed.

If true, a creationist would have a hard time explaining the atavism, but the evolutionist actually has a gargantuan problem explaining a whale. Especially, when all this supposedly happened “remarkably fast: most of the action took place within only 10 million years.” (Coyne, Why Evolution is True, 51)

This short critique highlights what I believe is the evolutionist’ greatest blind spot: thinking he has massive overwhelming evidence when he doesn’t. Stephen Gould warned “The greatest impediment to scientific innovation is usually a conceptual lock.” (Wonderful Life,276) I see the evolutionist’ “conceptual lock” as claiming “What’s not a problem is the lack of evidence.” (Coyne, 222)

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My Royal Philosophy Essay Submission

http://arn.org/docs/mcleroy/materialism.html

 

Do Life And Living Forms Present a Problem for Materialism?

Don McLeroy


Abstract

A comparison is made between how well materialism and the Genesis creation account explain life and living forms; the analysis reveals serious problems for materialism’s explanations. The comparison is organized around the first three uses of the Hebrew word bara in the first chapter of Genesis – where it is translated as ‘created’, and means‘to create out of nothing’. Science is then used to test the materialist and biblical explanations for the origin of the universe, the origin of plant life, the origin of creature life and the origin of human consciousness. All four of the materialist explanations fail the test of science while all four of the biblical explanations pass.

Introduction

The fact this question is even asked demonstrates that materialism has problems explaining life and living forms. Interestingly, no one asks if life and living forms present a problem for biblical theism; therefore, why is it today so many highly educated people accept a materialist explanation and reject a biblical explanation? Likely, it is because they believe the biblical explanation is an ancient myth, or that it has already been examined and found wanting. And, they truly fear that if they invoke God as a Creator, it would mean they would have to abandon reason and science.

But materialism has major problems. The idea that ‘physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter’[1] defies common sense. And, it will be demonstrated that materialist explanations concerning the origin of the universe, the origin of plant life, the origin of creature life and the origin of human consciousness, fail the test of science. The materialist is ultimately left with only philosophical speculations, not scientific explanations. Also, the materialist is trapped by his worldview. As Christian apologist G. K. Chesterton observed over a hundred years ago, ‘The Christian is quite free to believe that there is a considerable amount of settled order and inevitable development in the universe. But the materialist is not allowed to admit into his spotless machine the slightest speck of spiritualism or miracle.’[2]

This is also admitted by evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin. In a review of Carl Sagan’s book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, he observed:

‘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 absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.’[3]

Thus, for the trapped materialist, nothing can present a true problem for materialism, not life, not living forms – nothing. Having rejected the‘Divine Foot in the door’, the materialist speculates there must still be an explanation out there – somewhere; he just concludes it has not been found yet. As we will see, there is a good chance his speculations are wrong. Life and living forms require explanations, not speculations. Therefore, let us take a close look at an alternative, the Genesis creation account and compare materialism with it. After all, the Bible has an excellent historical record in regard to science.

James Hannam, in God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science (2009), clearly documents the consensus view of historians of science that the religious conviction God created nature led to the development of the natural philosophy of the Middle Ages. He then shows how this led to the achievement of modern science. Hannam also describes how the Christian theologians of the Middle Ages, whom he refers to as ‘God’s philosophers’, made the crucial distinctions about how God uses secondary causes or natural laws to affect his will, which encouraged the study of nature. Without such distinctions theology becomes fatalistic and no science ensues. Rodney Stark, in his book For the Glory of God: How Monotheism led to Reformations, Science, Witch-hunts and the End of Slavery,
concurs. He concludes his section on science with two points: ‘First, science arose only once in history – in medieval Europe. Second, science could only arise in a culture dominated by belief in a conscious, rational, all-powerful Creator.’[4] Interestingly, one does not abandon science when one accepts biblical theism; one invents it. Continue reading

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Interview on Us & Them Podcast “The Talk”

http://usandthempodcast.com/podcast/the-talk/

http://

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Commencement Address to Brazos Valley Christian Home Educators Association May 30, 2015

The Role of Your LIfe

Introduction

Thank you. It is a special honor and privilege to address you this afternoon. Congratulations to you graduates, to you Moms and Dads and to this entire homeschool community. High school graduations are special; they mark a major transition in life as one leaves home and steps out into the world. This afternoon, let’s make a few observations about this world that you are entering into and think about the powerful impact you can have in it.

Our “Stage”

Life is like a play in which we are the actors. We control what we say and how we act; we do not, however, create the “stage” on which we act. Our success will largely be determined by how well we understand this world or “stage” which God has created for us. An excellent way to get a profound understanding of this world is to study the significance of the first three uses of the word “created” in the Bible. (Bruce Waltke, teaching tape, ~1970’s)

The word “created” is translated from the Hebrew word “bara” which means “to create out of nothing.” The first “bara” is found on Day One, verse 1; the second on Day Five, verse 21; the third on Day Six, verse 27. Thus, the questions arise, what did God create out of nothing on the first day, the fifth day, and the sixth day and what is their significance? What He created was, simply stated, “the cosmos”, “the breath of life”, and “the image of God”. Now, let’s see if we can understand their significance.

In the beginning we find God creating the cosmos—the space, mass, time universe—out of nothing. On day two, God separates the waters from the waters; on day three, He lets the dry land appear and the earth bring forth vegetation; on day four, we find God making the sun, moon and stars. On days two, three, and four, God had everything He needed—created out of nothing on the first day—to form, shape and mold what He wanted to accomplish.

On day five, God creates the first creature life—the fish and the birds. But not even God could make a living fish or bird with what He had created out of nothing on the first day; He had to create something brand new—out of nothing—the “breath of life.” Imagine a fish out of the water and flapping around on the shore. When it dies; what does it lose? It loses its “breath of life”. This is why you will never see creature life made in a lab; they can’t create the “breath of life.”

On day six, God has everything He needs from what He has already created on the first and fifth day to make the land creatures. But, to create Adam, He again has to create something else brand new out of nothing—this time—the “image of God.” Note again, God could only make an ape-like creature with what He had created on the first and fifth days. Being “created in the image of God” is what separates man from all the other creatures.

A quick check. According to the bara’s, what is the essential difference between you and a dog? You have the “image of God.” What is the essential difference between you and a tree? You have the “breath of life” and the “image of God.”

To complete our basic understanding of God’s world today, we need to take a look at Genesis 3. Here we discover that man is fallen, that man is a sinner. G. K. Chesterton wrote that this “is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved.” (Orthodoxy, page 7) There is no way to truly understand human nature without accepting this fact. Ironically, when you understand that man is created in the image of God and fallen, you will have a deeper insight into psychology, sociology, and anthropology than some of those professors who may be teaching you next year. But don’t get too cocky; they do know a lot of fascinating information; you can learn a lot from them. Continue reading

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Response to David Ogden’s Letter

The Eagle Letters for May 5

Posted: Monday, May 4, 2015 12:00 am

Religion cannot disguise that discrimination is discrimination

Don McLeroy’s (Eagle, May 1) reasoning in arguing against granting the right of marriage to gay couples is baffling, illogical, and just plain wrong. While he concedes that racial discrimination is wrong because God created all men equal, he claims gender discrimination is not wrong because God created two genders.

Help me understand, did God not create gay people? Or, more precisely, did He not create people as gays? My guess is that He did and I would suspect He would want all his creations to be treated fairly.

McLeroy seems to worry that the husband and wife ideal will be lost if gays marry. I think he should take comfort in knowing that the institution and industry of marriage is alive and well. If fact it’s booming. Thinking that heterosexual couples will marry less often, and therefore not perpetuate the “husband-wife ideal” is worse than ludicrous because it is an intentional red herring with the purpose of inventing something else for people to fear.

McLeroy has illustrated that people who use their religious beliefs as a means to discriminate know that their position is untenable. His arguments, and others, cannot avoid the fact that discrimination is discrimination, regardless if one’s religious beliefs are used as an excuse.

The good news is that using religious beliefs to deny rights to our fellow citizens eventually will go the way of the pseudo biblical arguments that once denied interracial couples to marry. Gay marriages will become a non-event.

DAVID OGDEN

College Station

My response

My letter of May 1st was a response to Lane Fuller’s editorial that argued that same-sex marriage was inconsequential to our nation and/or our individual lives. My argument was that this is not true. I pointed out that this idea is not good for society and would lead to a morally confused world. I also noted the greatest consequence would be that of our nation abandoning its commitment to religious freedom and the separation of church and state.

David Ogden, in his thoughtful response, skips those issues and primarily deals with my claim that we would lose the “husband-wife ideal” and the statement that “Gender discrimination is not wrong.” But, if marriage is redefined, the only politically correct way—as Dennis Prager points out—to ask a kid who they want to marry is “Do you want to marry a boy or a girl?” This is moral confusion.

That “gender discrimination is not wrong” is easily shown to be true. Marriage, same-sex public restrooms, same-sex schools, same-sex camps and clubs, plus same-sex athletics are organized with gender discrimination. It is not wrong to do discriminate by gender; we do it all the time.

Ogden also raises the fairness issue, and cites the example of interracial marriage—both of which I had dealt with. I stated it was not fair and that racism is biblically wrong.

Again, the specter of losing our religious freedom by the de-facto establishment of the state as our church is a scary thought indeed. We must take a stand to defend our religious freedom.

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Letter to the editor on same-sex marriage–revised

Dear “The Eagle” Editorial Board,

Lane Filler is wrong when he states that the approval of same-sex marriage is “not my business,” and that it is “the right philosophy for our nation.” As Dennis Prager argues, while it is not fair to the same-sex couple, same-sex marriage is not good for society. The reason is because it removes the gender distinction. For example, racial discrimination is wrong—“God created man in his own image”; but, gender discrimination is not wrong—“male and female created he them.” (Genesis 2:27)

Even without a Supreme Court decision, our society’s blurring of gender distinctions has resulted in Catholic Charities, because of their refusal to place children with same-sex couples, having to stop adoption services in several states. The loss of the husband-wife ideal destroys the family unit. Woe to our society when this ideal is lost! Again Prager argues, adopting same sex marriage might make us feel good about our sense of compassion and fairness, but it will leave our children and grandchildren in a morally confused world.

All this, and the specter of religious organizations being denied tax exempt status if they take a stand on their religious convictions turns our nation’s protection of religious freedom upside down. Our nation’s philosophy of the separation of church and state is too important for us today to claim same-sex marriage is “not my business.”

Don McLeroy

Here is the link to the Letter to the Editor.
http://t.co/Nul3nQdLNS

Here is a link to a tweet.

Here is the column that was run in my local paper yesterday to which I am responding.
http://www.newsday.com/opinion/columnists/lane-filler/bruce-jenner-and-same-sex-marriage-ain-t-nobody-s-business-but-their-own-1.10344021

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Address to the Constitutional Coalition’s 26th Educational Policy Conference, St. Louis

Let us Revive America!

I.            Hook

To revive America we must revive her religious convictions. This is a worldview/culture war issue that we can win and we must win. In Texas, we have made some progress; last September a Politico headline blared “Texas textbooks tout Christian heritage.”  But, if we hope to reverse our nation’s decline into chaos and anarchy, more progress is needed. British historian Paul Johnson, in the closing paragraph of his classic history of the 20th century—Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties, (1991), lays out the task before us. He writes that the chances for the 21st century becoming an age of hope for mankind depends on the eradication of four underlying evils that characterized the 20th century and that resulted in over 125 million citizens murdered by their own governments. He identifies these evils as “the rise of moral relativism, the decline of personal responsibility, the repudiation of Judeo-Christian values, [and] … the arrogant belief that men and women could solve all the mysteries of the universe by their own unaided intellects….”

II. Our Job
As we will see, the only way these evils can be eradicated is by proclamation of our Judeo-Christian religious convictions. In a way, our task is simple. We are advocating biblical principles—the wisdom of God himself; what does the world have to compete with this? Plus, biblical Christianity has a great historical track record; when properly understood, it sells itself. The embrace of biblical principles and convictions has produced the good life—rich and fulfilling individual lives, strong and vibrant families and some of the freest and most scientifically advanced societies in history—especially the United States. There are reasons for this and people need to know them; we have a great story to tell them.

But, “how” shall we tell them? In 1898, Abraham Kuyper in a series of talks at Princeton University—Lectures on Calvinism, stated the “holy mission” of the church was “recommending to others the superiority of its principles.” So, let us do just that; let us identify some key religious convictions and simply recommend them—first to our own children and then to others. We do not even need to claim that these biblical ideas are superior; if presented clearly, others will see it for themselves.

III. America is a Biblical Nation

Before we begin, let us first establish that America truly is a biblical nation founded on religious convictions. When you stand in the center of the Jefferson Memorial facing the White House and look up to your right, you will read these words of President Jefferson, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberty of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?”

Our liberty, according to Jefferson, is not the result of our good nature, our intellect or our good intentions; it is the result of a religious conviction that it is a gift from God. Jefferson’s view was the consensus position of our founding fathers. Religiously, they were ethical monotheists; they believed in an omnipotent God who cared about right and wrong. Interestingly, if alive today, they would probably be labeled “religious conservatives.”

Like Jefferson, President Calvin Coolidge understood the importance of America’s religious convictions. In 1926, on the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, he reflected:
“A spring will cease to flow if its source be dried up; a tree will wither if its roots be destroyed. In its main features, the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration, not of material but of spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man, these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We cannot continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause.”

But even beyond the testimony of these Presidents, the best way to establish our biblical heritage is go back to July 4, 1776, to the actual words of the Declaration. Consider: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” The modern liberal believes there is no truth, there is no God and that we just evolved. Yet, the Declaration clearly states that truth exists, there is a Creator and that we are created. So, are we a Christian nation? When you define a Christian nation simply as being founded on biblical convictions then the answer is an unequivocal “Yes.” Continue reading

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