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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Letter to the Editor.......

From One Apologist: Letter One

Edwin Way Teale said “It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money so long as you have got it”. I agree with this quote, although in my opinion there may be many who cannot defend why they believe in something or the history behind it. The definition of Apologetics is systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine) according to Merriam-Webster online dictionary. It is a discipline that also uses other disciplines such as science, mathematics, historical data, archeological data, and philosophical argumentation (like logic) for its own defense. Tis the season for a defense of the creationist worldview.

I’m going to spend a moment talking about Anonymous. You don’t have to go very far to read the comment section of any blog or letters to the editor of any newspaper to find mostly hostile and negative opinions of the creationist worldview mainly by some subscriber named Anonymous. He or She is very busy these days! Before I begin, I would like to point out that Anonymous very rarely if ever offers their explanation and defense of their worldview. Anonymous mostly blasts the author with inflammatory remarks instead of rational rebuttals. This behavior usually ends up giving the author more credit on the point they are making. I don’t mind the challenge, although it only stands to reason that not only does the creationist have the burden to explain their worldview, but to be fair and reasonable the critic has the onus as well. I would also like to point out there is a difference between a skeptic and a cynic. The skeptic (doubter) will usually, take a positive appeal after all the evidence is provided and the cynic will usually take a negative view no matter how much evidence is provided. I might dare say Anonymous would be synonymous with cynic.

On the beginning of the universe: Atheists like Steven Hawking say, “Because there is a law of gravity the universe can and will create itself from nothing”. The problem is scientific or physical laws don’t create anything even worse they are not the causation of anything. This explanation and many like it run into the dilemma of primary causation. An intelligent creator is the most reasonable answer to this dilemma for which by definition, God is an uncaused being. Basically, what the atheists say is X created Y. Presupposing that X existed to explain Y. It’s like me saying X creates X. I’m also presupposing the existence of X in order to account for X and that is also self-contradicting. Especially, if X would equal the universe in the argument. Only X, being an uncaused, primary causation and eternal intelligent being would be logical to account for the creation of Y. Which argument logically takes more faith to believe in?

On the origin of life: The competing theory against intelligent design is undoubtedly Darwin’s theory of evolution as argued in The Origin of Species. Unfortunately, the theory never does answer the question of the origin of species. It is good to point out Darwin’s own doubt brought up in the fossil record of the Cambria Fossil record which his theory could not and still cannot account for. He admittedly hoped for someone in the future to explain it. Also, not to mention the missing fossil records to link the species in the account for this great gradual chain of random mutation and natural selection. Now there is no reason to disregard adaptation of pre-existing genes within a species existing cell structure to promote change within itself on a micro scale which can be observed, but it differs greatly from a macro scale account of new species and systems appearing. 

Darwinism also loses its significance and is highly inadequate from the more recent 1950’s advent of biochemistry. Microscopes that can see to the cellular and molecular level have had a significant impact on the gradual chance random mutation debate. Scientists like Michael Behe in his book Darwin’s Black Box, argue satisfactory the concept of irreducible complexity, which basically says the make-up of some systems and cells have many structures with-in them that cannot be reduced any farther without the system failing with just one single component removed of it leaving a gradual random mutation over time an inadequate explanation. Small gradual evolutionary steps would have had to take great leaps in fact just appear out of nowhere. To sum up Mike Behe, he says, “There are tens of thousands of papers on cell structures, but on the scientific evolutionary detailed explanations of biochemical cell make-up it is utterly silent. Less than five and they do not even go into detail for they presuppose everything”. Only an intelligent creator guiding the process of life’s origin is logically sufficient to explain the complex processes and systems in life.

There is so much to defend and so many logical explanations to give, although to keep the article in the parameters of our/my attention span this article will end soon, but I would like to give one more relevant argument. I would not debate Newton’s theory of gravity because it best reflects reality. I will end this letter in writing that the existence of an intelligent creator best reflects the world we see and live in.

Chris Foust

P.S. Dear Anonymous, I love you!

5 comments :

Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate then that such an intelligent creator who possesses the awesome power to create something from nothing no longer possesses such power or has the unwillingness to use such power to prevent the many afflictions upon all species on earth. Particularly those who do so in the intelligent creators name. Perhaps the first creation was just a proof of concept that will be destroyed as quickly as it was created so that a better world can be created. A intelligent creator would have built a proper world from the start just as someone who knows how to build a paper airplane builds one from the start that would fly. Therefore a few conclusions could derived from today's world view: (1)the intelligent creator is not so intelligent, (2)the creators views his creation of life and death (in his name) is entertainment or (3) the creator doesn't exist.

The fact that people have to debate either side of an irrelevant situation is ludicrous. What difference does it make? For those who believe in the creator, would they be more inclined to treat humanity better or worse if they realized the creator didn't exist? Are evolutionists evolving at such a slow rate that the ability to destroy themselves is outpacing their own ability to realize that slaughtering in the name of the creationist is not course of action for long term survival?

As to not disappoint this will be signed by Anonymous. (Anonymous = Cynic = Realist)

P.S. Dear Chris Foust, I love you!

P.P.S. Dear Creator, if I'm way off base here, you can beam into my house, call me, drop me a note, send me an email or get in touch withh me in some fancy way that you haven't created yet. I'll promise to keep our chat on the down low.

Chris Foust said...

Dear anonymous,
Thanks for your coherent response. Your view on Pain and afflictions is one that many hold and do not understand why an all-powerful God would allow such gratuitous pain and suffering. This was going to be my next letter but I’ll give it here in a two-fold answer. Pain and suffering is one aspect and then objective and subjective moral values. I must also note that I will argue everything from a Christian worldview since it is the only one the holds to truth tests (more on that in another letter).
As soon as you used the words “A intelligent creator would have built a proper world from the start” and “would they be more inclined to treat humanity better or worse” you brought a philosophical dilemma about. Once you used the word better and worse you are assuming a moral law for which to differentiate between the two. If there is a moral law there must be a moral law giver. An objective moral law would be something that is valid whether anyone believes them or not, free of human opinion unlike subjective moral laws. Atheists like to call subjective moral reasoning, relativism. I’m not arguing that you have to believe in God to live a good moral life. Whether you have learned the objective moral law passed down through social conditioning or from a fortune cookie it doesn’t matter. Case in point whether the Nazi’s would have won World War II or not the holocaust would have been a morally bad thing to do. If the counter argument is these values are learned through cultural relativism then I would say some cultures love their neighbor and other cultures eat them. Do you have a preference? There is much more to the argument but it is for another letter.
On the case of pain and suffering I will say the reason we find it not so easily manageable is because we assume that an intelligent creator’s purpose for us is human happiness and the suffering doesn’t contribute to that end. But in the Christian worldview that assumption is false and the purpose is the knowledge of God that will eventually lead to ultimate human fulfillment. There is so much suffering in this life which is utterly gratuitous with respect to producing human happiness, but which may not be gratuitous to producing a deeper knowledge of God either on the part of the human sufferer or those around them. I would argue that it may well be the case that not only in a world involving great pain and suffering that the maximum number of people would come freely to a knowledge of God and his salvation. I don’t say it on simply on faith but on the basis that where you see the most human suffering in the world is where the gospel and church is growing at a ratio of almost 1 to 1. God’s purpose is much broader than what is conclusive to our happiness. His ultimate purpose is to establish his kingdom and what we suffer should be seen in that greater arching purpose.
And our God is not just some impersonal God who sits by and watches us suffer. When you ask where is my God I would point you to the cross where he took it upon himself the unimaginable pain and suffering to relate to us. On another argument it would be illogical for me to take a life because I am not the author of life or restorer. But if a life is taken then in the Christian worldview that life is returned and resurrected with God to spend an eternity. I completely understand there are many more questions that will arise out of this, but I am happy to try them.
Chris Foust

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Santa

Anonymous said...

I've never heard an apologist I've been impressed by. I think it's an extremely disingenuous profession. I don't mean any personal offense to the poster.

First of all, all of the apologist arguments I've heard seem to be in support of Deism, at best. There is usually this elaborate case made for the existence of some type of creator, but there is nothing to connect it to any particular religion. The poster here is also guilty of this. This post could have just as easily been written by a Muslim apologist. There is nothing connecting any of these arguments to the character described in the Christian bible.

Also, I think apologists are the ultimate naval gazers. They spend all this time creating these arguments, but who is really listening? Go sit in a church pew. They aren't talking about Kalam's Cosmological Argument. It's almost elitist, in that there is this upper layer of theology that isn't meant for the ears for the average religious person.

And finally, who do these arguments actually convince? Most atheists are atheists because they don't see enough evidence to support religious claims. You can pole all the holes in evolution or cosmology that you want, it doesn't mean your god is real. If everything we know about science turns out to be untrue, it doesn't mean everybody just goes back to believing gods. It just means we have more question marks than we had before. The default position isn't Christianity. It's okay to say "I don't know."

If you want me to be part of your religion I'm going to need to see evidence FOR it, not evidence against whatever scientific theories you think conflict with your worldview.

Merry Christmas and Happy Saturnalia!

Chris Foust said...

12:18,

Thanks for the opposing comment. You are right in some aspects. Apologists usually start out defending the case for intelligent design. Then follow up with a defense for their worldview. Unfortunately, explaining all of the arguments in one article is possible, but it would really take a book. I was going to try and break it up into a series of articles.

I completely understand the default position is not Christianity. I am trying to persuade those who always say to use “logic and reasoning” to defend a belief. This is it. In my opinion the Christian worldview is what best reflects reality with all the evidence and hours researching and experiences I have encountered. I also realize not everyone agrees or has had the same experiences. And yes I agree with your concern that in some fashions churches express their worldview in an elitist fashion. They shouldn’t express themselves in that manner, but I will say that no church is perfect. There are many flavors. If people don’t find one that fits, they usually move on if they are desiring answers. I have tried many.

Christians, like many other religions and other organizations like police officers have members who poorly reflect the beliefs and foundations of the organization. Even the Presidency of the U.S. is no exemption of this.

More evidence will follow and I will give it my best. I hope that you are continuing a search for sufficient answers in your own worldview along with those of others. I can see that you and I have opposing worldviews. Thankfully in this country we still have the freedom to express them and I thank you for the dialogue and your expressed views.

Chris Foust