Thursday, November 23, 2006

Can We Trust Science?

"Honey" left a comment arguing for the validity of the Answers in Genesis (AiG) site, and condeming mainstream science. Her comment deserves a detailed response, which I present here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Why not try Allah?

Here is another email from my inbox, recommending that I try Islam.

I am a Muslim woman and, thanks be to God, now am a practising Muslim, though earlier I saw Islam just like you or any one else would. Contrary to popular belief Islam believes in logic and reasoning because faith without logic is blind, and blind faith is the most disastrous on thing on earth. Today I am a person who believes in the reality of the true message of Islam and that Islam is not just another religion but the true message of God Almighty. But I came this far only because of questioning, which in turn strengthened my faith. Prophet Muhammad, may Allah be pleased with him, put it like this "Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every single Muslim. Ponder, investigate and explore into the things created by God. Verily the ink of the scholar is more precious than the blood of the martyr. Surely the scientist is on the correct way the way of God. Any of you who strives to recieve knowledge for him GOD WILL MAKE EASIER THE WAY TOWARDS HEAVEN and God will elavate them aloof of their kind."

I can prove to you in the very best and convincing ways of what is the truth and what is falsehood. Take this as an open challenge and do agree to reason and debate with me in the best of ways.

May God Almighty show you the straight path, the path of those whom he has favoured not of those who have earned his anger and have gone astray.

This sounds remarkably like the pleas made by many Christians. Subsititute a few words in the email above, and it would look like many emails promoting another faith. Christians are not the only ones claiming that logic is on their side.

My guess is that Pastor Al will be able to see right through this woman's claims, and could explain to us why Islam is not backed by science. And no doubt this writer could explain why Pastor Al is not backed by the facts. Could it be that neither of those claims of truth are backed by the facts?

When God doesn't quell the doubts

A new deconvert describes her experience:

I was raised in a Christian home and except for a short time in my 20s, I have always gone to church and considered myself a Christian.

When I began questioning my faith a few months ago, albeit in the quiet of my mind, years ago, I felt like I was going crazy or perhaps possessed by a demon. When God failed to answer my prayers and quell my doubts, I was devastated and frightened. I felt lonelier than I have ever been, even with a husband and children and many friends.

I decided to do some searching on the Internet and there you were. I just want to thank you for your web site. It has answered many questions and encouraged me so much. I still feel very lonely and sometimes afraid, but I don't feel like I'm crazy or possessed anymore and that's partially because of you.

I haven't "come out," to anyone yet, but I have more confidence in my quest for the truth. I don't look forward to what will take place when I finally start sharing my discoveries, but I know I will have to eventually; but like you said, I'm not a loser and I will be okay...thank you for that.

Many can identify with the writer. It is not madness to ask questions. The child who pointed out that the emperor had no clothes was not crazy. There is nothing wrong with exploring beyond the religion they you were taught. Sometimes it is like a breath of fresh air to honestly face the doubts.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Evolution debate

I have posted my recent discussion on evolution with Pastor Al on my site at A Debate on Evolution. I include some concluding comments at Conclusion.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hearing God?

A reader writes about a breakthrough in hearing God, recommending a site where I can learn more about it. The site comes complete with a voice recording. Unfortunately, the voice on the recording is not God, but just a man. What a pity. Since posting a recording on the Internet is such an effective means of communication, one would wonder why God wouldn't put up his own site with recordings for us to hear. Apparently that is not the way God speaks.

I was searching online to get more information on hearing God and found your article on a Christian Forum site... I understand your frustration in hearing God and I also for a long time struggled with this. It makes only sense to start questioning everything one believes when even struggling to commune with Him.

I must say, I got a lot of breakthrough and often do hear Him now. A site which helped me was - If you still want to hear God maybe listen to the "4 Keyes to hearing God" MP3... here

Its really interesting. I always struggled with people saying that they could hear God. Until I started hearing him. Its almost like fine-tuning a radio... sometimes you get a bit of white-noise or static, but as you tune it in on a certain frequency it becomes more and more clear. The same way I learned to tune in more and more to God - trust me - its worth it. As someone who also used to struggle a lot I want you to encourage to never stop trying. As you say on your website... "The important thing is to not stop questioning" I want to encourage you to not stop listening.
We are told at that site that God speaks spontaneously in our thoughts when we quiet our minds, but does not speak with an audible voice. Now I am all for quieting our minds, and taking the time to relax and to see what is inside. But when we assume that such "voices" are from God, it would appear to me to be very dangerous. What if the voice told you to paint graffiti on your neighbor's car or to buy a house way beyond your means. Would you do it? Or would you let reason override the inner voice? If so, then I would think we should concentrate on our critical thinking and reasoning skills, rather than our voice-hearing skills.

Some might tell me that God never says unreasonable things. Perhaps, but how do you know the voice you hear is God? Surely at least some people are mistaken when they think they hear God. A Catholic may "hear" God telling him to promote Catholicism. A Protestant may "hear" God telling him to destroy what the Catholic is building. Did both hear from God? Then God is the author of strife and confusion. Or is at least one of those people mistaken? If we admit that many are mistaken when they think they hear God, how could we be certain we really hear God? See Does God Speak to Us?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Answers in Genesis?

Recently I have received 2 emails recommending that I check out the Answers in Genesis site. I am quite familiar with that organization, having once been a big supporter of them when I was a creationist. They have an impresive website, with lots of scientific-looking arguments defending young earth creation. But we must be careful not to confuse scientific-looking arguments with science. There is a big diffference.

Science is based on the process of peer-review, in which those who are most familiar with the arguments review the claim before it is published. And after the claim is published, scientists who dispute the findings test the claim. If the claim withstands scrutiny, it is accepted as science. If further study shows the claim does not hold up, the idea is put aside.

But the arguments at Answers in Genesis bypass this process. Mainstream scientists have shown repeatedly that the claims of a young earth and of a global flood causing most of the fossil record are false. Creationists continue to publish their ideas, directing their writings to the general public, even though the claims would never pass the scrutinty of science. True science must first convince those who understand the arguments before it is paraded before the masses as science.

Sadly, many look at the impressive arguments at that site, and are not aware that these are not science.

SH writes:
I appreciate your thoroughness in your writing. I am a young Earth believer, personally converted from an old Earth believer. In your "Did we evolve" article, you mentioned the Gap theory, which never made much sense to me (or apparently to you). Anyway, please consider expanding yourinformation by going to Perhaps you have already been there, but they have many well written scientific articles that will give you more information about what many current creation scientists believe. I for one am a scientist that needs the details before I come up with a conclusion and natural selection is one spot where
scientists on both sides of this debate agree. I believe that a Creator God would create many creatures well capable of changing or adapting to their environment, but I have never seen any plausible evidence of one creature gaining new information into its DNA that would make it capable of having useful new features (wings, legs, etc.). I know there is much more to this debate, butI strongly believe that you will find some very useful information on the site above.
SH says he is a scientist. Okay, I wonder if he can point us to a single scientifically valid article at that site that argues for young-earth creation.

SH understands that natural selection can produce changes, but doubts if it can yield new information. But what about bacteria, for instance, that have gained the information on how to resist new antibiotics? That seems to be a clear case of new information encoded in the DNA.

"Honey Brown" writes:

"The important thing is to not stop questioning."I believe this 100%. I question everything all the time, and it is exhausting, the amount of misinformation is infinite (I thought that was funny :-)). Here is the problem - I know there is a God. I know this surer than I know anything else in this life. I know this is the only thing I can bank. I see everything else crumble away in corruption and deception yet God is always strengthened if I take the time to look to Him. I read your web page "Did We Evolve". I would just like to show you a couple of pages I looked up regarding the issues you were discussing.

I would be interested to hear your 'questioning mind' opinion on these two
articles. I'm a little scared to read through the rest of your website at the moment as I'm sure I would spend the next week in front of the computer. I've bookmarked your site and will come back and have another nibble when I have more time available.

The first article she mentions looks at the mammal-like reptiles, and argues that there are gaps in the progression. Well yes, of course there are gaps. Those animals lived a long time ago, and not all of the fossils fossilized well. The problem is that the mammal-like reptiles appear in sequence in such a way that they progressively introduce mammal traits into the record. That is strong evidence for evolution. The article does nothing to refute that fact.

The second article argues that fossil KNM-ER-1470 is not as human as some have thought. It may be true that some scientists had originally thought this fossil was closer to humans than is now believed. The specimen is now generally seen as being a little closer to the ape-ancestor in the sequence between ape-ancestor and human than was once believed. But it is still intermediate. The skull is similar to australopithecine, which is an ape that is clearly on the path to humanness. Skull KNM-ER-1470 is even more human-like than australopithecine, having a larger braincase and possessing features that are more human-like. See Human Ancestry.

I would welcome a debate with anyone who suggests that the young earth position of Answers in Genesis is valid science.