Creationism is a viable theory
I'll be arguing that Creationism is a fallacy, while pro will obviously be arguing that Creationism is scientific and viable.
Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Arguments
Rounds 3-5: Rebuttal
I ask that once the rebuttals begin we focus on attacking all arguments given, so as to avoid a back and forth that would inevitably leave a round un-argued.
Thanks for accepting the debate Pro!
On to opening arguments.
First, evidence for evolutionary theory in modern creatures.
The theory is 143 years old. For all intents and purposes it might as well be called a law. For a theory to last that long under the intense scrutiny that dominates and is inherently built into proper scientific methodology…well, it’s difficult to make any logical assumptions against generation after generation of scientist who, in majority, have found evolutionary theory to be not only plausible, but actually able to demonstrate and predict results. The kind of bizarre conspiracy some Creationists cook up that somehow scientists hate god and therefore willfully ignore evolution is rubbish. The scientist who disproves evolution is the scientist who wins the Nobel prize.
The evidence for evolution is so vast that for me to pick examples is actually a bit difficult. We can begin in our own bodies. The evidence against our biblical perfect creation is just impossible to ignore. For example, our appendix that currently does nothing for us except occasionally get inflamed and infected. This organ aided in a grass-based diet long ago. Take Darwin’s point on about 10% of human ears, a remnant from our ape-like days that has almost entirely been phased out by natural selection. Take the lizard-like third eyelid, plica semilunaris, again, a remnant from long ago. Take wisdom teeth – so useless to us they are routinely surgically removed because our jaws have shrunk thanks to natural selection; some people don’t get wisdom teeth, as they are in the process of being ‘phased out’.
If you don’t want to use human-kind, you can easily see evolution at work famously in Darwin’s finches, or in whales and dolphins, where vestigial hind-limbs are visible.
Second, proof against the biblical account
Using Genesis as a scientific account is ludicrous, and I can explain why. Genesis isn’t scientifically accurate. In fact, it’s not even original. It’s a book that rips off several ancient stories, notably, Gilgamesh, in which the story of Eden and the tricking serpent was originally created, along with the flood, and a few other stories. Plenty of myths were reused from the area to create Genesis, like Cain and Abel actually descending from the myth of Emesh and Enten from the 3rd Millennium BCE, some thousand plus years before Genesis was supposed to have been written.
The book contradicts itself right out of the gate. 1st Genesis is Elohim creating night, stars, earth, animals, etc. Genesis 2, on the other hand, shifts and becomes ‘Lord God’ – two very different titles, as Elohim is actually plural. Some scholars
Gen 1. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them…”
Gen 2. “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”
You might notice that in the traditional narrative, and indeed, in Genesis 1, Animals (including birds) are created along with male and female human beings. Suddenly we shift Gen. 2, where god takes pity on Adam and creates “every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air” and then proceeds to create Eve.
It’s a glaring contradiction and it’s immediate, and yet creationists are trying to persuade us that this ancient document is accurate scientifically. Outrageous! Most historians trace the current manuscript not to Moses, but to a group of scribes in the second temple. The book wasn’t even considered authoritative by Jews until the 5th century. A history of how these books have been translated is enough to stagger even the toughest creationists.
The book was translated first into Greek around 150 BC, and that translation is still essential in Eastern Orthodoxy. That translation soon overtook the older Hebrew version even among Jewish priests – despite the fact that books were omitted, added, and changed during this time. It was further translated multiple times, with the three major ‘interpreters’ being Aquila of Sinope, Symmachus, and Theodotion. From here, the translation is produced into fifth and then sixth editions, adding more questionable changes. From here, Constantine orders more translations, and these translations are translated into Latin and are changed again; the Vulgate Bible, the official Text of the Catholic Church. Over the middle ages this translation, the main modern source, was revised countless times.
We can see the changes from earlier versions to later versions – sometimes marginal notes were accidently added into the text, the text was misspelled and had portions removed. Jerome’s translations ordered by Pope Damascus completely revised the entire text – and not with care. Alcuin of York tries to correct the translation for a final version for Charlemagne, and further versions were changed in accordance with the preference at that time for changing Bible verses to match the older quotations of Church officials. That’s not even close to the complete history of Biblical revisionism.
To make any assumption that this book is even close to the original text is absolutely ludicrous. To assume that trusting scribes who describe god as setting the sky and stars “…in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth” is plain crazy. As it says in Gen. 1:6-7 “And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.”
I remember thinking in Sunday school, “What is a firmament?”
As it says in the Rational Wiki, ‘"Firmament" is the most common English translation of the Hebrew word raqiaà, as used in the Bible. The Firmament is a vast, solid plate/dome/sphere upon which God affixed the stars. It separates the Earth from the waters of Heaven,but has floodgates for when God feels like letting it rain, or simply killing people.
Elsewhere in the Bible, the firmament is compared to a tent.It is made of a metallic, reflective or crystalline substance.
The early model of the universe had a flat earth with a flat sky held up with pillars, much like post and lintel construction. After dome construction was invented, it became obvious that God had used the best construction method and earth was flat with a domed sky. Plato showed that earth was a sphere and proposed seven crystal spheres holding the heavenly bodies giving us seven heavens. The Bible uses all models without noting their incompatibilities.
This shows that the writers of the Bible believed that the sky was a literal solid; thus, creationists have tried to come up with various excuses. Kent Hovind claims that the firmament was a shell of solid ice which completely covered the Earth before the Great Flood.’
Let’s not base our science on a book like this. It’s just frightening that people honestly use this as a scientific document.
Argument From Information
The cells of all organic life forms contain information in the form of genetic code. The chain of genetic code known as DNA harbors the amino acids which themselves contain no semantic meaning, but when placed in a linguistic sequence, can be readily utilized in forming every phenotype known to biology.
The living cell demonstrates a system of communication, particularly between DNA and proteins. DNA codes for proteins which go on to form every part of a creature, including the very DNA from which it was coded. DNA is a macro-molecule in the shape of a double-helix with a sugar-phosphate backbone.
DNA serves as the blueprint for every creature's phenotype. Since DNA is a language system in which communication occurs between a sender and receiver, it can rightfully be said to contain true information.
"To fully characterise the concept of information, five aspects must be considered"statistics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and apobetics. Information is represented (that is, formulated, transmitted, stored) as a language. From a stipulated alphabet, the individual symbols are assembled into words (code). From these words (each word having been assigned a meaning), sentences are formed according to the firmly defined rules of grammar (syntax). These sentences are the bearers of semantic information. Furthermore, the action intended/carried out (pragmatics) and the desired/achieved goal (apobetics) belong of necessity to the concept of information (http://creation.com...).
In the function of the genome within living cells we find statistics in the form of four letters which are syntactically organized to give the semantic meaning for transcription and translation. The semantic meaning encoded in the genome is pragmatically utilized in the formation of proteins and thus integral to the process of replication which is a part of the apobetic, or intended goal of the digital code.
Information intrinsically depends upon an original act of intelligence to construct it, therefore the information seen in living cells testifies to having been originally created by an intelligent Creator. Note that this argument is not based upon the inability for naturalistic/statistical processes alone to account for the formation of genetic information, but rather my case is built upon what we do know about genetic code and function. Therefore this is not a god-of-the-gaps argument, as the claim is based on observation. Not also that this is not an argument from complexity but from specified universal information. To refute my case is actually quite a simple task; one must only need demonstrate a single case where universal information, of the type seen in genetic code, is derived entirely from purely material sources.
Evidence Consistent With a Young Earth
Planetary magnetic field decay describes the process by which Earth's magnetic field, which is produced via current in the metallic core, decays or diminishes in strength over time. This decay is accepted by both secular and creation scientists. "Ever since scientists generated the first global model of Earth’s magnetic field nearly 180 years ago, its strength has decreased by some 10 percent" (https://www.sciencenews.org...). The key issue of whether or not this supports a young Earth is how the magnetic field could maintain itself for more than thousands of years. Recent records of the International Geomagnetic Reference Field, the most accurate ever taken, show a net energy loss of 1.4% in just three decades (1970–2000). This means that the field’s energy has halved every 1,465 years or so. At this rate, the Earth cannot be much older than about 10 or 20,000 years. Unless Pro can adequately provide an observed mechanism which could sustain the field for millions of years, my case will stand (https://answersingenesis.org...).
Dr. Russell Humphreys, a well known creationist physicist, has provided a model which best represents and explains the phenomena of planetary magnetic field decay. In this model, magnetohydrodynamics accounts for the energy loss of the planetary dipole field: ". . .motions of the conducting fluid in the core should slowly twist the dipole magnetic lines of force into more complex shapes, subtracting from the dipole field and adding to the non-dipole field. Resistive losses then make the non-dipole field decay more rapidly, so eventually the latter type of losses should prevail" (http://www.creationresearch.org...).
Basically, Humphrey's model proposes that the decay we observe is due to ohmic losses in the dipole-generating current of Earth's liquid core. Both creationists and secularists believe that the Earth was set into motion, and from this motion the planetary magnetic field was produced. But since, physically, the Earth's core provides resistance and turbulence between the inner and outer core. This resistance then in turn slows down the current and thus weakens the strength of the dipole field over time.
For Pro to effectually refute my case for a young Earth, he must provide a valid reason why we should not accept Humphrey's model and why we should rather accept another such as the dynamo model. The data is quite clear that the Earth's magnetic field is decaying at quite a substantial rate, and if it truly is an exponential decay due to energy loss, then the biblical creation view of a less than 10,000 year old Earth is supported.
Thanks for the quick response Pro!
Okay on to rebuttals.
Argument From Information
First, to squash this notion of DNA proof not being god of the gaps. If you had presented this argument as one possible theory for the emergence of life, then I would accept it as not being a god of the gaps argument. If you had said, “Here is one possible theory of abiogenesis; god must have created it because of its complexity, etc. etc.”, then I would have agreed (not with the theory, but with it not being god of the gaps).
That’s not why you bring up the DNA argument. You bring up the DNA argument to stretch it across the young earth creationism model, and to prove to me that evolutionary theory isn’t plausible. That is your ulterior motive. Therefore, it becomes god of the gaps – unless you concede that the rest of young earth creationism isn’t plausible, and thereby lose the debate.
DNA complexity doesn’t relate to trusting the biblical account of creation. It doesn’t account for the young earth theory. At the very most, according to a creation-based answer to this question, we can make a loose assume that maybe something might have fine-tuned life’s building blocks, but what that might have been, well you can’t ever know. It might have been aliens for all you know. If you want to attach a being to our creation, well, that’s one theory. It still provides no proof that biblical accounts of creation are true.
By bringing up DNA proofs, you must also, as a logical, fact-seeking person, see that DNA and the mapping of the human genome has also brought more evidence against creationism. For example, the building blocks of life (ATCG) and the 22 amino acids have built a ‘base’ that every single creature on earth is comprised of – and we agree on that point. Most biologists agree that this is compelling proof that we all evolved from a single ancestor some 3.9 Billion years ago. You must agree that, thanks to the research on DNA, we have discovered that we are 98% genetically similar to chimpanzees; astonishing proof for evolutionary theory.
We can’t be certain exactly how life was started, but we can conduct experiments that show it was possible for amino acids to form in primordial soup. Famously, Stanley Miller showed that way back in 1953. He built an environment and atmosphere like how it would have been 3.9 Billion years ago and then added sparks for lightning, and found that a primordial soup formed – containing all the ingredients and amino acids necessary for life – without a god.
So to end the response to this contention, I’ll say that while neither I nor you can prove exactly how life started, I’m more than confident that I disapprove the rest of Young Earth Creationism. Can you say the same about evolutionary theory?
Evidence Consistent With a Young Earth
Humphreys is a punchline in the scientific community. He is one of those fringe scientists who looks for facts and evidence to suit his ideology. In other words, he doesn’t let fact stand in the way of a good theory. This is another god of the gaps argument. Nobody has ‘cracked the case’ on magnetic field. As Tim Thompson says “Nobody knows, yet, by exactly what mechanism specific fluid motions generate the Earth's specific magnetic field, but the presence of turbulent motions in the Earth's fluid outer core can hardly be denied, and physical models do show that the expected velocities will, in general, generate magnetic fields.”
I’m no scientist, but he goes on to point out several flaws in the decay theory. I’ll quote him, but you can read his entire document in the talk origins website listed in the sources below.
“Humphreys' theory is typical of a style that he has held to ever since, a mixture of physics and divine intervention. In this case, he postulates that God created everything initially out of water, which is a strongly polar molecule. If the Sun and planets are created entirely out of water, and created with some substantial fraction of those water molecules sharing a parallel alignment of their magnetic moments, then the resultant magnetic field of the parent body will also be substantial. But those alignments will collapse rapidly after creation, and the collapsing magnetic field will induce an electric current such as to resist the field collapse (in physics this is called Lenz's law). That establishes the field and the exponentially decaying current. God then intervenes directly and transforms everything into its present constituents, leaving the fields and currents intact. The result is an exponentially decaying field…”
So immediately I am struck by the bizarre nature of such a theory… but don’t worry, it get even better Thompson continues:
“Humphreys outlined his postulated history for the Earth's magnetic field in [23, 24, 29a]. He has a created magnetic dipole decaying exponentially until the time of the flood. At the onset of the flood, the dipole moment plummets rapidly, and then oscillates very rapidly (the rapid reversals) during the year of the flood. He the shows a series of fluctuations from about 4000 to 1500 years before the present, after which the field has been steadily decaying. This invented scenario depends heavily on the idea that all of the field reversals happened very rapidly, and all during the year of the flood. This can be seen in the online version of Impact #242 an ICR publication.”
“I certainly do not accept the ideas put forth by Barnes and Humphreys, concerning the physics and history of the Earth's magnetic field…He has a strong tendency to over-interpret results, and to over-emphasize the degree to which his theories are predictive in nature, or to which they are congruent with reality. His mix of divine intervention and physics is quite natural for a creationist, but not at all acceptable to the non-creationist. Moreover, it is not consistent with an unbiased scientific investigation, in that it presumes what the result will be before the experiment is done…For those of you impressed by credentials, or who wonder if I am "qualified" to write such an article, I will point out that I have B.S. (1978) and M.S. (1985) degrees in physics, from California State university at Los Angeles, as well as a decade's worth of experience as a radio astronomer studying the magnetospheric environment of the outer planets.”
Indeed, a study of Humphreys’ proposed model:
s://letterstocreationists.files.wordpress.com...; alt="" />
And an independent study of the actual data by a Christian geologist named Joe Meert shows the difference over the proposed period of 10,000 years. Meert goes on to say, “ Note that there are no ‘wild fluctuations’ observed in the archeomagnetic database using 500 year averages and that today’s field is actually stronger than it has been in the past. Thus, while the dipole field shows a decreasing intensity, it is still greater than 6000 years ago and therefore (using the young earth timeline) stronger than at creation.”
s://letterstocreationists.files.wordpress.com...; alt="" />
"Just because an explanation is complex, it does not mean it is wrong. In fact, the complex theories for the Earth’s magnetic field are based on real data. Humphreys ‘theory’ is based on a misrepresentation of archeomagnetic data (e.g. drawing reversals and zero lines on a curve that shows neither)……"
Quick Rebuttal of Con's Round 2 Arguments
Since Con did not substantiate his claims under the heading "evidence" for evolution with any reasons, logical or otherwise, I will not rebut these erroneous assertions. If Con wishes to provide reasons for any of his claims I will address them.
Con's "proof against the Bible" is entirely faulty. He begins by making a fallacious argument that Genesis was developed from pre-existing myths without providing any reason why we should accept this aside from bald assertion. The fact that one thing shares similarities between another thing which came before it does not prove in any way that former plagiarized ideas from the latter.
As for Con's claimed contradictions within Genesis, it is clear that he does not have an understanding of basic scriptural doctrine. God is one being who has manifested Himself in three persons, namely Father, Word, and Holy Ghost; 1 John 5:7 is remarkably clear about this. Even within the first chapter of Genesis we read that God said "let us make man in our image." So there is no question about the plurality of God's person, nor does this contradict his singularity of being. The "nameshift" or more properly, the introduction of the personal, revealed name of God in no way is in conflict with Elohim. Elohim, or God, is His title; that is who he is in being. His personal name however is Jehovah, which has not meaning itself apart from that which is ascribed to it by revelation from the word of God. It makes sense that God's personal name would be introduced at the time when God is dealing with man for the first time. The personal name of "I AM" is introduced at the time a personal relationship with man begins.
Genesis 2 is not a retelling of the creation event but rather a description of particular events which took place on day six, when God made man. Birds and most aquatic creatures for example had already been created the day prior, but Genesis 2, at least the first part of the chapter, is dealing with Adam immediately after his creation in the garden of Eden. While God had already created every living creature to fill the Earth, He specially made specimens of every created kind for Adam in the garden to name, ultimately but not limited to the reason of preparing him for the perfect helpmeet and partner Eve. Unless Con can demonstrate a substantial reason why Genesis 2 of necessity must be interpreted as a retelling of the sequence of events in the creation week, my interpretation remains valid.
Con's claims concerning the transmission and authorship of the biblical text are categorically false. Textual criticism is a field I have taken much time to research in and I can say with certainty that everything Con has claimed is unscholarly. Unless Con can provide evidence for his claims, merely asserting them does not make for a case. If I said the Earth is young, say less than 10,000 years old without proving any evidence or reasons within my argument, that is to say, not in an external link, then it wouldn't matter if I provided a thousand references to various sources, I would have no case. Essentially Con is saying "this happened then that happened then this happened" without providing evidence. Beyond this, he treats the textual history of scripture as if there has only been one line of manuscripts which have fell into various "dubious" hands over the centuries. This demonstrates his ignorance of manuscript history as there have been many lines of manuscripts most of which have not crossed paths since their departure from the original texts.
Con made a statement concerning the absurdity of trusting scribes. I would like to clarify that, while I believe their is much manuscript evidence to support the trustworthiness of scripture, ultimately as a Christian I accept the authority of the word of God because I trust that God has preserved His word, not scribes alone, through the usage of men over the millenia. Men can make mistakes or worse, but God has promised to preserve His precious words. I, in my conviction, can hold a book in my hand today and assert that this it is the complete, inspired, and preserved word of God. While many Christians no longer can do so for various reasons, I am one who can. I do not claim I could prove such but rather, just as with creation, I believe their is substantial evidence which is consistent with the claim. Not to mention Holy Spirit-conviction, but that is only good as evidence for me.
Con's remarks concerning the term "firmament" are quite silly and hard to take serious. A firmament was and always has been, in the context of Genesis, an open space. The literal definition of the Hebrew word raqiya is "an expanse" (http://thekingsbible.com...). The expanse of the first created heaven is where God placed the stars and all celestial bodies, whereas the expanse of the second heaven, the sky, is where birds fly etc. If people understood from everyday experience that the firmament of the sky was not solid but essentially weightless, why would they presume that the firmament of the heavens above, outer-space, were solid? The only people that ever believed in a flat, domed Earth were the ancient Greeks. Bible believers have always believed in a spherical Earth, not only from obvious, everyday observation, but from scriptural hints such as, "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth. . ." (Isaiah 40:22).
I will address Con's round 3 claims and defend my case in the next round as I will surely run out of space in this round. Thus far it is clear that Con does not have a case against the validity of the creation model as presented in scripture. Con has made numerous fallacious statements and bald assertions and has provided no substantial support for his claims. I propose that Con drop the textual arguments against the Bible, which lend zero support to his case, and rather focus on his claims concerning evolution which, if true, would certainly falsify the creation model.
I’ll begin by thanking pro again as a courtesy. I did specifically ask for Pro to combat all my claims, in fact, it was part of the agreed-upon opening rules. However, since there was indeed a lot to cover, that’s fine.
What was not fine was Pros preposterous opening and closing lines. He opened his round by saying “Since Con did not substantiate his claims under the heading "evidence" for evolution...”
I fairly clearly laid out several proofs, like the human appendix, which under the creationism model stand as proof of evolution and a proof against so-called perfect creation.
So as far as I can tell, all my biological proofs stand unaddressed in their entirety. Following this opening remark, Pro closes the round by saying “I propose that Con drop the textual arguments against the Bible...”
So in opening, he completely dismisses and avoids the entirety of my biological proofs, then has the chutzpah to tell me to focus on evolutionary proofs. What a ludicrous thing to say. It seems to me that Pro would rather get stuck in discussing translation, and what god really meant, rather than address facts and science. I will combat his claims on the biblical proofs, but I ask that pro next time try and use logic and reason when criticizing my presentation of proof.
“He begins by making a fallacious…”
Gilgamesh: the exact same story, in the same order.
Both stories have:
Serpents saying they will “be like god” if they eat forbidden fruit.
Being naked in perfect gardens
Eating the wrong fruit and miss out on eternity
Make clothing to hide their shame
Ninti, the Godess of life, is created from Enki’s rib
Or take the flood account in Gilgamesh:
“All the living beings that I had I loaded on it, I had all my kith and kin go up into the boat, all the beasts and animals of the field…I sent out a dove, and let her go. The dove flew hither and thither, but as there was no resting-place for her, she returned. Then I sent out a swallow, and let her go. The swallow flew hither and thither, but as there was no resting-place for her she also returned. Then I sent out a raven, and let her go...”
And the flood account in Genesis:
“...Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. They had with them every wild animal according to its kind... Noah ... sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark...”
I was looking forward to Pros explanation of the inconstancies in Genesis 2, and he doesn’t disappoint. It’s an old classic. “God is one being who has manifested Himself in three persons, namely Father, Word, and Holy Ghost”. Or, alternatively: “The bible contains bizarre contradictions, so we created a system that makes them all make sense.” If you want to believe that, that’s entirely up to you.
I don’t want to get neck deep in the tiresome theology of the trinity.
“Genesis 2 is not a retelling of the creation event but rather a description of particular events which took place on day six, when God made man.”
That sounds like the description of a retelling to me. If you want to believe that three or four scribes over different periods of history had the wisdom or “foresight” to describe Genesis 1 in Genesis 2 directly after describing Genesis 1 in Genesis 1 – and to describe Gen. 1 in Gen. 2 in a different order and by referring to god as being of multiples and then of one being (because that offers foresight?)…well that is up to you, but to me it seems like a major logical leap – despite your protesting.
In Gen 1: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
And in Gen 2 after Adam is formed from dust: “So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.”
Any good debate builds to some kind of a climax, and pro kicks the climax off when he submits the catch-all hidden ace of any good creationist “…as a Christian”.
Having debated many a creationist both online and of course in-person, any time I see that admission I know I have shaken my opponent. Here we enter the world of faith; a world without logic – much like the Twilight Zone, I expect. I can’t and I refuse to debate anybody in the world of faith, because evidence ceases to have meaning, therefore I can’t reason and therefore I can never win. It is willful ignorance. His claim that he can just simply trust that god has preserved the word is of course utterly ludicrous and completely disregards any proofs I submitted that the bible, like any ancient tale, has been altered over time, and it undisputedly has.
On the firmament: They thought that hell, or sheol was beneath them, and that the heavens, or shamayim was above them and that the solid firmament, or sky, held heavenly cosmic waters in place above the earth.
From the Jewish Encyclopedia:
“The Hebrews regarded the earth as a plain or a hill figured like a hemisphere, swimming on water. Over this is arched the solid vault of heaven. To this vault are fastened the lights, the stars. So slight is this elevation that birds may rise to it and fly along its expanse.”
Indeed, there was a kind of battle among some ancient Saints over what the firmament consisted of. For example, Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote an entire paper of whether or not there is water above the firmament: “If, however, we understand by the firmament that part of the air in which the clouds are collected, then the waters above the firmament must rather be the vapors resolved from the waters which are raised above a part of the atmosphere, and from which the rain falls.”
He reminds me a bit of a creationist. Desperately trying to mash some religious nonsense with science and reason. It simply doesn’t work. We need to stop using this book for science. It’s utter madness.
“It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth..." A piece of prophecy poetry that refers to earth not as a sphere but as a circle? Do you honestly expect me to accept that as scientific proof? You missed the rest of that verse, by the way, which says “…that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in” – another reference to the firmament – a tent-like flap.
Ex. 1:22 “And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.”
Job 37:18 “Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?”
Gen. 7:11 “In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.”
Con states, "You bring up the DNA argument to stretch it across the young earth creationism model, and to prove to me that evolutionary theory isn’t plausible." I do not understand what Con means by this. I am providing evidence of God as the Creator of a living organisms. I provided the magnetic field decay evidence to support the "young-Earth" position. This is not a god-of-the-gaps argument since by definition such an argument would entail a claim based on what we do not understand, however my argument is entirely based on what we observe and understand about the function of genomes.
Con states, "DNA complexity doesn’t relate to trusting the biblical account of creation." Con should have noticed that I never made an argument based on mere complexity, rather my argument was based on the universal information found in specified genetic code which demonstrates its having been created by an intelligent mind. While it is true that this does not prove the veracity of the biblical account of creation, it is however consistent with it which is why I argued from this line of evidence. Con should not argue about "proof" as the only field in which we can have true proof is pure mathematics. Beyond this, the scientific method is the next best evidence for a given claim. But since we are dealing with historical events, we cannot even ultimately rely on the scientific method. The best we can do is provide evidence which is consistent with a model. While evidence may support a model, a model can certainly be invalidated even by a single piece of evidence. Therefore I can certainly never "prove" that the biblical account is 100% true, but I can demonstrate evidence which is consistent with it and which invalidates other hypotheses such as evolution.
Con states, "Most biologists agree that this is compelling proof that we all evolved from a single ancestor some 3.9 Billion years ago." Whether most biologists agree on an issue or not is irrelevant to the veracity of any given claim. Indeed homology of any kind is extremely poor evidence of either evolution or creation. One can just as easily and validly say that a common design utilizing common structures demonstrates a common Designer. While it may be consistent with both models, it fails as conclusive evidence.
Con states, "You must agree that, thanks to the research on DNA, we have discovered that we are 98% genetically similar to chimpanzees; astonishing proof for evolutionary theory." No I mustn't. The claim of 98% genetic similarity is a gross overestimation based on carefully selected segments of the human and chimp genomes, those which would obviously be similar. When an analysis of the entire genomes is performed, a closer estimate is ~70% continuity (http://www.icr.org...).
Con states, "Famously, Stanley Miller showed that way back in 1953. He built an environment and atmosphere like how it would have been 3.9 Billion years ago and then added sparks for lightning, and found that a primordial soup formed – containing all the ingredients and amino acids necessary for life – without a god." Clearly Con has not investigated the findings of Miller and Urrey. Firstly the "early environment" simulated in the experiment is totally arbitrary as their is no way to ultimately know what the atmosphere would have been like. If oxygen were present, amino acids would be oxidized, and yet in very "early" rocks we find evidence of oxygen in the atmosphere (http://geology.gsapubs.org...). Secondly, If there is no O2, then there is no O3, and if there is no O3, then by consequence, there is no ozone layer to guard the amino acids from solar radiation, and despite the common claim that entropy does not pertain to abiogenesis, without a mechanism to utilize the energy coming from the sun, the amino acids would be broken down and you would consequently not get the first living cell. Thirdly, there are huge problems in getting polynucleotides to form; the polymerization problem (http://www.arn.org...). Fourthly, most all enzymes are designed to work only with right-handed sugars and left-handed amino acids, yet in lab experiments, a racemate mixture is produced. Nearly all biological polymers must be homochiral, this is known as the chirality problem (http://creation.com...). Finally, cross-reactions would be inevitable in realistic, natural settings. These reactions would hinder the production of more complex amino acids (http://creation.com...).
Con states, "I’ll say that while neither I nor you can prove exactly how life started, I’m more than confident that I disapprove the rest of Young Earth Creationism. Can you say the same about evolutionary theory?" Con indeed has not disproven in any way young-Earth creationism. He has merely asserted things which I have refuted. Yes, I can disprove the theory of evolution simply by pointing out the lack of a demonstrable mechanism for the creation of novel genetic information conducive to the claim of molecules-to-man evolution (http://creation.com...). Without a viable mechanism for evolutionary change, any interpretations of fossils, homology, etc. in support of evolution are negligible.
Con begins his critique of my case for a young Earth based on magnetic field decay by making ad hominem attacks against Dr. Humphreys, the scientist who's research and findings I utilized as my source. While such claims do not negate the veracity of Dr. Humphreys claims, it should be understood that Humphreys model is the only model which is supported by the data and is consistent with current observations. The dynamo models have all failed to demonstrate how the magnetic field can not only sustain itself for billions of years, but actually be recharged via field reversals. Dr. Humphreys demonstrates how field reversals would in fact deplete the magnetic field's energy exponentially as opposed to recharging it. Dr. Humphreys model is based on the known physics of magnetohydrodynamics.
Con provides a few quotes which are meant to challenge Humphreys model. While I saw no real challenge, in terms of actual evidence. Tim Thompson makes only one real evidential claim against Humphreys model in saying that the field oscillations during the Flood and the resultant fluctuations are an invented scenario. Indeed Humphreys model is based upon the findings of field reversal data recorded in Earth's rocks and is certainly consistent with known geophysics (https://www.google.com...). As for Joe Meert, he states, "Note that there are no ‘wild fluctuations’ observed in the archeomagnetic database using 500 year averages and that today’s field is actually stronger than it has been in the past." Both Meert and Thompson seem to be quibbling about the observed field data rather than the model itself which is highly supported by known geophysics and which has made bold predictions which have subsequently been supported by observation (http://www.creationresearch.org...). We certainly see evidence of rapid field reversals in the field data of palaeomagnetism(http://creation.com...).
Thanks for response Pro, onto the final round of rebuttals.
It seems that Pro has decided to focus on facts and science this round and I am grateful. No response to any of the points I brought up about the bible being a preposterous book to use for science, so those remain unrefuted.
I’m going to start with DNA evidence.
I will make clear what I meant when I said “You bring up the DNA argument to stretch it across the young earth creationism model, and to prove to me that evolutionary theory isn’t plausible.”
You claimed it wasn’t god of the gaps. It is god of the gaps. We don’t have a bullet-proof theory for abiogenesis, and you claim that the answer to why the codes seem man-made is because something must have created them – intelligent design. Nobody knows that. You can make an assumption that because they are mathematical or because they use universal information they are created, but you can’t prove that and I can’t prove you wrong.
You depend on this point as a crutch for your entire argument: “…my argument is entirely based on what we observe and understand about the function of genomes.”
It annoys me that I bring up vestigial legs on whales or the human appendix (now for the third round in a row) you still do not refute the actual direct proof that I can prove exists…that strikes me as god of the gaps.
Pro says “…the only field in which we can have true proof is pure mathematics. Beyond this, the scientific method is the next best evidence for a given claim.” Unless you are using the scientific method in biology apparently. Pro uses some serious scientific method in my answer to the ‘problem of having common building blocks for life’ by simply saying “Whether most biologists agree on an issue or not is irrelevant…” When a majority of well-educated scholars working in modern science say that something probably happened there is a very good chance that it did indeed happen.
What seems more logical:
That we were made by a god who used the all the same codes when he ‘coded us’ like computers in a divine heavenly factory.
That we evolved on the earth from a common ancestor.
Sure both theories ‘work’ as answers, but one is based in reality and the other is based on a book of recyclable myths.
Pro continues to use unbiased, honest, fair sources like creation.com or ICR, or, The Institute for Creation Research, a site that says in seriousness: “Creation involved unique processes that could have had unusual effects on our perceptions of space and time. Given the fallibility of human understanding, the reasonable approach in any area of science, especially the historical sciences of ultimate origins, should be to begin with the word of the Eyewitness.”
Trusting this site for modern science is a bit silly. Jeffrey P. Tomkins is not credible. You won’t find him published in any scientific journals (I looked) and his findings on ape genetics have been refuted (http://scienceblogs.com...). For the actually accredited University of California, Molecular Biologists Wesley Brown and Allan Wilson (winner of the prestigious MacArthur award [all PhD]) found back in 1975 that we are 98% similar to chimps (http://www.reed.edu...). His work, you will find published and ratified by numerous biologists, including a man I’m sure you don’t like, Richard Dawkins, who, in this video shows off how similar we really are (https://www.youtube.com...).
We’ve sequenced both the human genome and the chimp genome and compared the two and come to about 96%-98% the exact same.
Pro then spends a great deal of time refuting Stanley Miller’s work. He immediately makes the assumption that I haven’t investigated Miller’s claims - which I find a bit presumptuous on his part.
I won’t dispute that the experiment was perfect because it wasn’t. It was conducted in the 50’s and of course we don’t know for certain what kind of environment might have existed, but thanks to abundant samples (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...) of polar ice we can get a pretty good idea.
Miller did not know about certain factors that we know about now; still a worthy experiment (I see few such experiments on your side of the argument), but flawed, perhaps. Thank goodness that recent studies have continued to ratify and build on his early study like one conducted in 2005 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...) at Nara Women's University in Japan proved that with the updated atmosphere more acids emerged.
Geologists dispute Miller on the basis of a toxic atmosphere, and so the proof against them would be to find evidence of a reducing atmosphere. Prof. Bruce Fegley, Ph.D at Wash. University said “Geologists dispute the Miller-Urey scenario, but what they seem to be forgetting is that when you assemble the Earth out of chondrites, you’ve got slightly different gases being evolved from heating up all these materials that have assembled to form the Earth. Our calculations provide a natural explanation for getting this reducing atmosphere…” (http://news.wustl.edu...)
From the article: “Schaefer and Fegley looked at different types of chondrites that earth and planetary scientists believe were instrumental in making the Earth. They used sophisticated computer codes for chemical equilibrium to figure out what happens when the minerals in the meteorites are heated up and react with each other. For example, when calcium carbonate is heated up and decomposed, it forms carbon dioxide gas.” (Trimmed for space)
Joe Meert (from R3): “Note that there are no ‘wild fluctuations’ observed in the archeomagnetic database using 500 year averages and that today’s field is actually stronger than it has been in the past. Thus, while the dipole field shows a decreasing intensity, it is still greater than 6000 years ago and therefore (using the young earth timeline) stronger than at creation.”
They are ‘quibbling’ over the actual scientific record. You again continue to source about the same three creationist websites to back up your claims. If something doesn’t match the established scientific record then either its rubbish or it’ll break open science. What seems more probable with a theory that depends on a flood that never happened (see below)?
“Con indeed has not disproven in any way young-Earth creationism.”
I’ve spent the debate doing exactly that.
Continental drift occurs at 2 cm per year so mathematically we must have been moving for at least 200 Million years. (http://rationalwiki.org...)
Counting the rings on The Great Basin bristlecone pine measures 5064 years, directly contradicting the official flood story of the creationists.
King Clone, a creosote bush in the Mojave Desert is 11,700 years old by radiocarbon dating; which was also verified by counting the rings; both yielding the same result, documented by Prof. Frank Vasek of the University of California. (http://www.lucernevalley.net...)
Pando, a ‘single-tree-forest’ of Quaking Aspen Trees in Utah that has a root system that is 80,000 years old. (http://www.bioone.org...)
Permafrost forms in a very slow process, and in the Prudhoe Bay oil fields in Alaska the permafrost extends over 600 meters into the ground, a process that would have taken 225,000 years. (http://acwc.sdp.sirsi.net...)
Mathematically, we’ve calculated the chances of being struck by an asteroid to 2.5 x 10−9 yr−1, when multiplied by the number of earth crossing asteroids we get an asteroid every 313,000 years, and yet we’ve been struck multiple times by large asteroids. (http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu...) From Harvard.
Round 4 Response
Con states, "I fairly clearly laid out several proofs. . ." All Con has done is make bald assertions. He has not given any reasons or explanations, for example, why the appendix should be considered evidence for evolution. Rather Con has merely asserted that his claims were evidence. I will not waste my limited space to rebut that which is unsubstantiated.
Con states, "So in opening, he completely dismisses and avoids the entirety of my biological proofs, then has the chutzpah to tell me to focus on evolutionary proofs." I asked Con to focus on his evolutionary evidence because his arguments against the integrity of the Bible were unsupportive, especially in the way in which he presented them, of his case. I have not avoided Con's "biological proofs" as their was nothing to avoid. How can one call a bald assertion proof? "Chutzpah," I like that. lol
Again, similarities do not prove common ancestry or plagiarism. Both stories can reasonably be describing the same events, where one is the true and accurate account, being God's word, and the other a distortion of oral tradition. In either case, one cannot prove or disprove which is true based on antiquity alone.
Con states, 'The bible contains bizarre contradictions, so we created a system that makes them all make sense.' This is a non-answer. Con has not substantiated his claim that such a system was created by man as opposed to being derived from a straightforward consistent reading of scripture, and has certainly not supported his claim of contradictions.
Con states, "If you want to believe that three or four scribes over different periods of history had the wisdom or 'foresight. . .'" First of all, the claim of scripture is that it is inspired by God, and as a Christian, I am certain, by confirmation of the Holy Spirit, that Genesis was inspired and preserved by God Himself. So I am not trusting in the "foresight" or wit of men. Second, there is no contradiction, as introducing God's name does not negate His Trinitarian nature. The text in Genesis 2 in Hebrew says Yehovah Elohim, or LORD God (http://thekingsbible.com...).
Con states, "Having debated many a creationist both online and of course in-person, any time I see that admission I know I have shaken my opponent." If I was shaken by such a poor argument, then I would surely have a feeble faith in God. On the contrary, I stated my position as Christian to denote what I am accepting on faith, a faith based on God's word which in turn is based in demonstrable reality. My claims concerning the inspiration and preservation of scripture are faith-based claims, so I would certainly never argue such on an empirically evidential level, but this is not to say I do not have evidence. The Holy Spirit, which indwells every believer in Jesus gives us the confirmation of the truth of the word of God and His promises. To disregard this is a philosophical choice, not a reasoning based on anything empirical. I am not including such statements as evidence for my case, but rather I am simply stating the biblical position, regardless of the validity of Con's argument.
Con states, "He reminds me a bit of a creationist. Desperately trying to mash some religious nonsense with science and reason. It simply doesn’t work. We need to stop using this book for science. It’s utter madness." The Bible is clear that the water above the heavens is above the firmament of outer-space since this is where the stars and planets are placed on day 4 of creation. Regardless, Con's arguments have degenerated into ad hominem attacks and red herring fallacies.
For certain, Con has failed to support his arguments and rebut mine in Round 4
Round 5 Response
Con states, ". . .you can’t prove that and I can’t prove you wrong." Con fails to understand the evidence and argument for God based on genetic information. It is because of what we do know about genetic function that we can make a solid case for God's existence. Con's usage of the word "prove" is unhelpful as no one can prove anything outside of pure mathematics. What we can do is demonstrate the processes involved in genetic function within a cell and rigorously compare this to the process of information generation, usage and purpose within known intelligently designed codes, such as that which we find in computers. Con fails to understand this.
Con states, "It annoys me that I bring up vestigial legs on whales or the human appendix (now for the third round in a row) you still do not refute the actual direct proof that I can prove exists…that strikes me as god of the gaps." Merely stating you can "prove" something does not equate to providing actual compelling arguments for it. I will not address the erroneous claims of vestigial cetacean legs or the human appendix which both have well known, essential functions within said organisms, as Con has not made an argument for these beyond bald assertion.
Con states, "When a majority of well-educated scholars working in modern science say that something probably happened there is a very good chance that it did indeed happen." Argumentum ad populum and appeal to authority are logical fallacies. The scientific authorities who held the most accepted view of cosmology during the day of Galileo asserted that the solar system was geocentric based on observable evidence and the enforcement of scientific authority. Galileo disproved this with observations of his own and was certainly in the minority with his heliocentric view, yet today most accept the heliocentric nature of our solar system. Scientific majority and authority were wrong. Case and point.
Con states, "What seems more logical: That we were made by a god who used the all the same codes when he ‘coded us’ like computers in a divine heavenly factory…or: that we evolved on the earth from a common ancestor. Sure both theories ‘work’ as answers, but one is based in reality and the other is based on a book of recyclable myths." A common designer is more logical based on information science and the known properties and function of genetic code. Calling the Bible a book of recyclable myths is a red herring fallacy.
Con's claims concerning ICR and Creation.com are irrelevant. I could just as easily say, "you should not use sources like humanorigins.si.edu since they are clearly evolutionist. What you accept about origins is irrelevant to the science claims being made. Again, Con seems to be chock full of red herrings.
Con's claims concerning Dr. Jeffrey Tomkins are erroneous. Firstly, Dr. Tomkins has been published in peer review journals, both secular and creationist. Second, even if he did not have work published in secular journals, his claims would not be any less true. Since such secular journals are controlled by overtly naturalistic people, it would make sense that most creationist work is not published in such journals. Thirdly, merely asserting Dr. Jeffrey's findings have been refuted does not equate to providing evidence showing this actually being the case. Con's arguments again degenerate into red herring, ad hominem, and many other fallacies of logic and argumentation.
Con's claims concerning Dr. Humphrey's model demonstrate his misunderstanding. I have never said that Humphrey's model does not match palaeomagnetic data; quite the opposite really. His model makes sense of the data whereas dynamo models do not. If one cares enough to look through the papers I referenced, one will find the integration of such data within the model.
Con states, "I’ve spent the debate doing exactly that." No, I'm afraid Con has spent the majority of the debate attacking the validity of my case, and supporting his, using logical fallacies and bald assertions. I have provided evidences of both God's existence and a young Earth which are both consistent and directly supportive of the biblical creation model. I have given reasons and explained why these evidences support my case. Thanks for your time!
Speed Round? Shotgun argument?