Thoughts on the Umpqua Community College Shootings

Umpqua Community CollegeOnce again, media feeds have been flooded with the news that another gunman has committed mass murder, this time at Umpqua Community College in rural Roseburg, Oregon. And, immediately, the outrage over the tragedy turned to the gun control debate. President Obama gave an impassioned speech calling for more gun control. Conservatives shot back with impassioned pleas to protect the Second Amendment. Social media filled with anti-gun and pro-gun memes, and political commentators began spouting their rhetoric. All within hours of the massacre.

President Obama stated, “…this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.” With all due respect, Mr. President, can’t we at least wait until the bodies of the victims are cold before we start politicizing? And, rather than politicizing, can’t we have an honest discussion without the partisan political posturing and rhetoric? Can’t we seek to find solutions, rather than using tragedy to further political agendas?

Obama Umpqua Community CollegeI would agree with the President, who stated, “…our thoughts and prayers are not enough.  It’s not enough.  It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel.  And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America — next week, or a couple of months from now.” However, I would respectfully disagree with him that the answer to the problem of mass murders is to further restrict guns. I would also respectfully disagree with gun rights advocates that the answer is expanded conceal-carry rights and unrestricted access to weapons. Guns are neither the cause of horrific incidents of mass murder, nor are they the solution.

Heinous maniacs do not need guns to commit atrocities. Timothy McVeigh, the 9-11 terrorists, and the Tsarnaev brothers prove this point. Gun-free zones do nothing to deter gun violence, but simply advertise a soft target to a would-be mass murderer. Tightened restrictions on background checks and gun registration would make it more difficult for psychopaths to legally purchase a weapon, but would do nothing to keep them from being stolen or illegally purchased. Deranged individuals who are determined to inflict mass casualties will obtain weapons capable of accomplishing their plans, whether gun ownership is restricted, or not. And, these same maniacs will continue to commit atrocities, even if a large percent of the population legally carries concealed handguns.

Focusing on guns as either the cause or the solution to mass murders is a lot like focusing on cars as the cause or solution to drunk driving. The issue with drunk driving isn’t the cars, it’s the drivers; and the issue with mass murders isn’t guns, it’s maniacs with a distorted sense of morality.

The President stated, “Each time this happens I am going to say that we can actually do something about it, but we’re going to have to change our laws.” With all due respect, Mr. President, the problem isn’t with the laws. The problem is spiritual.

In order to solve any problem, it is essential to understand the root causes. And the root cause of gun violence in the United States isn’t guns; it’s the loss of our moral foundation.

The United States was founded on Biblical moral principles. Many of the first settlers came to America seeking religious freedom. Our legal system was based on principles found in Scripture. Almost everyone, whether Christian, or not, held to a worldview based on the belief that morality is absolute. Although people disagreed on the specifics, and some practices – such as slavery – were obviously immoral, the predominant belief was that right was right, and wrong was wrong. God was honored, morality was absolute, and culture was founded in Biblical principles.

This is no longer the case.

there_is_no_godWe now live in an increasingly secular culture where God and Biblical principles have been largely rejected. Right and wrong have generally been replaced by situational ethics and relative morality. Most liberals seem to be obsessed with hedonism and radical socialism, and most conservatives seem to be obsessed with selfishness and greed. We have devalued human life. Children are taught that they are accidents of nature, nothing more than highly evolved pond scum. We have dehumanized the unborn. Most people support the right of a woman to intentionally murder her own unborn child, and then they wonder why we’re “numb” to mass killings. God is ignored, mocked, and suppressed. Atheists claim He doesn’t exist. Most people believe He exists, but live as though He doesn’t. Even most so-called Christians live as though the Word of God is merely a list of suggestions, rather than absolute truth. When people are told over and over that they are nothing more than animals, that they have no intrinsic value, that truth and morality are whatever they want to believe, and that there is no deity that will hold them accountable for their actions, why are we surprised when some of them snap and actually act in a manner consistent with such beliefs?

md167the-meaning-of-life-james-frey-postersYes, Mr. President, we need to have serious discussion about the epidemic of mass murders in the United States. We need to have thoughtful discussions about racism, greed, hedonism, hatred, division, oppression, and lawlessness. These things are called sin, and yes, we need serious and open dialog about them. And yes, Mr. President, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need actual change. However, the change we need is not political change. It’s not a change in laws – it’s a change of heart. We need repentance. We need to turn again to the Truth. We need to turn to Jesus Christ.

We have, as a nation, rejected the reality of the Biblical God. We have instead embraced the lie of autonomy apart from God. And, because we have built the American worldview on something other than the reality of God, that worldview is necessarily irrational and devoid of truth. It’s no wonder people act irrationally and some people kill others – they’re just being consistent with what they’ve been indoctrinated to believe.

Some will claim this argument is invalid, because most people don’t kill others. I would respond by saying that most people are inconsistent with what they claim they believe, and far more consistent with Biblical truth. If people truly believed that we’re nothing more than cosmic accidents with no intrinsic value and that morality is just an illusion, then we’d have mass murderers all over the place. We don’t, because people deep down inside know that God exists. We all know right from wrong because God makes it evident, even though we all suppress that truth. Unfortunately, some people completely lose touch with reality, and that’s why we have psychopaths who kill others.

Restricting gun ownership won’t prevent mass murders. Neither will expanded gun rights. We are having the wrong discussion. The only cure for America’s problems is Jesus Christ. That’s what we need to discuss. Unfortunately, that’s also the discussion nobody wants to have. It’s much easier to blame guns and politics than to blame ourselves, repent, and turn to Jesus Christ.

May God bless the memories of those who were killed today.  May He bring comfort to their families, and courage to the injured as they fight their way back.  And may He give us the strength to come together and find the courage to change. ~ President Obama, October 01, 2015

Yes, Mr. President, may God bless and comfort the families of the slain, and strengthen the wounded. And yes, I pray God gives our nation the courage to change – change our hearts, and turn to Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

What Do I Actually Believe? Part 2 of 3

A Facebook friend recently posted a link to this article by blogger Tiffany Willis, editor-in-chief of the website liberalamerica.org.

Ms. Willis lists 28 reasons why she’s done talking to most of her conservative friends and family members. Her reasons contain some of the greatest stereotypic misrepresentations of what most conservatives actually believe. Whether Willis is simply ignorant, or whether she’s deliberately creating straw-man arguments, perpetuating such ignorant caricatures is divisive and hateful. Willis comes across as a very angry, very intolerant, and very ignorant person.

As a libertarian-leaning, evangelical conservative, I’d like to go through each point of this rant to explain how what I actually believe is quite different from the caricature Willis paints of conservative views. While the views I express are mine alone, they are reasonably representative of what most of my conservative friends believe. Not every conservative will agree with every point, however. I hope that this will lead to better understanding of what many conservatives actually believe, and can lead to productive dialog rather than ignorant rants.

I addressed reasons 1-10 in a previous blog. In this blog, I will address reasons 11-20, and will cover reasons 21-28 at another time.

Here are the next 10, along with some of her comments, and my responses:

11. The Creation Museum — that is all.

You think this is OK. It’s not. These people just make stuff up. Do you really think kangaroos floated from Africa to Australia on rafts? Why are you condoning this ignorance?

I can only assume that “journalist” Matt Stopera is deliberately misrepresenting the Creation Museum in the article Willis links to as her sole argument against the Creation Museum. If he actually spent three hours reading the material in the exhibits, he knows his mocking comments are absolute gibberish. As a former employee at the Creation Museum, I find his nonsensical comments offensive and hateful. I can only assume Willis is either ignorant or just as hateful as Stopera. It’s ironic and hypocritical that she says, “these people just make stuff up,” when that’s precisely what she and Stopera do.

I also find it ironic and hypocritical that the vast majority of arguments I see from evolutionists against creation are mocking rants like this one, or simply saying, “evolution is fact,” without ever providing any actual scientific facts to support the claim. In most debates/arguments on creation vs. evolution, it’s the creationists that argue from the actual evidence, while evolutionists usually use arbitrary unsubstantiated claims, ad hominem attacks, straw-man arguments, and mocking as the basis of argument, while sidestepping all actual scientific discussion. For myself, it was the evidence-based scientific arguments from the creation side and the lack of any real evidence from the evolution side that convinced me that the Bible’s straight-forward account of origins makes more sense than evolution or some sort of mixture of the two.

I have many questions which the evolutionary doctrine simply cannot answer, but which the young-earth creation model provides very simple answers. Here are three of them:

  1. How did life arise from nonlife? Although this is technically not evolution, per se, but abiogenesis (sometimes chemical evolution), molecules-to-man evolution is dependent on non-living matter somehow becoming alive. Even if all the ingredients for life (DNA, RNA, “left-handed” amino acids, etc.) could somehow arise through non-living natural processes, and assemble themselves into the correct structures (ribosomes, mitochondria, lysosomes, and so forth), how would they become alive? Evolution has no answer.
  2. What about carbon dating? Carbon-14 has a half-life of only 5,730 years. After 5,730 years, 1/2 of the C14Decaycarbon-14 present when the organism was alive would be gone. After 11,460 years, 3/4 would be gone, and after 17,190 years, 7/8 would be gone. After about 50-60,000 years, there should be no detectable carbon-14 left in a fossil. Yet, nearly all fossils, including dinosaurs, contain carbon-14 in significant quantities. Coal and diamonds also contain carbon-14. The amounts of carbon-14 in most fossils date the fossils at only a few thousand years old, not the millions of years required for evolution. How can dinosaurs, coal, and diamonds be millions of years old when they still contain significant amounts of carbon-14? Evolution has no answer.
  3. What about the fossil record? Evolutionists usually portray the supposed common origin of all lifeforms as a sort of branching “tree,” with a single “root” in the ancient past, and “branches” representing different phyla, orders, species, etc.
    evolutiontreeHowever, this is not what the fossil record actually shows. The fossil record only shows the “tips” of the branches, more like a lawn or garden, not a single tree.
    orchard-family-tree
    If all life is descended from a common ancestor, why doesn’t the fossil record support this? Evolutionists have proposed a number of hypotheses, but don’t have any actual evidence to support any of them that I’ve seen.

These are just three of the numerous scientific problems I see with evolution. Again, it was scientific arguments like these that convinced me to abandon evolution in favor of creation.

If Willis wants thinking people to take her seriously, she needs to come up with a better argument than nonsensical misrepresentations of creation, while simultaneously claiming creationists are “ignorant.”

12. You’re liberal in youth, yet grow conservative in age.

I call this the Dead Peter Syndrome in men and/or the Formerly Hot Syndrome in women… many women who embraced the sexual revolution are now taking a stance against women’s rights and suggesting that I’m killing babies with my IUD. You don’t get to live it up as a young person and then try to take a moral high ground when you get old and aren’t interested in living anymore.

Willis actually makes a good point: People generally become more conservative as they get older. Even most of the older liberals I know are less liberal than when they were young.

Why do people become more conservative when they get older? It probably has a lot to do with getting wiser with age. Willis may call it the “Dead Peter Syndrome” or the “Formerly Hot Syndrome.” Conservatives call it “growing up.”

Willis also unintentionally points out another problem in the thinking of many liberals. She complains that it’s wrong to “live it up” when you’re young and liberal, then try to “take the moral high ground” when you’re old and conservative. She’s basically saying, “It’s not fair that you got away with crap when you were young, and now you won’t let others get away with crap.” For many liberals, life is all about “living it up.” “How much can I get away with, morally? Right and wrong are whatever I want them to be.” For conservatives, it’s a lot more about doing right, because it’s right. As people get older, most come to understand that morals exist for a reason. The “if it feels good, do it” philosophy eventually leaves one empty. Most people start to realize this when they get older, abandon relativistic morality, and grow more conservative, although some people never seem to get it. It isn’t that people who have become more conservative as they have gotten older “aren’t interested in living anymore.” It’s that they realize they weren’t really living a worthwhile life in the first place.

In my own case, the transformation from liberal to conservative happened between the ages of 18 and about 22. The change was triggered by my becoming a born-again Christian as a college freshman. At the age of 18, I voted against Reagan in the 1980 Presidential election, because I thought he was an extremist who was going to start WWIII. By the 1984 election (at age 22), I was a die-hard Reagan supporter. So much for growing conservative at an old age.

13. You don’t want people who disagree with you to vote.

Oh, Gerrymandering, you ugly devil, you. But do we question why this is so common and seldom questioned by people on the right? It’s because you, my conservative voter loved ones, agree with it. You think it’s perfectly acceptable (and necessary) to suppress the vote. It’s for the “good of the nation.”

I once heard someone tell his wife to not inform her Democratic friend how and where to vote. “She’ll cancel out your vote.”

The argument that, “I once heard someone say…,” is just plain lame. I “once heard someone say…,” a lot of stupid things. It’s irrelevant.

Gerrymandering is a two-way street. Liberals don’t mind it when they get to redraw the lines. California District 38, for example, was gerrymandered to create a Hispanic majority.

California_District_38_2004

Conservatives are more commonly accused of voter suppression because most want to require voters to have a valid identification to vote. Voter ID has nothing to do with suppressing legal voting; rather, it is to prevent voter fraud. People already need an ID to drive, get a job, get welfare or food stamps, to buy alcohol or cigarettes, and any number of other things. Since any legal voter can get a valid ID with very little cost or effort, claims of “voter suppression” are nothing more than propaganda.

I would generally support bi-partisan boards setting district boundaries, but all that would do is shift the problem from, “who gets to draw the districts?” to, “who gets to appoint the board?”

14. Some of your best friends are black. Or Mexican.

A conservative I know professes that “my best friend is black” and balked when I called him and his wife racist. Why did I call him racist? Because my little girl — at that time about 12 — went to a movie with one of her African American friends and his mother. The conservative and his wife were “very concerned” about me allowing my little girl to consort with “blacks.” But oh, no, they’re not racist, are they?

I don’t care how many black or Hispanic friends you have. If you think that mentality is OK, then yes, you’re racist.

Another, “I once heard someone say…,” argument. This is known as a hasty generalization fallacy or an anecdotal fallacy. It’s an irrelevant argument.

Willis is correct that racism is wrong. She just has an intolerant, ignorant way of expressing the point. No matter whether the racist is conservative or liberal, black or white, Christian or atheist, or anything else, racism is wrong. I’ve discussed my views on racism elsewhere, so I won’t repeat myself here.

15. You scream about undocumented immigrant children at the border, but you hire Mexicans to do your dirty work.

I live in Texas. Duh! Every single upper-middle-class or wealthy person I know has at one time hired cheap labor to do their menial tasks like home repairs, yard work, housekeeping, and childcare. They actually seek out Hispanic people because they know that they do good work and that they’ll work for cheap.

OK, yes, it’s hypocritical to hire illegal aliens while opposing illegal immigration. Both wealthy liberals and wealthy conservatives do it. What does that have to do with the debate over illegal immigration? This is a typical red-herring argument. It’s nothing but a distraction from the actual issue.

Here is my take on illegal immigration:

We already have laws on the books to allow legal immigration. All immigration must follow existing law. Is this such a difficult concept to grasp?

ImmigrationThe concept of “law-abiding, undocumented immigrant” is an oxymoron and misnomer. Immigrants who have entered the country illegally have already broken the law. They should be arrested and deported to their country of origin, because they broke the law. The matter of children born in the United States to illegal immigrants, or children born elsewhere who have lived and grown up in the U.S. since a young age, is problematic. If the parents hadn’t been permitted to enter the country illegally in the first place, in accordance with law, there wouldn’t be any dilemma.

Anyone who knowingly entered the United States illegally should be deported. Those who came here as children and have been here for the majority of their lives should be given temporary visas, and given the opportunity to follow existing law to become permanent residents and citizens. No person who has entered the country illegally should be eligible for public assistance. All income should be taxed the same as anyone else.

The United States needs to secure its borders. An electric fence with high-tech monitoring would help significantly, as would immediate arrest and deportation. Additionally, arresting and/or fining individuals and companies in accordance with the law who hire illegal workers would eliminate the incentive for illegal immigration.

If liberals feel the current laws are unjust and unfair, they need to work to have the law changed. Simply ignoring the law, then granting amnesty, is immoral and unethical. It’s not actually about children, race, or justice – it’s about growing the Democrat voter base. Hypocrites!

16. You insist on calling undocumented immigrants “illegals” and “aliens.”

They are human beings. They are undocumented immigrants. Many of them are children. It reallyyyyy makes me furious to see you deliberately depersonalizing these human beings who are doing nothing but seeking the American Dream that you are so proud of.

And you do this on purpose. You know what you’re doing. You’re proud of your very unethical and un-Christian attitude towards these human beings.

Let’s look at a few definitions, shall we? (all definitions quoted from dictionary.reference.com)

Illegal [ih-lee-guh l] adjective

  1. forbidden by law or statute.
  2. This is NOT what conservatives mean by "illegal alien."

    This is NOT what conservatives mean by “illegal alien,” despite what some liberals claim.

    contrary to or forbidden by official rules, regulations, etc.

alien [eyl-yuh n, ey-lee-uh n] noun

  1. a resident born in or belonging to another country who has not acquired citizenship by naturalization (distinguished from citizen ).
  2. a foreigner.
  3. a person who has been estranged or excluded.
  4. a creature from outer space; extraterrestrial.

undocumented [uhn-dok-yuh-men-tid] adjective

  1. lacking documentation or authentication.
  2. lacking proper immigration or working papers.

Immigrant [im-i-gruh nt] noun

  1. a person who migrates to another country, usually for permanent residence.
  2. an organism found in a new habitat.

These definitions speak volumes.

Conservatives see illegal aliens – people from a foreign country who have entered our country in violation of the law.

Liberals see undocumented immigrants – new, permanent residents who have simply forgotten to get paperwork.

Again, most conservatives have no problem with legal immigration, nor do we oppose changing laws to allow more people to legally immigrate. What we oppose is ignoring the law. The term “illegal alien” is neither dehumanizing nor unethical, any more than calling a person who steals a “thief” or a person who tells falsehood a “liar.” There’s nothing “un-Christian” about calling someone what they are. Jesus called law-breakers, “hypocrites,” “whitewashed tombs,” and “sons of Hell.” Conservatives call people from a foreign country who have entered our country in violation of the law “illegal aliens.”

Calling them “undocumented immigrants” is to devalue the rule of law and justice, which you claim to be so proud of. And you do this on purpose. You know what you’re doing. You’re proud of your very unethical and disdainful attitude towards the law.

17. You don’t mind using force against “lesser” groups to get what you want.

Case in point, protesting outside of abortion clinics.

Or protesting at the funerals of gay people. And yeah, I know that is Westboro Baptist Church and not you, but if you refuse to speak out against them, then you’re a part of the problem.

Frankly, you don’t seem to mind using force against “lesser” groups to get what you want.

Case in point, going inside of abortion clinics and getting abortions.

Or forcing Christian-owned businesses to bake cakes for gay weddings. Or subpoenaing sermons in Houston to intimidate preachers. Or not permitting children to read Bibles in class during “free reading” time. Or boycotting Chic-fil-A for supporting traditional marriage. And yeah, I know that is someone else and not you, but if you refuse to speak out against them, then you’re a part of the problem. By the way, Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church was a life-long Democrat, and many conservatives have spoken out very strongly against him.

Oppression is always wrong. Disagreement and protesting do not equal oppression, however.

18. You love war, death, and destruction.

And why do you love war, death, and destruction? Because ‘Murica. Because you think this somehow makes us superior. We may be militarily superior, but we are ethically inferior.

Even when confronted with the lies, now confirmed officially, that got us into the Iraq war, you don’t care. You like for America to be the world’s largest terrorist organization and the world’s most formidable bully.

The claim, “You love war, death, and destruction,” is a baseless ad hominem attack. It was pretty much the same accusation as in #8, “You get excited about people dying.” The statement is just as stupid, offensive, and hateful when framed either way.

Conservatives abhor war, death, and destruction as much as liberals do. Unfortunately, many of our enemies do not. Terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and ISIS truly do love killing people – it’s part of their extremist religion. Unfortunately, the only way to keep them from killing us is to kill them first. Diplomacy and compromise won’t work with them any more than it worked with Nazi Germany.

As for the Iraq war, the following Senate Democrats voted for the Iraq War:

Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
Breaux (D-LA)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carnahan (D-MO)
Carper (D-DE)
Cleland (D-GA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Daschle (D-SD)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Edwards (D-NC)
Feinstein (D-CA)

Harkin (D-IA)
Hollings (D-SC)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Miller (D-GA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Schumer (D-NY)
Torricelli (D-NJ)

(Obama had not yet been elected to the Senate).

I suppose that means all of these liberals also “love war, death, and destruction?”   And that they “like for America to be the world’s largest terrorist organization and the world’s most formidable bully?”

Willis makes the statement, “We may be militarily superior, but we are ethically inferior.” Many conservatives, myself included, believe the reason our country has become morally bankrupt is because we have rejected Biblical morality and instead adopted relativistic morality. Whatever people think is right is right, and whatever people think is wrong is wrong. There is no longer any objective basis for morality. If ethics and morality are relative, what basis does Willis have for saying one set of ethics is better than another? It’s just her opinion. What objective basis does she have for saying war, death, and destruction are absolutely wrong, if morality is relative? It is only because God established an absolute basis for ethics and morality that there is any objective basis for saying anything is ethical, other than simply expressing an opinion.

The rest of the comments made by Willis in her argument for this point are nothing more than more ad hominem attacks and drivel, and not worth the bandwidth it would take to refute.

19. Speaking of war, you think draft dodging is OK and military service is for the little people.

Why doesn’t it bother you that Dick Cheney et al are draft dodgers? Or that Mitt Romney has an entire baseball team of sons and not one of them served in the military?

Cheney received a legal deferment when he became a father. Federal law exempted a parent from military service due to “extreme hardship on dependents.”

Romney had very high draft number, meaning that although he was eligible for military service, his number was never called. He also received a legal religious deferment during the time he was doing Mormon missionary work.

Receiving a legal deferment and being a “draft dodger” were two entirely different things. One was legal, and the other was illegal. The draft ended In 1973, and the U.S. went to an all-volunteer military. Romney’s sons were never eligible to be drafted.

I’m not sure what “et al” Willis is referring to. Far more liberals supported draft dodging than conservatives did. Far more conservatives serve in the current all-volunteer military than liberals. Since the draft has been out of use for over 40 years, current support for draft dodging is a rather moot point in 2015. Nobody currently supports draft dodging, since there isn’t a draft.

20. You claim to care about the Constitution, but in reality you don’t.

Oh yes, you scream “CONSTITUTION” at the top of your lungs, but when idiotic Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) recently tried to strip the Constitution of the 5th and 6th Amendments, where were you? Where was your outrage?

You love the parts of the Constitution that please you personally — NOT the entire Constitution.

Yet another, “I once heard someone say…,” argument.

Willis cites one example of one conservative – Ted Cruz – who introduced a bill to revoke the citizenship and passport rights of any United States citizen who commits treason by joining a terrorist organization. You can read the bill here. Willis makes the outlandish claim that Cruz wants to deny Constitutional rights to traitors under the 5th and 6th Amendments. While I would agree that the Expatriate Terrorist Act (Senate Bill 247) needs to be amended to provide due process, to use it to claim that Cruz – and all conservatives – don’t really support the Constitution is ludicrous. To cite one example from one conservative to make a claim about most, if not all, conservatives is just plain stupid.

The Constitution of the United States was established as the foundational law of the land. Conservatives believe it needs to be interpreted as written, and as it was originally intended. Liberals believe it is a “living document” that can be interpreted and reinterpreted to suit their wants and needs. The reason they believe this is because they completely disagree with many of the Constitutions very straight-forward, conservative principles – and want to get rid of them.

Constitution

Items 21-28 of Willis’ list will be addressed in a future blog.

Why Use Reason When You Can Just Mock People?

no reason neededI didn’t bother blogging about the recent Ken Ham / Bill Nye debate, because I figured enough other people were already blogging about it. However, I ran across a blog by Ronald Bailey on Reason.com entitled How Really to Debate Creationists: Bill Nye versus Ken Ham that I thought deserved comment.

Bailey begins with the typical argument that Nye shouldn’t have debated Ham, because creationists shouldn’t have a platform to promote their views. Basically, if you can’t beat ’em, shut ’em up. Not exactly a reasoned response.

Bailey continues by stating – or, more accurately, misstating – several creationist concepts, ranging from man and dinosaurs coexisting to fossil formation during Noah’s flood to why the Big Bang doesn’t make sense. Rather than actually giving rational arguments for why he thinks these concepts are wrong, he simply labels them “nonsense.” Ad hominem attacks are not a reasoned argument.

How should an evolutionist deal with creationists? According to Bailey, “there is a way to beat Creationists at their own game – mockery.” He continues:

So don’t try to knock down each individual assertion of mountebanks like Ham during such a “debate,” but instead concentrate on the goal of explaining by entertaining with a bit of mockery thrown in. You will gratify your intellectual friends; annoy your enemies; and perhaps persuade some of the confused to take a deeper look into the scads of evidence for biological evolution.

Bailey links to a video of himself and atheist Michael Shermer debating intelligent designers Stephen Meyer and George Gilder. Bailey uses the “Intelligent Design by Purple Space Squids” argument to mock his opponents’ arguments.

So, according to the website REASON.com, one should not use reason to argue against creation. Bailey then justifies his argument:

My talk clearly did not persaude Meyer and Gilder, but by show of hands Shermer and I did win the debate at Freedomfest.

Since evolutionists cannot win the debate with reason, they should resort to mockery and entertainment. Mockery and entertainment win debates. And apparently, mockery also determines the truth.

As the Apostle Paul wrote, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. They think their beliefs are based on “reason,” when in fact they are based on logical fallacy and foolishness.

Logical, reasoned arguments will not sway a fool who has set himself in opposition to Jesus Christ. Such people have already made up their minds to reject reason and the truth. However, for those who are truly seeking the truth, logical, reasoned arguments can draw people to the truth of the Gospel.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. 1 Peter 3:15

Rebuttal: “Teachers Back Away From Evolution In Class” by Jesse Emspak

I originally posted this on Facebook in January, 2011; I’ve decided to re-post it here.

Rebuttal

“Teachers Back Away From Evolution In Class” by Jesse Emspak | January 27, 2011

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/105982/20110127/teachers-back-away-from-evolution-in-class.htm

This article is loaded with misinformation and fallacious arguments. It is nothing more than a weak attempt to promote a theory that is rapidly being exposed as illogical, unscientific, and anti-religious.

“Teachers who are unable or unwilling to teach the theory of evolution in biology might be one reason U.S. students are falling behind in science, according to new research.”

Evolution plays absolutely no role in the vast majority of scientific endeavors. For the engineer, chemist, and physicist, evolution is a complete non-issue. Even in the biological sciences, the issue of origins is completely irrelevant to for those doing actual research. The only scientists for whom the origins of life is even an issue is for those who specialize in the study of origins!

“The National research Council recommends that teachers introduce to students the evidence that evolution actually occurred, and use it as a unifying theme in different areas of biology.”

First, the National Research Council (NRC) operates under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a blatantly anti-Christian, anti-religious organization that seeks to use “science” to replace belief in God with belief in secular humanism. Secondly, every evidence used to support evolution has repeatedly been shown to be fallacious and/or just plain false. The NAS seeks to indoctrinate, rather than foster critical thinking of the evidence for and against evolution.

“Teachers may want to avoid controversy, but the problem, Berkman says, is that it undermines science as a mode of thought and means of finding out about the world.”

Most teachers want to teach their students critical thinking skills, but are afraid they will lose their jobs if they even suggest that their students to approach evolution critically. I know – I used to be a public school science teacher.

“Not having biology taught properly, Berkman says, makes it harder for students to understand science later on.”

I agree. Indoctrinating students with evolution, rather than teaching them to evaluate the pros and the cons of the theory, has stunted students’ understanding of science.

“The theory of evolution states that life forms will change over time in response to their environment, and the fraction of individuals in a species with one or more inherited traits will differ. The cause is natural variation within species, which affects how well they survive in a given environment — or not. Sometimes species will split into two or more different ones, and sometimes they will die out.”

This is the fallacy of equivocation. Actually, what is being described is natural selection, not evolution. Evolution is the idea that all modern species descended from a single common ancestor over million of years. Natural selection is observable, measurable, testable science. Common descent is neither observable, nor testable, nor measurable. It is philosophy disguised as science. The fallacy is equating evolution, meaning natural selection or change over time, with evolution, meaning common descent. Same term, two entirely different meanings, and one does not necessarily follow from the other.

“The simplest way to solve this problem is to change the ways people who will become teachers are taught the subject before they ever get into a classroom, Berkman says.”

Indoctrinate the teachers so they can indoctrinate the students.

Some teachers try to present both sides, he notes, but the problem with that is that it puts science in the same class of knowledge as an opinion, as though well-established principles could be debated.

This is the fallacy of begging the question, also known as a circular argument. We cannot question whether evolution is a fact, because evolution is a fact. We cannot debate whether evolutionary principles are well-established, because evolutionary principles are well-established.

Neo-Darwinian evolution is nothing more than an anti-religious philosophy posing as science, held together by smoke and mirrors, and is rapidly being exposed as such. Articles like this only serve as an attempt to shore up public opinion and make people thing they’re stupid if they approach the issue critically and logically rather than simply accepting it blindly. It makes me angry that most people lack the interest, information, and/or the skills to understand that the belief that Mankind came from goo is irrational and just plain stupid. It makes me even angrier that this irrational belief in evolution is one of the key reasons people reject the Bible, and therefore reject Jesus Christ, and therefore spend eternity in Hell.

Great Big Stupid World – Reaping What We Have Sown

On December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, and then massacred 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, before taking his own life.

The staggering loss of innocent lives has left many asking, “Why?”

People blame everything from lack of gun control, to CIA conspiracies, to lack of treatment for the mentally ill, to video games and rap music, to media coverage and copycat murderers.

I believe our culture is simply reaping what it has sown.

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

God in SchoolsAmerican society has learned to mock God. We have largely thrown God out of our schools, our media, our government, and our lives. God has been relegated to a few church pews, a couple of days a week, for a few hours, for a handful of people who are considered by most as relics of the past.

Most children are taught in school that they are accidents of nature and nothing more than animals, albeit somewhat more evolved than most, rather than being created in the image of God, Who loves them. Then we wonder why they act like animals.

Much of our modern music and many video games glorify killing, drugs, sex, and death. Then we wonder why teen pregnancy and abortion rates are so high, and why someone would walk into a school or mall and start shooting people.

Television portrays God as a myth, Christians as intolerant bigots, fathers as idiots, and the traditional family as irrelevant. Then, we wonder why Godly values are ignored, and why our kids are out of control.

As our culture has sown, so has it reaped.

The problem is not gun violence, drug abuse, rap music, abortion, greed, suicide, the education system, the Democrats, or the Republicans. These are just symptoms of a deeper problem. The real problem is that our culture mocks God. We have lost our foundation; we have rejected our Creator.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Isaiah 5:20

The United States was once blessed, because we were built on a Biblical foundation. That foundation is gone, and has been replaced by a humanistic foundation that says mankind can choose whatever he wants about right or wrong. When human beings decide what is right and wrong, we invariably choose wrong, and call it right. And in the process, we mock God.

Why do people like Adam Lanza, James Holmes, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, and Seung-Hui Cho kill people? Psychologists will debate the causes, but from a Biblical perspective, I believe they simply act in a manner consistent with what society teaches them. Our culture taught them that human life is basically meaningless, that we are animals, and death and killing are glorious – a lesson they learned well.

Our culture is reaping what it has sown; the culture mocks God, then wonders why God doesn’t intervene.

How do we fix the problem? Not through politics, or social programs, or public education:

8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

God help us.

Pushing People Out of the Church – Part 6

Valerie Tarico

A while back, I read an article on the left-wing, anti-religion, news-and-commentary website Alternet.org entitled, “8 Ways Christian Fundamentalists Make People Convert — to Agnosticism or Atheism,” by skeptic Valerie Tarico.

While I personally find most of the articles on this site either tasteless or just plain nonsense, this article caught my interest, because it contains some truths that Christians need to understand.

It’s important to recognize that people who reject Jesus Christ ultimately do so because they choose to suppress the truth (Romans 1:18-19). Unfortunately, there are also many things that those in the church do to push people away. As Tarico states, “if you read ExChristian testimonials you will notice that quite often church leaders or members do things that either trigger the deconversion process or help it along.”

I’ve found that I can learn a lot by listening to what skeptics say about their perceptions of Christianity. This series looks at the eight reasons Tarico highlights.

Reason #6: Science Denial

One of my former youth group friends had his faith done in by a conversation with a Bible study leader who explained that dinosaur skeletons actually are the bones of the giants described in early books of the Bible. Uh huh. Christians have come up with dozens of squishier, less falsifiable ways to explain the geological record: The “days” in Genesis 1 were really “ages.” Or God created the world with the fossils already in place to test our faith. Or the biblical creation story is really sacred metaphor. But young-earth creationists who believe the world appeared in its present form 6,000-10,000 years ago are stuck. And since almost half of the American public believes some version of this young-earth story, there are ample opportunities for inquiring minds to trip across proto-scientific nonsense.

Like other factors I’ve mentioned, science denial doesn’t just move believers to nonbelief; it also rallies opposition ranging from cantankerous bloggers to legal advocates. It provides fodder for comedians and critics: “If the world was created 6,000 years ago, what’s fueling your car?” It may produce some of the most far-reaching opposition to religious belief, because science advocates argue that faith, even socially benign faith, is a fundamentally flawed way of knowing. The Catholic church, perhaps still licking wounds about Galileo (it apologized finally in the 20th century), has managed to avoid embarrassing and easily disproven positions on evolutionary biology. But one could argue that its atheism-fostering positions on conception and contraception similarly rely on ignorance about or denial of biological science — in this case embryology and the basic fact that most embryos never become persons.

From my experience, the creation vs. evolution debate is the topic that is most likely to get a skeptic’s dander up. This is because atheism is utterly impossible unless evolution is true. If God or gods don’t exist, there must be a non-supernatural mechanism to explain how life came to be. The only remotely plausible explanation is evolution.

answersingenesis.org

I’ve always found it ironic that when most creationists discuss evolution and creation, they tend to focus on the observable scientific inconsistencies of evolutionary theory and the observable science supporting the Biblical creation model, while most evolutionists simply state evolution as dogma and ridicule the Biblical model – without bringing up actual scientific evidence. Tarico is no different. Granted, two paragraphs isn’t enough space to lay out any real scientific evidence one way or the other. Yet, she does manage to state her dogmatic faith in evolution, and throw out a few question-begging epithets against Biblical creation (“proto-scientific nonsense,” “science denial,” “denial of biological science”). She also throws out a huge straw-man argument: “… young-earth creationists … believe the world appeared in its present form 6,000-10,000 years ago.” Wrong. The 6,000-10,000 years ago part is correct. The “appeared in its present form” is absolutely wrong. Biblical creationists generally believe the earth was created “very good” (Genesis 1:31), but that it was radically changed because of sin (Genesis 3). It was tremendously altered by the global flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 6-8). Furthermore, natural processes such as erosion, weathering, natural selection, and mutations have continued to change the earth and the organisms live here. But, then again, it’s easier to argue against a straw-man with dogma and name-calling than it is to argue logically against actual Biblical creation.

answersingenesis.org

The fact that some naïve Bible study leader ignorantly thought that “dinosaur skeletons actually are the bones of the giants described in early books of the Bible” isn’t an argument against Biblical creationism. It does, however, point out the fact that too many Christians are ignorant of both science and the Bible. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” Unfortunately, most Christians are not ready, and cannot give a defense of the Biblical account of Creation. The un-Biblical compromise positions Tarico mentions, such as the day-age theory, Genesis as a metaphor, or any number of other theories, cause as much confusion about the Bible as atheistic evolution. All origins theories other than the straight-forward Biblical account of six literal days a few thousand years ago take mankind’s fallible ideas and hold them in higher authority than God’s Word. All of these other theories question the authority of the straight-forward teaching of the Bible.

Christians, especially Christian leaders and teachers, need to educate themselves. We need to understand science and evolutionary theory. In fact, Christians need to understand evolution better than most evolutionists do. We need to understand what evolution teaches, as well as the scientific, logical, and theological problems with evolution. We need to understand how various dating methods arrive at ancient ages for the earth, and the arbitrary assumptions behind these methods. We also need to understand what the Bible actually says – and doesn’t say – about origins and the age of the earth. What we actually observe in the universe solidly confirms the Biblical account of creation, and show the millions-of-years-of-evolution dogma to be utterly impossible.

I would argue that it’s not the young-earth position that drives people away, as Tarico believes; rather, it’s ignorant Christians that are unprepared to explain how science confirms the Bible that cause confusion and doubt. Too many Christians appear ignorant of science, not because they embrace the Biblical creation, but because they actually are ignorant of both science and the Bible. Incidentally, most skeptics are just as ignorant – but that’s no excuse. If we want people to realize the absolute truth of the Bible, and embrace faith in Jesus Christ as the only rational reality, then we need to take 1 Peter 3:15 to heart, and stop being so ignorant and unprepared to defend the authority of Scripture.


Numerous resources are available to help the Christian understand Biblical creation. I recommend starting with the Answers Book 1, 2, and 3 available from Answers in Genesis. Ministries such as Answers in Genesis, the Institute for Creation Research, Creation Ministries International, and many others have thousands of articles, books, DVDs, and other resources available – many for FREE.

Humanist Manifesto III – A Critical Analysis

Humanist Manifesto is the title of three statements outlining a Humanist worldview. The original Humanist Manifesto was published in 1933; the Humanist Manifesto II in 1973; and Humanist Manifetso III in 2003. Each of the three manifestos explains the humanist worldview, which does not include belief in any personal deity or “higher power.”

This analysis will focus entirely on Humanist Manifesto III, although the previous versions have similar issues.  Manifesto III is the shortest of the three documents; it has an introduction, six primary beliefs, and a conclusion.

There are unstated presupposed beliefs behind every statement contained in the Manifesto.  Many of these presuppositions depend on the existence of God in order to make any sense whatsoever.  The basic logical fallacy contained in Humanist Manifesto III is that, while it denies the existence of God, makes claims that are dependent on the existence of God.  In other words, if God does not exist, then the philosophies promoted by Manifesto III are irrational and unfounded.

What do I mean by this?  Take the first sentence of the Manifesto:  “Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.”  This sounds like a reasonable statement on the surface. However, in order to have the “ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives,” one must presuppose that such a thing as ethics actually exists.    The problem is, without God, there is no basis for the existence of ethics.  If the universe came into existence through mindless natural processes, then human beings are nothing more than highly complex chemical reactions.  There is no free will; our minds are nothing more than random electrochemical processes.  The very concept of ethics is meaningless – right and wrong do not actually exist.  Yet, right and wrong do exist, and the concept of ethics is not meaningless.  Since these concepts are meaningless if God does not exist, since they do exist, God must therefore exist.  The belief in ethics presupposes the existence of God.  For an atheist to believe in ethics, they must “borrow” from the Biblical worldview.

The first of the six primary beliefs promoted in the Manifesto states, “Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis.”  Although it initially sounds plausible, this statement is actually subtly self-contradictory.  Why?  Because the statement itself cannot be derived from observation, experimentation, and rational analysis.  The statement, “Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis,” cannot be derived from observation; nor can it be derived through experimentation.  It must be pre-supposed, and any attempt to derive it through rational analysis is ultimately irrational circular logic.

Observation, experimentation, and rational analysis are only possible if one presupposes that the universe is uniform, unchanging, and logical.  However, if God does not exist, there is no reason why the universe should be uniform, unchanging, and logical; rather, it should be random.  A universe that was caused by a Big Bang from nothing should be completely random, if it would exist at all.  The laws of nature should not exist, and logic should not exist. Yet, they do exist.  The only reason that universe should be uniform, unchanging, and logical only if it came from a uniform, unchanging, and logical Creator.  Science presupposes an orderly universe, which is only possible because the universe in fact functions in a logical, ordered manner, which in turn is only possible if it was created by a logical, ordered, unchanging God.

Charles Darwin

The second point affirmed in the Manifesto states, “Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change.”  There are a number of problems with this statement.  First, the “unguided evolutionary change” referred to cannot be “derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis,” because it supposedly happened in the past.  The past cannot be directly observed in the present; only the present can be observed in the present.  Could evolution be established as fact through “rational analysis?”  Humanists and evolutionists would argue it can.  I disagree.  Again, there are several unprovable presuppositions that must be accepted in order to infer evolution in the past from observations in the present.   First, one must assume that the processes in the past are the same as processes in the present.  This belief, called uniformitarianism, cannot be observed or derived through experimentation; it must be assumed.  One must also assume that enough time has existed for these processes to have occurred.  Lastly, one must ignore the fact that mutations and natural selection do not cause new information to arise, as evolutionary processes require, but rather eliminate genetic information.   Actual observational data tells us that we are not evolving, but rather, we are de-evolving.  Every generation of human beings loses several thousand genes due to mutations.  No new genes have ever been observed to have evolved.

Secondly, and “unguided” process should not cause increased complexity, as required by Darwinian evolution.  Evolution postulates that after the first cell came into existence through some sort of abiogenesis, this first lifeform somehow became more complex and eventually turned into a multi-celled organism, that eventually turned into a fish, then an amphibian, then a reptile, then some sort of mammal, then a primitive primate, eventually turning into you and me.  All of these major steps, as well as thousands of smaller, intermediary steps, somehow happened as the result of unguided, random chance.  Evolutionists must believe that each of the millions of new genes that were necessary for new structures, proteins, and biochemical processes arose through mutations – despite the fact that no mutation has ever been observed that has produced information that had not previously existed.  And, this had to happen randomly – without any kind of higher intelligence guiding the process.  This is far more preposterous than believing that the infinite, omnipotent God of the Bible created human beings.

The Manifesto states, “Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience.”  The first problem is that, If God does not exist, and human beings are nothing more than highly evolved chemical reactions, as would be required by the Manifesto, then ethical values are not real.  They are nothing but extremely complex electrochemical reactions.

If ethical values are derived from human need, then they must constantly change.  They cannot be absolute.  Many atheists I have talked to have argued, “Atheists are just as ethical and moral as Christians.”  However, from the perspective of atheism, this statement is utter nonsense.  Ethics and morality are relative; what is ethical for you may not be ethical for me.  There is no absolute standard for ethics; morality is whatever a person decides it is.  When an atheist claims, “Atheists are just as ethical and moral as Christians,” my response is, “According to whose definition of ethics and morality?”  Since there is no universal definition, the statement is nonsense.  It may be true that atheists are moral, according to one person’s moral framework, but not according to another’s.  Only if there is an absolute standard does the statement even make sense, and there cannot be an absolute standard unless God exists and has communicated His absolute standard to humankind.

The Manifesto’s next major point:  “Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals.”  My response is, why?  On what basis can such a claim be made?  If we are the mere “result of unguided evolutionary change,” then why do “humane ideals” even exist?  Again, if God does not exist, and we are nothing more than rearranged pond scum, then “humane ideals” cannot actually exist.  The Manifesto continues: “We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence…”  “Unguided evolutionary change” is purposeless, by definition.  How can purposeless change create purpose?  If God does not exist, the human mind is a purposeless collection of meaningless chemical reactions – how can purpose, wonder, awe, joy, or beauty actually exist?  Yet, these things do actually exist; therefore, God must exist.  Again, the Humanist must “borrow” truth from the Biblical worldview in order to build the foundation for Humanism.  Humanism must presuppose foundational truths that are inconsistent with its core values in order to be coherent, but this makes Humanism inconsistent, irrational, and fallacious.

The last two major beliefs proposed by the manifesto read, “Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships,” and “Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness.”  I would largely agree; people are social in nature, because we were created in the Image of God for the purpose of having a loving relationship with Him, and with others.  Working to benefit society does produce happiness.  These beliefs are completely consistent with Biblical teaching and presuppositions.  However, for the Humanist, they are again inconsistent.  Once again, if humanity is the result of meaningless evolutionary change, then why does meaning exist?  How can meaninglessness produce meaning?  How can purposelessness give rise to purpose?  How can unguided processes cause happiness?

The Humanist Manifesto III is utter nonsense, because it must rely on values and conditions that cannot exist if the Manifesto is true, and God does not exist.  Ultimately, any philosophy, religion, or worldview that denies the Biblical God is illogical for the same reason; without God, the universe, the laws of nature, the mind, purpose, and meaning should not exist; yet, they do exist.  Therefore, the Biblical God must exist, and Christianity must be true.  What we observe in the universe around us is completely consistent with and absolutely confirms the truth of the Bible.  And, without Biblical presuppositions, the universe would be completely unintelligible and meaningless.


The full text of Humanist Manifesto III can be viewed at http://redbankhumanists.org/PDF/HumanistManifesto_III.pdf