If Evolution is True, Atheism is False

By Tim Stratton

Atheists often appeal to evolution in an attempt to explain the primate complexity we observe today without a need for an Intelligent Designer — God! Indeed, many say the reason they affirm atheism is because they believe evolution is true. Since their hypothesis does not include God as a designer, atheists feel justified in affirming that God does not exist and that Christianity is false. With that said, however, if evolution is true, it does nothing to prove that God does not exist or do anything to disprove the historical resurrection of Jesus (the two essential ingredients of “mere Christianity”). Moreover, what atheists fail to comprehend is that by appealing to evolution in an attempt to “prove” atheism, they ultimately prove too much!

 

God Darwin Evolution

 

Evolution simply means change over time. Most evolutionists and young earth creationists will agree that some things do genuinely change over time (even if they disagree on how much some things change over time). What is important to note is that Darwinian evolution requires a genuine change over dynamic time — at least if one is hoping to explain primate complexity. With that in mind, I contend that if evolution is true, then atheism is false!

Consider this: I believe that some things do genuinely evolve and change over time. In fact, we currently exist in a world in which things are constantly changing right in front of our eyes! That is to say, we exist in an evolving state of affairs (change happens)!

The problem, however, is this: it is logically impossible for a changing state of affairs to be extrapolated into past infinity! In “English” that means that if we currently exist in a changing state of affairs and things are really happening one event after another, then it is impossible for things to happen chronologically in this manner without a first change. If we exist — right now — in a changing state of affairs, then it is impossible to go on and on forever in the past. Logically, there must have been a beginning or a first change.

If there never was a first change, then the present moment — “right now” — would not exist. To help illustrate why the concept of past infinity is incoherent, consider two thought experiments.

Infinite Jumpers & Steppers

First, is it possible for someone, say a superhero with infinite jumping powers, to jump out of an infinitely tall bottomless-pit? Of course not. There is no launching pad or foundation from which to jump. When it comes to things changing over time (evolution), if the hole at ground level represents the present moment and the idea of past infinity means there is no foundation to jump from (a first change over time), then the present moment of change could never be reached. The jumper could never get out of the hole because there is no starting point for him to progress upward. Because the present moment does exist and things do change over time (evolution) it logically follows that a foundation exists for the first change to occur leading to the evolution (change over time) we notice today.

Second, suppose a man walks up the steps to your front porch and rings the doorbell. You answer the door and ask if you can help him. He states, “I have just walked an infinite number of steps and finally completed them right here on your front porch.” Of course, you do not believe him, yet he insists that he has accomplished this feat. You ask for proof and he invites you to join him on a journey to retrace his infinite number of steps. He tells you that once the two of you reach this infinite point, you will then follow those same footsteps all the way back to your front door. You adamantly reject his offer because you realize that if you were to retrace an infinite amount of steps you will never get back home! In fact, you will never turn around to begin your journey home!

Consider the steps involved . . . you would take one step, then a second step, then a third step. Eventually, you would take a millionth step, and eventually a billionth step, and then a trillionth step. Whatever step you were currently taking you could always take one more and count it — never reaching actual infinity. Whenever you decide to turn around to come back home you will be on a countable step. So, if you do ever make it back home, your steps would not be infinite.

Just as it would be logically impossible for you to retrace all the steps this pedestrian claims to have made, it is just as impossible for this pedestrian to traverse an actual infinite amount of steps ending on your front porch. A rational person will know that one who makes such a claim is either delusional or deceptive. The “stepper” must have taken a first step.

Change over time (evolution) has the same problem. If a first change occurred, then it logically follows that a first change resulted from an unchanging, eternal, and beginningless state of affairs. Think of this as a frozen/static state where nothing happens and nothing has ever happened logically prior to the first change (I know this is hard to imagine). This might not seem like a “big deal” but the implications are enormous! This is the case because if things are not changing in a frozen/static state, then nothing would ever happen. This is because if things are not evolving, emerging, decaying, growing, or becoming unstable (which are words implying change over time), then these things would never be able to cause the first change. Change over time cannot account for things starting to change over time. That is to say, if nothing is happening, then nothing can describe or account for the first change that resulted from a static, frozen, and unchanging state! UNLESS…

… a volitional agent existed in this static state who had the power to act.

Other than a volitional agent, what else could cause a change from an unchanging state of affairs? At the least, a volitional agent with the power to act could exist in a static state and then cause something to happen. That is to say, if nothing is happening, but a volitional agent with free will exists in this static state, then this volitional agent can freely choose to act and cause the first change. This is what Aristotle meant by the “Unmoved Mover.”

Volitional agents are personal types of “things” or rather, “beings.” If a being is personal in nature, then this being is the kind of “thing” in which you can have a personal relationship — that is, at least if you are a person! Thus, if you are a person, then it is at least possible that you can have a personal relationship with this unmoved mover!

An Argument from Change Over Time

We can summarize this entire argument in a step-by-step syllogism:

1- Things change over time (evolution).

2- A changing state of affairs cannot be past infinite.

3- Therefore, a first change resulted from an unchanging state of affairs.

4- Only a volitional agent can cause a change from an unchanging state of affairs.

5- Volitional agents are personal.

6- Therefore, this personal agent existed in an unchanging state of affairs.

7- Anything existing in an unchanging state of affairs never began to exist and is eternal with no beginning.

8- Therefore, the cause of the first change (and ultimately the change of affairs in which we find ourselves) is a personal agent who is eternal with no beginning and was in a changeless state of affairs logically prior to causing the first change.

This final deductive conclusion should be eye-opening! Why should this get one’s attention? Because this personal agent who caused things to start evolving and changing over time is God! The Bible does not just note the possibility of having a personal relationship with the Unmoved Mover — God — it explains exactly how you and I can know God personally through Jesus Christ!

Bottom line: If you believe that things actually do evolve and change over time, then you should reject atheism!

Stay reasonable (Isaiah 1:18),

Tim Stratton

 


Original Blog Source: http://bit.ly/2j7eSMT

 

Free CrossExamined.org Resource

Get the first chapter of "Stealing From God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case" in PDF.

Powered by ConvertKit
35 replies
  1. KR says:

    The problems with this argument start right in the headline: “If evolution is true, atheism is false”. Atheism is not a claim, so to state that it can be false is of course nonsensical. Atheism is a lack of belief in deities so a better headline would be : “If evolution is true, atheism is unwarranted”. Not quite as catchy, I guess. Maybe we should go with “If evolution is true, God must necessarily exist” as this seems to be Tim’s conclusion. Let’s see if his argument holds up.
    .
    “1- Things change over time (evolution).”
    .
    This may be a valid definition for the most general meaning of the word “evolution” but it’s pretty clear that Tim is talking about biological evolution, which has a more specific definition: “changes in allelic frequencies within a population over time”. IOW, to count as an evolutionary change in the biological sense, it has to be a genetic change that can be inherited by subsequent generations.
    .
    “2- A changing state of affairs cannot be past infinite.”
    .
    I don’t see why and I don’t think Tim has sufficiently justified this premise. Neither of his two thought experiments makes any sense to me. In the first one, he states that a superhero can’t jump out of an infinitely deep pit because there’s no foundation to jump from. Well, obviously not, since this would be the definition of an infinitely deep pit: it has no bottom. How this is supposed to demonstrate that a series of changes cannot be infinite in the past I have no idea. Is it a requirement of bottomless pits that a superhero must be able to jump out of them? Sorry, I don’t get it.
    .
    The second thought experiment is also a bit of a head-scratcher. Tim takes the example of a staircase that stretches infinitely downwards and states:
    .
    “Whatever step you were currently taking you could always take one more and count it — never reaching actual infinity. ”
    .
    His premise is that this means that a man walking up the stairs would never be able to reach the present (or, in the example, my front porch). The thing is, by defining a specific point on the stairs (my front porch), Tim has relieved the man from having to reach infinity. If the man has an infinity of time, then by simply taking one step after another, he will inevitably reach my front porch. Likewise, if we define a point in time – like the present – then an infinite series of changes will inevitably reach this point.
    .
    It seems to me that Tim’s argument can be whittled down to: “a series of changes cannot be infinite in the past because it needs a first change”. This strikes me as little more than a bald assertion.
    .
    “3- Therefore, a first change resulted from an unchanging state of affairs.”
    .
    As I’ve just stated, I find this to be an unsubstantiated claim. When it comes to living organisms, they obviously change throughout their lifetimes but this series of changes clearly doesn’t start from an unchanging state of affairs but from other living organisms with their own history of change. Of course, the current thinking among scientists studying the history of life is that life hasn’t always existed, meaning that the theory of evolution doesn’t actually require an infinite past but just the existence of life.
    .
    As for the origin of life, this is a separate problem. There is no theory of abiogenesis as yet but however life got started, I see no reason to believe it was from an unchanging state. Quite on the contrary, life is believed to have started around 4 billion years ago, which was during one of the most dramatic periods of change in Earth’s history.
    .
    “4- Only a volitional agent can cause a change from an unchanging state of affairs.”
    .
    This seems to be another bald assertion. It also assumes that there has actually been an unchanging state of affairs, which has yet to be shown.
    .
    “5- Volitional agents are personal.”
    .
    I would agree that the volitional agents we have observed so far are personal. Does this mean they have to be? I don’t know and it’s kind of academic until the previous premises have been sufficiently defended. This of course also goes for premises 6-8.

    Reply
    • CS Brownwell says:

      If atheism is merely a lack of a belief, it actually says nothing about the existence of God, but only about one’s psychological state. By your definition of atheism a tree, a cat, a fizzing can of Coke are all atheists because they all lack a belief in God. When one says “I am an atheist” he is then actually saying nothing important except that he has the same intellectual state as a rock.

      Furthermore, if atheism is merely a statement about one’s mental state, proving atheism amounts to whether someone subjectively **believes** in God or not. So, what? The question is not whether someone believes God exists. The question is whether there are good, objective reasons to be believe God exists.

      Atheists also use the ploy “You cannot prove a universal negative,” usually to avoid having to provide evidence to back up the assertion “There is no God.” But saying you cannot prove a universal negative is false. All you have to do is to show how something is self-contradictory. What atheists have done at this point is proven too much, because atheism is the biggest universal negative, and if you can’t prove a universal negative, then you can’t prove atheism. So the atheist is in the illogical position of believing something without evidence. Not very reasonable of him, yet, he’ll more than likely accuse the Christian of being unreasonable for believing in God.

      In the end, atheism is not merely a lack of a belief in God. It is an affirmative truth claim about God’s existence, and the atheist then patterns his life believing it is true that there is no God. The middle is excluded. There is no neutrality between “There is a God” and “There is no God” because everyone patterns his life around one or the other.

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        “It is an affirmative truth claim about God’s existence”
        No, it’s a statement about your beliefs. It just means you’re not a theist – it means it’s not true to say you believe in God. A God may still exist, you just don’t believe one does. In short, a belief statement, not a knowledge claim.

        Reply
      • KR says:

        “If atheism is merely a lack of a belief, it actually says nothing about the existence of God, but only about one’s psychological state.”
        .
        Yes, that was my point – glad I managed to get that across.
        .
        “By your definition of atheism a tree, a cat, a fizzing can of Coke are all atheists because they all lack a belief in God.”
        .
        That would make sense if these entities have the capacity to hold a belief in God. This is why the definition of an atheist is “a person who holds no belief in deities”, not “an entity that holds no belief in deities”.
        .
        “When one says “I am an atheist” he is then actually saying nothing important except that he has the same intellectual state as a rock.”
        .
        No, what he’s saying is that he holds no belief in any god(s). Whether that’s important or not
        would be up to the individual to judge.
        .
        “Furthermore, if atheism is merely a statement about one’s mental state, proving atheism amounts to whether someone subjectively **believes** in God or not.”
        .
        As I’ve already exlained in the post you’re responding to, trying to prove atheism would be equally nonsensical to trying to falsify it, since it’s not a claim.
        .
        “So, what? The question is not whether someone believes God exists. The question is whether there are good, objective reasons to be believe God exists.”
        .
        Indeed. As should be obvious, I’ve found no sufficient reason to warrant belief in God – hence I’m an atheist.
        .
        “Atheists also use the ploy “You cannot prove a universal negative,” usually to avoid having to provide evidence to back up the assertion “There is no God.” But saying you cannot prove a universal negative is false. All you have to do is to show how something is self-contradictory.”
        .
        Not that simple, alas. We can show that certain alleged attributes of God are incompatible (like an all-loving and all-powerful God that somehow allows children to die of cancer and hundreds of thousands of lives being snuffed out by a tsunami) but this would do nothing to prove that God doesn’t exist – just that one particular description of God is incoherent.
        .
        “What atheists have done at this point is proven too much, because atheism is the biggest universal negative, and if you can’t prove a universal negative, then you can’t prove atheism.”
        .
        Indeed – trying to prove atheism is nonsensical. It’s not a claim, remember?
        .
        ” So the atheist is in the illogical position of believing something without evidence.”
        .
        It’s still not a belief but a lack of belief. Not only does this not need evidence, it’s the very lack of evidence that causes it to be in the first place. Is this really so hard to grasp?
        .
        ” Not very reasonable of him, yet, he’ll more than likely accuse the Christian of being unreasonable for believing in God.”
        .
        No but I am going to call you unreasonable for trying to tell me what i believe. Have you considered the possibility that I may actually have a better understanding of what I believe than you do?
        .
        “In the end, atheism is not merely a lack of a belief in God. It is an affirmative truth claim about God’s existence, and the atheist then patterns his life believing it is true that there is no God. The middle is excluded. There is no neutrality between “There is a God” and “There is no God” because everyone patterns his life around one or the other.”
        .
        Nope. Atheism is not an affirmative truth claim. You seem to really want this to be true, the problem is that reality doesn’t bend to your wishes. It is what it is. I pattern my life as if there’s no god because this seems rational to me as i see no compelling evidence to believe there is one. This empirical approach is always subject to revision as new evidence comes to light, though I’m not really holding my breath waiting for evidence for God’s existence.
        .
        Did you have anything to contribute to the actual subject, i.e. whether an evolutionary process would necessarily require a god?

        Reply
        • CS Brownwell says:

          It is amazing to me how intellectually dishonest you are being and lazy in your burden of proof shifting. You say you merely lack a belief in God, but then affirmatively, actively live your life as if there is no God. It is difficult if not pointless to continue debating someone who is intellectually dishonest.

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            Where’s the contradiction? He lacks a belief in God so he lives as if there’s no God. That makes perfect sense. Nothing dishonest about it.

          • KR says:

            “It is amazing to me how intellectually dishonest you are being and lazy in your burden of proof shifting. You say you merely lack a belief in God, but then affirmatively, actively live your life as if there is no God. It is difficult if not pointless to continue debating someone who is intellectually dishonest.”
            .
            Wow. Since CS Brownwell has apparently abandoned this discussion, this will be for anyone who happens to still be following it. I think CS Brownwell is a good example of what happens when you get stuck in a narrative. In this case, it’s clear that CS Brownwell’s particular narrative is The Culture War. For this narrative to work, there has to be an Enemy who is the mirror image of himself, i.e. someone who hates the idea of a God and everyone who believes in Him.
            .
            Well, I don’t hate God – I just don’t see any good reason to believe He exists. This doesn’t fit with CS Brownwell’s narrative, so he picks up his ball and leaves. In his furor, he even manages to mess up something as simple as the principle of “burden of proof”. To have a burden of proof, you must first make a claim. CS Brownwell thinks I’ve made the claim that God doesn’t exist, which I clearly haven’t. I’ve even explained why I can’t make that claim: I have no way of knowing that God doesn’t exist. As longs as God is attributed with omnipotence, He will clearly be able to hide indefinitely.
            .
            As evidence for his claim that I have made the claim that God doesn’t exist, CS Brownwell points to my statement that I live my life as if God doesn’t exist. But how could I do anything else? What earthly reason would there be for me to live my life as if God exists if this is not what I believe? CS Brownwell apparently doesn’t see the difference between not believing there is a God and making the statement that God doesn’t exist but that is his failing, not mine.
            .
            My request to CS Brownwell, if he were still listening, would be to kindly leave me out of his war – I’m not interested. What I’m interested in is the truth. If there is a God, then that is the truth and I will accept it. The crucial question then becomes: how do we know what’s true? In my experience, the only method of finding the truth that has shown itself to be reliable is empirical verification. Until someone can demonstrate any other method that reliably leads to the truth, I will demand empirical evidence before I accept a claim as true (at least any claim that will affect me in any significant way).
            .
            Since there is no way to disprove the existence of God, the non-existence of God has to be the null hypothesis. Until this hypothesis has been shown to be false, I will provisionally accept it.

          • CS Brownwell says:

            Those who argue “Atheism is a lack of belief like bald is a lack of hair color” still have to give reasons for why they are “bald.” Baldness does not prove the non-existence of hair. Baldness is not a “default” position. Having hair is the default position. Why do atheists “lack hair” is a valid question and the answer must be supported by evidence and argument.

          • KR says:

            I’ve never heard anyone state it like that. The expression I’ve heard is “atheism is a belief like baldness is a hair color”. It’s just a way of illustrating that a lack of belief is not a belief – as if a tautologically true statement should need illustrating. I don’t have to give any other reason for my lack of belief than the fact that I haven’t been convinced of God’s existence. You’re basically asking me to provide evidence that I haven’t been convinced which is completely nonsensical. I have no idea why this should be so difficult to grasp.

        • LDS says:

          “We can show that certain alleged attributes of God are incompatible (like an all-loving and all-powerful God that somehow allows children to die of cancer and hundreds of thousands of lives being snuffed out by a tsunami) but this would do nothing to prove that God doesn’t exist – just that one particular description of God is incoherent.”

          There is nothing incompatible or incoherent in God’s attributes or actions, but there is in your conclusion. You are basing your disbelief on your subjective standards. They are subjective because, without God, objective morality–bad and good–cannot exist. So in effect, you don’t believe in God because you think he’s cruel, which is a logical fallacy.

          Several people believe that the Earth has a surplus population and as a consequence, many live miserable lives in poverty and other horrible conditions. Wouldn’t ending their lives early or suddenly be more merciful? Who’s to say that by the toll of a few deaths, many more people’s lives won’t be enriched? Since you’re supposedly basing your belief (or lack thereof) on logic, it is also logical that the needs of the many outweigh those of the few. This is basically what pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia folks believe. But I don’t see them refraining from sex or having operations to impede their procreation capabilities. That is also incompatible and incoherent. If the basis for your belief is consistency, then I’m surprised you believe in anyone.

          The irony of using logic to disprove God is that, without God, logic wouldn’t exist either. Logic conforms to the attributes of God. It is immaterial, universal, abstract, and invariant. Though it itself cannot be observed, its effects can be. Logic is not a product of a material, by-chance existence. That is not logical.

          How do you know God’s heart? How do you know that the most loving thing He could do for a child suffering from cancer is to take him/her away from that misery to live with Him in paradise? The hypocrisy of your claim is if God manipulated such things to your will, you still wouldn’t believe in Him. Why? First, because your standards of right and wrong are in constant flux. Nothing He did would ever be good enough. Second, (assuming free will still existed), you would blame Him for being a controlling puppet-master. And lastly, your heart isn’t ready to believe. No matter how much evidence exists that their actions are dangerous, addicts cannot be helped or change until they first admit they have a problem.

          “I pattern my life as if there’s no god because this seems rational to me as i see no compelling evidence to believe there is one.”

          Now who’s being incompatible? If you truly lived your life as if there’s no God, your only operating principles should be your survival and your pleasure. I don’t know you, but I assume you’re not taking whatever you want by whatever means necessary. I’m also curious why you even bothered to reply to an article on this website. Are you married? Do you have children? Do you work for someone? Do you have a degree? Do you produce art? These are inconsistent actions for a creature whose life is an accident and forgotten when it dies.

          If we’re being rational… there are only 3 possibilities: the universe has always existed, the universe created itself, something or someone created the universe. Two of those don’t conform to our sciences or basic observation of existence. Another consideration: if you are right and I am wrong, then I have gambled nothing. If I am right and you are wrong, you have gambled everything. That is not rational.

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            If you’ve worshipped the wrong God then you’ve gambled and lost. If God turns out to reward non-believers then I’ve won.

          • KR says:

            ” You are basing your disbelief on your subjective standards. They are subjective because, without God, objective morality–bad and good–cannot exist.”
            .
            If these morals cannot exist without God, then they are by definition subjective since they depend on God.
            .
            “So in effect, you don’t believe in God because you think he’s cruel, which is a logical fallacy.”
            .
            No, I don’t believe in God because I see no compelling reason to. The fact that God’s alleged attributes don’t match my empirical experience is periferal but certainly doesn’t move me towards belief.
            .
            “Several people believe that the Earth has a surplus population and as a consequence, many live miserable lives in poverty and other horrible conditions. Wouldn’t ending their lives early or suddenly be more merciful?”
            .
            Not too big on that sanctity of life, are you? How do you separate those who qualify as surplus population from the rest? What qualities make some lives valuable and others expendable? You do have an objective set of criteria for this, right?
            .
            ” Since you’re supposedly basing your belief (or lack thereof) on logic, it is also logical that the needs of the many outweigh those of the few.”
            .
            What needs were served by the deaths of almost 300 000 people in the 2004 earthquake/tsunami?
            .
            “This is basically what pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia folks believe. But I don’t see them refraining from sex or having operations to impede their procreation capabilities. ”
            .
            This makes no sense. Pro choice (whether it’s about procreation or ending one’s own life) is about the autonomy of the individual person, not the “needs of the many”.
            .
            “If the basis for your belief is consistency, then I’m surprised you believe in anyone.”
            .
            Why would consistency prevent me from believing in anyone?
            .
            “The irony of using logic to disprove God is that, without God, logic wouldn’t exist either.”
            .
            I’ve specifically stated that God cannot be disproved, did you miss that part?
            .
            “Logic conforms to the attributes of God. It is immaterial, universal, abstract, and invariant. Though it itself cannot be observed, its effects can be. Logic is not a product of a material, by-chance existence. That is not logical.”
            .
            Logic conforms to reality – it’s a description of how reality works. You may believe that this reality was created by God – I don’t see any reason to.
            .
            “How do you know God’s heart? How do you know that the most loving thing He could do for a child suffering from cancer is to take him/her away from that misery to live with Him in paradise?”
            .
            How do you? If you’re conceding that you don’t know God’s mind, you’ve just shot down your own argument. If God’s motivations are inscrutible, then you have no way of knowing that God is omnibenevolent. The evidence (disease, famine, natural disasters etc) would fit nicely with an indifferent God or even a malevolent one.
            .
            “The hypocrisy of your claim is if God manipulated such things to your will, you still wouldn’t believe in Him. Why? First, because your standards of right and wrong are in constant flux. ”
            .
            I’m pointing out that the claims don’t fit what I can observe, how is that hypocritical? My standards of right and wrong are based on my experience, which is obviously an ongoing process. If you believe in objective moral standards, can you tell me what they are and how you determined that they are indeed objective rather than subjective?
            .
            “Second, (assuming free will still existed), you would blame Him for being a controlling puppet-master.”
            .
            Well, I don’t believe free will exists. I also don’t believe God exists so it wouldn’t make much sense to blame Him for anything.
            .
            “And lastly, your heart isn’t ready to believe. No matter how much evidence exists that their actions are dangerous, addicts cannot be helped or change until they first admit they have a problem.”
            .
            What exactly am I addicted to? Have you considered the possibility that you’re the one who’s addicted?
            .
            “Now who’s being incompatible? If you truly lived your life as if there’s no God, your only operating principles should be your survival and your pleasure. ”
            .
            If wanting to be happy is to have pleasure as my operating principle, what exactly is wrong with that? Do you think it’s possible to find happiness in family, friends, work, education, art, literature, music, travelling, hobbies? I do – and I see no reason to think any of these things require a God.
            .
            “I’m also curious why you even bothered to reply to an article on this website. Are you married? Do you have children? Do you work for someone? Do you have a degree? Do you produce art? These are inconsistent actions for a creature whose life is an accident and forgotten when it dies.”
            .
            You have this completely backwards. The fact that I know my life is finite means I put more value on it and try to make the most of the time I’ve got. As it happens, one of the things I find pleasurable is to have these kinds of discussions. You, on the other hand, believe that there’s an eternity waiting for you so if there’s anyone who needs to explain why they bother doing anything in this life it would be you.
            .
            “If we’re being rational… there are only 3 possibilities: the universe has always existed, the universe created itself, something or someone created the universe. Two of those don’t conform to our sciences or basic observation of existence. ”
            .
            What the sciences and our observations tell us is that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed. It’s such a universal observation that we call it a scientific law, “the law of conservation of mass energy”. This would seem to favor the first alternative, that the universe has always existed.
            .
            Some people seem to think that the Big Bang Theory contradicts this by showing that the universe had a starting point but this is a misunderstanding. The theory only states that the universe once existed in an extremely dense, extremely hot state (which we call a singularity) and that it has been expanding from this state ever since. The theory has nothing to say about where this singularity came from and it definitely does not say that it came from nothing. If you ask a cosmologist if the universe had a beginning or if it’s eternal, they will say that the jury is still out.
            .
            “Another consideration: if you are right and I am wrong, then I have gambled nothing. If I am right and you are wrong, you have gambled everything. That is not rational.”
            .
            Let me tell you what’s irrational: the notion that we can choose what we believe. We can’t. Everything about us, including our beliefs is a result of our genes and our environment. Neither you nor I have “gambled”, we simply believe what we’ve been conditioned to believe. This conditioning is obviously ongoing and discussions like these are part of this process, which is one reason I find them important.

          • LDS says:

            “Not too big on that sanctity of life, are you? ”

            You missed my point entirely. I do value life, especially human life. The examples I gave are not my beliefs. I don’t believe the world is overcrowded. I don’t support assisted suicide. I am not pro-abortion. My point was one cannot use death and suffering as an excuse not to believe in God yet justify them when it suits a personal agenda.

            If you think being pro-choice is simply about the autonomy of the individual, then you should question whether or not you believe human life is sacred. A baby is an individual too with his/her own unique DNA, brainwaves, and heartbeat. If you think it’s merciful to end the life of someone who is suffering, then my examples were spot-on.

            How can there be individual autonomy if there is no free will? To not believe in free will is a very dangerous position to take. It allows one to excuse any and all actions as a result of biology. We no longer take responsibility for our actions. To reiterate a previous point I made, this means that nothing we do can be considered right or wrong because those concepts become irrelevant and subjective based on our individual make-up. Furthermore, if free will and our beliefs are simply a product of our genetics, then where did the programming come from? And why don’t we all behave the same way (or have the same responses to similar stimuli)?

            “My standards of right and wrong are based on my experience, which is obviously an ongoing process. If you believe in objective moral standards, can you tell me what they are and how you determined that they are indeed objective rather than subjective?”

            Again, this is a dangerous position. If it is up to each of us to decide right and wrong for ourselves, the result is anarchy and chaos, which admittedly, would be consistent for a world not created by a loving Designer and Law-Giver. Objective moral standards align with God’s character. He is truthful, so we shouldn’t lie. He values life, so we shouldn’t murder. He is faithful, so we should practice fidelity. He allows us to steward His creation, so we shouldn’t steal. Etc.

            “Why would consistency prevent me from believing in anyone?”

            The whole theme of my reply was that you using “inconsistency,” “incoherency,” and “incompatibility” as excuses for not believing in God is itself inconsistent. Human beings aren’t consistent. Few people actually live according to their worldviews. Everyone is a hypocrite at some point in their lives. None of these are valid excuses for disbelief, and on the contrary, they demonstrate free will. For example, you cannot tell me that you find no compelling evidence for you to believe in God and at the same time tell me that your beliefs are not your choice. That is contradictory. If you have no say-so over your beliefs, then no amount of evidence can sway you to change your mind about anything. So your reason for not believing is moot according to your own worldview.

            “Logic conforms to reality – it’s a description of how reality works. You may believe that this reality was created by God – I don’t see any reason to.”

            Again, you missed the point. Logic may conform to reality, but you have no explanation for how we are aware of it or why it exists. Later in your reply, you reduced creation to matter and energy. Ok. Which of those does logic fit into? Or information? Or the laws of nature? Our Emotions? Inspiration? Imagination? Which of our five senses is aware of these things?

            My point is that we know things exist that don’t conform to a natural, material existence. We experience them every day. What we can observe is not the totality of existence. Technically, such things would be called “supernatural,” as they exist outside of the natural realm. That which is supernatural is not subject to the laws of nature. Among other things, this is why we get inspired and why we can envision new inventions and create art, instead of only replicating that which we experience with our senses.

            A supernatural Creator could both create and destroy matter and energy. He is not bound by the laws of nature; He wrote them. Chaotic, by-chance existence cannot produce order or laws or information. Yet we know all of these exist, and we know from experience that all of them require an intelligence to create them.

            In your scenario with disasters and diseases, you forget some important things. God does not cause these things; man’s disobedience did. We take it for granted that disasters, disease, and death are natural. They are not. They are enemies of creation. They are not God’s punishment but a byproduct of imperfection infecting perfection. He promised Adam and Eve that if they ate of the one thing He told them not to that they would die. Originally, they were created to be immortal.

            The sad irony is atheists actually worship death. Without it, their worldview cannot exist. In their narrative, death is the hero. According to them, humans are on this planet because of millions of years of death, extinction, disease, carnivory, and suffering. By evolutionary estimation, 99.9% of all the species that have walked, swam, or flown on Earth are now extinct.

            Evolution supposedly progresses by the death of the less fit and the reproduction of the fittest. So, if this the case, why should we help the old, sick, infirm, and disabled? Shouldn’t they be eliminated as less fit? After all, in the world of evolution the strong survive, and too bad for you if you’re born weak or less fit. How can death, disease, suffering, cancer, disasters, and disabilities really be “bad”? In nature, the weak and ill die off and the strong survive, passing on their good genes to the next generation–this is how evolution supposedly progresses. Death and weakness from disease and mutations is a must for “bad” genes to die out. To claim a standard for good and bad, you have to borrow from a different worldview–the biblical one–to define what good and bad even are.

            There is a difference between killing and murder. A disaster or disease kills; it does not murder. Only an intelligence with free will can murder. If you don’t believe in God because He allows nature to take its course and gives us the knowledge, desire, and opportunity to prevent such things or render aid in their wake, then that is an active choice you are making, not a by-product of your genes. You also deny God’s sovereignty and His claim that everything works together for His glory and our good. Just because we can’t see that in the here-and-now doesn’t mean it won’t all work out in the end. Right now, we only see through a glass darkly, but eventually, we will know the big picture.

            If the story of our existence ended with God creating, setting things in motion, and backing off to just observe, then my worldview would be as bleak as yours. But thankfully, God entered into human history, providing the ultimate solution for death and suffering through His Son, Jesus the Christ. He wants a personal relationship with His creation, just as He has from the beginning. I mentioned the addict in my last response not as an accusation that you are one but as a metaphor for someone who refuses to believe regardless of the evidence all around him. Until you open your heart to the Lord’s calling and actively seek Him out, you will not know the truth. He is faithful to reveal Himself to those who want to know Him. Shalom.

            “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:54–57)

          • Andy Ryan says:

            ““The irony of using logic to disprove God is that, without God, logic wouldn’t exist either.”
            .
            I might as well say that the irony of using logic to prove a God exists is that a God existing would stop logic existing. It would be an equally unsupported statement.
            .
            “It is immaterial, universal, abstract, and invariant.”
            .
            So you can’t make its existence dependent on a God. Likewise, why would a God existing mean free will is more likely? Why would it make objective morality more likely?
            .
            “If you truly lived your life as if there’s no God, your only operating principles should be your survival and your pleasure.”
            .
            Where are you getting this ‘should’ from? If you want to say that that would be YOUR only operating principles then go ahead. Say that you, LDS, are only concerned for your own survival and pleasure, and the only thing that stops you operating on that principle is that you’re scared of the consequences of acting in that way because you think a God exists.
            .
            “Evolution supposedly progresses by the death of the less fit and the reproduction of the fittest. So, if this the case, why should we help the old, sick, infirm, and disabled?”
            .
            What a non sequitur. You’re confusing something that has been scientifically observed with moral imperatives. Soil erosion occurs, so that means we shouldn’t build flood defences. The law of gravity says things fall to the earth, so that means we shouldn’t pick things off the floor. See how nonsensical that is?
            .
            “My point was one cannot use death and suffering as an excuse not to believe in God yet justify them when it suits a personal agenda.”
            .
            We can point out that belief in a God that is all powerful and wants to prevent suffering is not supported by the world we observe. What’s that got to do with anything else?
            .
            “you using “inconsistency,” “incoherency,” and “incompatibility” as excuses for not believing in God is itself inconsistent. Human beings aren’t consistent.”
            .
            Sorry, but your arguments are terrible. You’re saying that we can’t point out that inconsistency in a God contradicts claims that the God is consistent. And the reason we can’t do this is because humans are also inconsistent? It’s not our claim that humans are inconsistent. That’s like me saying “Cats cannot be reptiles because they are warm-blooded and don’t lay eggs” and you replying “You’re wrong, because humans are also warm-blooded and don’t lay eggs”. That’s irrelevant to the argument.
            .
            “If you don’t believe in God … then that is an active choice you are making”
            .
            Nope, one doesn’t choose what one believes. Try believing you have three legs. Give it a go, see how far you get.
            .
            “And why don’t we all behave the same way”
            .
            Why would we? People have different life experiences, different upbringings, varying understandings of different situations and access to different facts. Not to mention differing brains, differing genetics, differing tastes, likes and dislikes etc. Your reasoning is quite bizarre. If you’re wondering what the advantage is in a varied gene pool in a population, get yourself a beginners guide to biology. Here’s a hint: A population of genetic clones is very susceptible to being wiped out be a single disease or virus or predator.

          • KR says:

            Turns out my response was too long to post in one go, so I’ve divided it in two. Here’s part one:
            .
            “You missed my point entirely. I do value life, especially human life. The examples I gave are not my beliefs. I don’t believe the world is overcrowded. I don’t support assisted suicide. I am not pro-abortion. My point was one cannot use death and suffering as an excuse not to believe in God yet justify them when it suits a personal agenda”
            .
            Well, if you disagree with your own counter-argument, I guess my argument stands: a perfect, all-loving and all-powerful God is incompatible with the kind of suffering we see.
            .
            “If you think being pro-choice is simply about the autonomy of the individual, then you should question whether or not you believe human life is sacred. A baby is an individual too with his/her own unique DNA, brainwaves, and heartbeat. If you think it’s merciful to end the life of someone who is suffering, then my examples were spot-on.”
            .
            We’re apparently operating with different definitions of “individual”. I would say that it involves something more than DNA, brainwaves and a heartbeat. A humble cardiomyocyte in a petri dish has two of those attributes. Brainwaves in a fetus doesn’t signify that it’s thinking, feeling or experiencing anything – it simply means that it’s developing the capacity to do these things. It has the potential of becoming an individual. As for mercy in ending a life, you’re missing the rather significant difference between an individual making the decision to end their own life and someone else making the decision for them.
            .
            “How can there be individual autonomy if there is no free will? To not believe in free will is a very dangerous position to take. It allows one to excuse any and all actions as a result of biology. We no longer take responsibility for our actions.”
            .
            Just because we have no free will doesn’t mean we don’t have physical and emotional responses like pain, fear and distress. Being treated as if you’re not an individual tends to cause such negative responses. We’re clearly wired to see ourselves as individuals so if we care about human well-being, it seems to follow that we should respect each others integrity as individuals.
            .
            To dismiss the idea that we have no free will because it’s dangerous is an argument from consequences fallacy. The consequences of an idea says nothing about its validity. The claim that a lack of free will means that any action is excused is a fundamental misunderstanding. We don’t need the concept of responsibility to regulate our behaviour. All we need is a system of agreeing on what behaviour we’re willing to accept and on what to do with people who behave in an unacceptable way. As it happens we have such a system: democratic legislation.
            .
            “To reiterate a previous point I made, this means that nothing we do can be considered right or wrong because those concepts become irrelevant and subjective based on our individual make-up.”
            .
            What you’re missing is the obvious reality that our actions have consequences. If your concepts of right and wrong are radically different from everyone around you, you will quickly become aware of those consequences.
            .
            “Furthermore, if free will and our beliefs are simply a product of our genetics, then where did the programming come from? And why don’t we all behave the same way (or have the same responses to similar stimuli)?”
            .
            You’re not paying attention. I stated that our beliefs are the result of our genes and our environment. This would include our family background, cultural background, education etc – i.e. the sum total of our life experiences. Since we’ve obviously not all lived the same life, there is zero reason to expect that the would all behave the same way.
            .
            “Again, this is a dangerous position. If it is up to each of us to decide right and wrong for ourselves, the result is anarchy and chaos, which admittedly, would be consistent for a world not created by a loving Designer and Law-Giver.”
            .
            This has already been addressed. Actions have consequences which means our individual morality has to be applicable to a society where there are other people who may be affected by our actions. The society you live in is regulated by laws that are subject to a completely subjective political process. Has it lead to anarchy and chaos? If you don’t like democracy, what would you replace it with? If you do like democracy, then your position is inconsistent since you’re advocating a subjective system for making moral rules.
            .
            “Objective moral standards align with God’s character. He is truthful, so we shouldn’t lie. He values life, so we shouldn’t murder. He is faithful, so we should practice fidelity. He allows us to steward His creation, so we shouldn’t steal. Etc.”
            .
            As I’ve already stated: if these moral standards depend on God, they are by definition subjective. This is quite apart from the obvious inconsistencies, like a God who supposedly values life and then drowns an entire planet.
            .
            “”The whole theme of my reply was that you using “inconsistency,” “incoherency,” and “incompatibility” as excuses for not believing in God is itself inconsistent. Human beings aren’t consistent. Few people actually live according to their worldviews. Everyone is a hypocrite at some point in their lives.”
            .
            You seem to be comparing belief in the existence of a deity with acceptance of what people tell me, which makes very little sense. I tend to accept claims that are consistent with my empirical experience but I won’t really sweat it if these claims are about banal things that are of no real significance. I’m aware that people are inconsistent and this will of course go into my assessment.
            .
            “None of these are valid excuses for disbelief, and on the contrary, they demonstrate free will. ”
            .
            Of course inconsistencies are valid reasons for disbelief. Ask any experienced detective what he’s looking for when evaluating the veracity of a witness statement. I guarantee that inconsistencies will be right at the top of the list. As for free will (and I’m talking about true free will, the kind that supposedly makes us morally responsible), it shows every sign of being logically incoherent, which means it most likely does not exist.
            .
            “For example, you cannot tell me that you find no compelling evidence for you to believe in God and at the same time tell me that your beliefs are not your choice. That is contradictory. If you have no say-so over your beliefs, then no amount of evidence can sway you to change your mind about anything. So your reason for not believing is moot according to your own worldview.”
            .
            This is a rather obvious non sequitur fallacy. The fact that I didn’t choose my beliefs in no way means that those beliefs cannot change as I’m confonted with new evidence and arguments. It simply means that I cannot change my beliefs by an act of will. If you disagree with this, can you explain the phenomenon of doubt to me? If beliefs are just a matter of making a decision, how can doubt exist? If we can, at any time, decide what to believe, why would we even have a word for doubt?
            .
            Also, could you decide to stop believing in God? Do you not see the absurd consequences if our beliefs were under the control of our will? It would mean that they wouldn’t be based on anything but an arbitrary decision that could be reversed at any moment. If we could decide to believe anything at any time, our beliefs would be completely separated from reality.

          • KR says:

            Part two:
            .
            “Again, you missed the point. Logic may conform to reality, but you have no explanation for how we are aware of it or why it exists. Later in your reply, you reduced creation to matter and energy. Ok. Which of those does logic fit into? Or information? Or the laws of nature? Our Emotions? Inspiration? Imagination? Which of our five senses is aware of these things?”
            .
            How we are aware of logic? Through our empirical observations of reality. Why logic exists? That’s like asking why maps exist. We need logic to navigate reality the same way we need maps to navigate the world. Logic is a concept. It seems to require a brain to come up with it, so I would say that it is matter. Information can have the form of both energy and matter. The laws of nature is another concept, it requires brains that can make observations and systematize them. Emotions are brain states – clearly matter. Inspiration and imagination are more concepts that require brains (=matter).
            .
            “My point is that we know things exist that don’t conform to a natural, material existence. We experience them every day. ”
            .
            I don’t. Can you give an example?
            .
            “Among other things, this is why we get inspired and why we can envision new inventions and create art, instead of only replicating that which we experience with our senses.”
            .
            Can you give an example of an invention or a piece of art that wasn’t the result of any empirical experience?
            .
            ” Chaotic, by-chance existence cannot produce order or laws or information. Yet we know all of these exist, and we know from experience that all of them require an intelligence to create them.”
            .
            No, we don’t know that. I would go so far as to say that there’s no reason to believe an intelligence was required. What we experience as order is a reflection of the fundamental properties of matter and energy. What you’re suggesting is that if there was no intelligence involved, we should expect these properties to be chaotic and random. Why is that? What do you base this assumption on?
            .
            “In your scenario with disasters and diseases, you forget some important things. God does not cause these things; man’s disobedience did.”
            .
            If God created everything, then surely He caused everything? If God is omniscient, then surely He knew exactly what was going to happen right from the start? If you’re going to pull the free will card, I will be asking you to demonstrate that free will exists.
            .
            “The sad irony is atheists actually worship death. Without it, their worldview cannot exist.”
            .
            Atheism is not a worldview. My worldview can broadly be described as empiricism. My atheism is a consequence of that worldview. As an empiricist, I base my beliefs on what can be verified empirically. I don’t worship death (what an odd idea), I accept it as part of reality.
            .
            “Evolution supposedly progresses by the death of the less fit and the reproduction of the fittest. So, if this the case, why should we help the old, sick, infirm, and disabled? ”
            .
            This is a complete misunderstandning. The theory of evolution – like all scientific theories – is descriptive, not prescriptive. It offers an explanatory model for how life develops over time, it doesn’t tell us anything about how we should behave. One aspect of our evolution is that it has provided us with a sense of compassion. This had clear evolutionary advantages as it provided social cohesion and made it easier for us to co-operate for protection and gathering food. This compassion lives on in us and is the main reason we are able to build societies that don’t descend into the anarchy and chaos you alluded to.
            .
            “To claim a standard for good and bad, you have to borrow from a different worldview–the biblical one–to define what good and bad even are.”
            .
            Not at all. Our standard for good and bad is a matter of constant debate and will change over time. This is evident to any student of history.
            .
            “There is a difference between killing and murder. A disaster or disease kills; it does not murder. Only an intelligence with free will can murder.”
            .
            Murder is a term we’ve invented to describe a behaviour we find unacceptable. Free will has nothing to do with it.
            .
            ” If you don’t believe in God because He allows nature to take its course and gives us the knowledge, desire, and opportunity to prevent such things or render aid in their wake, then that is an active choice you are making, not a by-product of your genes.”
            .
            I really don’t see how you can let God off the hook for natural disasters if nature is His ceation. I’m a great believer in parsimony. If the world shows no sign of being controlled by an omnipotent and omnibenevolent deity, it seems far more parsimonious to assume that there is no such deity controlling the world than to assume that there is but that this deity chooses to make it look like there isn’t.
            .
            “Right now, we only see through a glass darkly, but eventually, we will know the big picture.”
            .
            So why believe when we don’t have the big picture? Isn’t it more reasonable to acknowledge that we don’t have the big picture and suspend belief until we do?
            .
            ” But thankfully, God entered into human history, providing the ultimate solution for death and suffering through His Son, Jesus the Christ.”
            .
            Personally, I find the whole idea of vicarious redemption rather distasteful. It looks too much like sacrificial superstition. There’s a reason our justice system doesn’t let people take someone else’s punishment. It kind of defeats the purpose.
            .
            “He wants a personal relationship with His creation, just as He has from the beginning.”
            .
            That would be another claim that doesn’t hold up to my empirical experience. I’ve never experienced any attempts from God to start such a relationship. I know that the usual counter is that I’m the one who’s supposed to do the connecting but why? Why doesn’t God take that first step – especially considering what He supposedly has in store for me if we don’t make this connection? Seems kind of cruel, doesn’t it? God’s hiddenness is just as much of an impediment to belief as the problem of evil.
            .
            “I mentioned the addict in my last response not as an accusation that you are one but as a metaphor for someone who refuses to believe regardless of the evidence all around him. Until you open your heart to the Lord’s calling and actively seek Him out, you will not know the truth. He is faithful to reveal Himself to those who want to know Him. Shalom.”
            .
            I don’t refuse to believe. What I refuse to do is believe without good reason. I just haven’t found any such good reason so far.

          • LDS says:

            In response to ANDY RYAN…

            “I might as well say that the irony of using logic to prove a God exists is that a God existing would stop logic existing. It would be an equally unsupported statement.”

            How does God existing prevent logic from existing? That’s like saying because an architect exists, buildings can’t exist. All of the characteristics of logic–immaterial, universal, abstract, and invariant–reflect God’s characteristics. Conversely, it does not conform to any of the criteria proposed by an atheistic existence. In that worldview, the only building blocks are matter, time, and energy. It cannot account for the immaterial, including important things like the laws of nature and information (our DNA). Evolution also suggests that change is the only constant, but logic is universal; it doesn’t change over time and applies the same way everywhere. God is immaterial; He is constant and consistent. He is knowable. The two—God and logic—are perfectly compatible.

            “Likewise, why would a God existing mean free will is more likely? Why would it make objective morality more likely?”

            Because the God of the Bible is a loving being who desires a relationship with His creation. He is not an abstract idea or automaton. For that relationship to have any meaning, free will is an absolute. We must be able to reject or disobey Him otherwise love (and practically every other action and emotion) is impotent. Without a source of perfection, we cannot objectively measure imperfection. All comparisons need an opposite or control group otherwise no rational conclusions can be made. God is perfect. He made everything. Therefore, He gets to set the standards for His creation. His desire is for us to behave like Him and in ways that keep us safe and healthy. Without Him, we cannot call anything good or bad.

            “Say that you, LDS, are only concerned for your own survival and pleasure, and the only thing that stops you operating on that principle is that you’re scared of the consequences of acting in that way because you think a God exists.”

            In some ways, you’re completely correct. Our human natures, which have been infected by sin, seek our own survival and pleasure. By acting in ways contrary to those desires, I do not reflect a fear of God, but respect for Him. It’s no different than wanting to please a parent, employer, or spouse. Also, as I mature in His Word, I understand that His commandments are loving, not cruel or dictatorial. Ironically, they exist so that I CAN get the most pleasure out of life, including being safe and healthy.

            I could just as easily say that you’re scared of the consequences of acting in a way that only serves your survival and pleasure because you’re scared of man’s laws. Were it not for society’s current standards of right and wrong, if there were no laws or consequences for your actions, what would you be doing?

            “What a non sequitur. You’re confusing something that has been scientifically observed with moral imperatives. Soil erosion occurs, so that means we shouldn’t build flood defences.”

            Scientific observation does nothing but reveal evidence. That evidence doesn’t come with a list of instructions or tell us anything about why it exists. That is up to us to interpret, which is where the problems come in. Every one of us has a worldview through which we filter our interpretations of events and evidence. Just because soil erosion occurs doesn’t mean we must build dams, dikes, or anything else. Choosing to do so means you value your own survival or the survival of others.

            “Sorry, but your arguments are terrible. You’re saying that we can’t point out that inconsistency in a God contradicts claims that the God is consistent. And the reason we can’t do this is because humans are also inconsistent.”

            You haven’t successfully identified an inconsistency with God. You’ve applied your inconsistent ideas of morality to a being you say doesn’t exist, then use that as proof for His non-existence. That’s circular reasoning and convoluted logic.

            “Nope, one doesn’t choose what one believes.”

            That statement runs counter to the whole of human experience. But if you “believe” this, then I hope you also only support two genders because there are a lot of people who believe they are the wrong one or more than one.

            “People have different life experiences, different upbringings, varying understandings of different situations and access to different facts. Not to mention differing brains, differing genetics, differing tastes, likes and dislikes etc. A population of genetic clones is very susceptible to being wiped out be a single disease or virus or predator.”

            Where did all of this variety (in just one species, mind you) come from? What decided that is was needed to keep us safe from diseases, viruses, and predators? Why not just keep the dangers from existing? Why did nature create excess? If we would be susceptible to extinction, doesn’t that mean we were chosen by evolution to die? Doesn’t that mean the disease, virus, or predator is the fittest?

            The processes you described require intelligence and information. In the full scope of our understanding and experiences, we have NEVER seen a spontaneous generation of life or information without intelligence and a first cause. Nature cannot impart anything to us. There is no mechanism or equation for that to happen. Nature cannot think or feel or decide, and if it’s our creator, then logically, we shouldn’t be able to do those things either.

            What caused the first water-based organism to decide to leave that environment for land? How did it breathe? What did it eat? How many died before the change took place? Isn’t that kind of change supposed to happen over millions of years? How did it find a mate? How did they reproduce in this new environment?

            We recognize order, complexity, and design in our existence. With everything else in our life, we attribute such things to a person’s skills. But with something as intricate as the universe, we call it chance?

            To quote you, “Your reasoning is quite bizarre.” Evolution cannot explain our existence. There is ample evidence that a Creator does exist. Refusing to see it doesn’t mean He isn’t there.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “where did this variety come from?”
            .
            LDS, get yourself a decent biology book. You’ll find the answers there. But didn’t they teach you this stuff in school?
            .
            Again, if logic is eternal and unchanging then it doesn’t need explanation or creator.
            .
            “Evolution suggests that…”
            .
            No it doesn’t. It’s just a biological process.

          • LDS says:

            ANDY…

            “LDS, get yourself a decent biology book. You’ll find the answers there. But didn’t they teach you this stuff in school?”

            A biology book doesn’t answer the question “why.” It attempts to explain how. From what we know of nature by direct observation, it takes the simplest course. It isn’t logical for nature to create diseases, viruses, and predators just to give us defenses for such things. It isn’t logical for it to create variety; that’s messy. Conformity would have been simpler. As I said previously, our interpretations of evidence are based on our individual worldviews. I don’t trust the conclusions of many biology books because I believe their authors have incorrect starting points.

            “Again, if logic is eternal and unchanging then it doesn’t need explanation or creator.”

            I didn’t say logic was eternal. I said it couldn’t exist without a creator. The fact that it’s unchanging makes it inconceivable that nature created it since all things in nature supposedly change.

            “No it doesn’t. It’s just a biological process.”

            You are correct. Evolution doesn’t suggest anything, just as evidence and facts don’t say anything. All of these require an interpreter. I should have said that evolutionists suggest that change is the only constant (which is a contradiction, like saying, “There are no absolute truths”).

            As far as evolution being a biological process, that’s ok to say, but it requires so much more than that. How did it begin? Where did the building blocks come from? What governs the information that regulates change?

            Evolution has too many meanings so we need to know that we’re talking about the same thing. If by evolution you mean adaptation within a species, then I agree with you. That is something we can observe, repeat, and test. It qualifies as science. But all other definitions of the word aren’t science. They have never been observed and can’t be tested or repeated.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “that has not been observed…”
            .
            LDS, again, get yourself a decent biology book. Every time you make assertions about evolution you just say stuff that isn’t true. I’m not going to debunk every one. Educate yourself!

  2. jcb says:

    Even though I think I agree with all of KR’s points above, here is my short summary:

    Atheists don’t (usually) deny the existence of an unmoved mover: they deny specific, detailed “gods”.
    “god” in the usual sense is not just an unmoved mover.
    Thus proving an unmoved mover is not to prove god.
    It has not been proven that there is an unmoved mover
    An unmoved mover is not thereby probably volitional/willful/deliberate/intelligent

    For the rest of you who want to see the long version of my notes, here they are:

    Many atheists also believe in evolution (T)
    That we see complexity in our world doesn’t prove there is a supernatural intelligent designer (T)
    There is only one supernatural designer that people believe in, such as God! (F)
    If Evolution is true, that proves that atheism is true (F)
    If Evolution is true, then atheism is false (F)
    Evolution doesn’t disprove the resurrection of Jesus (T, science does show it be improbable though)
    Evolution, simply, means change over time. (T)
    Change happens (T)
    It is logically impossible for there to be a past infinity (F)
    It is impossible for there to not be an unmoved mover (F)
    If there were never any change, then right now would not exist (unless it always existed unchanged) (T)
    Can one jump “out of” an infinitely tall pit? (This question is nonsense: but one cannot jump beyond infinity, if infinity is not a particular point in space.)
    To jump from A to B, one must be at point A, then jump to B (T)
    The present moment exists (T)
    Things change over time (T)
    Something useful follows from this (F)
    No person we know of has walked an infinite # of steps (T)
    If you walked back in time, you could never “reach” infinity, since it keeps going (T)
    It is logically impossible to reach a goal that you necessarily can’t reach (T)
    Tracing back one’s steps 1 step is possible (T)
    Tracing back one’s steps 1000 steps is possible (T)
    Tracing back one’s steps 100000000 steps is possible (T)
    Tracking back one’s steps 10000000 steps is impossible(F)
    Tracking back one’s steps 10000000 steps in improbable (T)
    You can’t travel to X. Thus X doesn’t exist (F)
    If a first change occurred, then it follow that the thing that caused it was not itself caused (b/c then that thing would be the first change). (T)
    We know a first change (caused by something else, an unmoved mover) exists (F)
    If there were a first mover, it would have to have a will that decides to move something (F)
    Since I don’t know of anything else that could cause a first change, it is probably a volitional agent (F)
    It is possible that there is a first mover, and that it is a volitional agent (T)
    It is probable that there is a first mover and that it is a volitional agent (F)

    1- Things change over time (evolution). (T)
    2- A changing state of affairs cannot be past infinite. (F)
    3- Therefore, a first change resulted from an unchanging state of affairs. (F)
    4- Only a volitional agent can cause a change from an unchanging state of affairs. (F)
    5- Volitional agents are personal. (True by definition)
    6- Therefore, this personal agent existed in an unchanging state of affairs. (F)
    7- Anything existing in an unchanging state of affairs never began to exist and is eternal with no beginning. (“anything that exists with no beginning, never began to exist” (T)
    (anything that never began to exist is eternal (F)

    8- Therefore, the cause of the first change (and ultimately the change of affairs in which we find ourselves) is a personal agent who is eternal with no beginning and was in a changeless state of affairs logically prior to causing the first change. (F)

    An unmoved mover is the same thing as the Christian God (F)
    Atheism is a denial of an unmoved mover (F)
    If there is an unmoved mover, then atheism is false (F)
    If there is an unmoved mover, then an unmoved mover exists (T)
    If there is an unmoved mover, then ‘god’ in the usual sense exists (F)

    Be reasonable first, then try to stay reasonable!

    Reply
  3. toby says:

    This post has a lot of problems, but the one glaring one–aside from Tim trying to make his mark as an apologist by somehow bring infinity into evolution???–is the common error made by apologists regarding infinities. They only think of them linearly. They imagine a point, then they imagine two arrows going in opposite directions from that point. What they fail to consider–or willfully ignore–is shape. Draw a circle and put a point on it. There are infinitely many points around that two dimensional circle, but eventually that path leads to that point. To expand that further you can imagine a 3d sphere and beyond that a 3d torus and beyond that an infinity of odd combinations of shapes. It’s up to the theist to prove that infinities cannot be traversed. To me it seems that in that infinity of points there is chance or probability that allows certain points to be avoided and skipped.

    Reply
  4. Andy Ryan says:

    Isn’t God supposed to have existed into an infinite past? Either that, or he started existing at some point. Just saying he existed in a time before time doesn’t really address the issue. I don’t see how Tim positing a God avoids the problems he imagines there are about infinity.
    The ‘you’d never get to now’ argument makes no sense to me – if you’d never get to ‘now’, where WOULD you get to? You’d get SOMEWHERE, if not there, why not here?

    Reply
    • CS Brownwell says:

      A self-existent God does not need a beginning. I do not agree with all the analysis in the article. His argument works better for explaining the existence of the universe, not in reference to evolution. But, his point that infinity is impossible is valid. So there must have been a first cause. That first cause must be eternal, immaterial, all powerful, intelligent, and personal. It is self-evident those attributes are necessary in a first cause. The universe exists. It had a beginning. The beginning must have been caused in the finite past. All time, space, and matter began at the beginning of the universe. In a state of unchanging, uneventful stasis of nothing only a personal agent could cause anything. Those self-evident attributes I mentioned look a lot like the God of Christian Scripture.

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        And as I pointed out already, positing an eternal God has exactly the ‘infinity’ problem that you and Tim complain of. If he’s eternal then he exists into an eternal past. Same problem. Saying ‘that’s different, time didn’t exist then’ doesn’t help you. In what sense was he in a ‘timeless state’ if he still had the ability to create and change things? How does one even make a decision to create a universe if one is in a timeless state?

        Reply
        • CS Brownwell says:

          Your point only makes sense if you are thinking of a God that began to exist in time and space. That kind of God is not the kind Christians are talking about. The Christian God is not bound by time. I do not see a problem of an all-powerful, personal God deciding to create time, matter, and space from nothing.

          Reply
          • jcb says:

            “I do not see a problem of an all-powerful, personal God deciding to create time, matter, and space from nothing.”
            If you mean, “if X is all powerful, then it could create matter from nothing”, yes I see no problem with that. However, the problem is that this is just a conditional statement, and the antecedent is not known to be true. We know of no all powerful being. Yes, if magically you get to assume that’s true, then it won’t be hard to conclude other things that that being can do, which is to say all of them that are not impossible. But you don’t get to assume there is an all powerful god, and no evidence we know of makes this probable. (and no, there is no being we know of that exists and is “not bound by time”).

      • KR says:

        Ah, I didn’t see this when I responded to your other post.
        .
        ” But, his point that infinity is impossible is valid.”
        .
        Let’s take Tim’s thought experiment with the staircase that stretches downwards into infinity. It seems to me that however far down you place the man, he will eventually reach my porch by simply taking one step at a time. If you disagree, what exactly would stop him (assuming he has an infinite amount of time at his disposal)?

        Reply
      • jcb says:

        As pointed out:
        1. an infinite regress is possible
        2. positing an unmoved mover who always existed is to posit an infinite regress as well
        3. an unmoved mover is not probable, but possible.
        4. an unmoved mover is not thereby probably intelligent, nor eternal, nor personal.
        5. Time didn’t begin at the beginning of the universe, and if something “created”/”began” our universe, that thing did it Before our universe began, i.e., time exists even before our universe began.
        6. What we do know exists doesn’t make it probable that the God of Christian Scripture/a perfect being probably exists.

        Reply
  5. Mike says:

    The primary problem I see with this article is that he’s trying to play in the atheists playground. Evolution is NOT true. And there is no such thing as an atheist.
    Just on the fossil record alone evolution stands zero chance of being factual. The (poor) “theory” of evolution rests on the mutation from species to species. In all of recorded history (let’s round that to a mere 10,000 years) there has been a grand total of ZERO recorded incidences of any mutation within any species that has created a new and functioning organ or system of organs. Zero. Not even one. Yet there are many thousands of mutations. Over the course of all recorded history, even millions of mutations that existed.. without ONE that created a new functioning organ or system of organs.
    So then we move to the evolutionist’s time line of “billions” of years… we can see that in the recent past 10,000 there is a ratio of countless mutations to ZERO (that created a new and functioning organ or system of organs). That would mean that for every ONE successful mutation in the fossil record (if there was one) that first sprouted an eyeball or a spleen or a lung (for example) there would by necessity be many many millions of failed mutations also in the fossil record. Yet each fossil dug up, is a species full and complete within itself. The fossil record does not contain failed mutations at all. Let alone millions of them.

    And that’s only one of several things wherein evolution simply can not be.

    And as far as “atheism”… there’s no such thing as an atheist. Those who go by that tittle are in fact but militant agnostics… A position of absurdity. Why? Agnosticism is simply a position of “not knowing”. They say, “maybe there is a God, maybe there isn’t, I don’t know”. No problem there.
    By contrast, the atheists claims… I believe “there IS NO GOD”. By simple definition alone, this can not be known. Atheists say prove there is a God. We in turn can say prove there isn’t. They cannot prove there is no God, therefore their position can be “believed” but can not be “known” and as such their position stands hand- in- hand with the agnostic as a position of simply “I don’t know” but yet they are much more forceful and even proselytize those beliefs. A militant and forceful pushing of something that… They don’t know.

    Reply
    • KR says:

      “In all of recorded history (let’s round that to a mere 10,000 years) there has been a grand total of ZERO recorded incidences of any mutation within any species that has created a new and functioning organ or system of organs.”
      .
      Since the theory of evolution doesn’t suggest that new and functioning organs are formed through single mutations, this is hardly a point against the theory. What the evidence suggests is that the formation of organ systems doesn’t happen over a timespan of thousands of years but rather millions of years.
      .
      “So then we move to the evolutionist’s time line of “billions” of years… we can see that in the recent past 10,000 there is a ratio of countless mutations to ZERO (that created a new and functioning organ or system of organs).”
      .
      See above. Since evolutionary theory doesn’t suggest that new organs form as the result of single mutations over a few thousand years, you’re beating on a straw man.
      .
      “Yet each fossil dug up, is a species full and complete within itself. The fossil record does not contain failed mutations at all. Let alone millions of them..”
      .
      Evolution doesn’t have any goal, so the term “failed mutation” makes little sense. The only measure of success in evolutionary terms is survival and procreation. In this sense, a “failed mutation” would be one that was either directly lethal or somehow prevented the individual organism from having offspring. There could never be a species that is not “full and complete within itself” because “incomplete” individuals wouldn’t leave offspring, making them irrelevant to the evolutionary process.
      .
      Since fossilization requires very particular and rather rare circumstances, there would be little reason to expect to find single individuals that had no offspring in the fossil record. Moreover, I don’t see how we would be able to tell from the fossil that the individual had no offspring. The fact that we don’t see any “failed mutations” in the fossil record is therefore exactly what we would expect.
      .
      If you want to criticize the theory of evolution, go right ahead – evolutionary biologists critique each other’s work all the time. However, if you want to be considered a relevant contributor in discussions about evolutionary theory, you need to first show that you’ve made the effort of trying to understand what the theory actually says. It’s obvious to me that your criticisms are not about the actual theory but about your fundamental misconceptions of it.
      .
      “And as far as “atheism”… there’s no such thing as an atheist. Those who go by that tittle are in fact but militant agnostics… A position of absurdity. Why? Agnosticism is simply a position of “not knowing”. They say, “maybe there is a God, maybe there isn’t, I don’t know”. No problem there.
      By contrast, the atheists claims… I believe “there IS NO GOD”. By simple definition alone, this can not be known. ”
      .
      I don’t believe in any god(s). This makes me an atheist. I don’t, however, claim to know that no god(s) exist. This makes me an agnostic. Do you see how the terms “atheist” and “agnostic” are not mutually exclusive? One (atheist) deals with belief, the other (agnostic) deals with knowledge – two different concepts.
      .
      “Atheists say prove there is a God. We in turn can say prove there isn’t.”
      .
      If you make the claim that God exists, you have a burden of proof. If I were to claim that God does not exist, I would also have a burden of proof. Since I see no way of knowing that God doesn’t exist, I don’t make that claim – I simply see no reason to believe in any god(s). To ask me to accept your claim unless I can prove it to be false would be a logical fallacy called “argument from ignorance”.

      Reply
  6. Nelson Hernandez says:

    What is this? The biological Kalam? Lol. This is nonsense and it cracks me up to see people trying to debunk this nonsense. You’re looking too deep people.

    Tim, you’re whole essay is nonsense. There is no infinite regress for evolution. Your argument is a moot, stupid point.

    An Argument from Change Over Time

    We can summarize this entire argument in a step-by-step syllogism:

    1- Things change over time (evolution).

    2- A changing state of affairs cannot be past infinite.

    3- Therefore, a first change resulted from an unchanging state of affairs.

    4- Only a volitional agent can cause a change from an unchanging state of affairs.

    2 and 4 are problematic.

    2. How do you know infinite regress is not possible. Although this in no way applies to evolution, it’s still a faulty premise. But since it’s not applicable to evolution it’s also a red herring.

    4. Of course it did. But again, this is a red herring. You are discussing Abiogenesis here. The unchanging state of affairs is life from non life. Evolution assumes life exists. So this whole “can’t have infinite regress” is stupid when applying to evolution. Nothing in evolution describes what you are trying to espouse.

    Sorry. Epic fail. Have a good day!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *