Joe again tries to convince everyone that evolution and God's truth are incompatible


(Joe Palcsak) #1

Hi Evan…

To be fair, I read only your OP and none of the comments, but I felt it very important to reach out to you.
I have gone through the very same thing that you are going through. Indeed, in (Christian) college, I was taught Darwinian evolution and methodologial naturalism, resulting in the logical conclusion that God does not exist. I spent the first 30 years of my adult life as an atheist for this very reason.

The good news is, that there are many strong evidences for God’s existence. I am happy to review as many of them with you as you would like, but for now I would like to introduce you to the (very big) problem with theistic evolution:

Let me first ease you mind with a couple disclaimers: I am not young earth and I do not claim that there has been no evolution in the unfolding of life. That said, you and I are by no means alone. There are many, many Christians and former Christians who have recognized this simple fact: the grand claims of evolution and the Bible cannot both be right, because each makes separate truth claims which are mutually exclusive of one another. If one is true, the other cannot be.

I have interacted with many TE or EC apologists in many different threads on this forum, and frankly, they are in denial that there is any problem at all. You and I (and many others) know differently. The only problem that has really been confessed to me has been expressed in the mistaken belief that this all boils down to how one interprets Genesis 1. But it is nowhere near that simple. The fact is that the whole council of God - from Genesis to Revelation - instructs us that not only did God Create us, He Created us through primary, not secondary causation. In other words, He Created us directly. Hands on. Take Genesis 1 completely out of the Bible (which, of course, we cannot and should not), and this fact does not change. For example, in 1st Corinthians 15, Paul tells us that all flesh is not the same flesh; that “there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds” (I Cor 15:39). Luke records a geneology of Jesus which traces back to God himself, concluding, “the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God” (Luke 3:38). Throughout the psalms, we are reminded that God has created us. Indeed, verse 18 of psalm 102 hints that God directly Creates each generation. The entire book of Isaiah contains numerous references to God as Creator. Examine in particular, chapters 43-45. In these three chapters, God alternately pleads with and admonishes Israel through the prophet, emphasizing his role as Creator. You will discover no fewer than a dozen such references in just these three chapters alone. God tells us in every way possible that He has Created us, and that He has done so directly:
(I) created you (43:1)
(I) formed you (43:1)
"Everyone who is called by My name, who I ahve created for My glory. I have formed him, yes, I have created him (43:7)
And so on it goes, through these three chapters. Twice He tells us that he formed us from the womb (44:2 and 44:24), and just in case we still think we can spin this some other way, He offers an analogy of the relationship between the potter and the clay (45:9), an analogy repeated in more direct fashion later in Isaiah (64:8).

It is no surprise at all then, that any objective reader of the Scriptures would conclude that the Bible makes the truth claim that God has Created us and that He has done so directly. According to the grand claims of evolution, life has emerged through purely natural processes. This claim is directly oppostite the perfectly reasonable conclusion offered by the whole counsel of God. Thus it is impossible, or at least logically incoherent, to believe that both can be true.

So we do indeed have a problem here. But could God have “used” evolution"? If so, and if it’s also true that His hand, His undeniable signature, if you will, should be apparent and easily observable


Struggling to Believe
(Joe Palcsak) #2

my rely continued…
(sorry, I accidently posted when I meant to edit)…
in a nutshell, His signature should be apparent as our direct Creator. In other words, we should be able to see evidence that He has indeed Created life directly, as we are told in Romans (1:20). And indeed, this has been the case throughout history. Before Darwin, the “design” of nature was an unquestioned axiom. And though Darwin may have given us reason to doubt the design of life, Alfred Russel Wallace, who was developing his own theory of natural selection, never doubted that life manifests design. Happily, since Crick’s sequence hypothesis forward, we have learned, and continued to learn that life indeed requires a Creator, based on everything we know and understand to be true about life and about the natural world.

That’s where I will leave it for now, but this is very important. I am more than happy to go into detail on the evidence for God as Creator, and the many other lines of evidence that tell us He is who He says He is.


(George Brooks) #3

@deliberateresult

Yes, and dont forget to tell @EvanFlick about God himself making Snow and Hail… not indirectly through weather, but specifically himself… and storing huge quantities of both of these forms of frozen water in treasuries in orbit around Earth … I’m surprised the astronauts didn’t notice them…

Job 38:22-23
"Have you entered the treasury of snow, Or have you seen the treasury of hail,
Which I have reserved for the time of trouble, For the day of battle and war? "


(Christy Hemphill) #4

Yep. And you still refuse to accurately present the opposing positions that have been explained to you ad nauseum. That’s unfortunate.

If anyone is interested, we really did put a ton of effort into addressing Joe’s concerns with evolutionary creationism. I don’t think we actually made any progress, 1,027 posts later. My ID Challenge


(Joe Palcsak) #5

Hi again Evan…
I am still hoping for a conversation with you, but if you do not reply, I will assume you have no interest and will add nothing more.

I do want to make a couple of points concerning Christy’s reaction to my post. I am glad that she posted the link to my “ID challenge” thread. I realize there are a whole lot of posts there, but if by chance you decide to study the thread, you will notice that I did concede some points and you may notice that I also changed the way I said certain things. So why does she claim that no progress was made addressing my concerns with EC? Because as she herself affirmed, many ECs are in denial that there is a problem, and that is my main concern.

In my thread, I defended two logical arguments; one negative and one positive.

In logical form, my negative argument is succinctly presented in the following manner:

P.1 Many (probably most) Christians, as well as virtually every atheist and skeptic, understands that the most reasonable interpretation of the Scriptures is that God used direct, special Creation as the means of Creating all life. As I have shown, this is by no means confined to Genesis 1, as many ECs claim.
P.2. According to the grand claims of evolution, life has emerged through purely natural processes.
P.3. These two claims are mutually exclusive of one another, thus, if one is true, the other must be false.
Conclusion: Therefore, at least for many, if not most Christians, and certainly all unbelievers, to embrace the grand claims of evolution is to seriously undermine the credibility of the Bible, and therefore, faith itself.

And here’s my positive argument:

P.1. All living organisms come into existence and are maintained by the most complex information processing meta-system, and the most technologically advanced engineered machinery we have ever encountered.
P.2. Based on everything we know and understand to be true, intelligent agents and only intelligent agents are capable of producing advanced information processing systems and technologically advanced engineering systems.
Conclusion: Life requires a Creator.

There were many challenges to the first argument, but the logical flow remained intact and Christy ably summed up the EC reaction: denial. There were very few challenges to the second argument.

Evan, you are going through the kind of crisis that I went through. Had I not learned the truth about the information of life, I would probably still be an atheist today. The truth about the inoformation of life has the power to turn unbelievers into believers, while the embrace of evolution has the power to turn believers into unbelievers. Many who went through what you and I went through are unbelievers today. You have sought out and heard from Christians who have embraced evolution and remained Christians. I remain hopeful that you will be interested in a conversation with someone who did not.

God be with you, brother.


(George Brooks) #6

@deliberateresult,

You know full well this is not the position of the many people here on these boards. Why do you keep repeating the same foolishness?

Your P2 is clearly contradicted in the BioiLogos mission statement Number 6:

[6] We believe that God typically sustains the world using faithful, consistent processes that humans describe as “natural laws.” Yet we also affirm that God works outside of natural law in supernatural events, including the miracles described in Scripture. In both natural and supernatural ways, God continues to be directly involved in creation and in human history. -

I’m going to flag your post, @deliberateresult. It’s one thing to repeat untruths to folks like me … that’s our primary hobby. But now you are using our boards to speak untruths to someone in need. That is not very nice.

See more at: http://biologos.org/about-us/our-mission/#sthash.lGDd7Xu8.dpuf


(Phil) #7

Joe, there is much we agree about, including the need for a creator, and God’s continued involvement with creation and in our personal lives. However, we can quibble about some of your other statements, most of which have already been adequately quibbled,

I would like to comment on your statement that" According to the grand claims of evolution, life has emerged through purely natural processes.
P.3. These two claims are mutually exclusive of one another, thus, if one is true, the other must be false."

I am sure in your mind, this is true, but it is not the position of most here, as we are in accord with God’s action and ongoing sustaining nature in creation, rather than it being “purely natural” That gets into another subject as to what is nature, and what is supernatural, but let’s set that aside.

Ultimately though, the last statement of “if one is true, the other must be false” is the problem that forces some out of the faith, and causes angst in others who accept some version of it. It is demonstrably false, as witnessed by many fine Christians who accept evolution as the best explanation for what is observed in creation. According the post on the poll being discussed, that makes up half of all U. S. Christians, and will be a majority soon if trends persist.
I do not expect you to change your mind on evolution, but do hope you will have a change of heart on that issue, as it is likely damaging.

Finally, you stated"living organisms …the most technologically advanced engineered machinery we have ever encountered." I wonder, as I just got back from vacation in Orlando with my 10 year old grandson, and I feel that the technology there at the theme parks exceed any previous engineering feats, and has as its goal the extraction of money from your credit card accounts, succeeding beyond expectations.


(Joe Palcsak) #8

George:
thanks for the challenge, George.

Here’s the problem: the BioLogos acknowledgement that God performs miracles is a general statement. Thus, apart from the realm of the purely hypothetical, it really says nothing to contradict my second premise. So unless and until BioLogos is willing to affirm a bona fide specific miracle in the unfolding of life, you do not have a case.


(Phil) #9

Sort a a tough task. Outside of your biblical interpretation of creation, can you document a specific miracle in the unfolding of life? A specific mutation perhaps? While I affirm that when my bodies immune system fights off infection is a miracle from God, it is ultimately a philosophic position.


(Joe Palcsak) #10

Ultimately though, the last statement of “if one is true, the other must be false” is the problem that forces some out of the faith, and causes angst in others who accept some version of it. It is demonstrably false, as witnessed by many fine Christians who accept evolution as the best explanation for what is observed in creation

Hi Phil. And thanks for the kind tone!

I know many of the kind of Christians you speak of, to include a retired Chemistry chair at a local univeristy who I have had many friendly conversations with. But if you read my logical arguments carefully, you will find that ECs and TEs are not included in my first premise. Thus, I am not speaking of such people.

Is it possible for a person to believe that both the Bible and evolution are true? Yes, but from my standpoint, I would say that it comes at a tremendous cost (this is another subject - slightly - but I am happy to get into it). My point is that there are many people - not TEs or ECs - but many; both believers and unbelievers who understand the Bible to affirm special Creation. This is indeed contrary to the grand claims of evolution. Moreover, I have interacted with many BioLogos members across several forums who, while stating a belief that God has had a hand in the unfolding of life, are nonetheless quite unwilling to cite that any evidence for superatural intervention exists.

I provided many empirical examples of people who hold this view of Scriptures, showing in the process that it is a group that includes far more than YEs. Some, like myself were able to return to faith upon learning the truth about the information of life. Others, such as the late Wil Provine, remained atheists.

I realize that I have ruffled a lot of feathers here. I am very sorry that I have made some people angry, but frankly I am even sorrier that no one seems to acknowledge that - at least for many people - there is a very big problem here. It is a problem that will not be solved by “educating” such people that evolution is true. Such “education” could only affirm the doubts of anyone who reads the Bible the way I read it. And there are many who read it that way.

I have never accused anyone here of not being a Christian. I hope that if nothing else, you can understand my passion.


(Joe Palcsak) #11

Sort a a tough task. Outside of your biblical interpretation of creation, can you document a specific miracle in the unfolding of life? A specific mutation perhaps? While I affirm that when my bodies immune system fights off infection is a miracle from God, it is ultimately a philosophic position.

It is indeed a tough task! But bear in mind that you are asking me to adapt BioLogos language. I have not done that. Rather, I have claimed that the reality of a sophisticated data processessing meta-system at the foundation of all life represents hard and uncontrovertible evidence that life requires a Creator


(Jay Johnson) #12

Or, to put it another way, the reality of a sophisticated data processessing meta-system at the foundation of all life represents hard and uncontrovertible evidence that life requires a sophisticated data processessing meta-system at the foundation of all life…?

Perhaps this deserves its own thread.


(George Brooks) #13

@deliberateresult

Is there a delicate way to put this into words, so that it would not scorch your delicate ears?

How about this: That is the biggest load of malarkey I’ve heard since my son tried to explain to me what happened to the automobile!

If you say you believe God wrote the Bible to Atheists, what you think if one of them says: Prove it? Have him write a page of the Bible right now? You would think him a fool. Your belief has nothing to do with your ability to command a miracle today, right?

So why would an organizational declaration that it adheres to God’s ability to perform miracles require any “proof” ? Especially since you would agree that God can/did produce miracles… and I.D. proponents around the world would also agree that God can/did produce miracles! Man, you are the utter limit.

What does producing a miracle have to do with the BioLogos position that acknowledges that God does them?


(Curtis Henderson) #14

I wish very fervently that your statement were true! It would make witnessing to non-believers so much easier. However, I’m afraid that is a considerable overstatement. Unfortunately, there are many that are perfectly content to use science as an explanation. Personally, I think the meta-system is suggestive of a Creator, but believing in the Creator still requires a leap of faith.


(Joe Palcsak) #15

“What does producing a miracle have to do with the BioLogos position that acknowledges that God does them?”

Not producing, George, affirming…

Because we are not talking about or challenging the position itself, we are talking about whether your invocation of that position costitutes a refutation of my 2nd premise…

Because given that there are many natural phenomena which not only BioLogos, but every Christian would affirm as the result of purely natural processes…

Therefore, unless and until you are willing to affirm a specific bona fide miracle in the unfolding of life, your invocation of the BioLogos position on miracles is just not very germain to my premise.

But let me put this for you another way, George: Is there any aspect of the unfolding of life that you are willing to state was not accomplished by purely natural processes? Be careful how you answer here, because if you provide such an example, you are providing evidence for intelligent design, and if you say there are no such examples, you are validating the truth of my second premise. Which way will you answer?


(Joe Palcsak) #16

Hi Curtis…

I have to confess to a little confusion concerning your post. At the end of the post, you seem to affirm the existecne of the data processing meta-system of life that you begin by calling an overstatement. I also have to wonder about the claim that there are many who are content to use “science” as an explanation, because there is not shortage of good science in the scientific literature - much of it from atheists - which not only speaks of the data processing of life, but provides empirical examples. Much of this literature takes the data processing of life as axiomatic.

I would love to have a conversation with you brother, but I need to better understand exactly what you are saying.


(Curtis Henderson) #17

Hello, Joe.

Sorry, I was checking the forum while grilling tonight and didn’t give my post the careful attention I should have. What I mean to say is that I believe the incredible complexity of a cell’s gene expression system suggests the wondrous work of a Creator. But… where I see suggestions of a Creator, many others see the same thing in a purely materialistic way. I certainly wish I could point to the intricacies of cellular components of “incontrovertible evidence”, but most scientists rely extensively enough on scientific fact that they feel no need to consider a Creator behind the science.

Again, I’m simply stating my personal opinion here, but to me, it seems that God “showed His hand” in Creation enough for people to be curious about something beyond scientific fact, but held back just enough to require faith in making the final step toward acknowledging His existence.


#18

Does purely natural mean not under God’s control?

I am assuming “every Christian” would include you so can you give me an example of a purely natural process that is NOT under God’s providential care?


(George Brooks) #19

@deliberateresult

If you read the Mission Statements (if you have ever) you can see that a large net is thrown over the whole “body” of Creation.

This is the very same issue as asking whether God “miraculously” makes rain (“poof”) … vs. making rain through the regular workings of the water cycle, or a middle position where God sometimes makes rain happen miraculously, and other times accomplishes the same task through natural processes.

Some folks are very fond of the idea that God performed the miracle of the first living cell… and then sustained evolution through his guidance of natural processes. When I am asked how God might arrange a mutation, I would typically reply:

Take your pick - he could “poof” a cosmic ray to alter a very specific gene, or he could arrange natural processes to generate the very same cosmic ray. Almost anything can be used to alter the replication of a gene: too much heat, too much cold, magnetic fields, water molecules, and so forth.

I think you are off-base trying to get BioLogos to specify the miracle. The Mission Statements allow for personal views on which part of the process is more miraculous than other parts.

To continue with my example:

  1. We’ve mentioned those who think God used a miracle to get things started.
  2. Then there are those who think difficult parts of the evolutionary process would require the occasional miracle (much like ID folks talk about).
  3. Then there are no doubt those who think God is behind every mutation.

The mission of BioLogos is to show how any of these scenarios is consistent with Faith in God and a view that God uses natural laws as well. It’s not the job of BioLogos to insist that this or that necessary event had to be a miracle, rather than God’s steady hand being expressed through natural processes (many of which we don’t even comprehend at this time).

I myself am inclined to think God very specifically arranged Creation exactly … and so the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs was a planned event at the moment of creation … with the dynamic unfolding of our galaxy creating the precise asteroid at the precise speed and precise angle to hit the Earth and wipe out the dominant life form at the time - the dinosaurs.

I think that is already a pretty tall & miraculous order! But there are other Christian Evolutionists who think God prefers to do more, rather than less, miraculous work - - and so God “created” the asteroid in the middle of Empty Space … and sent it on its way!

I am not surprised that you came into this topic attempting to suggest that the BioLogos views are fatally flawed because we do not insist on this-or-that as a miraculous event. That’s like me asking you if you think some of Noah’s Ark was miraculously engineered and held together by God, Or all of it? Or none of it? We are talking about an unusually large wooden boat, made by carpenters of the ANE … when a much smaller wooden boat, not holding all of Earth’s terrestrial life, was built by the expert ship-buiders of Henry VIII - - and the ship still foundered and sunk because of the inadequacies of construction and design. Whenever I ask a Creationist how he thinks the ark survived for a year on the open ocean… many say “God’s intercession”! While others say Noah was an excellent carpenter!

Everybody has a preferred answer. And with the Bible silent on many such matters, it’s not a litmus test for legitimacy or credibility!

In fact, being hyper-specific (about what is a miracle and what cannot be a miracle) would be a fairly unreasonable burden on any organization that merely seeks to show how well a broad range of viewpoints fit with the Evolutionary scenario.

,When we read in Job that God tells Job that he controls the snow and hail for future times of need … is he saying that all snow and hail is miraculously rendered? Or is he simply describing how God arranges for special applications? No one knows the answer to that. And I seriously doubt you would mark a sermon flawed if the preacher didn’t specifically give an answer!


(Joe Palcsak) #20

“What I mean to say is that I believe the incredible complexity of a cell’s gene expression system suggests the wondrous work of a Creator. But… where I see suggestions of a Creator, many others see the same thing in a purely materialistic way. I certainly wish I could point to the intricacies of cellular components of “incontrovertible evidence”, but most scientists rely extensively enough on scientific fact that they feel no need to consider a Creator behind the science.”

Hi Curtis…

I understand that many see the information of life and the molecular machinery of life in a purely materialistic way, but I have never heard anyone give any kind of reasonable or coherent answer for the confidence they have that purely natural processes are capable of producing highly sophisticated data processing systems or advanced marvels of engineering. For example, on the origin of life, Dawkins has said that we have no idea how life got started on earth, but we know what kind of event it must have been.

There is nothing scientific about such a position. It is an a-priori expectation that as we learn more about life, we will find materialistic explanations. Perhaps. But as John Lennox has pointed out, the fact that we understand the physics and chemistry behind the internal combustion engine, does not mean that we have done away with the need for a creator behind the science. Indeed, there are many characteristics about the internal combustion engine that reveal the very clear signature of design. And so it is with life. And the more we learn about living systems, the more highly advanced we understand the information of life to be.

“Again, I’m simply stating my personal opinion here, but to me, it seems that God “showed His hand” in Creation enough for people to be curious about something beyond scientific fact, but held back just enough to require faith in making the final step toward acknowledging His existence.”

I would respectfully submit that Romans 1:18-23 holds all of us to a higher standard than that.