The Hubris of Dawkins

I just finished watching this video, so you don’t have to. Contained in it is a motley collection of unsubstantiated claims, irrational homage to ignorance, and an impressive display of hubris by one Professor Dawkins

 

Watching the video, I tried to take some notes for discussion. While I captured some of the quotes from Dawkins, there’s more than enough irrational rubbish spouted by the good doctor to fill up a shelf at the local library with his contradictions. Dr. Dawkins’ words are highlighted in red.

As you read through this (or watch the video) keep in mind Dawkins signature quote,

The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference

It is a bold and unsubstantiated claim, but THAT is his epistemic foundation. From this purposeless universe, Dawkins somehow conjures up purpose. From this amoral universe, Dawkins somehow judges religion as arrogant. From this pitiless universe, Dawkins manages to create meaning in empiricistic efforts, and from the indifferent universe, he produces eloquence and courage and a TON OF MONEY from his speaking fees.

Interesting note, one can join the Dawkins’ groupie cult with an annual donation of a cool half million American greenbacks $$$$$$$$$$$

Dawkins begins his diatribe by lumping all theism into a single category and throughout the video calls them “arrogant, hubristic, full of presumptuous precision“.

An understanding of modern Darwinism should arm us with courage to fight (what I shall demonstrate) is the hubris of faith

During the Q&A time, I would have loved to have asked Dr. Dawkins, “For the accidental aggregation of stardust in a purposeless universe, with no good, no evil, just blind pitiless indifference, WHAT is arrogance? What is hubris?” There’s just no coming back from his starting point to him giving a rational answer.

We don’t yet have an agreed theory of how the evolutionary theory began in the 1st place.

No kidding. Yet throughout, he tells us the science is settled…and “Those questions have now been definitively answered once and for all by Darwin and his successors

Nobody knows how the universe must have began

He follows up these quotes with “Theologians invoke the God-of-the-gaps at every opportunity” without realizing how he was firing blanks from his own naturalism-of-the-gaps firearm.

Without letting up on the hypocrisy, Dawkins mocks Islam from 4:40-9:10 and with the sweeping generalization fallacy declares all religion as pointless

How can people bear to live their lives bound by such insanely specific and bossy yet manifestly pointless rules?

Those were magnificently rich words coming from the guy who says the universe is purposeless.

Dawkins then leaves his perceived area of safety, biology, and stumbles blindly into philosophy and morality by saying

It’s not hubristic to state known facts when the evidence is secure. Yes, yes, philosophers of science tell us that a fact is no more than a hypothesis which may 1 day be falsified, but which has so far withstood strenuous attempts to do so. Let’s by all means pay lip service to that philosophical incantation. But muttering at the same time in homage perhaps to Galileo’s [LATIN] the sensible words of Stephen J Gould “In science fact can only mean confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional ascent.”

So, what is a fact? He claims it to be like phlogiston, and flat earth, and blood letting, and geocentrism…the current best guess. It’s clear that Dawkins does not understand that science is built upon the philosophy of logic, truth, morality, and induction. These foundational entities are unchanging, abstract, and universal. If like Carl Sagan said, “The cosmos is all that is, or was, or ever will be” then how does the naturalist justify unchanging abstract absolutes? They cannot. To do so, they would have to reject their own presuppositions and argue like a Christian, who can substantiate unchanging abstract absolutes with the immutable, transcendent, absolute Creator. Continuing, Dawkins quotes Gould, who invokes the idea of perversity. How does one determine something to be perverse in a universe with no good and no evil? The contradictions are building up!

But that does not stop him from declaring, without reservation, irrefutable facts:

The universe began between 13-14 billion years ago

Really? What calibration techniques (besides presumptuous extrapolation) can one use to verify this claim? What about recent claims that the universe is now over TWO billion years younger than Dawkins’ FACT claim? Uh-oh. Now that there are competing FACTS. To which arbiter of truth do these naturalists turn in order to solve their 2,300,000,000 year disagreement?

The sun and the planets orbiting it (including ours) condensed out of a rotating disk of gas, dust and debris about 4.5 billion years ago

Really? What calibration techniques (besides presumptuous extrapolation) can one use to verify this claim? What about all of the evidence that limits the earth to being younger than 100,000 years?

We know the shape of the continents and where they were at any named time in geological history and we can project ahead and draw the map of the world as it will change in the future

I’d be very interested in hearing how he would confirm this claim? He speaks of the hubris of religion, but verifying a claim of this magnitude reeks of…what did Dawkins say earlier? Presumptuous precision. It was easy for him to cast this judgment on those with whom he disagrees, but when he invokes presumptuous precision in his own claims, he feels irrationally justified.

As a reminder, Dawkins claims

The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference

But he persists on in his inconsistency and word-smithing with:

Yet somehow the emergent power of our evolved brains has enabled us to develop the crystalline edifice of mathematics by which we accurately predict the behavior of entities that lie under the radar of our intuitive comprehension

Emergent power? Is that science or story-telling? What mechanism drives and fuels emergent power? Why does Dawkins expect the discovered properties of mathematics to be unchanging, abstract, and absolute in a constantly changing chaotic cosmos made only of matter? Adding to the irrational difficulties of the evolved brain which Dawkins praises, Charles Darwin (in his autobiography) was much less trusting of the reasoning power of the brain if it did indeed evolve from non-reasoning of the “lowest animals”

DarwinAutobiography

We are not arrogant not hubristic to celebrate the sheer bulk and detail of what we know through science. We are simply telling the honest and irrefutable truth. And honest as I’ve said is the frank admission of how much we don’t yet know

Whoa! Dawkins, you’ve straying outside your naturalistic boundaries again into the uncharted waters of philosophy and morality.  “Honest and irrefutable truth” ????!?!?! Didn’t you remind us earlier that facts are simply the best guesses or today that will undoubtedly be panned by future scientists? And what is honesty for the evolved descendants of algae? He’s now singing the praises of ignorance, but he irrationally has said in other speeches that Christians are the ones, who should be mocked.

What are the DEEP Problems for us:
How does the brain physiology produce subjective consciousness?
Where do the laws of physics come from?
What set the fundamental constants and why do they appear fine tuned to produce us?
Why is there something rather than nothing?

Those are deep problems for naturalism indeed. For those with a Christian worldview, these issues are not problems at all, because God has revealed Himself in creation, in the Bible, and in Jesus. So since the One, who knows everything and is eternally faithful, has revealed some history to us, we can be certain of the answers to the questions that his revelation answers. No interpretations of modern paradigms have higher authority that God’s revelation.

The human mind (including my own) rebels emotionally against the idea that something as complex as life and the rest of the expanding universe could have just happened. It takes intellectual courage to kick yourself out of your emotional incredulity and persuade yourself that there is no other rational choice…Which is more probable, the impossible has really happened or that the conjurer has fooled you. You don’t have to understand how the trick was done in order to take the courageous leap of reason and say hard as it is to swallow, I know it’s only a trick. The laws of physics are secure.

The human mind rebels in several ways:

  • The human mind rebels against the Creator. Being born into sin, the human mind wants very much to be its OWN authority in the rightful place of the Supreme Monarch, Jesus! But through humble repentance, the human mind can instead embrace reality and worship the Creator rather than the created.
  • The human mind does indeed rebel against the idea that the universe, life, and consciousness emerged from nothing. Dawkins joins Richard Lewontin in refusing to accept the mountains of evidence for God and instead choosing philosophically to suppress the knowledge of God. Confirmation of Romans 1

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism…Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door – Richard Lewontin

Finally, Dawkins claims that even though he cannot justify the very foundations of science, scientism is the ONLY means for answering deep questions:

If science…can’t answer the deep questions, then nothing can

If you interact with atheists long enough, and you’ll hear them say, “Atheism makes no claims. It’s not a worldview. It is simply: a lack of beliefs in a God.”

To that, I have a few things to say: A rock as a lack of belief in God. Algae has a lack of belief in God. So, it means nothing to say that atheism is a lack of belief in God.

Secondly, Romans 1 tells us that everyone has knowledge of the Creator, but in their unrighteousness, they suppress the truth.

And thirdly, the high priest of Darwin, Richard Dawkins claims atheism to be a worldview:

The contrast between religion and atheism: I want to argue that the atheistic worldview has an unsung virtue of intellectual courage. 

Now, he still cannot account for courage, intellect, or the laws of logic by which he could contrast religion and atheism, but he understands that atheism is a worldview. It’s just a bad one.

 

Dawkins has heard the gospel of Jesus, but he has rejected it. He now leads the deception of others that naturalism can account for reality in the rightful place of the Holy One. He is to be pitied.

Since we can trust what God has revealed to us about history (and HE has confirmed his historical revelation in the person of Jesus), we can be sure of what God has claimed about the future: hope, peace, and rest for those who humbly repent of their rebellion against the Holy One. Praise God for his amazing grace!!!

Why Old Earthism Divides

The debate on the age of the earth has been ongoing for epochs…or at least for 150 years since Charles Lyell worked to “free the science from Moses.” I’ve addressed this particular issue many time before, and while not an issue of salvation, it has great importance for Christians in the area of biblical interpretation. So, while people can still be redeemed and not understand the intricacies of biblical hermeneutics, it is still important for maturing Christians to learn to correctly understand the revelation of God as intended.

hermeneutics

So, if the age of the earth is not an issue of salvation, why does it seem to bring such division? The division comes from how to interpret the Bible. If the Bible is the Word of God, then it should be the epistemic authority. Typically, it is those that are identified as youth earth creationists or biblical creationists that take this view. The Bible is authoritative, and outside sources are subject to what God has revealed. If the Bible is just a collection of loosely-affiliated religious writings then there can be other authorities (culture, scholarly paradigms, other historical documents) that can OVERRULE biblical texts. This is typically how old earth believers tend to view the Bible. They typically say, “We believe the Bible to be true” but then they immediately say, “Genesis needs to be interpreted differently than written because science proves it to be wrong.” See what happens there? They hold interpretations of evidence in authority over scripture, so that the Bible gets re-interpreted when the materialist assumptions of the foundation of the current scholarly paradigm. Below is an example.

Recently, I came across a blog that attempted to build a case that God’s Word can somehow accommodate billions of years and even evolution.

Sadly, this blog post starts out with an equivocation fallacy, and it’s a very common one, so the author, Candice Brown (CB hereafter) is probably just quoting from someone else who uses this particular mantra.

I remained convinced that science and religion were not compatible

The equivocations are that
1) science = old earth or evolution
2) religion = young earth

Bart_Conflate_Science_Evolution

However, science is the systematic study of nature through observation & experiment. So, science is a method, not an entity. Science measures evidence. Evidence is analyzed by people with presuppositions. The combination of presuppositions and science can be used to make conclusions. Someone who has the presupposition that the universe is old will use the tool of science to conclude that the universe is old. How would someone get the assumption that the universe/earth is old? For the last century, all universities have taught that the universe is old because of the work of Lyell, whose stated purpose was to “free the science from Moses”. This quote is a mutiny from the clear teachings of the Bible, which Lyell hated. So, all of today’s professors have been taught that the universe is old. Should someone raise doubts about this, they are figuratively and well as (sometimes) literally expelled from employment and teaching/learning at university.

The forensic scientists at Creation Ministries International, The Institute for Creation Research, and Answers in Genesis understand from God’s revelation in the Bible that God intended for the audience to see his handiwork in history, and the scientific studies seen today confirm this in every respect.

CB continues in her blog post with the idea that the Earth appears to be very old. She’s not wrong. It does look to be thousands of years old. That is a REALLY long time, and the maximum time that can be historically verified. Were the earth to be millions of years old (or older), the mountains would, at the very least, be rounded smooth by wind/water erosion. And if the earth were more than 10 million years old, the continents would have been ground into the sea by wind/water erosion based on current erosion rates.

A common response to the erosion problem by old earthers is “Well, you forget about the concept of continental uplift. As continents collide, the continents are being continually recycled up.” There are reasons that show why this does not help the old earther:

  1. This concept has already been factored into the erosion rates
  2. The fossils are still there. Since the rate of continental erosion limits their age to (at most) 10s of millions of years, then the fossils would have long ago been eroded along with the rest of the sedimentary layers if the recycling of uplift has renewed the continents. Since there are still fossils, the continents are young. Old earthism is falsified.

CB also quotes Reasons To Believe (an old earth organization) saying that humans emerged somewhere around 150,000 years ago. This number is counter to the biblical genealogies in Genesis 5, against the population growth statistics, and against the latest research in genetics, which show an increase in entropy. The latest work in genetics confirms exactly what the Bible revealed in the biblical genealogies that have been repeated in 1 Chronicles 1 and Luke 3. The human genome accumulates hundreds of mutations in each generation that natural selection cannot remove since natural selection works on the phenotype level and not the genetic level. Since humans have not gone extinct, old earthism is falsified.

CB continues with:

In order to dispute this evidence, Christians must make several leaps, such as believing dinosaurs and humans co-existed

The evidence is strongly in favor of humans co-existing with dinosaurs, but most people are unaware of the evidence. The links below are not comprehensive, but provide strong justification for the facts that dinosaurs and humans co-existed in the past.

  1. Dinosaur cave paintings
  2. Brass Dinosaur on Bishop Bell’s tomb
  3. Stegosaurus in Cambodia
  4. While not necessarily man with dinosaur, soft-tissue being found in dinosaur bones falsifies the mantra that the dinosaurs went extinct 65 millions years ago. At most, the bones are only a few thousand years old. The link of this text shows over 100 “ancient” bones that contain soft tissue. Old earthism is falsified again
  5. Historical accounts

MarcoPoloDinosaur

CB goes on to dispute the clear teaching of the days in Genesis to be of the 24-hour variety.

Much like the English word love has five meanings in ancient Greek, the Hebrew word yom יום (translated day in Genesis) has four meanings, one of which indicates not a twenty-four hour period, but an age of time

Biblical creationists are well aware of this meaning of the Hebrew word yom, and there are several reasons why the context of Genesis 1 demands they be literal days, and not figurative ones.

  1. The author intended his audience to see the Genesis days as literal days
  2. The days have boundaries (ordinals and morning/evening)
  3. Other scriptures confirm literal days
  4. God spoke to Abraham using analogies for incredibly large numbers, so it’s not that Hebrews were simple people and could not understand numbers greater than 10 as old earthers would contend. Gen 22:17 “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore.” To describe a more consistent way that God would have communicated the many epochs of days, were old earthism to be true, would be for Him to have used language where He already shows His intention to communicate large numbers. But He did not. God instead chose to perform his creative works in 6 days as He said.
  5. There are contexts (plurality, modifying words, suffixes) in Hebrew for yom to mean more than a day, but none of these contexts are present in Genesis 1.
  6. There are 2 Hebrew words (zeman – H2165 and eth H6256) for epochs or long indefinite period of time, BUT THESE WORDS ARE NOT USED IN GENESIS 1

The biggest obstacle that old earthers must overcome to inject their biases into the biblical text is to somehow justify the curses of sin (death, suffering, and thorns) as being present in creation PRIOR to the rebellion of mankind. When they insist on this, it becomes an issue about the gospel. Invariably, when I ask old earthers to justify their position on this, I get either “well, it’s only spiritual death” or “I just interpret the Bible differently than you.”

  1. God declared his creation “very good.” Since creation is very good, there could not have been disease, bloodshed, and harm. Isaiah 11 and 65 confirm this. Harm, disease, and bloodshed prior to sin is unbiblical and therefore old earthism is falsified
  2. In Genesis 3:17-19 God said to Adam “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten from the tree…to dust you will return.” The curse of sin resulted in both spiritual and physical death. Both Romans 5 and 1 Cor 15 are strong confirmation. So the debate is: Did death bring mankind into the world (old earthism) or did man bring death into the world (YEC). The Bible clearly answers that man’s sin brought death into the world. Death before sin is unbiblical and therefore old earthism is falsified
  3. One of the curses is thorns. Jesus took the crown of thorns upon Himself at the cross to complete taking the curses of sin as our punishment. But if thorns existed prior to mankind as old earthism demands, then what was the curse of sin? There are fossil thorns buried in layers that old earthers “date” as having been made prior to mankind. This view is unbiblical and therefore old earthism is falsified

Biblical interpretation is not an arbitrary function. When people interpret the Bible to mean whatever is popular in culture (homosexuality, old ages, contrary historical documents), then the body of Christ is divided and suffers.

Christians should be united. And the unity should center around God’s revelation in scripture and its fulfillment in Jesus. Jesus confirmed the testimony of Moses (Luke 16) and confirmed the historical nature of Genesis (Mark 10:6). So, God’s people should not be divided about the age of the earth. They should be united around a healthy understanding of the Bible, so that Jesus can be glorified.

We can trust God with our future because we can trust his revelation about the past.

Please God or Man?

If you haven’t had a chance to watch Living Waters Ministries, The Fool, let me encourage you to take 60 minutes to do so.

 

I’ll admit, I sure don’t like being called an idiot or ignorant for my beliefs, but that should in no way hinder us from sharing the gospel of Jesus. What an amazing ministry that Ray Comfort has for sharing the gospel because of the ridicule he has endured.

Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. – Philippians 1:15-18

I’ve heard and still hear Christians tell me that it’s important to preach the gospel a certain way or don’t talk about creationism because it’s not well-regarded…all to not seem ridiculous to the lost.

What rubbish! What does the child of the King and joint heir to the eternal kingdom care about the petulant approval of mankind?

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10

  1. Repent of your rebellion
  2. Study the Word
  3. Share the good news of abundant life through faith in Jesus!

adventure boy girl idyllic

Photo by Nandhu Kumar on Pexels.com

 

Can Your Worldview Withstand Scrutiny?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This is my part of an interaction I had with an atheist. They claimed over and over that my claims of revelational epistemology were nonsense. I hope you find encouragement in reading through my comments and that they help you more faithfully share the gospel.

Revelational epistemology is a valid field of philosophy. Philosophers such as Val Til, Bahnsen, White, and Lisle did or are teaching this branch of Christian thinking. So, my statement is not nonsensical…in fact, it is the reason we can actually determine ideas to have rational value in the 1st place.

God revealed Himself in creation. Even Dawkins recognizes this fact even though the idea of design by God is abhorrent to him. Dawkins conjured up the contradictory idea of “bottom up design” in an attempt to explain the clear design of the universe out of philosophical convictions…not scientific ones

God revealed Himself in the Bible. The Bible claims to be the Word of God, & it records many prophecies that, once fulfilled, have verified its authenticity. The Bible also records historical events that forensic scientists have over and over corroborated the truthfulness of the recordings.

God revealed Himself in Jesus. Jesus claimed to be God during his earthly ministry. His claims make him either a liar, a lunatic, or the LORD of glory. Which do you think Him to be? His appearance, life, and resurrection both fulfilled numerous old testament prophecies and verified his claims of divinity. Recognizing these facts and repenting of one’s rebellion against the Creator brings forgiveness and abundant life.

Now, to get to the consistency of one’s WV. For Christians, all of these elements are both internally and externally consistent:

  1. matter – God is outside of time/space and brought all of the cosmos into existence (John 1). Because of the curse of sin, we would expect to see decay, suffering, and death in anticipation of God’s ultimate victory (Isaiah 11)
  2. truth – God claims to be source of truth (John 14:6, Prov 26:5)
  3. laws of logic/reason – Laws of logic are unchanging, abstract, and universal. God provides a foundation for LoL because He is immutable and transcendent
  4. Unchanging physical laws, uniformity of nature, induction – Like laws of logic, these laws are abstract and unchanging…like God
  5. morality/human value – Mankind is created in God’s image so has great value (Gen 1:27, Matt 22:37-40)
  6. Generally reliable senses – Although perverted by the curse of sin, senses still function to glorify God, so Christians would expect them to be generally reliable
  7. Human consciousness – God breathed life into humanity (Gen 1:27)
  8. Human ability to comprehend matter, truth, physical laws, morality – It is expected that humans be able to comprehend the things of the universe and abstractions because by doing this, humans bring glory to God.

You can dislike this line of argumentation, but it is illogical & irrational to claim that my WV lacks internal coherence. It is also externally consistent because it solves the problem of induction, provides a truth anchor and has verification through the Bible and Jesus.

Now as a test, see if your WV can withstand the same scrutiny with internal CONSISTENCY

Lastly, I want to address your statement:

“IF you say something like “X Y and Z are true, therefore I believe that God has revealed himself, ergo these other things are true”, then perhaps a conversation could be had”

This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the fundamentals. Since God is my ultimate authority, there is no HIGHER authority by which to compare his revelations. He is my epistemological foundation. But it is because He provides this foundation that we can evaluate things using logic, science, evidence to determine things to correspond to rationality or not.

You very much want the ambiguous term “evidence” to be your epistemological foundation except that to evaluate evidence, you have to justify laws of logic, truth, and morality for the evaluation to make sense. Besides, everyone interprets evidence according to their worldview. So, evidence makes a poor epistemological foundation.

What Could Persuade You?

What Could Persuade You that evolution were not true?
If archaeologists found a rabbit in the Cambrian layers of soil then evolution would be disproven…right?
Well, as it turns out, proverbial rabbits are found all of the time in layers much “too old” for them. The problem is that people do not change their view based on conflicting evidence…they change their interpretation of the evidence to fit their view.
In an article entitled Radiometric Backflip, Volume 37, Issue 1, Creation Magazine describes just such an example. Here’s an example where the “science” (based on absolute radio metric dating) proved suggested that the rock layers of the Santo Domingo rock formation were 200 million years old (Nature 417 (6892):936-938, 27 June 2002).  But when footprints of sandpipers were found in layers of soil underneath the 200 million year old layers, scientists were able to scrub away 175 million years to make the data fit with the idea that sandpipers evolved about 37 million years ago. It must have taken quite a bit of soap to scrub away 175 million years that fast.
And this is not an isolated case. A hominid fossil, KNM-ER 1470 was found beneath soil that had originally been absolutely dated at over 200 million years old. Once the fossil was found, Richard Leakey requested a re-test. Not surprisingly, the new absolute dates of between 2-5 million years fit perfectly in the range that was needed to perpetuate the evolutionary myth. What happened to the original 200 million years? They were donated to a local charity for all we know.
So no amount of evidence will change someone’s mind regarding origins. This is why it is so important for Christians to be familiar with presuppositional apologetics. Everyone has presuppositions that help us to define how we interpret evidence.
Christians presuppose that there is a Creator God and that he revealed himself through the Bible, through creation, and in Jesus. Those who presuppose that there is no God are reliant on billions of years and a creative mechanism (evolution by natural selection and random mutation) to explain the origin and development of life.
So to convince someone that there is a God and that his word is infinitely reliable, you have to show how their atheistic presupposition contains contradictions.
We can trust God’s Word about history, and since it is a reliable history book (and the revealed Word of God), we know that we can trust God at his word regarding salvation and our future hope (Romans 8.)