Saturday, December 22, 2018

"A conversation with Gene"


Not having time to direct attention specifically to the blog, I'm posting a recent reply to my friend Gene and our ongoing discussion concerning God and religion and his agnostic beliefs.
_________________________________________________________________

There is so much to address from our last exchange I keep going in circles trying to determine which statement I want to respond to. You made several theological statements that need a response, but I decided to stay with the theory of evolution for the moment. Here is a portion our exchange with your response left in red.

(Evolutionary scientist call this a theory, they call it that because they have made giant leaps of (I would call it faith) from one piece of evidence over to another. Evolution is called a theory because a scientific theory is not a guess. It is a system of evaluating evidence and coming to a conclusion. That conclusion may change with new evidence. Science does not use "faith" (belief without evidence) to come to a conclusion. There are "some" missing links, but, the overwhelming scientific evidence indicates evolution happened. In between this leap is a huge space of nothing that links the two together and it somehow forms their theory. They make assumptions (no, they don't) and apply them to their discoveries, those assumptions being unproven (again, that is not true), yet applied to their discoveries seem to support their theory (a theory is a conclusion of facts), remove their unproven assumptions and they are back to leaping again.  You get frustrated you say with faith, I get frustrated with this leaping over volumes of noting (Dave, that is simply not true) and then making a connecting and saying, now see there, that proves it (again, that is not how scientific theory works). It proves nothing but a giant leap. They can sound convincing, but they can't prove anything. There is considerable evidence proving evolution. There is absolutely no evidence proving the existence of a God, any God.)

Let's talk assumptions for a moment, you said, “no, they don’t” I said, “yes they do."

Theory (definition) Cambridge dictionary:   a formal statement of the rules on which a subject of study is based or of ideas that are suggested to explain a fact or event or, more generally, an opinion or explanation: [ a guess ] a statement of an opinion or an explanation of an idea that is believed to be true, but might be wrong: [ again, a guess]

You speak of faith as “belief without evidence”. I assure you I do not believe in nothing. There is evidence that weighs upon me to convince me of the truth of scripture. I am convinced it is true because I am persuaded by the things I see. You have faith as well, you believe evolution based upon the things you see and understand to be true. You disregard the things that convince me in my belief because you do not understand them as I do. I disregard the things that convince you of your belief because I do not understand them as you do. But we are both believing because of the things we have become convinced of.

I could write an essay, but my purpose is to keep things short so we don't get lost in the rhetoric. Keeping to my purpose I will give only a few examples that represent what occurs throughout the entire system of evolutionary science.

Radioactive dating is very important to evolution and is usually stated as fact because the radioactive decay rate is known and therefore one can extrapolate backward in time and determine the age of the rocks. However what is almost never mentioned is the assumptions that must be made to affirm this statement.

One assumption that is made and there several of equal validity, is that the decay rate has been constant over millions of years. The decay rate has only been measured for about 100 years, (fact) and for that time it has remained constant. (fact) So the theory is, it has remained so for millions of years. (assumption) However, that is a huge leap from a hundred to millions of years.

I will come back to this in a moment, but let's relate to something else valid in this discussion. It is known that the moon is getting further away from the earth every year. (fact) It is a rather precise measurement, about 1.5 inches a year. For a young earth, Oh, say 6,000 years that’s not a problem. That would be only about 1,000 feet since it’s creation. However, with evolution this becomes a problem, in 1.5 million years it’s touching the earth. Of course, that would be an impossibility, so Secular Scientist present theory’s on how the recession of the moon has not remained constant over the years. (assumptions) In doing so they make unknown assumptions about the past to account for the faster recession rate we have now. They must do this to fit their scale of millions of years, the radioactive decay rate is somehow known to be constant and the moons recession rate is somehow known not to be. Both assumptions must be made to fit the evolutionary timescale.

Now back to the rocks, lava flows that have occurred in the present have been tested soon after they erupted. For example, when a sample of the lava in the Mount St. Helens crater (that had been observed to form and cool in 1986) was analyzed in 1996, only 10 years later, it had a calculated “age” of 350,000 years! Similarly, lava flows on the sides of Mt. Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, known to be less than 50 years old, yielded “ages” of up to 3.5 million years. In the western Grand Canyon area are former volcanoes on the North Rim that erupted after the canyon itself was formed, sending lavas cascading over the walls and down into the canyon. Obviously, these eruptions took place recently, after all the layers now exposed in the walls of the canyon were deposited. These when tested yield ages of up to 1 million years.

New evidence has recently been discovered that can only be explained by the radioactive decay rates not having been constant in the past. For example, the radioactive decay of uranium in tiny crystals in a New Mexico granite yields an “age” of 1.5 billion years. Yet the same uranium decay also produced abundant helium, but only 6,000 years’ worth of that helium was found to have leaked out of those tiny crystals. This helium leakage is definitely more accurate as a dating method because it is based on well-known physical laws. So this means that the uranium must have decayed very rapidly over the same 6,000 years that the helium was leaking. The rate of uranium decay must have been at least 250,000 times faster than today’s measured rate because the decay products (lead and helium) equivalent to 1.5 billion years of slow decay have in fact (yes fact) accumulated in only 6,000 years!

My belief in a young earth is not based upon nothing! Gene, you misrepresent the understanding of faith, there are elements that weigh upon our reasons to convince us of our particular beliefs. Don’t misunderstand me, if the earth were 6,000 years old that would not prove there is a God, but it would be a piece of evidence that aids in the reasonable assertion that there is.

One more example shall suffice, I quote from a FoxNews article published last November. (In one of the most provocative and misunderstood studies of the year, scientists in the U.S. and Switzerland have made an astonishing discovery: All humans alive today are the offspring of a common father and mother – an Adam and Eve – who walked the planet 100,000 to 200,000 years ago, which by evolutionary standards is like yesterday. Moreover, the same is true of nine out of every 10 animal species, meaning that nearly all of Earth’s creatures living today sprang into being recently from some seminal, Big Bang-like event. (fact)
Mark Stoeckle at Rockefeller University and David Thaler at the University of Basel reached this striking conclusion after analyzing the DNA “bar codes” of five million animals from 100,000 different species. The bar codes are snippets of DNA that reside outside the nuclei of living cells – so-called mitochondrial DNA, which mothers pass down from generation to generation. That’s how Stoeckle and Thaler concluded that ninety percent of all animal species alive today come from parents that all began giving birth at roughly the same time, less than a quarter-million years ago. “This conclusion is very surprising,” Thaler avers, “and I fought against it as hard as I could.”

It’s possible something far more powerful than H-bombs decimated life and only a single set of parents for each species survived to live and procreate another day. (assumption)
Many religious commentators misunderstand this study to mean that species abruptly came into being only recently. To be clear: according to evolutionary biologists, species developed gradually over many millions of years. Stoeckle and Thaler’s discovery is that something happened roughly 100,000 years ago that created entirely new populations from long-existing species. (assumption)
That said, Stoeckle and Thaler’s study does line up with the Bible in at least two notable ways. First, it affirms that we and our fellow creatures on Earth arose from a recent and profound creation event, orchestrated by some unknown mechanism. And second, the DNA bar codes reveal that species are quantized. Instead of there being a continuum of animal varieties, as one might expect from millions of years of gradual evolution, creatures fall into very distinct, widely separated populations – what the Bible describes as “kinds,” from the Hebrew word min.)

Notice the interpretation of the facts, the DNA analysis presents evidence that all life, both human and animal came from two parents. (fact) Also that this happened in recent history. (fact) He even admits he fought against it as hard as he could. Why would he do that? Because it does not support evolution, it undermines it. So what do they do? They interpret the evidence in light of the accepted evolutionary scale instead of letting it challenge it. So, they make another assumption, everything still evolved over millions of years. Only now we understand that recently something somehow killed everything but two of each surviving species or kinds. (assumption) That’s very convenient don’t you think? Every piece of evidence by secular scientist is run through this lens of interpretation so that it always fits the evolutionary timescale. They are not able to see outside of this realm, even when discoveries such as this occur and they can’t hide it.

So Gene, I don’t expect you to concede your assertions, but in light of the evidence I have listed above, I stand by my statements. 1. Yes, they do make assumptions. 2. Yes, they make giant leaps to achieve their conclusions. 3. Yes, it is a theory because they can’t prove it.

A theory is not a conclusion of facts, it’s a conclusion of the interpretation of facts. If a theory was a conclusion of facts, it would be called a fact, not a theory.

From where I stand, there is much more evidence for a young earth and therefore creation than the myth of evolution.

Well, this is longer than I intended, I apologize. But I will address many more of your statements from our last exchange as soon as I have time.

David

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,

David