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Posts Tagged ‘Apologetics’

Nye_UndeniableThis week’s installment o f our series on Bill Nye continues our review of Chapter 2 of his book Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation.

Bill Nye Asserts The Consequent

Suppose for a moment we were having a conversation about my car and I said to you, “If my battery’s dead, my car won’t start.” “Okay,” you replied, “that makes sense.”

So we go out to my driveway; I hop in and try to crank the engine. Nothing happens.

“Alright,” I say, “obviously this is scientific proof that my battery’s dead!”

What would you say about my logic? Well, if you had any sort of mechanical background, or had just a little bit of training in logic, you’d probably point out to me that I was jumping to conclusions. You might say something like, “Not so fast there, Steve. Sure, your battery may be dead, but there are many other explanations why your car won’t start. Maybe you didn’t check your oil and your engine’s locked up (I had this happen once), or maybe your ignition switch is broken. You could have a bad battery cable. In fact, there are probably dozens of reason why your car won’t start that have nothing do with a dead battery. Don’t you think you’re getting ahead of yourself by claiming you know your battery’s dead?”

This little story illustrates a common logical fallacy called asserting the consequent. This fallacy is the result of the misuse of a form of argument called the hypothetical argument. In my illustration above, you can easily spot where I go wrong in my thinking. I conclude that my battery is dead, even though there are many other reasons that can just as easily explain why my car won’t start.

But here’s the shocking part: the logical fallacy of asserting the consequent is foundational to the scientific method. That’s right. All the supposed great “truths” discovered by science, the very ones that Bill Nye and others like to use to try to intimidate Christians, are built, as it were, on the logical equivalent of quicksand.

On pages 14 and 15, Nye attempts to solidify the invincible logical rigor of science by providing the reader with an example of a successful prediction made by science. In Nye’s mind, this example illustrates the validity of science, but all it really does is underscore his own poor reasoning skills.

Nye relates the story of a University of Chicago scientists who, reasoning that there must exist the fossil of an animal showing the transition between fish and land animals, led a an expedition to an area in northeastern Canada where he thought he would find what he was looking for. As it turned out, the expected fossil was found leading Nye to claim that this is sound science, because the scientist’s prediction of the fossil turned out to be true.

The hypothesis the scientist used to make his prediction is left unstated by Nye, but it probably ran something like this: If land animals evolved from fish, then I should be able to find the fossil of an animal in such and such a place that has features of both fish and land animals. Eureka! I did, in fact, find the fossil of such an animal in the place where I expected, therefore it is true that land animals evolved from fish.

This argument is in the same form as my example above about my car and the dead battery. There could be any number of reasons why the fossil – the name of the fossil in question is the Tiktaalik – was found where it was that have nothing to do with the professor’s particular hypothesis or even, more generally, evolution.

It’s remarkable how smart people like Bill Nye can be so easily misled that they mistaken obvious logical fallacies for the truth. Worth noting is that the Bible itself predicts Nye’s fallacious thinking, giving as the reason for it the fact that men, in their unrighteousness, suppress their innate knowledge of God. And refusing to acknowledge God, they will move heaven and earth to drive him from their conscience by erecting their own intellectual constructs, however full or logical errors they may be. The world calls this sort of humanistic reasoning wisdom. But God calls it foolishness.

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Nye_UndeniableThis week’s installment of the series on Bill Nye continues our review of Chapter 2 of Nye’s book Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation.

As was mentioned earlier in this series, Chapter 2 of Undeniable bears the title “The Great Creationism Debate,” which was inspired, as Nye tells us, by his 2014 debate with Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis. You may view the full video of that debate here.

Nye Blasphemes God’s Word

Nye picks up his description of the debate thus, “When it was my turn, I hammered away at Mr. Ham’s claim that there was a big ole flood and that all the animals we see today are descendants of the few pairs that Noah and his family were able to save on a big boat, the ark of Biblical myth” (11).

The Apostle Paul tells us that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. Doubtless, the other messages of the Bible are also likewise foolishness to unbelievers, so it really should not come as a surprise that that the unbelieving Nye would write sarcastically about “a big ole flood” and “a big boat, the ark of Biblical myth.” Still though, it’s sad to see a man so hardened in his unbelief that, not satisfied with simply disagreeing with God’s revelation, he feels the need to revile it.

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Nye_UndeniableThis post in a continuation of Unbelievable:
A Quick Look at Bill Nye’s Views on Evolution, Science and Creation, Part 2
published on 5/28/2017. In that post, I began to examine Chapter 2 of Nye’s book Undeniable, Evolution and the Science of Creation. That post went through page 10 of the book. This week will pick up my review starting on page 11.

The US is lagging in science, and it’s the creationist’s fault

Bill Nye seems to be very worried about the state of US science education and achievement. He writes, “[W]ithout young people entering science fields, especially engineering, the country will fall behind other nations who do educate their kids in real science rather than the pseudoscience of creationism” (10).

This is one of many manifestations of Nye’s unspoken, fundamental, and flawed assumption that one cannot be a Christian and at the same time a scientist. Nowhere does Nye offer any proof of this contention. He simply asserts is expecting his audience to swallow it without question.

But in truth, Christians accept that the very Logos, the Logic, of God spoke the universe into existence. And not only that, this same Logos, and the Gospel of John tells us, is the light which lightens every man who comes into the world. The very logical architecture of our minds is what is it as a result of the creative work of Jesus Christ.

As such, not only is there no inhibition preventing Christians from studying the sciences, but it is the Christian alone who has sound reason to expect the universe to exhibit regularity and rationality, being, as it is, the creation of a rational God.

Further, a Christian scientist doesn’t need to waste a lifetime of research attempting to explain the origin of the universe or of life. He already has these answers revealed to him and can go about his work secure in the knowledge that he has a correct understanding of the universe.

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Nye_UndeniableLast week we looked a Chapter 1 of Bill Nye’s book Undeniable, Evolution and the Science of Creation. This week’s post will examine Chapter 2 of that same book, a chapter titled “The Great Creationism Debate.”

Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham

On February 4, 2014 Bill Nye and Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis (AiG) debated the question “Is creation a viable model of origins?”

The debate must have made a big impression on Nye, for he states at the beginning of Chapter 2 that “in many ways it [the debate] was the impetus for me to write this book.

According to Wikipedia, the origin of the debate were in a video posted by Nye on Big Think titled Creationism is Not Appropriate for Children.

In the video, Nye laments the that “Denial of evolution is unique to the United States.” This is a problem, Nye tells us, because it threatens to retard our progress and prosperity as a nation.

What’s interesting about Nye’s remark about the unique failure of the United States to bow down before the altar of Darwin is that he immediately follows it by saying “We are the world’s most advanced technological [civilization?]. I mean you could say Japan, but generally the United States is where most of the innovation still happens. People still move to the United States. And that’s largely because of the intellectual capital that we have, the general understanding of science.”

As Nye sees it, the stubborn resistance of Christians to accept Darwinian evolution is a threat to all this.

Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, it may be worth asking, just why is that, at least according to Bill Nye, the one nation where there is strong resistance to Darwinism is also, in Nye’s opinion, at the same time the most technologically advanced civilization?

These two ideas appear to be in conflict. If believing the Bible is really the social retardant Nye thinks it is, would it not follow that the US would be among the world’s most backward nations, not among its leading lights?

It seems to me that Nye, who claims to have a great curiosity about the world around us, would be curious enough to look into this strange [according to his world view] phenomenon, but the thought does not seem to occur to him.

For those interested, a video of the 2014 debate can be seen here.

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Bill Nye_2Riding the coattails of the successful homosexual movement, transgender advocates have enjoyed tremendous success in recent years. Transgenderism, the medical term is gender dysphoria, upholds the claim that it is possible to make a separation between the biological sex of an individual and that same person’s gender identity.

To put it another way, transgenderism claims that there really are women trapped in men’s bodies. Transgender advocates believe that science supports their view and that broader society has an obligation to accede to their demands to normalize what not that long ago was considered deviant behavior.

One particularly glaring, and as one critic described it “cringe worthy,” example of claimed scientific support for transgenderism was seen recently on Bill Nye The Social Justice Guy’s Netflix program Bill Nye Saves the World.

Using the cover of science to advance his evolving personal beliefs about the validity of transgenderism, Nye featured a performance by actress Rachel Bloom of a rap song titled “My Sex Junk,” the lyrics of which I just can’t bring myself to include in this blog post. If you have a strong stomach, you can read more about this charming little ditty here and here.

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Answering SodomAnswering Sodom by Ralph Ovadal (Madison, Wisconsin: Heart of the Matter Publications, 1998, 252 pages).

It has come as a bit of a surprise to this author just how much space has been dedicated on this blog to various aspects of the aggressive and unbiblical Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) agenda. This was not something that was planned. Rather, the alacrity the LGBTQ victories and the ominous implications they portend both for the well-being of America in general, and the welfare of American Christians in particular, cry out for sound Biblical analysis.

It was in the course of researching a recent article on Transgenderism that I discovered the book that is the subject of this review. Written in 1998, it appears that this title is no longer in print. But with tremendous resources available on the internet, it was not hard to find a copy for a reasonable price. In my case, I purchased the book on ABE.com for about $13.00, shipping included.

One may suppose that a book on the subject of the homosexual movement that was written 18 years ago may come off a dated. But this is far from the case. The issue at hand – the push by LGBTQ activists to gain legal sanction for, and societal approval of, their lifestyle – remains largely the same. And not only this, but the arguments used to justify the normalization of homosexuality have not changed much over the past two decades. Add to this Ovadal’s sound exegesis and application of the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality, and you have a book that not only is as relevant today as when it was first written, but perhaps one that is even more so.

Ovadal begins chapter one with the words, “The evening of April 12, 1996 was beautiful and calm in Madison, Wisconsin. Well, at least the weather was calm. By seven o’clock, the night air in front of Trinity Evangelical Fellowship Church was rent with curses, blasphemous invectives, and chants such as “Crush the Christians! Bring back the lions!” and “Queer mob rule!” All this, the author explains, as a result of a joint speaking appearance that included him and Scott Lively, the author of another book titled The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party.

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transgender restroomIt seems almost impossible to have any contact with day to day events in this country without soon coming across some discussion about the issue of transgender persons, those individuals, “whose gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth” (Answers to Your Questions About Transgender People, Gender Identity and Gender Expression, APA).

In early 2015, the suicide of a young man from the Cincinnati are who identified as female garnered national and international attention. The case of Olympic champion Bruce Jenner has been an even more high-profile case of transgenderism. Now, the state of North Carolina is grabbing headlines for its so-called “bathroom bill” which requires all persons to use the public restroom that corresponds to the sex assigned to them on their birth certificate.

Since transgenderism has become such a high profile issue, it is important for Christians to think through matter carefully. Below are a few common intellectual fallacies related to transgenderism that Christians ought to avoid, in order to speak effectively to aggressive and unbiblical transgender movement.

The Bible is not a textbook on transgenderism

Many individuals, perhaps even some believers, labor under the assertion that the Bible has nothing to say about transgenderism. This then becomes an excuse for seeking truth about transgenderism, not from the Word of God, but from secularists of one sort or another.

Many people believe that modern science furnishes us with truth about transgenderism. But science is not a source of truth. Any truth.

At its best, science can provide useful opinion on this or that topic. But it can never provide truth in the sense of giving us final, once and for all objectively factual statements.

There are two main reasons for this. First, science relies on observation. That is to say, science is empirical. But empiricism is deeply flawed. “Seeing is believing,” is a common empirical expression. But probably all of us have had our eyes play tricks on us. Observation is not so reliable as we would like to think.

Second, the scientific process of experimentation relies on the logical fallacy of asserting the consequent to reach its conclusions. To steal an everyday example John Robbins has used, consider the statement: If my battery is dead, my car won’t start. Most of us would agree with this proposition. But then we decide to do an experiment and try to start our car. We turn the key and, lo and behold, our car won’t start. Therefore, we conclude, our battery must be dead.

Now any good mechanic could spot the problem here: there are other reasons that a car won’t start that have nothing to do with the battery being dead. Jumping to the conclusion that the battery must be dead is an example of asserting the consequent. This is a logical fallacy. And it is the same logical fallacy that underlies the entire enterprise of scientific experimentation.

And because science is based on a logical fallacy, it can never furnish us with truth. The most science can do is provide us with useful opinion. Nothing more.

By contrast, the Bible is a complete system of revealed truth.

To cite just one passage from Scripture that makes this claim, “All Scripture is inspired by God (God breathed) and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). This includes the good work of Christian commentary on current events, even the issue of transgenderism.

To quote John Robbins, “The Bible is a textbook – or rather, the Bible is the textbook. Let all other books conform. And let us, as Christians, reject the sophistry of those who devalue the Scriptures by making them inadequate for all our intellectual needs” (Robbins, Is the Bible a Textbook?).

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