Jason Lisle — Materialism Is Irrational

Today we have an oldie-goldie from Jason Lisle, the creationist astrophysicist who used to be employed by Answers in Genesis (AIG), ol’ Hambo’s online ministry.

For reasons which have never been explained, Jason left AIG a few years ago to go to the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), where he is now “Director of Physical Sciences.” Nevertheless, AIG sometimes re-prints his old essays, which is what they’ve done today. This one is titled Atheism: An Irrational Worldview.

We’ve written about a few of Jason’s essays on the same subject — for example: Jason Lisle: The Logic of Faith — but the one AIG has republished today was originally dated 10 October 2007. That was before your Curmudgeon started this humble blog, so what we’re seeing now may be the beginning of Jason’s exploration of this bizarre concept. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

By embracing materialism, the atheist has destroyed the possibility of knowledge, as well as science and technology.

That may be the most astonishing opening sentence we’ve ever encountered while exploring the fantasy-land of creationism. And Jason is just getting started. Sit back, dear reader. This is going to be fun. Then he says:

Materialistic atheism is one of the easiest worldviews to refute. A materialistic atheist believes that nature is all that there is. He believes that there is no transcendent God who oversees and maintains creation. Many atheists believe that their worldview is rational — and scientific. However, by embracing materialism, the atheist has destroyed the possibility of knowledge, as well as science and technology. In other words, if atheism were true, it would be impossible to prove anything!

At this point we should remind you of something we’ve often said before: This isn’t an atheist blog. Your Curmudgeon is easy to get along with, and we’re never troubled by anyone’s religion — as long as he doesn’t use it as a license to interfere with the rights of anyone else — and that certainly includes the right to conduct scientific research and to teach science. The National Center for Science Education has a list of Statements from Religious Organizations that support evolution. We have no problem with any of those. That probably makes your Curmudgeon a rarity in The Controversy between evolution and creationism, but we’re used that. Anyway, let’s read on to see what else Jason says:

Reasoning involves using the laws of logic. These include the law of non-contradiction which says that you can’t have A and not-A at the same time and in the same relationship. For example, the statement “My car is in the parking lot, and it is not the case that my car is in the parking lot” is necessarily false by the law of non-contradiction. Any rational person would accept this law. But why is this law true? Why should there be a law of non-contradiction, or for that matter, any laws of reasoning?

Why should there be any laws of reasoning? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! How could there not be? Jason continues:

The Christian can answer this question. For the Christian there is an absolute standard for reasoning; we are to pattern our thoughts after God’s. The laws of logic are a reflection of the way God thinks. The law of non-contradiction is not simply one person’s opinion of how we ought to think, rather it stems from God’s self-consistent nature. God cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13), and so, the way God upholds the universe will necessarily be non-contradictory.

Oh. That explains why the universe looks old, but creationists insist that it isn’t. Okay. Here’s more:

The materialistic atheist can’t have laws of logic. He believes that everything that exists is material — part of the physical world. But laws of logic are not physical. You can’t stub your toe on a law of logic. Laws of logic cannot exist in the atheist’s world, yet he uses them to try to reason. This is inconsistent. He is borrowing from the Christian worldview to argue against the Christian worldview. The atheist’s view cannot be rational because he uses things (laws of logic) that cannot exist according to his profession.

Your humble Curmudgeon can try to defend logic. The universe is what it is. It can’t also be what it is not. Because we are part of the universe, logic is an essential premise for all rational thought. A premise like that isn’t held by faith, but by necessity. Religious doctrines, in contrast, are entirely optional. The doctrines of one religion can and do contradict those of another, yet they all have fervent adherents, despite their incompatible dogmas. That means logical thinking is the only universally effective way to think about and deal with the reality in which we exist.

But that won’t have any effect on Jason. Moving along, he tells us:

The atheist might say, “Well, I can reason just fine, and I don’t believe in God.” But this is no different than the critic of air saying, “Well, I can breathe just fine, and I don’t believe in air.” This isn’t a rational response. Breathing requires air, not a profession of belief in air. Likewise, logical reasoning requires God, not a profession of belief in Him. Of course the atheist can reason; it’s because God has made his mind and given him access to the laws of logic — and that’s the point. It’s because God exists that reasoning is possible. The atheist can reason, but within his own worldview he cannot account for his ability to reason.

Skipping a few paragraphs with more of the same, here’s another excerpt:

As a last resort, the atheist may give up a strictly materialistic view and agree that there are immaterial, universal laws. This is a huge concession; after all, if a person is willing to concede that immaterial, universal, unchanging entities can exist, then he must consider the possibility that God exists. But this concession does not save the atheist’s position. He must still justify the laws of logic. Why do they exist? And what is the point of contact between the material physical world and the immaterial world of logic? In other words, why does the material universe feel compelled to obey immaterial laws? The atheist cannot answer these questions. His worldview cannot be justified; it is arbitrary and thus irrational.

No comment. Then the article has two big paragraphs which constitute Jason’s conclusion section. Here’s a bit of that:

Clearly, atheism is not a rational worldview. … Since the God of Scripture is immaterial, sovereign, and beyond time, it makes sense to have laws of logic that are immaterial, universal, and unchanging. Since God has revealed Himself to man, we are able to know and use logic. Since God made the universe and since God made our minds, it makes sense that our minds would have an ability to study and understand the universe. But if the brain is simply the result of mindless evolutionary processes that conveyed some sort of survival value in the past, why should we trust its conclusions? If the universe and our minds are simply the results of time and chance, as the atheist contends, why would we expect that the mind could make sense of the universe? How could science and technology be possible?

And now we come to the end:

An atheist is a walking bundle of contradictions. He reasons and does science, yet he denies the very God that makes reasoning and science possible. On the other hand, the Christian worldview is consistent and makes sense of human reasoning and experience.

And so, dear reader, Jason has spelled out the utter hopelessness of your position, as clearly as anyone ever has. Perhaps it’s time for you to reconsider your silly ideas and embrace his.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Another ‘Wow’ Signal?

Everyone knows about the Wow! signal. It was detected almost 40 years ago coming from somewhere in the constellation Sagittarius, but it turned out to be a one-time event, and likely a false alarm. Nevertheless, according to Wikipedia, it is “considered the best candidate ever received for an alien radio transmission.”

Now we have another signal to think about. This was posted today at PhyOrg: ‘Strong signal’ stirs interest in hunt for alien life. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

A “strong signal” detected by a radio telescope in Russia that is scanning the heavens for signs of extraterrestrial life has stirred interest among the scientific community. … The signal is from the direction of a HD164595, a star about 95 light-years from Earth. The star is known to have at least one planet, and may have more.

But there’s already some skepticism, or at least caution. We’re told:

“No one is claiming that this is the work of an extraterrestrial civilization, but it is certainly worth further study,” said Paul Gilster, author of the Centauri Dreams website which covers peer-reviewed research on deep space exploration.

Here’s more:

The observation is being made public now, but was actually detected last year by the RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, Russia, he [presumably Gilster] said. Experts say it is far too early to know what the signal means or where, precisely,it came from. “But the signal is provocative enough that the RATAN-600 researchers are calling for permanent monitoring of this target,” wrote Gilster.

Permanent monitoring? Wow (so to speak). Let’s read on:

“Working out the strength of the signal, the researchers say that if it came from an isotropic beacon, it would be of a power possible only for a Kardashev Type II civilization,” Gilster wrote, referring to a scale-system that indicates a civilization far more advanced than our own. “If it were a narrow beam signal focused on our Solar System, it would be of a power available to a Kardashev Type I civilization,” indicating one closer to Earth’s capabilities.

On the Kardashev scale, a Type I civilization can use and store energy which reaches its planet from the neighboring star. We can do that — somewhat. A Type II civilization can harness the energy of the entire star (i.e., a Dyson sphere). If the signal comes from a Type II civilization, we would be significantly outclassed.

But it may turn out to be nothing. PhysOrg continues:

Nick Suntzeff, a Texas A&M University astronomer told the online magazine Ars Technica that the 11 gigahertz signal was observed in part of the radio spectrum used by the military. “If this were a real astronomical source, it would be rather strange,” Suntzeff was quoted as saying.

Here’s another quote from Suntzeff:

“I would follow it if I were the astronomers, but I would also not hype the fact that it may be at SETI signal given the significant chance it could be something military.”

PhysOrg also says:

The discovery is expected to feature in discussions at the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, on September 27.

So there you are. It may be nothing, or it may be something big. At this point, nobody knows — well, the creationists do. Anyway, we haven’t heard the last of this.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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AIG: Water and Life on Mars?

The creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — have written about life on Mars before, for example: Answers in Genesis & Life on Mars, and also AIG’s Head Buried in the Sands of Mars.

In those earlier posts, AIG claimed that the existence of water on Mars, which is now undeniable, and even the possibility of bacteria, don’t contradict the bible, which tells them that, like everything else in the universe, Mars is young. Also, even if there is some kind of primitive life on Mars, we weren’t there to see it happen, so there’s no evidence that life can evolve into existence.

Today they’re doing it again. Their latest post is Mars—The Other Blue Planet?, which is a repeat of something that first appeared in April of last year, but we didn’t notice it then. We did today. It was written by Dr. Ron Samec. At the end of his post we’re told: “Dr. Ron Samec is a professional observational astronomer and former professor of physics and astronomy at Bob Jones University. He is also the author of well over 150 journal articles and abstracts published in professional journals.” We haven’t checked his publication record, but he’s written a few times for AIG in the past. Here are some excerpts from his latest post, with bold font added by us:

As we look at the bitterly cold desert on Mars today, the thought of flowing water seems laughable. Yet evidence is growing that the planet was once wet . . . and this possibility fits nicely in the creation model. [Hee hee!]

Did water once flow on the surface of another planet in the solar system? Although Mars is now a desert, we have growing evidence that rain and flash floods once scoured the surface, sustaining a network of streams and lakes — and perhaps even an ocean. Today it appears that some of this water is locked up in subsurface permafrost and the rest has escaped into space. Where did all this liquid water come from, and why did it disappear? These are two of the greatest mysteries in planetary astronomy. … Yet despite our ever-increasing knowledge of the Red Planet, investigators are still baffled.

Samec explains why the investigators are baffled:

The search is hampered by a glaring flaw in their theories. Since we can’t observe past events, we must make assumptions. If the assumptions are wrong, the conclusions will be wrong. Instead of turning to God’s Word, the one infallible source of truth about planetary history, secular astronomers assume the universe is old.

Those secular astronomers are fools! Samec devotes several paragraphs to recent discoveries of water and volcanoes on Mars. We’ll skip all that because there are far better sources of information available. Then he says:

Where did the water originally come from? Perhaps the first volcanoes on Mars erupted and spewed out water during Creation Week or at the Fall, without the plate tectonics we find on Earth.

Yes — those are certainly good possibilities! He continues:

Because we still have so little information, much more work remains to be done to explain Mars’ topography. Other timelines are possible. Did catastrophe strike at the same time as the watery catastrophe on Earth? (If the Fall impacted the whole cosmos, according to Romans 8:22, perhaps the judgment during Noah’s day extended to other planets.)

Why don’t secular astronomers consider such ideas? Let’s read on:

It’s fascinating to consider what our Creator continues to do throughout our dynamic universe. But in all of this, we know one thing. Mars was never populated with intelligent life, engineers or otherwise.

How does Samec know that? He provides evidence in his final paragraph:

Isaiah 45:18 explains that Earth is the place God made to be inhabited: “For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord, and there is no other.” Psalm 115:16 likewise says, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men.”

So there you are. If we know what’s good for us, we’ll stay right here at home — where we belong.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Creative Challenge #31: Bible Science Blunders

You’re in luck, dear reader. The absence of news means we can present yet another creative challenge. This has the potential to be a good one.

Everyone knows (well, not ol’ Hambo) that aside from its merits, the bible is an utterly wretched science book. We’ve frequently mentioned a few of its major blunders, for example, the bible clearly states that The Earth Is Flat, and also The Earth Does Not Move, and that Pi Equals 3, and we live in a Geocentric Universe. There’s also Adam & Eve, Noah’s Flood, and an ark-load of other familiar items.

But those are well-known. Today’s challenge is for you to present us with your favorite but little-known bible science blunder. You must be careful, however. It can’t be something that’s ambiguous; the scripture has to be clear on the point you mention. The form of today’s challenge is that you must tell us, with reasonable brevity:

What is your favorite little-known bible science blunder?

You know the rules: You may enter the contest as many times as you wish, but you must avoid profanity, vulgarity, childish anatomical analogies, etc. Also, avoid slanderous statements about individuals. Feel free to comment on the entries submitted by others — with praise, criticism, or whatever — but you must do so tastefully.

There may not be a winner of this contest, but if there is, your Curmudgeon will decide, and whenever we get around to it we’ll announce who the winner is. There is no tangible prize — as always in life’s great challenges, the accomplishment is its own reward. We now throw open the comments section, dear reader. Go for it!

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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