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Five concise responses to atheistic arguments

Published: 26 March 2011 (GMT+10)

Chuck P. sent us a request for help dealing with atheists on a popular online forum. We will reprint his message in full before Robert Carter replies below.

Illustrated by Caleb Salisbury Five concise responses to atheistic arguments

I’m sending this message because others might have the same questions. I was in an online forum when someone said, “There is no god”. I responded, “The fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God.’” There were several replies. I responded, “Your atheism probably exists upon two canards: Big-Bang Theory, and Evolution. Why don’t you research these things out?” Anyway, they said, “Adam and Eve isn’t a very convincing alternative theory.” To which I replied, “Mitochondrial DNA actually points to an Eve” (actually, the Noahic descendants).

My question, in a nutshell, would be, “What are three to five very concise, readily understandable arguments that one can make to an atheist?” I would start with the fact that the Big-Bang begins with two contradictions: the first and second laws of thermodynamics. If you would proceed down a different path, what would that be? I don’t want to win an argument with people, I want to win souls, as it were (fully believing in God using the intellect in the conversion of sinners to Himself). Anyway, I hope that I’m not putting you on the spot, but maybe others have this same question; so you might want to tackle this publicly, if you want.

Yours in Christ, Chuck

CMI’s Dr Robert Carter responds:

Dear Chuck,

Those are some great questions. I will do my best to give you a few concise arguments. You will have to do a little background reading on each subject, but the gist of each argument should be clear from the information given below.

#1: Presuppositions

First, everyone in the discussion has to agree that all people operate with a set of starting assumptions. Nothing can be proven in the end. It is either faith in naturalistic science or faith in the science God created (this is going to be a huge diversion, but the other arguments pale in significance).

See Using the Bible to prove the Bible?

All philosophical systems start with axioms, or non-provable propositions accepted as true, and deduce theorems from them.

Quotes from the article above:

“All philosophical systems start with axioms (presuppositions), or non-provable propositions accepted as true, and deduce theorems from them. Therefore Christians should not be faulted for having axioms as well, which are the propositions of Scripture (a proposition is a fact about a thing, e.g. God is love).”

“So the question for any axiomatic system is whether it is self-consistent and is consistent with the real world.”

“ … the biblical framework is the only one that provides the foundation for science, voluntary will, logic and morality.”

#2: Big Bang

You made excellent points. BB requires a reversal of physical laws. It is as if the BB god waved a giant magic wand over the problem, “Kablam” faster-than-light expansion (inflation theory). “Kazam” dark matter to explain the excessive lumpiness. Etc.

Point them to the work of Russell Humphreys and John Hartnett (search Astronomy and astrophysics questions and answers). John has developed a cosmology that introduces a new mathematical term, “Cosmological Relativity”. If true, CR explains the structure of the universe, starting with its initial creation a few thousand years ago, followed by an expansion of the universe, without requiring dark matter or dark energy. Brilliant.

See also Starlight and time—a further breakthrough.

#3: Genetics

Junk DNA is dead. Long live complexity!
  1. Explain that measurable mutation rates are too high. Natural selection cannot keep up. Because of this, all species are doomed to extinction. Also, a high mutation rate means it does not take very much time to explain all the genetic diversity among humans in particular (we are a young race). Reference John Sanford’s book Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome (see also From ape to man via genetic meltdown: a theory in crisis and Genetics questions and answers).
  2. Despite the fact that mutation rates are high, there is a limit to the number of mutations that can be fixed (i.e., suddenly found in every member of the species, with a total loss of the original, non-mutant gene) each generation. There has not been enough time in the history of the earth to create the tens of millions of differences found between humans and chimps, let alone to create the genetic information found in every species in the world (this is a summary of the long-standing problem known as Haldane’s Dilemma, see Haldane’s dilemma has not been solved).
  3. No doubt they will bring up junk DNA (especially after 3b) and/or “pseudogenes”. You can refer them to my article on junk DNA (The slow, painful death of junk DNA) for a start (there are more articles on the subject available—see the Q&A section on genetics linked above and the section on vestigial organs Vestigial organs questions and answers). The take home point is that junk DNA was invented as a necessity to explain away 3b, but the theory has run into a Wall of Complexity. This is exactly what they did not want to happen. Junk DNA is dead. Long live complexity!

#4: Abiogenesis

Random chemical reactions do not produce complex biomolecules. Period.

The rational failure of abiogenesis theory (chemical evolution) to explain the origin of life is another great subject.

Random chemical reactions do not produce complex biomolecules. Period. Worse, life depends on information, and, by definition, information is neither random nor highly repetitive (like in a crystal). Natural processes give us no way to generate the necessary information for life to exist.

See Life’s irreducible structure—Part 1: autopoiesis.

#5: Missing links in the fossil record

Finally, the utter failure of the fossil record to back up evolution is an important subject to cover.

Darwin predicted that future scientists would find innumerable transitional fossils. In fact, he said this would be a direct test of his theory. 150 years later, the missing links are still missing.

Yes, there are “transitional species”, but

  1. they are few and far between.
  2. they are all controversial.
  3. their shelf life tends to be about a decade before they are replaced.

See Tetrapods from Poland trample the Tiktaalik school of evolution.

There is nothing preventing God from having created a bewildering assortment of species (e.g. the “mammal-like reptiles”). From all appearance, He did not. Had we found the transitional species required for evolution, they would be used as evidence for evolution and as a club against creation. Yet, they could not logically be submitted as proof for evolution and disproof of creation because the data could easily fit into either model. The fact is, however, that a general lack of transitional species exists, which does not fit neatly into evolutionary theory. Darwin predicted that future scientists would find innumerable transitional fossils. In fact, he said this would be a direct test of his theory. 150 years later, the missing links are still missing.

See Fossils questions and answers.

Thanks for the great questions. I trust you will find some of this useful. If you need more information, please keep reading on our website. Also, you will find the information in the Creation Answers Book particularly helpful as it was designed to answer questions like these, and more!

Sincerely,
Robert Carter

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