Feedback archive Feedback 2011

Soldiers and scoffers

Published: 21 June 2011 (GMT+10) Soldier

This week’s correspondence illustrates some of the reasons why CMI exists: to give aid to believers in the war of ideas where they are, and to stand as a public challenge to scoffers. CMI’s Dr Don Batten and Dr Tas Walker respond.

Neville L. from Australia writes:

I am writing for your assistance, please. Maybe Don Batten or someone else (if Don is away) might be able to help.

In recent issues of our free weekly paper The Echo, there have been letters denigrating the Bible and promoting evolution. One writer claimed that “evolution is fact (not a belief), verifiable by science”. I submitted a letter (reproduced below) and it has been published in the recent issue of The Echo. On reflection, I may have left myself open in my second last paragraph where I write thatmany leading scientists admit the inadequacies of evolutionary explanations, but, being unwilling to consider the alternative creationist explanation, adhere stubbornly to what is a bankrupt theory of the nineteenth century.” In case I am challenged over this statement, would you be able to supply me with 5 or 6 scientists who have admitted this (together with what 2 or 3 of them said). I would appreciate having this on hand by 19th February when I might be called upon to reply.

We hope that we have helped equip enough local folk to take up the battle (using the resources of our website, for example).

Here is what was published in The Echo:

“Despite recent claims in the Echo that evolution is a scientific fact, it remains a belief that is not verifiable by science.

“There are a number of uses of the word “evolution”: (1) cosmic evolution (origin of time, space, matter); (2) chemical evolution (origin of higher elements from hydrogen); (3) stellar and planetary evolution (origin of stars and planets); (4) organic evolution (origin of life); (5) macro evolution (changing from one basic kind to another); (6) micro evolution (variations within kinds). The sixth is the only one that can be demonstrated in the laboratory. It is a great leap of faith to claim that the sixth implies the other five!

“Scientists have been unable to change one basic kind to another. An observable law of science is that like begets like (dogs produce dogs). If macro evolution were a reality, there ought to be an abundance of intermediate, hard-to-identify fossils. Further, another observable law is that life begets life. This runs contrary to organic evolution whose basis is that from non-life we obtain life.

“Big Bang proponents claim that the universe burst into something from a state of virtual nothingness (about the size of a dot on a page), but are unable to explain from where the material packed into that dot originated.

“Take the law of conservation of angular momentum (pieces that break from a spinning object spin in the same direction). If the universe began (as claimed) by a spinning dot, why do at least 2 planets spin backwards and why do Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune have moons orbiting in both directions?

“The second law of thermodynamics states that nothing gets better by itself unless energy is added. But the universe is a closed system and so must get more disorganised unless you acknowledge the intervention of a Designer and Sustainer (which appears unpalatable to some readers).

“Indeed many leading scientists admit the inadequacies of evolutionary explanations, but, being unwilling to consider the alternative creationist explanation, adhere stubbornly to what is a bankrupt theory of the nineteenth century.

“True science is concerned with the observable. What happened in the past is a matter of conjecture. The belief system you choose needs also to address the big questions: where did you come from, why are you here, where are you going, how do you tell right from wrong, etc. It is my belief that the evolutionary theory is inadequate also in this respect.

Neville L.”

Thank you for your help.

Neville L.

Don Batten responds:

Hello Neville,

I’m glad you are making the effort with The Echo. I was made aware of the scuttlebutt being published therein, but we just don’t have time to spend on local newspaper debates. We hope that we have helped equip enough local folk to take up the battle (using the resources of our website, for example).

Here are some high-profile admissions of "the inadequacies of evolutionary explanations" all the while being unwilling to contemplate the creation alternative:

These also might be useful:

I hope these help. They are all from the quotes page of our website.

It might also be useful to check out the articles on Antony Flew on our website also. He was the world’s most famous atheist but realized that evolution could not explain the intricate complexities being revealed by molecular biology today and so abandoned atheism. He unfortunately did not become a Christian before his death (as far as we know). See, for example, also Would Darwin be a Darwinist today?

Every blessing,

Don Batten

R.W. from the United States writes in response to What makes us human:

“Some dismiss the story of Adam and Eve as myth. But the scientific evidence supports the biblical account, not the idea that we are related to apes (p. 46).”

Tell me something, does Tas keep a straight face when he tells a lie like this or does he roll on the floor laughing when he does so? This man has to be one of the biggest ‘liars for god’ in today’s world. Give the liar my regards.

No, I don’t laugh. Usually I feel sad when I encounter such emails from people like yourself.

Tas Walker responds;

Hi R.W.,

Thank you for your greetings. I wish you God’s blessings.

No, I don’t laugh. Usually I feel sad when I encounter such emails from people like you. But I am encouraged to know that scoffers do come to their senses and turn back to the Lord, which is what I pray for you.

The “(p. 46)” in the editorial refers to an article on p. 46 of the current Creation magazine that explains how the evidence supports biblical history. Why not have a read of that article, which is by Dr Don Batten?

There is a very good DVD on a related topic by Dr Rob Carter entitled Mitochondrial Eve and the 3 “Daughters of Noah” . In that DVD, geneticist Rob Carter discusses the latest human genetic data and explores three scenarios: evolution over millions of years, progressive creation and the biblical history. He shows that the latest genetic data are consistent with the biblical scenario and not the other two.

I wish you all the best,

Tas Walker

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

Fergus M.
FM: “The second law of thermodynamics states that nothing gets better by itself unless energy is added.” OK, you want more detail? Happy to oblige, although I bet you won't publish it …

Dr Jonathan Sarfati responds: OK, but it might not make you look good.

FM: The Second Law states “Total entropy in an isolated system cannot decrease.” Entropy is energy not available to do work;

JS: This is not correct. Entropy is the heat absorbed in a reversible process divided by the temperature (Q/T). Energy is measured in joules, entropy in joules per kelvin. So they should not be equated.

FM: it has NOTHING to do with “things getting better”, “complexity”, “decay”, or “disorder” (unless you want to muddy the waters by using the totally different definition of entropy used in information theory.)

JS: Nothing to do with it? That is an overstatement. But I’ve pointed out myself in Weathering the storm:

We believe the universe as a whole is running down. But we point out that it is wrong to equate such an anthropomorphic conception of “running down” with thermodynamic entropy increase. This is because even processes which we would call “building up” will still increase the overall entropy of the universe. Yes, a garment wearing out is an expression of the second law, but the manufacture of a pristine garment also increases the overall entropy of the universe. Old-style creationist arguments that the 2nd Law began at the Fall forget this. Our position is explained in Did the 2nd Law begin at the Fall?

In various places I’ve also pointed out that thermodynamic order is not necessarily the same as anthropocentric goodness. E.g. a baked cake might be ‘good’, but the cake mix is more disordered than the eggs, sugar, flour, etc. On the other side, stale bread results from starch molecules crystallizing, thus becoming more ‘ordered’, which is why this happens more readily in the fridge. I’ve also advised caution for creationists in using second law arguments Thermodynamics and evolution.

FM: Note the word “total”. Entropy in an isolated system can decrease locally as long as that decrease is balanced by an equal or greater increase somewhere else. That’s why the Second Law is no problem for life on Earth; all biological processes are powered by the Sun, and entropy within the Sun is increasing as its fuel is burned. That means a decrease in entropy on Earth is no mystery, no contradiction, no violation and no problem.

JS: Actually, although the sun’s fusion reactions increase total entropy, the transfer of heat to the earth loses entropy Q/Tsun, while the earth gains entropy Q/Tearth. Since Tearth < Tsun and it’s on the denominator, the entropy change of the universe in this process is positive. This is why heat goes from hot things to cold things in general. So your assertion is the opposite of reality. Evolutionists in my experience seem not to understand thermodynamics very well (see also Skeptic blunders on thermodynamics and Some thermodynamics criticisms and answers).

FM: I've read your article [Second law answers to critics] on the Second Law, and note that you say “The Second Law can be stated in many different ways.” This is true. However every single one of the ways you have stated is wrong. The only one that’s even remotely close to the actual law is “usable energy is running out,” which is incorrect but at least sticks to the concept of available energy.

JS: They are all ways of stating the law by means of noting its effects. You also ignored that the article answered the open system argument.

I am a Ph.D. physical chemist so can claim some expertise in thermodyamics.

FM: If your argument needs you to misrepresent well-understood laws of science there is something badly wrong with it. Creationists appear to be in this position.

Don Batten: So, you have not demonstrated any “misrepresentation of well-understood laws of science” but rather a misunderstanding of your own.
Judie S.
Good on ya, Neville!
Excellent letter, good question. Keep it up, I’m praying for you.
(Well after the fact, but God isn’t bounded by time, after all.)
F. G .
Scoffers like this resort to mockery and name-calling quite a bit, and don’t do much to try to prove their position. Apparently they assume that evolution has already been proven, and thus doesn’t need to be proven again. The problem, of course, is that it hasn’t been.

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