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0 points

Here are some excerpts from Arguments we think creationists should NOT use from a creationist website.

“Evolution is just a theory.”

What people usually mean when they say this is “Evolution is not proven fact, so it should not be promoted dogmatically.” Therefore people should say that! The problem with using the word “theory” in this case is that scientists use it to mean a well-substantiated explanation of data. This includes well-known theories such as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and Newton’s Theory of Gravity, as well as lesser-known ones such as the Debye–Hückel Theory of electrolyte solutions. It would be better to say that particles-to-people evolution is an unsubstantiated hypothesis or conjecture.

“Creationists believe in microevolution but not macroevolution.”

These terms, which focus on “small” vs. “large” changes, distract from the key issue of information. That is, particles-to-people evolution requires changes that increase genetic information, but all we observe is sorting and loss of information. We have yet to see even a “micro” increase in information, although such changes should be frequent if evolution were true. Conversely, we do observe quite “macro” changes that involve no new information, e.g., when a control gene is switched on or off.

Supporting Evidence: Arguments we think creationists should NOT use (www.answersingenesis.org)
3 points

Appeal to Authority: A deist is basically an Atheist in every other sense except for hang ups on "prime mover" arguments which physicist rejects, and a basic knowledge of cosmological theory scoffs at.

3 points

Slippery Slope: Put simply, every so called supernatural event has been found to have quite a sound, probable, and (in many cases) salient natural explanation.

2 points

Is the Biblical Flood Account a Modified Copy of the Epic of Gilgamesh?

by Rich Deem

Conclusion

We have examined the similarities between the Epic of Gilgamesh and Genesis flood account of the Bible. Although there are a number of similarities between the accounts, the vast majority of similarities would be expected to be found in any ancient flood account. Only two similarities stand out as being unique - landing of the boats on a mountain and the use of birds to determine when the flood subsided. However, both of these similarities differ in important details. In addition, there are great differences in the timing of each of the flood accounts and the nature of the vessels. Why these details would be so drastically changed is a problem for those who claim that the Genesis flood was derived from the Epic of Gilgamesh.

There are a couple possible explanations for the existence of multiple ancient flood accounts. One - that Genesis was a copy of Gilgamesh - has already been discussed and does not seem to fit the available data. The other possible explanation is that the flood was a real event in the history of mankind that was passed down through the generations of different cultures. If so, the Gilgamesh account seems to have undergone some rather radical transformations. The story is a rather silly myth that bears little resemblance to reality. In contrast, the Genesis account is a logical, seemingly factual account of a historical event. It lacks the obvious mythological aspects of the Gilgamesh epic.

6 points

2. The Argument from Efficient Causality

We notice that some things cause other things to be (to begin to be, to continue to be, or both). For example, a man playing the piano is causing the music that we hear. If he stops, so does the music.

Now ask yourself: Are all things caused to exist by other things right now? Suppose they are. That is, suppose there is no Uncaused Being, no God. Then nothing could exist right now. For remember, on the no-God hypothesis, all things need a present cause outside of themselves in order to exist. So right now, all things, including all those things which are causing things to be, need a cause. They can give being only so long as they are given being. Everything that exists, therefore, on this hypothesis, stands in need of being caused to exist.

But caused by what? Beyond everything that is, there can only be nothing. But that is absurd: all of reality dependent—but dependent on nothing! The hypothesis that all being is caused, that there is no Uncaused Being, is absurd. So there must be something uncaused, something on which all things that need an efficient cause of being are dependent.

Existence is like a gift given from cause to effect. If there is no one who has the gift, the gift cannot be passed down the chain of receivers, however long or short the chain may be. If everyone has to borrow a certain book, but no one actually has it, then no one will ever get it. If there is no God who has existence by his own eternal nature, then the gift of existence cannot be passed down the chain of creatures and we can never get it. But we do get it; we exist. Therefore there must exist a God: an Uncaused Being who does not have to receive existence like us—and like every other link in the chain of receivers.

Question 1: Why do we need an uncaused cause? Why could there not simply be an endless series of things mutually keeping each other in being?

Reply: This is an attractive hypothesis. Think of a single drunk. He could probably not stand up alone. But a group of drunks, all of them mutually supporting each other, might stand. They might even make their way along the street. But notice: Given so many drunks, and given the steady ground beneath them, we can understand how their stumblings might cancel each other out, and how the group of them could remain (relatively) upright. We could not understand their remaining upright if the ground did not support them—if, for example, they were all suspended several feet above it. And of course, if there were no actual drunks, there would be nothing to understand.

This brings us to our argument. Things have got to exist in order to be mutually dependent; they cannot depend upon each other for their entire being, for then they would have to be, simultaneously, cause and effect of each other. A causes B, B causes C, and C causes A. That is absurd. The argument is trying to show why a world of caused causes can be given—or can be there—at all. And it simply points out: If this thing can exist only because something else is giving it existence, then there must exist something whose being is not a gift. Otherwise everything would need at the same time to be given being, but nothing (in addition to "everything") could exist to give it. And that means nothing would actually be.

Question 2: Why not have an endless series of caused causes stretching backward into the past? Then everything would be made actual and would actually be—even though their causes might no longer exist.

Reply: First, if the kalam argument (argument 6) is right, there could not exist an endless series of causes stretching backward into the past. But suppose that such a series could exist. The argument is not concerned about the past, and would work whether the past is finite or infinite. It is concerned with what exists right now.

Even as you read this, you are dependent on other things; you could not, right now, exist without them. Suppose there are seven such things. If these seven things did not exist, neither would you. Now suppose that all seven of them depend for their existence right now on still other things. Without these, the seven you now depend on would not exist—and neither would you. Imagine that the entire universe consists of you and the seven sustaining you. If there is nothing besides that universe of changing, dependent things, then the universe—and you as part of it—could not be. For everything that is would right now need to be given being but there would be nothing capable of giving it. And yet you are and it is. So there must in that case exist something besides the universe of dependent things—something not dependent as they are.

And if it must exist in that case, it must exist in this one. In our world there are surely more than seven things that need, right now, to be given being. But that need is not diminished by there being more than seven. As we imagine more and more of them—even an infinite number, if that were possible—we are simply expanding the set of beings that stand in need. And this need—for being, for existence—cannot be met from within the imagined set. But obviously it has been met, since contingent beings exist. Therefore there is a source of being on which our material universe right now depends.

From the Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft and Fr. Ronald Tacelli, SJ (Intervarsity Press, 1994

Supporting Evidence: The Argument from Efficient Causality (www.peterkreeft.com)
7 points

1. The Argument from Change

The material world we know is a world of change. This young woman came to be 5'2", but she was not always that height. The great oak tree before us grew from the tiniest acorn. Now when something comes to be in a certain state, such as mature size, that state cannot bring itself into being. For until it comes to be, it does not exist, and if it does not yet exist, it cannot cause anything.

As for the thing that changes, although it can be what it will become, it is not yet what it will become. It actually exists right now in this state (an acorn); it will actually exist in that state (large oak tree). But it is not actually in that state now. It only has the potentiality for that state.

Now a question: To explain the change, can we consider the changing thing alone, or must other things also be involved? Obviously, other things must be involved. Nothing can give itself what it does not have, and the changing thing cannot have now, already, what it will come to have then. The result of change cannot actually exist before the change. The changing thing begins with only the potential to change, but it needs to be acted on by other things outside if that potential is to be made actual. Otherwise it cannot change.

Nothing changes itself. Apparently self-moving things, like animal bodies, are moved by desire or will—something other than mere molecules. And when the animal or human dies, the molecules remain, but the body no longer moves because the desire or will is no longer present to move it.

Now a further question: Are the other things outside the changing thing also changing? Are its movers also moving? If so, all of them stand in need right now of being acted on by other things, or else they cannot change. No matter how many things there are in the series, each one needs something outside itself to actualize its potentiality for change.

The universe is the sum total of all these moving things, however many there are. The whole universe is in the process of change. But we have already seen that change in any being requires an outside force to actualize it. Therefore, there is some force outside (in addition to) the universe, some real being transcendent to the universe. This is one of the things meant by "God."

Briefly, if there is nothing outside the material universe, then there is nothing that can cause the universe to change. But it does change. Therefore there must be something in addition to the material universe. But the universe is the sum total of all matter, space and time. These three things depend on each other. Therefore this being outside the universe is outside matter, space and time. It is not a changing thing; it is the unchanging Source of change.

From the Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft and Fr. Ronald Tacelli, SJ (Intervarsity Press, 1994

Supporting Evidence: The Argument from Change (www.peterkreeft.com)
6 points

The Caused Beginning of the Universe: A Response to Quentin Smith

Dr. William Lane Craig

Quentin Smith has recently argued that (I) the universe began to exist and (II) its beginning was uncaused. In support of (II), he argues that (i) there is no reason to think that the beginning was caused by God and (ii) it is unreasonable to think so. I dispute both claims.

His case for (i) misconstrues the causal principle, appeals to false analogies of ex nihilo creation, fails to show how the origin of the universe ex nihilo is naturally plausible, and reduces to triviality by construing causality as predictability in principle. His case for (ii) ignores important epistemological questions and fails to show either that vacuum fluctuation models are empirically plausible or that they support his second claim.

3 points

Can you define universe or do you agree with Wikipedia?

"The Universe is most commonly defined as everything that physically exists: the entirety of space and time, all forms of matter, energy and momentum, and the physical laws and constants that govern them. However, the term "universe" may be used in slightly different contextual senses, denoting such concepts as the cosmos, the world or Nature."

Responding to: "Just because things in the universe follow the Law doesn't mean the universe itself does."

Supporting Evidence: Universe - Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org)
6 points

This video is a response to:

"Even if you disagree with that analogy, you still haven't solved the First Cause problem, you've just bumped it up a level. If something greater than the universe caused the universe, what created that "greater cause"? If that "greater cause" has some special property that enables it to be a First Cause, why attribute that property to something outside the universe instead of applying it to the universe itself?"

Who created God?
0 points

And here are Christian Responses to the list:

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_name.html

Some of the questions have a Christian Responses section. Google for questions without Christian Responses.

Supporting Evidence: Christian Responses in some questions. (skepticsannotatedbible.com)
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