From Mark Copeland... "ISSUES OF DISTINCTION" The Existence Of God

                        "ISSUES OF DISTINCTION"

                          The Existence Of God


1. In our previous lesson, we introduced several "Issues Of
   Distinction", matters which by their nature differentiate those with
   opposing views...
   a. The existence of God
   b. The identity of God
   c. The identity of Jesus of Nazareth
   d. The all-sufficiency of the Scriptures
   e. The purpose of baptism
   f. The nature of the Lord's church

2. I concluded by saying that it is important...
   a. That we do not artificially put up barriers
   b. To diligently study matters to determine whether they merit such
      importance as to differentiate ourselves from others
   c. To present our conviction on such matters in the proper spirit:
      1) Speaking the truth in love - Ep 4:15
      2) Without quarreling, in gentleness, with patience and humility 
         - 2Ti 2:24-25

3. Therefore, if an issue is such that it is one of "distinction", we 
   ought to be able to...
   a. Explain why we believe the way we do
   b. Present reasons why those who differ ought to reconsider their

[In this study, we shall take a closer look at the first "issue of 
distinction":  The Existence of God...]


      1. Then atheists and agnostics are on the side of TRUTH
      2. Then there is no Supreme Being to which we must give an 
         a. I.e., no Judgment Day
         b. I.e., no heaven or hell
      3. There is no reason to be accountable to anyone but ourselves
      4. There is no right or wrong, no good or evil
      5. We would best live by the saying:  "Eat, drink, and be merry,
         for tomorrow we die"

      1. Then there is a Supreme Being to Whom we must give an account
      2. We owe to ourselves to learn whatever we can...
         a. About the NATURE of this God
         b. About what He may REQUIRE of us
      3. Such a search for knowledge concerning this God may be 
         life-long, but if there is a God, then it is worth it! 
         - cf. Jer 9:23-24

[In any issue of controversy, the burden of proof rests upon those who
argue in the affirmative; so what are the EVIDENCES presented by those
who affirm that God exists?]


      1. This argument was espoused by Anselm, a theologian and 
         philosopher, also the archbishop of Cantebury (ca. 1100 A.D.)
         a. It runs something like this:  "If man can have the concept
            of a perfect God, then He must exist"
         b. It is based upon the premise that everything man can know 
            or think is based upon some reality 
            (though often perverted)
      2. "This is probably one of the weakest of the philosophical
         arguments; and to many this argument is somewhat
         unconvincing." (J. D. Thomas, Facts & Faith)

      1. This argument is based upon "the universal belief in God and
         the religious instinct"
         a. "Men in all the world, and throughout all time, not only
            believe in deity, but also engage in acts of worship and
            devotion." - cf. Ac 17:26-27
         b. "The religious principle is extremely potent in all 
            nations, dominating their thought and history."
         c. "Everywhere the human heart has a craving for God.  There
            will be exceptions as individuals, but the exceptions do 
            not invalidate the rule.  The atheist is an exception in
            every society!"  (Ferrell Jenkins, Introduction To 
            Christian Evidences)
      2. This argument reasons in this way:
         a. Since there is in the universe those things that satisfy 
            man's deepest longings...
         b. ...there must be a reality (i.e., God) that complements and
            meets this universal craving for a Supreme Being

      1. This is also called "the argument from first cause"
         a. It is based upon the premise "every effect must have a 
         b. The cosmos (universe) is an effect that has adequate cause
         c. The theist believes that Gen 1:1 reveals that adequate
            cause:  "In the beginning God created the heavens and the
      2. A common objection is often raised:  "Who created God?"
         a. It is important to bear in mind that the law which states
            every effect has a cause applies to things that are
         b. God by definition is not physical, and therefore not bound
            by laws which we may discern to apply to physical things
            1) God is a spiritual being - cf. Jn 4:24
            2) His omnipresence is but one example of how He defies 
               laws of nature - cf. Jer 23:23-24
         c. So the argument does not apply to Him, and He becomes the 
            "uncaused cause" of all things!

      1. This argument is based upon the evidence of design in the
      2. Evidence of design suggests a "designer", some Being with 
         intelligence possessing purpose
         a. E.g., a watch shows design, and implies a watchmaker
         b. To credit such intricate and precise workmanship to blind 
            chance is unreasonable
      3. Examples of design in the universe are many;  some examples...
         a. Orderly movement of heavenly bodies, making space travel
         b. Animal instinct, such as the migration patterns of birds,
            eels, and salmon
         c. The human body itself, e.g., the eye
      4. Contemplating upon the universe and the human body rightfully
         produces awe, and points man to his Creator - cf. Ps 19:1-2;
         139:14; Ro 1:19-20

      1. This is also called the "anthropological argument"
      2. It is based upon reality that everywhere people have "a sense
         of ought"
         a. That in certain circumstances, certain things should be
         b. People are concerned...
            1) That people should act a certain way
            2) That people do not often act the way they should
         c. Even atheists and agnostics have "a sense of justice", and
            are angered when it is violated (as in the case of rape and
      3. This moral nature in man demands a Moral Being as the Original

      1. This argument is based upon the presence of beauty and 
         sublimity in the universe
      2. It observes that you have both...
         a. The presence of beauty in nature itself, and in art 
            produced by man
         b. The response of man to such beauty
      3. How did this "beauty", and the "ability to appreciate" it,
         a. Were both the result of blind chance?
         b. Or did it come from a Supreme Being, who is not only...
            1) Intelligent (an argument from design)
            2) Moral (an argument from our sense of ought)
            ...but also Artistic (an argument from beauty and our sense
               of it)? - cf. Ps 96:4-6


1. These arguments we have considered are "philosophical arguments",
   but they are based upon what the Bible itself says can be learned 
   about God from nature - cf. Ps 19:1-2; Ro 1:20

2. The arguments we have considered are some of the reasons why so many
   believe in the existence of God, be they Hindus, Buddhists, Jews,
   Moslems, Christians, etc.

3. Other arguments can be offered to support the existence of God...
   a. Fulfilled prophecies in the Scriptures
   b. Scientific foreknowledge of the Scriptures
   c. Uniformity of the Scriptures
   d. Evidences for the resurrection of Jesus from the dead
   -- But these arguments we shall consider as we examine other "Issues
      Of Distinction"

But Who is this Supreme Being?  In our next study, we shall take a look
at "The Identity Of God"...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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The Holy Scriptures--Indestructible! by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


The Holy Scriptures--Indestructible!

by Wayne Jackson, M.A.

The Word of God “lives and abides.” Thus wrote Peter, the inspired apostle of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:23). To buttress this claim regarding the enduring nature of the sacred Word, the divine spokesman quoted from the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah (40:6ff.), declaring: “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower falleth: But the word of the Lord abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:24-25). Men come and go. Generations vanish. But the Holy Scriptures march on triumphantly.
There is a saying: “Homer must be handled with care.” The allusion, of course, is to the compositions of the blind poet of ancient Greece. The implication in the proverb is this—Homer’s works have been treasured and preserved cautiously for centuries. And yet, in spite of this meticulous care, only scant copies of Homer’s writings survive. There is no complete copy of the poet’s works prior to the thirteenth century A.D.—more than 2,000 years after the Greek writer lived (Schrivener, 1883, p. 4). By way of vivid contrast, the Bible, though viciously opposed and oppressed across several millennia, is reflected in thousands of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, and even today continues to be the best-selling publication in the world.


Biblical antagonists have a long and violent history as they have sought, frequently by force, to eliminate the sacred Scriptures from public access. Reflect upon the following examples of malevolence toward the Creator and His Word.
When the noble Hebrew king, Josiah, was killed in battle, his son Jehoahaz came to the throne. He reigned but three months before Pharaoh-necoh of Egypt put him in chains and transported him to the land of the Pyramids. A brother, Eliakim, was placed upon the throne; his name was changed to Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim began to reign when he was twenty-five years of age. He taxed the Jews heavily on behalf of Pharaoh. He strayed from the Lord and immersed the nation in idolatry (2 Kings 23:28-37). The prophet Jeremiah was commissioned by Jehovah to write a sacred scroll, which threatened divine destruction unless the king and his people repented of their wickedness. Jehoiakim treated the matter with absolute contempt. After briefly listening to the message being read, he confiscated the scroll, cut up the leaves with a knife, and cast them into a fire (Jeremiah 36). But the Holy Word was not to be dismissed so easily.
After the death of Alexander the Great, the Greek empire was divided into four segments (cf. Daniel 8:8), and the Jewish people fell under the control of a remarkably evil ruler whose name was Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus, known popularly as “the madman,” launched a bloody persecution against the Hebrew people. One aspect of his vendetta was an attempt to destroy copies of the Jewish Scriptures. An ancient document records this episode:
And [the officials of Antiochus] rent in pieces the books of the law which they found, and set them on fire. And wheresoever was found with any a book of the covenant, and if any consented to the law, the king’s sentence delivered him to death (The Apocrypha, I Maccabees 1:56-57).
The historian Josephus commented upon this event: “And if there were any sacred book of the law found, it was destroyed, and those [Jews] with whom they were found miserably perished also” (Antiquities, 12.5.4). The heathen plan backfired, however, for it was this very persecution that generated more intense examination of the divine Writings. Out of this circumstance the genuine books of the Old Testament canon were formally separated from contemporary spurious documents that feigned inspiration (McClintock and Strong, 1968, 2:76).
Following the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead, Christianity was introduced into the Roman world. It spread like wildfire in the stifling environment of ancient paganism. Not many decades passed before Rome came to view the Christian system, with its New Testament Scriptures, as a threat to the security of the empire. And so history repeated itself. A determined effort to eradicate the Bible from antique society was initiated by the Roman ruler, Valerius Diocletian.
Diocletian occupied the Imperial throne from A.D. 284-305. In A.D. 303, he inaugurated a series of merciless persecutions upon those who professed the religion of Christ. Hurst noted:
[A]ll assemblies of Christians were forbidden and churches were ordered to be torn down. Four different edicts were issued, each excelling the preceding in intensity. One edict ordered the burning of every copy of the Bible—the first instance in [Christian] history when the Scriptures were made an object of attack (1897, 1:175).
Of course, as every student of history knows, events changed radically when Constantine the Great came to the Roman throne in A.D. 306 at the age of thirty-two. He solidified the Western empire by the defeat of his rival, Maxentius, in A.D. 312. The following year Constantine (in concert with Licinius, emperor in the East) issued a decree that granted legal protection to Christians. A form of this document is found in Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History (Book X, Chapter V). Once more the sacred Scriptures could find their way from places of seclusion and exert their benevolent influence.


If one method of opposition fails, then another must be employed—so surmised the apostles of paganism. Julian, a nephew of Constantine, came to the Roman throne in A.D. 361. When Julian was quite young, his family was murdered by wicked churchmen, into whose hands he was thrust for care. This circumstance, together with his early exposure to pagan philosophy, led him to renounce Christianity at the age of twenty (though it is doubtful that he was ever sincerely disposed toward the religion of Jesus). The year he assumed Roman rule, at the age of thirty, he openly declared his hostility to the Bible (hence he became known as “Julian, the Apostate”). Three centuries of bloodshed had not enhanced the cause of heathenism. Persecution had merely accelerated the spread of the Christian cause. Julian thus determined that he, with logical argument, would destroy the influence of the Scriptures.
There had been earlier attempts to meet Christianity head-on in intellectual debate. Celsus (c. A.D.178) had written a treatise called “True Discourse,” which was “the first literary attack upon Christianity” (Cross, 1958, p. 256). Similarly, Porphyry (c. A.D. 232-303) authored several books against the Scriptures. These efforts, however, were isolated, and largely stood in the shadow of the violent persecution of those early centuries. Now, in a period of greater tranquility, Julian would renew the assault. Shortly before his death, he wrote a bitter attack against Christianity, the only remains of which are to be found in a refutation produced by Cyril of Alexandria (c. A.D. 432). The “Apostate” merely regurgitated the arguments of Celsus and Porphyry in a modified form, expanded somewhat by his larger acquaintance with the Bible (Schaff, 1981, 3:75). While this literary effort was doubtlessly effective with some, a skeptical historian, Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), penned this curious remark: “[T]he Pagans...derived, from the popular work of their Imperial missionary [Julian], an inexhaustible supply of fallacious objections” (n.d., 1:766; emp. added). “Fallacious objections?” Strange but powerful words from an infidel! Nathaniel Lardner (1684-1768), in his renowned work, The Credibility of the Gospel History has shown that Julian, in his vitriolic narrative, actually provided a number of incidental admissions that confirm the truth of most of the leading facts of Gospel history (see Schaff, 1981, 3:77-79).


The Bible has had to survive not only the persecution of its enemies, but also has had to weather the opposition of its so-called “friends” as well. Though some historical revisionists attempt to exonerate the Roman Catholic system of efforts to suppress the Holy Scriptures, the plain facts are undeniable. On numerous occasions in centuries past, church authorities had committed the Bible to flames under the guise that the translation was vulgar. The Fourth Rule of the Council of Trent stated that the indiscriminate circulation of the Scriptures in the common vernacular would generate “more harm than good.” Therefore, those reading or possessing the Bible “without...permission may not receive absolution from their sins till they have handed [copies of the Scriptures] over to the ordinary” (Schroeder, 1950, p. 274).
“Persistent effort was made by the Romanizers to suppress the English Bible. In 1543 an act was passed forbidding absolutely the use of Tyndale’s version, and any reading of the Scriptures in assemblies without royal license” (Newman, 1902, p. 262). Thousands of copies were burned. “Of the estimated 18,000 copies printed between 1525-1528, only two fragments are known to remain” (Thiessen, 1949, p. 84).


As a result of the tyrannical power of the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant Reformation was born. A by-product of the Reformation was an emphasis upon the use of the individual mind for personal Bible interpretation (as opposed to the dictums of the priesthood). While this spirit was admirable, some took it beyond the bounds of legitimacy, virtually deifying human reason. The movement was distinctly identified when Johann Selmer (1725-1791) began to argue that biblical events must be judged in the light of human reason/experience, and so, the reality of Jesus’ miracles was called into question, Christ’s deity was denied, etc. The rationalistic disposition grew rapidly in the fertile fields of the German universities, and perhaps reached its culmination with the publication of Friedrich Strauss’ Life of Jesus (1835), in which the author undertook to show that the Gospel accounts were mere “myths” (Hurlbut, 1954, pp. 178-179).
In France, Rationalism found a champion in Francois Marie Arouer—popularly known by his pen-name, Voltaire—a deist who produced several volumes brimming with hatred for the Bible. No one in Europe did as much to destroy faith in the Word of God as Voltaire. France rejected the Scriptures, tied a copy of the Bible to the tail of a donkey, and dragged it though the streets to the city dump, where it was ceremoniously burned. But, as Coffman notes, “since that time, the government of France has fallen thirty-five times” (1968, pp. 343-344). Voltaire predicted that within a hundred years of his death (1778) Christianity would be swept from existence and pass into history (Collett, n.d., p. 63), yet two centuries have come and gone, and today, rare is the person who owns a copy of Voltaire’s writings, while almost every home is adorned with a Bible. The Encyclopaedia Britannicanotes that Voltaire was “inordinately vain, and totally unscrupulous in gaining money, [and] in attacking an enemy” (1958, 23:250). Indeed! His final days were spent in agony. As an ex-Catholic, he loathed the idea of not having a “Christian burial.” He even signed a confession begging God to forgive his sins—which his biographers claim was insincere (Brandes, 1930, 2:328-329). When the composer Mozart heard of the skeptic’s death, he wrote: “[T]he ungodly, arch-villain, Voltaire, has died miserably, like a dog—just like a brute. That is his reward” (as quoted in Parton, 1881, 2:617).
In America, the battle against the Bible was led by men like Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll. Paine (1737-1809) came out of a Quaker background, and gained considerable prominence as a result of his writings (e.g., Common Sense) advocating America’s independence from Britain. Eventually he went to France. There he yielded to the influence of French deism, and so composed his infamous tome, The Age of Reason, which was a passionate attack against the Bible. His qualification for such a task may be illustrated by the following admission. In discussing a passage in the book of Job, Paine says: “I recollect not enough of the passages in Job to insert them correctly...for I keep no Bible” (n.d., p. 33). Again: “[When] I began the former part of The Age of Reason, I had, besides, neither Bible nor Testament to refer to, though I was writing against both...” (n.d., p. 71). So much for “scholarship.” Paine died a bitter and lonely old man, having lost most of his friends due to his political views and his hostility towards Christianity (Cross, 1958, p. 1005). His trifling little volume is mostly ignored today. In this writer’s city (Stockton, California) of more than a quarter-of-a-million people, the public library’s only copy of The Age of Reason has been checked out sixteen times in the past ten years!
Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) was a politician who gained his real fame as an agnostic lecturer. He toured the country blasting the Bible. Quite the eloquent speaker, he was paid as much as $5,000 for some of his speeches, and thousands thronged to hear him rail against things holy. His “Mistakes of Moses” was a popular presentation. William Jennings Bryan once quipped that it would be much more interesting to hear Moses on the “Mistakes of Ingersoll.” Ingersoll had been greatly influenced by the writings of Voltaire and Paine (as well as others), and initially was a deist. Eventually, he evolved into a full-blown agnostic (Larson, 1962, pp. 76-77). Ingersoll was enamored with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, and argued that Darwin’s discoveries, “carried to their legitimate conclusion,” destroy the Scriptures (as quoted in Larson, 1962, p. 223). Ingersoll’s influence pretty much died when he did. I phoned a major Barnes & Noble distribution center and inquired regarding Ingersoll’s books. Not a solitary volume was carried in their inventory! It is a fact, though, that the views of Voltaire, Ingersoll, etc., have influenced some religionists of our era. Modern theological liberalism is so doctrinally nebulous that now even skeptics are warmly regarded. A few decades ago, Dean Shaller Mathews of the theological department of the University of Chicago asserted that the days are gone when men like Robert Ingersoll would be regarded as anti-Christ (Horsch, 1938, p. 7).
Yes, its critics wax and wane, but the Bible abides. It will outlast them all. In the words of John Clifford:
Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
When looking in, I saw upon the floor,
Old hammers worn with beating years of time.
“How may anvils have you had,” said I,
“To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
“Just one,” said he; then said with twinkling eye,
“The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
And so, I thought, the anvil of God’s word
For ages skeptics’ blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed—the hammers gone!


Apocrypha, The (1894), (New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons) revised edition.
Brandes, Georg (1930), Voltaire (New York: Frederick Ungar).
Coffman, Burton (1968), Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Austin, TX: Firm Foundation Publishing House).
Collett, Sidney (no date), All About the Bible (London: Revell).
Cross, F.L. (1958), The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (London: Oxford University Press).
Encyclopaedia Britannica (1958), “Voltaire,” (London: Encyclopaedia Britannica).
Eusebius (1955 reprint), Ecclesiastical History (Grand Rapids,MI: Baker).
Gibbon, Edward (no date), The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (New York: Random House).
Horsch, John (1938), Modern Religious Liberalism (Chicago, IL: Bible Institute Colportage Association).
Hurlbut, J.L. (1954), The Story of the Christian Church (Philadelphia, PA: John C. Winston).
Hurst, John F. (1897), History of the Christian Church (New York: Eaton & Mains).
Josephus, Flavius (1957), The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus (Philadelphia, PA: John C. Winston).
Larson, Orvin (1962), American Infidel: Robert G. Ingersoll (New York: Citadel Press).
McClintock, John and James Strong (1968, reprint), Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Newman, A.H. (1902), A Manual of Church History (Philadelphia, PA: American Baptist Publication Society), Vol. II.
Paine, Thomas (no date), The Age of Reason (Baltimore, MD: Ottenheimer).
Parton, James (1881), Life of Voltaire (Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin).
Schaff, Phillip (1981 reprint), History of the Christian Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, reprint).
Schrivener, F.H.A. (1883), Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament (Cambridge, England: Deighton, Bell & Co.).
Schroeder, H.J. (1950), Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder).
Thiessen, H.C. (1949), Lectures in Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Robot Tries to Mimic Human Navigation by Kyle Butt, M.A.


Robot Tries to Mimic Human Navigation

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

Modern, atheistic evolutionists insist that humans were not designed by an intelligent Designer. They claim that millions of years of random, chance processes pieced the human body together from basic building blocks that emerged from inorganic chemicals. Even though millions of people have accepted these evolutionary beliefs, neither accurate scientific findings, nor rational thinking leave any room for such ideas. One of the most basic truths that militates against the idea of human evolution is the fact that functional complexity always requires an intelligent designer.
Take, for instance, some of the latest, cutting-edge robotics technology. Several researchers in Europe have joined together to design a robot that attempts to navigate like a human. In a recent article, Anne-Marie Corley noted that the new robot “is controlled by algorithms designed to mimic different parts of the human visual system” (2009). Mark Greenlee, the lead researcher of the project, stated that the robot mimics “several different functions of the brain—object recognition, motion estimation, and decision making—to navigate around a room” (as quoted in Corley, 2009).
How much “intelligence” would it take to tackle a robotics project of this magnitude? Corley commented, “Ten different European research groups, each with expertise in fields including neuroscience, computer science, and robotics, designed and built the robot” (2009). The amount of time, money, and mental energy wrapped up in this project is enormous. Some of Europe’s brightest minds, equipped with expertise in various key areas, teamed to make a robot that attempts to mimic human navigation skills. And yet for all that, Tomaso Poggio, the head of MIT’s Center for Biological Computational Learning, candidly admitted that there are “definitely areas of intelligence like vision, or speech understanding, or sensory-motor control, where our algorithms are vastly inferior to what the brain can do” (as quoted in Corley, emp. added).
If our brains function in ways that are superior to anything that the world’s most intelligent scientists can devise, what does that say about our origins? That fact directly implies that Whoever designed humans possesses an intelligence far superior to that of the world’s most brilliant thinkers. The psalmist accurately and beautifully portrayed this truth when he stated that humans are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14, emp. added).


Corley, Anne-Marie (2009), “A Robot that Navigates Like a Human,” Technology Review, [On-line],URL: http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/22946/?nlid=2140.

Don’t Assume Too Much: Not All Assumptions in Science Are Bad by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


Don’t Assume Too Much: Not All Assumptions in Science Are Bad

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

It might be tempting to get the wrong impression and think that making assumptions in science is a bad practice, especially upon reading various writings from the creationist community. Creation scientists, for instance, correctly relate many of the problems inherent in the assumptions of evolutionary geologic dating techniques that tend to yield extremely old ages for the items they test. But do not fall victim to the same fallacy that the evolutionary community makes in assuming too much. As is the case with the fact that scientific theories can be good things (see Miller, 2012b), the practice of making assumptions in science also can be a good thing.

A Scientific Assumption in Practice

Consider a real-world example from the engineering field. Let’s say I want to design a remote control vehicle to be used on a one mile strip of paved road. The road has been blocked off for my use, and I have maintained the road well, re-paving it when necessary. I have constructed fences around the road to keep animals off of it, and I check the road regularly to make sure that it is smooth and clear. The remote control vehicle is equipped with the necessary sensors that will allow me to keep track of its velocity and heading at all times, since I will be controlling the car from a building several miles away from the strip of road.
With all of that information, I begin developing the equations that will allow me to control the vehicle from a distance. However, the equations get significantly more complex if I do not make certain assumptions about the motion of the vehicle. So, I decide to make the assumption that the car will have 100% traction as it travels down this strip of road. In other words, I assume that it will never slide from side to side or skid—an assumption which could save me a lot of extra time and money. I check the weather report for road conditions and determine that skidding conditions are unlikely during the testing period. The assumption that I will have 100% traction, and can eliminate those variables pertaining to traction from my equations, is a reasonable one—one that will not cause significant error in my equations. There may be a few small rocks on the road, or a heavy gust of wind that might cause a very small amount of error due to my assumption, but by the end of the one mile strip of road, I can maintain, with a very high degree of confidence, that the car will likely still be on the road and very close to the location that I anticipate.
What if I were to take this same remote control vehicle, with the same assumptions in place, and use it in an off-road setting—out in the middle of nowhere, with no road, and on extremely rough terrain? Would the assumption that there will be 100% traction be a reasonable assumption in that setting—one that would not cause a significant amount of error in my equations? How likely would it be that I will know exactly where my car is by the end of one mile of off-road navigation?
Assumptions often have to be made in science, but those assumptions have to be made very carefully or the end results can be significantly affected. Invalid assumptions can cause the scientist to draw conclusions that are not in keeping with the actual evidence. The key for the scientist is to make assumptions that are reasonable and that do not significantly alter the end results. The problem is thatmuch of the alleged evidence for evolution has been gathered under unsubstantiated, unreasonable, and even false assumptions that contradict the actual evidence.

Unreasonable Assumption 1: Abiogenesis

Consider, for instance, the assumption of abiogenesis. In 1960, G.A. Kerkut published The Implications of Evolution. Therein he listed seven non-provable assumptions upon which evolution is based. “The first assumption is that non-living things gave rise to living material, i.e., spontaneous generation occurred” (p. 6). Evolutionary geologist Robert Hazen, who received a Ph.D. in Earth Science from Harvard, is a research scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Geophysical Laboratory and a professor of Earth Science at George Mason University. In his lecture series, Origins of Life, Hazen said:
In this lecture series I make a basic assumption that life emerged by some kind of natural process. I propose that life arose by a sequence of events that are completely consistent with the natural laws of chemistry and physics. In this assumption I am like most other scientists. I believe in a universe that is ordered by these natural laws. Like other scientists, I rely on the power of observations and experiments and theoretical reasoning to understand how the cosmos came to be the way it is (2005, emp. added).
The entire discipline of evolutionary biology is built on the assumption of abiogenesis. But is abiogenesis a reasonable assumption? Is there any evidence to support the assertion that life could come from non-life? Absolutely not. Quite the contrary. There has never been a scrap of empirical evidence that shows that such a thing could happen. In fact, there is a scientific law which prohibits the idea (see Miller, 2012c). The assumption of abiogenesis, upon which evolution stands, is unreasonable and should cause the scientist to scrap the idea in favor of one that does not require such an outlandish assumption.

Unreasonable Assumption 2: Uniformitarianism

What about uniformitarianism? According to the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, “uniformitarianism” is
the concept that the present is the key to the past; the principle that contemporary geologic processes have occurred in the same regular manner and with essentially the same intensity throughout geologic time, and that events of the geologic past can be explained by phenomena observable today (2003, p. 2224).
Uniformitarianism is a fundamental assumption of evolutionary geology. Much of the alleged evidence for deep time—an extremely old age of the Earth and Universe—is based on the principle of uniformitarianism. But is it reasonable to assume that all, or even the majority, of  “the events of the geologic past can be explained by phenomena observable today”? How could one possibly make such an assertion? How could one know whether or not something catastrophic happened, perhaps only once in history, that would have, for instance, completely altered the geologic strata? The idea of “catastrophism,” to which creationists subscribe, allows for such phenomena, and is a much more reasonable assumption upon which to interpret geologic evidence.
Consider, as one example of the effect of catastrophic events on geologic phenomena, recent scientific discoveries concerning rapid petrification. For years it had been assumed that the process of petrification is a uniformitarian process that takes millions of years to complete. However, in 2004, five Japanese scientists published research in the journal Sedimentary Geology which casts doubt on that assumption. The team studied mineral rich, acidic water from the explosion crater of the Tateyama volcano in central Japan—water which runs over the edge of the volcano as a waterfall. Wood had fallen in the path of the water. The surprising discovery was that the wood had become petrified with silica after only 36 years as the water flowed over the wood (Akahane, et al., 2004).
As a further investigation of this phenomenon, the scientists attached pieces of wood to wire and placed them into the water flow. After only seven years, the wood had turned to stone—petrified with silica. Wood petrification had occurred due to the nearby volcanic activity as well. Using a scanning electron microscope, they found that silica petrification occurs in the same way that the wood petrification occurred in the volcanic ash near the volcano (Akahane, et al.). This single discovery completely contradicts the assumption of uniformitarianism, and yet many more could be cited. Catastrophism, on the other hand, is much more reasonable, since it allows for catastrophic events such as volcanoes, meteors, and floods.

Unreasonable Assumptions 3, 4, & 5: Basis of Dating Techniques

The Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that the Universe is running down or wearing out. We are running out of usable energy. Matter, itself, is breaking down. Various elements break down into other elements over time, and the breakdown appears to be at constant rates today. Scientists are able to measure the rate at which parent isotopes decay into daughter isotopes with an amazing degree of accuracy. This ability is an amazing technological feat, unsurpassed in known human history. However, a major issue arises based on what evolutionary geologists do with the information that they gather from this process. Using the known decay rates of the elements they are studying, evolutionary geologists extrapolate backwards in time to try to determine how old a specimen is.
While this procedure might seem reasonable on the surface, there are significant issues with this practice. The older a specimen is said to be, the more inaccurate the dating technique is known to be. The margin of error grows higher and higher. One reason scientists are aware of this fact is because different dating techniques are often used to date the same specimen, and completely different ages result—often differing by millions of years. It is reasonable to conclude that the primary reason for this discrepancy is the effect of unrealistic assumptions that initiate the process of age extrapolation (cf. Kulp, 1952, p. 261; McDougall and Harrison, 1999, pp. 10-11; Friedlander, et al., 1981 for a discussion of the various assumptions inherent in the dating techniques). Ironically, the evolutionary geologists, themselves, acknowledge that “violations” of the assumptions “are not uncommon” (McDougall and Harrison, p. 11).
One major assumption upon which radiometric dating techniques are based is that, while a specimen might currently have various daughter elements in it, it is assumed that no daughter element existed in the specimen at the beginning of its decay. In other words, the dating technique assumes that the rock was initially completely composed of the parent element. But how could one possibly substantiate an assumption about the initial conditions of a specimen’s decay process, especially when the commencement of its decay was hundreds or thousands (or according to evolutionists, millions or billions) of years ago? Is it not possible, and even likely, that a specimen might have been initially composed of more than one element that blended together during a geologic phenomenon before that rock’s decay processes began? Is it not possible that various rocks were even created by God from the outset, composed of more than one daughter element, due to the usefulness of having those elements already in existence, rather than awaiting their emergence through decay processes? How could one possibly conclusively assert that any specimen was initially composed only of the parent element?
A second assumption upon which radiometric dating techniques are based is that the amounts of parent and daughter isotopes in a specimen have not been altered during the decay process by anything except radioactive decay. So, according to this assumption, the specimen being examined is in a closed system. In other words, the amount of the elements present in a sample have not ever been affected by outside elements. But how likely is it that in thousands of years of geologic processes (or even worse, millions of years, again, according to evolutionists)—lava flows, floods, mudslides, meteorite activity, etc.—the amounts of the various elements in a specimen have not been affected by outside forces?
Evolutionary geologists, again, recognize that this assumption oftentimes does not hold up. According to Ian McDougall, professor of geology in the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University, and T. Mark Harrison, professor of geology in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, “Departures from this assumption in fact arequite common, particularly in areas of complex geological history” (1999, p. 11, emp. added). To suggest a closed system for a specimen that is believed to be very old is a reckless, unreasonable assumption, (1) when there is clear evidence that a closed system cannot be guaranteed, and (2) when, in fact, there is compelling evidence that ancient Earth was rocked by a global catastrophe that most certainly would have violated the “closed system” assumption (cf. Whitcomb and Morris, 1961) and created an extremely “complex geological history.”
The third assumption of such dating techniques is that, in keeping with uniformitarian principles, the nuclear decay rate of the elements being measured have remained constant throughout history. While the other assumptions can be seen on the surface to be unsustainable, the problem with this assumption might not seem as evident at first glance. One might expect that the rate of decay of various elements would be “set in stone” as it were—more like scientific laws. However, recent research by a team of scientists (known as RATE) that was presented at the International Conference on Creationism in 2003, indicates that the nuclear decay rates have not always been constant (Humphreys, et al., 2003). The RATE team had several zircon crystals dated by expert evolutionists using the uranium-lead evolutionary dating technique and found them to be 1.5 billion years old, assuming a constant decay rate. A by-product of the breakdown of uranium into lead is helium. Content analysis of the crystals revealed that large amounts of helium were found to be present. However, if the crystals were as old as the dating techniques suggested, there should have been no trace of helium left, since helium atoms are known to be tiny, light, unreactive, and able to easily escape from the spaces within the crystal structure. The presence of helium and carbon-14 showed that the rocks were actually much younger (4,000 to 14,000 years old) than the dating techniques alleged. Since these zircons were taken from the Precambrian basement granite in the Earth, an implication of the find is that the whole Earth could be no older than 4,000 to 14,000 years old. The results of the crystal dating indicate that 1.5 billion years’ worth of radioactive decay, based on the uniformitarian constant decay rate assumption, occurred in only a few thousand years. How could such a thing be possible? How can the two dating techniques be reconciled? By understanding that the rate of decay of uranium into lead must have been different—much higher—in the past (cf. DeYoung, 2005).
Evolutionists have no qualms openly acknowledging the assumptions inherent in evolutionary dating techniques, since without these assumptions in place, there would be no way to date the Earth or anything on it using science. The standard practice of geologists today, in light of this, is to “do what you can with what you have.” However, if the dating assumptions are too unrealistic to allow for an accurate date of anything, shouldn’t the dating methods be deemed untrustworthy or even abandoned, if that is where the evidence leads? It makes no sense to ignore the issues and accept evolution as fact along with its deep time proposition based on such faulty evidence. How is it scientific to use such dating methods in spite of the near certainty that they will not provide accuracy when dating extremely old specimens? In truth, because of the effect of catastrophic activity on the Earth over the centuries, the only sure way to attain the date of the Earth and its elements is through divine revelation. However, as the next assumption shows, that reasonable option has been eliminated from the table as well, due to evolutionary assumptions.

Unreasonable Assumption 6: Naturalism

According to the National Academy of Sciences, “The statements of science must invoke only naturalthings and processes. The statements of science are those that emerge from the application of human intelligence to data obtained from observation and experiment” (Teaching About Evolution…, 1998, p. 42, emp. added). So according to this modern definition of “science,” anything non-natural is ruled out. In other words, science must be approached through the assumption of naturalism and materialism. Therefore, God is deemed unscientific by this definition (even though He actually instituted the field of science, cf. Miller, 2012d), since He is non-natural and non-material.
Recall the earlier concurring statements by geologist Robert Hazen of the Carnegie Institution, in which he stated that he assumes that life came about through a “natural process…completely consistent with natural laws…. Like other scientists, I rely on the power of observations and experiments and theoretical reasoning to understand how the cosmos came to be the way it is” (2005). Richard Lewontin, evolutionary geneticist of Harvard University, unabashedly said:
Our willingness to accept scientific claims against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to naturalism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door (1997, p. 31, 2nd-4th emp. in orig.).
So regardless of the evidence, the bulk of today’s scientific community has agreed to wipe God and supernatural phenomena out of the definition of “science,” not because of the evidence for or against God, but because of the assumption of naturalism. Again we ask, is this a reasonable assumption?
Remember that not all assumptions in science are unreasonable. If an assumption does not significantly alter the end results, it may be a fair, legitimate assumption. However, the assumption of naturalism significantly alters one’s results—yielding completely different answers to important questions compared to the answers that would be given using an approach without that assumption in place. Further, the assumption of naturalism proves to be unreasonable, first, because it is not in keeping with the evidence, and, second, because it is self-contradictory.
According to science—the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics—in nature, nothing comes from nothing and nothing lasts forever (cf. Miller, 2013). So according to the scientific evidence, in order to explain the origin of everything in the Universe, since it could not have naturally lasted forever or come from nothing, it had to have come from Something outside of “nature”—outside of the Universe. According to the Law of Biogenesis, in nature, life comes only from life and that of its kind (cf. Miller, 2012c). So again, according to the scientific evidence,  since life could not have naturallycome from nothing, it had to have come from Something outside of “nature”—outside the Universe. Naturalism does not work in explaining the scientific evidence on these points. It cannot offer an explanation for the origin of the Universe or life in keeping with the evidence. So would it not be reasonable to re-define “science” in such a way that no option is eliminated from consideration based on the faulty assumption of naturalism?
If the scientific evidence points to something, i.e., Someone, supernatural, why not be allowed as scientists to follow the evidence where it leads? Just because one cannot empirically observe something happening, does not mean that one cannot use science to determine who did what, how they did it, when they did it, where they did it, and with what they did it. Forensic scientists engage in this process every day. Indirect evidence is a legitimate source of scientific information, and the Universe is saturated with indirect evidence for the existence of God.
As an approach to science, naturalism contradicts the scientific evidence, and what’s more, it contradicts itself. The naturalist says that everything must be explained through natural processes. However, naturalism requires unnatural phenomena—like abiogenesis and the spontaneous generation or eternality of matter—in order to explain the origin of the Universe and life (cf. Miller, 2012a). Such things not only have not been witnessed by scientists, but in fact, all the scientific evidence is contrary to them. How can a self-contradictory approach to science be the very perspective that defines science? Why are simple logic and common sense being rejected by so many in the scientific community today?


Assumptions are oftentimes necessary in operational science, and they can be effective and productive in helping scientists to solve problems and make advancements and important breakthroughs; but assumptions must be made with caution. The evolutionary community has a strangle-hold on the minds of many in the scientific community today and, all the while,  evolution is riddled with issues, many of which come down to the fundamental assumptions upon which evolution is based. Why do so many people insist on making such far-fetched, unreasonable assumptions? In the words of Scottish philosopher David Hume, “No man turns against reason until reason turns against him” (as quoted in Warren, 1982, p. 4). Many have turned against reason in spite of the evidence, since the evidence has turned against them. But why be so irrational? Why continue to hold to such a bogus, baseless, irrational theory? The reason for most of humanity’s rejection of truth throughout human history was stated succinctly by God through Paul nearly 2,000 years ago. Some people simply do “not like to retain God in their knowledge,” because His restrictions, though given for our good (cf. Romans 7:12; Deuteronomy 6:24; 10:12-13; Psalm 119), tend not to harmonize with our fleshly desires (Romans 1:20-32).


Akahane, Hisatada, Takeshi Furuno, Hiroshi Miyajima, Toshiyuki Yoshikawa, and Shigeru Yamamoto (2004), “Rapid Wood Silicification in Hot Spring Water: An Explanation of Silicification of Wood During the Earth’s History,” Sedimentary Geology, 169[3-4]:219-228, July 15.
DeYoung, Don (2005), Thousands...Not Billions (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
Friedlander, G., J.W. Kennedy, E.S. Macias, and J.M. Miller (1981), Nuclear and Radiochemistry(New York: Wiley), third edition.
Hazen, Robert (2005), Origins of Life, audio-taped lecture (Chantilly, VA: The Teaching Company).
Humphreys, Russell, John Baumgardner, Steven Austin, and Andrew Snelling (2003), “Helium Diffusion Rates Support Accelerated Nuclear Decay,”Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Creationism, ed. John Ivey Jr. (Creation Science Fellowship: Pittsburgh, PA), www.icr.org/research/icc03/pdf/Helium_ICC_7-22-03.pdf.
Kerkut, Gerald A. (1960), The Implications of Evolution (London: Pergamon).
Kulp, J.L. (1952), “The Carbon 14 Method of Age Determination,” Scientific Monthly, 75, November.
Lewontin, Richard (1997), “Billions and Billions of Demons,” The New York Review, January 9.
McDougall, Ian and T. Mark Harrison (1999), Geochronology and Thermochronology by the 40Ar/39Ar Method (New York: Oxford University Press), second edition.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms (2003), pub. M.D. Licker (New York: McGraw-Hill), sixth edition.
Miller, Jeff (2012a), “The Atheistic Naturalist’s Self-Contradiction,” Reason & Revelation, 32[5]:53, May, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1029.
Miller, Jeff (2012b), “Don’t ‘Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater’: Not All Theories Are Bad!” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=4541.
Miller, Jeff (2012c), “The Law of Biogenesis,” Reason & Revelation, 32[1]:2-11, January,http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1018&article=1722.
Miller, Jeff (2012d), “Science: Instituted By God,” Reason & Revelation, 32[4]:46, April,http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1026.
Miller, Jeff (2013), “Evolution and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Thermodynamics,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=2786.
Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science (1998), National Academy of Sciences (Washington, DC: National Academy Press).
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Whitcomb, John C. and Henry M. Morris (1961), The Genesis Flood (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian & Reformed).

More Good News About Stem Cells by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


More Good News About Stem Cells

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Among the key moral issues of our day is the use of embryonic stem cells in medical research. Christians insist that harvesting embryonic stem cells for research purposes is immoral since human embryos must die to achieve the objective. The scientific evidence is overwhelming and decisive: use of embryonic stem cells is completely unnecessary since use of adult stem cells has proven to be the most promising in treating various diseases (see Thompson and Harrub, 2001). Scientists are even now developing methods that allow them to reprogram existing adult stem cells to possess the same unlimited properties as embryonic stem cells. For example, using genetic alteration, a team of UCLAresearchers have turned adult skin cells into cells that are nearly identical to human embryonic stem cells (Irwin, 2008). “Reprogramming adult stem cells into embryonic stem cells could generate a potentially limitless source of immune-compatible cells for tissue engineering and transplantation medicine” (“Human Skin...,” 2008), thus benefiting those suffering from diabetes, leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, and a host of other ailments. This breakthrough follows closely on the heels of earlier successful research done on mouse models (“Researchers Reprogram...,” 2007).
Similar advances have been occurring all along—apparently escaping the notice of politicians and the liberal establishment that continue their campaign for embryonic stem-cell research (see Miller, 2007). Two separate teams of scientists, one led by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University and the other team led by Junying Yu of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, preceded the UCLA research in discovering a way to turn ordinary human skin cells into stem cells with the same characteristics as those derived from human embryos (Palca, 2007). Northwestern University researchers discovered that adult stem cells derived from bone marrow are capable of undergoing more diverse transformations than previously thought, and could be transformed into a wide variety of tissue types, not just blood cells (“Adult Stem Cells...,” 2006). University of Minnesota researchers showed that adult bone marrow stem cells can be induced specifically to differentiate into cells of the midbrain, which would be useful for treating diseases of the central nervous system, including Parkinson’s disease (“Adult Mouse Bone...,” 2003).
Conclusion? No justification exists for butchering human life on the alleged grounds that medical research to alleviate suffering necessitates it. Destroying human life to preserve human life? Two wrongs do not make a right. Shedding innocent blood is despicable (Proverbs 6:17).


“Adult Mouse Bone Marrow Stem Cells Can Become Cells of the Nervous System” (2003), Science Daily, August 19, [On-line], URL: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/08/030819073513.htm.
“Adult Stem Cells Show Wider Potential Than Previously Thought” (2006), Science Daily, September 19, [On-line], URL: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060918201025.htm.
“Human Skin Cells Reprogrammed Into Embryonic Stem Cells” (2008), Science Daily, February 12, [On-line], URL: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080211172631.htm.
Irwin, Kim (2008), “Scientists at UCLA Reprogram Human Skin Cells into Embryonic Stem Cells,”UCLA Newsroom, February 11, [On-line], URL: http://www.newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/scientists-reprogram- human-skin-44173.aspx.
Miller, Dave (2007), “No Need for Embryonic Stem Cells,” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3634.
Palca, Joe (2007), “Scientists Produce Embryonic Stem Cells from Skin,” NPR, November 20, [On-line], URL: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16470482.
“Researchers Reprogram Normal Tissue Cells Into Embryonic Stem Cells” (2007), Science Daily, June 7, [On-line], URL: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070606235430.htm.
Thompson, Bert and Brad Harrub (2001), “Human Cloning and Stem-Cell Research—Science’s ‘Slippery Slope’ [Parts I, II, & III],” Reason & Revelation, [On-line], URL: AugustSeptemberOctober.