Archives for December 2013

The dishonesty of atheism

southernprose_cover_CAFGThough I’m not a public figure by any stretch of the imagination, I’ve learned that it’s a good idea to occasionally search the internet for my name, to see if anything posted out there was directed specifically towards me.

It isn’t a question of vanity as much as not wanting to demonstrate bad manners by ignoring a serious attempt to communicate with me.

My most recent search turned up this article by author Dianna Narciso that was originally published over two years ago.

She had responded to something I wrote during my time spent as the Atlanta Creationism Examiner. For whatever reason, her article never appeared in the first few pages of search results before now.

Oh well. Better late than never, I guess…

Ms. Narciso asserted that she is not a close-minded freethinker. We’ll see.

I don’t get very far into her article before Ms. Narciso writes, “Mr. Leonard, I am very sorry to disappoint you. But you do, indeed, believe what you believe without rational thought.”

Really! That seems an incredibly presumptuous thing to say. What sources of information gave her such great insight? On what basis was her opinion formed?

Without reading my books, or more than one article I’ve written, how on earth can Ms. Narciso possibly know what I believe? More importantly, does she even have a clue as to why I believe what I believe?

Has she read Divine Evolution?

If Ms. Narciso is actually interested in learning the science necessary to present a coherent argument for her atheism, the end notes of my book Counterargument for God might prove quite helpful. My counterargument extensively quotes Nobel Prize winners and other acknowledged experts in their respective fields — I prefer using the exact words of professed atheists such as physicist Stephen Hawking and biologist Richard Dawkins to make my points.

Just out of curiosity, what exactly gives atheists the right to declare themselves the sole arbiters of rational thought? The dictionary defines the word rational to mean “based on or in accordance with reason or logic.”

Merely laying claim to hold the rational side of the argument won’t allow the atheist to keep it. The most logical argument will always win the debate.

But Ms. Narciso failed to articulate any sort of argument for atheism. She writes:

[W]e first have to understand what Leonard is really asking. It’s possible he’s asking about life on Earth. But that would be too easy. Life on earth is explained through the various evolutionary theories, heavily evidenced, and on display in any decent natural history museum or high school textbook. (Note the word decent is imparitve [sic] and probably means neither the museum nor the textbook can be found in Texas.)

Too easy?

My dear Ms. Narciso, first you need to understand the question before you try to answer it.

Before we can make any serious attempt to answer our existential questions, we must first get a glimpse of the Big Picture.

Whether or not Darwinian evolution could adequately explain the human species is actually an irrelevant question, for this one simple reason:

Life cannot evolve until it exists.

Now if Ms. Narciso would be kind enough to read a few of those books that she assumes will support her opinion,she would learn the true debate is not whether God or science/nature provides the best, most reasonable answer to our existential questions.

Our real choices are actually between some form of supernatural intelligence that I like to call “God” and serendipity, meaning a great deal of extraordinary but stupid good luck.

Before Ms. Narciso and I might have an intelligent debate about the Big Picture, it’s important that she knows a little bit about multiverse theory and quantum mechanics in the context of the First Cause argument in regard to the Big Bang, and that abiogenesis is only a hypothesis, not a theory.

The agnostic answer “nobody knows” most certainly will not win any arguments for atheism.

In fact, the mere suggestion implies that the atheist has more blind, unsubstantiated faith in her “science” than I have in my God.

However, I freely admit that the more I have learned about science, I have become a man of little faith, but great conviction in my beliefs.

I’m also fair-minded, willing to concede the validity of a point made by my debate opponent.

Ms. Narciso was absolutely correct to say that if atheism were true, life would have no meaning or purpose.

But she couldn’t have been more wrong to suggest, “Leonard would have me explain existence [of life] without God.”

Asking Ms. Narciso to explain life without God would be asking her to do the impossible, in other words something I’m pretty sure can’t be done — sort of like when an atheist insists that I provide unassailable proof that God exists, an absurd demand that runs completely counter-intuitive to faith.

My goal isn’t simply to win an argument. Asking an unanswerable question like that might win the debate, but it won’t inspire the adversary in debate to think.

And what sort of relationship could we possibly have with God, if every last doubt about His existence were eradicated by irrefutable proof?

Think about that question for a moment, please.

We would not have free will. We would have no choice but to worship God.

To her credit, in her essay that inspired my title for this article, Ms. Narciso wrote:

We must always remain open to new evidence that would enhance our knowledge.

That’s nice to know. But let’s cut right to the chase. Ms. Narciso absurdly suggests that she knows a motive for what I believe, writing:

People are uncomfortable with the idea that there may not be an ultimate, eternal purpose for their lives. They are extremely uncomfortable with the idea of death and non-existence. So, they create answers that make them feel better, help them get through life. They believe they won’t really die. They believe they are special and have a special purpose. That’s nice. It’s just not rational and has no evidence to back it up. [emphasis added]

Here’s yet another scientific field of study to learn about: corroborated veridical NDE perceptions, or brain-free consciousness.

If Ms. Narciso is sincere about enhancing her knowledge with new evidence, this is just one example of excellent scientific evidence.

In particular, she should take note of these words:

Medical records confirm this conversation, yet Pam could not have heard them.

Medical records are scientific evidence, and probably the most reliable and accurate evidence we might evaluate. Clearly defying logic, reason and natural law, Pam Reynolds nevertheless  accurately recalled specific details about her surgery that occurred while she was heavily sedated. Her normal abilities to see and hear what was happening around her were completely incapacitated at the time in question, while all the blood was being drained from her body.

We are left with only two choices: doctors, the witnesses and Pam must have conspired to concoct a fantastic story with no obvious motives for lying, or we might conclude they may be telling the truth about a real but obviously supernatural experience virtually impossible to explain.

The honest atheist will ask these questions: why would Pam Reynolds and Dr. Spetzler both lie?  Could the medical records have somehow been fabricated? If so, for what purpose? And finally, is the case of Pam Reynolds the only example with corroborating evidence?

Sadly, the dishonest atheist simply ignores this growing body of evidence for supernatural phenomena.

Perhaps ignorance really is bliss…

The problem with speciation theory

southernprose_cover_CAFGSpeciation is the scientific theory attempting to identify the biological mechanisms by which a single ancestral species of organism differentiates, or “evolves”, into more than one descendant species.

The term “macro evolution” is often substituted inappropriately for speciation theory, creating the false impression that speciation is nothing more than a logical extrapolation of Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

But it isn’t.

As I wrote in my book Counterargument for God, either two members of the same ancestor species eventually spawn offspring of a new species, or members of two different species produce a fertile hybrid species. There doesn’t really seem to be a viable third alternative, at least not one that doesn’t involve creation by some form of supernatural intelligence.

In an effort to clarify my understanding of how speciation theory supposedly worked, I wrote an open letter to biologist Dr. Jerry Coyne, author of the book Why Evolution is True.

Apparently, Dr. Coyne couldn’t find time to respond. However, his fellow biologist, Dr. Benoit LeBlanc, was kind enough to answer my questions.

Dr. LeBlanc confirmed that my “basic understanding of the [speciation] process was sound”, but suggested the reason my conclusions were all wrong because I simply don’t know enough about biology.

No offense intended, he said.

None taken, Dr. LeBlanc. But I am still confused.

In my analysis of Dr. Coyne’s work previously deemed sound, I noted he speculated that speciation only seemed possible when a small breeding population comprised of members of a single species became isolated over an extended period of time, eventually branching into multiple descendant species.

While radical changes within a single generation, such as Goldschmidt’s “hopeful monsters”, would be terribly convenient and solve many of my issues with speciation related to time and stasis, the scientific evidence presented by Dr. Coyne in his book clearly doesn’t support that idea.

Sexual reproduction involving members of two different animal species almost always results in the birth of sterile hybrid offspring, though rare exceptions have occurred.

However,those exceptions have invariably been folded back into the breeding stock and overwhelmed by dominant genes. Hybridization seems to play a significant role in the development of plants, but not in the emergence of new animal species.

So imagine my surprise when one of the world’s experts in genetics recently speculated that humans came to exist as a hybrids, resulting from pigs having sex with chimpanzees.

Seriously.

His paper wasn’t published in The Onion, either.

I’ll bet it was even peer-reviewed, too.