|Creation Debate Issue #1: Assumptions Versus Divine Revelation|
Creation Debate Issue #1: Assumptions Versus Divine Revelation
At its core, the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye was about the basis, the foundation, of thought. It was not about scientific observation since both Bill Nye and Ken Ham use the same observations. There is no argument there. It was about interpretation of that observation. It was about deciding which is the most valid way of interpreting what we observe. Bill Nye proposed assumptions "based on past experiences" as the best basis for interpretation of observations. Ken Ham proposed the Bible through which God reveals Himself and the history of the world as the best basis for interpretation of observations. Bill Nye said, "you don’t want to raise a generation of science students who don’t understand how we know our place in the Cosmos" Ken Ham agreed, but didn't agree with Bill Nye's method of knowing, which is based on assumptions.
Let's evaluate Bill Nye's contention that assumptions based on past experiences are the best way to interpret observations. Is he really talking about assumptions based on past experiences? He cannot be because the concept of assumptions based on experience is inconsistent within itself. It is self-refuting. The word, empirical, as in empirical science, means, by experience. Empirical science is not theoretical science. Empirical science is based on repeatable observation, that is, experience that is repeatable and verifiable. On the other hand, assumptions are always a form arbitrary thinking. If you have experience, you don't need assumption. Assumptions consist of made-up stuff or they are not assumptions. Assumptions go beyond experience. They suppose things that can't be observed or experienced. They can be anything we want them to be and are a good basis for wishful thinking but not for finding out the truth. Allow a single assumption in your thinking and you can "prove" anything. Anything!
What Bill Nye is referring to is considerably more complex than just assumptions based on past experience, since assumptions are arbitrary. Assumptions are not and cannot be based on past experience. Assumptions are assumed as a method to try to go beyond what can be known, what can be experienced, what can be observed. They are generally made in a way that conforms to something: a worldview, some observations, some experiences, some perceived experience, etc. They usually are not made in vacuum or in a way that can be easily shown to be false, though even well formulated assumptions often end up being shown to be false. You can rationalize anything with assumptions, and it can seem to be real.
What did Bill Nye mean then by assumptions based on experience? There is the problem that assumptions are quickly taken as fact by the human mind in its weakness. When a common assumption like Naturalism (the assumption that there is no God) is used repeatedly, the human mind forgets that it's just vapor. It becomes a presupposition. It is still only an assumption, but it is treated as an axiom, something that is real. The human mind doesn't question it. It is presupposed. Rather than saying, let's assume Naturalism, the mind thinks that Naturalism is part of reality and is obvious to everyone--but it is just an arbitrary assumption. A false assumption, by the way. As this is assimilated into the subconscious mind, the heart, it becomes part of the worldview, and it seems more real than reality itself. In fact, in our culture, many Christ-followers, perhaps most Christ-followers, have two conflicting ideas in their worldview. One of these comes strongly from the culture, the presupposition of Naturalism. The other part of the Christ-follower's worldview that conflicts precisely with Naturalism is a belief that God is enforcing all of what we call the laws of nature. The two concepts are mutually exclusive, but there they are in the mind of the same person.
No one needs assumptions unless they are going to try to imagine beyond what can be proved. For Bill Nye, only the Atheistic assumptions are true, because they are the only assumptions that fit in the Atheistic fake-reality. Everything that doesn't exist in the fake-reality is perceived to be obviously not true.
There are various words used for these fake-realities, depending on the discipline. Worldviews/paradigms/filters/fake-realities are a problem that every discipline has. Total Quality Management tries to deal with the problem of paradigms. Paradigms are fake-realities. These are worldviews. They are limiting in that they keep people from seeing reality as it really is. It is the Truth/Reality that sets you free. Communication Theory deals with what they call filters. Filters are fake-realities or worldviews, that filter all the perceptions of communicators and listeners. They keep us from seeing reality as it really is.
Bill Nye was using the old self-refuting philosophy of scientism. Scientism is the belief that the only way to know anything in through science. However, science can't prove the philosophy of scientism to be true. Scientism goes on to say that what cannot be proven by science is not true. Then, scientism is not true, since it cannot be proven by science. Of course, if Bill Nye is the person who determines what the valid assumptions are, and if everyone must believe whatever assumptions Bill Nye makes up, he could simply assume that science is the only way to find knowledge, and we would have to take his word for it. In that scenario, Bill could tell us anything and we would simply have to believe it. No critical thinking allowed! (The truth about how Molecules-to-Man affects science)
Everyone has an inner fake-reality. As a mental exercise, you can go into yours right now and see what is in the bottom drawer in your bedroom, kitchen, or work area. The work of the Holy Spirit is to destroy these fake-realities and to teach us the Truth/Reality.
Scientists have tried to deal with individual fake-realities through the peer review process, but that has not helped with the group-held paradigms and politicking because of something called confirmation bias. It actually makes it worse. Most Bible-believing scientists are forced to keep quiet about their beliefs because of the persecution that will follow if they don't. In fact, a lot of the Creation-Evolution debate deals with the fact that people are people even if they are scientists. They get locked into ideas, such as the big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-man story. They come into bondage to these paradigms and can't accurately perceive real reality any more.
So here is what Bill Nye is talking about: The assumptions are based on fake-realities that seem more real than reality itself. The fake-realities are based on past experiences, but these past experiences have been interpreted, filtered, through totally arbitrary assumptions, made-up stories, irrational thinking of the past, outright lies, presuppositions (assumptions that are no longer remembered to be the assumptions that they are but are accepted as facts), and past fake-realities (confirmation bias). So, the whole mindset is based on vapor, and the assumptions are based on that vapor. The graphic "How Paradigms/Worldviews/Fake-Realities Are Built" may help understanding, showing the foundation of vapor on the bottom.
Now, let's examine Ken Ham's contention that the Bible is the best foundation for interpretation of observations. The question that immediately comes to mind, which Bill Nye could have logically raised but did not, is: what is the foundation of the Bible? It would have been nice to see this discussion unfold at a little bit deeper level than it did. What Bill Nye did instead was to bring up old, previously refuted, arguments against the Bible, particularly the history that can be read in the Bible. He used logical fallacies of argument from ignorance and other fallacies, never asking the main question. He used the fallacy of presumption to give the idea that the Bible is just a book, that God doesn't speak through the Bible, and to give the idea that no one can know God.
Ken Ham gave many facts about the Bible's accurate translation, that we have the original text as it was originally written. He did mention the reason to believe that God communicates to His people through the Bible, that it's not the Bible that can be trusted but that God can be trusted, the God Who wrote the Bible, preserved the Bible, and speaks to us in real-time through the Bible--though he didn't say it just that way. That is the most important point. Christians need to hear this, because they sometimes live as if God doesn't lead them moment-by-moment, and as if the Holy Spirit is not trying to teach them at every moment. Christians sometimes get the wrong idea that life is sort of an intellectual exercise rather than an ongoing relationship with Christ. Some get into a kind of deism where they believe that God has given them a mind to figure things out and then God left them to their own devices. The human mind doesn't work correctly without the Holy Spirit flowing through it. Christians get the egotistical attitude that the human mind can function properly without the Anointing of the Holy Spirit. God gives revelation and the human mind takes the credit rather than acknowledging God Who gave the revelation.
Bill Nye kept referring to the Bible as translated multiple times into American English, which shows his ignorance of the history, and Bill Nye would admit that he doesn't have much knowledge of this other than some things he heard from other Atheists and skeptics.
Bill Nye and the audience needed to hear the absolute reason that we know for certain that the Bible is the Word of God and without error. Even though we have overwhelming physical proof that it is accurate to the original text, that doesn't prove anything. How do we know that it's God's Word? How do we know we are understanding it as God meant it? Those questions need be answered directly and powerfully. Many Christians have no clue what the answers to those questions are. They come up with rationalistic or Materialistic or Naturalistic answers, which are irrational. This is because followers of Christ are largely hindered by a worldview that includes the lie of Naturalism. They can point out that no one has yet found a real error that was not based on arbitrary assumptions, but that would be an argument from ignorance. A skeptic or anti-Christ person would just claim that there is probably an error lurking out there that no one has yet discovered. More likely, they could keep you busy for a year and a half answering the thousands of bogus supposed biblical errors and supposed biblical inconsistencies that are listed on Atheist websites. (Answer them if you have nothing to do. These are red herrings--not the real reasons for Atheists making the choice to be Atheists.) If you are corresponding, they just copy and paste various vacuous statements from anti-Bible websites.
In any case, the argument that there are no known errors is not powerful because the argument says, "Skeptics have found no errors in over 2,000 years; therefore there are no errors. Well, if that is the only evidence that there are no errors, then perhaps someone may find one next week. So this particular argument for "no errors" is no more powerful that Bill Nye's irrational reasons for believing what he believes. Satan is very glad to put Divine revelation on equal footing with lies. Christians could point to fulfilled prophecy as laid out by Werner Gitt in his book, Without Excuse. The improbability of all those prophesies being fulfilled by chance is great enough that it is a logical impossibility. In other words, the prophesies indicate that the Bible is like no other book in the world. However, this is not deductive reasoning but inductive, and inductive reasoning can never be totally conclusive. If there might be the slightest chance, the anti-Christ people will find that impossible chance to be compelling evidence against God and what He says through the Bible. Why? It is compelling to them because it fits their worldview, their fake-reality. Rejection of Christ is not an intellectual problem. It is a spiritual problem. We know, by revelation, that they reject Him because they love darkness rather than light. They don't want to submit to their Creator. They have no desire to know real reality. If they do have this desire for truth, they will come to Christ.
There is a reason that Ken Ham repeatedly brought up the Bible. That reason is that the Bible is one of the main ways, the most authoritative way, that God speaks to His people. Some Christians didn't seem to like that from the buzz on the Internet. However, revelation is the only way to avoid being irrational. (Why?) If there were no Divine revelation telling us that the Bible is God's Word (God's Utterance) and that it is without error, then Bill Nye and Ken Ham are on equal footing. That would mean that the Atheistic method of doing science would be equal to the Christian method of doing science. But we don't have to leave it there, since we don't build on that foundation of assumptions and made-up stuff. We build of the Foundation, the Rock, of the Living Christ as He reveals Himself and His Truth to us.
The answer: Ken Ham came very close to saying it outright. Ken said, "And most of all, as I said to you, the Bible says that if you come to God believing that He is, He'll reveal Himself to you. You will know. If you search out the truth, you really want God to show you as you search out the silver and gold, He will show you. He will reveal Himself to you." That is very powerful. It took courage to say this. We need to speak up about our ongoing experience with Christ. In a Post Modern, Atheistic, Naturalistic, Materialistic culture, Christians have felt intimidated and have, unfortunately, denied Christ by not sharing how Christ leads them moment by moment. They have not shared how the Holy Ghost teaches them about truth from the Bible and from Creation/science. The only thing that Bill Nye needs to hear (and a lot of Christians, Atheists, and fence-sitters need to hear) is the connection between Jesus Christ and the Bible. Christ speaks into our innermost minds and informs us that the Bible is His Word, that He speaks to us through it, and that it is without error. That's how we know. It is Divine revelation. It's not that God went away after writing the various books in the Bible through His apostles and prophets. His Presence is on us when we read the Bible and He speaks to us through it.
Every time the Bible is read, the Holy Spirit speaks. He reveals Christ to you. You make a decision of acknowledging Him or not. Every time a Bible verse comes to mind, God speaks to you through it. He is revealing Himself and His will to you. He is instructing you, but do you acknowledge Him? Whenever you hear the Bible quoted, the same thing happens. And God confirms to us, in our innermost minds, our hearts, that the Bible is His Word, that He speaks through it, and that it is without error. He is the One Who instructs us to take the Bible as it is written, not twisting Scripture by calling historical narrative poetry or taking the rich symbolism in a literal fashion to be used in the logical fallacy of appeal to ridicule. The Holy Spirit instructs us that the Scripture can be taken out of context by Satan, and these types of arguments can be planted in the minds of Satan's servants. That is what happens when Satan's servants misunderstand various parts of the Law that are being fulfilled in new ways now in the New Covenant and that will be completely fulfilled in the coming Kingdom. They misunderstand these laws and make accusations. They take the very strict rules of the Old Covenant, rules that require the death penalty, and say, "Are you going to stone people for this?" In addition, they take recorded history that openly describes terrible sin and deceptively claim that God condones this sin because it is in the historical record in the Bible. The Holy Spirit speaks to us directly and warns us against all such flimflam.
This is what Christians need to know. They need to know the reason we take what is written in the Bible seriously. It's not because we trust the Bible but because we trust Him Who wrote the Bible through His holy prophets and apostles and Who speaks to us in real time through the Bible. It's not because we have dogmatic interpretations of the Bible but because the Holy Spirit is constantly speaking to us through the Bible and destroying our inner fake-realities, our rationalizations, our hidden misconceptions. The Holy Spirit is constantly destroying our theologies, if we are walking in the Spirit. He is constantly showing us how inadequate our conceptions are compared to real reality. This is an ongoing process. It is science. It is an unfolding of the revelation of the spiritual and the natural. We don't need to merely assume the Bible to be true. By Divine revelation God reveals the Bible to be the most authoritative way that He speaks to us. And He is the One who continually is revealing the interpretation of Scripture to the church, the called-out people of God.
We don't build on the foundation of assumptions and expect arbitrary assumptions to somehow hold up the Bible. "There is no other Foundation that can be laid than that which is already laid, which is Christ Jesus." 1 Corinthians 3:11. We do not build on assumption or made-up stories to support our belief in what God is saying through the Bible. Ken Ham touched on this several times. He spoke of our personal experience, an experience that anyone can verify and validate, since everyone who seeks Christ finds Christ.
Here it is in plain English: Every person who knows Christ and follows Christ has a personal, moment-by-moment experience with Christ. Even though, we are all at differing levels of maturity in our relationship, we all have this same relationship to some degree. God's purpose is that we all be conformed into the image of Christ, and every one who follows Christ is following Him to that goal. That is ongoing Divine revelation in which Christ speaks to us through the Bible and through other means. Christians have become intimidated by the Naturalistic/Atheistic presuppositions that pervade every form of communication in this age, but they ought not to be ashamed of Jesus Christ They ought to be willing to acknowledge Him. There is much more to this than can be discussed here, but going here will lead you to many pages that do discuss this in depth and the entire process and pattern of purification. Suffice it to say that as the Holy Spirit ministers to our spirits and our spirits minister to our minds, He teaches us. One of the things that He teaches us is that He speaks through the Bible and that the Bible is His Word and that the Bible is without error. (That's why no one has ever observed anything using scientific method that in any way conflicts with Scripture. That is why no one has ever found a real inconsistency in the Bible.) No one can read the Bible without having God speak to them. Only when we hear Him, that is, acknowledge His Voice, does faith come.
We trust God, Jesus Chrsti, the One Who wrote the Bible and Who speaks to us through the Bible. We don't worship the Bible. We ought not to rationalize doctrine out of the Bible. The Bible is only understood by Divine revelation. God speaks to every person who reads the Bible. Some acknowledge Him. Some refuse to acknowledge Him. We trust and worship the One Who wrote the Bible through holy men of God.
What's more, all of this can be verified and validated. You don't have to take anyone's word for it. Every single person who comes to Christ in sincere submission, humility, and respect finds Christ. They will know Christ. In fact, they will be like a new born baby into the Kingdom of God and will begin to have an ever-growing knowledge of Christ. They will still have a deceitful mind with a fake-reality, but the Holy Spirit will begin to lead and to teach. They will begin to see that God speaks through the Bible and that the Bible is authoritative. They will begin to realize that God never contradicts Himself. And God doesn't twist the words of Scripture or use them in ways that don't really make sense. He speaks through types and shadows, but He doesn't twist the Scripture as some theologians do. What God is saying to us through the Creation is never in any way conflicting with what He is saying through Scripture. If anything that is said by any person who is speaking by the Holy Spirit is never in conflict with what God is saying to us through the Bible and Creation. This, by the way, is one of the ways to know whether or not a person is speaking by the Holy Spirit. What the Holy Spirit speaks into our innermost minds, our consciences, the reins of our hearts will never conflict with what God speaks through the Bible and through Creation. This is one of the most important ways that we can know if what we perceive to be inner leading or teaching from the Holy Spirit is actually coming from the Holy Spirit or not. We do, after all, have a wicked natural mind that is deceitful and desperately wicked to the point where we can't know it. So we are all learning to hear His Voice and to respond in submission to Him. We may be at different levels of maturity, but no one has come to full maturity, nor can they until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to one totally complete Man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Last updated: May, 2014
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Creation Debate Issue #1: Assumptions Versus Divine Revelation
Creation Debate Issue #2: Historical Science/Observational Science versus Just Science
Creation Debate Issue #3: The Topic of the Debate
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