Games of Chance – Ch. 1 – Rocks and Pillows

Let’s dive into chapter one.

First, I’m not going to hide my disdain for what I’ve read so far. I’m not an expert in physics by any stretch. For that reason I expected, or at least hoped, to be challenged by Sproul’s presentation.

Sadly, that is not the case.

In this first chapter, Sproul attempts to completely redefine chance to serve his preconceptions, then disparage science and scientists based on those preconceptions, though perhaps misconceptions is a better word.

In starting out, Sproul immediately paints himself into a corner sets his parameters regarding the concept of chance. He makes no bones about it – the existence of chance negates the entire Christian definition of god. Period.

“The mere existence of chance is enough to rip God from his cosmic throne.”

So it’s clear that he stages this conversation as an all-or-nothing proposition. If there is such a thing as chance, then there are things that are out of God’s control. (And when we say God in reference to this book, we always mean the paradoxical triune God: YHWH/Jesus/Holy Spirit, unless otherwise specified.) The very idea, the very instance of chance deprives him of his omniscient and omnipotent sovereignty over the entire universe, down to its smallest element.

So Sproul has a lot riding on winning this argument. By his standard, any Christian who witnesses a true and confirmed random occurrence should wholly reject his or her entire faith.

Having defined the stakes, he proceeds to define the word “chance.”

Unfortunately, he doesn’t do very well. He begins this section by warning against equivocation – shifting the meaning of a key word in the argument that the logic therein is thwarted – then he proceeds to do just that. His definition is inaccurate and becomes the straw man that I’ll wager he’ll spend the rest of the book trying to shred.

He starts off okay, stating:

“On the one hand the word chance refers to mathematical possibilities. Here chance is merely a formal word with no material content. It is a pure abstraction.

That’s close enough to the case, I suppose. He then illustrates the nature of chance and probability with the simple example of a series of coin flips. Which leads him to his pile of straw, and he starts building:

“Our next question is crucial. How much influence or effect does chance have on the coin’s turning up heads? My answer is categorically, “None whatsoever.”

Well, technically, he’s still correct. Being correct, he then begins his own equivocation. Mind, this equivocation is necessary, as it is the glue that will give his strawman shape.

“Chance is not an entity. It is not a thing that has power to affect other things. It is no thing. To be more precise, it is nothing. Nothing can not do something. Nothing is not… What are the chances that chance can do anything? Not a chance. It has no more chance to do something than nothing has to do something.”

After beating that horse, he then points out the equivocation. I know this is a lot of quoting, but it’s all for good reason, because what he says next is the height of gall:

“It is precisely at this point that equivocation creeps (or rushes) into the use of the word chance. The shift from a formal probability concept to a real force is usually slipped in by the addition of another seemingly harmless word, by… Suddenly chance is given instrumental power. It is the means by which things come to pass.”

So I’ll ask you, reader, who made chance an entity here? Who made it a force? Sproul, of course. It is he who is forcing the equivocation, who is now trying to imbue the word by with the power to turn the word chance from a mathematical concept into an agency that affects outcomes.

But that is not what chance is. This is purely Sproul’s assertion. No reputable scientist, working with mathematical probabilities, thinks of chance that way. They do not treat chance as an agency that affects outcomes. Sproul was right earlier that the word chance is a concept. In a moment of what seems to be intellectual dishonesty, he mischaracterizes the common use of the word by when discussing the nature of causality and probability.

Perhaps it is a filter that comes from belief in God. In the Christian economy, God is a supernatural agent who controls all outcomes, who chooses which side of coin lands up on every flip. So perhaps that preconception drives the need to view outcomes as having a specific determinant agent.

What Sproul is missing is that there is no need to replace the assumption of a determining agent with another agent. When a scientist says that an outcome happened by chance, what is meant is that the outcome was a result of natural processes without the intervention an intentional agent. It didn’t happen because a magical chance being determined an outcome. It happened because natural process took place without an specific intelligence determining the outcome for some purpose, known or unknown.

Indulge me while I put it slightly differently. The word chance doesn’t describe an intentional agent. It is a conceptual term that describes the unintentional nature of the process that brings about a range of results that are, to the extent they can be, determined randomly, solely by the nature of the elements involved in the process.

As we get further into the book, my guess is that Sproul will take this sense of agency and try to make the case that because, in his view, scientists treat chance as an agent, that an agent is therefore necessary to create and to determine outcomes, and that since a thing that is not cannot be an agent, we have to postulate another agent, that being Sproul’s God.

We shall see.

I bet it sounds like we’re at the end of the chapter. But no, it gets even better. Sproul takes his strawman and begins to use it to run down some of the biggest, most accomplished names in physics. And I mean he runs them down. It would be one thing if his case was airtight, but it’s a mess, and it’s almost embarrassing the manner in which he insults and slings mud, using words like magic and dogmatic, cherry picking comments made in order to bolster his assertion that physicists are somehow just making shit up, showing zero respect for the actual work and accomplishments of these giants.

“When scientists attribute instrumental power to chance, they have left the domain of physics and resorted to magic.”

No, Mr. Sproul, that was you. That was your equivocation. That is not the way chance works, and that is not how scientists conceptualize chance. He’s riding this horse all the way into town and buying a new saddle for it.

For his last trick, Sproul tries to transition the discussion from chance to the concept of nothing.

Having claimed the high ground on chance (which I think we’ve at least deflated, if not negated by this point) he then tries to rely on logic by asserting that scientists are transgressing the law of noncontradiction by conflating logic with magic (chance as agent.) But of course they haven’t, and his assertion is false.

He uses this same claim of contradiction when he dives into the nothing discussion. He makes the following statement:

“For something to come from nothing it must, in effect, create itself.”

There are two glaring errors here. First, again, we see the preconception of the necessity of intentional agency. Second, and perhaps more egregious, Sproul trots out a very tired misconception of the inception of the universe and its prior state. It’s actually difficult to talk about a prior state, as time itself is an artifact of the “Big Bang,” so simply talking about what came before almost doesn’t make sense. That’s a book in itself, and in fact one has been written by Lawrence Krauss: A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing.

Sproul shows a complete disregard for the actual science behind this. Nothing is a word Christians like to use as if it’s a foregone conclusion that there was absolutely nothing – a vacuum, no matter, no singularity, no nothing. From that nothing, they believe God created something, that being all matter in the universe.

But what physicists have recently learned is that nothing is unstable, and that particles pop in and out of existence, spontaneously, all the time. From Lawrence Krauss:

“And in fact the question why is there something rather than nothing then becomes sort of trite because nothing is unstable. It will always produce something. The more interesting or surprising question might be why is there nothing.”

We do know some things about nothing. Yet trying to explain those things falls on deaf ears for Sproul. For instance, he says:

“Usually the concept of self-creation is elliptical or camouflaged by obfuscatory language.”

No again, Mr. Sproul. Usually scientists try not to use words that don’t accurately represent what they hypothesize is happening. Instead they use terminology that better describes it. That’s why you don’t see scientists going on about self-creation. They don’t assert that anything is creating itself. That’s made-up terminology proffered by Christian apologists to try and obscure the actual theory and artificially prop up their preconception of intentional creation by God.

Sproul’s equivocation isn’t over:

“In a world where a miracle working God is deemed an anachronism, he is replaced by an even greater miracle worker: time or chance. I say these twin miracle workers are greater than God because they produce the same result with so much less, indeed infinitely less, to work with.”

This is simply egregious. But he’s already decided that he’s right about chance and nothing, so why not double down? Having demonstrated his (willful?) misunderstanding of chance, and his ignorance of the nature of nothing, he pops out this statement of value that is nothing more than an attempt to minimize the role time plays in natural processes, and the fact that they are non-intentional inasfar as there is no particular agency applying design decisions to their occurrence, as Sproul would have us believe.

He takes a few more pages to run down the inestimable Neils Bohr, then finishes up with a rant that includes the following:

“Empirical scientists may disparage philosophy, ontology, and epistemology, but they cannot escape them.”

I rather suspect most scientists aren’t disparaging ontology, epistemology, and philosophy so much as they’re disparaging Sproul’s very poor mastery of these concepts.

The long and short is that, so far, Sproul has shown a rather distinct inclination to play fast and loose with definitions, altering them to line up with his assertions (yes, we’re back to equivocation) and utilize his ignorance of physical realities as a shield against truly understanding them.

I almost can’t believe I committed to read this entire book, but we’ll be into chapter two in the next couple days.

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42 thoughts on “Games of Chance – Ch. 1 – Rocks and Pillows

  1. Sproul is almost second to Jesus in my church. My own dad brought up this chance argument in Sunday School. As a statistician I tried to clarify that Sproul was off. The underlying assertion is that nothing happens, even at the quantum level, without God controlling it. But it’s just an assertion with no evidence. Scientists rightly stop at “I don’t know”. Theologians assert God. Sproul goes further and based on his misunderstanding of chance claims science refutes itself.
    Great post!

    • Hey ole’ buddy! I really appreciate your willingness and diligence in “taking on” Dr. Sproul! You are exerting much effort in reading his book. I’m still waiting for my copy to arrive! For now, I’ll leave you with a few musings: Every system of thought and evidences falls short of the cou’de gras, once-for-all argument to end all arguments. Whichever view/system we take, in the end it’s still a matter of faith! For me, I liken theism, Biblical cosmology, etc. to strands in a rope: one strand is not overwhelmingly adequate – but 6-8 make it much stronger. With my average intellectual abilities, the basic arguments put forth by the champions of theism (Judaism, Christianity, etc.) make reasonable sense – and offer me the most hope (e.g. the universe is an effect which requires an adequate cause – that cause is the God of Scripture; design implies a designer – that designer is the God of Scripture; etc., etc.)…Also, as noted in a previous dialogue, I have been increasingly intrigued at how many (and the caliber) of professing atheists “recanted” their views before death (Anthony Flew, Jean Paul Sarte, of course the great C.S. Lewis, and so forth). I believe my dear friend Anthony Toohey will ultimately find his system of beliefs wholly inadequate. In the meantime, I truly value our relationship – and actually rather enjoy our communiques!

      • I assume you were replying to Anthony, but I wanted to reply anyway.

        Saying that everything is a matter of faith doesn’t work. You are trying to knock reason down a peg to the level of faith, thereby admitting that faith is not a very good way to get at truth. Also, just because two things are each unprovable does not mean they have an equal amount of evidence. It does NOT take faith to be an atheist. It is simply a recognition of the serious lack of evidence for the truth of any theistic claims. For things that are fairly uncertain (e.g., the origin of the universe, the origin of life), you go on faith while the atheist simply honestly says “I don’t know.”

        Professing atheists who recanted are irrelevant. For every one of those there are loads of professing Christians who have become atheists. What matters are the reasons they changed beliefs and what they ended up believing.
        I don’t know his reasons, but while Flew abandoned atheism, he did not become a Christian. He became a deist, I think.
        I have read a lot of Lewis. His reasons for becoming a Christian were not really intellectual reasons – they were subjective emotional things like joy and beauty. Sure, he wrote a lot of apologetics later. But Lewis would be considered a heretic by pretty much any denomination. His views were all over the place, and quite different than modern U.S. evangelical Christianity.
        If you really want to hold these men’s intellect up as teaching us anything, then you should seriously reexamine your own beliefs in addition to asking an atheist to reexamine theirs.

  2. Hello Charles. I won’t respond to all your criticisms, but here’s a few comments:
    1.”Saying that everything is a matter of faith doesn’t work.” That’s not what I said! I applied “faith” to systems of thought and evidences e.g. atheism and theism. There would be no need to defend, debate, etc. either view if there was absolute clarity on the subject – hence my statement about the posture of faith.

    2.“You are trying to knock reason down a peg to the level of faith, thereby admitting that faith is not a very good way to get at truth.” Again, you are putting words into my mouth. You completely omitted/missed my “reasoning” which led to my faith: the rope illustration; cosmology (cause and effect, design/designer, recanters, etc.). Fact is, reason and faith go together, hence my commitment to the Christian faith.
    3. “It does NOT take faith to be an atheist. It is simply a recognition of the serious lack of evidence for the truth of any theistic claims.” Pretty absurd statement Charles. You commit the logical fallacy of “saying so makes it so.” Your statement leads me to question whether you have truly, seriously pondered the massive portfolio of evidences for a created universe and therefore a Creator. I would encourage you to watch and/or listen to the debates between the late Dr. Greg Bahnson (theist) and Dr. Gordon Stein (atheist) or any of Dr. William Lane Craig’s debates for starters.
    4.“Professing atheists who recanted are irrelevant…” Hmmm, nice “reasoning’ here Charles! You said it correctly: “What matters are the reasons they changed beliefs and what they ended up believing.” Flew became a theist; better re-read Lewis (e.g. “Mere Christianity”) his arguments are in fact quite logical and intellectual.

    • I think my first reply was a bit chippy, and I apologize for that. I was responding to a conflation of you and all the other apologists who I have heard say things similar to what you wrote.

      1. You wrote, “Whichever view/system we take, in the end it’s still a matter of faith!” That is what I was responding to. I interpreted that to mean that you felt that all systems of thought, including atheism include some element of faith.

      2. Sorry if I misunderstood you, but what you wrote made it sound like you were trying to say that even atheism requires faith. As atheists generally value reason far more than faith, I took this as you trying to knock reason down to the level of faith. That is the way that argument comes across to me.

      You may have used both reason and faith, but they are still different things. My contention is that I am approaching things using, to the best of my ability, only empirical evidence and reason. That still leaves me with unknowns, and even for things that experts seem to know, I have to decide whether I will trust them or not. So in that sense I am using faith. But it is not faith in the sense that there are non-negotiable doctrines that I will not change my mind about if given enough evidence.

      When I say it does not take faith to be an atheist, what I mean is that it is simply saying that I don’t find theistic claims compelling. That requires no faith. Atheism is a statement of what I don’t believe. It does not say anything about what I do believe. Since I am finite, to live my life and make any decisions, I do have to trust others in many ways. So in that sense I exercise faith.

      3. I have pondered theistic evidences at length. I used to find them sufficient to make me feel better when I was a doubting Christian. Then when I looked at them more objectively, I found them not compelling. In particular, I see no evidence at all that God is involved in the natural world. As for the origin of life, all I can say for now is “I don’t know.” As for everything after that, I am satisfied with evolution as an explanation.

      4. Flew became a theist, but not a Christian. You seem to be impressed by his change of heart. Are you not also impressed by his continued disbelief in Christianity?
      I’ve read Mere Christianity numerous times. My understanding is that these were arguments Lewis wrote after he converted. My understanding of what led him to convert comes from “Surprised by Joy.” I read it when I was a Christian, hoping to be encouraged by this great intellectual’s reasons for believing. I was disappointed in what I read. He didn’t present any intellectual reasons for believing.
      I’m not saying this is true for everyone, of course, but I find that quite a lot of Christians who use apologetic arguments are using arguments that they learned after they believed. They themselves had other reasons to believe in the first place. This doesn’t invalidate the reasons, of course, but it does point out that these arguments are not the reasons they changed their minds.

      • Chuck – Regarding Anthony Flew – and to add on to charles’ comments – there is serious controversy over his “conversion.” It was known that he suffered from dementia late in life and many close to him insist he was well into it before he converted. The assertion is that he was manipulated into it. Furthermore, the book he supposedly wrote has been shown to have been ghostwritten while Flew was in the throes of said dementia.

        That said, charles is right. Anecdotal deathbed conversions are irrelevant to any sort of empirical examination of god’s existence, and his supposed agency on earth. And I think you fall into hyperbole when you talk about “so many” of these conversions, implying that the number is so significant as to be a proof of something other than people change their minds about things when fearing imminent death.

        It probably wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that the judgment of an individual becomes far less sound during such times and ought not to be given more weight than the previous decades of reasonable discussion and debate.

  3. No problem Mr. Chip (lol); no apology necessary! Ya know, that is a real big problem with this mode of communication (Facebook, emails, etc.) It’s so dang easy to misread what’s being said. Thanks for your gracious response back to me. I’m on my way out for the evening so can’t respond. I’ll check in with you tomorrow.

  4. Chuck – I’m going to take my own stab at some of your comments, even though charles probably addressed them as well or better than I can:

    **Every system of thought and evidences falls short of the cou’de gras, once-for-all argument to end all arguments.**

    I suppose the depends on scale, in one sense. But were I to go ahead and grant that, I could only do so on grounds you recognize that finding the coup de gras is not only unnecessary, it’s not even our aim. I mean, one would be nice, sure, but it’s not needed. There are systems of thought and evidence that are reliable, well-supported, and fairly straightforward to understand and apply. Then there are those for which there is little to no evidence and support, and those tend to be religious, to the point where you could almost postulate that the closer the claim/argument is directed at a religious concept or thought, the less real world supporting evidence will be found.

    Whichever view/system we take, in the end it’s still a matter of faith!

    As with charles, this seems to imply that you believe that examination of empirical evidence from which conclusions are drawn requires faith, which is definitely not the case.

    **For me, I liken theism, Biblical cosmology, etc. to strands in a rope: one strand is not overwhelmingly adequate – but 6-8 make it much stronger.**

    It’s funny, that’s the second time this week a theist has tried to use that sort of argument. You are correct only if each of those strands actually has some level of strength to add to the overall strength of the rope. If there is zero empirical evidence for theism, if biblical cosmology is shown to be completely incorrect, and so on, then those strands won’t even be there in the rope.

    **With my average intellectual abilities, the basic arguments put forth by the champions of theism (Judaism, Christianity, etc.) make reasonable sense – and offer me the most hope (e.g. the universe is an effect which requires an adequate cause – that cause is the God of Scripture; design implies a designer – that designer is the God of Scripture; etc., etc.)…**

    Well, on that note, definitely stay tuned through the blog, we’ll get into these other notes, including why there is nothing that implies a designer.

    Cheers, buddy.

  5. What great conversation! I regret not finding this space earlier. I want to weigh in on deathbed conversions. My father decided he was an atheist when his firstborn was afflicted with leukemia. My father had had little use for God to that point anyway, choosing to be agnostic about it. But when his son was killed by an incurable cancer, he decided that there was no God to believe in, for if there was, He surely served no purpose, everything else in the measurable universe being accounted for without Him. Fifty-two years later, my father followed, breathing his last with my hands on his hand and forehead. He was his usual intelligent self until failing systems and pain medication rendered him unable to speak. Before then, we talked about death as it approached. At no time did he suggest he was thinking of God and of an afterlife etc. He knew that his brain functions would soon cease, likely bringing hallucinations with it, and that the discomfort if any would be brief. My opinion is that he was simply too smart and emotionally stable to suddenly start worrying about the continuation of experience which to that point he had known ceased with death. As Epicurus said (something like), there is no experience after death, and thus nothing to fear.

    For my part, I know there is more to life than breathing and oxygenating brain cells. God can serve a purpose even while driving a natural world that kills our children. But that purpose is spiritual, and has to do with self-knowledge and enlightenment concerning existence etc, and we really don’t need any gods for that. I accept spiritual connections, it’s just something my father wasn’t into.

    Meanwhile, it’s often fascinating how some scientific minds twist about in order to make God a scientific necessity.

    • Don, thanks so much for visiting 🙂 I guess I didn’t realize that you’d only visited the other, writing focused site I use. Your story about your father is powerful, and it is with that lack of fear I hope to walk into the final dark.

      Anyway, hope to hear more from you.

  6. Chuck (CW) left this comment on an earlier post to this thread, so I’m moving it here for discussion:

    Hi Fellas! I can see how responding to every little (or big!) comment could end up pretty much a full-time job – one answer leads to three more questions, six comments; then a whole battery of rebuttals and a new batch of questions! Well, at the out-set I’d like to say how much I appreciate the friendly dialogue and exchanging of ideas we are having! I think we have all done at least some “homework” (and are exercising our brains as we dialogue via this blog). Personally, I love it! I was Anthony’s pastor for nearly 4 years (2001-2005) and we truly enjoyed hangin’ out; now here we are again exchanging ideas (radically different ones to be sure!), plus some additional friends! (BTW: Boy am I glad it’s not my responsibility to persuade you guys to turn to Jesus! He said the Father draws men to Himself. So I’m having a blast just being a messenger boy while He does the heart/mind work).

    I find it interesting that at least two of you at one time were professing Christians. As a pastor it’s hard to ignore my shepherds instincts (even as I write this I’m a little overcome with emotion – pretty sappy huh?!). May I throw out something for you guys to ponder a bit and maybe even respond to if you’re comfortable? I’ll get to it in a roundabout way.

    Here it is: man seems to be born with an innate sense of something beyond himself. That “sense” typically manifests itself in some type of spiritual, superstitious, religious, or whatever kind of belief(s). For instance: to my knowledge there have never been any aboriginal tribes/cultures discovered that were not religious in some way (in the context of our discussion: no atheist tribes!). This is the “sense of something beyond us” I refer to. I once mentioned a related commonality to Anthony: Helen Keller. Of course we all know she was a blind, deaf, and unable to speak intelligibly. She eventually befriended a pastor named Phillips Brooks. Through their written exchanges, she came to tell him she always knew (from her earliest recollections) there was a God; she simply didn’t know His name. Fascinating: no sensory input yet an innate knowledge of God (the God of the Bible by the way).

    So here’s my point: it seems we have to be taught there is no God. The Bible itself says God has put eternity into the heart of man ( Ecclesiastes 3:11). The “teacher” might have been
    • the tragic, unexplainable loss of a loved one (such as Don’s father experienced)
    • some form of disappointment with God
    • a hypocritical and/or abusive parent
    • outlandish things done in the name of Christ
    • moral failures on the part of spiritual leaders
    • a drive to be independent, free to do our own thing (after all: no God = no accountability/rules so to speak)
    • significant authority figures (teachers, speakers, authors, etc.) who significantly influence our thinking

    The list goes on. Perhaps you’d be willing to divulge what significant “teacher” (s) influenced your decision to reject Christ/Christianity/theism in general…..

    Now: I’m not going to answer you guys tit-for-tat. I would like to address at least some of your comments however.

    1. Flews “conversion”: Anthony, your comments about his senility and the suggestion that we consider his views as a younger man in his prime are pretty flimsy. First of all, his turn to theism occurred while his mind (though aged) was quite functional; second: I could use the same reasoning on you (sort of!) – or any number of individuals I know of who in their prime (you old geezer!) were Christian (or in your case at least professed Christ in the midst of doubting) then turned to atheism…Charles: you make a significant point that what Flew “converted” to is significant. His conversion to theism (certainly, at least, a step in the right direction from my perspective) was of course preceded by his now famous lecture “Theology and Falsification” at the Socratic Club at Oxford (at that time chaired by C.S. Lewis). That lecture became the most circulated philosophical article for five decades! This lecture, accompanied by numerous other lectures and books set the agenda for modern atheism. But: in 2004 Flew made an astounding announcement: God must exist; the best explanation for the universe is some sort of deity. Here’s the kicker: when asked why he changed his mind, Flew wrote that “The short answer is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science.” In fact, it was DNA that had the most profound impact on Flew – the informational content of DNA. He noted that “The only satisfactory explanation for the origin of such ‘end-directed, self-replicating’ life as we see on earth is an infinitely intelligent Mind.” So while Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, etc. herald the “news” that “belief in the biblical God finds no support in our growing scientific understanding of the world” (Harris); that the more science develops, the less room there is for God (Hitchens), I say that’s pure poppy cock! Fact is, scientific evidence for design has come to the fore in recent years (easily accessed by the truly objective seeker). Surely you fellas would not equate your credentials and powers of reasoning with the likes of Newton, Galileo, Paschal, Bacon, Kepler, Hoyle, Pasteur, etc., etc. – and these great minds were all theistic in their worldview (Christian in fact). So my point is this: theism and the correlation that has with the idea of a created universe has quite the store of support.

    2. Faith and Atheism: Charles, you indeed read me correctly: “Whichever view/system we take, in the end it’s still a matter of faith!” You did a fine job explaining what you meant by “faith” as an atheist. What I mean by the necessity of faith regardless of our worldview is that since we are finite beings who don’t yet (and never will) possess all knowledge about origins (and ends for that matter), we all exercise a measure of faith in our commitment to a particular view of how/why things “are.” To my thinking, faith is involved when we choose to ignore or flat out reject the claims of the Bible e.g. the fool says in his heart there is no God (Ps. 14:1); faith/trust that you are making the right choice and thereby gambling your eternity on your own reasoning; it takes faith to believe the great minds of past and present were/are in error; etc., etc.

    In the end, it seems we tend toward seeing what we want to see! This is a tendency we must beware of – and put forth our best effort to avoid. An example of this is Anthony’s (yea, it’s time to pick on you sucker!) deductive reasoning used on Sproul’s book: while he (Anthony) said “I’m all ears” he has proceeded to attempt shredding Sproul before completing the book. My undergraduate/postgraduate education taught me to always use inductive logic (assume nothing until the research is done first). Anthony also commits the same logical fallacy I pointed out in one of your (Charles) posts: “saying so makes it so.” Anthony comes across as if He’s backed Sproul into a corner, exposing a sinister agenda as well as a massive pile of bogus, indefensible arguments. I seriously doubt Sproul ever entertained such a notion (a sinister agenda); his scholarship and ethics are above board – and quite compelling for me and a whole host of true scholars (BTW: I was first introduced to Sproul by one of my seminary professors, J.P. Moreland, himself quite the thinker/scholar/philosopher).

    3. God operating today: Charles, you said “I see no evidence at all that God is involved in the natural world.” That surely is hyperbole – I could not possibly recount all of what I see going on (both past and present!). Again, I think this is a matter of seeing what we want to see/choosing to stop our eyes/ears to what’s happening in our beautiful (though troubled) world. Perhaps you are more focused on what He’s not doing?

    Well, that’s it for now! Better get goin’ on other projects! God (!) bless you all.

    • Sorry about the thread drift, Anthony. But I have to reply to a few of these…

      Look up the Piraha of Brazil. No concept of God. A Bible translator who went to work with them ended up an atheist.

      One guy, Flew, not even a scientist, makes assertions about science’s implications about God, and because it matches what you want to believe, you dismiss what the actual scientists say. Science provides no evidence that there is or is not a God.

      What I said was not hyperbole. There is no evidence of God’s involvement in nature. All the so-called evidence is simply inserting “God” in place of “I don’t know”. God of the gaps reasoning.

      I can sum up your entire comment in your own words: “In the end, it seems we tend toward seeing what we want to see!”
      I think that is exactly what you are doing. I was a Christian for 29 years. I would have loved all the arguments you make here. They were what I wanted to see. When I looked at them more closely, still wanting to believe, I saw that they were very, very weak arguments.

      From what I’ve read of Anthony’s story, he and I both spent a lot of time, and a lot of agony, questioning and seeking and praying. Deconverting has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through because my wife, my kid, all my extended family, and almost all of my friends are serious Christians. I did not arrive at my unbelief lightly. I say all this just to point out that there is pretty much no argument you are going to be able to bring forth that we have not already considered, and dismissed. And NOT because we only want to see what we want to see. We didn’t want to see it, but it smacked us in the face.

      When the reality of God’s absence outweighs the cost one would incur for stopping being a Christian… deconversion happens.

      • Charles – please don’t apologize! It’s the natural order of things. I just wanted everyone to be aware that I was going to try and prune a couple topics into separate articles to keep everyone’s attention span (i.e.: mine) intact 🙂

        I love the conversation.

  7. By the way, we’ve had some thread drift here, all very healthy discussion. I’m going to address Antony Flew in a separate article, and I’d like to sort of keep somewhere in the realm of Sproul’s attack on reason 🙂 specifically as in the post.

    In all honesty, I think we’ve probably opened up several cans of worms worth several separate articles for discussion. It’s what I love about doing this, and it’s also the bane of the busy 🙂

    Thanks for everyone’s involvement. I’ll see if I can’t break this up into smaller chunks 🙂

  8. Pingback: Who Flew The Coop? The “Deconversion” of Antony Flew | Why I No Longer Believe

  9. It’s pretty evident that our dialogues will simply be an ongoing pattern of back and forth with our rebuttals. For instance: Charles mentioned the Pirana Amazon people who have no concept of God, then brought up a Christian missionary (Daniel Everett I presume) that initially worked with them – and was so influenced by their world view and ways of life that he eventually recanted his Christian faith to become an atheist. In less than 5 minutes I came up with at least 3 reasonable rebuttals to this de-conversion! This is how it’s going to continue to be: move, then counter-move! Not one of you has shared anything even remotely new to me (with the exception of the Pirana people-thanks Charles!) – nor have I with you aparently. Seems we all have our favorite pool-of-persuasion, our favorite fountains for faith.

    If we were to compare raw IQs and earned credentials (of both theistic and atheistic professors) I believe we’d see the scales would pretty much be balanced. You fellas have chosen to cast your lot with the God/Bible-rejecter side; I have chosen to cast mine with what the Bible says. Solomon, over three thousand years ago,

    “There is a way that appears to be right,
    but in the end it leads to death.” Pr. 14:12

    On another note: As to comments made (Charles) about Flew, it should be noted that he was not simply one “guy” – Anthony Flew was a giant in the field of atheistic thinking; his works were the fountainhead for much of where atheism is today. BTW: Flew doesn’t have to be a scientist to make an accurate scientific assessment/observation. His conclusion (that DNA implies a Designer) stands in the mind of many a qualified scientist.

    In the end, this whole argument of God versus no God necessarily takes the form of either accepting or rejecting the authenticity and authority of the Biblical record. This is precisely why both the Bible and the historical person (and work) of Jesus have been targeted for attack from the beginning. From Satan’s words to Eve “Hath God really said…” to the centuries-old rejection of Christ’s claims – what else can opponents of Christianity resort to? If The Bible is true and if Jesus’ claims are true then all opposing worldviews and their adherents are in for a real shaking.

    I sometimes think the simplest answers are the best answers. An often used quip says the true follower of Christ loses nothing if he’s wrong; the atheist on the other hand loses everything if he’s wrong (I’d say an unalterable eternity apart from God in utter isolation and unimaginable torment is everything).

    Since you, Charles, have expressed the most openness to entertaining possibilities, I’ll leave you with these thoughts concerning doubt: Major General Lew Wallace (who made a name for himself in various campaigns during the Civil War as well as serving as Governor of New Mexico) was traveling on a train (1870s) with Robert Ingersoll, popular agnostic and Bible-basher of that time. Wallace himself was not a Christian. Somehow they got onto the subject of Jesus Christ and Ingersoll, knowing Wallace’s flair for writing, suggested he write a romantic novel about Christ. He said “Tear down the prevailing sentiment about His divinity, and paint Him as a man – a man among men.”

    In the process of researching the life of Christ, Wallace was confronted with the greatest life ever lived! The more he studied, the more he was convinced Christ was more than a man. The day came when General Wallace declared, from a convinced mind and sincere heart: “Truly, this was the son of God!” He completed his novel and it went to the press in 1880. He entitled it “Ben Hur.”

    Here’s my point: Ingersoll had doubts which led to unbelief. He eventually died without Christ (1899). Funeral notices said “There will be no singing.” Wallace, on the other hand, had doubts, but they led to faith. The lesson is this: doubt is neither good nor bad, it’s what we do with it that matters!

    In Matthew 28:16-20 we find a most interesting “take” on doubt. By this time, we’re told that Jesus has risen from the dead and His disciples meet Him in Galilee. I want to call your attention to verse 17. Notice, it doesn’t say “When they saw Him, some worshipped and some doubted” as if there were two groups present (doubters and believers). Matthew writes “When they saw Him, they worshipped Him, but some doubted.” Who were the doubters? Some of the worshippers themselves!

    The significance of this lies in the fact that doubt can arise even within the context of faith! Think of what these men had witnessed: the life, majesty, and ministry of Jesus – including the resurrection – and yet some of the men still had doubts. About what we’re not sure, but their doubts were clearly related to Jesus and His appearance to them. How can this be? Is it right? My conclusion is that doubt, for the Christian (or even the wondering defector), is neither good nor bad, it’s what we do with it that matters! Rather than stuff and deny our feelings and doubts, it can be quite profitable to seek answers for these things. There is great reward for the diligent seeker of God (Hebrews 11:6). My encouragement to you my friend is that you immerse yourself in the Scriptures again (Ps. 19 and 119 would be a great place to begin); read and/or watch some of the Christian apologists debates on You Tube (Ravi Zacharias; William Lane Craig; J.P. Moreland; Dr. Hugh Ross; Dr. Walter Martin; Dr. Greg Bahnson; etc.).

    • Thanks for taking the time to write so much. I’m not interested in a tit for tat either. When you have something other than Bible verses, threats of damnation, and anecdotes, let me know.
      I immersed myself in scripture for 29 years.
      And in future conversations with unbelievers you’ve never even met, refrain from saying “my friend”. It comes across as quite patronizing. It seems it’s a thing among Christians online. And it is often coupled with a threat of hell.
      Someday if you deconvert you’ll understand that that communicates anything but friendship.
      Guess I’m back to being chippy. I’m having a rough week. Sorry to take it out in you. Sort of.

      • If it was just him… I guess I’ve grown a bit cynical. I picture a church greeter with a big smile acting like I’m their best friend. And Christians posting on GodlessInDixie threatening hell, my friend. I just find it creepy.
        Sorry to stereotype. Like I said…bad week. Not a good excuse, I know.

    • So, Chuck, I’m going to address some of these things here, but a lot of them need leaving off so we can get to the meat of the matter:

      It’s pretty evident that our dialogues will simply be an ongoing pattern of back and forth with our rebuttals… Seems we all have our favorite pool-of-persuasion, our favorite fountains for faith.

      I think there are a couple of reasons for this, but the main one – and here’s where I’ll level a little gentle criticism your way – is that you really didn’t address the textual criticism I wrote above when you started, and we ended up on some rabbit trails that, while interesting, don’t really further the conversation. Once those cans of worms are open, we all do want to do our best to address them, because, on the other hand, that’s how dialogue works, exchanging ideas. But there’s a sense in your comments that you don’t really consider the content, but rather look to simply riposte. And I don’t think that necessarily goes both ways because I, and charles, among others, have already lived it from your side, and even offered your answers to other doubters once upon a time.

      “There is a way that appears to be right,
      but in the end it leads to death.” Pr. 14:12

      Come on, that’s sort of just sticking your tongue out and saying “I’m right and you’re wrong.” As charles noted elsewhere, listing bible verses without engaging the ideas in reasonable fashion really doesn’t advance the conversation.

      On another note: As to comments made (Charles) about Flew

      I address Flew in a separate post. Let’s move that part of the conversation there.

      In the end, this whole argument of God versus no God necessarily takes the form of either accepting or rejecting the authenticity and authority of the Biblical record.

      So, to an extent this is true, but only inasmuch as it’s YHWH/Jesus that’s under discussion. The Yes/No proposition on the existence of any god is a much broader proposition, one that changes significantly depending on which or what sort of god is hypothesized.

      This is precisely why both the Bible and the historical person (and work) of Jesus have been targeted for attack from the beginning…

      Again this is the sort of thing that makes those of us who have stepped away roll our eyes. Nobody’s the target of attack. If anything, it is the unbeliever, still a minority, that has to defend and push back against the encroachment of religion into the lives of individuals.

      The status quo is that we are all humans who have to make decisions about what we think about life, the universe, and everything (to borrow a phrase from the late, great, Douglas Adams.)

      One sees the world as it is and accepts what he sees. Another sees the world and says that, along with what he sees, there is an omnipotent invisible creator being who’s going to send you to hell if you don’t worship his son and do what he says. A third says that along with what he sees, there is a different omnipotent creator being he’s going to send you to a different hell if you don’t believe in him, and especially if you believe in that other guy’s omnipotent being.

      I could drag this out into an almost Socratic dialogue, but I think you can see where this would go. Who is imposing upon who? Who is *attacking*?

      I sometimes think the simplest answers are the best answers.

      Occam’s Razor is not a friend of the committed believer…

      An often used quip says the true follower of Christ loses nothing if he’s wrong; the atheist on the other hand loses everything if he’s wrong (I’d say an unalterable eternity apart from God in utter isolation and unimaginable torment is everything).

      And a poorly stated Pascal’s Wager. Chuck, what if you’re wrong and Allah is the one true God? That’s the world’s fastest growing religion. Maybe they’re right? As Homer Simpson said, every time you go to church, you’re just making Allah angrier.

      In the midst of a myriad of conflicting religious ideas, the simplest answer, which likely is best, is that they’re all wrong.

      I’m excising your anecdote about Wallace and Ingersoll. It’s but another rabbit trail for another day – worth discussing, but not at the expense of losing the thread any further.

      I promise you that I, and charles, and many others have sought answers. And we insisted that the answers make sense, that they reflect the world and the universe we live in.

      There is great reward for the diligent seeker of God (Hebrews 11:6). My encouragement to you my friend is that you immerse yourself in the Scriptures again (Ps. 19 and 119 would be a great place to begin); read and/or watch some of the Christian apologists debates on You Tube (Ravi Zacharias; William Lane Craig; J.P. Moreland; Dr. Hugh Ross; Dr. Walter Martin; Dr. Greg Bahnson; etc.).

      Well, Chuck we’re discussing Dr. Sproul right now. Let’s get through that one, then I’ll be happy to take on Zacharias, Craig, Moreland, and anyone else.

      Cheers.

  10. I’ll only bring up one point: You quoted me correctly: “This is precisely why both the Bible and the historical person (and work) of Jesus have been targeted for attack from the beginning.”

    You then said “Again this is the sort of thing that makes those of us who have stepped away roll our eyes. Nobody’s the target of attack.” Excuse me? In an earlier blog you ripped the notion of a real, historical Jesus to shreds (or at least you thought you did); you emphatically insisted that there is NO bonafied proof there ever was such a person as the Jesus of the New Testament. Sounds like an attack to me. You in fact have been on similar tirades about the Bible. These attacks, of course, make complete sense: to support your atheism the Bible would have to be suspect and Jesus a myth. I think it’s the height of fanciful thinking (to put it nicely) that Western Civilization, from the first century on, was based on a mythical person named Jesus.

    And Charles: I’d like to see you respond to my earlier blog concerning why people de-convert (the “teachers” I mentioned). Based on the way you took some of my gestures, you seem to be a guy who was betrayed, manipulated, let down, or something pretty traumatic.

    • It’s a shame you don’t want to reapply yourself to the actual criticism of Sproul’s text. But for the sake of conversation.

      You then said “Again this is the sort of thing that makes those of us who have stepped away roll our eyes. Nobody’s the target of attack.” Excuse me? In an earlier blog you ripped the notion of a real, historical Jesus to shreds (or at least you thought you did); you emphatically insisted that there is NO bonafied proof there ever was such a person as the Jesus of the New Testament. Sounds like an attack to me.

      There’s the key: “It sounds like an attack to me.”

      The reason it sounds like an attack to you is that the implications of my analysis, right or wrong, threaten your closely held beliefs. Your closely held beliefs are tantamount to your entire identity as an individual, and maybe even to a greater extent because your very livelihood depends upon those closely held beliefs.

      To anyone else it is a dispute about the accuracy of documents claimed by some to be historical accounts about a god-man who lived, died, and rose again, by others (including myself) to be mythical amalgamations of older themes common to religious and superstitious traditions of the region.

      If you could bring yourself to take a step back from your personal investment in the veracity of the bible and understand that it, and the various theologies attributed to it, is simply one version of reality among many other ideas about reality, you have a chance of understanding that asserting one’s analysis is not an attack on anyone, rather a consideration of the material at hand in relation to the question – in the case of your example, whether or not Jesus was an actual historical person.

      You in fact have been on similar tirades about the Bible. These attacks,

      Which I think we have established they are not…

      of course, make complete sense: to support your atheism the Bible would have to be suspect and Jesus a myth.

      I do suspect it, but not to *support my atheism.* I suspect it because the things that I have learned about the bible once I stopped filtering everything through my own closely-held beliefs lead me to believe the picture painted for me in the pulpit was not true.

      I think it’s the height of fanciful thinking (to put it nicely) that Western Civilization, from the first century on, was based on a mythical person named Jesus.

      But you have no problem with the idea that nearly all of the Middle-Eastern civilization was based on a mythical person named Mohammed? Or all of Indian civilization was based on a mythical pantheon led by Vishnu? All of ancient Egypt’s civilization, that covered centuries and centuries of time, was based on a different mythical pantheon headed by Ra?

      Having established that a long-lasting civilization can be founded on a mythological being or set of beings, it’s pretty safe to dismiss that assertion as proof of Christianity’s veracity.

      In order for us to analyze text, either by Sproul or the biblical authors, or any other, it’s really important that you be able to discuss the claims and evidence without personalizing the analysis as some sort of personal attack. Otherwise, we really can’t discuss very productively.

      And I have to ask, please avoid speculating on Charles’ reasons for deconversion. Christians’ number one mistake when dealing with ex-believers is trying to analyze their deconversion in terms of their prejudice toward their own beliefs. I’ll just say it’s very offensive, definitely worse than the phrase “my friend.”

      Cheers –

      • From the outside of you two looking in, I think you are using the word “attack” differently.

      • I think maybe not. I don’t think he takes this as a rhetorical attack on an idea, but a literal attack on Christianity itself – I’m attacking Jesus. I’m part of the “War on Christianity” that they’re convinced is being waged.

        I wish he could step back, but I recall not being able to do so myself for most of my time as a believer. In fact, gaining the ability to view Christianity as a set of propositions about reality may be the beginning of the end for most believers anyway. It may be I simply ask too much.

        But, you know, he urged me to read this book, and I’m doing so. It would be one thing if he could take on my analysis of Sproul’s writing, but it’s mostly just angst at the fact that I’m not only unswayed, but have good reason for being so.

      • Of course. That line of questioning drives me nuts. It carries the underlying assertion that we’ve made an emotional decision rather than a rational one. It seeks to undermine our personal initiative in the matter. When I broke it to a friend last year that I was an atheist, she literally said she didn’t believe it, I was just angry or something. Egad…

    • Chuck, can you be more specific about which comment you want me to respond to? I’m losing track.
      What you are seeing in my response to you is a conflation of my moodiness and the process of recovering from Christianity. I don’t accuse anyone of intentionally deceiving me about Christianity, but I do feel like I was duped. Deconversion for those of us who were as committed as you seem to be is a traumatic experience. Kind of like coming out of a cult in many ways.
      I’ve always been cynical of others motives. I wasn’t one of the popular kids, so I was on the receiving end of stuff. Nothing major, but bad enough. It was in the context of the loneliness that resulted from moving to a new town at age 13 that I converted at age 14. If you want to claim my personal issues for my deconversion, I can just as easily blame my conversion on them.

    • I found the “teachers” comment. I’ll repaste it here, and then answer. You wrote,
      “So here’s my point: it seems we have to be taught there is no God. The Bible itself says God has put eternity into the heart of man (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The “teacher” might have been
      • the tragic, unexplainable loss of a loved one (such as Don’s father experienced)
      • some form of disappointment with God
      • a hypocritical and/or abusive parent
      • outlandish things done in the name of Christ
      • moral failures on the part of spiritual leaders
      • a drive to be independent, free to do our own thing (after all: no God = no accountability/rules so to speak)
      • significant authority figures (teachers, speakers, authors, etc.) who significantly influence our thinking
      The list goes on. Perhaps you’d be willing to divulge what significant “teacher” (s) influenced your decision to reject Christ/Christianity/theism in general…..”

      The Bible saying so doesn’t make it so, to borrow a phrase from you. Whether God put eternity in my heart or not, I don’t know. I do know that my parents and culture indoctrinated me to believe that God and heaven and hell existed, and that the Bible was God’s Word.

      I would say that what led to my deconversion was mostly disappointment with God, in the form of experience not matching what I came to believe based on the Bible and the claims of other Christians (friends, preachers, authors). There was nothing that I can say with any confidence was an interaction with God, or any response from God to prayer. It was as if there was no God at all.

      Additionally, there were many other things in the Bible that just didn’t seem to match reality. Evolution vs. creation was a topic I had always avoided for fear of finding the Bible to not be reliable. The actual tipping point for my deconversion was the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate in February 2014. I was kind of rooting for Ken, although I had serious questions about the validity of young earth creationism. But it was embarrassing. I got up with a new found conviction to never settle for unsatisfying answers without looking into things myself, where possible. I started reading about evolution for the first time. It did not take long to convince me that evolution happened. After that, I decided to apply this new conviction to use critical thinking to everything, including the previously off-limits question of “does God exist?”

      I didn’t just read and talk to non-Christians. I read a number of apologetic books and talked with some close friends who I was pretty sure wouldn’t reject me. My deconversion gained momentum and somewhere in Spring 2014 (it was an up and down process) I realized I no longer believed. You can read all about my journey from my journal which I kept during the process: See https://skepticjourney.wordpress.com/my-journey-from-faith-to-skepticism/

      • I think they key thing that Christians miss is that yes, sometimes traumatic experiences initiate a period of questioning, but it isn’t the trauma that leads to disbelief, it’s the answers we find, or fail to find, when we actually ask those questions.

        When I realized that the way life, the natural world, and the universe, didn’t operate in a manner consistent with the assertions and promises in the bible and in the theology derived from it, I was led to question further, and to insist on answers that made sense.

        After all, if God is Truth, then seeking truth should NEVER lead one away from God. If seeking truth can really do that, then God cannot be truth, which means God as expressed in the bible likely doesn’t exist.

      • Yes. While I was disappointed relative to my expectations of God, I remained a Christian a very long time after the disappointment started to bother me.
        It contributed to my openness to atheism, but I would have been happy to have found good apologetic answers. At some point, I realized I actually would not have welcomed evidence of God, because the implication would have been that he exists but had been very hidden and uninvolved. But that was further into deconversion.

      • One of the thoughts that gave me courage to ask questions was that I trusted that Jesus would protect me from being deceived. And if it was all false, I would want to know.

  11. I really appreciate the candor you guys (Anthony and Charles) display in your feedback. I’m so far behind in my responses to you both that I’m not sure where to begin! I find it so ironic that though “retired” I’m wondering how I ever had the time to work!

    Anyway: I invited Anthony to read Dr. Sproul’s book and he graciously accepted the invitation. He also (rightly) suggested that I answer his SPECIFIC criticisms. I of course am willing and interested in doing that. I proposed that I work through the book first myself (this is one of his works I had not actually read – I suggested it, being familiar with Sproul’s theology), then we could begin our interaction.

    Anthony: as I’ve thought about my proposal, it occurred to me that it is paramount (for preserving the continuity of out dialogues) that we do this thing simultaneously i.e. if you get through the book first THEN I come back with my critique, we may have lost our audience (readers, bloggers, etc.). Frankly, I’m interested in BOTH you and them! So, here’s a couple thoughts: 1. You could curtail your reading for a couple of weeks, giving me time to finish studying the book, then we could course our way through OR 2. I’m willing to change my game plan and do like you: read a chapter then share our thoughts. What do you think? (BTW: I’m done with the Preface and Chapter 1).

    • Either would work for me. If you want to take a couple of weeks and work through it thematically, that might mean less writing on my part, and will give me a chance to complete some supplemental reading (doing a little brush-up on Quantum Physics and Probability – light reading, you know?) Or we can go chapter at a time. Your call.

  12. Alright, let’s go with the plan of me working through the book first, I’ll then respond to your critique of the Preface, along with chapters 1-2 – and we’ll go from there. I will contact you when the time has arrived. Thanks!

  13. Charles: just a quick response to your comments about Ken Ham and young earth creationism. I’ve never been convinced that the earth is actually only thousands rather than multiple-billions of years old. I think Edwin Hubble’s discovery way back in 1929 (that universe seems to be expanding – equally in all directions) can be used to support an old universe. Of course of great significance to me is that the old-earth “take” on origins is a distinct possibility Biblically speaking, depending on how we understand the first few verses of Genesis 1. Plenty of Christian scientists and theologians subscribe to old earth thinking. I even had seminary proffs who were in that camp.

    By way of personal illustration: one summer I was working for a geologist who was studying carefully the walls of several 15′ deep trenches dug along the San Andreas fault line down in Highland, CA. His assignment was to ensure the safety of the area for building-construction (apartments if my memory serves me correctly). At any rate, we were working our way down one of the trenches when we came across a hollowed-out space, about 10″x8″, which contained the bones of some type of animal. They were nearly powder in form. In one sentence, my boss pulled the plug on young earth thinking: Steve (a Christian by the way) said, “Oh, those are about 30,000 years old.” I said to him, “Do you realize what you just did? In one sentence you pulled the plug on the view held by countless Christians that we live on a young planet, six to ten thousand years old!” All he said was “Hmmm.”

    Personally, I really don’t care how old the universe is. For me, the pertinent issue is how/what/ or who created it. Of course you know where I stand on that one!

    Bye for now

    • If you had asked me at the time to pin down what I thought, I’d probably have said I was an old-earth creationist. At the same time, I wasn’t so sure that all the criticisms I’d heard of evolution were valid. But I still had enough vague explanations in my head as to why I thought certain things must be impossible (e.g., “there wasn’t enough time for all of this to evolve”). The real issue for me was that evolution was a topic that I basically avoided.

      The question of whether or not something is a possibility “Biblically speaking” seems backwards to me. At least in terms of apologetics. I think many people start with a belief that the Bible is God’s Word (whatever they mean by that) and then find a way to make the science fit with that belief. But that methodology is useless if part of the question is whether the Bible is true or not. I made a decision to start with the science and see what that said. It didn’t take long to accept evolution.

      If God had anything to do with speciation, he seems to have done it in such a way as to make biologists think it happened by unguided evolution. From what I have seen so far, the only “evidence” that creationists have to offer are things that they think evolution cannot explain. That is not evidence *for* creation. Some of this so-called evidence is misinformation (“there are no transitional fossils”), and other things are genuine unknowns. In everything I’ve read about intelligent design, I have found that there is no evidence. It is all speculation and God-of-the-gaps. What would evidence look like? Define “design” and “non-design”, then gather data and demonstrate that “design” is a better hypothesis. The one attempt at this that I’ve seen (Dembski, I think) was a failure.

      Now I’ve gone way off topic. Enjoy the Sproul book!

      • Also, define “design” and make predictions about what you should find. Then go out and find it.

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