Another Atheist-Turned-Christian

This is  Rosaria Champagne Butterfield during an interview with Marvin Olasky of World Magazine.  (click for credit)

This is Rosaria Champagne Butterfield during an interview with Marvin Olasky of World Magazine. (click for credit)

Because I was an atheist who converted to Christianity, I like to read the stories of other former atheists (see here, here, and here). This post is about atheist-turned-Christian Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. She was an English professor at Syracuse University, and in her own words, her conversion to Christianity was a “train wreck.”

A short version of her conversion story is at Christianity Today, and it is well work the read. She has also written a book entitled The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. I have not read the book, but it is on my list.

What I find most intruiging about her story is how it began. She had written an article in the local newspaper that was critical of the Christian group called Promise Keepers. Like most controversial pieces, the article sparked all sorts of written responses. She says that she filed them into two groups: hate mail and fan mail. However, there was one letter she couldn’t classify. That letter led her down the path to Christ.

What was the content of the letter? In Butterfield’s own words:

It was from the pastor of the Syracuse Reformed Presbyterian Church. It was a kind and inquiring letter. Ken Smith encouraged me to explore the kind of questions I admire: How did you arrive at your interpretations? How do you know you are right? Do you believe in God? Ken didn’t argue with my article; rather, he asked me to defend the presuppositions that undergirded it. I didn’t know how to respond to it, so I threw it away.

Obviously, she ended up fishing it out of the trash, and the way God worked through that letter and its author is incredible.

Because of God’s mighty work, Rosaria Champagne Butterfield was transformed. She was transformed from someone who couldn’t say the name of Jesus to someone who worships Him. She was transformed from a woman who attacked Christians to a woman who loves her fellow Christians. She was transformed from a lesbian into a pastor’s wife and a mother of four.

Of course, that last transformation bothers some people. She gets a lot of pushback because she honestly discusses her sexuality before and after her conversion. For example, when she spoke at the University of South Florida a group of students staged a peaceful and respectful protest in the front row of her talk.

If you would like to hear more from this atheist-turned-Christian, you might watch this one-hour interview with Marvin Olasky of World Magazine. God calls to us in many different ways, and I am so glad that he does!

111 Comments

  1. Keith January 22, 2014 10:23 am

    Hey Luis. Thanks for taking the time to reply to me the other day. I’m sure you’re quite busy reading all the mountains of evidence that Dr. Wile has given you investigate. Or maybe not, heh.

    To start with, let me say I think you are correct in thinking that nihilism is the proper logical conclusion of atheism. If God does not exist, life has no meaning, purpose, or value. We’re all going to die one day, and so will the whole human race. If scientists are to be believed, the whole universe will one day “die”, spreading into an infinite void as heat death kicks in. We are doomed people in a doomed world, and nothing we do can change that. The human situation without God is bleak indeed.

    And yet, even given the horrific implications of nihilism, you seem determined to hold onto it. Luis, that should not be so. Even if the evidence for God’s existence was miniscule (and it certainly is not, as Dr. Wile has shown you), you should be grasping at that straw for dear life. I think part of you knows that, because while you claim to be a nihilist, you don’t act like one. For someone who believes there’s no meaning in the universe, you attribute a lot of meaning to reason and scientific evidence. For someone who thinks there’s no purpose to life, you seem awfully intent on knowing the truth about reality. And for someone who thinks nothing has any moral value, your insistence that Christianity has just as much blood on its hands as atheism is shockingly inconsistent.

    To Jeff:
    Thanks for the compliment on my last post. I put a lot of thought into that one, and it’s always great to get some validation. God Bless!

    To Dr. Wile:
    Like Kendall, I’ve also been reading Mrs. Butterfield’s book, and it is truly an amazing story! Thanks so much for bringing this incredible woman’s book to my attention. Every Christian who’s unsure about how to treat gay and lesbian individuals ought to read it.

    • jlwile January 22, 2014 10:25 am

      I am glad that the book meant so much to you, Keith!

      http://www.drwile.com

  2. Luis January 22, 2014 11:11 am

    Keith

    “And yet, even given the horrific implications of nihilism, you seem determined to hold onto it. Luis, that should not be so. Even if the evidence for God’s existence was miniscule (and it certainly is not, as Dr. Wile has shown you), you should be grasping at that straw for dear life. I think part of you knows that, because while you claim to be a nihilist, you don’t act like one. For someone who believes there’s no meaning in the universe, you attribute a lot of meaning to reason and scientific evidence. For someone who thinks there’s no purpose to life, you seem awfully intent on knowing the truth about reality. And for someone who thinks nothing has any moral value, your insistence that Christianity has just as much blood on its hands as atheism is shockingly inconsistent.”

    I am after reality not what makes me feel comfortable. I tnink atheists only go so far and when they see what relaity is really like, they back away and create their own reality. I can’t do that and be honest with myself because I know that they are all constructs on my own creation. But I have to because my fear of death is greater than my disenchantment with life. I carry on pretending these things are real in order to survive but on the indside, I know it’s not real. I could go back to theism but that wouldn’t do much good either because I know that’s not real. Either way, I have to hold onto an illussion.

    I don’t know how long I can hold onto the illussion though.

  3. Luis January 22, 2014 11:56 am

    Dr. Wile

    Here is an article I stumbled upon today by J Warner Wallace. Of course, I expect you make an excuse for it rather than take it for reality.

    http://coldcasechristianity.com/2012/are-young-people-really-leaving-christianity/

    • jlwile January 22, 2014 1:26 pm

      Luis, I don’t make excuses for the data. That’s your speciality. Remember, you are the one who tried to make an excuse for the rise in Christianity taking place in China and Japan as being the result of “oppressive” governments. That reminds me – you never answered my question about how the Japanese government is “oppressive.”

      The website you give is a good one, and not surprisingly, it supports my position. For example, one of the books on the list is one that I have read – Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults. Here is a quote from that book:

      One recent study, for instance, using some of the best longitudinal data available, has shown that it is not those who attend college but in fact those who do not attend college who are the most likely to experience declines in religious service attendance, self-reported importance of religion, and religious affiliation. Another showed that among recently surveyed college students, 2.7 times more report that their religious beliefs have strengthened during their college experience than say their beliefs have weakened. (pp. 248-249, emphasis theirs)

      The book shows quite clearly that education is not the enemy of religion – it supports religion. This, of course, is the exact opposite of what you have been stating, and you have yet to provide a single piece of evidence to support your claim.

      The other books talk about various problems in the church, which are all real. Some of them discuss how many young Christians don’t understand their faith. Some discuss that college professors are hostile to faith. One discusses the slight decline of faith in the U.S., but it also shows that Christianity still is believed by the majority. This is consistent with the Pew research, which you called “dubious,” and it shows that even in the “educated Americas,” as you call them, most people still believe in Christianity. Once again, then, education is not the enemy of Christianity – it supports Christianity.

      Now…some of the books do discuss the fact that young people leave the church. However, other books talk about how this is a typical cycle. For the Gallup Poll mentioned, for example, we learn:

      …69% percent of 13- to 15-year-olds report being members of a church or synagogue, compared to 59% of 16- to 17-year-olds, 60% of 18- to 29-year-olds, 72% of 50- to 64-year-olds, and 80% of those aged 75 and older.

      Note, then, that while youth do tend to leave the church, they tend to come back when they are older and more educated. Also, these books don’t even touch on the many atheists (such as the one in the original post) who come to Christianity. In the end, then, this website supports my case and weakens yours even further!

      http://www.drwile.com

  4. Jeff January 22, 2014 2:18 pm

    Luis,

    Your tale seems an awful lot like mine. Scientific atheism usually does devolve into nihilism. I pray that you find your way out of that morass. One way to find your way out is to go to church. I’m guessing that when you lost your faith you weren’t an active member of your faith community. It sounds like you found a couple of webpages (like talkorigins), read them, and let them destroy your faith. On your own you were no match for them, when in reality, they are fairly easy to debunk if you know what to look for. If you want to live a fulfilling life with meaning, join a church, learn the faith, and stop tormenting yourself. You are chasing ‘reality’ like an idol. In fact, your chasing of ‘reality’ has turned out to be an ouroboros and eaten itself, because a nihilist can’t really believe in reality.

    http://www.jeff-books.blogspot.com

  5. Luis January 23, 2014 8:39 am

    Jeff

    That’s pretty much what happened to me. I kept hearing on TV that evolution was a fact and I always thought it was just a “theory” by atheists who didn’t want to belive in god. I decided to look on the internet for this and I was shocked by all the evidence for it (I know Dr. Wile disagrees with me on this). I began to search nervously for other reasons to hold on to my faith and prove that god was real. I began to find arguments and refutations against everything that I trusted for his existence. Creation, Big Bang, Biology, miracles, prayer, shroud of turin, archeology, reliability of the bible, morality and the problem of evil. All had counter evidence against it. I began to doubt and stopped attending church. My family hasn’t been there in months. I finally couldn’t believe anymore and this is why I NEED some kind of proof without any counter evidence. There is none.

    • jlwile January 23, 2014 9:48 am

      Luis, if you are really looking for evidence, it is all over the place. You could start by reading the links I have given you. The scientific evidence clearly points to the existence of God, and there is an enormous amount of evidence for Christianity. You keep asking for proof without any counter evidence, but that is impossible. I can give counter evidence against anything. Indeed, there is counter evidence against the Theory of Relativity, which is one of the most well-confirmed theories in modern science. That counter evidence is incredibly weak, however, and that’s the key. When a conclusion is true, the evidence is strong and the counter evidence is weak. That’s what I see with Christianity – incredibly strong evidence and incredibly weak counter evidence.

      http://www.drwile.com

  6. Jeff January 23, 2014 10:14 am

    Luis,

    If I may offer a suggestion. A radio program that has been particularly helpful to me has been Issues, etc. Go to their website (http://www.issuesetc.org) and you can search for past programs. So take an issue that has been a problem for you (such as Miracles or Problem of Evil) and listen to the program on it, because they probably have one. Give it a chance and see if it is helpful for you.

    http://www.jeff-books.blogspot.com

  7. Luis January 23, 2014 2:50 pm

    Typically christians use the bible as the revealed word of god. If the bible is found to be unreliable then what evidence do you have that god exists? There are several points that can be shown why the bible is unreliable.

    1) The accounts differ because they are from different viewpoints. Which points of the authors are right? One says two woman at the tomb, another says one woman for example. How do you judge these viewpoints? They can be messy to piece together a bigger picture. Do we even know that were eyewitness accounts?

    2) The gospels were written 30 years after the event. Do you really think that the apostles remembered every detail, every word and every action that they wrote? Even in an oral culture, it’s not probable that one can remember everything correctly.

    3) The scribes took some liberty to change, add, delete or smooth the narratives. The example of John 8 about the Woman caught in adultery likely never happened but it is treated as if if did. How can they be trusted as accurate?

    4) There have been several translations over the years which could lose some of the original meaning of the texts.

    5) The early church decided which gospels to add or not. Which ones are correct? Why not the gospel of Thomas? The church could have left some out to keep the population ignorant.

    6) We don’t have the oroiginal records. We just hav copies of copies of copies. How do we know what we have is what they even wrote? What if the stories were changed from the time of the events to the original records to the oldest copy we have?

    7) No other accounts from aroung that time has claimed anyhting in the gospel accounts happened. No one reports Jesus healing the sick, raising the dead, appearing to 500 people, the graves being emptied out, storms being calmed, NOTHING. Of course the standard answer to that would that the Romans didn’t care about this man or the village he came from so why bother writing about it. Or you could say that they were poor peasants and couldn’t afford to write everything down. Or yoo could say that these records may nto have been found yet because we don’t have all the ancient world excavated.

    Combine all these together and no rational person can put any trust in the bible, at least not enough to dictate their lives over.

    • jlwile January 23, 2014 4:00 pm

      Luis, not surprisingly, most of your points aren’t even true. For the few truths that are contained in your points, there are strong arguments to indicate that they are not real problems. Please do not do what you normally do and simply ignore those arguments. Please take the time to actually investigate them.

      1) All the viewpoints are correct, they are just given by different people. As a result, they concentrate on different things. The fact that they differ in some details is very indicative that they are eyewitness events, because eyewitness accounts do differ greatly in the details. Excellent discussions of this issue can be found here, here, here, and here.

      2) The documents called the gospels were written many years after the events. That doesn’t mean the events themselves were written down then. I am a writer, and I write things down as I learn them. This is, in fact, one reason I blog. Then, when I see a need to actually collect those writings, I summarize them, producing a book. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is how the gospel writers did things. They collected individual stories that had been written or told by eyewitnesses shortly after the events, eventually producing a much larger document. Of course, that scenario isn’t even necessary. The gospels don’t contain every detail, every word, and every action of Jesus. They contain the “high points.” I can still remember the details from various “high points” of my high school years. Also, you are ignoring the fact that the Bible was inspired by God. If the writers didn’t remember something, I have no problem with the idea that God would improve their memories for the purposes of writing a correct account. Finally, you have the important fact that the gospels were accepted by the early church fathers, who hand first- or second-hand knowledge of the events themselves.

      3) The scribes certainly did not take liberty to change, add, and delete from the narratives! This is a common assertion, but it goes against nearly everything we know about the history of the Bible. The story of the woman at the well is an excellent example of this. See here, here, and here.

      4) There is no doubt that translation can degrade the meaning of any text. However, that’s why we have theologians who study the original languages, the early manuscripts, etc. That’s also why it is helpful to compare several different translations. The fact that translation is difficult should not affect how one views the Bible. It should only affect how one studies it!

      5) Once again, this assertion is simply wrong. The church did not decide on which gospels to keep. There were many independent church fathers who kept their own lists of what they believed were inspired works. Interestingly enough, despite the fact that these lists were developed independently, there were few disagreements among them, and the four gospels were on the earliest lists. In fact, there was never any serious dispute about the gospels – only a few of the other books. When the church councils at Hippo Regius (AD 393) and Carthage (AD 397) codified the canon, they didn’t make a new list. They simply accepted the list that had been developed by several independent church fathers. Excellent discussions of this can be found here, here, and here.

      6) We don’t have the original manuscripts, but we know that what we have are faithful copies of those originals. Why? Because we have multiple, independent copies that all agree with one another, and some of those copies were made very shortly after the original was penned. When you have multiple independent copies that agree with one another, you know that they are faithful to the original or all made exactly the same changes. When the time between the original and copies is short (as is the case with the Bible), the second option becomes incredibly unlikely. There are excellent discussions of this here, here, here, and here.

      7) This statement is also false. There are several nonBiblical sources that confirm events that are reported in Scripture. Note how this source sums up all this evidence:

      Now think about this reconstruction for a minute. This is a TON of information about the man we know as Jesus and all of it comes from witnesses who were HOSTILE to the truth claims of Christianity! And from ANCIENT sources, none the less! Now let’s go back to what we know about the time in which Jesus lived and the climate in which historians and theologians were writing. Remember that:

      1. There are amazingly few manuscripts of ANY text written during Jesus’ time
      2. Historians of this period wrote amazingly little about religious figures anyway
      3. Jesus was active for an amazingly short period of time (just three years)
      4. Jesus ministered in an amazingly remote corner of the Roman Empire

      The key word here in “AMAZING”! it is amazing that there is ANY extra-Biblical information about Jesus at all, let alone this MUCH information about Him. That’s why so many of us who have come to trust that Jesus really did live and really was who He said He was, find that the hostile historical witness is a powerful evidence of the truth of the Bible.

      So as you can see, most of the reasons you don’t trust the Bible aren’t even true. For the few that contain some truth, there are strong arguments to indicate that they are not reasons to doubt the Bible. Once again, please don’t do what you have done throughout this discussion and ignore this evidence. Take some time to read what I have linked so you can see that most of what you have learned from the internet is false!

      You ask, “If the bible [sic] is found to be unreliable then what evidence do you have that god exists?” The evidence shows the Bible to be incredibly reliable. However, even without the Bible, it is very clear that God exists. See here, here, here, and here for starters.

      http://www.drwile.com

  8. Kendall January 23, 2014 5:24 pm

    Dr. Wile recently linked this book to you, Luis, in a previous thread:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EP9MRK8/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=041XRDK43CC2PAQ9KB6V&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846

    You should check it out^^ It’s an excellent read and will answer your questions about the Bible. It’s a very scholarly book.

  9. Kendall January 23, 2014 9:55 pm

    I don’t fully understand this article below, but I fail to see how it explains origins. It’s still starting with “something.” Sure seems like no matter how you look at the universe it always points back to either a creator or a mechanism. But where did the mechanism come from?

    http://io9.com/physicist-proposes-a-thermodynamic-explanation-for-the-1507452119?utm_campaign=socialflow_io9_facebook&utm_source=io9_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

    • jlwile January 24, 2014 6:46 am

      Kendall, this hypothesis is trying to explain the origin of life, not the origin of the universe. At first glance, life seems to violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics, because it takes unordered molecules and causes them to be ordered in a very refined way. However, as I have written previously (here and here), this isn’t really a violation of the Second Law.

      What this hypothesis is trying to explain is why life is so good at disordering the surroundings while increasing its own order. In the end, he thinks there is some sympathetic response between molecules and the energy sources that exist. This allows the universe to have a “driving force” towards life. That’s important for an atheist, because the origin of life is a complete enigma to the atheist. As Simon Conway Morris (who wants to believe in a naturalistic origin of life scenario) says:

      Francis Crick can write ‘An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle’…More than two decades on from Crick’s ruminations, however, it still remains the case that the notion of an infinitesimally unlikely series of chemical reactions – that from our perspective can be described only as a ‘near miracle’…remains the unbidden and silent observer at much of the discussion of how life originated. Yet, as Iris Fry (note 85) reminds us, such terminology is effectively that of creationism. Put this way, nearly everyone will ask that the now unwelcome guest should vanish through the adjacent wall…[Simon Conway Morris, Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe, Cambridge University Press 2003, p. 67]

      So given that life looks like a miracle (which it clearly is), there needs to be some sort of driving force to produce it. To an atheist, it can’t be God, so it has to be something else. For this hypothesis, it’s some mystical resonance between molecules and energy sources.

      http://www.drwile.com

  10. Luis January 24, 2014 8:29 am

    I would advise not to put confidence in the “god of the gaps” fallacy. Once we figure out how life originated, it will be one less thing for god to do. Science keeps working on it rather than just positing “god did it”. That’s a well known science stopper.

    • jlwile January 24, 2014 9:11 am

      Luis, saying “God did it” is not a science stopper. In fact, it is a science promoter. For example, Dr. Russell Humphreys believes that God created the planets. He hypothesized about the process by which God created them, and as a result, he produced the only working model of planetary magnetic fields (see here, here, and here). In the case of planetary magnetic fields, then, “God did it” was a catalyst for science.

      In fact, as atheist philosopher Dr. Bradley Monton points out, the refusal to consider “God did it” is actually a science stopper. Anytime you arbitrarily rule out a possibility, you are harming science, not promoting it.

      http://www.drwile.com

  11. Kendall January 24, 2014 8:48 am

    Ahh! That clarification makes a big difference, thanks.

  12. Luis January 24, 2014 10:14 am

    I’ve read that Humphrey’s work is dubious as eveidenced by the commenst by Kevin N. in the comments section.

    That aside, I think you may be missing my point. Humphrey’s work still found a natural explaination for fields. He didn’t find anything supernatural about it. The same thing will be found for the origin of life. Wether one starts their science with or without god, the end result will be a natural one.

    “This allows the universe to have a “driving force” towards life.”

    Why does this have to be bad for theism? After all, why does the universe need that “driving force” toward life? Perhaps the universe was front loaded wwith this property which could point to god.

    Off topic, I understand that Ken Miller made the prediction that the the bacterial flagellum evolved from the type III secretion system. I thought an artcile came out a while back stating that they found it was the other way, the type III evolved from the flagellum. Is this true and if so does this and credibilty to irreducible complexity? I though Miller debunked Behe’s work.

    • jlwile January 24, 2014 10:42 am

      Luis, Humphreys work is not dubious. In fact, it is the only model of planetary magnetic fields that works. Not only was it able to predict the magnetic fields of Neptune and Uranus before they were measured, it also explains why the moon and Mars once had magnetic fields and lost them, how magnetic reversals can happen quickly, and why Mercury’s magnetic field has decayed substantially since 1975. No other model of magnetic fields can do any of that. So…if you want to call the only working model of planetary magnetic fields “dubious,” you are doing so against the dictates of science. My responses to Kevin N.’s comments demonstrate this quite clearly.

      You are the one missing the point. You claimed that “God did it” is a science stopper. Humphreys demonstrates that is false. In fact, had Humphreys not assume “God did it” when it came to the creation of planets, we wouldn’t have a working model of planetary magnetic fields. In addition, Humphreys’s model is not natural. It is based on the assumption that God supernaturally created planets by starting with a sphere of water and supernaturally transmuting the water molecules into the constituents of the planets.

      I don’t think a driving force towards life is bad for theism. It is simply not supported by any evidence. The fact that God created life is supported by many lines of evidence, so it is a much more scientifically reasonable explanation for the origin of life.

      Like most of what you seem to have learned on the internet, Luis, the idea that Miller debunked Behe’s work is utterly false. In fact, Behe debunked Miller. And yes, Miller’s desperate attempt to explain the bacterial flagellum has been demonstrated to be wrong. The type III secretory system is the result of loss-of-function mutations in the flagellum. Speaking of loss-of-function mutations, Behe’s work has been supported strongly by the longest-running evolution experiment. In his well-known peer-reviewed paper, Behe showed that adaptive mutations generally involve a loss of function, not an increase of function as evolution requires. In addition, he made a prediction about the citrate-digesting bacteria that were produced in Lenski’s longest-running evolution experiment. His prediction was quite the opposite of the evolutionist prediction, and it involved a mutation that produced a loss of function. Behe’s prediction was confirmed and the evolutionist prediction was falsified in a subsequent experimental analysis.

      Once again, this is why “God did it” is not a science stopper. In fact, excluding the possibility that “God did it” is the science stopper.

      http://www.drwile.com

  13. Luis January 24, 2014 12:42 pm

    “In addition, Humphreys’s model is not natural. It is based on the assumption that God supernaturally created planets by starting with a sphere of water and supernaturally transmuting the water molecules into the constituents of the planets.”

    This is exactly why I don’t trust YEC science. How did the water get into space that formed the sphere? How did the water form the sphere if the gravity of the sun wasn’t around until the fourth day? How did god transmute the water molecules? How do you even test for that? You might as well call alchemy science.

    • jlwile January 24, 2014 2:52 pm

      Luis, I don’t think you understand how science works. Whether or not you like the assumptions of a model is irrelevant from a scientific point of view. The only relevant issue is how well the model compares to the data. Quantum mechanics, for example, makes all sorts of weird assumptions that make no sense at all. If I were given the option, I would say that the assumptions are clearly wrong. However, it is a good model of how the world works at the atomic level because it compares so favorably to the data. Thus, even though I don’t like its assumptions, I have to believe they are true, because their predictions line up so favorably to the data. The same thing applies to Humphreys’s model of planetary magnetic fields. Whether or not you like his assumptions, you have to admit that it is a reasonable model, since it compares so favorably to the data. Now, if you (or someone else) can come up with a model that is as (or more) successful when compared to the data, then you can argue that you have a superior model. Until that time, however, you have no scientific reason to reject Humphreys’s model. You might have some religious objection to it, but you cannot have a scientific objection to it, since it is the best model out there.

      You ask, “How do you even test for that?” The answer is simple: You see what the proposed process implies for observable data. If the proposed process produces predictions that are in line with the data, then the proposed process is feasible scientifically. This is why alchemy is not science. It’s predictions don’t line up with the data at all. However, Humphreys’s model is the only model that lines up with the data. As a result, it is scientific, regardless of what you think of its assumptions.

      I agree that the Ken Ham method of “How do you know? Were you there?” is silly. Science can figure out all sorts of things without being there. For example, science can provide very strong evidence that God created life, even though no one was there to observe it. Once again, its all about how the predictions line up with the data, and the assumption that God made life produces predictions that have been confirmed by the data.

      http://www.drwile.com

  14. Luis January 24, 2014 12:46 pm

    Perhaps, you could try the Ken Ham method and ask “How do you know? Were you there?”. I really hope he uses this on Bill Nye in their debate. That would be classic.

  15. Luis January 24, 2014 4:00 pm

    It’s not so much about the model fitting the data. It’s about your assumptions as you point out. How do you know or how can you test that god did this supernaturally 6000 years ago? It could very well have been matter and energy alone through the power of natural laws. We have scientifically verified matter, energy and natural laws exist but no god. Isn’t it more reasonable to say that this model was started by the things we have detected as opposed to the things we haven’t?

    We can hypothesis a model that a fire broke out. The data can fit that model and suggest that there was a fire that happened here. Would we say that god must have started that fire or the laws of nature? If we presume that god started this fire, even through the laws of nature, then we are right back to believing in mythology. Thor created the lightning bolt, not the laws of nature. God created the magnetic fields, not the laws of nature.

    How would you propse a model to test if god created the magnetic fields supernaturally rather than the laws of nature doing it? I would like know how we can test Humphrey’s assumption. I know the laws could have done it because we have evidence for them.

    • jlwile January 24, 2014 4:47 pm

      Luis, I have told you how we test this. We make predictions based on the assumptions. If those predictions are confirmed by the data, the assumptions are reasonable. We have done that, and the predictions line up quite nicely with the data. That’s how science is done. It’s the reason we believe in quantum mechanics, despite the fact that we don’t like its assumptions.

      In your fire analogy, to test the idea that God created the fire, you would need to make a prediction about the fire using that assumption. If that prediction turned out to be true, it would be evidence that God started the fire. Of course, if another proposed mechanism by which the fire started produced the same prediction, then you wouldn’t have any evidence to distinguish the two mechanisms. Thus, you need to make a prediction that is specific to your mechanism. For example, you might predict that the fire doesn’t need fuel, because it’s supernatural. If the fire didn’t consume any fuel, that would be evidence that it was started by God. Once again, this is the way science works. You make predictions based on your proposed mechanism. If the predictions are confirmed by the data, your proposed mechanism is scientifically feasible. This is why Humphreys’s model for planetary magnetic fields is scientifically reasonable, regardless of your religious objections to it. The fact is that his predictions are specific to his proposed mechanism, and they are confirmed by the data.

      Yes, we have scientifically verified that matter, energy, and natural laws exist. However, we have not verified that they can produce what we see around us. Indeed, the models that are developed based on that assumption are hopelessly inconsistent with the data.

      So we are left with the following situations:

      (1) The assumption that God produced what we see, which leads to predictions that are confirmed by the data.

      (2) The assumption that matter, energy and natural laws produced what we see, which leads to predictions that have been falsified by the data.

      The scientifically reasonable position, then, is (1). You can choose to believe (2) if you wish, but you do so against the dictates of science.

      http://www.drwile.com

  16. Luis January 27, 2014 8:28 am

    It looks like a recent tablet that was found shows that Noah’s Ark was a myth carried over by the Jewish people from the Mesopotamians. This tablet predates Noah’s account and has alot of similarities. It’s reasonable to conclude that the Jews stole this account and made it their own when they left captivity. Yet another Genesis tale that is refuted.

    http://news.msn.com/pop-culture/british-museum-prototype-for-noahs-ark-was-round

    • jlwile January 27, 2014 9:43 am

      Once again, Luis, your interpretation of the find is incorrect. In fact, this find demonstrates the accuracy of the Biblical account, as most serious archaeological research does. I agree that the tablet has a lot of similarities with Noah’s account in the Old Testament, and that should be a real problem for anyone who wants to believe that the Global Flood was a myth! After all, such stories didn’t travel very well in ancient times, and yet all sorts of unconnected cultures have an account of a Global Flood, and they have very similar details. How, exactly, did all these cultures just randomly come up with such similar “myths”? Obviously, they did not. They all passed down the historical event in their own way, and over time, some of the details got changed to fit the specific needs of the culture.

      So the real question, then, is which account is the most accurate? While some accounts might have been written down before the account in the Bible, it’s the Biblical one that has the most scientific evidence to support it. For example, it mentions the fountains of the great deep opening in order to initiate the Flood, for which there is strong evidence. In addition, the Biblical one describes the kind of vessel that could actually survive in rough seas.

      I do love the fact that you keep changing the subject when you can’t defend your position. Doesn’t it get tiring to keep flailing around trying to refute Christianity when the majority of the evidence points to its validity?

      http://www.drwile.com

  17. Luis January 27, 2014 4:35 pm

    Sorry, science has long discredited a global flood. Even some christians don’t believe that anymore. Without that evidence, all you have is one myth account vs another. It stands to reason that the Jews copied the earlier account from another culture. They didn’t want to be left out and so created their own god, their own creation and flood stories by copying others. It may be that something happened as evidenced by all the accounts but it doesn’t mean it was the jewsish way of things. They probably did that with the Exodus because there is no evidence for the event either. I think judaism is as much a sham as christianity is.

    It’s not so much that I keep changing the subject than it is to point out all the things wrong with christianity in such a short amount of time and space.

    You keep citing creationist sites which I don’t trust. I don’t know why you keep doing that. Show me the mainstream science supporting the things you claim and I will be happy to believe again.

    • jlwile January 27, 2014 5:08 pm

      Once again, Luis, you couldn’t be more incorrect. Science supports a Global Flood, and items like the Mesopotamian tablet simply confirm that it actually happened. You can ignore the evidence all you want, but you are only demonstrating that your objections to Christianity aren’t rational.

      By the way, you say that “Even some christians [sic] don’t believe that anymore.” However, earlier, you claimed that people who didn’t believe in the literal account of Genesis aren’t really Christians. Which is it? Are they Christians or aren’t they? I agree that some Christians don’t believe in a global Flood, but that’s probably because most of them haven’t looked at the evidence with a really open mind, as the evidence is overwhelming.

      It actually doesn’t stand to reason that the Jews copied the earlier account from another culture. The Flood account in the Bible is the one that has the most evidence to support it. As I demonstrated previously (and you ignored), there is evidence for the fountains of the deep starting the Flood, as mentioned in the Bible. In addition, the Biblical account describes an ark that would actually be able to survive rough seas. So in the end, we have many historical accounts of a global Flood, demonstrating that it actually happened. The Bible’s account is the most scientifically accurate, so it stands to reason that it is the correct one.

      Yes, you do keep changing the subject. Remember, this all started with you claiming evolution has disproved the Bible. I showed you all sorts of evidence that shows this isn’t true, and you ignored it and changed the subject, because you couldn’t defend your position. You moved on to try to show things that are wrong with the Bible. I showed you how most of those objections were wrong, and what little truth was in those objections did not discredit the Bible. Once again, you ignored it and changed the subject, because you couldn’t defend your position. You then moved on to claim that higher education reduces a person’s faith in Christianity. I showed you the evidence that clearly demonstrates the opposite, and you ignored it and changed the subject, because you couldn’t defend your position. You then tried to claim that “God did it” is a science-stopper. I showed you that it wasn’t, so you ignored it and once again changed the subject, because you couldn’t defend your position. This seems to be a pattern for you – pose a terrible argument against Christianity, and when you are shown how terrible that argument is, ignore the evidence and bring up another terrible argument.

      I keep citing creationist sources because I want you to see the evidence. If you ignore that evidence, you’re committing the logical fallacy known as the genetic fallacy. It once again demonstrates that the evidence isn’t keeping you from Christianity. That makes me wonder what is really keeping you from seeing the reality of the Christian faith!

      http://www.drwile.com

  18. Mike Anthony January 30, 2014 1:20 pm

    “How do you explain something like ERV’s for example. That is powerful evidence.”

    Luis.. You have a lot of rhetoric which I don’t need to respond to but I did want to respond to this. This WAS powerful evidence – but only when ERVs were assumed to be non random and non functional. From my readings this is no longer a given.

  19. Mike Anthony January 30, 2014 1:21 pm

    My apologies. I see now that Dr Wiles had already addressed you on the subject of ERvs