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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Christian Educators – Heed This Survey!

Posted by jlwile on August 23, 2011

I was sent a link to an interesting article written by Ruth Lukabyo of Youthworks College in Sutherland, New South Wales (Australia). In it, she reports on the results of a survey she gave to “scripture kids” in Australia. What are scripture kids, you might ask? They are children who elect to receive religious training as a part of their schooling.

In New South Wales, students in the government school system are allowed to choose whether or not to attend “special religious education” classes during the school day. These classes, commonly referred to as “scripture classes,” are not funded by the government, but they do take place during school time. The children who choose to attend them are commonly called “scripture kids.”

Well, Lukabyo decided to give 208 of these kids a survey. The children were 11-14 years of age, and since they have chosen to attend these classes, you would think that they are at least a bit more favorable to Christianity than the general public. In addition, since they have actually been attending these classes, you would think that they are better educated about Christianity than the general public. Given those two assumptions, the results are rather surprising.

The students were given a list of questions, and they were asked to choose which was most important to them. Here are their top four choices:

1. How can I know that God exists? (Answer)
2. How could a good God send people to hell? (Answer)
3. How can I believe in a good God when there is so much suffering? (Answer)
4. Doesn’t evolution prove that God doesn’t exist? (Answer given below)

These are all very important questions, but I am a bit surprised that they were chosen by “scripture kids.” If these kids are receiving instruction in Christianity, they should know the answers to these questions, as they are very common questions that should be addressed in any basic Christian education setting.

I have linked answers to the first three questions, but I want to answer the fourth one myself, because more than any of the other questions, it shows how poor these children’s Christian education is. Of course evolution doesn’t prove that God doesn’t exist! If evolution is true (I don’t think it is), it merely shows how God created.

First, some of the greatest thinkers in Christendom were theistic evolutionists. C. S. Lewis is regarded by many as the most influential Christian apologist of his time. His book, Mere Christianity, was voted best book of the twentieth century by Christianity Today in 2000. He has been called “The Apostle to the Skeptics.” As I have pointed out in the past, while he wasn’t rock solid in his belief in evolution, he was a theistic evolutionist.

Alvin Plantinga is probably the most important Christian philosopher alive today. He is widely credited for the revitalization of Christian philosophy that took place in the mid-to-late 1900s. Indeed, a 1980 Time Magazine article reported on the remarkable resurgence that had occurred in religious philosophy and gave Plantinga the lion’s share of the credit for it, calling him “America’s leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God.” He is also a theistic evolutionist.

If evolution proved that God doesn’t exist, these incredible thinkers (and many, many others) would not be such amazing servants of the Lord!

Second, you can argue (as Cornelius Hunter does) that evolution was devised as a defense of God’s goodness. It was a means of removing him from the nasty details of nature by allowing a blind force like natural selection to do all the “dirty work” necessary to make the world we see today.

Now don’t get me wrong. I think evolution (in the flagellate to philosopher sense) is incredibly bad science. It almost certainly never happened. However, even if it were true, it doesn’t affect God’s existence at all. It simply tells us the physical means by which He produced the wonder we see all around us.

What’s the take home message from this survey? For me, it’s that we need to do a better job of educating our children when it comes to Christianity. Now I recognize that the children in this survey might not be getting much serious Christian education. After all, how good can the Christian education be in a government school? Nevertheless, all Christian educators should heed the warning that this survey provides: Children who have had any measure of Christian education should be well-versed in the answers to these basic questions. If your Christian education doesn’t address such questions, you need to change it so that it does.

Comments

71 Responses to “Christian Educators – Heed This Survey!”
  1. Louis says:

    Dr. Wile

    Why don’t you answer the question? You keep referring me to a book written by an Engineer and a Theolegian. Not even peer-reviewed by anyone.

    Dr, Wile, why do all those mining companies keep using an old earth model where the Dwyka Group of the Karoo Sequence was definitely not deposited by a flood? Billions of Dollars are involved, Dr. Wile.

    Dr. Wile, could you describe to me how you think the Dwyka Group was deposited? Mining companies would love to get a model that works better than the present one. They would make more money and so would you. All you have to is logically predict where those companies would find that coal all those meters underground using your model. The mining companies do go and check once you’ve convinced them, Dr. Wile. It costs them a lot of money, but they would make more if you’re right.They’d go bust if you’re wrong.

    Oh, and Dr. Wile, there’s not even one SA geologist on your list. It’s a very short list, considering that there’s over 700 000 natural scientists and Engineers with Ph.D’s just in the US. Not even Philosopher included here as in your short list.

    Don’t you think that you’re a bit irresponsible to call all those South African geologists wrong, but refer me to an Engineer and someone who only did theolgy? What happened to evidence, Dr. Wile? The natural sciences actually work on physical evidence. Did you forget about the physical evidence, Dr. Wile?

  2. Louis says:

    Oh and again Dr. Wile, how do you think was the Dwyka Group of the Karoo Sequence deposited?

    Think carefully, Dr. Wile, it has been thoroughly studied as it is a very important Group in the mining industry in my country. Why do you think all those geologists are wrong?

    Seeing that you accused me of lying, could you provide the name of even one SA YEC geologist, seeing that you expect one?

  3. Louis says:

    Dr. Wile

    You accused me of lying, but you referenced me to book by Whitcomb and Morris. Whitcomb studied theology and Morrris was a hydraulic engineer.

    In your comment, on August 29, 2011 at 1:26, you said:
    “Louis, I specifically referenced the book from someone within whose expertise the issue falls”.
    Dr. Wile, that certainly is false. Neither of the writers has any expertise on the Dwyka Group of the Karoo Sequence. Dr. Wile, why can’t you reference even one South African geologist who has ever taken a YEC viewpoint on the Dwyka Group of the Karoo Sequence? SA geologists, who study and work on it every day, are the the experts on it, Dr. Wile, not an Engineer and a Theolegian from the US.

  4. jlwile says:

    Louis, I have answered your question. As I told you before, the Karoo sequence is discussed in detail in the creationist classic The Genesis Flood. I suggest you read it. As the book details, the Karoo sequence’s fossil richness and preservation fit much better with the notion of massive continent-wide catastrophic flooding than with uniformitarian notions of geology. The fact that you refuse to look at the book because you don’t like the authors demonstrates that you are uninterested in the physical evidence, which is truly unfortunate. I would think that a real scientist would be interested in the physical evidence. It is a shame that you are not.

    You seem to be fond of repeating your questions, because you once again ask, “Dr, Wile, why do all those mining companies keep using an old earth model where the Dwyka Group of the Karoo Sequence was definitely not deposited by a flood?” As I have already answered you, an old earth is part of the scientific dogma of the day. Of course companies will follow it. Real scientists, however, don’t follow dogma. They follow data.

    I didn’t accuse you of lying.; I proved that you were lying. You said, “I also noted that most “scientists” mentioned were Engineers and Philosophers.” That is, of course, a lie. The fact is that engineers and philosophers make up only 12% of the list. You also said, “Very few Earth and life scientists.” Once again, that is a lie, as there are 81 earth and life scientists on the list, which is four times more than those you claimed made up most of the list! Given the fact that you have been caught in two lies about the list, there is no reason for me to believe you when you say that there is no South African geologist on the list.

    This is why it is distressing to me that you are so dishonest in your comments. Since you seem to be happy to lie in order to try to defend your case, it is very hard for me to believe anything you say. As I told you before (honestly), I don’t know any South African young-earth geologists. However, I certainly can’t believe you when you claim that there are none!

  5. jlwile says:

    Louis, just because someone doesn’t have a degree in geology doesn’t mean a geological issue falls out of his area of expertise. Dr. Morris studied geology extensively, and this kind of issue is right in his area of expertise. It is unfortunate that you are unwilling to look at the physical evidence that he presents.

    And once again, Louis, I didn’t accuse you of lying. I proved that you were lying.

  6. Louis says:

    Dr Wile
    I still see that you refuse to answer questions. Dr. Wile, how do you think the Dwyka Group was deposited? Dr. Wile, could you name one SA YEC geologist?

    And, Dr. Wile, contrary to what you preach, mining companies don’t follow dogma. They don’t work like the flock in your church. They don’t follow dogma. They work like the preachers in a lot of curches. They follow the money. That’s what they are after. They don’t worry which dogma is followed, they only worry about which model works to make money. Guess which models every single one of them uses?

    Morris was a Hydraulic Engineer. Not a geologist. Yet, you pretended he was an expert on it. I checked, and he wasn’t. Just as I’m not a medical doctor. The fact that I read a lot on medical subjects makes me neither an expert on medicine nor an MD. For people to refer to me as in “expert” on medicine would be completely dishonest. That’s what you did with your references to Morris and Whitcomb as having “expertise” on geology. They don’t. You didn’t think that I was going to look at their qualifications, did you?

    Again, Dr Wile, why do all those mining companies use old earth models and why do you think Dwyka Group was deposited by a flood?

    I can give you a reason why I think you don’t want to provide a reason: Mining geology is what you would call an “operational” science in creo-pseudo-sci-fi speak. A model of a single global flood flood depositing the Dwyka Group just doesn’t work. No word salad is going to change that fact.

  7. jlwile says:

    Louis, it is unfortunate that you will not admit that I answered your question, and it is even more unfortunate that you refuse to educate yourself on the issue. If you want to actually learn, you will read The Genesis Flood, where the Karoo Sequence is discussed. As I have told you before, the Karoo sequence’s fossil richness and preservation fit much better with the notion of massive continent-wide catastrophic flooding than with uniformitarian notions of geology.

    Once again, you seem very fond of repeating questions I have already answered. As I have told you at least twice before, I don’t know any YEC geologists in SA. However, as I have also said, since you are willing to lie in an effort to support your case (as I have already proven), I certainly can’t take your word that there aren’t any.

    Companies do, indeed, follow dogma. In fact, most companies are very hesitant to try new ideas. They stick to what does a “good enough” job, because trading “good enough” for something that might be better is a huge financial risk. Thus, the very fact that they follow the money keeps them from trying out new and innovative ideas. I would think that as a scientist, you would know that the superiority of one theory cannot be shown unless it is tested against other theories. Since (as you admit) no company uses the young-earth theory, it is impossible to tell from company experience whether or not the old-earth theory is superior to the young-earth theory. This is why it is important to follow the data, which demonstrate the superiority of the young-earth theory. It is unfortunate that you are unwilling to do that.

    Your idea that an expert has to have a degree in the subject is demonstrably false. Let’s take an example from history. Ernest Rutherford was a professor of physics. However, what did he win the Nobel prize in? He won the Nobel prize for chemistry. According to your criteria, he shouldn’t have even been doing research in chemistry, since his degrees were not in the field of chemistry. Thankfully, most scientists know more about how science works, and they understand that a degree is not necessarily what makes you an expert in a field. If you study a field long enough and hard enough, you can become an expert in it.

    Let’s look at another example from more modern times. Jerry Manning is an internationally-recognized expert in the field of microbiology. Until his recent retirement, he was a professor of biology at the University of California Irvine, and he had a vigorous research program in molecular biology and parasitology. What was his degree in? physical chemistry. His degree has nothing to do with the field in which he is currently recognized as an expert. The reason he is currently recognized as an expert in molecular biology is because he was on the team that first sequenced a gene. As a result of that research, he became very interested in the field of molecular biology, so he started studying it. As a result, he became an expert in the field, once again demonstrating that expertise does not necessary follow degrees.

    You claim I have not given you a reason why companies follow the old-earth theory. Of course, this is just another attempt to mislead, since I have given you the reason twice. Companies follow dogma, not data, specifically because they do not want to risk their profits. You claim, “A model of a single global flood flood depositing the Dwyka Group just doesn’t work.” Of course, this claim is ridiculous, since you don’t even know how the flood model relates to the Dwyka Group. In fact, you refuse to educate yourself on the issue, despite the fact that I have given you a reference that will allow you to do so. If you don’t even know how the flood model relates to the Dwyka Group, you clearly haven’t tested the model. If you haven’t tested the model, then there is simply no way you can know whether or not it works. You simply proclaim that it doesn’t, because you don’t want to even consider the idea that it might! More than anything else, this statement shows how little you care about evidence!

  8. Jake says:

    I am reminded of this:

    “Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.”
    - Revelation 22:11

  9. jlwile says:

    Thanks, Jake – very insightful.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I didn’t read all the comments very carefully, but I am interested in something.

    How do mining companies utilize the “old earth model”?
    Louis, can you outline the general contrasting assumptions of old earth vs. young earth geology, as well as their resultant predictions and how those specifically impact the mining industry.

  11. Vivielle says:

    Wow 60 comments! I nearly forgot what it was that I wanted to say by the time I got to this comment box…

    Oh, it was that when you said “I was an atheist, and when I started studying the real world, I realized how irrational that position was. ” I wanted to chime in and say that even though I’ve been raised a christian the more science I study the more convinced I am of the Truth. (And I thought you needed a non-argumentative comment on this post. :)

  12. Dan says:

    Louis,

    You haven’t even attempted to address Morris and Whitcombe’s evidence for flood-deposition of the Dwyka Group that Dr. Wile pointed you to multiple times. It is absolutely necessary that you address that point if you want to continue arguing that the flood model doesn’t work scientifically. Why do you keep avoiding this?

    Also, attacking Morris and Whitcombe’s credentials rather than addressing the CONTENT of their scientific argument is a “red herring.” The credentials that those two authors have are irrelevant to the data they present for a flood model.

    Louis, why do you think that the Dwyka Group was deposited under the uniformitarian model and not deposited by a flood?

  13. Louis says:

    Dr Wile

    I see that you’re still trying to word salad the fact away that all the mining companies in my country use science for their operations.

    Your word salads won’t change facts. No matter how many times you use deception on your sheep.

    The fact is, all mining comapanies in my country use the old-earth model. Science. In creo-pseudo-sci-fi language, the old earth model works in “operational” science.

    It doesn’t work on the creationist pseudo-science model.

  14. Louis says:

    Dr. Wile

    I still see that you refuse to answer my questions. Dr Wile, could you explain to me how the Dwyka Group of the Karoo Sequence was deposited?

    Could you give me a name of even one SA YEC?

    Even though you wish these questions to disappear, word salads won’t do it.

  15. jlwile says:

    Thanks, Vivielle. I honestly don’t see how anyone can study science seriously and not be convinced of God’s existence.

  16. Louis says:

    Elizabeth

    I’ll wait for Dr. Wile to tell us why he thinks every single South African Geologist, ever, who’s looked at the empirical evidence thinks differently from his “experts”. Remember that his “experts” on the geology of the Dwyka Group are a Hydraulic Engineer and someone who studied Theology. Dr Wile insists that refering to these two “experts” is an answer to the question. It isn’t. He’s just trying to avoid the answer.

    Dr. Wile, couls you explain to us how you think the Dwyka Group was deposited? Empirical evidence would help. “References” to a book written by an Engineer and a Theolegian won’t help you in this case. I would love to see the evidence for your viewpoint.

    Dr. Wile, could you name even one SA YEC geologist? Word salading won’t let this question go away.

  17. jlwile says:

    Louis, I see you are still trying to mislead people. I have answered your questions, and even the commenters are becoming impatient with you claiming otherwise. As Dan says:

    Louis,

    You haven’t even attempted to address Morris and Whitcombe’s evidence for flood-deposition of the Dwyka Group that Dr. Wile pointed you to multiple times. It is absolutely necessary that you address that point if you want to continue arguing that the flood model doesn’t work scientifically. Why do you keep avoiding this?

    Also, attacking Morris and Whitcombe’s credentials rather than addressing the CONTENT of their scientific argument is a “red herring.” The credentials that those two authors have are irrelevant to the data they present for a flood model.

    Louis, why do you think that the Dwyka Group was deposited under the uniformitarian model and not deposited by a flood?

    Not surprisingly, you have refused to answer Elizabeth’s question. I will repeat it for you:

    How do mining companies utilize the “old earth model”?
    Louis, can you outline the general contrasting assumptions of old earth vs. young earth geology, as well as their resultant predictions and how those specifically impact the mining industry.

    So even though you continually repeat questions that I have already answered in an attempt to mislead people, you can’t bring yourself to answer questions that are put to you. That kind of behavior speaks volumes. Of course, if you actually decide to answer Elizabeth’s question, I will not contiunally repeat it.

    I have, indeed, found a young-earth geologist in South Africa. He is a hydrogeologist who works for AGES. He says he will be happy to discuss the Karoo formation. In fact, he says:

    The issue is not the evidence, but the INTERPRETATION thereof. The same Karoo evidence that he interprets from a uniformitarian perspective, is the same that I interpret from a Flood perspective.

    I have sent you his contact information so that you can be educated on this issue.

    Here’s what I find interesting. You are a geologist, and you are in SA. Yet, you couldn’t find a single young-earth geologist in SA. I am not a geologist, and I do not live in SA. Yet, with just two E-MAILs, I was able to find a young-earth geologist in SA. I think this clearly demonstrates which one of us is actually interested in looking for evidence!

  18. jlwile says:

    Louis,

    I am not surprised that you refuse to answer Elizabeth’s question. Until you answer it, I will continue to repeat it:

    How do mining companies utilize the “old earth model”?
    Louis, can you outline the general contrasting assumptions of old earth vs. young earth geology, as well as their resultant predictions and how those specifically impact the mining industry.

    I will add Dan’s question as well:

    Louis, why do you think that the Dwyka Group was deposited under the uniformitarian model and not deposited by a flood?

    So even though you continually repeat questions that I have already answered in an attempt to mislead people, you can’t bring yourself to answer questions that are put to you. That kind of behavior speaks volumes. Unlike you, I will stop repeating the questions once you have answered them.

    You ask why I think, “every single South African Geologist, ever, who’s looked at the empirical evidence thinks differently from his “experts”.” I don’t think that. In fact, I know otherwise. With just two E-MAILs, I found a young-earth SA geologist. Thus, contrary to your claim, not every South African geologist who has looked at the evidence thinks differently from the experts I have cited.

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Louis, might you be demagoguing… just a little?

  20. Louis says:

    Dr Wile, you are not telling the truth, again. You referred me to a geohydrologist, not a geologist. You even changed the name of his occupation, to deceive people, again.

    Dr. Wile, could you explain the deposition of the Dwyka Group? Dr. Wile, could you provide the name of one SA YEC geologist?

    Misleading people about occupations and word salads about it won’t let the questions to go away. Word salds about the Dwyka Group won’t let that Group go away, either. Dr. Wile, please explain the deposition of the Dwyka Group.

  21. jlwile says:

    Louis, thank you so much for illustrating just how unscientific and dishonest you are being. I have given you two ways to learn about the Dwyka Group. I have given you a reference, and I have given you the contact information for a South African geologist who can educate you on the subject. The fact that you are avoiding the evidence (as Dan has pointed out) and demagoguing (as Elizabeth has pointed out) indicates that you aren’t being scientific about this at all.

    You are also being incredibly dishonest. You asked for the name of a SA YEC geologist. I gave you not only that, but I also gave you his contact information. Yes, he is a geologist. In fact, he has an honors degree in geology. In addition, he is a hydrogeologist as I indicated. If you had bothered to contact him, you would have gotten his business e-card, which indicates that his title at the company for which he works is hydrogeologist.

    I note that while I have answered all of your questions (the one about the Dwyka Group in two different ways now), you are still ignoring the questions put to you. That behavior speaks volumes. So that no one forgets, I will repeat the questions that you cannot bring yourself to answer. Elizabeth’s question was:

    How do mining companies utilize the “old earth model”?
    Louis, can you outline the general contrasting assumptions of old earth vs. young earth geology, as well as their resultant predictions and how those specifically impact the mining industry.

    Dan’s question was:

    Louis, why do you think that the Dwyka Group was deposited under the uniformitarian model and not deposited by a flood?

    Your refusal to answer these basic questions, despite the fact that I have answered all your questions, tells us just how little evidence your position is built on!

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