Ten Widely-believed Fallacies Today

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Ten Widely-believed Fallacies Today

by Christopher Andrus

August 30, 2013

 

  1. Every reasonable person knows the God described in the Bible can’t exist.
  2. There is no evidence that the Biblical God exists.
  3. All claims of immaterial existence are ridiculous because they can’t be      demonstrated scientifically.  So belief in the Biblical God is akin to belief in Santa Claus or the “flying spaghetti monster”.
  4. Because Science has been proven to be the only reliable way to understand the physical world, then this world must be all that exists.
  5. Biblical Christianity is anti-Science and anti-Reason.
  6. We can know what happened in the past and what will happen in the future based on what we understand about how nature works now.
  7. I am not religious because my beliefs are all scientifically-based.
  8. It is always wrong to judge others.
  9. There is no such thing as absolute truth.
  10.  Every reasonable person knows that the Bible is filled with scientific impossibilities, evil teachings or actions done by or required by God and other errors.

Introductory note: Because of the importance of these issues for every one of us it is not rational either to ignore or dismiss the arguments which follow.  They must either be refuted with rational arguments or accepted.  We assert that only the Christian worldview can account for all we experience and know.

  1. Every reasonable person knows the God described in the Bible can’t exist.

Why this is a fallacy:

It is impossible to know that God doesn’t exist because proving the non-existence of God would require complete knowledge of the universe, and not just in the present, but also from the beginning.  Of course, this is impossible for any human being.  So, one may doubt that God exists.  But you cannot know that He doesn’t.  However, the reality is that everyone actually knows that the Biblical God does exist, but most suppress this knowledge.

This is because human beings are made in the image of our Creator God and for the purpose of having a relationship with Him.  But we have also been born with a natural tendency to run away from God, which we inherited from our ancestors, going all the way back to our First Parents, Adam and Eve.  Because of this sinful nature, we have the desire to get along without our Creator and to try to make sense of the world without Him.  This is the driving force behind all philosophies and religions other than Biblical Christianity.  (The use of the pronoun “Him” for God does not mean that God is male.  God created both the male and female genders.  However, the New Testament message is that God became a man in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.)

Modern public education is based on the false premise that The God of the Bible doesn’t exist.  So, from our very first days in school we are taught about a world in which God is irrelevant.  One is free to believe in God personally, but only if this belief has no impact on one’s life and understanding of the universe.  In other words, God is only acceptable if He is irrelevant and powerless.

But, The Almighty Creator God cannot be dismissed.  Because of Who He Is, we must begin learning by learning about Him.  If we don’t, we have actually rejected Him and replaced Him with something else.  The Bible calls this idolatry.  In the past idolatry was obvious, being seen in open worship of other gods or ideals.  But the most common form of idolatry in the 21st century is more subtle.  Today’s main idols are human reason and desires and Science as the only source of knowledge.

Because God is The One Who gave every one of us life and everything else and Who sustains us moment-by-moment, we are “biting The Hand that feeds us” if we do not make our relationship with Him our top priority.  Again, you cannot plead ignorance on this.  You already know in your heart that you are completely dependent on God every single moment of your life.  He calls you to forsake your false sense of independence and your futile resistance to Him.

  1. There is no evidence that the Biblical God exists.

There is plenty of evidence and arguments which show that belief in God is far more reasonable than believing that He doesn’t exist or, even, doubting that He does.  In a court of law, evidence will be sought and viewed differently by the prosecution and the defense.  Such is also the case between those believe in God’s existence and those who assume that God doesn’t exist.

The first piece of evidence for God’s existence is the existence of human minds.  The most common belief today (which is falsely called “scientific”) is that the universe really consists only of matter/energy and mindless forces of nature in time.  But if this is true then the universe is ultimately mindless.  But then where did human minds come from?

Saying that our minds and identity are only brain chemistry and that we only imagine otherwise won’t work.  This is because, even if we are deluded about ourselves, “we” still exist as subjects of the delusion.  In other words, “you” and “I” exist both as objects and subjects.  We are not our brains.  Rather, you and I have bodies (including our brains), but we are clearly more than this.  For example, if a person is viewing their own brain-scan he or she must be distinguished from what is being viewed.  It is not brain chemistry viewing itself!

The Biblical view explains why we have minds – because we have been made in the image of our Creator as rational and moral beings.  And it is also explains why we have bodies, and also why there is a physical world (which the alternative view cannot) – because God created the universe and created us as minds/souls/spirits housed in physical bodies.

The next evidence of God’s existence is the existence of logic and morality.  Both of these are not part of the material world, so they cannot be explained if matter is all that exists.  Logic simply isn’t observed in Nature.  Rather, it must be assumed and relied upon before we can study and learn about Nature or anything else and before we can communicate with others, and, even, before we can think at all.  In other words, logic is a characteristic of our minds.

In this also we are like God.  God, Who is The Original Mind, is the Creator of our minds.  And our minds also reflect how His works.  God is perfectly logical because true logic describes how His mind works and how ours should work.  As such, God is not under rules of Logic which are higher than Him.  Nor is He logical because He arbitrarily defines what is logical.

In the same way, although we do make moral judgments about things which we observe in the material world, morality in itself cannot be observed in the material world.  It is also important to recognize that we tend to make such judgments only on actions done by people, not by animals.  This is quite revealing in itself in pointing to the uniqueness of humanity as rational moral beings.

Morality, like logic, exists in our minds.  Again, this reflects our Creator.  And, as with logic, true morality describes what God is like as The Original Person.  More accurately, it is The Original Three Persons, Who are equally-divine.  This is important because without this plurality God could not be relational and, thus, moral within His own Being.  This is why Christian Theism is superior to other monotheistic theologies (most significantly, that of Islam and Judaism, but also that of Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses and other monistic faiths).  All polytheistic theologies (with multiple, clearly distinct deities) are clearly inferior because God must be The Supreme Being, otherwise He is not Worthy of The Name.  So, it is necessary that God be One Supreme Being but in more than One Person.

Morality describes how The Three Persons of God have always related to each other and how we, as beings made in God’s image, should relate to each other, as well as to our world and to God.  This is also why there is an impressive amount of agreement on what is right and wrong around the world and also throughout history.  Of course, there is also a considerable amount of disagreement.  But this can be explained as the result of mankind’s natural tendency to reject both God and His moral ways.

As is the case with logic, God is not under rules of morality, nor is He moral because everything He does is moral by definition.  The latter would make morality arbitrary.  But morality is both divinely-based and real (not arbitrary) because God is Three Real Personal Beings Who are also perfectly Good.  Of course, in the latter respect, we are not like Him.

The next piece of evidence that there is a divine Mind behind the universe is the fact that we find both order and disorder in the universe.  On our level, it is clear that purposeful human activity is constantly required to create order and prevent increasing disorder.  Anyone who never cleans their house or brushes their teeth easily finds this to be true!  This is also true of human societies.

But, if this is so in our experience, then it is questionable at best to assume that purposeful activity wasn’t required in order to produce the amazing order which we observe both in the physical universe itself and, especially, in living things.  Today, we are constantly learning more and more about how complex even the simplest living things are.  Furthermore, this complexity involves countless parts working in harmony so that if even one of them is missing or defective the organ or organism cannot function.  (This is known as “irreducible complexity”.)  It is simply an extreme act of blind faith to believe that this developed without a Mind and design behind it.  We know that it takes a watchmaker to make a watch.  It took a far greater Mind to create the universe which includes watches, living things and everything else.

So, the problem is not a lack of evidence.  Rather, it is that most people don’t want to look at the evidence as pointing to God, but, rather, are completely committed to trying to make sense of everything without God.  The claim that there is no evidence for the God of the Bible is simply a lie.  The most that anyone can claim is a belief that the evidence more reasonably points to the non-existence of God.  But we assert the contrary.

Furthermore, it is absolutely absurd for anyone to demand that an Almighty God prove His existence to them before they will acknowledge Him.  For this is to put one’s self in the seat of judgment and, thus, at least equal to, if not above God.  The One True God doesn’t have to prove Himself to human beings or anyone else!  Rather, we have to answer to Him.  If you don’t like this it’s your problem, not His.

  1. All claims that immaterial entities exist are ridiculous because they can’t be      demonstrated scientifically.  So belief in the Biblical God is akin to belief in Santa Claus or the “flying spaghetti monster”.

There are plenty of immaterial entities which we all take for granted constantly.  First, there is logic, which (as indicated under the last point) cannot be observed in the physical world.  Rather, it must be assumed before all observation of this or, even, before any human thinking at all can occur.  Logic is the rules of thinking without which it would be impossible to distinguish what is reasonable from what is nonsense.

Next, there is human consciousness, which includes our self-awareness, our awareness of other people and our awareness of the world around us.  Although consciousness is associated with brain chemistry (at least in our current existence), it simply cannot be reduced to this (as we also established under the last point).

Another immaterial entity which we must assume to be real in order to get along in our world is morality.  As indicated previously, this also cannot be observed in the material world.

Finally, there is all of our experience and knowledge, including all scientific knowledge.  While scientific knowledge is about the world of objects, what we learn from Science is not in itself found in the physical world.

Furthermore, the study and understanding of these immaterial entities is just as possible as that of the material world using both evidence and reason, except that the “objects” of study are not objects, they are subjects.  This includes Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology and Theology, which is the study of The Ultimate Subject – God.  Though the first three are usually considered scientific fields, they are not physical Sciences because they seek understanding of people, who are more than just material entities governed by mindless laws of nature.

And, in practice, it is not hard to demonstrate rationally how The God described in the Bible must exist, as opposed to other claims of deity or conceptions of ultimate reality or obviously fictional characters.  We dealt with the first two under the last point.  As for fictional creatures, it is completely ridiculous to compare belief in The Creator God with belief that these are real.  This is because all sane adults know that fairy tales and fictitious creatures are made up.  But untold millions of people over thousands of years have based their lives on belief in The Creator God.  But, more importantly for the current point, all sane people in human history have assumed that they are real people.  And people are more than material bodies.

  1. Because Science has been proven to be the only reliable way to understand the physical world, then this world must be all that exists.

This is such an obvious fallacy that it is absolutely stunning that the entire modern philosophy of secular education (which is metaphysical Materialism and its corresponding epistemology of Empiricism) is based on it.  This is a fallacy of composition.  That Science enables us to understand one aspect of reality does not mean that this is all there is to reality.  The conclusion just doesn’t follow.  And it’s not just that the conclusion is believed to be true.  It is actually believed by many people in the developed world today that the success of Science has proven that God and other immaterial entities can’t exist.  This false logic is basis for the common “Science has made religion obsolete” claim.  But, those who believe this have actually turned Science into a religion in practice by viewing it as an all-explaining approach to reality.  It is a testament to the blinding power of a Philosophy/Religion that a small child is capable of understanding the logical error here, but Nobel Prize-winning scientists are not.

Instead, it must be recognized that there is an entire realm of reality in addition to the physical world.  Some of the reasons for this were given in point #4.  In addition to returning to Christian Theism as the correct understanding of reality, we must return to metaphysical Dualism, in which it is recognized that both bodies and minds (or souls or spirits) are real.  This is represented in the diagram which can be found on this blog entitled “The Creator and the Creation”.

  1.  Biblical Christianity is anti-Science and anti-Reason.

Biblical Christianity is entirely compatible with proper Science – the study of the physical world as it works today.  Far from being anti-scientific, the rise of modern Science actually came under Christian Theism as the reigning worldview!  And the most fundamental scientific discoveries upon which the modern world is built (especially electricity and artificial propulsion) were achieved by many scientists who were Bible-believing Christians and during a time when most scientists were Christians.  And even the most revered pioneer of the last century, Albert Einstein, was a Theist.  Finally, many scientists are Bible-believing Christians today.

But modern Science has become an illegitimate, anti-Christian religion by claiming to be the only means of obtaining knowledge.  The most prominent example of this is the evolutionary approach to the origin of the universe and life, which assumes that ultimate reality consists only matter/energy and mindless forces of nature in space/time.  Not only is this an article of pure blind faith because it is unknowable in principle, it also essentially denies the existence of all subjects and subjectivity.  So, the philosophy underlying Evolution is both anti-Christian and anti-rational (since rationality in itself is not material).  Furthermore, (as indicated previously under the second point) without an Intelligent Creator the existence of human intelligence simply can’t be explained.

  1. We can know what happened in the past and what will happen in the future based on what we understand about how nature works now.

First, it is a fallacy to assume that there could not have been past supernatural influence in how the universe came to be as we observe it today.  This possibility simply can’t be ruled out.  Amazingly, this possibility alone means that we cannot understand the distant past or the future based on the present.  In other words, Science alone cannot tell us how old the universe, the earth and all life is, or how they came to be (or about the future of the universe).

Another common fallacy is the belief that to accept the possibility of supernatural influence would destroy Science.  As common as this idea is, it is a false dilemma.  On the contrary, it is the natural order which God built into the universe combined with our God-given ability to understand this (as rational creatures created to be like Him) which is actually what makes Science possible.  Without The Creator God no credible explanation has been given for why this order exists, nor for why it is that we are capable of understanding it.

All radiometric dating methods used to determine the ages of things in the natural world falsely assume the unknowable conclusion that the only possible influences on nature are the natural forces which we understand today acting identically to how we observe them acting today.  This is a four-fold fallacy, in assuming that we know all of the natural forces involved, assuming that we know these and the conditions in which they operated sufficiently, assuming that these natural forces always worked exactly as they do today, and assuming without warrant only natural forces.  In effect, most scientists today implicitly assume and proceed as though Science has now reached a complete understanding of the forces of nature.  But this is simply an arrogant and dogmatic presumption and a belief that, far from helping advance Science, has actually always tended to block progress in Science in the past.

It is one of the most amazing facts of Modernity that, although it has become almost universally-accepted, all so-called “Scientific” speculation about what happened in the beginning of the universe and what will happen in the future is actually invalid.  This is because all such speculation is based on a four-fold fallacy, any one of which is enough to render such speculations illegitimate.  The first is: Do we really know all of the relevant forces involved in producing what we observe today?  This has been a common error throughout the history of Science.  But do we really know we are not still guilty of it?  The answer is: No.  We simply can’t know what we don’t know!

Second, even if we have come to know all of the natural forces involved, can we really assume we know them well enough to understand all of their effects?  Once again, this has proven to be a faulty assumption on many occasions in the history of Science.

Third, can we really assume that the natural forces which we observe today always worked exactly as we observe them today?  Indeed, basic Science is dependent on this assumption, so this is clearly valid over the short-term.  But isn’t it merely a matter of “blind faith” to assume that the forces of nature could not have worked differently in the past or that they might in the future?  Indeed, can we even speak of the existence of forces of nature in the Singularity which was believed to exist prior to the supposed “Big Bang”?

The first three betray a presumption that we now have come to a complete knowledge of how the universe works.  But, such hubris, far from protecting Science, has always hindered the progress of Science in the past.

This brings us to the fourth fallacy, which is the denial of the possibility of the Supernatural.  While I anticipate that many of you will snicker over this one, the important thing to ask is: Why do you dismiss this as impossible and ridiculous?  Does the fact that you have never observed a miracle mean that such events are impossible?  No, this just doesn’t follow.  Nor does the fact that Science is the proper way to study Nature does mean that Nature is all that can exist (as was discussed in the previous point).  Your dismissal of the possibility that the Supernatural exists is both arbitrary and irrational.

Furthermore, the common charge that allowing for the possibility of Divine influence in the universe would invalidate all Science is also a clear fallacy.  Indeed, in order for a miracle to be recognized as such actually requires common knowledge of the natural order, of which the miracle is seen as a unique exception.  In other words, the world which Science studies must be presupposed, otherwise miracles would be unrecognizable.

It is historically incorrect to assume that the ancients had no understanding of natural laws.  While the world in which Judaism and Christianity emerged certainly lacked the scientific sophistication of today, it was not a world which was hopelessly lost in superstition.  The reality is that no society can exist without understanding a good deal about the forces of nature, whether consciously or unconsciously.  In fact, it is not even possible for any individual to do this.  For, even the truly insane must or they will quickly perish.

All of this means that, despite the unquestioned value of the process of induction regarding how the universe works today as one of the foundations of proper Science, one simply cannot use induction in order to understand what happened in the distant past or what will happen in the future.  For, strictly speaking, such questions are not subject to scientific examination.

Thus, to believe in the speculations of modern Cosmologists and, even, to believe in general that we can know the past or future based on the present is essentially a religious position.  It is an act of blind faith by people who arbitrarily and, thus, falsely reject the possibility of an Almighty Creator God.  The existence of the Almighty Creator God described in the Bible cannot be ruled out.  And the mere possibility of God’s existence means that “all bets are off” concerning both the origins and future of the universe.  For, this possibility is a huge unaccountable Variable which makes all extrapolations from the present to the past or future dubious.

It has become common for advocates of Intelligent Design to defend their work as Scientific, and rightly so, for this can easily been demonstrated for anyone who is the least bit open to seeing this.  But, at the same time, it must be recognized that those who arbitrarily reject a Creator are making a religious claim no less than those who presuppose an Intelligent Designer.  In other words, this is not a matter of “Science vs. Religion”.  It is a question of which Religion is the true basis of Science: the reductionistic Materialism/Empiricism which dominates the academic world today, or Christian Theism?

We assert that it is Christian Theism which alone explains why anything exists, why the universe has order and why it is that we can come to understand this order (or, for that matter, why we exist as people and can experience or know anything).  Without an Intelligent Creator human intelligence cannot be explained.  On the other hand, the Philosophy/Religion assumed by most scientists and intellectuals and, indeed, by most people today absurdly reduces the universe to being composed, ultimately, only of objects without any knowing subjects.  The rejection of Christian Theism, far from being a positive development in intellectual history, is actually The Biggest Error in human history.

  1. I am not religious because my beliefs are all scientifically-based.

You have many beliefs which cannot be scientifically demonstrated in practice or, even, in principle, especially your faith in logic, your belief in your existence as a person and the existence of other people along with countless things which you know about yourself and others, beliefs about the nature of ultimate reality (including the non-existence of The God described in the Bible), and beliefs about right and wrong.  So, we are all religious believers in one way or another.  The question is: Which religion is the correct one?  Christianity can be rationally demonstrated to be superior to all other approaches because it alone can account for all existence and knowledge.

You may wish to define “religious” more narrowly, but this simply is avoids the basic point that we are all in the same boat in having a set of fundamental beliefs which we simply assume but cannot verify or falsify scientifically.  You may call it your “philosophy” or “worldview” or “religion”.  It doesn’t matter what you call it.  But one thing it isn’t is scientific.

  1. It is always wrong to judge others.

This one is easy.  The statement itself is a judgment, so it is inherently self-contradictory and hypocritical.  In fact, all of us must constantly judge many things as to whether they are right or wrong or good or bad and we also frequently make judgments about people and their views so that we can decide whether or not to trust them and follow them.

  1. There is no such thing as absolute truth.

This is also a self-contradictory statement.  If there is no such thing as absolute truth, then it cannot be absolutely known that this is the case.

  1.  Every reasonable person knows that the Bible is filled with scientific impossibilities, evil teachings or actions done by or required by God and other errors.

All objections to what is in the Bible are based on the fundamental (and unknowable) assumption that The God described in the Bible doesn’t exist.  But all of them are answerable if one begins with the premise that this God does exist.  In other words, the Bible is internally coherent on this basis.  If God exists, He can do everything He is described as doing in the Bible because He is not bound by the laws of nature which He Himself created, nor can He be judged for His actions because human moral judgment is based on His own moral and rational Nature, which we have been given as creatures made in the image of our Creator.  He is The Perfectly Just Judge to Whom we must answer.  We cannot judge Him.

This statement is also a fallacy because most people who say this today have little or no knowledge of what is actually in the Bible.  You simply can’t know something which you have never studied.  Furthermore, even among the most advanced scholars of the Bible, no one has ever proven that the Bible has an error.  For, all of supposed factual errors or contradictions in the Bible have conceivable explanations.  The fact that many are not open to these is their problem, not the Bible’s problem