Atheist’s Guide to YEC Conferences

Because a lot of people have expressed interest in coming to the conference tomorrow, I thought I would offer some tips.

  1. “Atheists” will be used like a curse word, and freely substituted for more accurate terms, like “rapists”, “racist”, “Nazis” (Hitler’s atheists is a common one) . It basically just means “evil person”. It is hard to hear a label you identify with used in this way, so be prepared.
  2. “Atheist” will be used to refer to people that believe in God. As in “Eve was the first atheist”. The logic here is actually quite simple:
    1. The Bible says that the knowledge of God’s existence is written on everyone’s heart. Therefore everyone really believes in God.
    2. The Bible is infallible.
    3. Atheists are evil liars.
    4. If the Bible says atheists believe in God, and atheists say they don’t, who are you going to believe? Something that’s infallible or an evil liar?
    5. Therefore all atheists secretly believe in God.
    6. The term atheist can’t really mean someone who doesn’t believe in God, because those people don’t exist.
    7. Therefore atheist just means someone who denies God’s authority, like Eve, or Satan.
  3. When word gets around that you are an atheist, you will get stares, whispers, pointing, fear, and people telling their kids to stay away from you. I generally wear bright pink both days, partially because I have a lot of bright pink clothes but also because it’s so rude and creepy, I don’t want them pointing and whispering about the wrong person by accident. I think wearing an obvious atheist T-shirt would be perceived as aggressive, and it would also eliminate my chance to ask at least a few questions of the speaker before they find out who I am.
  4. I’m not a fan of actually lying about my beliefs. But the conference can be overwhelming enough without confrontation. Also, even though it’s a creation science conference, no one will actually want to talk about creation science when they find out you’re an atheist. They’ll just want to go on about morality and your soul, which is annoying. If you want to lie, you should have answers prepared for the most common social questions.
    1. What church do you go to?
      1. “I don’t” is actually an acceptable answer. A fair number of young earth Christians actually can’t find a church they agree with and “home-church”. I’ve said this intending to out myself and actually had people accept it with no follow up questions.
      2. Saying you go to a United, Unitarian, Anglican, Catholic, or Orthodox church is pretty much the same as saying you are an atheist as far as these people are concerned.
      3. Saying you go to the church that the conference is at, or any of the more popular ones, is going to result in ‘”Oh, you must know Dave”, generally followed by an awkward introduction to Dave.
      4. The safest answer is probably to pick a largish church of a protestant denomination in which most, but not all members believe in evolution. That way you’re pretty sure no one from “your church” will be there.
    2. How did you hear about the conference?
      1. This year it has been advertised heavily on Shine FM, so that’s probably your best option. Say you heard the ad on the radio while at the dentist’s or something so you don’t have to worry about not being familiar with Christian Rock songs.
      2. Or, if you actually want to learn some Christian Rock songs, my favourites are:
        1. God’s not Dead (the first line is “Let love explode and bring the dead to life!”)
        2. Do Something
        3. Galaxies
        4. Down
  5. I generally do not talk to anyone (other than the speaker) unless they approach me. They tend to have very strong feelings about atheists, and I’ve had people that did approach me go wide eyed and back away when they found out. I feel that this would be more awkward if I had started the conversation. But if you do want to talk to people, I have a rule of thumb. Pay attention to their reactions to the speaker.
    1. If they are engaged and seem to be thinking about what he is saying, they are probably OK and you may have an interesting conversation. These people tend toward the “young earth-leadership” category of my Grand Unified Theory of Creationism and are generally friendly and willing to be challenged.
    2. If they look zoned out except to shout “AMEN” periodically, stay away. They often have bored children in tow. These people seem to attend basically as a ritual to keep Satan away. And as an atheist, they believe Satan is literally living inside of you.
  6. Have some respect and try not to stereotype. Most people at the conference aren’t actually crazy or stupid. Yes, they all believe in Satan and most believe in massive conspiracies, but not because of hallucinations. They believe that because they have been taught by people they trust, often from a young age. And the full young earth theology is shockingly detailed and consistent. It’s not hard for very smart people to believe this stuff.
  7. Respect the speaker. It’s easy to search for anomalies in his academic history (like the length of his doctorate degree or publication history) and discount his expertise. But really, you are negating his qualifications because you don’t want someone qualified to disagree with you. It’s confirmation bias at work. He does have a Ph.D. in geology, and he almost certainly knows more about his field than you do. I doubt that the University would have accepted him and kept him for 8 years without dropping him if he wasn’t a very good student in other ways. He does not reject modern geology because he doesn’t understand it, he rejects it because he believes he has additional infallible evidence (the Bible) which modern geology does not account for.
  8. There are no magic bullet questions that will stump everyone and magically convert them.
    1. I mostly ask questions to help me understand what they believe and why. And questions I’m sincerely curious about.
    2. I used to ask the questions that had the most ridiculous, convoluted, embarrassing answers on their website. Questions that the YEC community does not agree on the answers of. This actually seemed to make people question what they are hearing. Things like the speed of light problem, and with time being relative how is six days defined. But they’ve caught on to that, and lately they’ve been declining to answer these questions and just directing people to their website.
    3. If there are any more moderate/undecided people in the crowd, questions that make it clear that they are serious that they will believe the Bible even if it contradicts their own senses are good. That is hard for someone who is not already fully indoctrinated to accept. They will answer those ones directly, with no hesitation, so you don’t even have to be sneaky about it.
      1. The simplest one is probably the one from the Bill Nye debate, “what would change your mind”. Ken Ham is just as proud of his answer (“nothing”) as Bill was of his (“evidence”). He brags about how he is not like those scientists that are always changing their mind. The truth never changes, and he knows the truth.
      2. You can set up complicated hypotheticals on this theme. “What if you got a time machine and could go back more than 6,000 years” and “what if God appeared to you and said the earth was 4.3 billion years old?” The answer will be “I would know it’s not really God, because God cannot contradict the Bible.”
  9. Be polite. Laugh quietly. Don’t cause a disturbance.
  10. Bring lots of patience. It’s hard, because it can feel like you’re being attacked. But if you snap and get defensive you’ll just reinforce the impression that all atheists are jerks.
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Grand Unified Theory of Creationism

I’ve spent a lot of time reading creationist literature, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there are actually 4 distinct groups of creationist, each of which has very distinct motives for their beliefs. I think that interactions with creationists are doomed to go badly if we don’t understand which type we are talking to. So here are my categories.

Young Earth – Leadership

“I believe in God, and God told me we did not evolve”

(Answers in Genesis/Creation Ministries International/Institute for Creation Research, etc)

Imagine that you KNOW everything written in the Bible is literally true. Imagine you had observed everything that happens in the Bible yourself. You accept it the way you accept everyday, repeatable observations, like the sky appears blue and dropped objects fall toward the Earth. In fact more so, because your senses can be fooled by evolution, but God never lies. These are NOT hypotheses to be tested, these are incontrovertible data points to be accounted for.

Now, take those additional data points, plus everything else you observe in everyday life, and try to come up with coherent explanations for the Universe.

They are not inherently opposed to science. Many of those at the leadership level are actually very interested in science, and a surprising amount of effort and diligence does go into their studies. They passionately believe that the universe can be understood by man, in fact was designed to be understood by man. But the data that they are most certain of, because it came from an entirely infallible source, contradicts most of modern science.

So they are forced to come up with their own theories. This process has more in common with Trekkies debating the laws of the Star Trek Universe than it does with actual science. Except that they don’t go home after the convention and continue their lives in the real world, because they actually believe that they live in their alternate universe. And because their stories were fantasy written by nomads 2000 years ago instead of sci-fi written 50 years ago, theories that allow those stories to be literally true and still work with the universe today tend to be even more convoluted and weird than those proposed by the Trekkies.

Old Earth – Leadership

“Evolution could not have created us, therefore God must have.”

(Intelligent Design Theorists/Reasons to Believe/Discovery Institute/etc)

This group sincerely believes that there are problems with evolution that make it untenable. Because life could not have evolved on its own, there must be a god. Details on the limits of evolution and degree of God’s required involvement vary.

One interesting thing about the Old Earth leadership group is that there is really no theological support for this belief. If you are willing to accept that Genesis is figurative, there is nothing in the Bible or Christian theology that makes God creating the species at different times throughout history easier to swallow than God setting up the universe so that we would evolve. Their rejection of evolution provides the support for their faith.

Note that the driving factor here is the exact opposite of the Young Earth Leadership. For Young earthers it’s “God, therefore Creation”, for old earthers it’s “Creation, therefore God”. Both leadership groups have spent a lot of time thinking about their beliefs, and generally have a belief system that is internally self-consistent, at least for the common questions. So it’s almost always one or the other. With the general public you’ll often hear both, which is obviously circular reasoning.

This group will probably gradually die out on its own. The evidence for evolution is getting to the point where no one sincerely looking at the evidence will doubt that evolution is possible. At this point they will probably find other reasons to believe in God, and join one of the many Christian denominations that accept evolution. Or if this was truly their last reason to believe in God they will become atheists. More likely, the people who have devoted their careers to this belief will cling to it until they die out, but fewer and fewer younger people will be drawn into this group.

It is a straightforward God-of-the-gaps argument, and as the gap closes people will naturally gravitate away from it.

One complication with this group is that they are often heavily funded by the Young Earth groups. This is because the Young Earth groups realise that they don’t stand a chance at getting young earth creationism into the schools. And “intelligent design” is a nice compromise to sneak in. The young earthers actually believe that these people are fundamentally wrong about issues far more serious than the age of the earth. They believe that the doctrine of sin before the fall and other issues are crucial, BUT if you believe in Jesus you are saved and will go to heaven. Therefore they are willing to work with old earth groups anyway.

This generally does not work the other way around. The old earth leadership group is committed to scientific evidence and does not respect the young earthers, and hate them for reducing their credibility by bringing the Bible up in “scientific” papers and making ridiculous unscientific claims. However funding for old earth creationist research is scarce, so they often accept funds from young earthers anyway.

This group is also virtually absent in Alberta (though much more popular in BC), and thus hasn’t had as much of my attention.

Old Earth – Public

“I’m not one of THEM”

(The majority of the congregation at a church that supports the old earth organizations above)

This group is the compromisers. They haven’t looked into the issue themselves, they just don’t want to be “one of those crazy people”. This means that they don’t want to be one of those crazy Bible thumping biblical literalists, but they also don’t want to be one of those sinful atheists, and they consider old earth creationism to be a reasonable compromise. It’s all about identity, they don’t care about the evidence. They may feed you a couple of memorized tag lines about evolution being a lie or share some creationist links on Facebook, but it is always more like a school cheer than an argument, just to identify which team they are on. If you actually want to discuss what they shared, they will either get really defensive and hurt that you would disagree with them, or try to shift everything around so that they are really agreeing with everyone.

What really resonates with them is arguments like “Stalin and Hitler were driven to commit genocide because of their belief in evolution”. They do not want to believe in evolution because they want to be good people, and good Christian people don’t believe in evolution.

As the old earth leadership dies out, these people will probably also drift toward accepting evolution.

It is pointless to try and convince this group of the facts of evolution, because they are not interested in the facts. If you are going to try to convince them you need to help them understand that good people, and even most Christians, accept evolution and it does not turn them into murderous sinners.

Young Earth – Public

“Why would I trust some scientist over my pastor?”

(The majority of the congregation at an old earth church.)

These people have never taken the time to look into the issue either. But unlike the old earth public, they are dogmatic and unflinching. They tend to have a strong distrust for the government and intellectuals, and tend to believe that scientists are actively suppressing the truth to promote atheism. Conspiracy theories abound.

Christians are at war with Satan/atheists. Believing in evolution is the first step in inviting Satan in.

They believe in whatever the Bible says. Though quite often that’s whatever their parents/pastor told them the Bible says, because they haven’t read it themselves. But if it says something that contradicts science, they trust the Bible.

They tend to believe in Satan, and that he is actively manipulating those that accept evolution, and constantly trying to trick them. Therefore if some part of their religion doesn’t seem to make sense, it’s probably a trick. The correct response is to pray, not to question God.

Sometimes the lines between the two public groups are blurred, and do not strictly follow the young earth/old earth distinction. Although people with the “young earth personality” tend to be drawn to young earth churches, and vice versa, often which church you go to is also influenced by where your family goes. Of course the church you go to also influences your beliefs, and all anti-evolution churches seem to be very in-group/out-group oriented.

Discovering the Ah Ha! of Life

For this second presentation by Dr. Bierle I was the only atheist present as far as I know. The presentation was in the main church with about 90 people attending.
The presentation was basically the same as the previous night, except I think he somehow managed to cover even less material.

He kept talking about all the exciting things he is going to get into tomorrow morning. Which is odd, because last night he told me that Sunday morning would be almost identical to Friday night, but I didn’t learn any of these things Friday night.

He began with another summary of his “conversion” story, which after my research this afternoon seemed even more absurd. He went on about how when he went to college he abandoned church, abandoned the Christian faith. He also specified that the conversion process with the chemistry professors lasted 1.5 years, which means it that his professors began converting him back to Christianity as soon as he entered the only secular college he ever attended, and confirming that the time when his academic peers talked him out of his faith was while he was at Christian college.

There was an odd illustration that he did go over last night, but I didn’t mention it because I didn’t understand it and couldn’t explain it without the picture. Tonight he gave a handout with the illustration:

trianglecircle

I still don’t really understand it.

The triangle represents the world. And it starts out with just the dirt at the bottom. If the world existed with just dirt and nothing else what would be the purpose of the dirt? It wouldn’t have a purpose, because it would be nothing but dirt. (I’m not sure why the dirt having no purpose is a problem, but he seemed very clear that it was)

Now imagine a world with just dirt and grass. What is the purpose of the dirt? For the grass to grow in. But what is the purpose for the grass? There is none. (To prevent erosion of the dirt? Is there sunlight and CO2 in this imaginary world? Do they need a purpose? Are they somehow less animate than dirt? Do we have bacteria and worms to break down the dead grass and aerate the soil and make this system work? Do they need a purpose? What’s the purpose of this illustration anyway?

Now we add a deer, and I’m guessing you know how that turns out. The grass is suddenly “fulfilled” but the deer has no purpose.

Then we add a man. Actually a Greek statue, but he represents a man. And the man eats the deer, so now the deer is fulfilled and has purpose (tell that to the deer!) but the man has no purpose.

(Then we add a cougar, and the cougar eats the man, so the man has purpose?)

We can’t solve this problem by anything we can add to the triangle, because anything we can put in the triangle is finite.

Nothing ultimately matters because in the end we die. (Apparently feeding the grass is sufficient “purpose” for the dirt, but not for us.) “To give [the things in the triangle, or at least the top thing in the triangle] the information that it lacks you need something infinite.” (I guess meaning and purpose are information that we lack?)

Our universities are teaching that nothing outside of that triangle exists. But God is a circle outside of the triangle. Therefore you don’t need to ask what God’s purpose is, because he’s not a in the triangle. He’s a circle. (Actually the man is halfway out of the triangle too but I’m not sure if that is relevant to the analogy or poor graphic design skills. I’m pretty sure his slides haven’t been modified since the 90s.)

So when you add the circle to the triangle, no more explanation is required, because the circle is not in the triangle.

Got it? If you do, please explain it to me.

He cut out all of the intelligent design talk, presumably because at some point he clued in that it’s a young earth church. So he basically just stated as fact that the Universe is obviously designed, and skipped right into how we know the Christian God designed it.

And in order to design the world, God must be personal and infinite. Because he’s a circle. (Would a square be impersonal and infinite? What about a sphere?)

So which religions fit that description?

  • Hinduism and Buddhism are pantheistic. (Wikipedia places Buddhism and Christianity in the same category in the ‘pantheism’ article, in that both have pantheistic elements and some practitioners are pantheists.)
    • They place too much emphases on infinite
    • God is  “not a person, it’s a forest”
  • Nordics and Greeks are personal but not infinite.
    • The gods have more problems than the people do.
    • They fight, and they are jealous (“For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God”…)
    • “They aren’t big enough to be God.”
  • That leaves us with Judaism, Islam and Christianity. (That’s right, there have only been 7 religions in the history of the world. And of course it’s not possible that none of the existing religions are right, and the actual God hasn’t been accurately described yet.)
    • These are the only religions that claim to have an infinite, personal god.
    • Judaism and Islam base their knowledge  of God on God’s revelation to them.
    • Christians are tempted to say that’s true for them too. (Because it is)
    • But if a Christian understands properly they will realise that the infinite, personal God became flesh and lived with us. (According to God’s revelation…)
    • “The circle came into our triangle and lived here for 30 some years” (But we only have recorded stories about 3.5 of those years.)

So the one thing special about Christianity is that the circle came into the triangle. I think he earlier said that everything in the triangle required a purpose, and God didn’t because he was outside of the triangle, so now that he’s in the triangle is it fair to ask that question?

Anyway, after that was the same lecture on Biblical accuracy as he gave last night. He stated that the purpose of the lecture was so that the people there could go out and challenge others and convince them that the Bible was accurate. But it struck me that he had a very bad strategy if that was the case.

He was constantly stating “facts” that contradict scholarly consensus. But he wasn’t even mentioning that they were at all controversial. If someone came up to me and said “I know the Bible is true because we have a copy of the Gospel of Matthew from 66 AD” the first thing I’m going to do is go on Wikipedia and notice that we don’t. I only managed to find the obscure scholar he was quoting because I knew enough to write down names, dates and papyrus numbers. But no one else in that church was taking notes. When they look it up they will think he was just outright lying, which should hurt his credibility.

The same is true for the number of manuscripts. As soon as anyone looks into it they will notice that only 3% of those were written in the same millennium as what happened. 

To determine that most of the Gospel authors didn’t claim to be eyewitnesses all they would have to do is read the Gospels.

He’s counting on no one ever seriously looking into what he’s said. Which is bizarre when he’s trying to teach them to be apologists.

A Scientist’s Journey from Faith to More Faith

Friday night I went to the presentation “A Scientist’s Journey from Skepticism to Faith” by Dr. Don Bierle at the McLaurin Memorial Baptist Church.

The crowd included 6 people from the Society of Edmonton Atheists, and only 33 others. The group was on average much younger and more interracial than most similar presentations I’ve been to. I was initially hopeful that this might mean that the old earth, intelligent design message resonates better with a younger crowd than the young earth perspective. However we discovered later in the presentation that the church congregation is actually young earth, and seemed unaware that they had recruited a speaker that *gasp* believes in the Big Bang! I’m still not sure that the audience had figured it out by the end of the night, so I’m hoping for a good show Saturday evening.

They started the evening by asking us to talk about our favourite scientist. The organizer selected someone from the crowd, who answered “abiogenesis”.

Given the title of the presentation, I was expecting a story about a hard core denier of the Christian faith dramatically converting to Christianity. Instead, we heard about how he was raised Christian, but during his education in biology he began to feel that “I didn’t need God. I could do pretty much anything I put my mind to. Thankfully, I never became an atheist though. I guess you could call me more of a deist.” He always believed that there must be a God because the universe was so complex, but he didn’t think it had any impact on his life.

Then, in graduate school, two chemistry professors convinced him of the evidence for Christianity, and he became a Christian.

It sounds like he was oddly similar to the Christian stereotype about nonbelievers, people who don’t really think about God or the big questions because they want to be able to live however they want. He wasn’t even actively doubting his religion, just ignoring it. And yet he uses the label “skeptic” to describe that time of his life. I bet he wouldn’t have used that label for himself then, especially publically.

Looking into his background online, his story gets even more murky. He grew up in rural South Dakota in the 1940s. In 1959 he went into Augustana College, which even today describes itself as “rooted in the liberal arts and sciences and a Lutheran expression of the Christian faith” and honouring “its roots and affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America”.  At some point he transferred to Westmar College, an even more religious institution which at the time was affiliated with the Evangelical United Brethren Church. This is where he got his Bachelor of Arts  degree in Biology in 1963. In 1965 he became a Christian while attending graduate school at the University of South Dakota.

So although he speaks of his peers in the sciences causing him to doubt the Christian faith, these doubts either arose while attending a devoutly Christian college during his undergrad, or his period of scepticism lasted less than 2 years. Also his big conversion took place at the prompting of two professors evangelising at the most secular college he ever attended.

The biography descriptions describing him as a scientist also seem greatly exaggerated. From one online biography:

“A research scientist for several years, Dr. Bierle was a team member on scientific expeditions to both the Arctic and Antarctic polar regions, and has published several articles in scientific journals.”

An journal search reveals that he was 2nd author on four papers during his graduate degree. After getting his PH.D he worked for two years under a National Science Foundation grant, and presented his work presented at some conferences but no publications. After that he took a position as Dean at St Paul Bible College, which doesn’t do research. At some point he got a second masters in New Testament Studies, and now he primarily does evangelical work.

When speaking about his ministry he noted that they were sharing evidence for the Christian faith in Russian public schools, to which an audience member remarked “wish we had that here!”

He complained about roadside banners in support of Minnesota Atheists, noting that “When I was young there was really no excuse to listen to atheists. But now it is everywhere.” It’s too bad we didn’t get those bus ads out this summer Smile.

Then he got into intelligent design, saying that “over 800 scientists say there is support for intelligent design.” He later called that “plenty”. He even had an excuse for why it’s only old guys, stating that many stay silent until they secure tenure, then they come out.

His first evidence for intelligent design was that when SETI looks for intelligent life, they look for the existence of coded information on the signal. For example in the movie Contact, the aliens send a repeating signal of prime numbers. This was the series shown on his slide:
2,3,5,7,11,13,17,23, etc
This set me off daydreaming about how scientists would react if they received a repeating sequence of the first 9 prime numbers which for some reason was arbitrarily missing 19. Is this sequence still “Too highly ordered to come about by chance?” Would the scientists, eagerly listing to the signal, be thinking “yes, this is definitely a message from an intelligent source” but then when it skipped 19 decide that no, it must be coincidence. If the line between obviously designed information and random chance is as clear and obvious as he was saying, shouldn’t the fact that he skipped 19 make his message unintelligible? After all, if you get DNA out of sequence “the thing dies”. Except for the 55 million known variations in the human genome, which he of course failed to mention.

His next example was about how software, like DNA, is so complex it cannot be evolved, which is why Microsoft has to spend a lot of money hiring programmers. He was apparently unaware of how much Microsoft has invested in evolutionary algorithms.

Thus convinced that the Universe must have been designed (note that above when talking about how he was not an atheist but a deist he seemed to imply that he never doubted that), Dr Bierle then went on a journey to find out “who this God might be”. Not surprisingly this journey involved closely examining only the God of his friends, family, and University. Somewhat surprising was his justification for this, that Christianity was the only religion that can point to their God existing in history, and that therefore the claims can be examined scientifically.

He starts by talking about how the Biblical authors all claim to be eyewitnesses (which they don’t, except possibly for John) and we have many more copies of Bible manuscripts than any other document from the same time. And yet “no one says read Homer with caution.” Apparently he has never seen the introduction to pretty much any book of Homer, because every copy I’ve seen says exactly that. He can’t even say this is a recent development, because my 1909 edition of the Harvard Classics contains 4 pages of disclaimers. Also if someone told me that Homer or Julius Caesar was infallible wisdom from God that I should base all of my life decisions on I might care a bit more about their level of accuracy.

Then he says we have a copy of the Gospel of Matthew from just over 30 years after Jesus’s death – 66AD! He is using Dr. Carsten’s dating of P-64, which the rest of the academic community dates to the 2nd century. In fact you’d have trouble finding more than a handful of scholars that believe the Gospel of Matthew was even written before 66AD.

And of course, if manuscripts existed that early they must be true. After all, “If it didn’t happen the way they said it would be challenged. But that didn’t happen.” So there were no challenges whatsoever to early Christianity. No schisms, no divisions, no controversies, not even the ones mentioned in the Bible itself. Not to mention that as Dr. Carrier pointed out, if it happened the way the Bible says it happened and everyone knew that, there would have been challenges! A man crucified by the Roman Empire came back from the dead and the Romans just ignored this situation?

Next he went on about the reliability of Luke, and how the people he names have been proven to exist by archaeological finds.  “Luke claimed he researched everything very carefully before he ever wrote”…but wait, didn’t he just say Luke was an eyewitness? Why did it take research to know who was governor if he was an eyewitness? And what about all the things he got wrong, like the unrecorded census where everyone had to return to their homeland, over multiple day journeys, that no one else seemed to notice?

Then he concluded with a lot of random preaching about his conversion, and how he read the book of Job and that’s when he became a Christian. (Seriously? Job!?!)

bierle

Followed by a short question period.
The first was from an education student with a minor in biology. “In this economy I’m more  likely to be employed as a biology teacher than a English teacher. But I am a young earth  creationist and I know evolution is a lie and I don’t want to teach it.”

He responded “you should teach the evolutionary paradigm in your classes.” Children need to understand evolution because that world view is very important in today’s society. The Supreme Court has ruled that alternatives to evolution can be taught in schools as long as they are based on nature. (Wrong country dude)

Next was a question about what was wrong with believing in evolution being directed by God. To which he responded “Can God guide an unguided process?” The mechanism in the two are contradictory.

Next was “What do you make of the evidence of gravitational waves?” This was obviously asked by someone who did not realise that Dr. Bierle accepts the Big Bang. After admitting that he is not a physicist, he added that the discovery of the Big Bang forced scientists to admit that the Universe had a beginning, which was a step forward for Christians.

Alexander asked a question about the probability of our universe arising, but he rambled off topic in the answer. It involved “Show me some illustrations where chance has led to order, macro not microevolution” but then later said it just had to be something small, “not the big picture”. Given that the big picture is pretty much the definition of macro evolution versus microevolution I found this confusing.

The final question was “do you feel that science is always playing catch up with the Bible?” To which he basically answered no, science is good, we should be doing science. Scientism is the problem. The scientific method has to acknowledge that it is limited, it can’t tell you you are beautiful for example.

This caused several young earthers in the room to get uneasy, but unfortunately we were out of time.

This weekend he is also doing a “fellowship meeting” for men only at the church this morning, and talks Saturday and Sunday evenings. He is talking Sunday morning during church service, which is supposed to be largely a repeat of Friday night’s talk.

Saturday night’s talk is free and open to the public, starting at 7:15PM.