SES National Conference on Christian Apologetics

I just got back from the 2017 SES National Conference on Christian Apologetics which took place in Charlotte, at the Calvary Campus, and was for two days, home to some of the greatest apologetic minds of our day. It was a bit like going to Disney World for me. This was my Super Bowl.

I met the great Norman Geisler,

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Norman Geisler

and his son, and spoke with many great minds from different fields. There was not always agreement about theological interpretation, but all these men and women love the Lord, and it was wonderful to see the camaraderie and the shared mission of the speakers, to make disciples for Jesus Christ and the truth of the resurrection.

There was much to hear, I bought many new books, and of a most interesting conflict among the scholars was of course young verses old earth opinions. I may do a follow up article on that, as it was quite unique the way scholars who believe in the big bang theory have to explain themselves under the paradigm of a creator. They certainly have rebuttals and evidences all neatly decided upon, however, to me (though I am no astrophysicist), these explanations fall very short, and completely contradict what we find in God’s word. You can play interpretation games all day long, but as Ken Ham said quite correctly at the conference, you do not get the idea of millions of years from a simple reading of bible. It is a man-made worldview, which must then be shoehorned into the text to make it seem to fit.

There was a particularly potent and personal talk I attended, given by a neuroscience Doctor, a Dr. Camp. She (pictured above) was discussing specifically the tendency of Christians, within the social and secular construct of this world as a perfect storm, to be anxious and depressed, and why that is, rather than full of joy for Christ. Personally, this is something I struggle with, and so I attended her class away from my group, and learned a bit more about how our brains were wired. What I learned both comforted me, because there were solutions, one of which was knowledge, and also scared me, because of how are brains become hardwired to believe the lies we tell it.

There was an atheist vs God debate, based on things like philosophy, and the perceived tyrannical nature of God in the Old Testament. Dan Barker from the Freedom From Religion Foundation debated Dr Howe, and did very well. I commend him for braving the venue, and standing before all the Christians making a very direct and succinct case. It created a great many good topic questions for us later in groups, and his overall communication skill was terrific. Clearly he is passionate, though I disagree with his goals and conclusions. We discussed in groups questions like, can God commit murder? And, the importance of context when discussing bible stories/verses.

Frank Turek and J. Warner Wallace were amazing, and I loved meeting Dr. Sanford who wrote Genetic Entropy, an excellent case against evolution from the observable degradation of the human genome.

All in all, it was a fantastic and mentally stimulating trip, and I’d love to make it a tradition. Honestly, I’d love to lock myself in there and just study and drink coffee for a year, however, that seems slightly impractical.

 

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Genetics and Evolution

With molecules to man evolution hanging on the possibility that despite the complexity of DNA, mutations must somehow add to the genetic make up of an organism over time, the theory is truly struggling. Genetics is NOT a friend to evolutionary theory. Ignoring the magic elixir of “time” that evolutionists add to the mix in order to devise an acceptable probability ratio, we must conclude firstly that enough mutations will slowly (or quickly) transform one kind of animal into another (I sometimes can’t even believe this still needs to be discussed).

A couple of short points: You have heard of a gene pool, yes? This is an invention, a constructed idea of early population geneticists who were dedicated to Darwinism. The problem they faced is that most genetic mutations aren’t catastrophic in nature. They instead degrade, and interact with other nucleotides, to create a long term minimal effect. Genes are poly-dimensional, working many different ways as a language. Imagine a book that could be read forwards, and backwards, and using every other word, and using a cipher. This is the type of complexity we encounter. It is well known in genetics that one nucleotide, since it doesn’t affect enough of the whole organism, would not be enough to be selected or mutated beneficially to bring about a change. Rather, we know that several nucleotides would have to be changed productively at once. The gene pool constructs a visual that sells well, promoting the idea that out of this “pool” nucleotides can be mutated to change the overall composition of the organism over time without consideration for those other nucleotides it affects.

In other words, the ripple effect from being a multi-purposeful nucleotide would create so much “noise” and would affect the overall organism so little, that there is almost no correlation between that one nucleotide changing, and the betterment of the animal as a whole. You are talking about an almost atomic level of change.

We must therefore conclude that large “chunks” must change to create any real progress. So we must analyze this possibility.

Mutations within the human genome have been scrutinized and analyzed, and it has been found that most of the mutations are not “noisy” enough by themselves (changing a letter in a DNA strand, like a typo in a book) to be selected by mother nature to pass on, whether good or bad. These mutations are neutral, or un-selectable, and therefore cannot occur with enough impact to change the organism, regardless of time. Geneticists realize that most are neutral, and that because of this there would be no reason for  this information to be passed on to further a species up the evolutionary chain.

Furthermore, if we consider the ratio of beneficial to non-beneficial mutations, the vast majority are on the negative side. One experiment reviewed 10,000 mutations, and could only list 4 beneficial ones, which later all proved to be a net loss of information. Any that are actually considered beneficial mutations are usually in the neutral range anyway! This even further reduces the chance of benefit occurring, and being passed down.

Remember, evolution requires a high rate of beneficial mutations over time to succeed. This is not observably the case on any level.

There is so much more we could discuss, but this is a blog, and I just want to offer a sense of the trouble actual genetic science delivers to the evolutionary theory. Two more final notes. One is that considering that all of these nucleotides are multi-functional, if you do actually come up with a beneficial mutation that helps the organism in one way, there is no possibility that that change has also somehow benefited the way it is used in all of its other ways. It would disrupt how the information was read in all of its other variable forms, and therefore would only be beneficial in one sense, but damaging in all others.

Secondly, genetics ignores in its models the very real, and very detrimental concept of “fitness valleys”. Consider this: If 99.9996% of all mutations are either bad, or neutral, and those are occurring all the time, can you suppose a timeline whereby the positive ones somehow surpass the overall effect of all the negative ones to essentially make the organism healthier and more complex?  Food for thought.