Historical & Observational Science

Commenting on one of the areas of contention during the Nye-Ham Debate. This is important because it applies universally. How can we know anything about anything? God has revealed many truths through Scripture, but how do we know that Scripture is true? We know by divine revelation. God reveals.

God has a leading, teaching, or correction at every moment of our lives. We may not listen very often, but when we do, He imparts His faith for some work that He wants to do through us if we will yield ourselves to it. As we yield to Him, the Holy Spirit builds Christ in us, and our fleshly nature loses some of its grip on us.

We humans are three-part beings, spirit, mind/soul, and body. The mind isn’t the brain. The brain and nervous system are part of the body. God created our spirits to rule over our minds/souls and our souls/minds to rule over our bodies. We must worship God in spirit and in truth. God deals with us through our spirits, so we sometimes know things without having a naturalistic way of knowing how we know. We might call it a gut feeling or intuition. The real problem is discerning between the voice of God, our own mind, or demonic beings. However, for those who truly want to do the will of God, they know. It’s when we want to do our own wills that we become confused.

It seems that God always speaks to us through our spirits, but He will usually affirm any important truth through several means. One of those means is the Bible. There may be exceptions, but it seems that one of the means is always the Bible on important issues. He speaks to our spirits through the Bible. Our spirits convey the revelation to our minds as we direct our minds toward Christ in willing submission. Another person, e.g. a skeptic, atheist, postmodernist, or Wiccan, may read the same Scripture without acknowledging Christ and come up with a totally different interpretation.

That’s how we know that the Bible is the word of God without error. We know by the Spirit through what some people call intuition. Then, the Holy Spirit confirms this truth through many external and irrefutable signs–not that skeptics won’t keep trying to discredit God and His word. It’s divine revelation. That’s how we know.

But this debate between Bill Nye, who was representing ungodliness, and Ken Ham, who was representing godliness, was supposed to be a debate about Biblical creation. It turned out to be a debate about how reality can be known. It was about how we can know the truth. In this part of the debate, they concentrated on the difference between observations and made-up stuff. It’s easy to challenge the validity of made-up stuff, but ungodly thinkers rely on made-up stuff for the basis of their thinking, so they tend to defend the idea of making up stuff and calling the made-up stuff true. Of course, they won’t say it that way. They’ll talk about making “obvious assumptions.” They’ll talk about “axioms” that they can “reasonably use as facts.” It’s made-up stuff, and they’re calling made-up stuff truth.

We just challenged the Bible and said that we know it’s true because God reveals that it’s valid. Did you know that some people don’t believe that observations are valid? Postmodernism opposes observations. Skepticism opposes observations. Hindus and Buddhists generally believe that what we observe is just part of a dream of Brahma. There are others who feel the same way. We can’t prove, by observation, that observation is valid or that there is a material reality. However, God reveals that there is both a material and a spiritual reality. He reveals this fact in the same way that He reveals that the Bible is true and without error.

Wars about Words

Let’s agree that definitions or labels prove nothing. We’ll go down this path, but only for the exercise. We can observe something, and we can make up a story about something we observed. The story is different from the observation. Suppose we both see the same something. Suppose we each make up our own story about it and our stories conflict with each other. Should we be dogmatic about our stories since we made them up? Suppose that God said one thing and we told a different story; will we allow God to correct us?

The Real Difference and Dropping the Definition Games

The Nye-Ham debate gave the illusion that the disagreement is about terminology and definitions. That isn’t the issue. In fact, focusing on the words and redefining words is part of the deception. It’s part of a red herring fallacy powered by a definist fallacy. This tactic is common. For example, when the atheists realized that they were committing a fallacy by declaring the universal negative, “there is no God,” they redefined “atheist” to be something close to “agnostic.” They then claimed that they just didn’t have enough evidence to have belief. As another example, we used to call political correctness “the new morality,” and we called the new morality “immorality” before that. These are but two examples of redefinitions, but Satan has orchestrated many such changes.

Let’s focus on the realities and the real difference rather than the definist fallacies. What we’ve been calling “historical science” expands on observations of operational/observational science by adding made-up stuff to the observations. The term “historical science” is actual a package deal fallacy in that it combines observation, historical storytelling, and historical divine revelation without making a distinction between the three. The observations aren’t an issue, but the made-up stuff is a serious issue.

Observation is one thing. A story about observation is a different thing. However, if we ignore the terms, the difference is really between observations and stories about observations. Scientists observe the physical world on the one hand. Scientists observe the physical world and then make up stories about they observe on the other hand. Can we see the difference between observation and stories about observation? Yes. Can we see the difference between accurately reporting what we’ve seen versus making up stories that go beyond what we’ve seen? Absolutely! Stories consist of made-up stuff. Observations, though imperfect, are more reliable than made-up stories.

The discussion of the two kinds of science clouded the major questions:

What’s the best basis for interpreting observations?

What’s the best starting point for reason?

The discussion of just observation without purposely adding made-up stuff versus purposely adding made-up stuff to observation does center on these two major questions of the debate. Those who follow Christ say that the best starting point for reason is God’s revelation, but ungodly thinkers say that the best starting point for reason is assumption, which is the art of adding made-up stuff to observations. Sadly, some Christians also say that we must base all reason on assumptions or presuppositions.

Either assumption or divine revelation is necessary for what we’ve been calling “historical science.” We can observe, but we can’t reason beyond our observations without adding information. That information has to come from somewhere. We can get true and correct information from the only all-knowing Source Who can’t lie. On the other hand, we, or someone else, can make up the information. No other ways exist since the human mind has no way to self-generate information other than by making it up. And even if the human mind gets information from what another human mind made up, it’s still made-up stuff. If the information comes in a book, class, video, or another form, it’s still made-up stuff. Science involves interpreting observation and experience, and we do have some ability to observe and experience, though not objectively. We automatically add assumptions from our worldviews, and as soon as we add a single assumption to the observation or experience, we’ve distorted it. Assumptions are deceptive when persuaders use them to speculate about topics like the spiritual realm or the distant past. Often, persuaders keep their assumptions hidden.

Assumptions have a problem in science since we can’t prove that one assumption is better than another if we can’t directly test the assumption. For instance, two assumptions compete for a certain interpretation of the ancient past. Neither assumption conflicts with the current observations. Both assumptions extrapolate beyond the current observations. And we can’t replay the ancient past to test the assumptions. How do we decide?

Ungodly people prove their assumptions by censoring anything the conflicts with their assumptions. For example, Bill Nye tried to prove that the Bible is false by using wild assumptions as the basis for his reasoning. Then he called for censorship of anything that conflicts with his assumptions.

Theories, assumptions, stories, concepts, frameworks, and ideas aren’t known facts. Facts are genuine reality. They aren’t interpretations of observations or the majority opinions of an elite group. And yet facts are often and routinely confused with speculative interpretations or speculative explanations of observations.

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Faith & Reason Made Simple by Rick McGough: Review

I just finished reading a very good book, Faith & Reason Made Simple by Rick McGough. Rick makes the art of explaining the position of faith easy, although the subject is complex. Truth is simple, but the fallen human mind brings up many questions and makes many untrue statements. Faith & Reason Made Simple shows how we can deal with those questions and untrue statements.

Rick says the following:

“People are looking for something more than just what feels good. They are searching for something that is true and trustworthy.”

Everyone has an opinion, but can we explain how we know what we know? Can we do it in a way that makes people want to listen? We get tired of the bare assertions with nothing backing up those claims. We hunger for the real and the genuine.

I was listening to a Christian brother talking about the problem of understanding. He brought up the three-part human nature: spirit, soul/mind, and body. The human intellect is in the soul/mind part of us, but God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. Often, we will know things, and we would say that we know them intuitively. For instance, we know for certain that the Bible is the word of God without error, but we can’t say exactly how we know that. We know for certain that Christ exists, and we might say that we know this because we know Him. But we have trouble explaining how we know that our experience with Christ is real. We might say that we have faith, but we don’t exactly know what faith is or how it comes. That’s because God deals with our spirits, and He ordained that our spirits would rule over our souls/minds and that our souls/minds would rule over our bodies. Since God imparts knowledge through our spirits rather than our minds, we often know the truth but can’t put this knowledge into rational terms. We know by faith, but understanding comes later.

Rick McGough explains how science and observation confirm faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the rhema (utterance) of God. And God imparts this supernatural belief that we call “faith.” It’s one of many gifts from God. Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of this faith, and this faith is substance (reality versus concept) and evidence (absolutely certain proof). When faith comes from God, He supplies many confirmations of that faith through what we can observe. Rick gives an amazingly complete overview of these wonderful confirmations.

We can’t uncouple faith from sound reason, and Rick makes that clear. Without faith, sound reason is impossible. We must base all reasoning on truth, or the reasoning is unsound. In other words, we can’t say, “I made up X. Therefore, X is true.” Whatever X is must be true in the first place. And no one can self-generate a true statement. God must reveal truth, which is why all truth is hidden in Christ Jesus. Without that revelation, we humans are stuck in a brute beast existence where we can only react to our senses and memories. Pragmatic reaction to our senses works for survival and creating technology, but we would never be able to reason beyond our five senses without divine revelation. That is, we couldn’t reason beyond what we can observe and test without God to add the needed information. Both Jude and Peter mention this brute beast existence as a problem that happens without the Spirit of God.

Even those of us who have spent our lives testifying of Jesus can learn from Rick’s book. He gives evidence from the created world, the Bible, and history. Faith & Reason Made Simple is a textbook with many tools to learn how to share the Gospel of Christ, deal with questions and criticisms of skeptics, and deal with present social issues and world religions. It’s a training manual for Christian thinking and witness.

I recommend this book. Read it. Study it. Use it for a Bible study or discussion group. Pastors can use it as a source for many sermons and a way to keep young people from leaving the church. The book is available from several sources. I put a link to the Creation Today site below.

God led Rick to leave his pastoral role and to form a new organization to help with the work of spreading the Gospel and answering the questions and criticisms of the skeptics. He’s preparing people, from the youngest to the oldest, for ministry in our corrupted and naturalistic society. As part of this new work, Rick and his team have created http://localchurchapologetics.org/ to make apologetics materials available for children’s ministries, youth ministries, small group curriculum, sermons, college prep classes, and more. All of these materials are designed to assist local churches in incorporating apologetics into their ministries to all ages. He’s developing apologetics materials that are local church friendly and that simplify complex apologetics materials to help train and motivate believers of all ages.

Faith & Reason Made Simple

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