Loaded Questions

The following is taken from the book “Exposing the Nye-Ham Debate,” which is one of five books that will be included in “The Reason Collection” by Petros Scientia. The debate ended with a question and answer session in which the audience was allowed to ask questions of both Bill Nye and Ken Ham. That session revealed much about the difference between the way evolutionists and creationists reason.

Loaded Questions

To illustrate the fallacy of loaded questions, we need only observe the dramatic difference in the quality of questions in the Q & A session. These were questions from the audience, and some challenged Bill Nye, while some challenged Ken Ham. We want to notice a tendency. Those participants who questioned Bill Nye asked straightforward questions, but those who questioned Ken Ham asked questions loaded with emotion and presuppositions. We also notice this same pattern in online discussions. This difference is inevitable since people who think rationally don’t use fallacies. Those who think irrationally use fallacies. How different for ungodly thinkers who must always base all thinking on fallacies! We see this when we look at the following questions from the Q & A session:

Question to Ken

How does creationism account for the celestial bodies: planets, stars, moons moving further and further apart, and what function does that serve in the grand design?

That’s a loaded question. The questioner presupposes that everything is moving further apart. This presupposition commits the hysteron proteron fallacy. The conclusion that everything is moving further apart is an interpretation of observation based on assumptions, but if we change the assumptions, we change the conclusion. The questioner also embedded the loaded word “creationism” into the question. Do we ever hear evolutionists mention the word “evolutionism?” The second part of the question also is irrational since it asks Ken to read God’s Mind and to understand God’s wisdom and plan completely.

It’s always possible to dream up a question that someone can’t answer. Debates usually have each debater asking questions to stump the other debater. They probably think they’re masters of debate, but they’re just asking ad ignorantiam questions. Ad ignorantiam is irrational thinking, but it works for politicking. And since debates aren’t usually about finding truth but rather about swaying opinions, debaters use fallacies such as ad ignorantiam to sway opinions. Ken had no problem answering this question or any other question, but Bill had a problem answering the same question.

There’s nothing wrong with asking questions. For instance, we ask questions to understand the basis of another person’s thinking. We ask questions to point out that a claim doesn’t have a basis in a true premise. Again, we need a true premise (only available by divine revelation) for rational thought. In this case, Ken bases his understanding of the Creation event on a true premise. God gives Ken this premise by divine revelation through Ken’s relationship with Jesus Christ and what Jesus Christ tells Ken through Scripture and science.

Question to Bill

How did the atoms that created the big bang get there?

That was a straightforward question to explore the foundation of Bill’s case, and Bill couldn’t answer, yet Bill sold his inability to answer as if it were a benefit. In this case, Bill bases his understanding of the big bang story on knowing how to account for such details as the origin of the supposed big bang. Therefore, this question is legitimate. Bill claims that the big bang story is science, and since this question hits this exact point, it’s not a red herring. In contrast, in the previous question to Ken, the audience member asked Ken to speculate about God’s purpose for spreading out the heavens. However, Ken doesn’t base his understanding of the Creation event on knowing such details. Ken bases his understanding of the Creation event on divine revelation. So, the previous question to Ken was a red herring.

Ken pointed out that the Bible does have the answer to this question, but no one can answer the question from ungodly science. Bill couldn’t answer. But Bill’s inability to answer doesn’t disprove the big bang story. The fact that Bill couldn’t answer should make Bill reconsider his dogmatic stance since the question reveals the lack of substance in his belief, though. Bill can’t prove the big bang story since the story runs into a limited depth fallacy and a limited scope fallacy. Of course, divine revelation disproves the big bang story.

Question to Ken

The overwhelming majority of people in the scientific community have presented valid physical evidence, such as carbon dating and fossils, to support evolutionary theory. What evidence, besides the literal word of the Bible, supports creationism?

This questioner asked a loaded question with an embedded and presupposed bandwagon fallacy. The question also contains the loaded words “literal” and “creationism.”

Both evolutionists and creationists use the same observations. Scientists presuppose the validity of carbon dating. They don’t prove it.

The claimed “valid physical evidence” is presupposed, phantom evidence. However, this so-called “valid physical evidence” consists of confusion between interpretation and observation. True evidence must prove the conclusion without the need to add any information to the evidence. Of course, the way ungodly science uses the word “evidence,” it’s a waffling word that’s used to confuse.

Question to Bill

How did consciousness come from matter?

That was a straightforward question to the root of Bill’s case, which Bill couldn’t answer even though his entire dogmatic belief system demands an answer to this question.

Question to Ken

What, if anything, would ever change your mind?

That’s a vague question that also implies that Ken has a closed mind or dogmatism on some unstated issue, yet the questioner didn’t specify the change of mind. Change his mind about what? Possibilities would include:

  • Ken changing his mind about the reality of Ken’s experience with Christ
  • Ken changing his mind about believing Christ as He reveals the validity of scriptural history
  • Ken changing his mind about rejecting one of the specific stories of the ungodly historical narrative

Ken confessed his belief in Christ and belief in the authority of Scripture, a belief that he bases on divine revelation. However, Ken denied dogmatic belief in theologies and theories. He said that he’s flexible on any models that go beyond what God reveals through Scripture. In contrast to Ken’s open mind, Ken pointed out that Bill admits dogmatic belief in billions of years.

As followers of Christ, we can be fully confident in exposing all of our beliefs to examination and challenge. Hopefully, we do that before Christ every day since His absolute truth can destroy the deceptive strongholds in our minds. So if someone asks us what would change our minds, we can answer that absolute proof against it would change our minds. Absolute proof would change our minds about what we currently believe that God says through Scripture about the history of the universe. Of course, we wouldn’t accept any so-called “proof” that contained made-up stuff since that wouldn’t be proof. We wouldn’t accept assumptions, stories, concepts, ideas, or mental constructs as proof. In other words, the Holy Spirit would need to reveal it to us.

On the other hand, never be afraid to ask an ungodly person about the basis of their beliefs in molecules-to-humanity evolution, billions of years, or atheism. Probe to find something solid and immovable in their answers. You never need to fear drawing them out and getting to the basis of their beliefs. You’ll always find that they base these beliefs on premises that won’t hold up to scrutiny and that fall apart under examination. At the root of all ungodly thinking is the axiomatic thinking fallacy, in other words, made-up stuff.

Question to Bill

Outside of radiometric methods, what scientific evidence supports your view of the age of the earth?

This straightforward question explored Bill’s basis for believing in an old earth, but Bill couldn’t answer it. However, Bill’s lack of ability to answer doesn’t disprove an old earth. It only proves that Bill shouldn’t be so dogmatic about his old-earth concept. We covered Bill’s inability to answer this question in more detail under Scientific Issues earlier.

Question to Ken

Can you reconcile the change in the rate continents are now drifting versus how quickly they must have traveled at Creation 6,000 years ago?

This questioner asked a loaded question that presupposes tectonic plate movement at Creation. We don’t see evidence that the tectonic plate movement existed before the Flood. So this question tries to imply a problem or conflict where no problem or conflict exists. For example, one Creation-Flood model proposes continental sprint during the Genesis Flood, suggesting that continental sprint moved at the pace of a fast walk. And in this model, the mountains rose, and ocean bottoms went down at the end of the Flood, and volcanic activity caused both the Flood and the tectonic plate movement. However, the Creation-Flood model doesn’t speculate about tectonic plate movement at Creation. Rather, in the Creation-Flood model, any present tectonic plate movement is residual movement from the Flood.

Question to Bill

How do you balance the Theory of Evolution with the Second Law of Thermodynamics?

This questioner asked a straightforward question, not a loaded question. In answer to this question, Bill implied that the sun stops the Second Law of Thermodynamics from operating, but that’s magical thinking. Adding energy doesn’t solve the problem of the Second Law of Thermodynamics for Bill but rather intensifies it. And the Second Law of Thermodynamics works in both open and closed systems since cars deteriorate and people age despite the sun’s energy.

We can put a book out on the lawn. We observe whether natural forces add information to it through the sun’s energy. We can try that. We won’t find the sun adding information. Instead, natural forces and the sun’s energy will eventually destroy the information in the book. That’s a poor example since a book contains coded information, but it doesn’t contain coded information systems as we have in every living cell. Coded information systems are much more complex than mere coded information, so they’re much less likely to form by chance. Scientists have tested the Second Law on earth. It works here even with the sun’s influence. In fact, no one has found a single exception to the Second Law of Thermodynamics on the earth.

Scientists haven’t observed new coded information creating itself by natural processes in any living cell. However, entire coded information systems would need to create themselves repeatedly if molecules-to-humanity evolution were to happen. Molecules-to-humanity evolution couldn’t even take the smallest step without creating new information systems.

Ken pointed out that Bill can add all the energy he wants, but it won’t bring life to a dead stick.

Question to Ken

Hypothetically, if evidence existed that caused you to have to admit that the earth was older than 10,000 years and Creation did not occur over six days, would you still believe in God and the historical Jesus of Nazareth and that Jesus was the son of God?

This questioner asked a loaded question that presupposes the ability of science to prove facts about the distant past. The loaded question does that by using a hypothetical contrary to fact. Hypothetical contrary to fact is a fallacy. The questioner’s hypothetical question presumes that science can produce absolute proof that would prove the earth is older than 10,000 years. Science can’t produce any certainty about the distant past.

Evolutionists have a problem with the word “evidence.” They use the word “evidence” as if it meant absolute proof. However, when they bring “evidence” for the stories of an old earth, the “evidence” they bring doesn’t prove the stories. The “evidence” is circumstantial and requires assumptions to give the illusion of real evidence.

Ungodly thinkers often use hypothetical questions as fallacies since hypotheticals always launch into the world of make-believe. So, whenever anyone asks a hypothetical, there’s ample room for fallacy in the question.

Bill was so sure of his assumptions that he claimed he could prove the age of the earth with great robustness, yet he didn’t even try to prove it. Instead, he just made the bare claim and then attacked the Bible and the history in it without giving a rational reason for his attack.

Question to Bill

Is there room for God in science?

That’s another straightforward question with no presuppositions or loaded language. In answer, Bill made it clear that he has nothing against any gods except for the God of the Bible, and he doesn’t want the God of the Bible to exist.

Ken pointed out that God is necessary for science since, if God didn’t exist, we would need to assume the regularity of nature, and we would have no cause for the laws of nature. If we based all thinking on assumptions, we could have no rational thought. Science couldn’t be rational. On the other hand, with God, we can do science and still be rational since, by revelation, we know that God will faithfully continue to enforce the laws of nature and logic. And God reveals the laws of mathematics, so, with God, we aren’t stuck with just assuming these critical foundations of scientific method.

Question to Ken

Do you believe the entire Bible is to be taken literally? Should people who touch pigskin be stoned? Can men marry multiple women?

That’s a loaded question for several reasons. “Taking the Bible literally” is an ungodly thinker’s straw man, and it’s a straw man fallacy because it oversimplifies reality. Consider the Cambridge Dictionary definition of the word “literal.”

having exactly the same meaning as the basic or original meaning of a word or expression

Google gives this definition:

taking words in their usual or most basic sense without metaphor or allegory

However, God uses metaphor and allegory, and yet He records history accurately as He presents spiritual truth through the history. There’s no mutual exclusivity between God speaking through history, using types and shadows, and God accurately stating what happened.

The questioner asked about the interpretation of Scripture. The Holy Spirit alone can interpret Scripture, and the Holy Spirit always interprets sanely. The Holy Spirit doesn’t interpret Scripture by explaining Scripture away since God says what He means, means what He says. He doesn’t mean what He doesn’t say, nor does He say what He doesn’t mean.

This question is a loaded question because the word “literally” isn’t the right word, but rather, the word should be “rationally” or “reasonably.” Taking the Bible rationally would be taking it without assumptions. It’s also rational to prayerfully and respectfully, acknowledge God as He speaks through Scripture since our thoughts are rational only if they’re guided by the Holy Spirit. However, it’s irrational to try to figure out Scripture using the fallen, deceptive, and wicked human mind that can’t receive spiritual truth.

Besides these problems, the questioner loaded this question by including popular straw man fallacies from Bible-denier websites. The question also consists of three loaded questions, so it’s a form of tossing the elephant fallacy.

Question to Bill

Have you ever believed that evolution was accomplished through way of a higher power?

This questioner asked a straightforward question. This theistic evolution question asks Bill whether he thinks God guided evolution. Is theistic evolution a viable hypothesis? We know some Christians think that the stories of theistic evolution will make atheists accept Christ as Savior. However, we also know that those who reject Christ reject Him for the reasons stated in Scripture. And they do that even though He has revealed Himself to them through the things He’s created. God has revealed that those who reject Christ love darkness more than light. They reject the light because their deeds are evil, and they’re willingly ignorant. He also reveals that they’ve suppressed the truth in their unrighteousness, and as a result, their senseless minds become darkened.

Question to Ken

Name one institution, business, or organization other than a church, amusement park, or the Creation Museum that is using any aspect of creationism to make its product.

This questioner asks a loaded question. The question implies that some institutions, businesses, or organizations other than ungodly universities, amusement parks, or ungodly museums use aspects of evolutionism to make products. But no one uses anything that’s exclusive to evolutionism to make anything real. In making this statement that no one uses evolutionism to make anything real, we must realize that it’s a universal negative. However, it’s not a fallacy because God reveals this universal negative. God reveals that the ungodly story is a lie, and lies have no value for doing useful work in the real world.

In answer to this question, Ken rightly stated that all products depend on biblical revelation. That’s because the Bible reveals the regularity of natural laws, laws of mathematics, and laws of logic. We can’t do science without knowing that these are dependable. And all three of these make sense to a follower of Christ since God reveals these three, but these three are mere assumptions in an ungodly worldview. Evolutionism doesn’t predict these three, and it also violates all three.

Question to Bill

Mr. Nye, since evolution teaches that man is evolving and growing smarter over time, how can you explain the numerous evidences of man’s high intelligence in the past.

This questioner asked a loaded question and added the presupposition using the word “since.” Does evolution teach advances in human intelligence? Sometimes. It depends. The story changes depending on what evolutionists are trying to prove. In this case, Bill said the story of evolution doesn’t teach that man is growing smarter over time. At the same time, Bill based some of his earlier arguments on the presupposition of humanity growing smarter over time. That shows the inconsistency of Bill’s presentation.

Question to Ken

What’s the one thing more than anything else upon which you base your beliefs?

This questioner asked a straightforward but vague question. We can’t tell whether the question is about all beliefs, origins beliefs, beliefs concerning God, or beliefs about something else. At the same time, this question should reveal a lot about both men because, once we dig through the smoke, they base their beliefs either on divine revelation or made-up stuff. That would be a great question for each of us to ask ourselves: Do we base our beliefs on divine revelation or made-up stuff?

Summary

Almost every attempt to challenge the Creation-Flood account was a loaded question. All but one of the questions to challenge the big-bang-molecules-to-humanity story were straight-forward questions. Those in favor of evolutionism embedded fallacies in their questions. We see this tendency to resort to fallacies in not only their questions but their statements. It’s as if someone is teaching classes in this technique. In the same way, when Bill Nye made his arguments, he loaded them with nested fallacies, but Ken Ham didn’t do the same with his arguments. What could be the cause of this difference?

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