Interpretation

Zooxantelas

How could those animals have lived their entire life and formed these layers in just 4,000 years? There isn’t enough time since Mr. Ham’s Flood for this limestone that we’re standing on to have come into existence. ~ Bill Nye

This was circular reasoning. Circular is rarely obvious as you listen to skilled thinkers use the fallacy.

Hidden by the circular reasoning smokescreen is a presupposition. Bill’s presupposition is that the Flood didn’t happen. Presupposition is a way ofmaking stuff up and making it seem true. The presupposition is also hidden by a framing fallacy and by a loaded question. If the limestone was laid down during the Flood, it was laid down quickly. The assumption that the Genesis Flood didn’t happen is the beginning axiom. Based on this axiom, no limestone could have been laid down during the Flood. That’s circular reasoning.

Bill held up a rock with fossils in it. He then told a story about the fossils. The story was his evidence. Neither the rock nor the fossils in the rock were Bill’s evidence. Using a story as evidence is a weak premise fallacy.

Bill assumed the Flood had not occurred. If the Flood didn’t occur, the deposits couldn’t have occurred during the Flood. That’s circular. Bill limits us to only two options for depositing the fossils. They might have been deposited over the last 4,000 years. They might have been deposited over billions of years. This is a false choice fallacy or exclusivity fallacy. It limits the choices to two when at least one more choice is available. Bill left out the time during the Flood. He didn’t consider the fossils being deposited during the Flood. Then he concludes that they must have been deposited over billions of years. Yet the only explanation that fits the evidence is the choice that was left out. It looks like the deposits were made during the Flood.

Bill’s circular logic goes like this:

  1. The Flood didn’t occur, and billions of years did occur.
  2. Therefore, the Flood couldn’t have laid down the fossils.
  3. Therefore, the fossils were either laid down over billions of years or in the last 4,000 years.
  4. They couldn’t have been laid down in the last 4,000 years.
  5. Therefore, they were laid down over billions of years and the Flood didn’t occur.

Note that none of that was stated. It was implied. When a skilled communicator uses circular reasoning, it’s often difficult to detect.
You’ll recognize additional fallacies. Bill used ad hominem fallacy, genetic fallacy, and appeal to coincidence fallacy. These fallacies make it harder to spot the circular reasoning. The circular reasoning is a smokescreen to hide the axiomatic thinking fallacy. The two axioms are that the Flood didn’t occur and billions of years did occur.

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Confused Words

Confused2

When the same word is used to mean very different things, it causes confusion. The word, “science,” is used for knowledge gained by repeated experimentation and observation by many people, but it’s also used for the unsupported assertions of a group of politically elite scientists.

The word, “evidence,” is used for absolute and certain proof, but it’s also used for interpretations based on unsupported assertions, on made-up stuff.

The word, “faith,” is used for the absolute proof and certainty that comes when God speaks, but it’s also used for a belief based on unsupported assertions. The word, “hope,” is used for the vision God gives concerning what He has promised He will do, but it’s also used for a human-generated wish based on vapor.

The phrase, “I’m a Christian,” is used to mean, “Jesus Christ leads me and teaches me moment by moment and does His Works through me,” but it’s also used to mean, “I know that Jesus Christ exists.”

These are just a few examples, but the list could go on and on. The result is that statements need clarification. Words must be defined.

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Christ: The Only Foundation

FoundationForThinking

When we interpret Scripture, observation, experience, or anything, we must add something to it. Often, we add something from our own worldviews. Since our worldviews seem, to each of us, as if they were reality, we add without knowing we’re adding. God speaks to us through all these things, but we add to His Words. Adding results in distortion. Interpretation involves adding information, but what is the source of that information. Worldviews come out of previous interpretations and aren’t to be trusted. Worldviews are powerful filters that can keep us from seeing all these things as they really are. (2 Co. 3) Don’t hold your theology so tightly that the Holy Spirit is unable to teach you. The Holy Spirit is the only Teacher. Only He can interpret Scripture, observation, experience, or anything else. Christ is the only Foundation. Pray that God leads you as you study Scripture and as you live your life.

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Without Divine Revelation

WithoutRevelation

 

That’s the simplicity that’s in Christ Jesus. We know Him. He leads us. He teaches us. We don’t need to use loopy logic. We can know what He reveals through Scripture, through Creation, through what we observe. We don’t have to interpret Scripture using assumptions and other kinds of made-up stuff. We can ask the Holy Spirit about it. Whatever the Holy Spirit doesn’t reveal to us, we leave with God.

All other ways of thinking are based on made-up stuff. No Secularist can explain another way to think. No Secularists can explain how he or she can prove any premise true. Without a true premise, sound logic is impossible. Without the ability to have certainty, it’s impossible to be rational

At first, Secularists may deny this. If pressed, they will claim that their made-up stuff is correct and known–even though it’s made up stuff. More likely, they will just deny the harsh reality of the futility of their own thinking. The human mind can’t pull knowledge out of the air. We can observer imperfectly, but additional knowledge is required to interpret observation. This is true of scientific observation, too. Even Scripture, if interpreted by the carnal mind, is useless. We need the Holy Spirit, our Teacher and Friend.

At a certain point, the Secularist will claim that every follower of Christ was only assuming that he or she was following Christ. When asked for the method by which they think they can know this, they will change the subject, engage in name-calling, or do whatever it takes to keep themselves from facing the harsh reality of the futility of their own thinking. You may even be amazed at how irrational they become and how mean. Eventually, they will manifest their slave-master, Satan.

The goal of the dogmatic skeptics or the ardent Secularists is to keep you from dwelling in the Presence of Christ. Often, these can be brothers and sisters in Christ who have somehow become disconnected from the Head, Christ. They don’t believe what God is saying. They refuse to acknowledge Him as He speaks through you. If they can’t convince you with irrational logic, they will try to make you angry. The principalities and powers against which we fight are well aware that fear or anger will take us out of the Presence of Christ. Alternately, they will try to force you to lean on your own understanding and to speculate about all types of things. They’ll ask you question after question to try to get you to speculate, because they know that speculation takes you out of the Presence of Christ and that it gives glory to your own intellect.

There are wonderful promises to the overcomers. God isn’t asking us to overcome the skeptics or Secularists. He’s asking us to overcome our fleshly natures and to have a totally transformed mind. He’s asking us to press into His Glory and to dwell there. The testing of our faith is the very mechanism that brings us into the fullness of the experience. As steel is heated to give it strength, so you and I must go through the heat and be found faithful as part of the process of growing up into the fullness of Christ.

 

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Compare God’s Story to the Secularistic Story

BeginningGodOrNothing

Stories are very powerful, but they can be true or false. When presented well, they can be very convincing. In a post-modern culture, presentation is everything. It’s all about winning. Winning is accomplished by convincing. Convincing is accomplished by presentation. The Secularistic presentations are paid for by tax dollars. God’s story is told plainly by very average people without Federal grant money. Yet, there is something called Truth. The Spirit of Truth lives in God’s Story. His Story begins with origins and goes to the completion. The Truth, even if it’s persecuted, is still Truth. A lie, even though funded by tax dollars, is still a lie.

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Saved from Sin to Good Works

SavedToGoodWorks

 

We’re not saved from Hell by good works. We’re saved from sin to good works. Good works are a gift from God. Righteousness is part of our salvation.

Faith isn’t make-believe. It comes when we hear the Word of God. (Ro. 10:17) Looking into the original Greek, it comes when we hear the rhema of God. “Rhema” means “utterance.”

Faith gives access to grace. The free gift of righteousness flows from God through us. (Ro. 5:17) Our part is to receive it and yield the members of our bodies to His righteousness.

(Ro. 6:13) When we try to self-generate righteousness, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, peace, joy, or anything else, we frustrate the grace of God. (Gal. 2:21)

 

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The Ad Ignorantiam Question

adIgnorantiamQuestion

One of the most common debate tactics from both sides of the Creation-evolution debate is the fallacy of the ad ignorantiam question. For an Atheist who is depending on his or her own mind and knowledge of everything, the inability to answer a question is answered by, “science will find a way one day.” The inability to answer doesn’t disprove “evolutionism” or “no-Godism.” However, the inability to answer does mean that the Atheist ought to be a bit less dogmatic and open-minded to God. The Atheist who isn’t ready to come to Christ already knows that God exists and has made great effort to create a worldview the filters out God’s Voice because of the love for darkness rather than light.

For the person following Christ, it’s another matter. A person following Christ can say, “I don’t know.” The person following Christ hasn’t rationalized a reason to believe that the Bible is the Word of God. The Holy Spirit has revealed that the books of the Bible were selected by God the Holy Spirit moving through God’s people long ago. The Holy Spirit has been speaking to the Christ-follower through those Scriptures, and the Christ-follower isn’t reading dead letter. The Christ-follower is having an intimate, moment-by-moment experience with Christ.

I’ll add that the Christ-follower’s experience with Christ can’t be used to arm-wrestle the Atheist into submission, of course. However, apologetics is actually the flow of Jesus Christ through the follower of Christ to the unbeliever—or to the believer. When the follower of Christ is living and speaking, the testimony of Jesus Christ is the Spirit of prophecy. The unbeliever can receive this Spirit or not. If the Holy Spirit is rejected, Jesus Christ and the Father are being rejected. This is not a rejection of the Christ-follower.

Yet, all of this can be tested by the unbeliever if the unbeliever doesn’t refuse to look at the evidence. Whoever seeks Christ finds Christ. The believer can instruct the unbeliever in how to come to Christ. If the person is truly open-minded, that person will easily find Christ, and then they will know.

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