Monthly Archives: December 2014

Do atheists actually claim that human minds are “random collocations of molecules”? No.

The regrettable Facebook Group Human Evolution is a FAIRY-TALE STORY has never been a proud venue of Christian virtue and intellect.  The embarrassing rubbish that passes for “creation science” on that webpage is bad enough but the lame misallocation of confused brain cells gets even worse when they obsess on how much they despise “atheist evolutionists”.  Yes, demeaning atheists and all who dare not agree with Young Earth Creationism is a popular pastime there.

A group admin by the name of Atomi Alexandra enjoys delivering both vacuous and venomous vexations on a daily basis on Fairy Tale turf. She recently started a thread with this quotation attribute to Andrew Kirke:

Dear atheist,
Christians don’t believe in a “sky-fairy”, whatever that might be, and if you believe that is what theism entails it’s no wonder you’re an atheist. We just simply don’t believe that human minds capable of rational thought and aesthetic and ethical judgment are simply random collocations of molecules existing in a Universe randomly thrown out into time and space going nowhere, meaning nothing, and slowly succumbing to entropic heat death. — Andrew Kirke

As to the Andrew Kirke quotation, I just want to say that I am a strong theist despite the lame nonsense of Kirke’s dishonest summarization of what atheists think.

Of course, I know of no scientist nor atheist of any type who claims that human minds are just “random collocations of molecules.” (Do you? Name one!) That kind of dishonest, quote-mining disrespect towards your opponents may get you big applause and standing ovations at a conference of like-minded cheerleaders who want affirmation that their opinions are superior to all others–and perhaps convince you that “we” are wiser and more virtuous than “them”–but such lying should not be typical among those of us who claim to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are called to truth and to love, not to lying and vilification. Why not critique what atheists ACTUALLY say instead of straw man fantasies about what they think? Answer: That would require dealing with the actual views of atheists and require far more thought and effort to rebut. Why are so many Christians routinely expressing admiration toward “Lying for Jesus” tactics? Perhaps Atomi Alexandra can answer that question.

The perpetual denigration memes and themes against atheists on far too many Christian forums is a shame that exposes just how many goats and tares are to be found among those who claim the name of Jesus Christ. We are called to oppose falsehoods and sinful actions, not to despise and lie about the people who Jesus Christ cared about, died for, and called us to love.

I’m ashamed of so much of the pseudo-Christ-like behavior perpetrated against people on “Christian” forums. By their fruit ye shall know them. And indeed we do.

The Bible.and.Science.Forum has discussed inaugurating a Hall of Shame Award to bring such misconduct all of the recognition and infamy it so rightly deserves. Atomi, you’ve got a good shot at it. Facebook member Cza Stx provided an excellent response to her quotation from Kirke:
Oh wow, This meme is actually hilarious. It’s like “Atheists please don’t strawman us” and then immediately straw mans atheism.”
That settles it.  Atomi Alexandra, you are the first recipient of the BSF Hall of Shame Award. Your proud exhibition of such dishonest quote-mining and hypocrisy will continue to serve as a reminder that we must always beware of the tares among the wheat.
By their fruits ye shall know them. — Jesus the Christ
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Send us your nominations for Professor Tertius’ “YEC YUCK of the YEAR Award!”

Yes, as the year 2014 comes to a close, it is time to send us your nominations for the very first YEC YUCK of the YEAR Award!

Due to professional engagements as an in-demand, international news journalist, Potholer54 has retired his Golden Crocoduck Award, which for years now has recognized the most egregious breach of the Ninth Commandment by a creationist. Yet, we all know that Nature hates a void. So the august and anonymous ex-YEC scholars of the Bible.and.Science.Forum rose to the challenge. Secretly scattered and hastily hidden away throughout the world under the ample auspices of the WPT (Witless Protection Program)–lest vengeful Young Earth Creationists punish our disloyalty to the CSC (Creation Science Cabal)–we recently convened by encrypted Skype to draw our Secret Santa selections and to plot our next dastardly deed to vex the ever-insidious YEC Conspiracy . The result was this public statement and proclamation:

We, the furtive and fervent fugitives of the BSF, continue to grieve over a humanity beset by deceit, greed, needless suffering, and oppressive ignorance. (And conditions outside of YEC-dom are even worse.) Therefore, in the interest of elevating our spirits and looking for the sunny and funny side of the dreadfully dismal darkness which comes from the Young Earth Creationist mega-ministry millionaire entrepreneurs and their spell-bound fans, followers, and felon wannabees (i.e., the Kent Hovind loyalists), we hereby rise to fill that void of appropriate recognitions of Young Earth Creationist knee-slappers and laughable pseudo-achievements.

We believe that we should resolve in the new year to more often pause to appreciate the humor and entertainment value of the many YECist maniacal  manic machinations, mumblings, and mantras which motivate their misguided militants with mindlessly meandering memes and meaningless monotonies, as we mention and memorialize the most momentous and memorable moronic monstrosities of misbegotten mental mishaps manufactured in the movement’s murky Matmos and marketed to the most unmercifully mesmerized masses.    For the sake of morale we can, now and then, pause to make merry and manage to momentarily reflect upon the most entertaining of Young Earth Creationist obfuscations and pseudo-science nonsense.  All in hopes of a good belly laugh.

So we’ve decided to step in and honor the outspoken and ever-clueless Young Earth Creationist. He has no idea just how hysterically funny are his efforts to be serious in criticizing The Theory of Evolution while pretending that “creation science” will, some day, manage to make a scientific discovery and rise to the level of actual science.  [Yes, we all know that there are real scientists who happen to be creationists. But “creation science” claims to use the scientific method to explain and affirm Young Earth Creationist presuppositions while using their “Special Creation” hypotheses in explaining scientific data. No YEC has ever successfully identified a scientific discovery which was made possible by any sort of  “Comprehensive Scientific Theory of Special Creation” which “creation scientists” have yet to formally publish and define.]

The rules for the <em>YEC YUCK of the YEAR Aware</em> are simple:

1) Your nomination must be a Young Earth Creationist individual or organization who said or wrote something in the year 2014 that is absolutely hilarious. (Talk about easy! Few bars were ever set so low.)

2) You must provide a complete citation so that we can confirm the nomination-worthy side-splitting statement in all its contextual glory.

3) The nominee must be a GENUINE Young Earth Creationist and not merely someone impersonating a YEC in order to get cheap laughs. (Yes, we will realize that Poe’s Law is unflinching and relentless. But do the best you can.)

4) If you find it difficult to narrow down the nominee’s countless hilarious statements about evolution or origins in general, you may send several favorites and suggest that we also consider the nominee for a YEC YUCK Lifetime Achievement Award.

5) Every nominee’s quoted comical quip must be attributable to some publication, website, or public appearance which appeared in the year 2014.  You may nominate a YEC for something said or written in previous years as long as you can cite a repetition of that side-splitter in the year 2014.

6) All forms of YEC comedy are permitted: smug condescension, pompous pontification, misuse of scientific terms, extreme irony, felonious fails, pious ponderousness, extreme ignorance, and even intentional attempts at humor which fell flat. (We reserve the right to draw the line at raving lunacy–which is mostly just plain sad. Yes, “raving lunacy” is a common malady with frequent outbreaks among science-illiterate YEC citizens of Looneyville and we realize that drawing the line at good taste is a difficult judgment call. So our panel of judges reserves the sole right to make that determination because–as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice once said about pornography–“I know it when I see it.”   Accordingly, quotations from Kent Hovind’s threats against the Judge on the recorded jailhouse phone calls the night before his sentencing, for example, is extremely funny but the obvious Narcissistic Personality Disorder can leave one nauseous. And nausea isn’t funny.)

7) You may submit as many nominations as your funny bone will tolerate.

8) Deadline for submissions will be sometime after Christmas and whenever we darn well feel like getting this over with.

9) This year’s YEC YUCK of the YEAR Award scripture theme is Proverbs 15:14:

“The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.”


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A few of Dr. Steve Poole’s thoughts from a Facebook “Evolution vs. Creationism” discussion

Dr. Poole has been a great help to me, especially for writing the vision-assistance software which has kept me reasonably productive when I thought it impossible. He has also edited some of hastingly drafted ramblings to where they are free of my homonym errors and occasional dropped words (which he always manages to supply so flawlessly.) But I also enjoy his debate forum insights when he’s in discussions with both the hardened YEC and the hardened atheist. (I use the word “hardened” honestly. I don’t consider all YECs hardened nor all atheists hardened. In neither case do I apply it as a pejorative. I suppose someday I should write an article on what I mean by it.) Rather than include the complete thread, I’ve extracted three of his comments as they appeared in series and without a summary of what others in the thread were saying. The reader can discern which remarks are directed to the Young Earth Creationist poster and which are to the atheist. I always appreciate Dr. Poole’s perspective, especially when he speaks from a scientific background which far exceeds mine. So, with his permission, I’ve included them here. Their original and casual nature has been preserved without editing and the usual proofreading touch-ups one would expect for a formal publication. The following is off-the-cuff, seat-of-the-pants, Facebook banter, yet in a style that is obviously quite well done for what is truly an impromptu draft of impromptu thoughts. — Professor Tertius


Steve Poole: Facebook Comments about Young Earth Creationists & the Origins Debate

I’m certainly friends with Mr. Jesus…and I also would have loved to make friends with Mr. Darwin and Dr. Lemaitre. Moreover, I would congratulate Jesus for the amazing processes we observe in the universe he created, especially the results of the Big Bang and the spectacular ways that evolutionary processes adapt life to new environments and diversify life in incredible ways. Moreover, nothing science discovers bothers me because (1) I understand the difference between what the Bible describes and what some sectarian TRADITIONS tries to IMPOSE upon the Bible (e.g., a GLOBAL flood when the text only describes a regional flood.) (2) science isn’t a threat to me or anything I find in the scriptures.

A minority of the world’s Christians foolishly get distracted from the REAL agenda that Jesus set for us [HINT: the Great Commission was not an anti-Darwin campaign] and, unfortunately, the least knowledgeable and most embarrassing of our ranks get the most attention because (1) they have the loudest voices, and (2) their leaders are the most comical and entertain us with their ignorance and antics. We aren’t at all surprised that they must resort to silly cartoons and slogans. They lack EVIDENCE and credibility, so what else can they do?

I’m not trying to be nasty or insincerely condescending when I say that I feel sorry for them. Indeed, I myself come from a young earth creationist church background. So my perspective is a personal one and laced with sympathy. I know what it is like to assume that people you trusted and admired and eventually discover that THEY were lied to by “creation scientists” and have been used by others. Many have been told from an early age that “evolution=atheism” and even “scientist=atheist” in many cases. Cherished TRADITIONS combined with peer pressure dynamics can be very hard to overcome.


This format makes it very difficult to tackle big issues in a small space. But I at least wanted to point out for you that while it may be an “argument from ignorance” for some, it certainly isn’t for me and a great many other Christians down through history. I’m a scientist as well as a humanities scholar. (I made an usual career shift a few years ago….but I still think of myself as a scientist by temperament and by research approach.) Moreover, despite the uninformed like Dawkins and Krause who assume that “FAITH=belief without evidence”, that is not the description found in the Bible. If I had no evidence, I wouldn’t be a Christ-follower.

Yes, Young Earth Creationism has been led for about a half century now by a relatively small group of leaders (the most power and more recent crop are all millionaire entrepreneurs who are masterful manipulators of the gullible.) I have experience from that heritage but even I can scarcely believe the……well…..the illogical, mind-numbing stupidity which has largely taken over among the leaders and the activists. [I also stress that the MAJORITY of the rank and file average YEC doesn’t obsess on origins issues and most are fine people and sincerely living out the teachings of Jesus and not ranting against Science all the time.] The activists push a lot of unbiblical craziness which I hate to see attributed to the majority of good people to be found in those churches…..although their gullibility and naive passivity makes them easy to mislead.

Anyway, I’m fine with labeling the folly where it appears. But the Christian world suffers badly from Dunning-Kruger…..and it always seems to be that lowest quartile YEC that always seems to be out front talking about pseudo-science…..and even ends up the spokesperson for ALL evangelical Christianity (to our horror.)


By the way, I think you will admit that you have no background in the exposition of ancient languages and their literature and a lot of your posts above make me cringe just as much as what the creationists post—-because you show just as much ignorance of linguistics and how cultures express themselves. These are mostly 101 course fundamentals, but I find a lot of non-Christians as well as Christians are certain that they don’t need any professor to tell them what various expressions and passages mean. But you do. In a university classroom, there is no ambiguity or uncertainty about who knows what they are talking about—but the rise of the Internet has brought an interesting wave of Dunning-Kruger to EVERY academic discipline, it seems. And when someone finds that someone here is a professor of religious studies, there are idi0ts who actually think that means “religious people who invade universities to teach their religion.” Accordingly, they refuse to believe the Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Languages & Literature who teaches the Intro to Old Testament 101 might be just as likely to be an atheist or agnostic as a Jew or a Christian. They don’t understand that it is an academic discipline and has nothing to do with apologetics, recruitment or “faith”.

Indeed, one of the differences between teaching such a course in the USA versus Germany or France, for example is that American monolingualism encourages even more ignorance of how students read the Bible in translation. And I saw examples of that in your treatment of ends of the earth and the ends of the earth. But before you conclude I”m some sort of “concordist”, I also anger the YECs because I tell them that the ancient Hebrews including most of the scripture authors most likely held to their culture’s cosmology—-which wasn’t so much “wrong” or “non-scientific” as it was just plain “different” because it was just “call ’em like we see ’em.” Accordingly, a lot of classic passages cited by idi0tic websites like Skeptics Annotated Bible are not “scientifically flawed”, they are simply NOT TRYING to be scientific and what they were saying was and still is 100% true if you understand what they are saying and don’t try to BE ANACHRONISTIC—-a logic error which is ubiquitous among BOTH skeptics and Young Earth Creationists.

In other words, most of the time neither side knows what they are talking about….so it gets quite painful to watch. And that is why I’m saying goodnight.

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ICR Totally Mangles the Purpose & Significance of Pasteur’s Experiments

ICR didn’t invent science-ignorance–but they surely do their best to keep it alive!

When it comes to science, it is hard to beat ICR (Institute for Creation Research) for defiant ignorance.  Here is the caption below their silly video misstating what Louis Pasteur accomplished in discrediting old wives’ tale about “spontaneous generation” of maggots from meat and lice from sweaty shirts:

“In the 19th century, the theory of abiogenesis was widely accepted, much like evolution is today. Charles Darwin strongly promoted the idea that life was generated spontaneously from non-life. However, Louis Pasteur, a French microbiologist and believer in biblical creation, made a startling discovery that turned this notion completely upside down.”

Yours truly, Professor Tertius, posted the following rebuttal, but it apparently flew right over the heads of ICR groupies:

1) Abiogenesis refers to life from non-life. The Bible describes abiogenesis in Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord made HA’ADAM (“the human one”) from the dust of the ground.” The dust of the ground is a perfectly reasonable way for ancient Hebrew to refer to the chemical elements of the earth’s crust. God made the man (a living biological organism) from the dust of the ground (non-living ingredients.) That is the very definition of abiogenesis!

2) Those who are monolingual sometimes assume that Genesis 2:7 is not abiogenesis because God is involved. No. While the English language uses the same word for a spirit being alive as for a biological organism being alive, the original languages of the Bible so often carefully distinguish between the two by using entirely different words. (For example, when Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life” he was NOT saying “I’m a biological organism”. The Greek word is not BIOS but ZOE. ZOE does not mean biological life. BIOS provides that meaning.) Furthermore, science is not theology and it doesn’t make theological statements because the scientific method has no tools or procedures for detecting supernatural entities such as God. So the word “abiogenesis” is strictly concerned with the matter-energy world, not spiritual things. So both Christians and non-Christians in the sciences can agree on abiogenesis without debating theological topics. The bottom line is that both modern science and the Bible speak of abiogenesis, living things from non-living ingredients, without a conflict.

3) The opposite of abiogenesis is biogenesis. If biogenesis was some sort of scientific law found in science textbook (It’s not), that would mean that living things always produced living things right into the “infinite past”. And that would mean that biological life is eternal and therefore the universe is eternal. It is not! Both science and the Bible agree that there was a time in the past when no living things existed, and a time when the first non-living ingredients became a living organism. Abiogenesis. Of course, a born-again, Bible-believing Christ-follower believes that the agent who made that abiogenesis possible is God the Creator. Science doesn’t make theological determinations because theology can’t be tested under the scientific method. So it is Biblical theology which adds that extra commentary on the emergence of life: God made living things and that explains abiogenesis. Science only knows that abiogenesis somehow happened. Biological life is not eternal. It had a beginning because God willed it!

4) The video on Louis Pasteur is confusing “spontaneous generation” and abiogenesis. From ancient times people made wrong assumptions about some forms of life. They thought maggots arose from dead meat. They thought body lice came from dirty clothes. Pasteur conducted specific experiments to debunk those specific claims of tradition and folklore. It is impossible for anyone to somehow conduct an experiment to determine “Under no circumstances and at no time could life arise from non-living ingredients.” Indeed, because of that logical impossibility, that is why nobody making the false claims about Louis Pasteur debunking “abiogenesis” ever describes how he could have done so! The scientific method CANNOT somehow prove a negative. So Christians can be confident that Dr. Pasteur did NOT somehow disprove Genesis 2:7, the life from non-living ingredients described in the account of God making Adam from the dust of the ground.

[This intentional obfuscation of the word “abiogenesis” is a great example of the Argument from Equivocation fallacy. Equivocation fallacies are common in Internet discussion forums, especially when YECs are involved.]

In summary, the Bible says that both the universe and biological life had a beginning. Modern science has determined the same thing: they both had beginnings. So once again, the Bible and modern science are not necessarily in disagreement. The Bible describes livings things coming from “dust” (the chemical elements of the earth’s crust) and Science concurs.

It is time to end the artificial, unnecessary, pointless war between science and the Bible which YECs constantly insist on manufacturing.  Moreover, the Bible can be cited in support of what scientists do: “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” — Proverbs 25:2

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Facebook Double-Standards: YECers can call other Christians “atheists” but don’t you dare post to complain about it!

{Professor Tertius is back at his desk part-time. So today’s post is brief but solicitous of your participation. Anecdotes? Anyone? How about creationists: Do you agree or disagree with this tendency to label everyone an atheist if they deny Young Earth Creationism?}

A colleague recently sent me the following warning and one-day suspension notice he received from Facebook. His crime? A Young Earth Creationist, hereby to be known as Mr. X, had been labelling “atheist” anyone who dared disagree with him on virtually any Bible topic, especially those related to origins and the Book of Genesis. Although some who disagreed with Mr. X were, no doubt, self-described atheists, Mr. X seemed especially focussed on calling even evangelical Christians in the thread “atheists” and “allies of Satan”.  Finally, Dr. Steve Poole had his fill and posted the following question to the thread, and it produced the following rebuke from Facebook:

We removed the post below because it doesn’t follow the Facebook Community Standards:

WHY IS THIS THE PATTERN WITH Young Earth Creationists?

(1) “You are not a true Christian.”

(2) “I honestly feel like you are an atheist.”

(3) “You’re an atheist!”

Mr. X just proved yet again what a Young Earth Creationist says when another Christian fails to agree with him.

It’s an old story: When a Young Earth Creationist finds someone who doesn’t agree with his favorite TRADITIONS which are not supported by the Bible, first he calls them “not a true Christian”. And then he goes all the way to “You’re an atheist!” You see, in creationist-speak, the word “atheist” means “disagrees with me”. It is a protective strategy meant to squelch any realizations they have that all of the evidence from God’s creation supports The Theory of Evolution and the Bible says nothing to deny evolution. To protect themselves from that evidence, they MUST pretend that the Christian is an atheist in order to convince themselves of the danger and in order to avoid thinking about the evolution-confirming evidence.

Did it work, Mr. X? How many Christians have you declared “atheist” so far? Most of the world’s Christians have no conflict with evolution. Are all of them atheists?

1) Seeing how Mr. X rejects the evolution processes God created, does that make him an atheist? After all, in creationist-speak an “atheist” is anybody who disagrees with my own personal opinions.

2) Does adding to the Gospel by adding prohibitions against affirming evolution qualify for the Apostle Paul’s words about those who preach “any other gospel”? (“Let him be accursed.”)

3) Does YEC hostility toward The Theory of Evolution and those who affirm it help advance the Kingdom and fulfill the Great Commission? Or does it help destroy your credibility and confuse non-Christians as to the nature of the Gospel message?

Frankly, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been called an atheist by YEC zealots, even immediately after describing my background as an evangelical Bible translation consultant on the mission field, hospital chaplain, and seminary professor. This phenomenon is a good example of the “slippery slope” thinking among so many Young Earth Creationists. In any other context they would agree that one should not add “rules” to the Gospel in terms of what someone must believe or do to be a genuine Christ-follower. But many have said to me, “If you are going to deny Genesis 1, you might as well deny the entire Bible. And if you deny the entire Bible, you’ve denied the Gospel and you aren’t a Christian.” Of course, what they call “denying Genesis 1” is actually (in most cases) someone refusing to accept their interpretations of Genesis 1 as the intended meaning of the text. So if I really want to enrage the most adamant YECs, I will follow up with my own brand of gasoline on the fire:

“My interpretation of Genesis 1 is far more literal than yours. I notice that the Hebrew text claims that God’s commands are presented in a six-YOM (“day”, “time period”) outline. The text doesn’t say how or when the results from each command played out.  Yet, clearly, when God says, “Let the waters bring forth…” and “Let the land bring forth [living creatures]”, we are told that generations of reproduction and ecosystem building are the result.  Those processes, obviously, take many years to accomplish.  There is no “poof!” creation described there. In fact, the Hebrew text emphasizes that it is the waters and the earth which produce the living things in accordance with the creator’s intentions. The text says nothing of “appearance of age” or “embedded age”, concepts which are nothing but creationist “rescue devices” created from thin air (special creation!) by YECs who know that the evidence for a 6,000 year old earth is nil.

Creationists, what have you to say of this problem? Do YECs love to reduce the complexities of origins issues to simplistic false dichotomies? Does my disagreement with Ken Ham make me an atheist? Doesn’t the Bible rebuke this kind of attitude? What say ye?


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Many of the lame “Arguments for God’s Existence” defy the Biblical Doctrine of God’s Transcendence!

====>  Professor Tertiuhas largely recovered from eye surgery and is now catching up on backlogs. 

{I should also mention that I’m responsible (OK, to blame) for any and all of the Hebrew glitches in Professor Tertius’ vision-assistance software. I apologize for the confusion created by my less-than-perfect coding for handling Hebrew script, especially concerning Aleph and qamets in some contexts. In fact, feel free to send evidence of bugs to me through BSF. Just put my name in the subject field or simply start your message with the word “programmer”. — Steve Poole}

P.S.  BSF Associates only: There will be no more newsletters for 2014. 

 Arguments for God’s Existence: Compromising God’s Transcendence!

I am not entirely opposed to arguments supporting the existence of God. But honesty requires candor when dealing with an Internet littered with so many poor arguments for God’s existence.

The very worst of such arguments try to claim “scientific proof” of God, which, in addition to the many obvious scientific problems with such claims, usually involves denying a fundamental doctrine of Biblical Christianity: the transcendence of God! If God is truly transcendent–and not a matter-energy entity of our universe–then how could the scientific method possibly study and explain God? Indeed, the moment a scientist succeeded in doing so, that scientists would have not only demolished the Doctrine of Divine Transcendence, but redefined “God” entirely!

Lots of Christians fall into these same errors: They come up with arguments that sound “sciencey” because they use scientific terms (though not necessarily properly) and deal with scientific concepts (ditto), and draw conclusions that “sound” science-related. But, at best, they have proposed philosophical hypotheses, not scientific ones. Of course, this is quite easy to do when the non-scientist doesn’t understand what science is and how it operates! That is why so much of what they propose is untestable and they never say how their “theory” could potentially be falsified.

Stephen Meyer is one of the worst offenders who comes to mind. He is a philosopher (though his own academic peers pay little attention to him because he is not known for impressive philosophy publications) who thinks he understands science–but nobody within the academy thinks he does. I have a paleontologist friend who can barely stand Meyer’s bungling of basic anatomy, taxonomy, and you-name-it. Nobody is surprised that Meyer has to publish his “science” [sarcasm intended!] books through Harper-Collins. Science publishers won’t touch his nonsense.

{ShawnTheAtheist raised an issue so important that my original comment in reply was edited to produce this blog article. Thank you, Shawn, and welcome to the Bible.and.Science.Forum.}


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