Proof of God 4: Proving God with science- or, What does the Number Five Smell Like?

If you’ve admitted in the public space of social media that you are a Christian, you no doubt have been attacked by the filthy pests of social media which I call Roach Clowns in an exchange that sounds something like this (once you remove the profanities and name calling):

Roach Clown: You believe fairy tales! I’m a man of science! I only believe things which can be proven scientifically with 100% mathematical certainty!

You: You can prove atheism to be true then?

Roach Clown: Uh…I don’t have to prove anything! Don’t try to push the burden of proof on me! You’re the person believing in fairy tales! I only believe things which can be proven scientifically with 100% mathematical certainty!

You: You mean, for example, evolution?

Roach Clown: Evolution is a scientific fact! We don’t need to prove it, we KNOW It’s true!*

You: With 100 % mathematical certainty?

Roach Clown: Evolution denier! Heretic! OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!!

measuring the five

Roach Clowns all the time be demanding “Scientific Proof” for God’s existence, which to me is just another way they prove how much they don’t know. In this case, they are admitting that they don’t understand the nature of God or science. You’ve got to hand it to the Roach Clowns. They cover all of their bases.

Problem 1: Science is a search for truth and understanding based on observation. This is why its full name as it appears on its driver’s license is “Observational Science.” We observe with the five senses, and thus we are doing science on things which can be seen, felt, heard, smelled, or tasted- things like bacon, wombats, trees, or dwarf planets. Just as an example, the number five is a real thing, but you cannot “do science” on the number five. It’s not made of atoms, it doesn’t take up a certain amount of space, and it doesn’t taste like anything. If we could get it to taste like bacon I would be more anxious to spend time balancing my checkbook, but I digress. The point is, to do science on something, that something has to be part of the material world which can be experienced, interacted with and measured with the five senses.

Problem 2: God is not a part of the physical, material universe. He is not made of atoms, doesn’t take up space, etc. Like the number 5, He is REAL, but He is not material**. He is Spirit, not matter. He Created matter. The material universe is the effect we can study, He is the cause of our universe.

Problematic Conclusion: Demanding “Scientific Proof” for the existence of God is like demanding to know what the number five smells like, or how much the color blue weighs. When someone demands “Scientific Proof for the existence of God” what they are really saying is, “I don’t understand God or Science or what it means to prove something.”

It would be sad if it wasn’t so funny.

So when the Roach Clowns demand scientific evidence for the existence of God, politely explain to them what is meant by “God” and “Science.” Next time I’m going to blow your mind by presenting scientific evidence for the existence of God. Until then, thanks for letting me be your Rent-A-Friend.

 

* Roach Clowns actually say this kind of thing all the time. Be sad for them.

**Except for the incarnation and various post resurrection appearances of Jesus, but that material appearance is his human nature and not his divine nature and thus is not by definition characteristics of God.

 

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About rentafriend2000
Rocking my 40's with a heart full of love and muffins, science and technology. Jesus loves me and wants me to totally rock! And I am here to help.

25 Responses to Proof of God 4: Proving God with science- or, What does the Number Five Smell Like?

  1. Missed this great post on the sixth so I thought I would help your ‘followers’ out and explain where you are wrong here.

    1. This is a little weaselly. Christians certainly claim that Jesus was real -shouldn’t we be able to ask for scientific – observational -evidence for his existence? But the facts are that if you scrub early xtians history of texts wrriten by believers with an obvious ax to grind there is nary any mention of this man. And then there are those times when god purports to invade material space and heal or provide Cadilacs or to send money for new churches. Yet again, not one single bit of repeatable, predictable evidence has ever been observed. Thus the xtians mantra that god answers every prayer – sometimes he just says no. Convenient!

    2. You can’t measure five? Shucks! My seven year olds can do that all day with their eyes shut.

    3. God is not part of the material…this is just a definition that you have agreed to. It can’t be disproved nor can it be proved. You could just as easily have said that blue eyed unicorns aren’t part of the material world but exists in the dream world and you would have made just as much sense.

    4. He is the cause of our universe…unsubstantiated pap. You begin with your conclusion. The very antithesis of science. Try harder.

    4. If, in your next poest, you provide ‘scientific proof’ of god then why, when people ask youj for it, do you laugh at them rather than simply explain it?

    Waiting for the next post!

    • Thanks again for another comment Dennis,
      Forgive my saying so, but it does seem you skimmed this one rather than read it, otherwise you’re straw manning quite a bit. I’m going to assume not, as you seem too smart to be a Roach Clown (And far too literate). You’re not a Roach Clown, Dennis. Otherwise you’d have started suggesting methods of executing myself by now. However, your reply did not show a clear understanding of the points I was making, so let me clear up some fuzzy areas.
      1. First, while Jesus was real, it’s not the humanity of Jesus which I am addressing, it’s his Divinity. If I had proven the existence of the man named Jesus, living in the time and place the Bible says, Roach Clowns (and probably other atheists) would not consider that evidence of God’s existence. So, this seems like a straw man or bait and switch for you to make this complaint. And even if it WAS the existence of the man Jesus I was talking about, you either mean to prove the life he lived 2,000 years ago, which cannot be done with Observational Science (The topic of this post) as you cannot observe the past, and if you mean Jesus as he lives now, it can’t be done unless he stops by and allows to some testing. Which, while possible, is unlikely. I’m not nearly as busy as he is, and I would still probably refuse to stop by and allow you to take measurements of samples of me. Just a personal preference.

      As for scrubbing Jesus out of history- I find the accusation of “Having an Axe to grind” rather humorous, because you’re essentially trying to call Christian credibility into question because they believed what they reported. If you can dismiss a witness because he believes he is telling the truth, I say you have a future as a successful (though unscrupulous) lawyer. Also, with a little looking you’ll find a LOT of the Christian history and doctrine is accounted for outside of the Bible. Check out:
      http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/is-there-any-evidence-for-jesus-outside-the-bible/
      http://www.bethinking.org/jesus/ancient-evidence-for-jesus-from-non-christian-sources
      Of course you can choose to reject the New testament as historically reliable for a lot of reasons, but those reasons will all be circular in their reasoning and probably force you to reject EVERY historical record from before 1970. But I digress.

      As for healing and providing Cadillacs (or let’s just say, “Material needs”), God steps in and acts often. I’ve heard LOTS of stories and seen some first hand. Here’s one collection from one church: http://www.ibethel.org/testimonies
      And to be scientific- unless you can prove 100% of these as false somehow, then you must at least accept the possibility of some- no matter how few- of being true. Naturally, you can reject EVERY claim of the miraculous out of hand based on your atheism, but then you can’t really claim a lack of miracles as evidence against God’s existence then, can you? As that would be the textbook definition of circular reasoning. (See cartoon below)

      That you are unaware of miracles occurring doesn’t mean it never happens. I’ve never talked to anyone who threw a hundred yard pass, but I have talked to a girl who had God replace her failed kidneys with new ones so that she avoided the need for surgery and confused her doctors. Would I be justified of saying NO ONE HAS EVER thrown a football for a hundred yards? Of course, if you were to name someone who had, I would claim it was a lie invented by footballers with an axe to grind. How convenient that ONLY football fans happen to see these miraculous feats of human athletics. (This is a tongue in cheek metaphor- though in full disclosure, I really don’t know much about football).

      And it again shows a misunderstanding that you demand “repeatable, predictable evidence” for the actions of God. Is he a law of physics or chemistry that you expect him to act the same way when given the same request? Does ANYONE ALWAYS do the repeatable, predictable thing? He is a personal God with a will, not a piece of the material universe acting according to the laws of physics- again the point of this post. And the Bible tells us that God is a loving father. Would you ALWAYS say “yes” to any child you love? How long would they survive if you ONLY answered “Yes”? Do you not say “no” to your child BECAUSE you love her? If your kids are like mine, this is something you do every hour or two.

      2. OK, have your seven year old measure the number five in either inches or pounds (I’m an American after all) and let me know what you discover.

      3. The first thing the Bible tells us is that God CREATED the universe (Heavens and the earth). The CAUSE of the existence of matter must be immaterial. That’s just logical. And God tells us he is Spirit, which is different than matter. This is just a definition you have rejected (While admitting you cannot disprove it). This is a definition I agreed to, just as I agreed Frank Sinatra was Italian because he said he was. We tend to learn most of the things we know about others from their self revelation. You have no reason to treat God differently except that you are holding onto skepticism as a foundation. Genesis 1:1 is not the whole of Christian doctrine, nor is it an island. In context, we have every reason to trust God at his word. Prophecies come true, lives are changed, and though you have never seen it, I have, God answers prayer in ways that are miraculous. The Bible is accurate in any way historical or scientific in which it can be tested. I have found no reason to doubt God. If you think you have, let me encourage you to keep testing further.

      And that thing about the unicorns- you’re not really making a point so much as trying to make fun of something you don’t really understand, so I’m not going to bother with that one. I think you know you didn’t make a good point there. That was a pile of straw man or something else as inedible. Unicorns? I expect better from you Dennis. Unicorns, like Thor and the Canaanites, are the weak fallback of the Roach Clowns. You’re better than straw men.

      4. Since the case for God as creator is not merely scientific, but cumulative, you can’t take this part of the Biblical worldview and isolate it, and then again erroneously demand scientific evidence. Part of the reason you don’t understand this is because you don’t see (And many times, people like me fail to make clear) that being a Christian is not merely an intellectual pursuit of ideas. I do not discuss Jesus like we might discuss warp drive technology and the possibility of the construction of a light-saber. When I discuss Jesus with you as a Christian, it is like I am explaining the many reasons I know and understand my wife while you are insisting I am a disillusion bachelor. Or to put a better metaphor to it: you and I are brothers, and I know our father personally, while you have convinced yourself that we had no father. You examine the artwork he has made for pigment chemistry and the physics of oil and canvas, while I am telling you that he is an artist who loves you, and you can know him and be his son again. I know God loves me the way I know my wife does- through their words and actions over many years, as well as knowing others with a relationship with them. For God so Loved YOU that he sent his only son that, if you believe in him, you will have eternal life.

      That God is creator IS substantiated by science, history, the rest of scripture, logical philosophy, and personal experience. What is unsubstantiated is this complaint. Again, you’re merely being skeptical to be skeptical. I’ve already shown you can reject your own existence if you really want to, but that doesn’t mean you are being wise or scientific. You’re rejecting a conclusion and the evidence without taking the time to examine or understand either, which is actually the antithesis of science. Perhaps you suggest I replace a logical understanding of cause and effect with- Big Bang? The universe made itself? Or evolution? The faith that the corruption of DNA and loss of genes over millions of years ADDED the genetic information needed to turn rocks into college professors? I think THAT is the very heart of unsubstantiated religious jaw. And again, I will be discussing this in more detail in future posts, so check back soon.

      5. If you read this post more carefully, and then read the next, I think the points and distinctions will be obvious. If not, feel free to send me questions. I am here to help.
      As always, thanks for you comments, and thanks for letting me be your Rent-A-Friend.

      PS: Enjoy this cartoon:

      • A truly odd screed. Let’s see if I can figure it out:

        Jesus – the man part – cannot be verified by ‘observational science’

        Jesus – the god part – cannot be verified by ‘observational science’

        God is capricious in his intereactions with the material. After all “Does ANYONE ALWAYS do the repeatable, predictable thing?”

        Ergo – god keeps his promises sometimes. I always though that god was held in higher esteem? something like ‘he is bound by his perfect character to keep his promises?’

        Not a good day for the saved! You better hope god isn’t rolling craps on the day you die!

        And by the way, can you clarify ‘observational science’? I am a working scientist and science writer and haven’t a clue what you’re talking about. I’m pretty sure that you don’t either.

        And by the way again – that Cold Case Christianity stuff? I read that book a couple of years ago – if this is what is passing for apologetics then I’m tossing my hat in with the atheists who say that Christianity is limping poorly on its last leg. The book is so poorly written and argued that only the choir would give it a high-five. The author makes Hank Hanegraaf look like a MENSA keynote speaker and RC Sproul look like god’s inside bet. But it’s a good way to make a living!

      • Thanks again for your questions Dennis,
        Observational science is what we used to mean by the term “Science” in the fact that is is based on observations. Consider in a court of law the difference between an eye witness testimony and the conclusions of a CSI team. Both are valuable, but the CSI team is, at the end of the day, taking an educated guess, where as the eyewitness actually saw what happened. What would be of more scientific or legal value at the scene of a car crash? The person who looks at the wreckage and figures out what probably happened, or the street cam which recorded it as it happened? Thus, things like physics, chemistry, biology and geology are all based on observations- things we can SEE and MEASURE and TEST. Evolution is none of those things. Big Bang, deep time, and uniformitarianism are none of those things. In fact, nothing in the past can be scientifically tested because we and all of our data exist in the present. We can only test the present and then deduce things about the past. No one is saying that is not valuable as almost every case of law requires these historical sciences, but when the observations of the present clash with the assumptions about the unobserved past, it is both scientific and wise to go with what we can see, test, and measure over what is an educated guess. Observational science tells us that information never writes itself, and that language is always the result of a mind making the choice to communicate somehow. Mathematics and laws of physics based on observations we can make now tell us that information and machines cannot be the result of blind, accidental chance, but must have a mind to plan ahead for their many irreducibly complex designs. Darwin says, “All present observations and probability aside, it MUST have happened in the past.” Thus, when I say “God is he designer of the universe” I did not see him do it, nor can I test it directly, but the creation model fits with what we DO observe and test and know, where as evolution is in the opposite direction in every way.

        Also, if something is not material, it cannot be observe directly. Again, this was the point of the article you are replying to here. So when you wonder why I believe in something which cannot be observed directly (God/Jesus), I am also pointing out that I believe in love, the number five, and events, persons, and objects which no longer exist but once did. This is the only way to understand math and history, as they are not directly observable to us. You do this also. And if you are attempting to imply (as you do not state it) that my belief in God/Jesus is unfounded because they cannot be tested directly by science, then read the article again because this, again, was the very point I addressed in that article.

        And if you are going to claim God is failing to keep his promises by loving us enough to say NO when we ask for things, then show me where the Bible says God has promised to answer ALL of our requests no matter our intent or the outcome? You will find it is not in there. And again, ask yourself- if you really love your child, does this cause you to say YES to EVERY request they make? Or do you not reject some requests, in fact MANY, BECAUSE you love them, and often for reasons they cannot understand? Again you want to treat God as an equation when he is a father.

        And forgive my frustration but here is a tired old chestnut: I provide the evidence which you just claimed does not exist, and instead of here admitting that the evidence of the New testament is as reliable as any in history, and even so much exists outside of the Bible to collaborate with it, you instead just reject the author of one of those sources- himself merely reporting on writings of history, not himself claiming to be an eye witness- and decide that it is sufficient to reject the records of history because you can make some lame ad hominen attack against a former cop. That is truly pathetic and I am disappointed that you have stooped to the level of the disgruntled teen boys who usually make these kind of replies. You said “the facts are that if you scrub early xtians history of texts wrriten by believers with an obvious ax to grind there is nary any mention of this man.” And yet when I provide a collection of such mentions of Jesus, you attack the writer of one of the web sites? Surely you know better than to think this reply sufficient. If you are a scientist as you claim, and I have no cause to doubt you, then you know that rejecting data because you dislike the writing style or personality of the man who wrote it is far from valid. If the data is insufficient to answer you, why have you not addressed the data itself? I mean no disrespect when I say this seems like an obvious distraction from a conclusion you simply wish to avoid making or admitting.

        While I realize this is unrelated to our conversation, I am curious: What is it you do? You’ve mentioned your career in passing twice now. If you’ve already written about this, feel free to post me a link.
        And thanks for letting me be your Rent-A-Friend.

      • Without any context I must assume I referred to myself as “we”? I do that sometimes. I also spell some words wrong the same way every time every though I know I am spelling them wrong. We all have our quirks.
        But I am totally putting that phrase on a coffee mug. “Who is WE?”
        Right? Nice.

      • Without any context? You don’t have a back button?

        Use of ‘we’ is a method to come off as something you’re not. To fool readers into thinking that you have some kind of authority in the topic at hand.

        I might add this quote to my recent post on sorting out real from pseudo-science. It’s a classic among YEC chiropractors and engineers who want to be scientists.

      • Dennis, you have often failed to write complete ideas, and so I have to guess at your meaning. And if you are really offended by my referring to myself as we, wherever I did it, then may I suggest you are making a mountain out of a mole hill. If you desire to demonize YEC’s that badly, then by all means, you may quote me. But in my experience, relying on the resume or attacking the lack there of is the staple tactic (And logical fallacy) of the atheist/evolutionist. I never sell myself as an authority, nor defend my position based on me. I merely claim to be presenting the truth.

      • Fair enough – no trouble here and we are in agreement.

      • “atheists who say that Christianity is limping poorly on its last leg. The book is so poorly written and argued that only the choir would give it a high-five. The author makes Hank Hanegraaf look like a MENSA keynote speaker and RC Sproul look like god’s inside bet. But it’s a good way to make a living!”

        I do not think you understand ad hominem? LEt me be clear. The book is poorly written. It’s arguments are flabby and weak.

        Do you see kinds of science other than ‘observational science’? If not then why call it something different?

        I’m confused when you say that you cannot believe in evolution and or abiogensis because you can’t see it. But you also say that you believe in god though you can’t see it. This seems inconsistant.

        “And if you are attempting to imply (as you do not state it) that my belief in God/Jesus is unfounded because they cannot be tested directly by science,”

        I don’t imply this at all. I really don’t care what you believe. It’s meaningless to me as is Santeria or Hinduism. So you can toast to jesus and the holy spirit all you want with my blessing!

        Ah yes! The old chesnut! You’re chestnut is old and mouldy. You haven’t provided a shred of evidence but only tiny shards of unsubstantiated belief. And a link to Cold Christianity is like a link to a site that proves that Joseph Smith wore magic glasses.

        Let’s start over with one easy question. No Gish Gush. No links.

        I’ll let you pick the question.

      • Hey Dennis. It’s getting late here, so I’ll try and be concise, but as you’ve noticed it’s not my gift:
        1. I referenced (along side another site you do not mention) Cold Case Christianity’s web site because it listed some of the historical references to Jesus outside of the Bible which you said did not exist. I did not say anything about the book. So, again, this looks like you understand that I have answered your claim with actual data and are simply trying to change the subject. This is a childish debate tactic which I feel is beneath you, especially if you are a man of science. The historical data shows that sources outside of the church admit to the existence, work, and claims of Jesus and his followers, as well as his execution under Pilate, his having a brother named James, the change of the day of worship of his followers from Saturday to Sunday (explained by it being the day of his Resurrection), etc etc. As a man of science, you ought to admit that I falsified your claim with data and not try this change of topic to a discussion of your dislike of a book I did not reference.
        2. Observational science is science that relies on direct observation. Legal/historical proofs are derived with present observations, and various forms of other testimony to try to determine what was NOT observed. Some call it “Historical Sciences” as it is used to try and come to conclusions about the past, which we cannot directly observe, because it is in the past. Lab tests are Observational science, CSI teams mainly deal with historical sciences, where they try to come to reasonable conclusions about a past event they did not witness and cannot test/observe directly. This I already did say.
        3. You then ignored the historical references and said “The author makes Hank Hanegraaf look like a MENSA keynote speaker and RC Sproul look like god’s inside bet. But it’s a good way to make a living!” And if that’s not Ad Hominem, it’s certainly the oddest compliment I’ve heard in a while. But if you really did not mean to attack Jim Wallace as a poor writer who is trying to make money by writing bad apologetic books, then I apologize. As you well know, we can only infer from text what would normally be provided in speech.
        4. There is nothing inconsistent about believing in something which you cannot see and disbelieving in something which you think is impossible. I defy you to show with reasoned argument that there is.
        5. If you don’t care what I believe, then why are you writing to me and why do you write your own blog? Surely you either DO care what other people (of which I am at least one) think, or you’re just really bored. But I don’t need you to care about me to be your Rent-A-Friend. That’s cool. I don’t do this to make people like me. I do it because there are people who may have questions and want answers. I’m being a friend to whoever wants one. If you want a friend, you’re welcome here anytime. If you’re just looking for a fight, you’re looking in the wrong place.
        6. My chestnut is moldy? I need to see a doctor about that. Gross.
        7. A question? I love questions! I love chocolate more, but that’s harder to send via internet. I think I have already asked several good questions which you didn’t answer, so I don’t think I’ll reinvent the wheel.
        QUESTIONS FOR DENNIS! (Brought to you by Jimmi Johns, “Subs so FAST you’ll FREAK!”)
        1. How is Natural Selection the origin of ANY species when it is a process which REMOVES existing genetic variability from a gene pool and does not add any?
        2. How long is the number five in inches, or how much does it weight in pounds?
        3. If you find a rock of unknown age, do you not have to make several untestable assumptions which could be very wrong and thus invalidate ANY date your selected method might give? How can any of those dates be trusted when you know they are based on assumptions which you cannot prove right, and for which I have shown there is much evidence to assume them wrong?
        4. Do you love your children? Do you always give them anything they ever ask for? If not, why not?

        That’s probably enough for now. I don’t understand the rejection of links. Are you not interested in the truth? Or are we merely trying to see who can outwit the other using only what is in our own heads? I’m not really interested in winning a contest. If you believe you are smarter than I am, then so be it. I have no reason to suspect that not to be true. If you really work in the sciences as you said, I hope you are. But my purpose in sparing with you is to find the truth of the matter, not to show you some superiority I assume I have. I merely think that the things I believe to be true are true, and that truth is knowable.
        Let me say again what I have said to many before you and no doubt will to many after: If you have questions, I will try to answer them honestly, if you think I am wrong, then I welcome your attempt to prove it by reason and data, if you want a friend at a reasonable hourly rate, then you are welcome here at any time. But if you have come merely to pick a fight just to see who can win, I am not interested.
        But again I digress and have talked too long. Have a good day, and thanks for letting me be your Rent-A-Friend.

      • 1. Natural selection doesn’t necessarily lessen population genetic diversity.
        2. ‘Five’ is a definition and marker that differentiates one point on a number line from others.
        3. Assumptions
        A. The universe and its parts are real
        B. The materials that make the universe are bound by the character of their composition.
        4. Most of the time

      • 1. This fails to answer my question or address the point.
        2. This fails to answer my question or address the point I was making in the article you responded to.
        3. This is not even a sentence. A & B do not answer the question either.
        4. This is not enough of a sentence to convey a full idea.

        You said, “Let’s start over with one easy question. No Gish Gush. No links. I’ll let you pick the question.” I picked four I had already asked which you had failed to answer. Now you again come to my bog and fail to answer them. What is the point of such an exchange? Again, it looks like you are avoiding real discussion because you understand at some level the eventual outcome of such an honest discussion, and how indefensible your position is. Or perhaps you merely want the last word? If you just want the last word, let me know and I shall let you have it. But I don’t have the time to waste on this sort of thing.

        I mean no disrespect, but as I have said many times before, if you have questions, I am glad to answer them. If you think I am wrong, I invite you to show me with logical reason and evidence. If you are merely looking for a fight, you are looking in the wrong place.

      • Thanks!

        Let’s stick with number 1.

        You ask how nat selection contributes to the origin of species since it removes genetic variability from a gene pool?

        I answer that it doesn’t necessarily do do. NS can just as easily increase variability. And, by definition, created a new pool. Under whatever environmental conditions exist certain traits offer a better chance at success. If selected for the variable will increase throughout the population. To whit: if you begin with a specie of Australopithecine – our putative ancestor – there is more genetic diversity in the hominid line after (chimps, apes, bonobos, humans) than before.

      • Here in lies a problem, I suspect, with definition of terms. Natural Selection, from how I have used it and from how I have seen it used from Darwin to the NCSE, is the cumulative effect of environmental stressors on a population, causing some of the variation in the population to lead those individuals with that variation to survive and reproduce more efficiently, where as those with a different variation on the related trait do not, and thus the population will eventually lose those less likely to survive/reproduce and eventually, if this continues long enough, to lose the alleles which are less fit. Thus, the population begins with a variation on some gene, but Nature “Selects” for one of those alleles and against others, causing the population to change in the percentage of those carrying that one beneficial allele (AKA: Gene Frequency).
        To clarify- we begin with a species which has variations on some trait (Say, the color of the exterior fur/shell/feathers/etc). Some have a variation which helps them survive and reproduce, thus passing on that trait, while those with another variation do not, and thus cannot pass on that trait (Having not survived), meaning it will eventually be lost. The end result is subtraction. We have not gained any new genes, but have lost variations on some trait. The variations which exist after the “selection” already existed in the population before hand, and they still exist when the others are gone. This is not an evolutionary process, as it cannot add new genes or variability.
        You say that it CAN increase variability, but I do not see how. Are you using the term differently than I am, or do you believe there to be some way in which this removal of less beneficial genes also creates new genes? Or perhaps you don’t mean genetic variability (Which is really what drives evolution) but merely a variation in expressed phenotype due to the shuffling of existing genes?
        Let us remember that evolution is a story which tells us that bacteria gained new genes over and over until it became worms which became fish which became wolves, and all of these steps require additions to the genome. Bacteria can never become a wolf by LOSING genes. Thus, any process which loses genes, while perhaps beneficial to the survival to the species, is not an evolutionary change. Losing genes cannot create a new species, only a new variation, like wolves losing enough genes to devolve into the poodle. This is the Creationist model called “Biological Orchard” because while pet shop dogs are all descended from the wolf, it has happened by the shuffling of existing genes and the loss of some alleles along the way, with some created original dog kind, but no ancestral link to cats or worms or fish or cabbage. Each “Kind” which God created branched out into variations due to the great amount of genetic information in the original, thus making the creation model and observational science a great fit, where evolution fails.
        To the point, tossing cards under the table when you deal might help you find the Queen of hearts, but it will never create the Arch Duke of Hearts, nor can it explain any of the cards already in the deck when you begin.
        Thus again I say, Natural Selection cannot create new species, and Darwin’s book is wrong before the very first page (Which interestingly he admits in the 4th chapter of his book in the 6th edition).
        Thanks for clarifying your point, and thanks for letting me be your Rent-A-Friend.

      • I don’t think the terms are a problem though I think you are conflating genetic variability with genetic diversity and gene frequency with diversity.

        You are adding unnecessary baggage to your description of NS. It is not true that selection favors ‘survival’ in the sense of longevity ( though it’s hard to reproduce if you aren’t surviving.) Many animals, such as rats, are short lived but pump out pups in an almost exponential rate over a year of two of fertile adulthood. This is opposed to animals like humans or elephants who invest heavily in just a few offspring and groom them for a very long time. It’s important for humans to live a relatively long time. Not so much for butterflies. Nor is there any requirement that ‘less successful alleles’ are ‘lost’ (not quite sure what you mean). They may be recessive or may be hidden within the genotype and appear later when different selective pressures are applied. In all I think you are describing a very confined and limiting definition that fails to account for the complexity of biological systems.

        My answer to your question is that NS doesn’t necessarily cause a decrease in genetic diversity. It *can* decrease diversity especially in environments that do not change over long periods of time. But in other scenarios – gene flow, introduction of mutations and recombinant genes, selection of epigenetically controlled alleles (of which I’m a little doubtful of), and disruptive selection – diversity increases. NS, as you state, includes the cumulative effect of all environmental, genotype, and phenotype stressors but you only describe one sad scenario – basically the domestication of animals. There is so much more than that. And you have in no way shown that other ways aren’t possible or aren’t occurring. That ‘you do not see how’ other means of increased diversity may work is not an argument.

        The rest – go ahead and have it. The bacteria to worms to a man walking around town is an old creationist song and dance that no evolutionist argues for. I suppose you get a high five from the choir?

        Dennis Mitton My Selfish Gene Monkey Dance

        On Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 4:40 PM, Rent-A-Friend 2000’s Biblical Thinking and

      • You say “The bacteria to worms to a man walking around town is an old creationist song and dance that no evolutionist argues for.” NO evolutionist is arguing for the evolutionary story as historical fact? Evolution tells a story, and that, my friend, IS the story! It’s the story Darwin told, and even his grandfather Erasmus in Zoonomia (Not to mention Bill Nye in a bow tie). Either you again totally misunderstood what I have said, or you are not defending evolution. I think perhaps you had better explain what you mean by “Evolution” if you don’t mean bacteria to worms to man. You may mean something so far removed from Darwin that you shouldn’t even be using that word. Keep in mind that changes within the kind are in no way unique to evolution, and as I explained previously, fit not only within the Creation model, but BETTER because we can explain the arrival of such diverse genetic pools in the past which allow wolves to produce poodles and golden labs.

        But to the main point, you have agreed that Natural Selection REMOVES variety, but then you call on other factors in addition to NS (“introduction of mutations and recombinant genes, selection of epigenetically controlled alleles”) to explain an increase in genetic variability. But even on your own word, you do not mean that natural selection actually ADDS genetic diversity. It CANNOT make new genes, and you know that. It is this bait and switch which is the staple of evolutionary dogma; Claim Natural Selection is the mechanism by which NEW SPECIES originate, but then admit (in chapter four, in the sixth edition) that this cannot be actually so. You will find that every other supposed mechanism of evolution fails in the same way- they cause CHANGES, but not EVOLUTIONARY changes. I can cut down a tree, burn it, or carve it into the likeness of a unicorn, but none of those changes is evolution. This is why I explained the story Evolution tells, because if the mechanisms you propose cannot turn a bacteria into a worm, into a fish, into a man, then they may be biological processes of change, but they are NOT EVOLUTION, just as LOSING money is a financial change, and turning a twenty into a ten and two fives is a kind of change, and taking some money out of your right pocket and putting it into your left one is a change, but they will never make you rich no matter how long it goes on. Evolution HAS TO EXPLAIN how bacteria gained the genetic information to become cabbages and wolves and everything else in between, because THAT IS WHAT EVOLUTION IS. If it doesn’t do that, IT IS NOT EVOLUTION.

        So to my point- Darwin was wrong before the first page of his book, and you may be using the word “Evolution” wrong.
        And thanks for letting me be your all singing, all dancing Rent-A-Friend.

      • Oh man. Sweet! Glad to see that I jogged you out of your passive-aggressive MO.

        To whit:

        Are you familiar with the greatest novel of all time written by the greatest writer of all time? Let me tell you all about it. There’s a woman named Anna Karenina. She was married, fell in love with a guy, and died! What a story!

        My point, just to clarify, is that your bug to man canard is such a small part of the story that it’s a cartoon. It’s the kind of thing that makes otherwise literate people say “my grandpa weren’t no monkey!” It’s a straw man used to insinuate something that is only partly true but easily dismantled.

        Now I will be passive-aggressive. I would encourage you to bone up on what diversity and variability mean. Though they mean different and specific things you use them interchangeably and incorrectly. NS can, in fact, increase diversity. It does not create new genes. It is merely a shuffling device. NS is a mechanism for speciation but only part of the story. How new genetic material is created is well understood and observed. That you don’t understand how this works tells me you spend more time reading Henry Morris and Ken Harm than you do reading science.

        Be glad to discuss this more but will need reasoned evidence rather than religious bias.

      • First, if you think I am being passive aggressive, you will have to forgive me. I’ve been suffering under a cold which will not go away, not enough sleep, blah blah blah. So, I may intend to come across as frustrated but I am not intending to be rude. Forgive me if I have. I have no respect for evolution (on scientific terms as well as theological ones) but I don’t mean that disrespect to be aimed at you.

        You say My “bug to man canard is such a small part of the story that it’s a cartoon”? I think I made my point clear enough. I was offering a summary of the evolutionary story- the Darwinian Tree of Life. If you are rejecting the Story Darwinian Evolution is meant to tell, then what is it you are meaning by “Evolution”? Obviously I do not mean to say worms LITERALLY gave birth to fish in one small step (Though this has been proposed by those seeking to save the evolution myth as the “Hopeful Monster” hypothesis, and almost as much in Stephen J Gould’s Punctuated Equilibrium), but the story IS that bacteria gained new genes over long enough time that they- one branch of the bacteria family tree- became worms. And then some of those worms gained enough new genes to become fish. If you think this is a straw man, again I have to question if you understand EITHER of our positions. I agree that evolution is easily dismantled, but I have not presented a straw man. You are merely seeing what I see- the theory cannot defend itself when defined clearly for what it is. As long as you couch it in fluffy terms like “Evolution is Change over time” you can pass it off as observable scientific fact, for CLEARLY things change over time. But when you define your terms so that they mean something, the evolutionary mythology falls apart like wet toilet paper. My disbelief does not come from a lack of understanding, but FROM understanding. Once again, if what I am saying is the evolutionary story is not what you believe it to be, then present what YOU think it is, otherwise I think we will be merely talking past each other.

        If I’ve been using terms in a muddled way or incorrectly, forgive me, but do allow me to clarify myself: Diversity– Genetic diversity is primarily what I am concerned with, as the increase in genes (Gaining new genes which create new features and behaviors) is what evolution requires. Of course this would result in phenotypic diversity but all of the new phenotypes we DO observe, from new kinds of dog to new kinds of bacteria, are the result of OTHER processes, such as gene shuffling and gene duplication, neither of which creates NEW genetic information such as would be required to go from bacteria to worm to fish, etc.

        Variability (Variation among individuals in a population) is the many ways in which the same pool of genes can be shuffled and rearranged to make new phenotypes. Think of a gene as a card in a deck. A normal deck of cards has 52 unique cards, which can be shuffled to make more than 2 million five-card poker hands. The genes in a population is like the deck- no one hand (individual) holds ALL of the cards (Genes/alleles) but they can be shuffled (recombined or even lost over time) to make a wide range of different hands (Individuals). Lose some genes and you get a poodle from a wolf. Duplicate an existing gene and you get Nylonaise from a different strain of bacteria- but in neither case is the new variety of organism the result of new genes being created, and thus, is not an evolutionary change. You don’t explain where the Queen of Hearts comes from by shuffling or dealing, no matter how long you do it. Variability in the expression of genes IS NOT THE SAME as an increase in genetic diversity. I hope that at least is clear.

        When I refer to an increase in genetic diversity, I am referring to an increase in genetic information (adding new cards to the deck). When I refer to variability I am referring to the ways those existing genes can be shuffled or expressed. Increasing genetic information is the ONLY thing which matters to evolution, because it IS the center of the story. A process which shuffles or loses genes is no more evolution than a species going extinct or moving from the east to the west side of the street. In fact, those shuffling mechanisms are how the Creation model accounts for the diversity of dogs, flowers, ducks, beetles, etc. And this is exactly what we observe- not a tree but an orchard as I have explained. Darwin proposed a tree of life. The processes which GROW the tree (Add new branches) are the only mechanisms which are evolutionary ones. You can cut branches off all day long and never get a bigger tree, and you can have a branch subdivide into smaller twigs forever without making one additional branch- meaning you can lose or shuffle genes for a billion years and your bacteria will only be bacteria. They will never become wolves and cabbages and everything in between. This is why Natural Selection fails to be the origin of a species, or to create new genetic information.

        So to line up our use of the terms, Natural Selection CANNOT create new genes (it seems we agree here), and thus I would say does not add to genetic diversity. It can help a variation to become a bigger part of the expressed alleles (Gene frequency) and thus can color a population by removing other variations, though it cannot CAUSE variations in a species. Natural Selection can only act on variations which already exist.

        You say “How new genetic material is created is well understood and observed,” yet this is simply false. Some have hypothesized that mutations can create new genes, but this has NEVER been observed, and it is statistically impossible. The vast majority of mutations are lethal, and harmful, and the ones which are not create an increasing genetic load which eventually becomes lethal. Mutations are evolution’s only hope, but they cannot and do not save the day by doing the impossible, no matter how much time we pretend it has been going on.
        To keep you from feeling alone, here is Richard Dawkins in his most famous interview clip. When asked to give an example of just this, he goes silent and then asks them to shut off the camera. When they come back he changes the subject entirely. In the time since, he has written about how he felt this question was a set up (blah blah blah) but has never given an answer to it, because no answer exists. It has NEVER been observed, and it we ever did see it, I would feel justified in saying it was literally a miracle.

        I hope I have cleared up what I meant, and now I await you clearing up what you meant. What do you think the evolutionary story is, if not what I have depicted in my “cartoon”? And have we reached an agreement that Natural Selection cannot be the origin of a species? That Darwin was wrong at least in the title of his book? Can we agree that evolution REQUIRES processes which ADD new genes, and that if that process does not happen, then no other mechanisms can cause the kinds of change Darwin’s tree proposes, and thus there would be no evolution?
        And thanks for letting me be your passive-aggressive Rent-A-Friend.

      • To be frank I’m not interested in your definitions of evolution, genetic diversity, or genetic variation. They mean specific things to working evo bio folks and I’ll stick with those definitions. When using term differently we are probably, as you say, talking past each other.

      • Let’s start at the very beginning (A very good place to start). I asked “1. How is Natural Selection the origin of ANY species when it is a process which REMOVES existing genetic variability from a gene pool and does not add any?”
        You eventually replied “NS… does not create new genes. It is merely a shuffling device.”
        Which seems to mean that you agree Natural Selection cannot be the origin of any species, since it does not create new genes, and therefore cannot be said to make new species. Thus Darwin’s book was wrong at least on the title page (Though, as I said previously, Darwin admitted this himself). Although NS is not, as you say, actually a shuffling device. It is an editor. Sexual reproduction is a shuffling device. But I think I know what you meant.

        We agree that NS does not create new genes. I think if you look into it more you’ll find that NS WOULD lead to the LOSS of particular alleles, like an editor cutting pages out of a book. We start with, hypothetically, green and brown beetles, and because of environmental stressors, like predators, and the fact that the green beetles are easier for the predators to spot, the green ones get eaten more often, causing their numbers/percentage of the population to dwindle until eventually there are no more green beetles. But as I said, we’ve now lost some of the existing genes and gained no more. NS edits out a particular variety, and we lose available genes. This is the exact opposite of what Evolution needs in order to happen. Thus, NS not only is not the origin of any species, but is not an evolutionary process. This will not GROW Darwin’s tree, it prunes it. You will find the same to be true of almost every proposed evolutionary mechanism, which is how we can know it to be false. It is impossible, and it has never been observed. Those two pieces of information together, I find to be very convincing.

        To be frank, I am interested in your definitions, at least of Evolution and of “How new genetic material is created,” since that seems to be the central point of this particular discussion. You believe it to be true, and I know it to be mythology, but as I said, I suspect you are using the terms wrong. See my list of related questions below if you care to be understood. Of course if you don’t care to be understood, then I suppose the conversation is simply over. I’ll let you decide that.
        Thanks for letting me be your Rent-A-Friend.

      • NS drives speciation by using new genes and genotypes developed by other means which I have previously outlined for you. If you can’t find them do a quick Wiki search as the means are well understood and observed.

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

      • Now you’re sending me to Wikipedia? Surely if Wikipedia believes evolution it MUST be true. But let me correct a few things:
        1. NS Doesn’t DRIVE, nor does it USE. It doesn’t even SELECT. It’s just what we call it when we look at a population and realize that half of them are dead and figure out the common cause.
        2. It doesn’t matter what NS Does if you don’t know what evolution is. You’ve said it’s not bacteria to worms to fish to man, but you have still failed to say what it is. Well, I can say it is not science, but then I think I have explained why.
        3. I shall remain amused but unconvinced by your claim that “the means are well understood and observed.” You keep saying that, but just how is it you know more about these “observations” than Richard Dawkins? Or the writer of ANY Biology Textbook ever?

        Instead of offering me a hundred books by the true believers, why not just answer the simplest and most central question- what is evolution? Surely if you know it’s true, you must know what it is? Surely if you have written a sixty part blog series defending it as truth, you must, SOMEWHERE in all of that dogma, DEFINE what it is you are defending? Or maybe like everyone else you’ve just assumed that someone ELSE has defined it, and you’re just concerned with surfing over to the blogs of creationists to tell them how ignorant they must be to refuse to believe in evolution (Whatever it is) since it has been observed (By someone, you are sure, even if not people like Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye, Charles Darwin, Stephen J Gould, Etc). You have rejected the story of evolution as given by Darwin, National geographic, and every textbook I’ve ever seen, and offered no version of your own. Perhaps you already know this, but when you dismiss an idea so flippantly, it does not remove from you the burden of proof. You don’t like my “Cartoon” or any of my “songs, dances, and canards”? Then by all means offer some of your own. Until then, I maintain that you simply do not understand Natural Selection, Evolution, or any of the related mechanisms.
        But don’t feel bad about not understanding natural selection. As I have already shown, the team of PhD’s over at Berkley and the NCSE don’t get it either. as you’ll see, I didn’t have to look any further than the SAME PAGE OF THEIR OWN WEB SITE to find an explanation of why they are wrong about it:
        https://creationsoapbox.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/evolution-101-part-14b-what-natural-selection-is-isnt-and-is-again/
        https://creationsoapbox.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/evolution-101-part-13b-natural-selection-of-robots-and-men/

        Then again, maybe you understand more than you are letting on. Perhaps my point was well made and understood, and thus the only honest reply you can give is to admit I am correct? Don’t be afraid of that outcome, Dennis. Men far smarter than both of us have done the same thing for a century.

        And here are some men smarter than both of us who were/are Bible Believing Creationists:
        https://creationsoapbox.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/creation-science-thursday-for-part-8-creation-science-hall-of-fame-or-what-bill-nye-doesnt-know/

        Here’s a few from today- Spike Psarris and Dr. Richard Lumsden became Christians BECAUSE they learned enough science to reject deep time/evolution. In case you wanted to hold to the false view that only people with a religious presumption reject evolution without the influence of science. Science has been a GREAT help in convincing people NOT to believe evolution:

        It may not make you happy in the short term, Dennis, but I am offering you the truth, which is a long term gain. All you owe me is an honest reply (if you choose to reply).
        And thanks for letting me be your Rent-A-Friend.

      • Thanks! I am more and more convinced that you have learned what evolution is from creationists afraid that maybe God didn’t do it. I *highly* recommend that you go to Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True site and check out a recent post about the essential evolution library. I also have a link to it on my Monkey Dance site. It’s an excellent resource. Beyond learning how evolution really works you will find that the people involved are regular, good, and smart people working hard to accurately describe what we see when we look out the front room window. You will also, hopefully, see how, well, dopey and childish it is to say things like “if you go to Darwin’s Origin, the third printing, and see that the second word of the second sentence of the fourth paragraph is misspelled it’s obvious that Darwin’s theory is wrong!’ (Cf my Monkey Dance post ‘What Evolution is Not.)

        Another excellent book I like to recommend is Dan Dennett’s Intuition Pumps. It’s a compendium of his writings on critical thinking and logic.

        If you have any real interest you should join the Society for the Study of Evolution. It’s cheap – 40 bucks I think – and you will have access to what real scientists are doing and saying. I believe you have limited access to Nature as well. This will put you head and shoulders above the average YEC who says things like men come from bacteria.

        Thanks for your offer for truth but I have found it to be a wildly sliding scale. What are there now? 4,500 recognized xtian sects? And you think you have the right one? Unicorns! Your ‘truth’ would have put you on the stake 500 years ago and get your head chopped off in parts of the world today. I’m siding with evidence. Repeatable, falsifiable, and predictable evidence. You have still offered nothing but opinion- and can’t. That’s the problem. When you begin with unsubstantiated opinion and build a framework of ‘truth’ before looking at evidence – a young earth spoken into existence by special creation – you have no recourse but to ignore or twist evidence that shows you’re wrong.
        [what follows was accidentally in a second posting at the same time, replaced here by RAF2K]
        Damn! I always hit that Send button inadvertently. The previous response might have some typos, etc., but the gist is there. Keep at it I you might just make it out of the cage of religious thinking!

        Cheers and I will definitely keep you on speed dial for any questions I have about how YEC folks think. (And really- check out Dennett – it’s good stuff!)

      • Well I certainly haven’t learned what evolution is from you. It takes YEC’s like me to define “evolution,” because when the proponents of evolution are forced to think beyond the dogma they get spoon fed in school (“It’s just Change over time!”) they realize it can’t be true (See those two vids I posted previously). You mocked the textbook version of Darwinian evolution as “an old creationist song and dance that no evolutionist argues for,” and then offered NOTHING in return, though I keep asking you over and over. At the very least you are being dishonest, as I do not think you actually this dumb. I keep asking, if it’s not the evolutionary myth that “men come from bacteria” then what do you think the story tells? Since you don’t know, and are apparently too lazy to find out, I have some references for you.
        Just Google “did humans evolve from bacteria?” and you find; “Evolutionary biologists generally agree that humans and other living species are descended from bacterialike ancestors. But before about two billion years ago, human ancestors branched off.” Or perhaps you will argue that the New York times is too heavily influenced by Young Earth Creationists to know what evolution teaches?
        (www.nytimes.com/2006/01/03/science/03zimm.html)
        Perhaps you will trust Scientific American who say we/our brains evolved from bacteria. They include a great illustration that shows the evolutionary path from bacteria to worms to fish to lizards to rodents to us. Hmmm? Why does THAT sound familiar? (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/your-brain-evolved-from-bacteria/).
        Or maybe PBS is far enough from the YEC camp to be trusted? They say “The short answer is we don’t really know how life originated on this planet. There have been a variety of experiments that tell us some possible roads, but we remain in substantial ignorance.” Oh, oops. That didn’t help. Here’s a better quote: “The deeper history of life and the greater diversity of life on this planet is microorganisms—bacteria, protozoans, algae.” (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/how-did-life-begin.html)
        Or maybe wired.com is a great enough distance from Answers in Genesis to be considered? ““Choanoflagellates are to my mind clearly the organism to look at if you’re looking at animal origins,” King said. In these organisms, which can live either as single cells or as multicellular colonies.. she found that bacteria may have played a crucial role in ushering in this new era.” or later in the same article, “More than a third of human genes have their origins in bacteria.” (http://www.wired.com/2014/08/where-animals-come-from/)
        And maybe a little philosophy to back it up (Consider this when you’re deciding if you should offer anti-bacterial wipes to your kids, or if you should allow the bacteria to take their rightful place as the “Fittest”): “…the human species is by no means the pinnacle of evolution….The black-smoker bacterium, living in a sulphurous vent on the floor of the Atlantic ocean and descended from a stock of bacteria that parted company with our ancestors soon after Luca’s day, is arguably more highly evolved than a bank clerk, at least at the genetic level.’ Matt Ridley, Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters, Fourth Estate, 2000 (http://www.thehumangenome.co.uk/THE_HUMAN_GENOME/Bacteria.html)
        So, are ALL of these sources wrong about what the evolutionary story teaches? Because they seem to be singing the same old song and dance I was singing- which, again you say “no evolutionist argues for.” Maybe your sect of evolutionism knows the REAL SECRET truth? Perhaps the Society for the Study of Evolution is a sect of Gnostic Evolutionism, where the REAL story is held, kept away from ignorant YEC’s like me, and silly old Ken Ham. Maybe just as “no REAL scientist” rejects evolution, no “REAL” evolutionist believes the story of Darwinian evolution I was silly enough to propose, eh? But I digress.

        Your reply here is to your shame. Once again, you are refusing to answer direct questions, creating embarrassing straw men which shows either a failure to understand or refusal to admit what I have written, and some sad and ignorant ad hominem attacks and other logical fallacies. When faced with honest questions, and logical rebuttals of your religion, you sink into name calling and recommending “good and smart” people like Dennett and Dawkins, both of whom have been spanked like unruly toddlers by William Lane Craig and John Lennox. How about answering the questions I have asked? How about defending your position with “evidence” as you claim to be siding with? You have not done so, and then you pretend I am the one with the blind, anti-scientific faith? I think we both know the truth on this matter at least. It is not me who is forced to “ignore or twist evidence that shows you’re wrong.” Like Dawkins, you have been asked a fair, central question, and reply not with an answer (For you have none) but with with personal attacks against YEC’s for having asked the question, as if that smoke screen will distract everyone from your religion’s failure to fit the facts.

        I could easily pick this apart a sentence at a time, but I shall save us both the time, as you have shown that you refuse to reply to what I actually write, and I suspect you are educated enough to know that half of this was lies anyway. I have my faith in a miraculous creation, and you have yours. You can pretend yours is scientific, but as you have offered no evidence as such, nor even the understanding it takes to define the very subject, I shall remain skeptical of your religion on scientific grounds, and you shall remain skeptical of mine on philosophical grounds. You surely have offered no scientific grounds for rejecting mine, and I say with educated confidence that there is none.

        I have presented clearly and asked simple questions, and you have replied with this illogical emotional outburst. Clearly what I have said is not being replied to, and what I have asked is not being answered, and thus you are acting like I am not part of the conversation. Therefore, go reply to me on your own blog. Let’s not waste any more of my time pretending to engage me with your religion. Let me encourage you to continue learning more science- starting with the definition of evolution, the fictional history of life on earth proposed by Darwin, and the way in which the proposed mechanisms of evolution work so that you can see, as I have spelled out in my Evolution 101 series, that they fail to CAUSE evolution. When you understand the science, you will see how to choose the logical conclusion, which is how YEC folks think.
        Cheers to you as well,
        And thank you for letting me be your Rent-A-Friend.

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