Honolulu Chapter

In the Beginning Was the Beginning

May 21, 2015

By now, there’s scientific consensus that our universe exploded into existence almost 14 billion years ago in an event known as the Big Bang. But that theory raises more questions about the universe’s origins than it answers, including the most basic one: what happened before the Big Bang? Some cosmologists have argued that a universe could have no beginning, but simply always was.

The problem with that last proposition is that it is impossible, given the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

Source: In the Beginning Was the Beginning

Envy Is Not Jealousy – Deeper Waters

May 20, 2015

Can God be loving and jealous both? Let’s plunge into Deeper Waters and find out. If you ever want to know how not to read the Bible, one of the best things to do is to just go to an atheist web site and look at the attempts to show Bible contradictions. Most of them … Continue reading Envy Is Not Jealousy

Source: Envy Is Not Jealousy – Deeper Waters

Truthbomb Apologetics: Book Highlight: Why Trust Jesus? by Dave Sterrett

May 20, 2015

Pantheism teaches that God is impersonal. Jesus teaches that God is personal.Pantheism attempts to defy the simple laws of logic. Jesus holds that logic is undeniable.Pantheism teaches that the universe is God. Jesus teaches that God made the universe.Pantheism teaches that the universe is eternal. Jesus states that that the universe had a beginning.Pantheism teaches that you are part of God. Jesus teaches that you are made in the image of God but separate from Him.Pantheism teaches that sin is an illusion. Jesus states that dealing with sin is the reason He came to earth.Pantheism does not emphasize absolute truth. Jesus emphasized worshiping in spirit and in truth.

Source: Truthbomb Apologetics: Book Highlight: Why Trust Jesus? by Dave Sterrett

Proofs Society Is Regressing: Sympathy Trumps Science | Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes

May 15, 2015

Denial of the biologically obvious is becoming commonplace. Being ruled by emotions is not the path to progress:

Abandoning our rights for the sake of feelings is bad enough, but that is only one way we are regressing as a society. The second piece of evidence is that we would rather ignore biology rather than realize it is biology that restricts us in certain ways.

Source: Proofs Society Is Regressing: Sympathy Trumps Science | Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes

Conservation of Information Made Simple – Evolution News & Views

May 15, 2015

Long but worthwhile article by William Dembski:

“As it happens, I am not sure we are so far apart, at least in some respects. Both of us, I imagine, accept that we are part of God’s good Creation, and that despite its diversity, by no means all things are possible. In my forthcoming book Life’s Solution (CUP) I argue that hard-wired into the universe are such biological properties of intelligence. This implies a “navigation” by evolution across immense “hyperspaces” of biological alternatives, nearly all of which are maladaptive [N.B. — this means the adaptive hyperspaces form a very low-probability target!]. These thin roads (or “worm-holes”) of evolution define a deeper biological structure, the principal evidence for which is convergence (my old story). History and platonic archetypes, if you like, meet. That does seem to me to be importantly distinct from ID: my view of Creation is not only very rich (self-evidently), but has an underlying structure that allows evolution to act. Natural selection, after all, is only a mechanism; what we surely agree about is the nature of the end-products, even if we disagree as to how they came about. Clearly my view is consistent with a Christian world picture, but can never be taken as proof.” — Simon Conway-Morris

Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution.

Source: Conservation of Information Made Simple – Evolution News & Views

Why Minds Are Not Like Computers – The New Atlantis

May 10, 2015

“The embrace of input-output mimicry as a standard traces back to Alan Turing’s famous “imitation game,” in which a computer program engages in a text-based conversation with a human interrogator, attempting to fool the person into believing that it, too, is human. The game, now popularly known as the Turing Test, is above all a statement of epistemological limitation — an admission of the impossibility of knowing with certainty that any other being is thinking, and an acknowledgement that conversation is one of the most important ways to assess a person’s intelligence. Thus Turing said that a computer that passes the test would be regarded as thinking, not that it actually is thinking, or that passing the test constitutes thinking. In fact, Turing specified at the outset that he devised the test because the “question ‛Can machines think?’ I believe to be too meaningless to deserve discussion.” But it is precisely this claim — that passing the Turing Test constitutes thinking — that has become not just a primary standard of success for artificial intelligence research, but a philosophical precept of the project itself.”

via Why Minds Are Not Like Computers – The New Atlantis.

Truthbomb Apologetics: New Testament Scholar Craig Blomberg on the Gospels

May 10, 2015

“Where the data of the Gospels can be tested, they consistently have proven to be remarkably accurate, especially in John. Archaeologists have unearthed the five porticoes of the pool of Bethesda by the Sheep Gate (John 5:2), the pool of Siloam (9:1-7), Jacob’s well at Sychar (4:5), the “Pavement” (Gabbatha) where Pilate tried Jesus (19:13), and Solomon’s porch in the temple precincts (10:22-23).”

Truthbomb Apologetics: New Testament Scholar Craig Blomberg on the Gospels.

Three unrelated animals arrived at same maximal fin speed | Uncommon Descent

May 4, 2015

Every independent arrival of sophisticated features increases the odds against a Darwinian explanation of life:

“So not only did life forms have to solve a special problem of rapid locomotion, different ones had to solve it a number of times, with few if any hints from their ancestry. What are the informational probabilities of that? Wouldn’t the odds against this be greater than against it happening just once?”

via Three unrelated animals arrived at same maximal fin speed | Uncommon Descent.

God and the Mad Hatter by David Bentley Hart | Articles | First Things

May 2, 2015

Materialism, being a fairly coarse superstition, tends to render its adherents susceptible to a great many utterly fantastic notions. All that is needed to make even the most outlandish theory seem plausible to the truly doctrinaire materialist is that it come wrapped in the appurtenances of empirical science. This is not particularly blameworthy. True believers in any creed are usually eager to be persuaded that there is better evidence supporting their convictions than there really is. But there is a special kind of pleasure to be extracted from the credulity of materialists, if only because they are more prone than most other fanatics to mistake their metaphysical presuppositions for purely rational conclusions drawn from dispassionate reasoning.

via God and the Mad Hatter by David Bentley Hart | Articles | First Things.

Reasons To Believe : Why We Need Apologetic Pastors, Part 1

May 1, 2015

Tim Keller, senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, cautions, “If pastors fail to do their homework in these areas [science, biblical criticism, philosophy], then there will remain a substantial portion of the population—unfortunately, the most intelligent and therefore most influential people in society, such as doctors, educators, journalists, lawyers, business executives, and so forth—who will remain untouched by their ministry.”1

I didn’t always heed Keller’s warning, but I am now an unapologetically apologetic pastor. Before my conversion I struggled to get the desired traction in the community outside my church. Eventually I became convinced that the only way pastors are going to be effective is through apologetics. My embrace of apologetics is motivated primarily by my desire to honor God, but through it I’ve seen more people come to Christ, our church grow, and our community engagement open amazing doors. My desire is that more pastors and church leaders will discover the need for and the benefits of apologetics in reaching an unbelieving world.

via Reasons To Believe : Why We Need Apologetic Pastors, Part 1.

Why it Is Reasonable and Scientific to Consider the Soul | Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes

April 30, 2015

Surely the project of science should be one of following the evidence wherever it leads, not of protecting a preconceived materialist philosophy. Isn’t it that philosophy—the one that constantly changes its shape to avoid engagement with troublesome evidence, either ignoring the data or simply declaring it materialistic—that most resembles a virus?

via Why it Is Reasonable and Scientific to Consider the Soul | Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes.

Yes; it resembles a recombinant retrovirus, shapeshifting eternally!

Dr Ironside answers an agnostic

April 29, 2015

H.A. Ironside responds to an Agnostic

Early in his ministry Dr. Harry A. Ironside was living in the San Francisco Bay area, working with some Christians called Brethren. One evening as he was walking through the city he came upon a group of Salvation Army workers holding a meeting on the corner of Market and Grant avenues. When they recognized Ironside they asked if he would give his testimony. So he did, telling how God had saved him through faith in the bodily death and literal resurrection of Jesus.

As he was speaking, Ironside noticed that on the edge of the crowd there was a well-dressed man who had taken a card from his pocket and had written something on it. As Ironside finished his talk the man came forward, lifted his hat, and very politely handed Ironside the card. On one side was his name, which Ironside immediately recognized. The man was one of the early socialists who had made a name for himself lecturing not only for socialism but also against Christianity. As Ironside turned the card over he read,

“Sir, I challenge you to debate with me the question ‘Agnosticism versus Christianity’ in the Academy of Science Hall next Sunday afternoon at four o’clock. I will pay all expenses.”

Ironside reread the card aloud and then replied somewhat like this.

“I am very much interested in this challenge. Frankly, I am already scheduled for another meeting next Lord’s Day afternoon at three o’clock, but I think it will be possible for me to get through with that in time to reach the Academy of Science Hall by four, or if necessary I would arrange to have another speaker substitute for me at the meeting already advertised. Therefore I will be glad to agree to this debate on the following conditions: namely, that in order to prove that this gentleman has something worth debating about, he will promise to bring with him to the lecture hall next Sunday two people, whose qualifications I will give in a moment, as proof that agnosticism is of real value in changing human lives and building true character.

“First, he must promise to bring with him one man who was for years what we commonly call a ‘down-and-outer.’ I am not particular as to the exact nature of the sins that had wrecked his life and made him an outcast from society — whether a drunkard, or a criminal of some kind, or a victim of his sensual appetite — but a man who for years was under the power of evil habits from which he could not deliver himself, but who on some occasion entered one of this man’s meetings and heard his glorification of agnosticism and his denunciations of the Bible and Christianity, and whose heart and mind as he listened to such an address were so deeply stirred that he went away from that meeting saying, ‘Henceforth, I too am an agnostic!’ and as a result of imbibing that particular philosophy found that a new power had come into his life. The sins he once loved he now hates, and righteousness and goodness are now the ideals of his life. He is now an entirely new man, a credit to himself, and an asset to society — all because he is an agnostic….

via Dr Ironside answers an agnostic.

Neo-Darwinism’s Catch-22: Before Evolving New Features, Organisms Would Be Swamped by Genetic Junk – Evolution News & Views

April 29, 2015

A new peer-reviewed paper in the journal Complexity presents a computational model of evolution which shows that evolving new biological structures may be deterred by an unavoidable catch-22 problem.

The article by physicists David Snoke, Jeffery Cox, and Donald Petcher begins by observing that in order to produce a new system, evolution first needs to try lots of new things. It must generate many, many variations upon which natural selection can act in order to “find” something useful to retain. But that comes with a potentially fatal cost. In the scenario proposed by Darwinian theory, you’d end up with an organism full of suboptimal or useless parts. As the authors put it:

[T]here is an additional energy cost to increased complexity. … In real systems, building new systems is costly, and the cost of carrying along useless or redundant systems is one of the arguments for the efficiency of existing living systems, as excess baggage is dropped as too costly.

(David W. Snoke, Jeffrey Cox, and Donald Petcher, “Suboptimality and Complexity in Evolution,” Complexity, DOI: 10.1002/cplx.21566 (July 1, 2014).)

via Neo-Darwinism’s Catch-22: Before Evolving New Features, Organisms Would Be Swamped by Genetic Junk – Evolution News & Views.

Physicist’s take on New York Times’ science writing | Uncommon Descent

April 23, 2015

Physicist’s take on New York Times’ science writing | Uncommon Descent.

“Fascinating blog on NYT! It is exactly what Paul Johnson said would happen to America when he wrote in the 1990′s that America was being taken over by special interest groups, who like a pantheon of demi-gods, would endlessly bicker about whose ox was being gored. This is because America had rejected the Western synthesis of theology-philosophy-religion that had rocketed to supremacy over all other civilizations on this planet. And once the synthesis was destroyed in our Post-Modern society, once unity was sacrificed at the altar of diversity, then it became a free-for-all, a schoolyard brawl between various bullies and their affiliated gangs.”