Hate Mail

Chris Gunn

[Editor's note: This one is seemingly polite, but he obviously didn't bother reading any of my arguments, since all of his complaints were already addressed on the site and he failed to address or even acknowledge those rebuttals in his message. Therefore, I didn't bother responding]

I commend you on your site. Its a great site, and I enjoyed it very much. Mainly, though, I'm writing this as something of a response to your section on creationism. First I must state that this is NOT flame, and not even criticism of your beliefs. I merely wanted to bring some ideas to your attention. I am not a scientist, and didn't even do really good in the subject in school ( I got B's).

[Editor's note: Well, he certainly sounds polite and amicable so far]

First of all, I believe that there is a scientific law that matter/energy cannot be created or destroyed. I think its one of the laws of thermodynamics, although I cant tell you for sure as I'm not a scientist. If so, then where did matter and energy come from? It's obliously in existance today, and yet, if it cannot be created, how is it here.

[Editor's note: This is actually a very common, generalized argument for the existence of God rather than an argument for creationism. The shortened, standardized version is: the universe couldn't have popped into existence out of nothing, so God must have created it

However, like most "proofs" of God's existence, this one betrays a set of preconceived expectations that derive from religious beliefs, and which are therefore self-fulfilling in nature. The logic is basically circular, proving the existence of God by relying upon the assumption that God exists, and is therefore responsible for every phenomenon he doesn't understand. This particular example takes three steps to close its circle:

  1. He assumes that if something exists today, there must have been a time in the past when it did not exist.

  2. He assumes that if something exists today and did not exist at some point in the past, then it must have been created by a sentient, intelligent being.

  3. He assumes that if a sentient, intelligent being exists and is responsible for our universe, then that being must be the Judeo-Christian God, as described in the Bible.

Look at all those assumptions in order. Point #1 is utterly groundless. Why should we assume that there was a moment in the past where there was no matter and no energy? We've not observed any evidence of such a period, so why believe it existed? This is important because without the assumption of this moment in the past, there is no need for a distinct moment of "Creation", and every point from here on falls apart.

Point #2 is downright laughable. Why assume that creation must always be the result of a sentient entity? Creationists tend to state this assumption as fact: "if it was created, then there must be an intelligent Creator". However, this is no more applicable to the universe than it is to biological organisms. Even if we accept assumption #1 (that the universe was created at some distinct point in time), it was a random, chaotic explosion at that point, with no characteristics of intelligent design whatsoever. This begs the question: if it was the result of "intelligent design", then why did it start out as such a chaotic mess, and why did it take billions of years for it to create even the tiniest portion of what we might consider useful? Why is the vast majority of it still chaotic?

Even if we accept the highly questionable argument that the universe must have come from somewhere rather than simply existing, there is no reason whatsoever to imagine that this "somewhere" must have been a sentient being. Couldn't the universe have been the result of non-sentient phenomena which exist outside this universe and are not visible from inside? For all we know, our entire observable universe is merely the product of natural processes in some other universe (see Stephen Hawking's treatise on black holes and baby universes). There is no reason to automatically assign sentience to whatever might exist outside of our universe.

Point #3 is downright offensive. Even if one could somehow show that there is a sentient being who exists beyond our perception and who designed and created our universe (through unknown and unknowable mechanisms) so that it would start as a chaotic explosion and then slowly develop through what mysteriously appear to be natural processes, why assume that it's the Judeo-Christian God? Why not Brahma or the Great Spirit? Why not Odin or Zeus? Why not Count Chocula?]

I could not have always been here, otherwise it would have existed eternally already, and entropy would have distributed it. Even so, I fail to understand how it could have existed forever even throwing aside entropy. So what? Well, suppose that some supernatural being, existing outside the bounds of scientific laws (in fact, being thair creator), were to create all this. While we clearly cannot fully understand the concept of an eternal God outside the laws, It at least gives an explanation. If nothing is unconstrained by the bounds of scientific laws, than there is no explanation that makes sense.

[Editor's note: This is an interesting and quite clever argument: that the universe cannot possibly be eternal (thus requiring an external source, which he assumes to be God for some reason), because entropy production would have long since distributed its matter and energy into a formless heat bath.

It's wrong of course, but at least it's different, and when one debates creationists, one must be grateful for small favours.

So what's wrong with his argument? Simply put, he assumes that there was time before the Big Bang. This may seem to be an eminently logical assumption since there is time today. However, our intuitive perception of time is quite limited, and it is by no means comprehensive. One of the ramifications of Einstein's theories of relativity is that at enormous space-time curvatures (eg. those found as you approach a black hole, never mind the hyper-density of the nascent universe at the moment of the Big Bang), time slows down. Therefore, if you imagine a cosmic "clock" of time, there is no reason to believe that it started "ticking" until the moment of the Big Bang. Ergo, it wouldn't have been accumulating entropy before then. In fact, we could argue that there was no "before" at all]

As to many living creatures being similar, could this not be seen simply as God having a sense of order, and being consistant in his creation?

[Editor's note: This is a very common creationist argument. But as I note on my Introduction pages, the point is not that they are merely "similar"; the larger point is that they are arranged in an obvious pattern of progression. Moreover, the pattern exists not only in their structures but also in their locations. The ages of fossils and their locations around the world are consistent with evolution and migration, while being inconsistent with a single globe-spanning creation event]

Also, about simpler fossils being found deeper, if you read a little further in Genesis, you will hear of a worldwide deluge, which could account for this, along with accounting for the widespread appearence of fossils at all through the earth, since normally dead creatures decompose rather than fossilizing.

[Editor's note: This argument is dealt with in great detail, in the Young Earth section of this site. Suffice it to say that a worldwide deluge would not lead to simpler fossils being found deeper. It would sort creatures by their hydrodynamic characteristics, and that is not what we see in the fossil record. Remember that huge dinosaurs, tiny dinosaurs, flying dinosaurs, and even plants from that era are all found together at the same depth]

Also, you stated that in chapter 2 of Genesis God recreated the animals from the ground in Eden for Adam. Something from that version was lost in the translation from Hebrew, but is clarified in other translatoins such as the NIV. A less confusing translation would be "The Lord God had formed all..."

[Editor's note: Notice the evasion technique. The point of my discussion of Genesis 1 and 2 was that the order of creation differed between the two chapters, and I only mentioned the "second creation" in Eden as the most common Creationist explanation for the obvious self-contradiction. He ignores the glaring contradiction and seizes upon the possibility that I interpreted the Creationist excuse improperly. To recap the point that he tried to dance away from, the Genesis 1 order of creation is as follows:

Day 1: The Earth, light and darkness, day and night
Day 2: The sky
Day 3: The plants
Day 4: The stars, the Sun, and the Moon
Day 5: Sea creatures and flying creatures
Day 6: Land creatures, including mankind (both male and female)

But starting from Genesis 2:4 it tells the story again, with a completely different order! It states very clearly that God formed Adam "from the dust of the ground" when "no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up". In other words, while Genesis 1 says plants came first and Man came last, Genesis 2 says that Man came before plants! It also says that Adam was followed by the animals and then Eve, while Genesis 1 had Adam and Eve both being created last. These are not minor inconsistencies; they are huge, glaring contradictions]

Also, I have heard many reasions why the Earth must be young, as the Bible says. One, which comes to mind, is that at the rate the sun is shrinking, the Earth would have been too near it or inside it ( I cant remenber which ) mere millions of years ago. Please email me if this is incorrect.

[Editor's note: This is a commonly cited piece of Creationist pseudoscience. The Sun's diameter has been measured many times over the years with varying levels of accuracy, and the most accurate measurements show no discernible shrinkage. Naturally, creationists ignore this fact, and they seize upon less accurate measurements and cherry-pick the measurements which make it appear as if there is a high rate of shrinkage (this is very easy to do, given a lot of measurements of varying quality)]

Lastly, I would encourage you to study the Bible, even if your objective is to disprove it. I don't know how much of you have actually read, but please do not take other people at their word when they say it is inconsistant. Find out for yourself.

[Editor's note: Notice how even though I provided large quotes directly from the Bible right here in this website, and I cited specific inconsistencies in those quotes, he assumes that I have not studied it. Worse yet, he assumes that I am merely taking "other people at their word" about these inconsistencies. This is the sort of blatant misrepresentation and intellectual laziness that draws my ire when dealing with creationists.

It is one thing to disagree on a matter of principle, but this person, while impeccably polite, has obviously not bothered reading my article. He must have skimmed over it and leapt to conclusions about its content, or else he would have noticed that I provided both direct quotes from the Bible and specific descriptions of inconsistencies in those quotes]

Last updated: August 5, 2001

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